September 2007 Archives

The next programming language

The latest fad seems to be picking the "next great programming language" that will take advantage of multi-core processors, fit the web's architecture well ,but still be general purpose enough to process traditional tasks such as file I/O.

Erlang seems to be the "new new thing" that people are buzzing about.

Here's my guess: Golog. Specifically, some future variant of IndiGolog. This is based on personal research, and since I doubt anyone actually will take it seriously, I'm not going to really say much about it other than it is the most exciting thing I've seen in programming, data management, and integration since, well, I owned my first Commodore 64.

Iron Man

Best. Trailer. Evar.

Counterfeiting Chaos

I fear for our country's future. If our economy is increasingly based on trade of intellectual works, draconian IP laws are not the way to make this economy flourish.

Canada's current copyright legislation is antiquated and in need of update. It does not have the assumed definitions & scope of "fair use" that currently is under fire within the U.S., whereas we have fair dealing. There are threats that what little fair dealing we have will be taken away if the copyright lobby gets its way with current legislators. The CRIA, Canadian Recording Industry Association, supports Canadian artists less and seems to be more of a shill for US copyright interests. A signficant number of major Canadian artists, including Avril Lavinge, Barenaked Ladies, Feist, Sam Roberts, Sloan, Brocken Social Scene, Billy Talent, Sarah McLachlan, etc., have split from the CRIA and started their own (Barenaked-founded) association, the CCRC, which advocates an end to P2P lawsuits, elimination of DRM, and liberalization of copyright law.

Meanwhile, Canadian CD sales are tumbling, 35% in Q1 of 2007, and 50% annually overall since 1999, while digital distribution is surging. Canadian blank CD-R sales have a copying levy that effectively makes music P2P distribution legal, which amusingly is based on the short-sightedness and slow reaction time of the recording industry lobbyists and legislators, who somehow thought that the CD would be the primary vehicle of copying for 15+ years. Now the CRIA is fighting the very beast they helped create.

So, with this backdrop, it drives me absolutely nuts to read that the RCMP has completely fabricated levels of counterfeiting at $10-30 billion annually, a number that has no basis in fact, but has been trumpeted around by lobby groups and vested interest.

In the words of Stephen Colbert... "It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that's not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It's certainty."

Rick Rubin on new music distribution

via John Gruber

Rubin: “You would subscribe to music,” Rubin explained, as he settled on the velvet couch in his library. “You’d pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you’d like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home.”
Gruber: To argue that subscriptions are the future of music is to argue that DRM is the future of music, and the evidence points to the contrary.

I don't think this necessarily requires DRM. The point is that people would pay to have streaming access to an unlimited library anywhere they were. This would require pervasive, high-speed wireless Internet access. Which, at least in urban centres, has begun to be a reality.

Combine this with a social observation: music tastes are ever changing, fragmented, and time-irrelevant. While some may still focus on radio hits, I find it increasingly hard to pick out a "song of Summer 2007", for example. I've heard some say it was Rhianna's Umbrella (at least the most over played), or Kelly Clarkson's new one, etc. But that's so far from the reality for those who adored Nine Inch Nails' Survivalism, or White Stripes' Icky Thump, or Linkin Park's What I've done. This was the year that I rediscovered Skinny Puppy, for example, which lead me to predominantly listening to circa-1987 through 1992 music that sounds fresh and original even today. In early August I discovered the Montreal band Unexpect, who blew me away. The best concerts this summer were Lamb of God, still touring for a Summer '06 album, Emperor, who "broke up" in 2001, and The best concerts this summer were Lamb of God, still touring for a Summer '06 album, Emperor, who "broke up" in 2001, along with Skinny Puppy and VNV Nation's tours for their 2007 albums.

Further, with people having home, work, and portable computers, it's a pain in the ass to manage a collection of music across all of these hard drives. One has to ensure synchrony, deal with duplicates, and not forget anything because you can't re-download it from iTunes.

So, the solution would be -- provide an unlimited library of music available any time, anywhere. If you need to download ('cache') the song, go ahead. Or you could just stream it. The subscription you're paying for is the management of storage across all these bloody devices. It's not the iPod that becomes obsolete, it's "mandatory syncing".

P.s. I recommend reading the whole NY Times article on Rick Rubin. I've liked his work for 20+ years, since I was in grade school (!)...

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