February 24th, 2005
Because I deal with online music services as part of my job, I have used most of them: MusicNet, MusicNow, Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic and MusicMatch.
MusicMatch, MusicNet and Rhapsody are all mostly-subscription services – you don’t own the music but you can listen to a million different songs anytime you want as often as you want as long as you are at a PC. Add some wireless transmission and you can play them on your stereo at home.
This is the route I have personally gone. Owning the files is nice for my iPod but with the amount of time I spend at a computer every month, paying $10 a month is not a bad deal to listen to as much music as I do.
And after trying them all, I like Rhapsody the most. They haven’t updated their player in a loooong time but it is the friendliest and the way they help you discover other bands is excellent. Every band is classified into at least 3 categories so you can discover other genres. They also list influences, contemporaries, related projects and followers of a band. That right there is worth the price of admission. Discovering new music (or old music that’s new to me) is very important to me.
I do like what Napster has come up with as far as allowing your subscription music to be downloaded to an MP3 player as long as you keep your subscription. I would love to be able to take advantage of that except that I have an iPod – and Apple doesn’t play well with others and never has.
I just hope that this puts some pressure on them to offer something similar. Steve Jobs has said that people don’t want to rent music but I totally disagree. There’s very little reason to own the music files and what reasons there still are will continue to go away as convergence rolls on. Looking into the future, just like OnDemand on digital cable, your cell phone will converge with your PDA, your MP3 player and your laptop while your TV will merge with your game console, your computer and your telephone (not that it stops there) and you can just dial up whatever it is you need (music, movies, tv shows) as you need it, when you need it.
Just 2 short years ago, I had to trade large files via snail mail on 3 CDs to get a master copy of a Grateful Dead show. Then it was bit torrent a year ago and you could have that show in a few hours, rip to MP3 for the pc, to CD for the car and then another set of SHNs to CDD for the archive (5 cds right there). And now, you can dial up almost any show from the Live Music Archive at archive.org in any version you need for free (of guilt, time and money). No reason to archive it since your archive is provided for you online, just bring your broadband. And now my iPod has an FM transmitter, no reason for audio CDs and since it only plays mp3s, just download MP3s. I’m not a audiophile snob anymore, it doesn’t get you much, and though I loved bragging about having over 600 hours of Dead on CD (a lot to some, not much to others), that claim was made mute by the online archive. Now anyone can sit there all day and amass the same collection I have in no time (and sadly, no effort and no interaction with other deadheads… but that’s a different internet tale).
That’s the future happening and it’s about services and convergence. That *need* to own everything we touch will become less and less necessary. But there’s evil in the hearts of men and they are selfish and possessive and will not give up their "things" freely. And so for now, we get competition in the market place, this is what drives the stock market and why it will go up and down and the tech industry will continue to remain volatile for a years to come. Yay for competition!
Ever paid attention to Star Trek? Their need to possessions is nil, computers generate their food and their completely immersive entertainment is on-demand – nothing to possess (and no religion too, can you imagine?). Kicking and screaming we might one day reach that level of enlightenment and then storm the galaxies.
So go ahead, rent your music, it’s just vibrations in the air after all. But be warned I guess, if you only like 1 genre of music, say hardcore, there’s not a lot of it on the services (no Victory or Discord yet), so you might not like renting or even buying music online (but those labels will cave eventually too). But if you are like me and have Kate Bush, Jimmy Buffett and the Dismemberment Plan in the same playlist and are looking for stuff you’ve yet to hear of, it’s for you.
February 24th, 2005
It was like a dream, or I just wasn’t really paying attention, but Sunday night I was either playing with the boy or talking Jen (probably both) and I vaguely remember The Simpsons being on in the background and "Comic Book Guy" was on and I thought to myself "did he just say his name?" but i was too distracted and forgot about it.
Anyone who follows the show closely knows that he has never had a name, he’s just "Comic Book Guy" and I know and work with people just like him.
Well, I just happened to stumble across this article on tvguide.com that tells me it wasn’t a dream and he does have a name now: Jeff Albertson. Which apparently has no significance, they just wanted to be sly and slip in an unassuming name in the dialog as if no one would notice.
Not a huge deal I suppose but if nothing else, it’s another of life’s mysteries. solved.
February 21st, 2005
I’m still in shock about this and I’m not even sure I believe it yet but apparently, The Good Doctor has taken his own life over the weekend. He was 67.
I’ve never been much of a reader, but thanks to a couple of very good friends (Jason and Geoff, who don’t know each other but both share a fondness for Hunter) have kept me in supply of Thompson books. I consider myself lucky to list books like Hells Angels, The Great Shark Hunt, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and his only purely fictional novel, The Rum Diaries as books I’ve finished all the way through ;^). I loved all of the books as well as the random Rolling Stone articles and his missives for ESPN.com’s Page 2.
I really liked Terry Gilliam’s take on “Fear and Loathing” (Depp was incredible as usual) but what I remember first was Bill Murray’s take on the man in “Where the Buffalo Roam.” At the time, I didn’t know this was supposed to be HST or that any of those accounts were real (or based on unreal stories), but I loved the movie. Someone once told me that HST wanted Murray dead for making a mockery out of him (a list that also included Gary Trudeau), but if you read his last Hey Rube! entry over at espn.com, I would say they were able to patch things up. If I remember correctly, the movie ends with him doing a lecture at some university, well a couple of years ago I came across a bootleg of a recording of him doing the same lecture in 1977. It’s very cool to listen to him and hear him interact with the students. He was as gonzo as his writings made himself out to be.
The old version of this site, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, featured a logo from the same writing used in many of Thompson’s work by the artist Ralph Steadman. [update: I had to bring it back.] Christ, I even bought Flying Dog Beer because it had the same artwork as his books.
I just can’t believe he took his own life, what a shitty way to go, especially after all the effort he put in to his life. But he will be missed by a lot of people, mostly guys I’m sure who loved to read about drugs, sports, gambling, crooked politicians, and ner-do-well thugs. Count me in that group.
Some early obits:
“Those bastards at Rolling Stone” haven’t bothered to get off their asses to pay a little homage to one of their most significant writers in their questionable, journalistic history. How much do you want to bet that he doesn’t get the next cover either?
February 17th, 2005
So, Buffalo is 5th most ‘stressed city’ according to this Business First article. Factors like stabilty, poverty, unemployment, insufficient eduction and housing helped determine this study.
None of these things affect me personally but when you add things like the constant barrage of budget talks, losing sport teams (wide right, no goal, etc.) and the exodus of the city’s population to the ‘burbs, you can’t help but understand why everyone is so stressed. Just yesterday alone our NHL season was canceled and our football team got rid of its big name Quarterback.
But we’ve got some prospects… Bass Pro is moving forward, looking to set up shop in the old Auditorium, which should be nice. Maybe it can kick-start some waterfront development and we’ll have somewhere to take the boy when the weathers nice.
Regardless, if you’re stressed, just DON’T PANIC!
February 14th, 2005
We love you.
Jack & Jay
February 14th, 2005
This is scary to me: The Resignation at CNN Shows the Growing Influence of Blogs. Basically, Jordan Eason, head of “liberal media” giant CNN, has apparently been pushed out of his position for implying that US troops were targeting journalists. Now, I find that assertion hard to believe but the fact that so many people went to their blogs to complain and now that firestorm has forced him to resign is worrisome to me.
Dan Rather’s imminent departure of CBS is along the same lines but Dan and his cohorts at CBS actually did something unbecoming of a journalist and went to air with a story they never bothered to corroborate. They deserved the troubles they got and Mr. Rather should retire (but for being old, not stupid).
Jordan Eason said something he probably shouldn’t have and even though he was representing his position at CNN, I don’t see CNN broadcasting news this biased. Eason said it, not CNN. This is completely different than “rathergate.”
It’s scary to think that this “sixth estate” has pushed a man to resign simply by being opinionated. Bloggers should not have this kind of power and I find it hard to believe that simply having a few dozen bloggers writesomething can be considered as pressure. Most people in this country don’t even know what a blog is yet, let alone know where to find these people.
But they will someday, so this sort of mess is only going to get bigger.
February 12th, 2005
You can tell it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog and I’ve been telling myself that I really need to to get back on this thing, so much to say you know… so I finally decided that instead of continuing to support my own “blog” software, I would go with one of the canned programs out there on there on the internet.
So I took the time and installed 5 or 6 different PHP-based, open-source blog packages that I found on Google and settled on WordPress 1.5. All I can say is wow! I’ve used Google’s Blogger software (you can see my failed attempt at http://iamthedaddy.blogger.com) and I can easily say that WordPress blows it away. I mean, this thing has all the bells and whistles of even the best Blog packages out there (like TypePad). Officially, the latest version of WP is 1.2.2 but if you go to the CVS nightly builds, you can get a gamma version of 1.5 – this thing rocks.
So, i grabbed a template off the net and set up what you see here. Only, I added my own random image header function, changed some colors and brought over my old links and stuff. I hope you like it. Feel free to comment on any of the entries here.