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Forget the mainstream

May 29, 2004

If you haven’t already seen this week’s Frontline documentary, “The Way The Music Died”, you can stream it directly from their web site.  (Thanks Harry for the head’s up)

It’s interesting.  They did spend a few minutes beating on the tired old spin of how much sales are down due to downloading (despite recent numbers that show the opposite), but they spent a lot more time on how the industry itself has killed the product, strangling innovation and continuing to try to stuff the channel full of the same old tired, cookie-cutter music.

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The Way The Music Died

May 29, 2004

If you haven’t already seen this week’s Frontline documentary, “The Way The Music Died”, you can stream it directly from their web site. (Thanks Harry for the head’s up)

It’s interesting. They did spend a few minutes beating on the tired old spin of how much sales are down due to downloading (despite recent numbers that show the opposite), but they spent a lot more time on how the industry itself has killed the product, strangling innovation and continuing to try to stuff the channel full of the same old tired, cookie-cutter music.
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SageTV 2.0 In Depth

May 25, 2004

HTPCnews has an in-depth review of SageTV 2.0.  This is an excellent overview with tons of illustrations, and even goes into detail on things like the hows and whys of using various MPEG2 codecs with SageTV.

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SageTV 2.0 Review – It’s not just GeekTV, it’s GeekVo…

May 24, 2004

I’ve been down sick with the creeping crud the last four days or so… Alright, it’s a summer cold, it just felt like the creeping crud.

This would ordinarily be a time for staying in bed and catching up on some TV watching… Unfortunately, the GeekTV in the bedroom decided to die last week. 

As an aside, it sure seems like an inordinate number of the large hard drives I’ve had that died prematurely over the years were Maxtors.  This was another one, and I’m resolved once again never to buy another one (but it seems like they’re always what’s on sale when I’m stuck and have to buy something locally in a hurry).

Anyway, GeekTV…

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Hymn Step-By-Step Guide

May 19, 2004

Engadget provides a step-by-step guide to using Hymn (formerly Playfair) to remove Apple’s FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) from songs purchased from iTunes Music Store (ITMS).

Interestingly enough, to run Hymn on a Mac, you also need an iPod. Hymn on the PC does not require an iPod in order to access the keys, but only runs in command-line mode.

Bear in mind that Hymn is only useful if you actually have legitimate rights to the song in iTunes to begin with (ie: you’re the purchaser, or have been authorized by the purchaser), and the resulting DRM-less file still has all of your purchase information in it — if it turns up on a P2P network somewhere, you should probably expect someone to come knocking on your door with a subpoena. If you’re in the US, using this is probably a violation of the DMCA (This is a good time to remind you to write your congresscritter NOW, and ask them to support current DMCA reform actions). It’s also likely a violation of the iTunes terms of service.

Let’s be careful out there…

Hymnal

May 19, 2004

Engadget provides a step-by-step guide to using Hymn (formerly Playfair) to remove Apple’s FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) from songs purchased from iTunes Music Store (ITMS).

Interestingly enough, to run Hymn on a Mac, you also need an iPod.  Hymn on the PC does not require an iPod in order to access the keys, but only runs in command-line mode.

Bear in mind that Hymn is only useful if you actually have legitimate rights to the song in iTunes to begin with (ie: you’re the purchaser, or have been authorized by the purchaser), and the resulting DRM-less file still has all of your purchase information in it—if it turns up on a P2P network somewhere, you should probably expect someone to come knocking on your door with a subpoena.  If you’re in the US, using this is probably a violation of the DMCA (This is a good time to remind you to write your congresscritter NOW, and ask them to support current DMCA reform actions).  It’s also likely a violation of the iTunes terms of service.

Let’s be careful out there…

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Heavy Weather

May 17, 2004

A Kansas tornado gobbles up an entire house in this awesome video taken by storm chasers…  (27Mb MPEG)

Link via Boing Boing

I’ve lived in tornado country my entire life, but this kind of thing still sends shivers down my spine to watch…

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83% of Musicians Offer Downloads

May 15, 2004

The latest survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicates that 83% of artists have provided free samples of their work online, and many say that free downloading has helped them sell CDs and increased the crowds at their concerts (where the artists actually make a buck or two). Only 5% say that it’s hurt them.

As for their own careers, more of these artists say free music downloading online has helped them than hurt them. Fully 83% of those in the survey say they provide free samples or previews of their music online. And strong pluralities say free downloading has a payoff for them. For instance, 35% of them say free downloading has helped their careers and only 5% say it has hurt. Some 30% say free downloading has helped increase attendance at their concerts, 21% say it has helped them sell CDs or other merchandise; and 19% say it has helped them gain radio playing time for their music. Only fractions of them cite any negative impact of downloading on those aspects of their work.

Not so bright sunshiney day

May 13, 2004

Apparently network TV isn’t the only thing getting dimmer—surface sunlight has decreased 10% – 37% since the 1950’s (NY Times, gotta register to see it).

I can’t help wondering if this had anything to do with it…. And here we thought huge conspiracies were the big thing to worry about there…

I can’t decide whether to throw away my suntan lotion or my tinfoil hat…

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Hymn, FairPlay & Playfair

May 12, 2004

Playfair is back, for the third time, this time hosted out of the US by a party who claims that they are prepared to weather the inevitable legal storm. The name of the project has been changed to Hymn.

For anyone unfamiliar with the story, Hymn is designed to remove the restrictive FairPlay DRM incorporated into Apple’s iTunes Music Store purchases.
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