Archive for the ‘ Thoughts ’ Category

Nate’s on CNET.co.uk

My fellow Backstage Crew buddy Nate Lanxon liked CNET so much after CES, he became an employee! Just weeks after starting at CNET in London, he has written and video reviews published on CNET.co.uk. I’m excited for him, I’m grateful to know him, and I have to admit that I’m pretty envious. You can read and view his work at cnet.co.uk.

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RIAA Calls Jobs’ DRM Plea Doubleplusgood

Hiding behind its own well-tuned reality distortion field, the RIAA has twisted Steve Jobs’ railing against DRM into an offer for the industry to license Apple’s DRM solution – and they applaud it! Wait…am I missing something? Oh, no…it’s just the RIAA doing what it does best: spinning fact and reality to benefit their interests.

Thanks, Ken

The World According to Richard received a shout-out today on Ken Ray’s macinfun podcast, Mac OS Ken. Thanks, dude. You ROCK!

An e-mail message to Ben Woods

I just read your article about the RIAA’s crying over CD prices. I’m not one to defend the RIAA on anything – especially their absurd argument about CD prices. CD prices were, however, MUCH higher when they were introduced. This isn’t surprising – it was entirely new technology, and the initial production costs were very high. The initial CDs typically cost about $24.95! Seriously. I bought a few when they first came out, and it was a significant investment. That said, this happens with all media. Even blank, recordable discs were astronomical when they were first available; now they cost just a few cents apiece. It would probably be interesting to consider the cost trends of vinyl and cassette “albums” over their respective lives. Or an even more telling trend—the consumer-driven drop in initial release price of DVDs. Once listed at $34.95, DVD titles are now introduced at street prices of around $15. And now we’re seeing high introductory prices again with high definition disc formats. This is basic economics! When is someone with the necessary clout going to finally debunk the RIAA’s desperate arguments and claims about the recording industry? I am so sick of their whining….

The BUI* Gallery

One of my technology passions is the analysis and improvement of user interface design. It’s truly amazing, with all of the tools, standards, and examples out there how many developers manage to produce software that delivers truly horrible user experiences. Finally, I’ve created a gallery to display the various examples of bad user interfaces I’ve encountered and collected over time. This is a collaborative effort with a close friend and colleague who shares my passion and appreciation for these abominations. We hope you enjoy and learn from our efforts.

* bad user interface

2007 Consumer Electronics Show coverage for CNET

At CES this week, I created two short photo blogs for CNET, available here and here. Additionally, you can see the two video reviews I did for CNET: one with Molly Wood on the Moxi Multi-room HD Digitial Media Recorder and one with Veronica Belmont on the SideLink remote control for Windows Vista Media Center.

For CNET’s complete coverage of the 2007 Consumer Electronic Show, visit http://ces.cnet.com.

RIP Marshall Field’s

This weekend, Federated Department Stores celebrates as it blankets the country with its Macy’s brand, leaving a trail of now-defunct local retailers in its wake. Federated’s acquisition of May Department Stores’ holdings resulted in a sell-off of about 100 store locations like discarded scrap. Furthermore, their Macy’s expansion has decimated time-honored and respected family brands like Strawbridge’s, Hecht’s, Kaufmann’s, Filene’s, and (most horrifically) Marshall Field’s. The arrogance of this move just astounds me, as it disrespects local communities’ rich retail heritage, while damaging the economies of shopping outlets where large storefronts now sit shuttered.

How is this good for anyone but Federated and its shareholders? Though not officially deemed a monopoly, Federated’s recent moves leave consumers with far less choice when shopping mid-range retail department stores. It would be one thing if a new Macy’s in town was something that people could value, but Macy’s just isn’t the store it was years ago. The Macy’s brand continues to decline as it becomes further diluted. It lacks the quality, diversity, and character that were once part of its heralded trademark. Consumers are now left with Macy’s sign of mediocrity hanging where communities once shopped their familiar local department stores.

Luckily, consumers still have some choices. Here are some of the choices that I’ll be making:

  • When visiting Chicago, I will pointedly go to Carson Pirie Scott.
  • I will purchase clothes at retail outlets like Eddie Bauer, Orvis, and other independent companies.
  • I will purchase housewares at Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens ’n Things, and Crate & Barrel.
  • I will shop more online (it’s amazing what you can get through amazon.com).
  • I will no longer shop at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s.
  • I will let the world know why I’ve made these changes to my shopping habits (you’re reading it).
  • I will let Federated know that I’ve let the world know why I’ve made these changes to my shopping habits.