I was looking around on YouTube and started finding a few songs which have been covered by other artists. Sure, it’s great to hear average people with great voices cover songs but it’s also interesting to hear a celebrity sing a song other than their own (by celebrity I mean an established artist who has generally reached fame and status). It’s always intriguing to hear a song sung by someone else with a different sound so I thought I’d put them all in a post for anyone else interested in hearing a few song covers! My favourites are definitely the Paramore cover of Kings of Leon, Green Day’s cover of Queen and definitely Michael Buble’s cover of Maroon 5 (listen to it!).

Paramore cover Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
Absolutely love this version of the song. I’m not sure what it is but I’m not a big fan of Kings of Leon at all (not a big fan of their sound for some reason), something about Paramore’s cover really helped me enjoy the song a lot more…

Guy Sebastian covers Miley Cyrus – The Climb
He does a pretty good job, as is to be expected by the brilliant voice he has!

Daughtry covers Lady Gaga – Poker Face
It might not match the original but I still enjoyed this acoustic version!

Green Day covers Queen – We Are the Champions
I enjoyed this! It would have been amazing to be in that crowd…

Michael Buble covers Maroon 5 – This Love
Definitely not as good as the original. Please – listen to it at least until the second verse, it becomes brilliant!!!

Mandy Moore covers Rhianna – Umbrella
Totally different sound when Mandy Moore covers this song. I’m not a big fan of either version but it was interesting enough to include here.

Katy Perry covers Sam Sparro – Black and Gold
Not a big fan of either song but thought Katy Perry did it quite well.

Those self serve checkouts appear to have their downside! Took this photo taken outside Coles a short time ago (faces have been blurred for privacy). All self serve registers down!

Computer glitch

A lesson for all - computers hate you. (Click image for full size)

Technology does like to mess up on you at the worst possible time. The lesson here is: be ready to have to live without it at some point!

The Coles here actually was doing quite well with what looked like all actual registers manned by a employee. My wait time was totally non-existent despite it being peak hour. Very good job Coles!

I generally think these self serve machines are a good idea, apart from the fact it seems like everything in the store is still the same price. Why am I paying the same amount of money while having to serve myself? Surely everyone who uses the self serve checkout should get a slight discount.

Just saw this video of Steve Nash’s “Top 10 Assists” on the NBA site and just had to post it here. Some of the assists are just awesome! He has to be my favourite player in the Suns at the moment 🙂 Some of those passes remind me of Benji Marshall and his flick passes in the Wests Tigers (my favourite NRL team!).

One thing I’m often criticised for/questioned about is my reluctance to download pirated movies, music and games. I don’t download movies, music or games illegally. I don’t accept copies of pirated items and avoid watching copies of movies or playing copied games with other people whenever possible. This often frustrates, annoys or even offends some people. So today I thought I’d try and explain myself.

I’ll use movies as an example. Imagine you’ve just bought a new movie. You think it’s a great movie and lend it to your friends. They watch it and give it back when they’re done. Having purchased the movie, you’ve generally got the right to do this. It’s your DVD and you have the right to share it with others. After watching the movie, a few of your friends buy a copy or tell their friends who buy a copy or rent it at a video store. It works out well for all parties.

Isn’t borrowing a movie from a friend the same as downloading it off the internet? I still haven’t paid for it.
Personally, I don’t see it as the same thing at all. It is like saying two brothers who get into a fight is the same as World War 2. Sharing digital media on the internet is free distribution on a global scale. When you download a movie off the internet, you aren’t borrowing it, you are receiving your own copy with no idea of where it came from originally. Lending a movie to a few friends is different to duplicating this movie for anyone who wants it around the world.

What if I delete it straight after I watch it?
Sure it’s slightly better than a collection of pirated movies but it’s not without its issues. How much money did everyone involved in that movie get from the 3000 people who all just watched a copied version of one purchased DVD? Even still, how much money did they recieve when the first person who uploaded the DVD didn’t actually purchase it but stole it from a pre release version of the movie which only producers are supposed to have?

The movie studios make enough money, what does it matter if I download a movie or two? They shouldn’t make it so expensive.
Firstly, how do you know how much money each movie studio makes? Some smaller studios in Australia need to rely on government grants just to produce a TV series. Surely all that money they made from previous series would be plenty to fund the next one right? Well apparently not just as Roy Billing, one of the actors from Underbelly points out here,

“contrary to popular belief, actors are not all earning millions. Some of us do very well, some of us just eke out a living — same as in every job. But, like the life cycle of a movie, our income has many streams, unlike an average job where you get paid one wage for the job done. Those extra income streams from the movie or TV show’s initial release to DVD sales or online distribution, make the difference between working for peanuts or getting a fair whack for what we do.

Similarly the production companies that employ us rely on those income streams to make a profit, which can then be channelled back into other productions.”

So do you decide which movies you download based upon the wealth of the movie studio and/or actors? Or do you use the wealthy studios excuse for all downloaded films? (I would like to point out I don’t agree completely with Mr Billing, he believes ISPs should be held liable for illegal downloads, I don’t believe that but that’s a topic for another blog.)

Sure – some movie/tv/music/game studios charge too much or keep too much of the profits, but why does that make getting their work for free okay? How does that help actors and artists? Punishing the whole team for the wrongdoings of their bosses? What if the actors’ payslips relied on DVD purchases? Would you go into a top range clothing store and steal just because you disagreed with the prices set by management?

I don’t see the morality in taking something for free just because I disagree with how the profits are distributed or because I think they’re earning too much. If a group of people have spent months creating a piece of work for your enjoyment, why not pay them what they ask for and support them continuing their work further?

Is piracy really stealing? I haven’t taken it from anyone really.

I do want to point out that downloading movies isn’t really stealing in the usual sense. Piracy allows you to copy their work while the original is still left in possession of the store/owner. As i’ve pointed out above though, I don’t think this makes it okay.

Imagine you spent months on something, be it building a house, designing a piece of clothing, coming up with a brilliant recipe, inventing something amazing, coming up with a unique marketing strategy for your company, designing and developing a new website… pretty much whatever you can think of which falls into your expertise. Imagine that within days of releasing this piece of work it was copied almost exactly and given out for free to everyone and anyone. How would you feel?

I’m all for free movies, music, games… whatever but only if it is authorised by the artist or creator and if they are happy with what they are recieving in return.

Update: Just came across this article which says that:

“A study into Internet piracy by a Paris-based consultancy published on Wednesday showed that 1.2 million jobs in the European Union could be lost over the next five years if more is not done to clamp down on illegal downloading.”

I don’t know anything about the validity of this study or how it was conducted but it’s just food for thought.

Note: I’ll likely update and refine this post when I find better ways to explain my thinking. Feel free to discuss your thoughts and suggest ways for me to better explain this all 🙂

Saves Watts logo

Saves Watts logo

Givoogle (for every search they donated money to charity, see my earlier blog post about it here) appears to have been shut down by Google “Don’t Be Evil” Inc. The Givoogle founders have set up a new site which is slightly lame now.

The new site which has been set up, Saves Watts says the following:

“WAIT! What happened to Givoogle? After raising $6,569.89 to fight cancer, Google’s lawyers shut down the site, which, they said, was in violation of Google’s terms of service.

We faced a dilemma – what to do with the more than 1 million monthly Givoogle visitors who want to save the world through searching?

We can’t raise money for charity, but we CAN save energy – SavesWatts has a black background, which uses less energy than white.”

It’s the weirdest replacement site idea I’ve seen for a while. Bit of a stretch. Why not just supply a new theme for Google which switches the colour? Why do you need a new site for that?

I’ve just added a new commenting system on my blog called Disqus – http://disqus.com/. I was looking for a way to thread comment replies correctly and then decided just to add Disqus and get a huge range of new functionality!
So now:

  • People can reply to comments already posted on my blog
  • You can log in using your Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo or OpenID to post comments
  • “Reactions” where you’ve posted a link to one of my blog posts on Twitter will be shown underneath the comments

The one thing it seems you can’t do is post comments using your WordPress login? I could be wrong but it seems like it doesn’t recognise when I’m logged into the site, so I’m guessing it’s not totally integrated… maybe there’s a setting I need to change somewhere…

Anyway, if people could post comments just to let me know if it’s working or not, that’d be great!

UPDATE: I’ve removed Disqus because it wasn’t linking as I’d expected it to with my WordPress site (new comments weren’t appearing in the latest comments sidebar area, they weren’t being put into my WordPress comments at all. They just get saved on Disqus instead). Instead, I’ll just have to implement threaded comments manually in WordPress but will need to adjust my theme for that and don’t really feel like doing that right now…

The new album - The Light and Shade

The new album - The Light and Shade

It’s the first entire album i’ve listened to from start to finish for quite a while, which is already quite an achievement in an age of iTunes single song downloads! I do come into this with a bit of bias as a huge Jaywalker fan, i’ve gone to one of their shows (very disappointed I didn’t get a chance to see them on their current tour for this album) and interviewed Jase, the lead singer, during my year as an editor for Vertigo. He’s a great guy, really genuine, humble, passionate about music and a lot of fun to talk to.

With high hopes and expectations for the album, it definitely started out at a disadvantage though. The first play through left me a little unsure of whether it truely got even close to my crazy expectations.

I was slightly caught off guard at the change they’d made to ‘Hold On’ which had become ‘Faces of February’. It’s a song they’d played live at a gig (the song was on YouTube) in rememberance of the Victorian bushfires but was adjusted to have a new chorus. After about a day though, I had the new version stuck in my head and definitely saw the improvement, both to the song as a whole and the true meaning behind it.

In fact, not only was ‘Faces of February’ stuck in my head but other songs also would come and go on playback in my head, ‘Little Universe’, ‘Famous to Me’, ‘Green Light’, ‘Finest Hour’… My love of the album grew quite quickly as I realised there were actually only two songs I wasn’t a big fan of (the two final songs of the album).That doesn’t happen often for an album, especially for me! Usually for albums I get one or two songs that stand out and get stuck in my head and then have to wait for a new album to come out to find other stand out songs from the artist. I’m kind of picky that way!

‘The Light and Shade’ brings a nice mix of songs about inspiration, perseverance, celebration, personal growth and looking to the future. It has a great variety of sounds and styles – just as I started to think it was all sounding a little similar, ‘Famous to Me’ started with a guitar sound that reminds me a little of Santana! As a guy living way too much of his life on public transport seeing the same people day after day, I totally related to the song too.

‘Little Universe’ was an unexpected favourite for me. It’s got an energy and sound which took me by surprise. Love the song and think it would sound awesome live!

‘Lost in London’, ‘Hard Times’ and ‘Sure Feels Good Tonight’ were three songs I’d heard many times before the album came out. ‘Sure Feels Good Tonight’ was my favourite Jaywalker song so far. As most albums go, I was expecting these to be the best songs on the album, but the new songs definitely hold their own and were brilliant in their own right! It’s become hard to choose a favourite now.

Overall, I’d give the album about an 9/10, it’s definitely a great album which i’ll be listening to for quite a while. If you haven’t heard Jaywalker’s music, definitely check them out (their myspace is here, their official site is here). They’re currently part of the “Breaking New Artists” promotion by Sanity, HMV and Virgin Music stores, so hopefully I’ll get to hear their music on the radio soon!

My new year’s resolution was (and still is) to get out there and push myself out of my comfort zone. I want to do things I usually wouldn’t do and have an interestingly different year full of stories to tell. This push outside of my comfort zone can be simple things i’ve always wanted to do but always put off for one reason or another, or it can be random things I wouldn’t even think of doing usually.

I’ve had quite a different year already and have done a few things which qualify for the “outside of the comfort zone” title. However, there is a limit to my current comfort zone pushing abilities – my imagination. Sure I can say yes to new things that come my way and do things i’d usually avoid or put off, but waiting for these things to come up is really limiting what i’ll end up doing.

So, this is where you – family, friends, random visitor to my blog, zombie lincoln – come into this equation. I need suggestions, any suggestions whatsoever. Simple suggestions of things I may not have tried are fine, random insane suggestions are also welcome. Heights do freak me out though and are an exception to the anything rule, no suggestions like “jump out of a plane!” please, we’ll leave that to another year’s resolution.

To supply a suggestion, add it in a comment/reply below on this blog post (preferably with your name and email but if you really want to stay anonymous that’s slightly worrying but cool). I’ll be moderating the comments so suggestions won’t appear straight away but should appear at some point once i’ve read them. Brilliant ideas that I actually try will be put up on my blog for the glory of the person who suggested it.

And… go.

This is a spontaneous post right now. I’d wanted to blog about something, had no idea what to blog about and then this really irritated me enough to bring up a topic to discuss within a seconds!

I was enjoying watching So You Think You Can Dance clips on the Channel Ten website when I thought one was pretty good and decided to click an “I like it!” button I noticed below. It had 0 votes so far and I thought it definitely deserved more. The page I’m talking about is here – http://dance.ten.com.au/video.htm??vxSiteId=d9d2e1e6-3a8f-46ad-8803-45a79b957d70&vxChannel=Wk03SundayPerf&vxClipId=2305_sytycd310-cutvseg8&vxBitrate=700&vxTemplate=Dance_2010_Main.swf&vxClickToPlay=false

To my irritation, the link went to a new page asking me to sign in, getting completely out of the video I was watching while it was playing. Going back just took me to the first video I’d watched, not the one it had left. I now understood why it had no votes. I’m not an expert in web design and usability (yet) but I sure know terrible design when I see it. Don’t change the page when your visitors are watching a video. For all you know they could have spent 30 minutes on dialup downloading that (in fact one of my friends upon hearing my story said that something very similar occurred to him involving the loss of a Biggest Loser clip he spent ages downloading from Channel Ten on dial up). Thank goodness I’ve got ADSL2!

The button and Matt Lee making a funny face.

The button and Matt Lee making a funny face.