I’m still looking for Apple employee blogs (help, anyone?) but meanwhile, take a look at Folklore.org, a collection of stories about the early years of Apple by luminaries such as Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, and Steve Capps. And there’s an RSS feed too!
When Apple released the latest version of the iTunes Music Store along with iTunes 4.5, it introduced a lot of features that I like a lot. On Windows and Mac, iTunes remains my favourite music application, thanks to its ease of use and features. And, in a sense, I’ve already tied myself to Apple technology here, as I’ve just finished ripping every CD I own to AAC, rather than MP3 or WMA.
But with this release, Apple also did something that illustrates why, despite my liking for Apple, I’m uneasy about the FairPlay DRM used by the iTunes Music Store: it changed the rights that consumers have when buying songs from the store, changing the number of times a playlist can be burned to CD from 10 to 7, and the number of machines that you can use a song on from three to five.
On balance, and for me in particular as I burn CDs about once a year, that’s probably good news for customers, giving a better balance of rights. But the key point isn’t that I got more rights: it’s that Apple could vary the rights on music I have already bought. It’s as if I’d bought a CD, and suddenly the record company called me up and said I could now only play it during the week, and if I wanted to hear that music at the weekend, I’d have to buy another copy.
It also gives the lie to Jobs’ consistent attack on subscription services. A classic example of Jobs’ view is this quote, from Rolling Stone:
People don’t want to buy their music as a subscription. They bought 45′s; then they bought LP’s; then they bought cassettes; then they bought 8-tracks; then they bought CD’s. They’re going to want to buy downloads. People want to own their music. You don’t want to rent your music – and then, one day, if you stop paying, all your music goes away.
Jobs is right: people want to own their music. But that means NOT having what you can do with it changed at will by a record company or, for that matter, a computer company. Jason Schultz hits the nail on the head, finding the relevant passage in Apple’s iTunes license:
Any burning or exporting capabilities are solely an accommodation to you and shall not constitute a grant or waiver (or other limitation or implication) of any rights of the copyright owners of any content, sound recording, underlying musical composition or artwork embodied in any Product.
In other words, although they won’t take your music away from you, what you can do with it is up to them. Hardly owning your music, is it?
FairPlay is a compromise, and one that’s more consumer-friendly than the equivalent in Windows Media or any other system. But it does represent a change in your rights compared to buying a CD, and ultimately it means you no longer own your music. Much as I love the convenience of the iTunes Store (and I’m looking forward to its European launch), that’s why I’ll carry on buying CDs and ripping them instead, or buying from those brave and forward-thinking companies (like Warp Records) that will sell you an un-DRM’d file.
Mono, Novell’s open source, cross-platform implementation of the .NET platform, is now set for release on June 30th, according to this roadmap recently posted by Mono maestro Miguel de Icaza.
I’m looking forward to running C# on Linux and the Mac, so here’s hoping it turns out well.
[via Tim Anderson's ITWriting]
Does anyone have a list of bloggers employed by Apple? I’m aware of a couple (notably Dave Hyatt) but other than that there doesn’t seem to be many around. Microsoft has what seems like dozens of them, and the work-related blogs are a goldmine of developer information. Where are the Apple people?
SeattlePi.com posts a lengthy quote from Steve Jobs’ conference call about the one year anniversary of the iTunes Music Store:
Responded Jobs: “You know one of the things that I say around Apple, I paraphrase Bill Clinton when he was running long ago, when he said, ‘It’s the economy stupid.’ I say, ‘It’s the music, stupid.’ We have to stay focused on the fact that people are buying these devices to listen to music. … People love listening to music as a background activity when they’re exercising, when they’re commuting and when they’re just hanging out. Music is a wonderful thing because A, it’s music, and B, because it can be listened to as a background activity. And a lot of these other things that people are talking about building in, such as video and things like that, are foreground activities. You can’t drive a car when you’re watching a movie. You know? It’s really hard. So we really are very focused on music because that’s what we think the revolution is here.”
While I think that Jobs is completely right about the iPod generally, I think he’s also missing something that will be obvious to anyone who (like me) has spent a significant amount of their tine commuting on trains: sometimes, mobile entertainment isn’t a background activity.And the key thing isn’t the idea of Portable Media Center being a video iPod, but instead how it can synchronize with Windows Media Center, and how well that works.
As Joe Wilcox has blogged before, Microsoft sees sycnronization as a key technology for the future. Whether it can match what Apple already has in its first release is unknown, and doubtful given the company’s past record.
Omar Shahine is working on a little application that I long for: an Outlook to One Note plug in.
At last I can integrate two programs I use a lot. !Interestingly, Omar is Lead Program Manager on Virtual PC for Mac.
Many Jo Foley posts about the open source community’s fears about longhorn in Open-Source Backers Ready Longhorn Defense.
A key quote: “XAML plus Avalon plus security plus integration into [Internet Explorer] is what worries me,” de Icaza told Microsoft Watch. “This is the final take over the Web.”