Archived News for April 2007

Love to Say I Told You So

Via Ars Technica:
Four students from Arizona and Virginia have filed suit against plagiarism detection system, arguing that the service engages in massive copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed this week in a Virginia federal court, claims that the infringement is willful and that Turnitin's parent company iParadigms owes $150,000 for every violation.
Saw that one coming a mile off.

In Awesome News...

The seventh, and final, season of Trailer Park Boys begain airing tonight. I'm totally on it. I've found a good torrent reposting site for TV shows - they're on there about ten minutes after the show finishes on TV. That means whoever is ripping must be encoding on the fly - pretty impressive technically when you consider that most of the rips are HDTV.

In other TV news, the final episode of BSG was as awesome. Those writers can nail their cliffhangers. It's a shame the middle of each season is weighty and boring. Keeping the scifi together, I was ready to hate Doctor Who's Martha, but the first episode of the season was surprisingly interesting.

LOST is labouring to this season's conclusion. Get it over with already. I'm sick of the others.

Bright Eyes - Cassadaga: Meta Review

Bright Eyes have a new album out - Cassadaga. I'm not yet sure what to think of it, so I thought I'd let someone else make my mind up for me by reading a few reviews. The problem, I found, is that big-brand magazine reviews are often awful. So, I figured I'd review the reviews:

Because the album is, like all of Bright Eyes' albums, very much about the words. [...] he's got his guitar, his simple chords, his verses and choruses, to help him (and perhaps us) along.
A horribly bland review. Exhibits a complete lack of critical expression, leaving facile description in its place. Objective judgements are uniformly positive, but not too positive: that would require some sort of justification. The entire review might be replaced by the word 'nice' (or perhaps 'niceish').

Rolling Stone:
Americanapolitan, let's call it. [...] As Oberst well knows, those with the gift of melody are allowed to tell us anything that's on their minds, and he hasn't stopped exploiting the privilege. [...] The gossip in us will wonder whether the unadorned finale addresses the same career woman, who has pretty clearly just aborted a fetus Oberst helped conceive.
Ugh. Strange, strange review. Whatever you might say about Oberst, he does not have the gift of melody. Hell, he can't even sing. The review then goes on to mention E! and Oburst's fling with Winona Ryder. Seriously. I thought it was supposed to be an album review, but I'm sure that just shows how naïve I am.

Oberst, while retaining the feverish quaver that's become his calling card, finds more mannered ways to express emotion here than sliding in and out of key. [...] Political art is necessary given the current world climate, but empty rhetoric and moral superiority aren't going to do the trick. The simplistic, self-righteous thinking that's at the root of today's political impasses is exactly the sort of thinking Oberst engages in here.
A review that aims squarely where it should: at Oberst's talents as a lyricist. That's where to take him to task, if anywhere, because that's what he puts his weight behind. Proceeds to rip apart his 'thinking' which is nice, if pretentious. Pretty typical pitchfork fare really: they'd like it better if the band were a fashionable two piece - drums and whatever you like.

Cassadaga Album Cover

If you'd like to meta-meta-review my meta-review, here's a metacritic page to work through. We'll see how long it takes to get a stack overflow.

If you'll indulge me a meta-review of metacritic, I can't believe the results for Neon Bible vs We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. I laughed at one reviewer calling Neon Bible "a musical version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged". I guess that's not really Metacritic's fault but, still, fuck!

Piro in NZ

Fred Gallagher, illustrator, writer and co-creator of Megatokyo will be coming to New Zealand in June. It'll be the first time Fred's visited New Zealand, and he'll be appearing at the Conspiracy II scifi con in Wellington. I'd like to go, but this con doesn't really look like my scene - I'd be happier if it were a more general con (although I'm not sure armageddon is any sort of template) and, well, if it were in Auckland.

It's still good that he's coming down though. Hopefully there are plenty of Megatokyo fans down in Wellington.

Can't Wait

The first new Ozma album I've been able to go all fanboy over. I hope the title means we'll get to hear an Ozma version of Monstro's 'Dear Old Pasadena' - that would rock. They had this to say:
Does anyone else watch Mexican television? I mean specifically, Univision, more specifically, "La Fea Mas Bella," "Asi Es La Vida," or "Tres Mujeres"?? Cause I would have to say that these shows have really "fueled" the recording of our new album, particularly in the "mojo" department. You gotta tune in, trust me, you'll learn more Spanish too.
Eponine and No One Needs to Know will be on the album. They've been rerecorded. I'm particularly interested to hear how No One Needs to Know turns out, given that it's my least favourite song from the Russian Coldfusion EP. And they've been doing some collaboration with Rachel Haden (of Weezer's IJTOTLOMD fame). God damn exciting.

Apologies to anyone with a small screen.

Free Stuff

Can anyone else at UoA log in to, or is it just for Compsci students? Try it out for me. I get a page full of free (beer) software licenses, including links to generate a product key for Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Professional. The Vista license alone is worth an astonishing $728.

There are download links too, but they only work from on campus. That's not much trouble though - there are DVD burners on heaps of machines, and blank media is cheap.

Edit: Apparently this website works too - it might get you a product key if the MSDN site has run out. Read the instructions for logging in carefully (you have to prepend 'ec\' to your UPI). That one also has Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, with an RRP of about NZD$5400.

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