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August 25, 2007

My band is having its first official gig two weeks from tomorrow: Sunday September 9th at Winter's Tavern in Pacifica. See our gigs page for more details.

August 14, 2007

Remember SCO? Well, the court case has been dragging on forever, but Court Rules: Novell owns the UNIX and UnixWare copyrights! Novell has right to waive!. SCO lost. As a result their web site is in need of a content update.

I work better with boring, monotonous music playing. If it's too interesting I get distracted by it; if there's nothing, my mind wanders. So, I suddenly care a lot about the ambient trance and drone and drum & bass genres of music. SomaFM has a bunch of good streams, and BassDrive is pretty good too. But let's be honest: "shout out" and "big ups" are some of the very dorkiest things a person can say. I'm in a band named after an element of the periodic table... still. It's goofy, especially when the DJ is, for example, some white guy from Idaho with a neutral American accent and a nasal voice, or anybody not intentionally being stupid like Ali G. Another example: someone from my hometown of Richmond, Virginia says Big up the VA massive! Lolz.

My band web site has 6 new audio clips and two new high-quality video clips, all from late June. We have a gig scheduled in early September and possibly another one in the works for August 25th.

Funny: Will It Blend? iPhone edition. "Don't breathe this..."

August 11, 2007

Chicken John is running for mayor. Behold the full page ad that he ran. There's also a wonderful poster.

Fake Steve Jobs was unmasked just in time for the new iMac. I think the new iMac is pretty boring, but that's what I usually think about iMacs (the iLamp and flower power models are the exceptions).

No Castro Halloween this year, and no official S.F. alternative. Last year, local community leaders complained about poor preparation for Halloween 2006, and how it led to mayhem. So now the plan is to do nothing at all? Brilliant! I'm sure that'll go really well.

Connie Thompson from KOMO 4 Seattle is a tongue tied newscaster.

August 10, 2007

Is action better than inaction? Blockbuster buys Movielink for a song. I used to work with the CTO of MovieLink and he's a smart guy; I'm sorry to see so much work be valued at so low a price.

However, ArsTechnica is right: the studios are too conservative about copy-prevention schemes, especially considering their dramatic success with DVDs. DVDs employ copy-prevention, but they managed to find a decent balance between protection and usability. Yeah, you can crack the encryption and rip and re-encode movies and share them and burn them to DVDs and watch them on your computer, but it's just a lot of hassle compared to stockpiling legit DVDs. I know plenty of movie-loving hardcore software nerds, fully capable of pirating movies instead of buying DVDs, and almost all of them make the choice to buy DVDs because it's cheap and easy.

Example: Contact is $9.99, maybe with free shipping, or (currently) $5.14 used. You can get a decent DVD player for $30. MovieLink doesn't have it, almost certainly because the studio won't let them have it. (The Apple iTunes store doesn't have it either.) What they have is similarly priced to a DVD, but far less convenient. Here's a better example that I found while searching for Contact: Star Trek First Contact. Amazon has it for $9.99 new, or $1.98 used. They link from those pages to the $9.99 download version, but why would I want that instead? Movielink and Apple also have it for $9.99. Do I get commentary, extras, and subtitles with the more expensive downloadable versions? Almost certainly not. And I can play a DVD in my laptop on a plane, on Kim's laptop, in that $30 DVD player that's hooked up to my home theater, or on a desktop PC at work, or at a friend's house... what exactly is the advantage of the digital download version with the terms the studios are allowing Amazon and Apple and Movielink and Netflix to offer? I say none, so they might as well not have an offering, and we're back to DVD vs. illegal downloads again. I sincerely hope that Blockbuster's management can help the studios to realize that they are being too greedy and conservative. Best of luck to the MovieLink crew in their continued endeavors to bring the studios out of the era of tangled up tubes into the 21st century.

August 5, 2007

If it bleeds, it leads. My software development blog is getting a lot of traffic (and some comments, including some flames) due to a couple of articles that were added to DZone and reddit: Impressions of Ruby on Rails from an ex J2EE developer (me) and Rails and the notion of Stupid Databases Being a Good Idea. Of course these are more abstract and less technical, so of course people get all emotional about them and they become the most popular. The hard tech stuff seems least interesting, or perhaps least sensational. Oh well. I didn't mean to stir up controversy; I meant to learn about new things and write my impressions of them. Apparently if I fail to choose sides, from either "It totally sucks and is just a fad!" or "Awesome! Genius!", I get a good number of thoughtful and well reasoned comments, as well as a small sprinkling of low-value/high-insult comments. Better than I expected, honestly.

In our modern world of cool, crisp, sterile LED light and aesthetically grotesque seven segment displays, it's nice to know that some people still appreciate the warm glow and art-deco-inspired numeral glyphs of Nixie Tubes.

Cool: I've been reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons on Meredith's recommendation. Well, it's great, and deep, and crazy. I didn't read it as feverishly as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but it was pretty close. A major character is this mysterious superbeing phantom killing machine thing called the Shrike, which is appropriate since it is made of or maybe wearing armor that features blade-thorn things it uses to kill people. I found some Shrike Fan Art, which has a great plot teaser underneath it.

Funny: Penny Arcade critiques Gamestop stores. Extremely funny: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Intro (a.k.a. Mastodon Linoleum Knife). I sort of forgot to watch this movie in the theater; now it's #1 in my Netflix queue.