Tag Archives: the internet

If SOPA Passes It Will Be the End of Music Streaming/Online Radio

I finally submitted my electronic signature to the petition to congress to oppose the bill that will remove our Internet freedoms (SOPA). I thought I’d share with you the letter I wrote under the section, “Tell your story”…

I’m the sixth most popular DJ on the music site Blip.fm. My station gained this popularity because I focus on playing things that are underplayed, be it under-the-radar indie bands or long-forgotten b-sides of yesteryear. The music I play is primarily not music you will hear on commercial radio, but it is protected by copyright. I do this for free–it is my passion to help people discover these fantastic bands, as so many have tired of the repetitive and trite options available through commercial radio. In order to comply with the demands of record labels, the site does not allow file uploads so most of the songs are streamed from YouTube uploaders who are violating copyright by posting the vidoes.

If the SOPA Bill passes, the site where I play music, and any streaming site like it, will be outlawed. Moreover, I would face a ten-year prison sentence for hosting my amateur radio show. This despite the fact that none of the songs I play on my station are available for download, and links are provided to Amazon and iTunes for those who are ready to purchase. Professionally, I work in publicity and marketing so I understand that these bands need the publicity sites like Blip.fm provides. Sadly, many bands willingly sign detrimental contracts so they can gain access to the corporate labels’ big-budget publicity campaigns.  It is absurd that a label will pay millions of dollars to have “street teams” that give away free CDs at hip bars in major cities–all while claiming that sharing music is hurting their business model.
It is equally absurd to put the sentencing guidelines for copywrite infringement in the same range as child rape or armed robbery. I find it hard to believe that even the most willfull copywrite infringer on the planet is committing the same harm as rapists and robbers, nor do they represent a danger to society. I should hope that if SOPA passes and I am charged with a felony, someone can explain to me how the payola-backed radio DJs are upstanding members of society and those with streaming radio stations are criminals.

Happy Birthday Firefox! Now if you’ll Kindly Step Aside…

Or: The Hardship of Being Ahead of the Curve

Much excitement today surrounds Firefox’s fifth birthday. We’re reminded how this product that seems indispensable to us today didn’t even exist in 2004. Firefox usage is a clear line that separates the old fogies and Luddites from the young, hip and with it. Indeed I can’t even imagine who these  sixty percent are that still use Internet Explorer—perhaps people so behind they don’t know what a web browser is, and therefore haven’t figured out you can use a different one?

Most of us have experienced the frustration of trying to convince someone that it really is worth the five minutes it takes to download and install Firefox because the features it provides will improve your life on a daily basis. I want you to take a moment to dwell on this feeling, until your brow is furrowed in relived vexation. I’m asking this, dear reader, because in moments you’re going to do the same thing to me.

What if I told you that there was a browser out there that was hands-down superior to Firefox, Chrome, Safari and (of course) Explorer? This browser is never mentioned on the articles comparing Firefox’s rise to its lesser competitors. And since the techno-sphere is spending the entire day fawning over the Mozilla wonder-child, I get to experience this annoyance all day long. So I’m going to take this opportunity to patiently explain to you, for the second time, why you should download the Opera web browser immediately. Because I care, dammit. Now get that glazed look off your face, the one you see when you try to explain to grandpa how to send a text message.

Remember when you figured out that tabbed browsing saved a bunch of memory and was way more convenient than having twenty windows open? It was a big part of why many people switched over to Firefox. Yeah, tabs: Opera invented that.  Not only that, they do it better. You can resize your tabs. Hovering over a tab creates a preview. You can duplicate a tab. You can create “follower” tabs: Once designated, any link you click in the current tab will open in the follower tab.  When you close a tab it goes to the most recent one you used, not the first in the list: a small thing, but having it do the other way in Firefox drives me bananas!

I made my tabs huge, but you can have them normal-sized too
I made my tabs huge, but you can have them normal-sized too

You can select any text and right-click to save it as a note. This feature has saved me so much time! Fuck notepad!

When you hit the back button, Opera keeps the page in the cache, so it loads instantly. I cannot understand why other browsers don’t do this.

You know how sometimes you’re on a webpage that’s coded for a larger screen and you keep having to scroll to the right to read? Opera has a little button that will fix that: “Fit to Width.”  So simple it’s brilliant.

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know Firefox has added the “recently closed tabs” option, because it is buried in their history menu. Opera had this feature first, and they put it in a more convenient location to the right of your tabs.

There is a magical thing called a Torrent file that allows people to download large files  exponentially faster than a normal download. To use one of these files, you need a separate program like BitTorrent. That is unless you’re running Opera, where you can download the entirety of Army of Darkness with a single click because they have torrent downloading within the browser.

A new tab has a speed dial where you save your favorite  sites.  I think some other browsers are adopting this now, but in Opera you can change the size and layout of your speed dial, and even put any image as a background. You can also run any speed dial by typing it’s number into the url. So when I open a new tab, I can click on the little pic of my gmail to take me right there. Or, in the window I’m in, typing the number “two” and hitting enter will take me there. That’s faster than Brittany Spear’s little sister!

Please keep reading!
Please keep reading! Or Hula girl gets a lethal shot of Opium!

It’s little shortcuts like these that make me miss Opera when I’m stuck on someone else’s computer.  Opera has a number of these, but the one that won my heart is the ability to run every search from the URL bar. I have tried explaining this to Firefox users and they point to their lame-ass Google toolbar. Yeah, I have that in Opera too and it’s collecting dust. Why? Because it’s only convenient if you’re searching Google. If you want to search wikipedia, you have to scroll down, switch to wikipedia, run the search, and then remember to switch it back to Google.  In Opera, I can type “w anal fisting” directly into the URL bar, hit enter, and I’m learning the ins-and-outs from Wikipedia as soon as the page has finished loading!

Speaking of the URL bar, in the newest release, you can make a nickname for any site and run it from there. So if I want to visit the Glenn Beck website, instead of typing glennbeck.fox.com (or whatever), I can set it to be called “crazytown.” Then I only have to type “crazytown” in the URL bar and I’m there!

These are not all of the features that Opera has on other browsers, merely the ones that keep me hooked. I’ve been trying to get you people to try Opera since September of 2006, out of the goodness of my heart, but no! You don’t listen.

Admittedly I still love and use Firefox too. The thing Firefox still has going for it is that, because it is so popular, it has a lot more apps. And the developers won’t start making the cool apps for Opera until you (and you and you and your cousin Lenny) start using Opera. And I want those apps!

Dammit! I’ve shown my true colors. So you see I had a selfish motive after all.

Who cares! It’s better! Just stop blinking at me inexplicably and go download it!