The Devil’s Music

May 24, 2004

I’m trying a new way of generating playlists on iTunes : just enter a single word into the search window and listen to what pops up …

My search this morning was “devil” and this is what I got :

Shout At The Devil – Motley Crue
(You’re The) Devil In Disguise- Elvis Presley
Devil’s Dance – Metallica
Devil Error Code – Comedy Tech Support
DEVIL WENT DOWN TO & CAME BACK TO GEORGIA

Hmm. What results can you get?


Flu … the recovery

May 21, 2004

[splutter]

[gets out of bed]

Hi [muffled voice]

Looking for ways to be kept in touch? I’m thinking it would be nice for my computers to produce a personalised radio show for getting up in the mornings. Tools like text to speech software and RSS readers (that are sometimes combined!) could go a long way towards this goal. Then mix in some cheesy DJ-isms and your favourite playlists and Bob is your Auntie’s live in lover.

I found a new tool : http://www.zapptek.com/ispeak-it/ which prompted me to update an old page from 2002 : my text to MP3 page for that software, here is an AppleScript DJ that changes stations for you and throws in snide remarks (all customisable….)

What else do we need? A bit of X-10 – hang on, I’ve been talking about this before. Hmm. I think there is a theme here that needs a bit of exploring.

What do we call this solution?


Flu … the recovery

May 18, 2004

Sniffle, cough, sneeze, wheeze.

[sigh]


Is this thing on?

May 15, 2004

Hmm, once again you’ve caught me having a life outside the blogosphere :-)

News just to hand:
Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries is the most dangerous music you can listen to while driving! What a relief that must be to all the rappers :-)

Local boy does good:
Australian games developer secures rights to the Stargate franchise games. Maybe he even made a mint – there’s talk of eleven million dollars in there somewhere. Cool.

Big switch to the Mac here in NSW – the RTA is going all Mac for front counter terminals. Sweeeet.

UCLA Geophysicist Warns 6.4 Quake To Hit LA By Sept 5 – hmm, headline kinda says it all, doesn’t it?

We’re watching a documentary (on our TiVo ;) about Kevin Smith. I used to dress *exactly* like Silent Bob (I even had the beard for a while) which is funny now because until now I never knew who this guy was, nor have I seen any of the movies (yet.)

Since this is the year of living shamelessly and we want to make our first movie this year (for Tropfest) then the whole thing is very funny. Maybe I’ll slip myself in as Silent Bob ;)

Oohh, this says something, but what?

Australians failed to follow the lead of Americans and make Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ a mandated observance on Easter Sunday. “The theory that there would be a Jesus revival at the flicks at the weekend was a myth,” the Sydney Morning Herald observed today (Wednesday). The film came in at No. 6 with just A$805,000, well behind the opening of Starsky & Hutch, which recorded A$3.5 million. The newspaper pointed out that although Passion now ranks as the eighth most successful movie ever, in Australia it is No. 120 on the all-time list.


Follow the money

May 15, 2004

Floyd Norris: Take lid off inside sales before IPOs [Update: link to Archived version, original is behind paywall]

“The right of investors to know when corporate insiders sell stock – and at what price – is a fundamental part of American securities law. When It turned out that Kenneth Lay, the former chairman of Enron, was using a loophole to sell shares secretly while he urged others to buy, Congress quickly changed the law.
But one loophole still remains, and it is being used by Salesforce.com, a software company that will soon go public…”

These stories just keep on coming. Regulation will never fix these problems, only education can do the job – which is why, if you want to invest in shares, you need to treat it almost as a full-time job of its own.


Money, money, money

May 12, 2004

Dave Pollard writes in ‘The Stock Market as a Ponzi Scheme‘:

“… the IPO is a scam by which an aptly-named ‘syndicate’ of investment firms (‘underwriters’) buy a mass of shares from the company ‘going public’, at about half the price per share they know they can flog them to gullible investors, many of whom rely on these very brokers for investment advice …”

Mark Cuban writes on ‘The Stock Market‘:

“In July of 1998, my partner Todd Wagner and I took our company, Broadcast.com, public with Morgan Stanley [...] Of the 63 companies and 400-plus participants we visited, I would be exaggerating if I said we got 10 good questions about our business and how it worked [...]

if the fund industry spent billions to tell you to buy and hold baseball cards, I am willing to bet we would talk about the fundamentals of baseball cards instead of stocks [...] When Broadcast.com went public, we raised a lot of money that certainly helped us grow as a company.  But once you get past the raising capital part of the market, the stock market becomes not only inefficient, but as close to a Ponzi scheme as you can get [...]

Volume, The Number, whisper numbers, insiders granting themselves millions and millions of options  –  these are the games that Wall Street plays to keep on enriching themselves at the expense of the public.  I know this.  I have tried to tell people to be careful before they turned over their life savings and their financial future to someone whose first job is to keep their job, not make you money.”

Mark Cuban writes on ‘Why do people fall in love with stocks?‘:

“CNBC and its competitors have become shopping channels for stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Which is exactly why I love to go on the network. I love to call bullshit on whoever is on there with me [...] What gets me even worse are the big name guys who come on like all they have is an honest opinion to share. [...]

I brought up my position [with Mario Gabelli] that the “investment theme” of buy and hold is nothing more than a sales pitch [...] “I know the fund is down 12 pct Mr. Doe, but that happens in a buy and hold strategy. Over the last 80 years…” What nonsense.

Mr Gabelli disagreed. He responded with the omnipresent retort to all things stocks, “Warren Buffet buys stocks.” Yes. Mr. Gabelli, you are right. At that time he did. But he doesn’t buy 100 or 1k shares at a time [...] Mr Buffet buys enough shares to have influence and in many cases control. Can the average investor do that? Can the typical fund do that? To which Mr. Gabelli responded with the evil eye … ”

Nicholas Carr writes in Wired : Want to Piss Off a CEO?

“The IT industry is looking more and more like a traditional, mature manufacturing business. Plagued by undifferentiated products, global overcapacity, and falling prices, hardware and software companies are consolidating, shifting production offshore, and making money on maintenance and other fee-based services. They’re competing on cost rather than innovation and features.

In public, industry CEOs may continue to exercise their Peter Pan complexes, pretending that the IT business will never grow up. But behind the scenes they’re dismantling Neverland piece by piece.”


Text to speech update

May 4, 2004

More text file to speech software – this time from someone with a focus on iPod solutions – http://www.zapptek.com/ispeak-it/ is also only $9!

I keep thinking that this stuff would be more interesting for creating a personalised alarm service – run computer speakers into your bedroom (X10 automation optional) and wake up to your chosen music, with text-to-speech providing weather forecasts, traffic reports, your daily schedule, finance news, horoscopes, whatever you can find online or from your personal information cloud. This would be cool. Of course, it may or may not pass the wife test :-)


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