Friday, 28-Apr-06 15:50
Trying out instruments constitutes public performance?

At least, so says the Performing Rights Society in the UK.

MUSIC shop boss Steve Kowalski has been told he will have to pay to play if his customers want to try out his instruments before they buy.

And that, he says, is a fiddle.

The Performing Rights Society claims he needs a licence if he, or any of his punters, want to "have a go" on anything from a harmonica to a harpsichord or castanets to clarinets.

Again, is this what the artists and performers want? Isn't this a case of dogs biting their own?

It's very instructive to read the comments for this article, as every single one of them - coming from both artists and non-artists alike - condemns this to pretty much the lowest Hell. People are not taking this too well, and any business model that is based on annoying customers is not very likely to succeed... Jonathan Schwartz (CTO of Sun Microsystems) says very succintly in this podcast: The whole issue boils down simply to "What is fair use?". He's not against DRM as such, but reminds that any attempt to alienate people by limiting their right to fair use - and what they consider to be fair use, not what corporations consider fair use - is going to succeed, and that company will lose in the marketplace.

(Via Marginaali.)

Wednesday, 26-Apr-06 20:30
Canadian artists say "not in our names"

A number of Canadian artists, including names such as Avril Lavigne and Sarah ~McLachlan, have established a new organization to voice the musicians, songwriters and producers opinions to Canadian copyright and cultural policy.

They state their intentions in a white paper, which is quite worth reading.

Multinational record labels are vocal in their desire for changes to copyright laws that would facilitate lawsuits against our fans and increase their control over the enjoyment of music. To our alarm, the labels advance these demands not merely on their own behalf, but in our names as necessary for the well-being of individual Canadian musicians in the digital age. Today the people who actually create Canadian music are speaking out for themselves. The CMCC is united under three key principles:
  1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical. Artists do not want to sue music fans. The labels have been suing our fans against artists’ will, and laws enabling these suits cannot be justified in artists’ names.
  2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive. Artists do not support using digital locks to increase the labels’ control over the distribution, use and enjoyment of music or laws that prohibit circumvention of such technological measures. Consumers should be able to transfer the music they buy to other formats under a right of fair use, without having to pay twice.
  3. Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists. The vast majority of new Canadian music is not promoted by major labels, which focus mostly on foreign artists. The government should use other policy tools to support actual Canadian artists and a thriving musical and cultural scene.

*applause*

(Via digg.)

Update: Michael Geist puts it in more perspective:

No one should underestimate the importance of this development. After today, House of Commons committee hearings on copyright must include representation from the CMCC. Policy makers and politicians must take the time to consult with the artists themselves. Most importantly, government ministers will no longer be able to make policies in the artists' name, when those policies represent the views of lobbyists, not artists.
Wednesday, 26-Apr-06 18:20
Finnish blog to be published as book

Minttu Hapuli's "Selibaattipäiväkirjat" ("Celibacy diaries") will be published as a book in the fall.

Well done and congratulations!

Not that getting your blog published would be a major goal to many bloggers, but it's still good to see someone working hard and succeeding.

Wednesday, 26-Apr-06 16:28
Join City Car Club for free!

Since I advertised CCC shamelessly a couple of days ago, I might as well mention this new offer they have: If you join now, type "VAPPURIEHA" on the promotion code (suosittelutunnus) field, and my name in the "recommender" (suosittelija) -field, and you get to join for free, and also get one free rental. And you get to be in a raffle, too. The offer is valid until 21.5.

For the purposes of this one offer, you're all my friends, yes? Even the ones who hate me and are reading this blog just to see one slip-up which they could use to tarnish my reputation forever. If you've thought about car sharing, here's a chance to try it out.

(Disclosure: I'm a happy CCC member, and if you join, I get an opportunity to win something (as do you). Also, car sharing works better if there are more people joining in, so I'll be happier too. And it's better for the environment than everyone owning their own cars. So you see, it's all about ME and my own nefarious purposes... Hehe.)

Tuesday, 25-Apr-06 23:56
Bits can be scary

I just arranged together 37,485,392 bits, put it on a web site and called this particular arrangement of bits "JSPWiki 2.4.0 beta binary zip archive".

Sometimes you just gotta stop tweaking and kick it out of the door.

Good night, and good luck.

Tuesday, 25-Apr-06 16:26
Man hunts sex offenders

In USA, the Sex Offender Registry is a public resource, so that people can look up other people and see if anyone on their street happens to be a sex offender (i.e. convicted of sexual assault, rape, paedophilia, etc). This is done in the interest of public safety and general good. A common reason is that looking up people may save your kids from a pretty bad fate. It's an example of the transparent society, where all you have done is public.

It also has a downside. A serious downside. A 20-year old man looked up several people from the registry, and proceeded to kill them using high-tech tools such as GPS. He killed two, and visited the homes of four, before he shot himself.

It is said that "you gotta take the bad with the good". But is the good worth the bad?

Monday, 24-Apr-06 11:04
Jedi breakfast

Fun short flick on Jedi breakfast. Just to start off the week...

(Via digg.)

Sunday, 23-Apr-06 23:34
Looks and authority going hand in hand?

Why are most of the people in the corporate HQ both better-looking and better-dressed than in the random engineering pits that dot the landscape around it? And which way does the cause and effect flow - you either end up in the HQ because you look better, or that once you are in the HQ, you start looking after yourself more?

Or maybe it's the better lighting.

(Not that I'm complaining. "Idle wondering" might be more accurate.)

Friday, 21-Apr-06 21:17
VP of Finnish RIAA: "DRM is good for consumers"

Welho-magazine 2/2006 (translation mine):

"All this is made possible through Digital Rights Management, DRM. It's also a good thing for consumers. We can now vary the prices flexibly according to the use", ponders Kyyrä [VP of ÄKT, the Finnish equivalent of RIAA].

Um. If this means that I can get non-DRM music, even at a higher price, for my own flexible uses, then I agree. But if it means "we can give you the option to make one or two or three copies of this music, and for an extra fee you can listen it between 22-07", then no, then it's not good for the consumer. Stateth Cory Doctorow: "Nobody woke up in the morning and hoped they could do less with their music."

However, he does have a good point:

"You don't have to own all the music."

Yup. And this is what digitalization gives us - because duplication and storage is (for all practical purposes) free, ownership becomes meaningless. You start to pay for services instead of owning a copy of something.

If hard drive space continues to grow at the current rate, by 2025 the entire music ever recorded in the entire world will fit on your iPod. For $500. Bend your brain around that.

Estimation based on 1M songs/year, 150 years = 150M songs @ about 3MB/song is roughly 500 TB. Storage space goes up by a factor of ten every five years, again roughly. A 600TB iPod would thus be available in 20 years.
Friday, 21-Apr-06 18:10
Bluetagging - friend or foe?

I'll highlight this interesting point from a recent Flickr uploader review article by Chris Heathcote.

The most controversial feature of them all is storing and publishing Bluetooth IDs. Are these personal information? Are you allowed to store this data (particularly in the EU)? It’s, well, illuminating from a privacy angle, but my take on it is that metadata is always useful. Already in Helsinki, with probably a few tens of users of both Meaning and Context Watcher, we’re seeing intersections between Bluetooth device IDs on photos: this means that a particular device/individual was nearby both ekurvine and myself when we took the pictures. The obvious benefits are that you could search for your own Bluetooth ID to get photos taken around you – such as at events, down the pub or at parties (could also be done similarly using a combination of cell ID and time).

To put it in another way: if you have your Bluetooth on, and someone snaps a picture with a camera phone near by, you might get "caught on the image", even if you don't appear in the picture at all. This is because every Bluetooth device has an unique identifier, and it announces it to about a 10-20 m radius, and this ID can be captured in the image, thus giving the viewer of the image information about who was present at the time.

A Bluetooth ID consists of 12 digits (like 01:02:03:04:05:06), so it's difficult to say who it is. But you can also ask for the Bluetooth friendly name (like "Janne's phone"), and one does need to be a datamining guru to figure out your BT address, if there is enough data available. To paint a nasty scenario: your jealous boyfriend checks out your BT address, and then goes online to find out where you have been moving lately to check up on you. This may become even more problematic, if any of the pictures is tagged with GPS data.

Now, here's the interesting question: does collecting the Bluetooth IDs which are present constitute collecting an person registry - and do you commit a violation of the Finnish law by posting an image with Bluetooth IDs onto a public website?

And regardless of whether it is illegal or not, should it be controlled, and how on Earth could you possibly control it, even if you wanted to? Perhaps the transparent society will happen completely accidentally and spontaneously, brought on us by teenagers who just want to have a bit of fun?

And, if private citizens are allowed to breach everyone's privacy and in the process collect huge databases on foreign soil, then would it not be hypocritical to say that governments and corporations can't do it too? What is the real difference between surveillance and sousveillance, in the end?

Anyway, if you're worried about your privacy, you might want to consider turning your Bluetooth to "non-discoverable mode", i.e. turn off the visibility to all devices... (Finnish Nokia S60 phones: Bluetooth->"Puhelimen näkyvyys" -> "Piilotettu").

Thursday, 20-Apr-06 15:16
Open Source developer gets bill for $203,000

Blimey! Big boys bullying poor people, this is what it is, I'll say!

Ben Jacobsen, a model railroad hobbyist, wrote a bunch of software to let you connect your computer to your model railroad and control trains with it. He chose to not only give the software away for free, but to make the source code available as well, so that the model railroading/hacker community could improve it and customize it to their liking.

And then KAM Industries, maker of commercial software that serves a similar role, tried asserting their 'patent rights' over doing just that.

When the author of the open source railroad controller asked for additional information about what claims were being infringed, KAM sent him an invoice for $203,000, claiming that the 7000 or so users of his software resulted in damages of at least $29/each.

It turns out that the patent in question was applied for after Ben Jacobsen published the source code of his program on the internet, and therefore his program qualifies as prior art. Unfortunately, because of the way these patent disputes work, it may be very costly for Ben Jacobsen to defend his right to keep working on his own software.

To me this smells like an old grudge - there are some papers referring to a domain name dispute on the web site. Maybe KAM is just trying to own the market by any means necessary?

Anyway, the whole story is like from the nightmares of any open source developer - you write your software for years, get a bit of fame, get loads of happy users, a bit of money, and WHAM! Some big company tries to squash you like a bug because you are too good at what you do.

Thursday, 20-Apr-06 13:55
Car sharing in Helsinki

Niko Nyman says he'd love to take part in reasonably-priced car sharing in Finland.

I've been a happy member of the City Car Club in Helsinki from the beginning of the year. I find the prices reasonable, and the availability of the cars excellent, even though Saturdays can be busy enough to warrant a reservation the previous day. Reservations are done using an on-line system, which is quite okay and easy to use, though it won't win any design awards. You can also call the reservation centre.

The cars I've used had 40-90 thousand kilometers behind them, so they're not the shiny new ones you get from your friendly neighbourhood rental agency. Most of the cars are station wagons, and the age does show on some particular cars. However, they've always been clean and good to drive, and some of them have been really nice (the Honda Stream in particular).

They have parking areas all around the capital area, mostly concentrated on areas with high population density. The keys are left in the car, and you can open the car with your cell phone, no problem there.

I'm still trying to go without owning a car, as the costs are pretty steep. However, the older you get the more difficult it seems to be without one, and you no longer have the time to travel by bus to everywhere. I used to rent a lot, but for now, car sharing seems to be a satisfying solution.

(Though, I wouldn't mind more entrepreneurs in this area, either. As far as I know, City Car Club is the only one right now. Competition is good.)

((By the way, they also rent Segways.))

Wednesday, 19-Apr-06 14:07
Recording industry vs. People

If you want to see what kind of tactics the recording industry is using in the USA to "protect the artists", you should check out a blog called The Recording Industry vs. The People. Scary stuff. Is this really what the artists really want?

I am being sued by the RIAA for copyright infringement, and the case has been going on for the past 2 years.

So far they have deposed all 5 of my children, and my wife, and myself. I also had to fill out admissions and interrogatory answers twice so far and they are still not satisfied with my answers. Most of them I answered that I did not know. I did not know, and was completely unaware of whatever the RIAA is claiming happened. My responses were honest, but that was not good enough for them.

I am defending myself in this case because I can't afford a lawyer, and it's hard for me to understand all of the paperwork and the rules of the court. The RIAA is on its 6th different group of lawyers. It seems like they are bottom feeders.

...

The real shame is that I had no knowledge of any of this until I was served in the mail. Apparently my daughter who was 12 years old at the time had been listening to music on Kazaa

I do not even know how it got on the computer.

I know that I didn't do anything wrong and I am going to defend myself, but I'm scared to death of the outcome.

And some tactics RIAA uses:

The RIAA is aware that most of the defendants do not live in the state, and are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court, but bring the case anyway.

...

The only "notice" the "John Does" get is a vague letter from their ISP, along with copies of an ex parte discovery order and a subpoena.

They are not given copies of (i) the summons and complaint, (ii) the papers upon which the Court granted the ex parte discovery order, or (iii) the court rules needed to defend themselves. Most recipients of this "notice" do not even realize that it means that there is a lawsuit against them. None of the recipients of the "notice" have any idea what they are being sued for, or what basis the Court had for granting the ex parte discovery order and for allowing the RIAA to obtain a subpoena.

If the guys kid was caught shoplifting bread, this would've been dealt with by the local police, and the whole thing would've been gone and forgotten by now. Why is then copyright infringement constantly compared to stealing bread?

Wednesday, 19-Apr-06 10:27
Boo hiss

Jyri left the company. Bugger. I was hoping to fondle his, er, devices in the future.

Anyway, Jyri is one of those people who'll work quietly on a revolution, and leave everyone better off after he launches it to an unsuspecting world. Watch that space.

I did something that sounds completely nuts. I resigned from my position at Nokia Multimedia after just six weeks. That so because it turned out unfeasible to do what I consider sensible there. Better to acknowledge it in good spirit. There are some good people there and we remain friends.
Wednesday, 19-Apr-06 10:20
Opt-in calendaring

Paul Jardine writes in the comments of an earlier entry:

Structured meeting agendas tagged with the relevant words might be an idea to ensure that we only have to attend the portion of the meeting that we want to (and it would make it more difficult for people to call a meeting!) I also want to have a calendaring application that allows me to opt-in to meeting times, rather than opt-out by making up fake excuses. Monday afternoon is a time I don't mind having meetings, so I mark that space as 'available for meetings - but only with the relevant tags!'

Yes! At the moment our calendars are by default empty, and by empty we signify availability, as in "he has nothing better to do except attend meetings". This somehow makes meetings the higher order of life, separate from the drudgery of actual work. However, if our calendars treated work time in the same way as we treat it, the default state would be full, as in "I am not available, since I am working", and you would mark time down that is available for things like meetings.

You may remember the Iteration List I presented a few months ago. One of its strengths is that you can give preference to time: "e" meaning "not really, but can be arranged under social pressure", and "?" meaning "I have no clue yet". This gives far more information than a simple available/not available system, because it allows people to have a simple ranking of their free time. It approximates (though very, very roughly) the real-world conversation where people go "hmmm" and "well" and "that's a bit inconvinient" a lot, and thus inform the others how much they prefer a given time.

One thing that would make my life a lot happier would be to have this sort of opt-in calendaring in Outlook, and just the simple ability to signal preference in my calendar, even if only at two or three levels.

Wednesday, 19-Apr-06 00:51
Good podcast on enterprise blogging

I like the IT Conversations podcast: it makes up well missing all those conferences now that I switched to another unit within the corporation. Now that my commute is 45 minutes one way (ugh), at least I have the time to listen to podcasts. And I got my own room. Which is nice - I've spent all my life in open offices. Though if there wasn't a public walkway right outside my window, and people walking on it didn't frighten me, and I could actually see outside, it would be a lot nicer.

In the Business Blogging, Doing it Right -episode Scott Anderson of HP talks about how HP does both internal and external blogging, and presents a convincing (if slightly boring) case study on enterprise blogging from what almost could be called a megacorporation. And guess what? It boils down to one thing: blogging allows you to be closer to your customers and colleagues. Which is good for business. (Unless you are a crook, in which case you probably want to be as far away of them as possible.)

I feel feverish.

Glxblt.

Tuesday, 18-Apr-06 16:30
I Hate Cilantro

For some reason, I get a very, very strong reaction whenever I taste the nasty spice called "cilantro", also known as "coriander", or "korianteri" in Finnish. Almost any food can be spoiled by adding tiny amounts of cilantro. It's strange: it's not that I have an allergy as in I-get-warts-and-sneezes-oh-god-can't-breathe-help-me-aargh kind of allergy, but I seem to be particularly susceptible to it. Most people say it's just spicy, but for me it's a completely overwhelming experience that overshadows any other taste that might have been in the food - even in small amounts. It's strange, as I don't consider myself particularly sensitive usually, and I do enjoy spicy food of the "the person who said that only lazy people get sweaty while eating had obviously never had any habaneros" -kind.

On the internet, there's a community for everyone. IHateCilantro.com could be the place for me.

Not that I would join any club that would have me as a member, mind you.

(Thanks to ebu for finding this.)

Thursday, 13-Apr-06 22:59
Battle of Wesnoth

Battle of Wesnoth is a turn-based, free real-time strategy game. And it's a great way to spend a few hours. The game has still a bunch of rough edges, but in case you have a knack for Command & Conquer, you probably want to check this one out.

There are versions for Mac, Windows, ~BeOS, Linux, ~FreeBSD, and even the good ol' Amiga. You can also download the source code under the GNU Public License - so it's free in every sense of the word.

(I don't remember anymore where I got this one from: I have spent the last three hours playing it... Oops.)

Wednesday, 12-Apr-06 23:40
Oh, the PAIN!

Remember Digimon? Well, who cares about the series, but watching the near-legendary original Finnish dub from a bunch of guys called the "Agapio Racing Team" is still slightly - but only slightly - more tolerable than dying in a mad dentist's chair a day before retirement.

Wednesday, 12-Apr-06 00:46
Wiki or Blog? No matter - just sign it!

Heh. The great blog handsign controversy has lead to the wiki handsign.

Following the collaborative theme of wikis themselves, this sign requires two people to throw.

I just love the random internet noise ;-)

Wednesday, 12-Apr-06 00:37
Looking for a place to hold a wedding reception near Helsinki

And before you ask, no, this is not for me. A friend (no, really, honest!) is looking for a nice place where she could have the reception for about 200 guests - but so that she could bring in her own catering. The place needs to be within 200 km of Helsinki (the closer the better). Apparently the catering prices for most places are through the roof these days.

Recommendations in comments or directly by email.

Let's see if LazyWeb works ;-)

(In Real Life, world is still revolving and I am somewhat miffed at work: our office is moving to Pitäjänmäki and my commute is going to triple to about 45 minutes one-way. Ouch! Though I'm going to get my own room, which I get to decorate with empty paper cups, yellow stickers and lots of white paper with incoherent scribblings. It's the second time in my professional life, and I am not quite sure how to handle it.)

Saturday, 08-Apr-06 01:44
N91 with iTunes plugin, but bad DRM

By the way, in case you didn't know: N91, the Nokia music phone with a 4 Gigabyte hard drive also has a Mac plugin for iTunes synchronization...

Of course, music bought from the iTunes Music Store is not compatible with it, but then again, they're not compatible with anyone. Or, to be exact, the file format is, as N91 plays AAC, but Apple is using "Digital Rights Management" to make sure nobody else than Apple devices can play the music.

Anyhoo. I've come to realize why DRM bugs me so much: it's because it removes choice. Once you pay money for something, you would expect to be able to treat it as something you've just bought. Like sell it onwards, or put it on multiple computers. The idea of "leasing music" is alien to most of us.

However, a Korean company may have just found the answer: They charge two different prices - a cheap price for "limited" songs with DRM on them, and a more expensive price for the open format file, with no use restrictions (aside from the normal ones imposed by copyright law). To me this makes a lot of sense: it's like the difference between buying a normal version or a professional version of software - the other one just has functionalities disabled.

You see, in a lot of use cases it really does not matter whether the file is DRM'd or not: I'd happily buy DRM'd video files, say, on a subscription basis, to see new TV series. And then, if I really liked it, I would buy the open versions (like DVDs, which for all intents and purposes are open these days) so that they would be mine without the additional burden of whether the company who issued them is going to go bust and all my media would suddenly become unusable overnight.

The big rub is that all I ever hear from the big money-making organizations is that "DRM is a must, and everybody who says otherwise is a pirate". This is not so, as many people keep pointing out. The content is going to get on the internet anyway, regardless of the restrictions and protections based on the files, and the real pirates, the ones who make money, just simply don't care about this stuff. To them, it's a non-issue - they just duplicate the copy protections, too.

I like what last.fm is doing. I pay a certain amount of money to them, and it's just like having my own music on the web. They play stuff that I actually do like, and they do it well. But for all intents and purposes, the music from last.fm is copy-protected. I'd have to run through a bunch of hoops to get it somehow archived on my hard drive - but I don't simply care. I can't "order" a certain piece of music to be played either, probably because of legal reasons. However, I'm paying a monthly fee to get access to my music library (or something similar anyway) to get good music - but the music that I really do care about, the one I want to pay for, that I want in a format which is unencumbered by artificial usage restrictions. Like CD, but I'm not picky.

There are more choices than slamming heavy DRM on top of everything that moves. The Korean example is a good one, and one that I have no problem with: I have the freedom to get the unencumbered version if I want - I may have to pay a bit more, but that's just normal business. My problem is with the idea that somehow this freedom to choose would be bad, and that everything must have mandatory copy protection and rights management. This is the view of the companies who own the patents on DRM systems, not companies who wish to serve consumers better. As Cory Doctorow says, "nobody woke up in the morning wishing they could do less with their music."

To me, that's just load of bull. DRM does not work for the purpose it is advertised, i.e. to stop people from copying copyrighted information. The only real use for DRM is market lockdown - which is what Apple is doing. You can't switch away from an iPod once you start buying music from the iTMS (unless you're smart enough to burn and rip all the music you bought, but even then you take a big hit in the quality). This has nothing to do with piracy. The internet is already full of songs that should not be there, and the laws are already telling you not to upload and download. Why would you need DRM then for?

And, while I defend the right of people to be stupid about this matter, I will also exercise my right to call them stupid. This dichotomy is something that seems to unnerve lots of people. It tends to bake my noodle at night, too. But maybe if I keep talking about this, it'll some day become clear to me and others...

Friday, 07-Apr-06 17:23
My most hated mobile apps, pt III

To continue my series on the mobile apps I hate the most, I'm going to introduce the app I call the MBA Killer Application.

It's not been once or twice that a young guy in a new suit approaches me and, with eyes lit with excitement, exclaims: "We should have an application which would automatically compare calendars and schedule meetings more efficiently so that we can have more meetings!"

After which I usually grab my most wretched look and sob.

You see, I firmly believe that if we should have any mobile meeting applications, they should be mostly concerned about arranging our schedule so that we could have less meetings. The world does not become a better place if you have more meetings, and while certain amount of meetings is unavoidable (and even great!), trying to schedule your life around them, well, kills you. (Hence the "killer app".)

We at work use Outlook as the calendaring system. Outlook has this wonderful feature which allows you to check if someone is "free" at any given time, so you can schedule a meeting with them. While basically this is a nice idea, it results in odd things like people purposefully marking blocks of time for "work on XXX" or for "free time" or "time to spend with the kids", simply because otherwise they would be all scheduled out. It's a sad thing when you cease being in control of your own time. And I know a lot of people who do that (I do it, too, on occasion).

The thing is that the freedom to lie is a fundamental freedom for us. An automatic system which schedules meetings based squarely on cold facts does not allow us to lie, or even state our preferences: we lose the freedom to think "It's Jim's birthday so I was planning to leave work a bit early to get stone drunk" but say "no, I need to take the car to the shop". Meetings are held only because sometimes getting face-to-face is the best way to accomplish agreement - and it's not going to help that half of the participants would rather be someplace else.

Meetings are a great tool at establishing the common hallucination that we're actually getting things done. A certain number of them are necessary to keep the wheels turning, but anyone who wishes that they could have more meetings should probably be slam-dunk into a large barrel of waste paper and ball-point pens, and rolled down the hill to the recycling plant - in the ever-so-popular Brothers Grimm style. (Or was it snakes and a river? Can't remember.)

We should have calendaring applications that make arranging meetings more difficult, so that you would only schedule those meetings that are genuinely useful.

Wednesday, 05-Apr-06 19:15
Windows on Apple

OK, so everybody's going nuts over the Apple Bootcamp, which essentially allows you to install Windows XP on your shiny new Apple.

Considering that Apple makes money by selling hardware (and practically only by selling HW; iTMS does not count here), it makes sense for them to do this: better to have an officially supported version for those who like shiny stuff and get their money instead of letting geeks hack everything (because they eventually would).

OSX does not any money make: it's just a vehicle to sell more shiny boxes. iTMS does not make much money for Apple: again, it's just a vehicle to sell even more shiny boxes.

Addressing scarcity, i.e. shipping shiny boxes is where the money is. Trying to sell something that is ephemeral, cannot be touched, and is easily duplicated in someone's garage is a lot more difficult to do well... You might even have to pressure people.

Wednesday, 05-Apr-06 09:53
RIAA profits nearly 100 M by suing P2P users

The following estimate comes from Pirate Times:

Let’s say all 18,337 USA citizens sued have settled for $5,000 USD each, to avoid going to court and possibly losing their homes. That would give the RIAA massive profits of $91,685,000! The RIAA has profited nearly $100million by suing individual who are too helpless to fight back, since their ’sue em’ all’ campaign began, years ago.

This is about one quarter of all the money they make from ringtone downloads for 2005, and also a pretty hefty chunk of money. Especially considering that P2P users are in fact, quite likely to buy music after they've downloaded it.

The Rolling Stone magazine offers another explanation for declining record sales for major record companies:

As the majors stumbled, independent labels gained market share, accounting for eighteen percent of CD sales in '05. Indie labels proved especially adept at Internet marketing via outlets like MySpace; the emo label Victory Records sold 558,000 copies of Hawthorne Heights' album The Silence in Black and White without radio play. And several hip indie acts -- the Arcade Fire, Interpol and Bright Eyes -- sold more than 250,000 copies each. The indie model of earning profits on a broad range of small-scale releases, rather than focusing on blockbusters, may offer a new direction for the majors. "The major labels want to say the glass is half full," says Gwen Stefani's manager Jim Guerinot. "I think everybody's getting the message: You better get a fucking smaller glass. The music business is a different game."

Update: oops, I said 100M/year; I meant 100M total until now.

Tuesday, 04-Apr-06 18:27
Americans think they can make a difference

Good on you! Now if only your government would agree...

An overwhelming majority of Americans think they can help reduce global warming and are willing to make the sacrifices that are needed, a new poll shows.

(Chicago Sun Times via Slashdot.)

Tuesday, 04-Apr-06 17:23
Searching hand-drawn comics?

In the heels of Google Book Search comes Oh No Robot, a site which searches comics published on the Internet. Whee! If only they had a larger base of comics to choose from... But they seem to rely on users to do the actual transcription; they don't have any OCR technology. You just add a bit of Javascript on your web page as the comic author, and someone visiting will do the transcription. Hopefully. Or you can do it yourself.

(Thanks to Murali for the tip.)

Tuesday, 04-Apr-06 12:51
Hardware geeks, beware

If you're a serious HW geek, this new gadget from Techsol should probably make you drool. Very interesting, if you're one of those guys who know the hot end of a soldering iron from the cold end.

Monday, 03-Apr-06 19:15
Don't date him, girl

Schizo-Janne points to Don't Date Him Girl, a web site which allows you to post a guy's picture, complete with personal information, and tell everyone how bad that guy is and why nobody should ever date him.

I wonder, why would such an obvious libel/slander -magnet of a site even bother to have a privacy policy? To quote:

  • We take appropriate security measures to protect against unauthorized access to or unauthorized alteration, disclosure or destruction of data.
  • We restrict access to your personally identifying information to employees who need to know that information in order to operate, develop or improve our services.

..but anybody who has NOT agreed to the terms of service and just happens to have his face plastered on your web site is free meat and everybody on the frigging internet can access their personally identifying information and what kind of crapheads someone thinks they are? Ri-ight...

Sunday, 02-Apr-06 00:55
Aussie iPod on the Farm

Hehe. This is pretty cool - an iPod advertisement that's visible from space?

It would be a bit more believable, if there weren't other, very similar looking constructs just around. Just scroll around in the Google Maps image.

But if it's real, it's pretty cool. And if it's not, with the diggs and links coming their way, they're bound to use it as an advert at some point anyway. The resemblance is just too uncanny. (Of course, this could be a HUGE April Fool's joke by some mapping company, too...)

By the way, the equivalent of RIAA in Australia seems to have come at grips with the reality. Stephen Peach, the chief executive of Australian Recording Industry Association says:

"Although illegal and causing significant harm to the industry, [illegal downloading] demonstrates preference," Peach says. "Consumers want choice and access to a vast repertoire. The industry must produce compelling alternatives.

Yup. That's what everyone outside of the recording industry (and probably the more enlightened ones inside it too) have been saying all along. Glad you finally got it. Funny that it's the Aussies though - it's still illegal to put music on your iPod over there, as far as I know, since there is no permission to do private copying in the Australian copyright law whatsoever. In fact, all VCRs are stricly speaking illegal too, as time-shifting is not allowed either. Of course, everybody ignores these laws for the common good.

(iPod link via Überkuul.)

Update: The Google Earth April Fools Joke was to add some extra flying things to Area 51...

Update: This iPod thingy is also listed on the Wikipedia list of April Fool's Jokes for 2006...


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"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

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