Monthly Archives: November 2005

Dave Doth Protest Too Much About The Wrong Things

Am I the only one (who doesn’t already have an axe to grind with him) who thinks that Dave Winer “repeated”:http://www.scripting.com/2005/11/29.html#When:2:41:31AM “complaints”:http://www.scripting.com/2005/11/25.html#When:12:42:42PM about “iTunes purging his music when he hooked it to a new machine”:http://www.scripting.com/2005/11/24.html#When:11:12:50PM are a little dubious?

Arrrgh, I plugged my new iPod into my old Mac and lost everything on it. Never got a confirmation dialog asking if it was okay if it wiped out the music and audiobooks that I painstakingly took hours of my time to set up. Never mind that the originals are on the other side of the United States. Honestly, how dare they design software that’s so brutal?

iTunes puts up a confirmation dialog when you hook an iPod to it that already has content on it letting you know that it will wipe all the existing content if you proceed. It does give you the option to go forward, and never see the message again.

Warnings aside, what really sucks is that Apple does their best to make it impossible for people to add content to their iPods from multiple computers. It may be that this scenario just didn’t fit into their (Steve’s) pure white vision of the iPod experience, but I think it’s more likely that it was a compromise to placate the recording industry who didn’t want to see the iPod used as the backbone of a P2P sneakernet.

Fortunately, there is software that makes it possible to move tracks on and off iPods in a fine grained fashion. “Sharepod”:http://www.sturm.net.nz/website.php?Section=iPod+Programs&Page=SharePod#download works on Windows, and can be run directly off the iPod. “PodWorks”:http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/17443 seems to offer similar features on MacOS. Sharepod and PodWorks aren’t the only options either, there are probably a half dozen alternatives on each platform.

Update:Dave has done experiments to confirm that “iTunes isn’t prompting him before overwriting his iPod”:http://www.scripting.com/2005/11/30.html#When:6:10:50AM when he hooks it to a new itunes library.

Steal your Face: Yet another corporate logo

The Grateful Dead ended up with a nice business by taking a very liberal view of their own intellectual property. They let fans tape shows directly off the soundboards at their concerts. These recordings were traded by mail and in person, and, in recent years, on the net.

The result of their whole relationship with their audience, of which this was emblematic, was thaty they built a large and dedicated following despite the fact that their commercial recordings never sold particularly well. At a time when touring was generally a break-even affair, justified on promotional grounds, the Dead’s tours were highly profitable undertakings, both for the band itself, and the large secondary economy of camp followers who provided a wide range of goods and services at their shows.

The Dead were often viewed as a prototype of what a successful musical group would look like post-Napster, which makes recent news that the heirs to the Grateful Dead dynasty (Jerry Garcia’s widow and one or more former members of the band) “forced the removal of over 1000 soundboard recordings hosted by the Internet Archive”:http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=47634 particularly disappointing.

(*Note:* I am really just repeating gossip here. I don’t know that it’s well substantiated who is behind this decision)

This move may or may not improve the market for “official” recordings in the short run, but I can’t imagine it’s going to help the long term value of the band’s legacy. The Dead were probably always much shrewder businessmen than many their fans would like to accept, but they maintained a light touch which didn’t interfere with the fans appreciation of the whole communal countercultural experience around their shows.

Moves like this are going to make it hard for fans to see the red-white-and-blue lightning bolt-in-cranium of the Dead’s “Steal Your Face” logo as anything but, as one commenter put it “another corporate logo.” Most anyone predisposed to pay for Grateful Dead recordings and merchandise because of what they were as a band and a cultural force seem particularly unlikely to want to support what it’s becoming as an undead and undying corporate entity.

Of course, I shouldn’t underestimate modern american marketing, considering how many people believe paying tens of thousands of dollars for a Harley Davidson motorcycle, or buying any Harley Davidson licensed merchandise, somehow makes them anything other than yet another corporate brand-whore.

On the whole, this is probably a big vote in favor of post-Napster band business models because it shows that a band who never sold a lot of albums can build a legacy worth enough to be corrupted hamfisted attempts to maximize profits.

via “the sellouts at BoingBoing”:http://boingboing.net

In Which I Complain About a Lack of Critical Thinking on the Part of Others

So the eminent Varun Dubey (whoever the hell he is) writing on the esteemed cooltechzone.com (whatever the hell that is) boldly states that “Linux is Doomed, Thanks to Microsoft”:http://www.cooltechzone.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2026 based purely on some recent Gartner report saying that Windows server licensing revenue outstrips Linux server licensing revenue by a few percent. According to Dubey, this predicts the end of linux, and he offers a number of half-baked hypotheses as to why.

This gets picked up by Memorandum, where I read it, and now I’m so incensed by the stupidity of the article and the life its taken on that I have to post about it. Memorandum also links to a “post by a self-described ‘Microsoft Pragmatic Evangelist'”:http://blog.opsan.com/archive/2005/11/27/2340.aspx, who quotes a piece of the article he finds “notable”

The most important reason that Windows based servers are doing so well could be that programmers find it extremely easy to work on .Net and other related technologies (seamless integration).

I agree that this is notable, it’s notable because it’s completely speculative, and it’s backed up by nothing at all. The evangelist, takes it, as evangelists are wont to do, as the truth, foretold.

Memorandum also links to an “excerpt of the article on OSNews”:http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=12783. Which lamely tries to use the lame article itself to spin things in Linux’s favor. Digging into the comments, you see some uncritical thinking by people who accept that the Gartner report is indeed bad news for Linux.

Other commenters get closer to the heart of the matter, which is that the statistic that windows has 37% revenue share and linux 31.7% revenue share in the server market doesn’t tell you much about the future of Linux because the statistic, and the lame-ass CooltechZone article, conveys absolutely no trend information. Even without trend information though, that number could be pretty bad for Microsoft considering that one of the selling points of Linux is lower licensing costs. That small gap in favor of Microsoft for revenue share could be a huge gap in favor of linux in terms of new deployments.

I don’t follow the trends too closely, but I’m pretty sure these numbers represent an advance for Linux, but that’s not really the point of this post. The point of this post is to slag people who make too much about facts without sufficient context, and those who accept naked speculation as something more substantial.

Blogs I Should Read More Often

I’ve had “World Changing’s”:http://www.worldchanging.com/ full-text RSS feed in my aggregator for most of 2005. It’s a really great group blog focused on the potential for using technology to enable a better, more equitable and sustainable future for all the worlds inhabitants. I’d like to find a way to make a personal contribution to the topics it covers. Ironalically, I’ve ended up moving it to my “Best of Intentions” folder, which is where I put blogs that I really want to read, but can’t seem to keep up with, usually due to some combination of posting volume and depth of the thought in the postings. I do read it from time to time, and I’m always glad that I made the time.

Another blog I should read more often is “Deepfreeze9″:http://deepfreeze9.blogspot.com/ by Pierre de Vries who I had opportunity to meet when I was working on a project to create a new business incubator at Microsoft. Rather than strain my pre-caffinated brain trying to come up with a short, tart, description that does it justice, I’ll just encourage you to read it and come to your own conclusion.

iTunes Pricing and Schultz’s Law.

Am I the only one who thinks that the recording industry will be shooting themselves in the foot if they manage to persuade Apple to adopt variable pricing on iTunes? The sweet thing about the $0.99/track pricing is that it is cheap enough that people won’t think twice about buying 3-4 tracks, just as people don’t think too much about spending $1000/year on Starbucks lattes because they are only spending a few bucks at a time.

Push the price up over a $1 a track and I think you cross a threshold with people. It’s more than a buck a track now. It’s more than $5 for a few songs, It’s more than $10 for an album.

EMI Says Apple’s Jobs Will Change ITunes Pricing – Forbes.com