Half the Loper team has trekked to Austin this week for SXSW Interactive. We’re braving unseasonably cold weather, extremely poor AT&T service, and record crowds, to bring you full coverage.
So in the spirit of George W. Bush’s ninja-like ability to duck a shoe thrown at him from point blank range, the following people and things spent 2008 getting away with shit that they really should have been busted on.
I’ve been collecting media in one form or another since I was old enough to recognize Beatles ’65 at the White Front department store in Fresno, California. That was around 1966. I was three, and it was a very bad day for my mother.
In the years since, I watched my LP and 45 collection explode, only to be replaced by CDs, and finally to be morphed into a vast field of bits on a relatively small network storage device. Bits that I dutifully back up, maintain, and curate.
I spend more time fixing faulty ID3 tags than I care to admit. And I’m constantly annoyed when album art mysteriously goes missing (am I the only person having this problem with iTunes?).
There’s a point where it might just be easier to chuck it all and consider subscribing to one of those all-you-can-eat music services. That’s certainly what the RIAA would like me to do.
Does playing someone’s music on the radio hurt them or help them? And is it a “form of piracy”?
I’m a lifelong radio listener. Not like I once was, of course, but I still listen, especially during my morning commute. A couple of weeks ago I happened to hear “The Step and The Walk” by The Duke Spirit on Indie 103.1, and fell instantly in love with it. So, is that a good thing or bad thing for The Duke Spirit?
A logical person would say that it’s a good thing for the artist. Right? I’d never heard of them, and now I have.
Of course, as we’ve seen many times before, the Recording Industry is not made up of logical persons. As a matter of fact, not only do they see no benefit in their artists being played on the radio, they want compensation.
Otherwise, “it’s a form of piracy,” and any argument that playing music is a form of promotion is a “red herring.”
Those aren’t my words, but rather the words of a spokesperson for a recording industry umbrella group with the hilarious name of musicFIRST.
As digital media professionals from across the country and around the globe pack their bags for the annual trek to Austin, one question is emerging that will likely dominate the conversation at this year’s SXSW festival — can Twitter survive it’s own success?
Last year Twitter emerged as the runaway hit at an annual event that’s been described as spring break for geeks. At the time I speculated that something better would almost certainly come along within the next year. Surprisingly, a year later Twitter is still going strong. I say surprising, because Twitter is such a simple concept that it should have been easily usurped by something better.
In the past year Twitter has successfully resisted insurgencies from rival applications, including Jaiku, and to a lesser degree Pownce (which still lacks basic SMS support). That Twitter has succeeded where its competitors have failed is all the more amazing considering the downtime and performance issues the application has suffered.
Twitter’s performance problems have been blamed all manner of causes, including the service’s hosting environment, phenomenal user growth, the Rails platform, and the underlying application architecture. Regardless of the cause, the Twitter faithful continue to use the application, although they grumble mightily when the service fails.
It’s that special time of year when we pack our bags and head for Texas. Our destination, of course, is SXSW Interactive (aka “Spring Break for Geeks”). The conference doesn’t kick off until Saturday, but Austin is such a happening place that we generally like to get there a day early just to hang around. The fact that Austin has free wireless Internet in every bar, and that margaritas are cheaper than water has (almost) nothing to do with our love of the city.
My personal goals for this year’s SXSW are:
- Solve the mystery of the SXSW press room
- Devour a few nuclear tacos
- Meet a few (hundred) 9rules members
- Drink Nick Denton into the poor house
As a result of all of this excitement, we may not be posting as regularly as we normally do. I’m not a big fan of live blogging during the sessions. It always seems to be a just a slightly more advanced form of stenography.
If you’re headed for Austin as well try to track us down and say Hi. And be sure to ask us for a Medialoper sticker. They’re hot off the presses and we’ve got more than we know what to do with.
If Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso ever decides to give up business for comedy he might have a promising career ahead of him. The Internet is still laughing at his response to Steve Job’s open letter on DRM. Fortunately for Amoroso the humor was probably lost on the Hollywood executives the letter was intended to reach.
While music industry executives remain skeptical that they can make a buck in a DRM-free world, Amoroso is certain that his company needs DRM to survive. That’s because Macrovision’s business is DRM. By definition, the company survives by instilling fear in the hearts of entertainment industry executives. The last thing Macrovision needs is some upstart telling entertainment companies that DRM isn’t really necessary. Unlike Apple, Macrovision has nothing to sell but fear itself.
I’ve spent most of my adult life assuming that technology was in an endless upward spiral that would always provide me with a never ending supply of a) fast computers, b) cheap storage, and c) massive bandwidth. You can imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that we are apparently on the verge of a global bandwidth shortage. If true, that would certainly change most of my assumptions about the future of media, computing, and civilization as we know it.
My first inkling that we might have a serious problem came last week when a Google representative, speaking at the Cable Europe Congress, announced:
The Web infrastructure, and even Google’s (infrastructure) doesn’t scale. It’s not going to offer the quality of service that consumers expect.
It’s a special Valentines Day exclusive from Medialoper! There is nowhere else in the world where you can read this exact story!
Coming up later in this post, the story of my night of passion with Anna Nicole Smith!
When we started Medialoper a year ago, I had no idea what to expect. After all, we’d been having these discussions about media and technology and entertainment for a very long time and we were excited about translating them to the web, but there is a huge difference between red wine and whiskey-fueled bull sessions and sitting down and writing a well-researched, well-reasoned analysis on the latest developments in these fields.
And blogging? On a regular basis? Me? Hell, I’ve got a New Yorker cartoon pinned on my cubicle wall of one dog saying to another: “I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking.”
What I hadn’t counted on was how fun it is to do this.