August 2010 Archives

Today (Aug 27) is the last day to vote on proposals for the 2011 SXSW Interactive Conference. If you haven't already, please vote for this session: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/5977

Thanks!

In a review of John Keegan's The Face of Battle, John Walker mentions that the edition of the book he read was the one for Kindle eBook:

I read the Kindle edition using the iPhone Kindle application. It appears to have been created by OCR scanning a printed copy of the book and passing it through a spelling checker, but with no further editing. Unsurprisingly, the errors one is accustomed to in scanned documents abound. The word “modern”, for example, appears more than dozen times as “modem”. Now I suppose cybercommand does engage in “modem warfare”, but this is not what the author means to say. The Kindle edition costs only a dollar less than the paperback print edition, and such slapdash production values are unworthy of a publisher with the reputation of Penguin.

Yet another reason I don't want to rent, er, read, eBooks using a Kindle, iPad, or whatever: when something analog gets digitized, something gets lost along the way.

Apple popped a dialog box up this morning and told me. "We have condensed the Terms and Conditions and clarified the App Store Product usage rules." Gee, thanks, Apple. Unfortunately, the agreement one is forced to agree to is still a 16,000+ word, 57-some-odd-page epic. Not sure what they condensed but I think they might want to try again.

Thought I'd let Wordle take a look at the agreement.

Wordle's assessment of Apple iTunes Store user agreement, June 2010

Large print giveth, etc.

Gotta hand it to TechCrunch, when they blow it they really blow it embarrassingly big-time.

There's a very interesting interview up on TC right now with Andrew Keen and Paul Kedrosky. It's broken up into arbitrarily-sized video pieces (surely not for the benefit of the viewer). Check out the title they gave to part IV of the interview:

Markets UBER ALLES, not uberalis, sheesh

Psst... TC: Paul's right, ya know. "Markets uberalis" is totally wrong!

Hmm, I think I just figured out TechCrunch's insignia:

I want an iPhone app that lets me take pictures of my record albums in high enough resolution to be able to digitally scan the grooves of each track on each side of the LP, then saves 'em as MP3s. Oh, and of course, it should recognize the album (and therefore all the tracks) by either the album cover or by OCR'ing the record label, so that artist data and track names etc are all added to the appropriate ID3 tags of the MP3 files. Confirmation with CDDB would be nice. Oh, wait, there's another must-have feature: if it recognizes that I have a particular track or album already in my iTunes library, it does the right thing and skips the digital recognition and conversion to MP3 of the grooves and instead uses the existing MP3. BUT, if it notices that the sample rate of the existing MP3 is less than what it can achieve by doing a new digitization of the grooves, it ignores the existing MP3 and digitizes a new one off of the grooves and replaces the existing MP3 with the higher-quality one. Oh, and of course it should have built-in pop detection and digital noise reduction: no noise from the scratched surfaces of the LPs. Oh, and it goes without saying that I would like the app to be able to play the song and act as a turntable in real-time if I so much as point the iPhone camera at a record. So, like, everything happens in a split second: as soon as I aim the lens at the side of an LP, it is instantly recognized, digitized if necessary, and playing can commence right away. Oh, and it would be nice if the act of shaking the iPhone while it was looking at an LP caused the sound to wiggle and scratch like a DJ turntablist.

Mmm-kay? Can I have that like tomorrow?

I dare you to compare this to any venue's summer concert schedule in the past, oh, 30 years.

I was going through old papers and came across this ad, publication unknown, for the concert schedule for the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, for the summer of 1973. This ought to be enough to make Bob Lefsetz wax nostalgic for the next week.

Look at that lineup. What a summer. Lettermen, Jerry Lee Lewis, J Geils Band, Black Oak Arkansas, Rare Earth, Johnny Winter, Foghat, Don McClean and the Persuasions in one night, Steve Wonder, PINK FLOYD for two nights (this was their debut Dark Side of the Moon tour -- gulp!), Glen Campbell, Quicksilver Messenger Service with guests Electric Light Orchestra (!), James Gang and KING CRIMSON, the Carpenters, Mills Brothers, B.B. King, Herman and the Hermits, Circus, Johnny Mathis, John Denver, Ella Fitzgerald, Stephen Stills, Focus (remember "Hocus Pocus"?), the frickin' KINKS, Arlo Guthrie, MILES DAVIS and Muddy Waters in one show (!), Al Green, Seals and Crofts, Loggins and Messina, Sha Na Na, Wishbone Ash and Canned Heat, Judy Collins, America, the Temptations, Blood Sweat and Tears, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The WHO playing Tommy (!!!), The Guess Who, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cheech and Chong, George Carlin, Beach Boys, 5th Dimension, Hellen Reddy and Mac Davis, Gilbert "Alone Again, Naturally" O'Sullivan, and Rod McKuen. Glaringly missing was Led Zeppelin but I believe they were already doing stadiums by that point.

And notice the ticket prices. Man oh man, those were the days.

Merriweather Post Concert Schedule, Summer of 1973

Sad thing is, I was too young to be allowed to go to any of these. Except one. True confessions time. My family went to The Carpenters (hey, they were huge then -- note the three consecutive evenings!), and yes, that was the first live concert I ever attended. If it were up to me I would have been at The Who, of course, but, it wasn't up to me.

Lately I have found that Google Alerts doesn't work anywhere near as well as it used to, say, a year or two ago. I track lots of things, and usually set them up for "as-it-happens" style alerts, which, I assume, means "instant" (as instant as instant can be, given reasonable delays for Google's bots to do their job). It used to be I'd get all sorts of hits for things in a very reasonable amount of time, hours, maybe sometimes minutes. Now, I find "as-it-happens" results sometimes take days, sometimes even weeks, before they wind up in my email.

So I am setting up an experiment. I created a Google Alert for the nonsense phrase "kaferga figa" (kuh-FER-ga FEE-ga). I want to see how long it takes for Google Alerts to alert me, "as it happens". I'm guessing a week. Let's see.

kaferga feega

I'll report the results back as soon as Google Alerts sends me an alert.

Time now, 16:32PT on 4 Aug 2010