A Mixed Message

From USA TOday: Pepsi ads wink at music downloading

A new sort of Pepsi Generation will get air time on the Super Bowl: music downloaders.

Some 20 teens sued by the Recording Industry Association of America, which accuses them of unauthorized downloads, will appear in a Pepsi-Cola (PEP) ad that kicks off a two-month offer of up to 100 million free — and legal — downloads from Apple’s iTunes, the leading online music seller. The sassy ad, to be seen by Super Bowl’s 88 million viewers on Feb 1, is a wink at the download hot button. Pepsi hopes the promotion will connect its flagship cola, as well as Sierra Mist and Diet Pepsi, with teens who’ve shown more affinity for bottled water, energy drinks and the Internet.

[…] Annie Leith, a 14-year-old from Staten Island, appears with other downloaders in the ad, which features music by Green Day. The band cut a special version of the 1966 Bobby Fuller Four hit I Fought the Law for the ad, by BBDO, New York. In the ad, Leith holds a Pepsi and proclaims: “We are still going to download music for free off the Internet.” Then the announcer says how: “Announcing the Pepsi iTunes Giveaway.”

Slashdot discussion: Apple and Pepsi Ad Sports RIAA Targets

Considering a Move To an Apple

After a year with a G4 PowerBook, I’m giving very serious consideration to making my next desktop/server machine a G5. While it’s been a long climb up the learning curve to get a reasonably workable setup in Linux, the option to pay a little more to get some cleaner integration and administrative tools while retaining a Unix core (not to mention those Cinema displays) has been really seductive. And it appears that I can still retain the elements of the Linux environment that I like via Fink.

Since I run a website off my desktop, I thought that the OS X Server option might be worth the extra dinero (the academic cost of the 10 client version is $250, and I really don’t care how many Apple File Shares I’m limited to), given what I’ve read about the fact that you get an integrated setup out of the box for all the tools that I want.

Sadly, there’s a fly in the ointment. According to the discussion forum at Apple.com, the filenames on the server version of OS X are case-sensitive, which is not the case for the client. Some posters indicate that there are problems for user applications because of that — but I haven’t found any specifics. Anyone out there know more about this? Let me know, if you’re so inclined.

Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and MUDDA

Gabriel to launch musicians’ union (from the WEF in Davos, no less!)

Rock legends Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno plan to launch on Monday a musicians’ union to help artists stand their ground in the digital age.

The union will be called Mudda, short for “magnificent union of digitally downloading artists”.

“The digital environment will change the way music is made, and here artists need a voice”, Peter Gabriel told BBC News Online at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In the age of digital downloads musicians and the music industry have had to find a way of giving consumers what they want while securing revenue streams.

[…] “We need a model partnership where every artist should have a controlling influence in the whole production process – if they want it.”

Slashdot discussion: Gabriel and Eno Start Digital Music Artist Union

The Hope for the Future

Young Webmasters Conquer the Universe

“Kids are becoming content providers and electronic publishers,” said Peter Grunwald, the firm’s founder. “It’s a fundamentally different relationship between the kid and the medium that exists in television. Kids are exercising control over media.”

Of course, as with many sites created by adults, children’s Web sites are not always maintained, since keeping them current proves to be as difficult for many children as, say, cleaning up their rooms. Many sites are abandoned altogether as interest and energy wane.

Yet children clearly want to know more about how to build their own sites and pursue other Web activities, said Leslie Conery, deputy chief executive officer of the International Society for Technology in Education. “Web pages are one tiny little way that students are using the Internet,” she said.

Architecture and Law Enforcement

Easing of Internet Regulations Challenges Surveillance Efforts

Some industry experts say that their biggest worry is that law enforcement demands may reshape the technical specifications of the new Internet voice services, an accusation that officials at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. deny.

“What’s most scary for industry and perhaps some people at the F.C.C. is the notion that the architecture of the Internet will depend on the permission of the F.B.I.,” said Stewart A. Baker, a former general counsel of the National Security Agency, which monitors foreign communications. Mr. Baker now represents a number of telecommunications companies as a partner at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.

[…] In a strange-bedfellows twist, officials from the F.B.I. and other agencies have found themselves the unlikely allies of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which have also argued that the new Internet services offered by cable companies should be under a regulatory regime like the phone system — but for different reasons. The A.C.L.U. prefers that approach because it would prohibit cable companies from discriminating against Internet service providers, and as such would assure a greater diversity of voices.

Some Provocative Questions

Do the current tools for political discussion on the Internet help or hurt: Politics of the Web: Meet, Greet, Segregate, Meet Again

“The experience of the echo chamber is easier to create with a computer than with many of the forms of political interaction that preceded it,” said Cass Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago and author of “Republic.com.” “The discussion will be about strategy, or horse race issues or how bad the other candidates are, and it will seem like debate. It’s not like this should be censored, but it can increase acrimony, increase extremism and make mutual understanding more difficult.”

[…] “If people are getting together to talk about politics, that’s better than people sitting watching a 30-second sound bite,” said Robert Putnam, a public policy professor at Harvard.

But Professor Putnam, whose book “Bowling Alone” lamented the demise of nonpartisan community groups like bowling leagues and Kiwanis clubs, said more interaction among people with diverse views would be preferable.

“The terribly polarized politics that we have now is the culmination of a trend that’s been going on for 25 years,” he said. “Whether the Internet is going to make the problem better or make it worse is a big, important question.”

Contrast with Does Howard Dean’s Third-Place Finish in Iowa Rebut the “Internet Election” Concept? Don’t Count on It.