Hanging out at the gate waiting for our flight to board, I fired up the Web browser on my vx4400, and before long was reading weblogs. As crummy as the little screen is for viewing Web pages, it works great for weblog posts. “Duh!”, says the SMS crowd.

Impressions of AmericaWest 409 Friday night: hungry and cramped, but cheap and boy whatta smooth landing. I didn’t realize that A319s, which I’ve flown numerous times between BOS and DCA, could make it all the way across the country.

Information flows and extremism

Ben Adida writes

  In a world of millions of blogs and instant access to all sorts of viewpoints, you’d think people would have more trouble remaining sheltered and confined to their skewed view of the world. Is the Internet really improving information flow on a general basis, or merely increasing flow between already like-minded folks, thereby creating even more extreme viewpoints?

A provocative question. Weblogs are increasing flow between already like-minded folks, but the increased flow doesn’t always create extremism. Better to say that that the increased flow creates increased effectiveness (networked customers get smarter, faster), which can take shape in a number of ways, good and bad.

Okay, this is gonna sound kind of stupid, but a number of times in the past I’ve stared in bafflement at Dave’s UserTalk code when he posted it to his weblog. Not the case this time, because I had to learn a bunch of stuff in order to write myWeblogOutliner. On to the stupid part. This experience of non-bafflement makes me feel like Neo seeing the Matrix for the first time. Whoa.

InfoWorld: “Amid all the talk about bringing computers and Internet access to the digital “have-nots” during the global Net summit in Geneva last week, one group was showing participants how it’s already delivering the goods.” Congratulations, guys!

When you have a hammer…

I can’t help but think that recent work on compulsory licensing is a case of “When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
We have a problem, to be sure. File sharing technology produced a conflict in behavior, laws and economic models, as evidenced by widespread lawbreaking and subsequent enforcement actions by those who believe that their businesses are hurt by the lawbreaking.
But we have a choice here. We can change behavior (lawsuits), change the law (compulsory licensing), or change the economic models (companies like Magnatune and direct-to-public musicmakers like Brad).
I guess it’s natural for the lawyers to want to fix things through legal means, but I think they’re solving the wrong problem. At best the legal solutions are a condescending effort to protect filesharers from themselves. The poor souls can’t be taught, and these lawsuits are so distasteful, so we’d better find a way to legalize what they’re doing. At worst, the legal solutions are a way to protect a dinosaur industry that has failed to adapt to new market conditions.
We should give new economic models a chance. Route around the old models, see if the market can come up with its own solutions. Good music is not that expensive to create. I’d bet that the largest portion of most record company budgets is for marketing and distribution, expenditures that are near-zero for Internet savvy companies.
Maybe we don’t need companies at all. Eliminate the middle man and pay artists directly. Steve Jobs thinks that even in the Internet age we still need record companies to tell us who to listen to. What an ugly sentiment. And wrong.