Monthly Archives: January 2014

Taking Matters to a Higher Level

January 30, 2014 in Blog by admin  |  No Comments

Taking matters to a higher level (on piracy)Talk about “Intellectual Property” and most people yawn. Talk about “Piracy” and most people have a strong opinion. Yet “Intellectual Property” and “Piracy” are just two terms for the same issue – how open is the Internet and what right do we have to access someone else’s creative work? (Here’s the basic 411 on Intellectual Property).

Computer hackers – which is just a more benign description for pirates – intend to take the Internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit.

As reported by BBC News Technology, plans were outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. While it’s unclear (and possibly unlikely) that project organizers will pull together enough funds to properly launch their “Hackerspace Global Grid”, it does show the extremes which either side will take in support of their position.

The Day the Internet Shut Down

January 19, 2014 in Blog by admin  |  No Comments

History buffs, mark January 18, 2012 on your calendars.  That was the day the Internet shut down and sent an unmistakable message to the (former) formidable old guard…in urban vernacular it’s known as a ‘bitch slap’.

Protesting two bills in Congress – the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and Protect I.P. Act in the Senate – hundreds of popular websites shut down.  Of more far-reaching significance was the surprisingly-effective lobbying efforts by technology companies such as Wikipedia, Twitter and Google to use their massive reach to influence online users all for political gain.

That would be like some companies (say, oil companies) joining together to shut off their supply all for economic and political gain.  Oh, I forgot, we’ve been down that road before.

So next time you’re online and the Internet decides to shut down because technology companies don’t like this or that, just remember January 18, 2012 and the how a potent political weapon was aimed square at the heart of the American people.

The Old ‘Bait and Switch’?

January 15, 2014 in Blog by admin  |  No Comments

Spotify logoThe term bait-and-switch is most commonly used in retail sales where customers are “baited” with products or services offered at a low price, only to discover that the advertised goods are not available and they’re “switched” to a pricier product.

Spotify, the free streaming music service which made its US debut in July 2011, just announced that all users will now be limited to just 10 hours per month and they’ll only be allowed to play individual tracks no more than five times per month.  That’s because Spotify’s unlimited music (the bait) is now only a limited time offer.  After your 10 hours of streaming music per month, the ad-supported Spotify hopes that you’ll sign up for one of its paid plans (the switch).

Dwindling subscriber businesses such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have already fortified themselves behind Internet pay-walls.  Does Spotify’s recent bait-and-switch business model herald a new direction for companies hoping to profit on the Internet?


Naked Came the Digital Stranger

January 14, 2014 in Blog by admin  |  No Comments

Back in 1969, a group of 24 prominent journalists poked fun at the poor writing of the then-current slate of best sellers. Using the pseudonym Penelope Ashe, each of the journalists scribbled an individual chapter, and, in their attempt to be intentionally inconsistent, often wrote without seeing what came before or after.

This literary hoax was penned as a deliberately terrible book with lots of sex and (naturally) became an instant best seller.

The digital publishing world has recently been getting into the act, catering online to frustrated writers. FanLit sites, such as Avon Romance, allow anyone with a keyboard to bring a story to life. One wonders…will history repeat itself?