Yesterday Rob brought home a copy of King Crimson’s “Discipline” — an album of which I’ve been trying to find a copy for roughly 10 years. Rob’s the awesomest ever.
Turns out that Coldplay (or, at very least, Coldplay’s label) doesn’t really understand their audience. I like Coldplay well enough. Our household has purchased (legally, with actual money) all of their CDs in the past. But, no longer. Their latest CD apparently comes with anti-piracy technology that prevents the disk being ripped to MP3 (ie: no iPod, no iTunes) or played on certain car stereos (!?!) among other things.
Well, thanks but no thanks. Call me when you stop treating your customers and fans like thieves.
I’m working on doing more interesting things with this weblog, primarily in terms of automated functions. The two main things I’m working on today are using the del.icio.us automatic link posting system and using ecto for posts (again). ecto has some neat features, including auto-insertion of iTunes “currently listening” notes and automatic adding of Amazon.com (or .ca) links. If I’ve set the del.icio.us thing up correctly, a post of today’s links (so far) will be automatically submitted at 10am Eastern. If that works, I’ll set it up so that’s added at 11pm or something, so it actually gets a list of the whole day’s links. Here’s a test of the ecto stuff:
Come & Talk to Me from the album “Secret World Live” by Peter Gabriel
This is one of the books I’m currently (re)reading:
Jed wrote poems. Here’s one that was turned into a music video, described as “[a]n unsolicited music video for the band Grandaddy and their song of the same name off of the album The Sophtware Slump“. The punchline? Programmed in Applesoft II on a 1979 Apple ][+ with 48K of RAM. Seriously. It’s brilliant. Seriously.
It makes me happy when something — a gadget, a piece of software, a website, what-have-you — just works. I was reminded of this just now when I popped my Tom Waits Big Time CD in to the Mac for ripping. Single button press opens the CD tray, another closes it, then iTunes automatically opens, identifies the CD, queries CDDB (online CD database), and lists the tracks. From there a single click on the “Import” button rips and catalogues the tracks to my earlier-set specifications (AAC format, 192 kbps, do not play songs while encoding, do not include track number in file names, do not use error correction). The whole process takes mere minutes*.
iTunes pleases me. In the same vein, iPhoto pleases me. Yesterday I decided to finally clear the SD card on my little baby Canon. I plugged it in to the USB port on the back of my keyboard (those are damned handy), and iPhoto automatically opened, set up the import, did the import, and cleared the card all with a single mouse click.
While in California, I picked up a copy of iWork ($79 USD). I haven’t looked at Keynote yet, but Pages is really slick. It’s a full-fledged desktop publishing system akin to Word, only without the eye-stabbingly bad UI. The default UI is all most people need for most word-processing tasks, and it’s just nice and simple. It also has some extremely nice templates, and exports to PDF very nicely. All good.
Oh, in related (ie: software) news, I’ve started maintaining my TODO list in OmniOutliner. Another very slick, very useful, very usable bit of software that just does what it’s supposed to do without getting in my way.
It says something about bad software when one of the defining factors of good software is that it “doesn’t get in my way”. It sure is neat when technology verges on being transparent. I think this is why I like FireFox so much — the default configuration is nothing more and nothing less than what most people need to get around on the web, but there are piles of extensions that allow you to easily add what you want or need (but nothing else).
We sure have come a long way, and yet there’s so much farther to go…
* (While writing up this entry, I’ve also ripped Tom Waits’ Foreign Affairs, and Beautiful Maladies. Not quite sure why they weren’t already in my collection, but they are now, hooray!)
Check it out over here, or, better yet, just pop open iTunes, hit the “Radio” list, and look for it under “Eclectic”.
Read David’s journal as well. He writes about things most of us will never have an opportunity to experience as if they were everyday occurrences. I think he looks good with grey hair.
The following is an excerpt from a letter I received from Timothy Findley in 1992.
“Keep fighting against the uninformed who think writing – here or anywhere – is a waste of time and effort. If anything will save us, it’s the imagination – and there’s no way better way to keep the imagination alive than to write or to read. My mentor, Thorton Wilder, once said that cruelty is nothing more than a failure of the imagination — and all I can say is that there’s a lot of that going around these days…”
If you’re out there with a drink in hand, give a silent toast to Hunter, TIFF, and Elliott Smith tonight, would you? So much brilliance, too soon taken from us.