Admin: Quick links, ISP issues

Standard

If any of you happen to be hitting the actual Web site, you’ll notice that the “quick links” aren’t rendering and that you’re getting hit with a couple of authentication requests. Ignore both, if you will—one of my ISPs apparently doing some work, and all content on that server (including the includes for my quicklinks) requires authentication for a couple of hours. Should be fixed shortly.

This seems oddly familiar, somehow…

Standard

My prognostications on major labels giving up DRM haven’t been great thus far—damn you EMI, doing the smart thing only a few years too late—so perhaps you should take this with a grain of salt.

Still, Universal’s decision to run a six month test of DRM-free downloads (just check Techmeme or Technorati, I can’t decide which of the forty billion links to refer to) seems a little off to me. It feels a bit like the test plan might look like this:

  1. Undertake very short test of DRM-free online music distribution.
    1. Intentionally exclude the largest online music distributor, because we’re in a bit of a snit right now.
    2. Wait six months, then express disappointment with relatively small sales.
    3. Conclude that results indicate that only a small segment of consumers see DRM as a significantly motivating factor when purchasing music for download.
    4. Come up with bizarre and unwieldy “some music is sometimes available without DRM” scheme.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

An oddly familiar plan, but I just can’t seem to remember where I’ve seen it before…

In any case, to cover my ass I’ll note that letting DRM die off as an approach to driving a small wedge into Apple’s de facto stranglehold on the music download business would seem to make a fair amount of sense.

The question is whether Big Content has gotten through enough of the stages of grief regarding their old business model to acknowledge that fact; after quite a few years stuck in denial and anger, they’re just now starting to move into bargaining. Tick tock, says the clock.

Blogfodder Dump: 20070807

Standard

Back from a week in California…

Why Do We Suck? and Other Questions Political Journalists Asked Themselves at YearlyKos
Jay Rosen says: “I’ve been reviewing the press coverage, blogging and video from the Yearly Kos conference in Chicago and trying to make some sense of what happened between the press and the liberal blogosphere at this event. The main conclusion I have is….

…There is more respect expressed for the blogosphere, and a little less wariness between the two groups. (But let’s not overstate it.)”

The flavour of cool
The Economist asks: “Can e-mail newsletters recommending cultural events in the world’s big cities maintain their credibility as they grow?”

Slap in the Facebook: It’s Time for Social Networks to Open Up
Scott Gilbertson writes in Wired: “Damn the Facebooks and the MySpaces. The last time we checked, there was this thing called the internet that had 6 billion users. It’s time to take our personal data out of Mr. McGregor’s little gardens and put it back where it belongs — free and open on the open web.”

Tests for Customer Focused Companies
John Hegel on “customer-focused” companies: “I apply three questions to determine whether companies are truly customer focused. These three questions zero in on the most fundamental elements of a firm – decision-making power, performance metrics and brand promise. It is surprising how few companies meet these tests.”

Give ’em Something to Talk About
FastCompany asks: “Your product may be good, but will it spark a conversation?”