Category: Media

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What Will Be the Returns?

Today’s New York Times column “An iPhone Changed My Life (Briefly)” hits at the device’s fundamental problem: Hype. There was too much of it—and not really from Apple—that may have over-raised many people’s expectations. The issue Michelle Slatalla raises is one of returns. Will she return her iPhone? She writes, “I have started thinking seriously about returning the $599 phone, despite a 10 percent restocking fee. It hasn’t really changed my life in the ways I’d hoped”.

But she may have started with overly unrealistic expectations, which the runaway hype helped foster. The name includes “phone” for a reason. Apple didn’t promise a device that would cure cancer or feed the starving. 

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iTunes Music Madness

On May 29, Apple opened up iTunes Plus as a subset of its broader music store, offering DRM-free songs and albums encoded at 256kbps. Apple also offers to upgrade lower-bit-rate, DRM songs for 30 cents a piece. It’s a good deal. But the licensing is downright confusing. While browsing iTunes Plus, yesterday, I saw “Pat Benatar’s Greatest Hits” available DRM-free. I thought, “Huh? I’ve got other Pat Benatar music, and I don’t remember getting an offer DRM-free replacements”. I upgraded 25 other songs from other artists.

Sure enough, my iTunes library contains three Pat Benatar songs, from three different albums. My version of “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from album “Pat Benatar: Best Shots” is available DRM-free from iTunes Plus. But Apple offered me no 30-cent replacement option. Is it a glitch? I don’t think so. The song in my library lists publisher as Chrysalis, while the DRM-free version is Capitol Records. 

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License, Stupidity, or Politics?

It is nitpicking time for the bone pickers. Last night, the DVR recorded the pilot episode of “Bones,” which was telecast for no reason I can guess; it’s an old episode. I hadn’t seen the first, which shocked from the opening sequence. Anyone from Washington should know that the airport above couldn’t possibly be Dulles. The identified airport isn’t in Washington but Virginia—in, duh, Dulles—and absolutely nowhere close to the U.S. Capitol. About 30 miles distance separates runways and the domed government building.

The view above would fit for Reagan National Airport. No doubt it is that airport. So, why does “Bones” kick off with such a glaring mistake? I make a big deal out of this for two reasons: The show is all about brainiac forensic anthropologists who live and breathe minute details; the setting is Washington, D.C. For either or both reasons, “Bones” should get the airport right. 

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So Much for Transparency

Four days ago, the mailman delivered the April Wired, which has a great story on Microsoft’s Channel 9. I have closely watched the Channel 9 blogsite since its launch in April 2004. I blogged back then about what I expected: “Channel 9 is a brilliant marketing concept. Marketing is the key descriptor. The site is run by people paid to evangelize Microsoft products. Their job is to win over developers to Microsoft products”.

I also worried that Microsoft would use Channel 9 to replace journalists: “Company-controlled blogsites could be given first—or only—access to key product managers or executives; the insiders’ view, just like the Channel 9 positioning, but in reality managed dissemination”.