Searching the Haight for Signs of Life

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What happens when everyone knows everything?

I think, "What happens when everyone knows everything?" is a worthy and even lucrative question to ponder in this day and age. With the convergence of mass communications technology in the last decade, the information stored, shared, and produced from those very activities has created a wellspring of knowledge. The application of that knowledge keeps me in business. It's very existence shakes the world:

1. Cars and Coffins - The internet destroyed the information asymmetry between the buying public and the dealers of cars, coffins, and other commodity goods. I presume it's less lucrative to sell many things now. The internet keeps businesses honest.

2. The Meta-Media - The media is subjected to the scrutiny of the blogosphere which is critiqued by the media which is made fun of by the blogosphere in an infinite loop of information-refining debate that threatens to topple the most corrupt of American politicos and other double-talking celebrities. I don't like seeing the sausage made, but the information at the end is getting truer. See Katrina and Iraq as prime examples - we know how fucked up everything is now. Yay!

3. Collectible Nonsense - The internet provided a perfect distribution and quantification of overprinted collectibles such as baseball cards and Pokemon cards. Every sucker in south Tennessee could get their Nolan Ryan Donruss card, and prices plummeted, at least on the collectible side of the consumerist construct. I think wax packs are up to like $10 per though, and nary a piece of bubble gum to be found. Thanks eBay!

4. Information Wants to be Free - Lawyers are befuddled, but making money. The public is grabbing every piece of data that gets encoded. The RIAA is spending cash like mad to protect the old order. And interest groups are calling for everything from the freeing of all data, to a billion dollar effort to lock all the data down in gossamer chains of DRM. Give it 10 years, a couple more essays from Steve Jobs, the increased demonification of the MPAA, refinement of Linux, about faces from labels (like EMI), and there will be a new order. Copyright law, even with the DMCA just does not equate to reality. When information distribution companies (labels, studios) begin constricting the flow of information, something is broken.

5) Microsoft's Struggle - The internet has essentially supplanted the PC model for the next generation of computers. A new wave of multicore supercomputers working in tandem over loosely coupled web services and tightly coupled Java apps will usher in a new era of efficiency, cost, and functionality. Microsoft will continue to struggle until their platform becomes fully integrated with the open network and they become a good citizen. Linux, catalyzed by distributed work over the internet, will forever challenge any notion of the proprietary desktop.

6) Learning Music is Different - If you want to learn songs, particularly on the guitar, the content owners are fighting for their lives to keep the secrets to making the music off the internet. But they are failing as evidenced for a search for _[any song name] tab_ on the Google.


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