The RIAA gets more stoopider

In a move that’s really somewhat of a surprise – even considering the source – the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed a lawsuit that claims copyright infringement for ripping legally purchased CDs to a home computer for personal use:

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

Download Uproar: Record Industry Goes After Personal Use, Washington Post, Sunday, December 30, 2007

I thought this was covered by the same fair-use laws that allow you to use a Tivo or VCR to record shows for watching later, or copying music to cassette tapes, because your car doesn’t have CD player.

Just when you think the RIAA can’t bury its head any deeper in the sand, they find a new shovel to make that hole deeper…

Update 1/9/2007: The Post admits is got the story wrong.

Yes, the problem is YOU

It’s the time of the year for best of/worst of lists, and The Beast has an interesting list of the Most Loathsome People in Amercia, 2007, mainly for who was picked for slot No. 9 – You:

You believe in freedom of speech, until someone says something that offends you. You suddenly give a damn about border integrity, because the automated voice system at your pharmacy asked you to press 9 for Spanish. You cling to every scrap of bullshit you can find to support your ludicrous belief system, and reject all empirical evidence to the contrary. You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism — it’s nationalism when foreigners do it. You hate anyone who seems smarter than you. You care more about zygotes than actual people. You love to blame people for their misfortunes, even if it means screwing yourself over. You still think Republicans favor limited government. Your knowledge of politics and government are dwarfed by your concern for Britney Spears’ children. You think buying Chinese goods stimulates our economy. You think you’re going to get universal health care. You tolerate the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques.” You think the government is actually trying to improve education. You think watching CNN makes you smarter. You think two parties is enough. You can’t spell. You think $9 trillion in debt is manageable. You believe in an afterlife for the sole reason that you don’t want to die. You think lowering taxes raises revenue. You think the economy’s doing well. You’re an idiot.

While the whole article is part tongue in cheek and part right on the mark, this one still resonates with me.

And we are the people who elect our representatives at all levels of government.

Yes, we do seem to be idiots…

The End of an Era

NetscapeWell, it really comes as no surprise, but Feb. 1, 2008 marks when development of Netscape Navigator ends.

While the Netscape browser (now part of AOL) has pretty much slippped off everyone’s radar over the last few years (down to a market share of 0.6%, if I recall a recent article correctly), this is the browser used by just about everyone first peering into this new-fangled thing called the World Wide Web. Heck, for most folks Netscape was the vehicle for their first trip on the internet.

Microsoft’s IE browser put the brakes on Netscape’s popularity; the acquisition of Netscape by AOL helped this decline. With the rise of the open-source Firefox and the newly resurgent Apple and its Safari browser, Netscape was relegated to the “remember when?” scrapheap.

Still, this is a piece of internet history that’s going away. It won’t be missed, but its legacy shouldn’t be forgotten.

Update: Netscape does have a 0.6% market share.

Update 2 (12/30/2007): – Henry Blodget, who’s usually pretty down to earth on such matters, suggets the Mozilla foundation buy Netscape and rename the browser Netscape Firefox, among other suggestions.

While he’s correct that the Netscape brand has a certain cachet, so does the Chevrolet Corvair, and that’s not coming back.

Blodget’s totally wrong on this one.

The people today who are familiar with Netscape are those pretty much familiar with the whole Netscape story, which includes the browser no longer relevant since version 4.2 or so. And AOL is up to version 9 of the browser.

And if the name is so valuable and a so-called selling point for (in Blodget’s view) a combined Netscape Firefox, how come only 0.6% of browsers in use are Netscape? Doesn’t seem all that valuable, now does it?

A Netscape Firefox browser would be a combination of a once-powerful but long-since-relevant tool with one that is on the ascent, and highly regarded by the geeks that help drive adoption of certain standards (in some cases).

It would hurt both names; let Netscape die in peace.

Google vs. Microsoft

The New York Times has an interesting article (which I read through about the battle between Microsoft and Goolge, Google gets ready to rumble with Microsoft.

What struck me about the article was how much of what Google is doing that is not getting ready to rumble with Microsoft.

It’s more like Google realizes what they are doing might step on MS’s toes (Gmail, Google Docs) and so that’s a reason to tread lightly, so they don’t get MS’s hackles up until Google is in a position to not have to worry (too much) about the MS reaction/retaliation.

To me, it’s MS that’s reacting to Google, not the other way around. Before Google, search and online advertising weren’t on MS’s radar: Desktop software was. Now MS is fighting back, trying to take back some of this relatively new territory (that Google virturally [pun intended] owns).

Take Gmail, for example: While I’m sure MS was in the minds of everyone at the GooglePlex, that wasn’t the why of why it came about.

It came about because it was a natural for what Google does best – cloud-computing apps. And it had the benefit of giving more ad impressions.

Yes, it was ding on MS and Outlook/Exchange, but that was just gravy, to me.

Google was just building something only they (at the time) could. It could have well ended up in the Google dumpster, such as other highly promoted Google projects. Remember Froogle? Few do…

Remember Netscape – the browser? It didn’t come about to kill MS – it came about to harness the power of the new-fangled thing called the internet.

It appeared to be a threat to MS (remember all the talk about browser-based apps, which are only today becoming real), and MS – to its credit – turned the huge company around very quickly to address the internet.

But that was not the reason for the Netscape browser.

Ditto for Google in general. Google is moving on its own, following its own continually evolving agenda, towards something it’s not quite sure of.

Along the way, it may stumble across developments that threaten MS, but Google is not (to me) targeting MS. Google is just aware that it may cross MS along the way, be it with apps like Gmail, which compete with existing MS apps, or online advertising, which MS is getting into to “get ready to rumble” with Google.

To paraphrase Othello, “It is not the cause.”

No Time to Blog

As you can tell from the plethora of posts (or lack thereof) here the last few days/weeks/months/year, I’ve been busy (the desire to post is still strong; the time to do so isn’t).

So – just a quick hit of new music I’ve been listening to lately. Not necessarily new music, just new to my ears.

That’s the one nice part of spending a lot of evening/weekend time in front of the computer: iTunes with my ripped music playing to make the time (a little) less stressful.

Without any further ado, some sounds I’ve been sampling:

  • While Chalk P.J. Harvey – Probably my favorite new singer; this is a new album, but I’ve been backfilling her older material over the last six months or so.
  • Challengers The New Pornographers – Currently my favorite new CD.
  • Kismet Jesca Hoop
  • Children Running Through Patty Griffin – As with P.J. Harvey, this is a recent album. I’m busy getting all her older CDs, as well
  • Faithless Street Whiskeytown – I had never heard of this band until a couple of months ago; man, I’ve been missing some good stuff.
  • Across the Universe Movie soundtrack – Gets better with each listen,
  • Gold Brick Jon Langford – Purchased for “Lost in America” (one listen on the radio and I was googling for it and purchased less than a half hour after first hearing it); at least two or three really strong songs on here, as well.

Symantec Sucks Deux

Yes, another powerful demonstration of Symantec/Norton’s ineffectualness: My auto-renew sub for Norton email notification ends up in … the Norton Spam Folder.


Is it just me or is this a little crazy??