There is justice in the world

Although Peter Murphy is not available on Apple’s iTunes Music Store, William Burroughs is. Dead City Radio and Spare Ass Annie. Track by track.

If you’ve never heard Michael Franti and the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprasy backing up Burroughs’ insane rants on the latter album, you at least owe it to yourself to spend the $0.99 to check out the title track.

Hey, anyone notice you can’t link to anything in the iTunes music store from the Web? Dumb, Apple.

Negroponte on spectrum, international media labs

Last week I went to an MIT alum event at which Nicholas Negroponte, founding director of the MIT Media Lab, spoke. It was less… revelatory than I would have expected. In fact, Negroponte, who said he doesn’t do that sort of stand up talking very often, largely eschewed the techno-prognostication that made him famous except for a discussion on the merits of open spectrum.

Instead, he talked about:

  • The Wired article (“You’d think that they could have chosen a more flattering photo… however, the article was substantially true.”)
  • Efforts associated with or partly sponsored by the Media Lab to wire third world classrooms (the Digital Nations project)
  • The international expansion of the Media Lab
  • The growth of the Media Lab from an organization funded, in no small part, from UROP fees to the heights of the late 90s, and the difficulty of raising the last bit of cash for the new building now that sober fiscal reality has settled in
  • On working with corporate research sponsors (“The only complaint I ever heard from the corporations was that we weren’t crazy enough… Have you seen what really creative people look like and how they act? Would they survive in a corporate environment? They were outsourcing that uncontrollable creative energy to us.”)

A great talk. I need to come back and blog more of the things he said about Digital Nations and about WiFi and mesh networks, but that can wait until later.

Apple’s new music download service

Details at MacInTouch (which is slammed): All five major labels, over 200,000 songs and growing, $0.99/song, AAC, burning allowed (but you have to change the playlist every 10 burns), browsable via iTunes (4), new iPods, new iPod dock with line out.

I’m getting ready for a presentation. More thoughts later.

Later: Details are now up on Apple’s site. Added to the above: only browsable via iTunes—so the service is Mac only. The service uses AAC, not MP3, which means higher fidelity music. You can “play your music on up to three computers, enjoy unlimited synching with your iPods, burn unlimited CDs of individual songs, and burn unchanged playlists up to 10 times each.” So of course the questions are:

  • If I buy a new machine and move purchased files to that machine, and erase them from the old machine, does that count as using them on two computers?
  • Do I have a separate license file to move with the media?
  • I may not be able to browse the files on my PC, but can I play them there once I download them?

Reading the Black Dog

Fortunately, I’m not in a mood where the Dog is too close, but I did finally start reading Churchill’s Black Dog. At first I was taken aback. It’s a collection, and only the first story is about Churchill. Also, the author (a psychoanalyst) spends the first 15 pages discussing various theories of Churchill’s temperament. Apparently Sir Winston was an “extraverted intuitive,” “predominantly endomorphic, with a strong secondary mesomorphic component,” and of “cyclothermic temperament.”

At this point the book almost went out the window. But I persevered, and on the next page, following an anecdote about Churchill’s depression before World War II, there comes the line:

Many depressives deny themselves rest or relaxation because they cannot afford to stop. If they are forced by circumstances to do so, the black cloud comes down upon them. … He invented various methods of coping with the depression which descended when he was no longer fully occupied by affairs of state, including painting, writing, and bricklaying, but none of these were wholly successful.…

Hooked. Guess I’ll have to keep reading now…