Amazon do web services

First Google did it, now Amazon are getting into the game. They have just launched their web services, which allow anyone to hook into their catalogue. This should make it fantastically easy for affiliates or interested parties to display links to Amazon for searching and buying books straight from their own sites. Or for doing nifty stuff like producing cool pop-ups when you mouse over a book title.

As with the Google web APIs, people will find novel uses for this toolset within days, if not hours. Webword pointed out this site already: Amazon lite, which applies the pure and simple Google UI to Amazon’s search engine.

So when do we get something like this for Amazon in the UK?

And come to think of it, why do we still not have Netflix over here?

Oh, hang on… There seems to be something called In-Movies. Might be worth a look…?

Copyright and free stuff

Two interesting articles on how free music (à la Napster) and free books (à la Baen) are good for the artists who have produced the works.

Janis Ian on music:

“I have no objection to Greene et al trying to protect the record labels, who are the ones fomenting this hysteria. RIAA is funded by them. NARAS is supported by them. However, I object violently to the pretense that they are in any way doing this for our benefit.”

Eric Flint on books:

“Between the January-June 2000 reporting period and the period one year later, the sales for that title-which had now been out for two years, remember, long past the time when it should have been selling very much-were suddenly almost 250% higher. (239%, to be precise: 1904 compared to 795.)”


Played drums over the weekend! Got together with Richard at Banana Row for a couple of hours. It’s the first time I’ve ever played with anyone, and Richard hasn’t played with anyone else for some time. We were both extremely nervous, sweating in the heat of the practice room, and I couldn’t keep my foot from shaking on the bass pedal.

We’d chosen a couple of cool tracks to try and play, “74-75” by The Connells, and “Call and Answer” by the Barenaked Ladies. They were a mixed success… It was only in the last five minutes, just before we packed up, when Richard spontaneously launched into the opening of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” that we finally actually clicked. I didn’t have any charted music to pay attention to, so I just tried to pick up the beat of the song from memory. And at that point we were actually playing together rather than each playing separately, and hoping that the two songs would somehow mesh.

Hella good fun, though! Despite the nerves, we both came out of the session grinning and jazzed from the buzz of playing. We’re going to try and do that again some time–soon!

Related to this, two other things:

  • Friday evening I found an excellent way of quickly switching heads on my Rhythm Traveller drum kit: power tools. I found an attachment for our power screwdriver/drill thing that exactly fits a standard drum lug. So now, rather than it taking three minutes or so to change a head, I can do it in almost thirty seconds. (I kind of felt like the guys changing tyres in Formula 1…)
  • I saw my first warchalking sign as Richard and I were walking to Banana Row. It’s right next to Banana Row in Eyre Place in fact, on the side of the building the Leith Agency used to (still do?) occupy. It’s an open node, with half a meg of bandwidth. Cool!

Lucky Star

Damn. After seeing the trailer for the film Lucky Star, I had a quick snuffle around on the web to see what it was all about. Benicio Del Toro playing a mysterious man who seems to be able to bend luck to his own will…cool car chases…an investigator hot on his tail… Damn that looked good.

But unfortunately, it’s just a very clever advert for the new Mercedes SL. Michael Mann, too. Damn.

As adverts go, it’s hella cool, but my overall impression is severe disappointment that it isn’t a real film. Damn.