Legislation offered to set net-radio fees based on revenues

You might remember that I recently wrote about new use fees set for music played on Internet based radio stations. These fees were determined using costs and figures from the dot-com boom time when everything was overvalued by an order of magnitude or more. The new use fees were set so high that nearly all Internet radio stations would have to pay more than pre-tax earnings, effectively killing net-radio. A new bill has been put forward that would legislate the rate at 7.5 percent of revenues (the same as satellite radio broadcasters pay) instead.

A bill introduced in Congress today could nullify the new rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) which advocates say would put webcasters out of business.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) have headed the “Internet Radio Equality Act,” which aims to stop the controversial March 2 decision which puts royalty of a .08 cent per song per listener, retroactively from 2006 to 2010 on internet radio.

I’m not generally in favor of the government getting in and messing with private business affairs like this. Given the Copyright Royalty Boards unwillingness to consider realistic pricing schedules, however, this is the only way to get reasonable rates set that I can see outside of letting the current fees kill off net-radio. Then the CRB would have to reset fees far lower so the 2nd wave of net-radio stations could be created and actually get valid rates. (via slashdot)

[tags]New bill to legislate net-radio fees based on revenues[/tags]

Have you had your head checked lately?

Have you ever wondered if your spouse is dead or just not interested in putting out for you? Have you ever wanted to check someone for epilepsy? Shoot, have you ever just wanted to see the brain waves of someone you know while they slept?

Well, thanks to the tireless efforts of hardware and software hackers from around the world, you now have a way to build and use your own EEG for home use. Of course, I doubt you’ll be able to use the information for any valid clinical diagnosis. Still, it’s a pretty cool project, and completely open-source.

Many people are interested in what is called neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback training, a generic mental training method which makes the trainee consciously aware of the general activity in the brain. This method shows great potential for improving many mental capabilities and exploring consciousness. Other people want to do experiments with brain-computer interfaces or just want to have a look at their brain at work.

Unfortunately, commercial EEG devices are generally too expensive to become a hobbyist tool or toy.

The OpenEEG project is about making plans and software for do-it-yourself EEG devices available for free (as in GPL). It is aimed toward amateurs who would like to experiment with EEG. However, if you are a pro in any of the fields of electronics, neurofeedback, software development etc., you are of course welcome to join the mailing-list and share your wisdom.

On the other hand, it’s a pricey project to try out:

The designers have done their best to create a safe device, but knowing whether the effort is good enough is a completely different matter (an $8000 matter actually). Therefore: everything is provided as is, without any warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.

If you build one, let me know – I’ll volunteer to try it out for you.

[tags]Open source EEG, Check your own bravewaves with this make-it-at-home project[/tags]

Bandwidth issues clearing up

Between cutting out two animated GIFs that were each close to 1 Meg and renaming the 32K jpeg of Keira Knightly, I dropped bandwidth today to less than 10% of what it was yesteday.  After realizing that most of my bandwidth was going to a Myspace page as I noted in the post before this one, I created a new copy of the jpeg which was being used which was just text indicating that the image was hosted elsewhere.  If you’d like to see who was stealing most of my bandwidth, check out this MySpace page (for as long as my image stays in place).  If the updated background is gone and you’d like to see what was changed, let me know and I’ll post a screenshot of it.

And thanks for visiting, anyone who saw my update.  I’m sorry to do that, but I’ve had more and more people stealing my bandwidth, which costs me money I don’t have available to spend on web hosting.

Ohhhh, so that’s where my bandwidth went

After more searching, I found out where so much of my bandwidth is going.  Some pigfucker on myspace is hotlinking to an image on my web site for their background on their profile page.  And current access logs are showing over half my web requests for that one file.  So I’ve deleted it.

Now to work on getting a plugin to reduce hotlinking – it’s a problem I’ve let slide, but I’m seeing more and more hits to my site for people stealing my bandwidth, and I’m going to have to pay extra for hosting this month because of it.

Traffic explosion for the Blahg

I’ve held steady under 1 Gig of bandwidth since launching a year and a half back (under 100 Meg initially, in fact). Because there is so little traffic here, I’ve been able to get by with some low price hosting ever since launching. In the past 3-4 months, however, traffic has exploded on the site, jumping from less than 50 visitors a day in November and December last year to several hundred visits plus 1500-2000 RSS hits per day in the past few weeks. Just how much a jump counts as an explosion in my view? Well, here’s traffic stats by month from the beginning of the year:

blahgstats-20070427.jpg

And let me point out that the bandwidth counter is missing some traffic, as I received a warning Sunday night for passing 80% of my cap (10 Gig per month). Total traffic on my site is as follows:

Continue reading Traffic explosion for the Blahg

Hawking weightless at last

Apparently, weightless flight has long been one of Stephen Hawking’s dreams. I’m not quite sure of the logistics in setting up the experience for Hawking, but I see it was good for him.

Free of his wheelchair and tethered only to heart rate and blood pressure monitors, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking on Thursday fulfilled a dream of floating weightless on a zero-gravity jet, a step he hopes leads to further space adventures.

The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow.

The jet then climbed to around 32,000 feet and made a parabolic dive back to 24,000 feet, allowing Hawking and the other passengers to experience weightlessness for about 25 seconds.

I wish I could afford a weightless flight. It sounds really cool.

[tags]Hawking’s weightless flight, Hawking experiences weightlessness dream[/tags]

Jellyfish lights

Utterly jellyfish_lights.jpguseless for me, what with having no pool and all, but how cool are these floating jellyfish lights?

All show and no sting, these battery-operated Floating Jellyfish Pool Lights unleash a kaleidoscope of color as they float in the water. For larger pools, unleash a flotilla to create a crowd-pleasing effect.

  • Crafted of durable PVC
  • Realistic, fiber-optic tentacles emit a vibrant glow
  • Top changes colors throughout the light show
  • Controlled by a simple auto-off switch

Uses four AA batteries (included).

laser_show.jpgAnd while you are there looking at lights I don’t need, check out the underwater light show projector they have. Should be cool for pool owners. (via boingboing)


[tags]Jellyfish pool lights[/tags]

Major slip from Astroglide manufacturer

If you’ve ordered a free sample from Astroglide maker BioFilm in the past 4 years, there’s a good chance your contact information – specifically name and mailing address – was out on the web for all to see. Of course, I’m sure many of you will claim to have never ordered the free sample, but since I know how much married men like to prevent hand-chafing, I’m sure there are a few liars saying this. Admittedly, having someone get just your name and address is no big deal, but security slips like this are sadly frequent. Remember how easily this happened next time you try signing up for something free online.

More than 250,000 people’s names and addresses are now naked on the web after the maker of a popular sexual lubricant called Astroglide accidentally exposed lists of people who bought or requested free samples of its products, proving that there’s no such thing as a free lubricant. BioFilm, a privately-held California company specializing in sexual lubricants, exposed customer data files dating from 2003 to 2007 to Google’s search engine in early April. Google then indexed the pages and made local cache copies. A search on an individual’s name now reveals that person’s home address and the product they requested or ordered.

To my knowledge, the company has not informed people affected by this error.

[tags]Major slip from Astroglide manufacturer, Customer records accidentally revealed on Google by Astroglide manufacturer[/tags]