Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mad at some Blu Ray Product Reviews

I decided to write this post out of frustration with some aspects of the user review process that some websites offer their customers, specifically DVD/Blu Ray online retailers.

While I do prefer to shop online where there are reviews visible I often find myself feeling angry at some people who make comments on the product in question. Why? Because some comments are so contrasting that I have to wonder what motivates some people to write reviews in the first place.   I realise that everyone is different and has a unique perspective but how can the same product get simultaneous 5 star and 1 star reviews?  In some cases I have bought a Blu Ray movie and then come to the conclusion that half the reviewers were either mad or full of shit.

Some of the things I wonder about when reading reviews
Are they writing to promote themselves, their own business, Blog or have another agenda?
Are they just writing maliciously for the fun of it or just to be controversial?
Do they own a proper BD Player and a HD capable TV with 5.1 Surround Sound system attached?
Do they have good taste or would they have trouble distinguishing between 'Shit and Shinola"?
Are they actually nuts?

Simple facts in life 
Some people like to bitch and some people are never happy, so how do I identify these people without having to leave the webpage I'm on? The few that write honestly and intelligently are lost in the crowd and are sometimes impossible to distinguish from the rest of the reviewers. To add to the confusion some websites bring in DVD release comments automatically to start off the commenting process on their Blu Ray upgrades and this is sometimes misleading. These are never removed afterwards so it is quite common to be reading about the wrong product.

What was I looking for that prompted this Post? 
I was looking for a particular Blu Ray movie (Platoon) and I found the title on 2 of the biggest DVD sites, one site had 5 reviews which were all positive and the other had 46 which were mixed.

My only concerns when buying Blu Ray is that the picture and sound must be superior in almost every way to the original DVD releases and this is the rule of thumb that I use while shopping.  More than likely I will have previously seen the movie on DVD so I don't need to know the synopsis and I don't want to read everyone's opinions of the plot.

My Suggestion
I long for the big websites to set up or add a quick 5 star review to measure improvements between DVD and Blu Ray versions that would run alongside the normal 5 star review given to the movie.  I wouldn't then be forced to trawl through all the conflicting comments left by people and decide to take it or leave it on the spot.

Rant over
I do believe that improvements can be made in the way reviews are structured but I also realise that complications can arise at the website coding level. A small idea to the unknowing can be a major coding nightmare for a development team.  Maybe someone more important and connected than me will decide to add my suggestion above. Until then, I will continue being quietly annoyed.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Abair Leat - Irish Language Website Review

This will be an on going article as the site is new and still in Beta testing phase.

How I found out about the site?
Purely by accident is the easiest answer. I heard it mentioned on an RTE News bulletin and it piqued my interest straight away.  I made a point of sending myself a reminder to check it out the following day and I'm glad to say that it was one of those things that I actually got around to doing. I joined up eagerly but was immediately lost and confused.  This was not the fault of the website but more a damning indictment of how poorly the Irish language is taught in Ireland.

Why am I interested in it?
I would love to be able to speak my native language fluently as to me it represents our national culture and pride. I am not alone in saying that after 14 years of learning Irish (Gaeilge) I can barely string two sentences together. During my school years I hated the language and hated every class I attended.  I can imagine a foreigner asking me now why don't I speak my country's language?  The answer is that it bored me so much more than any other subject at school and the teachers taught from textbooks instead of breathing life into it and making it part of the classroom.

A language is a living and vibrant thing and it should be used free-form as part of everyday life. Spending 30 minutes a day discussing daily topics in school and then correcting grammatical errors as you went along would have been far more beneficial than a whole week of reading it from a book. That is after all how children learn to speak everywhere.

I would love to be one of those people who goes to Spain and similar holiday destinations and confounds the indigenous locals by speaking a language they couldn't possibly know.  Most Irish people have a secret wish to do this whether they tell you or not.

My hope for the future
I would like to brush up on my Irish by using it daily, talking to people in a natural colloquial way.  I believe the site is a great push forward for the language and I hope it brings it back into public focus in a big way. I will add to this article as I learn more from the site.  If you are Irish or of Irish descent, why not sign up and give it a try?

Abair Leat website
My advice to those who are like me is to have Google Translate open when you first sign up for the site. If your Irish is very bad you will not be able to navigate the site without help.  I initially started a post as part of the learning process and used Google to Translate 90% of that.  The site does have a translate option built in but I couldn't find it (he laughs) at the time.  I have since posted a second thread but I'm still a little lost.  I talked someone into joining the site who has a similar desire to learn the language; this should help both of us figure out the inner workings of the site as well as brush up the old lingo. The best thing I can do is to link to the 2 tutorial videos from the site on this article because my attempts to explain might confuse people even more.  If you sign up for it I would be interested in your opinion here.

Abair Leat Website

Abair Leat Tutorials

Abair Leat on YouTube