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Windows Live Wave 4

  Reading about the next round of Windows Live applications.  The original "hook" for this was Messanger, but its more recently been about cloud computing, battling the suite of Google applications that facilitate everywhere access for everything.  Screenshots of Wave 4 (the codename for the upcoming Live line) have started appearing.  Most interesting to me is their intention to start synchronizing application settings via Live, the merging of SkyDrive and Mesh (yea!) and leveraging SkyDrive to allow streaming video (and possibly music).  Lots of interesting developments.  Check out the full story and screen shots on all the Wave 4 apps.


Even more Wave 4 screenshots emerge (Part 2) – LiveSide.net

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Innovating From Behind

Yesterday Google released a new “feature” to the Google Toolbar, called SideWiki.  It allows users to leave comments on web pages as they visit them.  Innovative, you say?  I would be a bit more enthused if Microsoft hadn’t already done this 3 years ago with a small app from called Community Bar.  It not only allowed the same basic trick, but additionally allowed users to rate pages, tag and categorize them, and even chat with other people who are simultaneously visiting the same page, assuming they also were using the Community Bar.  Searching from the MCB took the page’s content into account, creating a context-sensitive search.

Microsoft Community Bar

from their site:  The Community Bar is an Internet Explorer plug-in that adds context-dependent content to the Web-browsing experience. As a user browses the Web, he or she can exchange notes from other people who visited the same page, chat with other people viewing the same page, tag the page with a bookmark or a category label, view all the in-links to the page, find related pages, perform context-specific search, and
see blog postings related to the page.


Apparently, not amazing enough.

You can get Google Sidewiki (along with their toolbar) here.  To try the Microsoft Community Bar, you need an account with Process of Change (formerly The Working Network (MCB predates Live accounts) and you can check out information about it at the Microsoft Research site, or the Community Bar site.  I’m not really sure if it’s still functional, as the developer’s site states he no longer works for Microsoft.

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The KC Torrent

I’m a long-time admirer of Robert Fripp, not just of his music, but of his viewpoints on the nature of the music business, the relationship of the listener to the performer, and the impact of technology on music.  In the 80’s, when everyone was rushing to rerelease their music on compact disc, Fripp insightfully noted that digitizing music "forced" it to conform within the 16-bit resolution used.  Shortly after that, he created Discipline Global Mobile (DGM) a small, independent music company that "aspires to Intelligence."  As Fripp describes it on the company site:
DGM began operating in 1992 as a response to the dishonest and exploitative practices of the EG Group of Companies. The EG Group collapsed in 1991, undermined by the EG partners’ ambitious interests in property and the Lloyds’ insurance market. During 1988-91 EG diverted artist income from the EG Music Group by "loans" to another of the partners’ companies, Athol & Co. This led, in turn, to the sale of phonographic and publishing copyrights controlled by EG. The sale was contested, with resulting litigation ongoing during 1991-97 between EG, Virgin Records, BMG Music and myself. At the end of the litigation, the EG partners were no longer partners and EG, as a respected player in the music industry, mostly a bad memory to those whose interests EG had claimed to represent.

The new DGM site is based on the insights of David Singleton and which led to the creation of BootlegTV (1999-2001), an online music distribution company based in Seattle. BTV closed during the Great Downturn but, even by then, the interests of VCs had already prejudiced the company’s operation and direction. This parallels our experience within the music industry: the commercial interests of record companies, and other music suppliers, have an almost wholly negative effect on how music is served to open ears and hungry hearts.

The company frequently releases obscure experiments in music creation.  Today, I received an email trumpeting the release of 4 takes of a song fragment titled "Disengage" which have Fripp, John Wetton and Phil Collins (!!!) improvising while a 1/4-inch tape deck witnesses it all on a day in 1977.  Even more incredibly, not only are the tracks available to buy (talk about the long tail of consumerism) but they can also be downloaded via BitTorrent; subverting the newest "evil" file-sharing technology into a tool for delivering legitimately purchased songs.  From their homepage:
DGM Live utilizes the latest in peer-to-peer technologies to deliver large music files across the internet. Files are distributed using BitTorrent, a file distribution utility that can dramatically increase the speed of your download by retrieving your content not only from DGM’s servers but from fellow downloaders simultaneously. Download it now.

In addition to BitTorrent downloads, you may also download your files directly from your web browser.

Now, that’s what I call progressive rock.

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Explaining Healthcare Policy

Redefining "meaningful use."  Mash-up, anyone?

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“Beating a dead horse”

verb (idiomatic) To persist or continue far beyond any purpose, interest or reason.
Alternative form: to flog a dead horse


"Beating a dead horse" is an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile.

The first recorded use of the expression with its modern meaning is by British politician and orator John Bright, referring to the Reform Bill of 1867, which called for more democratic representation in Parliament, and about which Parliament was singularly apathetic. Trying to rouse Parliament from its apathy on the issue, he said in a speech, would be like trying to flog a dead horse to make it pull a load. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the Globe, 1872, as the earliest verifiable use of flogging a dead horse ,

For..twenty minutes..the Premier..might be said to have rehearsed that..lively operation known as flogging a dead horse. [1]

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Music Tagging Blues

Music presents a host of categorization nightmares.  One that sounds simple (but isn’t) is the question: who’s it by?  Below are some musical entities that give me ulcers….
Bruce Springsteen
aka Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
aka Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street band
aka Bruce Springsteen & the E St. Band
Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons
aka Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons
aka Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons
aka just Frankie Valli
aka The Wonder Who (one of their psudonyms; either with or without a question mark)

"Weird Al" Yankovic

just Al Yankovic (not the noted accordian player)
Weird Al Yankovic (no quotes)
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (single quotes)

aka Prince & the Revolution
aka Prince and the Revolution
aka Prince and the New Power Generation
aka Prince & the NPG
aka 0(+>
aka the Artist Formerly Known as Prince
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