February 7, 2007

Say goodbye to Digital Rights Management?

On Tuesday, Apple Inc. made headlines when its CEO Steve Jobs published an open letter urging the record companies to sell music without the use of Digital Rights Management software. DRM is what locks music purchased legally online, from being used in unauthorized ways. For example, a song bought from the iTunes Store can be played on up to five computers, and unlimited number of iPods, and playlists containing protected songs can be burned up to ten times.

The problem, however, is that songs bought from iTunes cannot be played on competitors digital music players, such as Microsoft's Zune, and songs bought elsewhere do not work with the iPod. That has led to Apple's legal troubles in Europe.

In Jobs letter he gives three scenereos. The first is to keep the current vertically intergreted proprietary system. It does offer competetion, dispite Apple's domminance in the market place with over 70 percent market share. The second is for Apple to license its DRM technology - called FairPlay, to other companies; however that would cause significant headaches to keep ahead of computer hackers. The third option, and one that Apple is apparently standing behind, is to get rid of the protection all together.

The article on MSNBC seems to take the stance that Apple's CEO is just trying to blame the record companies for his legal problems in Europe concerning Norways push for Apple to licence their DRM technology to other companies. However, it is interesting to note that MSNBC has significant ties to Microsoft, the company that had made repeated attempts to gain market share over Apple in the music sector, but has failed.

The New york Times article seems to side with Jobs' assertions. The closing line reads: ``Apple's alternative is the only way we're going to get complete interoperability,'' said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Technologies, a Silicon Valley consulting firm.




January 31, 2007

Toward Socialism?

I went to the governement website of Venezuela and found it to be strikingly odd, especially if you compare it to most other government websites, such as the U.S. Our website, www.usa.gov, is filled with information on just about any subject: travel, taxes, jobs, education, consumer guides, history, health, nutrition, and a whole host of other topics. Venezuela's website, www.venezuela.gov.ve, however is empty except for a flash banner towards the top that says "Hacia el Socialismo del siglo XXI."

Toward Socialism of the 21st Century.

If you haven't read about it in the news, South America, and Venezuela more particularily, are heading down a new path of government in an attempt to fix the social situations that are rampant in that part of the world. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president is spear-heading the trend to be in oppoisition to the United States and capitalism.

More significantly is that the Venezuelan government has given their president the power to rule by decree to 18 months. The New York Times reported that anti Chavez media have lashed out at the governments decision and likened Chavez to Hitler.

The New york Times states that during the 2005 congressional elections those in opposition to Chavez boycotted the elections (because they thought they were fraudulent in favor of Chavez' supporters) leaving the assembly overwhelmingly loyal to Chavez.

The decision to grant Chazes such powers has left many Venezuelans, even those in his favor feeling uneasy, however the New York Times article barely mentions the people, if only in a quote from the U.S. Assistant Secretay of State, Thomas Shannon when he said "this is not much of a question for the United States and other nations as for the Venezuelan people."

A Washington Post article titled, Venezuela Poised to Hand Chavez Wide-Ranging Powers, does focus more on the people of Venezuela as well as mentioning foreign business interests as well as those in the US that will be affected by Chavez' new powers.

Already in the first month Chavez has plans to nationalize electricity and telecommunications, among other things. (an interesting fact is that Verizon Wireless will be affected when venezuela nationalizes the phone industry because Verizon owns half the market).

The Washington Post article also mentions hundred of people lining up for papers to leave the country and start a new life in places like Spain. I asked one of my friends what he thought about the direction the country is taking under chavez' new powers and he said, "venezuela will be soon how's cuba, its sad because i need out here!" (his English isn't the best!)

The Washington Post's article seems to more reflect the people of Venezuela and how the vast changes are going to affect them, while the New york times articles focuses mainly on political powers and the small but growing opposition to Chavez and his plans for a Bolivarian Revolution.