How not to compete with free

So I'm a bit late, but I wanted to grab the latest Decoder Ring album. Logically, I started at their site, which certainly talks about the album. With no link to somewhere it can be purchased.

Next step Wikipedia to find out their label is "Inertia Music". Google that and find their site, search for Decoder Ring. Bingo, there's the album. Click to buy it and go through the registration rigmarole (here's a free tip: move the registration bit to after the credit card entry part and you'll convert more people). Get a download link and the problems begin.

zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/01_DECODER_RING-SAME_OLD_PARADISE.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/02_DECODER_RING-THE_HORSE_AND_THE_HAND_GRENADE.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/03_DECODER_RING-ALL_THE_STREAMS_HAVE_LITTLE_GL.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/04_DECODER_RING-THE_INLAND_SEA.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/01_DECODER_RING-SAME_OLD_PARADISE.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/02_DECODER_RING-THE_HORSE_AND_THE_HAND_GRENADE.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/03_DECODER_RING-ALL_THE_STREAMS_HAVE_LITTLE_GL.mp3 zip warning: name not matched: /home/inertia/public_html/downloader/jquri3df12cgbr8e24496f84v6/04_DECODER_RING-THE_INLAND_SEA.mp3
Moved Temporarily

The requested URL has moved here.
Apache/2.2.3 (Red Hat) Server at Port 443

Download the linked zip file, helpfully named which is a real aide memoire when it turns up on my desktop.

Unzip the included file and I get 9 tracks. Checking back on the site, there's actually 17 tracks on the album. Whoops. Looks like I've got only just over half what I paid for. Nice.

It gets better. The tracks are all dumped in the same folder and are all named IN UPPERCASE, helpfully truncated at 47 characters so track two becomes 02_DECODER_RING-THEY_BLIND_THE_STARS_AND_THE_W.mp3 Filename: 02_DECODER_RING-THEY_BLIND_THE_STARS_AND_THE_W.mp3. Brilliant, but I assume there's metadata inside the file that gives me the full name, right?

No ID3 Tag

That is just shockingly poor form. This means I have to manually go and find out the track names and enter them myself. The competition, torrent sites and the like, provides this kind of thing for free! So when I go and spend my hard earned on the legal alternative that gives some money to the musicians, my expectations are that I get at least as much as I would get for free!

PS: I'd prefer lossless audio like FLAC, if you want my real preference.

Louis is growing

Louis playing

It's about time I gave an update on our son Louis. He's doing great, putting on 200 grams a week for the last two weeks and growing 3cm since his birth. All that growth requires a lot of food, which means Holly has been getting very interrupted sleep as he likes to eat at night and sleep through the day.

When he's awake, he's getting more and more interactive, exploring his environment and developing his senses. The changes we see day-to-day are quite amazing, and it's quite exciting observing it.

We've taken a load of photos since we've been home, so check them out.

Welcome Louis Anthony Rumble

Louis and Holly straight after birth

After a long and quite painful birth, Holly delivered our son Louis Anthony Rumble on Thursday 30th September 2009 at 22:53. He was 2.7kg (5lb 15oz), 48cm and all the bits in the right places. And absolutely gorgeous!

Yesterday morning he had a little episode soon after we got into our post natal room. Holly woke me up saying he was a funny colour and sure enough, he was what I'd describe as aubergine. I pressed the emergency button they have in all the post natal rooms and cavalry arrived and took over, reviving the little fella. He's been in the neo natal ward for observation and, all going well, will be back with us today. Apparently these blue episodes aren't uncommon in the first 24 hours, particularly when they come early (3 weeks and a few days early).

Holly's pretty exhausted and sore, but is doing very well. Louis being in the neo natal ward has actually given us both a little bit of time to catch up on much needed sleep. We'll need it in the weeks ahead!

Holly and Louis will probably be in hospital for a bit yet, particularly as Holly needs to slowly step down the blood pressure meds under observation. It'll give us time to learn the rhythms and needs of the new addition to the family, and to get the breast feeding thing right.

Thanks for all the wishes being sent from all corners of the globe! We're absolutely thrilled at our beautiful little boy, and can't wait to bring him home.

Rollercoaster ride: birth imminent

Holly, very pregnant, 23rd September 2009

Holly and I have had a bit of a rollercoaster ride the last six days. On Friday she woke up with a headache in the early hours that stayed with her until it was time to get up for work. On her visit to the midwives at the RPA Birth Centre the previous day, her blood pressure had been a little high and she'd been told to look out for the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. A call to the birth centre and the midwives told her to come on in.

When we got there, sure enough her BP was high and we rested for a while in one of the birth rooms. After some hours, we were moved up to a room in the post natal room, Holly's headache hadn't improved and tests showed some signs of pre-eclampsia. The cure for pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby, which meant a slightly early baby: 35 weeks, which means most of the development is done, so not too bad.

As it turns out we've spent the last six days waiting around with Holly being closely monitored and eventually stabilising. Her BP is stable and at a level to satisfy the doctors, the various blood tests have yo-yoed a bit so that yesterday one went up when it had been falling. Holly's got no headache and seems to have got used to the zonking effect of the BP medication. Last night we even went to our already-planned "Natural Birth" class, though our birth is now unlikely to be particularly natural.

The constant expectation that it was all gonna kick off fairly soon has been pretty taxing, and now that Holly's feeling good she's getting antsy about being in hospital all this time. One doctor even suggested she might be able to come home this morning, though subsequent blood tests seem to have put the kibosh on that.

So we watch and wait. The course of pre-eclampsia is usually a downward progression until the doctors insist on inducing birth. The longer we can safely put that off, the more our little Shlomo will get to cook inside. It's highly likely we'll have a baby by the end of the week: both an exciting and a somewhat terrifying prospect.

Thanks for all the support we've received from friends and family. Apologies for any of you who've wanted to visit that it hasn't been possible. Holly's pretty knackered from the drugs she's on, so I've been keeping her pretty quiet.

I'll be updating progress on Twitter at Note you don't need to sign up to Twitter to read this: you just have to bookmark that page and go to it when you want updates.

Guide to the government's insulation rebate

I've built a site that's a guide to the government's home insulation rebate programme. My aim is to provide a fairly quick and simple guide, given that the government site is all full of legalese like "the Owner-Occupier or Beneficial Owner of the dwelling" and so not the easiest thing to read. Most of the other information is from suppliers, so can hardly be thought of as impartial.

I'm also looking to target specific topics of information that are underserved but have a large ecosystem of Google AdSense advertisers, to see what kind of returns you can expect from it. Given how targetted this can be, it's looking pretty good so far.

So check out Insulation Rebate Australia if you want to learn about the rebate.

Get a response from your local member: be rude

Yesterday I sent a rather terse and rude email to my local state member, Carmel Tebbutt complaining that I'd received no response from my email sent last December. It seems being rude helps! Does she not realise she sits in a Labor/Green marginal?

Response from the minion came two hours later. Success? Well, we'll see when the RTA gets around to this.

Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2009 12:36:26 +1000
Subject: Fwd: Wilson Street and Erskineville Road intersection
From: Simon Rumble <simon@removed-to-fend-off-spam>

In December last year I send the message below to you and have received no
response.  I know that being a NSW ALP member keeps you busy accepting
bribes (sorry, donations from developers), doing your factional bastardry,
jockeying for position so you can be premier next month and having sex
scandals, but perhaps you could at least get a minion to send the usual
dismissive and condescending response?
This bike lane is now over two years old, and the RTA still haven't bothered
to give the people who use it a safe way to cross the intersection with the
traffic lights.  It seems to me that there's going to have to be a death
before you'll do something.  At that point, I'll remind you of my emails.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Simon Rumble <simon@removed-to-fend-off-spam>
Date: 2008/12/16
Subject: Wilson Street and Erskineville Road intersection

Hi there Carmel.  I trust you're well.

I'd like to see if you can achieve some action on a very dangerous
intersection that I cycle through every day.  Back in mid-2006, City of
Sydney completed a handy contra-flow lane for bicycles up the piece of
Wilson Street between Macdonaldtown Station and Erskineville Road.  It's
a really handy and safe shortcut for cyclists heading towards Newtown,
Marrickville and the like, and I see tons of cyclists using it.

The problem is that the RTA still haven't installed a bike traffic light
at the intersection between Erskineville Road and the Wilson Street
contraflow lane.  So instead of having some indication of when it is
safe to pass through, cyclists have to guess when the signal is right
for them (as they can't see the oncoming traffic's signal) and wing it
through the intersection.

It might be reasonable for the RTA to take a little while to get around
to this, but it's now one and a half years since this facility was
built!  Does someone have to die before the RTA fixes it?

If you'd like to see the intersection I'm describing in action, I'd be
happy to meet you nearby and go through the problem.

Kind regards,

Simon Rumble

What is it with recruiters?

Why are all IT recruiters:

  • English? Almost every one of them.
  • Completely unable to communicate in any method other than the telephone?
  • Unable to accept any format other than MS Word. Even for Web and Linux jobs?

I don't get it. My theory on the last two is that they're mostly not very good at computers, hence their career choice of leeching off those who are. Why their all poms, not a clue.

There are some honourable exceptions to this, but they're thin on the ground.

Anyway, I'm after work. Interesting web stuff. Copy writing. Integration. Production. Freelance, contract, permanent.

My new blog: Informed consumer

I've regularly thought about the imbalance between consumers and companies providing services. Having worked in telecommunications, it's really obvious. We have whole teams of people sitting around working out ways to confuse people and make our products impossible to compare. The number of otherwise intelligent people who will swear that their phone is "free" says the techniques work.

My new blog, Informed Consumer, aims to explore this area. The tricks and techniques used to confuse and prevent meaningful comparison, and some ideas of what the authorities can do to enable meaningful comparisons.

The aim is to get the ideas of openness in regulated industries onto the agenda. We've seen how easily big businesses can roll our governments with the Grocery Choice and FuelWatch debacles, so I'd like to help them on these issues.

With Grocery Choice, the arguments of the supermarkets should have been tackled head on, thrown back at the supermarkets. "The data will be out-of-date as we change prices in every store multiple times a day" should have seen the response "so you manage to distribute this pricing information to the checkouts, so you guys are kinda experts at this". "The information won't be meaningful" should have been answered "well work with us to make it meaningful, or we'll impose something on you." Industries that aren't scared of meaningful competition won't be scared of this approach.

So have a read of Informed Consumer and jump in! Those of you who've complained that I don't have comments on this, my personal blog, will be pleased to see I've got comments on this new blog.