I have to admit that I was let down by the details. I can very much see an application for a tablet device in my life, but the iPad falls seriously short of fulfilling my requirements. As a piece of hardware my MacBook Pro (4,1... not the new unibody) is undoubtedly the finest PC I have ever had the good fortune to own. My iPhone, again as a piece of hardware, has held up better than any phone I've had previously. I like Apple hardware.
I like much of OS X (though certainly not all of it).
I don't like the Apple policies that require me to jailbreak my iPhone to do what I want with it. I don't like philosophy that suggest that total control and the absence of options is the only way to guarantee a positive out of the box user experience (by all means, define the defaults, but leave me my options in case my opinions differ). I don't like the Apple policy of kowtowing to the big distribution industries and locking down functionality of my devices. Why shouldn't I be able to plug my iPod into a computer and pull my MP3s off of it just like %99 of all the other MP3 players on the market?
So... the iPad. I had hoped it would be running a version of OS X optimized for a touch screen UI. I had hoped it would have normal connectivity ports (USB). My biggest hope was that it would be a pen-and-paper replacement. Ideally it would have had some sort of hand writing recognition so that my hand written notes would be text-searchable. (This idea was demonstrated somewhat a couple of years ago on the tablet edition of Windows XP IIRC... though it had all of it's own pitfalls which is why it was a huge failure just like the iPad will be.) But it isn't any of these things. The device I've described could replace everything I carry in my backpack to school. All the paper. All the text books. All the notes. All the handouts. My graphing calculator. *Everything*
...but it is just a big iPhone. Not even that, it is a big iPod Touch. If the jailbreak community succeeds in cracking it and Linux developers succeed in bringing all of the functionality I'm talking about to it, I might buy one. In its current, crippled state I can't imagine it being of any value to me.
I'm one of those weird and wacky Ron Paul-ites and as you might expect, I'm not wild on the idea of MORE government.
I have however always felt that government is at it's best (least evil) when developing infrastructure. They built the highway system as public infrastructure that would allow our military to move freely and easily within our country (I guess it's too bad that so much of our military isn't even IN our country at any given point in time).
They've been able to keep up with changes in road design (probably even fostered some).
I think it's high time we had a national IT department... and I think that one long term goal of that department would be a nationally pervasive, neutral, IPv6 broadband network. I think we should invest in hybridized wireless mesh/long range (satellite?) wireless in the hopes that we can create a globally pervasive, IPv6, neutral network. I think all software paid for with taxpayer money should be GPLed and released. I think the designs for hardware with which to access to this globally pervasive, neutral wireless network should also be released under similar public license.
The GPS system is an example of a globally pervasive infrastructure designed for military use and opened to the public. It is not a perfect model as I have already listed a number of requirements that the GPS system does not meet... but it is a model and a precedent.
Why government infrastructure and not Google? Well, we can elect the government IT members.
One last thing... if we created such a government entity it should be clearly delineated by a kind of Internet Constitution, which, among other things, should preserve at all costs the neutrality of the network.
Of course I'm also a whack-job who believes that we shouldn't be part of the U.N., but we should still allow states to ratify our constitution and join the Union... and that we should still recognize the right of secession and the sovereignty of the states and most importantly, the sovereignty of the individual.
Too many copyright holders forget that the purpose of copyright law is to protect them from plagiarism. Musicians, movie makers, writers, et. al. have the legal recourse to deal with someone who is building their reputation as an artist (content producer) on someone else's art.
IOW, I can't take a bunch of songs written by someone else, claim to have written them, and then sell my services as a song writer based on the merits of songs I didn't write.
THAT is what copyright law is intended to protect against.
Piracy doesn't happen on the internet. Theft can only happen when someone is deprived of a possession. Copying does not fall into this category as it does not remove the original.
Despite what these industries would have you believe they have never been in the business of selling art. They have always been in the business of selling access to art.
As an artist (musician) I insist on being paid to create art prior to actually creating it (or through a prior contractual agreement, after the work is completed). I get paid once to create it. After that the world uses it as they will. If I wish to continue getting paid for my art then I must continue to produce it.
Plagiarism isn't piracy. It is a form of identity theft and as such is a completely separate issue.
The simple fact of the matter is that we do not rely on these industries to provide access to art as we once did. The viability of their business model has changed. They need to adapt or die.
The free market makes no guarantees. I do not feel sorry for those who have already amassed vast fortunes nor those little folk who will have to find other jobs. Shit happens.
When will the world finally realize that the term "Intellectual Property" is a blatant fucking oxymoron?
There is a reason that we have come to describe the work of artists as "content". That reason is because it was the contents of a given medium that made the medium worth paying for (and thus selling).
I'm not going to apologize for the fact that the rise of personal computing and broadband connection to the Internet has invalidated this business model (which is only what... half a century old?*), but it has. Deal with it.
Here's a thought: Why doesn't the "Recording Industry" shut the fuck up and do what it's name implies? Namely record things for people. Last I checked charging for professional studio time and the expertise of professional sound engineers, producers, etc. was still a viable and valid business model. High quality recordings are still valuable if for reasons other than hawking pieces of plastic.
Is there less money to be made? Probably, but somehow I doubt that this is necessarily and undeniably a "bad thing".
I'm sorry but cell phones do not cause turbulence. How the HELL could you profess to know how windy it is on any particular day at 40,000ft of altitude? Particularly from inside the pressurized fuselage of a commercial jetliner? You couldn't seriously believe that the weather on the ground at the airport is any indication of the weather several miles above the ground and likely hundreds of miles from the airport could you?
"It's not entirely clear how the various retailers should respond" Here's an idea... become an online retailer. Not only an online retailer but a competitive one. Find out why people like using online retailers (low pressure, low bull$*%^, readily accessible information, comparitive shopping tools, ***Low Prices!***) and tailor your web presence to their desires in a way that makes you both competitive and profitable. If the user experience is better than your rivals you will find that you can charge slightly more money simply because you offer the easiest way to purchase. The only logical reason any company should be driven to failure by online retailers is because they are to stubborn and/or ignorant to change with the times.
It was probably just a default failover message that automatically responds when the main service is unavailable. I sincerely doubt that anyone at Hallmark (or under contract to Hallmark) actively posted a message today saying that they were just doing a bit of housecleaning. That said, they probably should have worded the message differently. But being the warm and fuzzy company that Hallmark is I can see why "Doing a little house cleaning" was chosen over "The website is currently unavailable. This can be caused by many things such as high internet traffic or planned maintenance, please try your request again later."