Archive for Internet

Musicovery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 4, 2009 by lindahurd

Yesterday  I was programming for about 24 hours straight in the UT business school’s computer lab when I realized I had forgotten to charge my iPod.  Then I realized that I couldn’t use Pandora in the computer lab.  I was really disappointed until I remembered Musicovery.  I used it a few times a couple of years ago, but not much since then.  Last night I became fairly familiar with it as I programmed into the wee hours of the morning

Everyone’s heard of Pandora, but what about Musicovery?  Musicovery defines itself as “interactive webRadio.”  It allows you to listen to a music channel based on your mood, specified genre(s), and a specified time period.  You pick something in between four different moods: Energetic, calm, positive, and dark.  Then you pick a genre and a time period.  I find it a little difficult to find a balance that includes songs and artists that I like.  But once I find that sweet spot, it’s really cool.

I also find the genres to be a bit off sometimes.  For example, I selected “folk” and chose 2000s as the time period, and Musicovery pulled up some music that I wouldn’t really consider folk.  While I was expecting to hear music similar to artists such as Jose Gonzalez, it instead played songs from artists like John Mayer.   I guess I can see how some of John Mayer’s music could be categorized as folk, but it specifically had “Your Body is a Wonderland” in the Folk genre.  I always thought John Mayer was classified as Pop music.

The coolest feature is the “Discovery” button.  It plays music from lesser known artists, and I like to use Musicovery as a tool for finding new music that I might like.  Overall, Musicovery is a great free music listening service.  You can pay a premium for more features, but lets hope that the basic features remain free of charge.


http://musicovery.com

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Last.fm Interview

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 1, 2009 by lindahurd

Here is an interesting interview with Last.fm on Cnet UK.

I use last.fm, but I’m not entirely aware of all of the features they offer.  I have my iTunes hooked up to “scrobble” my music plays, and I sometimes log on to see the data that last.fm has collected about my music listening habits.  What’s really amazing is the amount of data that is going through Last.fm.  Apparently 2750,000 years of music have been scrobbled on Last.fm. That’s pretty amazing.

From the interview:
How much data passes through Last.fm?
“One number that’s pretty cool is relevant to our recent Xbox launch. In our first week of use, 120 million minutes of music were streamed.

“One thing that’s even more popular than our radio-streaming service is scrobbling — the process of sending the name of the track you’re listening to to Last.fm’s servers. You can scrobble from over 200 different online music services and desktop clients, such as iTunes, Winamp, Hype Machine, etc.

“During peak hours, we get more than 800 scrobbles per second which translates to about 43 million scrobbles per day. Since 2003, which is when we invented scrobbling, we’ve broken 35 billion scrobbles. That translates to about 275,000 years of  scrobbled music.”

Virgin Media’s Filesharing Tracking System

Posted in copyright with tags , , , on November 29, 2009 by lindahurd

This is an interesting article about Virgin Media’s trial of its new filesharing monitoring system.  It says that right now they are using this technology merely to gather information about the amount of copyright infringing filesharing that’s occuring in the UK, and that the data they collect will be anonymous.  It may be anonymous right now, but what does the future hold for this monitoring system?  Will the British government eventually use it to prosecute copyright infringers?

From the article:

“To begin with at least, Virgin Media’s implementation will focus on music sharing. The ISP is preparing a legal download service in partnership with Universal, the largest of the four major record labels, which it hopes will be the “carrot” to Lord Mandelson’s “stick” of technical measures against those who persistently infringe copyright.

“Understanding how consumer behaviour is changing will be an important requirement of Virgin Media’s upcoming music offering and, should they become law, the Government’s legislative proposals will also require measurement of the level of copyright infringement on ISPs’ networks,” said Jon James, Virgin Media’s executive director of broadband.”

 

Britain’s “Three Strikes” Law

Posted in copyright with tags , , on November 24, 2009 by lindahurd

In August 2009, the British government proposed  “three strikes” law to combat piracy on the Internet.  It cuts off Internet access to households that are accused of copyright violation three times.  This proposed law caused a lot of commotion and controversy.  For a while there was even a petition circulating to stop this law from being passed.

The Digital Economy Bill was summarized a few days ago in the Queen’s speech, and it sounds even more restrictive and anti-copyright than ever.  The three strikes law is just part of the Digital Economy Bill.  It also includes age ratings for video games.

The introduction of the three strikes law is a two-step process. “Initially the government will aim to educate consumers and, those identified as downloading illegal content, will be sent letters.”  Then, households even suspected of copyright infringement via the Internet will be cut off completely after three violations.  This portion will be enforced in Spring 2011.

Copyright protection is important, but not at the cost of hounding so-called “pirates”.  This law is protecting and limiting the digital industry, not encouraging expansion, innovation, and creation!  Is protection at the expense of the freedom of the citizens really worth it?  And who really benefits here?  With regards to music, the three-strikes law is more for the protection and profit of the record industry, not the musicians.

According to Cory Doctorow, my favorite blogger and proponent of Creative Commons, the Digital Economy Bill includes:

“£50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that’s just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn’t in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain’s poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media — BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees — to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.”

 

BBC News: Government Lays Out Digital Plans

What does this law do?  It stifles creativity and forces people to live in fear of copyright violations.  In regards to the evolving record industry (and the digital economy as a whole), they can’t just STOP copyright infringement with this strict law.  They need to change their business model and take the industry as a whole in a new direction that involves embracing creativity and liberal copyright laws.  Copyright laws shouldn’t be so open to adjustment.  Peter Mandelson should not have the power to spy on citizens and make up punishments.  The Digital Economy Bill sounds a bit too much like 1984.  It’s scary, really.