Observations Along the Road

Theatre Writeups, Musings on the News, Rants and Roadkill Along the Information Superhighway

Category Archive: 'rant'

Revitalizing Westwood

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jun 18, 2013 @ 5:40 pm PDT

userpic=ucla-csunOne of the lead articles at the LA Times today is on revitalizing Westwood, and there’s a companion article at Curbed LA. Both are bemoaning how Westwood has changed, and both suggest ways out of the problem. The Times article notes how Westwood is looking to Downtown for its revitalization model, and looking to bring it more arts (think galleries), performance spaces, and trendy foods. They believe this will restore Westwood to its former glory. I think both are wrong.

Let’s explore what Westwood was, and how to bring it back.

In its heyday — the 1960s through early 1980s  — Westwood was primarily a local community. It had mostly non-chain stores, and catered to the people living in West LA, H0lmby Hills, and Bel Air. It also catered heavily to the student community at UCLA. It had quaint restaurants, and lots of movie theatres that tended to host premieres (because Hollywood had gotten sketchy).

In the mid 1980s, Westwood began to die. Most attribute the death to a gang shooting in 1988 and an incident where some clown drove on the sidewalk (we were actually in Westwood that evening with clients when it happened). However, that’s not what killed Westwood. What killed Westwood was rising rents, “mallification” (that is, takeover by the chain stores with “trendy” clothes), and corporate consolidations that removed classic entities (such as bookstores). Further, the single screen theatres that Westwood had were no longer profitable… so they started closing. In short, what killed Westwood was that it became a mall — just like any other mall — and lost its audience for newer malls.

Westwood was also hurt by poor accessibility, especially with the continuous construction on the 405. Downtown is now accessible via MetroRail, but Westwood won’t have that for at least another decade or two. You have to drive to Westwood, and that’s increasingly difficult. What this means is that, to succeed, Westwood must focus on the locals, not drawing from elsewhere.

So what does Westwood really need to do to come back? First, it doesn’t need art galleries and super trendy joints. These do not attract students and the middle class that used to shop in Westwood all the time. Put the art galleries in Beverly Hills. Here’s what I think Westwood needs:

  • More Live Theatre. Although the single-screen movie theatre is out of vogue, live theatre is inherently single-screen. Westwood should work on expanding its live theatre presence, especially with relationships with the excellent theatre program at UCLA. Get some small storefront theatres (there are at least two major companies in LA (Celebration is one) that are looking for new spaces). Small theatres are also much more affordable for students (especially when compared with the only theatre currently in Westwood, the Geffen).
  • More Club Space. I don’t necessarily meet nightclub space, although having a local space that would appear to the UCLA student crowd would be great. I was thinking more along the lines of comedy and music clubs, that could attract stand up and local acts.
  • Be a Student Town. This needs to be the mantra regarding both food and shopping. Bring in quirky restaurants and shops, but keep them affordable for students (and if you can, accept UCLA meal plan points). I grew up in the days when Westwood had wonderful places such as Yesterdays, Old World, Annas, Bratskeller, and others. We need to get this style of place back.
  • Aim for the Eclectic. What makes a college town special is its eclectic nature. You never know what you will find, and it is most certainly not a mall. There needs to be enough going on in Westwood to draw the students out of the dorms, and to draw the neighbors into the shops.

Basically, Westwood will succeed again if you can attract the students back, and they start bringing their friends. That’s what has always made Westwood special.

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Misunderstanding Risk (A Lunchtime Musing)

Written By: cahwyguy - Wed Jun 12, 2013 @ 11:43 am PDT

userpic=securityAmericans do not understand risk (actually, most humans don’t understand risk).

Want a good example of this? Look at the recent NSA data collection scandal. People are in an uproar about it. Investigations have started. Lawmakers are claiming they had no idea this is what they approved. Google is saying “don’t worry” and wanting to disclose what they really shared. Polls are, well, polling in various ways. People are pushing 1984 up the best seller lists. Everyone is debating whether the discloser is a traitor or a hero. In short, the Internet has its panties in a wad about this.

Now, I’m not trying to say this data collection — especially in secret — is a good thing. It isn’t. It is likely either unconstitutional or borderline, and should be investigated fully (although we can’t really blame only on the current administration, as the collection started in the previous administration… and as such, both are to blame). But is it risky? Are government agents going to come to your house and bang down your door as a result of this? Very unlikely. The amount of data collected — and the type of data collected — makes the possibility that government will be proactively searching and targeting you extremely remote. Just given the amount of data and its unstructured nature, Occam’s Razor says it will more likely be used for additional investigation after some other intelligence source uncovers a target of interest. In other words: this data will (most likely) only be used after you are already on the radar for some other reason. For 99.9% of the people in America, that means the personal worry is hypothetical. [Again: this doesn't make the program right; it only means you don't need to be as paranoid. That is, of course, unless they really are after you.]

However, there is a data collection program that is a worry — but people don’t think about it. This opinion piece highlights it. We are giving giant corporations loads of personal data every day. Facebook scans and records your every like, status update, and picture… and sells that data to advertisers. Google scans your email, your Google documents, your searches, and sells that data to advertisers and uses it to market to you. Amazon knows your books, your wants, your desires (and soon, what you eat). Credit card companies know your purchasing patterns and use it to market you. Supermarkets know your purchases, tied to you every time you save a penny using an affinity card. What’s worse is that we willingly give our data to these corporations. We ignore the privacy policies they send. We send unencrypted email. We send unencrypted texts and tweets. We post indiscriminately. We give our information away to save 5c.

Yet when do we get outraged? When the “government” gets only part of that data. When the government that gets the data hasn’t even demonstrated that it has the capability to use the data. Why is the implicit assumption that government is bad, and that corporations are good? Why do we ignore all the corporate data mining that goes on? We’re sheep, people, sheep, for the corporations that are the real puppetmasters of the world. You doubt me? Who makes major donations to politicians to get them to do what is in the corporation’s interests?

As you get your dander up about the government data collection, put it in perspective. The real risk isn’t the government collecting the data. The real risk is that these corporations are collecting the data in the first place. While the government has laws — and the constitution — that will eventually limit its reach… corporations have no such restrictions. Yes, Big Brothers are watching you… but is the brother we must really worry about the Government… or that brother from another mother?

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Citizen Journalism: What do Journalists Bring, and Will You Read It Anyway?

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue Jun 11, 2013 @ 11:39 am PDT

userpic=lougrantYesterday afternoon, while driving home, I was listening to the NPR Technology podcast. They had an interesting piece on the death of high-school newspapers, including a discussion of the primary suspect: citizen journalism. Basically, the news reporting that high-school newspapers used to do has been replaced by students reporting in real-time via twitter and other social media sites. At least I think that’s what the article says; I didn’t read it all. More on that later.

What caught my ear at the time was the following statement from Scott Simon, who did the piece:

Hearing that school newspapers are in decline because students now “find out what happened” in social media bites is a little discouraging because it confirms that for millions of Americans, journalism is becoming a do-it-yourself enterprise.

When a tornado strikes or a bomb goes off, we look for social media messages as soon as they flash, too. Facebook posts and Tweets have become the means by which politicians, celebrities, citizens — and reporters, for that matter — can confirm, deny, pass on stories and register opinion without the press challenging, probing, pre-supposing, slowing or straining the message. That’s just how we talk to each other in these times.

Matt Drudge, who runs his own controversial website, says, “We have entered an era vibrating with the din of small voices. Every citizen can be a reporter.”

But truly good journalism is a craft, not just a blog post. It requires not only seeing something close-up, but also reporting it with perspective. It uses an eye for detail to help illuminate a larger view. And even journalism that conveys an opinion strives to be fair. If school newspapers begin to disappear, I hope there are other ways for students to learn that.

This isn’t just high school newspapers. Recently, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off all of their professional photographers, preferring instead to go with freelance citizen photos. Indeed, some papers have had to advertise for citizen photographers because they no longer have the staff. As for the laid-off photographers? That’s a different story.

When I heard this article, it resonated with me. So I decided to take a few minutes over lunch to write up my thoughts. In particular, it resonated with a response I had back in March to an article complaining about amateur vs professional theatre critics. Colin Mitchell of the theatre review aggregation site Bitter Lemons, in turn, wrote a wonderful response to my response. I see the issue as being similar to the issue of citizen journalists vs. real journalists. Both bring something valuable to the picture: citizen journalists (and citizen reviewers) bring timely information and personal reactions. Professional journalists (and professional reviewers) bring a longer-term view. They can put the issue in perspective, provide the needed filtering and context. Regular bloggers fill a middle position — they start as amateurs, but hopefully are learning more and stepping up their game (such as following this advice, if you are a theatre reviewer) as time goes on. (By the way, if you read the commentary on the NPR article, it devolved into exactly the same discussion that was had regarding theatre reviews: are those writing in the blog-o-sphere just hacks, or aspiring independent journalists?)

Of course, the entire issue may be moot. After all, both journalists and bloggers are a dying breed, as we are in the TL;DR generation. Slate magazine provides good proof of that, with an article that examines how people don’t actually read most articles on the Internet to the very end. Given that I’m a long-form writer, I’m sure you haven’t even read this far (or if you have, I doubt that you will comment on this, because nobody comments on what I write anymore — and if you think that is a challenge or is wrong, share your thoughts). Further, those who comment often get shouted out by those louts who take over forums (of course, I didn’t fully read that article). On the other hand, there are those who say long form journalism is coming back. Who is right? Slate and their contention that people don’t read to the end of long articles? USA Today, Politico, and BuzzFeed in their contention on the rebirth of long form journalism?

Personally, I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think “short form”. I don’t believe one can have a meaningful exploration of a subject in 144 characters or less, or as a Facebook status update.  I think this even applies to the “lists of links” people post. I don’t believe it is sufficient to just post lists of links — there needs to be some unifying theme — there needs to be something the link collector brings to the discussion that ties the links together, or otherwise signifies why this link is worth seeing, why it is time to read that link to the end. That’s why just posting a link to people using cats as afros just isn’t enough.

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Rules to Live By

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri May 17, 2013 @ 11:18 am PDT

userpic=soapboxI made a mistake this morning before work. I looked at Facebook, and saw the usual political posting going on about some offense or another the side the author didn’t like did. Raised my blood pressure, which is something I don’t like to see. I’ve been thinking about this all morning, and so I thought I would share with you some of my basic operating rules. Perhaps they will help you view such political discussions differently in the future.

Rule Nº 1: Never Ascribe To Malice That Which You Can Ascribe to Stupidity

I sometimes change the last word to “laziness”, but the intent is the same. Often, we see people putting sinister thoughts and actions behind a move when there is likely nothing more than someone just being stupid, lazy, or inept. Good example of this is the recent IRS kerfluffle. I’ve seen a number of folks insisting that Obama is behind all of this, implying some sinister intent or conspiracy. The answer, more likely, is that some office had to make a decision… and given the intensely partisan climate, made the wrong one. To put it another way (as I saw in the LA Times):

The decision by agents in Cincinnati to flag groups that appeared to have a conservative ideology was “very bad,” said Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer at the firm Arent Fox in Washington. “But I don’t think it was politically motivated; I think it’s incompetence.”

We’re also seeing this rule apply in the Benghazi situation. More and more the situation is not looking like an elaborate conspiracy from the top — it is looking like various fiefdoms trying in a very stupid way to protect themselves. In particular, this one looks like there was CIA involvement in facility in Benghazi, and the CIA made some stupid choices to try to hide the fact.

The important take away from this is that usually there are not elaborate conspiracies behind everything. Life really doesn’t want to be complex. In reality, people are just stupid.

Rule Nº 2: The definition of “Insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The primary example of this rule today is the House of Representatives, which just tried for the 39th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I get the first couple of times. But at this point, it is just a waste of time and money. The House has more important things to do, such as passing legislation to move this country forward: immigration reform, tax reform, budget bills. Am I trying to say that the ACA (Obamacare) is perfect? Far from it — we’re all starting to see ways in which it isn’t working right, and the recent IRS situtation also shows the importance of providing the IRS with clear definitions of how to interpret the provisions. Instead of trying to repeal Obamacare — which is a waste of time — the House should be working at this point to incrementally improve the bill to make it something workable.

The take away from this rule: If you keep failing at what you do, perhaps you need to achieve the goal in a different fashion.

Rule Nº 3: People will go for “best abuse of the rules”.

The point here is that people will always go through the existing rules, and try to find the loopholes and use them to their advantage — be that political or personal advantage. We certainly saw bankers doing that during the financial crisis, and we’re still seeing that today. We’re also seeing it politically. After the Citizens United decision, non-profits realized that they could donate to political campaigns (previously, they couldn’t as they were corporations). They discovered the 501c(4) organization, which was originally designed for civic groups such as parks or beautification associations. These organizations could receive donations without having to declare the income as tax and without having to disclose the donors. The IRS had ruled they could do limited political activity, but that was never specifically defined. So after Citizens United, the number of applications for such groups grew… and many people thought they were doing this to do political activity. This was the root cause of the problem at the IRS. There were originally a small number of these groups, and the IRS was focused on real charities (think religious institutions) being too involved in politics. After the Citizens United decision in 2010, 1,735 groups applied for 501(c)4 status — a figure that nearly doubled by 2012, according to the inspector general’s audit. This overloaded the office, and made that IRS office need to find a way to determine which groups to examine. How did they do it? Consult  Rule Nº 1.

We’re also seeing this in the partisan climate. I think everyone will agree that the partisan atmosphere led the IRS office to make the wrong decision. But such an atmosphere was also likely legal — there were no direct orders, only an environment that took advantage of people’s stupidity.

The primary take away from this: Take the time to get the specification correct the first time, and try to think through all the angles. If it looks like people are abusing the rules in an unintended way, the first thing to do is refine the rules to solve the problem.

The secondary take away from this: If the rules appear to be being abused, investigate in a neutral manner. There should be three goals from the effort: (1) to discover the errors in the rules that need correcting; (2) to discover errors in guidance and education that need correction; and (3) to determine if there are any real and significant legal violations (which should be prosecuted).

Rule Nº 4: Discuss to understand, not to convince.

Far too often, I see discussions on Facebook or elsewhere on the Internet where the end goal is to convince someone that you are right and they are wrong. That’s too ambitious of a goal, and one that ends up just wasting people’s time. I do not believe that I will get my Conservative friends to switch over to the Liberal side, and I don’t believe that Conservative arguments (especially as I’ve seen them done) are going to convince Liberals to change. Remember Rule Nº 2 here and the definition of insanity. The purpose of our discussions should be more to gain an understanding of where the other side is coming from, and what their real concerns are.

Again, let’s use the IRS example on this. I wrote the other day about the underlying tax problems that led to the mess. A conservative friend of mine hijacked the discussion to start discussing criminal wrongdoing by agents. He was trying to convince me of his agenda of a large conspiracy from the top. I was trying to illustrate the underlying problem with the system in a different way. In other words, my conservative friend was trying to argue ¬Nº-1 (i.e., that there was malice), and I was trying to argue Nº 3 (that there was abuse of the rules going on and we need to fix the rules). We were talking at cross purposes and not listening to understand. I simply ended the conversation.

This is often a problem on the Internet. People come in convinced of a particular Worldview — Obama is a socialist [he isn't, if you look up the definition of socialism], the GOP wants to destroy the social safety net [no they don't]. Our discussions should be to learn information, not convince. Hopefully that’s something I do with my discussions — I’ve learned a lot from how I behaved during the previous administration.

 

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Damaging Effects

Written By: cahwyguy - Tue May 14, 2013 @ 8:27 pm PDT

userpic=tortuga-heuvosIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I don’t just like to post links — I like to comment on the news, with preferably a minimum of 3 news items. I was staring at one of the articles I had saved when suddenly a theme came to mind that tied together with two other items in the news. All of these have to do with how women are seen: by men, by women, and by society, and the damaging effects that can have. Do excuse my errors in this; being a man, these are observations from the outside, and I might word things wrong.

  • Being a Boob. If you’ve been reading the news at all today, you know that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy recently due to a high risk of breast cancer. Why was there so much attention? Surely, it wasn’t because all of the editors were concerned about women’s health (although that’s what they’ll claim). No, it is because articles about women’s breasts — especially a sexy celebrity — will attract the eyeballs of male readers. I, of course, read the comments and there is the usual number of trolls out there bemoaning Brad’s loss. I refer everyone to an excellent piece by The Ferrett on this, where he notes that the attitude of “Poor Brad” has the implicit statement that women are good for only one thing in a relationship: sex. Once that is gone, why have the relationship. For anyone really in a relationship, we know this isn’t true: we are with our partners for much more than sex: we love the person and the brain and the attitudes and the fun — and for that, we want the physical package to be healthy. True relationships don’t depend on breasts.
  • Getting the Look. Of course, one part of selling the “sex” (and perhaps the submissiveness) of women is marketing, and how characters are marketed to little girls. We’ve already seen Belle lose any nerdiness she had, and Disney was attempting it again with Merida from Brave. They were attempting to turn Merida into the typical princess, not the tomboy she was, and this got people upset. Of course, the good news (for now) is that it looks like the battle has been won.
  • Indoctrinating Them Early. Lastly (and the article that actually inspired this post), we have an article from CNN on the damaging effects of proms. The article details a number of items — cost being only one aspect … with most of them having to do with the message a prom sends. What are these messages? Conventional beauty is valued most. Straight is better. Valued girls are submissive, not assertive. Share everything.  These messages may not come through at all schools, but I’m sure for many they do (especially in more traditional areas).

It seems sometimes that the battle is hard, with the media sending the message that there is only one shape desired, and women are good for only one thing. Luckily, there are some men out there who haven’t swallowed that line: who love their partners because of who they are, not just what they look like or how they are in bed, and who realize that a relationship is more than just sex… it is finding someone who you truly connect with and will be there for… no matter what.

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And Another One Bites The Dust

Written By: cahwyguy - Mon Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:02 pm PDT

userpic=lougrantToday, the Ventura County Star announced that it is going digital subscription only – limited articles will be available for limited times. In doing so, it joined the LA Times, Orange County Register, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Boston Herald, the Nashville Tennessean, and numerous others in erecting a pay wall.

This is a trend I emphatically do not like. One of the strengths of the Internet is being able to get news from a variety of sources; to read what is happening in local communities; to discover the human side across the world. Paywalls prevent that from happening.

Sure, one could subscribe to each paper individually. That would be very expensive (which is why I only subscribe to the Los Angeles Times). I would be very happy if someone created a business opportunity out of this that allowed one to subscribe to a selected set of paywall papers — 5, 10, 15, all — for a reasonable fixed fee per month. But having to subscribe to each paper individually for a digital product is prohibitive.

 

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A Drop in the Bucket

Written By: cahwyguy - Fri Apr 26, 2013 @ 5:06 am PDT

userpic=rough-roadI’ve had at least two people on Facebook tag me in posts about Elon Musk and the 405 (I can say that–I’m a SoCal native), and at least two other folks on Facebook write about the article. Musk’s use of personal funds to try to speed construction on I-405 is circulating fast around the blogosphere, perhaps because everyone thinks “here is someone who is putting his money where his mouth is”. Only one problem. He really didn’t do anything.

Here’s the background: Interstate 405 (called I-405 by most folks and “the 405″ by those in Southern California) has been under construction for a number of years to add the missing link in the HOV network: a NB HOV lane between I-10 and US 101. This is a hard section to do: it literally required moving mountains in the Sepulveda pass to widen the road and move the parallel highway. It has required full reconstruction of three major bridges (Sunset, Getty Center, and Mulholland), relocation and reworking of several off-ramps and on-ramps, movement of the parallel highway (Sepulveda Blvd) and its underground utilities, and construction of major retaining walls and sound walls. Unexpected delays have pushed completion from late 2013 to at least mid 2014. The LA Times wrote a major piece on it yesterday as if it was new news; however, LA Metro had written about the delays back in mid-February and had described the source of the delays.

I-405 ProjectWhere does Musk come into this? Musk commutes daily over the 405 from Bel Air to Hawthorne. Truthfully, he doesn’t see the worst of it — which I do, commuting daily over the complete pass from Northridge (in the Valley) to El Segundo (near the airport). Still, even though Musk only goes as far as Sunset, he contributed money out of frustration with the project. This donation made the Los Angeles Times, which due to Musk’s technology connections, was then echoed in Slashdot. There are two problems with this romantic story: not one cent of Musk’s money went towards construction, and even if it had, $50K is a drop in the bucket for a multi-million dollar project. Further, it is unclear if additional money will make the project will go faster — after all (as they say), nine women cannot make a baby in a month.

So what did Musk do exactly? Curbed LA has the story. Musk donated his money not to LA Metro (the construction authority — and it is unclear whether one can legally donate money to a public works project), but to “Angelenos Against Gridlock“, an advocacy group. In other words: Musk’s $50K went to a lobbying group. What did this money do? Back in February, the LA Times wrote about AAG:  they held a demonstration outside the Federal building in Westwood (which, as such demonstrations do, probably made traffic worse on the Westside).

So what could have made the 405 HOV project (follow that link for full details on the project; or go to this Caltrans page or this Metro page) go faster?  Probably a little less NIMBY-ism, which delayed the Mulholland Bridge construction and torpedoed a plan that would have reconstructed that bridge without the need for two carmaggedons. Better construction quality would have helped, as one source of delays has been due to having to reconstruction failing new retaining walls. Some factors were unavoidable — such as having to construct in a way to keep down noise and dust, and some were unexpected — such as unknown utilities and structures on Sunset.

Do I wish this project was done? Yes. Especially with the recent Coldwater Canyon Closure, traffic has been horrendous. We’ve had at least 3 days in April with almost 120 minute afternoon commutes (the normal is 85 minutes). The new project will add an HOV lane, which will be a godsend as I drive a vanpool. But will Musk speed it up? No, unless SpaceX provides a daily rocket over the pass, and even then, it wouldn’t have the capacity.

Lastly, for those saying we should build a train and such…. First, to do so would be even more problematic, given the extra widening required. Metro is exploring building a light-rail tunnel under the pass for connection with a N-S transit solution in the mid-valley (roughly Van Nuys) under consideration. You can read about all the options under exploration in this Metro Powerpoint presentation. In short: any option is ungodly expensive, and the money simply won’t be there for quite a few years — and even then, the project will take years to construct.

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The Digital Disenfranchised

Written By: cahwyguy - Thu Apr 25, 2013 @ 12:32 pm PDT

userpic=verizonA number of articles I’ve read in the last week have highlighted an increasing digital divide in our society. This subject and these articles have been running around my head all week, so while I eat lunch I’d like to share them with you and get your thoughts.

What triggered the subject was Harry Shearer’s Le Show. Its host station, KCRW 89.9 FM in Santa Monica, abruptly yanked the show off the airwaves and moved it to be Internet-only. KCRW believes that growth is going to be on the Internet side, and those that listen to the show will find it there. Now a number of broadcasters have done this in the past — think Adam Corolla or Tom Leykis –but arguably the audiences for those shows is very different than the NPR/Public Radio audience. I think Shearer captured my concern very well:

People are sawing the legs out from under the idea of radio as we speak. Television, when it came to prominence, was supposed to kill radio outright, and it didn’t. The question is: Will online audio kill radio broadcasting? I listen to about 80 percent of my audio content online, and I look at a lot of my video content online, so I’m not a Luddite in any sense of the word. But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in radio broadcasting.

A lot of people driving in their cars don’t have the facility or haven’t mastered yet getting online audio into their car’s audio system. A lot of poorer people don’t have the wherewithal for broadband everywhere that they might want to hear something, and older people don’t want to mess with that stuff. Radio better be around, because in any kind of emergency, my experience has been the first thing that goes down is the electric grid, and the second thing that goes down is the telephone grid. And if you don’t have a portable battery-powered radio, you are seriously out of luck. People who are trying to dismantle this system are way in front of themselves, and may not be doing the public a service.

I, too, have seen a growing number of articles predicting the demise of terrestrial radio. NetFlix is predicting the death of the TV channel. The problem is that the movement to Internet  based approaches for TV and Radio are not available to all — due to either the financial or intellectual cost of the new technology. Do we have the right to disenfranchise these people?

But the problem is not just radio. Look at music in general. iTunes is turning 10, and there are numerous articles on the changes iTunes has brought. One article notes the following:

The iTunes store dominated by downloads “is on its last gasp,” says Bob Lefsetz, a former music industry lawyer and blogger at the Lefsetz Letter. “YouTube is where most young people listen to music now.” (More than 1 billion people visit the site each month.)

“When iTunes turns 15 years old, we won’t be talking about downloads, because Apple won’t be selling them,” he says.

Here’s another quote from the same article:

Ten years ago, Apple’s most popular iPod was the largest-capacity model with 80 gigabytes of storage. Now the top seller is the 32 GB iPod Touch starting at $299. The entry-level iPhone comes with 16 GB of storage.

“If downloads were still important, we’d all need more storage,” Lefsetz says. “Apple knows which direction this is going.”

Yet again we are creating a community of digital disenfranchised.  Not everyone wants to stream media — they may not know how to do it; they may not be in a location that permits it; they may not have the signal to do it; they may not be able to afford the cost of doing it. Yet the assumption seems to be that it is something the public wants. What this is really doing is hurting the public: no longer can you own a personal copy of your music you can listen to at any time in any place. You become tethered to the (for profit) streaming service, who can dictate if you can listen to your music and where and when. Is this the right direction for society?

We all know technology is everywhere, and in increasing cases, it is not serving to help but to hurt. What used to be broadcast is now exclusively on the web, eliminating as a potential audience those lacking the financial or technological wherewithal to find it. Others are starting to embrace a return to old media.   We need to make sure that in our rush to embrace the latest and greatest technology, we don’t cut off those not quite as nimble.

Disclaimer: Even though I know how to listen to podcasts, I still like the radio sometimes. I like to physically own my music (in fact, I’m looking to buy some LP storage crates and a media center), even as I have over 31,000 songs on my iPod (160GB). Further, I do not have a smartphone. I feel cut-off everytime I see a QR scan-this discount code.

Music: Destry Rides Again (1959 Original Broadway Cast): “Overture” [recorded from LP to MP3 using Roxio Easy Media Creator, loaded into iTunes, currently playing on my iPod]

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