R.I.P. Internet Radio? I listen to a lot of Internet radio. I’m listening to it as I write this column. SomaFM’s Secret Agent station, “The soundtrack for your stylish, mysterious, dangerous life”( www.somafm.com). But it sounds like big, bad ogres such as the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) and SoundExchange, a not-for-profit that claims to be helping artists and labels, are doing their best to bring a “virtual shutdown” of Internet radio, according to Kurt Hanson. More of what this CEO of AccuRadio has to say on the subject can be found on the SaveInternetRadio.org blog. They just don’t get it. We consumers listen to Internet radio, hear music we would never have come into contact with on the horrendous commercial stations, and purchase the songs we like online. Not anymore. They want to charge much more in royalties per song, but the small, independent Internet stations can’t afford it. Say goodbye to Internet radio as we know it. For a full report, read this week’s cover story.
My Sony Broke my Sony And speaking of people who just don’t get it, apparently Sony has a new DVD Digital Rights Management (DRM) system that “breaks” its own DVD players! Found this at the wonderful www.boingboing.net. OK, so it doesn’t really break them, but if you bought Casino Royale, Stranger Than Fiction, The Holiday or a number of other titles, they may not make it past the title screen on your older DVD player (even though Sony claims it has “updated” the DRM). Being that there has not been an anti-copying system developed that has not been hacked, maybe Sony and others should stop meddling with the products we pay for.
Digital Trees It’s not all bad news, my digital colleagues. Concerned over their mayor’s plans to redevelop one of their main parks in the center of Paris, a local residents association invited citizens to design their own park in the online world of Second Life for consideration for the real park. The association will then take the five best designs to the mayor in hopes of having some influence on the redesign. Maybe there would be less local griping if this had happened with the City Plaza renovation (to be fair, the city of Chico did reach out for input).
TurboTax’s turbo engines stall out This is a good news story, too. Our kind Uncle Sam will not penalize you procrastinators who tried to file your taxes at the very last moment—causing Inuit’s servers to melt down. Makers of the No. 1 online tax-filing service posted a note on their Web site informing customers that they struck a deal with our beloved IRS to accept those belated submissions that were hampered by the shutdown. Coincidentally, that same night, Research In Motion’s e-mail service went down for about 11 hours, leaving BlackBerry users, a.k.a. crackberry heads, in the U.S. without messaging abilities. We are so vulnerable.