Mischiefblog
I make apps for other people

Posts from September, 2007

Amazon MP3 store live

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 25th, 2007 at 08:58

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Posted in General

The Amazon MP3 store is live, or at least in public beta.

Yesterday (while still closed) I made my first purchase. The process wasn’t entirely painless (as opposed to iTunes, where Apple has control from end-to-end) but it wasn’t hard and I was able to recover. My problem was that I did this on my work laptop, where Internet Explorer is the default browser, but I did my shopping through Firefox, and (to make the MP3 store work on my laptop) I had a special cookie that wasn’t registered yet with IE. Once I gave the cookie to IE and reinstalled the downloader (part of the download process the first time you buy music), the MP3s downloaded without incident. I still haven’t tested downloading directly into iTunes through the Amazon installer, but once I copied them from the work laptop to my personal machine, the MP3s were imported properly into iTunes complete with album art.

The MP3 files:

  • are encoded at 256 kbps,
  • include complete title, album, composer, and date information,
  • are kept in a typical artist/album/track directory structure,
  • include album art, and
  • are generally “download once,” not kept in the Amazon Your Media Library (like Unbox movies) but can be recovered for a limited time if you speak to customer service.

At this time, only two (EMI and Universal) of the four major labels are represented. You won’t find Junkie XL, Simon and Garfunkel, Ingrid Michaelson, The Cure, or the Beatles. For artists like those, you’ll need to continue buying the physical media or get DRMed media from another source. For artists with MP3s, you’ll get a pretty substantial discount, especially if you buy the whole album. Back catalogs are generally available when an artist is carried, and variable pricing means older releases will cost less than newer releases.

Killed my Powerbook

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 23rd, 2007 at 19:45

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Posted in General

While getting ready to go to my house in West Seattle to let the flooring contractor in and meet Comcast to install cable, my foot slightly caught the power cord to my G4 15″ Powerbook and brought it to the floor.

The screen is fine, the hard drive works, but when the aluminum corner of the laptop hit the floor and bent, magic smoke escaped: the traces between the power jack and the battery shorted out, and the Powerbook relies on the battery to run. I almost got all my email and media off the machine before the battery died. I didn’t get have a chance (no Internet) to unregister the machine in iTunes. If I can somehow recharge the battery, I can use it again

I’m back to using my Dell Inspirion 8100 (six years old in November and still adequte for web browsing and watching DVDs) and using my desktop gaming box for iTunes with my new 160 GB iPod (playlist current size: 10029, with about 240 CDs left to rip).

Not to be too snarky…

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 18th, 2007 at 11:54

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Posted in Games

…but this would make me think the game is targeted to people who like to make AMVs.

Very good job on the cloth, though!

Yet another beta

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 17th, 2007 at 15:31

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Posted in Work

I got into another beta at work. I’m trying out Amazon Fresh, which will be a lot more useful to me when I’m living in West Seattle again, but anyone in the Seattle area can register for that service. And I just got the chance to try the new MP3 download service. All I can say at this time without breaking the NDA and without adding anything new to the public is:

As a stock holder, I think this is a great service and offers a consumer-friendly service that the iTunes store can’t match in the long run because of DRM. As a music lover and owner of a gawdawful number of CDs, the chance to get high quality downloads at a reasonable price, especially for older music, without adding to the boxes full of ripped CDs is a gift. Not every song I want is available on a torrent, and sometimes you just feel better buying the music.

Time for browser-based MMOs?

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 14th, 2007 at 05:50

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Posted in Games

Becky fell in love with the iPhone. It’s a very pretty piece of electronics, with the blank slab-like face until you bring it to life with a touch, hidden buttons on the sides and top, and (admittedly underutilized) a soft interface that could be completely changed but still operates on the principle of touch. Google Maps (nothing new to smartphone owners) sold her though, with real time traffic updates for highways and turn-by-turn directions that she thought she could only get from a Verizon phone, but most importantly the way that the touch and gesture interface is so perfectly integrated into the browser-based app. That she can check her email, listen to her music, take pictures or look at a photo album of her pets, or make phone calls really become secondary.
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Slaving away with Perl

Posted by Chris Jones
On September 11th, 2007 at 14:59

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Posted in Work

A friend said,

Java’s boxing / unboxing drives me batty and I waste tons of time on it

He was referring to operations in Java 1.4 (and earlier) like:

  Collection c = new ArrayList();
  c.add(new Integer(100);
  Integer i = (Integer)c.get(0);
  int foo = i.intValue();

I’d like to know what makes a Perl hacker think

  @foo = @{ $bar[idx] };

is intuitive casting syntax.

The good news is that I’ve more or less completed a proof of concept in Perl for work. The bad news is that it had to be done in Perl.