Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Music and The Decemberists

I see that on TechCrunch today there is a story about how commercial recorded music will inevitably become free unless governments create artificial barriers. I definitely agree with the premise and view it as a good thing.

A friend recently sent me a link to 16 Military Wives by The Decemberists. Little Beam and I watched the video many times. Then I searched YouTube for more material by the band. The stuff that I found, I really liked. Finally, I could stand it no longer and ran off to Borders to purchase their CD, The Crane Wife, so I could experience the product as the artists packaged it. Now that I am satiated, I will probably endeavor to make future purchases directly from their website. I'll also keep an eye for when they make it down to the South and purchase concert tickets.

This is how bands should make money in the future. Create a quality product. Provide your potential audience access to the product. People will pay if they like what they see and hear.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Three Warming Stories

  1. The extent of sea ice in the arctic continues to dip well past the 2005 record. There is still one or two weeks before we hit the new record minimum.

  2. NPR had an interesting story about geysers of methane in lakes in Alaska.

  3. Hurricane Humberto's wind speeds went from 35 to 85 mph in 16 hours - faster than any storm on record.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Emergence and the ABC's of YouTube

Boids is an example of emergent behavior. A large number of self-interested agents interacting produce an unexpected group behavior. I am always interested by stories with a touch of emergent behavior associated with them. Perhaps, that is why I find Web 2.0 fascinating.

Here is an interesting video that the folks from GMail put together from short clips sent in by fans around the world.

As it so happens, I have a 2 1/2 yo daughter (Little Beam). When we watch the video together I point to the GMail icon and say "M! There's the letter M!"

Now I have this idea that it would be neat to put together a list of the ABC's of YouTube. This would be a list of 26 (child friendly) videos from YouTube each featuring a particular letter in a less subtle manner than, say, the old Sesame Street segments. That is, the videos should not be titled "The Letter M".

Mmm... That's probably a collaborative project.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Grocery Social Network Idea

Who wants to build this site?

The web needs a social network site that gives the users the ability to layout their local grocery store. Users who happen to shop at the same grocery will slowly build up a full mapping of where various items are located in the store. For example, if your are looking for the pickled herring, you would know right away that it's located on aisle 5.

The site would also contain recipes. Simply enter the recipes that you would like to make for the week, enter the grocery store that you want to go to, and voila... print out a mapped shopping list. How efficient!

Let me know the address when you build it.

Solar Powered Dreams Management

Friday, July 13, 2007

Four Random Hits Regarding Memory

Hit number 1:
Science Fiction writer Charles Stross recently wrote an article contemplating trends in the ability to record, store, and review human history. Nay! I meant to say an individual's personal history. No! Wait! I meant to say every detail of every individual's personal history. Yep... All 6,000,000,000+ of them... I mean US... He likens this ability to the end of the Dark Ages for future historians.

Hit number 2:
My father recently described meeting someone with photographic memory.

My work buddies were profoundly interesting. One of them had a photographic memory. I once asked him what that was like. I figured that having a photographic memory had to be a great advantage. He looked at me quiet seriously and with a little sadness.

“Think about it. You forget the little insignificant things. Not me,” he said. “I don’t forget anything. It’s a burden.”

Yeah. I remember that’s what he said: Remembering everything is a burden.

Hit number 3:
Here's a snippet from the Science Blog:

Emotional memories can be suppressed with practice

Depue speculated that memory suppression could be a positive evolutionary trait, using the example of a Stone Age hunter narrowly escaping from a lion while hunting antelope. “If the hunter became so beleaguered by memories of that incident that he stopped hunting, then he would have starved to death.”

Hit number 4:
Useful Void: The Art of Forgetting in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing
By Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger

From the abstract:

Today, with affordable storage, effortless retrieval and global access remembering has become the default, for us individually and for society as a whole... I propose a simple rule that reinstates the default of forgetting our societies have experienced for millennia, and I show how a combination of law and technology can achieve this shift.

Now if I could just Remember The Milk.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tracking a boom

After a bit of experimentation, it seems that it is somewhat difficult to both track the rise of new Web 2.0 technologies AND actually experiment with the technologies. Particularly when doing so is not what you get paid to do. Particularly-particularly when you have other obligations (such as "a life" - however emaciated it may be). I could read about interesting and exciting new web products all day, but in the end, have nothing tangible to show for my efforts. Certainly, there is value (as a developer) in tracking web trends / products / APIs. After all, I believe a key ingredient to building a creative solution is a healthy dose of exposure to not-necessarily-related ideas. I'm certain that employers see this as a benefit as well, but I believe that most employers would consider that the research should be pursued proactively by the employee outside of the work day.

In today's world, there is no lack of feeds (Mashable, TechCrunch) containing simplified overviews of new things. I don't have to go out searching for information. It shows up in my RSS reader faster than I can complete a thought. (So... maybe that's a personal problem.) Still, I have not found a way to learn as much as I'd like AND earn a living at the same time.

Is it possible to do? I don't know, but I'm beginning to believe that it may require the collective intelligence of a community to achieve.

For example, perhaps I may read about web technologies and ideas for hours. I walk away satisfied that I have learned a little bit. But that satisfaction pales when compared with the act discussing for 15 minutes what I have learned with another passionate observer. One must both gather and share.

Hm... Community... Maybe all my investigations of web 2.0 is starting to sink in...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Social Network Experiment

This is a social network experiment.

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Unrequested expenditure of Attention

But, look at that! Does a posting from a Yahoo email account include a random advertisement at the bottom?

You can blog from your email!

I'm posting this message to my blog from an email! Slick, eh?

Food fight? Enjoy some healthy debate
in the Yahoo! Answers Food & Drink Q&A.