Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hell Freezes Over (Well, Cools By 1 degree...)

PC World - Hollywood Launches Legal Digital Copying of DVD Movies:
"Two film studios are taking baby steps toward offering a third, legal alternative, permitting you to copy the movie to your device from the DVD itself."

It's not much, because, according to this article, the copyable versions are not exact dupes, but rather highly compressed versions, with lowered quality associated with that technology.

I still say that one should be permitted legally to copy any media purchased by them, in any manner they see fit. The legal troubles should start at the moment that person distributes any one of those copies, paid or not. In other words, the onus should be on the distribution, not the copying.

But whoever said Hollywood and Reality lived in the same universe?

Fight Back Against Secondhand Smoke!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Glenn Hughes

Thanks to my good friend and awsome guitarist, Jimmy Hoddinott, my attention has come once again to Glenn Hughes. You may remember him from Deep Purple fame; however, he hasn't let any moss grow on him in the time since their heyday. He's put out several albums, mostly with a who's who of rock legends.

Studying his work over the last few decades has been interesting, and if you're interested, a good place to start might be at his own website - http://www.glennhughes.com/.

Jim started this adventure by sending me a link to a youtube video post of Hughes' song, Soul Mover, from the 2005 album of the same name. It's a really great tune in the hard rock genre, and shows that Hughes has not lost his vocal ability; indeed, he's far better than he ever was. A little more digging found that CD in its entirety to be particularly strong, with sophistication and nuance not found often in hard rock of any period. I liked it so much, in fact, that I actually purchased it. I have to tell you, that's no mean feat; it's the first disk I've purchased in years (music really stinks these days, don ya know?).

And a little more digging found interesting info on who's playing on the last couple of Hughes' disks (Soul Mover and Songs for the Divine): Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums, while JJ Marsh is on guitar. Not surprisingly, some of these tunes, even though written by Hughes and Marsh, have a decidedly RHCP feel, in the vein of their heavier, more funk/rock work. But this is much heavier, because it's Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, after all. But don't look for RHCP; this is consistently good rock, good music, through and through.

Commentary wouldn't be complete without a mention of Hughes' bass work: better than ever. In my view, his work on Soul Mover is about as close as it comes to a standard for hard rock bass. What I like, as a bassist myself, is how he shows command of the chord by placing his bass note where it has the most impact. It's a lot more important than chops, or just playing the root or fundamental; that's the power and control of the bass, to define the chord with the bass note. Clearly, Hughes understands it; many do not.

iTunes has Hughes' work for preview and for sale, so be sure and check it out. If you like hard rock, that is. If not, turn on the radio and order yourself a pink lady.

So, don't look for Smoke on the Water, but Hughes et. al. are smokin' nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who else is laughing at the music industry? | Tech news blog - CNET News.com

Who else is laughing at the music industry? | Tech news blog - CNET News.com: "The future of the music industry has nothing to do with CDs and everything to do with downloading. Hasn't the music industry learned anything over the past decade as its stranglehold on our buying preferences slowly released? Sadly, the answer is no.

As music downloading (and dare I say illegal downloading) continues to rise, these music companies bury their heads in the sand and blow policy out the other end. Instead of understanding customers and realizing that what we want is readily available music without DRM, Warner and its friends have decided to bully us in the hopes we'll stop. We won't."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Podcast: What's going through Prince's head? ||| CNET News.com

Podcast: What's going through Prince's head? ||| CNET News.com: "Recently, artists such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have decided to embrace Internet distribution and give their music away for free. Now Prince, ironically one of the first artists to release an online-only album, is coming down hard on file sharing. CNET News.com reporter Greg Sandoval joins CNET's Tim Moynihan to talk about what's going through Prince's head."

Really insane.

Malaysia's Proton plans 'Islamic cars' - Nov. 12, 2007:

"Proposed by Iran, the collaboration would include installing features in automobiles such as a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers, and compartments for storing the Quran and headscarves, Proton's Managing Director Syed Zainal Abidin told national news agency Bernama.

"What they (Iran) want to do is to call that an Islamic car," he was quoted as saying while on a visit in Iran.


Friday, November 9, 2007

Hey, kids: Still like the Democrats?

Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else | CNET News.com:

"The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student."

Prince to sue The Pirate Bay

Prince to sue The Pirate Bay | Tech news blog - CNET News.com:

"Continuing an aggressive campaign to defend his copyrights, pop star Prince is preparing to file lawsuits in three countries, including the U.S., against The Pirate Bay."

But the real question is, Who the hell is downloading music by "The Artist Formerly Known as... Who?"

Vote them ALL OUT

I am urging all Marylanders to vote out ALL incumbents in the next election, bar none. I, for one, am sick of them refusing to listen to us. We put them there.

It's simple arithmetic: the more the Maryland state government gets, the more it will spend. I was discussing the matter with my state delegate yesterday, and he told me his interest was in efficiencies in government. That's a nice thought, but if that's so, how can government become more efficient if they are constantly rewarded with ever-higher funding, stemming from ever-increasing taxes? The way to force government to be efficient is to cut their funding, and then let's watch them do the same job with less money. You know, I'll bet we'll all be surprised at how well a job they do.

I am sick of politicians taking political credit for doing a "good" job when they take the people's money and spend it. You guys want credit for doing something good? Then take credit for doing as you were directed to do, in our representative government.

I believe that anyone with even a modicum of common sense can do a better job than these career politicians that we have now. Therefore, I will not vote for any incumbent. I want fresh blood down there in Annapolis. I hope you agree.


Senate passes tax plan -- baltimoresun.com: "'It's clear that every Marylander is going to pay more, significantly more,' said Sen. David R. Brinkley, the minority leader from Frederick County.

Under the Senate bill, the sales tax would rise from 5 percent to 6 percent, the tobacco tax would double to $2 per pack of cigarettes and the corporate income tax would increase from 7 percent to 8 percent. The chamber jettisoned O'Malley's proposed reduction of the state property tax, and largely rejected his proposals for making the personal income tax structure more progressive."

Small Lives

Why is it that we like blogs so much? We read incessantly about mundane daily things that populate other people's lives, and seem to like it. Is it voyeurism? Is it simple psychological diversion? Or is it an interest to compete - to see if other people's lives are even more unsatisfactory than our own? Or is it that humans need social activity in a world where, even though the population grows larger by the second, personal interaction with other individuals shrinks smaller, caused by our Internet-mediated lives?

Why was lonelygirl15 such a phenomenon? And were we happy or sad to discover it was just a ruse, put forth by an aspiring actress?

My mom would say we need to get out more. Pick up the telephone instead of the keyboard. Better yet, walk over to your friend's house and go to lunch. Take a walk and look at a tree instead of a JPG of one. Simple things.

So the question becomes, Who's at fault? Is it just the way of the New World, or is it us, ourselves?

I always think that people are in control of their lives. I don't believe so much in fate, nor in destiny. I believe one has what one worked for. Our culture worked hard for the ease that the Internet has provided, but I'm not sure this is a good thing. Looking at the past, were things that were manufactured better when it was harder to make them, or better now that manufacturing is easy? Do you think that a car made today will still be running in the year 2107? There are 100-year old cars, you know...

But things don't make a culture; people do. There are the Luddites, and the Amish, who seem to get along quite well, thank you, without the things that supposedly "improve" our lives. And they're actually quite nice people, whose work in doing things like home building is extraordinary by todays miserable standards. It's all in what they value, and pride in their work, and who they are, and that goes back to their interactions.

Human interaction is and has been the driving force behind the success of our species since forever. We help each other, because we know each other. But these days, when even gameplay is done with strangers over a wire, how can we relate to one another, to each other's situations, and in general learn and maintain a pathos?

Research has generally shown that the best way to create a sociopath is to deny him human contact. With that said, is that the road down which we're going? Not just being lonely and depressed, but actually creating a violent sociopathic culture?

Maybe that's the Armageddon: killing ourselves through convenience.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sony's TWA/T... Yep - Homotron.net

Sony's TWA/T... Yep - Homotron.net: "You would think that at some point and time, someone in their marketing department would say 'Hey, this may not be a great name for a product.'"

Zebron and James