Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Bad news for Kerry. Most of his fellow swift boat captains and everyone he ever served under feel that he is unfit to be president.

Plus Bush is more likeable

Think Kerry is going to keep corporations from moving jobs overseas? Think again.

Benedict Arnold does not refer to somebody who in the normal course of business is going to go overseas and take jobs overseas. That happens. I support that. I understand that.

Most overblown claim for the day - unless Bush acts now, kids will be taking assult weapons to school in September

Although this claim gives it a run for its money

Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked.

On the other hand
Environmental charities are exaggerating the threat of climate change in an attempt to raise more money from public donations, according to a report by Oxford University academics.

No kidding. I never would have guessed.

If Microsoft, the RIAA and the MPA have their way. you will no longer buy copies of movies or recordings, you will rent licenses. This might appeal to people when watching movies, after all, how many times can you watch the same movie? Music is different. It takes a different level of concentration to listen to music than to watch a movie.

The issue here is Digital Rights Management (DRM). This allows the retailer to lock movies or music to specific hardware. While teenagers might not mind throwing out their entire music collection with their PC, adults probably would. I have recordings that I still listen to that are several years old. Some are even on LPs from the 70s and 80s.

Of course, the record companies love this. CD sales were given a boost for years as people replaced vinyl and cassette with CD.

Portability is a big issue. iTunes is the biggest retailer of legal downloads but you cannot play a tune from iTunes on any personal device except for an iPod. At best, you can burn a CD (up to three from a play-list) then rip the CD and transfer the file to your MP3 player. That's a lot of work and you lose audio quality.

Heck, just to play an iTUnes song on my CD player I have to burn a CD.

Then there is Satelite radio where you have to pay for each receiver. There are some that you can take with you from home to car to office but why bother when there is free radio?

This is happening with TV and Tivo. With a VCR you can tape a program and give it to a friend or put it on the shelf. A Tivo doesn't let you do this. All it does is timeshift. You can save a show for a while but you have limited space.

If your Tivo or iPod dies then it can take everything on it, also. A dirty little secret of the iPod is that the batteries eventually wear out and die, sometime in al little as a year. Apple originally suggested that you buy a new i-Pod when this happens. After a lot of outcry, they will now install a new battery but it still costs something like a $100.

Disney tried switching to a licensing model last year with self-distructing DVDs. Once the seal was broken, a chemical reaction to air would turn them black after a couple of days.

Disney hates that you get nearly unlimited plays when you buy a video. In the 1990s they considered making VHS tapes that would self-erase after a dozen or so plays but they never marketed this. The limited-life DVDs were their first attempt but this was not successful in test markets.

Here's more on digital rights

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