As an amateur music fanatic, I was amazed by the difference technology has made in today’s music, from the actual sound to the marketing. Since the release of iTunes, music has turned into the singles market, where an artist will be forced to release a good single before his/her album for anyone to actually buy it. And most of the time, that single will be the most popular song for that artist, over-passing their entire album in sales. There will also be something I call the chain effect, where an album has one hot radio song after another. For example, during Kanye West’s album, Graduation, the first hit song was “Stronger.” It erupted all over the world, rocking the Billboard and iTunes charts. Then, it was gone, surpassed by the next song in the album, “Good Life.” This carried on for maybe a month until “Flashing Lights” got the green light. Finally, “Flashing Lights” was surpassed with the last hit song of his album: “Homecoming.” There were millions of people who at first bought the entire album, owned each and every song, but only listened to the songs that were hot on the radio and publically. This is one of the ways Apple’s music store makes all of its cash, with people buying albums with extra songs that no one will necessarily listen to.

The last phenomenon that really stuck me was the “one and done.” After listened to about 10 times an hour for a week, a hot single vanishes, and loses its reputation. It will almost guaranteed not to be played continuously again on the radio nor in someone’s earbuds. Before, a song would be played at a lesser rate, but over a long period of time. A great example of this would be the Rolling Stones. So because of this one and done craze, Apple can make crazy amounts of money just by supplying all the hot songs and advertizing them when they are hot. And after the single has been in a sense wasted, it will rarely be played again, sitting in the back of someone’s music library unnoticed, and Apple will end up with their well-earned ninety-nine cents. 

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The Art Of Chain Mail

July 29, 2008

As the web, the greatest communication portal ever constructed, continues to flourish, email made its mark in hundreds of millions of people’s lives wordwide. And what has started as a simple one line text message relayer, email has now become so flexible you can send almost whatever the heck you want to anyone’s address you want. And because of this, email has been one of hackers and identity stealer’s greatest assets. But almost as bad, however, is the ever-growing art of — yes — chain mail. You’ve seen it. You’ve deleted it. But, if your gullible enough, you’ve probably been fooled by it. As a 13 year old, I get about two chain mails a day or more in my spam, and (since I like to think I’m not very gullible) I delete them. But interestingly enough, they come back. This is because other people who fell for the chain letter and put down their email address. The sender is getting more success, so he sends more chain mail. And according to my study (which you will here about later in the post) he will then send out the money bags. 

I have encountered many different kids of chain mail, two in particular. The first, which you probably have seen if you are a emailer, is the most common of chain mails — the multiplier. When it reaches you, it will probably have over 1,000 followers of about the same age as you. If you are a young teen…the mail will probably start out with the name and email of the person who forwarded the email to you. He or she will have to be someone with your email address, so it will probably be someone you know. Then, below that, there will probably be a message on on a topic that is supposed to be either tempting, gut wrenching, or anything else that will make you interested. For me, the message almost 90% of the time is something relationship centered. It will start on with a really cheesy story of a couple where one cheated on one, or one didn’t pass on a chain mail, or one did something like move to Greenland. Then they break up, who ever cheated or didn’t pass it on gets stung by killer bees or someone gets fired or the girl turns out to be Mr. T, or Kimbo Slice and beats the heck out of the guy. Then, you have to scroll down for suspense, and another message appears. This is guaranteed to be some sort of threat about how if you don’t forward this to 10 more people, you will get bad luck, you will have some sort of relationship problems, or you’ll get beat up. Sadly, as retarded as this sounds, people actually find themselves to believe that if they don’t forward, all those things will happen. And because of this, the ten people that they send to will most likely be you. 

After maybe three weeks of the chain mail going on, the original sender will look over an updated copy of the email with maybe, 3,000 or 4,000 emails on it. Now, this is where the sender makes his pay. He could, using the IP, name, and email one of his gullible senders, hack their computers, take everything on it, and then plant a virus. As one of the people who have witnessed something like this live, you can put the above sentences in consideration before you plant you name and address on a random email. But the second, non lethal thing that he will try after the original chain mail is something called the pyramid, which was mentioned as the money bag method earlier. 

This method is primarily used on adults, but I have seen it pulled off with kids, too. The sender, now with about 10,000 addresses, will (for example) send an email to 5,000 of them saying that the DOW will go down the next day. Then, to the other 5,000 how will send a similar email reading the DOW will go up the next day. He will make all his emails look like they are only written to each and everyone of his recipients, so the recipients will not suspect this is a massive chain letter. Then, the next day, the sender will look at the Wall Street, see how the DOW did, and then to the 5,000 letters that were correct, he will split them in half and repeat the same method, for instance claiming that Apple stock will go down. He will repeat until he has about 100 email addresses who have gotten correct information maybe, 10 or 11 times (I’m not in algebra yet, so spare me). Then he will send emails to all of them claiming either he is magic or more likely, he is an inside man who knows how the stock will favor every single day. Then he will entice the 100 people, and then offer to give them a detailed description of how stock will go every morning for an entire year — but for the price of $50,000 dollars. In an ideal world, he will probably get about 70 of those people to give him the money, then he will disappear to Brazil and live off of his cash there. 

Although this seems, far fetched, this has happened numerous times. My point? The next time a chain mail comes you way, think twice about where your information will be going.

Yes it is, but is it worth it? With all the new features including an actually good game (what a concept, Mr. Jobs) some of those cool things that you got when you “unlocked” (a nice way to say it) your old iPhone, you can now get with your new one. And, after every update, apple’s IT guys are making it harder and harder to hack the iPhone. I currently have 2 friends that have successfully hacked their old iPhones, but are a little scared to unlock their new ones in fear that apple will catch them in the act and not let them update! Now if  I was lucky enough to get an iPhone, would I take a shot at it? No. I (as well as my buddies) would be scared to not update it, or worse — have it crash on me. So if anyone has successfully hacked their new 3G and are reading this, please feel free to brag to me via the comment bar below. Thanks, and happy unlocking, tech bloggers. 

Mobile-Me Mayhem

July 18, 2008

As a die-hard Mac user and bleeding edge software enthusiast, you might have expected me to jump for joy after my .mac account was automatically updated to the Mac’s new push software called mobile-me (if you’re a Windows user, just Google it). But instead, I was enraged. First off all, it’s app logo looks like a 1st grader drew it,  but more importantly, I have absolutely no use for it. As an outdoorsy kind of guy (I spend most of my weekends in the snow), I have no use for the new 3G, which would die within 3 days of my clumsy lifestyle. So my phone is what I like to call a Razr (if that’s how the folks over at Motorola like to call it) on steroids. It has the same interface as the Razr but it is coated with at least an inch or two of armor. It is the fattest phone I have ever seen, but I love it. Anyways, I just hate how apple just assumes all of their users are semi-rich 30 year-olds (at least), and signs them up for stuff that requires them buying the iPhone. But the worst part about Apple’s new creation is that if you aren’t signed up for it (and paying a hefty $99 a year), you can’t connect to other .mac sites, including yours. I haven’t been able to see any of my Apple friend’s web sites (including this good one) , which really is a shame. Finally, you can get this push email software for free with a lot of other companies that (sorry Mac) can do it better. Even if this mobile-me thing is actually helpful, (which many people have tried to convince me that it is) I would LOVE if the next time Apple asks you if you want it or not. Sheesh.