January 11, 2008

An Old Name, A New Idea [8:03 am]

For Young Voters In a Media Jungle, A Study Guidepdf

Garcia, who’s studying politics at Harvard, is living in a tech-savvy, hyper-connected world in which a monsoon of political information rains down on her each day. Four years ago, it was all about blogging, e-mail chains and MeetUp groups. Now add YouTube, Facebook and MySpace, each with its own political hub, and Garcia, already an overstuffed info consumer, faces a perplexing online gumbo. Where to go? What to read? Whom to trust?

On a recent evening inside Quincy House, one of the Harvard dorms, Garcia’s making her customary rounds on the Web — skimming through BBC.com (”My parents are from Argentina. I care a lot about Latin American news”), chatting with friends on Skype (”It’s an international thing. You can chat and make semi-free long-distance calls”) — but also checking out a new political site she heard about from friends: VoteGopher.com. It’s created by students for students, or anyone else curious about where candidates stand on the issues. It promises political literacy for young people trying to become educated voters.

Founded by a 20-year-old Harvard sophomore named Will Ruben, VoteGopher strives to focus comprehensively and authoritatively on issues facing the candidates, says Ruben. It’s a unique effort to fill an information void for young voters trying to connect with electoral politics.

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Finishing Off Music DRM? [7:29 am]

And setting up a competitor to Apple’s iTunes store: Sony Joins Other Labels on Amazon MP3 Store

Sony’s embrace of the MP3 format is also the latest blow to the technology known as digital rights management software, or D.R.M., which is intended to prevent consumers from making unauthorized copies of digital material.

In an open letter to the music industry last February, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, said his company would welcome the end of software antipiracy measures and a world where music from any online music store could be played on Apple devices.

Since then, one by one, major music industry figures like Edgar M. Bronfman Jr., Warner Music’s chairman, have supported the notion that D.R.M. was doing more harm than good in the evolving digital music market.

But Sony’s partnership with Amazon.com also underscores the music industry’s gathering effort to nurture an online rival to Apple, which has sold more than three billion songs through its iTunes store.

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