30 Jan

Music Emptied of Itself

Why don’t these record companies which supposedly "do it all for the promotion of art" provide MIDI files along with records? Why don’t they promote learning, and provide more value to justify their high prices? Hmm. MIDI file, what’s a MIDI file, how do you market that through MTV and Clear Channel?
Why don’t they provide sound samples (think AKAI, Halion or Kontact formats, speaking of the later it now does direct from disk

30 Jan

What’s a Great Guitarist Without a Great Bass Player?

Listening to Frozen Alive!, a, ’81 concert by Albert Collins and his band, I just noticed he had a good funky sounding bass player playing along (check out the closing track, "Cold Cuts.") A couple of queries later, I know he’s named Johnny B. Gayden, apparently "the singularly most recorded blues bassist in the world today with over 55 releases to his credit." As my History professor in senior high school used to tell us, I have "gaps in my blanks" (speaking of historical knowledge then, musical culture now.)

28 Jan

Is this Overture’s coda?

David Galbraith:

"Overture could become the Inktomi of paid search, beholden to those who own the destination sites, the majority of its revenues come from two partners, one of them being Yahoo. It proved the business model for search, its revenues are impressive and its $1.3 billion valuation quite an achievement, but the business model missed one key ingredient, it doesn’t really own the customer. Its growth looks stalled and its future grim."

28 Jan

Being Able to Walk into the DMZ and Get Back Safely…

…is what might help IP devices dedicated to a single feature (say, phone handsets) position themselves successfully versus full-blown PCs. The thought occured to me while I was reading this thread. Setting up and maintaining even a basic firewall with port forwarding is a hassle, as some applications require huge or dynamic IP ranges that lessen the usefulness of the firewall (there’s a reason why a castle doesn’t have dozens of entrances). On the other hand, nobody is going to steal or erase your personal files if you put your IP handset directly on the Internet.

28 Jan

Home LANs + Broadband + Devices

Marc Canter:

"I smell a trend here. Anybody who has broadband probably has a second or third PC – and the logic then follows that they probably have them hooked up together – to share their broadband access – which means they have a Home LAN. While we’re at it – they also probably have some devices as well."

What have you got when three people use their shared "broadband"[*] connection at the same time? Narrowband. You can’t use VoIP reliably and send big e-mails or share video at the same time. It’s even a problem on a single multi-tasking PC. Home LANs underline the severe lack of bandwidth. Having 0.5Mbps is like getting 500 watts to serve your whole home. If you plug in the iron but forgot to turn off the light, the fuses will blow. Oh, and don’t set the iron on its highest heat capacity, that’s for professional dry cleaners only.
Here’s VoIP on typical "broadband" experience: "Hello, hello, I can’t hear you… Sorry pal, I was uploading some files to my ftp server, and the pipe got clogged." Vonage requires 90kbps (each way) to work (there’s a 30kpbs codec but of course it’s a quality trade-off.) Typical ADSL in France is 128kpbs up (512kbps seems common in the US.) Isn’t it a common scenario to have two or three phone conversations going on in a family home? You do the math.
So-called broadband Internet is sold as some sort of cutting-edge technological breakthrough ("10x times as fast!") Hello, your trickling bandwidth can’t even deliver TV-like full screen color video (visually speaking, a quite low standard to start with), something people have been getting for free for decades. And there are people to wonder why broadband isn’t mainstream yet. What’s wrong with you?
This is smoke-signal grade bandwidth (puff – p u f f – puff puff puff), my only hope is my daughter will be able to find it unbelievable by the time she’s a teen. "Daddy, you mean when I was a toddler you had to stop listening to music to be able to make a phone call? And most people still went to stores to buy those ugly CDs that are gathering dust in the basement? And grandma didn’t even have an Internet phone?"
[*] the typical 0.5-1Mbps downstream, 0.1-0.5Mbps upstream, cable or ADSL "consumer" service. Notice how we’re supposed to be "down", the language itself is revealing about where service probiders see users in the food chain.

28 Jan

You’re no Peer of Mine

DSL Reports:

"Australia recently claimed they were getting the short end of the stick in regards to global peering arrangements. America Online and Cogent Communications have also been feuding over the topic, Cogent recently upgrading its fabric with AOL by consolidating several OC-3 and OC-12 connections into eight OC-48s. But apparently a new peering policy at AOL isn’t making friends; they recently informed Cogent they would have to shell out $75,000 per month just to keep this peering arrangement intact."

Here in France things turned ugly for a while between Proxad and France Telecom. Dreams of a global mesh network…

28 Jan

What’s Up with the Google Toolbar and PageRank?

Why this modest blog (not updated in several days, I was enjoying a snowboarding extended weekend) would suddenly deserve a PageRank of 8, I have no idea. Other web sites I’m involved in just climbed up the scale. Maybe the rating scale has changed? I didn’t catch up on all my RSS backlog yet, so this might have been discussed elsewhere.
Update: I’m now at 7 (I was at 6 for a long time) and Happy Deflationist is back at 6 (it was at 8 too this morning.) This was probably just a temporary toolbar-related snafu.
Update: 8 for Web Voice again. What gives? OK, there are reasons why you can get different readings from the toolbar, but a PR of 8 is supposed to be awarded to outstanding authorities (I was glad to have a 7 at TEOF).

22 Jan

The users are revolting

Phil Wainewright:

"Yes, the way to resolve the IT development bottleneck is to throw more money at it. Imagine the anarchy that would result if users could actually get more out of IT without having to patiently wait in line for scarce development resources. Next thing you know, people will be wanting to access external web services on their own initiative, or installing their own desktop software, just so they can be more efficient at their jobs. How can people be so thoughtlessly selfish?"

Good answer to Forrester’s Moronic Quote of the Week(tm):

"Portal development isn’t a business-user function. IT doesn’t want it to be a business-user function … The way to break the development bottleneck is to give IT better tools, not try to circumvent IT."

22 Jan

Microsoft to Acquire PlaceWare


"Microsoft Tuesday said it has signed an agreement to acquire hosted Web conferencing software firm PlaceWare for an undisclosed amount. […] Microsoft also today announced the creation of a new business unit — the Real Time Collaboration Group — within the information worker business. PlaceWare also will become part of this group. Anoop Gupta, who has been part of Microsoft Research for five years and has recently been serving as Bill Gates’ technical advisor, will lead the newly formed group."