The Times They are a Changin’

I heard that Micheal Jackson died today.

It didn’t/doesn’t really strike me on it’s own since he’s always been more of a caricature of someone famous and eccentric in my mind than an actual person.  What did strike me is that it was sudden and out of the blue.  And I heard about it via Twitter several hours before it was on the major news outlets.

Farrah Fawcett died recently too.  And so did Ed Mcmahon.

And I’ve been watching the chaos of what’s been going on in Iran via youtube including the death of Neda, a young woman who was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran while protesting the recent election in Iran.

Today, while trying to avoid thinking of any more death after reading more about Iran, I inadvertently came upon an Iranian indie band named Hypernova.  You can check out several of their songs and videos at their myspace page.

The video below seems to be their major “single” that is being pushed and it’s pretty catchy though there is some language so be forewarned those with sensitive ears.

While watching this video I suddenly flashed to when I first tried watching video on the internet.  It was way back when I was in junior high or so (which I suppose wasn’t THAT long ago relatively speaking but now that I’m 27 it sure seems like a long time ago).  Anyway, the video was choppy and I was lucky to see every 5th frame of a fifteen second clip.  Now I rely on web video entirely (I don’t have cable) and it’s all set up to play on my Xbox 360 in my living room.  I can even watch video on my new phone.  Forget that… I can even RECORD video on my phone and then immediately email it to anyone in my contacts. – I’m finally THAT guy.  I’m now that guy who starts to talk about the past when things were this way or that.

I remember when…

  • 56k modems were considered fast
  • Betamax players were still sold
  • LaserDisc was brand new (as an interesting side note, I’ve been told that UCSB – where I went to college – has one of the largest collections of LaserDisc of any university or college.  Way to pick a winner UCSB!)
  • Going to the movies cost $5.00 and $3.50 for matinee.
  • A gallon of gas cost less than a buck (sometimes much less).
  • All my siblings were either not born yet or were mere toddlers (I’m the oldest by several years).
  • 1 Gb was HUGE
  • I wanted to be an astronaut, or a doctor, or a lion tamer, or a lawyer, or a roller coaster engineer, or a radio disc jockey.
  • I didn’t get paid to design stuff – it was just wasting time back then.
  • The internet, facebook, youtube, hulu, myspace, twitter, and cell phones didn’t exist.
  • I never thought about death or growing old.
  • I would have never made a list like this.

I’d love to read what things other people remember from their childhood that seem random or interesting or funny now.


Amazon MP3 Rocks My Casbah

For those of you out there that like music and who actually pay for it legitimately online, I just can’t recommend enough.  Amazon’s offering is VASTLY superior to Apple’s iTunes it’s ridiculous.  Personally, I like owning something tangible for the most part.  Digital music has always seemed to be “less than” to me.  In fact, most of my music library is from used CDs (and CDs are starting to really tick me off on how easily they scratch).  Apparently, along with being a pack rat I’m also a tight wad.  Right.  With that aside, when I do purchase music online it has always been with a feeling of incomplete ownership.  And this is where my comparison of the two digital music stores comes in.

I am thankful that iTunes helped to break down the boundary of purchasing something digital online for the average person.  Kudos to you, Apple.  However, iTunes is a flippin’ rip-off at this point as it stands.  Seriously, $.99 for EVERY song.  Every one?  No discounts or special sales?  I just admitted I’m a tight wad.  Work with me here, Apple. (*UPDATE: Apple has, in fact, decided to “work with me” and the day after I originally made this post, Apple announced they would faze out their DRM and introduce a new pricing structure) You make it super simple to purchase music, you say.  Well anyone who sells music online should make that one of their goals.  And yes, Apple, has the one up on this category.  Purchasing music is unbelievably simple once an account has been set-up.  But then you’re not really purchasing the music are you?  You’re temporarily borrowing it.  It’s called DRM.  It supposedly helps prevent piracy but last I checked piracy is rampant.  What it really does is tick off the people who actually do purchase the product legitimately.

Case in point:  I’ve gone through a few computers and/or hard-drives.  Normal wear and tear kind of stuff.  Every time I transfer my music library for iTunes I am asked to approve the “new” device.  Same goes for replaced iPods.  I can put the music on something along the lines of up to 5 devices or computers.  This concept works great if I purchase music like I purchase something from the grocery store.  But what if I want to own my music for 20+ years (like a good record).  Assuming a replaced computer or iPod every… I don’t know… 5 years (X2, one for the computer and one for the mp3 player) then I’m looking at losing full control of my music library in 15 years or less.  And that’s being generous. (My argument still stand against DRM in general, regardless if it’s not necessarily going to continue to be an issue specifically with iTunes.) Continue reading Amazon MP3 Rocks My Casbah