Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, January 03, 2021

Scott Adams has thrust himself (or, really, a comic doppelganger) into today’s Dilbert strip, thus claiming to have violated the “third wall”.

Adams should have double-checked his references, because he’s off by a wall:

The Fourth Wall is a term to describe the invisible wall between the audience and the actors on-stage. This is because in proscenium theaters, the set was usually three walls of a room. The audience was therefore “The Fourth Wall,” and ignored by the actors. When an actor addresses the audience directly, it is called “Breaking the Fourth Wall.”

Unless I’m missing some sort of joke here, or a variant of the fourth wall for comic-strip purposes (I guess a two-dimensional medium can’t claim to be staged in a four-wall setting — but if anything, it would be a “second wall”, i.e. the page and the reader’s eyeballs), I’d say there was a slip-up. Therefore, I’d have cartoon Adams stop looking for that third-wall exit…

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/03/2021 06:24:15 PM
Category: Publishing, Comedy | Permalink | Feedback (3)

The first wave of P2P application providers are rapidly losing their technocratic pirate cred: Grokster, Morpheus and other post-Napster services are falling over themselves to cut deals with media companies — a consequence of legal rulings that make them liable for what flows through their networks.

Even more than the legal landscape, the success of iTunes has undercut the former file-swapping bad boys, and prompted their efforts to become authorized distribution channels:

Mitch Bainwol, head of the music industry trade group Recording Industry Association of America, concedes some file-sharers will find other means of obtaining pirated music online.

“There will always be new technological challenges,” Bainwol said.

But he noted a sea change since Napster fell: Propelled by the success of Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store, young music fans now have more legal options for obtaining music in digital form than they did back in 2001.

Ultimately, the entertainment companies are banking that the new-look file-swapping services that emerge from the ashes of Napster’s heirs will draw computer users away from illegal services. To persevere, file-sharing providers that seek to steer clear of copyright lawsuits will have to hope for the same.

I don’t think it’s only young users: All digital music consumers have found the convenience and ease-of-use of iTunes to offset the cost. Moreover, Apple’s shown how to build a loyal customer base that can be tracked through their purchases (in limited ways), and thus be directly marketed to for follow-up purchases. The free P2P services couldn’t get that, and since some (Sharman/Kazaa) were starting to sell advertising through their interfaces, not having such an attractive customer database to offer up was a liability. Partnering with the studios is as much about maximizing revenue potential as it is about staying within the law — it’s profitable to be legal.

Yes, open-source efforts will come up with newer illicit P2P applications/networks to take the place of Bit Torrent (another prominent player that went legit months ago) and others. But they’re never going to be used by more than a fringe geek element. The time when a Napster could rise to a dominant position in this space is over, because fully-fledge legal services are in place and represent the foundation for major efforts moving forward.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/03/2021 06:00:50 PM
Category: Media, Tech, Business | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Among the chorus of gripers in Pinellas County complaining about schools being open yesterday was 17-year-old St. Petersburg High student Matt McCoy:

“Why should we have school when it’s a national holiday? Everything is closed.”

Um. Because January 2nd isn’t a national holiday. It’s not a state, local, or religious holiday, either. Since your knowledge is lacking in that area, I’d say you answered your own question, junior.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/03/2021 05:04:24 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Society | Permalink | Feedback (2)