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Wednesday, June 14
Flowers, and their meanings

I was deep in philosophical discussion on a forum today (ok so take philosophical discussion and replace it with meaningless, mindless nattering) but I read something quite interesting: a big list of what the various colours of flowers, and types of flowers, signify in terms of emotion, feelings or meanings. Check it out:

Black Roses signify Death
Coral Rose conveys desire
Lavender Roses symbolize love at first sight and enhancement
Orange Roses indicate enthusiasm, desire and fascination
Pink (Deep) says Thank You
Pink (Light) Rose conveys admiration, gentleness, grace, gladness, joy and sweetness
Pink Rose carry the message of happiness, gracefulness and gentleness
Red Roses symbolize sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion
Red (Dark) Rose reveals unconscious beauty
Red (Single) means "I Love You"
Red & White Roses together signify unity
Single Rose in any color expresses simplicity and gratitude
White Roses express Purity/heavenly, secrecy, silence, innocence and charm
White (Bridal) Rose symbolizes a happy love
Yellow Roses indicate joy, gladness, friendship and "I Care"
Yellow Rose with Red Tip indicates friendship falling in Love


I never knew all that! I knew about the red, white and black, but I never knew the other stuff. The adage that you learn something new every day continues to hold true for me.



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
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Friday, June 9
Now this, kids, is why DRM is bad

For once, an article on DRM which I unanimously agree with. Let me quote a couple of things from it;

I feel especially sorry for the people that have spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars at the iTunes Music Store. What happens when Apple downgrades iTunes again, further limiting what users can do with the songs they bought? What happens in five years, when Apple moves on to another format? What happens to your music collection when the iPod is no longer de rigueur, and you want to switch to a new portable player? How are you going to get your encrypted AAC files to play on that new device, with something approaching the same level of quality?

DRM means that you have no control over the files on your computer. You can only do what the company supplying you with the DRM'd files want you to do.


It's things like this which I'm always trying to make people see, make them understand (especially with the iPod) - they're just not thinking to the future, they're wasting their money on something which very well may not be even useable at all in five years. I've always hated iTunes and the ITMS, and the fact that some American Universities decided to distribute their materials for free - but solely via iTunes - was something I regarded as an insult. What if I don't want to have to install a proprietary piece of software which attempts to control my music collection, just to access materials that are being offered for free? That's not right. As the article says, "...Even worse, some universities are now making lectures and classes available using iTMS, a slap in the face to the open nature of learning and education."

I strongly recommend that anyone who shares my concern with the future of open formats, open standards and the upholding of civil liberties and their fair use rights, read this article. The Register: The DRM Mistake


I'll finish with one last comment...

DRM has wormed its way into the imaginations of Hollywood, the RIAA, and publishers, and they in turn have convinced the computer industry (who, it must be admitted, needed little convincing) that DRM must be applied and supported throughout their products... It sounds to me like we were both - consumer and publisher - sold a bill of goods. Welcome to the future!


This was the exact point I tried to make at a lecture at uni a while back, when there was a representative from both the IFPI and EMI's content protection (basically, Newspeak for anti-piracy) departments. They immediately went off on one for almost the entire hour about how piracy is bad and all the usual, treated us like 12 years olds who hadn't a clue, and then when the floor was opened for questions, they deftly batted away any question that dealt with the matter of the music industry changing its approach from the 'assumption of guilt' mindset towards its consumers. I actually suggested some alternatives for combating piracy, and asked, 'why do you have DRM when all it does is stifle the fair use rights consumers have traditionally had when purchasing copies of music, and immediately causes problems with oligopolies because your 87% market share of iPods can't play music purchased from the other major (well, the other not-bankrupt) online shops such as OD2, HMV Online, and all the other places that use DRMed Windows Media... Similarly, you can't buy music from the iTunes store because M4Ps (Apple's DRMed AAC format, which incidentally I think is absolute pants in terms of sound quality as well) just won't play on anything but iPods.

So, here I am asking these questions, to a person who 30 minutes earlier confessed to us all that 'the music industry is known as an industry which doesn't listen to its consumers' (her words, not mine!) and in the Q&A session both she (EMI representative) and the IFPI representative are both flatly refusing to accept that DRM may not actually be the way forward!

Ugh, how frustrating... This is why I continue to use the (in)famous Russian Mafia-run (oo, I hope) AllOfMP3.com for music purchases, if the music industry decided to adopt the same business model (and I mean the exact same one, including similar - fair - pricing structures, and an open format instead of 'having to assume that you will copy your music and share it with other people' (again, EMI representative's words, not mine)... If the industry actually truly reformed, I would probably buy digital music from the sites which actually provided me something half useful as opposed to a locked-in proprietary chunk of encrypted bits which will only player on a few devices. My iRiver H140 MP3 player won't even play DRMed Windows Media files, nor will it play Apple's FairPlay-encoded files (hah, Orwellian Newspeak time! see the article), and it's something I'm proud of. MP3s, Ogg, FLAC, M4A even (though I don't use the format), WAV... Notice something here? Open formats, no restrictions. Treat me like an adult and I'll treat the music industry with respect. Treat me like a criminal and I might just have to become one in the eyes of the law to get what I want at a fair price. Market laws seem to not apply to the 'legitimate' music sites, the industry as a whole is still as much of a cartel as it's ever been, with the governments of the countries they operate in still in their pockets as much as ever.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, DRM: Just Say No. IPods aren't the only MP3 players which come in white.


And for what it's worth, the EMI representative did say that anyone could email their comments to her and she would read them, but after the arrogance displayed by both her and the IFPI representative, I immediately knew that any emails forwarded to them by my course tutor would be read, laughed at (with comments of "look, a consumer's trying to make their voice heard! hahaha" around the office) and summarily moved to the Recycle Bin without further ado. Why should I even bother if they still won't listen, even after they've admitted they're an industry which doesn't listen to its consumers? Pure arrogance, and I hope that I can make changes once I've done this degree course and actually have a pathway into the music industry. I really do hope I can effect change in the future, or at least be part of it, because I hate the way the industry is going at the moment, another golden quote to finish off, this time from the IFPI representative: "DRM is the way the music industry is going. We have our solution here, the technology is just going to have to catch up to where we are, because this is the future".

No, the idea is that the music industry evolves its practices to suit the consumers and the technology THEY choose to consume the industry's products, not be forcefed the industry's choice of hardware, formats and platforms. I can't wait for the day when I get to announce, 'The Music Industry is dead, long live the Music Industry' - and then usher in a new era of proactive music labels!


I found my RIAA/MPAA, WARNING: I BREAK THE LAW T shirt today in my drawer (gleefully purchased from SplitReason earlier last year), that's really what spurred me on to write most of this big rant-cum-epic-comment-on-the-state-of-a-crumbling-industry article. Thank you for reading, I just hope that what I've said might spur you into become more of an activist - and help to shape the industry into something which doesn't treat its consumers as guilty until proven innocent!




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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/09/2006 04:20:00 AM. Roughly.
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Thursday, June 8
Fictional blogging reaches new heights

... With Captain Picard's Journal.

As soon as I get home, I'm going to read all of this, this looks absolutely hilarious! :D


Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/08/2006 11:39:00 AM. Roughly.
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Monday, June 5
Good grief, MPs saying something which makes sense?!

The All-Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG, hurhur) has suggested a scheme of clear labeling on CDs, MP3 players, and online services which show just how open or restricted a file's compatibility is across different platforms and services. For instance, a copy-protected CD should be labeled with appropriate icons to show how music can't be copied to original uncompressed audio files (well, supposedly) or if an online service only sells DRMed files, it should also be labeled appropriately to clearly indicate which players are compatible with which files.

Read more: MPs in digital downloads warning. I also noted that Sony's agreed to a settlement giving purchasers of XCP or MediaMax-infected CDs with a cash payment and/or free album downloads (fancy a wager on them being DRMed?), and has agreed to stop using the software on new discs. That sounds like an expensive settlement for them... Ah well, never mind. Slap on the wrist once in a while never hurt anyone.



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Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
into his blog at 6/05/2006 03:13:00 AM. Roughly.
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Friday, June 2
Nerds hoooooooo!

It's time to get your nerd on, check this out... All the last generation and current generation of game consoles put side by side for a physical dimensions comparison: Aeropause - game consoles and their dimensions.

How funky is that :D I never realised the Wii was so small!


Dragged out of Christopher's memory and pasted
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