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  • Oct 18, 2012 @ 10:29pm

    The word 'theory'

    I am going to get all grumpy here and bemoan the sloppy use of the word 'theory'. The denigration of this word from a precise scientific term to pretty much equating it with a notion has contributed enormously to scientific ignorance in America and the rejection of evolution and climate change and vaccines.

  • Aug 16, 2011 @ 09:56am


    I was watching a cam version of Cowboys & Aliens a few weeks ago and was amazed at how much the quality has improved in just a few years ago (BTW, no lost sale as I would not have paid to see it given the reviews). In a few years someone will be able to sit in a theater with a camera lens the size of a pencil eraser and capture a film at near 100% quality. The MPAA has to accept this and deal with it. There are so many opportunities for increased distribution if they would stop crying in their beer and take advantage of technology instead of bemoaning it. Also, make better movies.

  • Jul 07, 2011 @ 11:18am

    5 strikes

    What about banking? What about people who do all of their shopping, including most of their food staples via the internet because they are disabled? What about support groups for cancer patients and the like? People LIVE on the internet and I think I remember something about Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. This could take the Life part out of the equation not to mention the other two.

    I think the ISPs will drag their feet as far as implementation. There is nothing in it for them but lost customers. And talk about disingenuous, what does Verizon think folks use those 30 mbps connections are for?

  • Jun 28, 2011 @ 10:55am

    NYT and DMCA

    I set the browser to delete cookies on close and have never had a problem accessing as much of the NYTs as I want. Is deleting cookies a violation of the DMCA?

  • Jun 23, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Misguided Hollywood

    I started pirating back in Napster days. I thought it was so cool that all these people could just SHARE stuff! Then I was told I was retiring and pirating became a substitute for the bipolar spending sprees I could no longer afford on my vastly reduced income.

    In the subsequent years I have amassed humongous amounts of music and movies. I watch and listen to very little of it.

    As a matter of fact, I basically stopped listening to music at all. Part of pleasure of it, when I was young, was browsing in record stores (yes, I am old) and finding some obscure blues record; trying to decide, later, what cd to buy with when I only had $10 to spend. This sort of activity added to the preciousness of the music. Now I have so much of it, it is no more precious than generic toilet paper. Talk about Unintended Consequences!

    The same thing is now happening with films. I have a huge collection but the only ones I actually watch are foreign ones that would never play here in the burbs anyway (The Trollhuner, for instance). I download all of my TV shows and pretty much watch a handful faithfully, most of them from the BBC, not American networks.

    I am sure Hollywood and the RIAA would count all of this as lost income but, in truth, I would not have bothered with 98% of this stuff if I had to pay for it. I do pay for the software I use except for Photoshop which I can?t afford although I would gladly shell out $150, maybe even $200 for it as I use it daily but, geez, not $500!

    One of the wisdoms I have garnered in my advanced years is that I am not a hell of a lot different than most people so if this has happened to me, what I would call the Glut Syndrome (i.e. a cessation of consuming due to overabundance of consumables) then I think this is happening in a widespread manner and this is what the content providers have to adjust to in addition to fixing their pricing. They have to contend with people losing interest and being far, far fussier about what they consume, maybe losing interest altogether.

    I belong to two private sites although I do use EZTV a lot. I don?t know how Verizon will contend with that (Ironically, they have never stopped trying to sell me their TV service even though I threw out my TV long ago). I think all this hampering of downloading will just impel people to lose interest in films and music even more rapidly and move to internet content. I could watch cute cat videos for hours and I don?t even like cats. Once those customers are gone, they will never, ever get them back.

  • May 17, 2011 @ 05:50pm

    Age weighted voting

    I think one of the reasons Merck went down the tubes was because they laid off so many people over 50 from the early 90's on and left the company in the hands of children. They also laid off anyone the least bit odd or outspoken and thereby trashed the ecological dynamic of the company. I understand that the young have to live with societal decisions longer but I think America has essentially forgotten the importance of experience. We humans make enough mistakes because of our short life spans. We keep having to learn the same lessons over and over. This is a misguided proposal.

  • Apr 26, 2011 @ 02:00am

    Re Dr. Who

    I found it amazing that the BBC spokesman complained about piracy when piracy is the reason Dr. Who is so popular all over the world. Once again, the execs focus solely on what they think they have lost while ignoring the huge gain in the numbers of viewers garnered through bittorrent. I don't have TV so I downloaded it. (I go back to the Baker era meself.)

  • Mar 22, 2011 @ 08:53am

    NY Times Paywall

    At maybe $24 a year they could have brought in more subscription revenue worldwide. The Times had an opportunity to be,like the BBC, one of the first global news sites. But at $195 they lose retirees like myself, they lose students. They have chosen a small, well heeled audience, Gucci rather than Gap.

    Long term I think this diminishes the paper. It breaks the 'habit' in us older folks, prevents it from ever developing in the young. The NYT has always aspired to be a powerful voice, an opinion shaper and it can't be this is hardly anyone reads it. Which also brings up the problem noted on Techdirt with Murdoch's efforts and his writers jumping ship. Journalists want their stories to be read, to matter, to shape events and they can't do this behind a moat.

    I think that the pricing is all wrong and that they should have been more democratic in their advertising which I imagine would involve rate changes as well. They went with closing the door when they should have opened it wider.

  • Dec 31, 2010 @ 09:11am

    From Pessimism To Optimism... And The Power Of Innovation

    We are always slower to change than our technology. What is interesting about the changes we are going through now is that we get to see it all played out in far more detail than ever before as the mass mind grapples with a new age. At the same time there is an element of inevitability at work, a push that feels almost beyond the actions of the individuals who make up the whole.

    I think another thing that the digital age will allow us to see in a few years is the mathematics of human behavior en masse, that there is a Golden Mean proportion to conservative and liberal impulses, fractal landscapes, strange attractors and so forth that we will be able to track, perhaps one day predict (but no better than we predict the weather).

  • Sep 16, 2010 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Snopse not allowing copy function

    And yet if you use the marvelous READABILITY script ( thingee you can easily copy and paste any of their articles which goes to show how futile such attempts at lockdown are. I keep this on my toolbar and use it to remove all the clutter from a web page - all that is left are the words. One of the most useful inventions ever.

  • Aug 16, 2010 @ 05:28am

    Re: ...Paper towels

    I concur. I doubt there is a single person in the US who would notice or care what brand of paper towel was stocked in a restroom.

  • Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    Comcast 'Service'

    I had Comcast years ago, right after they took over from Adelphia. I was optimistic. I figured no company could be worse than Adelphia. I was incorrect. I, too, spent everyday on the phone be-cause of service outages. Eventually I reached, by some miracle of persistence, The Guy in the Basement. You know the guy, the one and only guy who knows what's what. He told me they were having problems getting it to work in my area. No one I had talked to, through all the modem un-pluggings and assorted methods of 'troubleshooting' had mentioned that they were having diffi-culties with my entire town! As soon as DSL was available I switched. I loved it - No problems, Then FIOS became available and I love that even more. I will never ever be a Comcast customer again and have made it my life's work to get people to switch to FIOS.

  • Jun 22, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Strike back at 3 Strikes

    The only effort that will work is a national - better yet an international - boycott of the record labels. No purchases for a month would pretty much show them what the consumer was capable of but it seems kids today are friggin complacent.

  • Jun 16, 2010 @ 07:00am


    Isn't it based in Canada and, if so, wouldn't that make the First amendment argument moot?

  • May 03, 2010 @ 07:17am

    Lower Merion

    I believe the "I know, I love it" comment was made in anticipation of the laptop - and spycam - program. I have been following this story with great merriment but in all fairness, this comment is being quoted out of context.

  • Apr 27, 2010 @ 07:31am


    Watched a 10 gig download version several days ago. I would pay to see the 3D version but it did not play in local theaters. I sorta agree with one of the early posts saying we will just have to wait for the old folks to die before we see change although retiring will do the trick as well as death.

    The war on pirates will be even less successful than the war on drugs. All the efforts at stifling only leads to greater innovation on the part of the pirates. There are now very professional blogs covering and reviewing the quality of the latest pirated releases and sites announcing openings at private trackers. Somebody throw the RIAA and MPAA a towel so they can throw it in.

  • Apr 01, 2010 @ 09:04am


    I just sent this to some friends, ex and present editors. Yesterday there was an article in the NYT about missing book covers on e-readers. I was thinking that publishers could, with some books anyway, put their cover design costs into tShirt designs and then sell the tShirts accompanied by a free download of the text. People on the subway would still know you were slogging through Dostoevsky even though they couldn't see the cover.

    I bet this would work well with books like the Twilight series.

  • Feb 11, 2010 @ 10:52pm

    Book pricing

    I worked for a small religious publisher in the early 70's. The way they set the price of a hard bound book was to get a printing price from me (typesetting, printing and binding) and multiply it times 5. I suggested that perhaps this could be changed to reflect the cost of, say, more editorial time on some books but no one was interested in doing it any other way than times 5. I suspect that the pricing of books, even by major publishers, is set in an equally scientific matter to this day. So until they can explain how they do it and why even $9.99 is not enough for a book which requires NO manufacturing I will treat all bitching from publishers as so much bullshit.

  • Nov 24, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Microsoft's Latest Screw up

    I was talking about the difference between Microsoft and Google with a friend this morning re the Murdoch deal.

    Microsoft, like Murdoch and the entertainment industry and so much Old School America, is always looking for a way to leech every last penny from the populace.

    Google looks for ways to be helpful and makes money as a by product. This is so revolutionary that I doubt The Borg and Mr. Burns will ever be able to understand why they are becoming slowly irrelevant.

  • Nov 15, 2009 @ 02:26pm

    Newspapers vs Google

    Making information harder to find, making it restricted does not serve the citizenry. The fight always seems to be framed as the internet on one side and old media on the other. The crucial question should be what developments enhance the growth and health of the society.

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