VNC Convert

I am almost ashamed to admit that until last week, I was completely ignorant on the subject of VNC. I had seldom used it as a client and never set it up on the server. In fact, it took needing to use it at work to even make me use it. After getting over my initial misunderstandings of it (I thought the goal was to control the desktop of the console, kind of like PC Anywhere), I have to admit that this thing rocks.

Once I knew what I was doing, I set it up on my server at home as well. Now I can do things like use my Azureus GUI from the living room. It used to be when publishing my shows, I’d always have to walk back to the office to start the torrent seeding. Now I can do it from anywhere, including the downtown Conway branch office. I don’t know why I never got on board earlier. I guess using ssh and the command line has met my needs thoroughly enough that I never felt it necessary. I’ve always been a late bloomer.

BBN 2

I have now seen the Better Bad News video and it was fantastic. I managed to snag it in the 17 minutes their website was up and running. They must have signed one of those 9.97% uptime deals. Guys, you need to watch the decimal points in those service level agreements.

Whenever their site comes back up, it would be a good idea to save the video to your hard drive as fast as you can because 1) the site will probably be down again soon enough and 2) you are going to want to watch this one more than once. Tighten up your Depends before you do, though, it’s a pants-wetter.

BetterBadNews!!

I saw from references in Technorati and Feedster that I have been made fun of by BetterBadNews!!! Apparently it has something to do with the ongoing conversation between Steve Gillmor and myself about sponsorship. Right on, I love them and am delighted to be the object of their derision. However, when I tried to go look at the site and see how vicious they were towards me (and Steve) I get this:


Site Error

An error was encountered while publishing this resource.

Error Type: MemoryError
Error Value:

Troubleshooting Suggestions

    * The URL may be incorrect.
    * The parameters passed to this resource may be incorrect.
    * A resource that this resource relies on may be encountering an error.

For more detailed information about the error, please refer to the error log.

If the error persists please contact the site maintainer. Thank you for your patience. 

So, who’s got the bad news now, monkey boys?

EGC Clambake for February 26, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 26, 2006.

I play the last interview with John Mark King and last two songs from the upcoming Rocket City Riot album; I talk about the idea of big companies “validating the space” by sponsoring podcasts; I air the long delayed AmigoFish audio promo; I play a song by Diana Obscura and Damon Young; hey hey hey, goodbye.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by iPod Juice. If you enter the phrase “Evil Genius” in the comments section while you are placing your iPod Juice order, you’ll get free USPS shipping, so that ain’t bad. Thanks iPod Juice, for making this an even better deal. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Kathryn Cramer on DRM and IP

I recently read these two posts by Kathryn Cramer, one on DRM issues and patents and one on DRM and digital watermarking. She makes a lot of great points in both and comes back to a point I have raised multiple time. A lot of the schemes that are purportedly designed to lock down digital goods and prevent theft have the side-effect of raising the barrier to entry to new publishers (ie, you and me). In other words, media incumbents raise the specter of theft as rationale for opposition to file sharing. By their actions, it often seems like they are less threatened by file sharing to steal their goods than file sharing to distribute goods that aren’t theirs.

In the first post I cite, she has a great quote about how print publishers now get digital rights to works they publish:

Ten years ago, publishers started demanding of authors electronic rights in contract negotiations for no additional compensation. The authors had very little leverage with which to resist. My personal reaction, listening to the entertainment executives complaining in the Anelog Hole hearing about the potential for uncompensated “creators” (by which they mean corporations) is Cry me a river! I don’t know how the details of this were worked out in film and music, but in print publishing, the very digital rights that it is claimed need protection were demanded of authors by over-powerful corporations over the author’s collective objections, in large part without additional compensation. Was that piracy?

In the second, she raises the point I mention above:

My experience in the early-mid 90s teaches me that part of the purpose of setting the production standards of early CD-ROMs absurdly high was to promote corporate authorship over individual authorship with the idea that digital products could be authored like film and TV, not like books, thus empowering the executive level and disempowering the actual creators, or rather reconfiguring relations such that executives become part of the creative “team.”

Now computers are being sold that allow individuals, and small groups of individuals, to produce works to very high production standards on very low budgets. This also threatens the rise of corporate authorship. So watermark-style DRM may do very little to prevent the “piracy” about which the big media corporations are up in arms, it may be the killer app of corporate authorship.

It needs to be said over and over that in the early ’90s, corporations did not own or control most of these digital rights they now claim the right to defend. In large part, these rights were taken, without additional compensation, from the artistic creators. (I know who the real pirates are!)

Both posts are great. Check them out.

Uplifter Train Picks Up Steam

Over on the Uplifter Wiki there has been a good bit of activity recently as we try to get the PR materials in shape for sending around. March 25th, there will be meetings in both Conway SC and Minneapolis MN. I like that, it emphasizes that this isn’t an event that happens once in a place but is an ongoing process happening in many places over time.

If you want to participate but aren’t located in either of these areas, you can feel free to cruise around the wiki and help write the Uplifter Manifesto and other documents associated with the philosophy, or help come up with the logo (currently the area of greatest thrash). You can also organize your own meeting in your own area. The train is rolling, hop on board and let’s lift each other up.

More CVS Camcorder Fun

Via Mark Welker I saw this reference to an easy installer for the Saturn Disk Mounter program, which mounts your CVS Camcorder as a USB drive to your OS X box if you have the magic hacked cable. I installed the program (which included libusb), plugged in the camera, and voila! There it was, mounted as a drive. The beautiful thing about this is that it is much faster than the PureRead program, which can take 20 minutes to download all the videos if the camera is full. Even better, the same guy wrote Saturn Video Archiver which will pull the movies down and convert them from XViD to MPEG on the fly, all the while renaming things with timestamps and archiving them. PureRead is unforgiving, only saves to your Desktop with one set filename pattern and will happily overwrite your previous files if you forget to move them out of the way before you start. If you use the CVS Camcorder and a Mac, I’d recommend trying out these new programs and seeing if you prefer them.

While I was doing all this, I accidentally made another discovery. The low battery indicator was flashing while I played with the mounter. After I unplugged it, I opened the compartment to change the batteries and there were none in there! That’s right, with no batteries in the camera it will operate if plugged in. I presume that the 5V power supply gives the camera enough juice to operate. This is not just to mount the drive and get the files off, by the way, but enough to power the whole camera. As a test, I connected it up with the battery compartment empty and open and was able to capture and play new videos and then get them off the camera, all in one shot.

I haven’t been playing with my camcorder too much lately, and I’m pleased to have new developments on this front. This thing has been a whole lot of hacking fun stuffed into a $25 package.

New MythTV release

A new version of Myth TV was released recently. I’ve been thinking about setting one of these up for years now. Given the fumfurrah about broadcast flags and TiVo turning off features and all that sorts of stuff, I plan on downloading and keeping a copy of every release for myself from here on out, just in case. One of these days, I will definitely be setting this up if for no other reason that being able to transcode captured TV for my own portable devices and/or easily watching vlogs on my TV.

Outlaw WREK Feeds

Here’s a quick list of all the outlaw, unofficial podcast feeds I have set up for WREK programs.

Personality Crisis; punk, post-punk and what have you: feed

Subgenius mayhem; the Hour of Slack and Bob’s Slacktime Funhouse: feed

Desoto Hour; big band jazz (at 90 minutes not really an hour): feed

Atmospherics; ambient and electronic: feed

Longboards and Longhorns; surf, country, hawaiian, and western soundtracks: feed

Classics; ancient and modern: feed

New Forces; garage and psychedelic rock: feed

Update: I forgot to mention that all of these feeds include the trailing half-hour beyond the nominal endpoint of the show. Because WREKsters are, ummm, non-rigorous with the clock often shows start late and run over by amounts that range from a minute or two up to and including the point where it seems ridiculous. Any given episode of any of these shows may have some of the preceding show in the first part and run into the following show on the back half.

Also, by popular demand I have added feeds for the daily Classics show and for New Forces. OK, one guy apiece asked for them but sometimes that’s all it takes.

Subgenius Parents in Trouble

As I keep on mentioning here, I’m now an ordained Subgenius minister and an active listener to their various radio ministries. I also subscribe to the Right Reverend Stang’s weblog.

Now I see on there his post about this horrible story about Subgenius parents losing custody of their child because of their participation in X-Day. This is a pretty weird case of a judge who has developed an amazing hatred of the church and is choosing to punish the Bevilacquas for it, despite no evidence of any unfitness as parents and a shaky claim of jurisdiction in the case, even. Follow that link, read the story and at the bottom is a Paypal link to donate to the legal defense fund. I’m off to send them some of the EGC war chest.

Invisible Hand

I really enjoy the Everybody loves Eric Raymond comic strip. I know that the jokes are not universal and don’t really play if you don’t know something about the various personalities involved in the free software movement, but I found myself in hysterics this morning at this strip. I believe that the phrase “The invisible hand of the market is jerking me off” might be the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

EGC Clambake for February 21, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for February 21, 2006.

I play a song by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists; I talk about buying music from the people I play in the show; I discuss exhaustion and Uplifter ideals and getting the materials together for the Uplifter get-togethers; I play a quote from the Makena Music podcast; I play a song from Camper Van Beethoven; I discuss my attempts to lose weight; I play a song by Jill Sobule and Cyndi Lauper and then head out to Funkytown.

You can subscribe to this feed via RSS.

This episode is sponsored in part by iPod Juice. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media.

Update: If you enter the phrase “Evil Genius” in the comments section while you are placing your iPod Juice order, you’ll get free USPS shipping, so that ain’t bad. Thanks iPod Juice, for making this an even better deal.

Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package.

This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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Gervais, Pay to Play

Via Podcasting News I see that the Ricky Gervais podcast is going subscription via Audible. Now, I’m contrarian on this particular cast. I happen to have access to a data set that tells me that most people that have an opinion on the show really love it, yet I hate it. I cannot listen to an entire episode. I think I made it 10 minutes into the first one I tried, and less than 5 every subsequent attempt. I am also immune to the charms of The Office, a show everyone else seems to find brilliant and which I find unwatchable. I must lack the Gervais appreciation gene.

I’ll be interested in how the attempt goes. They are charging $2 per episode for a show that is, at best, completely pulled out of their ass. They recently were on about this Guiness Record nonsense. Here’s my prediction: fewer than 1% of their current listeners continue on to the paid subscription. It’s just not that high a value to charge the same amount as an episode of the Lost TV show, and almost no one is going to want to dick with all the Audible stuff anyway.

DuVall on the Interview

William DuVall of Comes With The Fall had nice things to say about his interview on the podcast. It really was great to talk to him as well. I went in thinking we’d talk for about 10 or 15 minutes, but he seemed to not be getting fed up so we kept on going. I can remember running into him at the Point or the White Dot in Atlanta and just striking up a conversation with him, so he’s always been an easy dude to talk to.

I strongly strongly urge everyone to check out the music CWTF has at their website above. When their new album “Beyond the Last Light” comes out, I’m going to buy one of every disc they have. Dig it, daddy-o.