Who Is Stealing Your Meta(l)data?

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Could it be us? What if we said please?

In an age where all your data is logged into an intangible server mainframe somewhere in Skynet’s anus (the cloud from where tireless modern hero Elon Musk pisses down wisdom to fill our collective think-tanks), the layperson grows increasingly powerless to control who acquires their electronic info. Firewalls. VPNs. Data-mines. Ransomware. Click-bait. Lucid Collective Somnambulation. What do these words even mean? It’s all too confusing. Understanding modern life is a futile struggle, so just give up. One way or another, it’ll all be over soon anyway. Every time you log on, Dr. G.O. Ogle is tracing your eye movements and meticulously mapping-out your preferences to sell to an overweight cryptovirologist named xXxAtom1c_H4iL5_666 operating out of an underground compound in a dilapidated industrial zone outside of Smolensk. And somewhere else, they store his metadata too. Give. Up.

So with all that in mind, we, a site named after a Toilet, are asking you to complete a little survey with your personal data. The purpose? Discussion (*). I just thought it would be interesting for everyone to compare their musical proclivities. You see, there was a discussion a few weeks back where people were talking about how much music they purchase. Some were skeptical that people actually listened to all the music they buy. See the thing is, we all consume music in vastly different ways. Wanna see how your listening habits stack up against the crowd? Answer these few questions, then discuss the results in the comments below. The polling is anonymous so no-one will know how you answered each question, except you. Answer falsely and you will have to live with the deep personal shame forever. Your children’s children will rue their cursed lineage. xXxAtom1cH4iL5_666 will furiously infect your painstakingly curated playlists with mid-2000’s 3rd-tier metalcore bonus tracks courtesy of his recently developed SwoopBot malware. The consequences are dire.

This first series of 12 questions relates to your listening habits. Some will allow you to give multiple responses if necessary. Some won’t. You’ll work it out. You’re an adult. Probably. If you’re under 18, you’ll undoubtedly have no idea what’s going on. Contact the police immediately but don’t speak to them. Instead, tweet about how the Baby Boomers’ collective nonchalance to the ingrained class warfare inherent in the capitalistic system means they’re all fucking traitors who’ve robbed your generation’s chances of a sustainable future. Then answer these questions. Talk about things in the comments section. But please, be sure to do it with an unnecessary degree of hostility.


 

Average Listening Hours Per Day
The amount of time I spend listening to music each day feels...
What percentage of your total listening time does metal constitute?
What percentage of your listening time is spent on new music (things you've heard less than 3 times)?
Where do you listen to the majority of your music?
Most of my listening takes place...
Which listening mediums do you use? (Tick all that apply)
Which of these is your preferred listening medium?
What is the lowest quality audio you'll submit your ears to?
Output type most used?
Most of my listening happens...
Most of my listening is done...

*= Apparently it’s like yelling at each other, except quietly? I dunno.

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  • What fuckin’ creeps me out is when me and the missus talk about **random thing**, and then next thing ya know we’re seeing ads for **random thing** on both our phones. No idea if it’s coincidence or Google surveillance but I find it unsettling and fuck Skynet.

    • Eliza

      Maybe you’ll find it even creepier if I tell you that this has never happened to me or anyone I know.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I haven’t personally experienced the “talking about thing” into targeted ads yet, but I’ve definitely noticed randomly browsing for something and suddenly seeing every ad displaying that thing, which is unnerving enough.

      • I have noticed this too but I choose to attribute it to the collective consciousness taking my inner desire for pest control products and manifesting them on my phone.

      • Megan Alexandra

        If you use something like Google newsstand, that’s where you’ll really start getting the creeps.

      • sopadeloro

        That is how I do most of my internet shopping.

        Google the wanted item and then check the random ads in the following days for the best price.

      • Guppusmaximus

        If you use Firefox, install uBlock Origin.

      • gacharicmeatspin

        The old story about a lady getting diapers ads then finding out she’s pregnant next week herself.
        If you don’t want your search tracked, you can try and use DuckDuckGo or Disconnect.

        • Guacamole Jim

          Yeah, I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for a while now. Everyone once in a while I have to use Google to find what I want, but for the most part I don’t regret the switch.

    • Howard Dean

      Well, FB just had to halt some of its AI experimentation because chatbots started communicating with each other via their own invented languages. For real. So shit could get freaky real soon. Thanks, Zuckerberg.

      https://i.imgflip.com/1teysg.jpg

    • High on Vallenfyre

      They’re on to you man!

    • JWG

      If you’ve ever held that conversation near your computer or your phone wasn’t sufficiently muffled, your mic picked up bits of it.

      Ad companies have been told off for using that information because it’s invasive, not consented, and just creepy.

      But many still do, passively, or at least conveniently forget how to deprogram the listening algorithms…

    • One time I had a piece of writing open on my computer. Then I opened my gmail to send something to a friend. Then I noticed that a gmail add was trying to sell me collision insurance for my car. And you know what? The very first line of the writing file I had open concerned a car accident.

      666Spoopy999me

    • Kyle Reese

      Fuck Skynet, indeed.

    • gacharicmeatspin

      I’m not expert on this shit, but a year or two ago there was a case with speech-activated Samsung TVs, where in EULA it said: “Do not discuss confidential information within the same room as the TV”. Turns out their speech recognition didn’t run on TV’s built-in computer, so they sent audio stream to remote server all the time and got results from there. Word is, smartphone companies do the same, because phones aren’t powerful enough either. Except they hide it better.
      (“6 days ago” feels like a terrible necropost, I’m sorry)

  • Guacamole Jim

    I’m so average :'(

    • Jeff Manteiga

      You’re not average, you’re just right in the center of the HELL curve m/

  • Eliza
    • I answered the same way but I thought the question was “most of my life is spent…” 🙁

      naw, just kidding.

    • Max

      I wonder if there’s ANY metalheads left at all who would actually do their listening in a group.

      • more beer

        I listen to music with friends all the time. Whether barbecuing or just hanging out drinking some beers. There is always some sort of music on. Said music is usually being discussed as well. Since music is one of the things that makes life bearable, why would anyone not listen with others? I am getting together with a bunch of metal friends on Saturday, you can bet your last dollar we will be jamming some good tunes and talking metal.

        • Max

          Having that sort of friendship circle is my idea of heaven; I admire you for having maintained it. The trouble for me, I think, is that my tastes departed from that of my peer group quite early on; so I got used to the idea that I was gonna be discovering everything solitaire. Maybe I should’ve moved cities.

          • more beer

            The people on the metal scene here are very welcoming. While I still have many of my old friends. A vast majority of the people here are newer friends. Even though I did know some prior to moving here. It also helps that we have probably the best metal scene in the country right now. It isn’t huge but it is really tight knit. So when you go out to shows you see the same people and get to know them. You already have something in common which also helps. Plus the legal weed here really brings a lot of people together, if you step out of any show here everyone s getting stoned and passing pipe and joints to people they don’t even know. What I know about you is you’re single with no kids and pretty young. Unless you are so entrenched in your career and family. Do your research and find someplace with a killer music scene, save some money and go. There are always new jobs and opportunities. You are only here once make the best of it and make it fun.

          • Max

            Sound advice, as always. I could always move to Melbourne for a healthier music scene (it isn’t ruled out; my brother’s over there and he’d love me to join him).

            In my case it’s more about being more proactive in finding the people who exist right where I am, and thereby cultivating exactly the sort of scene you’re describing. In fairness to myself, I’ve actually gotten better at that as I get older. I’m currently in a band that often socialize out of the rehearsal room, and in fact I’m usually the ringleader in our nightlife adventures (which is why I end up walking into glass doors).

          • more beer

            Shows are a great place to start for that. Also are there any bars that cater to the metal or punk scenes there? Because beer & metal certainly brings people together. It is good that you are getting more social in your old age, being able to talk to people is the most important thing. As for walking into glass doors, it happens. As a window washer I am responsible for the deaths of many birds who have crashed into windows I have cleaned.

          • Max

            Ha ha! Yes, my parents have tinted glass on their lounge room windows at home – and ever since childhood, the number of birds who thought there was more sky to fly in…you get the drift.

            There is at least one metal/punk/goth dive in my city, plus a few indie/boho/check-out-that-chick-with-inked-boobs/etc kinda-places. So yeah, I’m catered to, more or less. But I find it’s good to cast the social net even wider – I hang out in art galleries, strip joints; plus my work as a sound technician is mainly in art industry “events”, writers’ festivals and public lectures, so I even socialize while I’m getting paid. My motto (not original) is: “Don’t change colour to suit the walls. Act like you belong and the walls will change colour to suit you.”

          • more beer

            I do the same I go to all sorts of places. I had friends here from out of town last week, I was in so many tourist traps it isn’t funny. (that’s what their wives like) But Saturday afternoon the wives wanted to go shopping. So I took my homies to some damn good breweries Trve being one of them. But I can get along and hold my own with anyone. So that really helps.

      • Spear

        I’ve got a few friends I hang out and blast metal with regularly. Throw on some jams, make some food, play some vidya. Good times.

      • i blast metal at work, especially for my uncomfortable normie co-workers

        • Max

          I do that too, sometimes! What really fucks with their heads, though, is when I put on pop music or occasionally classical.

  • Señor Jefe El Rossover

    I’ll definitely check back on these answers after enough people get to them.

    • Lacertilian

      We’ll do a follow-up post with the results somewhere down the line.

      • Señor Jefe El Rossover

        Thankee, Lizardbro

  • Howard Dean

    I used to listen to music a lot more often ~5 years ago. Now it’s pretty much only when I have a few minutes of unoccupied time (i.e. the work commute) or when I’m completing a task that doesn’t require exact attention (mowing the lawn, making dinner, etc). Unfortunately, my time at work is not always conducive to listening (things get chaotic real quick, lots of interaction with people, etc). I sometimes have days where I don’t listen to music at all (sad, but shit happens). Probably like 75% of my normal daily listening is in the car (CDs) and 25% via iPod.

    • ipod… that some kind of zune?

      • Howard Dean

        It’s like a Zune knockoff from Taiwan or something. Made by some fruit company. They were popular in 2006.

  • JWG

    The only one I’m outside the norm on is output type (so far).

    Had some expensive headphones once – they wore out faster than earbuds do so I’ve never repeated that wasteful purchase.

  • nbm02ss

    I’d like to say I listen to most of my music through the speakers in my home, but it’s definitely through earbuds purely because of time spent at work vs. at home.

  • Jeff Manteiga

    I used to listen to music on my desktop speakers at home when I was playing games I could mute with (close to) no consequences (Path of Exile, D2, most grindy-grind games..) Now that I’m working full-time (and recently moved to a new city with my gf), I do 90% of my listening during the workday. Can’t help but wonder if this shakeup will fundamentally change how I experience metal…will it change my preferred genres? Preferred song lengths? etc. etc.

    Now I’m sad.

    • Kyle Reese

      If you’re like me, that’s a lot less rocking out to be done. But it’s still ze metalz.

    • nbm02ss

      Hell yes @ POE!!

      • Jeff Manteiga

        Hypu for 3.0? I took the day off on Friday to blast the new Hellmouth split and binge Oriath 😂

        • nbm02ss

          I am, I just have no freaking clue what build I’m going for first. Probably struggle to decide up until Friday and end up just rolling a 2H Groundslammer.

          When I have some currency built up I want to do a Volley Fire Barrage character. Since poison was nerfed I might try to make it work with elemental damage.

          • Jeff Manteiga

            Samesies on the no idea front. I’m interested in Storm Surge and the (BIGLY) buffed Glacial Cascade…I’ll just troll the forums until I see a cool 3.0 guide that is generally approved of…then steal it!

          • nbm02ss

            I didn’t know it but apparently Volley Fire will be one of the threshold jewel rewards in Act 5. Now I’m thinking of a possible elemental barrage build, maybe with the Duelist taking the Champion ascendancy.

            If my char lives until maps, that is. HC should be fun playing lots of content I’ve never seen before. The butt clench will be real.

    • NDG

      I hear that. I answered based on my current situation but as I am starting a new job soon all of this will change.

      I currently sit in an office by myself so can jam whatever I want as loud as I want. I spend a fair bit of time researching and checking out new bands and releases. The Toilet is great for this!

      Soon I will be out “on the floor” with no control over what music is played. This means my listening time will be limited to the 30 minute commute to and from work as well as whatever gets played at home. As the home listening happens around my wife and son we always have to have some sort of mutual enjoyment of what gets played.

      For me I think this will mean my opportunity to check out new music will significantly diminish.

      Like you, Jeff, I am sad and slightly anxious.

      • Jeff Manteiga

        That commute becomes really important, for sure. The Toilet has become my mainstay metal blog and I’ve found prob my fav release this year from this site (The Hallowed Catharsis – Solar Cremation) so I definitely agree on that front! I guess the limited time might help separate the wheat from the chaff btw…if something isn’t clicking on the third playthrough, I nix it from my wish list. I hope everything goes well out on the floor and you still find the time to experience old and new tuneage!

        • NDG

          Thanks man! Hope the new city is alright for you.

  • Megan Alexandra

    In my child free days I would often spend 6+ hours wearing headphones, now I’m lucky to get one record in a day. I have no recollection of this (sleepwalking??) but my husband insists that one night he found me sitting on the couch at like 3 am, headphones on, making eye contact with him but not responding. I wonder what I was listening to..

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    There isn’t enough time, maan. Can we set off all the volcanoes on one side of the Earth to push it away from the Sun and make more time? Anyone wanna get on that?

    • Yeah, sure, I mean we’ll all freeze to death more or less instantaneously but at least it was for a good cause?

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Dulce et decorum est pro metal mori, or something.

    • KJM, Anla’Shok

      Hail Xenu

  • Depechemodeisgangsta

    Well i will tell you something that i love about the iphone, is that it recites Bohemian Rhapsody, if you say “I see a little silhouetto of a man”
    But i have noticed how google keeps track of everything that you check that you might want to buy and they keep the ads even on some weird websites.

  • Max

    “Record the question to 520g vinyl so I can hear it as the surveyor intended”

    That gave me my first laugh-out-loud of the day (other than the Hitler troll over on Metalsucks, who is always a hoot).

  • GoatForest

    We are all but neurons!