It’s funny because it’s true

From the online comic User Friendly (click to see it full size):


But some of my best friends drink it

From the online comic PvP:


More Digital Copyright Stuff

Who owns the network news?

My old pal George “Hotchner” Scriban uses the phrase “Big Content” on his blog, Blogaritaville. Dave Winer likes to bandy about his terms “BigCo” (Big Companies) and “BigPub” (Big Publishers).

Wanna know who these knobs are (by “these knobs” I mean Big Content, not George and Dave…usually)? If you have Acrobat Reader (or similar software that can read .PDF files), take a gander at PROMO’s (the PROject On Media Ownership) Who Owns the Network News map. You’ll be amazed at just how much is owned by just five companies: General Electric, AOL/Time Warner, News Corporation, Walt Disney (a.k.a. Big Mouse) and Viacom.

(I love it that GE has stakes in both the WWF and Polo Ralph Lauren Media. I wonder how often those two companies’ target markets overlap.)

Thanks to my friend and former co-worker George Purdy for pointing me to PROMO’s map.

Canadian hearings on digital copyright hit Toronto tomorrow!

Just got this news from my friend Paul Huggins at Yahoo:

Significant “Digital Copyright” legislation is currently in the public consultations phase.

This is the process:

This is the consultation paper itself:

This legislation will impact all of our lives on both the professional and the personal level. In the smaller sense by creating rules and regs. to control/define much of the legal (and not so legal) freedoms that we take for granted on the Internet.

In the larger sense it impacts us by formalizing a new balance between the interests and rights of creators vs. brokers vs. consumers of intellectual “property”.

If you want to say to your grand-kids, “I was there when they wrote that piece-of-junk || excellent bill”, you might want to attend these hearings.

The public hearings are being held in Toronto at the Holiday Inn on King Street tomorrow from 8:30am to 5pm. Registration is free — check here for the details.

A lesson from the commies

Cory at BoingBoing points to this Observer article “comparing the music-industry’s attempt to mandate copy-prevention and the Stalinist regime’s tight control on photocopiers”:

There is, however, one sobering statistic which may eventually cause even Congress to balk at the studios’ arrogance. US domestic spending on computing technology is running at $600 billion a year, while Hollywood generates a measly $35bn.

To concede the demand for copy protection would be tantamount to compelling a huge, dynamic industry to march to the soporific beat of a technophobic industry desperate to preserve its obsolete business models.

Well, I’ll be. For once, the adage “money talks, bullshit walks” works in the good guys’ favour.


“The only long-term effect of copy protection is to ensure that those who defeat it are immortalized.”

What the past will look like someday is an interesting essay on the true outcome of copy protection that appears in Mark Pilgrim’s blog, diveintomark:

Sonys and Broderbunds of the world, pay attention: the only long-term effect of copy protection is to ensure that those who defeat it are immortalized. Long after my Playstation console falls apart, long after all the original, legitimate, uncopyable Playstation discs have crumbled into dust, long after the no-doubt-teenager who cracked Spyro 3 has grown up and joined polite society and found better things to do with his time, Spyro the Dragon will be remembered. Unfortunately, it will also be associated with that damn ugly crack screen, because no other versions will exist. This is what the past will look like someday. And we’ll just shrug, skip intro, and get on with it.

Point of information: The term “crack screen” may be unfamiliar. In a game that’s been “cracked” — that is, a game that’s had its copy protection mechanism defeated — the people who did the cracking often add an extra screen to the start of the game as their calling card, kind of like the “20th Century Fox” or “Paramount” logo at the start of a movie. That screen is the “crack screen” to which Mark refers.

Thanks to Johnathon Delacour’s blog, which pointed me there. Johnathon also points out that:

…there’s no point wondering why no-one is making the creative leap to find solutions that generate revenue for content producers while recognizing the inevitability of copying. No-one’s making the creative leap because, as Dave Winer points out, (with a few exceptions) the suits resent the talent — and it’s the talent who have a lock on the creativity.


I could’ve told you that!

According to the Which ’80’s Movie Icon Are You? online test (yeah, I know, online tests are so September 10th, but a firefighter cute guy like me can get away with it, right?), I am:

The Great Man himself!

Not everyone agrees with me about the greatness of Ferris Bueller. My friend Adina hates Mr. Bueller; she says he’s a sociopath. I say he’s a charismatic, skillful negotiator with a rogueish streak. Adina’s idea of a hero must be an accountant who leaves the “8 items or less” line when he realizes he’s got nine items in his cart. You go, girl.

Go on, ‘Dinster, be a tool of the Man. Obey like a good lil’ doggie. I’ll know it’s you who handed my name to the Music Industry Secret Police!


Sabado, Sabado, Sabado!

Another guy’s take on how the music industry is killing music

One of the best things about the Web is the opportunity for serendipity. You can follow a trail of links, end up someplace you’d never expected to go and find something that you’d never have looked for. Case in point: this essay about the record industry by comic book writer Steven Grant, who wrote this blurb as part of his Permanent Damage column in Comic Book Resources. Check it out (by the way, I added in some “linkatorial”)…

I’m told last year was the worst in decades for the record industry. They’re all wailing and moaning (and trying to figure out how the soundtrack to O BROTHER WHERE ARE THOU became a Grammy-award-winning hit (go, T-Bone!)) and blaming their losses on Internet file trading despite study after study indicating people who swap MP3s are likely to spend more on recorded music, not less. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to them that what they’re sinking most of their money+ into sucks, and is so lukewarm and programmed that the audience has been running like it’s the Chicago fire. (Two words: Mariah Carey.)

One of my relatives is a pretty hip 13-year old girl who just a couple years ago couldn’t stop talking about popular music and bought all kinds of CDS, and now she never mentions it because everything’s so boring. (She only listens to Spanish music stations on the car radio now.) Instead of actually trying to find out what music might actually interest an audience today, the record industry has been trying to ram draconian anti-technology and anti-competitive legislation through Congress and taking even more steps to make musicians de facto work-for-hire employees. After decades of creative bookkeeping and screwing artists out of royalties, the music industry actually has the gall to claim they’re trying to look out for the artists’ interests when battling MP3s and wide dissemination of new recording technologies and crippling the applicability of their product.

Meanwhile, potential buyers are left to turn their attention and wallets to other things or scrounge to find interesting material that falls between the cracks of the music industry’s pigeonholing and demographic biases, while executives refuse to consider the possibility that the world is changing or they’re just wrong.

The Pain

I’ve had a couple of days with my trainer at my new gym, and every muscle in my body is killing me. The things I do just to fit into my old pants…

Mike, my trainer, is built like a Mack truck. He has biceps that look like Volkwagen Beetles. He caused a bit of a commotion when he loaded the leg press sled to the max (about two dozen 45-pound plates) and did his workout. On top of that, he’s also the guitarist and backup vocalist for a KISS tribute band! He probably looks more like the hyper-muscled Ace Frehley action figure than Ace himself ever did.

It’s never been called that before…

Some guy on the street, pointing at my accordion: Hey man, that’s a really cool…uh…xylophone…?


“I say we nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure…”

Friends of my friend and former co-worker Justin Chapweske are unemployed and have a messy house. However, they hope to turn their lack of hygiene into good fortune in’s Messiest Apartment Contest. They’re finalists, and they need your vote to win some prize money (US$10,000, which should help pay the rent) and a free visit from a cleaning service. Their apartment is pictured below — click on the photos to see larger versions and feel the horror…

If you check out the other two competitors, you’ll see that Justin’s friends are way ahead (although the UCLA apartment’s toilet has this horrible brown ring).

All of a sudden, I feel the urge to do some housekeeping. Or gouge out my eyes so I never have see such horror again.