Sunday, December 04, 2005

A new song for Christmas

Playing with an updated version of SampleTank 2 and had an inspiration for a new song. It's a variation on the carol God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. I used Tracktion 2 for this session. I am really starting to dig this software. Very user friendly and quite stable. It's a nice change of pace from the complexity of Sonar.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fall colors and Flag

Walked out to get the paper the other morning and was struck by the colors and sky. Thought it was a nice composition to include my flag. So far a very warm Fall in this neck of the woods.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

WiFi @ Bethesda Row

Beautiful fall day in bethesda. Sitting outside the B&N accessing the free WiFi. There are several networks available. Blogging doesn't get better than this.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Blogging from Palm TX

Purchased the new Palm TX last week. The new wifi features are great. Now trying out mobile blogging. Should be fun

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Walt Mossberg Siting

Driving home from my Brother's home in Potomac, MD this evening. Stopped at a stoplight on Seven Locks Road, I notice a nice dark blue Mercedes 350 SLK. Looking at the license plate I see it reads "WSJTECH". I quickly put two and two together and determine it's got to be Walt Mossberg in the drivers seat. I could not get even with the car to confirm but I did see the driver was wearing glasses. I'm 99% certain it was the man himself. The highest paid WSJ writer according to Wired. I know he lives in Potomac, so this is pretty certain. I actually ran into Walt and his son at the Rockville Best Buy a few years ago and have occasionally exchanged emails with him. Generally, a very nice chap!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Patty Larkin at Strathmore

Just returned from a fun concert on the lawn at the Strathmore Arts center with Patty Larkin. I've been a fan of Ms. Larkin's for a long time and own most if not all of her albums. Her album, Perishable Fruit is one of my favorites. She's a been a bit quiet the last couple of years since her last release Red = Luck. She played many of her "hits" including the fun CBGBs inspired tune, Wolf At The Door, that's included on her live album. She's quite a story teller with an acerbic wit. True to form, she could not help herself and let fly a few comments about the new Supreme Court nominee and her distaste for President Bush. I was prepared for this, but mercifully these were fairly brief and easily ignored. A typical Northeast knee-jerk liberal via Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

I really enjoyed her song Coming Up For Air from the aforementioned Persishable Fruit. I kept filling in (my mind) the lilting ethereal harmonies of Jane Siberry who is on the album version.

Of course, Patty is an awesome guitarist bordering into Michael Hedges, et al territory. Her quirky song writing and adventurous open tuning forays are what really seal the deal for me. Another fun highlight was an update of The Book I'm Not Reading with allusions to the children's Maisy the Mouse book she is now reading to her child. Quite fun!

I last saw Patty at the Wolf Trap Barns many years ago. That concert was more accomplished because it was inside and she was accompanied by a guitar "colourist" that helped recreate the feeling of the album versions of her songs. Still this outdoor concert was quite charming and a bargain at the price of free!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London and New Song

Well, the cowards of the Middle East are up to their old but increasingly ineffectual tricks. They continue their retrograde march back to the 10th century. Like the evil losers of the past they will end up on the dust heap of history but will leave a wake of carnage on their way to their doom. As a former resident of London, I am saddened by this blight visited upon such a great city.

On a lighter note, I posted a new song using the latest Project 5 version 2 software. I started this on a laptop at the beach and finished up in my home studio. You can listen to it here and download a good quality MP3 as well. This in the style of a german keyboard player Rainer Bruninghaus who is a renowned artist on the ECM label. Most notably he was in Eberhard Weber's Colours.

Let's hope the world has a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

MP3 Wars: Apple vs. Creative

Interesting discussion going on at Engadget about the ongoing mp3 player battle between Apple and Creative. I posted the following comment that I don't think gets enough air time:

The Creative Zen Micro does have a killer feature: Yahoo Music at $60 a year. Currently no one can touch this. Look, I am an audiophile for the past 30 years. I have thousands of vinyl LPs. Thousands of CDs, some SACDs, etc. I have so much music I couldn't listen to all of it for the rest of my life. Still, I want to hear new things and take it with me. For portability, I am willing to sacrifice a wee bit on sound quality. Yahoo Music offers all their subscription downloads at WMA 192kps. I rip my own CDS at 192 kps. It's a reasonable compromise of sound for portability. For $60 a year I can stuff myself at the Yahoo buffet. If I find something I really like I can buy the real CD. This is much better than buying deaf - the cds I buy I have never actually heard. I buy based on "intelligence guided by experience". Yahoo's unlimited plan at $60 a year is less than half of a satellite radio subscription. With Yahoo Music I'm in the drivers seat.

Things that I have that Apple doesn't have:

1. Cheap ($60/yr) all you can eat music buffet
2. 192 kps downloads (last I checked Apple is still 128k).
3. Voice recording
4. FM radio
5. Replaceable battery (seems a few apple users are bit miffed over this battery thing)

I could go on, but I've listed 5 "killer features". It seems educating the general public about these things is more of an issue than the product itself?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

DRM, DCMA, XVid, Bittorrent - the present and the Future

Okay, I'm reading this very good thought piece about Microsoft's potential domination of the DRM media space. I agree with this article's conclusions. I had a brainstorm about how one media scenario could play out. I agree that Microsoft's DRM is spreading widely. I also believe that XVid (the opensource variant of DivX) combined with Bittorrent is currently the most compelling content distribution vehicle. TV content is flowing at a terrific pace around the world. The TV execs are supposedly pulling their hair out over this situation.

Hey content creators, here's a free idea that could reap big rewards. Instead of fighting the inevitable and shutting down bittorrent sites - embrace and extend (an old Microsoft saying). Here's the idea. After each TV show is aired, TV networks should self publish XVid copies of the show with an ad embedded in each of the shows that one has to "collect". Each subsequent episode would add another clue to the collection. One has to download all the episodes to get all the clues. Once all the clues are collected, the downloader would be able to use the clue collection to obtain a discount on the subsequent official DVD version of the show. Imagine the marketing opportunities! Because of the viral marketing, they could sign on and prove to advertisers how many people they are reaching even more accurately than using the current buggy Nielsen rating system. I have some experience here as I once worked on TV ratings at Arbitron many years ago.

Seems like a plan to me?

Monday, May 16, 2005

How to fax in the Internet age

I haven't sent a fax in years. However, due to some business I'm conducting, I have had a need to send some faxes. Problem is I don't have a way to fax. WinXP has a built in fax applet and my laptop does have a fax modem. The only problem is that I only have basic phone service on my landline so I can't dial long distance. Too bad I don't have a data hookup on my cell phone. So what to do?

I search around the net and finally stumble on to They offer a free service that allows for 30 free incoming faxes a month and free outgoing faxes for the first month. Afterwards it's five cents per page for outgoing faxes. Very reasonable for someone like me that only rarely needs an occasional fax machine. Many other services charge a monthly fee. As is typical, you download a fax printer driver which lets you fax from any application as easily as printing. In less than fifteen minutes I had the driver installed and my docs to fax scanned in. Faxes were successfully sent on the first try and I got a nice email message confirming this.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Verizon Fios Rocks!

Day 2 of Verizon Fios. Downloaded an 8 gb torrent overnite. Here's a pic of my install. Really nice to have the equipment all in place on one inside wall of my garage. Future upgrades will be a snap.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Verizon Fios Fiber Install Today

I'm up and running on Verizon Fios Fiber service today. 15 mb/s of speed wonderfulness. The install was flawless. My pre-install work really paid off. My Dell wireless router was up to the new speed so I did not need to use the supplied D-Link router. Woohoo! Life is grand. I'm now rerouting my vestigial Comcast email settings and will soon be able to let them loose. I'll keep Comcast live for a few days to make sure everything is stable.

Supposedly, Verizon will start their video service in September 2005. I'm starting to think I will buy an HDTV this year. Looking at the new Samsung DLPs with the new HD4 Texas Instrument chip. This stuff is fantastic!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Palm Tungsten E is a Multimedia Player

I've been gettting good use out of my Palm Tungsten E as an audio player. I had given up trying to use it for playing video. The bundled Kimona app produced very mediocre results. I assumed that the processor was just too slow for decent video playback.

I was wrong.

Listening to the 1SRC podcast, I learned of an opensource media player called TCPMP. It is still in beta but has apparently been available on the PPC platform. I downloaded the beta and some movie trailers. I was stunned by the playback quality. It was very watchable. I found that that the Tungsten E did best with converted MPEG1 files running frame rates in the 12 frame per second range and 250k bit rate. The DivX/XVid/MPEG4 files required a little too much horsepower. So, armed with this new information, I embarked on how to make my own video files that would play well.

Turning to various XVid files sourced from HDTV, I started playing with various tools. I tried a trial of Kimona's Producer 3 but it produced horrible results using MPEG4 files. As it turns out, the best workflow can be had with free tools.

After much tinkering, I found that using a custom template using the freeware version of TMPG Encoder produced great quality MPEG1 files at a size of about 120 mb for 45 minutes of video. That would allow about four of these files to fit easily on a 512mb SD card (3 hours of video). It only takes about fifteen minutes to convert. One trick I found was that the TMPG Encoder does not handle the audio properly by default. I found that I have to first dump the audio track out to a seperate WAV file using VirtualDub. I then use this file as the audio source in TMPG. I also set up TMPG to use the lame MP3 audio encoder and reduced the sample rate to 32k at a bit rate of 128k. I saved this as a template for easy reuse. The final trick is to set the frame rate to one half of the source file rate. Most of my files are about 24 frames per second. Thus the final Palm video file is running at 12 frames per second. Surprisingly, the slower frame rate is not that noticible. The video when played othe Tungsten E appears very smooth. There is a bit of pixalization with action scenes but it is very tolerable.

I may continue to tinker to see if I can achieve better quality without increasing file sizes but I am already very pleased at the results so far.

Verizon Fios Internet Install In Less Than Two Weeks!

Well, I wake up the other day and notice a Verizon truck outside my house. I had a chat with the occupant and he said he was designing the cable drop for my neighbor's Verizon Fios install. Well blow me down. How come I was never contacted by Verizon despite my calling every two weeks since last year? I hop on my Comcrap connection and sure enough I find I am now ready for a Verizon Fios install. Yay!

So, now I need to get back in gear and finish my cable re-routing to get ready for the install. I also needed to install an electrical outlet in my garage near where they will install the fiber ONT on the outside of my garage. I had an existing light switch that I figured I could change to a combo switch and outlet. This would save me from having to install a whole new box. When I got into it I was initially confused about the proper way to wire this because the instructions were a little cryptic and because I was updating from just a switch. After some more research, I figured out how to wire the outlet but needed another small piece of wire to complete the circuit. Off to the hardware store and after a little effort I now have a live outlet for the backup power supply necessary for the ONT.

Verizon Fios ONT Fiber Terminal

The only thing left is to finish terminating the ethernet wires in a wall outlet so that the installers can just do a run of CAT 5 and plug into my new wall plate. I'm also wiring for multiple RG-6 so that I can rerun my satellite feed. This RG-6 install will also make it easy to swap out for eventual switch over to Verizon Fiber TV service when that comes on line. I think the installers will be pleased with my pre-install work and will have a pretty easy time of it.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mozilla Thunderbird does work with Versamail

I've been fiddling with Palm's somewhat lame Versamail app again. One of the things I gave up when I switched to Thunderbird from Outlook Express was the ability to sync my inbox to my Palm TE. Today I tried setting up a direct sync to Google's Gmail but the only version of Versamail that is available for the Palm TE does not properly support SSL connections that Gmail requires. While browsing around I found a message that indicated that Versamail would work fine with Thunderbird if you selected the Eudora client in Versamail. Worth a shot. What do you know - it works. I don't know why this isn't more widely advertised but I'm pleased to have this functionality back.

It's annoying that Palm will not keep these apps up to date for existing users. They never update the Palm Desktop. There's so much functionality that is missing. Palm is disappointing these days.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Switched to WPA security today

I heard about a free utility that allowed earlier versions of Windows to use WPA wireless security. I still have an old Sony 505 on my wireless network. Since this runs Windows 98 SE, I had to limit my security to WEP. Then I read about this free product that would let me upgrade to WPA. It installed easily and then I switched over my router to WPA. I also set the wireless mode to 802.11g only to get the maximum speed. All I had to do was update all my other Windows XP wireless computers to WPA and things were great. Now I'm reasonably secure for a home network. All my neighbors run their networks wide open. I guess they are more trusting?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Martha Stewart Thinks an iPod is a Radio

So I'm watching Martha Stewart blather on at the Sirius press conference to announce her new Martha Stewart channel on Sirius. She's droning on about she and her family are such radio people and she veers into this riff about how she would like to thank Steve Jobs for inventing the iPod and how her daughter is such a big iPod user and thinks the iPod "radio" is just great for busy people. The Sirius marketing people must be spilling blood all over the place. Talk about unscripted moments. It was evidently clear that Martha Stewart doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. Someone needs to lossen her security ankle bracelet. It's clearly cutting off the blood supply.

Martha! The iPod is a portable audio device for playing ripped or downloaded music. It is not a radio and it is in direct competition to Sirius. Sheesh!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Vinyl LP day today

Started out very early today to attend the annual Stone Ridge School Book Sale. A bit of a misnomer as they sell records, cds, dvds and other collectibles in addition to records. In past years, I've scored some choice vinyl items. Prices are absurdly reasonable at one dollar a record. This year I got there at shortly after the opening time of 8 am. Pretty early for me these days. I would say the selection was about average. I picked up about 30 records that I've already set about cleaning with my VPI record cleaning machine.

This got me back into the mood of spinning some vinyl. I have a very modest Music Hall MMF 2 turntable hooked up to my upstairs computer/music studio system. I had been annoyed by some apparent background hum that I always thought was leakage of the magnetic motor field into the cartridge. Well, I really got into it today and discovered that in fact the turntable belt was not riding the crown of the motor pulley but riding up to the top of the pulley. I went about for a way to to correct this. The turntable is serviceable but a bit kludgey. The motor is suspended on a rubber band of sorts with four screw mounts. I determined that I need to pull the front of the motor back under some tension so that it would not lean forward. The solution was absurdly simple. One simple rubber band wrapped under the front of the motor and secured on the two rear screw mounts and I had enough tension to allow the belt to ride correctly on the crown of the pulley. Instant silence and sonic bliss. I wish I could have figured this out a long time ago. Now I am stoked to transfer some more vinyl to CD with improved sonics.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A New Song For Spring

So, I wrapped up my taxes yesterday and now I am free to get back to my hobbies.

I've been experimenting with the effects processor built into the Emu Emulator X soundcard I bought a while back. This card is chock full of features. Unfortunately, the device drivers have been very troublesome. I notified Emu over six months ago of a confirmed bug and they totally dropped the ball in responding to my report. I recently contacted them and Sony about the ASIO driver bug and have finally gotten acknowledgement that they are aware of the problem. No date on when I can expect a fix. Supposedly, Emu will release updated drivers in May. I can only hope they start to solve the problems so many have experienced.

Anyway, I hadn't gotten around to testing out all the onboard effects presets for guitar that are included with the Emu patchmix application. I've stumbled upon some very nice sounds. The advantage here is that I can apply the effects before I send the audio to Acid so I can record the modified signal. Acid doesn't support ASIO direct monitoring like Sonar and other apps so that you can hear VST effects in real time while you record.

I was noodling around on the guitar and came up with a minor key jazzy chord sequnce that I became enamored with. I wasn't planning on creating a song out of this but one thing led to another before I knew it I had pretty decent short tune. I call it Tax Free. It reminds me a bit of John Abercrombie's great 80's quartet. On a whim I decided to incorporate the Edirol Hypercanvas soft synth to add piano, drums, and bass. I was particularly pleased with the drum sound where I use a lot of cymbals. I'm still learning my way with MIDI drums but I like the result I got this time. The piano and acoustic bass sounds fell into place and I believe the song hangs together fairly well. I've uploaded it to Acid Planet. I hope I get a few listens and comments.

Amazingly, Acid was rock solid throughout the entire recording session. I even switched to ASIO for recording the MIDI parts in order to get better latency. I'm not sure why things worked so well this time when I've had problems in the past. I did stick to standard 44k 16bit resolution. Also, I had just rebooted after installing the latest Microsoft security updates. A puzzle, but I am not complaining as long as it allows me to be creative and not fight the hardware/software.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cielo Norte - The very first Bill Payne solo record

Something I've longed hoped for but had pretty much given up hope on has just landed in my email box. The very first Bill Payne solo record (Cielo Norte). Bill Payne the legendary keyboard player of Little Feat. You can order it here. I just placed an immediate order.

I have a long history with Little Feat but after seeing Lowell George's last concert I seemed to lose interest in the broken pieces of the remainder of Little Feat. In recent years they seemed to have regained some momentum. I've sampled some of their albums but none of them have clicked with me.

I have always wondered what a Bill Payne solo record would sound like. One hint was the beautiful tune, Gringo, from one of the miscellaneous compilations. It will be very interesting to hear what form this album has now taken. Bill Payne, in my mind, is one of rock's most underrated talents. I can't wait to hear this.

[Listening to: Radio Free Radio - Digital Flotsam 11 - P.W. Fenton - Digital Flotsam - The One Pound Edition (24:41)]

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pat Metheny Group, Lisner, DC - Full Report

Here's my report to the Pat Metheny Group list on Yahoo! Groups:

Hi folks,

Sorry for my very curt message about the great PMG concert at Lisner in Washington, DC on 3/29. It was just so great, I was still in a post concert glow. I was speechless.

I'll just add a few tidbits that might amuse the fans out there.

First of all it was a beautiful early spring day and evening in the nation's capitol. Daytime temps got into the mid sixties and were still in the fifties at nightfall.

Lisner, the concert venue, is on the campus of George Washington University in Northwest DC. Being an active school, there were hordes of collegians roaming around seemingly oblivious to the musical maelstrom about to be unleashed in their midst.

I did miss one opportunity while hanging outside about an hour before the concert. I saw Steve Rodby walk by but he was so unassuming and I was shy enough that I couldn't bring myself to accost him. I would have loved to have babbled on with him about how much I love his duo albums with Ross Traut or his production work with Oregon but I didn't. Sigh.

Lisner is a very special concert hall. IMHO, it is the best sounding concert hall in DC. I believe it seats about 1200 so it is very intimate. I have seen Pat here at least a half dozen times. There's a reason he keeps coming back. I've lived in the DC area for 40 years and have seen so many memorable concerts at Lisner. Some of you will be interested to know that more than half of Little Feat's "Waiting for Columbus" live album was recorded at Lisner. Some consider it one of the better live rock recordings. I was at those concerts. Lisner was also the site of Lowell George's (Little Feat leader) very last concert before he died the very next day. I was in attendance as well. So many memorable moments: Weather Report, Bela Fleck w/ Danny Gatton (local DC guitar legend), David Sylvian, Chick Corea.

When PMG plays DC, I always try to go to day two of their run on the theory that they will be very relaxed since they have a day off the road and have a relatively easy day. As far as I can tell, this seems to be the case. The concert was one of my best in memory. The only concert that still competes in my memory is the very first one from about twenty five years ago. I first saw the original PMG at a now defunct but infamous club in Georgetown, DC called the Cellar Door. This 100 seat club was also the site of many great performances. I still can visualize the PMG shoe horned onto the ridiculously small stage with Danny, Mark, and Pat packed like sardines around Lyle's grand piano and Oberheim. This was a turning point for me and I've been along for the ride ever since.

Speaking of my first PMG concert leads to mention how much I enjoyed hearing PMG play Lone Jack at last night's performance. I've lost track whether this has been played much in recent years but it really hit home to me last night. While PMG has evolved so much over the years and I love every minute, it's still a tune like Lone Jack that reminds of what first attracted me to PMG in the first place. There's an airiness to the sound that is just ethereal - mellifluous as one early PMG press release once said.

Pat's solo's were all just so spot on. I had to laugh when I saw Pat's teeth shining brightly on more than one solo. I couldn't help thinking of Gary Burton's quote about his first meeting with Pat - "All those teeth".

I was also glad that "Roots of Coincidence" has stayed in the set. I may be off base, but I consider it in some ways a spiritual ancestor to TWU. I also love the garage band rock out that others have mentioned. I don't know why but I get a real kick out of seeing Lyle strap on his guitar and rock out. It's a real "Wayne's World" (SNL allusion) moment for me. Is it true that all keyboard players secretly want to be guitar players?

You probably can't believe I've gotten all this way without mentioning TWU. What can I say? It's a tour de force. I've listened to it at least a dozen times. Listened to it driving to the concert. Listened going home. I still keep discovering new things. Seeing it live just seared it into my mind. Little things like the Steve Reich "Vermont Counterpoint" repeating guitar motif impressed me when I saw both Cuong Vu and Pat playing this live. I always thought this would be some kind of guide track. Or, how I waited on the edge of my seat for the Eberhard Weber interlude that Steve just nails. It's quite a sight to see him balancing the stand up bass while playing the fretless bass at the same time. Gregoire was transcendent. I can see why Pat, in the Wash Post article, raves so much. Vu was spot on as always. Antonio just propelled every song into the stratosphere. The only curiosity was how little Nando was spotlighted. I have his solo albums and I think he is a tremendous talent. It seems every member but Nando got a solo spot. Nando certainly is up to it. I guess there's only so much time. He certainly is a team player.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. I am certainly a die hard fan, so my views are highly skewed.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Music events today

Tonight I attend the Pat Metheny Group at Lisner here in DC. I've been attending Pat's concerts for about 30 years now. I first saw him at the Cellar Door around 1979. It's always a great event.

I also just found out about Steve Tibbetts appearing at the Freer Gallery on 4/8/2005. It's a free event as well - except for the $4 ticketmaster tax to reserve a ticket.

Springtime seems to be here!

A new beginning

Okay, I decided to set up my own website domain today. It only cost a total of $13 for a year of hosting so it wasn't a big investment. I've decided to go with a blog based website this time. Since I hope to be moving from Comcast to Verizon Fios sometime this year, I thought it would be a good time to get my own domain. It was very painless. I'll put a redirect page on my Comcast site to get things moving over to my new domain:

Monday, February 14, 2005

Everything in life is negotiable. Ever since Verizon started installing Fiber to the curb in my neighborhood, I've been increasingly annoyed at Comcast's price gouging. I pay $57.95 a month for just cable Internet. I've called Comcast before about a price reduction and got stoney silence. Verizon is offering 15 mb downloads for $44. After speaking with 4 people today, I finally got someone in "retention". I got an immediate price reduction to $32 per month. Now we're talking. It's great for the consumer to finally have some competition for Internet access!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Considering Microsoft, Apple, Google, and OpenSource. I have written before about the shrewdness of leveraging OpenSource development by the likes of Apple (Safari, BSD, etc.) and Google (Linux, etc.). Now comes news that Google has hired a key Firefox developer it reinforces the issue. I continue to wonder how long Microsoft can stand alone and be the sole OpenSource opponent. Meanwhile, competitors leverage the OpenSource community for ideas and development resources. This blog raises issues similar to this. It will be interesting to see the impact that the forthcoming OpenOffice 2.0 will have.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Just discovered someone new on the music scene. I had been seeing the recent ads for the movie Garden State. What caught my ear was the interesting soundtrack running under the ad. I checked out the soundtrack album on Amazon and found out it was a band called Frou Frou (as in rustling silk I am given to understand) and a song called 'Let Go'. It turns out it is a front for a woman called Imogen Heap. Also, turns out Brian Eno is involved on one song. Did a quick google for the song and found a full length sample on an odd service called Radio.Blog. It's very catchy and up my alley. I've added this to my wish list on Amazon.

I now have three must purchase CDs for 2005 - Fro Frou, The Pat Metheny Group's new one, and Porcupine Trees new one due in March.

If I could only catch up with all the music I bought in 2004!
The fiber optic diggers are outside my house today. No sign of the orange covered light wire yet but it is sure to follow. It's a bloody mess but it promises great things in the future. Verizon has a fire in its belly. It's about time. I will be interested to see how long it takes for this FIOS network to be lit up?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Started the new year with a case of the flu. I'm on day 4. I think I am slightly improving.

One of the revelations for 2004 is the wealth of entertainment swirling around on the torrents. Of course, I have been aware of this but I am stunned at the wealth of things popping up on the trackers. I have especially enjoyed the ability to sample foreign content. Part of my success has been mastering the recode to DVD/SVCD/VCD using a tool like Nero. Once I worked out some kinks it has been working extremely well.

One of things that the easy availability of tv torrents addresses is the case of stranded new series viewers. This is the case where a tv series is abruptly cancelled without any recourse for the stranded viewer. For example, I have enjoyed the new Fox tv series House. I like the show on many levels. I am a fan of Hugh Laurie. Most viewers may recognize him as the father in the Stuart Little films. Many may not realize he is british. Anyway it's an interesting show and gotten good review. Still, Fox has the annoying habit of cancelling new series very abruptly. Shows such as American Embassy and Keen Eddie are examples. With the advent of tv torrent downloads, one at least has to option to revisit a series. Of course, a DVD is sometimes issued in the case of a cancelled show. I just purchased the Keen Eddie DVD. But, this is never certain.

The day I anticipate is when a production company that has its series cancelled in mid-stream will go to the net and offer un-aired shows for some small cost to be downloaded via a torrent. Of course there is a tangle of copyright and licensing issues but this really should happen. Copyright laws are strangling innovation and even commerce. There is money to made here for the forward thinking. Some think outfits such as Yahoo will one day start offering content?

Time will tell.