Archive for February 12th, 2012
We got to the course and the race started. For the first lap we sat in the back and chatted. We came through the start/finish and crested the hill. Far off in the distance were two tiny specks. “Are those guys off the front?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “They’re gone. So much for this race.”
He looked at me funny. Without getting out of the saddle, he pushed the pedals harder. In a few seconds he had rocketed off the front, never getting out of the saddle or even appearing to exert himself. I watched him vanish up the road. He caught the breakaway, dropped it, and won the race so far head of the next finishers that it was as if he had been in an entirely different race.
[The line that really gets me is this one: “The world was going to look the way he wanted it to look.” I think that can be true for us all.]
Which is why my jaw dropped when I saw that VEVO, a property jointly owned by some of the biggest record labels in the world, was showing a pirated stream of an ESPN football game at its Sundance PowerStation venue last month — on no fewer than two televisions, and a pair of laptops.
First, some background. VEVO is a sort of ‘Hulu for music videos’ that’s owned by Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and the Abu Dhabi Media Group. EMI (which Universal and Sony are in the process of acquiring chunks of) has licensed its content to the site. Together, these labels comprise three of America’s ‘Big Four’ music labels — Warner Music being the lone holdout. And these Big Four make up the vast majority of the RIAA.
So when you hear about the record labels suing people, or trying to get ISPs to clamp down on users, or trying to pass legislation that could destroy the web as we know it — a lot of these people are behind it.
Why would VEVO pirate content? Because it was easier than getting it legally. This is the actual root cause of piracy online. It’s not shady, masked individuals at swanky events commandeering computers to pirate for the hell of it. It’s VEVO employees. It’s everyone.
[See this post. They’ve always had the wrong approach.]
It’s also worth watching to see whether Lin can extend the streak tonight against Minnesota. Only 17 of the 41 players had streaks that lasted for longer than four games, with many of the more marginal players dropping off the list.[Er, um, done:]But he still became the first player in N.B.A. history to post at least 20 points and 7 assists in his first four starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, while outplaying the flashy Minnesota rookie point guard Ricky Rubio. And he burnished his growing legacy at the finish, making the second of two free throws for the go-ahead point with 4.9 seconds to play as the Knicks, who trailed most of the second half, eked out the victory.[And next…]
Only five players had such a streak that lasted for six games or longer. Four of them are Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. The other was less illustrious: Lafayette “Fat” Lever.[Now, on the bigger picture…]…in hushed tones for gravitas: “When a player is playing that well, he doesn’t come out of nowhere. It seems like he comes out of nowhere. Go back and take a look, and the skill level was probably there from the beginning, it’s just that we didn’t notice it.”[This is something I’ve been teaching people for years. No one comes out of nowhere. No actor, no musician, no business. It just doesn’t work that way. Yes, you can win the lotto of life at times, but the odds are just that long. Almost 100% of the time there’s years of effort behind an “overnight sensation”.]For me, as an Asian-American, the chants of “M.V.P.!” raining down on Lin at the Garden embody a surreal, Jackie Robinson-like moment. Just as meaningful to me as a Christian, however, is the way the broadcasters have hailed Lin as not just the “Harvard hero” but the “humble Harvard grad.” His teammates appear just as overjoyed at his success as he was. Both seem to be testaments to his character.
In the midst of his stellar run last week, I couldn’t help but reflect on Lin’s journey. A Bible verse that he has cited as a favorite came to mind, encouraging believers that “suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”
[Linsanity? Best thing to happen to the Knicks in a long time. And maybe to a lot of folks who needed to believe.]
I would design a system that lets players play. And then I would design an identity system that reduces complete anonymity and records all the action of the game. Nobody wants to play with a cheater and a cheater will be on record.
[I like this idea a lot. It plays into my sense of simplicity and the natural world. I’ve repeatedly used this pattern in my life, writing music for the players rather than the other way around. In the end, rules must be embraced as a willful limitation and ultimately cannot be enforced.]