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Thursday, November 18, 2004

In other Music-Related News...

Creative to Take on iPod with $100m marketing campaign

Straydogz say: Aaahhahahahahahahahahahah!!!

ahhaha. Whew. Anyhow, I think it's great Creative is being this aggressive. It's really very good "for the market," as they say whenever "they" are being polite.
My favorite Quote: "The mp3 war has started and I am the one who has declared war," Creative Chief Executive Sim Wong Hoo declared in a recent media event. "We`re
targeting (sales of) more than 1 million mp3 players a month in the current
quarter and we are on track. It`s our target to beat iPod in this quarter."

I see this as an extension of POTUS-on-a-stick's "pre-emptive war" doctrine to the digital music space. I fear the results might be similar. I predict $30m of that $100m will go to pay rebate/discounts retailers offer...No, make that $50m...

Seriously, the Touch is a nice WMA-file-based portable music player. Very solid. Very engineering-driven. It's UI doesn't match the iPod's -- either the mini's or any of the gen3-gen4 products. It's screen is as difficult to read as the gen1 iPods. It's touch "strip" or whatever they call it is useful but hard to control. And what's with the preloads of all the Bejing Symphony tracks? (Not that they're bad, they're actually quite good. Especially the Shoshtekovich pieces. Just wondering if this is, like, tribute to the mainland or something...)

Weirdness in Radio Space

So Mel Karmazin, who apparently can't take an 82-year-old "business man" is going to make Sirius a blazing beacon of revenue generation and artistic freedom via the wonder that is satellite radio? OK. I give it a year. (I think of Mel and I think of "What good are you anyway, if you can't stand up to some old businessman?", from Dylan's "Summer Days" on the "love and theft" album/CD/collection of files.)

Howie Stern and Mel, teamed up again! As mi amigo de trabajo, Allen Weiner has said repeatedly, Howie's essential appeal on radio was the frisson that occurred when he would run his patter right up to the edge of the FCC's "rules." Now, with no FCC schoolmarms to work against, Howie's going to be like every 12-year-old who learns a new oath or curse word: it's funny hearing it the first time. The second and 2,256th time, it's just bleedin' annoying.

Instead of screwing around with boneheads such as Stern, I think Mel should run over and cut a deal with Rhapsody. For some incremental bump to my Rhapsody subscription, and possibly my Sirius subscription,m I think it would be very cool to be able to play via my Sirius channel, the Rhapsody-based playlists I created on my PC. Challenges: making sure Sirius' catalog of content matched Rhapsody's. No small feat. Second challenge: the interactivity I get on Rhapsody (skipping forward, skipping backward etc.) would have to be shut off. However, I believe users would put up with that because, presumably, they created and sequenced the playlist in a way they found pleasing.

To me, that sort of user-defined programming would be the only way satellite radio is anything but the new "videoconferencing." (Anybody remember ProShare?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

And, yes, I'll put my own "remix" up in the next little bit. Or hours. Or days...

M2 Contributes to the Creative Source-Material to Preserve Clever Satirical Works...

Intel and Microsoft -- both shining examples of companies that have mastered well-mannered, simple user-interfaces and consumer devices -- are joining forces to spread the joy of digital media. They're tossing "tens of millions" of dollars to promote "Digital Joy."

My contribution: Here's the original Libretto of the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, his adaptation of Schiller's "ode to Joy." Feel free to mix/match and poke good, clean satricial fun at the WinTel effort to own the digital living room.


Oh friends, no more of these sad tones!
Let us rather raise our voices together
In more pleasant and joyful tones.

Joy, thou shining spark of God,
Daughter of Elysium,
With fiery rapture, goddess,
We approach thy shrine.
Your magic reunites
That which stern custom has parted;
All humans will become brothers
(Schiller's original:
What custom's sword has parted;
Beggars become princes' brothers)
Under your protective wing.

Let the man who has had the fortune
To be a helper to his friend,
And the man who has won a noble woman,
Join in our chorus of jubilation!
Yes, even if he holds but one soul
As his own in all the world!
But let the man who knows nothing of this
Steal away alone and in sorrow.

All the world's creatures drink
From the breasts of nature;
Both the good and the evil
Follow her trail of roses.
She gave us kisses and wine
And a friend loyal unto death;
She gave the joy of life to the lowliest,
And to the angels who dwell with God.

Joyous, as His suns speed
Through the glorious order of Heaven,
Hasten, brothers, on your way,
Joyful as a hero to victory.

Be embraced, all ye millions!
With a kiss for all the world!
Brothers, beyond the stars
Surely dwells a loving Father.
Do you kneel before Him, oh millions?
Do you sense the Creator's presence?
Seek Him beyond the stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

Do you want to join me in legal-music-sharing experiments?

If so, let me know. Disclaimer: some of this will involve "beta" software.
For example, I'm building a group on Grouper Networks (www.grouper.com). You'll be able to "listen" but not download bits from my music library.

mail: mdmcguire41@comcast.net

Disclaimer II: Grouper doesn't have a Mac client. (Much as I'd like them to...)

Disclaimer III: I don't work for Grouper.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

What? Fox is Already Declaring Bush the Winner???

What a surprise. It's only 9:45 p.m. Ohio is it.

Should POTUS-on-a-stick actually, gulp, win again, it will be testament to our society's desire for "stability" -- not matter the long-term cost. I find it amazing, and sad, how many people will vote for the perception of security in the face of the reality of pure avarice and incompetence.

I wonder if at some point in the future political scientists are going to look back at this election and note that the conventional wisdom -- that a country shouldn't change president in the middle of a war -- was once again overtaken by reality.

If the generation that fought WWII was the "greatest generation" then this generation is the "arrogant-empire" generation: the meek and the greedy led by the mendacious.

Or I suppose I'm just completely out of touch with the "mainstream"? Fine with me.

I think I need to go learn the words to "O Canada."

The "endolphins" Are Still Working So I am Not Discouraged . . .

Go work out for a couple of hours and everything goes to hell: "Sam Malone" (not my line, it's from a friend who is a native of Cambridge, MA) can't get it together in Ohio. The ">media are reporting that POTUS-on-a-stick is "ahead." I'm watching our fair state's two senators, Babs Boxer and DiFi.

My wife likes Boxer because she is a "small woman who has managed to get into high places." Great, the short-peoples contingent is representin' and being represented.

(DiFI doesn't count in my book because she's essentially a republican in Democrat's clothing. ) Both Babs and DiFi don't rate high on my list -- aside from their reasonable environmental work -- because they are just too happy to take big bucks from hollywood and the music industry to write/support copyright-lockdown legislation.

But let's really hope for a Kerry rally...

(* the "endolphins" line was an Annette Benning's big line from her early role in "Postcards from the Edge." )

It's Official: Wonkette.com is an Official Real-Deal-No-Kidding Heavyweight

God knows we all need a few dick jokes to brighten our day, and all the better that they come at the expense of politicans, journalists, would-be-journalists etc. But Wonkette's so much more than that. Ok, not much more than that but, hey, the "pool reports" are worth my employer's bandwidth..
The site's officially bigger than, well, anyhow...It's the real deal media-wise because I haven't been able to get to her page at all in the past 1.5 hours. By comparision, CNN.com, fox.com and other media stalwarts seem to come right up.
Oh, I know, CNN's a big-time site with lots of servers etc. I know, CNN's bigger, but wonkette is where the cool, intelligent and vulgar people go for important information...

Should Anybody Actually be Reading This Today...Cool non-partisan electoral vote tracker...

We can be entertained by tonight's tallying process run by a bunch of overpaid dweebs in suits feigning humility in the face of the grandeur that is the democracy in action...Or we can do it ourselves. Find sites with RSS feeds. Bloggers aren't the answer, just an alternative set of voices. Then check this out! Talk about the "democritization of access to consumers..." This is a U.S. ex-pat teaching computer science in Amsterdam !!!! (And I mean the Netherlands, not N.Y.)

Is he dependent on some of the same data-feeds that the NETWORKS are using? sure. There's just not a lot of blather and bullshit that is our so-called "political discourse" from the established media dinosaurs.

I love this country -- as long as somebody's keeping an eye on the foxes running the parties...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Was it Just Me...

Or did I notice a little bit of editorializing-via-edits on "fox" the other night? The network has a "Campaign Minute" or some such thing where they have the two candiate addressing a single subject. (It doesn't appear as if the segments were taped at events.) It sure seemed like Kerry's was, well, cut short. It was like he'd violated the time limit and they simply cut it.
POTUS-on-a-stick seemed, however, to end right on time and he even got a second-and-change to smile/smirk beningly. (OK, I guess beningly in the same way Humbert Humbert ever smiled beningly at Lolita.)

Annoying Political Campaign Item # 1

I understand the importance of political speech. Really, I do. And I really understand that politicians and the money behind propositions will always use technology to get a bigger megaphone.
But really, do I have to put up with automated voice messsages that, for some reason, are completely unintelligible? No kidding, I got one on my home voicemail system. I think it was Jerry Brown. And he was "for" something. All I could make out was "...yes....(interrupted by static, various aural anomolies etc.) ...on Proposition ...(interrupted by static, various aural anomalies etc.)"

I'd have tried to capture it to share with you but I couldn't stop myself. I deleted it.

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