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Joel Tenenbaum…FYL.

August 2, 2009

its old news but…

the RIAA wins again…(thanks to ArsTechnica)
The way this and the Jammie Thomas case played out was not what I expected, to say the least. There were very few correct turns made during these two cases, and although the court system worked as it should…the outcome is just not where it it needs to be at this point in time. Still, the bulk of the value of these outcomes are for publicity related RIAA goals: to get people to stop downloading (for free) and start buying music. It’s not as if the RIAA is going to get paid here…
But really…selling music not even the business they want to be in anymore: on iTunes you don’t “buy” music…you license it. You license it because you clearly dont own it and you cannot do what you please with it (within your own, arguable, legal rights). When you have a CD…can you rip it to your computer without breaking the law (or should you be able to?) – yes! You don’t own the content on the CD but you own the media, and you have individual rights to do things with that media, so long as you dont infringe on the owner of the contents’ rights.
The recorded music industry is not doing as bad as they say, and their business model is so convoluted that even when it makes sense it doesnt make sense. CDs are for cars and MP3s are for iPods/personal use, and the industry is not being the friend to the consumer that it needs to be in order to make people WANT to support the industry. I love music, I want to work in entertainment, but how can I, as a consumer, support a business that I know does not favor me as their client?
I will edit this post later. It’s a bit of a mess but I wanted to get it up here.

Boo, Mitch Albom

June 29, 2009

Mitch Albom:

I normally love your writing, and I normally agree with it. But, after your June 28 column chastising the American public for honoring Michael Jackson, I am disappointed.
Shame on you for turning a tragic event into a opportunity to insult. This is an offensive and unnecessary attack on Michael Jackson, his fans, and his legacy. Give credit where credit is due — and it is due unquestionably in the case of Jackson. Don’t use the sudden (and very recent) death of a true Icon to criticize the American public. You adequately point out that “Death aggrandizes life”, but you have to separate his personal life from yours. For his incredible talent and successes, Michael Jackson deserves all the praise he is being dealt. For once, America’s got it right, and you’ve got it wrong. We see him for his creative contributions to the music world and the enormous social impact he had. Spare me the crap about being in debt, veiling his children, changing skin color, and the sexual assault court case — his legacy is in his art, and that is really all you need to focus on.
And, please, what is so “un-real” about a man wearing lipstick. I thought you were more cultured, accepting, and understanding than that. That remark is purely offensive and nothing else.
Your column on those stupid, irresponsible “parents” taking their kids to see “The Hangover” is redeeming, and much more worthy of your pointing finger.

It Doesn’t Add Up

June 19, 2009
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Two big stories on Ars today:

The Jammie Thomas $2million-the-labels-will-never-see guilty verdict

and

File-sharring isn’t hurting content creation

So the verdict in the Thomas case is grossly inappropriate and much too exorbitant for the actions the law is designed to dissuade. But, the actions, while hurting the music industry, aren’t hurting the creation of new works. So, while we have what, according to the Court, is copyright infringement, we don’t have said infringement hurting creation, which is what copyright law, codified in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, exists to protect.

Seems a little counterintuative to me…

Disproving Science

May 7, 2009

Text message conversation (as if I’d communicate any other way):

Marc: It’s baffling how, according to my neuro/bonding class, we shouldn’t be close friends (because of distance and propinquity)… but we are. We’re defying science
Me: Technology.
Enough said.
Ok I’ll add this little bit. That isn’t your run-of-the-mill community college psych or bio class (It’s taught by her). It’s pretty “neat” (Marc’s word, not mine. I’m not taking the nerd points here.) to see technology’s affect on our social lives manifested.
I’m not getting into all the sciency jargon here, mostly because I don’t know it, but I’ll leave you to your own devices in thinking about how technology just isn’t changing how we communicate, but how it is challenging the science behind everything, and will be forcing a rethinking of, well, everything.
Science is something non-scientists take for granted all the time. It is probably more important than anything else in our lives (especially human bonding), but we, as lay peoples, don’t understand a thing about it. Weird how tech will reshape not just how science is practiced (with all those newfangled superfabulous microscopes and xray machines) but its scholarship and pedagogy as well.
Weirder is that we still haven’t, as a whole, accepted this fact that technology is pushing us into a totally new Age. As if we haven’t seen the impact of technology on business enough already (music industry, publishing industry, journalism industry, movie industry, advertising industry, fill in the blank), we’re still playing dumb to the coming techxaflood.
Maybe I just have a problem seeing things in the macro instead of the micro, but if we’re planning on getting out of this better off than we were going into it, we need to start looking at the big picture. Because even though tweets are only 160 characters, they have a lot bigger impact than their short and sweet existence implies.

omg text messaging get out

May 4, 2009
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Yesterday I had a digi-déjà-vu experience. I’ve talked lots and lots about how tech has infested our lives in so many ways. This is another of those “omg get out of my life technology” experiences.

I have a friend, we used to date. We’re best friends, by someone’s definition somewhere. But from June 2007-February 2009, we didn’t talk. For a number of those months, we weren’t even facebook friends, and not on each other’s buddy lists. So we were completely digitally disconnected. With “digitally” being superfluous in this situation since we had no forms of communication between us that were not digital. Goes to show just how important technology is in our lives and relationships.
When we reconnected in February, we talked on the phone (old fashioned) and then re-friended each other on Facebook (new school). There was some wall-to-walling, as we happily spent a few days talking and catching up. Some weeks after, our daily communication dwindled down to a few times a week, then less. Unless there was a major issue in one of our lives, we almost never talked (read: IM’d). It was fine.
It was fine because we were living our own lives and the lack of proaction on the other end didn’t justify me going out of my way to chit chat more than I did, either. But, after some weeks of no interaction, I get a phone call. Someone’s having a problem and needs to talk to me because I’m trustworthy, etc. I am a good friend and I will always be there for someone I care(d) about so much. So we have that conversation, and after, I realize that friendship needs to be on a more two-way street. It shouldn’t just be when there are problems or issues. I became indifferent on whether we talked, and I was fine with not having that in my life. Weird, since it used to be the only thing that I wanted back in my life.
I got an instant message a few days ago though with a cell phone number. The previous phone had been disconnected for over a year, so there had been no cell phone to cell phone contact for us (i.e. no text messaging. :gasp:)
With the new phone came an unlimited texting plan, though. And I happen to be a slave to texting. Oddly enough, with the connection established between us via text messaging, I felt like I was letting this person back into my life. I felt an active bond that I had not experienced in a while. I am aware that technology plays an unequivocally integral role in so many facets of my life, but it’s dominance over my emotions seems a bit shocking and a bit odd.
As a product of this tech-generation, I am not surprised at technology’s role in my life, but I am impressed that it has permeated so greatly into my very being. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but I know that it is something. Being aware of it, though, should be helpful, and I think it is something that we all need to be mindful of: know just how far you are willing to let technology into your life. It’s pulling more strings than you think, and despite how much we value our tech, we can’t afford to be puppeted by it.

sometimes i write personal things

May 4, 2009

Yesterday I graduated from college. The University of Michigan is one of the finest institutions in the land and I love it dearly. I’m not entirely convinced its the biggest deal in the world, graduating college. I’d say not graduating would probably be more of an issue, but I’m still proud and I will forever be a Michigan Wolverine. Nevertheless, yesterday, I graduated college.

Today, I stood outside with my dog, as I was back at home for a graduation dinner with some family. I stood outside as my dog rolled around the grass, entertaining herself however dogs do. Reflection is so important, especially in times of change…when one door closes and you’re left in a room full of open doors, and so I took the opportunity, as I have done in the past, to reflect. I thought back to when I was in middle school. I’d be out with the dog, standing, her slightly more mobile than she is now, still entertaining her canine compulsions. I’d look at the sky, the clearest blue or the murkiest twilight or the starriest nighttime’s were the best for introspection. High above, in the infinite abyss of atmosphere, or far away, as far as my limited sight distance could see, there was the world. Out of my world. I would stand, lost in my thoughts, feeling the world move as I remained, legs still, or perhaps taking me up and down our backyard, or over a ledge. My motion was irrelevant, and my eyes focused on another dimension. Here and now did not exist. I left here and now and went to some place I have not visited for quite some time. I just let go, of everything, and I daydreamed. I thought. I lyricized. I didn’t ponder, but I entertained myself, like my dog, in my own unique way. I put myself in situations everyone always just conjures up in their dreams. Supreme popularity. Famed entertainer. Lawyer. Lover. Married. Happy. The things I am not, but the things that I want. It, in some respect, is my way of having those things for a few brief moments.
I hated coming back to reality. I still do. I give an attitude to my mom when she’s trying to help me out, ignore my friends who are innocently texting or instant messaging me, because I am in a mood, a zone, and the interference, the modulating of the wavelength I’m on, it doesn’t feel right. I have to fade in and out of this zone on my own terms on my time. So forgive me, but I’m here now. There, on my level. Lost, thinking.

Reflection is so important because you get in touch with yourself, but snapping out of that mode brings me back to reality, where responsibilities and real life, and all the things that I actually am are important. The daydream fades, sure to return another day, and I bring the dog inside. Maybe a little happier. A little calmer. Maybe more content. But no more sure. Not wiser. Just minutes older.
It is like a rut. And with me it is always a rut. Even changing becomes a rut. Reflection is so important but you must use it. No matter what grand and inspired thoughts make their way into your cerebral cortex, letting them disintegrate, scattered throughout the unconscious, is a waste.
The one thing that I’ve been consistently told by commencement speakers is to, generally, “think big.” Hold on to your dreams because they are you, and you are all you’ve got. One afternoon, skipping a school dance because you had to take the dog out (or because school dances were never your scene because you were awkward, scared, unknowingly closeted, and preferred the company of yourself) and stand in your front yard contemplating whatever it is deepest within your conscious self isn’t going to change you, or, subsequently, the world. But it will help. It will put you on a path. It will give you a ladder to grab hold of. You have to walk down the path, pull yourself up the ladder, but understanding that this journey, is just that, a journey, and realizing that reflection is the most personal of conversations you can have, and knowing that maybe, there is a way to bring those thoughts out from the voids of the mind, is putting action into something passive. And it moves the journey. Being in a rut sucks. Getting out of a rut is hard, and thus sucks more. But knowing where you are, what you’re doing — metaphorical or existentially, of course, not necessarily literally — and being able to act on that, take it from dream to reality (or, making your dreams come true) is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m a thinker. A dreamer. Not exactly the most brilliant thinker, or the biggest dreamer. But if I combine them, thinking big isn’t so hard. And making those thoughts into something tangible…not right away of course, but in small steps, is possible. the right foot in front of the left on the path, the left hand over the right up the ladder, that is the journey. The end of the path is unknown. The top of the ladder clouded by… the clouds. I guess everyone knows this…or doesn’t think about it much. I don’t know. I think about it all the time.
The motivation to turn my thoughts and dreams into anything other than unintelligible brain activity has steadily been declining. It’s more than a bit of a problem, and falling into the rut of laziness and minimalism, while seemingly the easy way out, is probably not any sort of good for me. I have no problem admitting I’m not sure which direction my life will take. I am lost, confused, unsure, and terrified of that. I am aware that I am “journeying.” Patience isn’t my greatest virtue (probably not one of my virtues at all), and getting to know an answer is all I really want. But, that is impossible, and fruitless. Really, there are three premises that act as my justification mechanism, my circular-reasoning-question-killing-commandments:
1. the only thing that will never change, is that everything will change.
2. Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups, and Expectation is her bastard child.
3. Nothing ever goes according to plan.
I tell myself these things because they make sense. Just like all people tell themselves things because it helps them to make sense of what is, instinctively and innately and literally nonsensical. Therefore, no it is not perfect, nor the only way to maintain one’s sanity, but I think it makes…the most sense. We do what we do, what we need to do; we give it reason and purpose because it fills our voids and validates our existence. Meh.
So, I ramble. I don’t speak concisely. And I really don’t care because I have a voice. That’s another thing I was told this weekend. I have a voice and I need to use it, use it, use it. Be courageous. And if that means being unconventional, then goddamn convention, and while I hope you don’t mind, I don’t give a fuck what you think. I’m certainly interested in it, though.
I wonder what my conclusion is. I don’t know because there never is one. We just keep going. We live and we die. You may want to look for a deeper meaning for this process, or you may just want to start doing. I am circumstantial. I am vulnerable. I am emotional. I am logically illogical. Or maybe it is illogically logical. My life is not governed by some complex principle, some philosophy that is going to shape my thoughts and actions. Maybe some premises, but, on the whole I am still just confused as a small child. Only now I am aware of it. The point is, this is the end. But really, it is only just the beginning. Because we don’t know where the end is.
Now I’m going to make like a radio and tune this wavelength back to reality. And try to turn some of my dreams into thoughts, thoughts into actions.

Onward and Digitally-ard

April 28, 2009
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**any post from this point forward is not intended to be for SWC 200 and is not to be affiliated with me being a student at U-M.**

Ok so I am planning to continue this blog in its not academic sense (even though apparently it wasn’t academic enough to begin with…psh). I have no idea what direction it will take, but since I will no longer be covered by the copyright protection afforded to me by the great University of Michigan/17 USC §107, I am going through and removing all the copyrighted content where necessary. If I forget something and you know I can’t use it, please just tell me and don’t sue me. I’ll take it off. Anywho, more posts soon. I’m looking forward to it.
But to start things off, BOO BOOO BOOOOO!!!!!! SCOTUS
Supreme Court Backs F.C.C. on Indecency Rule (NYT)
Now Jack Bauer will never say “fuck.” Fuck.
“Even when used as an expletive, the F-Word’s power to insult and offend derives from its sexual meaning. Because the FCC’s prior safe-harbor-for-single-words approach would likely lead to more widespread use, and in light of technological advances reducing the costs of bleeping offending words, it was rational for the agency to step away from its old regime.” – Scalia.

So the supreme court is made up of expert linguists and cultural anthropologist? Because I’m pretty sure that Fuck has evolved from its sexual origin to become more of a universal exclamation of just about any feeling one might experience. That, and its just a fucking word (no sexual connotation implied), which everyone is going to hear at some point in their life, and everyone has a right to say. Fleeting expletives certainly are no good, but accidents happen. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater and you can’t just say fuck on TV in front of america whenever you want, but do we really need justice scalia to indoctrinate us?

(Hat tip to ArsTechnica)