Friday, August 31, 2007

On File Sharing and Music

Much has been written on file sharing and music and illegal downloads. I'll probably take some heat for saying this but I do think the music industry has a point. Most of the music I listen to isn't popular and some is downright obscure. I have music on in the background all the time. I think it's what keeps me sane sometimes. The artists aren't getting rich from it and the record companies aren't making huge profits from it. So... I own several hundred CDs, all purchased nicely and legally. The last album I purchased was Conrad Schnitzler's Trigger Trilogy. I certainly don't begrudge Herr Schnitzler what royalties he gets or Important Records any profits they make. I definitely enjoy the music when I listen to it.

What do you do when music isn't legally available anymore? What do you do if only 26 copies of an album were pressed? Yes, I'm serious. 26. Here is what I'm talking about.

Earthstar's first album, "Salterbarty Tales", has been out of print for 30 years now and is, according to guitarist Dennis Rea, impossible to find. No, I'm not aware of any file sharing site that has a copy. I'm not aware of any way to acquire that album at all. I would love to see "Salterbarty Tales" reissued on CD. I'd buy a copy. Ditto for the Eruption album that the Mutant Sounds blog I linked refers to. I'm not holding my breath that it will happen any time soon.

In cases like these I have no objection to file sharing. Nobody is being deprived royalties or profits. However, with the RIAA's heavy handed enforcement methods I'm more than a little reticent about downloading anything myself.

Music choices since last post:

Asmus Tietchens & Vidna Obmana
Jean Michel Jarré - En Attendant Cousteau
Genesis - Spot The Pigeon
Nychael Danna & Tim Clément - Summerland
Tangerine Dream - Rubycon
Kluster - Eruption

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sometimes Writing Reviews Has Its Perks

I seem to be the one and only (out of seven) O'Reilly Linux Dev Center bloggers who writes reviews of Linux distributions now and again. I've written four this year. Most recently I reviwed Wolvix 1.1.0. It was a generally favorable review but Wovix, like all other distros, isn't perfect. Given my propensity for brutally honest reviews and for pointing out flaws you'd thing a Linux distributor would steer clear of me. Guess again!

I was actually asked to write a review by the folks at one of the commercially produced (but still Open Source) distributions and they offered to send me a CD. Granted I could easily have downloaded their distribution but sending the CD was a nice touch. Since the distro in question is one I wanted to try eventually anyway I said yes. The CD arrived last week and I'll probably install it on this system today.

Having the CD sent was a nice little perk of writing reviews on a semi-regular basis. Will it affect the review? Not in the least. They may still come to regret sending me the CD if they have a less than acceptable release. On the other had, if they are confident that they've done Linux right... We'll see. In any case over the next few weeks I'll be learning my way around yet another Linux distribution.

Music choices over the last few days:
Kate Bush - Aerial
Conrad Schnitzler - Trigger Trilogy
Vidna Obmana - The Trilogy
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Roedelius - Lustwandel
King Crimson - Larks' Toungues In Aspic
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Monday, August 20, 2007

The New QSOL Ad

Following up on my post from Saturday, it seems QSOL has a new ad for Linux Journal, this time with a male face. Once again a tip of the hat to Carla Schroder for this.

Guess what? The ad is STILL inappropriate and offensive. As Carla pointed out in the comments to her Part 1, every time somebody points out some case of sexism, something "crummy to women" as she put it, someone (almost always male) will answer "What about men?" The new QSOL ad pretty much answers that, doesn't it? Yep, it still stinks.

Oh, and I still don't think white males have it so awful or are such an oppressed class in our still largely patriarchal society.

P.S.: I've been informed that the "new ad" is actually a Photoshop or GIMP creation. That doesn't change anything. The original ad is still totally uncalled for. Sexism in IT in general and the Linux community in particular is still rampant. I'll post about my latest personal experience with sexism in IT after I cool off a bit.

Music choices, last 48 hours:
Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings - Tibetan Bells III: The Empty Mirror
Earthstar - French Skyline
Cluster - Apropos Cluster

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sexism In The Linux Community Redux

I've been in the IT industry for over 27 years now. I first was introduced to Linux almost 12 years ago, I've really been a part of the Linux community for over nine years now. You'd think in that time things would have gotten better for women in IT in general and the Linux community in particular. There are certainly more of us in IT and Linux than there were a decade ago, right? I think the answer to the second question is yes, more women are involved. I think the first question, sadly, is answered with a resounding "NO!". Women still have to be better than their male counterparts to be respected or even hired and we still earn less than our male counterparts. There are all sorts of reasons why that is true but sexism, both quiet and overt, is still a huge part of it.

Carla Schroder blogs for the O'ReillyNet Linux Dev Center, as I do. Over the past three days she has posted twice. The first post told of and linked to details and a photo of a truly sexist and offensive ad which appeared in Linux Journal. The second post linked directly to a Linux Journal article from earlier this year filled with more gender stereotyping demonstrating that this is an ongoing issue at Linux Journal. I had dropped my subscription to the magazine last year after receiving the magazine in my mailbox every month for eight years. As a female Linux Professional I felt they had sent me many clear messages that I just wasn't part of their target audience.

The reactions to Carla's posts were entirely predictable. I see some, both men and women, but mostly men, who clearly GET IT. They understand why this is unprofessional and why some, both men and women, would be offended.

I see some men who want to tell us uppity women what to feel, why we shouldn't be offended, why Carla shouldn't have blogged about this, why the ad is funny or effective or generally no big deal. They JUST DON'T GET IT. They don't get that offending women, who happen to be just over half of the human race and a significant minority of IT decision makers, is just plain bad business. They don't get, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that men are offended too. If they don't see the problem it just doesn't exist. They are part of the problem.

We have a few, thankfully very few, who have the immature mentality typically seen on Slashdot whenever gender comes up. The usual attack on feminism is thrown in. CLUE: "Feminism is the radical idea that women are people too." It's about equality and equal treatment, nothing more.

One even resorts to the Rush Limbaugh "feminazi" name calling. That post is even more offensive that the ad, not just because I'm a woman and a feminist. It bothers me most as the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. The Nazis committed genocide, murdering 12 million people, including 6 million Jews and 3 million Romani (gypsies) in death camps. The term "feminazi" either equates the struggle for women's rights with genocide (I don't seriously think anyone believes that) or else it trivializes the Holocaust. Either way it's incredibly offensive and yet it's used to tell me I'm wrong for being offended.

HUGE CLUE: You can't tell Carla or me or any other human being how we should feel or react to something. We are entitled to our own feelings and our own free speech. You have a right to feel differently, of course. You don't have a right to silence us. Oh, and since Carla was kind enough to provide multiple links to people who also were offended and since so many commenters to Carla's post agreed with her I think it's safe to say that the ad offended a LOT of people.

Music choices, last three days.:
Steve Roach & Vidna Obmana - Inner Zone
Eno, Moebius, Roedelius - After The Heat
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Kluster - Klopfzeichen
Neu! - '72 Live! In Düsseldorf

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Return of Cluster

Cluster, the duo of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, has recorded some of my favorite music. They have recorded 13 albums since parting ways with Conrad Schnitzler and their earlier incarnation, Kluster (with a K) in 1971. After the release of their ninth (and weakest) album, Curiousum in 1981 Moebius and Roedelius went their separate ways. A decade later they got back together, releasing four more albums between 1991 and 1997. They last played together on their 1996 U.S. tour and their final release, First Encounter Tour 1996 was released the following year, a solid decade ago.

I joked to a friend that since another decade has gone by that it was time that Cluster reunite again. Well... it turns out it wasn't a joke. Here is their concert schedule for the next couple of months. Their second set of U.S. concerts starts in Ojai, CA on October 27. You can be sure that if they play anywhere near where I live I'll be there. I saw Roedelius in a solo performance in Asheville, NC in a small club in 1999. I actually got to meet and talk to the man. I have never seen him perform with Moebius, though, and that would truly be something special.

Music choices, last 36 hours:
Roedelius & Morgan Fisher - Neverless
Osamu Kitajima - The Source
Neu! - Neu! 4
Kraftwerk - Autobahn

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Streaming From The Top Of The World

Lots of radio stations stream their programming over the Internet. That's nothing unusual. One station that is unusual is KBRW in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States. Sure, KBRW broadcasts NPR news and music you can hear on a thousand other stations, but it also gives listeners a chance to hear local programming that gives an insight into life way up in the Arctic, in a place with midnight sun in the summer and noon nights in the winter, a place where there are only an average of 109 days a year where the mercury climbs above the freezing mark, a place where Inupiat cultural programming is mainstream.

Even if you end up listening to absolutely ordinary programming that local stations might have carried listening to it on KBRW is somehow special. Why? It's coming from a place that was truly remote not all that long ago. Now it's connected to the rest of the world, at least in cyberspace.

Yesterday's music choices:
Anthony Phillips - Private Parts and Pieces IV: A Catch At the Tables
Al Gromer Khan - Mahogany Nights
Cluster - Cluster '71

Digg It!

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Return of the Entropy Blog

Almost exactly one year ago I deleted my personal blog, the original Ever Increasing Entropy, after it became obvious that information I had posted was being used to harm me. This was during the period I had learned that my identity had been stolen. It's been a difficult year since then. I guess entropy really was increasing and my world was definitely falling apart.

The new Entropy blog will include far less personal information but will have a lot of the other elements that the original had, as in everything from political opinion to music I like to a new type of tea I may try. I still wanted some place to express myself, albeit a bit more cautiously. I hope you find some of what I post here worth reading and enjoy the new version of Ever Increasing Entropy.

Technorati Tags: