A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘internet

[LINK] “Spotify Hits 50 Million Paid Subscribers, Lifting Music Industry”

Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw notes that although Spotify is not yet profitable, it has managed to accumulate quite a few subscribers. Will this be enough to let it last?

Spotify has surpassed 50 million subscribers, extending its lead over rivals Apple Music, SoundCloud and Google as the world’s largest paid music streaming service.

The service, owned by Stockholm-based Spotify Ltd., has been growing at a breakneck pace. The company said it had 30 million subscribers less than a year ago, and 40 million subscribers in September. Apple Inc., owner of the second-largest paid service, said last month its streaming service has more than 20 million customers.

Adding paying customers will help Spotify pitch investors, who expect the company to file for an initial public offering and are looking for signs the company can convert its growing subscriber base into a sustainable business. Spotify, which is unprofitable, generates almost all of its sales from subscriptions, though the music service also has tens of millions of additional users who listen for free, supported by advertising.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Finally – free WiFi in Toronto is coming to Queen West”

Michelle Da Silva’s brief article in NOW Toronto notes that Queen Street West in Toronto will finally get some free public WiFi–indeed, already has it. Now for the rest of Toronto to follow suit!

Accessing free WiFi in Toronto can often mean ducking into a McDonalds, Starbucks or other fastfood chains. In “world class” cities, such as Tel Aviv, New York City, Seoul, Barcelona, Bangalore and Osaka, free Internet access is readily available everywhere.

The neighbourhood of West Queen West is hoping to change that. Starting February 23, anyone walking along Queen West between Niagara and Markham streets will be able to access free WiFi by logging onto FREE WQW WI-FI.

The service is being offered by the West Queen West BIA and Besify, a Markham-based Internet firm. This stretch of Queen West marks the first phase of a project. Rob Sysak, executive director of the WQW BIA, says that phase two of the project, which includes Queen West between Gladstone and Dovercourt, will launch in March.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

[PHOTO] “Selfies blur the line between high-art and social posturing”

Russell Smith’s essay published in The Globe and Mail on the 25th of January, considering the claims of the selfie to cultural legitimacy, even the status of high art. I largely agree with him: There’s no reason why the self-portrait is a negative form when it’s a photograph, certainly not when it’s a photograph that’s a product of modern computing technology aided by social networking platforms. At their best, the properly-cultivated selfie really can be high art, or at least great fun.

Columnist after pundit has come out to claim that one of Obama’s many strengths was a familiarity with pop music and comedy, and an ability to goof around (as with the selfie), to appear natural and self-deprecating at the same time. He appeared on late-night talk shows, he played along with comedians (Zach Galifianakis, Key and Peele, Jerry Seinfeld), he had rappers at the White House. The guy compiled Spotify playlists (on an official White House account). This, surprisingly, did not make him look unpresidential, just cool.

This goes against the intuitive feeling that many of us – well, many of us over 40 – have when contemplating the role of the selfie in young people’s lives. The taking of many amusing, sexy or boastful phone-shots, does not look, generally, to be conducive to the obtaining of high public office. Most of the selfies we see posted by young people on their social media seem to be perpetuating a culture of narcissism. Their lack of dignity and their salaciousness, we fear, endanger their future careers.

[. . .]

Just as such anti-selfie sentiment seems to reach an apex, the Saatchi Gallery in London is planning a major exhibition, to open March 31, entirely devoted to the notion of instant self-representation in the contemporary age. It is more ambitious, though: called “From Selfie to Self-Expression.” It juxtaposes painted self-portraits – by van Gogh and Rembrandt – with staged and stylized contemporary photo self-portraiture – by Tracey Emin and June Calypso – and the candid, amateur selfies of celebrities, including Obama.

Its point is simple: that selfies are a part of a long tradition of great art. Painters have practised techniques on themselves since the invention of paint, and they have also used their own faces as vehicles for mood and self-expression. They are often vaguely defiant. (Think of all those sober, frowning painters’ faces: What are they so mad about?)

Endless photos of oneself in various guises or identities have also become a repeated form of feminist art: June Calypso shoots herself undergoing fantastical beauty regimens in luxurious bathrooms, surrounded by mirrors; Cindy Sherman poses as threatened heroines in nightmarish faux-Hollywood movies. Tracey Emin’s notorious narcissism – an oeuvre that celebrates the artist’s own trashiness – is also defiant, a challenge to received ideas about femininity. A photo of hers in the Saatchi show portrays her with legs splayed, scooping paper money into her crotch. These are in a sense commentaries on the selfie age and angry defiance of the disapproval of female vanity.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that a waterfront LCBO is set to become another Toronto condo development.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the difficulties involving with slowing down a light sail launched at relativistic speeds towards an extrasolar destination.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at a 1972 mail-order catalogue from a German retailer, full to the brim with retro-ness.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the discovery of a hot Jupiter orbiting T Tauri star V830 Tauri.
  • Language Log looks at Trump’s odd phrasing regarding Frederick Douglas, while Marginal Revolution notes the man’s opposition to racist immigration bars.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at how some children at Cambodian orphanages are not actual orphans, but are merely taking advantage of foreign funding.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at a proposal for a new probe to study Enceladus and Titan for signs of habitability.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes Trump’s command responsibility for a failed military raid in Yemen.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shares a map looking at the word for “church” in different European languages.
  • Towleroad notes a court ruling in the United Kingdom barring an Orthodox Jewish transgender woman from interacting with her children in real time, and reports on a Russian website that purports to warn users how many gay people are in any given city.
  • Understanding Society describes the problems with implementing ideologies and even policies in a very complex world.
  • Window on Eurasia notes one Russian parliamentarian’s call for taking northern Kazakhstan, and reports on new border controls between Russia and Belarus.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith writes about the status of his various writing projects.
  • Beyond the Beyond’s Bruce Sterling links to an article examining pieces of software that have shaped modern music.
  • blogTO notes the expansion of the Drake Hotel to a new Junction site. Clearly the Drake is becoming a brand.
  • Citizen Science Salon looks at how Internet users can help fight illegal fishing in the Pacific.
  • Crooked Timber asks readers for new Doctor Who candidates.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper finding that the presence of Proxima Centauri would not have inhibited planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
  • The LRB Blog notes the growing fear among Muslims in the diaspora.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a reimagined map of the Paris metro.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy and Towleroad have very different opinions on the nomination of Neil Gorusch to the US Supreme Court.
  • Transit Toronto reports on the reopening of the TTC parking lot at Yorkdale.
  • Whatever’s John Sclazi responds to the past two weeks of Trump-related chaos, and is not impressed.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church carries itself as an embattled minority because it is one, and looks at the future of Russian federalism in regards to Tatarstan.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • blogTO notes that TTC tunnels will get WiFi in 2018.
  • Border Thinking’s Laura Augustín shares some of Edvard Munch’s brothel paintings.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the latest science on fast radio bursts.
  • Dangerous Minds shares some of the sexy covers of Yugoslavian computer magazine Računari.
  • Dead Things looks at the latest research into dinosaur eggs.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that a high surface magnetic field in a red giant star indicates a recent swallowing of a planet.
  • Language Log shares an ad for a portable smog mask from China.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money takes issue with the idea of NAFTA being of general benefit to Mexico.
  • Torontoist looks at the history of Toronto General Hospital.
  • Window on Eurasia is skeptical about an American proposal for Ukraine, and suggests Ossetian reunification within Russia is the next annexation likely to be made by Russia.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of showing up for major events.
  • Crooked Timber looks at e-publishing for academia.
  • Dead Things notes that the evolution of the human brain and human teeth were not linked.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to two papers about ocean worlds and greenhouse effects.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the hopeful seasteaders of French Polynesia.
  • Towleroad looks at the life of a trans man in the mid-20th century.
  • Window on Eurasia shares a Catalonian linguists’ argument that linguistic diversity helps minority languages.
  • Arnold Zwicky reflects on the gay cowboy scene.