Steve’s Media Blog

Archive for November 2008

Okay I admit that Oprah’s Christmas music this morning was a bit of a let down.  Good news though that I forgot about another source I found this week: K’Naan is offering a free download of his song “Somalia” from his upcoming album “Troubadour”.  Check out his website to get it.  You can also go to his myspace page to hear the first single “ABC”.  K’Naan comes out with some good stuff, so definitely check him out if you haven’t already.

Before I get to the latest GNR scandal, I just wanted to thank AlphaInventions.com Networking for some site traffic yesterday.  The site was created by Cheru Jackson, and gathers the latest blog posts and shows them to you in real time.  The site layout could use a little polish but the concept is neat and it works.

Moving along.  Guns N Roses is in the news about Chinese Democracy again – but this time they’re threatening legal action against Dr. Pepper.  As you know, Dr. Pepper promised a free can of soda to every American (no Canadians – damn!) if Chinese Democracy was actually released in 2008 – which it was.  The Dr. Pepper website wasn’t quite equipped to handle the bombardment of Americans clamouring to get their free soda, and quite a few people were disappointed.

According to Axl Rose, the fumbling of this publicity stunt “ruined” the release of Chinese Democracy.  The band is seeking a public apology from the company through newspaper ads, and additional time for Americans to claim what is rightfully theirs – a free can of Dr. Pepper (oh, and apparently, monetary damages).

Right now I’m picturing Dr. Pepper running a publicity campaign where they “feign” an apology in local newspapers and create more buzz around their product.  I’ve heard conspiracy theories surrounding a GNR/Dr. Pepper

I know, I know, it’s Oprah…but don’t worry, you can just download the music and not worry about the cover art.  It doesn’t look like a bad selection, either.  I just figured that since we’re at the end of November, a good selection of Christmas music would be great.  (Don’t worry, this is the only Christmas music I’m linking to this year)

Follow the link for Oprah’s Holiday Hits 2008.  Honestly, it’s worth it just for Tony Bennett’s I’ll Be Home For Christmas.

Bukisa

Posted on: November 27, 2008

I’m on a roll today I think.

Just got word of a new site – similar to ehow – where you upload content (or knowledge) and get paid for it.  For every 1,000 page views, you get paid a certain amount known as the Bukisa index.

I’ve written one article already – nothing special, but something I thought would be beneficial to some.

It’s a new site, so there is plenty of opportunity to write unique stuff that isn’t there already.  Check out Bukisa when you have a moment.

I had to get this one off my chest – I was only thinking about it because I’m in a writing mood, and I am thinking about finances.  Moving along, the reason I borrowed this book from the library (good thing I only borrowed it) is because I have been on a kick about reading personal finance books in an effort to improve my money situation.  This one came along because it was flashy and sounded like it had promise – or at least not a dry read.

A Million Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionare Before (or after) Turning Thrity by Alan Corey is the book.  See?  I told you it was flashy.  I probably should have realized from the title that it was going to be a lot of sensationalism there and there wouldn’t be much substance to the book.  Good news for Mr. Corey: his title worked and I picked up the book.  Unfortunately for him, I didn’t buy it.  1-0 for me, I believe (though when you realize I linked to both his book and his website, I guess that makes it 1-1).

The write-up at the back of the book should have also given away what kind of read it was going to be.  See here:

At twenty-two, Alan Corey left his mom’s basement in Atlanta and moved to New York City with one goal in mind: to become a millionaire by the time he was thirty. His parents and friends laughed, but six years later they were all celebrating his prosperous accomplishment–at a bar Corey owned in one of Brooklyn’s hippest neighborhoods.

No, Corey didn’t climb the corporate ladder to build his fortune. In fact, he worked the same entry-level 9-to-5 job for six years straight. But by pinching his pennies and making sound investments, he watched a pittance blossom into a seven-digit bank account. In A Million Bucks by 30, Corey recounts his rags-to-riches journey and shares his secrets to success.

I won’t deny that his is an interesting and quasi-well told story, but I maintain that beyond the story telling there is no substance to this book.  Beyond having a stated goal in mind (become a millionare by 30) and proving that determination trumps all, Corey has nothing to offer in this book beyond faint hope.

His tips in the book are generic ones – and he himself admits that living on ramen noodles for three months isn’t the best solution for everyone.  Seriously, that’s how he saved money: he lived on ramen noodles for all his meals.  I will admit that some of the tips are OK – but only OK.  He bought a playstation so that he could avoid going out once or twice a week.  Big investment up front for saving money (though honestly, I would probably go for something used and older because otherwise the money he saved from going out every week would probably equal what he spent on the playstation).

In general I feel that the book is more of an autobiography than a helpful finance book.  Particularly because most of the reasons for his success rely on pure luck: a big real estate agent liked the property that he and his partners renovated.  He got himself on TV a bunch of times (the subsequent appearances weren’t luck so much as a result of the first few times).  He lucked into finding a bar with a sour owner looking to sell.  He lucked into a book deal.

I find that he also glossed over several things – he didn’t take the time to explain all of his methods.  I grant that would make the book a little drier to read, but I think it is a bit silly for him to suggest that other people can make millions if he can – except that he doesn’t want you to know exactly how he did it.

Like I said, I won’t doubt that his determination definitely help drive his finances into the million mark; but his lifestyle is not for everyone and his methods aren’t for everyone.  How comfortable are you about flipping real estate?  I know I’m not.  He has good ideas for things that worked for HIM, but maybe not for everyone else.

Listen, I would avoid this as a helpful guide to your finances.  If you enjoy reading success stories, it’s not bad though.

I remember about a year and a half ago (or longer – I am not positive on this one) I downloaded Paul McCartney’s latest album.  It was nice, it was okay…it wasn’t anything special though.  Not like I was expecting anothe Beatles album – I’m not stupid.  But it wasn’t really my style of music.  A little too light and poppy for me (even though I do like pop music, but usually not the light stuff).  So of course my ears were pleasantly surprised to hear Paul’s latest work in his collaboration with producer Youth: The Firemen‘s third album, Electric Arguments.  You can listen to it the same place I did: on myspace.

The first track, Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight is a little misleading for the album as a whole – and it actually reminded me of later Beatles music.  But overall the album does have a sort of pop sound but I don’t find it nearly as off-putting as I did Paul’s solo album I’m talking about (I don’t even know the name of it, to be honest).  It sounds though like a mix of U2 and something else that I’m not sure of; but thankfully the U2 elements aren’t prominent, or else I would probably have stopped listening (there’s some U2 news after the review, actually…does that make me slightly hypocritical?).

The album has a good mix – as mentioned it does get a little slow after the first track, but picks up at Highway.  I am very happy that Paul McCartney teamed up with a producer because otherwise I could see some of these tracks as being a lot less interesting.  The production is definitely noticeable on this album, and it adds to the enjoyment of it.  My enjoyment, at least.

I like to rate albums based on what situation I would listen to it.  Unfortunately that rating system depends highly on the type of music.  Most of the time though, I use the car as a good measure.  Could I listen to this in the car?  I think so, but not on a road trip.  This would be something I’d listen to while puttering around the city.  That’s still pretty good, though, because there’s some music that just won’t set foot outside the house – and that’s bad (sometimes).

After listening to the album on myspace, I can say with 100% certainty that I will acquire this album – either purchasing it at a later date or getting it for Christmas, whichever comes first.  Either/or would work for me.

***

I mentioned there is some U2 news.  We know that Via Rail is busy staring at its navel deciding whether they want to launch their own music downloading service, but Bono has announced the launch of a DRM-free music service of his own.  It’s called (RED) WIRE, and will cost $5/month, launching in December.  The proceeds of this service will go toward “the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.”  Quite a list!

And to clarify, it’s not going to be exactly the same as something like itunes or napster or whatever.  The service will offer an exclusive song from a major artist every week, as well as a smaller artist and “other content”.  And according to exclaim.ca, U2 is on track to releasing their album No Line On The Horizon in February.

Now that I’m feeling dirty enough I should mention something that excites me a little bit more than Bono and U2: No Doubt announced touring and a new album in 2009!  I’ve been waiting for this for a while since I heard the rumours a couple years ago.  Great stuff!  There is also word of Guns N Roses laying down a lawsuit on Dr. Pepper, but I’ll have more on that tomorrow after Friday Morning Free Music.

A lot of blogs have “LinkFests”, but today I’m having a small get together.  Just a couple of things I wanted to gloss over today.

First bit of news to me was that VIA Rail wants to offer a music download service.  The Exclaim.ca article really sums up my reaction as well: “WTF”?  It doesn’t really make any sense.  At least they’re not actually going forward with it yet – they’re looking for “expressions of interest”.  I don’t know – if they’re not sure that they actually want to go through with this, maybe they really shouldn’t?

Second bit, and my personal favourite.  Scientists are now closer than ever to make the same mistakes as Jurassic Park.  When I first read this last week, I pretty much had to laugh.  Not because of the accomplishment; but because the only picture I had in my mind, was, of course, Jurassic Park: When Mammoths Attack.

I will grant that they’re saying they MIGHT be able to bring back “characteristics” of it, not that they are going to bring an extinct creature back to life.  But, here’s some of the article for you:

Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemistry professor and co-author of the new research, said the early findings suggest it’s only a matter of time before the complete sequence is obtained, raising the possibility that an extinct species could be brought back based on its genetic material.

“It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?” said Schuster. “I would be surprised to see if it would take more than 10 or 20 years to do it.”

Well, at least they’re thinking along the lines of Ian Malcolm.  And more sad news: because dinosaurs lived in a much warmer climate, it’s not likely that any of the cool ones have specimens left in Siberia’s permafrost.

The method used by the researchers isn’t likely to be applicable to older creatures like dinosaurs, however, because whether the DNA can survive the rigours of thousands of years depends in large part on how undisturbed the specimen is by the ravages of its environment, [University of McMaster anthropology Prof. Hendrik] Poinar said.

While the relatively unchanging permafrost of Siberia is capable of preserving specimens as old as 100,000 years, the time of dinosaurs was much warmer and the land mass they lived on was closer to the equator, unsuitable conditions for permafrost.

That means we won’t be seeing Jurassic Park any time soon, said Poinar.

Damn.  We can dream though, right?

Don’t really have a post today beyond “metablogging” but here we go anyway.  It affects you if you read this blog, so it’s probably some useful information.

I’m going to put some more structure into the blog; already I’m giving you Friday Morning Free Music every Friday, so I thought I’d add some more “special” days to the week.  To go along with Friday Morning Free Music, I’m going to make Thursdays my day for music reviews.  That’s the minimum anyway.  On Thursdays, the first thing I’ll do before anything else is review some music.  Note that it does not have to be new music but it’s new to me.

That’s all that I could put together for now, but that seems to be enough for me.  The rest of the week (Monday-Wednesday) will be a mixed bag of interesting links, media-related stories, etc. while Thursday and Friday will be devoted to music.  I like the way that works.

I’ve got a few links to talk about but I’m going to have to put those off until tomorrow.  I’m busy working at the moment (shh, don’t tell them about this blog)!