Thursday Link Dump

Beauty and the Geek marathon

For those who jumped on late, missed an episode, or are just too lazy to keep up — your local WB station might just be running a marathon of BEAUTY AND THE GEEK this weekend. I notice that here in the New York City media area, for example, WPIX is running the series on Sunday, 03 July from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

It’s also been announced that they just recorded a special reunion episode that will air the week after the finale. The series finale is this Wednesday. It’s a fun show. I am ashamed of myself, though, for enjoying a show that Ashton Kutcher has anything to do with. Hey, you can’t win them all.

Podcasting RIAA rumor mill

From the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Apple’s podcasting support: – Podcasting for Dummies

Of course, some podcasters go ahead and play unauthorized music anyway on their shows. Music companies haven’t yet started widely cracking down on the practice. Mr. Jobs says Apple has an agreement from music companies that allows podcasters to play 30-second song clips in their shows.

If that’s true, it’ll make my job a lot easier. I experimented a bit earlier this year with adding short music clips at the beginning of my podcasts. I was hoping for some sort of “Fair Use” coverage. But if this is true, then I’ll be more confident in doing it, working up some real bumper music, intro music, etc.

Wednesday Link Dump

iTunes and Podcasting

Good news: Both the Various and Sundry DVD podcast and the Pipeline Comic Book podcast are listed through Apple iTunes. Judging by the descriptions attached, they’re just sucking their information out of the directory. I’d really like to change the descriptions of my podcasts to something more elegant and informative, but what are ya gonna do?

I’ve only had a few minutes to play with it so far, but I like it. It will likely replace iPodderX. I’ve become increasingly annoyed by that one’s constant updates and increasingly complicated set-up. It’s getting more complicated, with buttons decorated by useless icons without tool tips to explain what they’re for. I don’t want to have to mouse up to the menu bar across the top to get something done. I want to push a button, guys. I’m getting lazy in my old age.

iTunes seems really simple so far. Go to the directory. Subscribe. There are lots of recommended podcasts with little graphics to go along with them. Obviously, I need to look into creating a graphic for my podcasts, but I’m working on something like that for this website, in general. It’ll all fit in together eventually, somehow.

After you subscribe, iTunes downloads the most recent podcast for you, and will check on it every day from here on out. Podcasts get their own directory. They can transfer to the iPod with the push of another button.

Simple, quick, and easy.

Update: Apple’s page dedicated to How To Podcast with Garageband is finally up and running. I’m using Garageband to record my voice right now, and Audacity to edit it. I really need to learn more about Garageband and loops and maybe putting some music in there… Are there any good tutorials for that on-line somewhere, or do I need to suck it up and buy a book?

iTunes now podcasts

iTunes 4.9 is now available. This is the version with support for podcasting. They claim to have a directory of 3000 podcasts you can choose from. Most of the ones they tout on the front page are commercial radio shows with podcast feeds. There’s only a couple of “indie” podcasts so far, including Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code.

The link to submit your own podcast for inclusion is currently hosed. Adam Curry’s home page is also painfully slow today.

And it doesn’t look like you can get the Apple podcast directory through their web site.

More to come on this development in the days ahead, no doubt spread out across a thousand blogs and pods.

(It should also be noted that the iPod Photo and regular iPod lines are merging. The standard $300 20 GB iPod will now include a color screen. The 60 GB model is only $100 more. So tempting…)

New DVDs for 28 June 2005 – listed and podcasted

I’m combining the podcast announcement with the release list this week.

It’s another short podcast:

Listen directly to the MP3 file (~5 minutes, ~2.3 MB)

Where to find release lists: DVDTalk’s release list – monthly release list

Where to find more information on these movies: Internet Movie Database

You can also subscribe to the podcast

E-mail me or send voice comments to AUGIEDB at GMAIL dot COM. Or leave your comments in the comments section of this message.

Are you ready for a couple of dry DVD weeks?

Things won’t be picking up until July 12th, when WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S and 1987’s THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE are released. (Sure, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is there, too, but I’m trying to play it up for yucks here.)

The Daily Show: Indecision 2004 (3-disc set)

There is some funny stuff in there. I particularly liked the pained look on Jon Stewart’s face on election night, but I’ll leave the politics to some other blogger. There’s some flat out funny stuff from both sides during the conventions.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)

I watched the trailer for this last night. Isn’t that the cop from BIRDS OF PREY as the new boyfriend?

La Femme Nikita: Season Three (6-disc set)

When the day grows to 28 hours, I’m picking this series up. Alternatively, a winning lottery ticket would be handy.

Gunner Palace (2004)

Documentary type thing from Iraq.

Homicide: Life on the Street: Season Seven (6-disc set)

It’s on the short list of the best television shows in my lifetime.

The Pacifier (widescreen) (2005)

Seriously, who here plans on buying this? I want to hear your excuse. ;-)

The Ren and Stimpy Show: Season Three and a Half-ish (3-disc set)

I can take this in Very Small Doses, but I’m not a big fan.

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962)

I bet Hercules loses.

The Twilight Zone: Season Three: The Definitive Edition Twilight Zone: 80’s: Seasons 2 & 3

No witty comments here.

VeggieTales: Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson’s Hairbrush

My niece will be so excited. I’ll just be happy to see something other than those chocolate bunny rabbits…

Tuesday Link Dump

Those flipping spammers again

We here at Various and Sundry Industries are being attacked by the spammers again. While the filters catch most of this crap, some of it is getting through. If you see those comments popping up, just ignore them. I get an e-mail everytime a comment is made and I pop right over to delete these things every time they show up.

In the meantime, I’ve closed off the comments section on all threads older than a few days. They seem to like attacking older threads for some reason. Blocking those threads often sends them packing. We’ll see. After this subsides, I’ll try to remember to open them back up.

The other thing that really bothers me about this is that it prevents me from talking about certain subjects. These attacks always come shortly after I mention anything to do with gambling or that card game where you have two in your hand and five community cards on the table. Those keywords spark an avalanche. I’d love to discuss that stuff more, but it’s just not worth the hassle that follows it.

The other annoying part of this is that it artificially inflates my hit count. We actually blocked an IP address or two a couple of months ago from known spammers. You should see how quickly the hit count dropped like a stone, particularly on the comments pages. For a second there, I just thought I was getting real popular. No such luck.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks for reading.

Monday Link Dump

  • Congrats to Mozilla Firefox for being PC World’s Product of the Year. Well deserved. See the Firefox button at right to download this essential computer tool.

  • A web site devoted to newspaper corrections, it’s helpfully named “Regret the Error.”

  • If you really need to know the eye color of your prospective child, here’s how to run the odds. You’ll need to know the eye colors of your parents, your s.o.’s parents, and all siblings. Ths should also be helpful for high school bio teachers looking to teach inheritance, alleles, etc.

  • Some guy named Ted Leo covers Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” (MP3 file) with just an acoustic guitar as backup. Impressive, scary, entertaining. You can also watch the video of the performance. (Hat tip to the archives of A Whole Lotta Nothing)

  • More efficient toilets. This site leans heavily on composting toilets and also has an entry on a “foam flush” toilet that cleans the toilet as it flushes, requiring only 3 ounces of water. I’m impressed. And frightened.

  • 25,000 Free Fonts

  • Beebo Gulfstream (see link at right) points to this video of the General Lee. Amazing bit of driving, that.

  • By the way, all links from this series of link dumps in the past week come from web sites listed in the right hand sidebar of this blog, if not specifically noted. And even then, they often come from there, but I feel obliged to be specific for some unknown reason.

Saturday Link Dump – Video Game Special

Opinions on the BBC’s Peep Show?

I love to sample shows that challenge the traditional television show formats. I’ve never heard of PEEP SHOW before today, but it sounds like it might be interesting. The first season is coming out on DVD in September. The review I read over here makes the show sound like an interesting experiment. It’s done with handheld cameras from the point of view of one of two main characters, whose every thought we get to hear.

This could be dreadfully tedious, or outrageously hilarious. Has anyone else seen this on BBC America? Any opinions?

Clearing music

You may have heard about the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom.” It’s the story of a group of school kids who are involved in competitive ballroom dancing. For those of us who follow the DVD industry closely, we know there are always problems with clearing the rights to use certain songs. It’s why shows cost so much, or so often have music replaced. It’s why WKRP IN CINCINNATI will likely never be released, barring some sea change in the music industry.

So how does a low budget documentary maker manage to clear all the rights to the songs used in her movie? It’s a painful story and one that makes the music industry look as bad as ever.

Stay Free! Daily: How did Mad Hot Ballroom survive the copyright cartel?

We first cleared music for two years for festival use, and then went back and negotiated for worldwide commercial use in all media, for perpetuity. It was extremely expensive. For most films, music licensing is 1 to 10 percent of the production budget; ours came in at 45 percent: $140,000.

One kid mentions a line from a song. It would have cost the filmmakers $5,000 to license the rights for that kid to say, “Everybody dance now!” in the course of playing around. The C&C Music Factory isn’t worth that much. And Fair Usage takes another hit in the process.

(Kottke linked to this today, and I’m already seeing it everywhere else, too. My apologies if this is the tenth site you’ve seen this link at today.)