Archive for the miscellaneous Category

The Internet’s Landlord

Posted in miscellaneous, opinion, Photo with tags , , , , , , , , on 2012 October 25 by KLP

Data centers – Google Data centers

I noticed a link at the bottom of the Google Search page for a photo album of Google’s data centers. Not only do I appreciate the technology, logistics, and organization that the photos depict, but the photos themselves are really pretty, too.

However, the album’s title, Where the Internet Lives, concerns  me somewhat. Do we really want Google, or any large corporation, to be the Internet’s landlord? Perhaps we should strive for a more democratic, distributed, and decentralized Internet, where every household or community maintains its own servers and hosts its own members’ content.

If the Internet must have a landlord, what are the terms of the lease, and who pays the rent?

Whine of the Rent-Seeker

Posted in miscellaneous, music, opinion with tags , , , , , , , on 2010 June 26 by KLP

Twitter has claimed me as another victim. I have my first Twitter argument to show for it. It started when I replied negatively to @mickeybuckno‘s support for the content of an interview between the owner of Deep Elm Records, John Szuch, and “the Norwegian music press”. I’m unaware of an efficient method to share the argument here, but you can get the gist of it from this Google search result. Most recently, @DeepElm messaged me directly as follows:

Please read this from start to finish Kurt: will take 5 minutes of your time

Which brings me to this post. That underwhelming and hyperbolic article demands a response that I couldn’t possibly flesh out to a thoughtful extent in 140 characters. Also, I had already read it and having satisfactorily beaten English, I find this particular reading assignment rather annoying. Therefore, the cold hard truth about the recording industry, for labels major and indie alike, will sound colder coming from me.

No one ever went to a record store with the intent of buying intellectual property, even before the advent of relatively inexpensive internet access, cheap CD-R drives, and useful codecs. Rather, they went in search of physical media–vinyl, cassettes, and compact discs, which have significant manufacturing, distribution, and inventory costs–with which they could put in their stereo systems to reproduce music. Even though the some of the companies behind these media colluded to keep prices artificially high, the thought of paying for something tangible, collectible, and somewhat fungible made sense. Furthermore, upon breaking or losing such an item, one would find himself shit out of luck. If consumers ever honestly believed that they were dealing in intellectual property, they would have demanded discounts upon purchasing albums they already owned in other formats, or fresh copies at little to no cost in exchange for their worn out vinyl. Now that modern technology has enabled us to freely replicate, transmit, and store (musical) information, we see the recording industry suddenly pulling the intellectual property card, now that it’s in their favor to do so. And so the rent-seekers whine that their formerly hapless tenants should start to consistently avoid their hotel-ed Park Place, calling us thieves and pirates just because we’ve found better ways to spend what we have of our disposable incomes. How pathetic.

Instead of wasting their resources lobbying for stronger protections and governmental intervention, suing fans, and calling names, members of the recording industry need to innovate and devise new business models. Small labels and individual acts probably have an advantage in doing so insofar as they lack the corporate inertia preventing them from experimenting with new ways to make money with the music they compose, record, and perform. As such, I find it upsetting to read Szuch’s paranoid, delusional, and self-important complaints that acts like Radiohead are “devaluing music”, that equipment manufacturers are preying upon helpless music labels, or that the fate of music itself hinges upon the preservation of labels like his own and their aging business models. Get over yourself, John! At least Radiohead is trying something. At least equipment manufacturers sell worthwhile products. And let’s not forget that music predates the recording industry. Even amid increasing sales of digital copies of audio tracks via the likes of iTunes, no one is buying intellectual property. Consumers are paying for services that they find worthwhile, they’re avoiding the wrath of the RIAA, or they’re just trying to get money to their favorite musicians. Ultimately, unless they intend to make litigation their new business model, members of the music industry will have to stop relying on the notion of intellectual property. You can’t expect people to honor it when they’ve never done so before. If you really want to survive, come up with a worthwhile product that doesn’t exist solely in the realm of litigation.

Suggested reading: Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine.

I love the future!

Posted in miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on 2008 September 2 by KLP




Today I deposited some checks at a Bank of America ATM. The machine instructed me not to use an envelope. All I had to do was feed it the endorsed checks one at a time. Then, it read the value of the checks without me having to type anything in. Maybe these new ATMs aren’t new to anyone except for me, but seriously: holy crap.

Also, I’m trying out Chrome. Not too shabby.

Will Google Eat Itself?

Posted in miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on 2008 August 13 by KLP
Scamming Google... but not really.

Scamming Google... but not really.

My understanding of the Google Will Eat Itself (GWEI) art project and AdSense might be limited, but right now my astonishment isn’t.  I learned about the project from the Make blog. Apparently, the folks behind the project make lots of fake clicks on websites they’ve set up with AdSense. The money Google pays for each click is then used to buy shares of Google stock. When GWEI owns a sufficient amount of shares, the shares are then divvied up amongst shareholders.

The significance of GWEI is the concept it presents–Google eating itself–and the associated shock value. My own response was an enlightened “but, of course!”. As far as Google actually eating itself, though, we are not even talking nibbles. According to the GWEI website, they own 819 Google shares. They estimate that it’ll be at least 200,000 years before Google eats itself. So, as far as mortals are concerned, Google will not eat itself.

Even though GWEI will not achieve its apparent objective I wonder how much it pays for webspace, internet, and equipment. According to their statistics, I wouldn’t be surprised if one could profit off of such a venture. So I have to ask, why didn’t GWEI just keep the whole matter quiet from the start and run off with the money? From what I’ve read on the GWEI website, they’re trying to make some point about Google being some sort of nontraditional monopoly, but they could still just write a book about it later instead of flaunting their scam right now.

As such, I’m inclined to believe that GWEI is fake. It’s just a clever prank of sorts designed to make people think.

Or maybe try for themselves…

Too easy?

Too easy?


Posted in miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , on 2008 July 17 by KLP

To the women who keep feeding the cats outside of the old silk vaults next to Cheney Mill Self Storage,

I see you.

[I’m going to insert a photo of the culprits here if I ever remember to take one.]

Please stop feeding the cats. It’s unethical and kind of a nuisance. Even though cats are atrocious spellers, they are entirely capable of feeding themselves, what with their claws, teeth, and ninja skills. I will list my arguments:

  • I assume that because you do not feed the cats at your home–I see you drive up in your car–that the cats are not your pets. As such, it concerns me that you may not be providing veterinary care to the cats. If you don’t provide such care, as I suspect, then you are helping a potential disease vector.
  • The cats are probably overfed. Besides what they can hunt and scavenge, I’ve seen more than one person feeding them. Overfeeding usually harms living things. Therefore, the cats endure maltreatment at your hands.
  • When the cats don’t finish their meals, given the abundance of food, their leftovers attract other animals. A few days ago I noticed a skunk contently grazing from one of the cats’ dishes.
  • You annoy me when you get out of your car, in front of my apartment, and start shouting “kitteh” over and over.
  • By driving to this location, you increase the consumption of gasoline. You’re helping gasoline prices go up and the air get dirtier.

Ladies, I implore you, find a home for the cats, give them proper veterinary care, and stop wasting gas. Or just stop feeding them if you don’t care enough to really treat them right.

I am considering posting this letter next to the cats’ dishes. Also, I think I should point out the ever useful and fun Lolcat Translator.

Ubuntu to the Rescue

Posted in miscellaneous, opinion with tags , , , , , , on 2008 January 2 by KLP

My hard drive crashed just before the New Year’s party Kat and I threw. The timing for this was really poor because it meant that I was about to get drunk and enter 2008 fully aware of how stupid I was for not backing up the photos that I had taken and the music I had collected over the last 4 years.

So, I did some googling and came across the following solution: to boot from an Ubuntu Live CD, mount the bad hard drive, and copy the important files to an iPod. It appears to be working. Unfortunately, it seems like there are a few corrupted files here and there, but I’ve already recovered the vast majority of my photos and couldn’t ask for more at this point.

Actually, I am hoping for Dell to speedily replace my bum hard drive, but that all depends on whether or not my computer came with at least a five year warranty.

Anyway, heed my cautionary tale. Back up your stuff. Hard drives suck.

¡Conoce al diablo que se llama Diego!

Posted in miscellaneous, video with tags , , , on 2007 December 28 by KLP

Here’s a movie of my cousin Dave and I playing with my family’s new dog, Diego, on Christmas. To be clear, he’s been with us for about a month now; Diego didn’t pop out of a box under the tree or anything. His original owners realized that they didn’t have the time to keep a dog and they were probably pretty stunned by Diego’s apparent bad luck. In his first year of life he’s had two surgeries. One to remove a bunch of industrial paper towels that were blocking his intestines, and another to bolt his hip back together after an unfortunate meeting with a moving vehicle. So my dad decided to adopt him. As you can see in the video, this puppy is a lot of fun. He’s mischievous too. Diego likes to eat things like shoe laces, gloves, socks, and imitation Uggs. I’m sure he’ll come around in that regard. Hopefully Diego’s luck has changed because he fits in really well with the Padillas.


Venture Communist. Miscommunications Technologist. Telekommunisten Polemicist. ThoughtWorks Analyst.