* Posts by Ian Dedic

10 posts • joined 18 Oct 2007

Heavyweight physics prof weighs into climate/energy scrap

Ian Dedic


Having read through the downloaded book I don't think Mackay claims to have any unique insight or staggeringly original results, and he does say repeatedly that many of his numbers are estimates and likely to be in error -- and I don't think he shows any strong personal bias, except the one that much of what is said in this area is completely innumerate rubbish (save the planet by unplugging your mobile phone charger etc), which is difficlut to disagree with.

What it does do better than anything else I've seen is to put the whole thing in perspective and give a real insight into how difficult it will be to wean the world off its fossil-fuel tit, and how most of the supposed solutions put forward by governments -- and environmentalists -- don't even come *close* to solving the problem, at least not without implementation on a truly heroic scale.

And it's written in an accessible style which should make it understandable by not just the man in the street, but also journalists and even quite possibly politicians :-)

YouTube biker clocked at 189mph

Ian Dedic

@Paul Smith

It's indeed true that -- in contrast to car drivers -- high-speed bikers present a much bigger hazard to themselves than others, their accidents are more often fatal, and I expect there are many recipients around the world grateful for the continuous supply of high-quality organs that results from these facts :-)

I'd rather retain the use of my own organs for my benefit though, I'm not *that* much of an altruist...

Ian Dedic

Fast bikes on the road (and cars)

I wouldn't personally want to do that kind of speed on a public road on a bike where so many things can go wrong -- even in a car with crumple zones seatbelts and airbags, if you hit someone who pulls out without looking at 150mph you won't be a happy bunny.

Any bikers who want to ride like this, just remember what a paramedic friend told me they call high-speed bikers...



Ian Dedic

UK vs. Germany

I've driven at 150mph in Germany in perfect safety on a lightly trafficked 3-lane autobahn (little/no traffic in middle lane), but it wouldn't have been safe in a 2-lane one with traffic -- you can't safely overtake cars in the next lane with a speed difference of >100kph, if they pull out without looking you're dead even if you have the reactions of a racing driver.

But you have to get used to driving there -- if you look in the mirror before pulling out and see the nearest car is 1/4 mile behind and think that's OK, a few seconds later it's right up your arse with headlights on full beam and smoke pouring off the tyres.

However, given the number of dozy buggers on UK motorways who don't seem to know what that reflective thing attached to their windscreen is for, I wouldn't feel safe doing similar speeds here unless the road was almost empty.

For those who keep saying "but going that fast is inherently dangerous" -- rubbish, millions of Germans do it every day without their cars exploding. And one reason it's safe is that they do it every day, so their reactions and attitude (and those of others on the road) are used to fast driving.

Lord Triesman on P2P, pop-ups and the Klaxons

Ian Dedic

What are you actually buying?

A friend who works for the MCPS (Musical Copyright Protection Society) thinks that the record (and film) companies aren't facing up to the fact of what you've actually paid for, they're trying to have their cake and eat it:

-- if you've bought and own the physical CD you should be able do do anything you want to it so long as it's for your own use -- play it, doodle on it, put it in the shredder, copy it, take the bits you like off it and throw the rest away.

-- if you've bought and own the material and performance stored on the CD then exactly the same applies, you own a copy of the information for your own use and you should be able to do what you want with said information.

However the record companies' position seems to be that neither of these is the case -- so what have you actually bought? The answer seems to be neither.

Martin Owen's point is exactly correct -- what you should be buying is a licence to obtain and play the content in whatever form you want. If you download it and then lose the copy because your iPod or PC dies you should be able to download a replacement copy free, not have to pay again. If you've bought a CD and the dog eats it you should be able to download and burn a replacement.

All this needs is a central licence server which knows who "you" are and what you've bought, and dishes out the money accordingly -- hopefully mainly to the artists this time. Security would be needed to make sure that you are really you, but this is no different to online banking or purchasing.

Trying out music could be done in exactly the same way that software trials are

done -- you can download a "free" (possibly lower quality) version which expires after a short time unless you pay the licence fee, then you can do what you want with it.

This way almost everyone wins (except the record companies) -- the artists are happy, the punters are happy, so-called "piracy" would largely disappear because most people feel they're getting their money's worth.

This is what DRM *should* be all about.


Ian Dedic

@ Dan

"I've got lots of musican friends, most of whom make very little or no money for what they do. They do this because they love music. The only people who will stop making music if they don't get paid for it are the untalented leaches who wouldn't be missed anyway.

Small indi bands have nothing to fear from filesharing, when they get noticed and get popular, they will make their money through live performances anyway.

The recording industry is a stain on the history of music and in decades to come people will look back on the era of the recording industry as the musical dark ages."

We play because we love doing it not to make big bucks (though it would be nice).

We've made CDs because people ask for them, and they haven't done more than cover the costs and give enough profit to fund making the next one -- and of course they encourage people to come to the gigs, which is why we do it all.

But we sure as hell wouldn't make them if we made a *loss* doing so, which is what would happen if lots of people downloaded them "free" instead of buying them.

Incidentally, the cost of physically pressing a CD is small compared to the costs of recording/mixing/producing -- if we need to sell CDs at £10 to get back these costs, a downloaded version would have to cost maybe £9 if we sold the same number, which is the case if all your fans buy one or the other. Which is why we haven't gone down that route, everyone would rather have a real physical CD with sleeve notes and artwork than save 10% and just get computer files.

So you'd think that the only way that downloads would/should be much cheaper than a CD is if you sell many more of them by reaching a bigger market. But then the economics are very different if the volumes are much bigger -- the physical cost of a CD + artwork + case also drops to maybe 20p, so it's still only probably 10% cheaper to download...


Ian Dedic

Where the money goes

The band I play for has just made our third CD, and it cost us about £7000 for studio and engineer time + design + pressing an initial run of 1000 (which may be all we ever press). If we sell them direct at gigs for £10 (usual method) we get all that; if we sell them at festivals we play at through concessions we're lucky to get £5; if we sell them through shops we're lucky to get £2; if we'd done all this through a record company we'd be lucky to get 50p...

People happily buy our CDs because they know we get -- and need -- the money, especially if they want us to make the next one. If we were only getting 50p and the rest was going to record companies, distribution and retail then you can see why people would think "it's OK to download this for nothing, the band doesn't get the money anyway".

Of course the numbers are completely different for big-name bands who sell tens or hundreds of thousands of CDs, but the sentiment is the same -- why should I pay £10 for a CD when the artist (whose "IP" it really is) only gets 50p?

The attitude *should* be "download it to see if I like it, buy it if I do" -- even with DRM it's well-nigh impossible to *force* people to buy, they should do it because they *want* to, because if they don't bands will stop producing the stuff they want.

Unfortunately due to DRM-obsessed money-grabbing organisations like the RIAA and Sony this cause-and-effect link (free download/no buy = no music in future) is broken in most people's minds, especially the ones who say "I've got the right to download anything I want for nothing"...

Record industry pushes ISPs to cut off file sharers

Ian Dedic

What do people use 100GB downloads for?

New US TV series which have been broadcast there on TV but won't make it to the UK for a year (or two, or never) -- mostly done by my wife, who's mad on some of them.

Old BBC TV documentaries on things I'm interested in but missed or never saw (for example, Project Orion).

MP3 downloads of vinyl albums that I've got but are too knackered to transfer to CD (but somebody else has already done it) or that aren't available on CD anyway (I've transferred about 50 or my own vinyl albums to CD so far, but each one takes well over an hour including editing).

Put all that together and we average about 50GB a month, and *none* of it is stuff that I can -- or should have to -- buy.

I play in a band, we've made and sell CDs (mostly directly at gigs, certainly not through record companies), and I don't download "free" stuff that deprives an artist of a sale, I buy the CD. If I can't buy it because it's not available, that's different.


Fire service may charge for shifting fat people

Ian Dedic

What type of society do we want?

A lot of people writing in seem to want to live in a "USA"-style society -- you know, one where you fall seriously ill, it isn't covered by insurance, and you end up with a bill for $200,000. But hey, the taxes are lower.

If you want such a society, stop whining about issues like this and move to the USA,

If you want a society which at least tries to look after everyone regardless of how much tax they pay or what their need for such support is, stop complaining when somebody else takes out more than they put in, regardless of what the reason is.

Someday it could be you needing brain surgery for cancer because you spent too long talking on your mobile...


P,S. Irony warning -- I don't believe mobiles cause brain cancer.

P.P.S. Of course they might do, it's difficult to prove a negative.

Ian Dedic

Why stop at fat people?

So if you want to change fat people more for things like health services because it's their fault they're fat, why stop there?

If you broke an arm falling off a skateboard -- that's your fault, pay up.

If you broke a leg falling off a rock face -- that's your fault, pay up.

If you twisted an ankle running a marathon -- that's your fault, pay up.

If you catch a nasty disease backpacking in India -- that's your fault, pay up.

Who ends up costing the health service (i.e. all of us) more then -- fat people who don't do any of the above risky activities, or fit people who do?

The whole point of something like the NHS is that it doesn't (or at least shouldn't) discriminate or charge on the grounds of how/why you need it, you get the treatment whether the injury was your fault or not.

So all you thin active people out there (who I suspect are writing most of the diatribes against fat people) should think carefully -- you might find that charging people by "whether it's their fault" hits you even harder then them... :-)

Ian ( 5 foot 10 and 11 stone )

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