Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 12:29:55 PM by Ray
Last month, RealNetworks announced that they had figured out how to allow songs downloaded from their online music service to play on Apple's iPod player while maintaining the copyright protection mechanisms that make these services viable. And today, they slashed the price of their entire library to .49 a song, with albums available for as little as $4.99.
First, let me say that today is the first day that I have ever purchased music online. I have a Rhapsody account (which I love) that allows me to listen to whatever I want while I work. But everything on my Karma is ripped directly from the CD in FLAC format. There is a HUGE difference in the quality compared to any lossy compression format. And when you compound the expected quality loss of the compression with the poor output of most headset players AND a crappy pair of headphones, it is almost not worth listening to anymore.
And ALL downloaded music is compressed. Whether as an MP3, or some proprietary format designed with rights management and file optimization in mind. Which is why I refuse to spend only marginally less for a downloaded copy than I can pay for the CD. The price differential does not make up for the difference in quality.
But for .49 a song and less than 5 bucks an album, there are some things that I would not mind having. I am not as much of a sonic snob as it probably sounds like. And there are things that I would like to listen to at the gym (which is what I call getting in and out of my lazy boy) or on a walk (to the fridge) that don't require the same level of detail (for any number of reasons). Finally, if only for a limited time, the actual difference in the product is reflected in the price.
So I started downloading a few things and started telling my friends about the deal. Almost to a person, their response was, "How long till Apple sues them over that?".
I don't know how long it will take. I know that Apple has already been griping about Real's practices and this may push them over the edge. You see, the iPOD can only play MP3s (ptui) and Apple's proprietary file format. That is what keeps iPOD owners dialed into iTunes. It is the only option they have. No WMA, OGG, FLAC, WAV... just what Apple wants them to have (in painfully ironic contrast to the 1984 Big Brother ad that launched the Mac in the first place). Until now...
Now iPOD owners have a choice... and a terrifically less expensive choice, at least for the time being. But, instead of Apple looking at this as a reason for more people to buy iPODs (one of the reasons I never would is this very limitation) they are likely to whine about how unfair it is that Real cracked into their private little world. And they will repeat the same mistakes that have kept them from dominating the PC industry in the first place.
And the worst part is, some Apple users are so brainwashed that they will likely WANT and EXPECT Apple to take action. Out of some twisted, economically agnostic loyalty to the white box with the feather touch dials, they will hope that Apple is successful at shouting down the mean giant so that their's can return to the exclusive, protected realm of those who have the extra money to spend on a perceived quality built on form before function.
So we will see how long it takes Steve Jobs to get his invisirim glasses all fogged up and start threatening to protect his company from success no matter what it costs. For the time being, I have some songs to download.
Category tags: On the Personal Side
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 11:00:05 AM by Stephanie
I read a great article today on a business/sales site. The ideas contained in The Secret of Sequence in Selling is something that those of us running a web development business need to get our brains around. Most of us came to web development from a love of code or a love of design perspective. It's doubtful that a large number of us came from the love of the business ideation. Thus, it's likely that this is an area that many of us really need to study in order to be most successful.
The article above discusses the airplane model. It's actually a great example. Think about how you feel as you walk through first class, and business class, all the way back to the cramped economy class. Don't you wish you could have stopped a few steps further back? Those that can afford to do. And, similarly, as you walk you clients through your top level, first class web package, they may balk. You then walk them through your business class, next level package. Finally, you show them to economy class. It won't look as desirable and you may find many prospective clients upgrading to at least business class.
Done properly, with enough belief in the value of your better
packages, it's likely you'll find yourself selling higher value
packages with less effort. Give it some thought.
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 12:59:16 AM by Brian Edgin
As the title of my blog says: Fireworks is better than Photoshop. There... I said it! The gauntlet has been thrown down! Let the games begin!
Here is the challenge: Pick any web design and I can recreate it half the number of steps with a less complex final document using Fireworks than can be done with Photoshop!
If you are in to photo editing and retouching for high resolution print output, then use Photoshop. However, for everything else... Fireworks! Fireworks kills Photoshop in UI, workflow, web features, editablity of design, integration with web tools, cleanliness of code generated and more. Photoshop kills Fireworks in handling of large (2000x2000+) images, photographic retouching, and color correction. For creation and editing of graphics for on screen delivery, Fireworks wins hands down!
No, I'm not going to get off my soapbox.
Category tags: Fireworks