Re¢ently

  1. Apple: a Bicycle for the mind.

    brian on 2004.07.31
    at 12:30 am

    Via Celsius1414:

    In 1981, 'Apple had recently taken out a two page ad in Scientific American, featuring quotes from Steve Jobs about the wonders of personal computers. The ad explained how humans were not as fast runners as many other species, but a human on a bicycle beat them all. Personal computers were "bicycles for the mind."' -- from BikeBiz.co.uk

    Posted in: Apple · Sports

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  2. A star is born

    brian on 2004.07.28
    at 01:38 am

    As Chris Matthews said, "Tomorrow morning everyone will know the name Barack Obama." Indeed, a star is born in the Democratic party tonight. Have a look at the text of Obama's keynote speech from tonight. People will certainly remember tonight as the launch of this star into the stratosphere.

    Posted in: Politics

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  3. Day two from the DNC

    brian on 2004.07.27
    at 09:50 pm

    Still in Boston, still not at the DNC, but that won't stop me from reporting! Traffic today again was light, although I am seeing a certain increase in bicycle commuters, not huge, but noticeable. My traffic reporters say their traffic coming from north of the city is the lightest they've ever seen. The "sky is falling" traffic warnings have scared traffic off the roads. Are they on vacation, or on alternate transit? If so, let's hope this whole affair encourages good habits! In other news, a T rider reports his ride in as "easy" as well. Go figure.

    In other news, Amanda attended the event at the Royal Sonesta featuring Gov, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Robert Reich and others. She was impressed. But it was somewhat progressive-tilted event, so it played to her tastes. She doesn't think Howard will be using the same speech tonight. In other news, she said Michael Moore was late to the event. That's because he was at the Starbucks down the mall from me. One of our managers spotted him there. Many of us at the store didn't picture MM as a Starbucks drinker, but then we figured despite some's desire to bash Starbucks, but they would be the least corporate place to get coffee in a mall. That, and it's the only place for coffee on that side of the mall.

    That's all to report for now. Updates later...

    Posted in: Politics

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  4. BugMeNot

    brian on 2004.07.27
    at 09:39 pm

    A blessing. Bug Me Not. Allows you go to sites that are registration-only access, most notably the New York Times.

    Don't miss the bookmarklet on the front page which you can have in your bookmarks bar and fire up when you hit a registration site. The bookmarklet will query the BugMeNot database for the site you're at, and show you a user name in a pop up window for instant access. Beautiful. Also, Mozilla/FireFox extensions for similar usage.

    Posted in: Web

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  5. DNC- Live from Boston (blog)

    brian on 2004.07.27
    at 01:51 am

    So apparently the codeword at DNC Boston is "blog." It'll get you everywhere. I can tell you since I'm there (er, here). Of course, since this is the internet, you can't tell that I'm in Boston (I am) or if I'm across town (also true).

    Well, blog, blog, blog. I'm terribly sick of the word. Weblog is much classier, but I'm so sick of it, I'm on the verge of calling it an Interweb journal. Anyhow, as someone who is a bit of a current events junky, and a web junky, the thought of having fellow web heads (noxious or not) at the convention cross town is quite cool. A step forward for the American public's connection to its political process, which it hasn't been in touch with for many, many years. The penultimate point of that disconnect was four years ago November.

    Let's have a look at what blogs are giving us this week. A lot for a current events junky! So much so that not only have bloggers gone mainstream, and actually got credentialed and actually let in (and didn't have to sit in a janitor's closet or anything! Even WiFi, I hear!), but the main stream press have started their own blogs.

    Different strategies: Dave Weinberger, is a legit blogger, and author of two important books about what the internet is really about (disclosure: I'm a slacker and still haven't read them, though I mean to). He's in at the DNC, but adopted by the Boston Globe, so he's getting a wider audience, they get "street cred" (yeah, the mean streets of the net).

    Dave Winer, a forefather of blogging is going straight up: nothing different except for one week his focus will be a little different. Dave tends to bug me (he still uses Internet Explorer for one, despite the fact he should know better), but I still read his stuff because I try to get multiple angles on things. Dave also was one of the originators of RSS, which is one of my all-time favorite things on the web. On top of that, big ups on his aggregated site of credentialed bloggers (along with other feeds of similarly minded bloggers and some main stream sources). It looks very good. Which is hard for anything that Dave is related to. Anything Radio or Manilla is simply heinous, visually. Props to Bryan Bell for doing his best with a bad lot. Those icons are hideous. Find some good icons.

    Mainstreamers: CNN and MSNBC are attempting their own blogs manned by talking heads and political pundits you'd recognize. Interesting both, but certainly don't have the spontaneity of a real blog or the real feel. The better of the two is definitely Hardball's Hardblogger.msnbc.com. It has a terrible name, but it has Joe Trippi and Ron Regan on top of the normal lot of boredom, stupidity (Scarborough) and the only talking head on TV that I trust, Chris Matthews.

    CNN's Convention Blog (went with a too boring name. Somewhere between that and Hardblogger is a good name) gets second place, and only gets mention for having the former The Daily Show correspondent Mo Rocca on board. He'll also be on Larry King Live all week. Nice.

    I'll have Boston DNC updates here all week, if I see anything worth writing about. Today, about half of our employees rode their bikes to work. That's up from 1/3. I think that's great. I was once the only of of the current crew who did, so I'm proud to see if grow. On my ride home I saw the Massachusetts State Police shutting down Memorial Drive for the night. Helicopters patrolling up and down the Charles River on my ride to and from work.

    My take on the convention tonight is that there have been excellent speeches from Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and currently, as I type Bill Clinton is putting one over the wall as well. Bill has always been a phenomenal speaker. Like him or not, he's a talented orator. Al only learned to speak after he lost the 2000 election, which is too bad. Jimmy Carter is certainly aging and his accent made him sound like he had had a stroke. Reports say his speech read (on paper) even better. So the Democrats are having a very good first inning. Can they keep up the pace?

    Posted in: Politics · Web

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  6. 9/11 Tab Dump

    jake on 2004.07.26
    at 06:55 pm

    Posted in: Politics

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  7. Congratulations

    brian on 2004.07.25
    at 11:26 pm

    Lance courtesy the BBC

    Posted in: Sports

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  8. Sport meets Tech

    brian on 2004.07.25
    at 11:23 pm

    When some of our stores are visited by celebrities, they often take pictures, and show them off to the other stores via an intranet. Whereas that's cool to see for us, our store doesn't participate. We play it cool, and try not to bother them.

    So when the world's most successful female athlete showed up the other day we kept it on the DL. She needed to find out about using her PowerBook to get on the internet for an upcoming trip to Greece. Rounded out with a couple iPod questions, and she was on her way, ready to take on the world. I skipped the congratulations on international goal 150, and my co-worker didn't make a big deal about the local professional athlete-spouse on her desktop with her. We wished her the best of luck on her trip and she was on her way.

    Our next customer asked "What was it like to talk to an Olympian?"

    Athletes, stars, Nobel prize winners, Knights of the Crown, its all just another day at the office.

    Posted in: Apple · Sports

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  9. The Bourne Supremacy

    jake on 2004.07.25
    at 01:56 am

    Bourne Supremacy PosterI was a big fan of The Bourne Identity. I even sat down and read the book after the fact. After buying the Extended Edition with what they call the Bookend Scenes and a “free” ticket I went and viewed The Bourne Supremacy today. Neither of the movies follow the books other than in spirit. The character development is similar, they just tell slightly different stories about an agent who loses his memory and grapples with that and the agency who trained him.

    There may be some spoilers in here, but I’ll try to keep those to a minimum. I won’t give any big secrets away, but there is more information here than you see in the trailers. Unless you want to be completely left in the dark you can read ahead and still “discover” events in the movie.

    Now Jason (Matt Damon) is living a somewhat peaceful life with Marie (Franka Potente) where the only problems he has are nightmares and doubts about his past. The CIA has closed the group he originally worked for but during a mission to discover a mole someone leaves a “forged” fingerprint of Jason Bourne. Then there is an attempt on Jason’s life. Now the CIA is after him for some answers. And assuming the Treadstone group is still being run and they’re still looking for him Jason turns around and goes after them. Throughout the movie Jason not only gets to the bottom of what is going on he learns more about his past and the nightmares he is having.

    Jason Bourne (Matt Damon)I really enjoyed this movie. It has some great action scenes, including a wonderful car chase scene. It is built on a foundation of characters, you don’t feel like the action is there for it’s own sake. There are also plenty of plot twists. Jason just doesn’t go down. He’s a machine and does everything deliberately. You get to see why his superiors considered him the number one agent. I’m not sure if I’ll see this a second time, since I’m not rich, but I am definitely buying the DVD when it comes out.

    Posted in: Movies

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  10. An army of two

    jake on 2004.07.23
    at 06:31 pm

    While i understand that soldiers who become injured could require plastic surgery why the hell are people getting breast augmentations on our tax dollars? I can't even get certain drugs because they're used for something like appearance from my healthcare plan. But apparently if I joined the military I could get a nose job if I wanted to. Their excuse is a bit lacking, "the surgeons have to have someone to practice on." Isn't that why they go to med school? And if they do screw up, is the recruit allowed to go back and spend more of my money to get it fixed?

    Posted in: Rant

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  11. Induce Act under fire and other rantings about 'piracy'

    jake on 2004.07.23
    at 06:12 pm

    I think that this quote from Hatch pretty much sums up what is wrong with this whole process.

    "We're going to do this, we're going to get this done," Hatch said. Piracy has been "a doggone catastrophe to these artists."

    Not only is there no direct correlation between P2P services and sales of CD's but by stopping online piracy there is no direct benefit to the artists. It is common knowledge that artists make cents per CD sale and make all their money through touring and merchandise.

    Also we are still hearing about the other side of this where it's being proven that the RIAA is a bunch of morons. And we see some actual sales statistics.

    "Over the period 1999 to 2003, DVD prices fell by 25% and the price of players fell in the US from over $1,000 to almost nothing," says Strumpf. "At the same time, CD prices went up by 10%. Combined DVD and VHS tape sales went up by 500m, while CD sales fell by 200m, so a possible explanation is that people were spending on DVDs instead of CDs."

    What a concept, people aren't buying a product that constantly increases in cost, those asshole consumers. I still wonder why we have to keep listening to these lies.

    From: Boing Boing and Wired

    Posted in: Politics · Technology

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  12. Image formats: GIF vs. PNG

    jake on 2004.07.22
    at 06:20 pm

    Now that the patent for the GIF image format has expired internationally GD, a popular image image processor, has added support back in.

    This is all important around here because of the way images are submitted for your viewing pleasure. In the past we've had to make sure that they were jpgs, if they were gifs the script I have would not resize them correctly for the front page. Now I can rewrite it to handle pngs and gifs and hopefully everything will be happy and wonderful.

    Vagari IconThere is a debate on Slashdot because of this where a lot of people keep saying the same thing, png's are better than gif's for animation. Regardless it got me thinking because one of the comments pointed out pngout by Ken Silverman. Apparently since I'm currently stuck with an older version of Photoshop at work I can't compress pngs correctly. pngout would have solved that problem for me. pngout shrunk the size of that little guy on the left by about half. And it was already a very small file. He's what I use as my icon/avatar on a few sites. To learn more about pngout and how Photoshop used to stink at compressing the files you can read these articles:

    So now I know that after all this time I had a solution under my nose and I didn't implement it. How irritating. Of course there's plenty of other things around here that I've been interested in adding that are in the to-do list and won't see the light of day in the near future.

    Posted in: Technology · Web

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  13. WWAl-QaedaVF?

    brian on 2004.07.22
    at 02:06 am

    Who would Al-Qaeda vote for? Well, before you think 'the democrats, they're weak on defense even though Kerry's been in a war and Bush only went to day-camp' you might care to think again. Aaron writes, quite succinctly, why Al-Qaeda clearly would prefer Bush to stay. The least of which is they've publicly said so.

    Posted in: Politics

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  14. The big 5 are now the Big 4

    jake on 2004.07.21
    at 05:33 pm

    I'm surprised this is going through the system. With the RIAA being huge assholes to the public you'd think people would think twice about extending their monopoly.

    Those poor independant labels.

    I'm surprised an initiative hasn't come about to join forces against them. Get a bunch of high profile acts, who make loads of money in other ways, to build and work with a new label to build up distribution and other usual overheads creating a new company that offers better rates for CD compensation. Join up with Apple and other download services to give customers what they want. Profit. Only instead of the shrugs of the underpants gnomes you'd have a sound business model.

    The big problem would be building support so that the Big 4 couldn't push around the people you're trying to do business with. Of course if you document all happenings you could produce a large lawsuit and then use the money to run them into the ground.

    I imagine this must be much more difficult than I can fathom, but it's not impossible and with a few huge acts moving over after contracts cease with their current labels you'd be huge right from the get go.

    Too bad no one who has the means to do this cares about the public and smaller artists. Maybe some of the many losing ther jobs can come up with something.

    From: Metafilter

    Posted in: Music · Service Announcement

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  15. L'Alpe d'Huez: Big Day Tomorrow

    brian on 2004.07.20
    at 09:43 pm

    Part of course at Alpe d'Huez One of the greatest days in one of the worlds greatest sporting events arrives tomorrow. L'Alpe d'Huez is the most famous of all the stages in the three weeks of Le Tour De France.

    The USA Today has an excellent primer for non-cycling fans online today to prep you! Things to know this year include the fact that the stage is an individual time trial. This means instead of a slow moving pack of 150 or so riders, the road will host one at a time, released in one-minute intervals. This is the first time in tour history that this stage has been approached in this way. Traditionally, the stage has been a regular stage, with the pack riding perhaps 120 miles before finishing at the top of the mountain. Records are kept for the 13.8 kilometers (8.57+ miles) that the road snakes to the top.

    Here are the highlights of the USA Today piece:

    The crowds are so big that their mass can be seen from the orbiting International Space Station.

    (L'Alpe) will attract more than a million fans for Wednesday's 16th stage of the Tour… the grand finale on Paris' Champs-Elysees draws a crowd half the size.

    …fans along the route, a two-lane, asphalt road, are within touching distance of the riders as they pass. In some sections of the course, riders appear to be laboring through a tunnel of humanity.

    For the multitudes on the course, however, a day on L'Alpe d'Huez is like the Super Bowl and NBA Finals all in one day. Except the Tour does not charge for admission. Many arrive a week early to get a choice viewing spot.

    The infamous "Dutch Corner," about halfway up, is clogged with fans from the Netherlands. The Dutch have settled on this area, in part, because it comes where the roadside area is wide enough to accommodate the mass of partiers.

    More important, it is a particularly steep section that makes the slow-moving riders easy prey for the revelers' shenanigans, such as offering parched riders a cold beer.

    Lance Armstrong has obtained the yellow jersey (maillot jaune, current first place rider) and thus rides last in the time trial. Lance will launch at 10:58 AM EDT.

    Also see alpedhuez.com

    UPDATE: Lance demolished the competition on L'Alpe today. Enjoy this link about stage 16

    Posted in: Sports

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  16. Governor Schwarzenegger makes odd reference to old SNL characters

    jake on 2004.07.20
    at 05:59 pm

    I'm surprised at the reaction to Arnold's statements. Some are saying it's sexist and homophobic. While I agree it's a stupid comment, and can be viewed as sexist because it implies that women are weaker, why is it homophobic? Regardless of whether he is or not, I don't recall the skits on SNL to highlight anything against being gay. They were simply pointing out the types on insecurities that some "beef cakes" have with themselves. The need to lift weights constantly to try and be better than their peers.

    Instead of trying to look deep into the statement we should take it as it is. A remark made about a bunch of "wussy" competitors, by a guy who likes to throw quotes from pop-culture into his speeches. Even if it is stupid and irresponsible.

    Boing Boing
    Wonkette

    And being the geek that I am this reminds me of how when I was in Latin I in High School and these skits were being run (at least around that time) my best friend started jokingly calling people, "Puella Vir."

    Posted in: Politics · Recent Events

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  17. Energy Efficient Heating

    jake on 2004.07.20
    at 12:38 am

    Some Canadiens have developed a nifty device that basically just uses a fan to move air and a panel to build up heat. The panel apparently consists of soda cans painted black. It's a little more complicated than that as the unit is outfitted to turn on and off automatically, etc. But it's definitely something innovative and simple, and doesn't take a lot of sunlight to heat a good 1,400 square feet. Too bad I can't stick one of these on the outside of my apartment, it'd save some money in the winter.

    From: Talk Energy

    Posted in: Science

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  18. Granular eruptions

    jake on 2004.07.20
    at 12:22 am

    Frame from EruptionThis is amazing! It is from an experiment where they demonstrate how sand can look like a liquid. There is a video to watch that isn't all that exciting if you don't know it's sand. Pretty nifty.

    From: David at Boing Boing

    Posted in: Science

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  19. 9/11 Hearings Free to Download at iTMS

    brian on 2004.07.19
    at 11:57 am

    From MacMinute

    The iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is now offering free audio downloads of the 9-11 Commission hearings. The 9-11 Commission is an independent, bipartisan commission investigating the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 tragedy in New York.

    Hmm. It will be interesting to see if this becomes that happens with more regularity, or if it's a one time thing.

    Posted in: Apple · Politics

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  20. New iPod Crashes Websites...

    brian on 2004.07.18
    at 02:05 pm

    Windows IIS can't handle the trafficIt seems Windows Server is no match for the new 4th Gen. iPod. Maybe you can get through by the time you click this link...MSNBC's Newsweek Section. No wonder Steve is smiling on the cover... that and he gets all the best toys first.

    Posted in: Web

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  21. Best Political Flash Movie This Season (thus far)

    brian on 2004.07.17
    at 03:09 pm

    There have been a glut of political flash cartoons on the web this season. This one is the best so far. It's quite amusing.

    Jake's update: This movie was done by the guys at JibJab, and since the other link died, you can view it on their site.

    Posted in: Politics

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  22. New Sustainable Stadium for NYC?

    brian on 2004.07.17
    at 02:20 pm

    Included in NYC's bid to host the Olympic Games, and proposed to be the New York Jets' new home on the West Side of Manhattan, the New York Sports and Convention Center (NYSCC) is in the works to bring a second major venue to the isle of Manhattan (the other being "The World's Most Famous Arena" Madison Square Garden).

    But the reason it makes news on our weblog it's ground breaking environmental sustainability. The Stadium will host 10,000 square feet of solar cells, and 34 wind turbines, among other innovations. It also is accessed by nine modes of transportation, easing traffic and emissions impact. Impressive, but I can't admit to knowing what those nine are. The stadium grounds will be built above the State of New York's Long Island Railroad Hudson Rail Yards, which will continue to operate underneath. The stadium will also surround itself with "blocks" of public, waterfront greenspace.

    Impressive. Let's hope it goes through.
    (Nod: Talk Energy)

    Posted in: Science · Sports

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  23. Alternative Browsers

    jake on 2004.07.16
    at 05:54 pm

    I've been trying to wrap my head around this all day. Wired has an article touting the changing of your browser. With all of the security problems out there for Internet Explorer it makes sense not to use it. There are other reasons, since I'm a designer (and not a writer) I'll touch on those aspects in a second but let me start with security.

    The article lists off five alternatives. Two of these recommendations are flawed. iRider and Deepnet Explorer are shells that wrap around Internet Explorer. They add a bunch of functionality and with things like pop-up blocking are arguably more secure. But they are still running IE under the hood and therefore are still perceptible to not all, but some, if not many vulnerabilities. The real kicker is that iRider has a walkthrough to make browsing with their software more secure. But all the settings you are changing while going through the process are actually Internet Explorer settings. You are actually making Internet Explorer more secure, which is a good thing, but things they mention, like running Windows Update, should be happening anyway.

    Both of these browsers (yes I downloaded them) add a lot to the browsing experience and iRider has a tabbed interface similar and beyond Omniweb's (for Mac), which I love. But if you want to actually be more secure I'd go with one of the other offerings mentioned, like the Mozilla Suite, Opera, or Safari (only for Mac).

    The other big gripe I have with IE wrapping browsers is their inherent lack of standards support because of IE's crappy standards support. In not updating IE since 2001 (besides security issues) Microsoft has left what was once the king of standards to stagnate. Now many of the hacks and workarounds that web developers used to have to do with Netscape 4 we have to do for IE.

    It also can not display PNG image files correctly. So many of the nice things like million colored icons with full transparency, something many WindowsXP and OS X users take for granted now on their desktops, can not be translated to the web.

    Many end users don't really care about making developers like us happier just because we would have an easier time with making web sites. But I implore you to think about the other things. If all you want to do is make your browser a little more secure and get some nice new features then go get one of the two wrapper programs mentioned above. They'll give you some nice new features and if you follow that security page you'll be a little safer from jerks out there. Just don't forget they're wrapped around an unsafe browser to begin with. If you want something completely different go get Mozilla or Opera and browse away to your hearts content.

    Remember it's basically impossible to actually remove IE from your system so if you come across a page that says it's IE only then open up IE and just go to that page. Just don't use it for everything.

    Posted in: Service Announcement · Software · Standards

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  24. DMB enters right race, but bets on a lame horse

    brian on 2004.07.15
    at 10:46 pm

    As a follow up to a previous story, today, the Dave Matthews Band announced an exclusive online music downloads deal with Napster.

    Previously, the DMB had only sold limited music via its own website. Is it possible for their downloads to go from bad, to worse?

    Why? First of all, file format: Napster uses the Windows Media Format. Problem one, proprietary format. Problem two, poor musical quality. Problem three: draconian DRM. Problem four: requires Windows (2000/XP) and the dangerously insecure Internet Explorer. Problem five, requires a player blessed by Microsoft. Problem six: the tracks you download will not work on the world's most popular and iconic digital music player, the Apple iPod. Problem seven, the tracks will not play on computers that were likely actually used to make the music, and I'm willing to bet are used by some of the band members: the Macintosh.

    "So, Brian," you say. "You're a bit biased."

    I agree. But facts are facts. AAC is an open-format, one of the highest audio quality formats, that works on any platform (granted, the FairPlay DRM-enabled AAC tracks only play on Windows and Macintosh.) Oh, and sold on what is by far and away the world's most popular online music service. Which by the way, happens to work on the world's most popular music player... yeah, you know which one.

    "But, Brian," you say. "FairPlay DRM AAC is just restrictive as WMP."

    Yes, and no. First off, iTunes software and its legal agreements allow you to use your music on seven machines, Mac or WinPC. Napster? Three PCs. Also, iTunes let's you use your music elsewhere, without tethers: you can write a downloaded track to CD an unlimited number of times, which then you can use anywhere you want.

    So, do I sound like sour grapes? Maybe. But, I understand that DMB's management make TicketMaster look friendly. For example, many bands have a fan club. Most are free. Some who offer more charge a menial $5 or $10 a year. DMB's "The Warehouse" cost $30/year. I was one of the very first subscribers. Without question, I thought I'd get a lot for my money. What did I get that first year? A sticker, a five-track live CD, and access to a members' only site with very little content and rarely updated. I also had the chance to buy tickets for any concert before they went on sale to the general public.

    About those tickets, did my membership get a discount? Nope, full price-gouged. How about great seats? Ha! I was entered into a lottery! Someone in the general public who got tickets over the phone could easily get better seats than me. The first time I used the lottery, I got stuck so far off to the side at Foxboro, that I could only see Dave's nose around the stack of speakers! I was very pissed. I had better luck in other lotteries (my best being 7th row center), but that's not the point. Fan clubs are meant to treat a band's greatest fans with extra special treatment since they are the bands' best supporters, both financial and otherwise. But the DMB used the Warehouse as a way to keep their fans close as to keep them within gouging distance. Needless to say I haven't been a member since that first year (or was it two, I think I gave them one more chance to underwealm me). They disrespected me.

    This brings me back to my point: once again, the management is doing something good for them, not the fan. More of their fans use iTunes and iPods than likely all the other players and services combined. But because the management doesn't want to trust the fans to buy the whole album (iTunes only sells your album if you allow someone to buy the individual tracks from your album), don't expect DMB's management to do the right thing for its fans. By the way, at least 40% bought on the iTMS is bought as full-album. With the DMB's album being traditionally designed as such (versus say, a Brittney Spears album which may have one popular song, and a collection of unrelated ones), it's full-album percentage would likely be much higher.

    So what do I do as an iPod using, DMB devotee? Same as always: by the CD, and rip it. And then condemn it to a life as a high-fidelity backup. What would I do if tomorrow DMB released its music on iTunes? Same. Why?

    Well, as great as I feel iTunes is for me, I feel its much better for your average music fan. I buy a large percentage of my music on iTunes. But for certain music, I buy a CD. Why do that? Audio fidelity. I listen to my music at a higher bit rate than iTunes Music Store currently provides. Most people can't tell the difference, so iTunes is perfect for them: good prices, fast downloads.

    Where as I prefer to get my music via the internet, the only lossless place I can do that at the moment is LivePhish.com, which I do use regularly. Until iTunes provides a lossless download option, I will continue to buy lossless music (currently mostly CDs) from my most-favorite artists, like Dave Matthews Band (and other DM stuff) Phish studio stuff, Soulive, etc. I rip it to a high-quality AAC. Should audio trends change (say, like last year when I switched wholesale from MP3 to AAC) I have the original lossless files to reimport. With the switch from MP3 to AAC, I got better sounding music, and 20% more space to store it. I expect that to happen again. Perhaps soon.

    What would I do, if I were in charge of DMB's audio download strategy? First, I'd sign up for iTunes. Right now. No brainer. Second, provide for lossless non-proprietary downloads from our site (FLAC or SHN) for our album work, like they do now for their live downloads. If Apple ever came around to lossless, I would then switch that to their servers, and save our bandwidth. Personally, I would also not bother with the cost of DRM... all it takes is one person to crack it, and your music is everywhere. So to cripple all your music is useless. IMO, iTunes uses reasonable DRM to satiate the music industry, until they can learn that protection is lose-lose game. If you can make your music worth its price tag, then people will support you by buying. Respect is a two way street, artist and music industry should respect their fans' fair use, and then fans can respect their artists by monetarily supporting them.

    Respect starts at $0.99 a song.

    Posted in: Music · Web

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  25. Mini could be expanded to include different models

    jake on 2004.07.15
    at 03:17 pm

    The next generation could include a MINI-van, station wagon, and a 2-seater coup. Mostly I still just want a regular old Mini Cooper S. I probably won't get one till the end of 2005 at the earliest. So I'd be in line if I waited a little longer to get anything I wanted in the 2007 line. Maybe I'll just get lucky and they'll be a little easier on the wallet along with me making a little more money in about 2.5 years.

    From: Autoblog

    Posted in: Auto

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  26. Hate Bush, Get Arrested, Lose Job

    brian on 2004.07.15
    at 09:42 am

    In a typical, disgusting display, here's a story of two peaceful, successful people who simply showed up at a Fourth of July Presidential visit wearing shirts that read "Love America, Hate Bush." They were promptly arrested, and the one that worked for the federal government was released from her job. Sound about right?

    The Bush administration keeps bringing up the fact that one random person (out of thousands) who submitted ad ideas to MoveOn.org compared Bush to Hitler. They be in better position to complain if they'd stop acting like him.

    Love America, Hate Bush, Get Arrested.

    Posted in: Politics

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  27. Amazon is the new Napster?

    jake on 2004.07.14
    at 05:48 pm

    The NYTimes raises this question and doesn’t realize it’s not a correct comparison. Simply because Amazon makes it easier to buy used books does not make it like ‘stealing music’. Buying a used copy of 1984 is not the same as using a copier to make a perfect duplicate of it.

    …There aren’t any easy answers, especially as no one is breaking any laws here. – Lorraine Shanley

    Astoundingly Kathryn Blough, the vice president for the Association of American Publishers, actually brought up the whole grey area debate for the stagnation of sales of new books.

    But Ms. Blough said the new-book market could be weak for several reasons, including a slow economy and a sharp increase in other media vying for the book reader’s attention.

    All I keep going back to in my head is libraries. I used to get told an awful lot to save my money and check out a book I wanted to read.

    Whether I’m a library or an individual I can remove from my posession a book I bought because I own it. Whether that be by giving it away, selling it, or throwing it in the trash.

    For some more thoughts…

    Posted in: Books · Technology

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  28. Bush to remove National Forest Protections

    brian on 2004.07.14
    at 01:31 am

    While no one was looking, the Bush administration announced plans to repeal what is known as the "Roadless Rule," a Clinton-era mandate closing a certain 58.5 million (of a total 191 million) acres of National Forests to any kind of road development.

    Today, the administration, against the repeated bipartisan disagreement of Congress decided to make a new rule: the protection would be an opt-in rule, at the discretion of a state that contains the federally protected forest. That means if a state wants those forests to continue to be protected, they have to say so. And of course, this throws conservation in to constant political flux: as a governor is voted in/out, lands may be closed or opened. Flux and conservation are not compatible concepts.

    97 percent of the roadless areas in question is concentrated in 12 western states. Most of those states have Republican governors. Many of those states make a sizable income from foresting and mining operations.

    Posted in: Politics

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  29. They Asked For It.

    brian on 2004.07.13
    at 11:41 pm

    I won't be making regular references to the John Kerry blog here, but here's a post that I think you will enjoy.

    The Republican chairman wrote Kerry's chair for a copy of the fundraiser where celebraties tear the president a new one, and a few in a language only the Vice President could appreciate.

    This was Mary Beth Cahill's pithy response to that request. Classic.
    (hat tip: Amanda)

    Posted in: Politics

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  30. F9/11 Facts for checkin'

    brian on 2004.07.13
    at 02:16 am

    If you've been looking for Michael Moore's source list for F9/11, look no longer. Here it is.

    Posted in: Politics

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  31. Just say 'No' to postponing elections

    brian on 2004.07.12
    at 01:02 am

    I don't care if I have to wear a flak jacket, I will go out on election day and write George W. a pink slip. However, Tom Ridge has some other ideas.

    Posted in: Politics

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  32. KHR-1 Robot Kit

    jake on 2004.07.07
    at 05:29 pm

    Wow KHR-1 RobotGizmodo has really picked up a gem. The KHR-1 Robot Kit (BabelFish Translation) is a steal compared to Asimo at a little under $1300 bucks. I wish I had all that money in my couch cushions. The little guy can do a bunch of stuff, like kick, walk, pick himself up off the ground and even pose for the camera. Check out the video while you're there to see what I mean.

    Posted in: Technology

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  33. A bunch of Spider-Man related things

    jake on 2004.07.07
    at 03:13 pm

    Wow, there’s a lot of Spidey 2 buzz out there. I saw the movie agian with my mom and youngest brother on Monday. Nothing really new to add. I pretty much covered it in that other exhaustive post. But I have been noticing many things around the net in the last few days.

    Posted in: Movies · Web

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  34. A Kerry Announcement Emminent?

    brian on 2004.07.06
    at 03:18 am

    After seeing Joe Trippi on Hahdbahl Amanda and I were transported back to the days where we both read the Dean for America blog several times a day.

    It was a good time.
    -- Amanda

    We decided, on the eve of a possible announcement from John Kerry on his Vice President, that we would check out JK's blog. Well, our consensus was that it lacks that certain energy that Howard's pioneering blog exuded. By the way, our pick is John Edwards. The theory is that JE is the most optimistic. And that's GWB's main tagline "Optimism." Well, it's easy to be enthusiastic when your stock goes up every time you make a political decision.

    We were Dean supporters. We still are, really. Unfortunately, we have to make a choice that doesn't include him, and really there's no comparison. The United States has never lost as many friends as it has in the last four years. And that's just one of the millions of reasons to vote against GWB, by voting for Kerry.

    I voted for Nader in 2000, when I voted for someone I actually wanted in office. I'm so angry that Bush has literally taken my vote of preference away from me, so that I can't vote for someone, but I must vote against George W. Bush.

    Amanda voted for Gore. Neither of us really had much impact on the election, as Gore easily took Connecticut, our place of residence at the time. Until America adopts Instant Runoff Voting, the two major parties will hold a duopoly over power, and the majority of Americans whose political beliefs are a mix from each side of the isle. And we'll all have to vote against someone as much as for someone. And that seems very much undemocratic to me.

    Posted in: Politics

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  35. Happy Independence Day

    brian on 2004.07.04
    at 11:52 am

    What better way to celebrate the Independence of America, then with America's favorite economic model? Capitalism! That means you'll find me at work today! Woo-hoo. Wonder if they'll appreciate me bringing in sparklers?

    Posted in: Service Announcement

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  36. Van Wilder Star to Fight Vampires

    jake on 2004.07.02
    at 06:45 pm

    Hannibal KingSo I forgot to mention a weird thing I saw at the Spider-Man 2 showing a few days ago. They are releasing a third Blade movie. While not a huge surprise by itself, they added a couple of extra characters to the mix. One of them just so happens to be Ryan Reynolds. That's the guy from "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" and one of my favorite funny movies, Van Wilder. He's playing a guy called Hannibal King and it's kinda weird to see him toting guns and stuff.

    Also he recently became engaged to Alanis Morissette. He seems pretty busy.

    Posted in: Movies · Music

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