Andrew Orlowski at his best

Talking in front of the pigopolist bosses, and explaining them why they are wrong... And what could be done in the music business in the coming years. I like the insurance thing a lot :
CDs break. Hard disks crash. Phones are stolen. Sell them access to a permanent collection. You're then in the services business. That's where all computer companies want to be. A permanent fixture of everyday life.

And also the bundle importance (hence the one album per file):
The world works on bundles: a newspaper is a bundle of stories; a TV channel is a bundle of programs; a satellite channel is a bundle of TV channels; economically the world only works through bundles. The stuff you don't want pays for the stuff you do. There are sound actuarial reasons for this. It works. And artistically, we wouldn't have had The Beatles or Joy Division without the bundle.


Semantic Data

The semantic inside digital data is hard to discover for a computer. But there are technologies emerging to work out this problem. The semantic web and semantic database are good examples of what the future may allow.

Check out the first article which is an "Introduction to semantics technology" that covers the basis (maybe a bit too vague) of the technology challenge it will be.


Human/Machine analogy helps understanding aging

A quite interresting study (even though the extrapolation on the possibilities of non-ending life is very weak).
The "aha!" moment took place some years ago when we had to work with an unpredictable, dilapidated mainframe computer in Russia, and we got the impression that the complex behavior of this computer could only be described by resorting to such human concepts as character, personality, and change of mood. This observation led us to the bizarre idea that living organisms, including humans, have more of a resemblance to partially damaged machines than to new ones.


People prefer CDs

At the contrary to what many people think, most people largely prefer their CDs to MP3s (92% of DRM customers). Don't take users for fools... They know what is convenient and pricey and know how to make the difference.


Mixing stereo

An interresting study that tend to prove that ears hear differently between the left and the right. That could have an interresting impact on how sounds are place in stereo.
We were intrigued to discover that the clicks triggered more amplification in the baby's right ear, while the tones induced more amplification in the baby's left ear.



Seems like everyone is back from vacation and at work today ! This time is the sci-fi author Bruce Sterling in Wired :

The singularity's biggest flaw isn't that it's hard to imagine, but that it flatters its human inventors. We may be on the verge of an astounding breakthrough! Or, with equal likelihood, we may be at the edge of a new dark age of plagues, mass hunger, and climate destabilization. More likely yet, we live in a dull, self-satisfied, squalid eddy in history, blundering around with no concept of progress and no sense of direction. We have no idea what we really want from our own lives or from society. And no Moore's law rising majestically on any 2-D graph is ever going make us magnificent or spiritual when we lack the will, vision, and appetite for spiritual magnificence.

Reasons for revenge

Another interresting article on how the brain works for revenge and altruistic punishment (ie reprimand people who have abused our trust or broken other social rules, even when we get no direct practical benefits in return). Of course I'm interrested in that because I have a large tendency of doing these altruistic punishments.

In the end the study is not very conclusive and only deal with things you can already imagine : it's a mix of passion and rationality...

Neurosciences will not solve it ?

I think the reason people want to believe in all of this is that they have lost religion and the little of religion that remains to them takes the form of a belief that science will explain things.

An interresting article on neurosciences, the fact that it's currently overrated and will probably stay so for a long time.

I like the comparison between poets and mathematicians. That mathematicians actually get insane while poets don't. I don't think that's true. But mathematicians have a firmer understanding of truth and rely more on what they know than what they feel. So they are more bound to become insane when what they know is constantly questioned...

But I don't agree on the way the guy seems to think it's an impossible quest (to understand the consciousness), especially since he relies more on the ones who failed to make significant progress than on the ones who do. And the 5000 years quote is highly stupid, as much as the ones who claim the discoveries are near. It's not surprising from a guy who refuses to read books that say the contrary than what he thinks...

But since we are starting building artificial intelligence and that consciousness can be implied by intelligence, we will discover things. And we may also create different kinds of consciousness.


New Scientific Method

It's not very often that science manages to find new methods to apply to a field of research. Usually you use the same old technique in various fields because it works. But sometimes it doesn't work. And this new method is trying to find out why it doesn't work. Actually it's trying to find the holes in a theory and practices in a field of research. And these holes are involved by the human factor that is using his instincts where it shouldn't, because it's faster and relies on habits that usually work. But as always one should always be careful with one's instincts ;)