Monday, December 12, 2005

Not Enough

No explanation for this one. The parties involved will understand. Mainly posting it for posterity.

Not Enough
By Greg Mikeska

How do you think it makes me feel to know that I can’t help you smile.

Or that no matter how hard I try I just can’t rescue you tonight.

You say you’re down from what I “did to you”

and I’ve made life that much more tough.

and when it comes right down to it,

My Best is not enough.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Google Analytics Workaround for adding another site to an existing account

As some of you may know, Google recently acquired the website traffic analysis company called Urchin, and set its services free to all who want them, under the name "Google Analytics". However, shortly after rollout, they reportedly suspended new user signups pending an introductory phase of some sort. Luckily, I got this very blog enrolled in the program prior to the suspension. Today, I wanted to add google analytics to the blog I share with my girlfriend, and I noticed that, though a "tip" on the main page instructed me to click the link marked "Add Website Profile", no such link was present. It then occurred to me that they must have suspended adding sites to a pre-existing account as well. Out of pure curiosity, and thinking that the big dawgs at Google would never be this stupid, I popped up the source of the page, to see if I could find any hints on adding it. Lo and behold:

The highlighted text up close is (click img below):

That's right, folks... whoever was put on the job of disabling that feature simply commented out the code!
So, I copied the url onto the address bar, and I was allowed to add my site!

So, I figured I'd post this little work-around so that others could join in the fun! I've not yet found a way to allow a user to create an account, but I figure they must've had someone more competent on the task of disabling that part.

By the way, I know this post isn't very well written, and there're probably a few grammatical & spelling errors. That's because I pulled an all nighter last night to work on a paper that's due in a few weeks... oh well... I guess I'll sleep when I'm dead!


Monday, November 14, 2005

The Music Industry: Doomed From the Start?

Below is an article I wrote for another blog I was trying to start. Though some of my friends have already read it, and opined on it, I'm posting it again, so that my friends at Techdirt can syndicate it, and I can get traffic for the ol' blog. It basically covers a few of my thoughts on the nature of the music industry, how its basic institutions have doomed it from the beginning and how p2p fits into the mess that has been created.

Happy Hacking!


1. There is no competition in the music industry:

Take the example of the automotive industry. In America, consider two of the largest automobile manufacturers, Ford and Chevy. Now, consider one portion of the industry (we'll say genre of vehicle to establish my analogy.) The genre is trucks, which appeal to one segment of the population: rednecks*. Now, a redneck that wants to buy a pickup truck from Ford will not buy from Chevy, and vice versa (due to brand loyalty, or pricing issues, whatever). So, the car companies raise quality, and lower prices to try to get him to buy their vehicle.

Now, let us apply this concept to the Music Industry. We have Record Company A (RCA) and Record Company B (RCB). One genre of their product (Pop Music) appeals to one specific segment of the population (Pre-pubescent girls). Now, If a pre-pubescent girl wants to buy a CD, she can choose one from the product line called BackdoorBoys ("sold" by RCA) or the one called N*stink ("sold" by RCB). However when she acquires one of these albums, her perceived "need" to acquire the other as well won't be satiated. Even though the two bands are marketed by different enterprises, they don't competefor listeners. As a matter of fact, it really seems to me that there isn't even competition between labels for the music of a particular artist. I mean, sure, labels recruit new artists every day, but I propose that, in the current state of the world, an artist working at the proverbial diner in hopes of being discovered, will jump at the chance to sign on the dotted line, no matter the terms. (I know I would!) And, once they've signed him, he's theirs, for the rest of his natural born life, or until they tire of his style. So, it can be inferred that the only competition in the music industry is between artists for the chance at being granted the honor of providing their product.

* I myself am a redneck, so I can say that... :-)

2. The market has endured abuse from the supposed "leaders" industry:
As is described here the RIAA has been the defendant of at least one class-action suit for price-fixing. Price-fixing constitutes downright misuse of the nature of the intellectual property market. Doing such things drives away customers and causes mistrust of the industry hurting both present and future innovators.

Now the clincher.
Ordinarily, a market that had been abused by either buyer or seller would, in time, be able to recover after the abusive actions had stopped occurring. How would it do so? In this case, healthy competition for consumers would reduce prices back to fair market value. However, as cited above, the music industry doesn't function through a competition-based model. It seems that, separate from the market, a competitor (which we know as File-Sharing) has evolved, and the RIAA finds itself at odds with a FREE industry. That's where we are today.

So, where do we go from here?
I, for one, believe that p2p is not truly "free". I believe that every p2p user pays a price for downloaded music with his conscience, knowing that there is an artist that, had he bought the CD, would've gotten two-tenths of a cent from that one song he just downloaded. (times 20 songs makes 4 cents a disc, which, from what I understand, is about how much most of them get. Also, notice that my "guilt as a cost" idea here isn't guilt for not paying for the music, it is guilt that the artist didn't get their due.) To sum up, I think that the RIAA should do what every other industry does when they are "losing market share" and lower their damn prices. When the prices get to a fair level, I believe that the consumers will return to the legitimate market, because they know that then, it is the right thing to do.

Looking ahead—an ounce of prevention:
I also have a theory about how to prevent such a situation from arising in the future. By no means is my plan perfect, (I am a Junior in college, for crying out loud!) but I believe the changes entailed would be for the better concerning the music industry. The US should pass a law concerning Intellectual Property, (IP) that when an artist is licensing IP to a company such as a recording company:

1. They must do so one work at a time (i.e.: The norm of a production contract automatically usurping "everything you write" as is common with musicians today would be null and void)
2. That ownership rights to intellectual property may not be sold or transferred in any way except by inheritance. If one has created intellectual property, he may license it to as many parties as he wishes. Any contract stating otherwise is null and void.

My vision for this is that big name artists would be able to sell the exact same album through multiple record labels. After this trial and error, the artist chooses to do business with the one that best satisfies their needs (by making them the most money or selling the most records, etc), but is not contractually bound to do so, and may seek another publisher should the relationship sour. The effect: disc prices drop, only the toolish share music illegaly, and everyone gets along. Also, (and, ironically this is probably the most important effect) I believe it would be a step toward re-establishing content providers (i.e.: musicians) as the industry's merchants, rather as opposed to the indentured servants they are today, at the mercy of what a publisher believes will be "popular".

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rough Weeks

Ok... so the last few weeks have been rough. Not only have I been covered up with school work, I also got sick, and I'm still fighting off the last few germ-stragglers... cough cough. Anyway, God has put something awesome in my life, as well! Just over a month ago, a complete stranger (who also happens to share a dorm with me) added me as a friend to her facebook. That stranger was Michelle von Readen. We started messaging back and forth, since I'd seen her around the dorm, and now we're dating! She's made the last few weeks so much more bearable, and I attribute my recovery from the illness to getting to see her beautiful smile every day. We've been meaning to get some photos together, but she said we should wait until I feel better. My blog has reached a point of stagnation, since I haven't updated since the stone age, but I'm coming back, with a renewed commitment! (yeah, right!) But, in all seriousness, I hope to keep updating this thing more, so that anyone interested can once again see what's going on up here *points to head* on the emotional, philosophical, and logical level. For instance, Friday and Saturday, Michelle and I spent the whole day together. That never gets old!

One really important issue I'd like to address here concerns events that are to occur tomorrow. My cousin Melanie is going back to have her second tumor removed. I'd really appreciate your prayers for her, as well as our family as a whole.

Thanks a bunch!

Hoping to write again soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

My Wife

Ok. Today I was inspired to write a poem about my wife. I know what you're thinking: "Greg, you crazy poet... You aren't married!" Well, I know she's out there somewhere, I just don't know who she is yet. We may even already know each other... Crazy to think that she may be right under my nose! Well, anyway, I wrote the first part of this poem to God, and the second part is, in part, to my wife.

If you actually are my wife, and are reading this years after it's written, please keep in mind, sweetie, that I'm really tired right now, and just had to get these thoughts on the page... so some of the rythm may not be exactly right. But also keep in mind that I wrote it because God's preparing me for you every day, so that we can build a successful family, and glorify Him. I'd also like you to know that I already love you.
Ok. Enough mushy intro stuff... lets get to the mushy poem! :-)

My Wife

This is a prayer to my God and my King,

and I have to ask just one little thing.

I know that there’s someone alive for me now,

and that we will meet someday or somehow.

But I am now filled with an innermost wish

to seek out my wife and, in love, find bliss.

I pray that if that should depart from your plan,

then give me the strength to arise as a man.

Tomorrow or later I know her I’ll find,

but today take this troubling out of my mind.

But, if it is now, God that I should be seeking

then I thank you for giving me the need of which I’m speaking.

To the one I am meant for, I pray this one prayer:

That she knows, when the time is right, I will be there.

That I’ll love her forever, and never look back

even when the photos of youth are beginning to crack.

I pray that she’s looking for someone like me,

so that we can find one another and, together, be free.

We’re happy apart, and together, elated.

What God binds together won’t be separated.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Greenzap update!

Hey guys, I just wanted to let everyone know that Greenzap is now open for business! You may remember an earlier article where I discussed the website allowing pre-registration. Well, now, you can register and USE it! As I understand, you still get the $25 bonus cash just for joining. Basically, it's a way for you to pay people for services rendered on the internet (think paypal). They also plan to allow real-world spending of your money through a greenzap MasterCard debit card. If you use this link to sign up, I'll get some bonus cash, and you still start out with any bonus money offered.

Remember, when you sign up, you're helping me out, just like when you click my advertisements!

Here's the link again, just in case you missed it:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Back In Black... er... uh... Maroon.

Hey all... I know I haven't updated in about 2 months, so nobody probably reads this anymore... but I got discouraged with it when my adz started doing Public Service announcements.. Not sure what's up with that, but I don't get paid for those... anyway... So yeah, my cousin Melanie has another tumor and is probably going to have to go to surgery again. Please keep her in your prayers yet again. I'm kinda lonely, and really miss my dorm buds, but I've got ppl like Kim, Donna, and Christine that are keeping me at least somewhat chipper. I'd also like to let you all know that I'm quitting my adderall prescription. My mom says I should just use it when I need to before exams. My smoking habit is getting better. I'm down to about 3/4 pack a day (from 1-1 1/2 during the schoolyear.) I'll be quitting before school starts, I hope. A lot has happened, and I have to get ready for work now. I'd love to hear how all of you are doing, so comment, or IM me! Laterz all! :-)