I just got back from

I just got back from a visit to a barber, one of the honest-to-goodness kinds that I haven’t to in years. One of those places with a barber pole out front, guy named Mort waiting to get a cut after me, pictures of Joe Dimaggio and famous boxing champs on the wall, and the most frequent topic of conversation was gambling in Vegas.

After buzzing around my head once with some clippers the barber made a bold announcement.

“I bet you’ve been married for two years.”

“Two years this fall, yeah” I said. “How’d you know?”

“I only counted one gray hair.”

muse.net is in beta

muse.net is in beta and looking like a pretty cool way to pool your collection of music into a digital library you can access anywhere. It’s about convenience, not piracy by specifically not allowing sharing or downloading, just personal playback. I’ve got a desktop with most of my music, and a laptop with a smaller hard drive and only a subset of my collection currently. This looks like a good way to share a single collection between both, even though the machines are physically miles apart.

I added my muse collection under my currently listening header below.

[UPDATE: After coming home from the office, I picked up my powerbook and logged into my collection. iTunes popped up and began streaming mp3s right off my office desktop. Truly amazing.]

It’s funny how the “monkey

It’s funny how the “monkey see, monkey do” phenomena happens online. One guy sends his resume out to tens of thousands of people (I got one from the guy), and even though he gets taken over the coals for it, someone, somewhere sees it and thinks “oh, we can do that now?” A month following Shifman’s spam, I received an unsolicited resume from someone asking me to hire them, directed at my address associated with my domains. It seems like it is still happening.

In the last year, there were a few cases of politicians using spam as their marketing tool for their campaigns. It’s no surprise really, last November on election day I got no less than three phone calls with not just people urging me to vote their way, but recorded pitches from the mayor, senators, and representatives. I was getting phone-spammed by robots.

My sincere hope is that other budding politicians don’t see this guy and think “great, now it’s ok to do that too.”

I don’t care what party politicians taking part in this belong to, if they can’t respect the privacy of every citizen’s inbox, they’re not getting my vote.

U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher, moving

U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher, moving to strengthen “fair use” provisions under federal copyright law, said he is introducing a bill that would essentially restrict the record industry from selling copy-protected CDs.

While conceding later that copy-protected CDs aren’t against existing law, he said their introduction wouldn’t even impact the music piracy the music industry is trying to stop. Instead, the move will “anger millions of their best-customers who have become accustomed of making copies [of CDs] for their own use,” which is allowed under “fair use” provisions of copyright law.

The provisions in the bill, which are expected to be up for debate by September at the latest, include the following:

– Change the “Ephemeral” Recording Exemption of copyright law
– Expand existing selection for sampling of songs, much the way offline music stores allow people to listen to tracks before buying
– Allow back up copies of music on a hard drive, much the way software copies are backed up in case a computer hard-drive has to be rebuilt
– Address older “mechanical” rights of copyright law by creating “safe harbor” provisions
– Require “non-discrimination” in the licensing of music inventories by major labels in the music industry
– Require an examination of programming restrictions
– Require direct payment to artists: Current law says royalty payments are to be shared among the recording companies and performing artists

Finally, a congressman who gets it.

My guess is that this has exactly one snowball’s chance in hell of getting past the recording industry lobby unscathed, but still, it’s nice to see something that’s a step in the right direction.

Crap. My favorite living bass

Crap. My favorite living bass player (Charles Mingus would be my all-time fav) is no longer living. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but if you love great music, do yourself a favor and get out and see some live jazz by the living legends. A good lot of them are in their 70s and aren’t long for this world.

I got to enjoy Ray Brown’s work live on several occasions, but the bay area doesn’t have the level of regular, high-quality jazz that the Los Angeles area commands.

I saw Men In Black

I saw Men In Black II over the 4th of July weekend and was quite a bit disappointed in how much energy, effort, and money went in to something so completely devoid of a story.

Walking away from the theater, I realized what I had just seen: A spinoff show. You know those lackluster shows that follow some previously interesting, but somewhat minor character in new situations and new locales? They’re rarely half as good as whatever spawned them, and usually for obvious reasons.

MIB 2 was held up by a few characters that had brief amusing parts in the first film. That talking pug that got a shaking in the first film? He’s funny for about 30 seconds in both films but shows up as Jay’s partner for a number of unfunny sequences. The pawn shop alien who gets his head blown off? He gets a much bigger scene this time around. I barely remembered the worm guys from the first film, but they’re given full supporting roles in this one.

I bet it goes like this: take a quirky film that grossed way more than you thought, and take the cash cow to sequel with as little creative work as possible. Instead of a script, start by turning every funny 30 second cameo by an interesting character in the first film into five minutes with the stars. Sprinkle in pre-paid product endorsements and placements liberally, then tack on love story to fill out the remaining minutes.

Overall it was way too much computer generated sets and action with very little plot and character development. It’s hard to care about anyone in the film and the whole thing seems like Wild Wild West: plenty of nice looking CG work sans a story to hold any of it up.

Mark Pilgrim’s 30 days to

Mark Pilgrim’s 30 days to a more accessible weblog is such a wealth of fantastic information that I would be completely surprised if he hasn’t already been contacted by a publisher to make a book about the subject (generalized to websites, instead of just weblogs). Perhaps he’ll offer a downloadable pdf version of the whole series for a small paypal fee. I’d buy a copy if one were offered that way. The series reads like a to-do list of what I should implement on this site, as well as MetaFilter.

It’s great to read the

It’s great to read the range of critical feedback about Minority Report (Jason’s plot holes, Michael’s bad marketing, peter’s empty plot, and jane’s hilarious open letter to the bad technology planners). I tend to agree with just about everything I’ve seen there, even though I thought it was a pretty good movie. I wondered what brought about the criticism; what would compel people to take a movie apart bit by bit? Then I remembered the reviews I heard before I saw the film. Roger Ebert is someone I respect and he was giving it some of the highest praise I’ve heard about a film all year. It seems like the collective webloggers, if you can lump them together like that, are basically calling bullshit on the film’s high overall rating among critics. The movie was heralded as something akin to Bladerunner or 2001 when it’s maybe a Gattaca at best. It’s a pretty good film but nothing stellar, and it has plenty of holes in the story that keep it from being much better.

I wonder if the high praise the film garnered was simply due to the lackluster movie year so far, especially this summer’s onslaught of tired, hyped films.