Blog Main Archive - Jul 2014

Posts Below
7/23/2014 - Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API (Music)
7/23/2014 - Finally launched Non24.Com today (Health)
7/27/2014 - Launched Non24.Org today (Health)

    Hide/Show:


   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   ↓ Down
Why I didn't release code using the Beats Music Developer API
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
05:22:39 GMT

Music

Here's why I didn't release any code which uses the Beats Music Developer API, despite the fact that I did make an unreleased, incomplete, but functional Beats Music-API-using add-on for my released JavaScript music player.

Basically, I can't stomach the idea of doing free work for a $3 billion dollar company, especially one owned by Apple. Even paid work for such a company would be morally difficult for me (see Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products for some reasons why) - even if I remained the owner and copyright holder of my code and could release it all myself under a free, libre, open source license.

Besides that, I didn't want to possibly imperil the copyleft of my JavaScript music player by releasing a Beats-Music-API-using add-on for it.


Also, on July 13th, out of curiosity (and, admittedly, temptation resulting from needing money), I asked Beats Music if people can get paid for writing software using their developer API.

Alas, I received the disappointing reply that that the public API is for use for non-commercial purposes, but that "If you make an application with a strong use case, we can forward you to our partnership group. They would then contact you about steps to becoming a partner."

Then, on Tuesday, July 15th, I sent this message to Beats:

Thanks for your replies! Some more questions:

* Do partners get paid directly by Beats Music, and if so, how much does Beats Music pay on average?

* Or, do partners make money in other ways?

* Do partners remain the owner and copyright holder of their own code?

* Are partners allowed to release their code under a libre/open source license such as the GNU Affero General Public License?

* How close is Beats Music to releasing a complete official web player?

* Is Beats Music willing to pay for outside developers' help with that, or a Roku app?

I love the API, and have been having a fun time playing with it these past few weeks (though I haven't finished anything releasable so far).

Thanks again for your answers!

[name omitted]

I was told my message will be forwarded to the partnership group and that they should be contacting me directly.

But, over a week later, I still haven't heard anything from the "partnership group", and haven't yet received any answers to those questions.

Which I guess is not at all surprising, because mentioning free, libre, open source copyleft licenses to a closed-source software company is probably like waving garlic and a crucifix in front of a vampire. :-)

Anyway, my guess is "partner" is probably a euphemism for "sucker", similar to how "royalties" should usually actually be called "pittances". :-)

And I'm guessing probably all the answers to my questions would have been very disappointing.

I wonder if "partners" only get paid in free pairs of Beats headphones? :-)


So, despite my financial difficulties tempting me to flirt with the idea - I'm almost certainly not going to do anything for Beats Music or which involves their API.

The API was fun to play with, and I learned a bit from doing so, but, it definitely isn't fun enough to justify subscribing to Beats Music, especially when I'm not even sure Beats Music's alleged audio problems (described in detail here and here) have ever been fixed.

And, as of July 23, 2014, Beats Music's official web player (version 1.11.1-rc3) is still extremely lame and feature-deprived, despite the fact that Beats Music bought and mostly shut down (except in Australia) the tremendously superior MOG streaming music service, which had a fantastic web player.

The only obvious new feature I noticed in the official Beats Music web player is that you can now access the "My Library" section on the web. But, other than that, it seems about the same as I remember it being back in January/February 2014.

Apple (which owns Beats Music) should be ashamed, for that and many other reasons. (Again, here's Richard Stallman's page on Why you should not buy Apple products.)


So, I'm soon going to move on to trying out Sony's Music Unlimited and Google Play Music All Access. (One at a time, of course.)

I suspect I'll probably find them both satisfactory. But, after over a year of not being able to fix MOG's few but still annoying problems because MOG didn't have an API - it was really, really nice to finally have the opportunity to use my own, totally customizable music player. I don't know yet if Sony or Google provide APIs for their music services, but I hope they do, because even if I love their official web players, I'd still much rather use my own totally customizable one, and I might even choose a service with a crappy official web player as long as it has an API.


Anyway, if I ever do go the trouble to create a really complete player for streaming music, I'm likely to explore how to start my entire own streaming music service.

Perhaps it's not as hard as I suspect. I gleaned from this discussion that Beats Music and MOG both stream music from a service called MediaNet, located at mndigital.com.

I most likely won't actually go the trouble of starting my entire own streaming music service, but, I've definitely been daydreaming about it, and if I had nothing better to do and didn't need money (or at least didn't need money sooner than I'd be likely to get it from starting my own streaming music service), I might really work on it. :-)


As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   ↓ Down


   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   ↓ Down   Up ↑
Finally launched Non24.Com today
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
17:30:30 GMT

Health

I finally got around to launching Non24.Com. For now, the most interesting thing there (aside from the intro blog post) is the Non24.Com Forum.

The name "Non24" is short for Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder, a physical problem I believe I might have. I haven't been tested, but, I think I probably have either that, or some other circadian rhythm sleep disorder.

The site's main topics are Non-24 and other sleep disorders, but, I thought that limiting it to just those topics would be too boringly narrow, so, a lot of other topics are welcome there as well, and even people with no interest whatsoever in sleep disorders are welcome there. See the Non24.Com intro blog post for more details.


I bought Non24.Com in November 2012 (and it was quite cheap because it was a new domain which I think had probably never been registered before), but, I've been so preoccupied with other things, I didn't get around to doing anything with it until now.

I was recently reminded of it because of the fact that last May, as a result of an error with my domain name privacy settings, someone managed to contact me out of the blue and offered me $1,000 for it - which I declined, since I actually think it's probably worth much more than that, and I always intended to get around to putting up an actual website there.

Besides that, I've noticed lately there have been ads about Non-24 on TV and radio. So, to my surprise, there seems to be a pharmaceutical company that probably thinks there's money to be made by trying to treat Non-24. Maybe they're right?


Anyway, the reason I'm surprised is because I thought Non-24 was supposed to be fairly rare, and I'm guessing probably most people with Non-24 aren't particularly wealthy, because it tremendously impedes your ability to do a normal job, or anything else that takes place at a fixed time. Also, Non-24 reputedly mostly affects blind rather than sighted people - and blindness is doubtless even more debilitating (and I'm guessing, probably more impoverishing) than Non-24 itself.

So if that pharmaceutical company's plan is to sell expensive drugs to probably poor Non-24 sufferers - I really don't know how much money there is in that.

But, in any case, I guess it's nice that my possible condition is now getting more attention than it used to. And it would be nice if a cure is somehow found - but, in general, I'm very wary and skeptical of pharmaceutical drugs.

I personally probably wouldn't risk taking a pharmaceutical "cure" even if it was offered to me for free. I'd much rather experiment with things like improving my nutrition, becoming vegetarian, exercising a lot more, making enough money so that I'm not continually full of anxiety, etc.

But, despite my wariness of pharmaceuticals, I would still probably not refuse to let a pharmaceutical company pay me to put their ads on Non24.Com. I'm not really a fan of the concept of advertising in general, but, ads which are clearly and obviously ads seem OK enough on an ethical level, I guess.

I'll just make sure to say somewhere, something like, my allowing an advertiser to pay me for ad space doesn't necessarily mean I approve of or endorse their product or claims.


Anyway, my chronic financial problems (among other things) drew my attention away from Non24.Com for a long time.

But, seeing that a wealthy pharmaceutical company is interested in Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder seems a major clue that perhaps doing something with Non24.Com might be more helpful to me on a financial level than I originally thought, and that there might be more people with Non-24 than I realized existed who could benefit from Non24.Com - so, that recently inspired me to rearrange my priorities a bit and finally get the site launched.

Hopefully it will help others as well (both with and without sleep issues) - even financially, since the Non24.Com Forum welcomes commerce and charity, as well as discussions about commerce and charity, among plenty of other topics.


A very apt, succinct description of Non-24 (which I found on this web page) is "perpetual, shifting jet lag". (But fortunately, if I don't have to wake up for anything in particular and can sleep at whatever times I feel naturally inclined, I feel fine, not jet-lagged at all.)

And here's an excellent much longer description of what it's like to have Non-24. I found it on CircadianSleepDisorders.org:

Mark's Story With Non-24

My experiences have been similar. I would actually go as far as to say that my sleep issues are quite possibly the number one top problem which ruined my life, above and beyond even my family's financial problems, and my former depression and continuing shyness.

I think my sleep issues either greatly contributed to or caused (directly or indirectly) most of what ails me.


If my sleep issues didn't interfere so much with my ability to do any normal job with regular hours, I wouldn't have had so many financial problems, and I probably wouldn't have been so depressed for much of my life, largely as a result of being tortured by continual sleep deprivation, and later, as a result of being oppressed by the many problems resulting from not having enough money, and from having far less ability (at least before I became good at computer programming) to make enough money than most people, largely due to my sleep issues.

Without my sleep issues, I even might not have ended up with so much social anxiety, because sleep deprivation makes me a lot more emotionally sensitive, and when you're continually so tired that all you want to do is go to sleep, it's hard to have or even enjoy interesting conversations or other social activities, or even think of much at all to say. It takes a huge amount of willpower just to drag yourself through the day when you're sleep-deprived. You can't think as clearly, and you can far more easily end up saying dumb or absentminded-seeming things, and if that happens often enough to you, it might make you afraid to say much of anything.


For many years, I wasn't even aware I might actually have some sort of physical problem with my circadian rhythms/body clock.

It was, of course, impossible to ignore that I had sleep problems - they plagued me for my entire life since I was a child, and made going to school a far more torturous experience than it otherwise would have been.

But, since most everyone just takes it for granted that going to sleep and waking up at normal times is supposedly not that difficult to do, and no one around me had a clue that it's possible to have such a messed up body clock that you're physically incapable of being well-adjusted to a normal, regular schedule - I too remained clueless for many years.

I simply labeled my sleep problems "insomnia", and went on naively believing that maybe if I simply tried hard enough, I could theoretically force myself to be normal.

But no matter how hard I tried, I always failed. But rather than that making me think maybe I had a physical problem - I cynically assumed the worst about myself (back then, I was depressed and full of self-loathing), and assumed that probably my problem was that I had a shameful, pathetic lack of self-discipline, that I was just weak and lazy, and it was all my fault. Though also, at times, I could - and rightly - blame anxiety, poor nutrition, and toothaches.


It may have been in 2008 or 2009 when I finally found a web page (not sure which one, or I'd link to it) which clued me in to the existence of circadian rhythm disorders like Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

I have never undergone any official tests to determine if that's what I have, but, judging by how consistently varied and erratic my so-called schedule has been since I was a child, and how torturous it usually was to have to wake up for school every day and force myself to stay awake, and also how torturous even my part-time job from Nov. 2002 to Jan. 2004 with usually only 2 days of work a week was, I'd be astonished if I don't have that or something similar.

I'd only pay for an official test if there was some tangible benefit from doing so, like perhaps being able to get welfare or disability payments - options I never deeply explored, since I've always been able to live with my relatives, who, despite our struggles, have always refused to go on welfare.

I certainly wouldn't pay for such a test just to satisfy a curious whim. With so little money, I can't comfortably afford much of anything, and I've always had to practice ruthless triage and do without tons of beneficial things, simply because they weren't the absolute most beneficial things I could get for my usually very limited amount of money.


Anyway, finally finding out what my problem probably is was a great relief, since it helped free me of many vestiges of self-loathing for how weak, lazy, undisciplined, oversensitive, and otherwise flawed I believed I was.

Though by 2008-2009, well before I found that out, I actually already had somehow gotten over a lot of my self-loathing and shame for not being capable of being a more "normal", successful person. But, it was nice to find yet another legitimate reason not to be so down on myself.

(And still another reason is because what is "normal" to many Americans is actually freakishly bizarre in contrast to the status quo of much of the rest of the world. According to this page, at least 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day, which works out to only $3650 a year. So actually, being poor is normal, and being financially successful makes you a weirdo. :-) )


In fact, rather than being weak and undisciplined, I now think maybe I actually have quite above-average willpower and self-discipline, given that I was able to do quite well at some things even despite being tortured by chronic sleep-deprivation, and often having had to drag myself through day after day like a zombie. For example, I did quite well on most tests in school, and my former boss at my part-time job in 2002-2004 loved me, and once said I did the work of 3 people.

I might seem (when sleep-deprived) to have a lot less endurance for, for example, a typical workday than the average person. (Or actually, maybe I often don't even seem that way to others than myself - I think I'm often pretty good at concealing the depths of my despair and some of my fatigue, among other things, like my intense fearfulness and timidity from my social anxiety.)

However, if the average person had to continually struggle with such an agonizing craving for adequate sleep, maybe they'd be just as debilitated as me. Or maybe even worse, since they have far less practice forcing themselves to carry on despite agonizing sleep deprivation.


When well-rested, I find it very easy to focus for many hours on various projects (unless I'm worried about money or other things, or I know I have something more important I ought to work on instead). In fact, I easily lose track of time, and neglect to eat, etc., which I really shouldn't do, but do habitually anyway. I should probably use timer software to encourage myself to be more moderate.

But all I usually use is a useful little Python script I wrote which I call my "relative scheduler", which I finally released just two days ago. When I launch it, it asks for the time I woke up, and then produces a schedule for me with reminders of things to do like "eat breakfast at 8 PM", or whatever - most of them relative to the time I woke up. Too bad I often ignore the reminders.

Many of my personal hobby projects (many of which I haven't even released yet) have involved herculean efforts, weeks and months of entirely unlazy obsession. (Not the relative scheduler, though - that only took maybe a few days or less, way back in March and/or April 2012.)

All of which I would have had a much harder time doing if I had to try to force myself into a normal schedule because of a job or something. Or if I lived with relatives who disrespect my need to sleep at often bizarre-seeming times, and mistakenly think that if I just tried hard enough, or if I just take some sort of drugs, or if my relatives just force me awake at whatever times they deem appropriate, I could be normal.


Anyway, even though I don't yet know of any cure, it's at least nice to have finally identified by name the possible number one problem in my life - Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder.

If it's not the top problem, it's certainly close to it. My sleep issues doubtless contributed enormously to, and in some cases even outright created, many other evils in my life, such as depression, self-loathing, poverty, loneliness, social anxiety and my troublesome preference to usually avoid contact with people and the world as much as possible. All of which resulted in even more problems, creating the disaster area that is my life.


OK, my life isn't all bad, and it's now better than it used to be. And at least depression and self-loathing, and even loneliness, to an extent, are mostly no longer significant problems of mine.

But unfortunately, I doubt I can ever cure my sleep issues, and my shyness is also probably very unlikely to ever be fully cured. (Though I have more hope there, because there have been times and contexts in my life where they weren't a problem at all, and even now I can still have pretty good conversations with some relatives, and I've at least had some pretty interesting written online correspondences with a bunch of people.)

However, thanks to the internet, computers, maybe even Second Life, the years I've had to develop some computer programming skills and web design skills, at least having much better writing skills than in-person or phone communication skills, and the fact that with time I could probably acquire still more new and potentially profitable skills (video editing, or foreign languages?), etc. - anyway, thanks to all that (among other things), I now find it believable that my problems with poverty might be solvable.

And perhaps I could even circumvent my issues with shyness by somehow making a living anonymously in Second Life?

A big limitation of mine is that I'm only willing to write free (as in freedom), libre, open source software. But, perhaps I can make it easier for me and anyone to find work writing FLOSS software by starting yet another website. I already bought a suitable domain name for that just last April, and will announce it at some point once it's up.

Like Non24.Com, it will likely consist of little except a forum at first. And, similar to both the Non24.Com Forum and Eryss.Com Forum, that forum will be very welcoming of discussion, commerce, and charity.


Anyway, my need for money is even more pressing than usual at the moment, so, I'm quite possibly not going to work on very much for a while besides things that seem likely to pay off quickly, like maybe freelance jobs on various freelance job websites, or perhaps even Second Life.

As usual, donations and microdonations and purchases of goods (still none available yet) and services are welcome.

Also, ideas are welcome - for example, ideas on what I should do for money, or, ideas on what to do with Non24.Com, or ideas on things I haven't even thought of asking for ideas about.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   ↓ Down   Up ↑


   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   Up ↑
Launched Non24.Org today
Sunday, July 27th, 2014
17:50:00 GMT

Health

Today, I launched Non24.Org. (I neglected to mention before that I own that too.)

It's boring compared to Non24.Com.

But, I just thought I should put it to some use rather than just leaving it empty.

I might never get around to actually creating a non-profit organization related to Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder. But, fortunately, according to Wikipedia, .org domain names aren't limited to only being for non-profit organizations.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

   ▲ Top  ▼ Bottom  △ TOC   Up ↑


    Hide/Show: