Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pandora Has No Soul.

I spend a lot of time listening to If you don't know, it's like an internet radio station that allows you to create your own style of station. You add a couple of bands or songs, and it tries to guess what you like.

Here's why I can say that it has no soul:

I spent four hours yesterday trying to get it to create a station for me. It failed. I kept adding songs that fit in my category, and it kept analyzing them based on the wrong details: Chord structure, rhythm, etc.

The theme was joy. All the songs I chose made me feel happy and want to dance.

Pandora couldn't get that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manic Creative

I've mentioned before that I am self-classified as a manic creative. This means that my mind is on twenty-four hours a day, coming up with new things. I have no particular focus: It could be prose, poetry, animation, music, dance, performance... Often it is a combination of several.

My problem is that I'm too scattered. I only write short fiction because I can't finish anything long before I lose interest in it. I also find it frustrating that I'm stuck in one medium. My readings usually incorporate music and theatrics.

I'm currently trying for sincerity. That's the keyword that I'm trying to address with my work. I have moved my fictional and slightly humorous post-apocalyptica off this blog and onto Apocalypse A-Go-Go so I can focus on my truth. I have given up playing all instruments except the ukulele and my voice. My performances are becoming more and more simple and sincere.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Corporate Bullying: Why Adobe is Welcome to Bite Me.

I have recently decided to return to my roots as a dyed-in-the-wool anti-corporate guy. Here's one incident that helped push me in the right direction.

I downloaded the latest version of Adobe Reader. It installed a rogue application (rather like a virus, it's a program that you didn't invite that hides in the background and violates your rights) called "Adobe Updater." My firewall software didn't block it, since it thought it was a regular program.

I only noticed it a few days later when I tried to use some of my software. Recently, Adobe bought its only real competitior, Macromedia, in what was certainly one of the worst cases of anti-trust violation in the software world. Since they now owned the rights to this software, Adobe Updater decided to block my ability to use my legally-purchased Macromedia software until I re-registered with them.

Let's be clear: I own this software. I didn't steal it. This little rogue application that I did not agree to have on my computer changed my certification files so I couldn't use my software. It took a couple of days essentiall hacking my own operating system to delete these configuration files and replace them with the original ones. I also found out how to turn off this malicious program. There's not an option: you have to edit registration files and so forth.

So now I don't use any Adobe products. I found a little program called SumatraPDF, which so far has opened every .pdf file I have tried. And it's free.

I am replacing all my Adobe and Macromedia products with open source software wherever possible. If there isn't an open source version, I am buying software that doesn't have DRM.

I'm an honest person. Adobe's piracy problems are just that; their problems. It doesn't give them the right to violate the integrity of my privacy. They are creating their own piracy problems by bullying their customers.

Please notice my picture

Some of you may have noticed that I recently changed my profile picture to the above. No, that's not me in the picture. Here's why I did it.

I came across this picture on an entertaining blog that I read occasionally. The author of this blog was using it as a source of humor. Obviously, these are not classically attractive people, and I admit to a small chuckle myself.

Throughout the rest of that day, I kept returning to this picture. Look at it closely. This guy has a kind smile. He probably works hard at a low-paying job where everyone likes him. I'll bet he takes pleasure from simple things that I take for granted. He has a girlfriend with a down-to-earth kindness about her.

They will probably marry and struggle and occasionally fight over bills. I bet he will never hit her, even when he's angry about the money.

I have temporarily changed my profile picture to salute them. I hope they find happiness.