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Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet

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EFF Guide to Issues with Digital "Rights" Management [Sep. 2nd, 2005|10:10 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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Via BoingBoing:

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has posted a fantastic overview of why DRM is bad for you.
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RIAA vs. Someone's Mom [Aug. 29th, 2005|11:43 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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This transcript amused me.
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Discover new music (part 2) [Aug. 24th, 2005|11:38 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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Just when I thought audioscrobbler was the coolest thing ever, they came up with something even better :)

Last.fm is a streaming mp3 radio station, powered by the suggestion engine in audioscrobbler. Also nice: you can skip past songs that you don't want to hear (or ban the really awful ones for good). The format is 128k mp3, so it sounds pretty good.

There are no audio ads, although they have some polite targeted text ads, tasteful banners, and no spyware. In fact, their player is open source (BSD license) and works on windows, OSX, and linux.

Check it out :)

If you want to experience my dubious taste in music, you can view my profile.
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Discover new music [Jun. 26th, 2005|06:05 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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[Current Mood |nerdynerdy]
[Current Music |Check audioscrobbler :)]

In shocking news, I discovered a previously unexplored portion of the internet:

http://www.audioscrobbler.com/ is a free (no popups, no spyware, inoffensive text ads) service that allows you to track the songs you listen to and makes suggestions of new music that you might enjoy.

You can see my user page here: http://www.audioscrobbler.com/user/Drrakn/

How it works:
It's pretty simple.
(1) Create a user account. (providing an email address optional)
(2) Install a plugin for your player.
(3) Listen to music.

Every time you listen to a complete track, the plugin notifies the server with the album/artist/track information. After you build up a big enough profile (100+ songs) it will start making suggestions.

Some players (such as amaroK for KDE) have advanced integration that allows you to view suggestions within the player itself. For others (such as Windows Media Player, ITunes, or Winamp) you just get reporting, but you can hit the website to see your recommendations.
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Traditional markets vs. "long-tail" markets [Apr. 24th, 2005|03:33 am]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
Edit:There is an even better Wired article on the same topic.

The Long Tail is an interesting article on the success of companies like Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple's ITMS. The author's premise is interesting: Traditional thinking suggests an "80/20" rule (80% of your sales come from 20% of the inventory) when stocking inventory. However, companies like Amazon ignore (well, supplement) this rule to hit otherwise untouched portions of the market.

There is an additional trick to this:
* A company might not be able to serve tons of little niche markets successfully. Effectively doing business in that sort of environment often requires domain-specific knowledge and experience. (which is why one wouldn't go to Walmart for their high-end stereo needs).
* A company that only serves a small market loses the economy of scale that a bigger company can achieve by consolidating their shipping, payment processing, web administration, etc.

Many "long-tail" companies are "merely" enablers for the companies actually serving the niche markets. This solves both problems: customers deal with companies that really understand their needs and niche companies cut costs by riding on the rich infrastructure provided by the enablers. Ebay is my favorite example of this model.
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Maya has a new nest [Mar. 30th, 2005|10:18 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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Maya has discovered a new place to sit:

There is about 9 inches of space between my rightmost monitor and my laptop in its stand. I normally have a stack of notes there. She must find it comfortable, because she always like to nap there while I'm working/playing.

My lovely captured the moment for everyone to enjoy.

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Dinner at Kiku [Mar. 17th, 2005|09:39 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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My lovely and I had an exceptionally tasty dinner at our favorite Japanese place tonight. My deep-fried spicy tuna rolls were so splendid, Jen had to take a photo to capture their magnificence. Take special note of the mounds of tasty tobiko (flying fish roe) on top. That is the best part :)

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Google video search [Jan. 25th, 2005|11:21 am]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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Google has added a new engine that can pull results from the closed-caption information of various television stations. I'm not sure how often I'd use this, as it is difficult to actually get the content, but it is still pretty neat.

http://video.google.com
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on a similar subject... [Jan. 23rd, 2005|04:47 am]
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Related to my previous post -- I noticed a well thought out response to a popular notion that always annoys me, eg: formal schooling isn't needed for "real" hackers.

RE: Learn it all for yourself

So true:

There are a few self-taught genius hackers out there, but there are a lot more self-taught people who think they're genius hackers but whose code is absolute garbage. Etc.

I've met far too many idiots from either side of the fence: programmers who went to school and managed to learn absolutely nothing and self-taught programmers who don't know as much as they'd like to believe. I think the best results are usually obtained through formal study combined with self-motivation. (not exactly an earthshattering observation ;)
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What you'll wish you'd known in high school. [Jan. 23rd, 2005|04:30 am]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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[more recycled slashdot]

This is a fantastic essay that comes too late for most of us. I still have to highly recommend it. If you know any smart and jaded kids getting ground down by the mind-numbing stupidity of modern "education", consider about passing this on.

http://paulgraham.com/hs.html

An excerpt:

Why does society foul you? Indifference, mainly. There are simply no outside forces pushing high school to be good. The air traffic control system works because planes would crash otherwise. Businesses have to deliver because otherwise competitors would take their customers. But no planes crash if your school sucks, and it has no competitors. High school isn't evil; it's random; but random is pretty bad.
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