Archive for the Filesharing Category

Bobby Talks About BitTorrent, and Back Again

Posted in Filesharing, Industry, Music, Software, Technology on January 19, 2011 by dublab

So life has been pretty hectic and crazy recently. It doesn’t look like it’s about to change, however I have recently been thinking about the need to revive my little blog. I am still playing with the band, however I am also starting graduate-level studies, so hopefully my classes will bring some new perspectives to my writing.

In the meantime I wanted to leave you with a link to a cool little article I found about BitTorrent. It’s a write-up from Bobby Owsinski’s Music 3.0 blog about another article on the state of BitTorrent and what it means to music today. I found it interesting because the author of the original article clearly does not thoroughly understand the technology that they wrote about, making for some interesting conclusions… I believe the main reason for this confusion is a failure to distinguish between BitTorrent the company or the software client, and BitTorrent, the protocol. Also it’s interesting that BitTorrent stats are invariably interpreted from a sort of pessimist perspective – if music downloads are up, people say it’s bad because the industry isn’t cashing in on them (which is actually NOT necessarily true and reflects confusion about what BitTorrent is and how it works), and if music downloads are down, it’s bad for the industry because “music isn’t worth pirating anymore.” Isn’t it also possible that lower music download numbers through BT could mean that the industry has figured more and better ways to monetize their content?

By the way, if you’re looking for a good BT client, look no further than uTorrent, preferred by geeks everywhere.

Thanks for reading. I’m glad to have you back.


Review: Calle 13 – Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo

Posted in Artists I Like, Filesharing, Music, Puerto Rico, Reviews on October 21, 2008 by dublab

Thanks to the inexplicable mess of good and bad that is the Internet, I’ve had the opportunity to illegally sear Calle 13’s new album into my brain for a few days now – not that they’d care (see link to Ruben Blades interview at the end).  It been a pleasant surprise to give the record a thorough listen a few days in advance, so I figured I’d write up my thoughts and share with you.

Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo kicks off with a slightly dramatic storytime sort of narrative telling the story of Residente, who only possesses Rene Perez when an imbecil listens to his music.  I guess it’s like Tinkerbell and clapping or something.  The intro is immediately followed by “Que Lloren” – generally aimed at the commercial reggaeton community, who according to Residente, sells itself for “cheaper than a whore on a highway,” and specifically aimed at Ivy Queen.

The record’s high-energy opening track is immediately followed by “No Hay Nadie Como Tu” featuring Cafe Tacvba – the original hispanic indie band.  As a long-time Cave Tacvba fan (since middle school probably…) I was very happy to hear these two unique acts on the same track.  It suprised me how successfully the track balances the individual sounds of both bands – drum machines and didgeridoos somehow mix very well with Cafe Tacvba’s upstroke-based surf tendencies.  The lyrics seem like nonsense at first, however by the time the first chorus rolls around Residente’s point is clear – this is a celebration of uniqueness, diversity, and life, because there is no one quite like you.

“Gringo Latin Funk” (my favorite track at this point) follows up with Residente’s razor sharp tongue taking aim at that most displeasing Puerto Rican stereotype – the “gringo/gringa wannabe.”  The beat starts up with some baritone sax licks with wah-wah guitar, latin percussion, and a fat synth bassline.  The strings and horns kick in soon after, immediately followed by a dem-bow based drum track that blends real and sampled drums.  Also, Residente gets some help on the chorus from his sister PG-13, who is slowly but surely gaining prominence as a member of the group.  As a musician, when I listen to this track I can’t help but feel envious when I imagine how much fun Visitante, Calle 13’s beat man, must have in the studio.

And so on.  I could continue writing about “La Perla” and the kind of musical maturity that kind of recording shows, or about the sheer electroboogie weirdness of “Electro Movimiento” (which makes me wish I knew how to breakdance).  But I won’t.  What I will do is wrap up with this:  Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo shows true musical growth and accomplishment – something that fans and listeners like me will enjoy.  If you are looking for radio-friendly slices of reggaeton, buy another record.

BONUS: If you speak Spanish and are in the mood for an interesting interview, check out this video of Residente and Visitante from Calle 13 kickin it with salsa icon Ruben Blades over a bottle of wine.


Calle 13 – Gringo Latin Funk

Why Copy Protection Encourages Piracy

Posted in Filesharing, Funny on October 14, 2008 by dublab

The XKCD comic explains why digital copy protection (also known as Digital Rights Management) encourages piracy.

Talk Like A Pirate Day: Arrrgh Matey!

Posted in Filesharing, Funny, On My Radar, Random on September 19, 2008 by dublab

Sir Francis Drake: slave trader and pirate backed by the English crown.

Shiver me timbers ya scallawags, it’s Talk Like A Pirate Day, perhaps one of my favorite un-holidays ever!

Seriously, every year I anxiously wait for the opportunity to spend a nice September day talking like an idiot and cracking pirate jokes constantly.  Some popular ones:

  • What’s a pirate’s favorite food? Arrrrrtichokes.
  • What has 12 arms, 12 legs and 12 eyes? A dozen pirates.
  • What’s a pirate’s favorite basketball move? The hook shot.
  • How could the pirate acquire the ship so cheaply? Because it was on sail.
  • Did you hear about that new pirate movie? It’s rated Arrrrrgh.

So please, support your local pirate today!  Personally, the only ones I can think of are Swedish…

… or they’re in movies.

Disclaimer: I am in no way promoting or attempting to glorify ACTUAL piracy, just having fun with a weird holiday.

Multi-Million Dollar Pay Day for Puerto Rico Police, Anti-Pirates Hate Deaf People, ICE “Respects” Immigrant Families

Posted in Anger, Filesharing, On My Radar, Puerto Rico, Technology on May 20, 2008 by dublab

Since I was going to write about things that piss me off, I decided to lump them all together in a single post. Might as well keep my bitching confined to a small space:

Pissing Me Off, Issue 1

The island of Puerto Rico woke up this morning to 81 drug-and-gun-related arrests. One of them was even a minor league baseball player. The police conducted raids in 6 different cities. The numbers for the city of Ponce come in as follows: 14 arrests, 6 seized vehicles, 31 grams of cocaine, and 3.4 pounds of pot. Plus five handguns, an AK-47, and a submachine gun which were bought by an undercover agent during one of the raids. That’s it???

That means if we take that as an average, the raid that net 81 arrests also yielded a maximum of 7 oz. of cocaine, on an island that lies exactly halfway between Columbia and Miami. Considering the quantities that are typically seized by the Puerto Rican police during raids, doesn’t that count as an epic “fail?”

It’s sad that the corruption-filled Puerto Rican police organization is so involved in the world of gun and drug trafficking that they can walk away from an island-wide raid with so little in terms of seizures, while at the same time managing to rack up an unbelievable $24,905,000.00 in bail money.

I guess they need to get money any way they can. I visited PR recently and that definitely jives with the way that everything government-related is now more expensive.

Pissing Me Off, Issue 2

One of the ladies from VivirLatino has pointed out that Immigration and Customs Enforcement is looking to build 3 “family detention centers” in the United States. This would allow ICE to continue its Gestapo-style raids on the US’s various poultry processing plants and Home Depot parking lots while at the same time being able to claim that they are “looking out for the families.”

What xenophobic pigs they are.

Pissing Me Off, Issue 3

WikiSubtitles is (you guessed it!) a wiki site aimed at the collaborative transcription and captioning of TV shows and movies – according to TorrentFreak it is partly aimed at foreign and deaf Internet users. Earlier today, they received a cease-and-desist letter from Spanish anti-piracy outfit FAP (Anti-Piracy Federation). Apparently, they believe the site contains captions obtained from copyrighted material. Some issues:

  • Whether or not a set of sub-titles was taken from a DVD would be slightly difficult to prove since accurate movie sub-titles SHOULD BE INDISTINGUISHABLE from what is included on a sub-titled DVD.
  • I’m not sure how liable WikiSubtitles would be for something submitted by one of their users. Then again, I’m not sure what the legality of any of this would be like in Spain.
  • Finally, anybody that keeps cute little deaf Filipino children from enjoying Dora The Explorer in Tagalog is an agent of evil, in my opinion.

What bastards.

Comcast and Shortsightedness: Why Big Companies Are Stupid

Posted in Anger, Filesharing, Random, Technology on April 30, 2008 by dublab

Mike Masnick at Techdirt has a great post pointing out what is undoubtedly a lapse in judgement on behalf of the big media companies – while many of them are now embracing the idea of streaming their programming to viewers over the net, all of them complain about having to work around barriers related to the bandwidth costs associated with streaming video. Of course, they fail to realize that using BitTorrent to manage the distribution of said content would practically eliminate the bulk of the bandwidth cost by transferring tiny bits of that “cost” to end-users. This ends up being a sunk cost for most users, since the majority of people out there pay flat fee for their Internet connection.

Stupid suits. They are too short-sighted to see what they consider to be the problem is actually the solution. The actual problem is copyright infringement and piracy, BitTorrent is a distribution scheme and nothing more.

Need further proof that telcos and media companies are short-sighted and stupid? Comcast has been desperately trying to address their horrible customer service by severely restructuring their helpdesk organization. Obviously, what they’ve done is adopt what I would call a typical short-sighted corporate strategy: they’re addressing the perceived customer service problem by bombarding their staff with “Soft Skills” training – their CSRs are forced to continuously demonstrate empathy and apologize on behalf of the company after what seems like every other sentence.

Here is how I know: last week, we called Comcast (like we have to do every other week) so they would fix our Internet connection by remotely resetting the modem. It’s something that we have to do often, and can’t be solved by hard-resetting or power-cycling the device, only by having a CSR reset it from their terminal. When we were asked what we needed help with, my girlfriend said:

We need you to reset the modem to fix our Internet connection. We restarted the computer, reset the modem, and still can’t fix it, so we need you to reset it like we have to call in to have done every other week.

Our CSR, Phyllis, apologized profusely for the trouble we were having… she did this several times before asking for our account number. Then, she let us know that every other CSR we have talked to in the last 4 months has failed to leave notes on our account (“oh, but the last time you called was 4 months ago!”). Fantastic. Finally, after wasting 15 minutes of my time by not resetting my modem, constantly apologizing, and reading her basic troubleshooting script (out loud!), the lady informed me that my area was being affected by an outage, after which I slammed down the phone in frustration.

This is what happens when short-sighted executives can’t figure out the cause of a problem. The cause of Comcast’s customer service issues was never a lack of soft skills training. Rather, it is more likely that it is somehow related to:

  • Lack of adequate job-related training for techs and CSR’s – versus soft skills which ARE NOT job-related. A lot of Comcast’s customer care employees simply don’t know how to do their job.
  • Lack of accountability for technician behavior – the most horrible Comcast stories, including my own, all have to do with installers. For example, 2 years ago, a Comcast installer on an install appointment at my apartment tried to offer me “extra channels” in exchange for sex with my friend Jen (I shit you not!). Since the guy was outsourced several times over, I had to settle for his dispatcher’s phone number (disconnected) in lieu of an apology.
  • Their use of the evil install disk to mess with your browser – it took me several days of troubleshooting to remove the “Internet Explorer by Comcast” tag that the Comcast install disk left on my girlfriend’s computer. Not because it was an eyesore (we use Firefox), but because whatever they did also made it so my system stopped recognizing *.CHM files. It HAD to be undone so that my girlfriend could open the iTunes help file rather than call me. Not only did this waste days of my time, it also wasted 2 hours of time at a Tier 1 level, 1 hour of time at a Tier 2 level, and an additional hour of time with one of Comcast’s specialists, who was only able to resolve my issue after having me try a fix that was, as he put it, “totally out of the scope of what I am allowed to do to help a customer.” Which I can understand, since I had to download and run a custom VB script from some random website. Thanks, Todd Gordon.
  • Technicians want to perform the install and go home, without any regard for OTHER CUSTOMERS that their work may be affecting – so you end up with situations like the one I am in now. Two weeks ago, my new neighbors moved in. At around the same time, we lost the signal on the cable jack in our master bedroom. When we went around our apartment building, we noticed the cable box had been left unlocked, and that one of the two cables labeled with our apartment number had been cut. Clearly severed by a pair of pliers. Goddamn installers. I still haven’t solved this issue, but the first time I called in about it, I got no love, and I don’t have much hope for a second or third attempt.

Some other things Comcast suits might want to look at are getting rid of the constant marketing mailings to people who are already Comcast customers and dumping opressive network management policies like secret bandwidth caps and BitTorrent throttling through reset packet forgery.

Just sayin…

TorrentFreak’s Letter To BREIN

Posted in Filesharing with tags , , , , on November 26, 2007 by dublab

Anti-piracy organization BREIN reprinted some content that originally appeared on TorrentFreak without the blog’s permission, and without even crediting them as the author. And while they were at it, they also accused TorrentFreak of being a “pirate blog”. Hold on now… I’m no legal expert here, but aren’t those considered copyright infringement and libel, repsectively? Coming from an “anti-piracy” organization?

The TorrentFreak folks thought so too, so they got their legal counsel to write a nice letter to the anti-piracy organization that engages in copyright infringement and libel… at times, funny reading.

We are neither sailors nor thieves of other people’s intellectual property, unlike yourselves.