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Comment Wrong Direction (Score 1) 381

I don' think the issue should be one of "building down" to the local user. Rather, it should be creating incentives and policies for "building up" from the local (potential) broadband user. Rural folks are often handy at building what they need ... so 40-50 foot towers aren't a real problem as long as there's 1) an affordable kit they can use for a receiver and 2) policies that allow people to build said towers and link them into a net.

Comment Printing Is NOT Publishing (Score 1) 669

There's a general problem that's usually overlooked in discussions of "the end of paper books" -- the role of publishers. They are not printers (though they may provide printing if they can do so more cheaply than farming it out) ... they are filters. They are supposed to "recognize the good" (often, but not always, as a simple matter of profitability) and "create the good" when an author is unfocused, ill-organized, or unskilled. They supply important expertise in the form of editors and publicists. E-books promise to disintermediate both the publishers *and* the distributors, including current giants such as Amazon. All an author needs is a server, and not even that really if he/she is willing to let an aggregator get a small cut. In doing so, the non-printing functions of the publishers are either minimized or ignored. This, in turn, likely means that some set of opinion-leaders will have to determine what is to be viewed as "the good" in some context or another. It may also mean that someone will want to acquire rights in order to "own" as oppose to merely "license" -- and these may well be the existing libraries, acting for the "public good." It seems likely, in at least the short run, that they'll print copies for security's sake in case the author/aggregator's server goes down (or is simply forgotten). Whether they'll continue to do so past the next 50 years or so is a very open question, in my view. The issue will likely be one of preservation under the worst possible electronic disruption (i.e., a "Carrington Event").

Comment So ... who read the article? (Score 4, Interesting) 1162

The article states that Blu-ray player shipments are about to outstrip plain DVD. It's not like Blu-ray has failed. It *has* taken a while to capture the people who are still moving to HD. It *may* have a problem in competition with streaming (if you live in an area where there's sufficient bandwidth). I suppose the biggest issue is: will people continue to want to "own" content in physical form? The case is still out on that one (and even a minority position might be a very large market). Personally I think Blu-ray is still the only way to go if you've got/built a home theater.

Comment Compare texting (Score 4, Interesting) 265

And yet phone text is used far more often. I don't have the sources at hand, but a 2010 Facebook stat showed 60 million status updates per day. A 2009 stat on texting showed 5 billion sent per day. Admittedly, a lot of FB use would be messaging or chat rather than status updates. Still, news coverage tends to go to the new and hot (not to mention speculation on FB's market value). The fact that a *lot* of "social networking" happens via text seems to lie completely under the radar.

Comment Whose music? (Score 1) 567

There's a huge difference between the "expectations for todays' pop music" and the "expectations for serious music (could be classical, could be jazz, could be many things as long as it cares for quality)." Back in the day, we dropped AM radio in favor of FM ... but AM was good enough as background noise and FM was where you bought serious equipment. People accept what they're used to until exposed to something much better.

Comment Red States? (Score 1) 1053

It's interesting that the areas with the worst health problems -- outside of some urban areas -- are also full of people who are terrified of health care reform. That may not be quite right. They're afraid of an America which is willing to take "individual rights" seriously, including a right to decent health care. 1865 redux.

Comment Always a Downside (Score 1) 519

I'm reminded of the old New Yorker cartoon ... a map of the US drawn from a New Yorker's perspective. There's Manhattan, the Hudson River, New Jersey, then nothing but blank space until L.A. and San Francisco. Everything else is ignored. "Flyover country" seems to be the common term. SatNav means being able to go some place by car w/o having experienced what's in between. That may not always be a good thing and the question arises as to whether or not ignorance is indeed bliss.

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