Music Piracy’s Reward, Microsoft’s iPad Killer, and the Island of Dr. Ellison

On NPR’s All Songs Considered blog, a post written a little while ago by a 20-year-old intern named Emily White just this week started to shake up the Web. She wrote that despite being “an avid music listener, concertgoer and college radio D.J.,” with an iTunes library of 11,000 songs, she has bought only 15 CDs in her life. She wrote she hadn’t illegally downloaded much but collected music files from friends and other places. “I honestly don’t think my peers and I will ever pay for albums. I do think we will pay for convenience. What I want is one massive Spotify-like catalog of music that will sync to my phone and various home entertainment devices.” This routine state of affairs to anyone young has detonated a panic bomb online. Says Media Decoder: “It has been debated for days on music industry forums and in blog responses.” Death and Taxes says: “The most ardent downloader has to at least partially know something is wrong here.” Most notably, at The Trichordist, professional musician David Lowery (Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven count, right?) scolds Miss Emily for her insolent ideas: “I must disagree with the underlying premise of what you have written. Fairly compensating musicians is not a problem that is up to governments and large corporations to solve. It is not up to them to make it ‘convenient’ so you don’t behave unethically.” El scorcho!! But some bloggers jumped to the intern’s defense. - Colors in Music Posters.jpg

“In a way…I am Emily,” admits Alaska Robotics. And different person also named Emily White (really!) who works for an indie record label was alerted to the news and decided to defend White over Lowery. “Miss Emily White, I admire you. I would be honored if you considered coming to intern for us (though we don’t want to poach you from your sweet NPR gig). Please consider me a resource if you ever need anything.” What?! Who says piracy doesn’t pay?

While we’re looking at the evolution of entertainment, check out this cool graphic made by software engineer Vijay Pandurangan diaplaying the dominant colors in movie posters since 1914. Why did he do this? “I felt that most movie posters these days were very blue and dark. She didn’t fully believe me and challenged me to prove it. - Surface.jpg

Things change. Think back to your childhood and – remember Microsoft? This week the company unveiled Surface, a tablet computer that seems to be impressing people. Says Engadget: “Let’s take a moment to realize what just happened here. Microsoft just pulled off a showy, big-time event in which they unveiled not one but two pieces of hardware (plus a suite of accessories) that we’d speculated about but not actually seen in the flesh. That’s a hell of an achievement, and even more impressively, that hardware looks good. Really good.” Never mind that something about the demo felt awfully familiar…  A CNN Tech blogger offers five reasons why Surface may be better than an iPad! CNET has highlighted five facts to take away from the Surface intro, including “Don’t confuse this with the table thing,” Microsoft’s previously known touchscreen device that was basically a glasstop coffee table where you could move digital photos around with your hands. Until now it had the same name! “The Microsoft Surface as we’ve known it for the past five years is now called Microsoft PixelSense… this isn’t the first time Microsoft’s gone with one brand and used it for something else. Remember Zune ending up a content channel on the Xbox 360?” Also, since the Surface tablet comes with a thin keyboard, it’ not just a competitor to iPads and Android tabs but potentially to ultrabook PCs: “your tablet can work like a PC, complete with a full version of Windows.” Microsoft’s motives are another issue. Says BusinessWeek: “Microsoft making hardware is not a natural action. It’s what the company does in times of desperation.” - zuck-couch.jpg

You know who will surely buy a Microsoft Surface? Facebook. They’re apparently buying everything with “face” in the name. The just acquired, and as NewMedia RockStars says: “they’re set to corner the market on faces.” (Maybe next they’ll acquire “Face the Nation” and revive Pillsbury’s Funny Face, the “artificially sweetened imitation drink mix” from the 1970s.) is an Israeli developer of facial recoignition software for which Facebook has paid $60 million. Says NMRS: “They’re so serious about facial recognition that they were willing to dig through Mark Zuckerberg’s couch cushions to pony up the change.” What will the new tech do on Facebook? Perez Hilton says “be prepared to have another new feature you have no say in and have to use on Facebook.” Or at least have to say no to. Technorati figures Facebook is “gearing itself not only to be the top social network site in the world, but the number one photo sharing destination on the Web.” - Ellison.png

Finally, what do you buy the man who has everything (and who doesn’t really want face-related stuff)? If you’re Larry Ellison, it would seem a Hawaiian island. Ellison reportedly is buying 98 percent of Lanai, a pineapple island formerly owned by Dole. Says Hollywood Gossip: “To put it in perspective, an unnamed source equated Ellison’s purchase of Lanai as the continental U.S. equivalent of buying Montana.” We’re just thinking: here comes a high-tech remake of Gilligan’s island.



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