Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Coldplay: Used to Rule the World, and Write their own Songs

Recently, guitarist Joe Satriani filed a lawsuit against the band Coldplay, claiming that the popular band had stolen one of his songs.  Coldplay has refuted the plagiarism claim. While Satriani's claim seems meritorious (check it out here), it is also questionable and superfluous to some extent. 

First, he claims that Coldplay's song, 'Viva la Vida', uses the same chord progression as his song, 'If I Could Fly' . So what?!  There is only a finite number of possible chord progressions that are actually listenable to.  How many "hit songs" have used a 1-4-5 chord progression? This progression is the basis for nearly every  song  Green Day has recorded, and is at the foundation of most popular music.  Musicians are bound to build of off other musicians' songs, either developing slight melody variations, or by writing their own lyrics. If Coldplay did borrow from Satriani's song (they might never have even heard it), 'Viva la Vida' is still unique, at least by definition of the word. 

Second, what does Satriani hope to gain from this lawsuit?  The acknowledgement that Coldplay ripped him off?  This would seem to be more of a compliment than anything else.  Does he expect to receive royalties from the song?  How exactly would that work out?  Satriani did not pen the lyrics to the song, nor is he responsible for the extensive play the song has received.  Most of the song's popularity is derived from the band's past success; it is popular simply because it is Coldplay's latest single. 

Joe Satriani may have a valid claim against Coldplay, however, this lawsuit seems to be overkill to some extent, and may end up being little more than a publicity ploy for the comparatively unknown guitarist. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Today's Sign of the Apocalypse

Admittedly, things are looking a little gloomy for the global perspective.  Terrorism has devastated Mumbai, stock markets have been plunging around the world, and people are still searching for Britney Spears on Yahoo.  Not to mention the fact that the open seas are being marauded by pirates!(Arrrgh, where was the pirate booth on career-fair day?! Pirate sounds way more fun than lawyer.) 

In addition to all that doom and gloom, I heard that Apple has now recommended that users install anti-virus software to protect their Macs from malware.  What!?! Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Mac (aka Justin Long) chide PC (John Hodgman) that "Macs don't get viruses"?  

Apple even went so far as to recommend MULTIPLE anti-virus packages. Imagine the elegance, fluidity and grace of the Mac interface being utterly sabotaged by Nortons or McAfee.  Isn't the freedom from anti-virus software and their imperviousness to malware one of the reasons why Apple can (and does) charge a premium for their computers? 

Presently, Apple has retracted the statement, but the damage is done and the seed of doubt has been planted.  Adam O'Donnell of writes "People who believe that the fundamental design of Macs will prevent them from being an attractive target for viruses are dead wrong." 

It has been suggested that Apple is laying a marketing foundation for when they conveniently release their own anti-virus package.  This would be smart in a business sense, but definitely a little shady too.  

Maybe this is just Apple realizing that their computers aren't perfect, and that the hackers and the people who write viruses are getting more and more creative.  Ultimately, Mac users will be the ones left to decide what level(s) of protection they need.  

Maybe it isn't the end of the world.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Do you Yahoo!? I Hope Not

Yahoo, the search engine that is quickly becoming nugatory in the wake of Google, released its list of the top search queries for 2008. 

Surprisingly, Barrack Obama was NOT the number one search; he finished a measly third.  Who, or what, could possibly have been more important to generate a greater number of searches than Obama in 2008?! 

Wait for it...Britney Spears and WWE (yes, World Wrestling Entertainment).  Obama finished third, followed by the endlessly annoying Miley Cyrus (its Miley!), and the online game Runescape (which I have never even heard of before) as the fifth most searched-for term.  

Not only is this list indicative of the misguided priorities of  people who actually still use Yahoo!, but it concerns me because it reveals that there exists (somewhere!) a large group of people who think that Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and professional wrestling are the most pressing topics of the day.  

Or, maybe these people are so enlightened that they do not need to search for other, possibly more significant information, but instead have enough time to log-in to see whether Britney "did it again"[she did], or whether HHH is still kicking ass in WWE [he is].

[Google has not yet released its top searches for 2008, but Spears and the WWE did not even make an appearance on the 2007 Zeitgeist ]