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Comment Several (Score 1) 268

Under The Influence
Serial (when it's back)
My Favorite Murder
Reply All
Talk Nerdy To Me
99% Invisible
Science Vs.
Oh No Ross and Carrie
Here's The Thing

I still routinely check out a few more every few months. Behind the Liner Notes, Song Exploder, BBC's The Inquiry, the Allusionist, etc. etc. etc.

Comment China (Score 4, Interesting) 53

Hello Brian. I'm a long time reader and fan.

I had a question regarding the frequency with which we hear about China being a major source of "state-sponsored" advanced persistent threat (APC) hacking. Many news outlets have referred to "Unit 61398" as a source for much of these attacks and data thefts.

Should we take Chinese hacks seriously as a threat? Do you feel it's an issue that will ever be resolved?



Comment The labels own it now so...? (Score 1) 226

So now that the labels own the website, what will they do with it?!

They have a crappy reputation for shutting down sites which actually function pretty well in terms of giving consumers what they actually want, and then never reviving them again.

Wouldn't it make sense for the labels to operate these things? Why don't they? It's been over 15 years now.


Comment EvaPharmacy has been doing this for years... (Score 5, Interesting) 91

This has actually been around since at least 2006.

Russian spam operation EvaPharamacy have been using this approach to turn public servers they don't own into free hosting for all of their rogue pharmacy sites.

You can read a pretty detailed description of this here:

The people who run EvaPharmacy (criminals, in my opinion, but also in others' opinion) do a lot of destructive things to your server while installing their proxy hosting / DNS software on your server, and they leave no trace of any files at all.


Comment I feel old. (Score 1) 623

I first learned *about* programming when I was 10 (1977) by reading a small paperback book about the Basic language. I wrote on paper with pencil to learn some very rudimentary programming. I didn't learn on a real computer until 1979 or 1980 - at my junior high school - and that was originally using an Atari 400 or 800. We also learned on an IBM card reader connected to a university unix server using only a wide-carriage printer as the output, no screen at all. I also learned on a Tandy TRS-80 and an Apple IIe. The first language I learned: Basic, on an Atari computer. The 2nd: Turbo Pascal on an Apple IIe. I remember being taught some very preliminary machine language / assembly at that time as well but that was from fellow students. It never stuck with me.

I didn't own a computer for most of the time I was most interested in programming one. When I was really eager to learn programming the most (say 1981 - 1984), my parents couldn't afford one and they felt it was a frivolous purchase. It wasn't until 1994 that I dove into programming seriously. That ended up being Perl and Oracle PL/SQL that I learned and used extensively at that time.


Condensation On Your Beer != Good 275

An anonymous reader writes "Turns out that condensation on your favorite chilled beverage is a bad thing for keeping it cold. Two researchers conducted an experiment in their bathroom proving that condensation can raise the temperature of your beer by nine degrees!"

Paul Ceglia Arrested and Charged With Fraud Over Facebook Ownership Claims 109

whoever57 writes "The man who claimed ownership of 50% of Facebook has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with his claims. The United States attorney in Manhattan said, 'Ceglia's alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence.' 'Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution.'"

Submission + - Pedophilia Author Arrested ( 1

healeyb writes: CNN is reporting that Phillip R. Greaves, the controversial self-published author who released a book on outlining the most effective methods for engaging in pedophilia, has been arrested. The felony warrant, issued in Florida by Sheriff Grady Judd, was executed in Colorado, where he awaits transport. While the subject matter is of particular sensitivity, Christopher Finan, the President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, has argued that the book falls under the purview of free speech, as the book contains no pictures and cannot be classified as child pornography. However, the non-profit organization Enough is Enough, which works to...

Comment *Any* artist can do it (Score 3, Insightful) 495

I'm seeing a lot of dismissive comments in here about what labels allegedly do and how much easier it will be for an artist to do it themselves. Also a lot of hyperbole about "if they're getting ripped off, how come they're so rich"?

Let's say you are a good songwriter and performer, and you've shelled out your own money to record a handful of songs to a reasonable enough quality that a consumer would buy it if they heard it. You have no management. You have no agent. You have confidence and this product that you've agonized over. You don't want to go the major label route. You my distrust labels of any sort. You possibly have a deep dislike for the RIAA.

To get on iTunes, you used to have to be signed to a label of any sort who would represent your recordings so that iTunes would add it to their catalogue. That was from whenever iTunes started to around 2005 or so. That has been loosened somewhat so now an artist can go to CDBaby, who still require a CD of your work before doing so, and will only represent one (1) song to iTunes.

Once that song is actually in iTunes, now what? It doesn't just show up on the front page. In fact depending on which country you're from, you won't automatically show up in other countries on iTunes thanks to 100+ year-old physical distribution laws.

But what do you do? You can't simply persuade iTunes to feature your product on their service, not on your own. They have a staff who essentially act like retail used to: they "front rack" products. They do this based on the pedigree of the recordings coming in and a considerable amount of marketing push from the majors. I'm not privy to that major label process, but I can tell you there are thousands of indie artists who are having a very hard time getting any kind of meaningful exposure via iTunes without that same attention and manpower.

Tunecore - a sort of ex-major label A&R and promotions collective - will represent a completely independent artist but they still essentially only seek out artists with some kind of touring career already in place. They promote to iTunes essentially like a major label would.

It is also not that easy to sell your music - even if you're really good - without a lot of physical effort on your part. Touring. Actually pressing CD's and making them attractive and inexpensive enough that even one person would be intrigued to buy one. I don't know many people who buy CD's at all, and that includes at shows. They'd sooner buy a T-Shirt, so the artist also has to make sure they get good at shirt manufacturing. (Something few musicians assume they should know anything about.)

If your goal is just to write and perform music and possibly make a little bit of cash for fun, sure. You don't need a label. If you want to have a career at it, you may not need a label but you will need lots of other representation. Managers, agents, promoters, etc. You'll still need some financial backing to get a world class recording, and at that point you still need to answer the question of how you'll be properly exposed on iTunes. It is not nearly as easy or straightforward as many of these commenters are indicating. To have a genuine certifiably successful career? Labels are still good at that, they've just lost their taste for putting three albums worth of nurturing effort to get there. Your first album has to hit. Otherwise they will just move on. That wasn't always the case.

Comparing marketing options for a new, unknown artist who is bewildered as to what to do with their brand new music career without labels and an artist like Robert Fripp who started touring in 1966, and has released several dozen albums on a variety of internationally distributed record labels and built up a loyal audience spanning over 40 years now is (to put it mildly) apples and oranges. Same goes for Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Name me an artist that has succeeded on par with these artists in today's climate without a label, and I'll be interested to hear about it. Even Trent Reznor's attempt to market that "Niggy Tardust" project couldn't generate that kind of following.

Also as much as I really, really do not like radio (and have not for most of my life) you cannot argue that *someone* out there likes it, because getting a song on radio is an instant method of boosting sales anywhere in the world. Do I want to sell to that audience? Based on profits only: sure. Based on musical taste: absolutely not.


Comment Lazy and Impatient are not four-letter words (Score 5, Insightful) 753

Speaking as someone who used to work in the retail industry, and the overall music industry, but now work in the tech industry, I think you're missing the importance of what you're interpreting his point-form items to mean.

> I'm lazy and impatient.

Aren't these precisely the reasons for two of the most crucial ingredients which all of the large scale entertainment industries are utterly failing to add to their product?

Convenience and ease of use.

People can order coffee at drive-throughs now. Why? It's convenient, and enough people were lazy and impatient enough that they didn't want to have to park, get out of their car, enter the actual coffee shop, line up, wait, choose from a menu either during or after that wait, order, wait some more for the coffee or other items to be made and delivered to them, pay, get a receipt, return to their car, and get back on the road. A drive through is far more convenient.

If the coffee shop / drive through example had never existed, an entire traffic infrastructure would arguable not exist today. Drive throughs are considered an innovation that was a direct response to customers who were impatient and busy, and who one could argue right now are lazy for using them. But they're considered an innovation.

The *IAA members who currently produce the CD's, DVD's and Blu-Ray discs in their current state lack this kind of innovative thinking. They fail to understand that convenience - especially in an era where a ton of information is very easily available - is a crucial ingredient in their product.

FBI warnings, several delays involving intro animations, menus or warnings, plus copyright notices, then trailers and previews are a nuisance. Then add in:

* Regional coding
* Territorial restrictions for a given release
* Territorial delays in release or a complete lack of release in one or more territories
* The whole "back to the vault" scenario.

These are all considered annoyances, and hindrances to consuming the product people actually wanted to buy, and these are precisely the things that are causing people to avoid purchasing their products, but they refuse to remove them. I think it would be a huge wake-up call for even one studio to try releasing a product with at least one of these hindrances removed (but preferably all of them.) I also personally believe that restricting a work from being released in a different territory due to it not yet having a specific licensing agreement is a ridiculous concept in a world that has something called the Internet. iTunes doesn't let me buy some of my favorite artists because they aren't licensed to be released in my country. Of course I'm going to download them any way I can. (I do order physical CD's for exorbitant prices as well, but I'm probably a really rare consumer in this case.)

Even when studios do include a "bonus digital copy", it's restricted, and only available for a preset amount of time. If you try to use that copy past that time, you're out of luck. That's a stupid, stupid idea. I won't always want a new movie to remain on my iPod, and I will more than likely wish to use that feature far further in the future than they will allow. I don't know anyone who uses that feature, and I doubt I would ever choose it over ripping my own copy of the DVD I own so that I can play it the way I want.

As a programmer, "lazy" leads to better code over time because a program or script eventually does more things either I or my clients wanted it to do. As a former retail worker, "lazy" means we had to work harder to make sure people could get what they wanted more immediately, or find things out faster, especially when a store was very busy.

"lazy" and "impatient" are what labels and movie studios should be wanting to address in a way that produces a better product. Recorded music and films are the two biggest industries that resist this approach consistently, and then blame the consumer when they complain about it.


Comment No Atari? (Score 2, Interesting) 96

I can't believe they didn't include any of the Atari 400 / Atari 800 ads.

You could learn geography, or French. (Always followed by some version of Space Invaders or Missile Command.)

Alan Alda was a spokesman for a period of time.


I think in hindsight Atari obviously spent slightly more on TV advertising than product R&D, but I could be wrong.



Submission + - Chinese Hacker Behind Google Hacks Identified (

Knee Socks writes: A few days ago, the US government traced the online attack on Google and other companies back to two Chinese schools. Now US analysts say they have identified the author of the code that exploited a security loophole in IE8. Interestingly enough, the hacker, who works as a freelance security consultant, did not launch the attacks himself and has said he would have preferred his code "not be used in such offensive efforts." As things go in China, however, the government had unique access to his work, which analysts say makes it much harder for China to deny allegations of involvement with the attacks.

Comment Great argument (Score 1) 525

This reply is one of the most clearly-worded criticisms of the RIAA's prosecution, and I wish it could be applied to all the other cases which have gone before and are still before the courts.

I think it's crucial that they specifically talk about the fact that this individual did not profit from the sharing of this handful of files, and that it is unlikely that he, on his own, was singularly responsible for the sharing of those files to specifically "millions" of people, directly leading to "billions of dollars of lost revenues".

I wrote an article recently about "RIAA Math", researching just what kind of activity an individual would have to engage in to share a small number of files enough times, consistently, with zero failure or network downtime to make this kind of punitive or statutory damage claim worthy of being awarded. I used the pending damages case regarding Jammie Thomas-Rasset, which has been posted here many times. (Short answer: for the $1.92 million they claim she is on the hook for, she'd have to share all of the infringing copies for 444 days straight, no downtime, sharing to a grand total of nearly 58,000 individuals, and that's assuming that every single person actually downloaded the entire song.)

They key piece is that this guy was not personally profiting from this. He downloaded them for personal use. Even if we assume he burned copies for a handful of his friends, that is still not a "profit" engine, and even if it were, those profits would never amount to what the RIAA is claiming.

I'm intrigued to see the outcome of this, much as I am with the Thomas-Rasset case.

(Former Music Industry Employee And Pundit)


Submission + - Holocaust Denier's Email Hacked, Leaked (

AdamD1 writes: "It appears that a group of hackers have had access to holocaust denier's email accounts for some time, and decided to post a lot of what they found on Wikileaks.

The hackers posted Irving's e-mail correspondence online, as well as the user name and password for his web site account and AOL e-mail account, which shared the same password. The hackers also posted the e-mail addresses and other personal information — such as names, phone numbers and shipping and credit card billing addresses — of people who made donations through his web sites, purchased his books or bought tickets for his appearances.


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