#62: Digital Rights Mashup

This week we continue our Microsoft discussion, talking about Halo 4, XBOX Live account rights, and what you need to know with the release of Windows 8 vs. Windows RT. We take another look at the benefits and detriments of cloud-based services, and review Apple’s unfortunately disappointing Podcasts app. Plus, we read some listener feedback in response to last week’s episode.

Direct Download
Blog Post

Just as an aside, in the final Eff This Week I mentioned to Juan why not do a cast during Modern Geek on technology (as it is a technology podcast in theory) besides the increasingly monotonous phone/computer tech. His response was “Like what?” Which to me showed either 1) a lack of knowledge of what technology is out there and 2) a lack of desire to explore other technology to discuss.

As an example of how repetitive this is getting, here are the last ten podcasts in a nutshell;

52- iOS, MacOS
53 - iOS
54 - iOS
55 - iOS
56 - iOS
57 - iOS
58 - iOS (iPhone 5 release madness and some commentary on the Internet reaction BS everything goes through - which was actually a great discussion that reached outside of the usual for the cast)
59 - iOS, Pi (yes more computer stuff)
60 - iOS
61 - Consumer buying habits in technology which was a great discussion
62 - iOS/DRM Rant

Over 90% of the last set of casts were somehow basically iOS technology discussions. So in the past 10-12 weeks there have been there no interesting technology discussion to have? Hmmm if I recall two of the largest imaging technology conferences and conventions happened in the past twelve weeks (Photokina and PhotoPlus) showing off the latest development and prototypes in Digital Cinema and Imaging.

New developments in Electric Cars, Space flight, flight, textiles and many other technology dependent industries have occurred. Is this a technology podcast still or just a phone/computer podcast? Please answer so I can make a choice of whether I continue to listen. While I have found these discussion useful (I never would have done the SSD upgrade without first listening and taking Juan’s suggestions) I just would like variety. Maybe you folks should do segments, you know something a bit more structured? Like the GWC podcast. Start with Tech news, maybe have an iOS app of the week segment then do a feature on some technology sector etc that you research and discuss that isn’t always about iOS/Phone/Computers? Why I really liked episode 58 and 61 because they weren’t the usual iOS/Phone?Computer discussions.

Just suggestions.

As I sit in the storm induced dark typing on a glass screen transmitting over a network that was barely imagined 10 years ago, I’m struck with the notion that we have not yet imagined the solution that will resolve the question of how to manage and balance the rights of the creator with the rights of the consumer.

What I do know is that I’ve begun the slide down the slippery digital slope, acquiring a kindle book because of convenience and then ripping through them one after another across multiple platforms, squeezing in pages in line for coffee, late night with reversed text, and anytime the opportunity presents. I do like this new application of technology.

But i miss what i lose in the trade, and the sci-fi geek fears what can lie at the bottom of the slope.

I miss the weight of a meaty tome, to see the progress as the pages move from one hand to another, the satisfying clutter of a stack of read books, and the orderly line on the bookshelf. Most of all I miss the ability to take that book - once read - and place it in the care of another, “you’ve got to read this!” as I pass the knowledge, the wonder, the suspense, on as the written word was invented to do. Technology must find a way to replicate this experience, just as easily as it is done today.

I fear the ability to wipe my collection, as at it’s extreme it represents the ultimate censorship. It goes beyond what I may or may not have purchased or licensed, and moves into what I “may” consume. Why burn books when you can simply wipe the offending ideas away. Today the imperfect tech of DRM prevents this through incompetence, and it is paranoia to suggest that this is likely - but the ability to wipe or modify ones collection of ideas, concepts, and thoughts, should frighten. In one respect Fahrenheit 451 is obsolete - its Been replaced by 802.11.

Ever since I got my Kindle, I’ve seen it more of a “long term library” than a permanent book collection. Although I’ve also used it for a fair cunk of legitimately DRM-free eBooks. Like the Honor Harrington series. Hardback #12 came with the author’s entire back-catalogue. And when I have the space, one day I will go back and buy physical copies of the lot.

But, to me, “eBooks are great to read, paper books are great to own”.
My Kindle reignited my love of reading. The form factor and convenience of use means I just read far more than I used to, because it has taken the chore out of reading. I miss being able to quickly flip through older books, though. And I do fear the chance of remote-wipe. Although if I really want a copy that will last forever, I will buy a dead-tree copy that will sit on my shelf. And also can be loaned out to friends and family.

I also have another factor on why eBooks are the way forward for me at the moment. Even without the ease-of-use factor, I live in a small flat and cannot fit any more shelf space into my rooms. Until I can afford a bigger place, physical space it as a premium. Books and music are digital purchases where convenient. And I can save shelf-space for those books that I read, love and want to own forever. Kindle is fine for the first read, and means I only use shelf-space on things I want to revisit. Or for books I want to ensure I have a hardcopy of to lend to my neice in the future. (I’ve seen enough books go out-of-print to know that what isn’t suitable for a 5-year-old in 2012 may not be for sale when she hits 10+)
In the case of music, now that iTunes and other stores all go DRM-free, I will buy digital music where I don’t mind the potential hit in quality. For some things, I will hunt down CDs so rip and my choice of quality. (Often lossless for iTunes on my desktop, and only compressing for the iPod/Phone/Pad)

The thing is, though, before I got my Kindle two years ago I had all but given up on reading. Books were heavy and inconvenient. They were not portable, and a week’s worth of vacation books were an extra bag to themselves. And I just wasn’t reading more than a few books a year. I now am back to reading several a month.
Yes, there are DRM concerns. But, as mentioned above, I accepted those when I got my Kindle. I treat the books as loans, not property. And if I really want a book to last me forever, well nothing can truly replace having that paper copy on the shelf. But I need to save that space for the books that really need to be there.