Katherine's Blog

Obsessions: Thin films, writing, small business, and random web flotsam

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March 22, 2002

AOL Time Warner and Intel have agreed to play nice on copy protection. Intel agrees that intellectual property is important, and AOL Time Warner agrees that government mandates for electronic system design aren't the solution. In other words, AOL Time Warner declined to cross the line in the sand that Intel drew in Congressional testimony a few weeks ago.

Astute readers will note, however, that the debate has now become an argument between corporate interests: what solution allows both the entertainment industry and the technology industry to make the most money. It's fallen to a few lonely voices, notably Virginia Congressman Rick Boucher, to defend the important public interests at stake here.
posted 14:25 |

According to John Scalzi, the worst in people goes looking for something to do, and that usually ends up being politics. A nice rant on why politicians are so detached from reality. Offensive to just about everyone.

(Link by way of Metafilter.)
posted 13:27 |

March 21, 2002

PC penetration in the US market seems to have leveled off. Six out of ten households have at least one PC, the same as a year ago. As the Mercury News suggests, arguing that every household that wants a PC already has one may be too simplistic. PCs are still much more expensive and much more difficult to use than devices like the telephone, TV, and VCR. Those devices may not offer an accurate model for the evolving PC market.
posted 11:32 |

March 20, 2002

Is your office drowning in paper? Mine too. In fact, consumption of office paper in the US rose almost 15% between 1995 and 2000, despite the proliferation of computers. A new book, The Myth of the Paperless Office, tries to explain why. The authors found that paper facilitates collaboration and creative thinking. It persists because it works, while the alleged advantages of computerized files turn out to be largely illusory. I haven't read the book yet, but this New Yorker review put it high on my list.
posted 12:10 |
Hitachi and Mitsubishi announced they will merge, creating the world's third-largest chipmaker, after Intel and Toshiba. The merger comes as Japanese chip companies struggle with enormous losses, particularly in the memory market.
posted 11:04 |
Computing power and data storage are now almost free, and the price is still dropping. Rick Rashid, director of Microsoft Research, talks about what cheap large-scale computing might mean for users.

(Link from Tomalak's Realm.)
posted 10:54 |

March 19, 2002

In his Keep Trying meta-blog, Mike Sanders looks at popular blogger Andrew Sullivan's move to a for-profit model. Given the time and bandwidth costs of maintaining a site that draws tens of thousands of visitors per day, I'm not at all surprised that Sullivan is looking for a revenue stream. Fame is nice, but it doesn't pay the rent or the bandwidth bill or put food on the table.

Sanders asks, "How will writers, journalists, musicians and software providers make a living if more things become free?" My response is that you get what you pay for. If the media-consuming public is unwilling to support independent media, either directly or indirectly (for example through advertising), then independent media will cease to exist. If they can't make a living independently, the best bloggers will be forced to either shut down altogether, or to link with traditional media organizations and accept the resulting loss of independence.

Something to think about the next time you download free music, use shareware software, or read a blog.
posted 12:23 |

My server logs tell me I've been getting a fair amount of traffic from Blog Sisters. Blog Sisters is about a month old, and still in the early "figuring out what we're doing" stage. It'll be interesting to see how it evolves. Thanks for the link, and welcome.
posted 11:24 |

March 18, 2002

Just got back from a long weekend to find that the Blogger folks have been working on the archive problem in my absence. Let's see if it's fixed now. Update: Yes, all better.
posted 23:00 |
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