Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy


How I wish the media firms would come to their senses and realize that the consumer isn’t their enemy and that what the consumer wants is convenience.

I really would love to rid my house of DVDs, CDs, magazines, etc. and have most of that stuff digital. Books, at least for me, are the sole exception. I like having a physical book. But even there, in some cases, I’d take a digital volume. One case that comes immediately to mind is technical books that I use for reference. They’re huge, usually go out of date quickly, and weigh a ton. I’d prefer those puppies in digital form.

So, here’s to hoping the media firms come to the realization that they have to come up with a utility-style structure wherein we can get what we want and the folks generating what we want get compensated. It’s not as if the Internet and computers can’t do this, it just requires a certain amount of collective will to build a new distribution solution as opposed to suing folks or making it difficult to get what you want in a digital format. Aggravating the consumer is not good business sense.

Besides, storing our music preferences, for example, in the cloud so that we can listen to the music we want whenever and wherever we want is much more efficient from a consumer’s point of view than trying to maintain a digital library or dealing with a gazillion CDs and DVDs.

For example, why can’t I just watch Mythbusters on demand? Put in the commercials for those unwilling to pay a premium. For the rest of us, provide the means by which we can pay a premium to watch it without the commercials. Again, our time is money and if I can save 20 minutes in TV watching I’m willing to pay for that. It’s why many times I wait and simply buy the DVD set for a TV show I like. No commercials. My own pace. My own schedule. Well worth it, but I’d rather not have to store the DVD box set, nor have to dust it bimonthly or even try to remember where I left it when the urge comes to watch a particular episode.

Personally, I think the utility model built into the way ISPs deliver the internet to everyone would resolve much of the problem. I, for one, would happily pay a reasonable premium to have access to everything on the internet from music to TV shows to movies to news to journal articles in a metered fashion. To me it would only be a good thing as I could look upon such a result as the beginning of The Big Declutter my home is in long need of.

As I look around my book and CD cluttered office I so wish the new Apple tablet, supposedly to be announced tomorrow, provides at least part of that solution. If it does, I’ll be one of the first people buying one and hopefully replacing many of my paper textbooks with digital ones. The savings in space for that alone will be well worth it, so long as the media firms don’t try to gouge me for a digital version. In which case, I’ll just stick with my paper-based model as much as I might loathe it.

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January 2010
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