Solipsism Gradient

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Browsing Posts published in April, 2003

Re: Apple Music

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Here are reactions to the Apple Music Store. I’ll update this post a few times today, as more stuff comes in.

Adam Curry (who lives in Amsterdam) also wants the store to work outside the US. So does Ben Hammersley (UK). So does Dan Hon (Scotland). Joi Ito (Japan) has to trick the system every time – it seems that they didn’t really consider the case of people living outside the US but having a credit card with a US billing address.

Tom Negrino bought a song and points out that it’s marked “purchased by: Tom Negrino”.

Bill Bumgarner comments that an already purchased song can’t be downloaded again, making backups mandatory. He liked most everything else, though, and points out that extending the service to other countries will require complex separate negotiations for each one, as I had suspected. And he starts an important new trend: recommending songs via iTunes URLs. I haven’t figured out how he gets those URLs, though…

Jeremy Zawodny would like Apple to figure out his tastes from his existing music library. Sounds like an excellent idea.

Re: Apple Music

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Posted by Michael Tsai’s Weblog:
Michael Tsai’s Weblog linked to this post

Apple Music

Eric Blair Rainer Brockerhoff Bill Bumgarner Tom Negrino I really want to hear the details of the DRM. How is the iPod special wrt authorization? What happens if I burn a CD and then rip it? I’m not sure yet how much I’ll use this service. Unlike Jobs, I like albums, and the prices seem geared towards singles. Right now, I see it as mostly useful for previewing and accessing previously unreleased material. I didn’t see the original version of “Slow Motion,” though.

Apple Music

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Well, as everyone already posted, the Apple Music announcement is out. Here are some initial impressions.

iTunes 4 is slick and the music store works well – at least the browsing/previewing part. So far only US residents can buy music; it remains to be seen whether this is due to legal complications with music licensing or to prevent credit card fraud (foreign cards can’t be checked online, it seems). Either way, it may be some time before this restriction is lifted, unfortunately.

The music store, supposedly, has over 200K songs at present. Even so, there are significant holes in the lineup. I spent about 3 hours browsing and, while I found many old friends, nearly as many are among the missing… my tastes are, admittedly, somewhat unorthodox. Of course, they’re working on expanding the list.

I’m doubtful about prices. I checked several dozen albums I already own and they were all within the $10-12 price range; adding $1 for a reasonable-quality blank CD (blanks cost from $0.50 to $2 in Brazil) puts an album in the exact price range I’d normally pay for them in the US. On one hand, the store-bought CDs have liner notes, jewel cases, and so forth; on the other hand, downloading is much easier and previewing all songs is a big plus. Unfortunately, many albums I checked were “partial albums”, meaning that you have to buy each song individually; at $0.99 for a song, that’s less attractive.

It remains to be seen how this will work for newly issued music. Can any artist just e-mail Apple and publish stuff, or do the “Big Five” labels have a monopoly on what appears in the music store? Initial public reaction seems to be quite positive; let’s see what the artists say.

I finished Iain M. Banks’ Look to Windward yesterday, and I liked it very much.

This is one more book in the author’s Culture series; if you’re not familiar with it, this book may be a good introduction. As usual for Banks, some parts are darkly pessimistic but a few shorter passages are simply hilarious. My favorite is where a pair of unnamed characters talk about (and, at the end, exclusively in) ship names:

…”Oh, come on. You have Zero Credibility.”

“And you’re Charming But Irrational.”

“While you’re Demented But Determined.”

“And You May Not Be The Coolest Person Here.”

“You’re making these up.”

“No I’m… hold on, sorry; was that a ship’s name?”

As I’ve said before, most of Banks’ ship names also sound perfectly plausible for weblogs.

Yesterday I received a box with a dozen or so books. A second one will arrive next week, I hope. From Amazon.com. Not sure if I’ll do this again, at least not soon; shipping charges were higher than I had imagined initially.

As some of you may know, I’m a science-fiction collector. Twenty or even fifteen years ago, it was easy to buy SF paperbacks in Brazil; at least three bookstores got regular monthly shipments. Then the time between arrivals started to lengthen, and the quality started to drop. Today, every three months or so they get something straight off the so-called “bestseller” lists; Danielle Steel, Anne Rice, some Tom Clancy, and so forth. Bleh. About once a year I find a SF paperback worth buying.

For some years, I used to abuse my yearly US or Canada trips by coming back with huge heaps of books. Now that we’ve moved into a smaller apartment, even this had to be scaled down.

Anyway, as it seems there’ll be no such trip this year, I broke down and selected two dozen books which I’m pretty sure will be essential additions to my library. The latest from Iain M. Banks, Greg Bear, David Brin, Greg Egan, R. A. MacAvoy, Terry Pratchett, James P. Hogan, JanWillem van der Wetering, and so forth. I’ll try to write some brief comments on each one as I finish it.

Happiness is a new book… icon_biggrin.gif

Re: Inside

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Oops. Forgot to note that the third and final part of Michael Crawford‘s article “Living with Schizoaffective Disorder” came out a few days ago. Here are links to Part II and Part I.

Busy day…

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Wow. Today’s been a busy day for me, and it’s raining interesting topics. Here’s just a very short list in no particular order; hopefully at least one of them is still news to you.

The folks at Movable Type announce TypePad, a Blogger competitor. Initial comments are very positive.

O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference 2003 has started… wish I were there!

Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing fame is collaborating on a short story called “Unwirer” with Charlie Stross; they’re blogging chapter by chapter and accepting comments. No time as yet to do more than glance through it, but it’s an interesting experiment.

Must find time to glance through the Internation String Figures Association‘s website. String figures have fascinated me since early childhood.

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