A lot of noise has been made on Apple’s New Music Store. A faction of people cry as soon as they see the DRM acronym in its blurb, while for others -the majority- the whole idea seems to be a godsend. What is it?

For years now the music industry has tried to find a way to use the Internet as a distribution medium without either eating away hard-copy sales or giving the users too much control over what they can do with the music.
Napster officially started (as it existed before in more rudimentary, non-P2P form) what later became the proof that music could live and thrive in the Internet. As bandwidth costs plummetted, encoding processes got faster and everyone had access to big drives where to store the music it soon became obvious the time was prime for some moves by the music corporations.
Several attempts have been made in the past, all of them fruitless, and everyone in the assorted boards of directors fail to see the cause:

The reason d’etre for having the music in your computer is versatility.
Limiting of the user’s choices is an instant deterrant on buying music.

Apple seems to have struck a happy medium between the desires of music companies and the needs of users. Microsoft had pitched DRM schemes in the past which not only implied that users didn’t actually *own* their music, but that the players had the power to delete other music not covered by the DRM guidelines and even other software that didn’t support them. People, on the other hand, wanted to have music bought easily and cheaply, they wanted to be able to have that music installed in their music players, be able to make CDs off it and to be able to share the music among their machines.
Here is where most of the noise has been made by detractors of Apple’s system. Most of the arguments seem to be of the following:
1.-«I have more than three computers and I want to share the music among all of them»
2.-«Why only ten copies of the same playlist. I don’t want to be limited in this way»
3.-«Why can’t I share the music streaming it to unlimited clients?»
4.-«192bps AAC is too low a bitrate for my high-end sound studio and it’s unbearably to listen to it»

These arguments are all debatable but the actual fact that mustn’t escape people trying to impartially comment on Apple’s guidelines is this: Majority rules. The majority are not the Music companies, and that’s why their guidelines open things more than the former would’ve wanted. The majority aren’t the power users, either, who may have 12 computers in their houses (and may have achieved the miracle of having all the people in the house in all the computers like the same music) and may have -however unlikely as it sounds- a reason for needing unlimited streaming of music over the network or the Internet. The majority definitively isn’t the high-end audiophiles who may have $100K of sound equipment connected, of all things, to a computer or an iPod playing MP3 files.

The majority of intended audience are music aficionados, who may like both good-enough music and the versatility digital files provide. It’s people who may have two or three computers at the most in their houses, most of the time not networked together but may have two or more iPods for playing music. It’s the people who would hardly find a reason for making five legitimate copies of the same CD, let alone ten.

Sadly, «inalienable personal rights of fair use» (which are not so, as they’re not an actual legal option, but a common and allowed practice) has become the official excuse for people lobbying against DRM systems. People who confuse that it was easy to make copies before and corporations didn’t want to spend the resources needed to fight this with these practice being their right. Sadly the reality is also that for every person that legitimately believes that their asking for reasonable right (as deluded as it may be) there are two hundred who are covering behind these same arguments to be able to keep on trading music (and files, as this may become an antecedent for other media in the future) freely (and, arguably, illegally).

What, you, inexistent reader[1], maye be asking, then, is «So you’re implying that Apple is some sort of Panacea when it comes to digital music? That they’re infallible in their decisions? (you mac bigot!)» and the answer would be a simple «No». The Music Store has several limitations which need to be addressed before it’s the best option there can be (as it stands right now it’s the best option there is, but far from perfect). I can think of a few and you can probably think of more, but it’s important that the complaints you may have on the system are based on a reasonable ground and that you may, perhaps, not be the intended audience of the Music Store (this is much more important if you think 256Kbps MP3 is the minimum allowable for music or if you need to share your music, without paying royalties, to several computers in your network or with the world).

What I would like Apple fixed:

-One of the features hyped when iTunes came out was it’s interaction with third-party MP3 players like the Rio. These players can’t play the AACs provided by the Apple Music Store. Apple should provide APIs for third-parties to implement in their players, so they can take advantage of the AAC files (and users are not left out by something hyped to them when they adopted iTunes not working anymore)

-Apple should also provide APIs (or hardware) for wireless sound receivers (more and more popular nowadays as a way to hear music in decent stereo systems) through AirPort, if need be. Either this or helping third-parties create easy hook-ups for the iPod for the home stereo (not cable adapters, but docking stations like the current one that understand the iPod’s filesystem and read it accordingly, with their own wireless remote)[2]

-I’d like to be able to download music in MP3 (although I understand the conundrum here, if DRM has to be kept) since I listen to my music in other computers not using MacOSX (Darwin, Linux, Sun, HP-UX). I doubt Apple will release iTunes with AAC support for Linux, although that’d be nice.

-The Music store should really embrace international customers quickly, as the feeling that Apple only looks to the US for new technologies is becoming more a frustration of users (like the fiasco with past hype like iPhoto printing of photographs and albums[4] or the support in Sherlock. I understand it’s not easy, as copyright and royalties laws are different in most countries, as the handling of credit cards and fees, but still it should be addressed (or shouldn’t have been promised to start with)

-Apple should make an statement making it clear that if the venture proves to not be viable (two weeks is hardly enough to make a call on the long-term viability of it) measures will be taken for users to be able to enjoy their music for years to come (with a special version of itunes that allows for music to be converted to MP3 without the currently-necessary step of burning to CD beforehand). As succintly stated by someone with better summarizing skills than myself: «People don’t want to be buying the digital equivalent of 8-track tapes».

-Rendezvous (and Internet) sharing should be able to share AAC files (as far as I know right now it doesn’t), although limits could be set (no more than three «clients» allowed, for example)

And remember, it’s not intended to be a service-for-everyone but a service-for-the-majority. If the bitrate is too low, or the DRM too limiting, or it’s cheaper for you to buy old CDs at discount bins or you prefer to have the original artwork and case for the CD then, by all means, don’t use the Music Store and don’t bitch about it not being for you as it, clearly, isn’t.

I was planning on putting a bunch of links in here. But I was lazy. I may add them later on..:)

[1]For noone reads this blog..:)
[2] Are you reading, Griffin?[3]
[3] Of course not. Dumb me for asking
[4] Should that be «Alba»? The plural of «Album»?

Mucha gente (ninguna de la cual entra a este lugar, ya que nadie lo conoce) debe haber oído hablar de los «blogs» que existen en Internet y se preguntará ¿qué es un blog? y por lo tanto se preocupará poco por si surge uno nuevo o no. Otro grupo de personas conoce los «blogs» y lo que se preguntan es ¿realmente necesitamos otro blog en este mundo?, y uno en español además. ¿Cuál es la idea?

(o «¿de qué está hablando éste?»)

Los BLOGs empezaron a surgir hace ya algún tiempo, empezando como una forma de que los programadores de software pudieran mantener a su público actualizado de las novedades del mismo (proyectos como Netscape y Quake en especial hacían uso extensivo de lo que en ese momento se llamaban los .plan en los cuales mostraban avances y comentarios. Estos .plan se convirtieron después en weblogs, una vez que se empezaron a hacer completamente en Web y, como todo lo que se populariza en Internet, obtuvo finalmente su propio nombre: blog o BLOG.

(o «¿puedes explicar un poco más? ¿es normal que no se entienda lo que escribes?»)
Existen blogs de todo tipo pero en general comparten una característica principal: Sus escritores escriben (al menos al principio) lo que les viene en gana – desde cosas altamente personales hasta comentarios totalmente genéricos – y gente poco a poco empieza a leerlos e incluso a poner sus comentarios. La mayoría de los blogs mas grandes y leídos en Internet siguen siendo los relacionados con informática de una forma u otra y, mayoría entre estos, los que están directamente relacionados con tecnologías de Internet (navegadores, estándares de Web). Esto, por supuesto, no limita el medio, al poderse encontrar blogs de escritores aficionados, escritores profesionales y de estrellas porno. Cada vez se vuelve mas común que lo que empieza como un blog genérico sobre nada en especial se convierte, al poco tiempo, en un sitio dedicado a un tema específico (en este ejemplo, a todos los productos y comerciales de los años 80).

(o «Al punto, por favor!»)
En el pasado consideré la idea de poner un blog o no varias veces, he incluso empecé uno que sigue activo (al grado que algo actualizándose dos veces por año se puede considerar «activo») pero todo el tiempo era una idea sin concretar. Un deseo sin aterrizar. Siempre me ha gustado hablar y opinar y con frecuencia la gente se acerca para preguntar sobre mi opinión en algunos temas, y pensé que lo más fácil sería ponerlos por escrito.

Gran Error

El problema, pienso yo, por el cual no mucha gente decide escribir en cualquier medio (Internet incluido) es el hecho de que siempre existe esa idea de que las cosas que se dicen en una reunión o a un grupo, una vez puestas en un medio «semi-indeleble» como un blog pierdan totalmente su impacto y suenen vacías, sosas y sin originalidad. Es fácil decir una cosa inteligente entre diez tonterías en una conversación que, por definición, es efímera y que todos recuerden solamente el comentario original. Al escribir uno tiene la dolorosa presencia de todo lo que se escribe. Se repasa y sobre-escribe, se borra la mitad y a medida que se escribe la terrible idea de que no se está expresando nada que valga la pena va reptando por la nuca hasta que, en un momento de frustración, se selecciona todo el texto y se borra, enviando todas esas ideas al limbo, esperando que se reacomoden con el tiempo en algo que tenga más sentido.
Todos somos extremadamente críticos de nosotros mismos. En el fondo pocos pensamos que lo que hacemos, decimos o escribimos tenga la trascendencia que fútilmente le atribuimos en público. La mayoría de nosotros si repasa algo que haya escrito encontrará errores y más errores, cada cual más trivial que el anterior (una recomendación común de escritores es escribir lo más posible de una sola sentada y dejar el proceso de desgranado a una tercera persona que, aunque sea crítica, lo será mucho menos que nosotros mismos).

Mi decisión de empezar a escribir (sin idea de si seguiré haciéndolo en el futuro) es simple: Ya es hora.
La mayoría de los blogs empiezan como un simple diario, una forma de gritar a los vientos anónimos de Internet lo que a lo mejor no podemos decir en persona. Otros tienen una idea fija y todo el desarrollo del blog va hacia allá, otros son una combinación de ambas cosas. El mío, asumo, es de este último tipo. Una idea fija que, con suerte, ayudará a desarrollar otras ideas periféricas que rebotan en mi cráneo buscando una forma de expresarse coherentemente.

(o «Esta bien, ¿cuál es la idea?»)
Mi vida, no por primera vez, ha llegado a un punto de cambio. En un futuro próximo cambiará a muchos niveles, empezando por la casa, ciudad, país y continente en el que vivo y extendiéndose a mi vida amorosa (la cual no se ha caracterizado por ser sólida en el pasado) y profesional.
Después de vivir 15 años en este increíble y hermoso país y de conocer a algunas de las personas que más impacto han hecho en mi vida (lazos que las distancias y los movimientos de la suerte no han logrado romper) el momento ha llegado de buscar algo que siento todavía que me falta el nómada (viene de familia, por cierto) en mí necesita moverse. Necesita buscar lo único que le ha faltado en los últimos quince años (bueno, una de las dos cosas que le han faltado, enseguida explico esto). Necesita regresar. Necesita reagruparse con los suyos.

Verás, la decisión de irme de México no tiene que ver con problemas financieros, sentimentales, legales o profesionales. Tiene que ver conque ya ha llegado el momento de estar cerca de mi familia y de mi tierra. Tiene que ver con la idea persistente de que debí haberlo hecho hace tiempo ya. Tiene que ver conque el momento no sólo es ahora, sino que lo ha sido por 10 años ya.
Por supuesto pasó, como suele pasar, que en el momento de tener decididos mis planes («En tantos meses preparo mis cosas, en tantos meses me voy») la vida decidió darme una vuelta inesperada, de nuevo, y cayó un angel desconsiderado sobre mí y todo se complicó de nuevo. Estando ahora irrevocablemente enamorado en México y en un curso de colisión inevitable con el día en el que me iré a mi nuevo destino. Sabiendo que el momento de la gran decisión se acerca y rezando por las noches que esa decisión permita ambos caminos seguir juntos indefinidamente.
(o «¿Huh?»)
Este BLOG simplemente es mi forma de expresar las ideas que todo esto trae a mi cabeza. Un sitio para poner mis ideas sobre México y Latinoamérica, sobre mis planes de viaje y preparación, sobre mis relaciones sentimentales y, en caso de lograr mantener el ritmo, sobre mi movimiento al Viejo Continente y el cambio de vida y cultura.
Mi público probablemente no sea ninguno y casi espero que sea así, ya que el primer y mayor crítico de mi estilo de escritura soy precisamente yo.

What’s the problem with relationships? Why do all of us have problems with them, either trivial or life-crushing? Why is it that we were made so complicated and can’t simply decide who to go out with and let nature work it out for us, the way it works for all other animals in the world.

Well… We did this to ourselves. Men and women are not different just because, we made it happen and now we have to swallow (or spit, depending on individual tastes) and try to work with what we not only did, but keep on doing to feed this insanity.


The futile wait for «the right one»
What’s it that makes people not realize that waiting for «the right one» just precludes any possibility of finding him/her?

I have realized lots of people out there spend their days and nights waiting for the «right» person to come along. Endlessly complaining about life and bad luck. About not getting a break and after talking about friends and relationships with L’ix it hit us. Wanting something in your life can be the very same thing that keeps that thing away from you.

Let me elaborate:

One of the tenets of relationships is that they are completely unpredictable. This means that there is no way in the world you’re going to know you’ve met your perfect partner until a long time after you’ve met it. This is because what makes a partner perfect for you can’t be divined, it must be come as an epiphany of sorts, a realization, suddenly, that things are the way they should be. For this to happen you have to have a partner and for you to have a partner you must’ve let one come into your life already.

See, there is only one way to meet the right person, and that is by being open and letting people in your life. Being closed to new relationships, to avoid «failure» precludes, as well, any possible successful relationships. Try to find one person you remember as being successful with relationships and he/she will probably tell you that to find a right partner several failed attempts have been there, bad relationships and possibly pain have come and gone.

Several people in the past have said to me: What can I do to find the one? I have had awful relationships in the past, I have bad luck with men/women, I have been burned in the past and don’t want that to happen again.

Well, the big, ugly truth is that there is no one rule for relationships, but the closest I can find is a quote I once read, which supposedly is from Satchel Paige:

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.

That one saying, and the second statement probably sum up the only advice I could give anyone waiting for the right person: You never know who it’ll be, so be open to options.

Go out, meet people, meet friends of your friends. Let yourself know other people and be unprepared for anything that happens (that’s correct, unprepared). Don’t expect anything from anyone you meet. Do not measure people up and dismiss and discard them outright because they don’t fill a specific expectation or pattern. Do not let the possible «other half» in your life pass you by just because you didn’t want to go out that day. Nothing must me as horribly ironic as having the perfect partner be missed because one was, precisely, waiting for him/her.


PS: Darn, this is probably one of the messiest compositions I have done in a while, but it’s hard to put in a secondary language something you can barely put in word in your native language, so bear with me.

I should only say. I am happy today. Been happy since Tuesday. Life is good. Let’s see what transpires. Life has a funny way of turning around when you least expect it. My advice to you all: Always be open. If you are waiting for the right person to come along you might miss them. Be open, be available. Let fate approach you. Blessings to all.

This is the whole text of a comment I made in the MacOSX list from Omni a few days back which some people told me should’ve been in the Blog. I expect no comments yet will gladly see any opinions..:)
I paste the text here with no modifications (except for HTML editing) just to please those people..:)

Microsoft is recognizing Linux’s threat. Apple is recognizing Linux’s strengths. Linux is, as always, trying to do everything at once and being moved by the tides of other platforms and waiting on the wings until something has been reached to swoop down, take a look and imitate (and usually enhance it in the process, although sacrificing usability and looks..:) it the best it can. What will happen next year?

Well, I’ve fallen again. Fallout 2 is here and I’ve just spent four hours straight in it since installing. What is it about this game?

I don’t get it. It’s not fast-paced. It’s not multiplayer. The graphics and animations leave a little to be desired… And yet…

Fallout was my nemesis a few years ago (four or five, can’t remember). I hacked and hacked at it until I finished it. And then I had to practically be pried off the keyboard when I tried to do it all over again choosing different paths (I had left so many conversations where I would’ve liked to say otherwise, or be a smart-ass instead of a polite citizen).

Now I’ve got Fallout 2. Three years after the rest of the world has played it completely and finished, and I’m hooked all over again. The animations of the characters are bad (compared to Fallout 1), pretty much 90% of the game is the same thing as the one before: Run around, pick stuff up, kill baddies, return with stuff, complete quests… And still I’m hooked.

I dunno, I like the new games, I like Warcraft III and Star Wars: Battlegrounds like the next guy, I play Quake like there’s no tomorrow. But one of my favorite games still is fallout (which, to be true, has almost zero-replay value, unless you count forcing yourself to play it all over again with a different character).


I have to leave. I have to take some wood to some drunkard’s still so it keeps running so he can give me $50 and I can keep on looking for Vic, the Trader. That is, unless I learn how to skin those damn desert geckos.

The first post to my first Blog. Somehow I thought this would feel better…

Well. I have finally set-up my Blog. After three hours mucking around with Perl, PHP, MySQL and Apache I have convinced Jaguar (MacOSX 10.2) to run this for me. I have probably opened twenty or so security holes in the process, since I practically hammered all the programs into working as expected (or the closest to it one could expect) and now I am here, at 3:06 am staring at my brand-new Blog and deciding it’s just too late to even think of changing the templates for the interface.

So, here it is and it’ll stay this way for a while. At least until I get some sleep.