Archive for September, 2003

Kung Fu Master Learns to Skate

September 17th, 2003
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I haven’t gotten back in the swing of blogging since my vacation at the end of August. You want to know exactly how slow a blogging month it is? I’m sharing random pictures.
Here’s a guy in full-on kung fu regalia; he was teaching himself to use his inline skates in the park this weekend. Had I been seconds slower with the camera we would have a pictorial record of the kung fu master busting his ass. Become one with skates, grasshopper!


Cash Flow

September 11th, 2003

There’s nothing like spending a couple hundred thousand dollars on a condo in Capitol Hill (about six blocks east of the Capitol, four blocks north of Eastern Market) to make me learn how to use the Microsoft Money application that came with my Dell Laptop.
Now I have a pretty graph that shows exactly how poor I’m gonna be for the next year.
But I’ll own a home. :-)
(Okay, okay, Wachovia will hold the title, but you know what I mean.)


Movable Type Wish List

September 10th, 2003

Anybody want to build me a Movable Type plug-in that automatically closes comments on an entry after a set time period and retroactively closes comments on old posts? There’s beer in it for ya!

Movable Type

There’s an Alanis Morrisette Lyric In Here Somewhere

September 10th, 2003

I wonder if the marketing wonks responsible for Windows 2003’s Rights Management Services understood the other common usage of the “RMS” acronym.
Of course, being a big geek, phrases like “RMS will require Windows Server 2003″ now make me chuckle to myself.
Isn’t it ironic . . . don’t you think?
P.S. Yes, I recognize that the use above and Alanis’ use of “ironic” runs counter to the opinion of 78% of the Usage Panel, but everyone loves a nice pop culture reference in the headline, right?
P.P.S. By god, don’t you just want to be a member of the Usage Panel?!? What a crew to have heady grammar discussions with . . .

Update 09/11/03: Of course it would have made my ebullience seem more honest if I’d spelled the word “grammar” correctly when I posted this. D’oh!
Update 09/12/03: And if I had actually remembered to put the URL in the second link. D’oh, d’oh!

Technology & Internet

RIAA Loses Whats Left of its Mind

September 5th, 2003
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In yet another stroke of being brilliantly out of touch with reality, the RIAA announced today that they would provide amnesty for users sharing files:

The RIAA’s offer would require Internet users to complete a notarized amnesty form that includes promises to delete any illegally downloaded music and not participate in illegal file-trading in the future. In exchange, the RIAA would agree not to file a potentially expensive infringement lawsuit.

I mean, good grief, who do they think is going to take them up on this besides the uber-paranoid? Yeah, those are the customers you want to cultivate. They probably only listen to the Collected Spoken Word Recordings of Oliver Stone.
In related news, Universal appears to be about to slash audio CD prices, potentially lowering retail CD prices into the $10-$12 range. Of course, it still only takes less than a buck fifty to produce the CD’s.
What we’re seeing here folks is the death of music retail. Tim Oren wrote about this [link via Scripting News]:

Remember there were once software specialty stores? For a variety of reasons, but particularly including Internet ordering and downloading as an alternate channel, those stores first consolidated, then vanished, followed by most of the broad line computer stores. Now software is smallish section at Office Depot or Best Buys, a pale shadow of the old channel. Today, the music business may have taken its first overt step down that same path.

Like we said auf wiedersehen to the Software Etc. and Egghead Software shops at the mall, it’s now time to bid au revoir to our pal Sam Goody, say sayanora to good ol’ Kemp Mill (only DC locals get that reference), and adios to aisles of music at the Barnes & Noble.
I’m not going to predict how long it will take, but I will predict that eventually music retail will consist of two channels:
1. Downloading music via the Internet onto your own computer for a per song fee.
2. Kiosks in retail locations that download (via the Internet or a private network) and burn CDs (and print cover art) on the spot.
The latter is a necessary transitional technology because many people, particularly outside the first world, still don’t have sufficient connectivity to support a robust music habit.
Once the margin dips below a certain point, record industry distributors will cease to pay the physical distribution costs (burning, printing, shipping, etc.), and retailers won’t be able to afford their own costs (rent, employees, etc.). Then we can dispense with all this physical distribution and retail infrastructure just to move digital bits around.
Of course, even with the two retail channels above, there will still continue to be a robust back-channel of consumer-to-consumer file-sharing.
Amnesty or not.

Intellectual Property

Ed Tech Wiki

September 5th, 2003
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Slow week due to post-vacation brain getting back up to speed.
This should entertain you for a while: an Educational Technology Wiki that’s been mentioned on several other sites this week.
(What’s a “wiki” you ask? A wiki is a “collection of web pages which can be edited by anyone, at any time, from anywhere.” Yeah, it sounds funky, but it’s fairly self-policing most of the time.)