Sorry! (updated – blog shutdown for duration of machine maintenance)

I thought moving over to the new server would be painless. Hah! Not when the old server refuses to enter Target Disk mode for the main drive (it will, however, happily do so for all other drives on the old machine). So, all the hardware goes to an Apple Store today for troubleshooting.

So, the blog isn’t going to be visible for a while today — not that I’ve had much time to update it, anyway.

Update: Well, after many hours with Apple Care and the local Genius Bar, the conclusion is that the boot drive has a subtle partition map problem that the new machine won’t accept. In fact, the target disk does appear on the new machine, but it won’t mount. Thus, no migration.

We thought that using the MacBook Air migration tool, which runs over the network, would do it, but it doesn’t. As best as I can tell from the console logs, the Migration Assistant attempts to set up an NFS share to do the migration, which also seems to be failing.

So, brute force is going to be required — making a carbon copy of the old drive to a secondary drive in the old machine, and then running migration assistant. What that means is that, as of now, I have to freeze the blog. It will come back to life once the migration happens, but that’s going to be days away, because these are big drives and I have to rely upon my PowerBook to mediate the carbon copying — so only Firewire 400 and an old G4 processor.

Interesting to note that the Mac world does not have the kind of partition repair tools that the Windows and Linux worlds seem to have. Tragic in my case, but there you go.

Furdlog will be back, but maybe not as soon as one would like.

funtwo Redux

He’s no rock star, but a video ‘god’pdf

The rise of “Canon Rock” is a defining story of the digital age. Since it was posted in December 2005, the video has been seen roughly as many times as some of the top-selling albums have had copies sold worldwide, including the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).”

It shows how user-generated websites such as YouTube have altered the way musicians learn, teach and exchange ideas, perhaps even changing the way we appreciate music.

See earlier Copying and Learning Within Internet (Sub)Cultures which links to the YouTube videos. You may also want to see some of the newer derivatives, which demonstrate the fundamental point of this article.

Also, in light of this last paragraph from the LATimes article:

Yet even Lim acknowledges getting a little sick of Pachelbel’s opus. “Sometimes I hear those opening notes, and I just go, ‘Oh no,’ ” he says.

don’t miss Rob Paravonian‘s Pachebel Rant

A Look at Internet Radio Royalties

Internet radio firms say royalties limiting choicespdf

Cedergren’s story is the nightmare scenario painted by many Internet radio companies who have claimed that the royalty hike would kill online broadcasting in its cradle. In fact, Internet radio is far from dead. Online broadcasters like Pandora and Live365 still serve millions of listeners. But the higher rates have driven away many small online broadcasters who say they can’t afford to stay in business. And even industry leader Pandora says it’s in trouble. “We’re at the very end of our tether,” founder Tim Westergren said. “There’s a very good chance that we will shut down.”

Critics of the royalty system say the result is decreasing musical diversity on the Internet. They warn of an online music industry dominated by the same giant media companies that presently dominate traditional radio broadcasting. And they point to CBS Broadcasting Inc.’s recent takeover of the Internet radio operations of Time Warner Inc.’s AOL as a harbinger of an Internet radio market rendered bland and predictable.

“They’ll push all of us out of business,” said Johnie Floater, general manager of media for Live365. “Your Internet radio is going to sound like your AM and FM.”

Related: Other music promotion avenues that are already tied up — TV scene stealer is new star of iTunes generationpdf

This week, the no-longer cult classic achieved loftier status. Its most popular cover version, released by the late Jeff Buckley in 1994, zoomed to number one on the iTunes download chart, thanks to that ultimate signifier of 21st-century ubiquity, a performance by an “American Idol” competitor. At the same time, Leonard Cohen, the song’s enigmatic 73-year-old composer, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, serenaded with a version of the song by popular Irish balladeer Damien Rice.

“This is a watershed moment,” said Michael Barthel, a Syracuse University graduate student who last year presented an academic paper on the song’s staying power. “Every generation discovers ‘Hallelujah,’ and right now, a whole new generation of people is discovering it.”

Microprocessors, Software and Security

Does increased computerization necessarily mean a concomitant reduction in security and privacy? A Heart Device Is Found Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks

To the long list of objects vulnerable to attack by computer hackers, add the human heart.

The threat seems largely theoretical. But a team of computer security researchers plans to report Wednesday that it had been able to gain wireless access to a combination heart defibrillator and pacemaker.

They were able to reprogram it to shut down and to deliver jolts of electricity that would potentially be fatal — if the device had been in a person. In this case, the researcher were hacking into a device in a laboratory.

The researchers said they had also been able to glean personal patient data by eavesdropping on signals from the tiny wireless radio that Medtronic, the device’s maker, had embedded in the implant as a way to let doctors monitor and adjust it without surgery.

Infrastructure and US Innovation

Video Road Hogs Stir Fear of Internet Traffic Jam

While experts debate the immediacy of the challenge, they agree that it points to a larger issue. In the Internet era, they say, high-speed networks are increasingly the economic and scientific petri dishes of innovation, spawning new businesses, markets and jobs. If American investment lags behind, they warn, the nation risks losing competitiveness to countries that are making the move to higher-speed Internet access a priority.

“The long-term issue is where innovation happens,” Professor Odlyzko said. “Where will the next Google, YouTube, eBay or Amazon come from?”

And There’s Still Talk About Amnesty?

F.B.I. Made ‘Blanket’ Demands for Phone Records

The bureau appears to have used the blanket records demands at least 11 times in 2006 alone as a quick way to clean up mistakes made over several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a letter provided to Congress by a lawyer for an F.B.I. agent who witnessed the missteps.

The F.B.I. has come under fire for its use of so-called national security letters to inappropriately gather records on Americans in terrorism investigations, but details have not previously been disclosed about its use of “blanket” warrants, a one-step operation used to justify the collection of hundreds of phone and e-mail records at a time.

See also Report on F.B.I. Use of Personal Data on the DoJ Inspector General report: A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006 (local copy)

Note: HR 3773 (in particular H.Res. 1041) is up for a House vote this afternoon, where tough sledding is anticipated in the face of the President’s continued (pdf) misrepresentation (pdf) of what the bill actually says.

Belated Recognition

War against Web tops music biz “screw-ups” listpdf

But Dick Rowes billion-dollar boo-boo has been beaten to the top spot on Blender magazines list of the “20 biggest record company screw-ups of all time” by the failure of record companies to capitalize on the Internet.

The major labels took top dishonors for driving file-sharing service Napster out of business in 2001, instead of figuring out a way to make money from its tens of millions of users. The downloaders merely scattered to hundreds of other sites, and the industry has been in a tailspin ever since.

“The labels campaign to stop their music from being acquired for free across the Internet has been like trying to cork a hurricane — upward of a billion files are swapped every month on peer-to-peer networks,” Blender said in the report, which appears in its newly published April issue.

The Blender article: 20 Biggest Record Company Screw-Ups of All Timepdf


#1 Major labels squash Napster

Shawn Fanning’s file-sharing service attracted tens of millions of users, but instead of trying to find a way to capitalize on it, the Recording Industry Association of America rejected Napster’s billion-dollar settlement offer and sued it out of existence in 2001. Napster’s users didn’t just disappear. They scattered to hundreds of alternative systems—and new technology has stayed three steps ahead of the music business ever since. The labels’ campaign to stop their music from being acquired for free across the Internet has been like trying to cork a hurricane—upward of a billion files are swapped every month on peer-to-peer networks. Since Napster closed, “there’s been no decline in the rate of online piracy,” says Eric Garland of media analysts BigChampagne, who logged users of son-of-Napster peer-to-peer networks more than doubling between 2002 and 2007. And that figure doubles again if you count BitTorrent.

Unintended consequence Your grandmother deciding to trade up from that dial-up connection

OT: I’m Back

Hi, everyone. The recent dearth of postings is not an indication of anything more than the fact that I took a two week vacation, and was swamped the week before trying to get ready to leave and am swamped now upon my return. I *will* get back into the swing, but I also have a new Mac that’s been sitting in my office since before I left that I need to get up and running, so the ramp up is going to be slow.

Here are a couple of images from my trip, in this case from Lake/River Tonle Sap (in Cambodia) and environs, for those who are interested.


Although this isn’t really news, data is always fun to see — and it’s interesting to see the topic continues to garner press: To Aim Ads, Web Is Keeping Closer Eye on You

A new analysis of online consumer data shows that large Web companies are learning more about people than ever from what they search for and do on the Internet, gathering clues about the tastes and preferences of a typical user several hundred times a month.

These companies use that information to predict what content and advertisements people most likely want to see. They can charge steep prices for carefully tailored ads because of their high response rates.

The analysis, conducted for The New York Times by the research firm comScore, provides what advertising executives say is the first broad estimate of the amount of consumer data that is transmitted to Internet companies.