Archives » February, 2003

February 11, 2003

Embrace file-sharing, or die

John Snyder in Salon: Embrace file-sharing, or die.

Music has become fungible. People are going through it faster than toilet paper. Never in the history of the world has there been more music in the air and never have more people listened to music. Out of this incredible desire and need for music, surely some good must come. I think more opportunity than ever is available to the musician and songwriter, and the record company too. They just have to create new ways to deal with this opportunity, and it won’t be by the old rules.

I think that if it weren’t for all of this activity on the Internet and all of this downloaded music, the CD market would be suffering more than it is. MP3s are lessening the decline of the music business, not creating it.

John Snyder is in the music business himself, although I can’t say I’ve ever heard of Artist House Records. Googling it just turns up more links to this article.


Not that anyone cares anymore (it seems like there’s always someone celebrating their first year), but I’ve been doing this for a year now.

Also, in more important news, It’s my wife birthday today. Happy birthday, Vi-Jo!

Why Not

Aw hell, I know everybody else is going to be linking to this, so I might as well do it too.

Mark Pilgrim: 100 stories of unfamous people. All his best writing, in one place. Like a greatest hits album.

February 10, 2003

Power Laws

Clay Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

Though there are more new bloggers and more new readers every day, most of the new readers are adding to the traffic of the top few blogs, while most new blogs are getting below average traffic, a gap that will grow as the weblog world does. It’s not impossible to launch a good new blog and become widely read, but it’s harder than it was last year, and it will be harder still next year. At some point (probably one we’ve already passed), weblog technology will be seen as a platform for so many forms of publishing, filtering, aggregation, and syndication that blogging will stop referring to any particularly coherent activity. The term ‘blog’ will fall into the middle distance, as ‘home page’ and ‘portal’ have, words that used to mean some concrete thing, but which were stretched by use past the point of meaning.

Power Line Internet

I’ve heard about power-line networking, where you plug special devices into your electrical outlets and your home wiring carries the ethernet signal. I’ve never tried it myself, but it’s been on the market long enough that I figure it must work okay. But now electric companies are looking into ways of using the same technology to provide Internet access to their customers. This article outlines some of the plans, which involve using fiber optics to route around high-voltage lines and transformers, and repeaters to strengthen the signal along the way. I guess a number of years ago it would have seemed silly to talk about getting the Internet over your cable TV wire. Could power-line Internet catch on the same way?

February 7, 2003

Nice Big (Ad) Unit

“It’s a nice, big ad unit,” said Jason Krebs, vice president of advertising sales for the “We’re trying to make the most of what the Internet can offer.”

Suuure. Because you know the ads aren’t big enough now.

Big John

Big John has burst onto the scene with what I think is his first article. He’s known on the CSS-Discuss mailing list as the guy to turn to for browser bugs, especially in Internet Explorer. That’s what his site is all about. Now, at Digital-Web, he has an article on — guess what — Internet Explorer bugs! Go Big John!


I’ve spent the last two days wrestling with a hard drive with a bad FAT table. This thing was pooched by a combination of GoBack and my own stupid hastiness. Who knew you’d have to uninstall GoBack before messing around with the MBR? Anyway, this computer belongs to the boss’ wife, so it was kind of in my best interest to find a way to get the drive back, fast. And I don’t normally do endorsements here, but right now my ass is being saved by GetDataBack.They’ve got $69 of my company’s money, but I’ve got a working hard drive and a stress-free weekend, so I guess that’s a good trade-off.

Twitchy Host

Looks like my web host is being a little twitchy today. When I try to bring up the site in IE, I get server errors all over the place. Bringing it up in Mozilla or Opera is fine, though. Huh? Since when does the browser affect server errors?

Maybe it’s just me. Anyone else on IE having problems? (And if you were, how could you even be reading this?) This happens about every six months with them, and this time it’s the same week they raised their prices. Good thing for them I’m lazy and don’t want to switch hosts right now.

February 5, 2003

The Open Source Threat

Microsoft is more and more feeling the pressure from Linux and other Open Source movements. In their quarterly filing to the SEC, they outline the problem under “Issues and Uncertainties”. The original document is here, as a 30+ page MS Word file, so let me quote the relevant part. Under the heading Challenges to the Company’s Business Model they say:

Since its inception, the Company’s business model has been based upon customers agreeing to pay a fee to license software developed and distributed by Microsoft. Under this commercial software development (“CSD”) model, software developers bear the costs of converting original ideas into software products through investments in research and development, offsetting these costs with the revenues received from the distribution of their products. The Company believes that the CSD model has had substantial benefits for users of software, allowing them to rely on the expertise of the Company and other software developers that have powerful incentives to develop innovative software that is useful, reliable and compatible with other software and hardware. In recent years, there has been a growing challenge to the CSD model, often referred to as the Open Source movement. Under the Open Source model, software is produced by global “communities” of programmers, and the resulting software and the intellectual property contained therein is licensed to end users at little or no cost. Nonetheless, the popularization of the Open Source movement continues to pose a significant challenge to the Company’s business model, including recent efforts by proponents of the Open Source model to convince governments worldwide to mandate the use of Open Source software in their purchase and deployment of software products. To the extent the Open Source model gains increasing market acceptance, sales of the Company’s products may decline, the Company may have to reduce the prices it charges for its products, and revenues and operating margins may consequently decline.

It’s the section where they say they may have to reduce their prices to compete with Linux that’s the really interesting part. Until now, Linux has just been a little gnat buzzing around their face, nothing more than an annoyance. But now they’re discovering that the little gnat has a big sting. Once upon a time MS effectively killed Netscape by giving away Internet Explorer for free. Now they see what it’s like on the other side of the fence.

Hat tip: eWeek.