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Going Batty Buying Movie Music

Hans Zimmer composed the music for “The Dark Knight Rises.” Figuring out how to buy the complete album has almost as many twists and turns as the movie!

I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” on opening weekend.
All two hours and forty-five minutes.

Yes, I’m on record saying that as the parent of a toddler, I don’t go to the movies much. But, hey, daddy, sometimes you’ve got to find a way. Right?

This is not a review of the trilogy’s finale, but I’ll simply say I loved it.
Not perfect, but if you’ve seen the other two, you must see this one.

Movie Music Lovers Unite
So one of my little vices is collecting good movie soundtracks.
Nobody I know really understands this, but for those of you out there who are secretly listening to John Williams’ music, rock on!

Hans Zimmer is also one of the popular composers big films in need of big music turn to these days.
His resume of over one hundred movies includes Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, “The Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “Inception,” “Sherlock Holmes”, and “Thelma & Louise.”

Believe me, you’ve heard his work…

So after seeing “The Dark Knight Rises,” I decided I enjoyed the music enough to buy the soundtrack, even though it was inevitably derivative of the first two films.

I immediately went to iTunes to easily download the music, but I found myself unexpectedly faced with a choice. I could buy the basic soundtrack for $11.99 or I could purchase the Deluxe Edition with two bonus tracks for two dollars more.

Bonus tracks?
What’s up with that?
I didn’t mind spending a couple bucks more, but I decided to do some research to see what the Batman’s marketing machine was up to.

This next step made my decision even more complicated.
I discovered that the CD version of the soundtrack had a different set of bonus tracks than the iTunes version.
Specifically, one of the extra music tracks was shared by both iTunes and the CD, and the other two were different.

So if I wanted to own all if the music, I would seemingly have to buy the album twice.
Now that’s simply silly.

I previewed the tracks in question, and decided to go with the CD (marketed as the ‘Enhanced CD’), which I bought on Amazon for $10.

But the battiness doesn’t end there.

One Last Hurdle
When the CD came in, I popped it into my iMac to rip the tracks into iTunes. All good. But where were the bonus tracks?

I’m instructed to go to a Warner Brothers website (actually WaterTower Music) and log in with an email address and my birthday.
Now that’s a little demanding, don’t you think?
I just want my music, which I’ve already paid for. This wasn’t part of the deal. (I didn’t read the small print.)
I stopped giving my email address away for free a long time ago.

But I’d come this far.
So I decided to give them my ‘special email address,’ where marketing emails go to die.
(You do have one of these email accounts, don’t you?)

And after this headache-filled process that took just short of forever, I owned most of “The Dark Knight Rises” soundtrack.

Holy Marketing Madness Batman!
So why all the smoke and mirrors?
When I went through this herculean music selection process on the Monday after opening weekend, it should have been a snap.

What threw me down the tech rabbit hole once again was the fact that I didn’t have the option buy the CD and then purchase the iTunes bonus tracks a la carte.
But when I took another look at iTunes today, I noticed the entire Deluxe Edition was available for individual track download.
They changed they’re minds… or did they?
They totally took advantage of us early adopters!

I must offer a slight disclaimer here that somehow I might have missed the a la carte option the first time… but I really don’t think so.

How Many Frickin Music Tracks Are There?
So what’s up with the five bonus music tracks spread across two sales channels?
Actually, it gets worse.
There’s also a sixth bonus track called “All Out War” that was made available to fans who pre-bought their movie tickets at
They’re apparently very special.

My head is going to explode.

I guess it’s just another a way for WaterTower Music to maximize technology to squeeze a little more green out of silly fans like me.

All I wanted was to legitimately and legally buy the music from a movie.
Is that so wrong?

I’ve now downloaded the extra two tracks from iTunes. After listening to them, I’m having buyer’s remorse.
(There was a reason I didn’t go with the iTunes Deluxe Edition.
“The Shadows Betray You” is the better track, by the way.)

But it’s done. I’m calling it a day.

Unlike most of my posts that attempt to finish with a light twist, this one ends on a super heavy note.
Unhappily, there is one more music track that everyone needs to download now. It’s called ‘Aurora,’ and Hans Zimmer recorded it in the days following the Aurora, Colorado tragedy.

Mr. Zimmer says on his Facebook page that “100% of the proceeds will be donated to Aurora Victim Relief organization.”

You can download it on iTunes or MoonToast.

Remembering MobileMe

Can we have a moment of silence, please? Okay, now why doesn’t my email work anymore?

This morning I woke up to the cold fact that MobileMe had finally expired.

I’ve been going through the seven stages of grief, because for the past year I knew this day was coming.

Lots of worrying about it for months.
And not doing anything about it since last summer. (Yes, I was in denial.)

My digital life was healthy just the way it was. I had no reason to change.

And for those who have been following my ongoing crisis, you can finally relax.
My family’s computing affairs are in order.

I’ve prepared four family computers for three family members, crossing two generations. I’ve taken down all our MobileMe photo and movie galleries. Not that I had to pull the plug myself, but I didn’t want any of my terminal MobileMe files accidentally locked away in some faraway data prison.

Supposedly deleted back in 2012, but then somehow found and released to the galactic Facebook Federation in 2212. Don’t want my family beach vacation photos to become an exhibit at the Guggenheim 2 on Mars.

All Quiet on the Computer Front?
So after a couple weeks of deleting with purpose, (nothing like a deadline to get you motivated) I erased my final MobileMe media gallery.
With just hours to spare.

Last night, iCloud was hovering over the Lester household and prepared to take over.

But my eyes popped open this morning, and I immediately felt a disturbance in the Force.

I sat down with my cup of Joe in its perfectly balanced coffee mug and checked my email on my iMac using my old Entourage email program.
(Yes, I’m intending to upgrade to Outlook with Office for Mac 2011, but I’ve been a little busy lately trying to beat the iCloud storm in a Prometheus-inspired hurry. Please cut me some slack.)

Instead of hearing the familiar PING of a happily received email, a message popped up on my screen.

It couldn’t be a coincidence.

“Don’t panic,” I told myself as I began looking for a paper bag.
Maybe iCloud simply requires different email preferences in Entourage.

So I checked out Apple’s page on iCloud’s Mail Server tips.
It revealed a slightly different IMAP name than the one I was using for the incoming mail server.

I updated the field with and pressed ENTER.

Immediately something started to happen.
A new message popped up that said,
And a number started counting upwards to reflect each of my emails.

This can’t be good.
The little progress bar proceeded quickly.
And when it was all done updating…


But I didn’t panic, because I knew they also now existed in my iCloud account.
((really small joy))

I just had to figure out a way to get my email back into Entourage.
So I looked a little closer at the Apple article.

I came across this-
SSL Required: Yes
And Port: 993

My Entourage preferences didn’t have SSL checked and was using Port 143.
(Don’t worry. I don’t know what this really means either.)

So I made the adjustments…
And just as fast as my communications purge began, I was quickly back in business.

Email restored.
Disaster averted.

I looked at my half empty cup of coffee and reflected on the past fifteen minutes.
I didn’t know how to feel.
Relieved? Victorious? Clever? Lucky?

Yes, I had just made it through the slow moving hurricane of a technological seachange, and I still had all my clothes on.

And yes, I dodged a last minute bullet that could have really ruined my Sunday.

Time to celebrate? Not really.
I actually felt rather drained.

Black Eye? You Should See the other Guy.
I am not bristling with accomplishment at my herculean digital spring-cleaning and my unexpected Entourage curve-ball dodge.

I am tired and cranky.
And a little sad and angry, too.

Sad that my friend MobileMe is gone.

Angry that I’ve had to start all over again and find other digital choices to share my life online.

Yes, I’ve already got perfectly good solutions lined up like Flickr, Vimeo, and Dropbox, but I’m still feeling like a ‘pissy poo.’ (Toddler talk creeping into the vocab. Need to watch out for that at work.)

I’ve run a hard race and crossed the finish line just in time to avoid elimination.
And I’ve got nothing to show for it other than a crappy T-shirt that says everything on my computer still works.

Stiff Headwinds
And that’s a problem with technology. It keeps moving forward, even when you don’t want to.

Last week, Facebook changed everyone’s default email addresses on their accounts to a newly-created Facebook email.
I was happy with my old email address, thank you very much.

And as for hardware, forget-about-it.
Today, you’re lucky to hold onto any kind of computer gear for more than three years before numerous software upgrades render it obsolete. (iPad 1 anyone?)

It’s always great to try the next best thing, but then you can’t settle down and get comfortable.

Like it or not, you’ve got to keep up if you’ve decided to play in the digital sandbox.

If next year someone told you that the English language was being rewritten, and replaced with something better, you’d be pretty cross, wouldn’t you?

And then you’d learn English 2.0.
(But not before screaming in potty mouth 3.0.)

Computer technologies are the de facto tools to help you define who you are in today’s 21st century world. They can represent your voice more than your spoken words.

And the more you use them, the more you rely on their smooth functionality.

The Kool Aid is so Refreshing
Is my life better with iCloud?
Today, my address book and calendar on my computer still sync with my iPhone.
But I had that yesterday.

Look, I know that technology offers us huge steps forward on a regular basis.
I’m just cranky that these transitions require so much effort…

The actual iCloud data transfer was a snap. Kudos to Apple.
It was all the necessary prep (OS upgrades/media deleting) that was such a headache.

And I don’t think this is about being a Transitional. This dynamic has got to cut across all the generations…

Cupertino, We have a Problem…
I think the truth is new technology is never as easy to use as the public wants to believe.

Sure Apple makes it easy as long as you’re using one of their new devices.
Google is magic as long as the search results you need show up on the first page.
Facebook brings the world together until it annoys millions with their newest interface tweak.

The marketing gurus have convinced us it’s all so easy even a child can do it.
More and more today, you’d better have a child around to show you how.

iCloud Forever?
My story today is a cautionary tale.

So keep these words of wisdom in mind-
(Movie advice can be very soothing.)

“Everything that has a beginning has an end.”
“You’re your problem, and you’re also your solution.”
“Wax on. Wax off.”

More importantly,
Don’t listen to the marketing sirens out there.
It’s not always a snap.

Life isn’t easy. Why should your virtual life be any different?
Just don’t take technology for granted, and at least it won’t make things worse.

Sometimes your favorite hang out shuts down.
Mourn and move on. That’s life too.

Goodbye, MobileMe.
I really enjoyed our time together.

Think I’ll go have a sandwich now.

Laptop Time Machine

Boot up your computer, and it won’t be long till your past catches up with you. You’ve got some tough decisions to make!

Recently, I received a ‘hello’ through a social media site.
From someone I once knew thirty years ago.

Isn’t the web so amazing to facilitate such a moment?
And this potential micro-reunion from my past isn’t the only one I’ve received. Nor is it the most distant.
The one that takes the prize is from someone I once knew at my sleep-away camp when I was twelve.

How quaint.

Actually… it’s a little freaky.
How are you supposed to respond to these jolting moments that seemingly crack the very fabric of time?

Your past is back there for a reason.

Fate 1.0
But the concern over how to handle a potential virtual reunion doesn’t apply when fate brings you face-to-face with your past.

If you run into someone you once knew, you have to deal with it right there.

Say you go to your school reunion and realize a great new connection with someone you barely remember. That would be called serendipity, right?
(This actually just happened to me last month.)

Of course, the difference here is the face-to-face exchange is moderated by the human construct known as fate. You give yourself a lot of leeway when you feel fate may be pulling the strings.

Plus the real time interaction provides the platform for you to cognitively process this unlikely event. It’s a natural decompression chamber of sorts for your brain, allowing for the normal catch up process to occur.

It only takes a few seconds for your noggin to update its native ‘Friending app’ and bingo, you’re tickled with the realization you’ve just found yourself a new (old) friend.

But all of this can’t occur via the Web. That unlikely “How are you doing?” message of fifty-three characters from someone you once knew is poorly filtered by dated info locked in your brain’s basement.

It’s like a message in a bottle that washes up.
And that organic chip in your head can’t decide what to do with these words that simultaneously connect to both your past and present.

Your HAL freaks out!

Your Story will NOT be Televised
We all have a past. And unless, you’re running for public office, the availability of those details usually remains under your control.

Everyone’s personal history contains some detail you generally choose not to share with a broader audience. And so you don’t.
You’ve got that information tucked away in your head, and you move about the cabin of your life freely.

Then social networking sites popped up.
And all of us who never knew a world without this amazing resource are having their entire lives digitally documented.
Your relationships, friends, and activities…there for all to see.
And even if you ‘Unfriend’ someone or take down a photo, aren’t you a little concerned there’s always some digital trail?

Plus most everyone is now only a Google search away.

So moving forward, everyone will efficiently carry around their entire lives through their Facebook friends‘ list or whatever social network website is hot.

Conspiracy Theory 101
Some of my peers try really hard to stay out of the Web’s reach.
Yes, I think it’s a generational thing. They just don’t trust the Web.
All of these analog creatures have done just fine without their lives plastered over the Web. Why change a good thing?

They’ve got nothing to hide. (I don’t think.)
They just want to control your access to their personal data, which everyone else is apparently sharing freely online with the world.

But there are also many of us who’ve lived through the old analog days and now have successfully made the transition. We’ve freely integrated the Web in our lives to communicate and share.

I think I’ll describe these folks as “Transitionals.”
Yes, I’m a card-carrying member… usually.
No, I’m not afraid to admit it.
(And you get great discounts at Dunkin’ Donuts.)

There is little more to say about how Facebook has already transformed our society. That said, I think Transitionals are a unique group of people who have quietly struggled with this mega social shift.

As a Transitional, you may pretend that you’re like everyone else.
Except you’re not.

You’ve got big time baggage that makes your Facebook experience unique.
It shouldn’t be a big deal to accept a Friend Request, right?
It’s supposed to be easy. But often, it’s not, because your past is a complicated place.

Forgotten, but Never Lost
Today’s younger generation will never experience losing touch with someone for decades.
Because every personal connection they’ve ever made will never be lost, however dormant that name may remain in their digital address book.

But a Friend Request sent to a Transitional can point way back into the 20th century. That inevitably forces a significant decision.

We Transitionals are the last of humanity who will experience the joy when a long lost friend ‘likes’ your online post or feel that low-grade nausea when a classmate from high school you barely tolerated wants to Friend you a quarter century later.

Micro Contact
Again, I hardly consider myself qualified to comment on Facebook’s impact on our society…
But what’s up with ‘liking’ something?

In the old days, you were in touch with someone, or you weren’t.
You made a phone call or you didn’t.
You sent a letter/email. Or not.

Now you can manage much of your communication these days with just one click of your mouse.
On the ‘like’ button.
No additional keys required.
Done. Time to get more coffee…

I never understood it.
But finally, I understand how clever it really is.
It takes no effort. It’s barely anything at all.
But it demonstrates your thumbs up. Support. Agreement.

And, of course, the amassing of ‘likes’ in our social media-centric society has huge value. It harnesses the great power of public opinion.
That’s true with global business brands, and on a smaller scale when someone posts a photo of their cat doing something cute.

It says that people are paying attention to you.

Maybe time to buy some stock.

Fate 2.0
So I’m not sure how much of this helps with my dilemma of whether to reconnect with near-strangers from my distant past knocking on my virtual door with a little a Web hello.

Just because the Internet can easily bring back someone from your past, should you just click away and accept?

Perhaps you should at least acknowledge what life sends your way.
Anything otherwise would be disrespectful.
And besides, the concept of linear time is such a human concept.

Or maybe you delete the invite.
Because the lure of fate doesn’t apply when something so previously impossible is now so common.

Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself-
Is the totality of your past really a thing of your past for good reason?
Would you make the same choices?
Are you so sure?

Is your laptop a time machine?

There’s your answer.

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