Friday, June 29, 2007

smaller widget - no videos

more new widgets!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Soundslikeaphone Releases Their First Ever Album of "RINGTONES" on iTunes

Soundslikeaphone Releases Their First Ever Album of "RINGTONES" on iTunes

Album Release Coincides with iPhone release on ATT/Cingular

June 28, 2007

Soundslikeaphone Ringtones Pay Tribute to Classic Film/TV Characters

  • Benny - Benny Hill

  • Bugsy - Bugsy Malone (This is the phone used in the show)

  • Capt Mainwaring - 1940's 'Dad's Army' Phone

  • Frank - Both Frank Finlay from "Bouquet of Barbed Wire" and Frank Spencer

  • Genie - The shape of this phone is that of a lamp

  • Bogart - Humphrey, of course.

  • Bacall - Lauren, of course.

  • Ms Peel - Emma Peel from the Avenger

  • Rhoda - This is the pancake phone from the American Sitcom 'Rhoda'


"Wben we started in the UK, we started a backlash - lots of people like us wanted their phone to sound like a phone. Apple's iPhone is great news. It offers an alternative to the current phone market. Soundslikeaphone tones on iTunes are an alternative to ringtone madness - the perfect accompaniment to the new iPhone."

- Andrew Misingham, Creator

(Boston, MA) - Coinciding with the release of the iPhone, Soundslikeaphone is bringing the first album of ringtones to iTunes. Originally released only in the UK to restore sanity to a world gone insane due to the likes of the Crazy Frog and other annoying mobile phone ringtones, Soundslikeaphone is happy to bring mobile tranquility and respectability to the USA.

Taking you back to the golden age of telephony, where a phone went "ring ring" and not "ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong", the album of Soundslikeaphone ringtones names their classics after famous characters: Benny (British 1960's Type 700 Phone), Bugsy (Hand Cracked 1911 Bell Phone), Capt Mainwaring (1940's Type 221), Frank (1960's Trimphone), Genie, Humphrey (1920's Candlestick Phone), Lauren (1920's Candlestick Phone), Miss Peel, Monty P, and Rhoda (1980s "pancake" phone).

Originally recorded from real telephones at the Darvel Telephone Museum in Ayrshire, Scotland, and ranging from modern phones and recent classics like GPO trimphones all the way back to a 1911 hand-cranked bell, Soundslikeaphone has created ringtones that won't make you cringe if your phone goes off when you're in (or out of) a meeting.

Andrew Missingham, director of a creative consultancy based in London, created the ringtones because he was irritated by the surge in popularity of novelty ringtones such as musical tunes and even animal noises.

"Wben we started in the UK, we started a backlash - lots of people like us wanted their phone to sound like a phone. Apple's iPhone is great news. It offers an alternative to the current phone market. Soundslikeaphone tones on iTunes are an alternative to ringtone madness - the perfect accompaniment to the new iPhone." Misingham said.

The rings are available from iTunes (specifically for the iPhone market) as well as at a variety of other sources that serve all major US mobile carriers, including MyxerTones,, and MyNumo. More information about the ringtones and links to all sites mentioned in this release are available on the Soundslikeaphone MySpace page. will make a donation from every ringtone towards the running costs and growth of the Darvel Telephone Museum.


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Monday, June 25, 2007

freedom of press under attack in Mali, West Africa

Those of you who know me, know that I love Mali. So I was very sad to read this today, that 5 journalists were arrested and jailed for "insulting the president". Man, if only they'd institute that here in the good ol' us of a. we'd have us a even more overcrowded prison situation, and as a bonus, we could probably put a dent in the racial inequality of the prison-industrial-complex. . . .
anyway, on to the real story here:

Mali papers protest against arrest of journos
June 26 2007 at 01:25AM

Bamako - Mali was without independent newspapers on Monday in protest over the arrest of five journalists and a school teacher arrested on charges of insulting the president.

Only four papers, among them the state daily L'Essor, appeared on the streets of the capital Bamako, compared to about 20 that normally roll off the presses. But those published were not easily available at the usual newsstands.

"There is real solidarity around the jailing of our fellow members. The place for a journalist is in a newsroom and not a prison," said Makan Kone, president of Press House, which groups Malian journalists associations.

The boycott was also heeded by most private radio stations broadcasting in the capital which played only music and repeatedly ran the statement calling for the observation of the "no press day".

The boycott was also heeded by most private radio stations
Authorities in the west African nation have been under pressure to release the six who were arrested over an article on a school essay a school teacher gave to his students about an imaginary president's mistress.

High school students were tasked to write about an imagined female student and prostitute who battles for recognition of her out-of-wedlock child after being made pregnant by a fictitious president.

Four privately-owned newspapers commented on the essay assignment, but state prosecutors said they had offended President Amadou Toumani Toure. The president has not commented since the arrests.

The journalists, who ranged from reporters to newspaper editors, from Info-Matin, Le Republicain, Les Echos and Le Scorpion newspapers, were arrested more than a week ago and were due top appear in court on Tuesday.

If convicted, the defendants risk a six-month prison term and a maximum fine of about $1 200 (about R8 600). - Sapa-AFP

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

control v. survival

this is always an interesting discussion - that of control vs. survival. the most entertaining gas bag of the blogosphere - lefsetz - has an interesting case "study" of 3 cases of this. att/verizon & iphone, xm/sirius & howard stern, and major labels & napster.
his conclusion:

"If you’re on top now, don’t think twice about putting a stake in your competitor’s heart. Pay a premium, give up a bit of control. Because, as detailed above, the tables can turn seemingly INSTANTLY!

Don’t move slowly, don’t kick the tires, move NOW!"

the big picture lesson i think is that control doesn't equal success. something i'm always working on is letting go of control for a bigger good, and it seems that in our society, when corporations are equated with individuals, they also seem to have this flaw, but don't seem to pay as much attention to it . . .

visa woes, extortion by unions, and more

i'm sooo frustrated! by my honesty, by the US visa red-tape bs, by 9-11 "security" measures, by the musicians unions, by the rich, by all of this!

so this is shaping up to be a nice rant. i thought we had a nice little thing going. ran into a friend from south africa when we were in amsterdam. we have a nice little tour going on this summer with hip hop artists from all over the place who are all based in the us. so we threw this guy on the bill. it was going to be a nice extra flavor, a chance to get him some publicity, some love in the us, to open up some new markets for all of us. this tour, however, was already at the break-even point, in that we're doing this for promo, not for cash. so bringing someone else on was additional weight without immediate financial return.

anyway, i write a nice little letter to this guy and his management team. invite dude to come over and be part of this promo tour. this letter is also to help get him into the country. but i forgot one thing. i forgot i live in the USA. and that we don't like people coming into our country to share culture. that if you want to come into the USA and perform music, you have to pay $190 (going up to $260 or something ridiculous in July) for the visa, PLUS you have to pay a damn union $250 to tell you that you're not taking some american's job, and if you want an answer before 45 days, you have to pay a $1000 expediting fee. then they'll get you an answer in 15 days. otherwise, due to 9-11 back-ups, general gutting of our federal government by bush and his cronies, you won't get an answer for months, literally. meaning i'm SOL. meaning my friend is SOL. (shit-out-of-luck if you want the full version)

now, if i had just said - dude, come visit me! it would all be cool. he could jump on stage, do his thing, and have a great time. we'd have all been cool. but no, i had to be honest. and now, to double my frustration, i'm pissed at the unions! now, you may know that i ORGANIZED unions for 3 years! so i'm down with solidarity, the unions, and all that. i'd be happy to be paying dues right now if i had any job where i had co-workers and a boss that wasn't me. but this is BS. straight-up. the unions have ZERO influence in the music industry, especially the underground, new artist side of things. now, if there was an artist union here that would provide me and my artists with benefits, reduced health care, access to resources and all that, i'd be a happy camper. but if all this union does for my scene is charge me to bring in foreign artists, then fuck 'em. i'm not sure if they've looked out at the scene lately, but if you're playing a club, you're happy to get $75 and a pitcher for the whole band. more often, it's pay to play. or rent a VFW, take the door, dodge the cops, the city, and ASCAP, RIAA, BMI and the rest of the mob.


for more info on this whole process, check out this great site:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can You Help Save My Friend's Life?

I'm going to post Seema's post here in full totality. Pass it on.

You are reading what will forever be the most important missive I post on this blog. It is my call to you to help save my friend Vinay's life.

This is a picture of Vinay and his wife, Rashmi. They were married in 2005. Vinay is 28, has finished med school and is on his way to becoming a star physician, and imminently needs a bone marrow transplant.

There's another reason why I am urging you--from the bottom of my heart--to heed this call. Just over an hour ago, my mom called me on her way to work to tell me that the Registry (NMDP) phoned my family last night. Apparently, we just learned that, for somebody else out there who is in need, my father has been tagged as a match. I almost couldn't believe my ears but, it reminded me how important it is that *everyone* register themselves. If that doesn't compel you to give a cheek swab and maybe give someone a shot at living . . .

And all it takes from you is a cheek swab. And committing to getting just 5 other people you know (preferably people of South Asian descent) to get a cheek swab done, too. It will increase the chances of helping save Vinay's life: Vinay who is 28 and no different from you or me--except that my friend has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and needs a bone marrow match in the next six (6) weeks. Vinay and his beautiful wife Rashmi (no different than your partner), his brother Bharath (no different than your own sister or brother), and his dear mom and dad (surely no different than your own parents) need a match. And they need it now.

Vinay and I lived together in Unit III/Priestley Hall at UC Berkeley when we were freshmen in undergrad. Vinay lived on the 2d floor (all guys; I frequented the place often), just below me & my friends on the 3rd. We were homies. You know as well as I do that the bonds formed during your freshman year in college are the ties that stay with you for life. Even back in our adolescent days, Vinay exhibited a zeal for life comprised of calmness, coolness and camaraderie that spread to everyone with which he came into contact.

How You Can Help Vinay:

1. Register yourself in the National Marrow Donor Program. Kid you not, it takes nothing more than a cheek swab.

2. Get your family & friends to register. If you've ever corralled up a group of friends to go dancing, called up a few folks to hit the beach on a sunny afternoon, or even last-minute met up with your peeps for happy hour, you can do this.

3. Donate Money Towards Testing Vinay's Extended Relatives in India. Chances of finding Vinay a match are highest amongst his blood-relations. Vinay's family & friends have arranged for a well-respected cancer center in India to go out and test all of Vinay's family relations (and the larger community there), and ensure that results and potential matches get back to Vinay and his doctors ASAP. To help defray these costs, the family is collecting donations.

4. Help Us Organize a Drive in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C.-Metro Area. So far ten (10) California drives have been organized. I live in Baltimore, MD and am looking for folks to help organize a drive here out east. I just need a few hours of your time to round up folks, get people to give 30-second cheek swab, and, most importantly, to spread the word. If you are in Washington, D.C. and/or the Baltimore-Metro area and can help--even to just flyer at your local mosque, mandir, temple, church or community organization/meeting--please contact me at

Click Here for a List of Upcoming Drives

5. Link Vinay's Website to your Blog. The more exposure we have, the better chance we have at saving his life. Please copy/paste the URL:

I hate to keep repeating myself but these are the only thoughts streaming from my being right now. Please. If you do just one good thing for the world today, do this. Register and get people to register.

Save Vinay's life.

clipboard back in hand

last saturday, i had the chance to grab a clipboard again. however, this time, it was for a really good cause. someone's life. one of my surrogate sister's friends is battling for his life. he has leukemia. and he needs a bone marrow donation. BUT - since he is south asian and so few south asians are registered in the bone marrow registry, he needs to find someone. so i was at this event and we were getting folks registered. south asians. hoping to register that one person who matches vinay.
if you are south asian, please go to this site and find a drive near you this week and go get registered. it takes about 15 minutes (most of which is filling out a form), and takes 4 swabs of your cheek with big q-tips. it is free for south asians to register since there is such a shortage of donors. if you have questions, check out these links, or put a comment here.


other links:

more new widgets!

in my ever evolving set of projects, i'm now doing work for Sounds Like A Phone, so here is the test of some new widgets. hey - get rid of that cheesy "tune" and get a real tone on your phone. and i guess if i really believe in myself, i should say, in my ever newly created set of projects . . . . lol. sorry. flashback to reading about the "creation museum". if you have minute, check it out.

[send ringtone]

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Incredible Arrogance of Dinosaurs (GM)

I was listening to NPR today and they had on some schmuck from GM called Bob Lutz. Some VP of something or other (Actually the Vice Chairman, Product Development, and Chairman, GM North America - just checked his resume). Incredible. He managed to go on the insulting attack to just about everyone. UCS, scientists, bachelor degree holding people, etc. It is amazing to me that one of the largest corporations in the world would let a senior person on the air to talk like this. It is also highly revealing as to why they are struggling. As someone in another industry populated by DINOSAURS (the music biz), I instantly saw this man for what he was. Something from another era. Someone whose business ideas were formed back in the day, when insults, bullying, and loud talking made you “right”. Thankfully, in today's business world, those things come flying back in your face and smell pretty bad when they stick. If GM is serious about saving itself, whether or not they actually give a rats ass about climate change (the topic of the conversation), they'll hide this Lutz putz in a closet. Let him hang onto his fat pension while the union workers starve in retirement. Fine. But come on, haven't they watched “Thank You For Smoking”? Haven't they seen struggling and besieged industry tactics? You put some super nice, good looking, great voiced person out there as your spokesperson. The ugly raspy voiced old white men get hidden behind the curtain. You play nice, you compliment everyone, you acknowledge how smart and pretty and yet wrong your opponents are. I'm still stunned.

I guess I learned my lessons back in the day in court with Dr E. Watching these defense (and prosecuting attorneys) work in the courtroom. The grumpy old white guys always lost. Always. Winners came in two styles: young good looking, sweet talking figures, and older kind gentle sympathetic figures. Nothing else. So, if you want to win public opinion (or a jury's opinion), what do you do? NOT what GM is doing. If anyone at GM is reading this, hire me. I'll help you get your public image team in tip top shape. Or just hire a little kid. If your spokesperson could make a 4 year old cry with their attack voice, you need someone else.

You can hear the scary nasty man here. Mothers, hide your children.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007



This summer marks the first GLOBAL UNDERGROUND HIP HOP TOUR! Hitting the East Coast July 19 through July 22nd, the Global Underground tour
features international hip-hop pioneers Chosan (Sierra Leone), ELI EFI and Laylo (Brazil/Dominican Republic), Foundation Movement (Puerto Rico/Liberia), Zuluboy (South Africa) DJ Boo (Philippines) an accomplished group of percussionists including Ernesto Abreau (Antibalas/Ya Esta), Chauncey Yearwood (The Pimps of Joytime/Escort), and Nomadic Wax founder Ben Herson (Nomadic Wax/Escort/Subatomic Sound System). The tour launches at Galapagos Art Space on July 19th in Brooklyn, New York, and will visit clubs in Providence, Rhode Island on the 21st and Boston, MA on the 22nd.

"Hip-Hop culture is more than just guns, girls and glamorous lifestyles,” says Sierra Leonean/UK MC Chosan who was featured in Kanye West's 'Diamonds of Sierra Leone' video. Chosan will be performing material from his debut 'The Beautiful Side of Misery' as well as new work from his upcoming album.

Bringing politics to hip-hop is nothing new to veteran Brazilian MC Eli Efi who performed for years with Brazilian hip-hop pioneers DMN. "Hip Hop in Brazil is the outcry of the excluded," says Eli Efi. "Brazil sells itself as a tropical paradise, but for us it's more like a nightmare – we're here to bring about positive change." LF’s track ‘Marcha Soldado’ was recently featured on National Geographic's Global Hip-Hop Georemixes compilation.

Rounding out the diverse talent on this tour are Foundation Movement and Zuluboy. Based in Boston, Foundation Movement - a formidable duo whose live shows have earned them fans in Tanzania, Palestine, South Africa and Puerto Rico.

Johannesburg based Zuluboy broke new ground in South Africa by releasing the first major album in Zulu. Some of its beats creatively sample field recordings from the traditional Zulu groups, others incorporate maskanda elements and traditional gospel music.

"The Global Underground tour features live percussion which sets it apart from the usual hop hop setup. The energy is massive" says label founder Ben Herson. "The way we designed this show was to make it so that there's no opening acts - everyone is on equal footing. It's just one big party from start to finish”

The Global Underground Tour will kick off at Galapagos Art Space on July 19th, 2007 - 8 pm
Tickets – 10 dollars in advance – 12 dollars – Day of show

Contact Ben Herson – ben at nomadicwax dot com

to RSVP for july shows . . .

The RSVP for show code:




Mali News

I just found this great blog on Mali via the wonders of Afrigator.
Excellent stuff. I found the posts on the "African Magna Carta" and traditional medicine quite intriguing. And of course, given my work on the elections in Senegal via Democracy in Dakar, news of the election in Mali was also interesting to read.

testing a new widget

Online Event Registration - Powered by

as so often happens, i use this blog as a place to test out my new forays into digital promo tools. enjoy.

Monday, June 04, 2007

barbaro vs. malaria drugs

i listen to lots of radio. which is kind of funny given my penchant for digital media. i flip between the local npr news station (FM) and the local sports talk station (AM) for many of my work at home days. something to keep me company (which i don't really find online) as i stare at my crystal display for hours on end.

i find that this helps balance me out somewhat, ensuring i remember that there are many viewpoints and hopefully keeping my bubble world a bit bigger.

anyway, this morning on npr i heard a story on the counterfeiting of anti-malarial drugs. which was awful. i had malaria twice while traveling in west africa, and my experience with artemisinin based drugs was much much better than my experience with other drugs. faster recovery, fewer side-effects, etc. anyway, fake drugs are being produced in china and sold all over asia that could be causing drug resistance! meaning that this will have real negative health effects (read: deaths) all over the developing world should the parasites that cause malaria develop a resistance to the artemisinin drugs, as they have with many of the other cheap and "natural" drugs often deployed in the fight against malaria.

then later today i heard a radio advertisement for some hbo or something sports documentary on the life of barbaro. and i thought - do people really give a shit about some horse? i mean really - a horse breaks his leg in a race (which people are spending mad money on), and then he has to be killed. so what! SO WHAT! come on. this is what people are being distracted by? THIS THIS is what is being played on the tube so that the men behind the curtain can keep doing their bullshit! call me heartless for not caring about the life of some horse, but then let me call you heartless for spending your time and energy on this horse, instead of on the many many real problems that face our ecosystem, our world, our species every moment of every day. call me speciest, or species-centric, or whatever.

whew. ok. i feel better.

very interesting take on major media efforts to stop new technology

this post, by this guy who is a net security researcher, and all round troublemaker (i think likely in the mother jones good guy tradition of being a trouble maker) posted this very interesting analysis of major media companies efforts to block "piracy". check it out.

if you lazy, and just want the meaty bits, here they are:

"By going after people for sharing movies and music online, the major media companies have essentially created a huge market for anonymous (or close to anonymous) technologies. Technologies such as Tor, Freenet, Gnutella, and Skype arguably wouldn't exist as they do today if the Media companies didn't go after 'pirates' with such vigor. And with the influx of millions of new users, these programs have become better - either through more financial support/advertising, or through new developers/open source coders who are finding bugs and adding features."


"What is the moral to this story? The record companies have made an entire generation of college students into criminals, and as such, those college kids have resorted to technical means of avoiding detection - which create a gigantic crowd of encrypted and obfuscated data in which 'real' criminals can hide. These evasion methods are the very same techniques which can frustrate legitimate and useful law enforcement, which as an unintended side-effect, suffer. The ability to catch genuine terrorists and child pornographers is significantly limited through the short sighted actions of the major media companies."