February 28, 2005

Proudly Not Getting It since 1927

The recording industry in this country is so immensely stupid. I'm pretty sure at this point that their overriding goals are (a) to never have a clue and (b) to continually gouge the consumer for awful music. Their forthcoming disaster? In response to the "burgeoning demand for legal online music", some labels want to raise the wholesale price of the songs. This, of course, will result in the online music stores having to raise their own prices to continue to be profitable. This will likely cause a dropoff in the number of legal downloads, completely failing to achieve the labels' goal of "attempt[ing] to capitalize on" the demand for legal online downloads. $0.99 is a sweet spot. It's impulse buy. It's nothing. It's not even a whole dollar, not that a dollar goes far these days. Not only that, but it's a psychologically appealing price. This idiotic plan is, on the other hand, a potential boon for the labels not considering price changes: They can prance around gaily, proclaiming "look! You can still get our songs for $0.99, not $10.00 like those other, greedy record companies' songs!"
Posted by Colin at 5:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2005

Color me nonplussed

I just got off the phone with Xbox Customer Service, which was apparently farmed out to the Philippines at some point in the year since I've called.

I was only able to make out occasional words here and there for far too much of it, due both to the CSR's accent and the rapid speed of much of her pronunciation, and she repeatedly had completely wrong data despite repeating it back to me verbatim while entering it.

The end result is a damn mystery to me, as the Xbox Protection Cord manual clearly states that failing the test means the cord is bad while Random Filipina Employee apparently believes my Xbox is broken and I need to shell out $79 to have an out-of-warranty repair. I wouldn't be surprised if she completely misunderstood my problem: she asked me if I had another power cord, I replied no (which she acknowledged), and then proceeded to tell me to use my extra power cord to test the system.

At this rate I might as well just go back to living on the edge and using the same power cord I've been using since 2004 (and my original Xbox had the same Scary Deadly Flaw, for that matter).

The call left a bad taste in my mouth, as the CSR reported my Xbox wasn't registered. I mailed in the postcard, though, in addition to having linked it in my Xbox.com profile, so that makes no sense (maybe she entered a non-existent serial number, given the extra numbers she kept trying to put in my phone number).

Worth noting: Microsoft's own extended warranty can be purchased any time within the first year of purchase for $49.90, while an out-of-warranty repair (which any repair after the first 90 days will be) is $79. Smart people will hang up from tech support and activate a warranty. But given my Xbox is apparently not registered, I wonder if they even have the purchase date for the damn thing recorded, or if I'll have to fax copies.

Bah.

Posted by Colin at 6:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wha?!

I am completely mystified by the replacement power cord for my Xbox. Not only does it fit rather poorly into the cord receptacle on the back of the Xbox (the original cord went all the way in, this one sticks out a bit), but the status light is playing games with me.

Nowhere in the manual does it describe what it means if the replacement cord flashes green and red before finally settling on green.

And even odder, though it will pass the automatic test when the cord is plugged in, starting a manual test causes the cord to (apparently, going solely by the rather poor documentation) detect something wrong and shut off power.

I liked it better when all I had to do was plug in the console and play a game, not "test the power cord before each use" and try to divine what its behavior means like dregs of tea or cast chicken bones.

Posted by Colin at 1:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

iPod Software Update

Huzzah!

Apple released iPod Updater 2005-02-22 the other day, and it adds the best feature of the fourth-gen iPods to any iPod with a dock connector: the main menu "shuffle songs" item.

It was really the only thing making me lust over a newer iPod, so I'm set until this one bursts into flame or something. Now I too can get a completely random sampling of my music connection with one button press from the main menu.

Unfortunately it didn't have a particularly good first showing, as it opened with Kelly Osborne. I'm not even sure why I just implicated that I own Kelly Osborne's album. But I do. It's my shameful secret. And the iPod just had to drag it back into the air when I'd nearly forgotten about it.

"Enjoy uncertainty" indeed.

Posted by Colin at 11:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2005

Lost 02/23 (Spoilers)

So...

What was the deal with Hurley on the TV when Sun's husband went to deliver the message the first time?

Very, very odd.

I don't think we've even had a tidbit of Hurley's back story yet, so it'll be interesting to see why on earth someone in Korea is watching him get into a car on TV.

Posted by Colin at 7:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2005

Bliss.

Lying in bed with the iBook, covers up to my neck. Listening to the rain fall on the roof and the ground outside. This is bliss.
Posted by Colin at 11:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D)

The new Digital Rebel has been officially announced. $899 body, $999 kit as with the previous Rebel. The old one is going down to $799 for the kit, so I didn't make out too badly with my Costco package deal even in light of the upcoming new pricing. While I like a couple of the changes -- the USB 2.0 support and the autofocus mode selection -- it's nothing I'm particularly missing with my 300D. Even the resolution bump doesn't make a whole lot of difference. Plus the 350D, based on the preview at dpreview.com, has Shutter Noise From Hell. I can live without Shutter Noise From Hell, thanks. Other features are either not new (the 300D already had PictBridge support, despite articles describing it as new on the 350D) or silly (monochrome mode -- why get stuck with one B&W when you could roll your own, much better one in Photoshop?). All in all, nothing that makes me wish I hadn't bought my 300D. Good news for people just now entering the market for a digital SLR, but nothing terribly exciting for those of us with one already.
Posted by Colin at 8:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

Government Morons

Governmental morons.

Ban matches and lighters from all flights? Stupid.

The motivated terrorists will just stick them up their ass or something anyway.

And you're just going to piss off smokers and other people who carry lighters. You're currently prohibited from putting them in checked luggage, meaning you have to carry them on your person or in your carry-on. If you stop allowing that, anyone with a lighter or matches is going to get stuck buying matches or a lighter at their destination and then being grossly wasteful as they're forced to throw away their perfectly-good firestarter when they make their return flight.

This "Richard Reid would have blown up a plane if he had a lighter" crap is absolute bullshit. HE COULD HAVE BLOWN UP THE PLANE WITH MATCHES. OR EVEN FLINT! OR A PIECE OF WOOD AND SOME TWINE! He could have even used a self-detonating device, requiring no flame whatsoever.

Terrorists will terrorize. Period. Bending over backwards to inconvenience ourselves in hopes of achieving an unattainable goal (stopping terrorism) is just plain dumb.

How many more terrorists have tried to take a plane in American airspace since September 11th, 2001? How many attempted it before that?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

He who gives up [even in]essential liberty...

Posted by Colin at 5:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 3, 2005

Coachella

Among other acts, the Dresden Dolls are going to be playing at the Coachella Music Festival. Ticket prices aren't too bad for the lineup -- $80 for a one-day pass, $150 for both days. You could easily spend that on a single concert or sporting event in many cases.

I could fit it into my schedule since it's on a weekend, but eh. Do I really want to be in the middle of the desert in a no-name California town (but hey, it's not Blythe) in what we of the southwest know as "early summer hell"?

It also looks like your typical post-9/11 mindless security run amok sort of situation, which really turns me off.

Posted by Colin at 8:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Top 25 Songs

Like Trinity, I had decided not to go with the flock on the music meme. But that's because I think it's silly to use your top 20 when iTunes comes with a playlist for your top 25 most-played songs. Geez.

But then I was rather embarassed that Beyoncé somehow made my most-played list. She was number 25, with 32 plays, for "Dangerously In Love 2," if you require the sordid details.

So instead, I created a new playlist, stuck it on shuffle, and sorted by play order. In effect, a random sampling of my collection (an idea stolen from Trinity).

  1. Motion - Paul Oakenfold
  2. Psychedelic Terrorist - Total Eclipse
  3. Zero - Smashing Pumpkins
  4. Early In The Morning - Peter, Paul & Mary
  5. Welcome - The Who
  6. Bushfire - The B-52's
  7. Burn Away - Foo Fighters
  8. Come Out and Play (Originally By Offspring) - Richard Cheese
  9. Tourniquet - Evanescence
  10. Simple - India.Arie
  11. Black Balloon - Goo Goo Dolls
  12. Michael Dodge - Mason Proffit
  13. I've Committed Murder - Macy Gray
  14. Starry Eyed Surprise - Paul Oakenfold
  15. Una furtiva lagrima - Mary Fahl
  16. Out of Control - Hoobastank
  17. Who's To Bless And Who's To Blame - Kris Kristofferson
  18. 3 AM - Matchbox Twenty
  19. Beautiful Disaster - Kelly Clarkson (I have no idea where I got this, but it's a very forgettable song. She's got a beautiful voice and she's nice looking, but this is freakin' elevator music.)
  20. Mother - Tori Amos
Posted by Colin at 7:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack