Finding parts for a 17-year-old computer

I seem to have obsessions with mechanical things in their late teens. My second car was a 1977 MGB that I drove from 1991 until 1996, when it turned 19 (and caught fire, but that’s another story). Now I’m working on this surplus old Mac.

It’s not a Fat Mac, as I originally reported (and was told by the donor), but it was free, and came with some goodies. An extra keyboard, in the original box. An external floppy drive. And a replacement motherboard, internal floppy, and back chassis. (The back chassis is the part that was signed by the original Mac development team; to look at it for the first time is kind of awe inspiring.)

It did not come with the tool needed to open it, which is a specialty long handled Torx 15 wrench only available from Sears these days. It also didn’t come with a replacement PRAM battery, which was originally an Eveready 523 but which can apparently be replaced by the Exell A123 4.5 volt battery.

Next steps: figure out how to get to the yoke on the CRT to fix the bad solder joint.

Supporting weblog research

Wil Wheaton points to a survey of bloggers being conducted as part of a thesis investigation at Georgetown University. It appears to be a fairly well thought out survey with a good variety of demographic and behavioral questions about blogging.

Though I have a few criticisms of the survey (the caps on the choices numbers of daily and weekly visitors are really low, and the sample she’ll get will be nowhere near random), I still think that research on blogs is worthwhile and encourage you to visit the survey.

License to sample?

Creative Commons discusses adding a potential new commons license that explicitly grants sampling rights. Interesting idea, and they quote Don Joyce of Negativland: “[A sampling option would] stop legally suppressing it and start culturally encouraging it — because it’s here to stay.”

While I respect Mr. Joyce’s work, I’d like to hear from other musicians on this one. I can’t help but think that putting a license that grants blanket rights to sample might be opening the door for free riders. An artist like Negativland sampling something is one thing: someone pulling a P. Diddy and creating a new song that practically clones the original is something else, and I’d want to be sure that I was protected against that by default.

Besides, if someone creates a new hit song whose hook, chorus, or other major melodic element is wholly derivative of my performance, I’d want recompense in the form of royalties. The draft broadly proposed at Creative Commons doesn’t appear to allow for that option.