22 December 2007

Moving Once More

I'm moving the blog again, this time to my own web domain: mindbat.com.

I swear, this is the last move, guys. I'm settling in to full control of my own site, and planning to expand it's offerings yet again.

So pack your comment bags, and join me over at the new site!

19 December 2007

Oh, the Irony!

I was just thinking how many cool web domain names are already taken, when I wondered, "What if you had a site with the name www.allthegoodnamesaretaken.com? Wouldn't that be ironic and hip?"

It turns out someone beat me to the irony, but left out the hip: that domain name is being squatted on by some nameless company.

05 December 2007

Hubble to get New Eyes

The New York Times reports that the Hubble will be serviced one more time next year.

This is great news, since this mission (scheduled to take place years ago) was canceled after the Shuttle Columbia disaster.

I had the chance to work on one of the instruments going up to Hubble--the Wide Field Camera 3--while working at NASA, and I'm glad to see the mission's going forward.

03 December 2007

Amazon has WMD?

Apparently, Amazon is now selling Uranium-238

Get yours now, while Nigerian supplies last!

29 November 2007

Beverage Warning

Do not drink while reading this: The 9 Most Bad-Ass Bible Verses. You have been warned.

27 November 2007

Why DRM is worth fighting over

Much to my chagrin, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Neil Gaiman over the Kindle's DRM.

DRM isn't about lending books out (though that would be nice to still do), and it isn't about trying to get stuff for free. I don't have any problems paying for music and books (one look at my credit card statements would prove that to anyone), and I don't want to broadcast copyrighted works over the Internet.

What I do want to do is to be able to move my music and books from place to place and from device to device. I've already posted on how the DRM in iTunes means I've lost more than 3 Gigs of music just because I decided to stop using OS X. Now, if I were to get a Kindle and buy several books that I later want to move to a different device (say, a Sony Reader released in a year or two that's much, much better), I'll be screwed. If the books are DRM'd, they'll be attached to just one device: the Kindle. If I want to move them, I'll have to buy another copy. If that new copy is also DRM'd, I'll have to buy another copy if I ever want to move it to a different ebook reader.

I'm already dealing with this with the Adobe eBooks I bought before switching to Ubuntu. Because the books are DRM'd, I can read them on my Palm--which supports the DRM--but not on my computer, or any other electronic device I own. The PDA I wanted to buy--a Nokia N800 internet tablet--I didn't, because it wouldn't be able to read any of my DRM'd ebooks.

So if you don't mind being locked into one product, one company's way of doing things, forever, then DRM is not a problem. But if you ever want to exercise your buyer's right to choose--a key component of a free market--DRM will bite you in the ass.

23 November 2007

Another Switch

As part of the switch from OS X to Ubuntu, I've lost iTunes, and thus can't listen to all the DRM-infected music I bought from the iTunes store.

Since I bought more than 3 Gigs of music from Apple, that really p*ssed me off.

But rather than strip the DRM from the music (which is now illegal--thanks to the U.S. Congress), or try to run iTunes via Wine, I've simply switched to a different music service: eMusic.

eMusic runs on subscriptions, meaning for $10 a month I can download 30 DRM-free MP3 files from their library. That's one-third of the price of songs on iTunes, and once I've downloaded the music I can burn 'em to disk, move them from computer to computer, or do anything else (non-commercial) I feel like. It's a simple, straightforward, consumer-friendly (and legal) way to download music.

Why doesn't iTunes work like this?