Stuff Yaron Finds Interesting

Technology, Politics, Food, Finance, etc.

Reviews of well, everything and anything

Magnatune

I was reading the economist and ran across a mention of Magnatune, a record label that sells exclusively on-line. Although you can buy a CD from them they also sell all their music in a variety of formats without any DRM. This includes, btw, WAV and FLAC formats which are completely lossless. They also make all of their music available as MP3s for free so you can try before you buy, no strings attached, no memberships, no log-ins, nothing. Before finding Magnatune I had spent exactly $1.07 on music this year and that was for a song I downloaded from iTunes. The reason I don't buy much music is that I don't find much music to like. Maybe it's just me but radio is a waste land filed with the same music I've heard for years. What is great about Magnatune is that it allows me to try out lots of music and decide what I like. Although a lot of their music is 'out there' (they intentionally specialize in genres that they feel mainstream labels do a bad job with) I was generally impressed with both the quality of the talent as well as the production quality of the music. Magnatune seems to perform the job that I think a good label should do – quality control.

Read More

09/20/2005 King County, Washington, USA Elections

It's time to vote and here are my picks. Remember, the election is 9/20/2005, go out and vote!

  • King County Sheriff – Sue Rahr

  • Court of Appeals Judge – Susan Randolph Agid

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No 1 – Lawrence Molloy

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No 3 – Lloyd Hara

  • Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 4 – Jack Jolley

  • City of Seattle Mayor – Greg Nickels

  • Seattle City Council Position No. 2 – Richard Conlin

  • Seattle City Council Position No. 4 – Jan Drago

  • Seattle City Council Position No. 8 – Robert Rosencrantz

  • Seattle School District No. 1 – Director – District No. 5 – Mary E. Bass

  • Seattle School District No. 1 – Director – District No. 7 – Linda Thompson-Black

  • Seattle Popular Monorail Authority – Board Member – Position No. 8 – Beth Goldberg

  • Seattle Popular Monorail Authority – Board Member – Position No. 9 – Jim Nobles

Read More

Book Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide pointers to books the reader might want to futher investigate. In other words, I'm not trying to provide full book reviews, just provide enough information to choose books you might want to go to www.amazon.com and check out the reviews for and read excerpts from. For what it's worth I have found the best book prices on www.bestwebbuys.com. An Excel spreadsheet of these reviews is available here.

Read More

11/2/2004 General Election – Various King County & Seattle Propositions, Washington State

King County has four questions up for vote dealing with reducing the size of the ruling council and doing 'something' about transportation, I'm basically voting no on all of them. Seattle also has an initiative up for vote, on killing the ability to build the monorail, and I'm voting no on that as well even though I dislike the monorail. In each case the details are pretty slippery and there is a non-trivial amount of trickery involved.

Read More

Yaron's Guide to the Washington/King County/Seattle 11/2004 Elections

My Voter's Guide to the November 2004 Elections in Washington/King County/Seattle is now on-line in multiple parts:

In the guide I go through the various candidates and issues and explain what my vote is and why. My goal is to provide something I can talk to my friends about, provide myself with a record I can use when seeing the same candidates in future elections and just possibly influence a vote or two. Below I go through the process I use to decide who to vote for.

Read More

11/2/2004 General Election – My Choice for Senator from Washington State – J. Mills

Patty Murray committed the unpardonable sin of voting for the Patriot Act. She was tested and she failed. George R. Nethercutt seems to think he is George Bush Jr. which makes not voting for him easy. Mark B. Wilson, the Green candidate, seems to think that throwing money at problems will solve them. So I am left with J. Mills, the Libertarian candidate. His campaign is a bit sloppy and some of his ideas are a bit extreme for my taste but on balance he is the candidate I would most like to send to the U.S. Senate.

Read More

11/2/2004 General Election – Who I'm Voting For President – John F. Kerry

I can't say I particularly like any of the choices on the Washington ballot but the least objectionable to me is John F. Kerry. I fundamentally disagree with him on many things but I believe that his presidency would make it possible to undo some of the damage George Bush has done to freedoms in our country and to our foreign policy. So I'll be voting for John F. Kerry.

Read More