Thursday, August 31, 2006

Top Ten Rentals to Avoid On a First Video Date.
#6: Freaks. There's something about this Tod Browning classic that will lead a woman to hate you and everything you stand for. After seeing this movie with you, she will call your parents and request that you be put somewhere where you will be of no further harm to yourself or others.

- from Ian Shoales' Perfect World

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

OK, let's recap the ongoing saga of This American Life's streaming policy. The world's greatest radio show was an early pioneer in making its episodes available over the Internet. For many years, I have enjoyed the streaming functionality (supporting the show through buying merchandise and the occasional donation (OK, once)). A few months ago, TAL switched from the Real Audio streaming format to streaming mp3 via the .m3u playlist format. This was great, allowing listening with a variety of programs, including iTunes. But apparently a lot of people realized that it was possible to download the mp3 file directly, and this ruffled someone's feathers (something like "contractual obligations" were mentioned), causing a shift to a gimpy, non-downloadable kind of stream which disables all the navigation features except for "play". Now comes a new development, announced in this exerpt from the August 24, 2006, This American Life Update newsletter:

If you've been frustrated with this summer's less-than-ideal streaming MP3 functionality, relief is in sight. We plan to introduce a new, user-friendly Flash player for our streaming files sometime in September; it'll reinstate all the things you've been missing (fast forward, pause, rewind,etc).

They are also going to drop prices of old shows from 4 bucks to 95 cents!

Here are a few early episodes which are not available as streams, but can be purchased through the iTunes Music Store: Episode 8 - New Year, Episode 11 - Enemies, and the irresistibly titled Episode 17 - Name Change/No Theme.

My advice? Snap up some of those cheap episodes before something even weirder happens!