Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080824


So how was your week? Mine managed to keep me entertained.

My favourite quote this week came from an interview between Wired and Derek Sivers (the ex owner of CD-Baby).

Wired asked him the question: “What is the most broken aspect of the music business?”

Sivers answer? “The disconnect between the music, as a final product, and the musician, as a person going through an ongoing creative process.

There are plenty of millionaires who would pay millions to hang a Van Gogh painting on the wall, but hardly one that would have ever had the crazy nut over for dinner. I feel like the big companies are like that with musicians. They’ll say, “We love music! It’s all about the music!” — but if a musician shows up at the door, they call security. ”

Absolutely priceless. Well I think so.

The interview is at

Derek’s Blog is at


This is my favourite thing for the whole week though. My views on copyright are pretty well known but this is just a glorius hack of a bad law.

Here is the background.

If you want to register a song at GEMA (RIAA, ASCAP of Germany) you have to fill in a form for each sample you use, even the tiniest bit (No fair use provisions over there). On 12 Sept 08, German Avantgarde musician Johannes Kreidler will -as a live performance event-register a short musical work that contains 70,200 quotations with GEMA using 70,200 forms.

The legal specialist in the video says that usage must be licensed even if the fragment is too small to be identified. That’s like saying that, if I print out some Escher images and recycle them into a new sheet of paper, then I need a license to exhibit that sheet of paper. I really really really hope some one challenges GEMA to prove unlicensed usage – I so want to see them attribute one single waveform cycle to the original song. As one blogger wrote a “bureaucratic comedy” of monster proportions.


Let’s do BLAME.

Kalene C really deserves it for this contribution.

“I am not sure if this was spotted by your crop- circle detection. It is from 2004 perhaps your security filter was set a little too high for this

and then followed up with this one


I found something that truly made me feel inadequate as a crafter.

I can’t even knit with my fingers with very fat yarn that i spun myself, So unfair! So upsetting!

Kalene ”

And Jools found this

“A couple from Bosnia & Herzegovina turned a Volkswagen Beetle, into a wooden sculpture. Incredible work, and it even runs. ”

Love, Jools

but her highlight was

“Oh yes, someone having way too much fun. MMI alert. San Fransico Tourism apparently. I’d go there.

Love, Jools

Bloody typical, Melbourne gets Fashion Week and San Francisco get Star Wars ships.

What do you mean it’s fake?

I saw it on YouTube. they never fib. Do They?


Speaking of not real, check out Emily. Jools also spotted this one and talk about mind blowing.

To quote the Times article.

“She is considered to be one of the first animations to have leapt a long-standing barrier known as ‘uncanny valley’ – which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness.

Researchers at a Californian company which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a ‘control system’. ”

Read the article and check out the video. Damn my reality just got even more confused.


Given my rant about the turkey that was the last Star Wars movie, Craig H sent in this


Star Wars in ANSCI. Bought to you by Star Wars fans with way too much time on their hands (is there any other type of Star Wars fan?)

From Start|Run in Windows type this address and enter:


Regards, Craig”

Gotta say, it’s a better story than “The Birth of Asthma Man”. Does this class as CGI (Computer Generated Imagery)?


A yummy new edition of Edge is out.

Clay Shirky in one article pursuing his ideas on “social software” entitled “GIN, TELEVISION, AND COGNITIVE SURPLUS”. Shirky is on of those people who drive you crazy for about a week after you read his stuff and then you have this “Aha” moment read some more and then repeat the process. Good stuff

Also in this issue, John Pareles’ (one of my favourite music journalists) NYT article on David Byrne and Brian Eno’ new collaboration, “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”. Their followup album to 1981’s “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”. 27 years. talk about “the difficult second album”. Must be a record {sorry}.

By the way NPR has a podcast at which has some of the music. It really sounds even better than Ghosts.


It’s the “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools covered Regina Spektor and Concert TV. I was really taken with “king tebbutt & whistler” and “Moving Hearts”. RTE had some live concert audio of them and it was wonderful. Head over to


Flash Game Dept: Impediments to Productivity is a the name at the top and it’s Monday so lets bring capitalism to it’s knees (unless you happen to be one of my clients in which case this one is blocked at the firewall.. Just kidding).

By now you will have worked out that I am a fan of science and I find it depressing when all the shows on the tele always have the technician came out yelling “the experiment was a failure” when quite obviously it was a success because you they have just proved that one part of their hypothesis is provably wrong. BUT the rest of it is untested. Failure can be a good thing. “Fantastic Contraption” this weeks Flash game will allow you to prove that for yourself.

This games goal is really quite simple: Don’t go crazy, no wait that’s not it. try this one. Assemble your contraption in the work area (the light blue box) and propel the pink wheel into the pink box. You get a small selection of components – wheels, a water-drive rod, and sticks. Using these bits you pretend you have somehow acquired MacGyver’s genes assemble them into some brilliant contraption, solve the puzzle, soak up the crowds adulation and then move onto the next level and do it again!

If you register it allows you to create and save levels, and you’re given given a url that links directly to your creation so you can frustrate your friends. Unfortunately, playing other user’s saved games requires a $10 registration fee, but you’ll have plenty of fun playing the free levels.

Trust Me. (thanks to those of you who sent this one along)

Well that’s enough for this week. Hopefully there will be a more reliable publishing schedule in the weeks to come. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to Oh Laura and Dragonforce (which is even more brain damaging than last weeks combination) }
{Currently reading: Still on The True Game series by Sherri S Tepper }
{Quick Status Check: Still writing documentation and it’s still absolute Hell}
{Crop Circle Status: Total for August so far is up to 16 and the Oliver’s Castle one is a ripper. }


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080818


We’re back, well sort of. The madness continues but it is slowly getting under control. Anyway today’s Impediment is coming to you courtesy of Channel Ten showing the first Star Wars III (The Birth of Asthma man. It’s alive, alive I tell you).And a shiny new bottle of Oban Single Malt, and after watching the turgid piece of dross that George Lucas foisted on us, it was sorely needed.

Well that’s how last weeks update started, BUT as you may have spotted. it didn’t arrive (What do you mean “Who Noticed”). It seems that the database security (we do try and keep the men in black hats out you know) was turned up a notch to high and it prevented the mail from leaving the building. Gotta love technology. By the time I discovered that it hadn’t gone it was to late to catch Monday so I let it go until this week.

Over at O’Reilly Digital Media is an article by David Battino. He is a musician a writer and I have been reading his stuff for ages. Last week he had an article that I found fascinating

“When half your population can’t read, the spoken word becomes crucial. The Literacy Bridge project is designing a portable voice recorder that third-world populations can use to share news, history, and educational texts. In addition to recording and playing back audio, the Talking Book Device (hardware specs PDF) has buttons for basic interactivity – think quizzes and branching. Furthermore, two devices can be connected via USB, allowing peer-to-peer or kiosk-based file transfer.”

There is a lot more to the article and the links that run from it. It made for an interesting week of head games that weren’t computer related.

While we are on the subject of Audio, here is audio pron for geeks. A casual rather than technical walkthrough of some microphones you are likely to encounter in any professional recording studio, and how to get the most out of them when the time comes (yeah, right like some one is going to give me a Neumann and expect to get it back). Comes with eye-candy!

AND a last audio thingy, I have been seduced by the darkside (insert asthma noises here). After two years of sterling service I have retired my 4G Sansa MP3 player and gone out and bought an iPod Touch. There are long involved technical reasons for the change (they are known as rationalisations) but the short bit is that it’s a really lovely toy. I love the multitouch interface, it sounds good, the web interface is just amazing BUT (you knew there would be one) I have to say the iTunes software is just crap.

I have been using foobar2000 to load the old MP3 player up and it was the proverbial doodle. There was a folder I kept all the duggup stuff in and every week I would add and delete stuff to the folder and the software would do it’s thing and just deal with it. Every Monday I wiould have new songs ready to go and it was seamless. I haven’t figured out how to do the same thing with iTunes.

But the way that iTunes handles podcasts is well worth putting up with all the crap. Fresh music from NPR every day. Yummy.

So enough about my toys lets get on with the show.


The new issue of Smithsonian includes a concise interview with avant-garde multimediatrix Laurie Anderson. In it, Anderson talks about pop music, her tenure as NASA’s artist-in-residence, Andy Warhol, and some odd jobs she took just for the experience. From Smithsonian:

You’ve also worked at McDonald’s?

Yeah. I began to think, “How can I escape this trap of just experiencing what I expect?” I decided maybe I would just try to put myself in places where I don’t know what to do, what to say, or how to act. So, I did things like working at McDonald’s and on an Amish farm, which had no technology whatsoever.

It’s a great read.

Jools found this

“MI (more impedimentia) material right here. Hee Hee Hee
Love, Jools ”

My favourite was the dude in the mirror. Yes they are all American

BUT then there’s this one.

Cops in Oldham, UK broke into the wrong house while searching for a fugitive; rather than leaving an official note or apology after smashing in the door, they used the magnetic letters on the fridge to spell out OLDHAM TASK FORCE CALLED.


Marshall McLuhan is one of the most inspiring resources for making sense of media and what’s happening to it. His books and writings offer a wealth of insights into the media transformation and changes we are witnessing now, over 30 years after he described and anticipated them. I still remember reading his stuff in the late Sixties and early Seventies and going “Wow”.

On July 22nd, Cory Doctorow spoke at the inaugural Cambridge Business Lecture. This relates to the previous item as a wonderful example of the sort of changes that McLuhan was talking about. Cory gives a fantastic, wide-ranging and quick-fire talk, he talks about copyright, why DRM is doomed, piracy, and much more.

This site is worth bookmarking and popping back every so often


NPR has been recording music from the Newport Folk Festival and I have been listening to chunks of it as it becomes available. One of my favourite concerts so far has been Steve Earle and to quote

“Right from the beginning, Steve Earle channeled the spirit of Woody Guthrie, noting that we need him now more than ever. Out of all the artists at the Newport Folk Festival, Earle’s invocation is the most appropriate – he certainly would have fit in well at the festival’s inception. Here, he stood solo with an acoustic guitar, singing about downtrodden American characters and a desperate need for change.”

He also does the best version of Taneytown I have heard him do. Bloody brilliant

The podcast is available at

And yes this probably could have been a duggup piece but who ever said I was consistent.


Which segues nicely into the “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Let’s face it though I always have a ton of fun with it. Two Scottish indie bands, an acoustic duo playing guitars. very very well and Allison Crowe, a Canadian who should not be missed. Jools pick this week was a band called Lyduia, they are amazingly good. Head over to


Flash Game Dept: Impediments to Productivity is a the name at the top and it’s Monday so lets bring capitalism to it’s knees (unless you happen to be one of my clients in which case this one is blocked at the firewall.. Just kidding).

Totem Destroyer is a fun little Flash-based physics game that is one part Indiana Jones, and one part knockout.

The game play is simple; click on blocks to destroy them, while ensuring that the golden idol never touches the ground. There are three types of blocks: brown, green, and black. Brown blocks can be destroyed. The green ones are both bouncier than the brown ones, and have less friction, and they too can be destroyed. The black ones cannot be destroyed (bummer).

Each level starts with the idol balanced precariously on a stack of blocks, and your goal is to destroy the prescribed number of blocks without breaking the idol. There are 25 levels of mostly increasing difficulty, so this time waster should last you through your coffee break and part of your lunch break.

Well that’s enough for this week. Hopefully there will be a more reliable publishing schedule in the weeks to come. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to DragonForce and Steve Earle (you have no idea what a brain damaging combination that is) }
{Currently reading: The True Game series by Sherri S Tepper }
{Quick Status Check: Writing documentation is absolute Hell}
{Crop Circle Status: Total for July was 27 and August so far has 14 and they have pulled out all the stops this year. Drop dead gorgeous stuff. ( I am resisting the “bumper crop” reference. well almost) }