April 16, 2008



I'm a big believer in having piles of neglected things gathering dust. Therefore, I'm nominally signed up on that Twitter thing. In practice, it'll get updated perhaps slightly more often than the blog, which is sort of like saying one midget is slightly taller than another.

I figure it'll still be handy to note things to follow up on later, and also to send coded messages using the agreed-upon ciphers, as I'll be able to update it via phone texting. For instance, if I find myself in a certain situation, I'll be able to thumb in "spleen" as an update, and certain parties--who know they are but not necessarily others who know who they themselves are, and vice versa--will know that it's a call to immediately activate their roles in the Omega Contingency Plan, with said order unable to be countermanded. And so on.

I'll follow up on one important note right now. I got pointed at the Muxtape site awhile back, which is probably one of those things the RIAA has some junior attack lawyers currently being starved in cages while being poked with sticks while effigies of it are waved just out of reach, in order to give them the proper motivation. It's a neat little thing, vaguely akin to something like Pandora or last.fm, only with a complete random walk model instead of any sort of recommendation engine. My piece of the effigy, which is an unsurprising random grab of metal and bulldada (if "Banging in the Nails" doesn't put a smile on your face, well, I'll miss you when I'm in Hell later, but not terribly because SubGenius Hell is that sort of place).

But what caught my attention about the place is in the Terms section. You have your usage restrictions--you shouldn't be able to put multiple songs from an artist or single album up on your mix--and "not in the face, not in the face!" CYA fictions like users agreeing to obtain permission to let muxtape use anything they upload. That's all expected and not noteworthy.

But the very last sentence of the terms is, "Muxtape is alive."

And I'm creeped out by this. It's not really the sentiment itself. I mean, sure, it's allegedly just your standard Web 2.0 The Machine Is Us/ing Us buzzwordy bullshit, which will look pretty quaint and staid right about...well, right about now, but also in a few years when that'll be the majority realization too, just like the belated realization that dotcoms weren't actually ushering in a totally different new kind of economy that's rewriting all the rules. (The attentive student of history will realize, from these kinds of belated realizations, that the popular portrayal of mankind as a sentient species is actually just a marketing lie.) That doesn't worry me. I expect to see such statements in "about us" sections and vision statements and whatnot.

But it's in the Terms. It's in there as a mandate. As a base given. It's like a EULA, that by reading you automatically accept, an oral contract. You agree that Muxtape is alive. But what kind of life is it? Have you seen the internet? Have you psmelled it?


posted by Gar @ 11:21 AM

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