Archive for May, 2008

Prince has the law on his side

The following is all over the news today: Prince licensed and sang Radiohead’s “Creep” at the Coachella festival. An unauthorized fan recorded it, posted it to YouTube, and Prince’s label had it taken down under the DMCA. Radiohead disagrees with the take down and say “Well, tell him to unblock it. It’s our… song.

Well, yes and no. Radiohead quite possibly own the song (usually major labels own or co-own the music). However, the performance belongs to Prince. He has every right to bar professional photographers or fans from recording/snapping/posting his performance, as the Coachella festival is a private event that he controls. Radiohead, YouTube, and the fans, have absolutely nothing on this. It is up to Prince to allow this performance to be public or not — and there is even a case where he might not even have this right at all, if his contract for the song doesn’t specifically grant full broadcasting rights to Prince. So basically, even if Prince has or has not the right to himself post an audio/video of his performance online, he has the law on his side when he takes down other’s videos of his performance. Because his performance, that’s 100% his, he controls it, and it’s copyrightable. Therefore, this take-down request was NOT a DMCA abuse, as some people wrote online.

Now, of course, this is how the law is. That doesn’t mean that the whole of copyright law is nice or adjusted for modern times. I personally find Prince to be a jerk. I never liked him, even when I first heard of him in the early ’80s. I much prefer Robert Downey Jr. I think. Yeah.

UPDATE: Radiohead should feel like asses right now. “Creep” is NOT their song. Radiohead wrote and performed the song, but both the original recording performance and the copyright of the song belongs to EMI. In other words, like I said above that it’s usual with major labels, that was “work for hire” that they did, and they have ZERO say in this Youtube case. In fact, not even EMI has a say.

UPDATE 2: Matt says that Radiohead has 33% controlling interest on the song.

SanDisk Sansa e280 8GB Player

Geeks.com, sent over the SanDisk Sansa e280 MP3 and WMA player for a small review. The device has 8 GB of storage internally and it also supports microSD cards.

The device is smaller than an iPod Mini, but bigger overall than a Nano. It has a 1.8″ TFT screen, FM radio, a microphone, while it sports USB 2.0 support. The device came to us with its USB cable and earbuds. No documentation or other accessories were included in this white box release. The battery is rechargeable via the USB cable and it manages up to 20 hours in ideal conditions. The e280 has a “record” button on the side, proprietary USB port on the bottom, microSD slot on the other side, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and a “hold” button on the top. There is also a lanyard/wrist-wrap hole near the top.

The device turns on/off with its “power button” below the main wheel menu. This button is also used to go back to home screen if you press it lightly during usage. The wheel button is actually a blue LED wheel navigates fast on long lists of media when turned. I personally found the blue LED incredibly bright, more so than what it was needed as it was overshadowing the look of the LCD. Inside and around the wheel there are buttons that help you navigate or are playback controls.

When booted up, you can select from a scrolling menu the main function: pictures, video, music, audio recording, FM radio, or settings. The device is really easy to use, although some navigation usability is not as good as the iPod’s. More over, if you get back to the music list and you click on the song that’s currently playing, it starts playing back instead of getting you to the “playback screen”. In fact, I found it very difficult to get back to the playback screen after you have wandered around on other parts of the system. It is details like these that show that Sandisk is simply not as good as Apple in designing interfaces.

Nevertheless, the music quality was perfect, and overall this is a usable system. There is a ratings screen, album artwork, EQ and custom EQ, and various ways to sort music. The Pictures menu allowed for background music while enjoying a slideshow, while on the settings you could find screen, language, volume limit and more. The only really unfortunate part on that media player is the video format it accepts: MJPEG in the MOV container. This white box doesn’t come with software so there is no video converter software included, and using free tools to encode in the exact video format that this player supports is a challenge.

Overall, this is a worthy mp3 player. But if you try to use it too much, rather than leaving it playing on the background while you are working or exercise, you might stumble into a few usability issues.

From CyberLink PowerDirector to Vimeo 720p HD

Here’s how to export from CyberLink PowerDirector 7 for Vimeo’s 720p HD service. The produced files are also compatible with the PS3 and XBoX360.

Coldplay’s iTunes ad

Honestly, I don’t know why some big bands even try to shoot video clips when Apple does it so much better for them.

Proof that “Lost” rules among geeks

If you are a geek and you don’t watch “Lost”, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Proof about the geekiness of “Lost”:

* Michio Kaku, one of the very well known figures in the scientific documentaries on TV and professor of physics at the City Unversity of New York, wrote a review of Lost’s last night finale and discusses the crazy science of Lost.
* Mythbuster’s Adam Savage wrote an article too, mostly about the practicality of blowing things up on the show.
* Richard Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley and he also wrote an article about last night’s “Lost”.
* And then there’s this article discussing the rest of the scientific or pseudo-scientific parts of the show.
* And of course, particle accelerators!

On the less positive side, Harold Perrineau, who was written off from last night’s season finale, is pissed off about his demise. Not only he is talkative about it, but he even pulled the race card to defend his anger. Well, Harold, it was you who wanted to leave “Lost” originally for another show. And when that other show didn’t get picked up by the TV networks, you wanted back. Well, the world of “Lost” is not a kind one, but your death was noble and your character was redeemed. So take it and be happy with what you got.

Here’s a review of last night’s finale. Personally, I found it a bit boring. The helicopter scenes have been done before, it felt old to me. And that god damn frozen donkey wheel…

Iron Eagles

One of the best HV20 videographers out there, Ben, posted this impressive air show video. HD version here.

Regarding virginity

France’s ruling UMP party has opposed a French court’s decision to annul a marriage between two Muslims because the wife lied about being a virgin“, BBC reports.

I personally support the court’s decision rather than the UMP/feminist opposition to the ruling. The point is not that she was or was not a virgin, but the fact that she flat-out lied about it to her husband, even if she knew that this was something that was important to him. There can’t be a marriage based on lies, no matter if the subject of the disagreement is laughable or not. Marriage must have sincerity, and this one didn’t. Therefore, the annulment was the correct ruling, and the feminists should shut up. The woman should accept the specific ruling (because she admitted to lying), but then counter-sue her ex-husband on grounds of discrimination.

On a more general tone, there is no major importance of virginity. It’s something that men invented in order to control women. Humans, like many animals, are meant to have multiple partners — unless they decide they want to stay with one for some time. It is nature’s way to be able to have children from different people, in order to maximize the chances of having your genes survive. The above doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the institution of marriage, but it does mean that we can survive without it too. Except for tax reasons, it’s just not necessary, at least not for the strongest, healthiest and most handsome people who can easily find new partners. If two people decide to stay together for longer, that’s cool too.

I lost my virginity to my first fiance, a few days before I turned 19. While it hurt a bit, he was very patient and super-careful with me, and so I didn’t drip a single drop of blood. Now, how could I explain this to his mother who the week before she was telling to everybody in our small town that after our night together she will take the bed sheets and hang them outside so everyone could see the blood in order to prove her family’s honor?

Who said that I am bossy?

eugenia_loli: Sex, spaghetti bolognese, Apocalypto, and 3 hours of “Lost” tonight. In this order.
JBQueru: lol, gotta take care of my migraine, then.
eugenia_loli: ok, I can remove bolognese from the list then. No dinner for you tonight.
JBQueru: lol
eugenia_loli: 🙂

JBQ on the gas prices and car tech

My JBQ wrote a good blog post on the situation. Read it here.

Random stuff, part 15

* A nice idea for a bigger screen for camcorders is to use a Nokia N800 or preferably, a Nokia N810. With the well-understood USB-master hack you can connect a USB TV card to it, and then connect your camcorder’s composite-out cable to that TV-card. Then, you can utilize either the already ported MPlayer application, or you can port XawTV or equivalent such TV-oriented X11/GTK+ application. The only stinky point is to find which supported USB TV card model to buy and to then sit down and port its already existing x86 Linux driver to the ARM platform.

* I updated to AVG Free Edition 8.0 anti-virus the other day, and it made my Trillian super slow. When I click to a contact to open a chat window, it takes up to 10 seconds to open. I had to exclude Trillian from the AVG resident shield to get back the speed I had before. The previous version of AVG didn’t have this problem and it really bothers me when software becomes slower and buggier as time goes.

* Sharon Stone said that the Chinese earthquake was “karma” for the Chinese treating the Tibetans bad. I guess no one told her that many of the people in that area were Tibetans. For a woman with Mensa IQ over 140, I sure did expect more.

* This one is for the laughs. I remember the wars we had in the Gnome community about 4-5 years ago about the “spatial” Nautilus. The Red Hat masterminds behind the spatial crap were keeping their stronghold and they were not easy to back down. They didn’t want to listen to the community. And now, after Red Hat is nowhere to be found in serious Gnome development, not only the spatial stuff are turned off by default, but we have tab navigation and actual full MDI tabs. How times are changing, huh?

* I watched “The Andromeda Strain” on A&E last night. It was a very good sci-fi mini-series, originally written by book author Michael Crichton.

* I don’t know what the hell is wrong with youtube for 3-4 weeks now. 2/3s of the videos I watch don’t load fast enough, so I get start/stop on these videos all the time, making them unwatchable. No other video service has this problem. Might be a Comcast throttling problem again specifically for youtube, or youtube running out of bandwidth?