Friday, April 29, 2005

File Sharing news...

Slashdot has an article (link above) on the RIAA's unsuccessful attempts to get two North Carolina universities to reveal the identities of students accused of sharing copyrighted music.

As usual, the comments are a whole lot more fun, like this one by Simonetta -

What the music industry doesn't seem to understand is that they are going through a fundamental shift in their business. Things are never going to go back to the way that were before the MP3-P2P revolution. If the music industry succeeds in stopping file sharing of music recordings, they will end up shrinking their industry much more than would happen if they let file sharing continue unharrassed.

File sharing is critically important to the industry because it is becoming the only way that people can find new music that they like. The old method of music sales, which was a single song or group of songs unalterably imprinted on a plastic disk (or tape spool in the case of cassettes), enforced the perspective that the only 'natural' way to market recordings was to have every disk have the same price for every song sold to every listener. This seemed obvious and actually did work well for 100 years.

Then digitization hit. Digitization takes any media and separates it into parts in ways that were impossible and inconceivable before the medium is converted into a digital format. This happens to every media that becomes digitized. These separated forms are then recombined with other forms that have become separated from other media. All the wealth that is created from commercializing digitized media comes from the recombination of these separations into new formats that were impossible before digitization. Usually the new products are inferior in quality to previous pre-digital products, but this is ignored by customers because the new products have so much more utility than the previous higher quality but more expensive products.

Examples abound: the typewriter keys split from the printing of letters and combined with television to become the word processor. The piano split between the keyboard and the sound of the hammered strings to become the sampler. The light bulb split from the generated heat and combined with offset printing to become the LCD graphics display terminal....and so on.

Digitization split the recording from the disk. The recording combined with the telephone to become P2P and the disk combined with the telegraph to become the CD-R. The $15 group of songs on a disk became the $0.15 CD-R with 10 albums worth of songs. This isn't going to change back regardless of the draconian incarceration laws passed by the music industry. They're just going to turn ordinary college students into hardened criminals and dedicated revolutionaries. Just to attempt a vain effort to preserve an outmoded pop-music distribution method from its inevitable transformation.

The new method of music distribution will be centered on the marketing to the individual listener/customer instead of marketing individual disk recordings. The industry has to get used to the principal that in the new era, every listener is going to pay a different amount of money for each recording in their collection. Currently with file sharing, that cost is $0.00 with the listener/consumer having to do all the filtering of the junk and uninteresting recordings available on the Kazaa. (a new noun meaning the underground file-sharing network, as opposed to 'being in Kazaa'). The music industry will reap unimaginable profits off file sharing when they learn to filter the astronomical amount of recorded music to individual listener's tastes.

This is where their real future lies, not with harassing and alienating their customer base.

Check this site out - Don't Buy CDs, especially this hilarious article.

Also, Some poetic justice here. Radio stations can't play promotional cds because the stations have computer based cd systems, and the promo cds have copy-protection, which prevent their use on pcs. Heh.

P.s. Buy your cds here - CDBaby - and help the artists get a fairer share of the profits.

Their privacy policy is quite interesting -

* We NEVER give or sell your personal info to any other company - EVER! (No not even your email address!)
* Only the musician whose CD you buy will know who you are.
* If you don't even want the musician to know about you, just say so at the bottom of your order form.
* Your credit card info is never stored, and never seen by anyone. We don't store it in your permanent customer info. The card number is erased immediately after the sale, for extra protection. There is nothing of yours here to steal.
* Yes this means you'll have to type your card number again when you return, but we hope you appreciate the extra safety and privacy it gives you.

And, no Microsoft products were used in the creation of their website. Plus, they plan on being HTML 4.0 compliant, so there's no browser conflict anythime. Sounds great, eh?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Adobe out to get Marcomedia!

Wow, I can't believe I missed out on this. Adobe is all set to buy Macromedia!! Photoshop triumphs over Flash?

I guess this takeover bid was ultimately inevitable. Macromedia has totally captured the web market, something that Adobe has no idea about. Now that they're buying out Macromedia, they are set on their was to become the Microsoft of the graphics world.

I'm actually surprised that Adobe still has more buying power than Marcomedia. Maybe saddened would be a better word. Photoshop is the only good software that they possess. Every other application they've come out with has been too generic, or too lame, to make any impact. Was the world actually going all ga-ga over the PDF format? It's heavy, slow to load, and definitely not fun to use. Premiere just isn't powerful enough, and for low-end editing, there are loads of better softwares around, including some free ones. Pagemaker is nowhere near as good as QuarkExpress. Illustrator is decent enough, but it has some bugs, and CorelDraw is the standard for dtp stuff. I haven't used Audition and After Effects, and I'm really sure I will ever need to, so these I don't know about. The other Adobe products aren't worth talking about. On the otherhand Macromedia has had either refreshing innovativeness or a high level of user-friendliness in all of their softwares, and they're all pretty much unique.

My colleague Tushar is of the opinion that all of Macromedia's future innovations will be now be credited to Adobe, something he isn't happy about. A Businessweek interview with the two CEOs certainly points towards Macromedia losing their complete brand identity. Nevertheless, I'm optimistic about this merger. Now it won't be such a pain switching back and forth between Photoshop and Fireworks and Illustrator. Hopefully, the sharing of technology will lead to better integration, and more powerful tools with all the positives and none of the drawbacks.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Last friday, we released our first mobile game called CHEEZ. This is the copy I drafted for the game -

Have you even felt bad about eating cheese? Felt it go straight to your middle? Well, not any more!! Now you can eat cheese to your heart's content, with OonDir the Mouse!! There is unlimited cheeze to be had, spread out over three world of 5 mazes each.

But beware, the guardians of the maze are a zealous lot, and they will hamper your progress at every step!! Each world has two distinct types of enemies for you to tackle, and they increase in number as you progress.

Two minutes are all you have in each maze, to gobble up cheese and vanquish enemies. When time is about to run out, a magical warp will open that will take you to the next maze. Ignore it at your own peril!!

Ofcourse, if you think these enemies are too pedestrian for you, then you can always challange a friend to see who is the better mouse, and who will come away the winner!!

All this and more, in CHEEZ!!

It's a free game, for the following phones models -
Nokia: 3230, 3600, 3620, 3650, 3660, 6260, 6600, 6620, 6630, 6670, 7610, 7650, N-Gage, N-Gage QD
Panasonic: X700, X800
Sendo X
Siemens SX1

It's basically an arcade style maze game, where you control the mouse OOn Dir throught 3 different world, with 5 levels each. Each world has bugs and enemies that you need to avoid (or kill). It's a lot of fun, and multiplayer is pretty entertainig too.

I enjoyed working on it. My part of the game was basically creating user interface and splash screens, and the maze layouts for most of the first and last world levels. Plus a few of the bugs. The game was developed fairly fast, and getting it's fair share of downloads.

The sis file for the game is available at the following sites -
BoomSlang Studios

There's a also a write-up on the NewLC site.