Updates from December, 2008 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Hober Short 10:53 am on 22 December 2008 Permalink  

    The suits have managed to do it again: Warner Music Pulls Videos Off YouTube.

    “Warner Music Group ordered YouTube on Saturday to remove all music videos by its artists from the popular online video-sharing site after contract negotiations broke down. … The talks fell apart early on Saturday because Warner wants a bigger share of the huge revenue potential of YouTube’s massive visitor traffic. There were no reports on what Warner was seeking. ‘We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide,’ Warner said in a statement.”

    Warner’s deal with YouTube to make those videos available came just prior to YouTube’s acquisition by Google.

    Luckily, snarky anti-music label comments are Slashdot’s specialty.

    “We simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists”

    So Warner thinks all the contracts they have with the signed artists are unfair and should be void?


    “The labels don’t mind paying MTV to play their videos, but they want Youtube to pay them?”

    It looks like the labels are doubly incompetent: MTV takes their money, but then it doesn’t bother to play any music videos at all.

    But I think the real truth comes in:

    I remember when music videos were essential promotional tools. That’s one of the reasons artists spend their own money making them.

    Now get off my lawn.

    As the Slashdot editor pointed out, this is a re-negotiation of the original deal, which was forged before YouTube was a part of our Dear and Glorious Leader Google. Now that they have gone from bargaining with an uppity Web 2.0 start-up to bargaining with, essentially, the God of The Internet, they must have set their sights higher. I think the problem here is that Warner thinks that it can take its ball and go home. All of the illegally posted but relatively un-policed music videos before and during the terms of the current deal speak otherwise.

    So Warner shuts down their own YouTube account, removes all the official videos, and goes back to sending constant DMCA Takedowns to Google, who just shuffle papers and take a while to remove the videos (“Big corporation means big overhead. You understand, right Warner?”) and Warner just ends up looking like asses, without accomplishing their goal. (Forcing people to watch MTV for band advertisment music videos?)

    Really, Google just needs to make all of the former Warner videos rick-rolls.

  • Hober Short 4:34 pm on 16 December 2008 Permalink  

    Over at WRAL, a very long ten questions with the local head of the NAACP. Lots of question-ducking and “nice question, allow me to answer by copy-pasting something else as an answer”. Favorite example of the former: not answering why they haven’t said anything about their support for Crystal Mangum since the Duke Lacrosse charges were dropped.

    Favorite example of the latter: the 14-point “people’s agenda” including

    • support for welfare, minimum wage measures, and government healthcare (including treatment for “diseases caused by environmental pollution and warming”)
    • advocating increased funding of Historically Black College and Universities
    • pro-union, anti-war stances.

    “People’s agenda,” indeed.

  • Hober Short 2:38 pm on 16 December 2008 Permalink  

    In a report to my manager, I ended up using “extant” to describe modules of code that I’d already written, listing them in bullet point under a heading of (predictably) “Extant Modules”.

    This was non-intuitive, and my manager was a bit confused by “Extant”, given that it’s seems a pretty archaic word. For whatever reason, on that day, I had felt like using it where, in retrospect, “Existing” would probably have equivalently sufficed.

    So, my question is: why ever use “extant”? Does it have a unique grammatical usage, or can it be replaced with “existing” in pretty much every scenario?

  • Pat 11:55 pm on 14 December 2008 Permalink  

    Some people are so stupid that it hurts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hurt them; it hurts me, when I observe their stupidity.

    In this particular case, the people in question are unhappy with Facebook over certain recent policy changes. Nobody pays anything for their Facebook accounts, so threats to take your business elsewhere are not very effective. Somebody came up with the bright idea of a meaningless protest, and now there’s a Facebook Cause you can join called the FACEBOOK BLACKOUT. Here’s the description in full:

    .•*´¨`*•. THE FACEBOOK BLACKOUT.•*´¨`*•.

    Friends account deleted, Limited in sending message or poking, stupid new layout !

    Administrators don’t care about what we think !
    But what will happen if we all decide to stay off of facebook for 1 day !

    Please invite all your friends in this group so that we could really make an happening on December 15th!

    Starting @ 6 PM (GMT+1) on December 15th to
    6PM (GMT+1) on december 16th



    All you have to do to help is this:

    ► 1 Join this group.

    ► 2 Click on “Invite People to Join” button in the right menu.

    ► 3 Select all of your friends.

    ► 4 Click on the “Send invitation” button

    And you’re done!

    And the point of this is . . . what, exactly?

    The idiot who wrote this seems to think that getting a bunch of people to refrain from logging on to Facebook for a day will inflict some kind of horrible suffering on the company, bringing it to its knees and forcing it to . . . well, the idiot didn’t actually get around to making any demands, so I’m not sure what he wants Facebook to do. But the point is, it’s really going to hurt when all those people don’t log on, right?

    Of course, that reasoning is based on the assumption that everyone with a Facebook account logs on every day, and that Facebook notices if they don’t. Actually, I frequently forget to log on for days at a time, and as far as I can tell, Facebook doesn’t care.

    So I feel confident in predicting that the protest will have absolutely no effect, just like every other one-day boycott I have ever heard of. This silly tactic never works, but some fool is always eager to give it another try.

  • Pat 3:11 pm on 11 December 2008 Permalink  

    Google announced today that with the release of Chrome 1.o, that browser is no longer in beta. The initial beta release took place in September, so the beta period lasted about three months.

    All very reasonable. But can someone please explain to me why Gmail is still in beta after almost five years?

  • Hober Short 2:38 pm on 10 December 2008 Permalink  


    Probably the single biggest place where I am driven to homicide over economic misunderstanding is the idea that video game publishers have some kind of right to restrict people selling their games used.

    From Slashdot:

    David Braben, chairman of UK-based developer Frontier Development had this to say: “Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game — which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game’s quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop’s pocket, nobody else’s.”

    You twit. If the game is so good, why are people selling it to GameStop? This is a way for developers who make bad games (or short games with no replay value) to lose money because those games suck.

    What’s the problem?

  • Hober Short 11:45 pm on 8 December 2008 Permalink  

    I knew there was a reason I didn’t vote for him:

  • Hober Short 4:39 pm on 8 December 2008 Permalink  

    Sure, the peace-justice slogan was originally a veiled threat. I think anything that threatens “No peace” is pretty clearly that.

    What I’m saying is that, these days, I think people throw it around. I sincerely doubt that the chanters would have resorted to physical violence (i.e. taking away the peace) if their demands were not met. The slogan’s power is the implicit threat backing it, but I think these days it’s just frequently used without any intent to follow through, which just ends up making its user look silly.

    On another tack, today’s Technician had a tiny slice of coverage about the event. No justice, no peace

  • Hober Short 4:23 pm on 8 December 2008 Permalink  

    Via Insty, some thoughts on Walmart vs FEMA in the Katrina response.

    One line hit me a little hard: “Wal-Mart ‘arrived in the New Orleans area long before FEMA and had the supplies that the community needed,’ writes Horwitz.”

    When you think about it, the faster Wal-Mart arrives, the more money they make. The faster that the Government arrives, the more they have to spend to get there.

    Seems kind of obvious when you put it that way.

  • Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. 4:01 pm on 8 December 2008 Permalink  

    George Lucas may wish it hadn’t happened, but evidently he has come to grudgingly accept the existence of the Star Wars Holiday Special. No, it’s not being rereleased (thankfully); but the official Lucasfilm Web site is acknowledging its thirtieth anniversary with some surprisingly extensive coverage.

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