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Showing posts from February, 2007

'iTunes forensics' detects plagiarism

A Gramophone critic was surprised when his copy of iTunes identified CDs by the late pianist Joyce Hatto as being by other modern pianists. Each disc of hers he fed his computer was identified as the same works but recorded by a different artist. Sonograms of the Hatto recordings and the differently-identified versions were compared and found to be identical. Gramophone broke the news, prompting a confession by Hatto's widower, William Barrington-Coupe, who had issued the ostensible recordings of his late wife.

According to Barrington-Coupe, he only used parts of the other artists' recordings to smooth over bad takes. However, iTunes, or rather the Gracenote service iTunes uses, identifies CDs by a complex hash of attributes including the ID String embedded by the presser, as well as track numbers and durations. For obvious bandwidth reasons, it doesn't sample the actual sound on the recordings so there's no way it could have 'heard' and identified a different p…

Getting It Done?

As someone who has worked at many jobs in which it is part of the job description to be interrupted incessantly, whilst at the same time having, as part of the same job, work that needs careful planning, reflection and sustained concentration to execute correctly, I've had many problems with the usual time-management approaches. Most of them seem to have been conceived in some middle-management Utopia back in the '50s, a place where everyone has an office with a door, the closure of which was sacrosanct; a time before email, pagers, cellphones and Blackberries; a society where "getting up in someone's face" was a social crime rather than a standard business strategy.

That said, you can't let your life be run by random events and dropping everything to work on whatever the customer who shouts the loudest wants. You need some sort of system, and I've found the system popularized by David Allen, which he calls by the arcane, obscure name of Getting Things Don…