From my Twitter stream:
It's now available online from London Drugs too, as well as on DVD in their stores here in Western Canada. Why not buy some copies for your friends (and enemies, for that matter)?
My Quick Start to GarageBand video course from MacVideoTraining (a company co-founded by my former podcasting partner Paul Garay) is now available on DVD:
You can get it at London Drugs and many other retailers in North America, or if you use the promo code ihr, you can get a 20% discount if you buy a DVD or download online. The discount code also works for John Biehler's iTunes course and other stuff from MacVideoTraining, including bundles.
Since the early days of this blog, I've written about how I dislike copy prevention technologies for software, music, and movies—and have hated them since my early days of computer use more than 25 years ago. That's because it's never wise to treat your customers as your enemies.
Today, crusading Canadian copyright lawyer and professor Michael Geist writes about how finally, slowly (at least for music), the big companies might be getting it. Until 2008, the recording industry was intent on suing file sharers, locking files with DRM copy prevention, and pushing through crummy copyright legislation. Now:
The decision to drop the lawsuit strategy was long overdue as it had accomplished little more than engender significant animosity toward the industry [and] helped to convince some of Canada's best-known artists to speak out against the practice.
Apple, the dominant online music seller, announced that it will soon offer millions of songs from all four major record labels without digital locks [which] reflects the recognition that frustrating consumers with unnecessary restrictions is not a particularly good business model.
In addition to the privacy, security, and consumer concerns with such legislation, laws to protect digital locks seem increasingly unnecessary given the decision to abandon their use in the primary digital sales channel.
I don't know if these changes mean that the recording industry is figuring out effective ways to do business in the Internet file-sharing world, or whether it is just giving up on failed strategies, but I find the trend encouraging. In practical terms, it means that, with six functioning computers for four people in this house, we won't have to worry too much about iTunes letting songs purchased from the iTunes Store play on only five computers anymore.
Alas, movies, audiobooks, and such are another story entirely.
My daughters, like most people, have different talents. My youngest, L, can turn cartwheels, hang from jungle gyms, and balance on those one-wheeled rolling sneakers known as Heelys like nobody's business. (Sometimes you're certain she'll crash catastrophically into someone or something, but she'll simply swerve nonchalantly out of the way.) I can't do any of those things, and neither does anyone else in our family.
A few weeks ago, she said "hey, watch this!" to her mom and me. Before we knew it, she was suspended in mid-air in our kitchen doorframe, legs braced against the sides. Zoop, up she'd gone, Spider-Man style.
Her sister, M, has an ear for music. Yes, she can carry a tune—they both take music lessons, but it was M who begged us for them five years ago. Here's her example. A few weeks ago we saw one of those "where are they now?" shows on TV, this one featuring Mike Reno of Loverboy, who lives here in Vancouver. Then, a few days ago, I was at a restaurant with my kids and our friend Paul and his family. M cocked her head and said to me, "Hey, is that that Mike Reno guy singing?" I listened, but could hardly make out any music on the sound system over all the noise of people jamming the restaurant.
Then, sure enough, in a quiet spot, there it was: "Workin' for the Weekend," barely audible but undoubtedly there. She'd heard a little part of it once, it stuck there in her brain, and she filtered it out of the background automatically. How many ten-year-olds can identify a snippet of Loverboy (?!) at 20 paces, and name the singer?
As a boastful dad proud of his daughters' good taste, I also have to tell you that on sick days home from school, L spontaneously gives herself math lessons out of books (her mom is a math teacher). And when M redecorated her room this summer, she insisted on covering the walls with Beatles posters (wonder where she got that?).
For the past two and half years, I've been using Apple's iWeb to publish my Penmachine Podcast of original free MP3 music, interviews, and such. It's always been a pain to use, especially when the files aren't hosted on Apple's .Mac/MobileMe service (which mine aren't), but I kept working with it out of inertia and because it was worth knowing how iWeb works, as well as because I don't update that podcast very often anyway.
But earlier this year, Apple went and broke iWeb for podcasting, and seems in no hurry to fix it. So while I figure out how to migrate my podcast over to some other platform (probably WordPress, but we'll see), I'm just going to post the two new songs I have for it here. I'll add them to the Podsafe Music Network soon too.
Each link goes directly to the MP3 file for the song, so right-click or control-click to download it instead of playing it in your browser. Unless noted otherwise, all MP3s linked from this post are available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license. Use them as podcast theme music, backgrounds, or remix them, or whatever—just give me credit:
As a bonus, here are all the free MP3 songs (again, mostly instrumental) I've published to the podcast since I started in 2004, in semi-alphabetical order. Tracks with an asterisk * are also available on my album Penmachine Sessions from 2005:
Some are free, some cost a little bit of money. You'll also need the iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 firmware to install and run them—but as of right now, you can't get it yet. So you could buy these applications, yet not be able to use them until tomorrow or so.
The big thing to know about the media is that they're not out there "covering stories." The way to think about the media is that it's basically the same as one of those TV soap operas that's been on the air for twenty or thirty years. The story just rolls on, curving and unfurling, no matter who the actors are and no matter who the writers are. The story itself is bigger than the actors or the writers. The filthy hacks at the [Wall Street] Journal are basically no different than the aspiring novelists and screenwriters who take jobs writing for "General Hospital"; they've been hired on to the show for a few years and they're doing their best to keep it entertaining.
On an unrelated but mesmerizing note, if you want to see something roll on beautifully, install the Magnetosphere visualizer plugin for iTunes (via O'Reilly Radar). It's by far the prettiest music visualizer I've seen so far.
I'm sure anyone from Australia is sick of "The Hard Road" by the Adelaide-based hip-hop group Hilltop Hoods by now, but since I'm way up here in Canada I just heard it for the first time. Then I played it twice more in a row. None of their material is even available on the Canadian iTunes Store.
Leesa sent me the Triple J 2007 Hottest 100 CD, and "The Hard Road" is #3 on the list (ahead of The Killers and Gnarls Barkley). I have no idea whether it's so overplayed Down Under that it's a joke by now, but I don't care. It's a great tune, just a spectacularly awesome groove. Plus it samples Leon Russell, making it even cooler. Thanks Leesa!