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Method to the Madness
Monday, 19 January 2004
Jurassic Music Park
The Jurassic Park film series gave dinosaurs a time in the limelight, even a few moments where they could be heroes. But in the Jurassic Park world of digital music, there are very real perils for the consumers running about.

Until late in the 20th century, music was primarily enjoyed live, and often only by individuals of high financial prestige. The wide and ready accessibility of commercial popular music is a fairly recent phenomenon in human history. The development of digital methods of disseminating music-- compact discs, satellite radio and computer media formats-- have accelerated this trend.

Immediately prior to the onslaught of digital music methodologies, a select few companies were beneficiaries of the initial public hunger for accessibility. A number of these companies banded together to create a firm that represented their supposed intellectual and artistic interests-- the RIAA.

The RIAA, has, since the inception of computer media delivery formats for music, taken aggressive steps to curb its distribution-- in many cases well beyond limits most individuals would find reasonable, including the well-publicized case of a
suit being filed against a 12-year old child.

Who are the RIAA working for? A consortium of large music recording firms-- some of which are backed by large multimedia conglomerates. Are these companies in need of protection? A look at the assets and balance sheets for these firms would seem to indicate otherwise.

The RIAA's constituents claim that their businesses are being hurt-- that their earnings ability is being compromised by the downloading of music. One look at the prices of CDs in stores would indicate otherwise-- that possibly the ability of consumers to purchase music is being compromised by the purchase price for CDs.

Why would the RIAA's member companies continue to push CDs at high prices and pursue downloaders? The fact that many of these companies have large staffs, expensive office properties and highly paid executives provides clues.

While technology has permitted other industries to reduce staff counts and operate more efficiently, it would seem that the same momentum has yet to take hold in the music industry. So rather than use technology to the benefit of their business, these firms elect to pursue other users of it.

The RIAA and its constituents need to be cognizant of the business environment around them, and start adapting rather than terrifying music enthusiasists. Without careful thought as to how to best coexist, these dinosaur companies may find consumers will make them extinct.

Posted by petedude at 6:13 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2004 6:35 PM PST
Sunday, 11 January 2004
Corporate Greed
I dig my country, and one of its most representative traits is capitalism. We all have the opportunity to one degree or another to generate wealth if we so desire.

Problem is, there are a few folks who just can't get enough wealth-- even when they've accumulated enough cash to pad every piece of furniture in a Holiday Inn.

Even though much of the accounting trickery responsible for the corporate troubles of '02 and '03 has vanished (for now), the shell games have been replaced with a new form of graft-- excessive thrift in order to generate impractically high profit margins. This is happening in many companies that are ALREADY highly profitable.

I have personally observed it, and continue to hear stories of, companies over-wringing every last bit out of their employees and their corporation's physical assets during heavy business activity without willingness to beef up staff or maintain physical plants.

Inevitably, this penny-pinching creates serious issues. Some of them eventually hit the news, even.

Granted, the reason to operate a business is to earn income. But the best businesses that I have seen were not only about making money, but running a sound business. Are your employees safe, happy, glad to be working for you? Is your firm constantly "dodging bullets" from customers, the public, even regulatory agencies because your assets aren't being maintained as well as they could be?

I'm all for the American Dream, and for a guy making an honest buck. But it's time that some outfits start spreading around their bucks so others can live the American Dream, too.

Posted by petedude at 6:34 AM PST
Monday, 8 December 2003
Why I don't mind sitting on spikes
The earliest, most integral parts of American thinking developed around the notion that all of us are entitled to opinions. Upon reflection, it may be surprising then that this nation is run primarily by two political parties with such vastly different agendas.

You're not going to hear which party I belong to, nor am I going to go off on some rant that some extremist or niche party has somehow been subjected to an X-Files style conspiracy to be pushed to the sidelines of American politics.

It must be noted, though, that sometimes the best path between two extremes is somewhere down the middle.

Interestingly enough, many of the religious and philosophical ideologies that shaped American thinking included the concept of moderation. As an example, the Bible endorses moderation in the New Testament. Yet we as a nation seem to be hung up on the notion that either of two fairly extreme sets of ideals is correct, and few seem to want to venture outside the comfort of those bounds to encourage broader thinking.

While it's of value for us to have the extreme viewpoints, it would also pay for our system's participants to learn to consider the value of opposing viewpoints, to pick and choose the elements of value in them, and embrace the best as part of the decision process.

Do I like what would often seem to be the conservative notion that money and business reign supreme? No, I think not. Do I think agree with the apparent liberal perception that social causes are so important that we must overlook economic feasibility to pursue them? Negative on that, too.

But I do think that we have to have a thriving economy to make anything else work in this nation. I do also believe, however, that it's important that the government look after the needs of its society, even if those need be considered against available resources.

It is often said that folks who sit on fences end up with spikes in their posterior. I, for one, would rather end up with the occasional sore bum than have the embarassment of falling on either side.

Posted by petedude at 6:38 AM PST
Sunday, 7 December 2003
First Post
OK, we're firing up this bad boy for the first time.

I've been thinking for a long while that I could use a public forum for rants, ravings and such. Not only is this a warmup for published writing, but also a possible prelude to web design.

What's on my mind today: Lost Opportunity.

How many of us spend our lives just drifting through it, just wandering on from one crazy thing to the next? How many of us have goals or dreams, let alone well-defined ones? And how many of us have talents that we let drift away or languish idly while we pursue our menial daily lives?

No, this isn't a prelude to a self-help tome. It is however, something I spend a great deal of time pondering, especially when I observe others around me.

Including me. I am guilty party in the shameless waste of life's extra moments, of undirected talent and enthusiasm, of misdirected energies.

A recent bit of personal epiphany led me to opening up a blog, as it became increasingly evident that I needed to do the one thing I was genetically destined for: writing.

So here we are.

Tune in every so often. I'll do my darndest to make it worth a few minutes of your net-time.

Posted by petedude at 9:35 PM PST

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