Sean\’s Sicily

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Scribefire not working?

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My friend Daniel reports that Scribefire has broken WordPress. Seems ok to me, right?

In other news, I’m debating whether I should bet on McCain winning the election.  Sure, everyone babbles about how they love Obama, but as the BBC is pointing out, it wouldn’t be the first time a black politican had trouble turning polls into votes.

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Written by seancasaidhe

October 20, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Blogroll, Politics

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Alitalia and CAI

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How’s this for a laugh?  In March, Berlusconi kicks Air France/KLM in the teeth for daring to try to buy Alitalia, for Eur 139m, plus buying up all the available stock, plus taking on all the debt – all Eur 1 BILLION of it. 

Having knocked that one back, Berlusconi hands the job of finding a buyer over to the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo.  Intesa Sanpaolo duly report that, very sorry, can’t find anyone willing to take on this company, but here’s a consortium of Italian companies willing to put a billion euros into the company.  With conditions – that the Italian state take on all the built-up debt.  Remember, that’s 1 BILLION euro of it.

For how much?  Oh, about Eur 300m.

What a deal!  Cancel all the debt, grab all those airplanes and routes, for a piddling 300m euro? 

Along comes CAI, a consortium of Italian businesses, who suggest that if the government take on the debt, they’ll invest 1 billion euro in the new, debt free company.  And who ends up being in CAI? 

Intesa Sanpaolo.  Now how’s THAT for a conflict of interest???

The bank given the job of selling Alitalia tell the government it can’t find any buyers and recommends a plan to sell the company to itself for a knockdown price!

So the unions reject the deal.  CAI walk away.  The Italians ask Air France/KLM if they’re interested, and what’s the response?

No, not now, not ever.

Why not?  Is it because Berlusconi is hostile to foreign ownership of Alitalia?

No, it’s ‘cos now Air France/KLM can get their hands on the company for a lot less by buying part of CAI!  They’be be STUPID to buy into Alitalia now, with all the conditions that have been attached, when they can share the spoils behind the scenes.

So now CAI is the only deal on the table, because all the foreign airlines aren’t stupid.

Unlike the unions who rejected the Air France/KLM deal and are now a lot worse off!.

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Written by seancasaidhe

September 30, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Vrooom

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Vrooom

Originally uploaded by sean.casaidhe

Damn I really need to blog more – instead of aimlessly surfing the internet at lunch, I need to get some blogs in 🙂

I mean, in the last few weeks I’ve been to a BBQ out in the country, watched timetrials for a rally, watched a local Palio in Cesaró, been to Marzamemi, checked out places for a reception near Catania… oh, and wrote a bloody big report for Open Uni (at least 2 hours every night! Thanks Sonia!).

Help, I’m too busy to blog!!

Also too busy for Flickr, I’ve taken several hundred photos and haven’t found the time to post one to Flickr!

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Written by seancasaidhe

September 9, 2008 at 11:58 am

Done, dusted, sent

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Finished mylast OU assignment and sent it off this morning.  Luckily the post office was nearly empty so I wasn’t even late for work!
My tutor said that I’d gotten the report down on the first draft – not sure if that’s really the case, or if he’s just worried that it’s getting a bit late to be sending it, and he’d rather I sent it, than sent a perfect report!
Fingers crossed!

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Written by seancasaidhe

September 9, 2008 at 11:45 am

Posted in Open Uni

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Who Controls Your Music?

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Here’s a small piece I wrote for an Open Uni assignment on DRM – assignment was to write 500 words to introduce DRM for a non-technical audience, giving at least 2 pro-DRM arguments and 2 anti-DRM arguments, plus a personal conclusion. Have to admit being heavily influenced by Mike at Techdirt.

Who Controls Your Music?

There are many who look on Steve Jobs as a post-modern messiah figure. The charismatic Apple boss not only tells you what you want, he is ready to give it to you in a beautifully designed Apple-embossed package. And he’s almost always on the money – iMac computers, iPod music players, iPhones – some of the biggest milestones in consumer electronics have had Steve Jobs pushing them.

So when Jobs predicts the end of digital-rights-management for music, music bosses sit up and listen. They should do – millions of people listen to their music on his products.

Jobs has a simple argument “music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none.” (Jobs, 2007). This cost with no benefit hurts iTunes, the online music shop run by Apple.

The music industry is also hurting, and the industry is blaming falling revenue on the sharing of music over the internet (IPFI Press Release, 2008). Music bosses are hoping that DRM will make it difficult to illegally copy and distribute music, forcing consumers to purchase their tracks legally. They claim that the ease with which music can be shared on the Internet is undermining the survival of the industry and the artists it supports (Variety Magazine, 2008).

Significant hurdles are in the way however – the biggest hurdle of all is that consumers are accustomed to doing what they want with their music. If DRM becomes widespread, consumers will have to change that expectation. Customers of iTunes can only play the music on a limited number of computers, and must use the iTunes application. The only compatible MP3 player is the Apple iPod. It has to be this way – how else can consumers be prevented from sharing the music with all their friends? (Jobs, 2007).

Apple also has reasons to resent DRM – it must maintain expensive infrastructure to support the DRM, and it must do so indefinitely – the web giant Yahoo shut a flagship online music-service and disabled the DRM-laden music of thousands of people who had bought from the store. (The company was forced into an embarrassing public apology and offered to replace any affected music with DRM-free copies.) (Masnick, Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers, 2008).

Against all this, the decision by EMI is superfluous. Steve Jobs – once a supporter of DRM – seems to have decided that DRM is a white horse, and he doesn’t want to pay for it anymore. Interoperability issues mentioned by Nicoli are a smokescreen to hide a basic truth – consumers are avoiding DRM-laden services and are continuing to find their music via file-sharing or DRM-free stores.

Perhaps Jobs the super-entrepreneur, has realised that the industry is operating a fundamentally flawed business plan – artificially limiting access to an infinite resource (Masnick, 2007). Recognising that DRM is dead, Jobs is hoping that 99p for 256kps is a more attractive deal than free tracks of dubious quality.

Bibliography

IPFI Press Release. (2008, February). Music Market Data 2007. Retrieved August 16, 2008, from IFPI:
http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/press-list-2008.html

Jobs, S. (2007, February 7). Thoughts on Music. Retrieved August 18, 2008, from Apple: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/

Masnick, M. (2007, February 15). Saying You Can’t Compete With Free Is Saying You Can’t Compete Period. Retrieved August 16, 2008, from Techdirt:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070418/031040.shtml

Masnick, M. (2008, July 29). Yahoo Offers Refunds Or DRM-Free Music In Exchange For Shutting Down DRM Servers. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from Techdirt: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080728/1455551813.shtml

Variety Magazine. (2008, June 4). Variety. Retrieved August 15, 2008, from Variety: http://www.variety.com

Written by seancasaidhe

August 21, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Damn Technorati

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Bugger, I seem to have lost all my favourites on Technorati! What the hell is the story with that site, half the time it doesn’t work, and when it does, it loses all my favourites!
Hey, maybe it’s because Technorati spells “favourite” wrong???

Written by seancasaidhe

August 21, 2008 at 9:25 am

New Blogging Software

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I’ve downloaded “Scribefire” for Firefox – hopefully this way it’ll be less hassle to write blogs when something occurs to me to blog about!

Written by seancasaidhe

May 11, 2008 at 10:56 am

Posted in Blogroll

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