Bug?

Something about Adam Curry’s feed and CNET’s feed are causing my newsreader to behave oddly, reposting all messages in the feed every hour. This makes it pretty hard to find just the new stuff. The feeds appear to have reasonable GUIDs but I haven’t studied them carefully. I think there is a bug somewhere, but I don’t know if it’s in the reader or in the feeds. Unsubscribing these feeds, reluctantly, until we figure this out.

Hmm, I’m also having problems with the subsHarmonizer, which isn’t letting me delete the feeds. It keeps resubscribing me. Maybe these two issues are related.

Yesterday’s post about the MIT project got me thinking about everything that’s wrong with digital music again. So what about iTunes? C.A. Childers observes

You see, Apple provided the missing ingredient that the RIAA and its similars had been awaiting: sex appeal. Apple made it appealing to buy digital files. They made it sexy to carry them on a pocket hard drive. They packaged DRM for the masses in easy to swallow pills of X, and they’ll be in deeper than we can imagine before people recognize what it is that they’ve been sold.

I’m curious to learn just how tightly Apple controls the music they sell. Once you’ve purchased a song, can you only listen to it on hardware running Apple or Windows software? What happens if Apple is sold to another company that wants to change the terms of the sale? Does the software enable that? What happens if Apple goes out of business?

Legal hacking

This story about music distribution over MIT’s cable system has been getting a lot of link traffic from weblogs I read.

man-holding-tv.jpg
Honestly I don’t understand what problem it solves. I watched a demonstration of the idea last Thursday in an MIT classroom. Having presented an MIT credential through his Web browser, the user queued up a CD and received the message “Your selection is now playing on Channel 64”. The problem was, we were nowhere near a television set.

Zittrain is quoted in the NYT article, describing the work as “almost an act of performance art”. I agree with the spirit of that comment. The project looks to me like a legal hack more than anything else.

A neat trick, perhaps, but it fails to address the root problem, which is a persistent, and I believe, wrong, conviction that art and commerce can only flourish under increasingly stringent control.

Others are attacking the problem head-on in a variety of creative ways.

Milestone: my wife and I went on our first date ten years ago this weekend. It’s easy to remember because we went to see a movie that Sunday. We paid at the front counter and headed for the theater which, to our surprise, was empty even though we were right on time. We hung out by the door and talked for a while. Five minutes passed with nobody else showing up. Ten. Twenty. Suddenly we realized that we’d forgotten about the time change and arrived an hour early.

The movie was Dazed and Confused.

More comment spam today, and more referer log entries. My comment spammers file has been updated and the spammer’s ip/url reported to feedster.

This particular spammer used a Google search carefully crafted to yield a bunch of MT weblogs. I went and re-ran the search and sure enough, most of the search results still had the same spam that I got. Grumble. Gotta get my act together and install one of those filter plugins. But I’m still suspicious of any software program that claims to be able to tell spam from non spam. Wouldn’t it be great if we could incorporate those robot-defying, obfuscated text images right into the weblog tool?