Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Listening In On The WikiWorld 

Scavenged, snipped, and reworked from an email to my father. Because it was blogready, blogrelevant, and plenty linkified...and because it's good Coulton karma.

...The song "Ikea" is downloadable at Jonathan Coulton's website, which I also recommend for the oddest cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" ever.

I'd generally include direct links to the songs themselves, but Coulton prefers that you visit his page, not just pass along the link. That's partially because he makes these songs available by a Creative Commons licence which allows them to be freely downloaded and traded...but he does ask that, if you like the songs and have some cash, you consider donation in response. And you can't send a donation to an mp3.

Incidentally, Coulton specifically encourages his listeners to consider word-spreading, especially via blog, as donation. Thus, by passing this song to both you and Christina in the past week, I've actually paid him back for his music. It's an interesting post-digital economic model which semi-surprisingly realizes cash profit long-term; Cory Doctorow uses a similar premise, though in his case he doesn't want donations; he's happy to let folks buy books if they want, and seems to be solvent as a result.

It's a pay-what-you-wish potlatch world, I guess. Proof that the anti-mp3-trading folks have got their economics wrong, if nothing else.

More about Jonathan, who is the official Contributing Troubadour of Popular Science magazine, at Wikipedia. Who knew Popular Science had (or indeed needed) an official troubadour?

And the offer for company if you descide to wander out to the new Stoughton Ikea store still stands. It's my kind of place, actually -- all-consuming "nation-as-packaging-frame" commercialism at its most proto-phenomenological. And I'm curious to see exactly how identical the new Stoughton store is to the New Haven store -- supposedly, the storespecs are identical down to the last rivet, as if each Ikea store was a macroversion of the shelving and furniture they've made cheap and famous. Wonder if they deliver the stores in impossibly-heavy flat boxes of component parts, just like our coffee table, couch, and shelving?

...In other and very-much related news, the Eliza Gilkyson song we heard on the radio last night -- the one I was trying to think of this evening on the phone --is, according to, "a surprise cover of World Party's 1993 hit "Is It Like Today." (See, I knew the word "world" was in there somewhere.)

The original song got some minor radioplay when it first came out; both Darcie and I recognized it, and she's not much of a pop-musicphile, so it must have been popular enough to stick in our ears all these years. Also possible the song crept into our audio-favor at one of Gilkyson's Falcon Ridge appearances, of course, but I recognized it as a cover song immediately, so the original must be somewhere in the grey matter.

You know I'm a cover nut, so I'm hoping to burn a copy of Gilkyson's Paradise Hotel when we next come in...but if you're feeling like a challenge tech-wise, I'd not object to you digitizing a copy of the song and sending it along as an email attachment...with the caveat that, if you copy it in iTunes, it will end up in a format that I cannot hear without iTunes, which I still cannot install on my laptop because it remains locked administratively, which in turn is merely because I have yet to be in school on the same day as the right technician, and won't be, at least until February.

That is, iTunes will "rip" the CD songs to iStuff-only format UNLESS you specify that you want to make a copy in .mp3 format. Tricky to push iTunes to do that, though. Fastest would be to use your PC-provided MusicMatch software to mp3-format the song.

Okay, that sounded technical even to me. Never mind, I guess. I can wait a couple weeks.

...Interestingly, while the subjectively-obscure Coulton has a full wikipedia article, wikipedia's entry on Eliza Gilkyson consists of ONLY a discography (given the user-created nature of Wikipedia and the general interest of those users, it makes sense that Coulton would get wikified first due to his net-slash-techgeek cache).

Wikipedia refers to Gilkyson's sort of entry as a "stub", meaning it is neither complete nor truly connected to other entries which might mention it. The Wikipedia entry on stub says:
Stubs are articles which have not yet received substantial attention from editors of the Wikipedia, and as such do not yet contain enough information to be truthfully considered articles. The community believes that stubs are far from worthless; they are, rather, the first step articles take on their course to becoming complete.

If you ever want to feel like you've made your mark on the web, adding value to Wikipedia is very satisfying. Or at least I've found it so. If you're there, check for the user "jfarber" (or just cheat by clicking here) to see three of the more recent additions I've made to what is increasingly recognized as a real and valid resource of some significant value, despite the esoteric and (in my opinion) media-overblown "danger" of the wiki-as-resource phenomenon we've discussed before.

Possible trivia tidbit which would help connect Eliza Gilkyson's entry to the rest of Wikipedia, incidentally, is that her brother, Tony Gilkyson, is/has been guitarist for the L.A. punk band "X". Even odder: Tony got his spot as a replacement for Dave Alvin. Amazing how much smaller the world grows each time I go online.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:25 PM |

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