Archive for February, 2007

MIssing the boat

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The music industry, which continues to complain bitterly about music piracy, and would cripple the internet if that’s what it took to stop music piracy (and it wouldn’t.. among other things, wifi is so cheap that if they crippled the internet, we would *build a new one* that would be awfully hard to cripple, is missing the boat.

Information wants to be free. In fact, information is already free. Shareaza is, as I’ve commented many times and as irritates just about everyone I talk to, just a service for locating really obnoxiously large numbers, which were always part of the number line and which we happen to experience as music. Someday we may find out that when we listen to a song, it gets encoded as DNA and stored somewhere, and then the music companies will want to find a way to delete that. [I can ‘hear’ in my head a song that I’ve heard ten or so times, with all the parts etc.. but I can’t make the bass move me, so I still prefer the old fashoned way]

But, it’s stupid to focus so much on money. Money is a tool that helps us get things done – but no one should ever go hungry, or lack a house, because of something as stupid as money. No one should ever die, or be tortured, over money.

Music inspires us, lifts us up, lowers us down, takes us to new mental realms, and I suspect raises both our empathy and our creativity. And if it weren’t for all the stupid music business hacks, installing music on our personal workstations would be as easy as installing software packages:

apt-get install Ani DiFranco.*

Honestly, I would welcome a system where anyone who was producing music got paid, either by the megabyte or as a flat rate, and we all paid for it as part of our taxes, and all the music was free to everyone. Then those same artists could get paid for public performances by those who went to the performances, and everyone would be happy. And the world would have unfettered access to music. I’m sure if you handed the problem of indexing and metadata and searching to Google, they could make something that would blow all of our collective minds.

Same story for fulltext of books. In fact, I think creators of any sort of digital media that even a few people can be said to enjoy should be getting checks from the government, and all that digital media should be indexed by the best wizards we can find, and free to all. In my version of $UTOPIA, that’s how it’d be. And as far as I can tell, the only way we’re ever going to get to my version of $UTOPIA is if we, and our children, and their children, and so on – build it ourselves.

And I believe, that we’ll conceive, to make in hell for us a heaven — VNV Nation, Kingdom

Why must big companies be so slimy? (*cough Yahoo! cough*)

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

No, I don’t want your browser bar.
No, I don’t want your anti-spyware software.
No, I don’t want my homepage changed.
No, I don’t want your mail component.
No, I don’t want your ‘daily news’ when I log in.
No, I’d rather not have cute animated graphics replace my ‘:-)’
No, I’d rather you didn’t put your DLLs in C:/windows/system32. They belong in your application’s directory.
If you can get away with not registering them, I’d rather you didn’t do that either.
No, I’d rather you didn’t store your information in the registry. I hate the registry, and would rather have a bunch of little configuration databases, one per application, instead.
No, I don’t want you to start by default. I’ll *tell* you if I want you to start when the computer boots.
No, I don’t want to upgrade to Vista to get new features.
No, I don’t want you to check for upgrades by default. I’ll *tell* you if I want you to stay updated.
No, I don’t want to restart my browser, my computer, or anything else. For that matter, you’re a IM client, what are you doing affecting my browser in any way?
No, I don’t think it’s reasonable for the ‘default install’ to break my web browser.
No, I don’t want to pay 2 cents a minute for a service that many others, including Skype, provide for free.

I think I’ve decided Skype is the ultimate IM:

1) It does voice, video, file transfer, and tex
2) By default, it doesn’t start with the computer
3) It doesn’t attempt to do anything funny to my web browser. It’s a IM, it knows it’s a IM, and it stays there
4) It has sane settings right out of the box

Yay for wireless headphones OR Lathe Plaster Is Evil

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

In Seattle, I tried several brands of wireless headphones, looking for something that would set me free from the perpetual annoyance of tangled cords. I didn’t find anything that even remotely fit my needs – whenever I turned my head, the signal would degrade to mono and/or static.

(I wish someone would make digital spread spectrum wireless headphones. Actually, someone probably does – they just probably cost a bit more than I’m willing to spend..)

Anyway, after moving to CA, I found a pair and decided to try them out. Mysteriously, without all the reflections caused by the lathe plaster hung on chicken wire, they work wonderfully 😉

Only downside is that they are rechargable…

iTunes part II

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

iTunes thinks that is explicit.


Amusing parallels & nightmares

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Apparently the war between authority and music is a bit older than the rave scene. 😉

I had a couple of really bad nightmares last night. In one, I went camping at Blue Bend, and brought my PA system, and the cops showed up, and found one tiny flake of weed sticking to some part of the thing, and were summarily busting me..

In the other, I found myself in a plane – in the air, about 3000 feet above some CA mountains – with a coworker (not the one who’s a pilot, one who I suspect wouldn’t know what to do with a plane if there was a heads up display telling him which controls to change), and he was panicing (sp?) because he didn’t know how to fly, and I took the wheel (it was a reletively small plane, with a yolk, but not a Cessna.. the control panel didn’t look familiar, but all the instruments were standard) and immediately the plane stalls, complete with buzzer, airspeed falling below the redline. I push the throttle all the way up, bring the nose down, wait for the elevators to bite, and then gently pull back. As soon as I get it to level flight, it stalls again. We complete this until the altimiter is reading out in millimeters instead of feet, and then I somehow manage to shear the wings off trying to land it on a freeway.. then I wake up.

Now this makes no sense, because I have landed so many prop planes deadstick in a simulator that I could do it with one hand tied behind my back. It’s one of my favorite simulator games.. take the plane up, turn off the magnetos, and then find the airport and set it down in one peice, on one try.

A nifty idea for streaming..

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

It would be really cool to write a streaming application that had one transcover per client (from a bus source) and scaled the transcoder’s bitrate based on how many TCP_ACKs it was getting back. (up to some sort of sane limit). It seems like, combined with a bit of buffer on the client side, you could do transparent adaptive streaming from MP3 that way. (kind of like VBR on steroids)

Is there any easy way to see TCP_ACKs from userspace?

iTunes & me

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

I have this love-hate relationship with iTunes.

I love the convenience of buying actual legal licenses for my content from the iTunes store.

I hate everything else about it.

It seems almost like it was designed to be exactly what I didn’t want in a content management system. It’s not very good at finding missing content when the underlying structure of the disk changes (and in my life, it does, often), it’s slow..

I enjoyed kplaylist, but my needs have gone far beyond it. I think I really am going to have to write something.


Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Today I indulged in one of my less fortunate hobbies and went over to to chat with the Christians. As usual, we didn’t agree. What’s unusual is that they banned me. And I wasn’t personally insulting anyone, or anything. Oh, I did talk about how God and Satan might be the same entity, but I don’t really think *that* was worthy of banning.

One bit about my final defense struck me as apt, so I’m going to quote it here. Later I may regret it, but right now it feels true.

Sheer: I want you all to remember
Sheer: This is what happened to Jesus
Sheer: people didn’t like his ideas, so they killed him
Javy: Loan…sheer embraces contradictions and says they’re not contradictions y
et used the same logic he tries to defy to arrive at his explanation that they a
re not contradictions
Javy: No need to listen to him.
Sheer: Javy doesn’t like my ideas so he’s about to ban me
Javy: He’s just silly.
Sheer: Not as bad as killing, but still pretty much a ‘shut the *** up’.

He did, of course, ban me almost immediately.

I had to fight with the urge to knock the chat room off the net. I certainly could have – with a couple of well placed commands, even – but it wouldn’t be right for me to do so. It’s their place, they can kick me out if they want. It just doesn’t seem like a very enlightened attitude to have.

And perhaps my problem is that while I’m violently disagreeing with the tenants of Christianity, I’m looking for enlightened behavior from Christians. I’m not saying the two are mutually exclusive – after all, I’ve known some pretty enlightened Christians – but just that they aren’t particularly aligned either. There seem to be so many people who can’t imagine what it would be like to be on the other end. Maybe at times I’m guilty of that particular sin myself, but at least I’m aware of it.

I do, honestly, feel like it was their loss.

Grr Arg

Friday, February 16th, 2007

1) I need to figure out how to change my home directory in Windows. When I deleted and recreated my account, it was recreated as Sheer.DAISYII rather than Sheer, but all my cookies point back to Sheer. Hence, many things do not work. Tried creating a shortcut, totally useless.

Grr. Windows. Grr.

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

My windows laptop has developed the interesting personality flaw of (wow, they added some nice features to LJ) not letting me log in as myself. All other logins (i.e. administrator, owner, kayti) work fine. I’ve been told to back up my home directory (C:\Documents and Settings\Sheer) and blow away the directory, then recreate the user profile and restore the directory. Hopefully this will work.