I’m Still Here

Looks like I called it, after all.

I am still around, and reading the musings of my blogmates fairly regularly. I hope to resume regular posting soon. Please keep me in your prayers – I feel like I’m standing in quicksand.

Behind-the-scenes, I’m writing some excessive, Diet Pepsi-inspired, inter-language code for a few new features on Waileia.

More to come…

The Day the Music Died

Headphones covered by a red circle with a line through itFox and others have reported what people knew was coming all along. The RIAA has proved just how much of a bully it can be by filing the first 261 of what could be thousands of lawsuits against copyright infringers.

Among the targets, according to Fox News, are a 71 year-old grandfather and a Yale professor.

The lawsuits will not pay any money to the artists who have had their work stolen, according to USA Today. All money goes back to the RIAA.

The amnesty program that has been mentioned several times in the media has not been officially confirmed or announced on the RIAA‘s web site. The amnesty program would allow violators to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for an admission of guilt sent via certified mail. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and many other experts warn against participating in the program. According to EFF attorney Wendy Seltzer:

Stepping into the spotlight to admit your guilt is probably not a sensible course for most people sharing music files online, especially since the RIAA doesn’t control many potential sources of lawsuits.

The industry has successfully settled 10 of these lawsuits for $3,000 plus attorney’s fees. To reiterate, artists will see none of the money from these settlements.

In related news: Apple says that transferring downloaded music to a third-party, while probably legal, is impractical. A confession like that makes me think that Apple’s customers deserve an apology, not a useless “tough luck.”

The questions came amid the attempted transfer of a song by George Hotelling [link broken as of post date – try Google’s cache] via an eBay auction. (The auction was delisted for violating policies related to electronic product delivery.)

TheStrike – Day 10

At 10:30 PM last night, talks broke off, with additional talks scheduled to begin today at 2:00 PM. The key issue remains wages – employees want 50 cent raises during the second and third year of the contract, while OTS‘ latest proposal says no wages during the first two years, with the option to re-open negotiations for the third year.

I must admit that I’m confused. First, the union said they want no layoffs. Then, when they got that, they said they don’t want any takebacks from the previous contract. Now, they’re asking for raises. Makes me wonder what happens if the company and city give in to that. (I really hope they don’t.)

I’m doing just fine without TheBus. I have no problem waiting for the drivers to give in.

TheStrike – Day 9

Negotiations are scheduled to resume at 10 AM this morning.

The latest proposal for fare changes, in my mind, is unacceptable. My normal commute involves an express bus. The route it takes means it takes the same amount of time as the standard bus; the only advantage is the reduced number of riders and the fact that I don’t need to transfer.

The city’s latest proposed bus fares, however, would create a special monthly bus pass for express riders for $80. That’s more than double the $30 I pay now. Or, I could purchase a regular pass ($40) and pay up to $2 on each ride. For an average of 25 rides per month, that comes out to $90. Again, the increase in price is absurd. (Oh, and they’re cancelling free transfers as well.)

Seniors will experience an even greater rate hike. The city is proposing creating a monthly pass for $5. That’s equivalent to $120 every two years – $95 more than they pay now for their $25 semi-annual passes. I agree that seniors can afford to pay more, but not that much more.

$80 is too much for me to afford. Even $40 makes me hesitant. For $55 a month, I could become a Vanpool driver. I could leave from home later, ride more comfortably, and drive the van off-hours. Plus, insurance and maintenance is fully paid for.

TheBus and the city better watch out. They’re dangerously close to losing at least one customer.

Susan Kare

A name that wasn’t familiar to me, but an important one nonetheless. If you’ve used a GUI at any point in your life, you’re likely intimately familiar with her work. In addition to many other things, she drew the mouse cursor used in a brand-new computer called the Macintosh. (The same icon, pixel for pixel, somehow magically found its way into Windows with its colors reversed.)

Check out her portfolio here.