how to be a rock star and not suck

pearl jam bootlegs
Pearl Jam, always the peoples band, is releasing 25 double-CDs of 25 full concerts mastered and recorded straight from the soundboard.

Retailing at around $10 each, for about $250 you can own a big chunk of the 2000 Binaural Tour. That may seem like a lot to spend in one go on music but people are paying $60 – $100 a shot for one poor quality bootleg.

While ‘hardcore’ Rage Against the Machine plays the MTV;; Video Music Awards and Billy Pumpkin whines about not selling as many albums as Britney Spears*, Pearl Jam manages to make good music in a universe parallel to that of our pop culture.

Thank you Pearl Jam.

* Gotta give billy some credit for releasing Machina II: Friends and Enemies of Modern Music under the nose of Virgin Records.

 

DNS Woes

actsofvolition.com access may have been somewhat intermittent for some of you over the last week or two. We apologize for the annoyance. Things should get back to normal this weekend.

At least we are not the only ones; Both zeldman.com (alistapart.com has been down for weeks) and k10k.net are having similar problems.

 

the olympic opening ceremony nearly made me cry – pass me a coke

olympic rings
I’m as skeptical of the Olympics as the next steroid-scandal-weary member of my generation but while watching the CBC’s typically brilliant coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, I was weak.

It was a ceremony so fine, it was easy to forget that the Olympics have been bought and sold by Coke and IBM.

Read a well crafted description of what was “…by far the most technically advanced and artistically sophisticated opening ceremony ever…” by Gary Kamiya of Salon.com in his article Already Gold.

 

“Discreetly distinguished – not attention-grabbing”. Just like me.

Speaking of defining oneself with material goods (as I was a few posts ago), I have found my dream vehicle, the Audi A2. The Audi site calls it “Discreetly distinguished – not attention-grabbing”. Just like me.

Audi A2

The A2 combines the smart and sleek lines of the 2000 VW Jetta with the practical form factor of the hideously american PT Cruiser.

While I’m on the topic of new car form factors, what’s up with the Pontiac Aztek? It looks like a bad prop from Judge Dredd. They could have at least spelled it correctly.

 

moo!

I recently was shown a site which has an AMAZING ability. It’s not in english, but cows don’t speak english anyway. It’s not hard to stumble through. This jewel of a site amazed me for two reasons. First of all, it’s amazingly cool to watch the quality claymation cows rock/hiphop/disco around as you design a music video for them. But if you look at the interface, it’s very slick. Nice easy drag and drop onto the timeline (Premiere users don’t mock me, I think it may be called a timeline), and easy to preview the samples before throwing them on.

 

check out my “Astro Boy” Pez dispenser!

Background information: If you have not been already, visit FuckedCompany.com. Next, if you are not already aware of the auction of FuckedCompany.com, read about it here.

All of that information is required for simply to set up one of the better descriptions of Ebay that have read. The following is quoted from the FuckedCompany.com newsletter for Wednesday, Sept. 13th:

You might notice I took the auction down. Ebay was created in 1995 to
auction Pez dispensers. And it’s really good for auctioning Pez dispensers. If you’re interested in buying the site, drop me an email.

 

it’s not so much macs, but the people who use them

After stomping all over Apple in a previous post for what I maintain are completely stupid problems with their website and receiving a flood of angry emails* from Apple fanatics drunk from the broth of marketing genious, I will grant Apple these points:

Apple fanatics are almost to the point where I wouldn’t want to be seen using a Mac for the same reason I wouldn’t want to be seen in a Porsche. The reason being that people would natually assume I use the product in an attempt to project certain stereotypes. In the case of the Porsche: I’m a cocky rich bastard with more money than I deserve. In the case of Macs: I’m a fancy-pants graphic designer and I went to @$%#ing art school.

For the record, I am not above lusting after after material goods or using products to impress people. For example, I want a Silicon Graphics 550 and an Audi A6 so people will know how smart and sophisticated I am.

* Only one nutty email was received and it was from someone I already know. I also received one positive email.

 

i wish more people would read salon

Thank you Salon for this.

It’s an article about how OPEC’s website was defaced with a message that would be shown for several seconds. Salon did a great job of choosing words, as the title of the story was Vandal defaces OPEC Web site. None of this ‘hacker’ nonsense which drives a small percentage of the population crazy.

My favorite part of the article was in this last paragraph:

The written statement disparaging the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is different from a “hack” in that it is neither technologically difficult to perform nor particularly harmful to a Web site.

Well done!

 

rule of business #47: use what you are selling (unless it sucks)

Why is it that every time Apple releases a new product their site goes down? I realize that they must have an enormous spike in traffic, but it should be completely predictable and can’t be near the kind of traffic Yahoo get’s on an average day.

While I’m picking on Apple, at last Apple expo, when Steve released the supercomputer in a 8″ by 8″ box (excluding the enourmous external power supply never shown in the media), the streaming video broadcast using QuickTime was crap. Through barely audible audio and nothing but still frames of video every 10 seconds (even on a fast DSL connection), I could barely make out Steve bragging about how he was being broadcast live to the world with QuickTime and Akamai.

Knowing I could do better, went to ZDnet.com and watched the exact same broadcast in glorious smooth full-screen streaming video using Windows Media Player.

Style + Shitty Products = Stylish Shitty Products.

Akamai, which claims to be “delivering a better internet” by mirroring popular content on their ‘bleeding-edge’ servers, seems to be a lot of non-sense to me. Sure, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but here is my anecdotal evidence: Two sites I know use Akamai, Apple.com and CNN.com. Apple.com crashes with traffic spikes and the streaming video feels like 1996. CNN.com has the worst video offerings of any significant website (in fairness to Akamai, this is partly do to poor encoding of video and audio).

 

raginggoogle.com

I have mixed feelings about the unfortunately named Raging Search (raging.com) by AltaVista.

I like that I can choose my font and color scheme (I recommend verdana with the default colors). Other nice options include being able to turn off basically every feature (spelling suggestions, etc.) and choosing what info is displayed with the results (URL, date, size, etc.).

All in all it is quite a nice search engine with nice results. I do, however, feel a pang of guilt for using what is so obviously the result of a board meeting in which AltaVista execs decided they needed to be more like Google. I doubt they have the balls to make the enormously popular but cluttered altavista.com point to virtually advertising-free Raging Search.

May the simplest win.