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MacEdition Pro News : May 9, 2002: Royalties, Cocoa students and virtual keyboards

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D-day for independent Internet radio

Did you wonder where your streaming Internet radio station was on May 1? Probably silent if it isn’t part of a RIAA-affiliated conglomerate like Clear Channel. Numerous independent Internet radio stations initiated a day of radio silence in protest of music royalty hikes due to be adopted by the US Copyright Office.

The key sticking point is those pesky “pay-per-play” royalties that wealthy interest groups, with more greed than common sense let alone interest in the common good, are so fond of. Here’s some snippets from a recent article in USA Today:

The fee sounds tiny – 14/100ths of a cent – but it’s per song and per listener, and Net radio operators, most of whom serve niche audiences, say the fees quickly multiply. Traditional radio stations pay no performance royalties because of radio’s proven role in promoting new music; in the proposed copyright fee structure, they would pay half of the Net-only broadcast fee when simulcasting on the Internet.

On the face of it, the fees don’t sound that bad, do they? But let’s assume you’re an Internet radio station with say, 50,000 listeners per month, tuning in for an average of four hours per day. That’s a monthly bill of roughly $3400. And there’s thousands of stations out there which spells a big ka-ching for those collecting the fees.

Our favourite bit of sophistry peddled by the RIAA mouthbreather however, is this gem:

“It’s unfair to say we’re the ones who should give them a free ride,” says John Simpson of RIAA affiliate Sound Exchange, which collects licensing fees. “We’ve seen a lot of Webcasters go out of business well before they had to pay any royalties to artists. I didn’t see them going to Congress to get bandwidth costs down.”

In other words, online stations already have expenses, so surely they won’t mind big-label music abusing its monopoly position to hit them with another expense. Right?

And “free ride”? That depends upon your perspective. What about the massive amounts of free publicity big-label music is getting on an estimated 10,000 online radio stations? How does the RIAA proclaim in one breath “traditional radio’s proven role in promoting new music,” yet insinuate that Internet radio doesn’t, in the next?

This is particularly important for Mac users considering the “inclusive” attitude of the bigger players like Clear Channel toward Mac users. As outside observers to this bunfight, we think online and traditional radio should be on a level playing field with no pay-per-play royalties.

May 21 is the deadline for Congress to rubber-stamp the proposed royalties. So, speak up before then! For more information check out

Calling all students: Are you cuckoo for cocoa?

The folks at Big Nerd Ranch and Apple Student Developers have announced a summer student promotion on Cocoa training. This promotion offers a hefty $2000 discount for student applicants. Here’s the skinny:

Atlanta, GA – April 29, 2002 – Big Nerd Ranch and have joined to offer discounted summer Cocoa training to college students.

“Programming with Cocoa” classes are scheduled for May 13-17 and June 3-7, 2002. Aaron Hillegass, author of Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X is the Big Nerd Ranch Cocoa instructor. Eight promotional seats are reserved for each summer class.

Any student with a valid student id may sign up for class at a discounted price of $1500 per person (normal price $3500). Participants in the Summer Student Promotion must supply their own computers for class and will be paired with another student to share a room. Room, board, training, and 24-hour lab access are included in the class fee.


Sign up for class by emailing with contact information and class date, then visit the Roommate Forum to find a roommate. For more information about the Summer Student Promotion, please visit

So, if you’re a student who missed out on WWDC but still want a Cocoa fix, Big Nerd Ranch may be the thing for you.

Got tired fingers?

The folks at Niemeijer Consult may have the answer with their recently released TouchStrokes virtual keyboard for Mac OS X. Touchstrokes displays an onscreen virtual keyboard that can be utilised by any input device: touch screens, trackballs, graphic tablets – you name it. The press release says it best:

TouchStrokes provides a fully-functional virtual keyboard that works by drawing a keyboard image on the display and allows you to type characters into any normal application using a mouse, touch screen, graphic tablet, trackball, head pointer or other mouse emulator. It works seamlessly with all standard Mac OS X applications (including those running in the Classic) allowing you to type virtually anywhere a hardware keyboard can be used.

TouchStrokes automatically adjusts to US and international keyboard layouts and has multiple resizable keyboard models. It handles command-key combinations, dead-keys, and modifier key – click combinations. It offers a quick access toolbar and has many customizable settings.

TouchStrokes is ideal if you work with a touch screen or electronic white board. Also for artists working with large graphic tablets or server managers that want to eliminate the clutter of having multiple physical keyboards on a desk it provides a great solution. People with disabilities should also check out KeyStrokes virtual keyboard (, which offers special accessibility features.

The suggested retail price for TouchStrokes will be US$ 95 or Euro 110 (excl. VAT). Discounts will be available for users of KeyStrokes 2 and for volume purchases.

A fully-functional demo is available at:

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