Reasons For Blogging. Why I’m doing this.

(been meaning to finish this up and post it for a while now)

First, here are some reasons not to do this:

  • I may later regret how naive I sound about a particular topic.
  • I may later regret giving away details about my life or the lives of others.
  • I may later regret making a public record of myself in general, for reasons not covered in the first 2 bullet points.
  • Blogging is doing something. Therefore, time and effort are required.
  • Blogging is dependent on an infrastructure that at any time could completely collapse, therefore the time and effort I afford this may at any point become a waste.
  • Writing, in the technical sense, is not something I am particularly talented at or interested in.
  • It is very likely that I will never have much of an audience.

Despite all those great reasons not to waste any time blogging, here are some reasons why I’ve been doing this.

  • It’s good for my Brain, kind of like stretching a muscle, to do some writing every day if I can.
  • It’s good for my outlook on life to see trails of accomplishment behind me, so as long as I believe in what I’m writing about, blogging should help me to remain happy with myself.
  • Increasingly, it is evident that the Web is a Read/Write medium. By taking part in it, I am making it better. Also, as my humble readership grows (and it is growing), I may influence how other people think and help them to discover new ideas. This is a beautiful thing.
  • It is valuable to me to be valuable to other people.
  • Blogging is making me a better spellr.
  • Creating content and then watching what searches people used to find my content and what people are clicking on is very interesting. It’s educational. It is broadening my understanding of people and culture.
  • “Have a nice day!” is my final reason.
picture-142.png(isn’t that pretty?)

So far, the Positives are positive enough for me. If the scale should tip the other way, I’ll try to say goodbye before I hang up.

The Shroud of Bullshit often Surrounding Social Media

Thanks, Mike Hedge.

Over at a new Blog called ‘Collective Thoughts on Social Media,’ Marty writes
in a post called Gilded Crown of the Hypocritical Social Media Czar

“The sheer propensity of mainstream humans to congregate in targetable, virulent, and roaming electronic social packs has resulted in spawning a beautiful new breed of working class public relations heroes: “The Social Media Czars.”

A social media Czar is a true, brilliant, and presumably selfless influencer whose authority was born out of peoples’ revolt, acute intuition, and holistic intent. Nobody questions him or her. Nobody would dare question them. The problem is that some (not all) social media power brokers are mob-bred mercenaries who are at least partially full of shit.  “

Talk about a Rant. That’s great.

The Blog Itself seems to be put together mostly by people who have worked in SEO and SMO, which makes the post itself more of a “C’mon, we all do it!!” than a straight-forward “Bloggers are just as corruptible as anyone else.”

I recommend reading the whole thing for yourself.  There’s some spot-on observations in there.

It brings up the question (again):

“Just because a system can be gamed, does that mean it should be gamed?”

the inevetible answer to this question is usually something like:

“Only in a way that I agree with.  If you’re gaming the system to promote ideas or products I don’t like, you’re an asshole, but if I like what you’re promoting, then cheating is OK with me.”

This obviously spills over into a debate about ethics on the Web, if you believe there is such a thing.  I’m not implying that the point of view of the article is an unethical one, I’m just saying that it’s a debate.  It’s a complicated topic with many sides to it.

Ethics.

Are non-Web ethics any easier to navigate?

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Illegal Sharing May be Bad Bathwater. But P2P is a perfectly good little baby.

Mark Cuban recently blogged that he thinks ISPs should block P2P. …Period. His idea being that P2P usage is hogging up all the precious bandwidth, and in turn, slowing down the Web.

I don’t want to bother with taking apart all the things that Mr. Cuban said over there, because I think they’re mostly completely ignorant things to say like

“…To help those of you who cant understand how to distribute audio on Google Video, here is a hint: Re encode it with a little video, a couple pictures, whatever. Then it it wont be an audio file, it will be a video file.. Ta da . You get distribution by the best distribution network on the planet, for free.”

There are so many reasons why that statement makes me want to break something. Oh well

Let me focus on this instead:

Cuban’s point of view reflects some common misconceptions.

Misconception 1: P2P and File-Sharing are a bad things.

Peer-to-Peer, or P2P, describes a number of technologies for using IP to network computers. Of these, some of the most frequently talked about in the mainstream news are the Gnutella Network (Kazaa, Limewire Etc) and BitTorrent.

There are others though. Many, many others. For instance, if you use AIM and while chatting, you decide to send a picture to your buddy, you are using P2P. I’m pretty sure (correct me if I’m wrong) Vonage, Skype and other VOIP services are also examples of P2P.

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And in fact, BitTorrent is being used for a number of lawful purposes including legal distribution of software and video and audio content.

“File-Sharing” and “P2P” are very broad terms. Using one of these broad terms when you are referring only to the specific instance of a technology that you do not approve of is misleading and/or ignorant. It’s a bit like referring to pornography websites as “The World Wide Web.”

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Misconception 2: There is a shortage of bandwidth.

There is not a shortage of bandwidth. If you consider that practically every one of us has a wire coming into our homes that is carrying 100 channels of full-rez video that are always on, 24 hours a day… Yes, all 100 of them are on all the time even when you’re not watching them… Then you might start to wonder:

“Why do they say we have a bandwidth problem?”

or

“Why are Cable TV and the Internet Separate when with Cable’s speed and the internet’s freedom, […yada yada…]?”

and eventually you might find yourself thinking about:

“What would happen to the Television Advertising Market if all the TV shows were just watched via the Web? Would that be bad for cable companies or good? Where would all that money go? ”

Or even

“Is it possible that there’s an actual reason that our Internet Connections aren’t fast enough to replace Cable TV yet?”

“Is this like a conspiracy theory or something?”

Now would be a good time to learn a thing or two about theThe Net Neutrality Debate. Pay close attention to what the Cable Companies seem to be after. Can you see what they want to do? Can you see why?

As you observe the bizarre feeding ritual of the greedy cable company, keep in mind, some of us are hogging all your bandwidth with our P2P technologies, so your research might get slowed down a little bit .

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I Don’t like Firefox. It’s filled with bugs and it’s slow.

Firefox makes me feel like I’m working on a PC. Clunky, cartoon-y, Flimsy, un-intuitive crap.

EDIT: If you’re on a PC, I guess you don’t have a choice. You’re probably happy that anything is working at all. Congratulations.

I use it to post here because the WordPress wysiwyg ‘advanced editor’ isn’t available to Safari, and I like being able to drag-resize images. Beyond that, I totally avoid using firefox.

And from what I’ve been hearing, the next version of Firefox is going to be even more screwy. Puke.

I can see why everyone wants to have a bunch of extensions. Some of them are helpful sometimes.

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But I can’t help but feel like adding extensions to a browser is the wrong approach. Each one is like a little jerry-rig added in place of a real fix for interactivity between online services and my OS.

Tumblr isn’t that awesome now that the buzz wore off. The Cons.

I recently posted that I thought Tumblr was awesome

There are things about it that suck though.

No support for back-dated posts.
No refresh feature, in case I realize I should change something once I see it live (which is always the case). In other words, NO EDITING!

Only updates every [random amount of time… could be every half-hour, could be every day (it sucks, whatever it is, and it’s completely unreliable)] ??

So, I can’t take Tumblr into account in my workflow when posting something, cause it probably wont show up… And even if it did, I wouldn’t be able to edit it!!

Sucks.

Maybe it will get better.

I did it. I linked to my own blog from the wikipedia.

…and I feel like at any moment I may get struck by lightening or the ground might open up and swallow me. Why do I feel all religion-y about the wikipedia?

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Oh yeah! Because it’s awesome. The wikipedia is basically the best site on the Web. And beyond reliably being a tremendously useful source of information on an ever-expanding number of topics, the Wikipedia is also a profound symbol of human tolerance and cooperation.

The Wikipedia, is like a community garden. How we treat it determines its fate and whether or not it continues to be valuable to us.

EDIT:I don’t think my link to myself was too spam-y. Besides, I’m not selling anything here anyhow. Too late. My link was immediately deleted by some sort of guardian of that page. Damn. That was quick!

EDIT 2: Feeling less bashful now, I decided to add a link to myself on the entry for Four Eyed Monsters.  Surely that wont get deleted.

Kompoze is Supposed to be Music Collaboration Software?

I was asked to make an account on Kompoz. Apparently, this is supposed to help us collaborate on a scoring project.

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EDIT: I know it looks like you should be able to click on the upload part of this box…  Nope.  

I created an account and found the existing project I was supposed to contribute to. But I couldn’t figure out how to contribute! Where’s the upload form?

Meanwhile, I’m being bombarded with pictures of “attractive” people posing with musical instruments.

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Puke.

Hate to say it, but this is so not musical. At least not to me. It looks more like a music discovery tool.

OK, fine. I can deal. We musicians need to market ourselves too. But where do I upload this re-edited sample, quantized to 107 BPM? Oh look! She’s kinda pretty.

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And a Cover-Flow style album-browsing thing! That’s nice. But… where do I upload this file?
So…

Anyways, I spent more time looking for how to contribute to this ‘project,’ than I did actually manually editing a sample (of a phone being dialed) to make it a consistent tempo, so it can be more easily Re-Cycled etc! I could have easily FTPed it somewhere by now.

I like the idea of an online, social app for music collaboration. This isn’t the idea I like though.

And LastFM seems like a smarter place for an upcoming musician to spend her time building a brand.

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Arrgh!!!

It’s like… I came here to work, not to be advertised to! And I can’t seem to get any work done here, so what the fuck is the point?

Maybe I’m missing something. I’ll check back on this service later maybe. Maybe I was just having a bad day for finding upload forms. That’s possible.

No Cell Reception at New House! So what about my 1-year Contract?

Moving today. Buzzy buzzy buzzy. Just a quickie:

The place I’m moving into doesn’t get reliable coverage from the cellular carrier I just went into a new 1-year contract with.

Shouldn’t there be consumer protections in place for this? I mean there is with a cable TV contract: If you move where they don’t operate, you aren’t charged a cancellation penalty or whatever.

What about my damn Cell phone?

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War on Culture: Prince joins the Dark Side. Prince, You’re a tool.

Prince is on the other team. The pro-control, pro-ownership-of-culture team. The team that likes to sue music fans.

Stolen from CNET

  • The rock star has hired Web Sheriff, a British-based company that specializes in hunting down pirated content on the Web, to launch a legal campaign against companies that wrongfully profit from the artist’s work, according to John Giacobbi, Web Sheriff’s president.

Stolen from Wikipedia.org

  • On September 14, 2007, Prince announced that he was going to sue YouTube and eBay because they “appear to choose not to filter out the unauthorized music and film content which is core to their business success.” A representative told Reuters, “The problem is that one can reduce it to zero and then the next day there will be 100 or 500 or whatever. This carries on ad nauseam at Prince’s expense.” [29] [30] Doug Lichtman, a lawyer for Prince released a statement saying, “above all, copyright law can welcome only those with pure motives. Those who abuse the law’s caution have no claim for its mercy.”

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Sneaky Little Colloquialisms

The other day I was trying to explain to a friend that I suspect that many people often say:

“…A whole nother…”

in place of:

“…A whole other…”

As in:

“That’s a whole nother ball game.”

Thinking about this had come to me in a daydream, by the end of which I was on trial for suspected Grammatical Treason. Do I say this sometimes? I’m waiting to catch myself or anyone else in the act, hopefully someone else. My friend who I was talking to pretended to have never heard such an expression. I just googled it. My friend was probably lying, as I suspected.

There’s a website dedicated to it called aWholeNother.com

If I find out that I say “Nother,” I will feel a bit disappointed in myself, then blame it on my heritage or something.

BTW

I totally embrace and love “Gonna,” and I want it to become part of formal English, along with all the normal, “legal” Contractions like “That’s”

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A Dysfunctional Relationship with Art?

1. Why does it seem preferable that artists maintain a mysteriousness about themselves?

2. Isn’t it true that an Artist’s personality, and personal experiences and interpretations are the main influences on their work? And if so, why does Autobiographical or Introspective Art seem like only a sliver of what is out there?

3. Am I imagining this? Or is there something strangely subtle and dishonest about our cultural relationship with Art and the people that make it?

4. Comments, please (all ten of you).

Photo By Kevin Bewersdorf

(photos stolen from Kevin Bewersdorf)

Major Record Labels, RIAA, It’s Over.

Brilliant blog post by Rob over at DemonBaby.com titled “When Pigs Fly: The Death of Oink, the Birth of Dissent, and a Brief History of Record Industry Suicide

Quote:

“So the next question is, what now?

For the major labels, it’s over. It’s fucking over. You’re going to burn to the fucking ground, and we’re all going to dance around the fire. And it’s your own fault. Surely, somewhere deep inside, you had to know this day was coming, right? Your very industry is founded on an unfair business model of owning art you didn’t create in exchange for the services you provide. It’s rigged so that you win every time – even if the artist does well, you do ten times better. It was able to exist because you controlled the distribution, but now that’s back in the hands of the people, and you let the ball drop when you could have evolved.”


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At the end of a long, delicious read, Rob writes:

“1. Stop buying music from major labels. Period. The only way to force change is to hit the labels where it hurts – their profits. The major labels are like Terry Schiavo right now – they’re on life support, drooling in a coma, while white-haired guys in suits try and change the laws to keep them alive. But any rational person can see that it’s too late, and it’s time to pull out the feeding tube. In this case, the feeding tube is your money. Find out which labels are members/supporters of the RIAA and similar copyright enforcement groups, and don’t support them in any way. The RIAA Radar is a great tool to help you with this. Don’t buy CDs, don’t buy iTunes downloads, don’t buy from Amazon, etc. Steal the music you want that’s on the major labels. It’s easy, and despite the RIAA’s scare tactics, it can be done safely – especially if more and more people are doing it. Send letters to those labels, and to the RIAA, explaining very calmly and professionally that you will no longer be supporting their business, because of their bullish scare tactics towards music fans, and their inability to present a forward-thinking digital distribution solution. Tell them you believe their business model is outdated and the days of companies owning artists’ music are over. Make it very clear that you will continue to support the artists directly in other ways, and make it VERY clear that your decision has come about as a direct result of the record company’s actions and inactions regarding digital music.

2. Support artists directly. If a band you like is stuck on a major label, there are tons of ways you can support them without actually buying their CD. Tell everyone you know about them – start a fansite if you’re really passionate. Go to their shows when they’re in town, and buy t-shirts and other merchandise. Here’s a little secret: Anything a band sells that does not have music on it is outside the reach of the record label, and monetarily supports the artist more than buying a CD ever would. T-shirts, posters, hats, keychains, stickers, etc. Send the band a letter telling them that you’re no longer going to be purchasing their music, but you will be listening to it, and you will be spreading the word and supporting them in other ways. Tell them you’ve made this decision because you’re trying to force change within the industry, and you no longer support record labels with RIAA affiliations who own the music of their artists.

If you like bands who are releasing music on open, non-RIAA indie labels, buy their albums! You’ll support the band you like, and you’ll support hard-working, passionate people at small, forward-thinking music labels. If you like bands who are completely independent and are releasing music on their own, support them as much as possible! Pay for their music, buy their merchandise, tell all your friends about them and help promote them online – prove that a network of passionate fans is the best promotion a band can ask for.

3. Get the message out. Get this message out to as many people as you can – spread the word on your blog or your MySpace, and more importantly, tell your friends at work, or your family members, people who might not be as tuned into the internet as you are. Teach them how to use torrents, show them where to go to get music for free. Show them how to support artists while starving the labels, and who they should and shouldn’t be supporting.

4. Get political. The fast-track to ending all this nonsense is changing intellectual property laws. The RIAA lobbies politicians to manipulate copyright laws for their own interests, so voters need to lobby politicians for the peoples’ interests. Contact your local representatives and senators. Tell them politely and articulately that you believe copyright laws no longer reflect the interests of the people, and you will not vote for them if they support the interests of the RIAA. Encourage them to draft legislation that helps change the outdated laws and disproportionate penalties the RIAA champions. Contact information for state representatives can be found here, and contact information for senators can be found here. You can email them, but calling on the phone or writing them actual letters is always more effective.

Tonight, with Oink gone, I find myself wondering where I’ll go now to discover new music. All the other options – particularly the legal ones – seem depressing by comparison. I wonder how long it will be before everyone can legally experience the type of music nirvana Oink users became accustomed to? I’m not too worried – something even better will rise out of Oink’s ashes, and the RIAA will respond with more lawsuits, and the cycle will repeat itself over and over until the industry has finally bled itself to death. And then everything will be able to change, and it will be in the hands of musicians and fans and a new generation of entrepreneurs to decide how the new record business is going to work. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s fact. It’s inevitable – because the determination of fans to share music is much, much stronger than the determination of corporations to stop it.

_____________________________________________________

If you enjoyed this article, please:

Digg! to help spread the word.

(The old non-direct Digg page is here. Digg appears to have finally lifted the block from this URL – thanks to everyone who emailed them!)

Labels: , ,

[end of quote]

Nice, and nicely done, Rob.

Ween’s new Album is Great!

Buy It.

EDIT: Don’t buy it.  Borrow it from one of your millions of close friends online.  Rounder Records is a member of the RIAA.  We need to boycott them!!

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(EDITed) The end of Woman and Man goes in to what sounds a bit like what I remember hearing at the beginning of the song One by Metallica on And Justice For All… A woman screams along with the machine guns, not a man… Am i imagining this connection?

No matter what,

WEEN IS KICKING ASS WITH THIS RECORD! this one is up there with Chocolate and Cheese!!

HTML Overkill and Flash – Youthful Indiscretion.

I remember when I first started learning a little bit about HTML. It was exciting to be able to make intense color-combinations, use strange and unique fonts, background images Etc. The first webpages I made, in retrospect, were absolutely horrific! Mostly, because my design outcomes were more about my excitement than they were about beauty or usefulness.

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“Pimped” Myspace Profiles are great examples of how beginning designers have a tendency to be overzealous. They throw every tool at their disposal at the project. It’s a bit like over-seasoning when cooking. Just because you have rosemary, doesn’t mean you should use it.

And when a site is built primarily using Flash, the result is usually a scary meal. It’s like Nacho Cheese as a main course.

Cheese Sauce!

Brian Chirls recently put together a list of reasons not to use Flash as your main dish.

Probably the reason this still goes on so often, is that people feel like they’re getting bang for their buck if the site they’re paying to have built dances, sings and does tricks.

There’s a time and a place for nacho cheese (although I don’t know where or when that is).

“True Knowledge” search engine understands Natural Language?

(Thanks, Matt!)

From this demo vid, it appears that True Knowledge, a new search engine still in private “beta,” is programmed to understand components of natural language.

One of the video’s examples is:

“Is Jennifer Lopez single?”

I’d like to ask it:

“What is the best search engine of them all?”

and

“What is the meaning of Life?”

It looks like it might be partly powered by FreeBase or some other Semantic Data Store. FreeBase is in “Alpha” still, but apparently anyone can now sign up for it.

Oh!

“What color is Sorrow?”

Arists’ Royalties. CD Sales. Record Deals. Real Numbers?

According to the information I can find, the official breakdown of where the money goes, in a typical CD Retail scenario is as follows (I copied this from this page, although there are many more floating around with the same numbers). This breakdown of the cost of a typical major-label release by the independent market-research firm Almighty Institute of Music Retail shows where the money goes for a new album with a list price of $15.99.

  • $0.17 Musicians’ unions
  • $0.80 Packaging/manufacturing
  • $0.82 Publishing royalties
  • $0.80 Retail profit
  • $0.90 Distribution
  • $1.60 Artists’ royalties
  • $1.70 Label profit
  • $2.40 Marketing/promotion
  • $2.91 Label overhead
  • $3.89 Retail overhead

These numbers don’t look that great to me, as an artist. And I believe the reality of the industry is even worse.

The problem is that this set of numbers comes from a selected scenario, not a typical scenario. I’m guessing this is an average or something. Keep in mind that most acts that get ‘signed’ aren’t mega-stars. Perhaps the average makes the typical look a lot better.

EDIT: I have no idea how or why this seems to be the prevailing breakdown of where consumers’ money goes when they buy records.

In addition, t The way I have come to understand it is that the Label keeps the band “in debt” to the label, by spending too much money on their behalf. Also, it is my understanding that one such expense, marketing, is often pooled amongst several bands. So the label often spends all/most of the marketing expenses for many acts on only the few that it believes in most.

It’s hard to find information on this stuff.

Steve Albini wrote an article about the unfair practices of the majors in which he does a case-study of a typical record deal. Be warned, Albini’s article actually takes a few minutes to read, and it actually needs to be read to be understood.

I’m gonna go ahead and paste in the numbers from his article here (It’s long, but that’s the way it is). From Albini:

“There’s no need to skew the figures to make the scenario look bad, since real-life examples more than abound. income is bold and underlined [underlines removed], expenses are not.

Advance: $ 250,000
Manager’s cut: $ 37,500
Legal fees: $ 10,000
Recording Budget: $ 150,000
Producer’s advance: $ 50,000
Studio fee: $ 52,500
Drum Amp, Mic and Phase “Doctors”: $ 3,000
Recording tape: $ 8,000
Equipment rental: $ 5,000
Cartage and Transportation: $ 5,000
Lodgings while in studio: $ 10,000
Catering: $ 3,000
Mastering: $ 10,000
Tape copies, reference CDs, shipping tapes, misc. expenses: $ 2,000
Video budget: $ 30,000
Cameras: $ 8,000
Crew: $ 5,000
Processing and transfers: $ 3,000
Off-line: $ 2,000
On-line editing: $ 3,000
Catering: $ 1,000
Stage and construction: $ 3,000
Copies, couriers, transportation: $ 2,000
Director’s fee: $ 3,000
Album Artwork: $ 5,000
Promotional photo shoot and duplication: $ 2,000
Band fund: $ 15,000
New fancy professional drum kit: $ 5,000
New fancy professional guitars [2]: $ 3,000
New fancy professional guitar amp rigs [2]: $ 4,000
New fancy potato-shaped bass guitar: $ 1,000
New fancy rack of lights bass amp: $ 1,000
Rehearsal space rental: $ 500
Big blowout party for their friends: $ 500
Tour expense [5 weeks]: $ 50,875
Bus: $ 25,000
Crew [3]: $ 7,500
Food and per diems: $ 7,875
Fuel: $ 3,000
Consumable supplies: $ 3,500
Wardrobe: $ 1,000
Promotion: $ 3,000
Tour gross income: $ 50,000
Agent’s cut: $ 7,500
Manager’s cut: $ 7,500
Merchandising advance: $ 20,000
Manager’s cut: $ 3,000
Lawyer’s fee: $ 1,000
Publishing advance: $ 20,000
Manager’s cut: $ 3,000
Lawyer’s fee: $ 1,000
Record sales: 250,000 @ $12 =
$3,000,000
Gross retail revenue Royalty: [13% of 90% of retail]:
$ 351,000
Less advance: $ 250,000
Producer’s points: [3% less $50,000 advance]:
$ 40,000
Promotional budget: $ 25,000
Recoupable buyout from previous label: $ 50,000
Net royalty: $ -14,000

Record company income:

Record wholesale price: $6.50 x 250,000 =
$1,625,000 gross income
Artist Royalties: $ 351,000
Deficit from royalties: $ 14,000
Manufacturing, packaging and distribution: @ $2.20 per record: $ 550,000
Gross profit: $ 7l0,000

The Balance Sheet: This is how much each player got paid at the end of the game.

Record company: $ 710,000
Producer: $ 90,000
Manager: $ 51,000
Studio: $ 52,500
Previous label: $ 50,000
Agent: $ 7,500
Lawyer: $ 12,000
Band member net income each: $ 4,031.25

The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never “recouped,” the band will have no leverage, and will oblige. The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won’t have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys. Some of your friends are probably already this fucked. “

When I die, who will manage my MySpace? The Final Bulletin.

I mean, there’s not really a way to notify MySpace of the death of a user, is there? So that means my MySpace account would just sort of…

Stop Moving?

I guess People could still add comments. I guess that would be kind of like leaving flowers on my grave…

Although, there’s not really any way people would know they had switched over from leaving normal comments to leaving the flowers-on-the-grave form of self-promoting you do once the person has passed on.

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Too bad you can’t bulletin your own death.

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After I’m dead, my MySpace profile could live on forever!

Maybe this should be yet one more tedious responsibility of my whomever-has-to-clean-up-after-me-after-I-die-person?

My Last Will and Testament should contain: The text of my Final Bulletin, what to change my ‘Status’ to (including what emoticon to use), a few quick important comments I should make on other people’s profiles (like “Thanks for the add. Also, I’m dead”), a quick picture update, a resetting of my profile song to something appropriate and timeless like Grand Master Flash or something… Etc, Etc, Etc…

That’s a lot of work, and that’s just MySpace… I got profiles all over! Facebook, Friendster, Flickr, YouTube, not to mention WordPress and about a hundred more.

Dam.

Power To The Pixel – Complete Video Coverage is Online

Interested in how Digital is changing the Film Distribution landscape?

So was everyone who attended Power to the Pixel.

Those who went had to shell out £35 (as of today, that’s $73US).

But you can watch all the talks and panel discussion for free!

Interesting stuff. Arin Crumley has it all up over on his new site, arincrumley.com

Got some time to fill with passive digestion of educational video content about all things digital-distribution-of-independent-film? Pull up a chair!

“SEO,” or Search Engine Optimization, Beyond a Healthy Discipline

SEO, “Search Engine Optimization,” Beyond a Healthy Discipline is a process of trying to trick search engines into endowing your site with findability, as in getting onto the first page of search results for certain phrases. I say beyond a heathy discipline, because its more basic techniques are in line with usabilty, accessibilty, and being standards-compliant. Beyond that, SEO heads down a rickety spiral of uncool tricks, many of which are also considered (by people who consider these things) to be in the realm of “SMO” or Social Media Optimization. SMO often has to do with trying to game
folksonomies by posting and tagging things on sites like our dearly beloved Del.icio.us.

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The following is a (very long) quote from Jason Calacanis who is currently the CEO of mahalo, formally co-founded Weblogs, Inc and used to work at Netscape. I like the original post too much to not just steal the whole thing and put it here.

Original Article: “Why people hate SEO… (and why SMO is bulls$%t)

This video is so cheesy you have to think it’s a fake… but I don’t think it is. (Hat Tip)

The SEO folks got really pissed off at me for saying “SEO is bulls@#t.” last year, but the truth is that 90% of the SEO market is made up of snake oil salesman. These are guys in really bad suits trying to get really naive people to sign long-term contracts. These clients typically make horrible products and don’t deserve traffic–that’s why they’re not getting it organically so they hire the slimebuckets to game the system for them.

Note: There are some whitehat SEO firms out there I know, but frankly the whitehat SEO companies are simply doing solid web design so I don’t consider them SEO at all. SEO is a tainted term and it means “gaming the system” to 90% of us.

Now, if you make great content, keep your page design clean, and stick with it you’re gonna do just fine in the rankings. Don’t smoke the SEO-crack… you’ll just wind up chasing your tail as digg and Google closes the tiny SEO loopholes and put your domain on the black list.

PS – And to the SEO idiots trying to “take over my SeRP” on Google you’re proving my point exactly. Grow up.. the only thing you’re ever going to prove by trying to game my SeRP is that you’re low-class idiots.

PSS – This whole gaming of digg/Netscape/MySpace is being called SMO–social media optimization. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard of. Anyone who hires an SMO firm is an idiot. The whole point of social media is TO BE REAL NOT FAKE!!! Just be yourself and participate… that’s all it takes (and note, participation is not just putting in your own links, it’s voting/commenting on/submitting other people’s content too!).

Starting Over (Song)


MP3 HERE

This track, I’ve been working on, off and on, for a few years. An early incarnation can be heard in the background of the Four Eyed Monsters Video called “Humanity Lobotomy,” about the Importance of Network Neutrality.

I’ve had some pretty substantial criticism of this one. Good suggestions, but very drastic ones that I’m not sure I completely agree with. So here is its current form. I may completely change it, or make it into different songs Etc.

If I work on something too long, I start to get this weird thing in my mind similar to sunspots, accept they’re audio. It’s like I just can’t hear it truely any more.

Also, after a few days straight of worrking on something, it’s nice to stop and forget about it for a while, cause when I come back to it we’re like newlyweds all over again.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

The Age of Irreversible Statements?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.
Practically everything we do online is not only not private
Irreversible Statements

But Also…

Practically everything we do online is potentially permanent.
rosettastone.gif

The stuff that we post to the Web using Standards like HTML can be cached. And the items we upload to a company’s server are, well, on their server, so we really don’t have control over what happens to them.

I imagine a scenario in which a presidental candidate is asked by a member of the press:
“Isn’t it true that when you were 20 years old, you did a strip tease to a Britney Spears song in your bedroom, recorded it with a video camera, and posted it to the Web?”

Next time you’re poking around on the Web, and you find yourself peering into someone’s bedroom, or reading a very personal blog entry written by some young stranger, think to yourself:
How could this effect this individual’s standing in the future world? What information is this individual giving away that he or she might regret later?

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BETTER YET,

Ask yourself:
How will our culture be effected by behavior like this? How will our expectations of one another change once all this publicizing of traditionally more intimate behavior makes its mark on us?

“Andrew, didn’t you write, back in 2007, a blog entry about something you were calling ‘The Age of Irreversible Statements’ and in that blog entry, didn’t you talk about a hypothetical strip tease, and link to a real one?”

Yes. And I can’t take it back. Even if I delete this post, it’s not necessarily gone. It’s out of my control.

This isn’t an ‘Orwellian’ vision. It’s not ‘Orwellian’ because this isn’t about top-down surveillence. It’s about what we call ‘Public’ growing in new ways, just as what we call ‘Ourselves’ or ‘Our Community’ is growing in new ways. And it’s not a vision, because it’s already happened. It’s continuing to happen right now.

more soon.

Traffic Shaping? Is my Comcast Internet connection being Un-Neutralled?

EDIT:
This sucks. I have to do certain work in the daytime and certain work at night just because I can’t count on being able to upload anything at night. If you found this because you searched the web for answers to your own connection problems, keep in mind, if we are experiencing traffic-shaping, this is a prime example of why Net Neutrality is such an important political issue (social issue, moral issue). Imagine not even being able to find blogs people wrote just because the authors disapprove with the practices a company?

At night, my internet connection slows to practically nothing with many apps (seemingly not all apps)

Transmit
Apple iChat AV
Apple Mail
Apple Safari
Firefox

For some reason, Skype can transfer files much faster than iChat. Skype seems more or less unaffected. And after resetting my modem and router and all that, my connection for every app goes back to being awesome for about a minute, then returns to being very very slow.

[I was going to put a picture here but I can’t even upload a picture right now]
Edit: ok. daytime now. I’m allowed to upload stuff at the moment.
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From wikipedia.org’s entry on Comcast:

Blocking Internet Access
Recently the Associated Press confirmed a story by TorrentFreak that indicates that Comcast “actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.”[9] Legal controversy ensued when Comcast blocked Bit Torrent by sending a RST packet claiming to be Bit Torrent, and denying the connection. This was through a partnership with Sandvine. This effectively blocks the user from connecting to Bit Torrent, in a way some liken to China’s internet firewall. The controversy arises because Comcast is impersonating Bit Torrent in denying the connection, however further actions have yet to be taken. Recently, a few Comcast users claimed to find temporary solutions for both Microsoft Windows and Linux systems by using a firewall to filter RST packets. This however was later revealed to be futile as it would have to be implemented on both ends–if the other end did not ignore the spoofed RST packet, the connection would be severed on the remote end.[10][11]

Now there is also evidence of Comcast using RST packets on groupware applications that have nothing to do with file sharing. Kevin Kanarski, who works as a Lotus Notes messaging engineer, noticed some strange behavior with Lotus Notes dropping emails when hooked up to a Comcast connection and has managed to verify that Comcast’s reset packets are the culprit.[12]
Recently, Comcast customers have also reported a sporadic inability to use Google because forged RST packets are also interfering with HTTP access to google.com [13], which has further angered users.[14]

Some Reading on OpenSocial, the ‘Social Graph’ and Semantic Web

Quoting a quote:

Danny Ayers 2007-11-03 00:01
FOAF increasingly gets lumped with this Social Networking thing. When we first started the FOAF project, a few years back, the big social networking site was Six Degrees. Last year the big social networking site was Friendster. Last week it was Orkut. Who knows what it’ll be in 6 months time. The driving ethic behind FOAF and a lot of this Semantic Web work is this sense that people want their data back, that they want control of their data, they want to be able to migrate it between hosting sites, to be able to host it themselves…

danbri, fear of a foaf planet,

This too:
More from Danny Ayers
And in
The Future of Social Networks on the Internet: The Need for Semantics, John Breslin writes (another quote of a quote (hey.. I’m just a cheerleader here)):

David Emery highlights this closed social network problem: “OpenSocial doesn’t solve this, but if it had it could be truly revolutionary; if Google had gone after opening up the social graph […] then Facebook would have become much more of an irrelevance – people could go to whatever site they wanted to use, and still preserve all the interactions with their friends (the bit that really matters).”

Also, there’s a 5-page paper on that page, which I recommend reading

UPDATE:
Download the Paper, The Future of Social Networks on the Internet: The Need for Semantics HERE. I downloaded it and put all together as one pdf. I didn’t have permission to do that, so I hope I don’t make anyone mad.

MySpace going OpenSocial. The plot thickens.

MySpace and Google Join Forces to Launch Open Platform for Social Application Development
RELEASE

I’m hoping that the move toward this common-API approach will put the various companies at ease a little with the idea of not having a monopoly on the users’ time and eyeballs. I’d like to think that we’re headed toward a world in which some of the useful data about end-users, that these services normally keep locked away, will start to become more available to everyone. I wonder why that sounds like such an outrageous idea.

Anyhoo, slightly open is better than totally closed. Halfway open is great compared to what we’ve had. OK. So where’s the MySpace widgets for WordPress. Let me know. I’ll be waiting.

Some companies on-board with OpenSocial:
Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo, and XING.

I wonder how English Professors feel about all these things.
“What’s your MySpace? Thanks for the add! [and so on]”