I'm back at my favorite record store and I see a guy approach the owner with a proposition: "I want to buy music to put it on my iPod and then resell the disc to you." Intrigued, I jumped into the conversation, egging the guy on. "That's a great idea. Buy new or used DRM-free CDs, burn 'em to iTunes, and what the hell, burn a CD to keep, and resell the disc." The technique won't be cost effective on every title, but say for example you bought a used copy of Smashing … Read more
BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada--The Man burned Monday night. Seriously.
For years at Burning Man, the joke has been, "We should burn the Man on Wednesday."
The Man, of course, is the tall wooden figure at the center of the annual countercultural arts festival.
Well, late Monday night--OK, early Tuesday morning--the mantra came true.
As groups of people were gathered around, watching the eclipse of the moon, just as the moon went into full eclipse, word--which I listened to--started to filter across "Com," the official Burning Man organizational radio communications system, that someone had set the Man … Read more
What can I say?
If you been to Burning Man any year since 2001, you've almost certainly seen my friend Lisa Hoffman's annual masterpiece of the official Black Rock City map, almost certainly when you were handed one at the gate to the event.
Even if you haven't ever been to the countercultural arts festival, you can still admire Hoffman's work, especially the progression of strikingly different styles.
Jane McGonigal is a Burning Man widow.
That is, her husband has just left for the annual countercultural arts festival for 10 days, leaving her alone at home in the Bay Area.
But McGonigal, one of the most innovative designers of alternate-reality games, is hoping that even though she won't be in the desert herself, her influence might be felt at the 45,000-person bacchanalia.
To wit, she is hoping that she can seed the idea that if anyone sees her husband, Kiyosh, wandering around Burning Man, "usually wearing an orange jumpsuit, sometimes wearing goggles and/or a … Read more
If you're like me and Second Life and Burning Man are centerpieces of your existence, then Burning Life is just your thing.
This year, for the fifth-straight year, Second Life publisher Linden Lab is devoting some of the virtual world's land for an homage to Burning Man, the annual countercultural arts festival.
The idea is to create a temporary zone in which residents can create fantastical works of art that will last for a short period of time and then disappear forever. There's a big sculpture of a man, and a big temple, and at the end, … Read more
The ultimate example: a music system designed to look like a shower knob, as seen on Technabob. Unfortunately, this bath toy is only an AM/FM radio, but its relatively reasonable $25 price should leave some money left over for a separate wireless device to stream your MP3 tunes through it.
Last Thursday, BurnLounge announced that it is eliminating the "network marketing" element in which some retailers pay start-up fees to the company, then earn money by convincing new members to become paying retailers. This was the aspect of BurnLounge that drew a lot of criticism, and eventually led to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation, as I blogged about a couple weeks ago.
Instead, the company will focus on the free service, in which anybody with a Web site can become an online music retailer. Excellent move. The network marketing aspect seriously dampened my enthusiasm for what otherwise … Read more
Beginning musicians tend to be big dreamers. And there are an awful lot of us--Guitar Center's got nearly 200 stores now taking in more than $450 million per quarter, and you know that most of those buyers are thinking, at least in the back of their mind, that they'll be the next Jimmy Page. Or Joe Strummer. Or Kurt Cobain.
As you might expect, this combination tends to draw a lot of, shall we say, questionable businesspeople to the music industry, particularly the lower reaches. Over the years, I've heard it all: unscrupulous managers, publicists and promoters … Read more
It's bad enough to get hit on the head with a MagLite, but here's one that'll burn your house down too.
All right, so it's been slightly modified. How'd they do it? Twelve 1.2V NiMH (rechargable) batteries capable of a sustained 10 amp draw--encased in that sturdy skull-cracking MagLite body--and an Osram HLX 64623,12V bulb "which is being overdriven to 14+V, to about 140 watts, with an estimated light output of about 4000 lumens." A regular 2D MagLite puts out less than 50 lumens, according to Mr. McCracken at extreme-geek.… Read more
There was an amazing party last Friday at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., celebrating the anniversary of the first human spaceflight, which was made by Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin. While CNET News.com has already penned a great article on the event, I thought I'd add my two cents on some of the cool gadgets I spotted at the party.
Peter Foucault's drawing robots drew a steady crowd the entire night. These two little robots had Sharpie pens mounted on them and were contained within what looked like a little robot boxing ring. Only … Read more