Posts tagged website
Could MySpace be any shittier?

So bands on MySpace are limited to posting 4 songs. Lame in this age of massive affordable bandwidth but OK. I can't change my songs around because lots of people have them added to their pages and I'll break those. But OK. Then there's this Myspace announcement today:

You know how you can list four songs on your band's MySpace page? Well, thanks to the fine peeps over at Bodog Entertainment you can now add a 5th song. More music means more ears, more ears mean more plays, and more plays mean way more exposure. Add Bodog Entertainment as a friend and up your band's song list to five on your MySpace Standalone Player. Get your 5th song heard.

Wow, that's ballsy. I mean it's one thing for everyone else to treat the MySpace friend system as the dumping ground of the internet, but for MySpace itself to just whore it out like that takes some nuts. They must really not care.

Update: Ryan points out that when you Google your new "friend" Bodog you find out he's really into online gambling. Check their Wikipedia page. I'm still surprised MySpace did this and now even more surprised News Corporation (MySpace's owners) are cool with potentially being accused of marketing gambling to the kids.

Maybe we can all add Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man as MySpace friends for a sixth and seventh songs on our musician pages! Hooray!

Brad Turcotterant, tech, website
Micro-blogging

This week I'm trying out micro-blogging: Twitter and Tumblr.

I like the casual approach of both, but Twitter requires more work than I'm really willing to give such a tiny thing. I like how it works as a chat channel via IM though even with only Scoble and Chris on there it got too noisy for me to handle. Google Talk status messages work fine as a "what's up" kind of thing and I don't have to deal with a whole new friend network.

Tumblr is fun for casual blog crap I wouldn't put here or in del.icio.us or over on In4mador!. Adding stuff to it is a multiple page procedure though (their bookmarklet doesn't do chats or quotes) and I'm not quite sure what to do with it or why I'd keep at posting to it.

Brad Turcottetech, website
Splice - Meet. Mix. Mashup.

Splice is a web-based audio-remixer. Basically a light-weight sequencer that lets you remix other people's tracks and import Creative Commons licensed audio clips. Also has lots of social network love as well. It's pretty cool -- the sequencer is sort of annoying for me to use but that's probably due to years of Cubase usage.

Brad Turcottewebsite
Google Music Trends

Whoah, freaky. So Google released a new version of Google Talk today -- though the beta's been around for a few weeks. Among file sharing and voice mail is the ability to display the song you're currently listening to as your status message.

I thought it was a silly feature and I can't use it because half the time I'm listening to testmix-02.wav or something boring like that. But they just released Google Music Trends which shows you charts of the most popular songs that users of Google Talk have been listening to. Also, news flash: the Internet really likes Coldplay and Thom Yorke.

Brad Turcottetech, website
Bebo

I got psychologically suckered into signing up for Bebo this morning (everyone else was doing it), which in my circles has been getting the reputation of being a more music-oriented MySpace. The feature that intrigued me was playlists -- users can create and display playlists on their homepages of songs that Bebo bands add to their pages. Why MySpace hasn't added that, I have no idea. Here are my thoughts as I signed up and created my beautifully lame Bebo page:

  • The username "bradsucks" was taken. Weird.
  • You seem to be able to upload an unlimited number of songs which is way nicer than MySpace's limit of four.
  • Drag and dropping the order of my top 10 songs is sweet, though arranging the songs on my album was done with cumbersome "up" and "down" links, which I gave up on.
  • I still swear to the lord god above something needs to be done to make it quicker and easier to sign up for these sites. All of my music and data are available for the taking -- why must you force me to upload and label everything manually?
  • You have to have a regular Bebo account and then you make band accounts inside them, unlike on MySpace where you have to set up a separate type of account. I guess this is neat but I have no interest in having a non-musician account.
  • Instead of allowing the type of eye-gouging HTML customization that MySpace does, you're restricted to using Bebo-approved skins. They're pretty but they're not customizable in any way, which sucks.
  • I now have two Bebo blogs (my regular user blog and the band blog) that I will not use and I can't hook up to this blog I have here. Get some RSS going or allow easy cross-posting or something.
  • The search sucks, it's just a full text Google search of the public pages. So there's no way to search by location or interest in musicians or playlists or anything cool that would help me find people who are or might be interested in my music.
  • Crazily there seems to be no way to link to my home page here. The profiles don't allow HTML and there are no fields for pointing to external band home pages. Additionally you can create albums of your music but can't provide a link to any place that the visitor could download or buy it. What in the sam hell.

So I like the additional song storage. MySpace users are often asking me to post additional songs so they can add them to their pages, but if I remove any of the original four I put up there, it breaks every page with those songs on them.

The additional songs and the playlisting are probably what give Bebo the reputation as being more musician-friendly than MySpace. But it's worse in that without links back to my site here or to a place they can buy my album it's hard to believe it'll sell any music for me. Not only that, it's unlikely almost anyone will make it back to my site here and sign up for my mailing list so I can keep the relationship going, keep them in the loop on future releases, etc.

The social networks are definitely useful for spreading music and that's certainly cool. But I find them frustrating -- like there's a huge barrier between the fans and the artist and that any contact between the two is almost accidental and always totally fleeting. And with Bebo's lack of external links it's driven home to me that, as a musician, it would be hard as hell to build anything lasting out of my social network "groupies" or "friends".

And I guess I wonder: is that the nature of the post-Napster musician/fan relationship these days or is it just a side effect of crappy web tools?

CCHits

CCHits - it's a Digg-style interface for Creative Commons licensed songs. It's a little sparse on the voting, but you can check out the highest rated stuff here. My track Dirtbag's on there.

Rojo review

I tried to switch from Bloglines to Rojo for my main RSS reading. Someone I respect but can't remember the name of mentioned they had been lured away from Bloglines by Rojo so I thought I'd give it a shot. In the interest of improving Rojo, here we go:

  • I had already made an account a long time ago, couldn't remember my password. The password retrieval didn't work. I sent them an email and got a response back pretty quickly, verifying the password retrieval was broken. They got me a new password in a few hours though, not too bad.
  • Right off the bat I want to like Rojo. It's very slick and seems to have a lot going on for it. I fantasize about all the awesome ways it's going to help me read and manage all my feeds with its web 2.0 goodness.
  • I import all my feeds. Very easy. I don't like the page layout though -- I'm a brutal RSS skimmer and the headlines are too faint for me to skim very well. I whip up a Greasemonkey script to embiggen and embolden the entry titles and am happier with it.
  • I really like the "Add mojo" idea (it's very similar Digg-ing something, but inside the RSS reader). Not many people use it though and also I don't know what adding mojo to an article actually does for me.
  • I feel confused by the entries that are rolling in. I realize it's set to sort stories by "RELEVANCE". What the hell does that mean? I'm an info-nerd, I just want everything in chronological order. I switch it to stories sorted by date.
  • Stories sorted by date is still weird compared to Bloglines. I really want the stories sorted by date and also by the category I've put them in. If there are five new Boing Boing posts I'd like them grouped together rather than mixed in with all the classified ad feeds I subscribe to. As I cruise through my news I feel sort of lost, unaware of the context of what I'm reading. Is this written by someone I know? Etc, etc.
  • To make matters worse, a lot of the feeds I imported are labelled as "Untitled feed".
  • I don't like having to go through pages of items. Bloglines lets me scroll through everything that's new.
  • Marking as read is weird and clunky. The Mark All Feeds Read should be over near the feeds. I turned on "Automatically mark a feed as read after viewing that feed" but that doesn't work for reading new items? Also when I'm paging through the new items I have to remember to hit "Mark Page Read" before I hit "next page". Bleah.
  • The new item counts on the left seem to always be out of sync with reality.
  • Some feeds (like Negatendo's Livejournal for instance) just show html craziness.
  • Site could be more responsive, it was a little slow earlier today when I was trying it out.

It's a bit prettier than Bloglines (though more cluttered) and certainly more web 2.0-ish. If more people used it, I might be sucked in more by the Mojo feature. An RSS reader and Digg functionality go together nicely (for me at least). But the confusing feed order probably means I'm headed back to Bloglines for the time being.

Bad Behavior

This site's been getting overloaded with spam bots lately, to the point it's creating some intense load on the server. I've installed Bad Behavior which will hopefully redirect some of the worst offenders. If you find yourself being blocked even though you're not a dirty spammer, feel free to email me and I'll whitelist you. I'm looking into other alternatives that hopefully won't lock anyone out.

Jumpcut

There's a big wave of video remixing services rolling in. Jumpcut is one I checked out today and it's pretty nifty with an online video editor and so on. I only checked out a couple of the videos on there. White Wedding (some dudes with distorted faces lip-synching to Billy Idol) and Things on Kittens (which is mostly just pictures from the awesome stuffonmycat.com.) If you do anything with my music on there, let me know -- I'd love to check it out.

Boing Boinged

Hello to everyone coming in from Boing Boing. My server exploded under the weight of everyone trying to download my source files and remix album at once, but things seem better now. I've had to take the remix album MP3 files offline temporarily and I'm trying running everything else through Coral.

If you can, please use Bittorrent to grab the remix album and source:

Here's the I Don't Know What I'm Doing Remixed torrent. (96 megs)

And here's the I Don't Know What I'm Doing Source torrent. (560+ megs)

Thanks!

ccMixter 2

The new revision of ccMixter launched today and it's looking pretty swank. You can see my new page here. Besides the nice new design, I like the addition of the podcast buttons and RSS feeds. I'm now subscribed to the Brad Sucks remix feed, which is way easier for me than sorting through my disgusting mailbox.

One day when I have some time to goof around with it, I'll whip up a Wordpress plugin to import that list of remixes onto my site here.

musicBrad Turcottewebsite
Pandora

I've been trying out Pandora. It's a Flash-based music player (first 10 hours are free), you enter an artist or a song that you like and it tries to find similar music for you. The data is based off the Music Genome Project which is described this way:

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

Pandora's interesting and while the songs do tend to resemble each other in a superficial sort of way, after an hour of listening I can't say I've found anything I like. It seems "major key tonality, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and extensive vamping" doesn't really get to the heart of my musical taste.