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Comcast: We’re Delaying, Not Blocking, BitTorrent Traffic (Brad Stone/Bits)

October 22nd, 2007 by (author unknown)

Comcast: We're Delaying, Not Blocking, BitTorrent Traffic  —  Last week, the folks at cable giant Comcast asked for more time to give a nuanced response to a report that the company was blocking some peer-to-peer traffic on its network.  The public relations staff at the Philadelphia company …

Source:   Bits
Author:   Brad Stone

Techmeme permalink

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Songkick: Live Music Lovers Will Love This

October 22nd, 2007 by Nick Gonzalez

songkick_logo.pngMusic lovers may be show a reluctance to pay for their tunes, but they’re turning up in droves for live shows — at least according to the latest box office numbers posted by eMarketer. Concert ticket sales are expected to $9 billion worldwide this year, up nearly 10% over 2006.

Freshly launched Songkick is a startup looking to capitalize on that growing market by providing a simple way to discover live shows for artists you love along with the cheapest concert tickets. The impetus for the site grew out of the founder’s frustrations over no single concert site providing a comprehensive list of all the concerts they want to see. There would be some on Ticketmaster, others on LiveNation, and still more on resale at StubHub. So, they’ve created a comprehensive database that tracks concerts as they appear on the 14 different ticketing sites and across dozens of blogs. Currently they only cover the U.K. and U.S.

songkick_small.pngYou can search the database and track shows and blog posts about your favorite acts, or download SongKicker, which automatically tracks artists you listen to. SongKicker is a plug-in for that pulls artists you listen to from iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Winamp. The process takes about 3 minutes and adds the artists to the tours you’re tracking. But worry not, you can always delete the band behind that musical guilty pleasure that isn’t really your taste.

Their site can also recommend new artists to you. But their recommendation engine works a bit differently than others. It’s not generated from the user base, like, or through careful analysis like Pandora. Instead, Songkick crawls websites like Wikipedia and music blogs to pick up related artists based on positive or negative associations between the bands.

But the real payoff for the site is buying tickets. Kind of like a Sidestep for tickets, Songkick lets you find the cheapest tickets for these shows. Their search engine spans a variety of sources for both the primary and secondary ticketing market. Unfortunately, Songkick doesn’t actually expose the prices for each show directly in their search engine. You have to click through the site and do the comparison yourself. Songkick gets anywhere from $0.50 to $5 for each ticket sold.

Finally, they’ve packaged their ticketing search engine as a simple affiliate sales program for music bloggers. By installing a little plug-in, bloggers can automatically sell tickets related to the artists they write about through links at the bottom of posts. Their system finds the right artists by scanning the posts using the same positive and negative association technology as their recommendation engine. Positive posts about a band are coupled tickets, but a negative reference bashing Brittney Spears won’t start pushing her tickets on your fans.

Songkick is a Y Combinator financed startup currently bridging their operations between London and New York.

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How To Bypass Comcast’s BitTorrent Throttling (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)

October 21st, 2007 by (author unknown)

How To Bypass Comcast's BitTorrent Throttling  —  Comcast is using an application from the broadband management company Sandvine to throttle BitTorrent traffic.  It breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it's not a Comcast user inside your community boundary.

Source:   TorrentFreak
Author:   Ernesto

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Chat with Any IM Client in Your Sidebar with Meebo

October 18th, 2007 by Adam Pash

meebo-alert.pngWindows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Web-based instant messaging service Meebo connects to any and every IM chat client you can shake an avatar at, and now the popular in-browser chat application integrates tightly with your Firefox sidebar with the new Meebo Firefox extension. The extension supports visual IM notifications and drag and drop link and image sharing directly from web sites in addition to other already existing Meebo features—including file sharing. There really aren't any robust, fully cross-platform chat applications out there (though there are a few great platform-specific apps), but with this new Firefox extension, Meebo is getting close.

meebo-sidebar.pngAfter you install, you can either sign in to accounts individually or sign in to your Meebo account, which holds all of your different account credentials so you can sign in to multiple IM accounts at once.

meebo-sidebar-connected.pngOnce connected, you've got a simple contact management pane in the sidebar that you can view or collapse easily. You can even drag web content onto contact names to automatically open a new IM and share the link or image. In the meantime, your IM conversations all take place inside a Meebo tab, which is automatically opened when you sign in. The Meebo extension is free, should work wherever Firefox does. I know there are tons of Meebo fans out there, so let us know how the new extension is working out for you in the comments.

Meebo [Firefox Add-ons]

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Play a Single iTunes Library from Two Computers Simultaneously

October 18th, 2007 by Gina Trapani

Reader Brett writes in with an interesting observation about his shared iTunes library, which he plays from his laptop and his desktop:

Previous to the latest update of iTunes, I could only have one installation of iTunes running at a time—either the desktop would work or the laptop would work. The error message was something like 'iTunes library already in use.' However, with the latest release, I've found that I can have iTunes open on both.
A quick test between my MacBook and Powerbook confirmed Brett's findings. You can play music from a single shared library on two machines simultaneously and edit ratings and playlists, which update on each computer—effectively removing the need to sync the iTunes library file manually. But it's not perfect.

Listening to the two libraries at once, for the most part, goes without a hitch. Playcount and ratings do update across libraries (eventually, if not immediately.) If you edit ratings on a song (which means iTunes has to write to its library file) and try to access that same song right away, you'll get an error like this one:


So this isn't without its choppiness or risks. I also had one machine intermittently lose track of where media files were located on the shared drive while accessing the same library. (You get the little exclamation point and iTunes says it can't find the file, and prompts you to browse for it.) In both cases, by just restarting iTunes all was well again.

Brett also says:

Prior to the latest update, I could see the iPod on my laptop when it was plugged into my desktop. Now, that no longer happens.
My tests also confirmed this, and further testing opening and closing the same library on two machines triggered another interesting error message.


Disclaimer and notes: I only tested this on two Macs, not two PC's, using the Mac's built-in file sharing. As far as I know, the iTunes library file is not compatible between Mac and PC (due to the differences in how each OS addresses file paths), so I doubt that will work at all. Brett says he had this working even when the library was shared remotely with Hamachi.

If you try this yourself, be sure to back up your iTunes library first, because having two machines write to the same file, in theory, can corrupt it. Anyone else give this a try? Let us know how it went in the comments. Thanks, Brett!

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Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon Released

October 18th, 2007 by Kevin Purdy

Ubuntu 7.10, the "Gutsy Gibbon" release of popular Linux distribution, is officially out this morning. You can download a live CD, request a CD through the mail, and users of 7.04 (or "Feisty Fawn") can upgrade. Check out our screenshot tour of Gutsy to see what's new and improved. Ubuntu 7.10 is, of course, completely free, and runs on PCs (and Macs) with 32- or 64-bit Intel or AMD processors.

Ubuntu 7.10 [Ubuntu]

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The Daily Show Gets Its Own Website: Colbert Still Better

October 18th, 2007 by Duncan Riley

dailyshow.jpgComedy Central will today launch a dedicated website for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” that is designed to offer fans free video clips from the show.

Although it would be easy to mock Comedy Central’s I can’t believe 2004 called launch of free Daily Show clips, the offering is slightly better than it first appears; the site includes 13,000 clips representing every minute of the show since it launched in 1999, according to the LA Times.

Comedy Central content has long been a favorite illegal upload on YouTube, and BitTorrent provides ample downloads of most of Stewart’s back catalog.

Previous Stewart understudy and South Carolina Presidential Candidate Stephen Colbert has long had his own website at, and offers a program that is preferred by some. Its later time slot never seems to prevent high peer and seed ratios on BitTorrent.

Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom sued Google for copyright infringement on YouTube in March.

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Even Free Can’t Compete With Music Piracy

October 17th, 2007 by Nick Gonzalez

radiohead_inrainbows.pngThere’s been a lot of speculation over the future of the music industry and the conversation has begun to shift from “Can they sell DRMed music” to “Can they sell music at all”. Last week Radiohead ran one of the biggest tests of legally distributed free music by letting users name their price for “In Rainbows”, their latest album.

However, free doesn’t seem cheap enough. Despite the potentially free download, over 240,000 users got the album from peer to peer BitTorrent networks on the first day of release, according to Forbes. Since then, the album was downloaded about 100,000 more times each day, totaling more than 500,000. By comparison, Radiohead pushed 1.2 million sales of the album through their site, including pre-orders. File sharing networks are expected to surpass legal downloads in the coming days.

While the numbers may seem drastic, it’s really more a tale of how late to the game the music industry has been. Piracy networks have been growing over the past couple of years, despite the industry’s declared “war” on illegal file sharing. The networks have grown into easy-to-use distribution methods for digital music — even easier than what Radiohead offered. Users could easily grab “In Rainbows” while downloading music from other artists. Radiohead couldn’t be as compelling by only offering their own music and requiring users to take the time to set up an account.

But Radiohead doesn’t have that much to be sad about. The band gets to keep all the proceeds of their digital experiment and has distributed about six times more albums than their last release, which sold 300,000. That seemed to be enough to get EMI thinking harder about changing. Forbes obtained a email form EMI’s chairman saying “The industry, rather than embracing digitalization and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, has stuck its head in the sand. Radiohead’s actions are a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy.” So it seems there’s still hope yet that those legal war chests will be put to use on some innovations.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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Apple’s iPhone SDK announcement

October 17th, 2007 by (author unknown)
Note: There was no permalink for the story on Apple's news website, here's the full text, with permalink. DW

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers¹ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we¹re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once?provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones?this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

Some companies are already taking action. Nokia, for example, is not allowing any applications to be loaded onto some of their newest phones unless they have a digital signature that can be traced back to a known developer. While this makes such a phone less than ³totally open,² we believe it is a step in the right direction. We are working on an advanced system which will offer developers broad access to natively program the iPhone¹s amazing software platform while at the same time protecting users from malicious programs.

We think a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third party applications running on safe and reliable iPhones.


P.S.: The SDK will also allow developers to create applications for iPod touch. [Oct 17, 2007]

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Hibernate vs. Standby

October 17th, 2007 by Gina Trapani

hibernate.pngQuick: What's the difference between putting your PC in Hibernate or Standby mode? Yeah, we weren't sure either. Luckily the Productivity Portfolio weblog schools us on the finer details of Windows XP power schemes. Using Standby:

Your machine recovers quickly as your data is stored in RAM. The slower part is waking up the peripherals. Although your machine is in "standby" the power has been cut to items such as your hard drive and monitor. You're running your machine in a very low power mode, but it is still on. This mode can be useful if you're on a notebook and need to conserve your battery while you step away.

With Hibernate:

The big difference is that your PC has shut down and is not pulling power. Another difference is that your data is saved to your hard disk and not RAM. This makes it a safer, but slower option for shut down and resume.
Not all PCs have the capability and are configured to Hibernate. If yours is, to see the Hibernate option on your XP shutdown screen, hold down the Shift key when you shut down.
Hibernate and Standby | Windows XP Power Scheme [Productivity Portfolio]

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