29 Oct

Jazzified Beatles

Many songs by the Beatles have been played by Jazz musicians, though that’s not always been welcomed by critics. I recommend Kevin Hays’ rendering of And I Love Her. The exercise is fun and refreshing when it takes your typical likeable and hummable Beatles melody and twists it until it swings and grooves.

28 Oct

Why I Hate Microsoft (Rant for Scoble)

Scoble wants to know why people hate Microsoft. Well, here’s what the company really needs to realize. You’re not smarter than us, so lose that pretense in your software. That Office is constantly trying to predict what it is we’re trying to do, only to fail and get in the way most of the time, is infuriating. It’s not good enough that I can now train your wizard to stop capitalizing words when I don’t want to. Just give me a "No Half-Baked Predictive Behavior From MS Research Guys Who Try to Justify Their Salary to Steve Ballmer" check box option at install time, OK? This shit just doesn’t work. It tries to automate tasks that don’t take that much to complete manually in the first place, only to create a sense of helplessness and hurt productivity a lot more than it could probably fix it. The green pixie magic that outlines cells likely to contain a formula with errors is a lot more useful. It’s not interrupting me and it’s solving a real business problem (lots of spreadsheets out there contain errors and it can take a lot of time to hunt them down).

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26 Oct

Buymusic.com Sells Music Like Sausage (Weekend Music Rant Part MCXIV)

Do a couple searches on Buymusic.com and it’s obvious they don’t care about music at all. From spelling mistakes (for instance "Anne Peebles" — it’s Ann) to the underlying assumption that the track is the core product, this is an amateurish effort from a web delivery perspective, and an insult to the music lover.
A few things Buymusic.com needs to do to begin to be able to be taken seriously:

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24 Oct

Amazon Dives Into Books

Amazon: Search Inside the Book

"Search Inside the Book allows you to search millions of pages to find exactly the book you want to buy. Now instead of just displaying books whose title, author, or publisher-provided keywords match your search terms, your search results will surface titles based on every word inside the book."

And here’s an interesting detail: "If you are a registered, recognized Amazon.com customer, you will go directly to the page you selected. If you are not a recognized customer, we will ask you to sign in or create an Amazon.com account (if you’re not already a customer). Once you have signed in or set up an account with us, we’ll take you directly to the page you selected."
Amazon deems the feature significant enough to use it as a way to register if they’re not already customers. The official reason is to protect it from bots, but a registered user is also one step closer to becoming a customer. Here’s the FAQ for publishers.
Update: The Great Library of Amazonia.
10/26/03: Another NY Times v Tasini? Amazon’s Book Search Hits a Snag.
11/02/03 update: The Amazoning of Google? Search Firm Looks for Book Content.

21 Oct

2004 US Presidential Tickets

Andrew Sullivan: Dream-Tickets: Dean-Clark vs. Bush-Rice?

"It would also make for a fascinating race: Dean-Clark versus Bush-Rice. An evenly matched contest of argument, culture, and personality. You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one."

I was thinking Dean-Clark was a no-brainer, considering the other Dems have a hard time even popping on my (admittedly foreigner’s) radar. Now matching them with a Bush-Rice team, that would be interesting. But in both cases, what about the economy? Is business any of these four have a good background? (Spare me Bush’s MBA and CEO profile, that’s inherited.)
Update: [NYT] "One thing I learned last week in Iowa is that voters are far more interested in Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards than we in the national media."

06 Oct

USA Immigration Service Has an Affiliate Program!


"Earn 20% Commissions for direct referrals (1st tier), and 5% whenever a referred affiliate refers an applicant (2nd tier). Join Our Affiliate Program, and start making money by promoting the World’s Leading Immigration Site, USAIS.org."

Public services sold on a affiliate basis (2-tier at that), now that’s amazing! (Yes I’m going, Murphy willing, to move to the US next year.)