Sep 5, 2002 - opinion    1 Comment

Alegria

Went to Cirque Du Soleil‘s Alegria last night. If you’ve never been to a Cirque show … go.

Any special you’ve seen on television pales in comparison to experiencing the real thing. Watching a trapeze act immediately above you is absolutely amazing. I’m still trying to digest the experience … and I’ll probably be doing that for some time.

The only blemish on the entire evening (not counting our dining adventure at the Old Spaghetti Factory … but that’s another story) was the one cell phone that went off in the middle of the performance (not mine, some other moron’s). As timing would have it, it went off with it’s damnedably distinctive ring during a quieter part of the act … as if proudly proclaiming, “I’m so important I need to let everyone know.”

I mean, when the show opened, the introduction included specific instructions to the audience (loudly and clearly detailed by the young Mongolian actor in English more cleanly pronounced than many Americans):

  • Don’t smoke in the tent
  • Don’t take pictures or video (the flash and lighting could distract and be potentially dangerous to the cast)
  • Turn your cell phones and pagers off

The last point brought a round of applause from the audience, a serious indication that people are tired of these self-important, arrogant assholes who feel that common courtesy doesn’t apply to them. Ok, ok … so you’re an important individual … you’ve a job where being “on call” means you have to be contactable … I can respect that. But, you can easily get a vibrating battery pack for your phone (I use one myself) that silently alerts you to an incoming call. If you can’t turn the phone or pager off, at least think of the people around you … and not in the way you usually do (“people who see me taking calls in public will know I’m an important person …”).

I mean … think. You impress no one with your phone … get over yourself … you’re no better than the whining idiots I see in the Usenet newsgroups and website discussion forums critically ripping everyone else around them apart … yet being completely incapable of contributing anything worthwhile to the discussion (yes, that’s another story, too).

::deep breath:: Anyway, it was just one phone … so no major issue. In my own jaded way, I was half-expecting there to be more interruptions, so having only one was a pleasant surprise.

At any rate, I’ve always been amazed at the skill of the performers in Cirque …

… now I’m a serious fan.

Jul 19, 2002 - opinion    No Comments

Internet Radio: The End Begins

Radio station KPIG, one of the long-time online streaming sources, announced yesterday that they’re pulling the plug on their live webcasts in light of the latest ruling from the illustrious Copyright Office. Sadly, I see this as the beginning of the end … but I don’t think it’s going to turn out the way the record labels and the RIAA expect it to.

I’ve already stated my opinion of the intelligence of Washington when it stumbles into the world of Cyberspace. Sadly, I don’t give the recording industry much more credence … just look at their position on various parts of the issue:

“Webcasters should pay royalties…”
Actually, I can’t argue this … the artist is entitled to a residual when their work is broadcast. Unfortunately, I don’t see the artists getting this money … it goes into the pockets of the record labels and the RIAA.

Besides, it’s never been about whether webcasters should pay or not, it’s been a case of how much, and whatever’s been offered up by the webcasters has never been enough for the labels or the RIAA.

“… and they should pay back royalties to 1998.”
It’s interesting that this business practice exists at all (“tell ya what … we’ll let you exist while we try to pull our heads out and figure out how much we want to milk you for … then when we do, you’ll owe us back to day one…”), but when you’ve got large organizations (think “business sloths”) who can sway Washington to do their bidding … anything’s possible.

Blatant greed is a sad, sad thing.

So … what’s next?
Well, you’ve started seeing it already:

  • KPIG’s hanging it up.
  • Last year, the company I worked at for 2 years (NetRadio.com) closed its doors.
  • Live365.com is now charging a $5/month “Royalty Administration Fee”
  • And these are just a few

I’m afraid you’re going to see more and more of this, as webcasters simply stop webcasting (or go out of business entirely). What I’m afraid will happen is the RIAA, not being happy getting rid of its master’s competition will continue to go after ex-webcasters that haven’t filed for bankruptcy since they used to webcast and still owe royalties for the time they did.

On the flip side, you can expect that the recording industry is tallying up the money it will rake in off either royalties or additional music sales when the webcasters die and the listening public will have to get their music somewhere (meaning the labels). Thing is, the royalty money they’re not gonna get (as companies close or stop webcasting) they’re simply not gonna get (by any means).

It would be interesting to start a tally of the amount of money the RIAA has lost the labels because of what they’ve done “protecting the artist”.

Ya listening, Metallica?

Jul 15, 2002 - opinion    No Comments

So, some forms of guerilla cyberwar are acceptable?

Caught an article on Tech Live, talking about how bogus MP3’s of popular music tracks are appearing on filesharing services. While the recording industry is playing silent, the RIAA’s come out endorsing the practice.

And a politician from California is sponsoring a bill that would make this legal!

What the … ???

Ok, I’ll readily admit that whenever Congress steps into cyberspace, they are the proverbial 400 pound … well … dodo (I can’t do that to guerillas). I mean, stop and think about this: a law making it legal for copyright owners to post/upload bogus versions of their content to services they feel are or would post/upload legit versions of their content (legit but violating their copyright).

Now, just sit for a minute and let that sink in. Make any sense to you? Didn’t think so. Your head hurt yet? I know why: you’re wondering when it became illegal for you (as the copyright holder) to post alternative versions of your own content?

Who’s going to sue you? Yourself?

Jul 11, 2002 - miscellany    No Comments

The Experiment Begins …

Been meaning to get this section up and running for some time. The concept of blogging has always intrigued me … and apparently as I get older I’m getting more opinionated and less concerned about keeping quiet.

I spent some time looking at the many options to blog out there and settled on Movable Type for a couple reasons:

  • I wanted to be able to run this blog off my own server (an opportunity to play and explore)
  • It’s in Perl, a language I know
  • It’s free, and with this being my own little corner of the world, why pay for the right to excercise free speech?

Finally, this is yet another experiment, in that I’m using MT to generate ASP.NET pages (taking advantage of .NET’s coding capabilities). What that means to this app is pretty limited right now … but we’ll see.