tom moody

Archive for April, 2017

Discogs ownership and future

Discogs censorship thread

Sombunya I believe that after Discogs was purchased by "Zink Media" the policy discussed here, as well as other things, came into play.

musiclraider When I read your post it intrigued me. But upon investigation it seems that Zink Media is a private company owned by Kevin Lewandowski, who started Discogs. Are you sure Discogs was bought? Even so, being bought by the person who started it is hardly likely to result in a great change in policies.

Sombunya When I started here 13 years ago it seemed like it was just all teo and nik. I also naively assumed that teo may have sold this place when it grew large and profitable (which is what I would have done) but I may very well be wrong. It also seemed much looser and more liberal back then than it is now.

musiclraider Yep, I've been a member since 2005 and agree it has changed dramatically.
Inevitable really, but I am still amazed that they continue to allow the sale of bootlegs, great stuff.
I wonder if/when 'Zink' will sell out to a big multinational, as the site must be worth millions if not billions now.
If it does, you will see much more dramatic changes happen very fast.

Sombunya I can hardly wait (sarcasm intended)

Discogs Careers page

Joseph Hartnett CUNY librarian Discogs.com research paper

Discogs is an electronic dance music database that gradually expanded into a music collecting database, where old vinyl and CDs are bought and sold.
After spending some time in the "member" sections, where the sausage-making of release submission and editing takes place, one might start wondering about the economics of the site. Anyone with a login can submit and edit releases. "Staff" has very little interaction with users and mostly allows a small group of hall proctor/Wikipedian/nerd types to run the show. In the forums they complain about "rogue" (i.e., ordinary) users. These nerds are all unpaid, and work out of zeal for vinyl details such as the color of the label and what pressing plant was used in 1974. Yet, their decisions about a release can instantly impact the value of a disc, as reflected in the buy and sell statistics of the Discogs marketplace area.
Let's say you own a Pink Floyd LP from the '60s. The marketplace shows 40 sales of the record have occurred, with low/median/high prices ranging from $15 to $150. One day, a hall monitor notices that your copy was pressed at a different plant and moves your release to a "new submission" that has zero market value. Tough for you, if you're thinking about selling it, until actual sales start to occur for this "new" submission.
At the moment, Discogs makes its money from charging fees to sellers of records, and advertising. It is not a non-profit, but it's also not a user-data harvester for one of the big Silicon Valley monopolies. There is an uncomfortable connection to Google, in that releases have links to "videos" (that is, songs with a still photo) with a search feature that's hard-coded to search only YouTube.
From its careers page (linked to above) Discogs resembles the standard VC-funded startup, gradually building its brand and expanding to other countries, such as Japan. It seems likely it will eventually sell to Amazon (a la IMDb) or Google (a la YouTube), in which case the owner will be paid handsomely and those hall monitors will be thanked for their years of valuable service. (Schadenfreude if they messed with your submissions.)

- tom moody

April 30th, 2017 at 8:10 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

cling cling the ring

Some alert YouTubers noted the similarity between

Super Mario World 2 - Yoshi's Island (SNES) Music - "Star Theme" [YouTube]

and

Bonzo Dog Band - "Keynsham" (words, music and vocals by Neil Innes) [YouTube]

Probably not worth going to court over, especially without Innes' immortal lyrics:

Lipstick gleam
Hexachlorophene
Cling cling the ring
Clang clang she sang
It's tragic magic
There are no coincidences
But sometimes the pattern is more obvious

- tom moody

April 29th, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Posted in music - others

adolf loos' bedroom

MODERNISM2-master675

Photo from the New York Times, in an article describing the above room, designed by Viennese modernist architect Adolf Loos (as recreated in 2014):

The [room] was devised as a dreamy spectacle by... Loos, in 1903 for himself and his wife, Lina. The bed, draped with a white silk sheet, appears to float over an opulent white fur rug, and white linen curtains mask the walls. The only color that is not white is the azure blue of the carpet.

The I Like & Like blog found an interpretation that's even more colorful:

The white room that Loos designed for Lina, his blonde, blue-eyed, nineteen-year-old wife, was the most intimate place in the house. The white walls, the white draperies and the white angora sheepskins created a sensual and delicate fluidity; every object in the room was white. Even the closets were concealed behind pale linen drapes. This was an architecture of silence, of a sentimental and erotic approach. Its contrast with the more public living spaces attests to a method of composition that was strictly governed by the psychological status of each room. – Panayotis Tournikiotis, Adolf Loos, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002, p. 36.

Yet, it resembles a hospital room done up for Ed Wood -- the clinical vibe is distinctly un-erotic. It also anticipates the hotel room as improvised sterile space in Stephen Frears' 2002 movie Dirty Pretty Things:

dirty-surgery600

(image via the Internet)

Imagine being Loos's child bride and having to live in this environment. No red wine, please! Modernists, you can't live with them, you can't kill them. And lest anyone get carried away with the "beauty" of the room, here's a photo of the genuine article, from the early 1900s (image via I Like & Like):

loos-bedroom-for-lina500

Tales from the Crypt.

(hat tip Deborah Mesa-Pelly, who has a show up invoking this bedroom and other oddities)

- tom moody

April 29th, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Space Is The Place (Quadraphonic version)

spaceistheplace_quad_555

Label (Side A) for Sun Ra's Space Is The Place LP (1973)
photo via Discogs

current prices for the Quad version:
Lowest: $40.00
Median: $72.47
Highest: $147.78

Does anyone even own a Quad system anymore? Don't answer, of course they do.

- tom moody

April 26th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Posted in music - others

Ligeti's Poème symphonique

Poème symphonique (for 100 metronomes) (Wikipedia)
Slick French TV (?) reenactment [YouTube]
Not-so-slick German performance from last year [YouTube]
Vinyl recording (1989) (Discogs) -- current asking price $191.57 (minimum price sold $77.02)

- tom moody

April 26th, 2017 at 11:25 am

Posted in music - others

vintage Varèse

varese_ionisation

Photo of label of the shellac pressing (1937) of
Edgar Varèse's "Ionisation (For Percussion Ensemble)"
via Discogs

2 collectors report owning this on Discogs. No copy is offered for sale (yet).

- tom moody

April 26th, 2017 at 11:25 am

Posted in music - others

boober

boober

The NYT posted a GIF of a noted Silicon Valley "disruptor" -- this is a low res version via OIE (hat tip MBM for spotting the original).
The Times artist made him wa-a-a-ay too sensitive-looking.

- tom moody

April 23rd, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Posted in animation - others

good discussion of fingerprinting as overrated authentication method

From Naked Capitalism comments:

QuarterBack
April 21, 2017 at 7:30 am

I have worked in information systems security for 30 years, and I have advised that biometric authentication is a bad technology approach. At the end of the day, the digital representation of your biometric data is just a digital token every bit as match as the magnetic stripe data on your card. The big difference is that if your biometric data is compromised, you cannot be issued new biology. [emphasis added --tm] Every biometric marker can be collected without you even knowing (referred to as “non-cooperative” collection) with simple technologies. Once someone has your biometric data, they can authenticate or digitally sign as you. Further, the general consensus of the movie-watching public is (incorrectly) that biometrics are the strongest authentication method, making it more difficult to repudiate.

Biometrics are a good technology for identification, but not for authentication. [good as in efficient, not as in ethically sound --tm] These two security concepts are often conflated. Identication is basically just your username used to reference who you are, whereas authentication is the method of confirming that an identity is who you think it is. Biometric identifiers add convenience in performing the identity step, but add nothing in terms of security any more than your username or email address alone would.

philnc
April 21, 2017 at 8:41 am

Twenty years in IT, over ten in identity management, have allowed me a ring-side seat to this particular circus. We all really want to believe the PowerPoints, but they’ve all fallen short. Most of the discussion has focused on the physical limitations of particular technologies, like the poor quality resolution of past fingerprint scanners, but never reaches the more important practical weaknesses of any single or even two factor concept like that proposed here. As QuarterBack points out, probably the most dangerous aspect of any biometric auth scheme is that the factor (or factors) used cannot be changed (no reissuing as with a new credit account number or digital certificate). Therefore if stolen the only option for the victim is to be forever barred from using that scheme. [emphasis added --tm] And as QB also points out, fingerprints are one of the easiest biometric factors to acquire, without the owner ever knowing about it.

In sum, there are a lot of approaches better than this from an identity management point of view. [such as? --tm] Unfortunately fingerprint scanner tech already has (totally unjustified) cache[t] with a credulous public, and can make a lot of money for manufacturers, so it’s almost certain to show up in force over and over. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take off.

QuarterBack
April 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

Thanks philnc. BTW, for a real life example of the problem of using non-revocable identification factors for authentication, look no further than the history of using social security numbers for this purpose. In the past, “what is your social security number?” was a common method of authenticating. That did not work out so well, because SSN was too easy to acquire. Also, as many (unfortunately) may know, that when your SSN is compromised, it initiates a cascade of subsequent problems. Even then, in extreme circumstances, you can get a new SSN, but good luck with that. I have to say, that it boggles my mind that many organizations (including banks) still use last-4 of SSN for authentication (someone might steal you SSN, but the last-4 is MUCH more secure?).

Another problem with biometrics for identification, is that unchangeable identifier can be used (by anyone with knowledge of it) to track or monitor you forever. If your identity (say a username or account number) is compromised, you could always get another one. I recommend compartmentalizing identifiers in many cases on a system by system basis. Governments will always have some ability to stitch these separate identifiers together, but you don’t want just any grifter or hedge fund player to be able to monitor you.

- tom moody

April 21st, 2017 at 10:57 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

awning repair (midtown)

awning

- tom moody

April 21st, 2017 at 9:14 am

Posted in photos - cell

the case for trust-busting (and why it might not apply to Silicon Valley)

Matt Stoller argues against current Silicon Valley monopolies not because they concentrate power into the hands of a few knuckleheads but because they stifle innovation, whatever that means at this point (he adopts this frame because he is writing for Business Insider -- in his youth he was a blogger for Open Left, a platform where "good tech" was a means to a political end and not an end in itself). He gives a short history of circumstances where trust-busting led to, let's call it positive technological change:

In 1956, a Republican administration and AT&T signed a consent decree forbidding AT&T from competing in any but common carrier communications services. The decree also forced AT&T to license its patents in a non-discriminatory manner to all comers.

One of those patents was for something called the transistor, which two small companies — Texas Instruments and Motorola — would commercialize.

In the 1960s and 1970s, an antitrust suit against IBM caused the company to unbundle its hardware and software, leading to the creation of the American software industry. It treated suppliers for its new personal computing business with kid gloves, including a small company called Micro-Soft. In the 1990s, a suit against Microsoft allowed another startup named Google to offer an innovative search engine and ad business without fear that Microsoft would use its control of the browser to strangle it.

The great business historian Alfred Chandler, in his book on the electronic century, called antitrust regulators the "Gods" of creation. Antitrust was originally understood as a uniquely American "charter of economic liberty".

But there hasn't been a Sherman Act Section 2 anti-monopolization case for 15 years. And the anti-merger Clayton Act is not being enforced. Neither Bush, nor Obama, nor Trump (so far), has seen fit to stop the monopolists from buying their way into dominance and blocking innovation.

His conclusion is suspect, however:

It is time for leaders in Silicon Valley to start demanding from our government the birthright of every American, which is an open market for commerce, innovation, and personal liberty.

It is time to demand antitrust, so that what once were innovative upstarts, and are now Kings, do not stop the next wave of innovation. Then there will be so much more to invest in, so much more to invent, and so much more to actually create.

That's like saying Bell Telephone should have led the demand to become Baby Bells. It's the disempowered who exert the pressure, not the overlords, by means of organized resistance, boycotts and counter-education. Stoller's analogies break down in the case of Silicon Valley, because crap like Amazon and Facebook is actually hugely popular. To think about breaking them up, you would have to also be thinking about changing your behavior -- throwing away your iPhone and not using Amazon to shop. And there's the rub -- consumers are too addicted to do that.
It's hard to see anything other than infrastructure collapse or societal breakdown causing a change in the Silicon Valley style of monopolistic stranglehold. Even if the internet becomes two-tiered due to cable company pressure, people won't feel it enough to protest if they are using one or two companies to do everything "online."

- tom moody

April 21st, 2017 at 9:13 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid