Tag Archives: Music

Introducing Ms. Ashley Alexandra Dupré, a/k/a “Kristen”, a/k/a Ashley Youmans, a/k/a Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro, a/k/a Nina Venetta

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Ashley  Alexandra Dupre (from her myspace.com page)

We are a firm believer in the one-name-per-person rule. Two, tops.

Ashley Youmans (birth name)

Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro (legal name change)

Ashley Alexandra Dupre (stage name?)

Nina Venetta (myspace page name)

“Kristen” (Spitzer scandal original identity)

… and that’s just the ones we know about.

In her song, “What We Want”, posted on her myspace page, she asks “Can you handle me, boy?”. For Eliot Spitzer, we believe the answer to her interrogatory is a most definite “NO”.

Almost prophetically, the “tag” she has posted on her myspace page is “what destroys me, strengthens me“. If history is any gauge, this will certainly be true for her.

You would think a powerful man like Eliot Spitzer could do much better than a 22-year-old self-described sometimes homeless, penniless, drug infested, high school dropout prostitute from a broken home, with a penchant for passing out (probably from alcohol or drugs or both). The following photo, caption and self-description are taken directly from the myspace page of “Ashley Alexandra Dupre”. She has been identified in this New York Times article as Ashley Youmans, the 22-year-old call girl at the center of the Spitzer scandal. See our previous posts on the Spitzer scandal, “Dead Man Walking” and “New York Governor Eliot Spitzer Involved With A Prostitution Ring“.

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me pas​sed​ out​…​i do tha​t oft​en.​ 200​7
(photo and caption from Ms. “Dupre’s” myspace.com page)

 

 

About Ashley Alexandra Dupré

I am all about my music, and my music is all about me… It flows from what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen and how I feel. I live in New York and am on top of the world. Been here since 2004 and I love this city, I love my life here. But, my path has not been easy. When I was 17, I left home. It was my decision and I’ve never looked back. Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again. Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music. It started when I moved in with a musician during my odyssey to New York. One day, I was in the shower singing “respect.” He and his lead guitarist burst in, had me repeat it and it started. We wrote, rehearsed and toured. After recording a bit with them, I decided to move to Manhattan to pursue my music career. I spent the first two years getting to know the music scene, networking in clubs and connecting with the industry. Now, it’s all about my music. It’s all about expressing me. I can sit here now, and knowingly tell you that life’s hard sometimes. But, I made it. I’m still here and I love who I am. If I never went through the hard times, I would not be able to appreciate the good ones. Cliché, yes, but I know it’s true. I have experienced just how hard it can be. I can honestly tell you to never dwell on the past, but build from it and keep moving forward. Don’t let anyone hold you back or tell you that you can’t…because you can. I didn’t and here I am, just listen to it…. What we Want is my latest track. It’s really about trust, something my past has made very difficult for me to feel. This one was inspired by a guy, who taught me not to confuse my dreams with the sounds of the city…I hope you like it.

Monica Lewinsky, move over. There’s a new girl in town.

According to counters on her myspace page, over 1 million visitors listened to her song, “What We Want” today alone, and over 2.5 million visitors have viewed the page, most of them, presumably, in the last few hours. When I checked back a few hours later, she had almost 5 million hits. We wonder if that’s a one-day record for a myspace page.

I smell a record deal coming real soon. Girl, you need a manager.

We predict that you’ll be able to buy “Ms. Dupre’s” latest album on Apple’s iTunes store before you know it, and if you have a video iPod, her latest music video.

No, Ashley, you won’t have any trouble paying the rent from now on.

Perhaps Ashley should hire Eliot Spitzer as her lawyer/manager. We hear he’s looking for a job, and with his law background, he would certainly know how to write a recording or movie contract . Besides, he already knows her. It’s the least she could do for him, considering all that he’s done for her career.

Talk about the power of the Web.

When I just checked on the top Google searches (www.google.com/trends/hottrends), searches on “Ashley Youmans”, or one of her other names, hold five of the top 10 spots for the most-searched-for terms today. This is the type of ranking that SEO experts can only dream about.

Talk about your 15 minutes of fame.

Incredible.

…Now how do I get a million people to read my blog?

– Routing By Rumor

P.S. – When we checked Ashley’s myspace page at noon on 3/13/2008, it had been taken down, apparently by myspace administrators. We’re guessing that the amount of traffic it was generating was causing problems for myspace.com. Either that, or it was hacked.

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Filed under Journalism, News, Politics, Routing by Rumor

CompUSA Goes Belly Up

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As Queen elequently put it, Another One Bites The Dust (watch the youtube video)

… and now, we can report that CompUSA bytes the dust.

Gee Whiz, I must be psychic or something. Just a few days ago, I posted a comment on this blog that CompUSA, a chain of computer stores in the United States, would soon bite the dust.I just stumbled across this article on Reuters and this article on cbsnews that confirms that CompUSA is on it’s way out. According to Reuters, the chain has been sold to the liquidation outfit Gordon Brothers. They will be closing the remaining 103 CompUSA stores in early 2008. No surprise, actually, since CompUSA closed most of it’s stores earlier this year. In recent years, CompUSA was controlled by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helu, reportedly the richest person on the planet, even wealthier than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet (see this Fortune article on Carlos Slim).

Have you ever seen a tree that was pruned to death? After a certain amount of pruning, the death of the tree is inevitable, because it can’t absorb enough sunlight to survive. So too with computer retailers (or any business, I suspect). I was quite certain that it was simply a matter of time before CompUSA was history. That time appears to be at hand.

I don’t have an MBA. I’m not an accountant or a retail executive. I’m a computer geek. But I know mismanagement when I see it, and CompUSA was a poster child for piss-poor management. I can’t tell you how many times I went into one of several local CompUSA stores to purchase sale items and came up empty-handed. So, I would walk over to one of the computer terminals that the sales staff used, and I would enter the SKU of the item I was looking for. Nine times out of ten, the computer showed that the store had stock on hand, sometimes a large quantity, but it was nowhere to be found. A few times, when I would pester one of the salespeople to go check the stockroom, they would usually find the item in the back, and bring one out for me. Sometimes, they wouldn’t want to bother because they did not have any confidence in the inventory quantities shown in the computer. Maybe that was just an excuse because they were lazy, or maybe their inventory tracking really was inaccurate. Sometimes they would say it was in the store somewhere, but they didn’t know where.

What a joke. I mean, if you go through the trouble of ordering inventory, printing up a sale circular, and shipping the item to your stores, but you don’t follow through and put the stuff out on your sales floor so it will sell, you don’t belong in business. This wasn’t a rare occurance. It was the status quo at CompUSA. I am confident that if you put me in charge of CompUSA, I could have done a better job. Who knows, maybe I could have saved them. I think part of the problem was that the chain had changed ownership years ago. When any business gets sold, especially if the new owners are investors and/or absentee owners who don’t know the business, look out. With some very rare exceptions, nobody will do as good a job running the business as the person or people that founded it. They don’t have the same passion. If the business fails, they’ll just move on to something else. There’s little devotion or emotional attachment, because it’s not their baby.

The sales people at CompUSA were rarely motivated. I suppose they didn’t earn enough to get real excited about their jobs. The store management was pitiful. There were a couple of employees at the CompUSA I frequented the most who did work hard, and I felt very badly for them losing their jobs when that store closed.

I recently posted this article about rebate scams. I had more than my share of problems with rebates on items I purchased at CompUSA. I complained a number of times, both to the CompUSA store where I purchased the items, and to their customer service phone number. There were many rebates on items I purchased at CompUSA that I got cheated out of, and never received.

You know, to be honest, CompUSA was never my favorite computer store anyway. I preferred the Computer City chain, which closed circa 1998 or 1999, if memory serves me correctly. Computer City was purchased by CompUSA. They closed some Computer City stores and turned the rest into CompUSA stores. Egghead Software was also pretty good, although they operated much smaller stores and did not carry a lot of hardware. Today, Egghead is strictly an online retailer. The newest chain to open in my neck of the woods is Micro Center, which started out in Ohio, and has expanded to almost two dozen stores. Micro Center is a pretty cool store. It looks like there are a lot more good deals to be had there, and they claim that they have prices as good as you’ll find on the web. They sell brand name (Dell, IBM, Compaq, etc.) brown-box “refurbished” computer systems alongside their big selection of new systems. They cater to system builders and gamers and have a pretty large Apple department. They also have a nice computer book and magazine section, nearly as large as you’ll find at Barnes & Noble or Borders Books. On several occasions I’ve picked up some bargain-priced (not-current edition) but otherwise new books for under five bucks each. They even have free Internet access kiosks, so you can comparison shop without leaving the store! There’s little in the way of computer hardware that they don’t carry. If there’s a Micro Center near you, you have little reason left to buy stuff online.

Life goes on. Other computer retailers will come and go, to be sure. Perhaps my opinion of CompUSA will mellow as the memories fade to black.

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Filed under CompUSA, Consumerism, Employment, Life, Money, Music, News, Queen, Rebates, Retail, Retailers, Routing by Rumor, Scams, Shopping, Technology, Your Money

Sandisk Sansa vs Apple iPod – And The Winner Is…

We purchased an identical set of Sandisk Sansa m240 (1GB) MP3 players in November, 2005. These alternatives to the iPods that most of the world has fallen in love with were less expensive than an iPod of the same capacity, and had some nice features such as an FM radio and voice recorder.

I had problems with the m240s as soon as I started loading music onto them. There were two issues in particular that were particularly problematic. Some album tracks would play in the wrong order (with shuffle turned off), and when I loaded a large number of albums or audiobooks, many files would disappear. They were there when you viewed the contents of the players via a PC, but once you disconnected the sansa from the computer, it could not find the tracks. The shuffled track issue might not be the end of the world when you’re listening to your favorite album, but it is unacceptable when you are listening to audiobooks. Some audiobooks have more than 1,000 tracks, each of which are a few minutes long.

I communicated the problems I was having to Sandisk’s tech support people, who assured me that firmware updates would solve my problems. They did not. I went back and forth with Sandisk via their website, via e-mails and by phone over a period of about six months. I spent hours upon hours editing the ID3 tags in the albums, podcasts and audiobooks I was loading onto the Sansa, to no avail. It did not matter whether files were .mp3 or other formats. The Sansa would still shuffle some tracks. I tried applying several firmware updates. I tried resetting the Sansa. I tried loading different files. I tried using a different USB cable. Nothing helped.

Dealing with their support people was frustrating and infuriating at times. They seemed to be in denial when it came to the issues I was reporting, despite the fact that I found other Sansa owners on the Web who posted identical issues with their Sansas. I would provide Sandisk with details on how to reproduce the problems I was experiencing, but couldn’t get them to acknowledge the problems. They had me doing things that they should have been doing themselves, like preparing sets of test files and sending them to their tech support people. I also came away from the experience questioning whether Sandisk designed and produced the Sansa product line in-house, or whether they are branding someone else’s players with the Sandisk name. I say this because Sandisk seemed to be unable to address problems with the Sansa. It seemed to me like they may be dependent on a third party for resolving those issues. Overall, I would rate Sandisk’s support as poor.

I guess they finally had enough of my calls and support requests, because a senior technician that I was dealing with finally acknowledged they did not have a fix for the problems. They offered to replace my players with another Sansa model, the e250 (2GB), which they assured me would solve the problem. I took them up on their offer, but while I was waiting for them to send me the replacement Sansas, I found reports that owners of those Sansas had posted to various websites, indicating that there were problems with the
Sansa e200 series also. (Actually, Sandisk doesn’t even handle product returns. They have you send the defective products to a third party.)

When I received the replacement players, I decided to sell both of them rather then open the packages and see for myself whether I’d have the same problems with the e250’s as I did with the m240’s. I had little faith in their tech support, and just wanted to find another brand of MP3 player that worked correctly. I was not impressed with the quality of Sandisk’s support, and upset about the amount of time wasted trying unsuccessfully to resolve the problems with their product.

I’ve always been an IBM-compatible PC and Microsoft DOS/Windows computer user. I’ve never owned or used an Apple Macintosh, but I was aware that Mac devotees consider Windows-based PCs to be inferior to the Mac. Status symbols have never been real important to me. I also tend to root for the underdog, whether it’s in politics or MP3 players. I don’t like to pay a premium just so I can have the most popular brand of anything. On the other hand, I knew there were reasons why people love their iPods, and I knew that the iPod’s popularity wasn’t just because of the Apple mystique, but because of the design superiority of Apple products.

I considered buying one of the Microsoft Zune MP3 players which had just been released, but was unimpressed with them. I thought the (first generation) Zune was expensive, large, ugly, received lukewarm reviews, and it was (at the time) version 1.0 of a Microsoft product, which I’ve previously mentioned should always be avoided.

 

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I ended up buying a second generation Apple iPod nano (2GB) in November, 2006. I feel like kicking myself for not buying an iPod in the first place. I’ve had no significant problems with the nano in the year since I bought it. Sure, there are some minor problems I’ve come across, mostly involving Apple’s iTune’s software, rather than with the software inside the nano (the firmware). To be fair, there are iPod owners that have posted some serious problems on various websites, so the iPod is not completely problem-free. However, everything you read about the iPods are true. They have better user interfaces than the competition, whether it’s a scroll wheel model like the nano, or one of their newer touch screen devices such as the iPod touch. Apple is known for their superior design features and the materials they use in their devices, such as aluminum cases. I did give up the FM radio and voice recorder features of the Sansa, which the nano does not have, but I gained an audio player that works correctly. I would have preferred the nano to have an easily replaceable battery, but none of the iPods have easily user-replaceable batteries. Apple wants you to return the iPods to them for battery replacement, if it becomes necessary. Fortunately, there are alternatives… do-it-yourself replacement battery kits, and third party service companies that do iPod repairs and battery replacements.

Now, I want one of the new third generation iPod nanos that play video, and come in memory capacities up to 8GB. Then again, the iPod touch would be even nicer. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas. I guess Apple has spoiled me for anything else, because I would probably never consider purchasing another brand of audio or video player.

So, as you’ve figured out by now, in the Sansa vs iPod contest, as far as I’m concerned, the clear winner is: The Apple iPod.

Who knows… Maybe my next computer will be a Mac.

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Filed under Apple, Consumerism, iPod, iPod nano, iPod touch, Life, Microsoft, Money, mp3 players, Personal, Personal Tidbits, Portable music players, Routing by Rumor, Sandisk, Sandisk Sansa, Shopping, Technology, Your Money, Zune