Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pirate Party Logo

The Pirate Party

The Pirate Party [1] wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected. Founded by Rick Falkvinge on the January 1, 2006 in Sweden the movement is going from strength to strength.

Three tenets of the agenda [2] are:

  • Reform of copyright law to promote the sharing and spread of knowledge and ideas. Aiming to make the Internet the greatest public library ever created. All non-commercial copying and use should be completely free. In today’s fast paced, technology lead environment, commercial copyright should be limited to five years after publication (not seventy years after the person is dead). A complete ban on Digital Rights Media (DRM) as a way for the media companies to both write and enforce their own arbitrary laws.
  • Eliminate the patent system. Pharmaceutical and Software patents are singled out. In the case of Pharmaceuticals, a report published by The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFIA) [3] is cited. According to the 2006 report, compulsory health insurance across the European Union contributes €97.7B to Pharmaceutical Research and Development (R&D). Is 20% of this were allocated directly to R&D more money would be spent on research, while tax payers would have a drastically lowered cost. Software patents inhibit technical progress in the IT field, and pose a serious threat to both small and medium-sized companies and private programmers. Although current patent law explicitly says that computer programs should not be patentable, such grants are commonly granted.
  • Respect for the right to privacy. Following 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe has allowed itself to be swept along with increasing the level of surveillance and control over all its citizens. Modern European history, in particular, Communist Regimes and Fascism, demonstrate how the state can convincingly tell us how these steps are necessary but that this road often also leads to abuse of such powers and state sponsored oppression.

With this agenda, Pirate Parties have been started in some 33 countries, inspired by the Swedish initiative. They cooperate through Pirate Parties International (PPI) [4].

The Pirate Party of Germany gained seats in the city council of Münster and Aachen in August 2009, and in the federal election a month later they received 2.0% of the party list votes, becoming the biggest party outside the Bundestag. In the election to the Abgeordnetenhaus in Berlin in September 2011, the Pirate Party received 9 % of the votes and – for the first time in Germany – gained seats in a state parliament.






Hulu Considers TV Everywhere Authentication

Sources tell The New York Post [1] that Hulu, is considering a change to the TV Everywhere model proposed by Comcast and Time Warner [2]. Under that scheme, viewers will have to prove they are pay-TV customers in order to watch shows through the popular online service. These sources also claim this authentication model was behind the move last week by Providence Equity Partners to cash out of Hulu after five years.

Hulu is a joint venture between NBC, News Corp/Fox, and (since last year) Disney/ABC. It was created by the US TV networks as a counterweight to YouTube, a safe place where they could run their full-length TV shows online with their own ads.

This development must be considered bad news for the 31 million “cable-cutters”, attracted to Hulu’s free-for-all model. TV Everywhere (TVE) is a verification systems that will require viewers to log in with their cable or satellite TV account number.









Music in 5-4 time

Odd Meters

Listening to the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s iconic jazz album, Time Out, got me thinking about “Odd Meters”. Odd meters are what musicians call exceptional time signatures.

In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats. Each beat is assigned a particular note value or duration. A piece of music consists of several bars (usually of the same length), and the number of beats in each bar is specified at the beginning of the score by the top number of a time signature, while the bottom number indicates the note value of the beat. For example, a waltz is written in 3/4 time (spoken as, “three-four time”). The top number e.g. “3” means three beats in every bar, the bottom number e.g. “4” indicates that each beat has a quarter note duration. This gives awaltz it’s typical, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3 rhythm and feel.

What’s the relationship with the musical theory lesson and Dave Brubeck?

Some music written in odd meter sounds like an intellectual exercise. The music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond is a notable exception. Recognised as one of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, Time Out sold over a million records in 1961 and continues to be popular 50 years after it was written. Every track on this album is written in a different time signature. “Take Five” has become arguably the most popular piece of music by far written in 5/4. Written by and featuring Paul Desmond on Alto Saxophone, Take Five was a platinum number one hit on Billboard’s charts, a serious feat for a jazz track,

Dave Brubeck composed Unsquare Dance written in the 7/4 time signatures. He used the rhythmic influences from Eastern Europe to create a very fresh sound previously unfound in jazz.

Other notable music in 5/4 signatures include:

  • Money by Pink Floyd.
  • How Deep the Father’s Love for Us recorded by Sarah Sadler.
  • Theme tunes from Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, and The Incredibles.
  • River Man recorded by Nick Drake.
  • In Mixolydian Mode (No. 48) by Bartók.
  • English Roundabout by XTC.
  • Do What You Like by Blind Faith (Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood etc.).