After the out-of-place rant from the music industry executives at the Grammys regarding digital ripping, I feel even more hostile towards the recording industry. I do not like that they seem to be getting away with selling damaged music to the masses while crying poverty in the press. They are very hypocritical, and I for one, hope that they get called on the carpet for it. Maybe the increasing number of lawsuits from songwriters and performers against the big labels will help. Maybe the small victories like that lady in the “Charley Pride” case will help move things along. With that in mind, I continue my little protest by identifying and praising the music released before this latest fiasco in FM quality copy protection. I hope you can do the same. As requested, I have identified one for each workday:
Pre-FM CD Tracks Of The Week
- “Sweet Jane” from Cowboy Junkies
- “I Think I’m Paranoid” from Garbage
- “They Won’t Go When I Go” from George Michael
- “Lakini’s Juice” from Live
- “No Time” from Guess Who
A follow-up to my earlier praise of Music Match 7. I have found that while it is very rich in features, it is a tremendous resource hog on my Windows 98 SE machine. I had a number of bad episodes with system lock-ups, out of memory errors and random reboots, and spent days tracking it down. Finally, I did a simple checklist of all things I had added to my machine in recent weeks, and through a process of elimination, found that Music Match 7 was sucking up resources like an aardvark at an ant convention. I have since moved back to Music Match 5, which I’m glad I saved. It uses 20% less resources - yes, you heard me - 20%! It also does not seem to suffer from memory leaks and the like, so for now, I’ll stick with the tried and true version.
I have been reading the press coverage of the Xbox release in Japan, and was glad to see that the controller I got to play with was the same one they shipped with the product. However, for a while there, it looked like there might be some bad news on the horizon. Rumor had it, via various media outlets, that Microsoft had made the fateful decision to region encode the controllers. If true, it would have meant that even if you could get your hands on an Xbox controller from Japan, it may not work with a unit from the US or Europe. Thankfully, it wasn’t.
On the positive side, it looks like Microsoft is going to release a near replica of the Japanese controller here in the United States. It will be called “Xbox Controller S” and should sport an improved logo and adjustments to trigger tension. I’m very glad to hear that Microsoft is keeping an open mind when it comes to the wishes of their new Xbox customers. They have a very expensive console that looks like a tank battery, but moves such as this may help people overlook such things and take a leap of faith.
The Xbox seems to be holding its own here in the US, though its start in Japan is not quite as impressive. On balance, it looks like the Xbox will be a moderate hit. If Microsoft can keep cranking out some top level games, it may start to pick up momentum and start running past the Game Cube within a few months.
From all indications, it looks like Nintendo is having trouble getting titles out the door. If the Cube wants to keep its appeal, it has got to get a handle on production delays. As we all know, consumers can be fickle, and they may not wait around for Nintendo, particularly when Sony is doing such a bang-up job. The more games you have out, the better chance you have of attracting buyers. After all, the Sony Playstation 2 may be technologically inferior to the Xbox, but it has so many titles that people are picking them up at a rapid pace, still exceeding the Xbox or Gamecube. A crowded field of three may soon become a field of two.