Around the ‘sphere

Other stuff:

Checking in with the Mothman

I’ve finally gotten around to posting Jim Heaney’s one-year-after-the-trail catch-up letter, in which he reflects on the people and places he saw on his through-hike of the Appalachian Trail, updates us on the whereabouts of some trail buddies, and finally reveals the origin of his mysterious nickname. If you’re just entering Mothman territory, you can find his other letters here, or read the full story on one gargantuan page.

Pega luna, Manny!

Cool new music of the day: Joe Pernice’s “Moonshot, Manny (Pega luna, Manny),” written for the Red Sox as they enter the playoffs. Lyrics here; story here. The song, which Joe expects to have a short shelf life (though I’ve already seen the Boston Globe say it should be played regularly in Fenway), is available only via download, and only with a donation in the amount of your choice to First Night Boston.

Oh, and apropos my previous rant, it’s available in AAC or MP3, your choice. No word if the AAC is protected or free, but at least you have a choice.

Stolen music, Mr. Ballmer? Or sour grapes?

Three years ago, I was enraged to hear Steve Ballmer, the not-quite-statesmanlike CEO of Microsoft, call open source a “cancer.” Tarring a development practice that’s resulted in some really good software—as well as the viral license of the GPL—with a very broad brush when Microsoft was trying to win the hearts and minds of developers to a new development platform struck me as foolish at best and stupid at worst. I was reminded of the comments, which Microsoft has since backed down from, when I read today’s “iPod-users-are-pirates” comment:

We’ve had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is “stolen”…

My 12-year-old at home doesn’t want to hear that he can’t put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it.

Steve, where I come from, we call a statement like that condescending, inflammatory, and probably libelous—in short, fighting words. Speaking as an iPod owner who carries around 10 GB of both licensed music and tracks ripped from my own CDs, I also feel that much less inclined to investigate Microsoft’s digital music offerings if that’s what you think of music customers.

As I recall, the Sony decision pretty much set the precedent that, once you pay for media in one format, you have the right to shift it in the form of a recording for personal use. So someone might want to let Steve’s 12-year-old that he does have the right to put his music where he’d like it, as long as (a) he didn’t steal the music file in the first place, and (b) he isn’t distributing it widely to other individuals.

And Steve, we have a word for your whine about having DRM on Windows for years. It’s called “ignoring market reality.” Windows Media isn’t stagnating while the iPod takes off because customers are thieves. If anything, it’s stagnating because the DRM in Windows Media starts with the proposition that customers are thieves.

(Via BoingBoing.)

Oh, my aching

The back pain from yesterday isn’t getting any better. It’s a good thing the gutters are done; I don’t think I could climb a ladder today, much less lift one.

It was at least a productive weekend. We now have:

  • A working dehumidifier in the basement, keeping watch over my books
  • A working garage door opener, thanks to the expedient of an extension cord (there are no outlets in the garage, at least not until the electrician gets here next week)
  • A formerly flaking eave (singular of eaves?) that has been scraped and primed
  • Clean gutters
  • An official place to keep the dogs’ leashes and our mittens (I cannot emphasize how happy that makes me—less the mittens than the leashes. We found a back-of-the-door ClosetMaid shelf system at Lowe’s that I installed yesterday)
  • Better light in the living room and the first-ever light in our so-far-only-used-for-storage third bedroom
  • And a new discovery: growlers from John Harvard’s Brew Pub. In the fridge we currently have a Pale Ale, their pseudo-Belgian Shakespeare’s Wit, and their new Provision Ale. Reviews forthcoming.

Also new: waking up to the sound of the radiators hissing as they got up to temperature. I finally got around to programming the thermostat, and it was nice to wake up to a slightly warmer house. Now I just have to fix my back.