This is a continuation of the Big Change in the Tech World thread, February 25.
We may look back at these as the Good Old Days before the tech guys clamped down and closed off all the loopholes that allowed us to create and share our own content, as well as program our own use of the content created by the entertainment business.
The norm in entertainment, the system I grew up in -- the entertainment industry controlled what you watched and listened to, and when, where, and how much you paid for it. You could make your own special mix tapes, but that was hard and most people didn't do it, so they looked the other way. Napster was a big breakthrough. All of a sudden all the music was there for the asking, whenever you wanted.
People were talking about music in supermarkets and on airplanes. We all bought iPods.
Charles Mann called it the "heavenly jukebox." I found I could listen to a Cat Stevens song about fathers as many times as I wanted. "I don't just want to listen to music, I want to study it, and let it really sink in, soak it up, and then go on. No medium before the Internet made this so easy."
I had a phone talk with John Gruber from Daring Fireball the other day, which I requested, after reading a piece he wrote suggesting that Apple's closing of the Flash hole in the iPhone/iPad was a way to enforce "web standards." I said it's a lot simpler and more insidious. Apple doesn't care about web standards, nor do any other large companies. That term, and "open" are just fig leaves that cover up what they're reallly doing. Instead of opening things up, they're doing just the opposite. Closing as many holes as they can as quickly as they can. Because they're doing what the media business wants to but hasn't been able to do, yet -- control and monetize user programming of content. Apple and many (if not all) of the tech companies want to get the control back from the users. Of course they can't say this, and they won't. But actions speak louder than words.
Then I read this article in CNET that says Apple wants to cut a deal with the entertainment industry to store all their content on Apple servers. There's a chilling comment in the middle of the story saying they want to get rid of hard disks. That, my friends, is Hollywood's dream. The real culprit, the real cause of their economic problems isn't the Internet, it isn't the wires that connect computers. It's the under-$100 terabyte hard drive. With a terabyte you can store hundreds of hours of movies and TV shows. That enables you to do your own programming.
To Hollywood, a perfect world would be one without hard disks.
To Apple, a perfect world is one where every moment a user is reading, listening or watching causes cash to flow back to Apple.