Rockit

If you like hip-hop, you won’t believe how fucking good Scratch is. It’s a comprehensive history of DJing, from the early 70’s in Brooklyn to the current day west coast. I’m kicking myself for missing so much of it going on in my backyard of San Francisco.

Someone finally gets it

I’m ecstatic to see Apple launch its music service. It may be too early to say, but from looking at the apple site (can’t get onto the service right now — too busy) the service appears to comply with almost every request I laid out last year in a music article. Ideally, it’d be nice if the songs were 50 cents each, but a buck isn’t bad, and I can’t wait to enjoy the convenience of hearing about a new artist or album, going onto the service, and having my own copies of the songs in a few minutes for a reasonable price (even if CDs will cost as much as physical media, which they clearly should not).

Kudos apple for sticking your neck out and getting the ball rolling on changing a dying industry.

update: Crap, it uses a DRM-loaded AAC format instead of mp3 so I can’t share it with my PC player. Even though winamp does read AAC files, it appears that both version 2 and 3 of winamp can’t play a song bought on this service. Attempts to play a song in iTunes 4 that a friend bought required that I know his apple store login to play it as well.

Blog Journalism?

Photos from this afternoon’s REDUCE Spam press conference. Full text of the act available here.

I thought the bill might work before I attended this, but after hearing about all the exceptions and loopholes, it seems like it’d be pretty easy to get around this law, while many innocent mailing list owners would be treated as guilty until proven innocent. Spam isn’t black and white, and the grey areas at the sides are far too large for this to have any positive effect on email. If this becomes law, I’m convinced Lessig will be an author instead of a professor.

Amusing moments: representitive Zoe Lofgren mentioning that adult mail would be labelled so that “fraternity houses could still receive the messages” and later on, she read the latest text of the bill from her Blackberry 2-way pager.

Blogsharing time travels

Freaky: Anil found an old post of mine laying out the blogshares idea.

If I remember correctly, the application was actually planned out, a domain was bought by someone else, and I was going to host it. We couldn’t figure out a way to automatically do the metrics though, since there wasn’t a blogdex, nor a daypop or technorati to automatically give us data. There weren’t any xml apis either, it was going to be done by scraping the single web index at the time (long since dead).

Simply amazing

Every once in a while you see something truly new and different, and it shocks you out of life’s stupor. The ol’ TiVo caught a Conan rerun the other day that featured the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players that was jaw-droppingly good and I can’t get the performance out of my head.

The act is half performance art, half comedy, and a tiny bit of indie music, but there’s enough wackiness and honesty that makes it all work. A family of three, the dad plays the piano and sings, the 9 year old daughter sings and plays drums while the mom runs a slideshow projector loaded with slides bought at garage sales around the country. The songs are simple and based on the subject matter of the slides, and sound like they were written in an afternoon.

The weird part is that they sell CDs, but you kind of have to see the slides for the songs to make sense, and there isn’t a smooth way to do that online. NPR did a piece that featured a song with slides that works pretty well, but seeing them live on stage is about the only way to get the full experience.

802.11 squeeze

As long as I’ve had my Titanium powerbook, I’ve had problems with its pathetic wireless range. I live in a small 2-bdrm house where no point is more than 20 feet from the airport basestation, but I can’t access the network in half the house. After a year and a half of this, I finally decided to look into rigging an external antenna. Before I could find info on that, I found something much simpler. I can’t believe this worked. You pop the battery out and squeeze the antenna into the frame, and now I can post this from the far end of the living room couch.

Now to fix my loose tibook hinge that has turned my LCD floppy…

Spamassassins

Tomorrow’s event at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society looks like it’ll be interesting.

Since so much spam seems to originate offshore, I wonder if an American law requiring labels and bounty would do any good.

So very tired

I’ve been hit with a sore throat and weak cold after a week at E-tech. It was mostly a blur, but expect a write-up and more thoughts on the event over the next few days.

AMZN at etech

The past couple days at Etech have been filled with news of Amazon’s developer API success and their future plans. There are a lot of things in store for the api, including custom cobranded checkouts and integration with z-shops and their marketplace sellers. This could mean that someday you could have your own site with your own site design that also included a storefront (of your own products) that was powered by amazon. People would then buy things from the storefront, and although they would be sent to amazon for checkout, the entire process could appear as if it took place on your site, within your design.

Amazon looks poised to take on sites like eBay/paypal and bigstep as they build a public merchant platform that can be used by all. In many ways it’s a Wal Mart-ization of the web, as many small web shops opt for selling through a skinned amazon storefront and checkout system instead of using an off the shelf package or paypal and their own system.