Jean’s been away camping at Algonquin this weekend. During our thunderstorm, followed by our crazy wind storm, I realized:
a) I have no idea where we keep flashlights in this house. (Perhaps Jean took them all camping?) In case of evening power outage, I would just be stumbling around in the dark. Or playing with matches. (Fortunately, no power outage occurred.)
b) That if it was also happening in Algonquin, that would make canoeing really difficult. Since I did have power, though, a web search seemed to indicate that Algonquin was not in the wind warning region. Snow was a definite possibility, but winds were moderate.
Yep, the Internet is certainly great for finding out stuff. And for getting stuff. Like, I wanted to get a new audiobook for an upcoming trip. I went to Audible.com to see what I could find.
An aside: I used to be a member of Audible.com, but in recent years I’d realized that everything they had seem to also be available on iTunes. And cost less. But the Audible.com website it still a far superior place to go when browsing. It has categories, it has reviews, it has recommended lists. By comparison, shopping for audiobooks on iTunes really sucks.
After poking around for a while on Audible, I settled on Lori Lansens The Wife’s Tale. I wanted to read it anyway; it had great reviews; I thought Jean would also like it; it had a bit of a travel theme…
I did find it a bit odd that it wasn’t available in iTunes, but figured I’d just get it direct from Audible. I filled in the form, credit card number and all, clicked Submit… And was told I couldn’t have it, because I live in Canada.
Lori Lansens, of course, is a Canadian author. But apparently her Canadian publisher, unlike her American one, doesn’t want to bother making an audible version of her novel available. Sucks for me. But also sucks for her, because after ranting and fuming for a while, web searching to see if there was any other obvious way to get the Lansens audiook (not that I could find, and was surprised to that library audiobooks are sometimes listed as not available? I guess it’s part of the deal of them being free that only so many people can access them at once?), I ended up purchasing the audiobook Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked instead.
Then today I got to wondering if software existed that could create sheet music from a song on a CD. Because there are some songs I’d like to play that I don’t have the sheet music for, and I’m really not good at playing by ear.
I wasn’t able to find software quite like that, but I was able to find software that would take a MIDI file and “notate” that. So I downloaded a trial version of that. And then, in two clicks, I was able to find a free MIDI file of exactly the song I was wanting to play, even though it was a fairly obscure album track.
The software will take a little figuring out, but it’s fairly cool. It reads in the file intelligently, then allows me to make some modifications (add lyrics, hide the drum score). Now I seem to now have a pretty decent score of this song. Assuming I continue to like it, I’ll buy it once the trial period ends, as apparently my being Canadian does not prohibit me from owning this particular piece of software.
Though I don’t think it’s directly connected to this issue—I don’t understand it all well enough to say—the apparent randomness of what digital files I am permitted to access (even when willing to pay) nevertheless reminded of this post I that also read this week:
What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown — yet again — their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an invonvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists’ coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America’s copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.
There’s only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.