white-out?

Surprised by the nearly all-white appearance this site suddenly does have? Well… somehow, the last couple of days, my old dark theme ceased working as expected, despite having all the wordpress plugins installed to it consequently disabled. Which is bad, especially given that at the moment I don’t really have the time to track down and eventually fix the problem. So this page is white now. Guess it’s been about time to do a visual overhaul anyway. More soon…

done that: amazon.com mp3 shop

Well… after looking into this quite a while ago already, I finally did it and used the German version of the amazon.com MP3 online shop in order to do my first-ever music purchase not involving any kind of actual “physical” medium. And… yes, it feels kind of strange: On one side, if you “just” want to listen to music, it’s next to perfect – browse the album list, search whatever you’re looking for, eventually find it, buy it, download it – that’s it. No waiting for the CD to be delivered right to your mailbox, no additional shipping fees, plus (which used to finally make me actually go for it) the chance of finally getting hold of music which ceased to be availble on “physical media” (in other words: CD or vinyl…) years ago ( leaving second-hand stores aside).
On the other side of course, buying music digitally online gives you an arcane feeling of actually being “left with nothing” in some way: In the end, a collection of bits on your hard drive or music player is all you get from that. Buying a CD at least “feels” like getting more “value for money”, at the very least talking about cover artwork, packaging and all this kind of stuff.

But let aside this, I was surprised to see the amazon.com MP3 shop being a rather friendly thing. Overally, first and foremost, knowing that the music they offer is not polluted protected with DRM (and, thus, usually bound to special player software and devices) was an important thing.

Then, downloading the actual files you’ve bought there is done using a proprietary piece of software called amazonmp3, which is available for download and installation on virtually all important operating systems. Getting this piece of software to work on my Ubuntu 9.04 installation was as straightforward as downloading the .deb file, resolving a few additional dependencies and launching the application. Good. Doing the actual purchase of any MP3 music, while in there, basically works the same as purchasing anything else via amazon.com, which is a good thing if you’re an amazon.com customer anyway, as, in terms of payment and billing, it works just as you know it, keeping you from having to provide your accounting information to one more online shop. After completing the purchase, you’re left with a .amz file which, opened using the amazonmp3 application, automatically starts downloading the files that belong to your purchase (with the files being downloaded one by one, preconfigured to $HOME/Amazon MP3). This worked pretty smoothly as well and, overally, something like two minutes later the “album” I just bought was stored on my hard drive. At the very least it’s rather convenient…

… but the strange feeling remains, especially after burning this music to CD-ROM, ending with a blank, hand-labeled representation of it. Oh well… I surely will not do that every day, especially given that, looking at how fast it overally works, this seems the perfect way of wasting vast amounts of money rather quickly. But if occassionally buying a (rare?) piece of music not offered on CD or by its original author for download anymore, this seems a way to consider.

“Dafür zahl ich nicht!”

An sich bin ich bekennender Unterstützer der Idee öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkes, weil ich der Meinung bin, daß auch in der Welt von Radio und Fernsehen, die ja als Medium immer noch vorrangig die Masse der Menschen erreicht, neben dem allgegenwärtigen geisttötenden Schwachsinn zumindest im Hinblick auf Nachrichten noch ein Gegenpol existieren sollte, der Ansprüchen wie Seriösität, Objektivität oder Vollständigkeit genügt. Trotzdem bekomme ich im Hinblick auf etwa ‘mein Drittes’ regelmäßig Krämpfe, wenn ich mir vergegenwärtige, mit welchen Inhalten der zahlende Nutzer die ganze Woche über bisweilen konfrontiert wird. Insofern finde ich die aktuelle Initiative von fernsehkritik.tv voll und ganz unterstützenswert – Dafür Zahl’ ich nicht! Aus der Infoseite:

FRÜHER klärten die Öffentlich-Rechtlichen die Jugendlichen auf und sorgten für deren politische Bildung. HEUTE setzen sie ihnen, genauso wie die Privaten, eine Daily Soap nach der anderen vor.

FRÜHER war die Samstagabendunterhaltung geprägt von kreativen Ideen und Köpfen wie Rudi Carrell und Kulenkampff, HEUTE gibt es Schunkelshows mit Silbereisen & Co. sowie unkreative Frage-Shows, vorgelesen von Jörg Pilawa.

FRÜHER faszinierten ARD und ZDF mit tollen Tierdokus von Heinz Sielmann und anderen, HEUTE werden in Deutschlands Zoos Kameras aufgestellt und weltbewegende Bilder gezeigt, wie etwa ein Elefantenkäfig ausgemistet wird.
[…]

Deshalb:

* Schluss mit jeglicher Werbung und jeglichem Sponsoring bei ARD und ZDF.

* Schluss mit Quotenmessungen bei ARD und ZDF – öffentlich-rechtliches Fernsehen darf sich nicht nach Einschaltquoten richten

* Schluss mit Krawalljournalismus, Daily Soaps und hirnlosen Heimatschnulzen. Jedes Programm von ARD und ZDF muss einem Mindestmaß an Anspruch unterliegen. Anspruchsloses Fernsehen bieten uns die Privaten genug – und zwar kostenlos.

* Schluss mit immer mehr kostspieligen digitalen Sonderkanälen, in die Kultursendungen und Dokumentationen abgedrängelt werden. Wir zahlen dafür, dass ARD und ZDF selbst ein tiefsinniges Programm bringen.
[…]

Kann ich nur kommentarlos unterschreiben. Hoffentlich genug andere auch… Mehr hierzu auch bei telepolis.de.

km#17: machinery again…

They did it again: Announcing the 17th Klub Moozak events, Clemens and his co-workers once again honoured my visual doings by using one of my pictures for the announcement flyer again:

km#17

Thanks for that as well as for the credits, I surely like it… :> By the way the “blank” version is here, CC-licensed as all my stuff. Well, as stated before: Seeing ones pictures used for something like this is even better knowing it is used for something rather good, given the music involved with (Klub) Moozak events usually seems to be rather interesting (listening to Strangelet at the moment which I also got to know following one of the KM event announcements). Hope for more of this, and still pondering a trip to Vienna right for that. :)

NetBeans: getting a little more involved…

Whoever has heen reading this blog more or less regularly probably couldn’t help noticing the appearance of posts related to NetBeans IDE/platform along with “related” technology, an environment which I switched to after working with Eclipse for quite a while and for reasons outlined in some more detail here. Wanting not just to take things as granted however but to also provide something in return no matter how little this contribution eventually would be, I started helping writing documentation for the NetBeans Community Docs program as time allows doing so, mainly trying of course to focus on German documentation as I consider native-language documentation a crucial aspect of helping new users dealing with and eventually adopting a (new?) tool for their everyday use. Asides (and because of?) this I just recently have been invited to both join the NetBeansDreamTeam and act as NetBeans Community Docs Evangelist. Well… so far I still am not perfectly sure how I got to deserve being in there… Nevertheless I feel rather honoured about both of it, and I am for absolutely sure about doing all I eventually could do to make the best out of the both of these opportunities, trying just to contribute my small $0.02 to help NetBeans grow, as a development environment or working platform or developer community or whatever. By now, just thanks to all of you for your trust, much appreciated indeed. :)