British songwriter and producer Pete Waterman, now 62-years-old, could never have predicted that the Rick Astley hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" would become a phenomenon some 20 years after he co-wrote it, so it must have come as some surprise to see the song get 150 million plays in 2008 alone. He also couldn't have predicted that so much 'air play' could earn him so little money, yet that's exactly what has happened.
"There was I sitting at Christmas thinking, 'I must have made a few bob this year with the old Rickrolling'," Waterman said at a press conference to mark the launch of a website campaigning for a fairer deal for songwriters whose music is featured on YouTube. "I rang my publisher and they said 'You'll be all right,' until I saw the royalty statement. £11. If 154 million plays means £11, I get more from Radio Stoke playing Never Gonna Give You Up than I do from YouTube."
In U.S. currency, Waterman's royalty payment converts to just $16, which hardly seems fair given how much exposure the song has received. The PRS for Music organization doesn't think it's fair either and wants Google and YouTube to pay higher royalties to songwriters for use of their work online.
"We absolutely believe that artists and songwriters should make money from the use of their material," a YouTube spokesperson said. "We previously had a license with teh PRS to enable this to happen and we are very committed to reaching terms so that we can renew our license."
Looks like Waterman got screwed, but we found a way he may be able to collect on those royalties after all. If you're reading this Waterman, click this link.
It looks like iTunes' new variable pricing scheme isn't just shuffling money around inside everyone's wallets, but also has the iTunes Top 100 chart playing a game of leapfrog. The losers in this new game? The higher $1.29 tracks.
According to Billboard, on Wednesday the iTunes Top 100 chart had 40 songs priced at $1.29 and 60 with the original $0.99 price point. The songs selling for $1.29 slid, on average, 5.3 places on the chart, while the $0.99 tracks gained 2.5 chart positions. The trend continued on Thursday, with 53 songs priced at $0.99 rising an average of 1.66 places and 47 songs priced at $1.29 losing an average of 2 chart spots.
So far the changes have only been in chart position, but as Billboard points out, "a general idea of incremental changes in revenue can be reached. By looking at the unit sales of the most recent Soundscan top track downloads chart, the difference between chart positions can offer a view into how moving up and down the chart impacts revenue."
Thoughts on how the variable pricing structuring is affecting chart positions? Hit the jump and sound off!
The upsurge of netbooks in the past several months serves as proof positive that users are more concerned with mobility than they are raw power, and so one could argue OCZ is taking a certain risk by releasing Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) SO-DIMMs. But lest we forget, desktop replacements have become surprisingly affordable as of late, which was underscored by Gateway's P-7811FX notebook, and enthusiast-oriented notebook memory may just find a niche audience.
"XMP is for performance what 3D is for games, and the introduction of the profiles allows on-the-go enthusiasts to make the most of their Intel mobile platforms," commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology development at OCZ Technology. "As a result of our involvement with Intel from the very beginning of the mobile XMP concept, today we are releasing 2GB high performance SO-DIMMs designed as a no-compromise solution to complement Intel's mobile computing platform for the ultimate user experience."
OCZ claims it's XMP-ready memory will boot at its rated specs (DDR3-1066MHz, CL6-6-6-16) on any Intel Core 2 Extreme or Centrino 2 system without any tinkering.
No word yet on when OCZ's XMP PC3-8500 notebook memory will be available or at what price.
No one has been more critical of Microsoft's first attempts at responding to Apple's "I'm a Mac" ads than myself, and I still contend that those quirky commercials featuring Jerry Seinfeld missed the mark wider than Brett Favre in a critical game (you Jets fans still steaming over a 3-interception, 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins know what I'm talking about). Judging by the comments in those earlier blogs (see here and here), either expectations were disparingly low, or other PC users really did find a certain charm in talking about chewy computers or watching Bill Gates do a geriatric robot.
This time around I'm more than willing to give credit where credit is due, and it belongs to Microsoft for its latest offensive against Apple. Microsoft has finally zeroed in on the high price tags that accompany Macs, and it isn't letting up. The first ad featured a woman named Lauren on the hunt for a 17-inch laptop under $1,000, and not surprisingly, she wasn't able to find one in an Apple store. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she concluded. Not long after, a second ad emerged, this time upping the ante to $1,500 and featuring a member of the opposite sex who surmised that "Macs, to me, are about the aesthetics more than they are the computing power. I don't want to pay for the rent, I want to pay for the computer."
See what happens when a mother-and-son duo take on Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" challenge after the jump.
Ever wonder what happens when you take a Jensen #75 and connect it to a lego Technic motor using a rubber band? Neither have we, but thanks to YouTuber twdunbar, we now know, and it's pretty damn cool. Using the parts just mentioned, twdunbar fashioned together a Steampunk-inspired USB charger for his iPod, but it can also be used for other devices.
"The motor is being driven and so it acts like a generator, which feeds into a voltage regulator circuit to give a continuous 5V to the iPod (or any USB device)," twdunbar wrote on his YouTube video page.
Check out the video here, and if you're into the whole Steampunk thing, drop these links into your browser:
As if the 5,000 laid off at Microsoft weren’t enough of a warning signal that times are tough, the Redmond based software giant is also being forced to close down its on campus bar just a few days before its official opening. The pub was set to debut alongside several other retail outlets offering everything from cell phones, to haircuts, but apparently it didn’t make the final cut.
You would think with all the layoffs that were recently announced, they would want somewhere employees could go and drown their sorrows, but according to Microsoft Spokesman Lou Gellows, "We had to take another look at this. We are sensitive to the business environment and that meant not having a pub."
This cut is but one of many in a larger initiative designed to deal with non essential expenses. Employees are encouraged to look for ways to save on everything from external vendors, to travel expenses. The pub which was scheduled to launch on Monday had already hired staff, and had installed beer taps. Not exactly the long weekend they were hoping for I would imagine.
Times are tough, but even if people aren’t buying Vista, they’re still buying beer aren’t they?
To an internet based company, server infrastructure is the secret sauce that can really help a company pull ahead of its competitors. It determines the quality of service its customers will receive, and their cost and efficiency will have a huge impact on the bottom line of the company. To Google this secret was a carefully guarded one, with few outside of the company having any real details. The only thing that we knew for sure is that they were built in house using parts that are generally available to every PC builder. This all changed last week when Google decided to lift the veil of secrecy to a group of IT professionals.
Each server measures about 3.5 inches thick, and is designed in a custom rack for easy stacking. Each unit sports two x86 processors either from Intel or AMD, contains two hard drives (presumably configured as a raid 1), and eight memory slots. These components are mounted on a Gigabyte motherboard, and protected by built in 12-volt battery that also serves as a UPS.
The built in battery was perhaps the biggest secret that was revealed and is a slap in the face to traditional thinking when it comes to large scale battery backup. Typically, server farms employ massive uninterruptable power supplies in the event of a power failure. The biggest problem with this approach according to Chris Malone from Google is the ability to scale it perfectly for the number of servers, and inefficiencies inherent with the technology. “Large UPSs can reach 92 to 95 percent efficiency, meaning that a large amount of power is squandered. The server-mounted batteries do better, Jai said: "We were able to measure our actual usage to greater than 99.9 percent efficiency."
Google’s approach to server infrastructure is defiantly unique, and it’s use of low cost customer grade hardware defiantly helped them survive the early years on razor sharp margins.
New legislation proposed on April 1st will give a whole new meaning to geeks who like to joke that the President has his finger on the button. If the proposed legislation comes to pass, the president will have the ability to shut down public and private networks, including internet traffic should the need arise. This power is part of a new cybersecurity emergency plan that is designed to help protect the US against attack, but also gives the government unprecedented control over our networks.
The critics of this bill however are lining up, and are voicing their concerns over how this power could be abused. According to Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy and Technology, “This is pretty sweeping legislation. Seems the President could turn off the Internet completely or tell someone like Verizon to limit or block certain traffic. There is a lot to worry about in this bill.”
Since the bill is still in its early stages, it is unclear what amendments will be made, or if it will even be passed at all. West Virginia Democratic Senitor John Rockefeller made it clear to the media that this is the first draft of the proposal, and that they will be in close contact with internet-centric companies who obviously have a lot more at stake here than the average user.
Obama may soon have the power to nuke the real world, and World of Warcraft. Are you comfortable with this?
Ah, the French. Sure, they may be the butt of many a joke, but its situations like these that remind us that they’re (usually) well deserved.
While the “Creation and Internet” bill (a bill that would allow ISPs to take actions against customers accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material) won preliminary approval in French Parliament last week, it would appear that too few members supporting the bill showed up to the hearing that ultimately saw it denied.
According to reports, the bill was expected to pass, but a low turnout caused the bill’s opposition, the French Socialist party, to defeat it by a vote of 21 to 15. And while President Nicolas Sarkozy’s own UMP party was able to propel him to the highest office in France, they were unable to turn down that third crêpe, and missed out on the hearing.
This isn’t the last we’ll hear of it though – the UMP party does intend to reintroduce an amended version within the month. Maybe this time they’ll show up?
Rob Spence, a Canadian filmmaker, was the victim of an accident in his childhood that damaged his right eye, and he was later given a prosthetic replacement. While for a long time he was content with the replacement, he recently decided to fit a camera inside the empty cavity, turning himself into a self-proclaimed “Eyeborg.”
Now, while he is currently working towards the goal of putting a camera in the socket, he has decided to divert for the time being and outfit himself with the stylish red LED that you see in the picture above. Apart from looking totally badass, it does give Spence a good foundation – after all, this is the first time he’s been able to fit an electronic device and a power source inside.
Reportedly, the camera will record anything that enters his field of vision, and will relay that image back to a computer, providing a very unique perspective (as far as video surveillance is concerned). It also provides a great angle when he decides to scare people walking down the street with his Terminator eye! That footage, I want to see.