Sat, 03 May 2003


  • First Item.
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:: 14:51
:: /humor/linkfarming | [+]
::Comments (0)

Drive-By #12


    Mutant Storm is inspired by Williams classic RoboTron, Smash TV and Jeff Minter's fantastic Llamatron.

    To those unacquainted, this means one hand controlling fire direction, and the other controlling movement. Sounds confusing? ...don't worry, just grab your trusty dual stick joypad and give it a go. Its very simple once you try, and very effective when you're used to it.

  • Rude Food
    As a subject, rude food can be roughly divided into three main areas: natural rude food, eg. mishapen carrots and bulbous courgettes, intentional rude food, eg. pasta pubes and Fat Bastard chardonnay, and the area that concerns us here, unintentional rude food, the product either of language differences or gross naivety.
  • ITEM OF THE WEEKFelicidade Groover purse in synthetic leather, $144.95, available at
    When an accessory lets you flaunt your style, musical taste and tech skills and carry everything you need for the day, you know that form and function have finally fallen in love.
  • MITCH ALBOM: It's back to the Palace!

    ORLANDO -- Ben Wallace leapt for a rolling rebound and rammed it through the rim. A minute later, he whacked a Gordan Giricek shot halfway to the Magic Kingdom. Two minutes later, Chauncey Billups, finishing the night of his NBA playoff life, banged home a three-pointer that silenced the crowd. And before you knew it, the Pistons were on their jet, waving good-bye to the city of Mickey and Minnie, with one question on their minds:

    What are you doing Sunday?

    [The Detroit Free Press]
  • AOL Kills Puppies [via Erosblog (nsfw)]

    AOL has a rule in the fine print that says that we must NOT put a web link into any email!!  Yep - it's there in the fine print.  Take a look.

    Well I had our website ( ) on the bottom of my email and someone ratted me out - saying they found the website "offensive" - this is the site for dogs and cats in animal shelters - not a porn site.

    So AOL went in and changed my password.  Oh yes they sent me an email explaining why they had changed my password.  But I never got that email - because they had changed my  password.  And I never got the email that told me a litter of puppies needed out of the Downey shelter NOW.  And thanks to AOL those puppies died that night. And I was on the phone for over an hour trying to get my email back.

:: 10:55
:: /misc/drive-by | [+]
::Comments (0)

Competition Is A Wonderful, Wonderful Thing

I've been an Emusic subscriber since 2000, shortly after they switched to their "all you can eat" pricing model. Despite some occasional problems (namely with their screwy search engine, which, in its own way, is more endearing than annoying), I think their monthly service, at $9.99 (US) has been (and remains) one of the best deals in existence for the music fan who wants access to music by a huge quantity of good (if not necessarily well-known) artists. Frankly, without Emusic, it would be almost impossible for me to host Freeform Goodness, since the steady flow of new music I get from the service is one of my secret weapons as far as keeping the stream fresh. That the music is supplied as completely unencumbered MP3 files is a wonderful bonus. It means that I can stream them without awkward runarounds, burn them onto CD even with my jury-rigged setup (my only CD-burner is strapped onto a Mac OS 9 machine for reasons too convoluted and boring to go into), and share the occasional (emphasis added) sample track with a friend without busting out the heavy warez artillery. The relative obscurity of the service's catalog has always been more feature than bug to me, though I recognize that I'm in a serious minority on that score. The other substantive problem with Emusic was the sonic quality of the files. 128K CBR files (some apparently even encoded with the [gak] Xing encoder) are never going to be anyone's definition of CD-quality, and occasionally you'd download a real stinker.

Frankly, before this week, no other legal online music service was even in the ballpark. Pressplay and MusicNet are a joke -- the terms of use are so restrictive as to render them very nearly useless. The new iTunes Music Store is the first service outside of Emusic's that's had any real appeal to me at all. The 128K AAC files are audibly superior to Emusic's old 128K MP3s, and the DRM is measurably less draconian than the Pressplay/Musicnet approaches.

Emusic responded to the competitive threat by switching to the wonderful LAME MP3 encoder and 192K VBR encoding as their default. Woohoo! LAME's 192kbps VBR encoding is what I've been using for the past year as my default. I don't claim to be an audiophile (I've been to far too many loud shows and raves to ever be able to claim perfect hearing again) but I do know that LAME's 192k VBRs are indistinguishable from the source CDs to my ears in almost all circumstances. For as long as I've been a member (nearly 3 years), Emusic's been talking about doing this, but in the end I suspect competitive pressures are what led them to pull the trigger on higher bitrates.

:: 01:17
:: /entertainment/music | [+]
::Comments (0)

innovate /IN no vait/ vb.: 1. To appropriate third-party technology
through purchase, imitation, or theft and to integrate it into a
de-facto, monopoly-position product. 2. To increase in size or complexity
but not in utility; to reduce compatibility or interoperability. 3. To
lock-out competitors or to lock-in users. 4. To charge more money; to
increase prices or costs. 5. To acquire profits from investments in other
companies but not from direct product or service sales. 6. To stifle or
manipulate a free market; to extend monopoly powers into new markets. 7.
To evade liability for wrong-doings; to get off. 8. To purchase
legislation, legislators, legislatures, or chiefs of state. 9. To
mediate all transactions in a global economy; to embezzle; to co-opt power
(coup d’tat). Cf. innovate, English usage (antonym).
— csbruce, in a Slashdot post