Amazon now allows you to share your Kindle books with your spouse and your children. The new “Family Library” is a bit confusing to set up but the effort is worth it if you want to read some of the books that have been purchased in your spouse’s Amazon account. […] continuedRead more
Noted science fiction author and Boing Boing curator Cory Doctorow delivered an important speech last month in London, explaining why attempts by copyright owners to lock down computers and web sites inevitably lead to surveillance and censorship, and how the copyright battles presage bigger fights to come over the very future of general-purpose computers. […] continuedRead more
One of the interesting mysteries of our time is how Wolfgang’s Vault has been able to stream live performances by hundreds of artists for the last few years, in an era where record labels have fought so bitterly to keep us from hearing music in the name of “copyright.” Apparently Bill Graham signed contracts with different terms than other promoters, giving him liberal rights to rebroadcast the audio and video of the shows, and his successors have been able to capitalize on that. […] continuedRead more
Our online purchases and subscriptions and services are associated with accounts linked to an email address. Be careful when you set up accounts and make purchases! These are turning into long-term relationships that need to be right.
A concrete example: buy Kindle ebooks from Amazon using the email address of the person who will read them. […] continuedRead more
Wayne Small, an Australian SBS consultant, took a look at Google’s license agreement recently and wrote up a nice reminder that big companies do not make any pretense of playing nicely with your information.
Google Terms of Service cover all of Google’s services, including Gmail. There are some provisions that shouldn’t be surprising – for example, that Google can turn services off without warning or notice, with no consequences. […] continuedRead more
Ah, Avatar. Extraordinary movie-making, one of the prettiest movies ever to hit the screen. The perfect movie for your new Blu-Ray player and HD TV – it will look splendid.
Well, that’s if it will play. And if the disc in the stores now is the one you want to buy. […] continuedRead more
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a fascinating article summarizing the history and effect of the RIAA’s five-year battle against online music sharing. The conclusion is compelling: every single move made by the recording industry has backfired. The RIAA has filed more than thirty thousand lawsuits and threatened even more people, turning public opinion overwhelmingly against the RIAA and the labels, and has accomplished nothing. […] continuedRead more
A few final thoughts about file formats for audio and video and how that affects a Vista Media Center Extender. This is the place where strong people are humbled and the whole project can be brought down with screams of frustration. I can only touch on a few of the myriad details. […] continuedRead more
In 2007, we started to work with Windows Vista, bought lots of handheld devices, and started to move things online – our mail, our photos, our movies.
What will 2008 bring? It will start with lots more of the same. Many of you will get your first Windows Vista computer and discover that it’s quite a nice operating system. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft has a name problem.
I used to think that Microsoft had learned a lesson from the years of confusion and frustration caused by the similar names for “Outlook” and “Outlook Express,” two programs that were not even remotely related.
The same people must have been on the committee that decided “Windows Mail” (the free program included with Vista) would be on the market at the same time as “Windows Live Mail,” the similar but not identical free program for Vista and Windows XP. […] continuedRead more
The music industry is in complete disarray; the shift away from CDs is irreversible and most consumers simply expect music to be free. The recording industry’s hostility, arrogance, and litigation tactics have alienated everyone, making it harder for the industry to imagine a business plan that works – especially while it’s controlled by executives who freely admit they don’t understand these new-fangled Internet tubes. […] continuedRead more
The first rule of Usenet is, you don’t talk about Usenet.
Careful observation of that rule has allowed Internet newsgroups to avoid getting involved in the entertainment industry’s freakish litigation war on its customers. Now a new lawsuit suggests that the RIAA can’t stand it any more.
It’s time to talk about Usenet. […] continuedRead more
Apple’s rollout of the iPhone and updated iPod line generated impressive buzz, giving the impression that Apple is an unstoppable force. At the same time, though, Apple’s efforts to lock down its control over its users created uneasiness.
Two things happened today that are worth watching in case Apple’s base turns out to be more fragile than we suspect. […] continuedRead more
It’s hard to make the stereotypes fit.
Microsoft is reviled as the big monopoly. I don’t want to suggest that Microsoft is a huggable teddy bear, but it’s worth noting that much of its success comes from the work of thousands and thousands of hardware and software partners invited to build products on Microsoft technology. […] continuedRead more
Sony is killing ATRAC, its proprietary format for music files. Here’s a brief news article about today’s death notice.
This isn’t important – no one every downloaded any files from Sony’s store in the ATRAC format. (The store is being shuttered, too.) I find it amusing for two reasons.
One, because I get a kick out of Sony’s extraordinary list of failed formats: ATRAC, Betamax, MiniDisc, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, HiFD, Multi-Media Compact Disc, UMF disc for PSPs, Memory Stick and Super Audio CD. […] continuedRead more