2002 December 26

(entry last updated: 2002-12-26 11:42:59)

  • Doc points to a good followup to the Norlin discussion. Plus these from JoHo – A (the Salon quote is right on – somebody’s channeling David Rees) and B

  • (I missed this when it came out in November!) Paul Boutin over at Slate seems to have taken up Declan McCullagh’s perspective: geeks need to get out of politics and just subvert via technology:

    The old saw that the Net routes around damage, including the political kind, has been around just long enough to be unfashionable. That doesn’t make it any less true. For all their complaining, the nerds are way ahead of slow-grinding legislators. The only way Washington can catch up is if the geeks stop to play politics.

    There’s just one problem: as the 2600 prosecutions have shown, geeks already have an image problem. Pursuing this strategy just makes it harder. Granted, the rhetorical battles do not favor the geek, but taking the approach Boutin suggests just makes things worse – real dialog has to happen. Not because geeks can’t out innovate; rather, because the typical sledgehammer approach government will take to "solve" the geek problem will just drive these vitally important innovators to other venues, crippling the economy that these regulators think they are defending.

  • I’m not really a big fan of Charlie Cooper over at CNet/ZDNet, but his PC Wish list commentary includes one vitally important desire, particularly as we face a new year of digital rights management PR:

    The end of the master-slave relationship

    Devices should be made subservient to their owners, not the other way around. The late (great) Michael Dertouzas, formerly director of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, told Scientific American that “we made a big mistake 300 years ago when we separated technology and humanism.” He was spot on. It’s about time to put the technology and humanism components back together. Why are we still stuck sitting in front of these dumb machines, staring at screens all day? Beats me; but it’s clear who’s in charge–and it ain’t us.

    However, the idea that it’s the computer that’s seizing control is nonsense – there’s always someone "behind the curtain," Dorothy. (related eWeek piece)

  • And, if you’re feeling strong, you can read this Slashdot discussion on MONO & .NET and the growing IP issues. Warning: lots of acronyms.

  • Pursuant to yesterday’s Washington Post piece on McCain at the helm of Commerce, there’s this article from Business Week (Slashdot discussion) on another set of media distribution – cable TV and recent changes in the rate structure that should allow consumers to purchase subscriptions on a per-channel basis.

  • OTOH, the change from Leahy to Hatch on the Judiciary Committee also gets a look from the Post – with Hatch identified as a strong DMCA proponent.

  • Slashdot posts an article based on a Washington Post report of the next angle on song sales – licensing ring tones. It’s not that new an idea – the Europeans and Asians have been doing this for some time – with the expected controversies

  • The New York Times profiles the top selling records of 2002 to identify something that is already becoming clear – the popstar cycle is coming to an end. Customers have figured out the current marketing game, and they’re not buying.

  • Jack Valenti sounds surprised in this LATimes article on the upsurge in movie attendance. Apparently, movie piracy didn’t have that much effect, while Internet ticket sales did…..