PDF Misuse

not the first and surely not the last word on this...

So I've been looking round a large number of corporate websites today to try and get information out of them, and I've been horrified about the amount of PDF files that are used in place of inline information. And how little information the PDFs contain. Now, I can see a certain use in providing PDFs, as you can download and print them and give them to the powers that be and they don't get distracted by the navigation on the page, or confused by all that complex 'internet' technology. Then again, the same could be achieved by adhearing to webstandards and using CSS for print of a page to. Obviously the PDF can also be used to read off-line. Handy if the PDF actually contains more than some horrible marketing blurb which tells you nothing about what you are enquiring. And it ruins the experienc of research, you have to move to a different application, switch context and tax your brain, to read this minimal piece of text. And that's provided the link to the .pdf even works.

Don't get me wrong. PDF's are great for print. I issue all of my invoices in PDF format, I use them for forms and for printable matter from websites. But I don't use them for small pieces of content that are a vital part of what I'm trying to find out on a website.

When will people learn? Soon I hope.

published 2003.09.17 updated 2017.06.26

Changing a privacy policy and sending you SPAM

A trend that seems to be building

I've noticed something new happening of late. Companies that I've used in the past, who have my email address, seem to be sending me unsolicited email. I _always_ make sure I opt out of lists, and if not I'm pretty sure to check as soon as I've regietered that there is an unsubscribe function. If I can't opt-out, or the site looks at all dodgy, I don't give them my email address, or give them one that I can block instantly without loss of other services should it start being used.

But of late I've been receiving emails from companies where my detaisl seem to have been 'reactivated'. Offenders in the last 5 days are:

192.com
GX Networks
cdzone.co.uk

All of whom I have explicitly unsubscribed from their mailing lists, and all of whom continue to send me information.

192.com seem to decide that they can send you new unsolicited email every year or so, despite asking for the complete removal of my presonal information from their system.

The GX networks one is a legacy from XO communications who I used to be a customer of. I've asked several times to be removed from XO and GX's databases. To no avail apparently

CDzone.co.uk are a horribly inefficient on-line record sales company who I _never_ permitted to send me email except regarding my order [which took 5 months to appear].

I know that what these people are doing is illegal, and indeed I intend to report them to the data protection registrar, but this seems over-reactive when these companies should just remove my information from their records [except for legacy purposes] upon request.

The trouble with a lot of these systems that I see is that it's my word against their's. I know for a fact how I've handled all of these, but it's easy for the offending companies to say I did not follow their procedure or make any number of excuses about why the behaved inefficiently. I wish there was a way of officially registering these issues with a "3 try's and your out" type system to the individuals benefit. At the moment the weight is towards the corporations and that sucks.

published 2003.07.25 updated 2017.06.26

Reflections

I decided to publish these words shared with my bruv.

I think it reflects my sense or reality in the world and my bizzare sense of humour.

------ Forwarded Message
> From: Dorian Moore
> Date: Fri, 04 Jul 2003 13:44:14 +0100
> To: Duncan Moore
> Subject: Re: Saturday Night

> whigfield... didn't she get hyped as some sort of sex symbol when she was
> rather plain (though not unattractive)?

Yep. According to PopBitch she's been spotted in Europe working in a 'Sauna'... But then again popbitch is full of shit.

> I have come to terms with people
> loving bad music but I still have difficulty getting my head round that.

I dunno why. I've long accepted that one man's shit is another man's gold.
Doesn't matter what the context is. And the majority of the people are stupid enough to be sold shit and believe it is gold. Gerald Ratner made a fortune this way, and it seems that Jakob is doing the same for US hip-hop stars. As do EMI, Virgin, Universal et.al. with their artists. Nike, Abecrombie and Fitch, Gucci and Gap with their clothes. The emperors new clothes and all that. And here I am in my Prada shoes, Bench jeans, D&G Jacket, Muji T-shirt [Now the non-brand brand there is fucking irony!], Nixon Watch working at my Apple iBook listening to Frank Zappa on my matching iPod and syncing my diary with my latest Sony Ericsson phone on my designer influenced Orange phone network buying into the same idea, different names. Zappa's finished, it's Messiaen now. At least I know that Zappa and Messiaen weren't sold to me in the same way. Now that's a relief.

>
>> am
>> I old?

YES. GET BACK IN YOUR FUCKING EASY CHAIR AND START DRIBBLING AT THE TV AND
DON'T SPEAK UNLESS YOU ARE SPOKEN TO YOU SENILE OLD GIT. CAN YOU HEAR ME? YES? ITS ALMOST YOUR PILL TIME. NOW BE GOOD OR WE'LL HAVE TO GIVE YOU THE
SUPPOSITORIES AGAIN.

------ End of Forwarded Message

published 2003.07.04 updated 2017.06.26

a new game

find a decent midi file

No, really.

I just got a new phone and it came with a horribly small and annoying range of ring tones. I checked out the orange wapsite for new sounds, but £2.50 a pop for bad midi files was a joke.

So I started searching the web. I've not laughed as much in years. Currently I've got an interpretation of "Waiting Room" by Fugazi as the ring tone, but there are sooo many to choose from I'm going to have to keep changing them.

Maybe that's because these new polyphonic ring tones are just so fucking annoying. I thought that the old classic as used on Trigger Happy TV tones were bad, but these have the potential to annoy so much more.

I think Eric Satie may be in order. Music that you aren't supposed to listen to may be the ultimate solution in this instance. Thought 'Fanfare for the Common Man' by copland also has a certain sense or irony don't ya think?

I guess whatever it's going to sound really cheesy. hmmph. I wonder how long until they have .mod players in phones?

published 2003.06.29 updated 2017.06.26

Going Postal

a letter of complaint to the royal mail...

Hopefully this all there is to be said.

Actually, no. I also was looking for my local Post Office on the site and got these instructions on how to get there. nice.

Dear Sirs,

I'm writing as I've finally had enough of the ineptitude of the postal service. This may initially have been down to a number of issues with the address of the property, it having been re-addressed by Islington Council and the communication between Islington Council and The Royal Mail not having been particularly good, but it now seems to be entirely down to the acts of my postman. I have, in the last 3 moths, experienced:

1) Properly addressed mail not being delivered, and not being returned to sender.

2) Properly addressed mail not being delivered and then being returned to sender being told 'gone away'

3) Several packages which contain Compact Disks [and look compact disk shaped] going missing in the post. More than I would say was bad luck.

4) Packages which I've not been in to receive have been thrown over the wall into the yard behind my house. This has happened on more than one occasion when it is raining.

5) Packages which require a signature have on occasion been left in the same way. Letters requiring a signature have been left in the mailbox without being signed for.

6) On several occasions parcels have not been delivered when I have been in my flat, instead collection notices have been left. Whilst my flat's intercom is clearly marked with my name no attempt to ring it has been made, as I'm aware that my intercom is loud enough for me to hear and fully functional.

Most recently the latter has happened this morning with a package marked special delivery. It was marked special delivery, and posted as such, because it was urgent. I have been waiting since 7am for this package, and when the intercom rang at around 9am I was dissapointed to find it was the water board. And even more dissapointed to find a card telling me the package had been returned to the depot and I would not be able to pick it up for 48 hours!

I've contacted the N1 Delivery Office to complain about these events before, and again today. Having left a message on the answer machine on each occasion [they never answer the phone, or call back]. I'm therefore contacting you to see how I can escalate this issue.

I am aware that the Royal Mail is a huge company working with an incredible amount of packages every day, and that therfore things will go missing or get damaged in the post. However I think that the above is more than a run of bad luck, and has now cost me more than a noticiable amount of money in replacing missing goods or interest charges levied due to missing credit card statements. I understand that this won't be compinsated for unless packages are insured, but I would expect the postman to use a reasonable amount of common sense at the last stage of delivery.

It also concerns me as the director of a small mailorder company that this should happen to my post. In speaking to friends all over London it seems this is a common occurance, and that the Royal Mail are doing very little to solve it. Presumably down to Union issues and so forth. How long will it be, however, before it becomes a bigger issue? I'm very close to taking the matter to my MP, or finding out where I stand legally, as I've had so little response so far to polite complaints that the only way forward seems to be to beligerant. I do hope to get a reasonable response to this message, but I'm posting it on my website to make public my complaints - just in case.

I look forward to your response

Kind regards

_d._

published 2003.05.21 updated 2017.06.26

Idle speculation

idle speculation

idle speculation, idle speculation and more idle speculation.

idle speculation, idle speculation.

idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation, idle speculation.

published 2003.03.18 updated 2017.06.26

Why?

//trace ((((((((((("this.lang = " + this.lang) + ", varName = ") + varName) + ", testNodeVarName = ") + testNodeVarName) + ", testNodeName = ") + testNodeName) + ", testNodeLang=") + testNodeLang) + ", testNodeValue=") + testNodeValue);

published 2003.03.01 updated 2017.06.26

Re: [idm] Life After SoulSeek

A comment on P2P music swapping

A little rant I wrote under my pseudonym [muffin(at)signmytits(dot)com] to the IDM mailing list [ http://music.hyperreal.org/lists/idm/ ] after people posting about the death of soulseek [after an artist rightly objected to her music being distributed without her permission]. It's not that I'm anti soulseek it's just that I think it's open to abuse and if music publishing is to embrace the net it needs to do in a more co-operative way.

Double edged sword innit. If labels believed that people weren't going to rip off their music if they put it up as MP3s then they would. [well, the numerous independent labels I work with would]. Unfortunately that's not the case. MP3=piracy is a stigma which exists and which concerns a lot of labels and artists.

This is niche music we are talking about, not Pop. We should be trying to encourage it to behave in a better way, rather than getting caught up in the politics of major labels. Fuck thinking that way.

When you buy a CD, rip it, and return it it costs the label money. Ever think of that? Most record stores don't re-stock them [if they are of a decent calibre] instead it is returned to the label and disposed of. After a certain number of returns [allowed for faulty goods] they are no longer written of, and so the label has paid for manufacturing and distribution on an item it's not made any money on.

I'm all for previewing of music [I've done a lot of work with labels encouraging it] but if a label [such as Warp or Ninja Tune] provides 2 minutes of RealAudio of 1/3 of the tracks on their releases then why do you need to get MP3 versions to 'preview' it?

Encourage the labels to provide previews in a more accessible format. Then, if you are honest, you don't need soulseek for 'previews'.

I know I'm going over old ground, but all that happens with MP3 trading is that you piss off the people who are genuinely trying to get new, interesting music out into the world. There is always going to be a balance between those who feel they can give away what they produce, and those who want to make money with it. If you have a problem with this why do you think it is fair to take control of their decisions into your own hands.

How do I hear new music : I listen to Radio, go and hang out in shops, go to clubs and ask DJ's what tracks are, and have friends into the same music. It works pretty well for me as I'm not a totally compulsive record buyer any more. It seems like there are a lot of kleptomaniacs on this list.

I know the argument that the album format is dead, and I concur. I don't like spending £14 on a CD which has 4 tracks I want on it. But I make a value judgement and think "Hell, not everything I do is perfect, but I still get paid for it". Are all of you 100% grade students or something? If those 4 tracks are 90% good, and the other 6 are 40% good that gives me an average of [fuck, maths, ugh (90*4 + 40*6)/10] 60% good. Which is a pass in most books.

I mean, what gives you the right to think that you 'deserve' music. As BOC said "Music has the right to children". Children can only be brought up with the right nurturing environment. Spoil a child and it grows up greedy [like the major labels], but don't give it enough and it won't achieve anything. There is balance in between.

And no, I'm not a proponent of Copyright, or the pricing policies that record labels have. I believe in the creative commons [ http://www.creativecommons.org for those who don't know about it, check out the flash animation, it's really nice and enlightening ]. I'm about to try releasing my own software works in a new form, which should enable a lot of the things to happen that I want.

I'm actively trying to change the way it works, for small independent labels because I know how hard it can be for them to survive. These are marketplaces where 100 sales make a big difference, and where manufacturing limited runs is only practical because of cashflow, because the major players have been on the playing field for a long time and they've mashed it up so it's all uneven and slippy for the smaller labels to get used to playing on it. All that things like soulseek are doing is making the divide bigger, and making it harder for new small labels to survive.

I mean, who's going to contemplate giving their lives to promoting new interesting music if they can't afford to eat?

I'd like to look upon soulseek as the new radio, something where people do use it to find out about new music and then go off and buy those releases, but experience has shown that record sales for the labels that soulseek tries to support have gone down. There are many many many reasons for this, and P2P software may make an easy target, but to say it has not effect is stupid. It has an effect, and we can't tell accurately what that is. What is assured is that none of the money that is contributed by people for the software makes it back to the artists who produce the majority of the music downloaded on it. Is this fair?

If you are tech savy enough to know how to rip audio and stuff maybe we can all do this ourselves. Maybe we should each approach a record label we know and say "Hey, if you give me your CD's I will encode the first 2 minutes of half of the tracks an put them up on a web page for you, so people can preview them, and direct them towards you for sales." It wouldn't take much of your time, and you'd get the CD's in exchange for doing something for the label.

Fuck it, I'll even build a CMS to manage the upload of this audio if you enough of you can get on board. I've got half of it in place already. A web orientated contributed musical resource for the promotion of new music. That's what soulseek should be about, but because it doesn't involve the labels actively it's not favoured. It can then be P2P'd across servers on the internet to provide a resource, but kept out of people pockets so the labels don't think of it as 'giving away' there music.

There's an angle in this somewhere.

Troll over. Not that I want a fight.

published 2003.02.08 updated 2017.06.26

The Music Industry and the Big Flip

A thought Regarding Clay Shirky's Article

Clay has written an article, "The Music Industry and the Big Flip" which I have no criticism of, but it raises some questions in my mind. It explains something that is lacking in music distribution on line, in simple terms the lack of any collaborative quality control. Music does not get spread across the internet with the same tracks as weblog entries and news articles, moded pictures and flash movies. It doesn't get voted on instantly, linked to by a few and piled to the front.

The questions is that is the collaborative filtering that he says is lacking a result of the way people perceive music? Music isn't something which always immediately sinks into the listeners head and they want to pass on. Frquently it takes a few listens for a piece of music to set in. Time gets in the way of the imediacy often found in weblog comments. This time isn't just reflected in the time taken to listen and absorb a piece of music, but also in the time taken to retrieve it.

Getting decent quality audio, in real time, is achievable using broadband connections, but it doesn't always happen. Bottlenecks elswhere in the web cause music to download badly. If you used Napster I'm sure you'll remember waiting hours for tracks to download - modern distribution methods aren't much better.

Why should this affect how people pass around music on the internet? I find it does for me because by the time I listen to something I've moved onto something else, and unless it's really caught my attention I'm not always going to go back and write about it.

Of course, I'm not the proto-blogger. I don't update my site with the same level of attention that a lot of the more journalistic bloggers do. Perhaps if I did my love of music would be more apparent on the site. Perhaps I would spend my time tracking down MP3s and posting links up help driving their fame up. Perhaps my point is irrelavent in Clay's argument. I just feel that people's perception to how they receive and pass on music also comes into play even when the technology is available.

Back in 1996 I was interviewed by Radio 1 about the future of Radio. If I recall correctly I warbled on about people being the DJs and the music delivery method also containing information on the music being played. I said that people would be able to filter and select their own 'show' from a huge range of music databases and catagorised.

The commercial side of the .com boom then kicked in and I never got a chance to finish what I was saying.

I've been working with ideas for collaborative music filtering for a while, but never quite had the right database. It started with a site called "MusicUK" which never saw the light of day, and was played around with for Warp Records but never achieved. PostEverything's 'Radio' player is the closest I've come to creating it so far, but it doesn't feature the feedback facilities that it needs... yet.

There are a large number of collaborative jukeboxes around, giving web interfaces to a user group to allow them to control what music is played in a shared environment. This, and PostEverything.com, both take advantage of the environment they are used in to create user participation. They take on board the imediacy of people's tastes to allow them to either skip past what they don't like, or dig deeper into what they do like, all whilst the music is playing.

These systems work well when the user understands them and cares enough to use them. Individual web jukeboxes don't have the depth of new music and breadth of users in them to fulfill Clay's idea of a collaborative filter for internet music. PostEverything isn't of a scale to allow that kind of collaborative filtering to work well, IMHO.

In the 8 years I've been working on the Internet I've seen the tools to make collaborative filtering of music to happen. I've also gained the skills to be able to implement it. Clay's article has inspired me to try and build it... watch this space.

published 2003.01.22 updated 2017.06.26

Red Bull Music Academy

Talking about the internet music

At the moment I'm in Sao Paolo at the Red Bull Music Academy. I'm scheduled to talk on Monday at midday [local time] and still haven't worked out what the hell I'm talking about... music promotion and the internet, and PostEverything, I guess.

published 2002.11.22 updated 2017.06.26
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