Daily Archives: December 3, 2006

I Has a Karma

First, I had yet another entry vaporized by a power outage, so to compensate you all for the loss of this entry, which would have changed your life forever, here’s a picture of a kitten and some very poor grammar:

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Second of all, what I really don’t want is suggestions on how not to lose work when I lose power, or surprised commentary that I don’t automatically save work, or whatever. I know all the ways not to lose work and you can assume hearing any of them just after I have lost some work is going to just annoy the holy living crap out of me. I mean, I appreciate the thought and all. But, really, no. Just, no. Hush.

Third of all, the reason that winter is power outage season here in the Scalzi household is that the mastermind who built this house put both the room that is my home office and the room that is the master bedroom on a single circuit breaker, so in the winter, when I run a watt-sucking space heater in a room filled with electronics and the lights and TV are on in the master bedroom, plugging one more thing into a wall sock will cause it all to shut down. In this case that one other thing was the vacuum cleaner. Snap.

The bitter irony here is that Krissy, who went out earlier in the day, asked me to vacuum the upstairs while she was away, and i said “sure” and then entirely forgot about it. So when she came home she decided to do it herself, plugging in the vacuum and entirely unintentionally consigning my work to nothingness and causing her husband, a man of normally mild disposition, to swear like a sailor dropped into a jostled box of wet cats.

After I came back up from resetting the circuit breaker, Krissy admitted to me her first reaction to having the power go out and me cursing was to think “Ha! Karma!” to herself. Because if I had vacuumed earlier, like she asked me too, this never would have happened. And of course she’s absolutely right: Karma done kicked my ass. But, hey, at least you got a cute cat picture out of it.

Be My Musical Guinea Pigs

I’m fiddling around with ways to legally share music with all y’all, and at the moment I’m looking at Rhapsody’s playlist sharing feature. Rhapsody allows you 25 free listens a month (which could be one listen to 25 songs, or 25 listens to one song, or any inclusive combination of songs/listens equaling the number 25) and as far as I can see takes you to a relatively non-obtrusive landing site which will then open an anonymous-user flash player via your browser.

Both the landing site and the flash player are Rhapsody-branded, of course, and will exhort you to join Rhapsody. But at least as I’m using it doesn’t require you to sign in to listen to the music, and the streams are high-quality, so you don’t hear much degradation of the music (as in the case of Napster’s free music set-up, in which you can listen to any track three times, but on a 32kbs stream,which is fairly crappy). This seems like the best compromise of sound quality/user ease/musician compensation that I can see out there at the moment — but I’m interested in whether you think the same.

So: Here’s a five-song playlist, featuring “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor, “Boy/Girl Song” by Aphex Twin, “Helpless” by kd lang, “Sweet Thing” by the Waterboys and “She Goes on” by Crowded House. Would you do me the favor of trying out the link above and seeing how it works for you. Is it a reasonable way to share music? Or too complicated/too much a pain in the ass? Let me know and I’ll factor it in for further consideration. Non USians, be aware that you might not be able to listen to full song streams because of licensing issues in your own home country. Let me know if it does work for you in countries other than the US.

Now, if Rhapsody (or any other music service) were to come to me and ask me what I’d really want in order to share music on my site, I would tell them what I’d really like is the ability to get a widget that would allow me to make my own streaming music channel which I could program via Rhapsody’s library of music, and through which they could track the number of streams played/songs streamed, the better to charge me monthly for the statutory licensing fees. That way I could set up a really excellent personalized music station without killing my own server and easily compensate the musicians I’m featuring, and Rhapsody would have a really excellent feature for subscriber retention/new customer advertising. Seriously, that would be an excellent thing, and I would love it to death. Someone needs to get on that.

Until then, let me know how the playlist works for you.