Meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot:

This morning's BBC Breakfast did a short segment on "what it's like to be a young recording artist". They cut to a shot of $PFY at his computer, with a sound editor open, who plays us his most recent piece of sampled electronic beatz. It's reasonably pleasant, for that sort of thing — so okay, fair enough, he's at least moderately talented.

The voice over tells us how modern technology has made creating music much simpler for $PFY than it would have been in the past — he can do everything in the privacy of his mum's home that previously would have taken a recording studio and a lot of expensive machinery. But, the voice over continues, technology has its downsides too. For every track $PFY sells legally, a much larger proportion is illegally pirated, which cuts into his profits!

Of course, they're making the standard recording industry false assumption: that every person who has downloaded an illegal copy of this artist's work would have bought it if it weren't available illegally. This is patent bull-crap — people download things for a variety of reasons, not least of which is to have a decent listen to a track before they decide whether they want to purchase it. (This has been better argued by people smarter and more thorough than myself — with figures and everything — but my Google-Fu is failing me. Any links, anybody?)

I would have thought the real reason that $PFY is struggling to sell tracks would be staring everybody in the face. If every monkey with a computer and a lot of free time on their hands can do effectively the same thing as $PFY, it's going to be a lot harder for him to convince anybody that his efforts stand out in quality. It's a buyer's market, basically — it's less tempting for random internetters to buy one of his tracks when there are a hundred very similar MP3s being offered for free. It's much harder for him to get gigs when the organiser's nephew's roommate is offering their DJ skillz for the price of a case of beer. And it's hard for him to find agents when the pool of people jumping up and shouting "ME! ME! ME!" is pretty much the entire population of the UK. (Pardon my hyperbole).

And then there's the X-Factor effect, and what that's done to the public perception of what music is and how it is manufactured... but that's a different rant.
spudtater: (Default)
( Jul. 23rd, 2010 01:24 pm)
So, I've only just managed to free myself from the sackload of incompetents that are [British/Scottish] Gas, and am now with EDF Energy. Only a week later, guess what comes through the door? "We're sorry to hear that you're leaving EDF Energy..."

What?! No, no I'm not!

I was all ready to get a major fury on about British Gas for attempting to sabotage the switchover. Turns out, however, it was Eon which was to blame. I remember an Eon salesperson coming round recently and trying to con their way into switching me over ("no, I'm not selling anything, I'm here to carry out a price comparison..."), who I ended up having to shut the door on because of their persistance.

The team at EDF Energy have been nothing but professional and helpful about the whole thing, though. They've given me employee names and direct lines to call, and are not only trying to sort things out their end, but are also corresponding directly with Eon about the issue. Best service I've ever had from a utility company.

As far as they can figure out, it is in fact somebody else in the same area who has signed up with Eon (guess the salesman got one scalp, then), and there's been some sort of address mix-up. I suspect the classic Edinburgh "x/y versus y/x" confusion. It does my head in.
spudtater: (Default)
( Jan. 27th, 2010 01:02 pm)

Monday's word-of-the-day calendar informed me about Nellie Bly, 19th century investigative journalist extraordinaire.

Wiki extracts )

Why have I not heard of this awesomeness before?

This morning's news included the story of a report on the question: "should people in troubled relationships stay together for the sake of the children?". To which the answer turned out to be: "No". Or, more specifically, "unhappiness in children is more likely to be influenced by conflict in their family than the family's structure"

Thank you. You'd have thought that would be bleedin' obvious, but apparently not, as they then interviewed some fucking Tory who went on to explain how this survey, comprehensive and unbiased though it might be, contradicted the beliefs and policies of the Conservative party and was therefore, obviously, wrong.

I may be paraphrasing there. But only a little.

My personal feelings are that the increase in divorce levels are consequences of nothing more complex than the fact that more women are able to support themselves, giving them an increased chance of being able to escape unhappy or abusive relationships. But this would contradict that rose-tinted image of 1950's household nirvana that is so bloody pervasive in this country, wouldn't it?

Just been reading through a selection of emails* that the helpdesk here have received from a variety of outraged Americans. And thus:

Dear Sirs,

Please allow us to express our regret at the news of your cancelled trip to Scotland. Our country will be much worse off without the presence of your illiterate, gun-waving, emotionally retarded selves, and the literally dozens of dollars that you would have no doubt contributed to our economy. We are particularly distraught at the thought of alienating those of you with such a strong Scottish heritage, and are sure that your imaginary Scottish royal ancestors would indeed be ashamed of this recent decision.

Our whisky industry will also suffer greatly from your withdrawn support -- indeed, your average accuracy in hitting the correct keys on your keyboard suggests you collectively consume a large amount of Johnnie Walker indeed, and I'm sure this fine company's profits will be deeply hurt once you switch back to that good ol' fashioned moonshine just like your paw used to make.

Please let it be known that if there were any way we could win back your custom, short of turning into a bunch of violent, xenophobic, right-wing cretins like yourselves, we would do so.

Yours faithfully,


* Sorry, no can share. Don't want to risk getting colleagues in trouble.


Ho ho — silly woman, playing at being a real astronaut.

No, it doesn't make it okay because it's a woman writing it.
  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect
  6. Absolutely
  7. It's a nightmare
  8. Shouldn't of
  9. 24/7
  10. It's not rocket science

Oxford compiles list of top ten irritating phrasesThe Telegraph, 8 Nov 2008

What phrases have annoy you past any reason? I hate "going forwards", which has been going round the office for far too long. The americanism "most everything" is also a classic pet hate.

spudtater: (Default)
( Dec. 1st, 2007 07:08 pm)
LJ has just introduced flagging for adult content. If you are offended by somebody's post, you can now press a little button, and the lj censorship team are notified. If enough people press the little button, the content will automatically be hidden from people under 18 years old.

Now this isn't the end of the world, but I find it patronising and faintly nauseating. The internet that I fell in love with never judged content based on whose innocent eyes might be looking at it. Everything was available, if you knew where to look. Sexual content, violent content, offensive content: the very fact that this could be expressed was important to me as a teen. Freedom of speech, of thought, became a major part of my belief system, mainly as a result of the anarchic permissiveness of the internet. Freeeedom! And stuff. Yes, I'd go so far as to say that possibly the most offensive things on the internet are ideas like this one, and have marked that post as such. Go though and do likewise.

The reason it isn't the end of the world, or of my presence on LJ, at any rate, is because anybody can lie about their age. To encourage people to do so, I've marked my journal as "explicit adult content". Because the internet isn't "child friendly", and I'm proud that it isn't.


Posting from the pub, on a Saturday night. Is that slightly sad?

Edit: in this journal I always welcome contrasting opinions. However, if you're going to disagree, at least put in some effort to explain why. Hint: this will usually take more than two words. If not, your comments will be deleted.

Really embracing my inner grouch today. And why not?   8^)
spudtater: (Default)
( Jun. 23rd, 2007 05:03 pm)
Train journey yesterday from Newbury back to Edinburgh was delayed by flooding. Ended up taking ten and a half bloody hours. Not fun. Had time to read the Metro article complaining about Brits being "addicted to short-haul flights" rather than taking trains.

Yes, I am addicted to not being stuck for three hours in a glorified metal cylinder parked outside Crewe railway station. Shocking habit, I know.

Also: W... T... F? (Has sound).
spudtater: (Default)
( Mar. 5th, 2007 01:23 am)
Just finished watching Cold Mountain. Wish I hadn't. For some reason, instead of making me sad, it just made me coldly, infuriatingly angry. It's something that's only happened once before, and that was when I watched Million Dollar Baby. For both films, I think something about the plot — so much effort, so much staked on a long, arduous task... only to have things dashed at the end by some random event. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I know that's what life is really like; I'll even admit that not being able to deal with that may be a sign of emotional immaturity. But still. Jesus. I just don't react well at all to a plot like that.

And please, don't suggest that "you're actually upset with yourself because you don't want to cry". I'm not that ridiculous cliché of the bottled-up, bravado-and-stiff-upper-lip male twat. When I find a film sad, I cry at it. Sometimes I get embarassed about crying, but that's an entirely different kettle of emotions.

Men: do any of you know what I'm talking about? Ever watched a "sad movie" and found yourself shaking not with sobs, but with impotent rage? (I say 'men' because this feels to me like an extremely male emotional response. I'll accept that I may be wrong in this, though!) Please comment, as I'd like to know that I'm not alone! (Or, alternatively, that in fact I am a freak...)

Right. My emotions may have cooled down to a point where I'm able to get to sleep now. 'Night all.

P.S. Zoo pictures coming soon. Tomorrow, hopefully. Yay zoo!
spudtater: (me)
( Jun. 25th, 2006 01:39 pm)
Edit: Originally posted on Livejournal

Well, I've got fed up of the breastfeeding icon. I think public interest has all but petered out, which is a shame. I'm disappointed and disillusioned in LJ because complaining about LJ, skip if you're not interested )
spudtater: (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2006 11:38 pm)
Another hectic day at work, involving three different people trying to get my help at the same time, followed by the entire internet going down. (Or the router, which is almost the same thing). After a frenzied phone call to Telewest, it all miraculously started working again. Typical.

Virus scans, football supporters & memory issues )

And that's quite enough of that. How are you today?
spudtater: (Default)
( Sep. 14th, 2005 02:40 pm)
Just got another one of those annoying gas-and/or-power people on the doorstep; "You may have been switched to a higher-cost provider". Took pleasure in cutting him off there, saying "sorry, not interested", and closing the door in his face.1 This marketing ploy bugs me; it's nasty and dishonest, and works by fear and doubt rather than informed choice.

[1] I am not always as sweet and nice as I usually appear.   8^]
spudtater: (Default)
( Apr. 7th, 2005 09:29 pm)
Egads! [ profile] sigmonster has already read his height in books!

Today have been attempting to set up an Apple AirPort for wireless intarweb. It's crap. I think it's broken. I can't detect it no matter what I do. Plus, Apple have very thoughtfully created a nifty setup program that does everything for you, mentioned this fact multiple times in the instructions, and then not included it on the install CD! How imbecilic can you be?!

*Updates "products to avoid" list*


spudtater: (Default)


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