First iTMS purchase

So today I made my first iTunes Music Store purchase: Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy. Mark this day on your calendar!
What is the iTunes Music Store (iTMS)? Well, it’s a kind of “virtual record shop”, allowing you to browse, preview and purchase songs over the internet. There are no subscription fees: tracks cost 99 cents each, or an entire album is $9.99 (with a few exceptions). There’s biographical information for most artists, and in the spirit of Amazon.com’s “customers which bought x also bought y” thing, the iTMS lists related items, which makes exploring new music really easy, fun even.
Unfortunately the iTMS is not yet available in Canada, but that could change soon. Canada is a much better position than Europe, which probably won’t see the iTMS until at least this spring. Europe is far trickier, with many more labels/record companies to work out deals with individually.
Previously, iTunes has been Mac-only, but with last Thursday’s release of iTunes for Windows, Apple introduced a new feature into the iTMS: Celebrity Playlists. Wherein commoners get to view the favorite choons of select famous people. I spotted the Massive Attack track while browsing Moby’s list (requires iTunes). Can’t believe the track is 10 years old! I purchased it using part of a $10 gift certificate Sarah sent me as a belated birthday present. Thanks Sarah! 😀
I have one problem with the store: it’s waaaay too easy to just keep on buying music. Guess that’s why some folks have dubbed the iTMS “iCrack”. 🙂

Sore muscles

So Cam and Melissa had me over for breakfast this morning. I’m thinking we may make it a regular thing, it was quite yummy!
Cam, Melissa and I went up to G.T. Bray park for an Ultimate pickup game. Melissa played excellently for her first game. I hope she continues to come out — she seems to have a natural ability for the game.
The plan now is to go over to Cam’s and Melissa’s for dinner (woohoo!), an episode or two of Buffy, and then down to the hot-tub. Yeah! Hooray for full weekends!
How was yours?

Nighttime walk

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1:21am. My neighbours getting in the Hallowe’en spirit! I like this shot, I think the over-exposure is a little creepy. Exp time: 1 second. Flash: No
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From my apartment, across the bridge that goes over the lake, to here. Exp time: 6 seconds. Flash: No. Click on the picture for a bigger image.
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1:26am. From the pool, turning right onto the footpath, looking right, across the lake at the corner of the building which house my apartment. Exp time: 1 second. Flash: No.
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Looking the opposite direction from the previous shot. The apartment complex’s clubhouse (yellow building in the pool shot) is visible in the upper-left. Exp time: 1 second. Flash: No.
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Monster trees! Exp time: 1 second. Flash: No.
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1:31am. Turning back onto the path again, walking between the lake and the waterfront side of the apartment complex. Check out the railing shadow being cast on the side of the wall. Exp Time: 2 seconds. Flash: No.
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An alien being emits light in the shrubbery! Exp time: 2 seconds. Flash: No.
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1:42am. I was kinda surprised, but Hallowe’en seems to be alive and well in Sarasota, at least at my aparment complex. Lots of decorations going up. In this shot I am close to Cam’s apartment complex, and as far away from mine as I get in this set. Cropped. Exp time: 2 seconds. Flash: No.
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Heading back toward my house. Moon across the lake, reflected in the water. Exp time: 10 seconds. Flash: No.
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The moon. If you look closely, you can even see the dark half! (Windows users, you may need to turn up the brightness on your monitor). Exp time: 1 second. Flash: No.
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See the two rows of bright dots which run horizontally across this photo? The top row contains lights which line a bridge; the bottom row is their reflection in the water. To the right of the bridge is the pool, to the left, my apartment building. Exp time: 5 seconds. Flash: No.
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1:54am. Dead ahead, the pool. Exp time: 5 seconds. Flash: No.
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Here’s the bridge from a couple shots up. The two posts in the foreground belong to the gates which the apartment admins are always forgetting to lock (to everyone’s benefit). Directly behind me: the pool. Exp time: 5 seconds. Flash: No.
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1:58am. Across the bridge on the other side, the ground floor of my apartment building. Exp time: 5 seconds. Flash: No.

Awesome Thursday


A palm just outside my front door, as viewed from the second floor
Just wanted to wish everyone an awesome Thurday! Worked late last night, until 7pm, actually, got home, and chatted the night away with Jim and Ben. Ate dinner around 11:30pm, in bed by 2:30, up at 7:40. A solid 5 hours sleep! Ugh. I really need to find a way to convince myself of my bedtime — midnight. Perhaps I should take up evening runs again, now that it’s getting a little cooler?
How do you get to sleep on time?

Review: Startup.com

So you remember that whole dot-com thing, right? You know, investors funding companies with millions to sell dog-food over the ‘net?
Well, not all the ideas were so outrageous. Some, such as working with local government to make online parking-ticket payment possible, actually seemed somewhat feasible.
Startup.com is a film about a company taking a realistic vision of how the net could help people and following it through the dot-com boom. There’s a definite element of dramatic irony playing here, because as the viewer, you are fully aware of the company’s eventual demise, but the characters you are watching have no idea.
Usually, I find movies about the technology industry are waaay out to lunch. But with Startup, I actually found myself saying “whoa” out loud several times while watching it because I was amazed at how many details occurred exactly the way I expected them to.
It wasn’t until the film ended and I had listened part of the commentary on the DVD that it became clear why this film was head and shoulders above the other tech representations I’d seen so far on celluloid. All this stuff actually happened.
What makes this film so interesting is that, so far as I know, it’s the only one to completely document the rise and fall of a dot-com from start to finish. GovWorks — the company followed in the film — is just one of the thousands of companies out there that went through the same thing during the period.
Everything’s there, from the founders leaving their day jobs, to raising stupid amounts of capital in short periods of time, to stressed-out friendships, to rapid company expansion, to even more rapid dissolution. I know people who went through everything I saw in this film.
If you’re at all interested in or were part of the dot-com era, go check out Startup.com. It’s unlikely you’re going see anything that comes so close to portraying the heady and often-chaotic atmosphere of the time.

On Jayne, Disc, and Melissa the Guest Photographer


Face off!
Chatted with Jayne over MSN Messenger last night. We used to work together at the Clearihue Computing Facility at UVic. Music, photos, and stories were swapped, good times definitely had. That’s her on the right, her friend Anoop on the left, in Vieux Montreal, trying to be all serious. I don’t think Jayne’s doing so well… 🙂
Just got back from a disc-throwing exhibition (a.k.a. Ultimate practice) and man am I ever soaked. It was pouring rain before we started and let up just so we could play — as a result it was super-humid.
Melissa is back after a couple months in Canada helping a friend move and vacation, and she came to practice with Cam and I! Since she doesn’t play, I loaned her my Powershot G3 to roam around with. Can’t wait to see her photos (I’m likely going to steal a pic or two for my next post 🙂
How was your Toosday?

Happy Birthday, Mom!


I think I shall be giving Mom a call tonight. Perhaps we’ll set up the iSight and do a video conference! 🙂
So the Edmonton Oilers did end up getting their collective booty kicked by the Canucks on Saturday after all. Booyeah!
Spend a bit of yesterday cleaning up, then drove up to G.T. Bray park for a little pickup Ultimate action. A funny thing happened while we were warming up on the soccer fields. We could *hear* rain pelting the roofs of the houses that were lining the field (only a couple hundred metres away), but we weren’t being rained on! It was the strangest thing!
We put our equipment back in our cars and took cover under the trees. The rain continued for a while, and some of the folks who were local decided to call it a day and left. Six of us — Cam, myself, Sonia, Scotty, Amy and John — decided to stay and play “hot box” in the rain. It’s sort of like half-court Ultimate — instead of endzones at either end of the field, there’s a single, small square (the “hot box”) in the middle of your field. And your field is no longer a rectangle, it’s a big square (we played 30 paces x 30 paces). The goal is to pass the disc to your teammate in the hotbox. After a point, you retain possession and have to “take the disc out” — that is, pass to your teammates until you leave the bounds of the bigger, enclosing square. Then you “work it back in” — pass to your teammates — toward the hotbox. Possession works as in Ultimate, changing hands when the disc touches the ground (either by an incomplete pass or an interception). We played for about 2 hours, and holy cow, I don’t think I’ve been that tired in *months*. Hot box is a physically intense game — even more so than Ultimate — because play doesn’t stop after you score a point!

Getting into the Hallowe’en spirit: Sonia and Eric’s “Devil Dog” Melvin.
Anyways… afterwards Cam, myself, Sonia and Eric went out to a nice Italian restaurant, Jonny Carino’s for a bite to eat. We had a good time, I think I’ll be going back.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers! 🙂