Monday, December 31, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 31 December 07

Blog of the Day: Sidekick. She offers “Top News in Hong Kong 2007 Blogosphere”.

What? 31 December already? Where did the time go? Enjoy the final day of 2007! Some things won't be with us in 2008, including Netscape. Bloguer ou ne pas bloguer?: Netscape passe le flambeau ; qui l’utilisait encore depuis l’arrivée de Firefox ? … Adieu à Netscape Navigator.

Also: Video- Backflash II / 07 : IT’S A WONDERFUL INTERNET ; une suite avec un bien beau logo que je me suis retenu de voler … Un conte de saison ? Ne manquez surtout pas le lien IT’S A WONDERFUL INTERNET ! … Comme resources en vf, pour Freddie Frinton, par exemple, je suis heureux de vous proposer un blog que vous connaissez avec ce Dinner for One. Sur Günther Anders. Enfin, sans publicité, Nurun.

Francophone Reggae Webzine and Music blog Roots and Culture interviews Samuel Malher, a religious scholar from Strasbourg who has written the first unabridged French translation of the Kebra Negast, a sacred Ethiopian text. It describes the heritage of the Ethiopian monarchs, who trace their lineage to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and how the Ethiopians became God's new chosen people when the Ark of the Covenant was taken from Israel to Ethiopia.

Liz Benjamin has all of the political News Of The Day (And Weekend)

photo.imagina posts a beautiful Flickr photo set of shots from Havana, Cuba.

While bloghopping I ran across VidToMP3, a site that allows you to download the audio from video clips on video sites including Myspace, Youtube, Google video and more. This is great if you just want the song itself, minus the video!

Don't miss reading Preg-sploitation on Ypulse.

Digital Dilemmas

The Disney Channel Hits CDs have been pulled from the shelves of a Daytona Beach, Florida, Toys ‘R’ Us after one of the CDs actually containing music with explicit rap lyrics. The CD was to include music by Hannah Montana and High School Musical but in fact had rap songs by the New York rap group The Diplomats. Disney Records has not responded to the issue. The Music Industry relishes the publicity.


Elsewhere within this weblog I've uploaded several posts regarding the decline of the music industry. Why is it on the decline? IMHO the record companies are putting out mostly worthless crap that nobody wants to buy. Now, the music industry has really gone too far. They're claiming that making a personal copy of a song from a legally purchased CD is illegal. That's just nuts! Back in the late 60's into the 70s 80s and beyond, EVERYBODY copied songs from albums (and off the radio) onto cassettes. It didn't dent the music industry because the product was good! I won't go into detail now (but you can find it if you search through my weblog) but the recording industry ruined itself thanks to greed (overpricing cheaper to make than vinyl CDs), changes ushered in with the arrival of the marketing plan for Christina Aguilera, plus the industry's fascination with bad rap and hip-hop music.
The industry loves rap so much, they've been sneaking it onto multi-popular "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" CDs to corrupt young teen girls! [LINK]H/T Miss Info
Record company execs are always on the lookout for the next "Me So Horny." Broward County Florida prosecutor Jack Thompson prosecuted 2 Live Crew on obscenity charges and persuaded a Federal District judge to declare the album obscene in June 1990. 2 Live Crew performed songs from the album including "Me So Horny" and were prosecuted for obscenity. Record store clerks who sold copies of the album were taken for questioning.

You may notice today a lot of the good music that makes it into the mainstream was "found" first by consumers on YouTube. The Weepies, freshlyground, Tinariwen and Soulja Boy Tellem all began on YouTube.

From WaPo:

Despite more than 20,000 lawsuits filed against music fans in the years since they started finding free tunes online rather than buying CDs from record companies, the recording industry has utterly failed to halt the decline of the record album or the rise of digital music sharing. [More...]

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Texas: A Model For New York?

Here's something that may interest New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer. This, like granting driver's licences to illegal aliens, seems to be right up his alley!


Bhutto Boy Becomes Man... in a Heartbeat

Bilawal Bhutto right, being comforted by his father Asif Ali Zardar

NEW: Bhutto on FACEBOOK?

A torch of political power and prestige has been passed in Pakistan. Bruce Loudon, South Asia correspondent for Australia IT in Islamabad reports:
"BENAZIR Bhutto's 19-year-old son, Bilawal, was to be thrust into the dangerous spotlight of Pakistani politics last night as the country's most powerful dynasty prepared to pass the baton to the next generation.

While the family was considering exhuming Bhutto's body following claims of government complicity in her murder on Thursday night, momentum was building for Bilawal Bhutto to take a leading role, along with his father, in Pakistani political life.

The first-year undergraduate at Oxford University was due last night to read out his dead mother's political testament to leaders of the Pakistan People's Party. "They have to show his face to reassure the party that there will be another Bhutto leader in the future," a diplomat said."
It's being reported Sunday morning (afternoon in Europe) that Bilawal Bhutto has officially been appointed chairman of his late mother's opposition political party in Pakistan.
Pakistan offers to exhume Benazir Bhutto
Watch: The 'assassination video' released by the Pakistan government

Bilawal Bhutto, who is reading history at Oxford, will chair the Pakistan People's Party with his father, Asif Ali Zardar, as co-chairman.

Party officials made the announcement after the reading of Miss Bhutto's will following her assassination last week. It has also been announced that Pakistan's parliamentary elections are likely to be delayed by up to four months in the wake of the assassination, according to the country's ruling party.

Do you understand how Pakistanis perceive current events? There is a "9/11 conspiracy atmosphere" swirling about the Benazir Bhutto assassination thanks to a massive CYA campaign by the government, which has even played the "blame Al-Qaeda" card. When that didn't work, they blamed Musharaff. Perhaps the "Maharishi version of Osama bin Laden" will make another videotape that will be "found" in Pakistan where he'll take credit for the killing. And the cause of death? Suicide bomber. No, shock wave forced Bhutto's head into the sun roof on her car. Nope--- she was shot BEFORE the bomber detonated his load. WTF?!? All we need is FEMA on the scene...

The Bhutto family is regarded in Pakistan in a way similar to how Americans regarded the Kennedys. Similar to how Englishmen regard the Royal Family. Similar to how the people of Iraq looked up to Saddam for guidance and protection. Iraq wasn't perfect before Saddam was overthrown, but it was light years ahead of today's "democracy." Since we're making comparisons here, many pundits and politicians in the U.S. believe that democracy is the key to peace in the Middle East. Imposing democracy is like trying to convince Muslims to add the ritual of "Holy Communion" to their religious protocol. There can be peace without forcing democracy. There are a few U.S. Presidential candidates who have figured this out. I'll leave you to guess who they are. Hint: There are three. Two are Democrats, one is Republican.

Background: On 27th Dec 2007, Benazir Bhutto, ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan was assassinated in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, where she was addressing a political rally (see coverage from the New York Times and The Guardian). She served as the country's Prime Minister from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996, and returned to Pakistan in Oct 2007 after a period of exile. Her death comes at a crucial time for Pakistan, as the political emergency period was recently lifted, and elections are scheduled for January 2008. - Global Voices


Previously on this blog: Bhutto: Pakistan's 9/11 Conspiracy?

Other Keyboards:
Bhutto-sagens 3 dag
Bhutton poika ja leski jakavat puoluejohtajuuden
Bhutto family to continue party leadership

Latest Global Voices posts about Pakistan
Egypt: Bidding Farewell to Bhutto
Poland: Bhutto's Tractor Scam
Puerto Rico: Prayer for Bhutto
Morocco: Shock at Benazir Bhutto's Death
Iran:Extremist forces and the assassination of Bhutto

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Where Did They Go?

In recent days the Capital Region has witnessed another person disappear from a crowd. The case has perplexed local police. How can people vanish into thin air? A friend of mine is convinced that ALL of the open Capital Region cases (like Karen Wilson, Suzy Lyall, perhaps Joshua Szostak) have sinister overtones that may never be revealed, mysteries that could go unsolved for decades.

For now, let's take a look at the Jaliek Rainwalker case. The more time that passes, the less likely this case will be resolved. The 12 year-old boy disappeared from Greenwich, NY on November 1, 2007. From the very start, things didn't add up. And while some are quick to point a finger at one they feel might be involved in Rainwalker's vanishing act, let's consider the possibilities.

1 - Abduction. There are serial killers, flesh dealers and sexual perverts crawling the landscape looking for victims. If the boy isn't dead, he may be a prisoner, perhaps somewhere nearby, perhaps somewhere very far away.

2 - Murder. In all of the vanishing persons cases, if someone in their circle of friends, neighbors, associates, family "did it," they would likely be caught. Very few killers are cold-blooded to the extent they could keep their "normal" lives going after having done such a dastardly deed.

3 - Escape. As in runaway: hide out somewhere. Someone remarked that in the Rainwalker case the lad had a fascination with African-American culture and might be living with a black family in Albany or Troy. This is 100% possible! There have been instances where kids either run away or are abducted yet remain within 10-20 miles of home for YEARS and stay off the radar so as not to be found. If families can shield criminals and illegals, who is to say a family couldn't "hide" a 12-year old?

4 - Far-Fetched Abduction Scenarios 2 and 3. Taken by aliens. Or taken by the government for experimental purposes. Well, someone would have seen the aliens by now. The government? I can't vouch for it!

What do YOU think?

Bhutto Assassination: Pakistani 9/11?

The stumbling, bumbling government of Pakistan isn't too savvy when it comes to pulling the wool over people's eyes. There are new revelations regarding Benazir Bhutto's death AND an old 9/11 player heads further into rough political waters...

Greg Sargent: (TPM) So it looks as if genocide might not be part of the Rudy campaign platform, after all:
The New York Daily News has picked up our story about John Deady, the co-chair of New Hampshire Veterans for Rudy, who told us in an interview that he doesn't "subscribe to the principle that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims. They're all Muslims."
And STRANGE THINGS have been going on with the Benazir Bhutto assassination. AP reports Al-Qaeda said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing and the opposition leader's aides accused the government of a cover-up, disputing the official account of her death.

Larry Chin offers his take:
The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place.
As succinctly summarized in Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects by Jeremy Page the main suspects are:
1) “Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge”, and
2) the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, a virtual branch of the CIA. Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari directly accused the ISI of being involved in the October attack.
The assassination of Bhutto has predictably been blamed on “Al-Qaeda”, without mention of fact that Al-Qaeda itself is an Anglo-American military-intelligence operation.
And in The Corner on National Review Online, a former next-door neighbor of Bhutto blogs that "...she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be..."

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Around The Blogosphere 29 December 07

Gossip over the personal relationships of prominent Chinese television announcers has always been a hot topic within the Chinese blogosphere...

John Kennedy: How did a couple's marital issues become today's top sports story? She's a prominent Beijing television broadcaster, he's one of Chinese sports news' top official faces for the Olympics; she just crashed his high-profile unveiling of China's new Olympics channel, and someone's put the video online! Snippet:
Friday was meant to be a big day for China's main sports channel CCTV-5, with a lavish ceremony attended by top station executives held to celebrate its official change of name to The Olympics Channel. It got a bit bigger when a visibly upset Hu Ziwei, the wife of top CCTV-5 announcer and sports news dept. head Zhang Bin—about to introduce Olympic ping pong player Wang Nan—suddenly appeared on stage and grabbed the microphone, accusing Zhang of having had an affair, as well as of smearing the name of both China and next year's summer Olympics.
Word to the Wise: Make sure you're SECURE: David Airey writes "With your help, my domain name has been restored to my possession, and you can read how it happened in this blog article." David warns G-Mail users "... it’s absolutely vital that you check your account settings now. Here’s what to do: When logged into GMail, click on the ’settings’ tab in the upper right of the screen. Then check both the ‘Filters’ and the ‘Forwarding and POP’ sections..."

Maya Norton: Three Israeli journalists who visited Lebanon and Syria are facing possible jail time for visiting nations that the government terms “enemy states.” Lisa Goldman, Ron Ben-Yishai, and Tsur Shezaf have been investigated and will spend a maximum of four years in jail if found guilty. Maya has reaction from Israel's English speaking blogs.

On The Net:

GOOG-411 lets you find a local business and connect to it by calling to 1-800-GOOG-411. The service is free and doesn't have human operators.


On a basic Internet search, the nation's biggest seller of entertainment is blown away by a selection of random online companies that few people have heard of...

Is the era of the big local TV news anchor over? It just may be in Tampa-Saint Petersburg, Florida, according to the Saint Petersburg Times.

There's a new NPR in the house... An FM station run by artists in San Francisco: Neighborhood Public Radio is airing material not normally heard on the radio. Even expletives are allowed, says the San Francisco Chronicle.

Dick Cavett, Carol Burnett, Phyllis Diller and many others will be celebrated in a four-part PBS documentary series, Pioneers of Television, set to premiere in NYC this coming Wednesday at 8 on Thirteen/WNET

A year-end mix of bizarre Internet links is examined by Associated Press.

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Albany Radio Gets Interesting

Just as the region's premiere discussion board folds up, it's participants scattered across other boards, forums and blogs, there's REALLY something to talk about when it comes to the Albany-Schenectady-Troy radio market. [aside: "Clear Channel" is NOT defined as a "big corporation that swallows up broadcast outlets." Originally, a "Clear Channel" was a radio station that held a "Clear" channel, a spot on the radio dial that no one else on it's half of North america could use.] Clear Channel (and Clear Channel-owned) WGY served the area for decades at 810 on the AM dial, a unique powerhouse blend of content, not unlike the variety of various bits of stuff you might read right here on my blog each and every day. LONG after AM stations abandoned music, WGY remained at its familiar home, at or near the top of the radio ratings. Suddenly, things have changed. In the "Diary Listings by release date - Fall 2007 Phase 2 Arbitron Results" the giant has lost it's footing, tumbling down to 7th place.

Could the resurgence of live local talk radio weekday afternoons have hit 810 in it's Achilles Heel? I know I stopped listening to Rush around the time of the oxycontin fiasco. Sean Hannity the network version just never measured up to Sean Hannity the WABC NY version. It's as if they froze Hannity in time. While he was always growing and expanding and stirring the pot on WABC, "network Sean" is, well, ho-hum.

Bring back the Albany Eye!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

A Tale of Two Noels

The music industry in America has been on the skids for some time: sales have been on a downward trend, which continues...

Phil Gallo writes in Variety: Josh Groban is the rare person in the music industry singing a happy jolly tune this holiday season.

While Groban's "Noel" has crossed 3.5 million in sales to become the top-selling disc of the year, overall music sales during the Christmas shopping season were down an astounding 21% from last year. From the week of Thanksgiving up through the day before Christmas Eve, 83.9 million albums were sold, a decrease of 21.38 million from 2006's 105.28 million. [more]

The man fired earlier this month from his job as an analyst for NY Senate Democrats charged Thursday that his former boss forged his signature, misused his Social Security number and sought his college transcripts without his authorization.

In an interview with the Times Union, Jean Pierre, 38, of Albany, said he is upset that he, not the woman who was his boss, is now unemployed. He said he will sue the minority conference for his dismissal and will pursue criminal charges against his former superior, Indira Noel...

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Around The Blogosphere 28 December 07

Blog of The Day: selline.blog.shinobi.jp

Liz Benjamin: Pakistan is in disarray in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, and the implications in the ‘08 US presidential race could be significant... Hillary Clinton shared a personal bond with Bhutto about whom Clinton once wrote of waiting on a rope line in London to see. [more Liz]

On Benazir Bhutto's death, Leonardo Sakamoto [pt] leaves the factual news to the newspapers and publishes links to his personal accounts of Pakistan, a country which he visited to see projects that fight against slavery.

Blogging is a low-cost, high-return marketing tool, according to the New York Times.

Web sites can become a cheap avenue for personal attacks, reports the Buffalo News.

YPulse: The year in hip hop (nice reflections from Davey D - including this stat from a two year U of Chicago study: "60 percent to 70 percent of black teens do not like the rap music and videos being pushed through mainstream outlets. They consider the subject matter was too violent, too sexist and crass.") (Mercury News)

Ambiome: - Tony-b Machine : toi aussi, fait de la dance miousic pour que tes amis dansent la tecktonik !

In China, the online video Web site Hupo.TV, backed by Internet entrepreneur Brad Greenspan, landed an exclusive partnership with China government-backed pop radio station Music Radio, reports Reuters.

On December 26, 1bao was blocked again, Zhai Minglei said he would continue to write and wait for the blog to be unblocked again (zh).

Saigon Nezumi wonders if Vietnam's planned regulations on blogging would affect the local and expat bloggers.

Machete [es] wonders about the fate of the blogs from Colombian magazine Semana.com.

Not to be out-Cheneyed, Republican Mike Huckabee fired a few shots over reporters' heads, something that greatly displeased reporter - blogger Jim Tankersley...

Other Keyboards:

HUCKABEE REALLY IS CRAZY
Jim Tankersley, at the Chicago Tribune's blog The Swamp, writes a post titled "Huckabee's muzzle control problem," and scores a minor scoop on a bizarre incident at "pheasant-hunting expedition" by Huckabee in Iowa on Wednesday. ...
Culture of Truth - http://cultureoftruth.blogspot.com/

Social Conservatives Taking a Stand with Huckabee

I am a fiscal conservative, too (and think Huckabee is based on his stance on the Fair Tax, cutting taxes, in Arkansas, etc.), but that will always take a back seat to a baby's right to live, protecting marriage as between a man and a ...
Christianity Lived Out - http://livedout.blogspot.com/

Pelosi, Reid, Huckabee, Obama Among Nation's Most Corrupt
Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR): ...“[Huckabee’s] career has also been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to ...
WorldwideStandard.com - http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/

Michael Savage :: Benazir Bhutto Assassination (Part 2)
From Michael Savage's 12/27/2007 show a clip of his much need commentary about the uninspiring responses of US presidential candidates regarding the Bhutto assassination. Author: InternetSavage Keywords: Benazir Bhutto assassination ...
YouTube :: Tag // huckabee - http://youtube.com/rss/tag/+huckabee.rss

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Remember

Kelly O'Connell and her sister, Kimmy, created a Facebook page for Harrison Carnevale on July 1, the day he was killed in a car crash. (Michael P. Farrell / Times Union)

It's true what they say: once something appears on the internet, it is always there, somewhere, in cyberspace... Scott Waldman writes in the Albany Times Union: "Certain Facebook and MySpace sites have become impromptu virtual memorials, an online and more personal accompaniment to the roses and rain-stained photos left at roadside sites where teens have lost their lives... We will miss your smile, we will miss your laugh, and the world will miss everything you had to offer."

Second Life in Japan is virtually dead. While three-dimensional environments such as "meet me" and Hatena World have seen their popularity rise, the most famous virtual environment in the world has seen its virtual space depopulate in Japan. What lessons can be learned from the burst of the Second Life bubble? One blogger offers his thoughts.

Some folks we lost along the way during 2007...

Anna Nicole Smith

Aqsa Parvez

Busi

Cara Liuzzi

Chris Benoit

David Halberstam

Denny Doherty

Diva

Elsa Serfass

Harrison Carnevale

Johnny Hart

Julian Starr

Kitty Carlisle

Kurt Vonnegut

Ladybird

Lee Hazlewood

Lucky Dube

Marc Strizzi

Mariannet Amper

Mark Daily

Mia Henderson

Shakti Bhatt

Steve Gilliard

Zakia Zaki

Zina Linnik


PageRank Obsession

Nari Jibon’s women bloggers. They discuss the menace of wedding dowries, which make the lives of poor families difficult by forcing parents to consider female children as burdens. If only had they efficiently monetized their blogs!

Many bloggers shudder with horror whenever Technorati "forgets" their blogs exist. Likewise, those webmasters and writers who place high value on Google's PageRank system faint when their page suffers a drop in PR.

Shocking disclosure: T'rati and PR are not the "beginning and the end" of any blog or webpage. If you run a blog, get comfortable with that thought. Both have become roadblocks for many bloggers, thanks to certain blogs that enshrined the two services, making them seem much more important in the grand scheme of things than they really are.

Having blogged for several years, I've gotten over the "horror" of when things go wrong with this blog. I learned how to pinpoint and remove pieces of code that might disturb the blog's layout. I learned that one should always have back-ups for any features or services felt to be critical for one's blog. I learned not to fret: if I couldn't fix a problem today, it might fix itself by tomorrow.

Many of you already are familiar with my trials and tribulations with Technorati, a service that now (for me) has zero value when it comes to drawing readers to my blog. Speaking of zero value, many bloggers would pee in their pants if they saw their Google PageRank shrink from 4 to 0 in a single day. Not me. I decided to investigate.
Seems in some levels, I'm still a "4"... while Wendy Cheng is a "3" ??? How can that be? I found this bit of info on a forum: "Normally a sites PR will drop during the upgrade process, however it normally only lasts a few days."
It is wrongly believed by many webmasters that Pagerank is the main critical factor that determines their search engine ranking positions ( SERPS). Realistically, there are a huge amount of factors that Google looks at to determine the SERPS, Pagerank is just one of them, however, it can be a deciding factor if all other things are equal.[Link]
The trouble began earlier, when the PR badge I display (courtesy BlogFlux) started showing ZERO. Eventually I concluded something might be wrong with BlogFlux's server, and I left it at that. Later on, when that ZERO was reflected in other places, I got curious. I wanted to find out if others had experienced difficulties with PR, and how they handled them. As when presented with a real problem in real life, some folks handle it well, some stress over it.

The Bottom Line: PageRank is really an issue with blogs that have chosen to "monetize" (Google that!) The average citizen journalist or hobby-blogger or diarist really shouldn't worry too much. If you would like to make a few bucks on the side, take it from me, Google's AdSense program is effective! That check comes in handy and always surprises me when it appears in the mail!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 27 December 07

Bettina Perroni has taken the plunge and redesigned her blog... Click Opera Pick Opera: Top 10 blog events of 2007... Miss Info is back from Xmas hiatus and posting heavily...

Lifehack.org: It’s coming up on that time of year again. You know, the time where you seriously commit to the same resolution that you seriously committed to last year… before life got in the way and it evaporated into thin air. read more... »

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

UPDATE: Given the volume of commentary from bloggers throughout the world about the assassination of ex-prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, earlier today in Rawalpindi, Global Voices hsa set up a Special Coverage page aggregating some of the reactions from Pakistan and other parts of south Asia.

Denise Arcoverde [pt] was shocked to learn about Benazir Bhutto's death. “Bonazir was such a brilliant and courageous women who knew very well the risk she run, and who was anything but stupid. However, to leave your mark, there is a price to pay”. She has also compiled a short biography of Bhutto in Portuguese.

Neha Viswanathan: Benazir Bhutto's death has come as a shock to many of the bloggers writing from and about Pakistan. While Bhutto's politics may be controversial, her assasinaton comes at a time when it was hoped that Pakistan could overcome the years of lapse of democracy. [Link] Liz Benjamin: '08 Candidates (And Bloomberg?!) Respond to Bhutto Assassination... Aaminah Hernández weighs in... Tonyo hopes that the diplomats from Philippines will look after the thousands of Filipino overseas works currently in Pakistan.

Sami Ben Gharbia : Saudi blogger, Fouad Alfarhan, arrested in Jeddah December 10, 2007 for exercising his freedom of speech on his popular blog alfarhan.org, sent a letter few days before his arrest to his friends. According to his wife, Fouad's arrest was directly linked to his blogging activities.

MAKE: Blog has found a unique item of questionable need --- usbheatinggloves3.jpg Should you find yourself in an unheated cabin in the woods this winter or your house has really bad central heating, it might be time to slap on these "USB Heating Gloves". read more... »

The musicradio77 board notes the 25th Anniversary of Pete Fornatale's Mixed Bag show.


Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: LEDs and Ultracaps

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 26 December 07

Blog of the Day: Marreyrua.

Kizzie: when a 15-year-old Swiss-German teenager gets GANG-RAPED by three men, he gets discouraged from pressing charges against the three criminals because Dubai might charge him for HOMOSEXUALITY?

An equally disturbing post from Sonia Faleiro: "HIV positive women in a Chandigarh slum reveal that they were forced to have sex with their HIV/AIDS counsellors and technicians. Sharmila, one of the women, says she was given medicines and access to testing facilities only in exchange for sexual gratification."

Gabrielle Union & White Paparazzi: Mrs. Grapevine has details...

Susan Murphy-Milano: "Dark Tuesday".

Jennifer Garrett now has her precious...

Abesha Negna offers a crash-course in Ethiopian Music...

“In less than five days, a personal list of “open source” software has become a huge archive that everyone must bookmark”. Antonio Granado [pt] reports on the Open Source Living archive of Open Source software.

John Romenesko, who runs a weblog about journalism industry news in his Romenesko Web site, is profiled by the Seattle Times.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Joyeux Noël!

Karel McIntosh shares Caribbean: Christmas Traditions

Emily blogs Depending on your family traditions, Christmas is a day of everything from gift giving to turkey, mistletoe, egg nog, and other less-common behavior like “wrapping paper ball fights.”

Peter Kafka writes: "We didn't expect to spend part of our Christmas Day at the 5th Avenue Apple store, but we did -- and we weren't alone. This picture was taken around 1pm Tuesday, but based on the line to get into the store that we saw..."

trevor wishes Merry Christmas to you all! "I hope that you have a great holiday and spend it with your family. My prayer is that you’ll enjoy Christmas for what it really is about. Not the comericalism or the overbearing religious event..."

bcp muses "Have you ever noticed how something about Christmas music allows Christian radio stations to play secular music (eg, Jingle Bell Rock), and secular music stations to play overtly Christian music (eg, Hark the Herald Angels Sing)? ..." Jonathan Benz offers a Christmas Blessing

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

Karmic-Dragonfly: It was a very nice Christmas, but I'm glad to be home though so I can sleep in my own bed tonight :) I mentioned that my head had been getting cold from shaving it, so I got a couple of stocking caps...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 24 December 07

Seasons Greetings / Merry christmas to all of my friends, readers and fellow-bloggers out there!

Hope you're ready for tomorrow! 'Tis the night before Christmas and you haven't made a cake? Just follow this recipe, for everyone's sake... The night before Christmas cake

At least somebody tried to meet the green gingerbread house challengeJanet and the sprogs built one, although they cheated a little bit... everybody else has until 31 December to send in entries!


Christmas Eve preaching 2 (luke 2:1-20)

A Coleus for Christmas

Despite yesterday's rains, there's still enough white stuff on the ground that New Yorkers will have a White Christmas. I do enjoy hearing Christmas songs of old, including those done by performers born before me... like Bing Crosby's "White" and Elvis' "Blue" Christmas. Some folks enjoy music on Christmas Eve, and some don't.

Back in 1957 England's Queen Elizabeth embraced new technology and began a new tradition: addressing the UK at Christmastime via Television. Although she is now very old (remember, with age comes wisodm), the Queen has embraced the Internet and will send her address via The Royal Channel on YouTube! This is truly an exciting time to be alive! So the WORLD will be able to "tune in" the Queen! Say, what would Christmas be without the Osmonds?

Ampontan blogs on how Japanese spend their Christmas ... this could be Skippy-san's last Xmas in Japan. Chad wishes everyone a Merry Christmas! A big Feliz Navidad from Bettina!

For every blogger who won't be online tomorrow, there will probably be 3 or 4 people online testing new hardware and software...

Life (and Blogging) Takes Funny Turns is my most recent LiveJournal post, all about big changes that one "A-List" blogger decided to make to her blog...

Inside a Modern Malware Distribution System: Scrabblous sends in this analysis of the Pushdo Trojan downloader's backend code and control server. Pushdo is a complex Trojan downloader that meticulously tracks its victims; much of its innovation is not in the Trojan itself but in its control infrastructure...

50 Cent in Kosovo

Another smashing post from Global Voices : in China: Zuola on how citizen media should work, John Kennedy writes "A fist-chop in the throat and surveillance by secret police seems to have put a swift end to the career of China's most popular investigative blogger Zhou 'Zuola' Shuguang..."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stopping by a few blogs on a rainy evening...

Yup... RAINING... cats and dogs as the old saying goes. If it was snow this would have been our third Sunday evening trouncing in as many weekends here in the Northeastern USA. I've been doing some mad bloghopping in the last hour or so...

BoingBoing: A number of early issues of the historic print zine Radical Software are available online. Looks like they've been on the web for a few years, but it's new to me.

read more...

More interesting links:

A Look Back At A Very Google 2007
A calendar laser etched on to fingernails
The End is Near [Greg Laden's Blog]
2007: The Year in ScienceBlogging
ImgBurn: Free CD/DVD image burning for Windows
Declassified doc shows Hoover planned mass jailing in 1950

10 CD's that make great last-minute Christmas gifts!

#1Kala - M.I.A. She's the baaaadest! Mad music here!

#2The Veronicas - the Aussie twins first CD is one of the best guitar-rock oriented girl group CD's I've ever heard: out of the 12 or 13 songs I love around 9 or 10, and that's pretty good!

#3Tinariwen ANYthing by Tinariwen!

#4Birthday - Beyoncé I think it's her best album...

#5Jordin Sparks The American Idol winner offers a winning collection of tracks!

#6The Best of Bow Wow Wow One of the best from the punk rock era: the Malcolm McLaren driven Annabella and Bow Wow Wow have a sound that can't be beat!

#7Adam Ant - The Essential Adam Ant is a must-have for punk / glam-rock 80's lovers!

#8If you still don't know who Malcolm McLaren is you will after you hear this CD! Contains "Buffalo Gals" and "Hey DJ"!

#9For Lovers And Dreamers - Alice Smith Do you like stuff the Beatles recorded circa White Album? You'll like Alice's CD. Do you enjoy the more sultry Nora Jones tunes? You'll like Alice's CD. If you're down with a little bit of African world seasoning, you'll like Alice's CD.

#10 - I took a copy of the Yardbirds' "Havin A Rave-Up: The Definitive Edition" (Sunspots CD) and added a few other great Y-Birds trax to make a ridiculously wonderful guitar-heavy collection of some of the best music that came out of the 1960s era!

Downloading? Don't forget to read up on how to copy and burn YouTube videos!!! Into Hip-Hop? Check out Women in Rap & HipHop!

Give Music Over The Holidays!

I'm gonna put you to work: maybe you've been sitting there like a lump on a log, wondering why no more than 30 people a day show up to read your blog (I see posts like that all the time) and you're getting frustrated. "Why did I even start a blog?" Please, don't obsess over it! People start blogs for different reasons and whatever yours is, here's a simple way to handle everything: write. One day you might be on fire, writing about this and that and the other. Open up notepad or wordpad and write/save your stories. Pick the most time-sensitive topic and post that article to your blog immediately. Come back later or tomorrow and look at the others. Meantime you may hear something on the news or see something on another blog that you've nailed in your article. That's the time to go back, add in links to the new material, and post. If you post once a day, your blog will be strong and healthy. You may not have time to WRITE everyday, so that's when those "banked" articles come in handy. think of those 30 readers or blogders as your personal disciples. People who liked you or something you wrote about so much they come back almost everyday for a visit.

Oh yeah, back to the idea of putting YOU to work... it's almost Christmastime, and nothing is better than giving a friend or relative the Gift of Music, also an incentive to get people to BUY music. Case in point: Lordi. Just over a year ago, I burned a video CD of the band's performance of "Blood Red Sandman" and gave it to a friend. He went nuts and ordered every Lordi product he could Google.

VIDEO

I'm giving you the names of the tools you'll need. It's up to you to FIND them (I did) and use them! Let's take VIDEO first. You see a great song on YouTUBE, either something brand new or a clip that evokes memories from the past. Here's what you need to save that:
  • Ordinary PC with Win9x, ME or better
  • CD Burner (DVD burner is not needed!)
  • Internet Connection (Duh!) - Yes, DIAL-UP is okay!!!
  • Check out Keepvid.com - poke around and get familiar, because when you find a video you want to keep, you go through this site to park it on your computer!
You'll need to gather a few other FREE programs:
  • Riva FLV player - so you can verify you have a complete download
  • SUPER - to convert .flv files to .mpeg
  • VCDGear - to assemble one or more videos and format them to be burned on a CD
  • BurnAtOnce - or similar CD burner software - to do the actual burning.

Remember, you don't need a DVD burner. Your finished CD (ordinary blank CD's may be used) will not only play on your DVD player, but you can play it back on your PC using a free VCD player like LALIM. Make a copy or two to give to your friend(s).

AUDIO

Boy oh boy, here's a sweet little trick I learned. One day I went searching for a new CD by a new artist. I found one of those sites where you could LISTEN to entire songs online, and they let you download 2 or 3. I DL'd the songs, all the while wishing I had a cassette deck attached to the PC to record the others.

STOP RIGHT THERE.

If you have speakers or an earphone jack, you can go to Radio Shack or a similar store and get a wire with the plugs you need to patch your PC into a cassette deck! Some PC's come with audio out jacks on the back, so check what your model has. If you're afraid of buying the wrong accessories, look through your stuff and find jacks or plugs that perfectly fit those on your PC and deck, then take those items with you when you shop for a cord. I once taped an entire session off WFUV's archives that featured a performance by Norah Jones. I used a DIAL-UP connection, with a headphone-jack plug from my speakers into an RCA-type plug on my cassette deck. It sounds clean, crisp and clear!

Now back to those songs I was wishing I could copy. Totally by accident, I "lost" a file while moving it from one directory to another using Windows Explorer in ME. As I looked and looked I eventually got to Internet Explorer's Internet Temp files, I saw a dozen or so files bearing the Windows Media Player icon. I clicked a few to check file size. All but three were VERY small... 950k or thereabouts. I clicked on one of the three: it was one of the songs I downloaded! I clicked on one of the smaller ones: it turned out to be a COMPLETE song, one of the ones I could only listen to online! I moved all 12 files into a folder in "My Music." Manna!

I needed a way to convert the files to MP3's. I found a free software called "JODIX." VOILA! I had the contents of the entire CD now, which I had converted and burned onto a CD. Now, to do this properly, before you go looking for music online, clean out your internet Temp files completely, using your browser tools or a free standalone program like EasyClean. It'll make it easy to find the files after you've listened. Now my other PC, running Win98SE, was being used by someone who had just listened to about 14 songs on a variety of music sites. I checked the IE temp files: they were all there, all in that 750-950k size range. Some had a .WMA file extension. Others did not. If you know how to change file extensions (see your Windows help file for information on how to reveal and change media file extensions) you merely change the .ASX or whatever to .WMA, click on the file to make sure it plays okay, then run it through JODIX and you have your ready-to-burn mp3s!

Now, using your own CD burner software program, you can make a CD sampler of songs you like for your friends, who, in turn, will find songs on the disc THEY like, and they'll search for and purchase that music! It's really a win-win-win situation for you-your friends-the artists & labels.

Ever since cassettes came on the market back in the late 60s - early 70s, record companies have worried about people making copies. If an artist or group puts out a great recording, people will still buy that original product if it's worth it's salt! Despite what you may have been told otherwise, that held true in 1976 and it still holds true in 2006! I personally have purchased about a dozen music CD's this year: all except two were by artists I'd encountered on the Net through online downloading, streaming and places like YouTUBE!

There's a lot of material here, and a lot for you to do. You may even have to improvise or find other programs that do the same things. It's interesting, frustrating, but you'll LEARN a lot more about your computer and how things operate, and when you crank out that first videoCD or music CD, you'll be proud of yourself! You may even decide to blog about it!

In case you don't stop back by here for awhile, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Around The Blogosphere 23 December 07

Global Voices spotlights a holiday season story that's got very little of the traditional holiday spirit in it. Posted by LJ user souffrante and accompanied by Valeriy Leushev's photos, it's as much about Russian bloggers' childhood memories as it is about globalization, consumer nationalism, bad management, labor rights and the power of blogging... Russia: Christmas Tree Decorations

For some reason, this next post reminds me of the demise of the Albany Eye: Did Apple Bludgeon ‘Think Secret’ Into Shutting Down?

Re-opening the Hijab debate: “I'm not Anti-Hijab or Anti-Hijabi or anything. But I really find it weird that some ladies are so keen on wearing it, while they live up to nothing that it represents,” writes Qwaider, from Jordan.

Window into Palestine on a new Saudi Fatwa (religious edict) regarding the US dollar.

Saudi Jeans comments on global interest about the relationship of Saudis with video sharing site YouTube. Speaking of YouTube, I keep being drawn to watch and listen to What if the Beatles had done “Stairway to Heaven”? and this video...

High School Musical Not

SOS to Albany High Students:

The principal wants you to know throwing food is unacceptable.

Strange Days have indeed found us. A recent chat with several kids from Albany High was a real eye-opener. Many of the "underprivileged" and "special needs" students live in homes that (if they were in Guilderland or Bethlehem) would be "lap of luxury" dwellings. A high school kid who attends a local private school (at greatly reduced tuition, and I do mean GREATLY, plus free lunch everyday) has a brand new HDTV plasma unit in his ROOM, the latest iPod, an iPhone AND a Verizon cellphone along with after school attire you would normally only see on a filthy rich NBA star or perhaps a rich rapper. The mom is on the dole. Wonder who owns that Cadillac Escalade SUV she picks the kids up with. I wouldn't have written this but for two things: that Albany High newspaper article and the following from fellow-blogger Michelle Malkin:

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