Friday, April 28, 2006

Festival International de Louisiane

Roxi and I will be blogging at Grope For Luna about our experiences at the 20th Annual Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette. Check it out all weekend!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Too Much Speculation

The story that just won't go away is higher gas prices. It would seem that the only thing worse is bird flu. But then you read a story about Iran's nuclear program. So I have to throw in my two cents here and say that the biggest problem facing our country is speculation. We have twenty-four hour news which is really great when you can't sleep in the middle of the night. I guess it's also good when a really big news story is developing, but the problem with that is the constant speculation on where the story might go next. This fear mongering and erroneous reporting drives me crazy!

My boss and I have been talking about the gas prices for the past few days and we both agree that all the media and politicians' frenzy over potential shortages is causing prices to spike well beyond what the market should dictate. I expect prices to be a little higher because of the instability in the Middle East and we are entering the summer travel season, but there is no actual gas shortage.

Speculation isn't going anywhere but I saw one refreshing and prudent comment from a politician this afternoon. Sadly, that politician was not a member of our House, Senate or our President. Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah, the Energy Minister of Qatar, said that the price of oil would drop by $15 if politicians would just stop talking about shortages. I love the idea of public ownership of stocks, securities and futures, but I really hate how the market is so easily manipulated by the sensational comments of politicians posturing during an election year. Our leaders would be smart to take Al Attiyah's advice and just shut the hell up!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

V for V-chip

At the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told industry leaders that the V-chip is not enough to fight indecency, implying that the FCC will do more to sanitize television and radio. He then excused himself to go to enjoy a topless dinner show followed by several lap dances at a raunchy strip club.

Okay, so I made that last part up, but come one, he's talking about decency in Las Vegas! Martin may honestly believe that he is a crusader for morality but he has absolutely no concept of irony. My next statement is purely anecdotal, but doesn't it always seem like the people who are the most concerned with protecting us from indecency always end up having really twisted fetishes?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Your Internet Service Is Under Attack

You read that correctly. The Internet is under attack but it is not by hackers or terrorists hoping to take down this vital medium of commerce and communication. No, it is the telecommunications industry who is lobbying the government to overturn the concept of Network Neutrality. I actually wrote about this two weeks ago without even realizing the full implications of the topic. In that post I referenced an article that talked about Google, eBay and Amazon banding together to build and operate their own network in response to what amounts to extortion by AT&T. After doing some more reading today, I am utterly appalled to learn the full story and how this has been completely ignored by the so-called main stream media.

In essence, Google was told by AT&T that, because of site traffic, AT&T would restrict their ISP users' ability to access Google unless the company paid AT&T for more bandwidth. If Google doesn't comply, AT&T could restrict or severely slow traffic to Google for users who access the Internet through AT&T. AT&T could cut a deal with a competing search engine who would pay money to AT&T in return for better access than Google. According to, this is only the beginning.

How would the gutting of Network Neutrality affect you?

  • Google users - Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
  • Innovators with the "next big idea" - Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
  • iPod listeners - A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
  • Political groups - Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.
  • Nonprofits - A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.
  • Online purchasers - Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices -- distorting your choice as a consumer.
  • Small businesses and tele-commuters - When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
  • Parents and retirees - Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
  • Bloggers - Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clip silencing citizen -- journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

The article further goes on to further cite specific instances of these types of practices that haoccurredady occured in the US and Canada.

Corporate control of the Web would reduce your choices and stifle the spread of innovative and independent ideas that we've come to expect online. It would throw the digital revolution into reverse. Internet gatekeepers are already discriminating against Web sites and services they don't like:
  • In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.
  • In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a contentious labor dispute.
  • Shaw, a major Canadian cable TV company, is charging an extra $10 a month to subscribers who want to use a competing Internet telephone service.
  • In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned -- an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.

This is just the beginning. Cable and telco giants want to eliminate the Internet's open road in favor of a tollway that protects their status quo while stifling new ideas and innovation. If they get their way, they'll shut down the free flow of information and dictate how you use the Internet.

Sorry for quoting almost the entire article, but there was no better way to summarize the information and the importance. I know that I was only recently on a soapbox about tax freedom, but this is an extremely important issue as well; perhaps even more so. Congress will be voting on this issue very soon and right now they are getting more input from the telecommunications industry than the average Internet user. We as consumers must tell them what we want and we must tell them now. Please write to your congressional representatives and implore them to vote for the people. I and the rest of the Internet users in this country thank you.

UPDATE: A two-minute illustration of Network Neutrality.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Here Comes The Science!

We are all familiar with big movies stars doing commercials for all kinds of products. American celebrities are even more popular for commercials in other countries like Japan (think of Bill Murray's character in Lost in Translation). Of course most commercials are pretty cheesy but some are so embarrassing that the star agrees to do it only on the condition that the commercial never sees the light of day in the United States. Such is the case for this shampoo commercial starring the always ridiculous Ben Affleck. But thanks to the marvels of modern technology, we can all enjoy Ben Affleck whoring with the best of them. Here comes the science!

Saturday, April 22, 2006


My boss went out of town for the weekend and he asked me to watch his dog and stay over at his house. So here I am. I guess it's really no different than a regular Saturday for me. Watching TV. Surfing the web. But it's much quieter without any roommates to talk to every now and then. Anybody want to come over and hang out with me and Argo the dog?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Texas Aggie Muster

To all my Aggie brethren, Happy Muster Day.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some Cool Southwest Airlines News

According to this article from MSNBC, Southwest Airlines is moving closer to begin offering international flights. I love this idea. I am a frequent flyer on Southwest primarily because of the price coupled with the flexibility. I would love to have similar opportunities for travel abroad. The article doesn't give any actual time tables but the Southwest business model is evolving in such a way as to make the option become a reality in the future. Now all we need is for Southwest to be able to operate freely out of Love Field in Dallas. Wright is Wrong! Set Love Free!

Someone in the Middle East watches South Park

Last week, Comedy Central censored the depiction of Muhammad in South Park (or so they thought!). It looks like that probably was a good idea after all since at least one person is watching the show in the Middle East. It's hard to tell if that viewer watches every episode, but he/she watched enough to rip off the characters and use them in Air Arabia ads. So for the record: depicting Muhammad, blasphemous...stealing, not so bad.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The $5 Billion Update

On Monday, I blogged about some examples of ridiculous taxes and specifically mentioned the Federal Excise Tax on telephones. I also mentioned a website that would let you easily write letters to your Senators and Congressmen urging them to repeal the tax.

Yesterday, I received a reply from my Congressional representative here in Nashville. Congressman Jim Cooper wrote:

April 18, 2006

Mr. John Raine
Nashville, Tennessee 37217

Dear Mr. Raine:

Thank you for your letter regarding telephone taxes. I know that this
issue effects just about all of my constituents.

As you may know, the telephone tax was first imposed in 1898 as a
way to fund the Spanish American War. At the time, this tax was
considered a "luxury tax" because few people had phones. I agree
with you that imposing "luxury taxes" on telephone handsets does
not make much sense in this day and age. Most people consider
telephones a necessity rather than a luxury, and even wireless phones
are now commonplace. Unfortunately, this tax continues to bring
approximately $5 billion a year into the federal treasury, and repealing
telephone excise taxes without offsetting spending cuts or revenue
increases would increase the budget deficit. While I support a fix for
this nonsensical tax, I also believe that any repeal must also be done
responsibly, without worsening our nation's finances.

I appreciate your time, and thank you for writing to me. I look
forward to hearing from you in the future.


Jim Cooper
Member of Congress

So there you have it. The Federal Excise Tax rakes in $5 billion a year and you probably didn't even know you were paying it before Monday. Congressman Cooper says that the federal government can't cut that tax without creating another tax to replace it so he's basically saying that even if we get rid of this one, there will be another one just like it somewhere else.

Personally I think there are quite a few things that could be cut from our federal budget. The
Porkbusters movement has shed a lot of light on the seemingly wasteful "pork" projects that billions of dollars disappear into each year. I think there are probably $5 billion dollars worth of projects that states could do without. Roxi on the other hand points at a more obvious budgetary drain that we can all read about every day: the war in Iraq. Even though Roxi and I don't agree on the purpose, I would definitely concede that a few billion dollars are most definitely being wasted in the effort.

So no matter how he states it, I reject Congressman Cooper's reasoning on the fact the government wastes well over $5 billion a year. If they have it, they'll spend it. Hell, they spend in excess of what they have every day! Taking back our hard earned money will go a long way to reining in frivolous congressional spending.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Predators 6 Redwings 3

My boss Drew and I went to see the Nashville Predators demolish the Detroit Redwings in tonight's regular season finale.

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Yeah I'm the Taxman / And You're Working For No One But Me"

George Harrison wrote the above quoted coda to "Taxman" in response to the oppressive 94% tax rate that he and the rest of the Beatles were subject to in the 1960s. On days like today, when tax filings are due in the United States, I guess some people would like us to remember that we have one of the lowest income tax rates in the world. And although I am a fan of road maintenance as well as police and fire departments, I am not such a fan of useless taxes that were enacted for a good reason as one time but are still on the books because the federal, state and local governments just don't want to lose the revenue.

Take for example some of the ludicrous state and local taxes that this article mentions:

In Mississippi, you'll pay a 7% tax on all amusements, unless you are going to hear gospel music and the program is not mixed with "hillbilly or popular singing," according to tax experts.

If you want to buy a deck of playing cards in Alabama, be prepared to pay a tax.

Last year, Tennessee became the latest of more than 20 states to tax illegal drugs. Under the law, when you acquire an illegal drug, you have 48 hours to report to the state and pay your tax, although you aren't required to identify yourself. Once you've paid, you'll receive stamps to put on your illegal substance to show evidence you paid the tax. You don't have to identify yourself to pay the tax.

It gets worse though. If you've ever examined your cell phone bill and been puzzled by all of the taxes tacked on to the end, you might have notice a little something called the Federal Excise Tax. That tax was enacted in 1898 as a temporary luxury tax on telephones (because they certainly were a luxury item 108 years ago) used to help finance the Spanish-American War. It has stayed on the books ever since and grown over time to account for a 3% tax on your phone bill. I know that the federal government is really good at spending money it doesn't have to do all sorts of things, but I'm pretty sure that the bills from that war are paid off by now. Still, this money is being collected, but no one really knows where it is going!?! On top of all that, cell phones are most definitely not a luxury item. It is my most basic means of communication! One could argue that we don't need to be constantly accessible at all hours of the day, but my argument is that I dumped my "land-line" five years ago since long distance plans for cell phones are much cheaper.

So what can we do about these kinds of taxes? Federal and state legislatures will do nothing unless they hear something from us. In fact they will keep making up new superfluous taxes made to take advantage of commerce. You can let them know how you feel about the Federal Excise Tax here. Just click on your state and follow the instructions to let your disapproval be heard by your representatives. But more importantly, make sure to tell people because most people don't know about many of our hidden taxes. Just because we have representation doesn't mean we should be gouged at every turn.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Muhammed Was In South Park Last Night

Much is being made on the internet today about Comedy Central's decision to censor a depiction of Muhammed in last night's conclusion of South Park's "Cartoon Wars" episode. It is mostly negative criticism in light of the fact that the entire thesis of the show blasted the decisions that the major media outlets made in their refusal to show the Muhammed cartoons that sparked riots in Denmark earlier this year. When South Park satirized the story, the show fell victim to exactly what they were trying to illustrate.

The ultimate irony here is that Muhammed has appeared on screen in South Park before and he did so again last night. He previously appeared in the episode "Super Best Friends" five years ago alongside Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Joseph Smith and Lao Tsu. (See the entire episode here.) As new characters have been introduced over the years, they have been added to an ever increasing crowd at the opening of the show.

Last night, Muhammed was in that crowd and was not censored. Neither Comedy Central nor anyone who might have been wont to burn down an embassy even noticed!

A Wikipedia user noticed though and posted this picture at the site. Muhammed is in the red box to the right of the South Park sign. The listing also claims that Muhammed has also appeared in the opening of the two episodes that preceded last night's show. I can't say that I would have ever noticed without the keen eyes of a super fan, but at least it is a small battle won by Trey and Matt in the Cartoon Wars.

Another Year, Another "Michael Jackson to sell Beatles catalog" Story

I didn't plan on writing two Beatles related posts in one day, but that's what's happened. I just came across this article about Michael Jackson negotiating to sell off a majority of his interest in the Beatles catalog to help finance his debt from his costly legal defense and Peter Pan complex. There are two things that bother me about this story. One is that it seems like I've read this story at least once a year for the last five years. In fact I even wrote a post about it less than a year ago so I'm a little skeptical of this story. The second thing that bothers me is that the report states that Jackson won't be selling off his entire interest in the catalog. So even if he does have to sell for financial reasons, he won't be selling all of it. I'm starting to be pretty convinced that Paul and Ringo will never have complete control of the songs that they wrote and made famous, and that's a pretty sad state of affairs indeed.

(Insert Beatles "Revolution" Reference Here)

In their day, the Beatles were the trendsetters and on the cutting edge but were also a corporation intent on protecting it's trademark. Part of that trademark was Apple Records, the label started by the Beatles mostly for tax purposes. The band released their last few albums on the Apple label as well as other notable works like James Taylor's first album. A few years later, the Beatles broke up but Apple Corps remained. Shortly after that, along came Apple Computers and an inevitable lawsuit. The lawsuit was settled in 1981 in an agreement that Apple Computer would never get into the music business.

In a second lawsuit, Apple Corps sued Apple Computers in 1991 when they introduced sound capability to their computers. This seems like a lot of legal wrangling but Apple Computers settled again. Finally in 2003, Steve Jobs basically thumbed his nose at the Beatles and unveiled the iTunes music store and the soon-to-be ubiquitous iPod. The arguments have been made and the decision will be handed down in the next few weeks. No one knows what the result will be but speculation is running wild.

Some predict the suit could result in Apple Corps becoming a major shareholder in Apple Computer, possibly with Paul McCartney as a board member.

Another possibility is that the court will order Apple Computer to remove its trademark from iTunes and iPods and set up a new company to sell them. Apple is already preparing for that.

Adding fuel to the fire are statements by Neil Aspinall, former road manager for the Beatles and current director of Apple Corps. He has hinted that the entire Beatles catalog is being remastered in preparation for potential online sales. Due to concerns about royalties and the ongoing dispute with Apple Computer, not a single Beatles song is available on iTunes or any other digital music store. And that's just a travesty.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What do Google, eBay and Amazon all have in common?

The answer is that they might join forces to bid on a large part of the wireless spectrum. And what will they do with all that bandwidth? Build a nationwide wireless pipeline! Google has recently been "threatened" by AT&T with higher access prices because of the bandwidth demands of their popular website. Meanwhile, Google has been quietly working on a nationwide wireless network and this new development could result in a significant boost of the emerging network's capability. This my friends, is the beauty of a free market!

Jon Stewart is a professional wrestler

The DaVinci Academy in Ogden, Utah found out that there is more than one Jon Stewart when they attempted to book the host of the Daily Show for their annual gala. For several months, school official had actually been communicating with Jon A. Stewart: motivational speaker, businessman and professional wrestler. Lucky for the gala, planners found out about their mistake and were able to book performing groups from Weber State University and the Terrance Playhouse. I guess that's better than a motivational speaker/wrestler, but I would kind of like to see how that works. I wonder if he motivates through fear. But such is the case with common names. I only hope this kind of thing never happens to my good friend Tim Smith. Imagine the scene when a computer scientist shows up to an event that was hoping to see Sheryl Crow's bass player or, worse yet, an angry rugby crowd!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hijacking Su Doku

Regular readers of this blog probably already know about my love of Su Doku as well as my disappointment to learn that a physicist unknowingly created an algorithm that solved all of the puzzles. This hasn't really stopped me from playing but a story I read today has caused me to consider sticking to the printed version of the game and not delve too much more into virtual Su Doku. In a move that only a purveyor of malicious software would be capable of, the makers of YazzleSudoku have bundled large amounts of adware into their downloadable game. Just about everyone knows how bad adware is by now, most of us because we have had our own horrible experiences with it. So beware to all you Su Doku fans out there. Personally, I like playing the old fashioned way, so the only "adware" I'll have to deal with is the name and address of the company stamped on the side of the free pencils they gave me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Female Urinals?

I had always heard rumors about urinals in the women's restrooms in the basement of the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M. It wasn't until my senior year that the rumors were confirmed by my friend Brittany who had never used those particular restrooms but was eager to investigate them for me. Of course the rumor that I heard was not only that there were urinals, but that they were specially designed female urinals. Without getting too graphic, Brittany told me that these urinals could probably be used as such. I thought that was pretty progressive for a school that is typically saddled with being resistant to changing times. I suppose that I should have applied Occam's Razor before jumping to my conclusions and made the connection with the not too distant all-male history of the university. But for the better part of eight years, I have believed that the urinals in the MSC were put there but forward thinking administrators. Why shouldn't I? I had an eyewitness who couldn't come up with a better explanation herself.

That all changed today when I read this story from the San Francisco Chronicle about this very topic. Of course the truth of the matter is that all of the oldest universities in the country were chartered for males and so the plumbing was installed with that in mind. It is merely economics and not progressive thinking that has resulted in urinals in women's restrooms at Texas A&M as well as many other schools. Apparently it just costs too much to remove the urinals. Although the argument of economics does seem rather silly, it also makes sense in institutions that claim to always be underfunded and looking for more money to educate their students and maintain their campuses. I can see how removing a few dormant urinals would be a back burner renovation. Of course, it would be a very important issue to me if I were forced to wait in the stereotypical long lines while the unused urinals were taking up valuable plumbing. In fact, I'd be pretty pissed off!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Love/Hate Relationship with Self-Checkout

I was at the store tonight doing my grocery shopping for the week and the time came for me to check out. I have had a complicated relationship with self-checkout since I first had the opportunity to use it. I can't remember when it became available, but I have always been conflicted about how useful it actually is. Tonight was no different as I experienced both the joy and the pain that I have come to expect every Sunday evening.

What I love about the self check-out is the feeling of progress and automation that I get from not having to interact with the human checker. However, I quickly learned that a human checker is still very much involved in the inevitably flawed system. This leads me to the other side of the relationship: those things that I hate.

After decades of watching cashiers rapidly scan and bag my groceries, I felt that I had seen enough to be able to emulate their efficiency. However, the self-checkout system is equipped with some sort of scanning governor allowing only one item to be scanned and bagged before the next item can come anywhere near the UPC laser grid. So I developed a slightly slower rhythm. No big deal, if only that rhythm wasn't constantly being interrupted by the patronizing pre-recorded voice telling me to "please place the item in the bag." It seems that the pack of gum that I bought is too light to register on the bag scales telling the machine that I am not trying to pull a fast one on it and steal something. I mean why would I scan it if I wanted to steal it anyway? Of course convincing the computer is impossible leaving only the option of going to the Mission Control station on an island in the middle of all the self-checkouts and hope that the lone human checker can get your issue resolved before someone has trouble getting their bananas weighed and priced.

This of course leads me to my biggest pet peeve of the entire process: checking out produce. This should not be a difficult process since most have a sticker with a four-digit code that can be manually entered while the fruit sits on the combination scanner and scale. But it never goes smoothly for me. I place my bananas on the scale, enter 4011 on the keypad and than am asked to "Please Wait." What am I waiting for? If this computer can't figure out how to multiply two numbers and tell me what my bananas cost, how can I trust it to correctly tally my grocery bill? So then it's back to the Mission Control where they treat me like I'm so stupid I might forget to breathe at any minute.

Don't get me wrong, I really do love the concept of self-checkout and rarely ever wait in line for a human checker, but there are some serious bugs that need to be worked out of the system. The biggest is the human/machine interface. Currently, it assumes you've never seen someone scan UPC codes before and you might just forget your own name if you didn't carry around ID. Must we all suffer so that the lowest common denominator can use this thing? I'm pretty sure those people are still the ones using human checkers anyway. And when the inevitable problem arises, Mission Control is too busy with other problems to get to yours right away. And if it really does only require one person at Mission Control to run these lanes, why aren't they all open all the time? It's like when you go to Wal-mart and try to figure out which four lanes out of the fifty possible are actually open for check out.

All in all, I can't really tell if this is saving any time for me or creating more aggravation. But it is putting some of the control into my hands which is always appreciated. So I will continue to struggle with the self-checkout every week and hope that the next generation of systems will solve these problems without introducing too many new ones!

Stop Perpetuating Urban Legends

I was checking out Bubba's Sis's blog and she had a great post on a subject I was thinking about on Thursday: Urban Legends spreading through email forwards.

Her post details a story about how to use keyless entry to unlock a care through a cell phone. She did some checking with her husband, who works with cars for a living, as well as and found the story to be nothing but an urban legend.

For those readers unfamiliar with, it is an amazingly thorough archive of popular and lesser known urban legends. Each entry gives all of the details of the story and then verifies the validity of each story. It is a very complete database that I have found very useful for more than five years. It has been especially handy in debunking those pesky forwarded emails about how, for example, Bill Gates will send you money for forwarding emails, a child of a friend of a friend was abducted or that a sexual predator named "monkeyman935" is luring women to their deaths via internet chatrooms.

The bad thing about internet forwards is that most people believe them immediately and quickly forward them to their entire address book without thinking twice. I have been guilty of it myself. But for the better part of five years, I have been using Snopes to validate most forwards before I forward them on myself. In my experience, I would have to say that 99% of all email forwarded stories are completely bogus. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team even has a webpage devoted to Internet Hoaxes complete with a list of other sites that validate the stories in emails.

The bottom line is that email forwards waste a considerable amount of time for the average user. I only find them entertaining from the standpoint of how many different variations of the same story that "happened to a friend of mine" can appear in my inbox over the course of a few days. Usually they are just annoying because they are almost never true. Please don't believe everything your friends email you. Take a couple of minutes to check out the story before you react in a panic. If you find out that the story is just an urban legend, do what Bubba's Sis does and let everyone who got the email know that it's a hoax and make sure to send them to the appropriate page on so that these stupid forwards will die.

Baby Got Back

Since ancient times, scientists have been studying the universe in attempts to write mathematical formulae to describe and categorize all things in the world. That goes for the universe, life and apparently butts. British psychologist David Holmes claims to have devised the formula for the perfect butt.

(S+C) x (B+F)/T = V


S = the overall shape or droopiness of the bottom
C = how spherical the buttocks are
B = measures muscular wobble or bounce
F = the firmness
V = the hip to waist ratio, or symmetry of the bottom
T = the skin texture and presence of cellulite

The article doesn't say how exactly some of these quantities are measured but it does say that the maximum score is 80 and that Kylie Minogue, not Jennifer Lopez, would receive the perfect mark. I think Holmes may have forgotten that there is a subjective nature to butts and that Sir Mix-a-Lot might challenge this ASSessment.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Seriously, when will the record companies learn?!?

I feel like a broken record (pun definitely intended!) because I keep writing these kinds of posts about big record companies doing something asinine. But the stories just seem to keep coming. The most recent "big idea" they have is to demand that iTunes charge more than $0.99 per song.

Last year, the digital music download business netted $1.1 billion. The record companies get around $0.70 per download from iTunes, so last year they collectively netted several hundred millions of dollars. But that isn't enough for them even though they have been bitching about lost revenue for several years.

Just when I thought the major record companies couldn't alienate their customers more, their braintrusts have found a way to outdo themselves. Consumers have just warmed up to the idea of paying for music rather than getting it for free somewhere else on the web. If the record companies force iTunes to increase their fees, they will have purchased the last nail for their collective coffins. When they lose more money because of their greed, who will they sue?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Studio Renovation

Azalea Studios, one of the studios that I engineer at here in Nashville, completed a sound treatment renovation of the live room in December. Fett, the owner of the studio and my boss, also serves as Technology Editor for Performing Songwriter Magazine. He was writing an article about the process of installing the new acoustic tiles for the magazine and it has been published in the March/April issue of the magazine. In addition, to the two page article found in the magazine, a special expanded version of the article appears on the website. The magazine portion of the article can be found here and the web-exclusive description of the installation process can be found here. There are plenty of pictures of Fett and I in action as we began the installation process as well as a few pictures of the day that Roxi came to lend a hand with some of the more tedious work (pictures 19 and 20). All in all it was a great learning experience for both Fett and myself. I plan to use these same techniques when I build my studio.