Friday, December 31, 2004
Fans usually love learning about the artists. Part of "the system" needs to be artist information. Artist blogs, phones to create photo blogs for the more popular artists.... discussion boards for artists....
Since it will be grass roots, the artists will love being able to hear from the fans....
oh man, that's an exciting idea... maybe that's what will make this whole thing work.
The politics of failure have failed. Or... The old method to music distribution was necessary for the following reasons
1) Music was expensive to create
2) Music was expensive to market
3) Music was expensive to distribute.
There are 2 things that have caused those three main reasons to disappear. Home studios are getting cheaper and cheaper, and The Internet.
The internet makes marketing and distribution easy and cheap.
Home studios make music production easy and cheap.
But here's the kicker.
Music is still hard.
So, my solution is built around the idea that I can handle distribution and marketing through the internet, and the artist can handle production in most cases. (2 bands I know have produced CDs on their own, using commodity hardware in the last couple years).
The problem I'm hoping to solve (before the world at large becomes aware of it) is finding new music. I go down to the local music store, and my biggest problem is knowing what to buy. I listen to the kiosks and I try to find new and interesting music. If I was better about it, I would look online. What if we were able to provide a service that allowed rankings and ratings and music samples. Then when you liked it, you just downloaded it.
That's how I think it could work. For a subscription fee. You get into the service. You get access to all the music, and all the music reviews.
It's like the online music stores, but without all that messy nasty expensive ineffective DRM.
It might not be different enough to differenciate itself from the mainstream online music stores though. Maybe the grassroots is the way to do it though. iTunes seems to be courting from the top down... which makes sense since they can spend the money on it. But maybe a grass-roots effort that appeals to the smaller music scenes could grow up into being the mainstream.
It's a crazy idea. And I think it would be a matter of execusion. It's not the idea that revolutionary necessarily, just the details.
I should get busy and throw together a prototype. Perhaps Joel Hartse would be interested in brain-storming with me. He's talked about starting a music label before. Grass roots could do it.
Am I old now? Isn't complaining about music volume the mark of an old person. My brother-in-law-in-law used to say that having his first BBQ was when he finally knew he was a man... grown up 'n all. I wonder when that happened for me....
More scattered thoughts....
I like web comics.
Web comics are great because the biggest expense associated with them appears to be web hosting. (and supplies, but I suppose those that create web comics would have the equipment no matter what)
Internet distribution is going to change the way the world works. The record industry knows this. That's why they're lobbying so hard to keep their business model intact.
I buy CDs. I like owning the media. I'm probably like most Americans.
Who is the guy who's going to figure out how to make a business model out of un-DRMed (digital rights management) distribution of music? I've spent time thinking about it, but so far all I've come up with is a website that's primary offering is to categorize and rate all the music, and provide hosting to the artists. So you take the place of the record labels by filling the two major rolls the recording industry fill today. 1) Marketing. 2) Distribution.
Maybe the business model needs to be like google adwords.... artist royalties per download.... that model has problems as well though. In order to remove the DRM enticement you have to make money for the artist and middle-man no matter how many copies of the song are traded. Subscription fees to access the ranking/recommendation system is one area that seems like it's ripe for money.
In the future of music distribution, the hard part is going to be finding the music you're interested in. As music production costs come down, and distribution costs come down, the hard part will be finding good music.
The problem is getting the artist money in that model.... maybe it needs to look something like this.
1) Artists are paid to get their music into "the system".
2) Artist retains all copyrights and royalties to the music. (they call pull their music off "the system", They can also sign deals with other distributors)
3) Artists are paid bonuses for the "activity" their music generates. (activity could be high reviews, or inbound links. "The system" would need some good spam filtering if possible to avoid abuse)
4) Users have access to any piece of music in "the system"
5) "The system" will track ratings and recommendations to provide value to discerning users looking for new music.
6) Users may be requires to paid for bandwidth they consume from "the system" (priamarily to offset bandwidth costs)
So... who wants to make "the system" with me?
Here's what I like about
1) Artists get paid
2) Artists could get paid more for better/more popular music
3) Nobody cares about DRM or expensive lawsuites.
4) Artists get paid
Here's what I haven't figured out yet
1) Can the recommendation/ratings be valuable enough for people to pay for them.
2) Will people pay for the bandwidth they use? (if not, then this could fall about as bandwidth costs soar through the roof)
3) Is somebody going to steal my idea and make this before I do.
4) Will artists find this model compelling.
Maybe it's just the wine talking...
It's the anti-conformist in me that rebels against this tyle the most. I mean, there are probably hunderds or thousands of blogs that could be using this style. How unoriginal of me.
wikky wikky waaaaahhhhhh goes ths turntable sound.
Shawn, the guy I just met is sitting on the coffee table drumming on his leg.
The living room is hopping with pre-new year activity. Good times, good wine, and good times... oh, I alreay said that.
I hereby title this "Miscellaneous 'n stuff". I'm feeling scattered and blogging some stuff will make me feel better.
I need to get my act together and send out some links to my blog. But who would find this stuff interesting. My two main topics are church stuff and technology. Most of the folks I know from church aren't technogeeks, and most of the technogeeks I know are.... umm interested in church. Maybe they are good candidates. And maybe the church folks would find the technology stuff interesting. I wish blogger supported categories.
Somebody was just talking about cells dying off... I wonder what they're talking about...
I'm very anxious to hear how the music is going to sound once it comes back from mixing/mastering.
We have a very cool community of artists and musicians here at apostles.
I'm sitting in the The living room on New years even listening to some good music and generally having a grand old time.
Living room is the daytime operation for the close kin of apostles church Artwerks It's a tea-bar and venue. Albiet a small venue.
Snopes take on the Hoax
I think this is a fascinating phenomenon. I've seen this particular hoax rise from a fark photoshop competition to become one of the most popular hoaxes this year.
The creator of this "hoax" didn't publish it to be a "hoax". It was simply part of a photoshopping competition, but I think it's risen so quickly because of an odd quirk of our Modern culture. It's the same reason we don't respect our elders anymore.
We think our elders are stupid.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Indeed, it just might buy the PR breathing space needed to allow the IE team to do what it seems they have do - tear IE apart and start fresh.
Just what the browser market needs... another company attempting to rewrite it's product from the ground up (*cough* netscape). Does that mean we'll have to wait 2 years before we see version 8 of IE (well if the next version is bundled in longhorn they might as well... they've got the time) ;-)
Maybe that's how things work in the browser market.
Netscape chooses to rewrite their browser.
Firefox is born (eventually)
Microsoft decides to rewrite IE
Open Source IE is born (eventually)
Mozilla decides to rewrite Firefox
FirePanda is born.....
Friday, December 10, 2004
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Monday, December 06, 2004
Monday, November 29, 2004
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Linux Journal is up on the 5th floor (of which he is a contributor) and we just had a UPS guy come in here asking about where the Linux Journal offices were cause he had a package for Doc Searls.
Inconclusive yes, but I'm trying to convince Shawn to go upstairs and ask them if he works here.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
It is possible for you to visit this web site daily, or every other day, or weekly, and pick up the latesting postings that I've made. This unfortunately doesn't scale as well as some new beautiful technology called RSS. RSS is a format used to publish the contents of a website (laymans terms here). This site has an RSS feed which publishes the title and contents of every post I make. This is the link rss feed
On my PC I use an open source piece of software called RSS Bandit to "subscribe" to feeds published by certain websites. This lets me go about my daily business and when RSS bandit detects there is a new posting it let me know. I can then go through and quickly see all the new posts that have arrived since the last time I looked. This way I can subscribe to many many blogs, and read them in a relatively short amount of time. It's much more efficient than navigating to each website to see if there has been a new posting since the last time I looked.
For those on the mac you might want to check out News Fire. I haven't tried it yet, but it's free, so it doesn't hurt to check it out.
RSS feeds are actually specially formatted XML documents that RSS readers will periodically poll to see if there is new content listed in the XML document. My site puts the entire content of the post in the XML document, so you should never have to visit this page to view what I've posted. Just check your RSS Reader to see what the latest crazy stuff I've said is.
Up next: A primer on how to read this blog. I plan on sending out some links to my blog and I think a good way to start off would be a little primer on how I read blogs and why I think that method is effective.
I thought this was amusing. Google is "more evil than satan", and Microsoft is an "evil corporation".
Blogs are a wonderful thing for Microsoft. It lets the developers and project managers working on a project respond directly to rumors and questions. Very very good for a company that has been an "evil faceless giant" for years.
Gwen and I bought the 40 gig model replay tv, and the reality is, it's not worth it to upgrade to the higher models. They charge you an extra 100 bucks for what is basically 40 gigs more storage. I can build a 250 gig hard drive for about 150 bucks right now, which is a much better gig/dollar ratio. I just have to do a little work to get the replaypc setup.
DVArchive supports running scheduled tasks. So currently I have it setup to pull the shows I watch the least off of the replay and put them on the PC. That way they aren't taking up room on the replay. The limiting factor is going to be transfer speed though. You can only pull things off at about 1x. So I guess I'm limited to recording 12 hours of tv a day. ;-)
It's nice to have that extra storage and not worry about the replay automatically deleting shows to make room for more. Plus I might be able to start recording things in high quality which might make better use of our 37" plasma tv. Although it's still going into the replay over composite cables, which has gotta be the bottleneck at the moment. I want an HDTV comcast cable box simply because it supports outputs better than composite video. At least then I could do some side by side trials to see if it actually gives me better quality video.
Here's to hoping that HDTV DVRs come down in price, and aren't heavily DRM encumbered (yeah right).
Which is another topic for another day. I've done some very fun things with the replaytv, all of which I imagine would fall under fair use. However, the powers that be would like to stop me from doing these things... with the broadcast flags and all that other BS. :-(
I really like the feel of the place... modern... kind of like the future of the past.
They have free wi-fi though, which is important. Especially since I don't really have anything I'm looking for. Mostly just along for the ride while Gwen gets some books about some composer or another. I do actually remember which one, but I'm afraid to attempt spelling it. Ah I have an idea. I'll just look at this book sitting next to me.
That wasn't so hard. I hope Gwen's efforts are fruitful. She had a list of about 10 books and so far I'm only seeing one sitting here. Not a good sign.
This isn't a bad way to force me to blog... sit in a room with a bunch of boring books, but internet access. ;-)
The latest addition to the setup is my old desktop that has been turned into a replay server using DVArchive. The latest version of DVArchive is great. The web server functionality makes this whole thing work. I have a box running windows XP hosting DVArchive.
The machine in question is a 1.2 ghz Athlon with 512 megs of ram and a 80gig hard drive.
A major factor is the fact that you can stream shows from the replaypc (as I've taken to calling it) to the replaytv. I set up a couple of channels to automatically get moved from the replaytv to the PC.
The next step in this process involves windows media encoder and my ipaq. :-)
I've downloaded videos to my laptop and encoded them at a bitrate compatible with my iPaq, then taken them down to the gym and watched them instead of whatever is on the tvs downstairs. I'm hoping to automate the process and punch a hole through my router so I can download them at work and put them on my ipaq. I'll never be bored at the gym again. :-)
Friday, November 12, 2004
Gwen bought me this album yesterday. I like it so far. A little bit too glitchy in areas, but has some very cool melodic moments.
(Also, everybody who blogs with blogger should get this extension for firefox. BlogThis
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Thursday, November 04, 2004
This technology sounds very cool. When I originally got my iPaq I thought it would be handy for surfing the net. However, with the small screen size, and with so many websites not designed for small form factor, it just never really "worked". I use my laptop for surfing the net now anyway.
Course I would love to see web designers using layouts that will shrink better. I've taken a stab at this kind of thing before (creating PDA friendly web pages) and it's not easy. But there are web developers out there that are much better than I (I don't consider my self a web designer at all really) that could tackle these problems.
Market's not big enough to warrant attention I guess.... unless those web enabled cell phones become popular.
It's one of those chicken and egg things. Developers don't write for SFF because nobody uses SFF devices to surf the web, and nobody uses SFF to surf the web because it all looks so horrible.
XHTML and CSS to the rescue. :-)
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
But pretty much every two or three days I experience misplacing something, or trying to remember what someone said earlier, or trying to find a specific phrase from a book or something I wrote down... you know where I'm going with this-
I actualy feel my "command" and "f" fingers twitch in response to the desire to find things. This is especially the typical reaction when I'm trying to find a word or a phrase on a page, or when I can't seem to find my keys. [command + f: "keys"]
Yesterday I lost my wallet. I searched the house over for 3 hours, checked the car about 3 times, dug through pockets, and when I still hadn't found it, I came to the conclusion that I either lost it in a parking lot I had been at earlier, or that it had somehow slipped from my hand into a grocery bag which I later threw away. It was then I imagined what it had been like if I could go to some central storage facility in my home, and get my hands on the "backup wallet" I had made in case I ever accidentally tossed my original.
When I can't remember some piece of information someone told me over the phone, I want to open my email and find the message where s/he had told me that information. But of course, it doesn't really work that way.
I don't live inside a computer (and if I did, surely I'd have much cooler clothing than I do), and while it would make finding things I've misplaced plenty easier if I did live in a computer, I can't help but worry about myself and others like me. Do I rely on computers too much? I'm not talking about relying on computers to take care of my bank account, or to keep inventories at the local grocery store or whatever (that's a whole 'nother topic). I specifically mean- Do I rely on computers to remember things for me too much? To help me find things? Has this dependence taught me that I don't need to remember where I put things? Or that... I don't have to listen to someone the first time, because I can just "check the email" later?
I think I'll start calling people again, instead of just emailing people for everything. Maybe that will help.
Monday, November 01, 2004
The new one will have c:\msdn videos\ as the input and c:\msdn videos converted\ as the output.
I could get ipodder, but that's not a real solid app based on my experience with the mac version... maybe I will get it though... then I get setup my desktop to download and encode the videos... then I just need to figure out the best way to sync them with my ipaq...
I have an iPaq 5550 that will play wmv files with the built in Windows Media Player, but for some reason I couldn't get the channel 9 videos to play. A quick email conversation with Scoble pointed me to some ideas. It sounds like they are doing multiple bit rates, as well as variable bit rates. I went off and downloaded the windows media encoder so that I could transcode the videos to a more ipaq friendly format.
Here's the process.
Visited the video forum on channel9
I used the "downloadthemall" plugin for firefox to grab all the windows media files (this was a little tough because they have links to both the streaming and download videos which share the wmv extension. I had to manually weed out the ones that were streaming)
Download the windows media encoder
I used the profile editor to create a new profile that was suitable for my ipaq
32kbps, 44khz, mono CBR for audio. Since this is primarily about the audio, I didn't want to be stingy with the audio bit-rate.
5 second buffer
video smoothness of 75
This produces files that are about 1/4 the size of the originals. I'm definitely losing quality, and doing a transcode instead of a second encoding of the original material doesn't help. It would be nice if they would start producing 2 videos, one that was CBR and smaller to fit on my iPaq... but so far this seems like it will work.
To do the encoding I've downloaded all the files into one directory and then use the batch encoder to encode them.
This is the command string I'm using:
cscript.exe WMCmd.vbs -input "c:\MSDN Videos" -output "c:\MSDN Videos\Converted" -loadprofile "c:\MSDN Videos\pocketpc.prx"
In the future I'll just watch the videos XML feed and download those... although it would be nice to setup the podcasting stuff. That will probably be the next step... setup ipodder to download the videos (does the channel9 video feed support ipodder?) and then afterwards run a bat file to transcode and delete the videos.
Monday, October 18, 2004
I've been working on a similar project to what Ars recently undertook. It's quite challenging to comform to XHTML 1.0 standards, but the end result is very cool. Separating presentation, markup, and data is a great way to add flexibility to your site. Especially when your content is generated. XHTML is a great way to go as it is easier to produce as consume (any XML parser should be able to consume valid XHTML)
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I'm on the search beat every day, so I tend to get a little jaded about hype. Everyone loves an underdog, and I'm no exception. So when a little buzz ripple blossoms into a full-fledged trend, I tend to identify. Such is the case with the movie Napoleon Dynamite
[Via Flagged Items]
I thought this was interesting. It illustrates the independent model against the giant coporations when promoting movies. The independent film just chugs along steadily, where as the giant films go out in a flash of glory.
It would be interesting to compare the revenue vs. cost of the movies as well.
Monday, October 11, 2004
It's cool to see people blogging about places I've stayed and eaten. This is a post by Chris Pirillo's wife mentioning the hotel monaco (at which Gwen and I have stayed) and Thai Heaven (at which Gwen and I have eaten)
Monday, October 04, 2004
What happens when two children decide to share a teddy bear, but then one of them changes his mind? The children will likely tear the stuffed toy in two, leaving only bear parts and crying children. A peer-to-peer streaming system can be like that bear.
[Via Microsoft Research News and Headlines]
This sounds a lot like bittorrent. With video and audio editing software so common and with mainstream hardware capable of handling the loads, distributing that media is going to become and already is the bottle neck. Bittorrent wont solve this problem because it only increases distribution of popular files... And unfortunately, you're family isn't nearly as interesting to me as mine is...
Maybe we should all just have fiber in our houses....
Friday, October 01, 2004
Are inkblots meaningless smears of ink, or the secret key to your personality? Though most psychologists no longer use inkblots to determine the twists and turns of your psyche, sometimes they pay attention to the stories you tell yourself about the blobs.
[Via Microsoft Research News and Headlines]
It's good to see researchers looking into technology that can be used to make our computer systems more secure. They bring up a good point that is discussed in many different places. The user is sometimes the most hackable part of a security system.
It would be interesting to take this study and create a threat model. Come up with some varying ways to attack a system that is secured using a similar method. In the article they discuss how, even is people see the same type of object in the inkblot, they will describe it differently.
I suppose if a system like this was implemented, the people with the greatest creativity would have the strongest passwords.
jdray writes "The cube farm is all a twitter right now, as Mt. St. Helens is spewing out a steam plume, and you can see if from our building. The cam for the volcano seems to be down, but we just saw a news helicopter from KATU, one of our local news stations, headed that direction. They should have some content up shortly." Other readers suggest: KOIN, KOIN webcams, Kiro TV, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, or CNN.
You can count this as our obligatory Mount Saint Helen's blog post.
Make this the second Mnt Snt Hlns eruption I've lived through...
An interesting article that covers what developers need to do as a result of the GDI+ exploit recently announced by Microsoft.
This exploit appears to be different than previous exploits because it touches a piece of code that is both 1) redistributable by a developer and 2) written in a platform that supports side by side execution of dlls. The overall effect being that developers are going to have to get more involved in making sure their applications are up to date and patched against this vulnerability.
It's not quite the same as when IE or WinXP has a vulnerability that must be patched. Depending on what major applications use this package, and how they use it, we could see other exploits beyond the ones targeting internet explorer or outlook.
Attorneys from Microsoft and its rivals argued whether the EU's antitrust sanctions should be implemented immediately or stayed during Microsoft's appeal.
[Via Ars Technica]
I'm mostly checking out bloggar's integration with RSS Bandit. Also, this is an interesting post. If Microsoft is forced to unbundle WMP from XP it will be interesting to see how that sells. And who pays for the marketing for this new version....
It seems likely that the unbundled copy wont sell very well, not because people like WMP, but because there wont be much of an incentive. Most people who want XP, already have XP, unless they're buying a copy with a new PC.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Gwen and I are about to have Lacey Brown band rehearsal. I'm also making a new blog. I've been looking at typepad, and radio, but I remember I had already setup a blogger account when signing up for the COTA blog. This may go away, but it's a good test to see if it will work for Gwen and I. It probably isn't customizable enough though....