Tuesday, 28 April 2009

My beloved team is going down..

After countless years of rollercoasting in Premier League, it looks like my beloved Magpies are going to get relegated to the Championship.

Years of idiots selling and buying, firing managers more often than Real Madrid, has put it's mark on the pride of the Tyne.

Thanks for the years in PL. Thanks for the thrillers. The ups and the downs. The 5-0 victory over a beaten Manchester United on Old Trafford. The 4-3 loss for Liverpool, and a match that almost broke me. For the Ginolas, the Shearers, the Toon Army being louder than anything, even on away matches, the Brown Ale jerseys. The tears and the laughs.

Maybe Championship is what we need. Big Al gets some time to sort us out. Mike Ashley sods off. Old, worn out players like Butt, Viduka and Owen can finally put their shoes in the rack. Yes, they were great in their time, but there is no room for them on todays pitch, sadly.

Bless you lads, for giving it your best. And bless you Alan, for having the guts to try. Let's get better next season.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

"Embracing" technology isn't easy..

As this article clearly shows. In an attempt to follow the times, some of the people who conventionally don't really mingle with the grass roots - have started hanging around on Twitter, Facebook etc.

Now, some have done this with great success. Several artists are posting snippets of new material, that (at least to begin with) only those who follow the artist on twitter have access to, this includes celebrities as well. I am myself following Stephen Fry, who is one of the smartest and funniest people alive, and Eddie Izzard - just to mention two.

The point of all this, is for the "famous" people to be able to communicate more directly with their fans and audiences. It's also a very good way to pick up trends, how people feel etc. But there are trap doors set along that road.

Twitter is a very easily used, and very unforgiving medium. It's almost as "immediate" as chatting, which has both an upside and a downside. The upside is that you can actually have conversations, allthough slightly delayed. The downside is that it's so easy to post, you can post a reply - like in the above mentioned article - in anger.

For someone of my caliber - someone who doesn't have a following of thousands - it doesn't really matter if I fuck up; I would be fucking up on a private basis. But when you represent a big company like Warner, everything you say in a public space - even if it's intended to be a personal opinion - will still be credited to said company.

So should some celebrities read this, please take heed to my words. Be careful, think before you post, and consider the consequences. Done correctly, both facebook'ing and tweeting can be a great way to communicate with your followers. Happy tweeting!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Torrent technology - evil?

Or is it more than that? The PirateBay trial has ended - for now. Judge found the 4 accused guilty, and sentenced them to 1 year in prison and 30 million in fines.

On one side, you can claim that these people knew exactly what PirateBay would be used for - hell, even the name suggests the use.

On the other hand, you can make a comparison that one of my friends made: sue the road makers! They provide a road, on which people break laws by driving fast and recklessly. Or how about car makers? They provide the means to do it.

Actually, going by the ruling in this PB case, one could almost sue every ISP, Computer Brand, MP3 player brands etc etc etc, for providing the means to break copyright laws, and it would make just as much sense.

The issue here, isn't just PB isolated. It's every torrent-page out there. Yes, of course we know that probably most of them will contain torrents of copyrighted material. But there's also tens of thousands of torrents to legal material. Heck, several companies, including Blizzard, use torrent technology to distribute their own content.

Is it technically wrong to spread copyrighted material for free? Yes. Technically. But how come, when asked how much the net and piracy has meant for their music and revenues, most artists concede "a lot"? Established brand names (which you indeed may call Britney Spears, Kanye West etc) don't need the net, since they already have billions invested in marketing campaigns.

But for the "little" ones. The J.U.S.T.I.C.E's, the Kaizers Orchestra's, Kutuman's, Datarock's, DetektivbyrÄn's, the Basshunter's, et cetera ad nauseum. Sure, some people think their music is crap, but thanks to piracy and net distribution, these artists have made names for themselves. Some of them got picked up so quickly by the mainstream (through analyzing web trends), radio stations etc will still claim it was "their discoveries". Others simply would never have been known outside their countries if it wasn't for net distribution.

It's a way to discover new music, new tastes. If it wasn't for the net, I wouldn't have bought - well - about 75% of my CD collection. I would never have known about El-P, Dieselboy, Dry Kill Logic, Atmosphere, P.O.S., Aesop Rock, Herbaliser, DJ Shadow etc. By sharing with others, one discovers new influences.

Also, most studies conducted in the past 4 years, show that people who download music and movies - IN GENERAL - buy more music and movies than those who don't. Want links? Go google it.

In conclusion, the industry is desperately clinging to their old standards where the artists get fuck all, and the big shot companies take it all. Just imagine it, so many of those greedy bastards would be out of a job if more artists discovered they could distribute their own productions online, without their expensive help.

Just look at Spotify - it's brilliant. I pay 99 NOK a month, and I can listen to tons of music in excellent quality. Some record companies are of course resisting this, and in doing so they limit the content available to Spotify users. The more companies and artists embrace this, the sooner they can start making money in a new market. Not as much money as before for the companies - more money for the artists.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The Sweet Embrace of Spring

Yes, even I, allthough cruel, can admit to softening up in the tender, sluggish warmth that is the easter sun.

Flowers are poking their heads up through the wet grass, dog and cat excrements are starting to smell, dust from the roads gets caught in yer throat. But most of all, the snow and ice is melting away. It's warm enough to not wear a jacket when the sun is out, people are generally more cheerful.

It's just that time of year. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Victimization on a grand level

Earlier I've written some comments about how Israeli jews seem to have this idea of Norway being a massive anti-semittic force. This past week though, has seen unprecedented stupidity rise up.

According to Dagbladet, Jerusalem Post has printed an article sketching out Norway, and in particular SV's party leader Kristin Halvorsen, as not only anti-semittic, but actually hating jews so much she allegedly shouted "Death to Jews!" in a Gaza peace rally. Prominent norwegian jews were also badly misquoted, and their names used in ill intent, like Imre Hercz.

This is taking it too far. We're not talking "cry wolf" or "the pot calling the kettle black" anymore. This is serious shit. Allegations of that calibre, is just plain sabotage. It's so destructive, they probably don't even know the ramifications it could have. Those Israelis I've met as a tourist guide are already pretty much wary and prejudice against western countries. Now throw this on top of that, and you'll have portions of the Israeli jews hating Norway and norwegians, for no reason at all.

Even worse, after having made a fool of itself, Israeli media will be taken more lightly in the future, when it may need to world to really listen. This farce really doesn't server anyone any good at all.

Extremists are creeping up in every culture. Make sure they don't get a foot hold.