How iPods vary in price around the world

May 28, 2007

Brazil continues to be the country where iPods are more expensive than everywhere else. According to the Australian Commonwealth Bank, a 2 Gb iPod nano costs US$ 360 in Brazil and US$ 240 in India. The country where the iPod is sold at the lowest price worldwide is Japan with a price of US$ 147 passing Canada (US$ 154) which used to have the cheapest price.*

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Once again the proof of how goods are overtaxed in Brazil, resulting in super high prices that keep people from buying things they need/like and making them pay their bills through installment plans with skyrocketing interest rates.

*Source: Brazilian Newspaper “Folha de São Paulo”, May 23rd 07 [Brasil continua a ter iPod mais caro do mundo].

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Pandora off the air in most countries

May 11, 2007

Pandora is an Internet radio service launched in 2005, it allows you to enter a favorite artist or song and the service then matches you up with similar tunes and artists. Other services, such as Rhapsody and Napster, have similar features with their custom radio channels, but Pandora does it a little differently than most. Pandora is the offspring of the Music Genome Project, an undertaking designed to analyze music and determine what makes people favor a particular song or artist, and then match people with music they might also like.

Due to licensing constraints Pandora can no longer allow access to most listeners located outside of the US. Here’s what comes up accessing the Pandora web site from Brazil. Apparently only the US, the UK and Canada still have this service available to public.

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That’s really too bad because Pandora is/was a great way to listen to music you wouldn’t listen to otherwise and it does follow your tastes to a certain extent.

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Reportedly the music majors have put pressure in order to stop broadcasting in those countries where there still are no agreements on copyright licences. In the US there’s a law that regulates copyright on the internet and other digital platforms, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Pandora made agreements in the UK and is working in the same direction with other countries.

Now the Pandora web site is being restricted to listeners verifying the user IP address. Workarounds like configuiring the browser to access through a proxy that’s located in the US, or through sites that allow anonymous surfing are probably not worth the effort.

Farewell Pandora!

I find Last.fm (the social music revolution) a good alternative.

[Some geeky work-arounds for accessing Pandora from outside the US are described here]


Linux on a G4 Mac Mini – Let’s try Yellow Dog

May 8, 2007

Machine:

1.42 GHz G4 Mac Mini (512MB)

OS X is getting a bit slow at times, that’s why I thought of giving it a try with Linux installing both OS X Tiger and Yellow Dog.

There are several Linux distributions available for those Macs made before Apple transitioned to Intel processors (i.e. PowerPC Macs with G3 G4 and G5 processors). Linux distributions I’ve considered were Ubuntu, Gentoo, Mandriva and openSUSE. I ended up downloading Yellow Dog Linux 5.0.1 code-named Phoenix (from the TerraSoft website). This distro is free and its iso has 3.6 GB, I chose it because it’s the only one that’s made just for the PowerPC architecture and it seems to have a good support today and for the years to come].

Linux Distribution:

Yellow Dog 5

The Yellow Dog 5 is a Fedora Core, RPM-based distribution.
Download the .iso file (from the TerraSoft website) and burn it onto a dvd.

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If you are interested in the matter take a look at the TerraSoft site and here or here (in italian ->here).

How to install YDL and OSX (if you want to dual-boot Mac OS and Linux)

Step 1 – Back up your HD

Step 2 – Partition the Mac Mini HD [get out the gray Mac OS X Install Disc 1]

With Mac OS X running, insert the OS X Install Disc 1 that came with the Mac Mini. Run the installer from the disc and, when prompted, hit “restart”. The Mac Mini will reboot and load the OS X installer from the disc.
With the installer running, open on the “Installer” menu in the top left of the screen. Choose “Open Disk Utility”. From here we tell Disk Utility how we want to partition the hard disk. I have divided the 80 Gigs hard drive (real size is 74.5 GB) into 4 partitions:

3 volumes I have marked as “Free Space” (their filesystem – Format – will be specified during the Linux installation)

  • one of 2 GB for Linux-SWAP
  • one of 14 GB for Linux-ROOT [ext3]
  • one of 8.5 GB for shared FAT32 filesystem (for sharing files between OSX and YDL)

1 volume of 50 GB I have marked as “OS X” with the format “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”, which is the Mac OS X filesystem, HFS+.

Once done setting up the volumes as desired, click Partition on the lower right, and quit Disk Utility.

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You’re ready to install OS X onto the partition you just created (the 50 GB one in my case).

Now OS X is installed, you only need to insert the YDL DVD and restart the system and make it so it will boot from the dvd-drive (I think I pressed C, I can’t remember). The Yellow Dog installation menu will appear and you will be guided to choose how to manage the Free Space partitions you have previously created.

Once you have both OSs installed, when turning on the Mac Mini, instead of rebooting directly into Mac OS X as before, it will now load a bootstrap from which you can hit the letter “L” to boot Linux, or “X” to boot Mac OS X. By default (not hitting any key) it will boot the Yellow Dog Linux.

First impressions:

Yellow Dog is cool, but I prefere OSX

After a few hours of Yellow Dog I had not figured out how to fix the sound (I had no sound!!!). There are some tweaks you really need to look after and it can take ages to find out. Things can be slow on OSX but they are hassle-free for the regular user. My suggestion is: Keep OSX as main system, install Yellow Dog if you are curious but don’t expect it to satisfy your regular needs (sound!!!).

[I dropped the YDL partition almost a year later and took its space back for a fresh install of OSX Tiger, feels good!]


Marisa Monte – Universo Particular

May 6, 2007

An excerpt from the concert held in the Don Pedro Segundo Theatre of Ribeirão Preto (São Paulo) on April 29.

The show was definitely worth the wait in line for the ticket. Marisa Monte has a great voice and lots of talented people play in her band. She is awesome.

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Installing Skype in Ubuntu Edgy Eft

May 2, 2007

When I had Ubuntu up and running I was quite anxious to play with the new OS and customize it with my favorite apps. Some apps I was able to install via Add/Remove Applications (Azureus, Amule, VLC) quite easily, other apps I had to understand how Synaptic worked and read through the Ubuntu wikis.

The first app I wanted to install was Skype and here I describe how I did it hoping it comes handy to other beginners like me.

Installing Skype through Repository:

  1. Go to: System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager
  2. desktop-to-repository.jpg

    You will be asked for your system password, then a Synaptic Package Manager window will come up.
    This window shows the so called repositories which control the installation process and get the application packets from the Internet into the OS.

  3. From the Synaptic Pagake Manager window click Settings>Repositories.
  4. From the new window Software Sources select the Third Party tab and click Add.
  5. finestra-3rd-party.jpg

  6. Paste the following into the APT Line field:
  7. deb http://download.skype.com/linux/repos/debian/ stable non-free

    then click OK and OK again until you get back to the Synaptic Package Manager.

  8. Click Reload to refresh the repositories
  9. Search and Mark for installation the packet Skype, click on apply and keep going until the application is completely installed
  10. If all went right you will find Skype from the menu Applications>Internet
  11. That’s all!