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Slashback: Google, Prince, Bayesian 424

Updates from the field on Google access in the People's Republic of China, Lance Bass's space-shot (shot down), the gaming ban in Greece, recording artists and Internet music downloads, and more. Read on for the details.

Please confirm, over. After reports that the People's Republic of China was blocking access to Google, an anonymous reader writes: "I'm working in China, and for the last 3 days Google and some other sites were not accessible. But since even sending SMS to europe didn't work I don't think it was censoring, more like routing problems of some sort. Anyway, Google is back and reports of slashdot blocking are also overrated :)"

Cradle of Democracy, or Regular Cradle? Many readers have written to point out that, just like they promised to in March, the government of Greece has gone ahead and banned electronic games. xlurker, for instance, writes "In an unbelievable move the Greek government has banned all public play of computer games with enactment of law 3037/2002. An english translation of it can be read here. This has been reported in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini and recently confirmed in detail at the German Heise site (Google translation). The law encompasses all appliances that play games, as ludicrous this sounds, it spans from cells ph ones and computers to gameboys and consoles. Greek internet cafes are protesting and international gaming events are being cancelled and relocate d. The bill was passed as a last ditch effort by the government to combat gambling. Thousands of Greek citizens have protested the blanket anti-gaming law. Online petitions can be found here and at the Greek Net Cafe site."

Welcome to your new email account. In addition to the Bayesian spam filter for Qmail mentioned in a previous Slashback, an anonymous reader writes "An article here talked about using statistical methods to classify spam (and perhaps other mail) automatically. A real implementation of this has been released (currently beta) here that acts as a POP3 proxy and works with any mail client. It inserts an X-Text-Classification: header in each mail message containing a classification of the mail into any of a number of classes that the user defines. The code is mostly Perl and an LGPL library so although the current version is for Windows it will work on other platforms and the author is asking for suggestions and testers."

Yes, I'd like to be paid in unlucky-pop-star weights, please. 21mhz writes "Reuters reports: Russia's space agency has scrapped 'N Sync singer Lance Bass's plans to join an October space mission after the U.S. pop star failed to meet payment deadlines. More details from AP. The guys that do real stuff at ISS will get an extra cargo package the weight of the unlucky pop singer."

And Lo, eleven shall have been selected, and it is so. AmateurHuman writes "After two delays, Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Dungeons & Dragons, have announced that the first stage of the New Fantasy Setting Search is completed. Eleven out of 11,000 entries were selected. Good job to those lucky eleven!"

Slashdot is not responsible for the content of external links. ttyp writes "We've all seen Janis Ian's opinions about P2P and the RIAA but, man, does Prince take it to a new level! Check out the artist's commentary A Nation of Thieves wherein Prince wonders, 'How long, however, b4 a critical mass of established artists realize that it is in their best interests, both artistically and commercially, 2 leave the system 4 good? How long b4 a critical mass of young aspiring artists become aware of the enslaving aspects of the system and r careful not 2 get involved in it without a maximum of precautions? And how long b4 a critical mass of art lovers get 2gether 2 provide these artists with a real, valuable, legitimate, truthfully enthusiastic alternative audience that completes the process of rendering the xisting system artistically irrelevant?' Also check out the links to other commentaries on this page."

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Slashback: Google, Prince, Bayesian

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  • Wow, didn't know he wrote like that, Prince is one l33t d00d! I totally agree with the message behind it, but that is an incredibly annoying way of writing.
    • Prince is pre-script kiddie. Writing in phonetics is sooooo eighties.

      Maybe it was cool "way back when". Now it's just gay.
    • I remember reading Douglas Copeland's book Microserfs, back in 1996. One character writes a script that translates normal text into Prince-speak, replacing to and too with 2, you with u, etc.
    • Ever wake up at night, covered in a cold sweat, wondering what will happen to the world when a nation of teenagers whose only experience with written English is Instant Messenger grows up?

      Language is fluid, and the only spellings that are "correct" are the ones in common use. As lame as it is, I think the spelling most in danger of extinction is "you" vs. "u". Compared to other languages, "you" is pretty long for a second person pronoun.

      • No matter which way I look at it, I can't seem to make "you" longer than "anata" :)


    • He finally did what he's been singing in "alphabet street" -> "we're going down down down, if that's the only way, to make this cruel world hear what we've got to say. Put the right letters together and make a better day"

      Baby it's the only way.

  • The Greek Government (Score:3, Informative)

    by Yorrike ( 322502 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:07PM (#4192347) Homepage Journal
    This is not as suprising as you may expect, since this is the same government that jailed those English plane spotters for being spies (yeah right).

    A Cnet article [com.com] regarding the story explains that "The blanket ban was decided in February after the government admitted it was incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines.", so since Greek authorities are too stupid to tell the difference between Teris and a Poker machine, no one gets to play anything?

    The stupidity involved in this law is beyond comprehension.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      Those plane spotters were taking pictures of aircraft at a military airfield in a country where that is illegal. It was their own stupid faults that they were thrown in the slammer, especially after being warned once before.
      • Also, in the US, if you take pictures of military aircraft on a base without clearance from the installation commander, you will at the very least be questioned by military authorities, though, if you are honestly just taking pictures cause they look cool you probably will be let go without a hassle, though depending on the activities and equipment photographed your film may be confiscated.
    • I know a lot of americans think that they are "free", but as an Australian, I can't fathom a modern western society where gambling is against the law. It's rediculous. Also, I'm intrigued about the details - I know you guys have a lottery system, do you have those little "instant scratchies"? Also, I assume pokies are banned, what about bingo? And more importantly, if there's no pokies, and no bingo, what the hell do you people do when you get older than 55?
  • How long b4 a critical mass uv peepil beegin 2 loose all sines of b-ing able 2 spel and t8ke the pop moozik w/ them?
    • Re:How long? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why do I have a feeling that most people focused on Prince's spelling rather than what he was saying?

      Honestly, if you're spending time reading the comments section, then you should already be prepared to read lots of typos and shorthand spellings. Don't act like it's all encrypted.
      • Why do I have a feeling that most people focused on Prince's spelling rather than what he was saying?

        Because it's difficult to take him seriously when he writes, as another poster said, like a fourteen year old girl chatting via IM.

        --Jim
      • Why do I have a feeling that most people focused on Prince's spelling rather than what he was saying?

        That's exactly the point.

        GSM SMS has a hard limit of 150 or so characters.
        Instant Messengers / IRC have a time limit (for fluid conversation)

        That's where I expect to see abbreviations.

        Articles read by the general public with no real character limit, I expect to see the extended versions which don't require any deciphering. It seriously interrupts your inner monologue to stop and decode the context of '4' or 'U' in a sentence.

        He appears to have an important message to get across. If he wants people to fully comprehend him, he needs to write as clearly as possible, with the least amount of distraction from his message. Abbreviations are fine if they are required. In this case, they appear to be unnecessary, and have distracted people from his message.
        • Or maybe he wants the people who nitpick everything a celebrity says to over-worry themselves about something frivolous. Kinda like a 'moronically zealous honeypot'. Heh.

          I could see him doing that. "At least they're not ripping my point apart, putting words in my mouth I didn't really say." Maybe if I adopted that writing style, then the only people commenting on my point would be those who took the time to understand it.

        • "Abbreviations are fine if they are required. In this case, they appear to be unnecessary, and have distracted people from his message."

          In this case they are required, because in the case of Prince, the particular ones he is using constitute part of his artistical trademark.

  • by eldimo ( 140734 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:11PM (#4192370)
    In the 1990s Prince changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, then to an unpronouncable symbol. All that to escape a long-term contract he had with Warner Music.
    In 2000 he changed his name back to Prince when his contract expired.

    • Yeah, he really screwed them!

      The post-cool pop star that seemed to be past his prime launched into a high-profile temper tantrum that brought a lot of media attention to himself and sold a lot more records and made them a lot more money.

      I guess he showed them! :-P
  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:13PM (#4192389)
    Check out the artist's commentary A Nation of Thieves wherein Prince wonders, "How long, however, b4 a critical ... 2 leave the system 4 good ... 2gether 2 ... "

    How could we possibly "check that out"? How can anyone read and comprehend that sort of crap? I guess people no longer need IM to prove they are idiots; now they can write whole manifestoes and remove all doubt. Or maybe Prince is trying to be artsy, I dunno. He just comes off as unintelligible, which flies in the face of communication's goals just a bit if he's trying to accomplish something with his writing.

    "The technology and entertainment industries r simply 2 big 4 us 2 xpect any overnight changes." And they probably took at least one English class, too, so you probably aren't going to convince anyone to do anything that you want them to do if you attempt to use the written word, Prince...

    -B

    • by PD ( 9577 ) <slashdotlinux@pdrap.org> on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:44PM (#4192547) Homepage Journal
      Or at least a good spellchecker. Enjoy:

      A Nation of Thieves?

      Something happened on the way to the 21st century. Media and entertainment companies started converging and shareholder value became far more important than customer service and respect for company employees ever managed to be. Compensation packages for company executives hit the stratosphere while holding them accountable for their companys results became nearly impossible.

      These executives are indeed very naïve if they think that people havent noticed.

      People are noticing that something isnt quite right that something is indeed very wrong. After a decade during which the stock market gained apparent respectability as a legitimate, sensible form of investing, the recent slew of huge corporate scandals reveals that it is still what it has always been: a sick place where neurotic, puerile gamblers get their kicks off the backs of millions of anonymous workers and individuals, who have no control over what happens to their hard-earned retirement savings.

      Yet this is the place that most company executives feel is much more important to watch than the actual people for whom they produce their goods and services. This is the place where the fate of thousands of employees is decided every day by people staring at computer monitors showing ever-changing, meaningless lists of numbers and charts. And if you happen to personally hold shares in a company that has just announced that it is restructuring in order to improve its bottom-line and thus increase its shareholder value, dont kid yourself: When the company is talking about shareholders, its not talking about you and ur measly couple of thousands of shares. Its only talking about big shareholders i.e. other companies that own a more significant share of its market value.

      This is a world where hostile takeovers and government-approved mergers are feeding a never-ending cycle of fewer and fewer executives wielding more and more power on a multinational scale. Soon enough, the World Company and George Orwells 1984 will no longer be the stuff of satire or fiction but prophetic descriptions of a very real New World Order gradually unfolding before are eyes.
      A Little History

      Lets start with a simple list: America Online, Time, Life, Warner Bros., Fortune, Elektra, Sports Illustrated, HBO, Turner Broadcasting, CNN, Cinemax, Entertainment Weekly, New Line Cinema, In Style, Warner/Chappell Music, Time Warner Cable, WBN, ICQ, Warner Music Group, Netscape, People, Reprise, Rhino, Atlantic, WEA, TNT, MapQuest, WinAmp, In Demand, Erato, Moviefone, Road Runner, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (AOL Time Warner).

      And another one: Universal Music Group, Verve, Nathan, Canal+, Impulse!, Cegetel, USA Networks, Decca, Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Barclay, Armand Colin, LExpress, Universal Studios, Larousse, Sierra, MP3.com, MCA Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cineplex, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (Vivendi Universal).

      And yet another one: Disney, ABC, ESPN, Hyperion, Miramax, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, A&E, The History Channel, E! Entertainment, RTL-2, Buena Vista, Mr. Showbiz, Wall of Sound, Mammoth Records, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (Walt Disney).

      Need we say more? See for yourself Theres already only 7 of these corporate giants in total and how long will it be before there are even fewer?

      It all began innocently enough. Young entrepreneurs in the early 20th century started up new companies with a mix of creative ambition and business acumen. Then these companies grew bigger and bigger, and whatever entrepreneurial vision was present at their birth became more and more diluted and less and less relevant. Then corporate accountants suggested merging with or taking over other companies and it all became an all-too-real game of Monopoly.

      Then the Internet and new technologies came about, and the accountants next big idea was convergence i.e. the merging of content providers and access providers in order to control everything from the inception of a cultural product to its ultimate consumption by the unsuspecting masses.
      The Art of Manipulation

      It is easy to guess what got lost along the way Creativity. Artistry. Independence. Critical objectivity. Uncontrolled access. The ability to break thru cultural barriers. Cultural diversity. Innovation. Freedom. Real music. Real art.

      Juggling between art and commerce is a delicate balance at the best of times and these are definitely NOT the best of times.

      So now we have a so-called magazine reporting on the latest new blockbuster movie with a 10-page, full-color spread as if the reporters werent aware that the same company that produced the movie also owns their magazine Yes, this is still called a magazine. These are still called reporters. And this is still called journalism And yet millions of people are gleefully letting themselves be had.

      Maybe we should stop calling this art, or even entertainment for that matter for what is so entertaining about being involved in a collective hallucination? Maybe we should start calling it what it really is, i.e. unfettered MANIPULATION.

      In 1995, Clear Channel Communications owned 43 radio stations. Now it owns more than 1,200 and its army of so-called independent promoters are letting legalized payola dictate what you get (or rather dont get) to hear on the radio.

      Everywhere you look, the story is the same: more and more money, less and less choice, less and less freedom of access, fewer and fewer companies. How far will this have to go before a big shift in peoples attitude causes this commercial hubris to collapse onto itself and implode?
      Power Struggles

      The first major cracks in this highly concentrated corporate world have, of course, already begun to appear, in what has been making the headlines in the past few months, i.e. shady accounting practices involving enormous amounts of money enough to shake the economy of the most powerful nation of the world. And the hysterical stock markets have of course been swayed by this news, at the expense of tens of thousands of workers worldwide and millions of small investors who thought that their holdings had nowhere to go but up.

      The value of AOL Time Warners stock is now a quarter of what it was at the time of the merger between AOL and Time Warner, and this decline 4ced the company to take a $54 billion writedown earlier this year. And now it to is being investigated about its accounting practices. The story at Vivendi Universal is similar. Disney shares are near an 8-year low. And there is little doubt in peoples mind that the problems are similar everywhere, in every big conglomerate that has become utterly out of touch with the reality of everyday work and the essence of human creativity.

      In addition, people also realize all to well that governments have little if any power left when it comes to regulating these multinational monsters. Governments have much more power when it comes to regulating the lives of ordinary, law-abiding citizens and they use and abuse this power as a way to distract peoples attention from how much control the conglomerates have over what we get to hear, watch, read, eat, drink, buy, and generally experience as free citizens of the world.

      One of the areas where this struggle is most acutely felt is, of course, the online world a sprawling, anarchic community that is still in its infancy and whose exponential development in the last decade took everyone by surprise. And nothing exemplifies the struggle between government, big business, and individual rights better than the highly controversial issue of peer-2-peer file sharing and its many digital variations.
      A Nation of Thieves?

      Will the media/technology giants recover from the latest stock market slump? They probably will but at what cost? In all likelihood, the cost will be more restructuring, more layoffs, more executive shuffles and golden parachutes, causing even further alienation from their own employees and customers. And this, in turn, will further encourage the very behaviors that they claim are illegal and want punished by criminal law all the while preserving their own impunity as they continue to carelessly flounder a capital that they do not own.

      Napster may have gone bankrupt and become a closed chapter in the Internets short history, but its death is by no means a reflection of a decline in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, quite the contrary. If anything, P2P has grown even further but since its becoming totally decentralized, there is no easy way to measure its significance.

      What is for sure, however, is that, in spite of its many claims to the contrary, the recording industry has yet to provide evidence that P2P is actually detrimental to music making as an artistic endeavor, and even as a commercial venture. It is worth remembering, for example, that sales of music CDs actually increased when Napster was at its peak, and declined after Napster was abruptly shut down. Even economists who thought that file sharing should be hurting the recording industry are now expressing their doubts, based on what they say is simply not happening.

      More importantly, many well-respected artists have sided with Internet users against corporate greed and actually use the Internet to promote alternative ways to distribute their music and reach out to a non-captive, legitimate audience of authentic music lovers.

      This does not mean, of course, that all forms of file sharing are equally innocuous. There is little doubt that, when people use the Internet as a substitute for radio, i.e. as a way to discover new music, it can help promote the work of artists. But when a young junior high school student downloads tracks off the Internet and makes CD-R copies of them that he then sells for $5 in the schoolyard, it hurts sales of the original CD and its disrespectful of the artist regardless of how small a cut of the actual CD price the artist actually gets after all the executives and the middlemen in the recording industry have taken their piece of the pie.

      Still, can we really go as far as to say that digital technology is creating a nation of thieves who no longer recognize the just value of art?
      Protecting the Product

      It is worth noting, to begin with, that the recording industry itself is far from having distinguished itself by recognizing the true value of art. Instead, it has consistently fought to be allowed to deprive many artists of their most fundamental rights. It has allowed popular artists to go bankrupt even though their albums were selling by the millions. It has reduced the artists cut of the album sales pie to a ridiculously small portion of the actual income generated by these sales. It has consistently pushed commercial musical products at the expense of real musical artistry.

      This hardly entitles the recording industry to lecture anyone about recognizing the just value of art.

      It is also interesting to note that the cultural products that seem to be the primary concern of the industry giants are those that are already the most popular ones, and that things such as CD copy protection are being experimentally used mostly with items that will sell millions regardless of whether they are copy-protected or not.

      So are most citizens really being completely disrespectful of the value of art and the need to provide appropriate compensation to the artists for their works? Weve said it before and well say it again: the rise of digital technology and peer-to-peer file sharing has little to do with peoples intrinsic respect for art and artists, and everything to do with the cynical attitude of big industry conglomerates, which have consistently pushed for more and more commercial, highly profitable products at the expense of authentic art and respect for artists.

      If people do not feel enough guilt to prevent them from making digital copies of the latest episode of a popular TV show or hit pop song, it is precisely because the industry giants have succeeded in making these works purely commercial products, with little or no consideration for their actual artistic value. It is precisely because these companies have been consistently promoting commercial products at the expense of artistic works.

      The fact that actual works of art still manage to seep thru the cracks of this huge profit-driven industry does not change anything about the fundamental equations that have been driving and still drive the industry, 2day more than ever i.e. that art = money, artists = money-makers, and art lovers = consumers.

      As a simple example of how little music is valued as an art form by the industry, it is estimated that only about 20 percent of music ever recorded is currently available and, of this 20 percent, what proportion is actually readily available to music lovers? What proportion is not the current 100 top albums on the SoundScan charts?

      It simply appears that the instinctive reaction of the lover of art (b it music, TV shows, movies, or other forms of art) is such that, if the industry has no respect for his or her identity as an appreciator of art, then he or she has no reason to have any respect for the industry as a purveyor of art. By making digital copies of so-called cultural products, many people are not demonstrating their lack of respect for art and for artists, but are expressing consciously or not their frustration with the way the entertainment industry profits from art at the expense of both art makers and art lovers.

      The consumers of the commercial products of the entertainment industry are only as cynical as the industry has deliberately made them, by dumbing down their products, by exploiting artists, by making profit-driven choices and decisions, and by providing their own kind with obscene compensations and legal impunity that are completely out of touch with the real world of ordinary people.
      Dont Get It Twisted

      That being said, the whole debate about file sharing and digital piracy is, most of all, a convenient way for industry conglomerates to deflect attention from their own shady business practices and dubious alliances.

      For example, it is worth noting that the Warner Music Group is heavily involved in the recording industrys fight against piracy, but that its own parent company, AOL Time Warner, is directly benefiting from file sharing, as a provider of Internet access to millions of Internet users worldwide. When AOL Time Warner repeatedly flaunts its ever-increasing number of members (34 million and counting) and the billions of hours that they spend online, is there any doubt that a good part of this growth involves the unlawful exchange of computer files at the detriment of recording artists?

      In other words, the real thieves are not necessarily those that are currently getting the blame Rather than a nation of thieves, the current situation looks, to us, much more like an elite of thieves.

      And the real victims of this thievery are very much, as usual, the recording artists themselves, who will never get their share of AOLs profits as an Internet access provider, even though these profits are partly based on the content that they originally provided. And the real victims also include authentic music lovers, who already suffer from restricted access to the full range of music that they would like to explore, and who are also likely to suffer from technological restrictions that will soon prevent them from making legitimate copies of the works that they have lawfully purchased for their own enjoyment.

      Make no mistake: the entertainment industry (including TV, movies and music) might be big, but the technology industry is even bigger. Remember that it is AOL that bought Time Warner, and not the other way around. Remember that Sony makes much more money in electronics and computer equipment than it does in record sales

      If the technology industry ends up implementing technological limitations that prevent users from lawfully enjoying their purchases as it is threatening to do the beneficiaries will not be the artists whose works are thus being allegedly protected. And it will certainly not be the art lovers whose enjoyment of art will thus be restricted. No, it will simply be, once again the industry conglomerates, who will have yet another generation of incompatible media and devices to sell to us under the guise of technological improvement.
      Conclusion

      The technology and entertainment industries are simply to big for us to expect any overnight changes. The industry giants will continue to do their best to deflect peoples attention away from their own wrongdoings and to blame falling profits and commercial failures on piracy at the same time that they are encouraging their customers to adopt the very technologies that make piracy possible. Artists will continue to be lured by unrealistic promises and contracts with big numbers and lots of small print.

      How long, however, before a critical mass of established artists realize that it is in their best interests, both artistically and commercially, to leave the system for good? How long before a critical mass of young aspiring artists become aware of the enslaving aspects of the system and are careful not to get involved in it without a maximum of precautions? And how long before a critical mass of art lovers get together to provide these artists with a real, valuable, legitimate, truthfully enthusiastic alternative audience that completes the process of rendering the existing system artistically irrelevant?

      It all depends on us and it all depends on you.

    • Prince has been using that style for decades. It's been his trademark since the beginning of pop music.

      Probably that was before you opened your eyes to the world.
  • by (void*) ( 113680 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:14PM (#4192392)

    "Reuters reports: Russia's space agency has scrapped 'N Sync singer Lance Bass's plans to join an October space mission after the U.S. pop star failed to meet payment deadlines."

    Watch Lance get himself into AOTC: $-5


    Watch Lance get rejected by Lucas: $5000


    Watch Lance get on space mission: $-10000
    Watch Lance's VISA bounce: priceless!


    For everything else there's MasterCard.


    • ...the producer sponsoring the deal said that a chunk of the money would be delivered within the next couple of days. So it looks like the deal is still on.

      Hopefully there will be a landing pad fire or something. Pity we'd have to lose good cosmonauts to get rid of the pesky fucker.

  • Prince... (Score:2, Troll)

    by spectecjr ( 31235 )
    You know, it amazes me how many popstars come out in favor of music-sharing after they've made their millions and millions of dollars, bought their flash cars, and the real nice mansion in Beverly Hills.

    Why don't we hear the artists who aren't Top 20, platinum album, millions in the bank jumping up and down in favor of this?

    Oh yeah.. that's right... because they actually want the chance to get up there themselves.
    • Re:Prince... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bilestoad ( 60385 )
      Or maybe because they don't have the pull to get their thoughts on the matter published where you will see them.

      Duh....
    • Re:Prince... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by efuseekay ( 138418 )
      Prince is a good artist. In fact, he is very good.If he is "out-of-favour", then it is just a sad case of how the current "in-favour" musicians suck because his "old" music is still much better than your regular Britney crap.

      Now that aside, you are missing the point of his article.

      His article is not about defending the file-sharing people : he is writing about protecting artists' rights. Yes, he wants to make lots more money. But he has the right to, like everybody else.

    • Re:Prince... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DennisZeMenace ( 131127 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:26PM (#4192474) Homepage
      Errrrr, why don't you ask Janis Ian how many millions of dollars she has in the bank ? Or how many albums she has in the top 20 ?

      DZM
    • Re:Prince... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by madprof ( 4723 )
      > Why don't we hear the artists who aren't Top 20,
      > platinum album, millions in the bank jumping up
      > and down in favor of this?

      You do. Have you not found any of the huge number of mp3 showcase sites for artists not on major labels?
      Lots of music waiting to be downloaded.
    • Re:Prince... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Golias ( 176380 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @09:10PM (#4192662)
      Actually, Prince is making more money off his music now than he ever did during the peak of his years with Warner.

      He sells to far fewer people, but he keeps more of what he makes.

      Most of his money from his "Purple Rain" days went into Paisley Park studios, which turned out to be an unprofitable venture. (It's a kick-ass studio, but one of many in the Minneapolis area. Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis have their own operation just an hour or so away.)

      The fabulous wealth he currently enjoys was made outside the studio system. He's not "Top 20" for two reasons:

      1. He gets zero airplay now that he doesn't have a pimp... er... label.

      2. Nearly all of his sales are sold on-line by the NPG site, so Billboard doesn't even track most of the sales he gets.

      If he wanted to become a mega-star, by your definition, again, it would probably only take one phone call to Sony or Geffin. He feels that he's better off where he's at, and he's trying to point out that many other musicians would be, too.

      • As a former mega-star, it's to his advantage to be independant. But he's selling to the number of people he is now because he got an established fan base as a mega-star. The thing is that you make a lot more money as a signed musician nobody's heard of than as an unsigned one nobody's heard of. And becoming well-known is also a lot easier if you're signed.

        So I wonder if Prince would like to get played on internet radio along with other independants, famous and unknown. For that matter, I wonder if he'd like to run an internet radio station and pick the unknowns he thinks should skip the major label phase.
    • Also, have you noticed just how many "Greatest Hits" and "Best of..." albums are coming out? Even from relatively new groups and from artists have put out several in the last few years. I think most of the established artists know that the writing is on the wall and are probably looking to cash out while they can. Most of the motivation is probably monetary, and due to pressure from the labels, but I'm hoping that some of those artists are doing this to wrap up their existing contracts in anticipation of a new model to come.

      For those complaining about Prince's spelling - it doesn't really matter. Not many people will actually read the words of his article, but the fact that he's made his general position clear is pretty important. He's still remembered as a big star by enough of the general public that adding his name to the growing list of disgruntled artists is a good thing. More importantly he's pretty well respected by artists across a range of genres, right down to and including today's disposable bubble gum popstars (who will probably be the first to rebel en masse, once they are dropped for the next big thing and/or they try to grow into their older more artistic wannabe phase).

      Sure, Prince is coming out and saying this when he really has nothing to lose (in fact, he's probably counting on a new model for future revenue). But sooner or later rich and poor artists alike will need to wake up to the new reality.
    • You know, it amazes me how many popstars come out in favor of music-sharing after they've made their millions and millions of dollars, bought their flash cars, and the real nice mansion in Beverly Hills.

      Why don't we hear the artists who aren't Top 20, platinum album, millions in the bank jumping up and down in favor of this?

      Oh yeah.. that's right... because they actually want the chance to get up there themselves.
      There are thousands of independent artists that are in favor of p2p. But because they aren't rich & famous, they don't get heard by as wide an audience as Prince.
    • Put this [csoft.net] in your pipe and smoke it.

      OK, for those too lazy to click on the link:

      "Peer-to-peer technology is sortof like the high tech version of students playing their CDs in their cars. It has the potential to do what word of mouth did for me... You give something to your audience, and it always seems to come back somehow."

      --Peter Breinholt [bigparade.com]

      He's one of several local [sunfallfestival.com] Utah artists [shupe.net] who have eschewed label deals -- not because they couldn't get them, but because they knew they'd likely get ripped off. Each of those bands make money when they play a show, and sell lots of CDs. Why sign with the label if you will suddenly make no money off of CD sales until you go platinum?

      Prince may have been not particularly articulate, but he's right. Artists are realizing the system doesn't do much for them, and standing outside. They lose the possibility of making it huge overnight, but they keep control of their art and careers, and the good ones -- funny thing -- succeed anyway.

      And P2P, as it turns out, can help. Again, funny thing.

    • Why don't we hear the artists who aren't Top 20, platinum album, millions in the bank jumping up and down in favor of this?

      Why would the media care about them enough to repeat their words? I've heard more of the same and nastier from midlabel and unsigned artists... but if you get your news from TV, you wouldn't know this, would you?

      I got interested in this because I'm working on a promotional project for an indie musician right now that depends on the existence of P2P and what's left of Internet Radio to work. One of the headaches with respect to the project is that the targets keep shifting as RIAA closes them down.

      I expect to be able to go into active marketing in about 3 weeks. Due to your buddies at RIAA, I have no idea where we'll be uploading our promo MP3 tracks and won't until just before we do.

      You are just another RIAA-brainwashed idiot who mistakes a promotional tool (128K MP3) for a product (CD album)... you probably can't hear the difference.

    • Experience. They've already been fucked sideways and back, like Johnny Cash, Prince, and countless others. They know from painful first hand experience that in the long term it's easy to end up with nothing in your pocket, and a whole lot of people made multi-millionaires as a result of your hard work.

      As for the young artists - it's a bit like the people who leapt into the .com pool fresh out of college, worked their arse off for a tiny salary and a pile of worthless options. They dreamed of success, while their managers and VCs hoovered capital out of the company and into their own pockets.

      Anyone who signs a recording contract expecting to get rich is almost certainly an idiot. Might as well go after lottery tickets. Especially as new contracts become more oppressive (artists could once rely on tours and merchandise sales to make up for the fact albums usually lose money; now even that avenue is being hovered up by recording companies).

      And FWIW, I'd rather burn a copy of the new CDs I want and send the artists $10 cash. It'd be 10 times what they get now, cost me one third of what I pay (plus blank media). Which is the kind of deal Prince is promoting. If people actually did this, artists would actually get rich.
  • After all, that's 10,989 campaign settings for gamers to play with. Since WOTC has already rejected them, why should they care if other people use them?

    Heck, they could combine them into one giant 10,000+ page PDF and charge a few bucks to download it.

    • Check out EN World [enworld.org], one of the best D&D sites on the net. They have a bunch of the loser settings available for download, and they're thinking of publishing their "best loser" (by some kind of voting process) under their Natural 20 Press PDF product label.

      Actually, that particular announcement is probably off the front page now, so try this link: Setting Proposals [enworld.org].

      -Grant

  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:19PM (#4192425) Journal
    Clearly, Prince continued partying like it was 1999, ignoring the impending Y2K bug, and failed to update his computer systems, causing them to automagically translate his messages into l33tspeak! And to think, people said the Y2K bug was overblown...
  • Could somebody republish that in english?

    A few typographical errors are one thing, but this is just plain stupid.

  • by Greg@RageNet ( 39860 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:22PM (#4192443) Homepage
    I wrote a set of perl scripts for implementing baesian filters for procmail. The scripts can be downloaded here [rage.net]

    Hope y'all find it useful.

    -- Greg

  • I'll soon be paying $10 for download of the wav's from a Joan Jett [coolears.com] and the Blackhearts album, I'll probably buy something from Janis Ian [yahoo.com], and now I'll be getting something from Prince [npgmusicclub.com](making sure that it's something that he gets all of the money from)

    None of them are 100%, but if it helps...

  • by faster ( 21765 )
    There are a few other Bayesian filters, too, not tied to qmail. I like the idea of putting word pairs into the database like this one [sourceforge.net] does, but has anyone checked the stats to see if it really improves spam matching? I'm using ESR's bogofilter [tuxedo.org], and it's pretty effective and not a big drag on resources.

    Any other Bayesian spam filters?

    • I implemented bayesian filter that uses a database of consisting of both word pairs and single words. The performance of this filter alone is slightly better than that of SpamAssassin, but after noticing that the bayesian filter catches almost all the spam that SpamAsassin misses and vice versa, I decided to try running them in series.

      If both SpamAssassin and the bayesian filter agree that a message is spam, it gets routed to my Spam mailbox. If both agree that the message is not spam, it gets delivered to my inbox. In case of a disagreement, the message is stored in a separate mailbox/database where I can manually check it (previously all messages flagged by SpamAssassin went here).

      After running the combined filter for a week, the results are quite impressive; Zero false positives, zero false negatives and the amount of messages that I have to check manually has decreased to 1/10 of the previous number.
  • De-l33t-ified (long) (Score:4, Informative)

    by Otto ( 17870 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:43PM (#4192539) Homepage Journal
    I may have missed a few here and there, or gotten some wrong. I just did a dozen search and replaces or so...

    Yeesh. If you have something worthwhile to say, then say it in language everyone can understand. Moron.

    --
    Something happened on the way to the 21st century. Media and entertainment companies started "converging" and "shareholder value" became far more important than customer service and respect for company employees ever managed to b. Compensation packages for company executives hit the stratosphere - while holding them accountable for their company's results became nearly impossible.

    These executives are indeed very naive if they think that people haven't noticed.

    People are noticing that something isn't quite right - that something is indeed very wrong. After a decade during which the stock market gained apparent respectability as a legitimate, sensible form of investing, the recent slew of huge corporate scandals reveals that it is still what it has always been: a sick place where neurotic, puerile gamblers get their kicks off the backs of millions of "anonymous" workers and individuals, who have no control over what happens to their hard-earned retirement savings.

    Yet this is the place that most company executives feel is much more important to watch than the actual people for whom they produce their goods and services. This is the place where the fate of thousands of employees is decided every day by people staring at computer monitors showing ever-changing, meaningless lists of numbers and charts. And if you happen to personally hold shares in a company that has just announced that it is "restructuring" in order to improve its bottom-line and thus increase its "shareholder value", don't kid urself: When the company is talking about "shareholders", it's not talking about you and your measly couple of thousands of shares. It's only talking about big shareholders - i.e. other companies that own a more significant share of its market value.

    This is a world where "hostile takeovers" and government-approved "mergers" are feeding a never-ending cycle of fewer and fewer executives wielding more and more power on a multinational scale. Soon enough, the "World Company" and George Orwell's 1984 will no longer be the stuff of satire or fiction - but prophetic descriptions of a very real "New World Order" gradually unfolding before our eyes.

    A Little History

    Let's start with a simple list: America Online, Time, Life, Warner Bros., Fortune, Elektra, Sports Illustrated, HBO, Turner Broadcasting, CNN, Cinemax, Entertainment Weekly, New Line Cinema, In Style, Warner/Chappell Music, Time Warner Cable, WBN, ICQ, Warner Music Group, Netscape, People, Reprise, Rhino, Atlantic, WEA, TNT, MapQuest, WinAmp, In Demand, Erato, Moviefone, Road Runner, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (AOL Time Warner).

    And another one: Universal Music Group, Verve, Nathan, Canal+, Impulse!, Cegetel, USA Networks, Decca, Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Barclay, Armand Colin, L'Express, Universal Studios, Larousse, Sierra, MP3.com, MCA Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cineplex, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (Vivendi Universal).

    And yet another one: Disney, ABC, ESPN, Hyperion, Miramax, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, A&E, The History Channel, E! Entertainment, RTL-2, Buena Vista, Mr. Showbiz, Wall of Sound, Mammoth Records, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (Walt Disney).

    Need we say more? See for yourself... There's already only 7 of these corporate giants in total - and how long will it be before there are even fewer?

    It all began innocently enough. Young entrepreneurs in the early 20th century started up new companies with a mix of creative ambition and business acumen. Then these companies grew bigger and bigger, and whatever entrepreneurial vision was present at their birth became more and more diluted and less and less relevant. Then corporate accountants suggested merging with or taking over other companies - and it all became an all-too-real game of Monopoly.

    Then the Internet and "new technologies" came about, and the accountants' next big idea was convergence - i.e. the merging of "content" providers and "access" providers in order to control everything from the inception of a "cultural product" to its ultimate consumption by the unsuspecting masses.

    The Art of Manipulation

    It is easy to guess what got lost along the way... Creativity. Artistry. Independence. Critical objectivity. Uncontrolled access. The ability to "break thru" cultural barriers. Cultural diversity. Innovation. Freedom. Real music. Real art.
    Juggling between art and commerce is a delicate balance at the best of times... and these are definitely NOT the best of times.

    So now we have a so-called magazine "reporting" on the latest new blockbuster movie with a 10-page, full-color spread - as if the reporters weren't aware that the same company that produced the movie also owns their magazine... Yes, this is still called a "magazine". These are still called "reporters". And this is still called "journalism"... And yet millions of people are gleefully letting themselves be had.

    Maybe we should stop calling this "art", or even "entertainment" for that matter - for what is so entertaining about being involved in a collective hallucination? Maybe we should start calling it what it really is, i.e. unfettered MANIPULATION.
    In 1995, Clear Channel Communications owned 43 radio stations. Now it owns more than 1,200 - and its army of so-called "independent promoters" are letting legalized payola dictate what you get (or rather don't get) to hear on the radio.
    Everywhere you look, the story is the same: more and more money, less and less choice, less and less freedom of access, fewer and fewer companies. How far will this have to go before a big shift in people's attitude causes this commercial hubris to collapse onto itself and implode?

    Power Struggles

    The first major cracks in this highly concentrated corporate world have, of course, already begun to appear, in what has been making the headlines in the past few months, i.e. shady accounting practices involving enormous amounts of money - enough to shake the economy of the most powerful nation of the world. And the hysterical stock markets have of course been swayed by this news, at the expense of tens of thousands of workers worldwide and millions of small investors who thought that their holdings had nowhere to go but up.

    The value of AOL Time Warner's stock is now a quarter of what it was at the time of the merger between AOL and Time Warner, and this decline forced the company to take a $54 billion writedown earlier this year. And now it too is being investigated about its accounting practices. The story at Vivendi Universal is similar. Disney shares are near an 8-year low. And there is little doubt in people's mind that the problems are similar everywhere, in every big conglomerate that has become utterly out of touch with the reality of everyday work and the essence of human creativity.

    In addition, people also realize all too well that governments have little - if any - power left when it comes to regulating these multinational monsters. Governments have much more power when it comes to regulating the lives of ordinary, law-abiding citizens - and they use and abuse this power as a way to distract people's attention from how much control the conglomerates have over what we get to hear, watch, read, eat, drink, buy, and generally experience as "free" citizens of the world.

    One of the areas where this struggle is most acutely felt is, of course, the online world - a sprawling, anarchic community that is still in its infancy and whose exponential development in the last decade took everyone by surprise. And nothing exemplifies the struggle between government, big business, and individual rights better than the highly controversial issue of "peer-to-peer" file sharing and its many digital variations.

    A Nation of Thieves?

    Will the media/technology giants recover from the latest stock market slump? They probably will - but at what cost? In all likelihood, the cost will be more "restructuring", more layoffs, more executive shuffles and golden parachutes, causing even further alienation from their own employees and customers. And this, in turn, will further encourage the very behaviors that they claim are illegal and want punished by criminal law - all the while preserving their own impunity as they continue to carelessly flounder a capital that they do not own.

    Napster may have gone bankrupt and become a closed chapter in the Internet's short history, but its death is by no means a reflection of a decline in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, quite the contrary. If anything, P2P has grown even further - but since it's becoming totally decentralized, there is no easy way to measure its significance.

    What is for sure, however, is that, in spite of its many claims to the contrary, the recording industry has yet to provide evidence that P2P is actually detrimental to music making as an artistic endeavor, and even as a commercial venture. It is worth remembering, for example, that sales of music CDs actually increased when Napster was at its peak, and declined after Napster was abruptly shut down. Even economists who thought that file sharing "should be" hurting the recording industry are now expressing their doubts, based on what they say is simply not happening.

    More importantly, many well-respected artists have sided with Internet users against corporate greed and actually use the Internet to promote alternative ways to distribute their music and reach out to a non-captive, legitimate audience of authentic music lovers.

    This does not mean, of course, that all forms of file sharing are equally innocuous. There is little doubt that, when people use the Internet as a substitute for radio, i.e. as a way to discover new music, it can help promote the work of artists. But when a young junior high school student downloads tracks off the Internet and makes CD-R copies of them that he then sells for $5 in the schoolyard, it hurts sales of the original CD and it's disrespectful of the artist - regardless of how small a cut of the actual CD price the artist actually gets after all the executives and the middlemen in the recording industry have taken their piece of the pie.

    Still, can we really go as far as to say that digital technology is creating a "nation of thieves" who no longer recognize the just value of art?

    Protecting the Product

    It is worth noting, to begin with, that the recording industry itself is far from having distinguished itself by recognizing the true value of art. Instead, it has consistently fought to be allowed to deprive many artists of their most fundamental rights. It has allowed popular artists to go bankrupt even though their albums were selling by the millions. It has reduced the artists' cut of the album sales pie to a ridiculously small portion of the actual income generated by these sales. It has consistently pushed commercial musical products at the expense of real musical artistry.

    This hardly entitles the recording industry to lecture anyone about recognizing the just value of art.

    It is also interesting to note that the cultural products that seem to be the primary concern of the industry giants are those that are already the most popular ones, and that things such as CD copy protection are being experimentally used mostly with items that will sell millions regardless of whether they are copy-protected or not.

    So are most citizens really being completely disrespectful of the value of art and the need to provide appropriate compensation to the artists for their works? We've said it before and we'll say it again: the rise of digital technology and peer-to-peer file sharing has little to do with people's intrinsic respect for art and artists, and everything to do with the cynical attitude of big industry conglomerates, which have consistently pushed for more and more commercial, highly profitable products at the expense of authentic art and respect for artists.

    If people do not feel enough guilt to prevent them from making digital copies of the latest episode of a popular TV show or hit pop song, it is precisely because the industry giants have succeeded in making these works purely commercial products, with little or no consideration for their actual artistic value. It is precisely because these companies have been consistently promoting commercial products at the expense of artistic works.

    The fact that actual works of art still manage to seep thru the cracks of this huge profit-driven industry does not change anything about the fundamental equations that have been driving and still drive the industry, today more than ever - i.e. that art = money, artists = money-makers, and art lovers = consumers.

    As a simple example of how little music is valued as an art form by the industry, it is estimated that only about 20 percent of music ever recorded is currently available - and, of this 20 percent, what proportion is actually readily available to music lovers? What proportion is not the current 100 top albums on the SoundScan charts?

    It simply appears that the instinctive reaction of the lover of art (be it music, TV shows, movies, or other forms of art) is such that, if the industry has no respect for his or her identity as an appreciator of art, then he or she has no reason to have any respect for the industry as a purveyor of art. By making digital copies of so-called cultural products, many people are not demonstrating their lack of respect for art and for artists, but are expressing - consciously or not - their frustration with the way the entertainment industry profits from art at the expense of both art makers and art lovers.

    The consumers of the commercial products of the entertainment industry are only as cynical as the industry has deliberately made them, by dumbing down their products, by exploiting artists, by making profit-driven choices and decisions, and by providing their own kind with obscene compensations and legal impunity that are completely out of touch with the real world of ordinary people.

    Don't Get It Twisted

    That being said, the whole debate about file sharing and digital piracy is, most of all, a convenient way for industry conglomerates to deflect attention from their own shady business practices and dubious alliances.

    for example, it is worth noting that the Warner Music Group is heavily involved in the recording industry's fight against piracy, but that its own parent company, AOL Time Warner, is directly benefiting from file sharing, as a provider of Internet access to millions of Internet users worldwide. When AOL Time Warner repeatedly flaunts its ever-increasing number of members (34 million and counting) and the billions of hours that they spend online, is there any doubt that a good part of this growth involves the "unlawful" exchange of computer files at the detriment of recording artists?

    In other words, the real "thieves" are not necessarily those that are currently getting the blame... Rather than a "nation of thieves", the current situation looks, to us, much more like an "elite of thieves".

    And the real victims of this thievery are very much, as usual, the recording artists themselves, who will never get their share of AOL's profits as an Internet access provider, even though these profits are partly based on the content that they originally provided. And the real victims also include authentic music lovers, who already suffer from restricted access to the full range of music that they would like to explore, and who are also likely to suffer from technological restrictions that will soon prevent them from making legitimate copies of the works that they have lawfully purchased for their own enjoyment.

    Make no mistake: the entertainment industry (including TV, movies and music) might be big, but the technology industry is even bigger. Remember that it is AOL that bought Time Warner, and not the other way around. Remember that Sony makes much more money in electronics and computer equipment than it does in record sales...

    If the technology industry ends up implementing technological limitations that prevent users from lawfully enjoying their purchases - as it is threatening to do - the beneficiaries will not be the artists whose works are thus being allegedly "protected". And it will certainly not be the art lovers whose enjoyment of art will thus be restricted. No, it will simply b, once again... the industry conglomerates, who will have yet another generation of incompatible media and devices to sell to us under the guise of "technological improvement".

    Conclusion

    The technology and entertainment industries are simply to big for us to expect any overnight changes. The industry giants will continue to do their best to deflect people's attention away from their own wrongdoings and to blame falling profits and commercial failures on piracy at the same time that they are encouraging their customers to adopt the very technologies that make piracy possible. Artists will continue to be lured by unrealistic promises and contracts with big numbers and lots of small print.

    How long, however, before a critical mass of established artists realize that it is in their best interests, both artistically and commercially, to leave the system for good? How long before a critical mass of young aspiring artists become aware of the enslaving aspects of the system and are careful not to get involved in it without a maximum of precautions? And how long before a critical mass of art lovers get together to provide these artists with a real, valuable, legitimate, truthfully enthusiastic alternative audience that completes the process of rendering the existing system artistically irrelevant?

    It all depends on us - and it all depends on you.
    --
    • Need we say more? See for yourself... There's already only 7 of these corporate giants
      Or six [theonion.com]
    • I may have missed a few here and there, or gotten some wrong. I just did a dozen search and replaces or so...

      D00D, WHY 4RE Y0U P05T1NG 0N 5145HD0T? I WITH MY '1337 5K1LLS U5ED 5ED...Y0U 4RE N0T W0RTHY.
    • And another one: Universal Music Group, Verve, Nathan, Canal+, Impulse!, Cegetel, USA Networks, Decca, Interscope, Geffen, A&M, Barclay, Armand Colin, L'Express, Universal Studios, Larousse, Sierra, MP3.com, MCA Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cineplex, etc. All owned by the same corporate giant (Vivendi Universal).
      You left out Vivendi Water (it goes by the name US Filter [usfilter.com]). That's right, Vivendi Universal is the largest operator of municipal and corporate water systems (tap water, sewers, etc.) and manufacturer of the parts used by those systems in the world. Oh, sure, your tap water might not seem like an entertainment venue, but wait until your sink starts spewing ruddy-colored liquid about a week before the artist Pink releases a new album.

      Are you drinking Vivendi water? Vivendi supplies water to Honolulu, Tampa Bay, Oklahoma City, and other cities around the world. It also supplies water to Samsung, General Motors, BP Amoco, Chevron, Ford, Nestle (the Swiss food giant that recently bought HotPockets manufacturer Chef America and is looking to buy out American icon Hershey) and others.

      And it's growing, as cities faced with the expensive proposition of upgrading hundred-year-old water systems look for alternatives. The problem is that companies like Vivendi promise the world at a great price in exchange for a 20-year-contract, and then they fail to deliver... leaving residents and businesses without clean drinking water. Be afraid.

  • Lance Bass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @08:44PM (#4192548)
    My take on the whole thing has been that he never intended to go to space. He used his star power and the promise of $20 million to get himself free access to NASA and do what most boys only dream of, i.e., pretend you're in the space program, sit in on NASA press conferences, play with all the high-tech space equipment.

    Oh sure, maybe at first he was serious about the $20 million. But I think he sobered up pretty quick and decided that there was no way he was paying that, but he was going to milk the experience for everything he could before they kicked him out.

    In the meantime, he also got himself a TON of free publicity. How many members of NSync can you name? Well, there's some guy named Justin who used to date Britney Spears, and a bunch of other guys. Oh, and LANCE BASS.

    Geez, he got $20 million worth of publicity without spending a dime.
  • The Government of Greece just announced that they will be banning the game "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in order to prevent illegal gambling. Since it is difficult to tell the difference between this game and normal human hand gestures, anyone who makes a fist, holds a hand out with the palm side down, or makes a "peace" symbol with their hand will either be required to pay an insane fine or spend time in prison.
  • Babel fish doesn't currently have a "AOLLamerSpeak" to English converter yet.
  • by bass2496 ( 597243 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @09:01PM (#4192627)
    He has often written like that in the past. See his songs "I Would Die 4 U", "Money Don't Matter 2 Night", and "Nothing Compares 2 U."

    Whatever you have to say about his method of communcating, there is no doubt that he is an extrememly intelligent man and a musical prodigy.

    He has long been outspoken against the current state of the recording industry, and I am always glad to hear what he was to say about things.
  • by oooga ( 307220 ) <oooga@NoSPAM.usa.net> on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @09:14PM (#4192678)
    The guys that do real stuff at ISS will get an extra cargo package the weight of the unlucky pop singer.

    Lance Bass' weight is currently estimated at just under 30 pounds, without hair gel and not including ego.
  • an anonymous reader writes: "I'm working in China, and for the last 3 days Google and some other sites were not accessible. But since even sending SMS to europe didn't work I don't think it was censoring, more like routing problems of some sort. Anyway, Google is back and reports of slashdot blocking are also overrated :)"
    This warrants an article on slashdot? It's quite likely that someone working for China's state-controlled media sent the message, hoping to improve China's image in the eyes of the world. China is willing to go to great lengths to make the world believe it's more politically acceptable than it really is because it needs to trade with us, however it draws the line before actually implementing reform.

    I'll have to remember this article the next time I need a good laugh. Maybe I'll anonymously submit a story that consists solely of the following: "Your reports of Microsoft's animosity toward Linux are overrated. I am presently working on a Microsoft distribution of Linux." No links, no evidence, just hot air.

  • by Sturm ( 914 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @09:27PM (#4192750) Journal
    I'm sure that most of the idiots posting here about Prince's lack of grammatical skills didn't read his entire commentary because there is actually a really good point he makes:

    "If people do not feel enough guilt 2 prevent them from making digital copies of the latest episode of a popular TV show or hit pop song, it is precisely because the industry giants have succeeded in making these works purely commercial products, with little or no consideration 4 their actual artistic value. It is precisely because these companies have been consistently promoting commercial products at the xpense of artistic works. "

    I think (while not elegant in form) this may be one of the most insightful remarks I've heard in a long time about the dangers of artistic commercialization. Teenagers aren't being tought the intrensic value of creativity. They are only being taught that the music they want to listen to and the movies they want to watch cost much more than they are willing or able to pay. Why wouldn't they copy them off P2P networks? Large media companies have turned music and movies into high profit commodities. People no longer feel that they are supporting the artists or actors... They are just filling the pockets of overpaid CEOs who are just going to turn around, steal their retirement and then lay them off!
    For those truly interested in this travesty, please read the entire article with an open mind. Prince may not be an elegant writer, but his comments appear to be similar to many Slashdot readers ideas on this subject.
    • Actually, I though the (de-'leetified) writing was quite well-written and showed a surprising amount of insight and knowledge of Internet/file-sharing trends, the economy, and the government.

      I can't imagine why Prince publishes in shorthand, but it's well worth reading what he wrote .
    • by SandSpider ( 60727 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @12:26AM (#4193440) Homepage Journal
      A few points:
      1. Grammar matters. It doesn't matter how clearly you are thinking, if you don't even try to put effort into pretending like you aren't a pre-teen kid on an SMS pager, then people aren't going to read what you have to say. Oh, sure, some will, just because they think it's counter-cutural and cool. After all, it's Prince!
      2. Which leads me to my next point: if all we had to do was tell future generations the proper way to think, parenting (and ruling, for that matter) would be a breeze. The problem is, people, especially young people, rebel. They don't want to follow the views of the previous generation. Sometimes it's because the previous generation was messed up, but mostly it's because they want to make their own way in the world. Oh, not everyone, but enough to make a difference.
      3. You don't have to teach people the intrinsic value of creativity. I'm not saying you shouldn't, but creativity isn't going to go away just because they weren't taught. Creating something is hard. The easiest way to find that out is not for people to tell you, because what do they know? People are stupid. Of course they can't create. No, you learn because you try to make something, and what you make, in a word, sucks. So you try again. And again. And you keep it up until you get it right or you get sick of trying. Either way, you learn what it takes to make something.
      4. People have self-interest. They're going to realize that the laws and traditions that were there in the first place were their to protect creations like the ones that they make, or that they can't make. So, many times, they will be in support of those laws and traditions.

      Of course, things go in waves. There'll be a weakening of some social conventions, and later they'll come back, because the forces that created them in the first place still exist. I'm sure for a while we'll be pirating songs and pillaging corporations and raping artists, but, for a while, it'll settle down again. Unless there's some serious social upheaval, of course, but then you just have to adjust your frame of reference from years and decades to centuries or so.


      =Brian

  • I'm on a project in Shenzhen, China right now (about 45 minutes from Hong Kong)
    Google is still blocked, but it is very spotty. If I try to go directly to www.google.com,I am blocked. If I ping google.com, the resolved IP (216.239.51.100) is functional. Also, Google Labs is still functional (labs.google.com [google.com]) as well as this site [soapclient.com]

    • The one who claimed it isn't blocked- My suspicion is from his post that he works for a foreign company, and his company probably has a deal worked out for unfiltered internet access. I'd have to hear from someone in china to believe the reports were false.
  • by Myriad ( 89793 ) <myriad&thebsod,com> on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @10:21PM (#4193028) Homepage
    (To the tune of When Doves Cry)

    Dr3@m !f u c@n @ n3tw0rk
    @ c0nn3ct10n 0f 'putt3r2 1n p33r
    Mu21c tr@d3 4 fr33
    T43y f33l t43 s0und
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    40w c@n u l3@v3 m3 p1ngl322
    @ g33k 1n @ w0rld t4@t bl0ws
    M@yb3 1'm t00 us3d 2 p@nd3r1ng
    M@yb3 1t'2 my p0t2 2 sl0w
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    24e's n3v3r s@t12f13d
    W4y d0 u 2cr3@m w43n u r3@d t412
    T412 12 w4@t 1t 20und2 7143
    W43n 3ng7124 t3@c43rs cry

    • (a translation for the l337 disabled. And yes, I know, I used '7' as an L instead of a 'T' - sue me)

      Dream if you can a network
      A connection of 'puters in peer
      Music trade for free
      They feel the sound
      The sound of MP3

      How can you leave me pingless
      A geek in a world that blows
      Maybe I'm too used to pandering
      Maybe It's just my pots modem too slow
      Maybe Rosens just like my girl
      She's never satisfied
      Why do you scream when you read this
      This is what is sounds like
      When English teachers cry

  • Google (Score:2, Informative)

    by aCC ( 10513 )
    I am writing this from Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, China. Google stopped working several days ago and still doesn't work. Going to a different IP address works though. So it might be a feeble attempt at blocking or a routing problem.

    aCC
  • confirm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by z01d ( 602442 ) on Tuesday September 03, 2002 @10:54PM (#4193152)

    here [sina.com.cn] is the news report on a major chinese news site [sina.com.cn], this site used to be neutrally, but it then has been controlled by China government, yes, i don't have the evidence to prove that it is "semiofficial", but it really is. i don't have much time, so i can only translate the main point of this report:

    To purify the Internet, some search engine has been banned "without day"
    obvioursly, the un-controlled "carpet searching" sometimes is really a "dust collector", it may leads the user to those illegal site and page, and since its server is oversea, so our country has no "supervision" with it. that's quite reasonable to ban those search engine.

    yes, it doesn't mention google, but everybody know who it is.

    and then, why there are some people think it's a rumor, think it's a "technical problem". the reason is google is still accessible thru some IP address. and many mirror [211.92.136.88] is not banned (in case you dunno the heading chinese on that mirror site, that's "I NEED Google"). so it's quite understandable as "DNS failure" or something like this. why mirror is not banned? one possible reason is the dictator himself has no knowledge about internet, the banning was executed by operator, the operator's responsibility is to show the dictator: "look, www.google.com is not accessible". yea, some operators are still human being, that's why we in China can still access google thru some mirror.

    confirm over...

    (is this a confirmation to the fact, or a confirmation to the rumor? i bet those naive people who think CCP is not that bad will never give up this quesiton. :)

    see my another post [slashdot.org] about this
  • I can't believe I'm the first one, out of 200-odd posts, to make the obvious obligatory Simpsons reference.
    Skinner: All right, read me back what I have so far, Mrs. Krabapatra.


    Krabappel: Bird, bird, giant eye, pyramid, bird.

    Skinner: Mmm-hmm, very good. Uh, giant eye, dead fish, cat head, cat head, cat head, guy doing this... [strikes the "walk like an Egyptian" pose]

    -- "Simpsons Bible Stories"
  • ...Prince has a hell of a lot of strong stuff to say about the state of music. And unlike Janis Ian and Courtney Love he's been busy saying lots about it for years.

    Click on some of the links beside the article cited in this Slashback. There's some good stuff. Prince knows more than most just how screwed the record industry is. Not just from his own experience, but black musicians have been getting it up the rectum without vaseline for almost a century now from the recording industry.

    His closing remarks are most cogent. I will reprint them translated from his odd way of writing.

    How long, however, before a critical mass of established artists realize that it is in their best interests, both artistically and commercially, to leave the system for good? How long before a critical mass of young aspiring artists become aware of the enslaving aspects of the system and are careful not to get involved in it without a maximum of precautions? And how long before a critical mass of art lovers get together to provide these artists with a real, valuable, legitimate, truthfully enthusiastic alternative audience that completes the process of rendering the existing system artistically irrelevant?

    More power 2 U, Prince. U rock.

  • by BoneFlower ( 107640 ) <george.worroll@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @12:27AM (#4193447) Journal
    From the english translation-

    1. Operation and installation of any game of type (b), (c) and (d) of Article 1, including computer games,
    placed in public places such as hotels, cafeterias, organization halls and in any other public or private
    place, is prohibited.


    Public or *private*!!!! As worded, this law applies to games played at home. Any Greek/English bilingual folks who care to comment on the accuracy of this translation?

    2. Operation of games of type (e) is allowed in devices of type (a). Regarding these games, it is prohibited to place bets.
    Such bets will attract penalties described in Articles 4 and 5.


    So Monopoly on a board is legal, but on PC is not? Despite the fact that the game is fundamentally the same, only a difference in medium?

  • "In an unbelievable move the Greek government has banned all public play of computer games with enactment of law 3037/2002."


    At last a government that has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the Devil Incarnate in the form of International Capitalism, and look after the good of the people.

  • by Turken ( 139591 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @12:44AM (#4193487)
    Do they realize that in order to use most of their computers, they'll now have to separate Solitaire from all MS operating systems? Seeing as how long it took the US to split IE from the system, Greece doesn't stand a chance!
  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Wednesday September 04, 2002 @11:22PM (#4198413)
    A real implementation of this has been released (currently beta) here that acts as a POP3 proxy and works with any mail client.


    I found several things I wasn't expecting when I looked into this.

    First off, the link provided is not to its (PopFile's) homepage, or a page that indirectly refers to PopFile's homepate, or even to the latest version of the software! I had to do a google search to find the real homepage [extravalent.com]

    Secondly, the program is not Free Software, or even OpenSource. No source distribution is available, and the readme on it clearly states his intention to charge for access to executables once it makes it out of beta. The charge is quite nominal, but there are oodles of other proprietary email filters out there, so I don't see why this one is special enough to rate a Slashdot plug.

    Thirdly, there's no evidence I can find that this uses Perl, as stated. There's no .pl file in the distribution. It comes with some exe's and the cygwin dll (which probably makes any license other than GPL a license violation on his part, as you have to pay Cygnus to get a non-GPL license to cygwin). This probably doesn't mean it can't have Perl sources, but I saw no textual mention of Perl either, so I really don't know where Perl came into this.

    Fourthly, there's similarly no proof I can find that Popfile uses any kind of advanced statistical modelling. That would be a strong suspicion, considering its user interface. But the sources aren't available, and the author makes absolutely no mention of his methods. I'm guessing this was purposely done to lessen the odds of someone making a free (or non-free) workalike. This would be OK if he at least had some kind of statisical study of its effectiveness, but there is none of that either. If you want to have any clue as to how well it will work, your only recourse is to download it and try it out for a while.

    Personally, I think folks should be very leery about downloading and installing a closed-source program written by some random guy they don't know. There's no reason to believe that this guy isn't acutally collecting email addresses himself using the software. It unlikely, but possible.

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford

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