Tag: library of congress

Library of Congress gramophone spins 100 year old hits online

While companies clamour to offer up-to-date access and storage of music online, there is certainly no lack of cutting edge ways to access your Lady Gaga mp3s.The Library of Congress over in the States has taken a rather more retrospective approach to cloud-hosted music.

Rather than drawing an audience with instant access to the likes of Justin Bieber, JLS or Dappy from Ndubz, a new service focusing on music from the early portion of last century will blast out the hits of George Gershwin, Leopold Stokowski and Dame Nellie Melba.

The virtual gramophone National Jukebox website, unveiled in partnership with Sony Music, will host 10,000 rare historic sound recordings made available for the first time in digital format, giving a fascinating glimpse at music and spoken word in the US between 1901 and 1925.

The streaming collection includes blues and early jazz, opera, famous speeches by the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, poetry and humour that shows off the evolution of popular music and American cultural history.

At first the National Jukebox will feature recordings from the catalogue of Victor Talking Machine, one of two defunct record labels owned by Sony, though this will be expanded over time with more of the primitive recordings made with wax cylinders and predating microphones. Thankfully, not a vocoder in earshot.

Lead curator on the Library of Congress project Gene DeAnna spoke to TechEye about how, despite the basic recording methods used, the music is a valuable resource. Gene also treated us to an impromptu version of his favourite track on the site down the phone.

“It is important to recognise how long this has been part of the soundscape, a couple of generations at least,” he said, “and a lot of what can be heard can therefore be very new to people’s ears.

“You can find some songs that you have never heard before with striking and unique voices that will certainly grab you like they grabbed me.”

DeAnna believes that as historical documents, the recordings are invaluable as a snapshot of America at the time.

“The project gives a sense of what America was like before World War I, when there was a rush of immigration, and you can most certainly hear that in the music which gives you a real of feel of what life was like.

“By the late twenties, the music starts to morph into jazz which is also interesting to hear from a musical point of view.”

As for his favourite, track DeAnna points to ‘Peaches and Cream’ by Ada Jones and Len Spencer, which you can listen to here. He burst into song for a couple of verses. 

Apple still says no to jailbreaking iPhones

It is now officially legal to jailbreak your phone in the US, after a move by the Library of Congress to revise the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but Apple is still staunchly against the idea, claiming it will brick your jailbroken phone because it loves you, wants you to be happy, and wants to save the world from bad men.

Apple previously claimed that jailbreaking a phone was illegal under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which it hoped would stop its customers installing different versions of its OS, running unsupported applications, switching to a network it doesn’t have a large dollar deal with, or switching to the rival OS, Google’s Android. It’s illegal and you’ll go to jail, it claimed.

And now it’s not, but that’s not stopping the fruity party line. It might not be illegal now, but Apple still thinks it’s immoral and the jailbreaking sinners must repent now or face eternal damnation. You see, souls are at risk here, not just mobile phones, and Apple is looking out for us all.

As part of its efforts to protect us all it issued the following statement to Cult of Mac in response to the legalisation of jailbreaking:

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience. As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

So you may not be going to prison, but you certainly also won’t be going back to your local Apple store to get your iPhone 4 fixed if a jailbreaking attempt results in a bricked phone. Apple has previously sent out software updates that actually deliberately brick jailbroken phones, making them completely inoperable. In other works, if you don’t do it Apple’s way, they will break what you have paid for, and their defence is that you have violated their warranty, which is now not supported by the legal stance they had previously taken.

But Apple is doing this for a good cause. It previously claimed that unlocking an iPhone should be illegal, because it aids hackers, criminal gangs, drug lords, and terrorists. Eh, what? Apparently Apple thinks jailbreaking iPhones gives people potential access to mobile phone masts, which is a possible terrorist threat, while altering the chip identification number allows for anonymous calls, which is clearly the work of drug dealers. Only criminals could ever want an unlocked phone. It’s called jailbreaking for a reason, right?

In other words: leaving Apple’s precious walled garden leads you into sin and temptation. Do not bite the apple the serpent offers you. Wait – the Apple? There’s clearly something the Cupertino-based company isn’t telling us.

In stark contrast, Apple’s rival, Google, which has been gaining momentum with its Android operating system lately, is not against jailbreaking of its phones and has actually sold unlocked phones itself. But clearly it is evil for doing so and must also be supporting terrorists and drug dealers.

Apple users can now avail of unofficial app stores like Cydia or finally use rival Google’s free apps, without fear of Judge Jobs calling the cops, but it still violates your warranty, which, let’s face it, is the Law as far as Apple is concerned. It’s their way or the highway, folks. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act was only ever something they would abide by when it supported their policies. Typical.

Library of Congress to archive every Tweet since March 2006

The Library of Congress has announced on Twitter that it will be archiving every public Tweet made since March 2006.

It goes to further prove that Twitter is a different case indeed compared to other ways of social networking and blogging. Many social media buffs have warned that often when something is posted to the world wide wibble it is here to stay, and Twitter is no different.

Now, should the Feds in the States want to know what you had for lunch on the 4th April 2008, it’s a very real possibility so better don those tinfoil hats right now.

Details are sketchy at the moment. At time of publishing, the only details on the project appear on the official Twitter page here. There are no announcements as to how the Library plans to take on the mammoth task, but we’ll keep you updated. For now, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Library of Congress’ blog, here,

In the twenty minutes since the world’s largest library posted the Tweet it has been reblogged over 100 times.