September 27, 2003

A Wealth of New Music

A Wealth of new Music - Speaking of the Apple iTunes Store, if you're one of the fortunate few with access to it, you have to check out the HUGE new collection from new music Tuesday September 23.

It looks like a big addition of a whole lot of the RCA catalogue (everything from some great old classical recordings to Hot Tuna to Sonny Rollins and Steven Sondheim) and the Rounder catalog (John Hartford, the Alan Lomax collection of folk and "primitive" music, the Library of Congress recordings of Ledbelly, Sun Ra, and a fabulous Brave Combo CD featuring the late great Tiny Tim as guest vocalist on songs like Stairway to Heaven and Hey Jude (cha cha cha) -- Couldn't resist that one - a steal a 99 cents. If you don't know Brave Combo, look for "Do Something Different" and "Always Vienna" to hear what hooked me on them.) There's also a whole slew of live Pearl Jam concerts, the Persuasions and the Nylons for your a capella pleasure.

Like I said, a HUGE new list. Check it out if you're a Mac person, and if you're not, just think what you've got waiting for you later this year.

Buyer Beware - Perverted CDs

Buyer Beware - Perverted CDs -- MacinTouch passes along a warning from one Paul Sofronoff about non-standard CDs from EMI...
"I couldn't find any reference on your site to the EMI Copy Protection Disks that are now on sale in Europe, Canada and Australia. I understand they have recently started to be sold in the US and that may prompt more discussion. The bottom line is that these disks are NOT compact disks. They are modified disks and accordingly do not contain the Compact Disk logo. What they are is a pain in the proverbial. With one of these disks:
1. You may not be able to play it in all compact disk players - particularly portable disk players and car players with skip protection.

2. You may not be able to play it on your computer - windoze or mac. The format only supports certain systems, disk drives and systems. On my flat screen iMac the disk simply will not play.

3. If you can play it on your computer, you get an inferiour sound quality - the copy protection software requires that you play through the EMI player on the disk which uses a low bit rate sample.

4. It follows that you cannot rip your disk to iTunes as MP3s or AACs. ITunes just hangs and you have to kill it.

5. You cannot listen to the music you paid for on your iPod.

6. Naturally, you cannot copy the disk using diskburner or Toast.
The disks are sold in the same stores as real compact disks with minimal warnings on the packaging. IMHO the warnings should be in big neon lettering. There are also suggestions that EMI is gagging retailers from pointing out the limitations of these disks: [www.itsecurity.com]

There is apparently a hack for Windows users who want to bypass the copy protection, but as far as I am aware nothing for Mac users who as per usual will get less compatibility from EMI in the first place. The Radiohead Hail to the Thief CD I bought recently is ONLY compatible with Windoze. A more recent EMI disk does say it is compatible with Mac OS 9 with CarbonLib and OSX but as above I could not get it to play.

I am not a pirate and I buy something like 50 CDs a year. I put them on my Mac and my iPod - that is how I listen to MY music. I won't be buying ANY EMI CDs. [...] Strikes me that with the one step forward of iTunes, we take two steps back when the big companies just don't get it!"
I'm not a pirate either; my 17GB of mp3s and AACs are ripped from CDs I own or from Apple's iTunes Music Store (soon to be available for Windows). I'll continue to do so.

I don't buy the arguments for peer-to-peer music sharing, but I won't buy crippled CDs from EMI either.

September 26, 2003

Clueless Campaign Patricide/Matricide/Infanticide

Clueless Campaign Patricide/Matricide/Infanticide -- The newborn Wesley Clark campaign seems to be turning on its parents, which does not bode well for its growth, or for the hopes of a Dean-killer harbored by old-line Dems. Nothing like a little top-down application of internet herbicide to kill those grass roots. Clueless. (via Doc)

Global Virtual Classroom Update

Global Virtual Classroom Update -- Earlier this month, I mentioned my involvement supporting the Global Virtual Classroom project. Just thought you might be interested that as we approach the deadline (September 29) for application to the GVC Contest, which will involve teams of three schools from three different countries in web design projects, we've got almost 60 schools from 22 countries signed up. They range from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and Hong Kong to Mali to Uzbekistan to Australia and Belgium. Cool. I can't wait to see what they all put together. We're still looking for corporate sponsors that would allow us to add features for next year's contest and for the "clubhouses" to be opened later next month by helping us get out of a near-free co-op server we're using, and to offer the schools better prizes. If anyone out there has any clout with your company's philanthropic side, send them to the GVC site so they can see for themselves.

The Interview Game

The Interview Game -- There's an interesting exercise making its way around the blogosphere. "The Interview Game" consists of a process of volunteering to answer five questions posed by someone who has done so themselves. The questions can change along each link of the interview chain. I came across it on Dave Pollard's How to Change the World blog. Here are the five questions that Dave sent, along with my answers:
1. What one thing do you most hope to be remembered for after you die?
Nothing big; merely for having helped (whomever in whatever way) more than harmed, and for having been a loving husband, son, brother, and uncle.
2. What do you think is the single greatest threat to the survival of the world today..?
Rigid thinking that doesn't allow for real dialogue, nor accept scrutiny of underlying assumptions behind opinions or beliefs.
...and what do you think is the greatest hope?
The fact that children are still being born, bringing new hearts, minds, and possibilities with them.
3. What single life lesson do you think is most important for young people to learn?
That "shit happens," (despite all the efforts of today's parents to over-protect children from real life) and that 99% of the time, they can survive with what is important, and more, if they take responsibility for themselves.
4. Of all the people alive today, who do you think would make the best President of the US? Why?
Since David's second question was really two, I really wanted to blow this one off, but in the spirit of the exercise...Jimmy Carter, largely for reasons related to the answer to the third question; the best of us are capable of learning from experience. He's been there, he's had time to seriously think about what he did or did not do the first time around and can therefore surround himself with appropriate advisors for today, he's become a true, thoughtful leader that is respected on the international stage, and he is, from what I can tell, someone driven in no small measure by compassion for others.
5. If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?
What I'm spending it on now - my homes and my retirement plan. Now if you're talking about an extra, additional mil, after setting my wife up in a business of her own, and a few toys for myself, the rest would go to travel and learning about other cultures. (Hey, you expected something less selfish? Sorry to disappoint you.)
If you choose to participate in The Interview Game, and ask me for five questions, here are the rules you should post on your website or weblog along with your answers:

THE RULES
1. Leave me an email, saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I will respond; Iíll ask you five questions.
3. Youíll update your website with my five questions, and your five answers.
4. Youíll include this explanation, and acknowledge me as the interviewer.
5. Youíll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

September 19, 2003

Yum

Yum - From cosmopolitan Hong Kong, a delectable delight.

FLOWERS by Katinka Matson

FLOWERS by Katinka Matson -- Some impressive images.

September 13, 2003

Rinedag Eglinsh

From the "things that make you go "hmmmm...."" category...Spaeikng Eglinsh (or rinedag it, rthaer) --
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, olny taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pcleas. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by ilstef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
I scepsut taht this is plbabory aeidd weeevnhr the txet ctnnoais a pcnarednopere of seorthr wodrs that eablne dnpoeeevlmt of ctxoeuatnl folw.

September 11, 2003

Two Years Ago - A Goal for Our Time

Two Years Ago - A Goal for Our Time -- My piece from the time of the attacks includes a quotation from an earlier time of conflict and closes with...
A clearly stated and consistent vision and goal, such as this from [FDR] 60 years ago, is critical to the management, support, and success of any effort, whether in our personal lives, our companies, or this larger context. It may never be reached in absolute, but is worthy of focused striving. The terror that is the current constraint inhibiting this goal is a self-supporting symptom of the difficulty associated with attaining this goal in the complexities of a modern multi-cultural world. In dealing with the immediate symptom, we must do so keeping in mind the larger, long-term goal of universal freedom.
And as has been demonstrated in the two years since, this universal goal can best be achieved if we can learn to work together with others and avoid over-obsessing on our own short-term, local objectives of power and politics.

[Later...An eloquent comment from Wil Wheaton]

September 06, 2003

Something Else to Keep You Up at Night

Something Else to Keep You Up at Night: Ted Koppel On The Dangers Of The Patriot Act -- You can stay up for Ted. It's Ashcroft's Patriot Act that'll keep you up, tossing and turning, along with the stuff I mentioned the other day. (via Will Parker's Channeling Cupertino)

September 05, 2003

If You Know A Teacher, Pass This Along to Him or Her

Global Virtual Classroom -- A while ago, I mentioned a project I was getting involved in. It's the Global Virtual Classroom project of Give Something Back International. It's a program that is aimed at providing opportunities for cross-border, cross-cultural collaboration and communication between primary and secondary school students. The cornerstone of the initial launch is a website design contest in which teams of three schools from three different countries will work on web projects from October through February. In another month or so, we'll be launching the second piece of the project, a Clubhouse that will allow for similar projects, but without the restrictions or structure of a contest.


We are particularly interested in drumming up participation from outside the US (we expect plenty from these shores, and need at least twice as many non-US schools to form the contest teams without duplication of country in a team). So I am calling upon my international readers to please consider passing information about the Global Virtual Classroom to teachers and schools in your part of the world.

And fellow bloggers...since we're trying to get the word out widely, a link would be appreciated. It would be very cool to see the Global Virtual Classroom make it into Technorati's top stories.

September 03, 2003

Behind the Facade

Behind the Facade -- Euen Semple reminds me of one of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songwriters...
I smile when I am angry.
I cheat and I lie.
I do what I have to do
To get by.
But I know what is wrong.
And know what is right.
And I'd die for the truth
In My Secret Life.

  ...from In My Secret Life by Leonard Cohen
When in a funk, Leonard Cohen's songs can help you wallow in it and come out the other side.

September 02, 2003

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Be Afraid. Be very Afraid -- I've been trying hard to maintain an upbeat attitude recently, but to little success. I was blaming it on my usual lack of appreciation of summer heat and humidity. But I think that some of the news out there is to blame as well. If you don't have enough to worry about, let me share my burden with you. Here's a few things to feed your paranoia...
New Burglary Technology -- Wardriving for fun and profit.

Asteroid Heading for Earth, May Hit in 2014 -- I guess I shouldn't worry about my IRA performance.

MS-DRM -- Office becomes a fortress, requires MS servers, loses inter-operability. From the people who made MS-Blast and Sobig-F possible.
Please, try to have fun.