Saturday, 17 September 2005

Hear no evil (Economist.com) Finally, someone's gone and done it: created a 'fair trade' online record label. It allows your to stream music for free, but charges a one-off fee for you to download it, with 50% of proceeds going to the artist. Hallelujah! A new era begins
A new way to stop digital decay (Economist.com) is an interesting conundrum. Because of its apparent replicability, computer data is often assumed to be indestructible. Yet, this overlooks the simple premise that computer data needs a compatible computer to read it, and as computers evolve, readability is reduced. I knew there was something more useful for emulators than just nostalgic games of Chuckie Egg...

Friday, 2 September 2005

The digital home (Economist.com)... here we go again. It's always a sign that technology innovation is flagging when tech companies start talking 'Jetsons' and homes of the future. Best quote, from a CTO at Microsoft: "The home is much more exciting than the workplace." Possibly, Mr Mundie, because it doesn't have Windows computers in it. The problem is that the premise for doing this is not to better consumers' lives, but to saturate them with as much revenue-generating media as possible. Screens in car steering wheels! Safety be damned, let's pummel them with our media.


What this industry needs, in these flagging innovation times, is a refinement cycle: a phase where these innovations are refined and hardened for broader appeal. Marketers would do well to remember the adage that "an englishman's home is his castle". People expect the hard sell at work and in the shops, but selling in the home is viewed at best as a necessary evil (TV adverts), and at worst an object of ridicule (door-to-door selling). Technology adoption, at the domestic level, is driven strictly by necessity, and is almost always by invitation only.

The upside to all this is that consumers, unlike corporates, do not tolerate multiple standards for long. So maybe it will force tech companies to behave themselves... the only 600lb gorilla in the ointment being Microsoft...!