Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where is Music?

Introduction:

This article is about criticism of music in Tamil cinema and may explore some reasons behind that. You may think who is this guy to criticize the works of music directors who proved themselves on the silver screen or the music taste of others. Well, every dog has its own day and every man has his own say. If you are a “normal” person who feel offence with criticism, then stop reading this article now.

Trends That are Sick

Re-mix, rap, kuthu and plagiarism are the latest trends in Tamil cinema. I feel so sad to see a music director winning awards for a film in which, all the songs are plagiarized. Some argued with me that if the songs are nice to hear, what is your problem. The problem is like winning a painting competition with a digital photography. Why these people carry titles like “music director”, “composer” etc? The only sane title will be “plagiarist”. There may be influences from existing music but not to the extent that one may end in confusing the real song and the copied one.

Techniques or Technology

Now-a-days techniques are traded for technology. Music directors synthesize some instruments and sequence them without any musician really playing anything. In some cases this goes to the extent that the sequencing is done in ways that cannot be played in the original instruments itself. It may be cool when done occasionally. But it has become chore in Tamil cinema. Yesterday I happened to hear “Vinnai thaandi varuvaya” movie songs while on cab. Believe me, that is the first time I heard the songs loud and clear apart from the faint sounds heard from mobile phones. Just one word “nothing”. Phaser, synthesizer, regular chord formulas and other such not so great things is all what I heard. Some may like the song. Liking is different, quality is different. In terms of quality, technologically advanced and “technically challenged” songs are bullshit. But this is the country where cow dung is worthier than human blood.

Choice of People

I have seen people buying MP3 collection disks labeled “Vijay hits”, “Ajith hits” etc. I really wonder. These heros seldom compose music/sing/play instruments/write lyrics. But why people are buying audio tracks where the heros are not involved by any means yet labeled by their names? Favoritism is all they care about. Not the content. For a X's fan, all Y's songs are “waste”. But the same guy will hear the same song thousands of times if his “hero” had acted in that. The other thing is people like “kuthu” songs. These were good when we heard them less frequently in Deva's music. I am a big fan to some of the songs. But where is the difference? Where is the lyrics? Where is the stuff? When we board buses for long journeys, we have to bear these headaches for hours in a stretch.

Truth

Tamil cinema industry value worthless noise over music. To play a riff with 16th notes at 144 bpm is a tough job for an instrumentalist but not for computers with GigaHetzs of clock speeds. If “pleasant to hear” is all we need, then we are not far away from days where we can imagine our own music. There will be some future technology enabling people to record music directly from mind. Whom you will value? A person who climbed on Everest or another one who produces his photo on Mars with Gimp? Choice is yours. But now you know who I like, right?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blow The Cloud Off

Introduction:

Cloud computing has been promoted by many big corporations. But the cloud computing is a way to enslave us and steal our freedom from us. Let us see why going cloud is bad and even disastrous with time.

Have You Noticed?

Have you ever noticed advertisements relevant to your mail message displayed in those popular web mails? Have you ever noticed videos suggested using your previous choices? Have you ever noticed forced surveys/tool bar installs/accepting terms & conditions/ads displayed before accessing the page for "free"? What they are doing? They are controlling what we do by dictating us. They are forcing us to spend times on advertisements. And more than anything else, they monitor what we do! Whatever we read, whatever we write, everything is monitored.

An Example:

Dan writes an email to his friend about the movie he saw yesterday. He uses some swear words on the makers of movie and outlines the plot. Next day he receives two mails. One for abusive language and another for copyright violation. Because they can read your mail. But they will also earn by means of you. They will display an ad for that movie while you type it and while your friend reads it. But they want both of you jailed for the "crimes". Already things like this are happening.

Are We Law-abiding?

How many of us know that saving mp3 files ripped from a CD which we have purchased is illegal? A university student has been sued for writing a search engine for his university network, which some other students used to share music. The record companies demand millions of dollars for this from the student. It is illegal to carry songs not purchased via legal mp3 stores in mobiles and ipods. It is illegal to send an mp3 to your friend via Bluetooth. It is illegal to sing a song without a performing license. How many of us know and submit to these laws?

Are We Comfortable of Being Watched?

Imagine. A person sitting opposite to you and staring at your lunch box all the while you eat. Will you be comfortable with that? Then how are we comfortable while sending a romantic love letter to girl friend via web-mail services which read our mail, our IP address (and hence current location), our girl friend's account details (and hence her location) and suggest hotels and florists relating our locations?

I recently read a news about a voice to text company using real humans to convert the user's message to text. Are we comfortable in disclosing a personal note to someone sitting in a call-center?

Freedom:

We are unnoticed as we live without a "big brother" watching and dictating us what to do and don't. That will not be available if we live under the cloud. The light of freedom can not penetrate this "dark" cloud. For example, two of my friends (both of them had fight earlier) just saw that I'm in touch with both when my Google account automatically turned on the "buzz". Now both are not talking to me! Is this connecting people? Privacy is gone. My freedom to cheat them both for a cause is gone!!!

Yahoo said mail is “free”. I opened an account. I left the account idle for few months. When I logged in again, they gave me two choices. One is to get a paid-premium account and the another is to forget all my mails till that day and start over new. Is this free? Will this be the case if the disk is mine?

What We can Do?

I am not Richard Stallman to suggest to boycott the cloud or like applications. But I suggest to use them but never give them a chance to tweak in. Keep everything backed up in machine. Don't let them stay in a server, miles away and feel safe. If your account got locked out or hacked, it is gone! But with an encrypted hard disk, you can be sure that your data will be safe even if some one steals your machine. Use a mail client (Evolution is my choice) and by this you can use the web-mail service but can still avoid on screen ads. Set privacy level as rigid as possible in social networking sites. Use anon-proxy-servers (only at home) to browse websites (not during logging in to web-accounts).