Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fire When Ready Sir!

Those lovable villains at The Pirate Bay are hitting back at 10 of the major media companies who've been campaigning to sink the Swedish Torrent ship. After sifting through e-mails leaked by Media Defender and aggregating data from their own web logs they believe they have enough evidence to file hacking, spamming & DDoS charges with the Swedish authorities.

Serious charges indeed and with the rise of the Pirate Party influence in their home country, not ones that law enforcement will dare to take lightly. Particularly in light of the last debacle surrounding TPB.

Why can't those Euros just play nice? These good corporations pay big money to politicians & lobbyists so they can be protected from Euro-trash like this.

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Laptop Per Politician?

I love the idea of the One Laptop Per Child Project. Right now you can order one at $399 and a second unit gets sent to a needy child or school worldwide.

My question is, how are these going to be kept out of the hands of corrupt officials and military officers? Like so many good natured offerings from the West sent to the developing world, these items of value rarely reach their intended recipients & are intercepted & sold on the black market or traded for drugs & weapons.

Secondly, once in the possession of a poor household, won't they become a target for thieves? Children are murdered for much less than the value of a laptop, even here in the US.

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Ooopsy! Looks like Barbie & her parent company Mattel are having to do a little poopy scooping. After playing holier than thou with the missteps from their Chinese suppliers they are now having to apologize to them. As blogged here before, although 2.8M toys were recalled due to excessive levels of lead in the paint, over 21M were recalled due to a defective magnet design that had nothing to do with the Chinese subcontractors. This Mattel design flaw has caused numerous toddler trips to the OR, no such direct injury has been reported from the tainted paint.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


As in my new blog Cheapskate Studio. Designed to be a source of information & ideas for the audio studio & recording enthusiast with more sense than money. Enjoy

Friday, September 21, 2007

2nd Horseman of the Apocalypse

Or at least the apocalypse as far as the MPAA & RIAA are concerned.

The good comrades at MP3 Fiesta just circulated a little questionnaire via e-mail, asking members their opinions on a proposed video & movie download service. Here is the text from that mailing -
Dear User!
The MP3Fiesta Team is planning to launch a new project – downloading films via Internet.
In this regard we kindly ask you to answer a couple of simple questions, so that we could arrange our new service in the most convenient, useful and attractive way for you.
We highly appreciate your time, that’s why, having answered the questions, you’ll receive a pleasant bonus from MP3Fiesta Team.

Seems as if they're considering a variety of compression formats from iPod to DVD. I'm not sure how the controversial Russian ROMS loophole applies to movies though. Not many other details but the pleasant bonus was a $3 credit which is about 3 albums worth on this site!

Finely Tuned Customer Service

Mark of the Unicorn - they've been around since MIDI & audio made it to the (Mac) computer. They also have superb customer service with phones answered by real human beings who know & understand the products. These phone numbers are clearly published on their support pages. Actually all support pages should look like this -

Transferring a license (normally akin to getting a root canal) took 1 call and about 45 seconds. They pulled up my account, pulled up the new account & made the switch. Guess where I'll be shopping again?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Blog Finds

A running commentary on the NYC single speed bike scene plus hilarious critiques of the fixed gear gallery submissions. It's laugh out loud good. And I thought I was the King of Sarcasm? Nay good sire, I am but a mere Page in this court.

My BIG Idea... for a credit card issuer to introduce the No Marketing card. In other words, they promise not to send you anything but your monthly statement. That's right, no 25% APR checks, no "Free Vacations", no "Special Offers From Our Partners" and absolutely no phone calls. Peace & tranquility all around.

Count me in for one right now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sell Out?

On tonight's ABC tribute to Elvis, Toby Keith performed live with Joe Perry (Aerosmith) in front of a huge Ford truck grille. Really, how far have we come? Rock and Roll used to be about sticking it to the man. Now it's only about selling his crap for him?

Before you C&W fans get on your high horses, I believe there's a line been crossed here. Licensing your music for use in a commercial is probably an acceptable career move. Playing a sponsored instrument is OK too. Parking your live butt in front of an automobile is not. I just can't see Johnny Cash doing it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fossett Search Finds Several ‘Total Nobodies’

National paparazzi are complaining that the Steve Fossett air search keeps getting side tracked by the constant discovery of the wrecks of complete nobodies.

“You get your hopes up for a celebrity corpse, and then have to settle for somebody’s father or husband,” said an LA-based photographer. “What’s the profit in that?”

The National Transportation and Safety Board has assured the Tabloid community that these non-entities will not be followed up on until after Fossett is found, dead or alive. “We understand People Magazine has deadlines” said one NTSB spokesperson.

Google also announced it is not paying for a single non-celebrity satellite photo.

Richard Branson has said no rewards will be paid for any ‘regular people’.

credit : my pleasantly unbalanced friend Eric F.

Fun & Games with the USPS

Or...if it wasn't so tragic it could be funny!

Went to the Post Office today to mail a package to my niece. I didn't have a bubble-pack envelope but know I could buy one there. So being the smart dude I am, I show up with the wrapped gift & a printed address label. I get the envelope, find some tape on the counter, stick my address label to it, fill in the customs forms & then the fun and games began.

The Night of the USPS - A Play in 1 Act
"sir, you can't use that tape, it's labeled priority mail and you're not shipping via that service"
"oh, it was lying on the counter over there with the supplies, I just you have any other tape?"
"no that's all we have"
"do you have a pen I can use to write directly on the envelope?"
"try this one"
audience - "hahahahaha"
"er, this pen doesn't write on these envelopes that I got from your rack, do you have another one?"
"no sir"
audience - "hahahahaha"
"so you don't have tape I can use or a pen? What am I supposed to do"
"You should have come more prepared"
audience - ROFL

I guess coming more prepared means I should have bought my shipping supplies at Staples rather than supporting the retail operations at the USPS.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bullets & Paint

Today Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) opened a series of hearings related to the toy industry's recent lead paint scare and their Chinese suppliers. Obviously protecting children is an important and laudable goal. However, if this is Mr. Durbin's actual agenda shouldn't he be talking to the gun manufacturers, the NRA & gun lobby?

I could find no reference to any child's death or injury directly attributed to lead poisoning (I'm sure it's happened, just not enough to garner coverage). Yet in 2002, 60 children under 14 were killed by guns and over 800 required hospitalization for gunshot wounds. If you raise the upper age to 19 (though obviously not playing with Thomas trains at that age) the statistic goes to 8 deaths per day!

Makes the China paint pursuit look a little hypocritical don't you think?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's Kick The Corpse

Once again the music industry has shown itself to be completely staffed by morons. The latest proposal to save tanking CD sales is the Ringle, a genius idea if I ever heard one. The Ringle will be a physical disc containing (gasp) a hit song, a couple of B sides and a ring tone and the plan is to retail these for $6.98! Apparently the labels haven't realized that you can download legal versions of the song for 99 cents (and dubiously illegal versions for 10 cents) and create your own ring tones for free. Maybe they're hoping the teen target market hasn't figured all this out yet - Right! Just when you thought they couldn't be any more stupid they come right out and surprise you.

Horrible Apocalyptic Photoshop

From the Ikea US home page, believe it or not. I can't figure out if the horrendous Photoshop job is supposed to be the Budweiser Clydesdales or 3 of the 4 Horses of the Apocalypse sans riders, stopped by for a chat? Either way it takes photo editing to a new low, even more so since the host prides itself on clean, functional design.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Hmm, a quandary. I'm looking to replace my 2ndG iPod. I already have a Nano which I love but wish I could have my entire music library (60+GB & growing) with me for longer trips. So today Apple announced the new iPod range, a redesigned Nano, a touch screen iPodtouch with Wi-Fi & Safari & a larger drive version (160GB) of the pre-existing iPodvideo. Problem is, the features I want are not available in any single device.
  • the iPodtouch is very cool but only goes up to 16GB & lacks a mic in jack for Skype'ing
  • the iPodvideo 160 has the capacity I want but looks pretty lackluster when compared to the touch
The touch should have the 160GB HD and the ability to do VOIP (already possible on my Nokia N770). This is a seriously bad move on Apple's part, one which I think will haunt them over the holiday period. I guess I'll be sticking with my 2ndG for awhile longer.

iPhone Price Drop

I felt like getting flagged on Craigslist today!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Real Recycling

We have a great informal, unregulated truely recycling program in my neighborhood. Once a month there's "Bulk Trash Week" where homeowners can put pretty much anything out front for city pickup. Entrepreneurs cruise the 'hood before the official trucks arrive looking for anything of value. Case in point; on beaucolic Old Pond Drive today there was a stair-stepper machine, an elliptical machine & an old office chair (put out by me). By 3pm, all had disappeared. No fuss, no waste, no mess. We get rid of junk, they make a few dollars, everyone wins.


I love Google maps.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bavarian Ingenuity

From the land of great beer & great cars comes the definitive answer to all those Me-Too flash based music players. Genuine Leederhosen with a built in mp3 and controls on the thigh!

Perfect for those Polka & Stein evenings, my only worry is that impromptu thigh slapping may interfere with the controls!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bike Porn 2

The soon-to-be-released Fuji Obey courtesy of Cambridge Bicycle. I'm getting in line now!