Yahoo! Music Store Closing

You know all those songs you “bought” through Yahoo!?  Turns out you were just renting.

After September 30, 2008, you will not be able to transfer songs to unauthorized computers or re-license these songs after changing operating systems. Please note that your purchased tracks will generally continue to play on your existing authorized computers unless there is a change to the computer’s operating system.

Oh wait, there’s a fix.  You can burn all of your songs to CDs and re-rip them DRM-free.  It doesn’t really matter to them that reason you bought an electronic copy was to avoid the CD…thanks for being such a great customer!

Backing up your music to an audio CD will allow you to copy the music back to your computer again if the license keys for your original music files cannot be retrieved.

I strongly recommend Amazon for buying music–totally DRM free.  You can copy and move it around as much as you want.  Once you pay for a file it is yours.


School Choice in Nashville

There’s a cool event going on at the Nashville Zoo next Thursday for those in the midstate area.  The 2008 Friedman Legacy Event is a free event presented by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research in support of homeschool, charter school, and private school rights.  They’re even providing chaperones so that your kids can have fun at the zoo instead of sitting through all that boring talking!

The event is named in honor of Milton Friedman–more details are available on their site.

Thanks to a Couple of People

I don’t hold back taking shots at Knoxville every now and then, but today we were reminded of one of the reasons we love living here.  The Missus must have dropped her wallet while at the grocery store.  Not only did someone turn it in completely intact, but a KPD officer (sorry I didn’t get his name) was nice enough to bring it by the house this evening.  As she said, “that would never happen in Florida.”

How nice to live in a place where this kind of behavior is the norm and not the exception.  Thanks to both the person who was nice enough to turn in the wallet and the officer who returned it to her.

Seemingly unrelated, I’m reading “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg” in the, uh, office right now and enjoying every word of it.  If you follow the link to Google books you can read it online for free!

Forget Education, Someone Has a Better Idea for Schools

From the NYT

“Imagine schools that are open all day and offer after-school and evening recreational activities, child care and preschool, tutoring and homework assistance,” the speech reads. “Schools that include dental, medical and counseling clinics.”

I’ll get around to imagining that just as soon as I’m finished imagining schools that do what they’re supposed to actually do–educate.  Right now, I’m not able to do much beyond imagining.

Going to the Mat has similar thoughts.

Since the mid-60s we have asked more and more of our schools to help close some socially worrisome gap, that the schools have forgotten how to do their basic mission–educating kids. Adding more “social missions” to the schools is not going to improve schools.

WNBA=We’re Not Bad Asses

Bench clearing brawl? Uber-athletic cat fight? Meh.   The video doesn’t quite live up to they hype from this article in the News Sentinel. The only thing worthwhile in the video is the audio of the guy filming it making cat sounds.

Parker was one of three players ejected along with Detroit assistant coach Rick Mahorn after an ugly scuffle with 4.6 seconds left in Los Angeles’ 84-81 victory on Tuesday night.

I was hoping this would give me a reason to watch the WNBA. Nope.

Is is just me, or is everyone else over fighting in sports in general? With the abundance of MMA on TV now, I can watch guys who can actually fight go at it anytime I want. I’ve got 2 or 3 shows of real fights loaded up on the TIVO right now that I don’t even have time to watch.

I was at an international rugby match between Argentina and Ireland a few weeks ago and a fight broke out–BORING! To quote my friend BGE: “There are so many legal ways to do violence on somebody during a rugby game–why would you ever punch them?”

Note to professional athletes–I pay (or sneak in) to see you do what you do well, not something that you aren’t any better at than I am. If I want to watch someone ineffectively flail their arms in the general directions of someone else I can just set up the Flip Video and lace up some boxing gloves with my buddies.

DING! I’m IM’ing You Regarding My Text Message

I’m a big fan of “pull” type communications like RSS and Twitter. I call them “pull” because I have total control over when and how I get information–nothing is ever pushed onto me. While they aren’t always productive, they are seldom interruptive. Interruptive technologies like IM and email with a little “ding” or popup are the quickest way to get me off my train of thought.

One reason I dislike text messaging so much is that it is abused. People feel like it’s ok to send a text about something that isn’t important enough for a phone call. From my perspective, if it isn’t worth a phone call or isn’t important enough to send later in an email, it’s not important. Loud concerts and emergency situations are the only ones that make sense to me for texting.

According to the NTY:

A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits. The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.

Thanks to RSS, I have the number of websites I visit daily cut down to less than 10. Of course, I probably read info from 50-100 sites on any given day, but I only have to visit one site to read most of them. Maybe one day I’ll grow to love these technologies. Apparently I hated Twitter at one time too.

HT 43 Folders

I Once Got Busy In A Burger King Bathroom

If these cost more than the girl, you should pass.
I always thought general idea was to take the condoms you bought in the gas station bathroom out of the bathroom before using them.  Apparently not so for a lot of people.  Ick.

But here’s this question.  Why do people have sex in public places?

Logistics can certainly play a part in the public-sex equation. But having sex in a car or on the slide at the local playground is a lot different from having sex in the women’s bathroom at Qwest Field during a Seahawks game, something a Thurston County deputy prosecutor was alleged to have done in 2006.

This article claims that the main reason is to stick it to the man (no pun intended), but I think people do it for reasons that don’t have anything to do with that at all.  For instance, I have a friend, let’s call him “Mike”, who had to have sex in a restroom at a bar.  He didn’t have any other choice.  If he’d tried to take the girl some place private his girlfriend would have definitely seen them leave together and caused a big scene.   Then there’s the case of another friend, let’s call him “Eric”,  who had to do it in the bathroom in the Atlanta airport.

“Had to” you ask?  Well, duh, yeah.  They met on the plane, and both had layovers in Atlanta en route to their separate destinations.  If you’ve checked in for a flight in Atlanta post-9/11 you know that security is a nightmare, so leaving the terminal just wasn’t an option.  And what about the people at my former job who would hook up in the broom closet or outside by the dumpster?  Do you really expect them to go anywhere else when they’re only given 30 minutes for lunch?  It just doesn’t make sense.

So I would contend that public sex happens out of necessity more often than not.  Life just moves too fast, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to line up schedules, much less make reservations at an hourly hotel.  Feel free to leave your own public sex experiences in the comments, just please don’t leave your real name if I know you.  Chances are it’s not an image I want stuck in my head.

LaCie’s 2Big Network Accessible Storage

Over the last few years I’ve recommended external USB drives to friends as a way to backup the photos, video, and music they store on their PCs.  It’s a really cheap and easy way to back everything up, and it served me really well for quite a while.  However, I eventually outgrew this solution, and I’m sure a lot of other people are in the same boat or will be soon.  With the addition of a couple of extra computers it was a hassle to constantly move the drives around to access stuff, and I don’t have a single drive inside a machine that’s big enough to hold everything.  As a result, I was having to maintain two separate external drives and having to keep them synchronized–HASSLE.

What I needed was a central location to store everything.  I needed every computer on my home network to have access to the data.  I needed the data to be automatically backed up in case a drive failed.  I needed to set up roles for different users so that guests could read some directories and not others.  Mostly, I needed it to be cheap.

I think I’ve moved almost everything over to the new LaCie NAS I bought a couple of weeks ago, so I figured it was time to give it a little review.

I’m usually slow to make decisions on these type purchases, and it usually pays off, as I think it did here.  I looked for about a year at various solutions, and I almost pulled the trigger on a RAID 5 terabyte last fall, but at ~$1k (which was a great deal) I couldn’t do it.

I ended up paying $311 for the LaCie 2Big at Amazon with free shipping.  I did have to make a couple of compromises, but I think the savings justified it.  First of all, this system comes with two 500 Gb drives to make a full terabyte.  That means there’s not chance to run RAID 5.  The only option to safely store data is to run it at RAID 1, which keeps a copy of the data on each disk separately. It’s plenty fast, but splitting the disks means that you only get 500 Gb of storage instead of the full terabyte.  However, I think this is justified because I could have bought two of these for $600, and still come out cheaper than buying the RAID 5 terabyte.

I’ve read some other reviews that say this NAS is noisy, but I don’t find it to be an issue.  Sure, you can hear it, but it’s not loud.  I have an old junk PC that I use for a web and database server, and the fan on it is much louder (and much more annoying).

Setup could not be easier.  It’s very simple to set up shares, users, and user groups.  Security settings are very intuitive, and the web server that controls the NAS seems reliable.  It is about as plug and play as I can imagine a system like this being.  Even the agent that runs on  machines that access the drive is lightweight.  As I said before, it’s also plenty fast.  Copying all of my music over to the drive from an old external USB drive took quite a while, but I think that had more to do with the network load than anything else.

The only real issue I’ve had so far is that I can’t seem to maintain a connection to the drive on a PC while opening a VPN tunnel open for work.  I’m sure I could fix this, but it’s not a huge deal since my I don’t use my work computer for playing media anyway.

Overall–extremely happy with this product.  On one hand I wish I’d made the jump to NAS earlier, but on the other hand I’m glad I waited and got so much solution for my money.  If you’re starting to run out of space with your media files or if you’re looking for a safe way to maintain backups this is a great system.  There are other options such as maintaining backups on an external server, but the solutions I looked at weren’t very cost effective.  JungleDisk, which comes highly recommended, was an option for me, but it was going to cost about $74 a month to store all of my data.

Let’s Call it Two Million Hundred Dollars

Maybe that would have been an easier PR sell for the UT Athletic Department. Then they’d only be dealing with hundreds of dollars instead of millions. That may be a little easier for people to swallow.

And this facility is used how many times a year? Seven? Let’s be generous and call it ten since the Knoxville Marathon finishes in the stadium and there’s a chance Kenny Chesney may play there. And let’s assume that the investment is stretched out over ten years, or 100 days of use.

That means these upgrades will only cost $2,000,000 for each day they are in service.

“We’re being as careful as we’ve always been to make sure we spend these dollars wisely that Tennessee fans and donors invest,” Currie said.

It must be nice to have money.  I’m just glad it’s not my money they’re spending.

Neyland face-lift: $200M.

What The World Needs Now–Bubbles

That’s right.  Bubbles.  Do you have a better idea?  What better way to fix long term economic issues than by the use of short term economic solutions fixes schemes.  Sometimes I forget how much I love  The Onion

The most support thus far has gone toward the so-called paper bubble. In this appealing scenario, various privately issued pieces of paper, backed by government tax incentives but entirely worthless, would temporarily be given grossly inflated artificial values and sold to unsuspecting stockholders by greedy and unscrupulous entrepreneurs.

It’s funny.  Because it’s true.