TED Tuesdays

As I watch TED talks, the ones I wish to share will be scheduled to post here on Tuesdays. This has been happening the past few weeks, but I wanted to point it out in case anyone looking for them wishes to watch out for them.

Also, I watched some of TEDxAtlanta live yesterday. All were about the evolution of community. It seemed interesting to me how much music was a part of that.

TED Talk: Taryn Simon

My favorite quote from Taryn is, “Photography threatens fantasy.” Disney uses intricate interior design, photography, and video to construct fantasy. Advertisements, magazines, weddings, and portraits are about showing others the ideal instead of the reality. Have you seen the Dove Evolution video? (This one has music and singing by a Baha’i musician Devon Gundry.) What about the Ralph Lauren photo?

Reality bites. Hard.

(See Taryn Simon photographs secret sites on the TED site)

TED About this talk: Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography — to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit.

Also: Taryn on Charlie Rose, Discomfort Zone (Telegraph)

Georgia Theatre

All over Athens, people have been mourning over the Georgia Theatre fire today.

When I got home, I found a weird voice mail: “Hi, Mr. Greene. My name is <removed name>. I would like to discuss with you the property at 215 North Lumpkin. Call me at <removed number>.” I listened to it a second time. It hit me. Isn’t the Georgia Theatre on Lumpkin? I put the address in Google and found it is indeed the address. Wilmont Greene is the owner.

How weird?

The Digital Switch

The Long Tail claims consumers, given more options, will reflect their widely varied interests. Physical stores cannot fill all of the demand, so bytes stored on disk are the fastest, cheapest method for getting stuff to consumers. We see a mostly example of this shift in the shift to digital music.

Vinyl records were the first physical music media form I used. Later, cassette tapes (1980s) and compact disc (1990s) achieved dominance. In 2001, I started the transition to digital music. There were some stumbles along the way because of technology changes and trusting vendors saying Digital Rights Management is good for consumers. At present, I only listen to digital music when using my own collection.

Digital video seems more complicated. Web sites streaming and on-demand television have the potential to fit the Long Tail model where consumers have access to insanely varied content when they want it. DVRs neither fix the when (just shift the airing to another time) or the insanely varied content. Movie rental distributors like Blockbuster and Netflix are moving toward distributing digital movies and TV shows in setups similar to on-demand. Nothing has even come close to winning.

Digital books may yet get some traction. Computers screens cause eye strain. Laptops don’t feel like a book. PDAs, Blackberrys, and other handhelds with small screens require a ton of scrolling. A recent solution to this is “epaper” which doesn’t constantly refresh. The Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader are the biggest players. (The Long Tail is not available for the Kindle but is for the Reader. WTH?)

Remaining issues for me:

  1. Ownership is dying.
    • I really like the idea of playing music on my iPod or from CDs. I play DVDs on my computer because I can’t play my DVR stuff in a hotel. So streaming and on-demand only solutions bother me as long-term solutions. If it is easy for distributors to store it because it is just bytes, then it is easy for me to do so as well.
    • I have books from 20 years ago I can still read. Technology changes too much to depend on something I buy today working tomorrow. So maybe “renting” is a way better approach for digital media?
  2. The black markets for music and movies prove consumers want everything any time. Companies must embrace consumer demand and make it easier for consumers or suffer. I think companies changing to accommodate consumer demand is the only reason the music companies have survived. Litigation cannot solve it.
  3. Hardware investment gets expensive every few years.

My solution? Wait and see.

Armed

Devon Gundry – “Armed” from Justin Baldoni on Vimeo.

First heard Devon at the Tennessee Baha’i School back in 2007. I bought his CD. It gets a spin when I need to contemplate. This one like so much of his music makes use of a small part of Baha’u’llah’s Writings. In this case from a prayer for protection….

Armed with the power of Thy name nothing can ever hurt me, and with Thy love in my heart all the world’s afflictions can in no wise alarm me.

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Assignments Spike CPU

Yesterday a Blackboard Vista node went unresponsive but recovered. Then a second and third did the same. This was odd as only the test which logs into the node reported a failure. Normally, in severe unresponsive cases the Weblogic monitor either reports either one of the parameters we watch is very high or fails because it was unable to connect to the Weblogic.

The graphs for CPU showed 4 periods of sustained activity near 100% for longer than 10 minutes. In each case, when the CPU dropped there were multiple instances of editAssignmentSubmission.dowebct (not in the PowerSight tracked actions?) just completed. Normally when these are browser resubmissions the logged times are near identical but the time-to-process is about 300 seconds apart. In these cases the logged times and time-to-process are within seconds of each other.

I suspect this means the users (in this case students) are hitting the Submit button repeatedly. Maybe resources devoted to handling process0 are diverted to handling processes 1-5 and causing it to take longer not shorter.

Another possibility is the instructor is having the students upload something massive which takes forever to load into the database. Movies and music take up a ton of space. Maybe I could look at the graphs on storage space and see how quickly the space was consumed compared to control time frames (similar amount of activity).

One Feed to Rule Them All

There is a slight difference between FriendFeed and an RSS aggregator? According to the site, “FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing.” It is using the RSS feeds of the various sites. So, like an RSS aggregator, FF pulls information from various web sites. FriendFeed just ensures this information is associated with individuals.

So… Use my FriendFeed RSS feed to stalk me better. You’ll even not be counted on the FeedBurner tracker. 😀

Drop a comment with yours. 😀

Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS Back when I was Catholic, the two masses I enjoyed the most were Christmas and Easter. I listen to Christmas music throughout the year.

Birth and death are a fascinating duality of life. A material death is simple… The Second Law of Thermodynamics represents the scattering of the particles of which we are composed. Life at one time represented an enigma to the law. Creationists sometimes use the lack of a oppositional scientific law to describe the attraction and building complexity in the Universe as the evidence for a Creator. Evidence of absence is a tricky thing. 😀

Birth is a important milestone for amazing biological processes to compose an all new living creature. Two sets of DNA combine in a single cell. This cell divides until with a solid foundation, where they start building organs. Over time, coordinating with the mother’s body, this individual reaches a state of readiness to leave the mother’s body: birth. Countless opportunities for something to go wrong, and yet, most go right. Such a spectacularly subtle display of the power found in the Universe. We take it for granted.

Christmas is the best birth. The Nativity Story is a major part of what makes Christmas so fantastic. You have the Immaculate Conception, the Star of Bethleham, fulfillment of prophecy, fear of monarchs, and one of the most revered people known to us born in the most humble of places. Though can someone explain to me the lobsters?

Public Performance and Universities

Since restaurants get sued for not paying royalties for public performances of copyrighted music, it seems likely playing a song at an athletic event is a public performance. I wonder how much the UGA Athletics or just UGA pays ASCAP for the ability to do this? Certainly, its not academic use.
🙂

Youuuuuuu – Red & Black Sports

In a craze that has swept much of the nation, the “Soulja Boy” dance has caught on in a big way with Georgia football. During home games against Ole Miss and Auburn when the Bulldogs were down, the song has cranked through the speakers and pumped up the players on the sideline, to the delight of the fans.

In an unrelated note: if the RIAA gets its way through a US House bill, then universities will have to pay millions for monthly subscription fees whether or not individual students are or are not downloading music. Plus, they have to prove they are stopping students from downloading illegally. The repercussions of not doing these being the loss of federal financial aid.

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