The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

May 2005 Archive

May 01, 2005

Grand Vampire: Coupidon s'en fout

I hate it when you read a 50-page comic book and then it ends there, right in the middle of the story. Which means I now have to order all the remaining volumes...

Posted by Horst at 12:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 02, 2005

The magenta ink still isn't working, even though the cartridge is new and 90% full. Then today, after some black and white printing, the black cartridge said it was empty. I replaced it with a new one. Now I can't print black either. The yellow cartridge is now down to 10% and I think I know what's going to happen when I replace it.

I'm getting a new printer. In terms of tech specs, I need something like the Epson CX5200 or CX5400. Any suggestions?

Posted by Horst at 10:53 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2005

Now we all know that weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, but this is just ridiculous:

Mac OS 10.4 Weather Widget displaying a curiously wrong weather status for Vienna

This is what Mac OS X 10.4's weather widget has to say about the current weather in Vienna. Just for the record: The real weather in Vienna is sunny, extremely humid, and with temperatures around 26°C, expected to rise to, or even above 30°C later today.

I don't know which Vienna the widget is talking about, but it's definitely not the one I'm living in. The whole thing is so far off the mark that it can't be bad data, it must be a case of poor localization/wrong city.

By the way, be sure to check the list of known incompatibilities before you install. And the new Mail application in OS 10.4 is butt ugly.

Update: To get the correct weather for Vienna, Austria, click on the information button in the lower right-hand corner and change the city name from "Vienna" to "Vienna, Austria".

Update: Justin Bur writes on "The Dashboard widget for weather displays city names, but not states or provinces. Beware! The automatic choice may not be what you expect. With my home address set to "Montreal", the weather widget was giving me information for Montreal, WI (pop. 800 or so) instead of Montreal, Quebec (metro pop. about 3.5 million). To make sure you get the right city, hit return in the widget's city configuration field, wait for the transaction with AccuWeather, and choose your city from the pop-up menu."

Posted by Horst at 11:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

<meta name="blog-content" content="mostly harmless" />
<meta name="blog-reader-response" content="no-comment, no-trackback" />

As far as I see it from my own experience, there are a couple of reasons why blogs lose readers. For example, I stopped reading some blogs because

  • some blog authors underwent some kind of personality change and began writing about totally different things
  • some blog authors got caught in an endless groove and kept going on and on about the same thing
  • I underwent some kind of personality change and stopped being interested in some things

Now there are a few others (like confusing or barely readable layouts), but I think I can add two more substantial reasons to the list today:

  • the blog split
  • the no-comment, no-trackback area

As Anthony Bourdain writes in his book Kitchen Confidential, the recipe for disaster with restaurants is when they're so successful that they think they have to open new branches. Recently, a blog that I used to read regularly (for the sake of simplicity, let's call it Blog AB) decided it was too big and split into two parts, A and B, only to prove that the whole really is more than the sum of its parts. Blog A now resembles about a hundred other websites on the same topic and doesn't particularly stand out from the competition, whereas the remaining stuff on Blog B is, well, the remaining stuff, and suddenly seems remarkably insubstantial. At first I thought I'd simply stop reading Blog A and stick with Blog B, but now it seems that I'll really stop reading both of them.

Another blog I liked is still pretty good, but also frustrating. Many of its entries invite comment or response, but due to spam attacks and the (partly understandable) unwillingness to maintain anti-spam measures, the author simply shut down both comments and trackbacks, thus ignoring the three basic principles of weblogs:

  • interactivity
  • community
  • connectivity

Basically, by turning off comments and trackbacks, the author turned the weblog into a website. He is denying the community of his readers the possibility to respond, reducing his weblog to a mere broadcast. This seems fairly careless considering that he, as opposed to myself, actually had a community of readers on his weblog.

Posted by Horst at 05:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

May 04, 2005

May 05, 2005

A while ago, I noticed a thematic hole in Wikipedia, and out of mere spite, I decided to do what everybody does: I filled it. I wrote three articles.

The possible problem could be that I really had no great idea what I was writing about. See, I know very little about the topics, and I didn't really have the time to do proper research, so all I used was a mixture of what I found on the Internet (which was next to nothing, which in turn explains why the articles had not existed yet) and guesswork. As far as I know the information in the articles is not wrong, but I also don't know if they are correct because my sources were few and hardly reliable.

But that is no real problem, right? Since my first article on Wikipedia, in which I pointed out that I found it highly problematic, a large number of people have written to convince me that faulty articles on Wikipedia will be corrected within a very brief period. Unfortunately, all that has happened with my questionable articles is that someone added a few wiki links from them to other Wikipedia articles, one of which doesn't make much sense.

I guess I'll just stand by and watch what happens, and see if these articles will ever turn into something useful. Of course, any changes that happen within the next ten days don't count because I'll simply assume that they happened because of this weblog entry. :)

Posted by Horst at 11:43 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

May 06, 2005

While in Belgium recently, I saw a feature on the BBC in which they talked about a new TV series created by David E. Kelley, the man behind the mid-90s (and very Clinton-era) series Ally McBeal — that's the one that, bizarrely enough, had us under the illusion for a few years that lawyers, especially those in Boston, are actually kind of cool. This was then followed by the slightly more Bush-era lawyer series The Practice, which tried hard (and rather unsuccesfully) to convince us that lawyers could be cool, even though they lived in Boston.

Turns out his new TV series is about —gasp— a bunch of lawyers in —gasp— Boston. Well, he's only done this a couple of times before, so we can expect a totally new concept here, right? Also turns out that it stars —big gasp— James Spader and —even bigger gasp— William Shatner. (And for all you Trekkies there's also, by the way, Star Trek Deep Space 9's René "Odo" Auberjonois in a supporting role, only my guess is that he won't change his physical form here very often).

They also showed a little excerpt from a courtroom scene. The amount of variation was compelling. It looked like something of an instant replay from Ally McBeal, only with James Spader instead of Robert Downey Jr, and William Shatner as something of an older and weightier Peter MacNicol. The case was something about dwarves. I forgot the details, but it was like something I'd seen before.

I'm afraid that unless Spader's character is something like E. Edward Grey and, more importantly, his secretary is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, there's not much chance I'll watch it if it ever appears on Austrian TV.

Update: I just saw on the IMDb that Kelley has yet another TV series in production. Apparently it's called The Law Firm. I rest my case.

Posted by Horst at 10:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2005

I am wondering... should I shell out €59.49 for a dvd2oneX licence so that I can fit the contents of a double layer DVD onto a single-layer DVD-R, or should I instead spend €57.45 on a Pioneer DVR-109 double layer DVD writer?

Is it just me or are shareware licence fees becoming somewhat unreasonable lately? And why is the Mac licence €10 more expensive than the Windows version?

Posted by Horst at 06:01 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

I suppose it says something about a student when s/he mis-spells the name of the author s/he is writing about consistently throughout his/her 100-page diploma thesis. I suppose it also says something, possibly even more, about the professor who supervised the thesis. What it says I don't know exactly, and I also don't want to speculate about it, but I'm sure it says something.

Posted by Horst at 06:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2005

Van Der Graaf Generator: PresentIt seems that bands who have been around for a while, or bands that reunite after a while, usually take one of two options: they either constantly re-invent themselves, as Wire have done on a number of occasions, or they firmly hold on to their schtick. Depending on how well they do it, both strategies can lead to success or failure.

To the amazement of quite a few people, Van Der Graaf Generator, originally founded in 1967, have recently reunited after something like 30 years and released a new album, Present, and it turns out that they are one of the bands who hold on to their past. With a vengeance. This is both good and bad: musically, it works remarkably well. What we get on this album is pretty much the same crossover between prog rock and jazz that VDGG played in the 1970s, and I'm not sure if they updated it in some way or if it simply fits into our times a s well as it did 30 years ago, but it's fresh, it's powerful, and it's —most importantly— interesting.

Lyrically, it is, however, something of an anachronism. Song titles like "Nutter Alert" and "Abandon Ship!" are very 1970s Van der Graaf, "Architectural Hair" even harks back to things like Amon Düül's "Dehypnotized Toothpaste". And I won't say too much about the lyrics, which are fine in some places, but deeply stuck in 1970s naiveté and/or bombast in others: "Every Bloody Emperor", a thinly disguised attack on U.S. foreign politics would be more successful if it were somewhat more subtle. Thankfully, this weakness is limited to CD1 of the 2-CD package, as CD2 contains a wealth of instrumental jam sessions and improvisations that will delight everyone who's remotely interested in fusion and prog rock crossover.

Putting this aside for a moment, though, VDGG have delivered what none of us would have believed possible: a totally up-to-date 1970s album. Quite remarkable.

Update: The CD sold in Germany and Austria is copy-protected, whereas the CD sold in the UK is not. I therefore strongly advise you to buy it from a UK dealer via mail order.

The Mountain Goats

Friends of mine have been trying to convince me that John Darnielle, the man behind the one-man project The Mountain Goats is a musical genius. Their advantage, perhaps, is that they have been following all of Darnielle's releases, even the very obscure ones that came out on audio tape only and had to be ordered from Darnielle himself. I only know his three most recent albums, the ones on the 4AD label, and so far I have been mostly underwhelmed.

As for Tallahassee, the first 4AD release I agree with Rob Mitchum, who wrote in his review of the album that "Darnielle's apparent phobia for full-band arrangements prevents the music from keeping pace with the storylines" [source], and We Shall Be Healed left me thinking that Darnielle could be doing better. So it is finally with his latest album The Sunset Tree that I am beginning to glimpse first traces of the man's potential genius.

And while I like much of what I'm hearing on this album, I still find plenty of room for improvement. That said, the first half, up to and including track seven, is near perfect. The songs may seem a bit jumbled at first, the musical direction a bit unclear, but it falls into place so nicely on listening to it a second time that you start wondering what you didn't get at first. The songs, particularly "You or your memory", "Broom people", "This year" and "Up the wolves" are little gems, musically and lyrically.

However, the second half does not quite live up to the promise, and I wonder whether it's a problem with the track sequence or simply a lack of musical ideas; I guess both. "Lion's teeth" and "Dilaudid" are simply two versions of the same song with different lyrics, just as "Tetrapod" is an only moderately inspired reworking of "Palmcorder Yajna" from the last album, and towards the end of the album, a couple of slow songs with little musical variation make things drag on. Yes, the last song, "Pale green things", is so beautiful that you will want to weep, but maybe you haven't even made it this far, and if you have, you'll find that it lacks a certain closure quality that a last song of an album should have, so you'll probably feel all hollow when it's over and there's nothing but silence coming from the speakers.

I guess this is an uneven, but generally good album. My advice is to program your CD player so that it skips tracks 8, 9, 11 and 12, and you'll arrive at something that is well worth your time and money, even though it's not the manifestation of musical genius you may have hoped for.

Posted by Horst at 02:40 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

May 11, 2005

In one of her songs, Laurie Anderson impersonates a quiz show host who asks her baffled candidates questions like: "¿Qué es más macho, lightbulb o schoolbus?" based on the assumption (which I haven't verified yet) that in Spanish some things can be more masculine (or feminine) than others.

I have recently been able to verify this with food, though. There is definitely masculine and feminine food. For example:

Fish & chipsSushi

More specifically, I have also determined that while some meals are definitely masculine or feminine, some can be both, or neither. With special reference to Austrian cuisine, here's an example:

Schweinsbraten (roast pork)masculine
Any kind of Strudelfeminine
Zwiebelrostbraten (beef tenderloin with onions)both masculine and feminine
Kaiserschmarrn (untranslatable; like a really thick pancake torn into pieces)neuter

Unfortunately I cannot offer you any explanation for this phenomenon. But look deep within yourself, and you'll be able to think of different meals yourself that are either masculine or feminine, and you'll realize this is really true. Add your own examples to the comments if you wish.

Posted by Horst at 02:36 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

May 12, 2005

(Initially performed at a poetry reading on 6 May 2005)

  1. My left shoe got exposed to cosmic rays last week; I've been stepping on the shoelace ever since.
  2. The number of people allergic to cats is surpassed only by the number of cats allergic to people, but they don't complain as much.
  3. At some point we will stop listening to politicians and poets.
  4. What the heck made Van Der Graaf Generator reunite after, what, 30 years?
  5. Will you marry me please?
  6. American elks are called wapitis in Great Britain, whereas British elks are called moose in North America, which is why my fluffy toy moose gets severe identity crises from time to time.
  7. Whenever I turn on music while I recite poetry, it suddenly seems to become all esoteric and I feel as if I'm turning into some kind of weird guru.
  8. The things that drive us mad are not necessarily the things that drive us insane.
  9. For all it's worth, I never really liked that lemon custard of yours.
  10. According to a recent study, people find jokes about ducks funnier than jokes about other animals.
  11. One day, my metaphors simply stopped working.
  12. A friend of mine said it was sad how the Beatles seemed to die in the order she liked them, and that if things continued this way, Paul McCartney was probably going to live forever.
  13. There is proof that Gary Larson stopped drawing cartoons because he turned into a giant chicken.
  14. Everybody would have stopped taking Michael Moore seriously if he had been the one to direct "Supersize Me".
  15. I held your hand as we walked through the desert.
  16. During the Sound of Music, all the laws of universal truth are suspended.
  17. The only argument in favour of convenience food is how little time it takes to prepare, but then this hardly seems to be an argument considering how awful it tastes.
  18. Only 20% of the population are so-called "super tasters" who will actually be able to tell the difference between an apple and an onion if they bite into either with their eyes and nose closed.
  19. I am nothing but a builder.
  20. My best one-liners are stolen.
  21. Wisdom acquired from science fiction films is useless simply because the future hasn't happened yet.
  22. How can I convince people that Pronongolism is the key to a happier future for all of us?
  23. Burger King burgers only taste better than McDonalds burgers because they contain up to 30% more fat.
  24. Alaskans hate French Canadians, don't ask me why.
  25. The water runs down the drain.
  26. If I recite a goulash recipe at a poetry reading, will it magically turn into literature, or will people simply get hungry?
  27. Conversely, if I read 27 seemlingly disconnected sentences, will people actually listen, or will they just pretend to listen and really think about the goulash?
Posted by Horst at 05:57 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

May 17, 2005


The good news this weekend was that holidays abroad are becoming cheaper for Austrians. Apparently if you go to Slovakia, €1 will buy you the equivalent of more than €2, and the accompanying diagram displaying the equivalent of €100 in other European countries (pictured above, ©APA) showed favourable rates almost everywhere.

Somehow I fail to share the general enthusiasm, because seen the other way round, this means that Austria is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. In fact, only in Switzerland, Denmark and the UK are prices higher than in Austria.

Transforming this fairly sobering fact into good news is high art, I suppose.

Posted by Horst at 10:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 18, 2005

Of the things that you can buy in Ikea's "Sweden shop" grocery section, the blommig falukorv ("flowery Falun sausage") is certainly one of the more interesting items. Only recently, I noticed something peculiar about its packaging:

falukorv packaging

It turns out that the multi-lingual description of the sausage is not simply six translations of the same text, but actually six different texts:

  • French: Sausage from Falun — Swedish country sausage of superior quality with an incomparable taste
  • Spanish: Swedish quality: the best in sausages
  • German: Swedish quality sausage — an unforgettable taste sensation
  • Dutch: Lightly smoked Swedish sausage with small flowers / Swedish quality sausage — you've never eaten such a tasty sausage before!
  • Italian: The Swedish quality sausage — a taste that you will not forget
  • English: Swedish quality — sausage at its very best!

What I find interesting here is that apparently marketing strategies for this sausage are slightly different depending on the target market; whether customers react differently or whether marketing experts expect them to react differently does not really matter here, but I like these small differences as they do seem to be telling to some extent.

What a contrast, by the way, to the Swedish text on the other side of the sausage package:

falukorv packaging

It reads "I want to have flowery Falun sausage for lunch, mummy."

Update: Further research has revealed that this text comes from a Swedish children's song (MP3, 372K, lyrics) by Hans Alfredsson. Which is apparently so popular that it is also sold by multiple Swedish websites as a cell phone ringtone. Which only proves that not even the most verbose of descriptions in other languages can express the full cultural significance of this sausage in Sweden.

Posted by Horst at 12:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2005

A friendly man from the municipial gasworks knocked at my door today, and when I opened, he told me that the house would be without gas until further notice. Apparently there are several gas leaks pretty much everywhere in the house and the gas mains need to be replaced more or less completely. He said something to the effect of "it's odd nobody smelled anything. Consider yourself happy that there hasn't been an explosion yet."

I suppose I can do without heating during this time of the year. No cooking will be a bigger problem, although not as big a problem as it will be for the owner of the Greek restaurant downstairs. No warm water will be a substantial problem.

I'm trying to consider myself happy that there hasn't been an explosion. I'm really trying.

Posted by Horst at 12:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2005

Miraculously, work on replacing the leaking gas pipes in my house has already begun.

Posted by Horst at 07:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

This might explain why I feel like I'm living in the wrong country every morning: Austrians rank 6th in a world-wide survey of early risers. Which is why off-peak travelcards start at 9:30am in London, but already at 8am in Vienna. My brain, by the way, starts around 10am, which is probably why everybody looks somewhat spooked if they talk to me before that time. This is just a guess though, because I can't remember a word of what I'm saying to them.

Posted by Horst at 01:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

After two days in the office with my new Mac mini, I think I learned that what I always suspected was actually true; I learned that Apple products are not so much about performance (although the G5s are pretty good in that department, too), but instead all about ergonomics.

I had this suspicion first when I touched the click-wheel iPod for the first time at the Apple Store in London last January: I had never really wanted an MP3 player before, but the user interface was so compelling and straightforward, so simple yet allowing for so much functionality that I was instantly hooked (not to forget the beautiful enclosure). Other MP3 players may have better tech specs, but you cannot match the iPod's elegance and simplicity both in design and user interface.

The Mac mini is not the world's fastest computer. It is, however, fast enough to never appear slow or sluggish during anything an average user is likely to do on a regular basis. The slower processor not only allows for a lower price, it also generates less heat, so that this computer does not need a fan.

I cannot stress the bliss of a fan-less computer enough. Image working in silence. Like, total silence. The absence of that annoying humming sound that everyone associates with offices these days, this is ergonomics for you (I also suspect that the metal box design co-functions as a cooling device for the processor, but I'm not sure about that). The form factor, which is only marginally larger than the CDs and DVDs that you can read and burn in it, can hardly be surpassed in simplicity and elegance. Don't get fooled by the pictures on the Apple website: it's infinitely more beautiful in real life. Everybody who comes into my office stares at it in awe and can only barely believe that this is a full-fledged computer.

When you switch the Mac mini (and apparently every other new Mac) on for the first time, it asks you to connect it to your old Mac with a Firewire cable. All your user data, applications, documents, preference settings are then transferred to the new computer. Within less than 30 minutes, I had an exact copy of my old computer without any need of further configuration at all. I could resume working on the Mac mini exactly where I had left off on my old G4, just as if there hadn't been a hardware change at all.

The difference being the silence and a computer about five times faster than my old one, of course.

Posted by Horst at 01:44 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (1)

May 23, 2005

Austria has a small mafia of restaurant reviewers. No matter which newspaper or magazine you read, you'll notice immediately that the restaurant reviews are either useless, or they were written by one of three specific critics, who publish a lot in many different media.

One of them is Florian Holzer, who writes for Falter and Der Standard among other things, and while I appreciate his style and wit, I find myself disagreeing with his restaurant reviews at an increasing rate. Which is especially nasty as he seems to be the spearhead of the Viennese bobo community, who will pick up any of his cooler recommendations and turn them into major hypes.

Like this one restaurant which Mr Holzer liked a lot and which was subsequently booked out for the next few months. I once managed to get a seat there by mere chance, and while the interior architecture was, well, moderately interesting, the food was pretty average. Not worth queuing for. Not even worth booking in advance for.

Or this other restaurant, specializing in Asian food, which he reviewed very favourably, and where I found the red Thai beef curry pretty much inedible, due to a spiceless sauce and cheap, low-quality beef. I was beginning to suspect that Mr Holzer either has a better writing gift than tastebuds, or he was deliberately luring the bobo crowd away from the really good restaurants to the pseudo-stylish bobo enclaves so that they would stay among themselves rather than contaminate his favourite places to eat.

And then last week, Mr Holzer heaped a lot of praise on a newly-opened Pakistani restaurant, where he called the lamb curry not just "perversely delicious" , but also stated that it was "the best in Vienna".

Now I don't really want to discredit this restaurant, because they were very friendly, have incredibly fair prices and really good food, but on trying the food, I found that the review may be a showcase for either journalistic exaggeration or the relativity principle of restaurants: compared to other Indian/Pakistani lunch buffets in Vienna, their food is easily among the very best, if not the best; compared to à la carte food in similar restaurants in Vienna, it's pretty good. Compared to what I or Mr deedee cook, it's almost identical (the aloo gobi tasted exactly like mine, and the beef curry exactly like Mr deedee's, but I like my dal better). Finally, compared to Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi restaurants in London, it's kind of average.

No use luring the bobos there either, because even though Mr Holzer called it "cool and relaxed", it's probably too relaxed and not cool enough to make the bobos feel at home there.

But, you know, I really wonder how serious Mr Holzer was when he wrote this, and if yes, how many lamb curries he has eaten in his lifetime, and where.

Posted by Horst at 11:30 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2005


For a recipe on The Aardvark Cooks, I need the English terms for the pieces of beef marked as number 2 and 3 in the diagram above. In Austria, they are called Beiried and Rostbraten respectively. Any help would be much appreciated.

Posted by Horst at 11:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

The continuing lack of hot water in my flat due to the total replacement of the gas pipes in our house has led to a number of strange changes in my daily routine, some of them somewhat unexpected. For example, I seem to be kneeling a lot more than I used to.

Posted by Horst at 11:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

May 25, 2005

Recently, I mentioned a software product to compress video so that it fits on a single-layer DVD; the problem being that it costs more than a double-layer DVD drive. This software is marketed as "shareware", yet it comes as a crippled demo version that is seriously limited in functionality and will not allow you to fully test it before you buy a licence.

Referring to this as "shareware" is little other than a travesty. What happened to real shareware, like we knew it something like ten years ago?

Strictly speaking, shareware never had to do with the price or the vendor of the product; it was always a distribution model. You got a piece of software, you could try it out and hand it on, and if you used it, you were supposed to pay a (usually small) amount of money. In the early to mid-90s, you could get amazing software that way for as little as $10, or if they were really expensive, $20.

At some point, two things happened: because programmers felt that users didn't pay enough, they built reminder messages into their software. The other thing was that some programmers went professional and turned their products into commercial software.

Then the reminder messages turned into code that would disable the software after a trial period. And going commercial meant that prices rose to twice or three times as much as they had been previously.

All of this is okay, I suppose. Costs have risen, and people are entitled to get money for their efforts. However, what we are talking about here is no longer shareware. As soon as the product is marketed by a company and as soon as the product cripples itself after a trial period, we are talking about a commercial demo. This is especially true of the lastest trend in "shareware", which is to hand out crippled software to start with, requiring you to pay before you can actually test the full functionality.

As someone who has lived through what I'd like to call "the Golden Age of Shareware", I perceive this at best as an example of euphemistic newspeak, at worst a perversity. Okay, let them hand out crippled demos, let them charge enormous amounts of money for their products — after all, nobody is forcing anyone to buy the stuff if it can't be evaluated or if it's too expensive — but I feel sick when these people appropriate the term "shareware" for their business dealings, because it's disparaging the work of countless other programmers who set different priorities.

Posted by Horst at 07:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2005

If God had wanted me to blog every day, he wouldn't have invented long weekends. See you on Monday.

Posted by Horst at 12:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 30, 2005

Recently, I wrote a favourable review of the new Van Der Graaf Generator album on this weblog and said something to the effect that it was a good idea to buy it. I am now revising that statement:

If you live in the UK, stll go ahead and buy it. If you live in Germany or Austria, don't buy it.

That's because the CD sold in Germany and Austria is copy-protected, whereas the CD sold in the UK is not. And even if you think copy protection per se is unproblematic (which it is not, because the sound quality is inferior and you may not be able to play it at all), the impertinence with which the record industry has chosen Germany and Austria as the countries stupid enough to put up with inferior discs without complaining, that alone is reason to show them that they're gravely mistaken.

Posted by Horst at 08:32 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2005

Yesterday, on an episode of Cold Case (which I think is a stupid series and which I only watched at all because I didn't bother to switch off the TV after Desperate Housewives):

WOMAN: Außerdem war ich damals ständig auf Reisen.
[Cut to scene of woman smoking marijuana]

I rest my case.

Posted by Horst at 11:37 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Briefly before the EU vote on software patents, a German initiative had a look at the websites of EU MPs and noticed that if software patents are introduced later this year, most of the politicians' websites would have to be shut down because they are violating patents. Not yet scared? Well, for startes, paying licence fees for every JPEG file that you put online is just one of the goodies. [link via SWR]

Posted by Horst at 02:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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