PubSub: The Game’s Afoot!

I went to check the PubSub LinkRanks for brainwagon today, only to find that my ranking, which had been floating in the mid 50,000 range, was now ranked closer to the 992,461. A closer inspection of pubsub indicates that positions beginng at 10 are all occupied by mystery domain Methinks somebody has been gaming pubsub for fun or profit.

Music download prices to rise

The Register reports that major music labels are trying to get music retailers to increase prices. What a good idea! Let’s make it even more costly for individuals to acquire music, that’s sure to drive down the rates of copyright infringement!

Seriously, what are they thinking?

The problem appears to be related to Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Apparently 65% of all music downloads for money occur through the iTunes music store. Apple’s success in online marketing of music appears to be at the expense of the major labels (or so they apparently believe) and they apparently aren’t happy.

I do see why they are worried. The wholesale price for songs is 65 cents per track. Apple collects 99 cents per track, netting themselves 34 cents. The record companies do have expenses that Apple probably does not: they do after all pay to produce albums, and they have to manufacture them. One could expect that over time, online distribution of music will become the norm, and the overall market for the solid vinyl plastic form of music will become a thing of the past, and record companies will not be able to maintain their lofty lifestyles.

But it’s there fault for handing a huge market over to Apple for a pittance. You can’t put the djinni back in the bottle, and it will be damned tough for them to take the market back. Raising prices at this point results in a Pyrrhic victory for all businesses involved.

It’s time to evolve or perish.

Brainwagon Has No Daily Readers

I’ve noticed something which I sort of find surprising: this website has no daily readers.

I’ve been scanning the logs of all the people who come to my website, and by far the majority, probably 90% of all hits, come here via Google searches. Not from hitlists on websites, or directories, or anything else, but just people entering strange keywords which, by virtue of the eclectic nature of most of my posts, send them to brainwagon.

One unfortunate thing is that my statistics do not capture those who read brainwagon via RSS: statistics on those who access the RSS feed are not available from‘s statistics. Since I do make the entire text of my postings available in the RSS feed, perhaps all my regular readers are reading brainwagon via RSS.

I’ll have to do some more research in my log files to help figure that out.

Brainwagon Radio: Oscar Review Preview

Well, this is a very short episode tonight. It was my intention to release a review of the Academy Awards tonight, and to shake things up a bit, I’ve engaged my wife to aid in this production. If you’ve enjoyed the keen commentary of Michael Geohagen’s Reel Reviews, well, toss all those high expectations out the window, we don’t know anything, it’s just a lark for us. Unfortunately, events have conspired to keep us from watching the awards tonight, so you’ll have to wait for our keen insights until we can record them tomorrow after we review all the footage on our Tivo. Perhaps you should prepare by having lots to drink. Check back again soon for a full episode.

Win for The Incredibles

Academy Award Win for Pixar's The IncrediblesWell, the Oscars have more or less just begun, but the news is good for us Pixarians: The Incredibles won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Congratulations to Brad Bird, John Walker, and all of my fellow monkeys who worked on the film. It’s always great to have played a part, no matter how small, in the creating an Academy Award winning film.

Update: Michael Silvers and Randy Thom also won Oscar Gold for their work in Sound Editing on The Incredibles. Well done lads!

Jef Raskin

It is with considerable surprise and sadness that I heard of the passing of Jef Raskin this weekend. I wasn’t a friend: merely an admirer of his work and his appearances at the Hackers conference. I found his delight with model airplanes to be infectious and genuine, and his innovative ideas to be thought provoking. To all those whose life he played a more direct and personal role, you have my condolences.

Grand Tourismo Goody

Grand Tourismo Screen DumpI bought Grand Tourismo 4 the other day for my son (hey, it’s cheaper than buying him a real car) and I must admit, it’s awfully pretty looking. One of the cuter features is a Photo Travel Mode, where you can take your car (a charcoal gray Honda Civic in this case, don’t laugh) and dump it in one of a number of exotic locales, and then save the image files either to a Playstation Memory Card, or, more usefully to a USB flash device. Check out the Honda in Times Square. Pretty neat.

Quest for MythTV…

Well, I am now closing in on a working MythTV installation (I hope), although a few problems remain. The quality of video coming from this old Brooktree 878 card is terrible, and as yet I haven’t been able to get sound working reliably. Besides prebuffering incorrectly, something having to do with the mixer is wonky: you’d think with all the experience I have with recording my podcasts, I’d be able to figure it out, but so far it has eluded me.

In the end I don’t really want to use the Brooktree card at all: a couple of days ago I found a pretty good deal on the WinTV PVR 150 cards, which do hardware MPEG2 compression for $63 via Amazon. It should ship next week, and hopefully this will provide better quality. Hopefully. If I get this working acceptably well, I’d probably like to shift the entire thing into a smaller, quieter box. Or maybe I could just find a quieter fan, or throttle this one back. Oh well, I’ve got to stop tinkering with this.

I’m off to Radio Shack to pick up a second microphone for my next podcast: stay tuned! A special guest will be joining me for a change of pace. I hope you all will like it.

Hardware Mysteries Resolving…

Demon Machine Exorcised!Underneath my relentless attention, I believe I’ve figured out one of the problems with my SV24 computer that I complained about earlier. I complained that something appeared to be shorting out. Closer thought told me that it sounded like the same sound the computer makes when the reset button is pushed. Worth checking out, think I. 4 hex head screws later, and the front panel was off to reveal that indeed, the reset switch is narrowly installed in a small gap between the power supply and the case. Even closer inspection revealed a barely visible gap in the insulation. Ahah, think I. Some quick application of some tape, and reassemble, and… voila! No more problem.

I also took the opportunity to swap the DVD drive out for a different one, with no apparent change in my ability to install Fedora Core. I did notice however, that the DVD that I’ve been trying to install was a prerelease DVD. Now I’m downloading the real release version, in the hopes that some minor glitch in hardware compatibility occurred during the release process.

I’ll keep you all updated, wish me luck.

Millenium Post!

This post marks the 1000th entry in my weblog. Quite a milestone for me. I hope you all have found something useful or thought provoking in it. As an idea of what topics interest me the most, here is the list of the top 10 categories:

Category Name Count
Link of the Day 147
General 131
Audioblogs and Podcasting 115
Rants and Raves 87
My Projects 86
Toys and Gadgets 73
Science 56
Brainwagon Radio 52
New 52
Blogging 51
Intellectual Property 46

Okay, that’s really 11 topics, because most of the posts which ended up in General did so because I was too lazy to figure out a real category.