As mentioned earlier enjoying music means different things to different people. However, you will find that it is almost consumed while doing something at the same time. Be it dancing, cleaning, working, driving or creating a derivative work. Creating something of your own. A sum of all the parts that make you whole. Today, some artists, such as Girl Talk, create mash-up style tracks almost entirely made out of samples and others such as Rhymefest make it a conversation with and a dedication to other artists.
Dedication or not; with all the litigation going on in regards to copyright and the lack of clarity if you purchased the music or the physical medium, how does one determine if someone has the right to sample or create derivative works. Cover songs are pretty well covered, but what about sampling?
Sampling has been around for a long time, but with todays technology and ability of creating digital copies; it is even easier then ever. Girl Talk uses software, such as AudioMulch to whip a new track. To get an idea as to how this is done, see the following video clip, where he takes "Radio Radio" by Elvis Costello And The Attractions and mixes it with an A capella by Ce Ce Peniston of "Finally".
Next, is the natural desire to want to distribute this derivative work for others to enjoy. But how does that work into todays copyright? It seems a bit unclear, especially if someone is charging for this, however, this will be a battle to be resolved in the next few years. Two recent documentaries, Good Copy, Bad Copy and RiP: A Remix Manifesto discuss some the view points and issues related to sampling and remixing of content.
At the excellent SanFran MusicTech Summit in February 2008, John Perry Barlow of the Grateful Dead and the Electronic Frontier Foundation talked about his take on all this and expressed that he felt that "Art is a verb, not a noun" and that it was all about the experience of creation and connecting with the fans. That any derivative work is merely an "artifact", a keep sake, as you will.
This clearly is a perspective where music becomes more of a service and an experience and less of a product. I find it refreshing and see it analogous to wanting to own a digital image, print or original work of an artist. Why differentiate between originals and derivatives? Why not have different pricing based on the experience where we use digital copies in a similar vein to how we have shared mixed tapes with friends in the past?
Mix it up!
In light of the race for President, I would like to highlight a pretty neat non-profit project called MetaVid, which is a freely available archive of US Congress video clips, complete with semantic metadata, transcriptions and annotations in a wikipedia style.
It allows for great searches for things like John McCain's and Barrack Obama's speeches that mention Iraq. Or just about any other topic that you find interesting.
It is a really nice project that shows you where video will be heading over the next couple of years. With in addition things such as SVG, the canvas element, combined with HTML DOM manipulation, you can create some very powerful interfaces such as this SVG Video demo by Chris Double. Of course, since this is all early pre-release code, there is little to no hardware acceleration done. Hopefully this can be added over time, so it will playback nice and snappy, just as fast as native plugins can.
It will be great to see things such as Dirac be standardized as VC-2, the addition of SVC to AVC and see how that opens the playing field. So far the web and offline video have diverged quite a bit, so it will be an interesting thing to see if convergence will happen. Right now it is looking like the patent restricted AVC and AAC are the front runners for the new frontier, but hopefully there is still time and room for these free formats to take hold.
If you are excited about the Metavid project and have some time to contribute to it. Consider helping the project by improving the associated metadata and therefore also increase the relevance of the search engine, as it will be able to locate related content easier.
As we get into political debates between the candidates for the white house, it is pretty clear that the keyword these days is change. I do not think it stops there though. Change is afoot everywhere and with the current economic crisis this is only accelerating things, by having people looking at other ways to accomplish their tasks. Either for less, in a more green way or in whatever way is most important to them.
For musicians, artists and the music industry as a whole, change is on the forefront as well. First with iTunes and the iPod, now with things like Spotify, we are moving to a more connected world. Where it used to be about the actual songs themselves, it is much more around the experience created by it and its associations, be it cover art, videos, blogs or even interviews. Even the ability to interact with the music, such as Splice, Remix.nin.com, CcMixter and even with video this is more becoming the case, where I think things like the features of Eyespot are becoming standard must haves for sites. We are very much a remix culture these days.
It is one of the reasons, why I am still confused as to why some people are still holding on to the past and saying sampling is not allowed. People are still trying hash out out how this all fits in the world of mash ups and the general derivative culture.
The way people are being entertained is changing, in addition to how people consume media. Although there are still a lot of people playing music using acoustic instruments, but just as recording of those tracks has gone digital. So have most of todays instruments. Sometimes, they do not even really look like instruments any more. The big question is always, if we do not make money off our songs, then how? Some say concerts and performances, but even how that is done is changing.
DJs for example are still in love with the way vinyl works, but having waveforms that represent the grooves is providing most of what they are used to and tons more real-time control that was never possible with vinyl. Some forward thinking DJs have started taking advantage of this, such as DJ Sasha. Below find an interesting video where internationally respected DJ and musician, Richie Hawtin, talks about his current DJ setup and how it has changed what he focuses on during a set and how it is much more about creating mood and his interaction with the fans on stage over the age old beat matching.
Overall it is very exciting to me how technology is turning the world upside down and making it easier for us to communicate, share and entertain. There will be a lot of trial and error, but in the end I think we will be a better world because of it.
Change is a good thing, even if what is changing is change itself.
If you haven't heard about SoundCloud, you will very soon. It has been described as the Flickr for professional musicians, or a Yousentit replacement, but actually it is much more than that. It is an easy way to digest and share new tracks with others, unlike how Splice has and is more focused on mashups of complete tracks. You could almost say that SoundCloud has analogies to Twitter, with the way the dropbox and your soundcloud inbox works.
Although, you could use it for partial tracks, as it provides you ways to privately share the original recordings. I do not see it provide the VST or ProTools/Logic settings to go with it. I find that to be the main issue with all these online collaborative services. I tend to do most of my work on my DAW and therefore making it hard to share with others unless hey have similar software that understands the configuration files. Otherwise we could spend hours tweaking configuration settings until everything is linked and buttoned up. Doing this without a settings template can be a real pain.
I find BoJam lacking in the same way. It is nice to have a way to see a video clip of the person I am jamming with, but how about exporting all his tweaks and adjustments in a format that I can easily integrate with modern DAWs. Most studios are not directly connected to the internet anyways, and I do not expect them to be. These computers are setup with a specific purpose in mind and have specific I/O points that are strictly monitored for security among other reasons.
I do find the SoundCloud interface pretty slick and I especially like the waveform with annotations. The first time I saw a waveform based audio player was with the launch of the bleep music store. It was an innovative concept then, and i still think it has a lot of merit today. More and more musicians are starting to get used to looking at their music in the digital domain as waveforms, FFTs, etc. It is a useful tool to be able to confirm what you thought your monitors were screaming about, by seeing a little blip show up on a frequency diagram.
Overall, I must say that SoundCloud is a welcome edition that is going to put pressure on others to improve the music creation and collaboration side of the business rather than the legally entangled delivery and licensing aspects.
As someone who enjoys ambient and idm music, I wanted to highlight some great material that has been made available from the archives of the Disques Hushush label out of Canada. The Internet Archive has full MP3 downloads of albums, including artwork from artists such as Mick Harris, Mark Spybey, John Sellekaers and Olivier Moreau under a variety of their monikers and collaborations. It was released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.
There are a lot of new media players out there, but none of them were interesting enough for me to start using. It seemed that iTunes worked, although it was more of a love/hate relationship at times. But it is looking like I found a player that gives me a lot more control over the media that I consume. For Video it always has been VideoLan Client and it will probably stay that way for a while, but for music it has become AudioCodex.
I am sure it is not for everyone, especially since it requires OSX, but the ability to just run AudioUnits and have DJ-like controls such as pitch, BPM display and adjustment readily available is making for a great little media player. If you are into these sorts of things, check it out.
The adventure that was Joost and living abroad is just about complete. As you might have noticed by the lack of posts, I have been busy. What else is new right? Well, this time I was busy because of the birth of our daughter in November, followed by the realization that we really are very used to living in California and could use the space our house in San Diego provides. Although, I loved running Operations at Joost and working with such a talented group of individuals, our personal lives have a calling for San Diego.
As I originally left DivX, I quit to spend some time with the girls and look into starting up something new, however, I ended up talking to Janus and Dirk-Willem about their new european based online television project that seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity to move to Europe and experience the talent across the pond. An experience it certainly was. I have high hopes for how the project will progress. Having experience working with a 9 hour time difference when I started. It is clear that this is something I am unable to take on again. Regardless, the relocation would take a good 3 months to do properly and therefore it made a lot of sense to just move on. We have had discussions on doing some consulting from San Diego, but it is clear now that does not make sense either. Both Leiden and New York are simply too many timezones removed from California.
So, in December I gave notice to the company and have been moving ever since. Our container with household goods has made it to California, so once it clears U.S. Customs and we have unpacked it will be life like normal again. If you are a Southern California local, I am open to meeting up, however, I do not expect everything to be in full swing again until May. Meanwhile, I am happy to say that having all this time with the family has been a great experience that I would not have wanted to miss for the world.
Joost, I would like to thank you for a ride I will never forget, but now it is time to look towards a new adventure.
- Q: Why doesn't my uploaded remix show up on the site immediately?
- A: Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of frustrating record company legal politics, and must ensure that your mix does not include any unauthorized material - as defined in the next answer on this page - before it is approved for the site. Approving every mix is a tedious process, and we rely on the greatly-appreciated help of the site moderators to review submitted mixes. Because of this, it may take some time before your mix shows up on the site. You will receive an email when it becomes available - in the meantime, please be patient, and understand this isn't the way we'd run the site if we had a choice.
- Q: What kind of materials are not okay to include in my remix?
- A: Thanks to the record company copyright politics mentioned in the answer above, we must require that your mix does not contain ANY elements of copyrighted material, unless you yourself own the copyright (i.e. it's your own music). Your mix can include any element of any NIN song, or of other songs offered in multitrack format on this site. You can manipulate or destroy those pieces as much as you'd like, and you can combine them with your own original sounds and music. You CANNOT include samples of songs by other artists, or samples from movies, TV shows, or video games. Any remixes containing these elements will be rejected during the approval process. Please understand that it is not our wish to impose these restrictions on your creativity or the functionality of this site, but we have no choice in the matter.
It is unfortunate that you have to do this, especially since it is hard for individuals to know what is copyrighted material and what is in the public domain. It certainly seems to highlight that the DMCA is not the right answer here.
Trent Reznor explained earlier this week on the Nine Inch Nails blog how "safe harbor" under the DMCA is restricting them from launching a site where fans can upload their own mixes of Nine Inch Nails songs as Universal, owner of their master recordings, is afraid they may sponsor the same technical violation of copyright that they are suing Youtube and Myspace for. This is because the remixes may contain uncleared material, that Universal does not own, such as a mashup, sample or whatever.
This is a very interesting double-edged sword in regards to the DMCA. As during the early MP3.com days we had people sitting in a room listening to every track that was uploaded for copyright material, cover songs, etc. These days most companies rely on DMCA safe harbor to be re-active rather then pro-active at taking down content. It is really a shame that mashups and sampling are seen as such a liability. Rather than seeing it as a sign of appreciation and respect, we turn around and would sue the creator for a small piece of the action. I can see it to a certain degree, but clearing rights needs to be much much easier then it is now if we truly expect people to clear rights for things like a sample or mashup.
Recently DivX, Inc. announced it was acquiring codec developer MainConcept AG. MainConcept strategy of ‘Every Codec, Every Platform’ is to port its video codecs to many new platforms which perfectly aligns with DivX and its certification programs.
MainConcept along with Elecard have been big strides in the AVC world that work very well in the streaming and low bitrate plays. This is highlighted by Adobe’s licensing of MainConcepts AVC/AAC decoders for use in Flash 9.
One of the interesting things about volunteer organizations during times of need such as the recent fires, is that they tend to go the extra mile. One such organization is SoCal FreeNet who was providing internet access via laptops and wireless APs at a different shelters such as the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Qualcomm stadium.
It even was supporting aid workers prior to FEMA arrived with bandwidth and even did so when all the other groups providing connectivity had shut down by 7 or 8PM. They have had just about anyone you could imagine use it from Evacuees, FEMA officials, red cross workers and the National Guard. People used the connectivity for just about everything from checking fire maps, evacuations, looking up phone numbers, checking e-mail and kids playing games.
It takes a lot of effort from volunteers to provide services like these to the public, especially with so many road closures and following the needs across the county. It is amazing to me what some good will can provide to people in need.
If you are interested in helping to provide connectivity where it is needed most, please visit SoCal FreeNet's volunteer section and see how you can help.
<p> Although, we are not in California at the moment, the current San Diego fires hit close to home. I still distinctly remember the 2003 Cedar fire. This time around it is significantly bigger and by the looks of it already has destroyed the Rancho Bernardo home I lived in while attending SDSU. Miraculously my parents moved out of San Diego last year. Updates are still coming in, but according to this detailed Rancho Bernardo Fire map the house is still standing. Currently, no family members reside in San Diego, but certainly many many friends do. I have been on a few internet chat rooms keeping up to date with friends and old co-workers. It sure is amazingly scary and hope that everyone is doing well. </p>
Here are some of the links I have found to be useful to keep track of the fire, in case you are looking for more details.
- Official San Diego County Emergency site
- James Welch - San Diego Fire Resources
- Twitter: Nate Ritter Fire Updates
- San Diego Fires Wiki
- SDSU Department of Geography's map.sdsu.edu
- KPBS: San Diego Wildfires
- Flickr: San Diego Fire
- SignOn San Diego: Firemap
- SignOn San Diego Fire Blog
- Live Video: KGTV 10 News: San Diego Brush Fire Coverage
- Live Video: NBC San Diego </ul>
We still have our house in Mira Mesa, but it looks like that is safe for now. Naturally, I am much more concerned about others and friends in the area. I can only imagine that the air quality must be terrible right now. Be safe everyone and please ping me to let me know that you are doing okay.
While we have been deploying more sites and scaling up our software, the content team has been doing a great job getting all of us some great new content.
We also have this concept of Joost Links that allows you to easily share shows with others. As we have added some pretty neat stuff, I figured I would point you to some of my favorite shows on Joost. Do keep in mind that not all shows are available in all regions. Unfortunately, we are still in a world where content is ruled by contracts per region, so even if Joost secures the rights for a piece of content it may still be restricted. The content owners may have sold the rights to someone else for a particular region and therefore are not able to offer the content in that region.
Anyways, download Joost and check out some of the content listed below:
- Max Headroom: Blipverts - http://joost.com/175001i
- Transformers - http://joost.com/0560016
- Ren and Stimpy - http://joost.com/0790001
- CSI - http://joost.com/094009j
- Audi Channel - http://joost.com/1050001
- F1 Documentary: Chasing a dream - http://joost.com/00200ub
- Fifth Gear Shortcuts - http://www.joost.com/01900b6
- Fifth Gear - http://www.joost.com/01900dz
- Nettwerk - http://joost.com/01800ba
- The Prodigy - Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) - http://joost.com/092000t
- WMC 2007 - http://joost.com/065002i </ul> </p>
If you are looking for some new backgrounds to grace your monitor or laptop then, do not forget to check out the goodies available on the Joost site. It has been a crazy amount of work getting all of this in place. I truly hope you enjoy Joost and please provide us (or me directly) with your feedback. We would love to hear what you think.
Ever since meeting Bunnie through Caustik, I have found him to be very open minded and enlightening. I miss staying up late with them, hacking, mixing or dancing away to the latest tunes. It is always a pleasure to meet up.
Lately both Caustik and Bunnie have been working hard on bringing us one of the most interesting gadgets, the Chumby. While setting out to create this little ball, Bunnie explored the land of China to produce it. Along the way, he learned a lot about the countries culture and the incredible dexterity and commitment to a project of its workers. He posted this in lots of detail on his blog under Made in China. I normally would like to provide feedback on Bunnies observations, but Bunnie really says it all. Bunnie, we really appreciate you sharing this with all of us.
I always find it good to try to sort out your thoughts by writing them down. I think you have done a good job of that here. One of the big issues I have seen in most companies that is an issue is communication. It is here as well. This only gets multiplied because we are doing with Media, which by its very nature is not very well understood by most (in business, technical and legal aspects). We are in 3+ offices around the world, so things like timezones, indirect communication, word of mouth, language barriers and cultural differences clash in many different ways that is not always clear and understood.
Most of the time I find myself to be a dutch speaking American who has in interest in identifying these communication issues. Most of them are because people are doing literal translations that simply do not come over correctly, etc. Using e-mail and electronic communication for 90% of what we do can cause a lot of unneeded frustration as well. This is one of the reasons, I took ops to one on one and f2f communication first, before I start to bring things back into electronic form. In addition to communication there are many many unknowns that take a lot of time to get a grasp on. Even just knowing where particular pieces of code live and what they are used for can be something that holds you up for several days.
Everyone wants to be part of this and everyone wants to see it succeed in different ways. This point of view of what the perfect company is and what its vision is also part of what causes confusion. I think it may be good to describe a few different phases of a startups life and explain which phase we are in and where we are going. For clarity and removing any confusion, I am thinking the following rough phases:
- Phase 0: Found the Company
- Developing basic business model and vision
- Design the key business units that make up the business
- Search for qualified leaders for each of the business units.
- Start design of the proof of concept
- Develop proof of concept
- Phase 1: Develop Core Business Competencies
- Start design of first revision
- Rapidly develop essentials for first revision
- Start rolling out the first revision while it is being developed.
- Design and start Operational Teams
- Find White Elephant Customers and Partners
- Design business and operational processes
- Phase 2: Solidify and Understand the Business
- Focus on Stability, Scalability
- Re-evaluate business model based on limited experience of Phase 1 and Phase 2
- Develop and implement business and operation processes
- Fix short comings not discovered in Phase 1
- Analyze and get to grip with what you have actually build versus original expectations
- Generate and build business intelligence
- Phase 3: Grow and differentiate the Business
- Expand and leverage core competencies to beat and outshine the competition
- Expand outside of the core scope and experiment with alternative revenue streams and customer acquisition patterns
- Study customer behaviors more and make corrections and changes to facilitate growth based on feedback and statistics
- Phase 4: Diversify your business
- Incubate from within and have parts of the business come up with other markets where the same pain exists or core competencies and intellectual property could provide a big roadway into a new market.
- Invest in other companies in Phase 0 or 1 with a compatible Vision.
- Execute on Exit strategy, if there is one. IPO, M&A, etc.
I feel we are currently leaving Phase 1 and going into Phase 2. Where I think for most Phase 1 and Phase 3 are the most interesting parts. Communicating this top down, would help a lot in getting everyone on the same page. Things seem very very fuzy to most at the moment.
One of the hardest things to do is to find a project that you find of interest and sticking with it. Bringing it to the next level; truly continue pursuing it and knowing when you have reached your limit. Know it is time to move on and/or pass it on two more appropriate people who have more experience in what is to come.
Be it starting a new company, getting a degree, creating new media or starting a family. The hardest part is not to fall into the traps of getting bogged down because someone else is already doing it. Not pursuing it because you are afraid that others would not approve or do the same thing. It is almost like we are afraid of standing out and landing in long tail oblivion. By everything you do there are points where you have to look back and determine if it is worth continuing on the path you are on or take a different direction.
This is a challenge that has come over and over again. Is it a mountain or a small hill that currently is in the way. What does it look like on the other side. Is it a bright sun shining on a beautiful beach along the ocean? Is it a quaint town that you have never visited? or is the climb what makes it all worth it? It is always easy in hind sight.
I have found that most situations depend on where you are in live and what you truly see as your next challenge. I originally set out to be the best I could be and to ensure that I would always be able to bring food on the table. Even after I had long accomplished this goal, I kept pursing it as if the quantity and quality of the food was never good enough. I have realized since, that setting a new goal was appropriate. Figuring out what that new goal should be is still pretty unclear to me. The key is to realize when you have met your goal and know when it is time to quit pursing it and moving on to something different. Regardless of what the next goal may be. Figure out what drives you as an individual and determine what sort of goal may complement this drive.
As stressful and challenge it may be to currently live in Oegstgeest, it is accomplishing a new goal. Every day, when I look at juggling a 60 hours a week job, with an international relocation and being a father and husband, I realize that this is a significant load I am carrying. I feel it is the same for my wife and daughter. It is exhausting. However, when you look at what we are experiencing by not taking the easy way out and taking this opportunity on with both hands, it is amazing how much we are growing as a family.
I am learning a lot about who I am and how that relates to my first 13 years in Europe. Just as I know that San Diego has changed significantly, so has the Netherlands. It is frightening to see how many people take their surroundings for granted and never challenge them. On the same token it is frightening to see how similar these surroundings are in totally opposite parts of the world. It is interesting to see that both have grown independently and are facing similar challenges. How each location is handling those challenges differently and what that means to the individuals living there. Obviously, there is a lot I do not understand, but people are certainly influenced by their surroundings. It seems very easy to get frustrated, because no one understands your point of view (or your language for that matter), but give it some time and you realize that things are not as bad as you think.
Each challenge brings out new areas where you can improve and each area makes you forget how much you had already grown. There are always times to move on and finding out when that is can be very difficult. But at times it can be just as hard to determine to stay and battle it out. The choice is really up to you.
As some of you may now, we are currently in the process of moving to the Netherlands. Just as it was moving to the United States, there are all sorts of hoops to jump through to get back into the normal swing of things. You'd figure since I am a originally from the Netherlands that it would be easier, but if you have been out of the country for more then a decade they have trouble finding your old records. So, we have been in an avalanche of chicken and egg scenarios.
One of the things that took a long time was finding a place to live. After almost two months arriving in the Netherlands we finally have the keys to our new home. Although, we are renting the place. It is completely bare and we are installing flooring with the help of our friendly co-workers and friends. The place is just on the outskirts of Leiden in a town named Oegstgeest. It is a big milestone for us and we hope to move into the place, although we will continue to essentially live out of suitcase this week. Our container is waiting for us to jump through enough hoops so we can start the customs clearing process which will hopefully complete sometime next month.
It has been a crazy experience trying to move with our daughter in tow, but it is looking like we are slowly settling in. We would like to thank Dirk, Ardy, Pier and Satoko for their help in making our place more livable and we would like to thank Harrie for putting up with us for these last few weeks. I do not know what sort of place we would be moving into if it wasn't for his gracious offer to have us stay with him until we were able to find a place we liked.
And now the moment a lot of you have been waiting for. Joost Beta is now available for MacOS X on Intel. If you are a current beta tester, but was not able to check it out because you only had a mac. Now is your chance.
This also means, I no longer have to reboot to Windows. Yeah! :)
As I have mentioned before, I have been getting some of my new tracks in digital form from Beatport lately, as I am not really setup right now to listen to them in vinyl, nor do I have the time to convert the vinyl to FLAC and MP3s.
As it turns out, Beatport just recently decided to give existing customers 3 free credits in honor of their three year anniversary. I have some ideas as to what I would get, but I have a better idea. What would you get if you had 3 credits at Beatport? Please leave your suggestion as a comment and I will make a later posting as to what I actually ended up getting.
After the last few weeks working on the grant brand reveal, we now have launched under the new brand Joost™. The brand is pronounced as "juiced" unlike the dutch first name Joost which is pronounced as "yoast". I can probably save a few minutes every day now that I only have to type five characters rather then sixteen.
I will adjust the category on this site to reflect the new name.
Happy New Year!
Thanks to a lot of hard work throughout this holiday season, we are now sending a big chunk of our Long Tail Storage cluster traffic from the new and primary datacenter in Luxembourg. We also recently released 0.7.2 which has fixes and adds support for the new datacenter. Colm MacCarthaigh made an excellent post on our corporate blog describing the launch, so I won't go into it here. It is not as redundant and setup as we like, but it is far enough along to where serving from Luxembourg made sense. I personally would like to thank the Operations team and everyone who lended a helping hand for making this happen.
With the launch of LUX, expect invitation tokens to be handed out to current beta testers while we expand the private beta to more individuals. Do keep in mind that this is just one datacenter of many that we will launch around the world during the upcoming year. Things are scaling and more stable every day, but we are still a startup that has lot of growing to do. I am very excited to have reached this milestone, though and I look forward to increasing capacity and redundancy during this new year.
On a recent trip to Shenzhen, CN, Bunnie found an iPod knock off and as he tends to do, he opened it up and shared it with all of us. It is interesting to compare the knock off and its capabilities with the real deal. Since you are only paying for hardware and the software and licensing costs go to nil, you end up with a very cheap device. He also mentions some of the reasons behind the sometimes blatant typos that tend to exist on these devices.
Bunnie has a monthly contest called "Name that ware" which asks visitors to name a piece of hardware based on pictures of its innards. I totally suck at it, but it is very interesting to see the experts at work.
A few days after my last day at DivX, I had some of my old co-workers informed me that Electronic artist BT (also known as Brian Transeau) was in the office. Obviously, being a big electronic music fan and I was bummed to hear I missed out, but simultaneously happy to hear DivX was working with BT. I have had his latest album, This Binary Universe, for more then a month now and it is quite an experience. I am normally not that much into downtempo type music, but combined with the video it sets a very different mood. I wish I could have gone to one of his screenings, but I rarely get a chance to go to a show these days. I think the last show was seeing Satoshi Tomiie at the Karma Lounge of On Broadway several months ago.
Anyways, you will find the BT track named 1.618 in DivX HD 720p with high quality MP3 Surround audio on Stage6, which is nothing short of amazing to watch. Unfortunately, I do not have a 5.1 setup in my studio or office, so I was not able to take advantage of the MP3S audio encoding. However, having listened to the DVD I must say surround sound is a must have. I tried to play back the HD clip on our Philips DVP 5960/37 DivX Ultra Certified DVD Player, but it said it didn't support 720p via the USB drive. Which is not surprising, but it was worth a shot. I would only assume that this would playback on a HD capable player, such as the I-O Data AVeL LinkPlayer2. If you have 5.1 speakers hooked up to your computer, or you simply haven't seen the beauty of DivX in HD before. Be sure to check it out, otherwise enjoy it in Home Theater with MP3S.
BT talks about the creation of his latest album This Binary Universe in depth. He discusses how he found the animators, how he financed it and its tour among other things. It was also interesting to hear his thoughts around being a new father and how that relates to his music. It reminded me of my experiences with my daughter while messing around in the home studio. BT also talks about music discovery via the internet and how it is truly a curse and a blessing for someone who does music for a living. He mentions that his records did not bring in any money and how compensates other artists when he likes a particular track. He mentions a variety of ways to find music including one of my online favorites BeatPort. He makes a brief mention of csound and how he integrated orchestral works into his album, but the one hour interview focuses primarily on what it took to create his latest album.
All and all, some great new content on Stage6 provided in its signature quality. Enjoy!
Another beta build has been released and we are getting close to extending beta test invitations to more people. We currently have limited bandwidth to Leiden, which will hold back the amount of invitations until we manage to get our primary datacenter on line. It is very exciting, but somewhat scary at the same time. Doing estimates on how many people you will be able to support with our current infrastructure is more an art then a science at this point. The more traffic and data we get, the better we will be able to predict our usage and load in the future.
It has been great to work with the operations team in getting our primary datacenter up and running. We still have a lot to do, but everyone is making sure we flag every SPOF and plan to address them as we build out our infrastructure. While we scale up for all of you to check it out. I provide you with a screenshot of the service to hold you over. I will provide you with more of them as time goes along.
If you haven't already done so, but are interested in checking out the service in person, please sign up to be a beta tester. It is the best way to ensure you will be able to experience the service as soon as we have capacity. We will be expanding the user base with invitations afterwards.
The project is very exciting and obviously has been keeping me very busy lately and I suspect it will for the next few months, if not years, to come. If you have contacted me lately and I haven't gotten around to pinging you back, this is most likely why. People want access to The Venice Project and there are only soo many hours in the day. I mostly have been spending that time focusing on the project and maturing the operations department to provide you the best experience that we can give. It is about time television leaps to the next level and takes advantage of globalization and the internet. I hope you feel the same way.
On another note, we all know by now that licensing content is a long process that takes a lot of time and effort. As described in my earlier post, you would need to talk to the content owners even if you are using the content as background music. Now how about screen shots of a product that delivers content over the internet? If the screen shows content then that could be compared to background music. Therefore the above screen shot of the Venice Project User Interface was specifically cleared by the TV content owner. Of course, how to clear the rights and which rights you need cleared differs depending on where in the world you are. This is tricky stuff. I am happy to say that The Venice Project is doing their part in providing screen shots that have been cleared by the content owners and working hard to provide legitimate playback of high quality content over the internet. Something that has been lacking quite some time.
Update (12/19/2006): I have been getting a lot of requests for invites lately, so I wanted to provide a quick update. Since we are still running on limited capacity all invites that I have are sent out. Best way to get access when our infrastructure allows is to apply on the TVP site.
Update (12/22/2006): Applications for beta testing are now no longer being accepted. We have been getting a ton of interest, so thanks for those who have already signed up. Access will be granted gradually once we get the Luxembourg datacenter online and tested. If you had not signed up yet and you want to be a beta tester, you will have to be invited by a current beta tester to join.
These last few months have been very exciting and thought provoking. After working on many interesting and challenging problems to create an ecosystem of content, software and consumer electronics at DivX, I decided it was time to take a break. I have had a fantastic time working with some great folks on the underlying technology that powers a video on demand service in Italy, a whole new digital home platform named DivX Connected that is designed for portability and low cost embedded devices and building an architectural foundation to enhance productivity and maintainability for the company as a whole. It was a great experience and I would like to thank Jordan Greenhall for his trust in me and the opportunity to contribute to DivX.
I wanted to spend some time at home with the family. Doing this has been one of the best things I could have done. It clearly has created a much closer bond with my daughter and I have been able to catch some key accomplishments of her. It was uncertain for me as to how long I would be spending at home, but as soon as people found out I was spending time at home, I got a lot of inquiries, proposals and offers for new positions all around the world. The time off also allowed me to catch up with a lot of friends and old co-workers which was very needed as well.
There were a lot of events, such as DivX going public on NASDAQ and the Google/Youtube deal, that brought even more inquiries about when or if I would join another company again or if I would be interested in joining the founding team of some media startup, etc. All this buzz, did get me thinking about what I was going to do when I wanted to join the work force again. I contemplated on starting something on my own and spend a few years doing research. All of this opened a lot of doors and gave me an opportunity to keep my brain thinking about the online media space while spending time at home with the family.
After dozens of discussions with some outstanding teams and organizations, I decided to take on a Director of Operations role at a stealth media startup created by proven entrepreneurs who had put together a world class team of whom a few I had already worked with at previous companies or met through my involvement with Open Source. So, far I am really liking what I am seeing and applaud all the effort of the team that has put together what exists right now. It is truly amazing that this got put together in couple of months.
The company has been very quiet, although, recently has started to come more out of hiding and has said we can now talk more publicly about our jobs and the company we work for. Right now, the organization is publicly known as The Venice Project, but it will be re-branded at some point in the future when we are out of beta. If you are interested in what we are doing check out the company blog or sign up for a beta test account.
So, here starts another chapter in life. As I have come to realize, change teaches you a lot of things about what you had and what you have been missing out on. I am looking forward to learning more about both.
An old co-worker of mine, Brian Dear, points us to an old blade runner documentary "On the Edge of 'Blade Runner'" created in 2000 for British television that has recently appeared on Google Video. It is worth a look if you have never seen it.
I have had little chance to expose myself to the latest new tracks, so I will simply focus on the tracks that are currently in heavy rotation at the house. As you can see, most of these tracks are almost a year old if not older. Regardless, I have gotten to really like these tracks and hope you get a kick out of them.
- Body Language [Original Mix] - M.A.N.D.Y., Booka Shade (Get Physical 2005)
- Lola's Theme [Alternative Mix] - Shapeshifters (Nocturnal Groove 2004)
- Seven Hours [Martinez Apocalypse Now Mix] - D-Nox (Electribe 2005)
- The Other Side [Deep Dish Other Than This Side Remix] - Paul van Dyk (Vandit 2005)
- The Careless Kind [Naum Gabo Remix] - Infusion (Polaroid 2005)
Since I am not spinning vinyl at the moment, because I have been told to keep the bass to a minimum by the ladies. I have been getting some tracks from BeatPort with great success. It is not quite Bleep, but it has a much wider selection of tracks. It is good to see that getting tracks online is something that is actually possible now, although I find many of them lack the vinyl intros and outros.
As you may know, we listen to a lot of music at home. Every once in a while, we find our 10 month old daughter, Jasmine, bobbing her head to a particular track. We noticed her interest in certain songs even when she was in the womb. For example, "Say Hello" by Deep Dish (Positiva) featuring vocals by Anousheh Khalili. She started kicking to the rhythm of the track before she was even born and, till this day, the track calms her every time we play it.
In the last few weeks we noticed that Jasmine dances every time we play "Hear My Name" by Armand Van Helden (Southern Fried). She shakes her shoulder, waves her hands and occassionally lifts her butt in the air to the beat. It is one of the cutest things I have seen in a long time. She smiles the whole time she is doing this.
It was one of those moments that I felt had to be shared with the rest of the family and therefore the easiest thing to do would be to video tape her dancing and post it on her site. However, this got me thinking.
How do I post such a video clip legally?
First thing first, I would have to have our baby daughter sign a contract saying that she approves of the taping and publishing of her dancing. I'd have to negotiate some royalty payment to her, but maybe we can do that based on us providing her with our college savings funds. Or we can just cover part of her rent.
Now, what about the background music that she is dancing to? Should I contact the label and tell them that I would be more then willing to pay 50 dollars for the life time of the video for licensing the track and the right to redistribute it as part of this clip. Do I contact ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or the Harry Fox Agency? There is a pretty good Licensing 101 page on the SoundExchange website. They have a question that talks to almost exactly what we need.
I'm going to videotape a public performance where there may be some background music used for the performance. Do I need to obtain a license for any such music? If so, what kind of license(s) do I need and where can I get them? Does it matter what I plan to do with the tape (e.g., sell it, stream it on the Internet, perform it in a public venue)?
It is in fact necessary to secure more than one license in order to videotape a performance that includes background music (unless, of course, the background music is deleted from the videotape). For more information, please go to FAQ
I looked at the FAQ, but I could not find anything related to licensing music that is being played in the background during a performance.
They have another question that answers what is needed to license music for a video soundtrack. It is the closest thing I found.
I'm making a video and want to create a sound track for the video using popular music. Do I have to obtain permission from anyone to use the music in my video? If so, from whom do I get it and how do I go about getting the permissions?
In order to use commercially released musical recordings in a video, a variety of licenses (detailed below) are required. However, SoundExchange is not in a position to grant any of the licenses you will need.
Every musical recording embodies two distinct copyrighted works. The first is the underlying musical composition, comprised of the written notes and lyrics (for purposes of copyright law, the musical composition is referred to as a "musical work"). The copyright in the musical work is usually owned by the songwriter and/or his or her music publisher. The second copyrighted work is the actual recording itself - the sounds, including the recording artist’s interpretation of the musical composition, and the creative efforts of the producer, sound engineers and background musicians. (This is referred to in copyright law as a "sound recording.") The copyrighted recording brings to life the written notes and lyrics of the musical work. The copyright in the sound recording is typically owned by a record label.
The two copyrighted works described above are subject to a variety of separate rights (e.g., reproduction, distribution, performance), each of which must be licensed separately and must be licensed from separate entities. In order to obtain permission to use a commercially released musical recording in a video, you must obtain the following licenses:
- For each individual musical composition you will be using, you must obtain a synchronization license from the songwriter and/or his or her music publisher. Publisher contact information can be obtained from ASCAP, BMI, or the U.S. Copyright Office. It is possible that some of the older musical compositions you plan to use are in the public domain (i.e., their copyright has expired), but determining the public domain status of a given musical work gets rather complicated. If you think the musical work you wish to use is in the public domain, we recommend that you review this issue either with a copyright attorney, the individual music publishers or someone at the Harry Fox Agency.
- For each individual sound recording you will be using, you must also obtain a master use license from the individual record label that owns such sound recording. The name of the relevant record company can usually be determined from the liner notes that accompany the commercially-released version of the music. To assist you in this process, a list of licensing contacts at the major labels is attached to this note. Each of the labels will set their own fees based on a variety of factors (e.g., how popular the song is or was, how current the song is, the type of video project, the number of copies that will be made, etc.) Because the labels receive numerous licensing requests, it generally takes some time for these licenses to be granted. Please be aware that labels are not required to license their recordings for use in video projects.
- In order to publicly perform the music in the finished video, you (or the venue where the video is shown) must also obtain a public performance license from the relevant performance rights organization(s) (i.e., ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC). Each of these organizations represents a separate roster of individual songwriters and music publishers and offers a license to perform all of the musical compositions in its catalog. Further information about these organizations can be found at their respective web sites (www.ascap.com, www.bmi.com, www.sesac.com). No public performance license is required with respect to the sound recording.
What about our family members and friends that live overseas? Do I need to pay licensing costs for each of those countries as well? This is starting to become quite an ordeal for a simple home video clip. Even so, it is possible I will never be granted an international license. It is possible that the rights holders do not want my video to be associated with their music. I guess that is fair, but it certainly is a complicated and very time consuming process. Do I really need to do all this for a home video of a little girl dancing? It seems like I should be able to go to a single place where I can give them a reasonable payment and be done with it.
Maybe startups such as RoyaltyShare could help out. Although, this is just a video where the primary motive is to show our little girl dance. It is not some multi-million dollar production that can afford to spend a few months tracking down the right people for licensing.
It seems to me that during the days of VHS, people made videos of their children and weddings with little concern for the music playing in the background. I guess it was assumed that the video was for private use and it would be distributed to a limited audience and therefore was considered "fair use".
Now that the video is digital and distributed electronically over the internet, suddenly it is no longer considered "fair use". Is it because of the potential wider audience and the ease of distribution? Or maybe it was always done illegally, but there was little to no way of auditing this.
While I am spending all this time working out the rights to be able to distribute this video to friends from my website. It seems that I might as well find every decal and branded item that I find through out my personal video and see if I can get some spot advertising deal. Maybe I can get enough advertising revenue to cover the licensing costs?
It is sure is an interesting and detail oriented world we live in.
I have been starting to notice a very interesting trend that has entrigued me now for the last couple of weeks. I find that most
We have seen a lot of online media applications lately, but none have really struck my musical chord as Splice has.
What is it? It is an early version of an online music creation community. Think of it as a very basic sequencer tied to a social community for sharing music and samples all licensed under Creative Commons.
Now this is something I can get excited about. I mean Online Video Editing is nice, but this online music sequencing is something I can loose hours playing with. It could use some more high quality, filters, effects and samples in addition to the ones from ccMixter and the Free Sound Project and you’ll be able to create a new track without ever needing to have any gear, music software or studio time. You do not even need hard drive space to store the tracks.
Check out this nice progressive theme v5 by antti. I also like the fact that it drops you right into the sequencer with all the settings enabled. That makes it very easy to make a remix and it also allows you to easily learn from how others use the software. It is one of the things that I really liked when Nine Inch Nails released sequenced tracks for ProTools for people to play with. I had a similar track, I think it was for Reason, by Charlie Clouser that was just amazing.
I created an account, but I have not had any time to create anything. Hopefully in due time. ;-) Enjoy and please let me know what you come up with. I’d love to check it out.
Now that video, television and film are starting
Just as live theater and a movie are two totally different ways to visually experience a story. So is a live band and a recording. The content may be the same, but the experience is not.
Earlier this month, a friend and ex-coworker Kevin Baird posted a video of the my.mp3.com service launch on the evening of 11 Jan 2000. This launch had lots of PR and was what eventually brought on the lawsuits that forced the company to be sold to Vivendi Universal.
The my.mp3.com development was a long stretch and a lot of work went into making that launch happen.
Enjoy this great historical video. Thanks a million, Kevin!
Ideally, I could download a copy and save people the bandwidth of streaming this each time they load this page, but I did not find an easy way to do this. Please be respectful of the bandwidth, since I know that hosting videos is not cheap.
It has been ages since I have made any changes to my personal site. So, this weekend, I decided to spend the time and update the look and feel a bit and make the site more modern.
I wil be making small tweaks over the upcoming months to make it fully compliant and bring back some of the old data I had on my site.
I also imported most of my old blog entries since 2000 that were scattered all over the net, which should provide a good archive for those of you who were not familiar with my previous writing.
Ever since the 4th film by Quentin Tarantino hit the big screen, I knew that the movie would launch a few underground tunes containing a variety of “Kill Bill” samples and remixed versions of tracks used through out the film.
Of course, the original soundtracks provide you with some killer tracks from the movie score, keep in mind however, that these two soundtracks only contain a small sampling of all the tracks that were used in the film. There are several sites that attempt to make a complete list of them, so I won’t try to list them here.
I wanted to talk about the underground remixes that I have found, with the hopes that some of you know of others.
The largest collection of tracks can be found on the Hanzo Steel Vol 1 Limited Edition Remix CD. This CD is being put together by the folks that bring us the One Nation parties at places such as the Casbah and the Whistle Stop. This CD contains a version of the Tomoyasu Hotei track “Battle without honor or humanity” remixed by Blackstone and Atari. The original track was used as the signature track for the movie. Blackstone and Atari overlay “Shout” by Tears for Fears which brings a unique twist to their version of the track.
Other tracks that remix/sample/related to the movie are:
- Williams - Tomoyasu Hotei (White) - Breaks
- Dope Ammo - Kill Bill/The Unexpected (DA Industries) - Hotei Drum & Bass Remix
- Timmy Vegas - Kill Bill (Anything) - Twisted Nerve Remix
- Kill Bill - Misunderstood (White) - Santa Esmeralda House Mix
- Digital Cowboy vs Danny Gilligan - Kill Bill/Powwer (Vacuum) - hard tech trance, Mix?
- Robbie Long and AMS - Kill Bill/Here we go (Thin N' Crispy Promo) - Happy Hard Core, Mix?
Of the ones above, I found the Dope Ammo and Williams tracks to be the most entertaining. Although at times, I can’t wait to listen to the house beat layed along the Twisted Nerve track by Timmy Vegas. It also uses the sound effects provided on the first soundtrack to transition between parts of the song.
Let me know if you find any others, I am hoping to collect them all.
Since saturday evening, San Diego has been dealing with some significant fires that started from the east. Most highways, schools and businesses are closed today. They area where I live and work isn’t directly effected, but it is raining ashes and the sunlight is severely discoloring the landscape in surreal yellow hues. I mirrored an Aerial Shot and a County Map from SignOn San Diego that give you a better overview of the fires. The only site that I have found that does online video coverage was NBC San Diego.
Robert Kaye of MusicBrainz fame points us to a great new project named RIAA Radar. It allows you to search for an artist or album and it will provide you with a best guess as to whether the item is affiliated with the RIAA. Now you can check, before you buy some music, if you will be contributing to RIAA’s cause or not. Very handy.
In addition to the many mapping projects out there, such as Maporama, GeoURL and the MS TerraServer. I just recently found the California Coast Records Project. It provides you with the ability to see the california coast from the ocean. Can you see our apartment? Combine this view with the satellite views and you have a neat way of locating your dream house along the beach. I wonder how long it will take before the real estate market will tap into this.
Apparently, there is an article in this months Sierra Magazine that explains more about the founder and his goals for the site. This obviously is quite useful for the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Sierra Club and the Vote the Coast projects. At the same time some people have various concerns with a site that catalogs the coastline. It even causes Barbra Streisand to sue the project, because it provides an unusual view of her coastal home.
As someone who dropped out of college in the early days of the internet boom, I always wondered if I would go back to school. I have had many thoughts about returning to school and getting an MBA, Law or Music degree on top of my computer science experience.
I found my experience as a founding engineer of MP3.com to have taught me a lot about the field. Especially things that I didn’t learn in school. Aaron Swartz is another person for whom school didn’t seem to work. College is a place where people learn how to learn. After a few years of college, I wanted to practice what I had learned. so I could learn even more by actually doing what we got taught. It seemed to get to a point where I learned much faster and had a deeper understanding that way. There are times where I need to go back and look at old books, because I don’t understand why certain things work a certain way, but all I know is that it does. The different perspectives have helped me on numerous occasions, since I questioned things, rather then taking the things in the books for granted. Sometimes things were designed a certain way for a good reason, but the reasons behind the designs no longer seem valid and could be simplified.
I am always intrigued to see articles, such as this one in top magazines such as Forbes that show that we aren’t the only ones. There is hope for those who do not fit the mold.
After about 8 months of filing passports, birth certificates, not-married certificates and affidavits with the state of california apostille stamps, Thanh and I are now allowed to be married this September 5th, 2003 in the Netherlands. Through this lengthy process our marriage will now be internationally recognized and we will receive an international marriage certificate. Maybe one of these days, I will write down the exact procedure, since there are a fair amount of not-so-obvious hoops to jump through.
Our main issues were related to the fact that three different countries from different continents were involved. All the different documents from Cambodia, the Netherlands and the United States of America needed to be recognized by all three countries or at least by dutch government officials in the Hague. I needed some documents from the city hall of the city that I left when moving to the California and they only provide those documents in person at the city hall. We also had to make payment to the resident affairs department in the Hague, where the only means of payment accepted was the dutch giro wire transfer. Thankfully, my mother had previously planned to visit my grandparents in the Netherlands and was able to take care of it in person after I provided her with a copy of my passport and a letter giving her permission to extract the information from the archive. Similarly we were almost required to make a trip to Bangkok, Thailand to have Thanhs birth certificate verified by the Cambodian Embassy and Dutch Embassy of Bangkok.
The procedure is long and confusing. The main part that makes it confusing is that each country only knows their part of the puzzle and you have to make your own conclusions as to how to get the document in the foreign country. We even got told that we needed the Secretary of State to sign one of documents. That, obviously, wasn’t going to happen. It turned out that it needed to be signed by the State of California, Secretary which was much easier and had a well documented procedure.
We got our banns of marriage published by the Hague and we need to wait for that to complete. It is interesting to note how much religion is still integrated into government documents and procedures. I personally feel that religion and government are totally separate identities and they should not discriminate based on citizenship or faiths, but we still have a while to go before they are truly separate entities.
So, we have only a little more then a month to go. I can’t wait. I am pretty excited about it. I’ll try to provide updates on other happenings such as the San Diego Comic-Con and geeky findings in a later Journal entry.
Roxio, Pressplay and Napster
As rumored last week, Roxio has acquired the remains of the music subscription service Pressplay. A fair amount of the technology we developed at MP3.com (bought by Vivendi Universal) was a foundation for Pressplay. So now it looks like Roxio is going to give it a shot with the Napster brand. The brand they acquired last November.
After RealNetworks bought Listen.com and the launch of the new iTunes. I think it is about time that we update David Weekly’s graph of record companies (first posted on the pho music list). Who would have thought that the online music subscription services would get this hot. Summer is definitely here.
Since the days of Mondo 2000 Magazine, the hi-tech fashions created out of their unique textiles, space age fabrics and slick plastics, have always been an interest of mine. They represent a unique twist on wearable gear and the "new edge" fashion trends. The futuristic cyberpunk world displayed in many noir sci-fi films are taking some of these counterculture ideas to the screen. Not because they are the latest designs shown on the catwalk by famous fashion designers, but more through the visions represented by the movies themselves. The fashion that normally was isolated in the world of erotic and fetish balls is making its way to your general population. A few years ago, I distinctly remember seeing a PVC jacket hanging in a department store in the mall. I wasn’t browsing at Syren, Stormy Leather or Skin Two. No, this was just at the local, Fashion Valley Mall, here in San Diego.
In the recently released Matrix Reloaded, costume designer Kym Barrettcontinued the trend and brought some great new designs to the big screen. A priest-like coat for Neo and the mixture of leather for close-ups, and PVC for Trinity and some alligator and reptilian for Niobe and Morpheus. Costume Cutter Roger Tait talks about his experience of cutting Persephone’s nude latex dress. A dress that brings a more 40s formal, business-like cut to latex, but is right along the designs of Libidex and Inner Sanctum. I still would like to see someone create me that silver latex/PVC business suit that I have always dreamt of having. The days of my staple silver pants are over. Of course the sunglasses are still a big part of the costumes as well. I would like to check out a Première Vision fabric show one of these days. It would be neat to see what they would have for sale.
MacOS X A/V Software
MPlayer is a great little media player that plays a lot of the codecs that aren’t part of the default QuickTime player. It is a port from the Linux version. There is a fair amount of work done on Quicktime Components for new codecs such as DivX Video and Ogg Vorbis. It is nice to see some progress here. I wish I could find the time to help out. I have always enjoyed working with codecs and audio in general. On a related front, I am seeing more and more clues towards Akai supporting Ak.Sys on MacOS X sometime in the future. Akai is working on a Virtual Z8 Sampler for the AudioUnit and VSTi plug-in formats, which, naturally, needs similar functionality as Ak.Sys provides to the hardware samplers. So, it looks like the days of MacOS 9 are coming to an end.
Valid Music Metadata
Every time I talk to anyone about building an online music service, they always state that their service is better because they provide more accurate metadata. Real Networks tracked user habits with RealJukebox to gather metadata. MP3.com had a whole staff dedicated to entering album covers into a database. Now, Apple seems to have spend a lot of time on this as well. The biggest issue with P2P File Sharing networks is that you really have to know the name of the artist and song you want to be able to download it. Even when you get it to download, it might not even be what it was advertised as. There are a few companies and projects that specialize are attempting to resolve this problem. Companies such as AgentArts, All Music Guide and Bitzi provide different relationships and data to find new tunes of interest. RealNetworks buying Listen.com might have been a metadata play as well. Listen.com’s directory was quite large before they launched Rhapsody. So there has to be a fair amount of demand. I really hope we can get MusicBrainz off the ground, since this would help everyone down the line. The labels apparently do not seem to have this information readily available and if they did, they most likely wouldn’t be giving it out for free. If this information is available in some open form, then everyone would benefit and it would make it a lot easier to catalog our collections and share our experiences.
DRM: Everyone is doing it. Even consumers?
There will always be attempts to beat the system when you put such a large quantity of music online. That shows that people are interested in better quality and ease of use then they are finding through the P2P File Sharing clients. Or they are looking for content that isn’t as readily available through them such as new releases. To get a good understanding of what the Apple Music Store provides, you might want to hop over to TidBits and read their comprehensive review. So far, on the surface, it looks pretty good. I haven’t seen any reports of anyone looking under the hood, though. And I haven’t had the time to look at how secure the process is myself. Security was of high priority for My.MP3.com. I can’t imagine it being any different here. I don’t recall many reports on spoofing MusicNet, Rhapsody or PressPlay either. I am not sure how much you can restrictconsumers rights on content that they legally obtained. I have a hard time finding a proper balance. Michael, on the other hand, seems to have an opinion on the subject. You might be interested in this comparison between the Apple Music Store and Emusic as well.
As reported by Seattle PI, BillBoard and MTV, P2P networks are being flooded by short clips of Madonna saying "What the f*ck do you think you are doing?". These fans are being greeted with silence and this small personal message. I guess Madonna feels that these people aren’t fans looking for a taste of Madonna’s new album. She would rather disappoint them, by having them buy her album, only to discover that they just paid for ten filler tracks in addition the one or two they enjoy. Madonna doesn’t want them to use P2P Networks to find out if the album is actually worth buying. They need to find an alternative method of discovering new music, online listening booths are much different then those at your local music store. What ever happened to being able to sample music in the comfort of your own home?
Meanwhile, the message is a great new sample that can be remixed into new tracks. Now since this willfully got put online by the artist, do we have to worry about copyrights in regards to this message?
My brother pointed me to a nifty Honda Ad [large mirror] which apparently took 606 takes to put together. It reminds me of when we would setup dominos around the house with all sorts of little bridges, see-saws and flippers. It was a game of patience and luck. It was always sad to think that someone could open the front door and cause the cold winter wind to come in and blow it all down. We were practicing for a chance to attend Domino Day. If you like the ad, you might also enjoy Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
Cowboy Bebop: The movie
This week we went to go see Cowboy Bebop at the Ken. I am always amazed how great of a series Cowboy Bebop is. The movie’s plot was abruptly resolved, but it was entertaining none the less. It is also one of the few Anime’s that has a sound track made up of a wide variety of genres of music.
Lots of great new tools coming out this year. You can tell that we are moving to a more of a component rack system, where the filters, oscillators, knobs and faders can be combined with a USB/IEEE 1394 interface to create a virtual patch bay with custom hardware. The most exciting pieces are the new Nord Modular G2 Engine and the Waldorf AFB16. Combine that some of the generic MIDI controller interfaces and you got a very flexible setup.
Apple to buy Universal Music
It is an interesting move, I am just hoping that Apple will use it to try to bring a consumer friendly online music service. There have been many that tried and failed, let’s just hope that it doesn’t take the rest of apple with it. Dan Gillmor has some valid concerns on the subject as well. Lots of discussion and speculation going around with some good points by these pholks, such as Jobs’ deal with Disney is up and the thought that with DRM Apple might not be a platform the music industry will cater towards. I am actually pretty thrilled with Apple’s stance on DRM.
VoiceXML 2.0 Grammars
Building an extensive front end interface with VoiceXML has been a great experience and is a giant leap forward from the old IVR systems. The main thing right now that bothers me is the trouble it takes to make the SRGS grammars handle both DTMF and voice input. Something as simple as "Please enter your phone number or press star for more options" seems to be pretty difficult to do. It seems that with most systems either want to use the <grammar mode="voice" /> where the query string will actually contain the words/numbers matched by the grammar. Or you would use <grammar mode="dtmf" /> and you would get everything entered but with the dtmf-* keywords (such as ?num=dtmf-1+dtmf-8+dtmf-0" , etc). With the voice mode it is very hard to match dtmf-star, where when I use the dmtf mode, I need to strip dtmf- from the keys entered. I haven’t found a better way, which is really a bummer, since it seems to me that a lot of people would have expected this to work similarly to how the default types (such as ‘digits’) work.
As I mentioned in my last entry, I have been looking into what would be the best way to provide content on my personal website, so that it would integrate with most journal/blog systems. It also required that it would work with XSLT, XML and general goodness. I thought there was no point updating my site unless I practiced what I preached. The site uses a lot of CSS2, which apparently isn’t liked by IE, so I am not sure what I am going to do about that. Feel free to ping me if you got any ideas. I have taken some layout and artistic cues from the late 1920s movement of De Stijl. I have always enjoyed the works of Gerrit Rietveld, Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg so it seemed like a good fit.
Thing have been extremely busy as of late. I have been working hard at the first alpha release for a young startup in San Diego that is providing a phone and web ordering service to small restaurants. Since this is designed from scratch we were able to use some new technologies such as VoiceXML 2.0, SRGS 1.0, XSLT 1.0 and SOAP 1.1. I will be taking another look at Matt Sergeant’s ApacheCon SOAP Talk notes, to make sure we are still on track there. I’ll try to get more detailed about what we are doing after we launch.
Luckly, I still found some time to wrap up some of the code I had laying around and published the perl wrapper around the MusicBrainz Client SDK. It still needs some I18N work, but I want to make sure it works with perl 5.8.0 and above, with potential backwards compatibility, rather then slapping on Unicode::String.
I also got around to installing ProTools 6.0.1 for MacOS X. Now the only thing that keeps MacOS 9 installed is Ak.Sys for my Akai sampler. The CoreAudio drivers do not seem to like it when there is more then one access, which can be really annoying on a multi-threaded platform. Regardless, I am happy to have it available next to a couple of shells and Camino. The OMS/FreeMIDI replacement CoreMIDI, is a work of art. Apple did the right thing by hiring the developer of OMS rather then licensing the defunct OMS from Gibson Guitar (who acquired Opcode Systems in 1998). It allows much better integration between programs using MIDI, to a point where I can use sfront and MIDI monitor next to ProTools. Not much time spend on RTSP/RTP lately, but SIP seems to come up more often then ever now these days.
Since I have been doing web architecture for years now, I never seem to be satisfied with how things work. So, one of the things I am working on is a way for me to have a categorized journal that can interact with Advogato, LiveJournal, Blogs and some of my own thoughts thrown in for got measure.
You know what this means? This means I haven’t updated this journal for almost 4 months and have been writing specs and ideas on how to accmplish the ultimate interactive way of keeping track of my interests and what is going on with me without having to keep getting stuck in a system where my journal software changes drasticly every 6 months.
If everything goes well, I will hopefully will have a way to interact with everyones blog, journals, RDF/RSS feeds and mailing lists and being able to contribute to the goodness that some of you call the Semantic Web.
I will try to keep you all posted on the progress.
Wow!, if you haven't ready noticed I have been pretty busy and keeping myself away from the journal. I currently spend most of my time cleaning up our home network, reviewing books, random coding projects and spending time at the office. Yahoo! has been great! Great people. Great technology. Great projects. It is close to home with the occasional trip to the bay area. What more would someone want from a job. It is good to be back home.
Lots of interesting developments in the online music world, but we are mostly still in licensing and political nightmare land with events such as the CDBTPA Bill and KaZaA's battles with the world. I have been spending some more time looking at RTP and XML engines, but nothing concrete yet. I have been working on a perl XS module for MusicBrainz for a while now, I really should get around to putting an alpha copy on CPAN.
To my surprise Apache HTTPd 2.0 seems to have been released to general audiences. This is very good news! I can't wait for the day FreeBSD's threading is solid enough for production use. Great work being done, I am going to have to find some time to help out. Right now I am just too busy with other things to find things to contribute, but I am sure I will come across things soon enough.
I have been very busy these last few weeks working on setting up moderation on the SDGoth site and getting into the way of doing things at the new job. So far it has been a mixture of silly boring stuff, mixed with understanding the current architecture and getting a grip on the wealth of information and software available at HQ. I feel pretty confident about things though and have a good idea on how to proceed from here. Everyone has been really great to work with from the start, which is always somewhat surprising.
Setting up Ezmlm to a complex setup as I have now, was kind of a pain. I mean, if you install it out of the box with the right flags it isn't hard. But once you start tweaking things. You can easily get caught up in the details and forget something minor that causes the whole thing to fail. I guess this is where the unix philosophy of small programs with specific functions that make the entire application breaks down. It breaks down when you get lost in the details and don't remember what went where.
This is definately one of the most interesting things coming from the AES Show. Granted it has been in the works for a while, but it seems to be getting pretty good. Now, I haven't looked into it much, but although it uses RJ-45, I am not certain it will actually work along side a normal ethernet IP network. If it does that would be great, it would provide a dual purpose for the wire I am stringing around. Now if it could deal with 802.11 wireless as well, that would be even better. This isn't exactly MIDIoIP as provided by sfront, but communicating Sysex and MIDI control messages over TCP/IP would be pretty cool. I guess RJ-45 is nice, but TCP/IP would be even better. RTP and SIP might be able to help here. Hmm.. Ah, too many cool toys to play with and that is besides the creation of music.
How much of your disk space do they own?
I am starting to see this more and more, and I am wondering how far this will go. We all know that in browser cache we sometimes store things that we did not necessarily want. Such as banner ads, pop-ups, cookies and other tracking and control data from online services. But what happens when these things get thrown about your normal applications and download data?
We are starting to see a lot of bundling of applications and pre-caching of content. They can be bonus apps or shareware that you might be interested in or just something that will hide in your windows registry, so you won't be able to adjust your settings later, or provide you with a pretty blue of death. Or what if they are pre-caching content that they assume you would be interested in? such as the rest of an album, although you only asked for the 3rd track you like so much. How would you know what you could delete and what you can not? The invasion of disk space, by people assuming to know what you want.
Now it gets even more fun with DRM and lets say PressPlay content. When I no longer use the service, will I be able to remove all the unwanted propaganda and delete all the now useless songs? Maybe I am caching content for my neighbor, because they threw us in some P2P network, I wasn't aware of. So there goes a good 2 percent of my disk space, for what? I ask you. I am already having a lot of issues with software I install myself (including Operating Systems), let stand some rogue P2P network. I can see it now. Spammers are going to take over my disk space, because they made my machine an open SMTP relay when I installed the latest screensaver.
<p> <b>Vacation</b> </p> <p> After doing some minor consulting and hanging out for a couple of months, reading things and catching up on what has been going on in the world. I just recently took on a new full-time job. I will be doing more Network and System Architecture work for an old school dot.com.
</p> <p> During the time off, I ended up reading a few books, playing games, watching lots of ANIMEs and doing a trip along the southern states across the United States. It was a total of about 5,400 miles on the road in a little bit more then 2 weeks. Other then that the significant other had other commitments that made her not able to join us on this trip. It was definitely worth it. While I have just about been everywhere in Europe, this was really the first time I made it to the east coast with some time to look around. It wasn’t just for some conference where all you see is the insides of the hotel and (if you are lucky) a couple of bars around the corner.
</p> <p> Remote E-Mail </p> <p> Now that I had a good trip where we wanted to do some remote logins to be able to check e-mail and such. Now that we have SSL based IMAP, POP3, S/MIME and PGP we are pretty good at securing e-mail body content and retrieval, but we still seem to be somewhat lacking in first delivery to the MTA.
</p> <p> On the windows client side there are a lot of MUA/MTAs that support the pop3 extensions [RFC2449], SASL [RFC2222] and SMTP Authentication [RFC2554]. On the UNIX side it tends to be a lot more slim. Since most clients tend to be just MUAs or only implement a short subset of the MTA. I wonder how some folks do MTA relaying of arbitrary mail messages? They must us static IPs in the ACLs, since that is about the only thing that I can see.
</p> <p> Are any of you aware of a MTA client that supports SMTP Auth? Right now, I am just using a local qmail installation where I can just call ‘qmail-inject -h’ to have it delivered, but it would be better if I could have a way to sent it from the main MTA (via SMTP Auth).
</p> <p> Conferences and Proposals </p> <p> Looks like it is time to start thinking of proposals for some of the conferences coming up such as the IETF, BSDCon and OSCon. It looks like another ApacheCon is pretty far out of reach, but I assume we are all just waiting for Apache HTTPD 2.0 to be released. I also have had thoughts of submitting a talk for the "Emerging Technologies" conference put on by O’Reilly and Associates. Although, the deadline for that is in the next few days.
</p> <p>Happy New Year!, everyone!.
<p> <b>Life</b> </p> <p> It has been a while, but I guess I have been busy enjoying my time off and doing all sorts of stuff, not necessarily computer related.
</p> <p> I had a few trips to Universal Studios, Legoland California and to South Baja California, Mexico for some surfing in freezing water. Overall a very good time to get away from things and ponder some more on the current happenings and goals in life. I find it good to do that every once in a while, just to keep on top of why you are doing what you are doing. It was good to hang out with old friends as well talking what all has happened in the last few years.
</p> <p> On the computer front I have been hacking on MusicBrainz and MacOS X.1 and reading random things that find my interest. Not much in detail really, just reading up on mailing lists and writting random scripts and programs to make life on MacOS X a little easier. I did some minor consulting work, but found I wasn’t really what I looking to do right now. Although, I must say it was a fun bunch of people to work with.
</p> <p> Media </p> <p> With all this time, I have been reading a lot of things, listening to some new music and watching a lot of movies. Maybe I will post about that under my alter ego one of these days.
<p> <b>Money rules America?</b> </p> <p/> <p> First Microsoft escapes break up because our government feels it has taken way too long. Now we get this new <a href="http://220.127.116.11/docs/ hollings.090701.html">SSSCA</a> bill that pretty much takes away the rights that consumers have been taking for granted. It pretty much is build on the experience of the <i>big five</i> and the <i>RIAA</i> . Although I haven't had the time yet to read the document in detail, but it seems like it is a way for them to protect them from technology moving faster then they would like it too. Online music services are going to have a very hard time existing for independents that do not have the money to prove that their way is a reasonable way of doing business on the net.
</p> <p/> <p> Add this(reg req’d) event to the list and it clearly shows that we need a whole new government setup or something, because what ever happened to the rights of the consumer and residents of this country.
</p> <p/> <p>kgb, let me know where you decide to move to. I have been reading about living in different places of the world, now maybe I will have to include property and patent law as well as a consideration. Arghh, this is probably going to limit my options a considerable amount. Doesn’t look good. I am not sure if becoming a US. Citizen to see about voting the next election would help prevent these kinds of things. Sad times at the beginning of this new billennium.
</p> <p/> <p> Lots of interesting conferences coming up (besides the canceled apachecon). CMJ Marathon, International Computer Music Conference, Streaming Media East and of course the IETF. I will most likely miss out on most if not all of them because of limited time and finances.
<p> <b>MP3.com, Inc., a Vivendi Universal Company</b> </p> <p> With the acquisition complete and public figure Michael Robertson moving on to other things; I am sure we are going to see a lot of changes at the online music service provider. Now with some fun articles at <a href="http://www.hitsmagazine.com/"> Hits Magazine</a> and an engineering department that will have to spend more effort to explain technical details to the executive team, we will never know what will come of it. I really hope things go well, because there are still a lot of great people there that I hope will be able to survive these changes without too much hassle.
</p> <p> I really appreciate mbp for posting the engineering perspective on VCs. It ironed out some loose thoughts and combined them to a more solid perspective. It would be really great to have some of the rich techie types help finance some technological start ups that can push the envelope. Although, companies like Google are definately showing that with some research done ahead of time you can even conquer the wel established.
</p> <p> Quality of Living </p> <p> I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this. Especially from my time spend in the bay area. If you look at housing and real estate alone it is soo expensive to live up there it is rediculous. You are going to have to take some serious risks to survive or be willing to deal with the hassles of public transportation or sitting in traffic commuting to more reasonable areas to live.
</p> <p> I spend a few days last week with a friend of mine living in Las Vegas. It put a whole new perspective on my life and made me think about getting a better perspective on the pros-n-cons of living in San Diego, California or just about anywhere in the world for that matter. The differences to what kind of real estate you can afford and the different tax laws in different states and countries are tremendous. It can really make a huge difference in how you spend your day and how much money you really would need to have an enjoyable life.
</p> <p> Technology </p> <p> I have been spending some time learning about Cocoa frameworks to get familliar with the Audio and Quicktime APIs. I have also been spending some more time playing with the Darwin Streaming Server. It has been a good experience and since I am doing it in my own time, I do not have to worry about how long I am taking and if I am hitting the unrealistic deadlines as set by management. Which is always good.
</p> <p> There are a couple of other projects that have been on my mind for a while such as upgrading components on a few of my servers and writing some cataloging code for a database of our music collection. If we do not get that up soon enough, it could get pretty seriously out of hand keeping track of things. This might finally be an excuse to integrate some of the MusicBrainz project. To be able to integrate the loads of Vinyl I have it might make sense to record some of it for cataloging and back up purposes. Scanning in the barcodes would probably also be a good idea. It will be great to have this finally in place, it will make music purchasing soo much easier and knowing what ever happened to that one CD and how come I ended up with having two copies of it.
</p> <p> Elektrode Studio </p> <p> I have been spending some more time learning the insides and out of the new Virus TDM Synth plugin that I finally got working. (Yeah!). It required me to get a particular USB floppy drive for authorization, since my G4 (DA) doesn’t come with a floppy drive. It looks like some of the plug-in developers are trying to use other authentication methods such as an OPIE challenge response system linked to your hard drive by Kind of Loud to new hardware USB keys such as the iLok and the iButton. Now I wonder how the labels would have felt if you needed one of these to listen to your music online (ala my.mp3.com)? I mean these keys are useful in crypto cases such as SSL and such. But I am sure you can see it now, someday some one will steal your wallet containing your music card and your eyeballs to be able to hear the latest tunes of their favorite artists that you were evaluating.
</p> <p> It is odd how we went from analog synth to software synths and now we are going back to physical circuitry for authentication purposes. You are going to have to replace all your rack modules with USB keys and hubs.
</p> <p> Anyways, till next time
<p> <b>Pho and Online Music</b> </p> <p/> <p><b><a href="/person/tunesmith/">tunesmith</a></b>: Glad to hear you found pho. It has been an interesting list for a while but now that most online music startups have gone bust it has been mostly noise with the occasional worthwhile post. People are trying to figure out where to go to next and waiting to see where things like MusicNet and Duet end up. Hopefully it will get better again once the momentum starts going again.
</p> <p> Covalent Technologies, Inc.: No more </p> <p> After my last diary incident at the office things have had been nothing but political and a strive to make as much money with as little effort as possible. It mainly has been an exhibition of power by upper and middle management which really didn’t sit right in my stomach. So last thursday I send in my letter of resignation after I concluded it wouldn’t get any better. This was confirmed by getting a reply to my resignation from the CEO containing the single word "Boring". It is really a shame because the place had soo much potential and had a very talented group. Oh well, now it is time to locate the next great thing I believe in to contribute to. If you know of anything that might be of interest, feel free to contact me.
</p> <p/> <p/> <p> Electronic Music </p> <p/> <p/> <p/> <p> I have been spending a lot of time these last few days in my Studio work on a new track. On top of recording some mixes of my favorite records to come out in the last year or so. It has be quite productive and has allowed me to get away from life for a little while. With all this emotion and energy being replanted, I actually feel that the new track and mix are looking to be some of the best work done todate.
</p> <p/> <p> After seeing Anthony Pappa at DNA Lounge a few weeks ago, I went to go see Cass dee-jay at Spundae @ Circus. He played a magnificant set which was nice, energetic and dark. Probably the best set I have been to this year. Tonight I am going to see if I can see Satoshi Tomiie and Scott Bond play at Giant or I might swing by Spundae againto see Lee Burridge on the decks.
</p> <p/> <p> Jabber </p> <p> I spend a few hours last night reading the Jabber protocol spec and playing with the server and clients. From my experience using Gale and comercial IM systems, I must say that Jabber has a lot of potential. I am going to see if I can write some code against it to get a better idea of how it works in practice. Maybe looking into a gale - jabber gateway could be interesting.
</p> <p> There are plenty of things to do. It is now a matter of figuring out what would be the best thing for me to focus on.
<p> <b>CD Copy Protection</b> </p> <p/> <p> Looks like <a href="http://www.cdfreaks.com/document.php3?Doc=48&Page=1">someone</a> has spend more time looking into the new Music CD Copy protection that got launched by the majors. Playing with the error protection bits is something I could have seen coming, but didn't really think people would have actually gone for it. Bummer.
</p> <p> Online Music </p> <p> Some other interesting articles are on MP3.com’s last quarter and how Online Music should go Hollywood and an interview with Rep Rick Boucher on the DMCA. TheStandard has been posting a lot of news/articles on online music. Gotta find more time to read them all.
<p> <b>Online Journals and Diaries</b> </p> <p/> <p> Well, this week I found out that public diaries and journals aren't always a good thing. People tend to missread or interpret what is written and hold it against you. Regardless of how hard you try to make something succesfull or try to create the best you mention a single word in your diary and it all comes out like you do nothing at all.
</p> <p/> <p> Add telecommuting to the puzzle and life becomes even more unpredictable. I can see diaries like these become an issue when you discuss trade secrets or explain how easy it would be to by pass security, but even simply stating what you do on a particular weekend or things you care about can be taken the wrong way.
</p> <p/> <p> I said it once and I will say it again, politics only provides a way for the most expressive people to gain a voice that could ultimately undermine everything you have done.
</p> <p/> <p> O’Reilly Open Source Conference in San Diego </p> <p/> <p> I spend a few hours last week at this conference and I must say it was great to be able to run into soo many people you haven’t seen for a while at the same time. it is like having a reunion, except this time it was in my home town. I also saw a few people from my old stomping grounds such as tommy, bmd, scottb and geekd.
</p> <p/> <p> I met a few new people have been getting active on the Apache front. And this occasion also allowed to show some friends one of the better mexican restaurants in old town. It was good to finally meet people such as ask with whom I have talked many times online, but never ran into in person.
</p> <p/> <p> Peer 2 Peer </p> <p> This movement is really taking all the hype it can get and moving forward. This totally reminds me of what started the MP3 movement. Many companies such as LimeWire, Kazaa, Edonkey and San Diego’s FirstPeer are taking a stab at the market. It all sounds very interesting technology wise, but I find it hard to see how you would make any money at it, which is good for a pay check, but ultimately why most people start companies anyways. </p> <p> MacOS X </p> <p/> <p>I am getting really close to getting my MacOS X machine to be what I ultimately look for in a client OS. Of course having my normal Macintosh programs work such as ProTools and other audio software would be ideal, but I guess it will still take a while. I really need to spend some time looking at the Audio API. Thanks to XonX, Fink I now have enlightenment 16.5 running on MacOS X next to my Omniweb browser windows. A few hours hacking on the weekend and boom! Look at what you get. It is funny though as many people have told me that soo many open source people are starting to run a proprietary OS on their desktop/laptop. Pretty odd, but I guess you run what solves all your needs and MacOS X is definately the closest OS from what I can tell. </p>
<p> <b>MP3.com Summit</b> </p> <p> After going to 3 of these and finding to be less technical and more and more business oriented I am happy to say I ended up missing this <a href="http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-6562009.html">one</a>. Everyone is pessimistic about the music's future, although there is still a lot to be done and there is still a huge future it is just not going to be something easily grabbed without serious research and market testing.
</p> <p> Distribution and Quality are still serious issues today. Licensing is another issue that is really holding up just about everything. MENTAL NOTE: Get a lawyer before putting your latest creation live. ;-) </p>
<p> <b>Work</b> </p> <p> I currently get the greatest pleasures of learning how the installation procedure works on the Microsoft Windows platform. I guess there are still people who want our software to install smoothly and run on this excitingly confusing platform. It is definately interesting, but the last thing I want is people to realize that I am understanding this and they might get the bright idea that maybe I should work on this for a long time. No thanks! So, yes, I am learning the Installer SDK.
</p> <p> I am getting to do all sorts of different things ranging from a little XML work (the reason I actually got hired), build and install environment hacking, performance tuning, network architecture and research on things such as Audio/Video. I really just wish I could continue hacking on XML and I18N issues. I will have to find time in after work hours for the real fun stuff. </p> <p> San Francisco </p> <p> This Tuesday I will be at Covalent’s Headquarters in San Francisco for some meeting and most likely will try to stay the entire week, so I can hit up some clubs on the weekend and see Darren Emmerson at Nikita and Anthony Pappa at Red Square in jwz’ newly opened DNA Lounge. If you are up in SF during the week and want to meet up, let me know. It is going to be interesting to be working from the office again, I am not sure if that is going to be productive or counter productive. We will find out I guess.</p>
<p> <b>Music Industry</b> </p> <p> After a week ago wondering <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/mp3/0,1285,42988,00.html">what happened to MusicBank</a> (<a href="http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-5567835.html">2</a>) from San Francisco. I now find another startup attempting to do the same thing, but with WMA.
</p> <p>FullAudio seems to have secured licensing from BMG and EMI. The author of the article states that this is the first subscription licensing done by EMI or BMG, but mean while MusicBank and MP3.com both have the licenses for subscription. So, I am not totally sure where he got his statement from. FullAudio’s executive team listed on their website, does not show any technical backing, which makes you wonder if they are totally relying on MS SDKs (see IP vs SDKs below). It will be interesting to watch how this $15 million of funding will manage.
</p> <p> I am surprised to see we have another contestant trying to fight the big five. It just looks like consumers and startups have no chance in fighting big label money. So far artists have felt "milked", pretty soon we probably can add startups and consumers to that list.
<p> <b>ApacheCon 2001 Europe</b> </p> <p/> <p> I got word back from my <a href="http://www.ApacheCon.com/">ApacheCon</a> proposal. I really should have submitted something for the O'Reilly Open Source convention since it is going to be held next month here in San Diego. Oh well. I got accepted to do an updated repeat of my "Audio and Apache" talk, but my talk on "XML and I18N" from my experiences parsing mail files and my experience with I18N issues with designing the MP3.com publishing is accepted only for fallback purposes.
</p> <p/> <p> It is kind of a bummer, because I would have rather had the talks the other way around. I don’t mind doing an updated talk on "Audio and Apache", but figured I would rather present something new on a topic not directly covered yet. Oh well, next time I guess. Now I need to figure out if I am going to go to Dublin and if/how I am going to be able to cover the cost of taking my S.O. with me.
</p> <p/> <p> Work </p> <p/> <p> Work has been going great. Started working on new projects that are semi exciting but more a direct need for the company. I am pretty happy about it and hope I can avoid a lot of the hassles by keeping some things my hobby and not having to argue about it.
</p> <p/> <p> Music </p> <p/> <p> I have been in the process of labeling and organizing all my CDs and Vinyl in such a way that I can finally figure out what I want in a split second while DJing or at least keep the cases with the actual pressing. My S.O. and I have been busy coming up with a flexible database schema that we can use for a database to keep track of what we have what we like and don’t like and how every musician is related to the next. Great stuff before I dive back into doing some studio work, playing with instruments rather then mixing.
</p> <p/> <p> I also can’t wait till a lot of the Pro Audio tools that I use on the Mac move forward to MacOS X. I will actually be able to do some perl scripting against things and use some of the useful DSP/MIDI code that exists on the net and contribute back to it.
</p> <p/> <p> Lots of new political games being played in the industry with the release of ProMP3 and other exciting little tools that are patented and closed source. Oh well, it can’t rain all the time.
<p> <b>Server Move</b> </p> <p/> <p><a href="http://www.exploitz.com/nocturnal/P9020011.html">Chris</a> and I spend most of our monday evening moving our co-lo server between two facilities of <a href="http://www.allegiancetelecom.com/">Allegiance Telecom</a>. We finally got our server upgraded and moved to the new facilities, a task that was upon us for more then a month. We still got some bugz to work out, but I am pretty happy with the result so far. You can notice, however, that we are now served by a corporation where the best communication channel is the one through the customer. Too bad we lost our 200+ day uptime. Oh well, we seemed to be better homed though. ;-)
</p> <p/> <p> Work </p> <p> Well, I spend a day and a half in San Francisco last week to get an idea of how much has changed since the last time I was up at HQ. It was an engineering get together to cover a lot of the re-organization that was done to make things more "efficient".
</p> <p/> <p> The coolest thing is that I am finally back on a project, so I will have to drop most of the Audio/Video and XML work for working on more immediate requirements. So, far so good, since it could have been a lot worse.
</p> <p/> <p> I also got a word from a few folks stating that this silly internal engineering politics, that has been bogging me down and frustrating me to a point I have not interest in doing anything anymore, will be held under close watch and ultimately killed. I have been trying to not respond to anything that looked remotely like a political pitfall, so hopefully we can all work as a team in the near future. The future is starting to look more brighter by the day! Now only if the market could also take a turn for the better.
IP versus SDKs
MP3.com has furthered their interest in MS WMA Technologies for use in their PLuS service. Again this is how Microsoft is winning has people develop stuff for their Windows platforms. This is because of the wealth of APIs (good and bad) that are available where instead of writing their own they take the APIs/SDKs and use those because it is an easy way to get a product out that does what is required short term. Now I have had similar discussions with people from the office and find it interesting that now that we are in DOT COM land we do not want to re-invent the wheel, but at the same time we do not even consider rewriting the wheel when you have no control over the existance and stability of the wheel in further revisions of the product.
Update: I just noticed that the Yahoo! Player requires MSIE and WMP, so most likely makes use of the API/SDKs as well. It seems like the major client side players are Microsoft, Real and Apple. Yahoo! still has some of the pie with their server side technology when they acquired Broadcast.com.
</p> <p/> <p> Start Ups </p> <p> Big corporations are definately using the startups in every way you look at it. The pressure created by buzzwords such as "Time to Market" and "High Margins" (which contradict btw) are what can bring great ideas to the ground. Doing a large amount of research and development over a year or so to create valuable IP is in these start ups unthinkable.
</p> <p/> <p> There are a few exceptions such as Packet Video and Transmeta, but the hype is very high and the recent economic slump isn’t not helping. It is killing "experimental business plans" but also lots of necessary research and IP development for start ups to compete with the big boys. Regardless of serious stock drops, it is the big corporations that are winning.
</p> <p/> <p> Music Industry </p> <p/> <p> Looks like Subscription services are still a go. Press Play (formerly Duet) now has a site and a new CEO. My mod_icecast idea, executed by Brian Aker, seems to be taking off. The biggest thing that still needs to be implemented is HTTP Range header support in HTTP MP3 Players. This might force the issue a little and will have more people looking at RTSP/RTP in the long run.
</p> <p/> <p> Real Networks, Inc. is keeping their options open and seem to be considering joining the Press Play team as well to provide them with RTSP/RTP which makes total sense from a business stand point. Why should they care who has the better solution as long as it is based on Real IP. Hopefully they didn’t sign an exclusive when they joined MusicNet.
</p> <p/> <p> Also seems as if MusicBank has fallen of the face of the net, who knows why but I am sure some of the big five or the economy had something to do with it. </p>
<p> <b>Audio</b> </p> <p> I have been spending more time with audio effects and different codecs and building my music database today. I read an <a href="http://www.digit-life.com/articles/oggvslame/">interesting article</a> that compares LAME encoded MP3s with Ogg Vorbis. vorbis now as an RTP Payload draft with some pretty useful APIs under decent licensing, I might have to convert everything I own into that, but that would mean re-encoding everything which would take forever. On the other hand, I will be able to have all the source code and APIs available to manipulate it forever for personal use, which makes me the boss over my own "backups".
<p> <b>Universal's Plan to conquer the media world</b> </p> <p/> <p> I found <a href="http://public.wsj.com/sn/y/SB990655409508091533.html">this article</a> with a rough vision of Universals plans. It reminds me a lot of the <a href="http://www.fair.org/media-woes/corporate.html">Media Monopoly</a> that has been discussed over the years and has been portrait in many articles, movies and books (media!?!). ;-)
</p> <p/> <p> I haven’t heard anything about the Courtney Love trial. It would be very interesting to see how that is going.
</p> <p/> <p> Work </p> <p> It has been pretty slow and akward lately. I am not really sure what to think of it all. I have been trying to get stuff done, but it is hard to motivate myself under these conditions. I have been trying to dive back into music to keep myself from going nuts over this stuff.
</p> <p/> <p> Product Warranty </p> <p/> <p> It is really hard for me to tell if buying something that is pretty expensive and top of the line is going to be something better to get then something mediocre that doesn’t have such a big drain in my wallet. Most of the time though, buying something that is entry level or average tends to not work or barely work good enough for it to be of any use or provide a benefit.
</p> <p/> <p>The more I look at it just about everything has a warranty that states you should have no manufactoring defects for X amount of time. But what about the fact that most things manufactored have a really short product life span. So you spend the extra money so you would have something useful, but then it looks like that roughly when the warranty has worn off it breaks and you have to buy a new one anyways.
</p> <p/> <p>Things aren’t build to last forever anymore. Maybe this is something that I still have in me from having grown up in Europe, but things just seem to fall apart after barely any use. The only way to have it last longer is if you make it a full time job to maintain it and take care of it like it is the most precious jewel you have ever seen. So you get frustrated if you spend money on the low end and it doesn’t have enough features to be remotely useful. Or you spend an arm and a leg on something and so it can be depreciated, replaced or simply be rendered useless after a very short time. Frustrating I tell you!</p>
<p> <b>Music Industry</b> </p> <p/> <p><a href="/person/ask/">ask</a>, this doesn't really come with too much of a surprise. Universal is the biggest record label around. They probably have the most money and have been squeezing artists the longest. See <a href="http://biz.yahoo.com/rf/010521/n2115113.html">this article</a> for some third party insight.
</p> <p/> <p> My view on MP3.com history </p> <p/> <p> The most interesting point of this all, is that we started out MP3.com as an alternative way to distribute music. A way to find out about all the different music in the world to find the music you wanted to listen to without having the labels pre-pick your favorite music style for you. We seem to totally have gone full circle to a point to where we aligned with Emusic who had a totally different strategy which was very much aligned to the old record label A&R way of doing things.
</p> <p/> <p> I guess it is too hard to really find the good stuff via a big single source like we had hoped. We figured people could "rate" (download) the songs they liked and therefore bump it up the charts. This would be a way to provide the music the world wanted not what some folks in the A&R group at a random record label thought you would want to hear.
</p> <p/> <p> So maybe your best bet would still be the small indie label that has interests in the particular style of music you like, as long as they do not get corrupted by seeing dollar signs.
</p> <p/> <p> Again, this is a good example of what record labels have done soo well and continue to do well in the past. Use money to make money. The original goal of having internet distribution for all artists without serious costs to provide a closer link between the artist and music consumer seems to have been shot. Mass media has always been controlled by only a few companies in the world that can easily leave out important information for financial gain. This only proves the fact that money conquers.
</p> <p/> <p> Although going public gave us a lot of money and power to play with it also brought a lot of stock holders and investors in on the game that were looking only at profits. This caused the focus of the company to change drasticly towards making money. At least to me the company slowly changed their goals after IPO. It was no longer the same goal we were fighting for.
</p> <p/> <p> Online Audio Distribution Technology </p> <p/> <p> The most interesting part to me would be to see how the Technology side will pack out now that the majors are starting to get their feet wet. Will MP3 and Vorbis which still stand as the consumer favorite come out of this alive? Or will DRM-type formats surpass the more open standards because consumers want to pay for someone to sift through the music (record labels) to present them with something that has been mass marketed over the radio and television. My.MP3.com was a great technological idea that tried to provide a way to deliver your music to you digitally where ever you where (provided you had connectivity). Of course this is only useful if you can store a lot of music and if it would be easier then lugging around a CD-ROMs with your favorite MP3s on it.
</p> <p/> <p> On the streaming side of things it will be interesting to see if semi-new IETF streaming standards such as RTSP, RTP, SIP and the like will be used by any of these companies that are building this subscription service for the record labels. So far the only a few that have started using RTSP such Apple Quicktime and Real Networks RealPlayer and JMF (Cacheflow, Sun StoreEdge and others have created Servers, Proxies, Mixers and Translators). So there is some support for streaming Vorbis and/or MP3 over RTSP/RTP, but not too much.
</p> <p/> <p> From what I know about the Online Music Industry most companies that are distributing music are using HTTP derrivates such as Shoutcast, Icecast or just a M3U based hand off to an HTTP capable audio client. Although it has been effective alternatives now exist that are more reliable and scalable (but also more complex and harder to implement), most distribution companies haven’t taken advantage of these new standards. Maybe now that it will be a lot less about investors, it will become more of a technology gain. Hopefully some of my old co-workers are reading this and start looking at some of these new protocols.
</p> <p/> <p> Maybe I will find some more time to play with this stuff. Also the XML/DC/MusicBrainz/ID3v2/CDDB/MPEG-7 stuff is a good hobby of mine. It is interesting how a lot of this audio stuff is crossing over into my usual XML/HTTP development that is done for work. It is great to have them overlap every once in a while, but sometimes I wish they could be two totally seperate beasts.
</p> <p/> <p> Anyways, back to work. ;-) </p>
<b>Vivendi Universal <a href="http://www.upside.com/DigitalMedia/3b096f2a1.html">acquires</a> MP3.com, Inc.</b> <p> A few months ago, I was wondering why my old stomping grounds were not in on either Duet or MusicNet, but this event explains it. So now it will be interesting to see what is going to happen. It almost looks very much like a RTSP vs. HTTP battle from a technology stand point.
</p> <p/> <p> Politics </p> <p/> <p> I am starting to get really annoyed at little things that people do. I just hope I won’t go crazy. It is good to be in San Diego. It gives me some time to look at the beach, do a couple of climbs, hikes and backpacks in the area to get away from it. I really just need to get more time to play with fun things such my keyboard and MacOS X. All will be good, got nothing to complain about really.
<b>Big Five</b> <p> This is a bit old but looks like <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/updates/lat_love010228.htm">Courtney Love</a> is at it again. Fighting for fair rights for musicians around the world. This is like <i>money</i> versus <i>a *lot* of money</i>. I wish her all the best and I am happy to see some take the stand. Go Courtney!
</p> <p> San Francisco </p> <p> I will be up in San Francisco again next week. Doing the work thing and finding some time to hang out with random folks including friends from the office. Should be a challenging but good time.
<p> <b>Audio and Apache</b> </p> <p/> <p> Woke up this sunday morning finding out that <a href="/person/krow/">krow</a> saw my presentation at ApacheCon and decided to take the hint of writing a <a href="http://www.tangent.org/mod_mp3/">mod_icecast for Apache</a>. It is pretty cool how you can show people the way, when you are busy doing other things, at a conference. I am happy to see that someone brought the idea to life, now we will have to see it live to a final release. I put my slides and notes up <a href="http://Sander.vanZoest.com/apachecon/2001/">on my website</a>.
<p> <b>ApacheCon 2001</b> </p> <p> A few hours ago I finished my talk about Audio and Apache at ApacheCon in Santa Clara. It turned out to be a pretty well attended talk. I had some issues with getting slides going because my laptop had been behaving badly because of the broken <i>i</i>, <i>k</i>,<i>,</i> keys.
</p> <p> I had brought up a point of how increasing the TimeOut directive seemed to have kept more streams alive then having the default time out and this brought up some discussions with some members of the ASF such as gregames, mjcox and dirkx. It was good to hear the discussion on this especially cause i never really thought much about it.
</p> <p> The mod_perl BOF was fun. We totally surrounded our friendly python co-worker, Jick. Met some more of the mod_perl folks that I had not met yet in London or Orlando. Perrin and buddy did a nice talk on some of the architecture done at Etoys.
</p> <p> And I also spend some time catching up with the Covalent folks which was very much needed. Over all a very good conference with lots of great people to talk and hang out with.
</p> <p> Work and Code </p> <p> I have been hacking at home on work which has been a lot of fun and I am finally getting the hang on things again. I ended up missing the mod_xslt BOF which I am still kinda bumbed about, so if you were in this, please let me know how to get on the mailing list if there ever is one started. I was up pretty late the night before working on code and slides.
</p> <p> Weekend </p> <p> I am spending the weekend in SF hopefully meeting up with fanf and lars then back to code on Monday. Looks like my SF Studio is finally rented out as well. Which is a big sigh of relief off of my shoulders.
</p> <p> I can’t wait to get back into code after a great week like this! I really wish I had time to hack on MacOS X, so far from what I have seen it is a dream come true from a nice GUI with BSD underneath. </p>
<b>Work and code</b> <p> Boy has it been good being back in San Diego. I get to code from my own home on my own <a href="http://www.hmstore.com/">Aeron Chair</a>. It took a little cleaning up and getting my head back into code. Things are still very busy, but I am starting to feel much better about a lot of things.
</p> <p/> <p> ApacheCon 2001 </p> <p/> <p> I just recently turned in my ApacheCon paper that talks about how to deliver audio over the net and how it integrates with the Apache HTTPD. It is a pretty basic level paper, but a good recap of what is going on and documents some of the stuff that I have always wanted people had documented. It wasn’t the best paper written, in some sense it was a rush job, but still had has some nice jewels in there for those not too familiar with the audio streaming scene.
</p> <p/> <p> Other </p> <p/> <p> I haven’t had much time to work on other things. I just got a new Ultra 10 at the home office now, but I haven’t even turned it on yet. Too many things to play with and soo little motivated time.
</p> <p/> <p> I still haven’t found anyone to move into my NorthPoint studio in North Beach, San Francisco and I will never find any time to work on some of my organizing projects and catagorization of things around the house. </p>
<p> <b>Work and code</b> </p> <p> Not much (any?) work was done this weekend and I will be driving up from San Diego to San Francisco in a few minutes.
</p> <p/> <p/> <p> Read some of the Google research paper (jauderho), and looked at some of the Freehaven ones mentioned by raph, but I will probably not be able to give a thorough read till sometime next week.
</p> <p/> <p/> <p> Busy Week Ahead </p> <p> I have a busy week ahead of me, which includes moving stuff from San Francisco to San Diego and many design meetings, read up on their docs and being able to provide some constructive feedback. </p> <p> My friend Martin is moving back to Italy next week, so it would be nice to be able to spend some time with him as well. Just too many things to do with soo little time. </p> <p> Still have to do taxes and talk to Pacbell about why I do not want to pay a DSL bill of two months when I only had service for about 2 minutes.
</p> <p/> <p/> <p> Btw, wish dirkx a happy birthday! ;-)
<b>Advogato</b> <p> I just found out about a new fun <a href="http://www.badvogato.org/">site</a> to keep track of my alter ego. So from now on my music, clothing, hair color and alternative diary entries will be found <a href="http://www.badvogato.org/person/highgeek/">there</a>. One of these days I will incorporate the XML into my personal site dynamicly. Hmm.. wish I had the time to do that. ;-)
<b>Code and Work</b> <p> I have been finishing up my patches to the autoconf/libtool stuff for Apache HTTPD 2.0 to build it outside the source tree. There were some dependencies that didn't work together too well with APR and APR-UTIL. I should be able to post this on the APR/new-httpd list later today or tomorrow.
</p> <p> I have noticed a lot of people talking in their diaries about e-smith which I decided to take a quick look at. Pretty interesting project, it looks like a KDE/GNOME type play, but more on the server side of things.
</p> <p> Friends </p> <p> I have been spending a decent amount of time in the evenings hang out with dirkx, ardy, harrie, fanf and harrie. Talking about most of the different drives between people in Europe versus the US and big corporations, consulting and start ups. Overall an enlightening conversation that touches on some of the Ph.D. points mentioned in peoples diaries such as neale and chromatic. I might find the time to write up roughly what we discussed.
</p> <p> Environment </p> <p>mbp: I love my Aeron Chair. I had one at MP3.com, demanded for one in my negotiations with Covalent and now even have one for home. ;-) They are expensive, but are a lot cheaper then replacing your back or productivity.
</p> <p> On the same topic anyone know of a fully split keyboard (ala Interfaces) that is very sturdy without a number keypad? The interfaces was pretty close to what I wanted (it even had the double ‘6’s), but it would nice to ditch the number keypad and have a more old school ibm style keyboard. </p>
<p> <b>Code and Work</b> </p> <p> Started playing again with some <a href="http://www.dmoz.org/Computers/Data_Formats/Markup_Languages/XML/">XML</a> tools. There have been a lot of cool ones coming out, since I last checked, to validate DTD/schemas and allow you to edit with a DTD restricting you. Tools such as <a href="http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/xeena">Xeena</a>, <a href="http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/DDbE">DDbE</a> and some of David Megginson's <a href="http://www.megginson.com/Software/">additions</a> to PSGML for <a href="http://www.w3.org/XML/Linking">XPointer</a>. Also looks like <a href="http://www.lysator.liu.se/projects/about_psgml.html">PSGML</a> is being shelved onto source forge with hopes others will contribute. I hope this doesn't mean I need to give up my trusty emacs.
</p> <p>Sablotron latest versions do not ./configure anymore on my FreeBSD 4.2-STABLE system because of the lack of ANSI C Wide Character support. Lots of talk on FreeBSD mailing lists, so I guess this will be done soon. There have been lots of code flying around including talks of integrating code from the CITRUS project or xpg4dl which got imported by NetBSD. I had some code off the list that I played with for a while, but figured I should probably downgrade for now to 0.44 of Sablotron till the wchar stuff gets integrated into FreeBSD 5.0-CURRENT. </p> <p> Music </p> <p> Hit up just about every record shop that I know of in Downtown Berkeley over the weekend from Amoeba, Rasputin to Skills DJ Workshop. It was a pretty good run (read bad for my wallet.) and I got some Tilt, Christian West, Squaremeter, Clicks and Cuts and other stuff. Still kinda bummed I didn’t pick up the new Cass: Cerebral Noodles EP (Really need to watch for is Fire Recordings stuff. Should be good.) Oh well, I got more chances to get things. My girlfriend got her Chicane fix from the Xtravaganza tab at Skills. It was pretty interesting to see her face light up with the fact they actually had a tab for one of her favorite labels.
</p> <p> I need to check out some the places in the Haight Area such as Frequency-8, BPM and others. I will doing some traveling between San Diego and San Francisco on a semi-regular basis (not like I haven’t been), so it will be interesting to what the differences will be between Off the Record, CSL, Equinox and the Bay Area shops.
</p> <p> Anyways.. till next time.</p>
I have recently discovered the Recent Log and now read that on a semi regular basis to see what is going on in this world. It is a great way to find new people and see what they are spending their time on.
I have been doing a lot of research and reading of ISO and IETF documents lately. It is always good to keep up on internet drafts especially those that you might not find later cause they do not become RFCs. I have been refreshing my memory and learning new technologies. It has been fun.
I just can’t wait to get my hands dirty again in coding. I have also been looking at the Apache 2.0 build/configure infrastructure and try to rebuild the -srcdir and –shadow flags. The problem is related to dependancies on apr and apr-util which can only be defined with –with-apr which does seperate the source from the object and generated files. I enjoy keeping these seperate in most of my projects and I am kinda bummed that it doesn’t work right now. On a related note, my ApacheCon 2001 talk got accepted. So this means I will be giving people pretty basic introduction to how to configure apache to make it suitable for Audio downloading, streaming, semi-streaming etc. Quite different from my past talks, but change is good.
I spend the last weekend at home in San Diego with my girlfriend. We spend most of sunday hanging out along the beach by our home. It was really a perfect time, well except the fact that our digital camera ran out of batteries. I also spend a good amount of time hitting up different record shops and building out my vinyl collection and some more rare stuff on CDs. I have been spinning roughly about 3 hours each day that weekend and hopefully I didn’t annoy our upstairs neighbors too much.
Out of the online audio space and especially napster we find ourselves in this new Peer-2-Peer craze. To a point where O’Reilly actually has a conference and website about this. The idea to me is more like IRC turned WEB. Things like IMs like Jabber and the like. So if P2P is really getting this popular, the next step would be to make global DAP type services to "hook up" people with shared interests. The Register has Microsoft preps Napster clone, which definately makes you wonder where this idea will end up. In an Interview, Lawrence Lessig states an obvious but valid point.
"But now the real danger is that the recording industry has succeeded in its objective, which as Hillary Rosen (president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America) said, is to guarantee that no venture capitalist invests money in new modes of distribution unless Hollywood signs off. Well, that’s to reinforce an old model of creativity that I think the Internet has the opportunity to destroy. "
This might partially be catalyzed by the financial hit, but still the big five might get their way in retaining their power to stay in the old fashioned way of thinking. So much for revolutionizing the way we do things.
Happy New Year! It has been almost 4 months since my last confes^H^H^H^H^H^Hentry. The last few months have been busy and somewhat stressful. Trying to figure out how I want my personal life to continue. What color to dye my hair next? etc. Trying to keep a personal life in two places at the same time is very difficult and very hard. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, it is almost like choosing between fun work with great people and a personal life outside of work.. I really wish that I could be in two places at the same time.
I haven’t really written a lot of code lately. I have been spending most of my time doing research on different technologies and trying to get a better understanding of the space. Some of the work is somewhat familiar to me, but it is kinda scary to see how much has changed in just a few weeks. Although it has been very educational and enjoyable to be able to spend some time getting the hang of new technologies such as attending the 49th IETF. I will be happy to back in the code. I have written a few proposals for different conferences so we will see if those stirred up any interest. Now lets hope the coding doesn’t involve too much crunch time when it does become time.
I have been a music fanatic for a long time and spend a fair time playing keys, I have recently picked up moving into upgrading some of my DJ gear. I picked up a pair of legendary SL-1200MK2s to suplement my CMX-5k and got a new DJM-600 Mixer. I really love the new set up. It is very scalable and flexable, now only if I could find the time to play with it more and get good enough to creatively mix some of my more obscure musical desires for the harder edge. Maybe one of these days I will feel more comfortable to give you all a taste.
ApacheCon 2000 Europe
Back from ApacheCon Europe. It was pretty good. I met a lot of people I had never met face to face before, and overall got a better vibe of things and where things are going in the future. Talked with the author of AxKit Matt Sergeant, gstein, rbb, sterling, wrowe, daniel, Jick and many others. I finally lived up to my reputation by attending the conference with greenish blue hair. Needless to say there was much rejoicing with english ales and bitters.
Back to work
Now that I am back I am updating and working some more on the Apache Mailing List Archives, yes wrowe, search is still one of the things I am working on. ;-) But better support for different charsets is also a thing I am working on with some of the better support in the CVS versions of AxKit.
Another comment on wrowe diary, I must say that I am actually quite happy with being a Journeyer, since I really do not feel that I have contributed enough to Open Source to qualify as a master. There are a lot of things I would like to see and things I would like to do better, the archive being one, and hopefully we will get to a point where I might feel I might deserve the certification.
I am currently kicking it in london for ApacheCon. Hanging out with many including Jick, daniel, dirkx and others. I will put up some pictures of this weekend which was a group of about 30 people hacking on Apache projects with some minor 56k connectivity to the net. ;-) Tonight there is mod_perl get together at a local pub. Should be fun.
According to this Salon arcticle, the watermarks have been hacked. So much for the boycott. I guess we will get to see what this means to SDMI.
Inside has the SDMI response to the article.
As brought up on several music and technology sites, SDMI is looking for someone to hack their latest watermarking. After doing a little hacking, I realized that however much fun it was, it really didn’t matter.
Since we really want to find something that allows for our current "fair use" rights, having what we have now would be a good solution from the consumer perspective. As an artist this might be a little bit of a different story, but you definately would like to make your own decisions and get compensated for your work, rather then giving a huge share to the record labels.
After getting several "employment opportunities" from different label projects such as Sony’s "digital locker" project. I really look at this as an attempt to undermine the consumers interest. Therefore, as an EFF member, I am Boycotting the HackSDMI challenge. Whose servers, ironicly, sit only a single hop away from my co-lo box.
This salon article (note: I am currently working in the ex-salon offices in San Francisco.) Points out some interesting view points of some of the technology industry members of the SDMI. Although, I think they might have a point, I still think probably the best way to ensure consumers rights is to Boycott the challenge. Hopefully they will then go live with a technology that is seriously broken and we can go on with life.
Things seem much more stable. I am working on cleaning up the layout a little bit. Making it more plain in a hope the pages will load faster and will format a little better. Slowly but surely things are getting much like the way I envision it. It is still pretty far away from that, but I enjoy the progress I have been seeing in it.
Last night I cut over the Mailing list archive to AxKit which is a mod_perl based XML/XSL-T system that will replace the old Cocoon setup that was giving us JVM Memory issues (not to mention the java 1.3 bugs I ran into).
I also fixed a bug in the code when e-mail was PGP Signed and was a multipart message. Things so far seem to be running pretty good and will allow me to concentrate more on getting the software more mature. I have had some requests by folks to have the code available for use in their projects. This is definately something I am interested in I just need to determine the right way to go about doing this and will provide you with an update when the code is actually available.
As some of you might have noticed, one of my fun projects, Apache Mailing List archives, went live a week or so ago. I rewrote the mailing list software in OO perl from scratch using many of the great modules available on CPAN. Instead of the usual creation of HTML, this rewrite creates XML documents that then can be converted to just about any format using technologies such as XSL-T, XSL-FOP etc. It has MIME attachments support and to a limited extend handles different charsets and message/rfc822 forwarded messages.
I looked at using MHonarc and have it spit out XML instead, but it was totally written in Perl 4 style, which was something I wasn't too thrilled about. So, I decided to write this from scratch. It probably has about 70% or so of MHonarc's functionality, but over time I hope to surpass it.
As some (most?) of you might have noticed the site hasn't been very stable, which is mainly because of JVM memory issues. I currently am using Cocoon which is written in Java. It is one one of the longest publishing frameworks around that use XML and XSL-T, so I was hoping for some stability. I have been playing with the settings, but haven't gotten it to fully work (yet).
I am also playing with other tools such as AxKit which are mod_perl based and something I would be more comfortable hacking on, so it could be we might switch to that in the near future.
Ultimately I would like to see a C apache module that implementsmost of the functionality in C that would then provide (XS) glue to mod_perl and such if someone wants to do something more dynamic with it. If I can find the time I will probably spend a few nights coding something like that together.
There are still some minor bugs in the current version of my mailing list archive perl code that I hope to fix in the next few days. Once that is fixed I will have to write some documentation with it so people will know how to use it and I will ask the higher powers if they would be alright with me throwing the code on CPAN.
I will try to keep you all posted.
Stuff is going pretty well. I will probably post in my next diary about my fun projects. I just read this article on Motley Fool and figured I would pass it along. Definitely worth a read.
Sorry for the fact that I haven’t written an entry for a while. I should get my studio in North Beach on Tuesday, so that should give me some more room and a place to hack at other then the office.
I have been working on a cool XML project that hopefully should be live sometime next week, I will keep you posted.
Adjusting to the new environment and being away from the woman I love has been tough to say the least, but I am slowly starting to see the light and how much fun work is going to be.
LinuxWorld really sucked and I am happy to say that I only had to be there for 2 days.
I have been playing with a new personal project which is an AudioFS for FreeBSD written by Theo van Klaveren. He told me that he should have another version out soon that he has been working on that is suppose to be more stable which I am really looking forward to. When working on MP3: The definitive Guide we had a list of several Audio FS types for different OSes such as BeOS. I am happy to see we got one underway for my favorite OS, FreeBSD.
Well, I finally made it up to San Francisco. I am currently in an Executive Apartment kinda place that is fully furnished while spending most of my free time looking for a more perminent place to stay in this city.
I still call back and forth with my unlimited mobile-to-mobile cell phone to talk to my girlfriend and such. I was talking with the PacBell PCS folks here on California street and they claim that there is no way they can simply stack on another phone number to my nokia 6190 GSM phone, which although technically is possible, is really annoying.
If I could simply keep my 858 area code number and service and tack on a 415 area code number for the San Francisco folks I would have it made, but for whatever reason they are not willing to take this on. It is really annoying when something technologically is really simple and possible, but for business or accounting reasons (or maybe simply because of cluelless sales folks) this is not possible. So, anyone who has experience with this and is reading this feel free to send me an e-mail.
Work has been an entire new thing as well, I have been spending most of my time getting a demo box ready for the O’Reilly Conference next week, but I haven’t really gotten into coding yet. I still need to get myself in a reasonable matter on all the mailing lists again. I still haven’t gotten my entire mail sorted out yet.
Things have been heck-tick trying to get ready for my trip up north. Cleaning up the apartment, paying off all the bills, etc. etc.
I am one of the original people who started and moderated the San Diego Gothic/Industrial Community site, but although I still want to contribute and be involved it looks like there are others who are interested in taking it over. I really wish I just had more time to contribute. I definately could use the help to get it going to the full extend I would like to see it go, I am just not too sure to what extend that would really be. Usually people claim that they want to contribute, but usually they have other interests into getting involved and in the end end up contributing nothing. I hope I can at least keep the site running and provide as much technical support as I can. I really enjoyed the San Diego scene.
Fourth of July was a blast (other then the fact that I somehow got my DSL to blow up after I unplug its power cord). I spend some time with my good friends Adam and Lidija, Rachel, Riik , Dennis and later on with my old buddy Tommy Tarka. I also got to pull out my CD DJ gear which is always a pleasure and a blast. I played a wide mix from Haujobb, Forma Tadre to X-Cabs, Imminent Starvation, Synapscape to X-Marks the Pedwalk and Banca De Gaia.
Only if I had more money and time to play with musical equipment. it is soo entertaining. It’s gotta get to a point to where you can control your MIDI instruments with perl. :-)
Anyways, I am getting nervous for my trip. I am not sure if I will have enough time to really get everything done that I would like to before I leave. At least I had a chance to see most of my MP3.com buddies this Fourth of July.
This is my first diary from my trip to San Fransisco. I must say that I had a wonderful time.
I really like the city. I have decided that I am going to take an opportunity in San Fransisco to work on some great projects and products. I am finalizing all of this now, so I do not want to talk about it too much until everything is settled. Starting my own business will have to wait for a while, because I felt that I could not pass this opportunity up.
On a different note my two new monitors arrived yesterday with my new laptop. It is going to be fun installing FreeBSD and such onto this beast and get it configured correctly with the new monitors. I will most likely be going to San Fransisco starting July 10th, so I have a lot of things to do in San Diego before taking this trek up north.
I haven’t been too on top of the news these last weeks, but hopefully I will still be able to point to some good articles in the next couple of days.
I spend most of my day today working on the computer and watching the MP3 Summit webcast. It has been interesting to see soo many people being at a conference like this without anyone knowing (even after 3+ years) on how the music industry is going to move online. Intellectual Property and how to maintain the property owners rights while providing the consumers with a pleasurable experience is still the sought after solution.
Today Cnet published this article that talks about the MP3.com "open" APIs and comments from the tech community saying that a system is not "open" unless it can be usable by everyone, but that is really what they are meant to be open APIs or Protocols per se. It seems to me the only way this is going to work is to really open up these APIs/Protocols and post the specs in RFC style format (maybe even submit them to the IETF). But if you open up the entire API/Protocol on how to talk to my.mp3.com or any other MSP service, and have it be a standard, it needs to be readily available and usable by everyone while still have the ability to protect IP owners. This would probably mean some kind of public/private key or username/password scheme to protect who has the ability to access what data if this would be service you would have to pay for. This would probably have a similar issue in the RSS/RDF world of distributing articles between content providers and general/subject related portal sites.
So in common terms, again, the API is "open", but not open enough! Or it should become at least either open source or an open specification that can then be implemented by anyone who chooses to do so.
MP3.com seems to show somewhat mixed feelings about the entire open source community. While allowing developers (such as myself) to release perl code to CPAN or providing a Linux version of BeamIt with GPL'd source and a closed library. I really wish it would have the ability too come out more and make the "open" be really Open.
One of the reasons I decided to leave MP3.com was because the company was slowly getting too big for its own good, especially after an IPO where it needs to start worrying about the shareholders rather then its services and consumers. When a company grows at such an insane rate it is really hard to bring the new people up to speed fast enough, while still keeping the same synergy. Our popularity also made it hard to keep up with demand, we were getting soo many new artists joining that it was hard to give that personal care that they all so desperately wanted. People end up falling through the cracks and it can take a very long time (especially in net-time) to get them going again. It doesn’t happen on purpose, it simply is caused by growing pains and by demands for attention by different people pulling you all in a gazillion directions rather then focusing on your core goals. Since you are limited on time, you focus on the majority.
Although, I really enjoyed working there and thought it was a killer work environment, it became quite obvious that the company had shifted its focus after IPO. Its main concern became the investors and shareholders before anything or anyone else. It became quite hard to move around terrabytes of music while not disturbing visitors to the site and artists uploading and making sure you did not accidentally leave a file uploaded by an artist in a black hole. It happens; not on purpose, but you can not deny it. It really comes with moving too fast. I am sure a lot of other fast growing businesses have similar experiences.
While still debating the idea of moving to San Fransisco for some of the opportunities that I am interested in, I do have doubts if I really want to leave the San Diego area. In the San Diego Union-Tribune there was an article giving some input to why I am struggling with this. We really will have to see how good the offers will be before I can say that moving up north would be of interest.
Another site of interest that I am not sure people have seen is the Techdeals section of Findlaw.com. It has all sorts of agreements and legal documents about company deals, IP and employment. Check it out.
After reading the responses to Napster/Gnutella: the real story, I remembered the Steve Albini article and decided to re-share that with you all. Today is a bar-b-que day at La Jolla shores with an old friend. It will be great to see what he has been up to these last couple of years.
After a pointer about an L.A. Times article, I notice different numbers in regards to the settlements. 1/3 cent per stream of a song and 1 1/2 cents per addition to my.mp3.com per song doesn't sound too bad. If they had to pay the 1 1/2 cents per stream as the NY Times article seemed to claim it would have been a lot worse.
Anyways, I have been spending some time getting my servers sorted out and watched the netherlands play soccer against denmark which was entertaining. Time to get some sleep before saturday morning hits.
"MP3 NEEDS TO JIBE WITH JIVE: The MP3.com deal with BMG, negotiated last week, does not include Britney Spears, NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys or any other Jive act, which means the Music Service Provider will have to negotiate a separate agreement with the label.".
They also have more info on the other rumor although it has been said that MP3.com is not for sale.
The battle between (c), (p) and the online music space is just beginning. I am not sure who is going to be the winner in this battle, but it seems to me that it won’t be the two groups that could use it the most: the artist and the consumer. The fact that the judge in the MP3.com case ruled that two identical bytes of data (how ever stored) owned by two different people are not-indentical is going to make this playing field one of serious red tape. Although the net is suppose to make life easier and faster, it is going to be slowed down tremendously till it will be faster to hit a brick and mortar store and rip the CD yourself.
Now how is this going to work for other mediums such as E-Books, Videos and such? And how come in the world of Software you can already see sites that allow you to buy and download the software instantly. Is this doable with software because people go to the actual software companies rather then an online retailer?
The buy-and-download music company Emusic, who I recall spends more then $1000 in marketing to obtain a customer that spends an average of $10 at their site, is not having too much luck helping the traditional folks online. It seems like the traditional folks want to stay out of the space as long as they can while collecting and in the end jump in themselves with the technology that is already build for them.
What makes music so different from any other product (it is a product according to the record labels anyways), it seems that if Microsoft pulled a "Napster" on Netscape to win the Browser War by making Internet Explorer freely available and default on any MS OS.
Aren’t book publishers the record labels for books? A similar situation is starting there and unlike microsofts failed MS-Audio, they will now try to conquer the E-Book market with the Microsoft Reader. Now I would think if Microsoft makes the MS Reader free, then expect the Rocket EBook to potentially be Open Source’d in the footsteps of Mozilla to survive.
Just as we have already known, it is really your reach what makes the biggest difference and money can then turn around and totally kill that reach.
The Online music industry is really getting interesting and what is even more interesting is how open source products such as Linux and Apache through the help and dedication of developers and public corporations use are still standing and gaining ground by the minute.
Another view and opinion on the subject was given by Salon.com.
I finally got connectivity at home again. This will allow me to spend more time online, but I still need to spend a decent amount of time cleaning up the home office. An interesting article appeared on Inside today. It will be interesting to see if this rumor will come true.
After working away at home on setting up the new office, I get my usual stock portfolio SMS page on my cell and find that MP3.com again flew up a few points. I am thinking to myself, what could have caused this another article about rumors to settle with the labels? So first thing I do when I get connected is check my e-mail and hit up the MP3.com Press Pages and there it is; settlement with WMG and BMG.
After reading several articles looking for details on the terms; I gather that a rough $20 mil per label is paid to close the settlement and they will have to pay royalties for every CD beamed into the system plus about a 1.5 cent royalty per download (NYT: cypherpunks, cypherpunks). Not too bad, but that most likely means that this service is not going to be free to consumers. And don't forget the cost of buying all the different versions of the newly released CDs in the first place, they still need to pay the outrageous $16+ a pop per CD to be added to My.MP3.com.
Now the question is what are MusicBank (started by a former Sonique Founder) plans; who now also has a deal with BMG to do just about the same. Also what is their royalty structure like with BMG. So far MusicBank has no real experience on building back-end server architecture, so who knows how much load their solution can handle and how secure and acurrate its accounting is going to be. Also where does this leave MyPlay.com? Only time will tell. CNET has a follow on update on the story with their own viewpoints.
Anyways back to sorting out the last 4 years of paperwork and wiring the apartment with CAT-5. :)
I probably should have said this earlier, but I have officially resigned from MP3.com, Inc and I now am in the process of getting my home office in shape. I am not exactly sure what I am going to do, but I am entertaining many offers and even have thought about starting up my own gig. This should give me some time to work on some open source projects. :-) I will keep you posted.
The current online music industry has adjusted from exciting to a serious legal battle field. Since I have no real interest in politics it has really killed my productivity at the office.
Some interesting things have come out in the last couple of weeks, such as a search engine concept based on the distributed technology of Gnutella, a possible buy out of myplay by yahoo.
I have been think of what would be the next step in bringing music online, but I am having trouble thinking of a solution without a spur of legal madness. So the real question should be about how to build a better server-player relationship. Maybe a new codec such as Ogg Vorbis could help, but what I am really looking for is a better way to organize music using meta data such as MPEG-7 and ID3v2. Enhancing the relationship between the client and server could add much need functionality to the MP3 player world. Simply by implementing some HTTP/1.1 features you could implement an MP3 player that would have forward and rewind buttons or simply have a dragbar that would actually work while streaming.
We also recently launched our WAP-enabled events service, check it out and provide me with feedback.
Since this world has one major factor that doesn't seem to be able to be manipulated (time), I have been thinking about leaving the big corporation, I helped raise a company with a 6 people group of enthousiasts to a 280+ employee public company. I have met and worked with an awesome group of individuals that I will keep in touch with, but I find it might be time to move on and start something new. Hopefully this will give me the ability to have more time to focus on new developments and contribute more to the open source tools I appreciate so dearly.