My approach to comments on this blog

I don’t receive that many comments on this blog. As a result it allows me to be ruthless.

I like receiving on-topic questions or comments that add to the discussion. If your comment simply states “I came across this blog and I think it is great” whilst linking back to a website that appears to be spammy, then prepare to get blacklisted.

You will be marked as spam if you comment is off-topic and/or your comment website links to a spammy website (I have a low threshold) .

Don’t waste my time or I will waste yours. I error on the side of fuck you.

Legal music downloads aren’t working

Michael Robertson of writes today in the Register that legal digital music distribution is commercial suicide. I thought I’d comment on my feeling towards digital music.

I used to love listening and collecting music. Although I used to baulk at buying CDs (at UK prices), every now and then I would indulge. However, in the last few years my music purchases are rare, and I loathe spending the money on something I believe is over-priced.

The music industry is still trying to convince us that we should pay more for digital music than we did for CDs (£0.99 x ~15 tracks = album cost). I don’t download music, because I don’t feel it’s fair to the artist, and therefore my only option is to stop buying new music in protest. I’ll have to stick with what I paid handsomely for over the years before I realised I was being ripped off.

The entire industry is a sham. The consumer is being used, abused and totally screwed. I’d be happy to pay an equitable price for music, and might even get back into collecting music again if I thought I wasn’t being ripped off anymore.

Digital music has no fixed physical value, because it requires no physical product to be produced, packaged or distributed. There is no scarcity factor, supply is boundless and demand is fickle. The resulting price should naturally fall very low. Basic economics…

It is kept artificially high through lack of competition, quasi “pricefixing“, politicians “persuaded” by industry lobbyists and expensive cartel lawyers with sharp teeth. None of which the savvy customer really appreciates.

The music industry needs to remember, that without us buying the crap they pump out – they are screwed. Maybe they should consider that next time they are snorting cocaine off a whores tits, funded by us mugs here in consumer-ville.

Chrome is coming – Finally a real challenger to the Microsoft browser throne

Google premature announcement of its new browser platform called Chrome has some interesting implications, that have not been discussed widely in the blogosphere.

I would not be surprised that if we revisit this article in two years time, that Chrome would have a larger market share than Firefox, and will have severely dented Microsoft’s Internet Explorer domination. Chrome has the advantage that it has an easier download path compared to Firefox. At present the majority of Firefox enthusiasts are certainly more technically aware, but these people are in the minority on the internet as a whole. The “average” user is unlikely to ever visit the Firefox download website and install the Firefox. Opera has the same problem, regardless of whether they are good browsers or not.

Microsoft’s download route is obviously the most direct, downloaded via Windows Update on XP and Vista, but Google’s download route will be a close second. Prepare to see it packaged in the same manner as the Google Toolbar, hence, straight off the Google front page (to an extremely wide audience) and embedded in other “free” software such as Adobe Flash and Reader.

Assuming the final release of Chrome is bug free, and works, CSS friendly et al, the internet community will quite quickly switch to the new preferred default browser.

Of the top 10 global websites, over half are pushing the bounds of JavaScript in today’s browsers. Google apps (Gmail, Docs, etc), Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Youtube, and Myspace, have the potential to work better, faster and be more stable under Chrome. Firefox and Internet Explorer, will not be able to compete in this areas, in their current builds anyway. This is due to the unique threading sandbox model, and compiled JavaScript code, Chrome will employ.

Chrome also plugs in Google Gears, which gives it an advantage out of the box, so it inherently will support Gears where no other browser does.

Google has found a place from which they can attack the Microsoft domination of the browser market in a way that Netscape, Firefox and Opera were never been able to do.

Finally, although this is not apparent in Chrome at the moment, it stands to reason that it could also display advertising in a way that the other browsers have not done so to date. It would not be out of the bounds of reality, for Google to have a advertising sidebar that loads based on EVERY page you view. At a minimum, it gives Google advertising tracking that other ad-networks can only dream of, and which Google Toolbar gives them partially at the moment.

Watch this space….

US Energy independence is the key to controlling Russia now

Over the last week Russia has redrawn the geo-political map of a vital strategic region notes the Guardian today. Russia has shown that it has risen from its embarrassing collapse in the early 90’s, like a phoenix from the ashes. Through Georgia and South Ossetia, America and Russia have fought a one way proxy war, and the west decided to leave Georgia in the cold. I have no doubt that they have encouraged the Georgian president, and now the west and President Saakashvili have egg on their faces.

I believe that this debacle was a “test of the water”, to see what type of response Russia would give under the new Medvedev/Putin regime. There is a good reason for this interest. Russia maintains strong but loose links to Tehran, and it is Russia that stops the US attacking Iran over its nuclear policy via its veto in the UN Security Council. Both Russia and China supply the majority of missile technology that allow the Iranians to build and maintain the Shahab-3 rocket systems which the Iranians might use to launch nuclear bombs.

The US strongly believes that it needs to stop the Iranian nuclear industry in its tracks. It doesn’t feel it can risk a Muslim state with the power to develop nuclear weapons, especially one that has proven long range missile delivery systems that in the near future could reach all of Israel (As a note, Pakistan is an “ally” and run by a dictator, hence not “Muslim controlled”).

I believe that had their gamble worked in Georgia, an attack on Iran would have been much easier for them to go ahead with. They would have known that Russia did not have the balls to stop them. Now the situation has almost been reversed, and they have absolutely no idea what Putin will do, if, and this is the most probable outcome; Israel bombs key Iranian nuclear facilities.

Please note that Israel needs a very valid reason to bomb Iranian sovereign territory, so be prepared to see something happen that gives Israel “due cause to retaliate”, before this November, as President Bush needs Israel to do this before he leaves office.

What is most interesting about all of this, is Europe’s response to the whole thing, which was tepid at best. It shows the weight Russia holds in terms of energy in Europe, and the Europeans are quick to appease (and these are Nato countries). I don’t blame Europe, since they are energy dependent on Russian oil and gas.

The US is already starting to talk about energy independence, but now they REALLY need it. If the US is to match Russia in the years to come, they need to offer Europe another option for energy generation, that doesn’t leave Europe dependent on Russian oil and gas.

Sadly, the US might have left this too late. Their own system of pandering to the oil lobbyists in Washington have made sure that alternative energy has remained on the sidelines. I have no doubt that Houston will remain rich, but the rest of the US will continue to decline as a result of this lack of forethought.