The Tale of Sad Steve

One Haverford student’s fight against the Apple iTunes oligarchy

By Mike Troup

The Recording Industry Association of America has been fighting a battle against online music piracy since the creation of illegal music download websites, starting with Napster in 1999. The RIAA has begun to enjoy success lately in catching people pirating music thanks to technology that allows monitoring services to search the database of music download programs and find people who are illegally sharing music.

Leave it to a Haverford College student to find a way around illegal file sharing — as well as a loophole in the music downloading system.

Introducing the hero: Joe Huttner. Huttner, 21, is a senior at Haverford. The New Jersey native is the creator of SadSteve.com, a music download website launched from his dorm room in January, 2008. He is determined to show that music can still be distributed over the internet without any hassle from the RIAA and major music labels.

The Sad Steve of Sad Steve

The Sad Steve of Sad Steve

“My inspiration for the site came in August, 2007, following a discussion with a friend regarding the current, weakened state of the music industry,” said Huttner, leaning back in his chair as if he was Marlon Brando in The Godfather.

Apple Inc.’s takeover and near monopolization of legal digital music distribution through iTunes is what made Huttner feel like he had to take action. While the 6’3″ baseball player turned internet wiz appears to be a gentle giant, he is hardly soft-spoken.

“The industry’s major problem, in our minds at least, was its newfound allegiance with Apple Computer, Inc.,” he said. ” Labels had relinquished control of the fastest growing distribution channel, the digital one, to Apple, a company devoted to technology, not music production.”

Huttner set out to create Sad Steve to connect with music fans directly. It has a library of songs available for download that is increasing in size every day.

“Sad Steve is first and foremost an audio search engine,” said Huttner. “The search engine finds music, podcasts, comedy tracks, and even speeches.”

The way that music is made available on Sad Steve is simple. The site indexes mp3 files (the file type of most audio files) that are available all over the internet. Users can then download the file directly from the site to their computers.

“For example,” said Huttner, “If the website for John’s California Surf Club hosts a Beach Boys song, that file is indexed and made available to you, the user.” Continue reading

Life Inside the Haverbubble

Most Haverford students rarely leave campus.  This like life inside the bubble too much to venture outside.

By Robert Breckinridge
Students at Haverford College often find they are lulled into a comfortable complacency that leads them to rarely venture out of the confines of campus. For decades, they’ve called this tendency the Haverbubble.

But, is the Haverbubble real or a myth? Is is only a legend passed down from one generation of students to another, or is it the real thing. Now it can be told: it is the real thing.

In an anonymous survey to students at Haverford, 58 % of the 509 respondents – a reply rate equal to 45 % of the student body — said the Haverbubble is real and they never escape it. Another 32 % said they rarely leave the campus.

The survey shows that most students spend most of them time at Haverford on campus, rarely venturing outside – even to nearby establishment, even more rarely to Philadelphia, which is just a 20-minute train ride away.
And, according to the survey, most of them like it that way.

Sophomore Steve Chehi said, “the Haverbubble is a great thing for about 25% of the student body 100% of their time here. And a great thing for the other 75% of the student body for their first two years they are here.”
Part of the attraction of Haverbubble is that it can be as insulating and comfortable as crawling under your covers on a cold night.

“To me the Haverbubble is an island, it keeps me safe, its where I learn,” said Kyle Norton, another sophomore.
It is easy to imagine Haverford being an isolated 19th century village. Continue reading

A Second Chance

The McBride program at Bryn Mawr College gives women a chance to go to a school later in life.

By Juliana Reyes
Four women sit around a table and there’s a language barrier. Yvette Tucker, a black woman with short braids, manicured nails and silver butterfly earrings speaks broken French. Elisa Landaverde, a young, stylish girl from Mexico speaks Japanese. Georgette Hedberg, 63, speaks a little Polish. Marie Steeb, blond and pretty, speaks German and sounds like a native. They all concentrate when Tucker poses a question.
“Qu’est-ce que tu fais ce soir?” she says. Her French accent is getting there.
The women pause and look around. Then Hedberg breaks the silence.
“I think it sounds like, ‘You’re ugly.'” The women all burst out laughing.
Though they may seem completely different, these women are intimately connected. They are McBride scholars at Bryn Mawr College.
The McBride program, named after Katharine McBride, the fourth president of Bryn Mawr, began in 1985. It allows women who are beyond traditional college age to study at Bryn Mawr in order to receive their undergraduate degree. Though they range in age from 24 to 77, they are similar to the other Bryn Mawr students in many ways.
They are expected to fulfill the same requirements, they are eligible for financial aid and they have the opportunity to live on campus if they wish. One main difference is that McBrides do not have to attend Bryn Mawr full time. This is called “self-pace” and it allows them to choose how many classes they take each semester. Because of self-pace, McBrides sometimes stay for longer than the normal four years.
Rona Pietrzak, Associate Dean and Director of the McBride Scholars Program, says that some McBrides leave Bryn Mawr for a couple of years for different reasons, such as family problems, but they almost always come back.
The McBride application process is unique because as Pietrzak says, “We have their whole lives to look at.” Pietrzak explains that the application involves three letters of recommendation, four “fairly substantial” autobiographical essays and no SAT scores. McBride Scholar Joanne Bunch calls the application process “the most daunting thing about being a McBride.” She says she was going to apply to Smith College as well, but when she saw that Smith required one essay as opposed to Bryn Mawr’s four, she thought, “You can fake one essay, but you can’t fake four.” She thought of it as Bryn Mawr’s way of weeding out the weaker candidates. Continue reading

Come to My Party – Prom Dress Required

By Elizabeth Svokos

It was, literally, a party with no pants.
Crowded in a dimly lit basement, guys were dressed in their boxers while the girls showed off their best Victoria’s Secret panties. It was the No-Pants Party last weekend at Haverford College.
Parties are synonymous with college life. They’re in the movies, popular TV shows, and anyone who has been to college can tell you the parties on the weekend are what got them through the week. But at Haverford College, parties have reached a new level.
Toga parties are so yesterday. Theme parties are the new trend. With themes ranging from Club Miami, to the Prom Party, to the No-Pants Party, students never know what crazy outfit they’ll be sporting that weekend.
Coming up with themes for parties is definitely not a difficult task. Sophomores Laura Gilroy and Ellen Freeman hosted the Prom Party where people came with dates wearing bow ties, dress shoes, real prom dresses and even posed in front of the camera for the classic, awkward prom date picture. Why?

Toga Parties -- A Thing of the Past

Toga Parties -- A Thing of the Past

“My mom always said I would never wear my prom dress again,” Freeman said, “And we just wanted an excuse to wear our dresses again.”
This simple idea sparked a night of dancing to old music and drinking punch, just like a high school prom. James House, where the event was held, is the art house on campus. To get the venue, the girls had to be a little sneaky.
“To use James House you had to be doing something artistic, so we lied and told them we were using it to make a music video for our band,” said Gilroy. “Is this off the record?”
But it was all worth it to enjoy that night and act a little crazy.
“It gives you a chance to be someone who’s not yourself,” Gilroy says. “Like I was pretending to be a virgin on Prom night and my friend Krishnan was Goth, and my friend Eve was named Prom Queen.”
And as for prom king: “Oh,” Freeman said, “Her girlfriend, Grace.”
Gilroy and Freeman are not new to theme parties. Last year, they hosted a Harry Potter themed party with a live Irish music band. It was invitation only by hand-made invites.
“It was a little more elitist with the invitations,” says Freeman, “but we just didn’t want people we didn’t know showing up.”
A fear for theme party planners, besides that people won’t dress up, is also uninvited guests arriving, or people wreaking havoc on the night of the party.
“The annoying thing is when people I don’t even know show up,” says Gilroy. “I feel like the party is my baby, and I don’t want strangers touching my baby.”
Gilroy and Freeman raise money for these events by asking for a small donation from friends, but they usually end up paying a majority from their own pockets.
“It’s all right though,” says Freeman, “I feel like we have to give back to the communities and we do that with theme parties, so we get to have fun too.” Freeman went all-out for the Harry Potter party and dressed as Hagrid, the giant with a huge beard and burly voice, and even spoke with a British accent the whole night.
Continue reading

Arranged Marriages American Style

Note: The names in this story were changed at the request of the sources in exchange for their candor on this topic.

By Michele Khilji

Sarah Aziz and Imran Khalid’s first anniversary is quickly approaching — not their wedding anniversary, but one year since they started dating.
Imran attends Rice University in Texas, but flew to Philadelphia to spend time with Sarah while they worked on their exams together. While Imran sits alone in Canaday Library, at Bryn Mawr College, Sarah sneaks away to the library stacks to work on Imran’s anniversary gift.
Being secretive is not new to this couple; this anniversary also marks a year of keeping the relationship a secret from their parents.
Sarah and Imran are just some of many children of South Asian immigrants who find themselves stuck between the American and South Asian ideals of love and marriage.
Marriage in South Asia is viewed as a binding relationship between the two families of the wedded, and traditional arranged marriages have been part of the culture for thousands of years. In an arranged marriage, the parents choose whom their child will marry. In South Asian culture, it is believed that an arranged marriage preserves cultural and class traditions, as well as serves as a “knot” that ties two families together.
Sarah and Imran both are children of Bengali immigrants. They share the same background and fit their parents’ criteria for potential spouses. So why do they hide that their relationship?
Imran’s parents are against dating because they view it as a possible distraction from studies. Imran’s father wants him to focus on studies and believes that his son is not in a position to take on a relationship. Although Sarah’s parents are not opposed to her dating, they would rather “save her reputation” by formalizing the relationship as an engagement. Sarah and Imran know they want to marry each other but have agreed that after Imran completes medical school they will reveal their relationship to their parents. “We have a two-year plan”, chuckled Imran.
When children of immigrants do not submit to their parents’ authority, they are described as being “too American”. So while individuals like Sarah and Imran end up choosing potential partners who are the same ethnic background, the way they made their choices and the timing still depart from traditional arranged marriage.
To find out more about views on arranged marriage, a recent survey of South Asians, most of them students at Bryn Mawr and Haverford, polled them on their views on dating and marriage. The survey was distributed via the email list serves of South Asian affinity groups, such as Bryn Mawr College’s South Asian Women (SAW) and Haverford College’s South Asian Students (SAS). In addition, an open Facebook event was created encouraging South Asian students to participate. Sixty seven responses were received, 59 of them women and 8 of them men. Their responses were anonymous, but respondents were able to leave comments. Continue reading