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Borders, Waldenbooks...anybody remember Tower Records? It should be no surprise that analog is suffering in the digital age. Remember those huge record shelves, then the big market in CD racks? Now when was the last time you put a cd in a player and listened to it? Spotify has totally changed how we listen to and buy music. For ten bucks a month you can listen to anything. I rarely spent more than that on CDs. I long since discarded all my CD and DVD cases in favor of notebook-style storage. My music collection has since been uploaded to iCloud and is on a 2TB network drive in my equipment closet, so I rarely get out the physical discs anymore except for critical listening sessions when I want some serious two-channel music enjoyment. We have moved several times in the past 10 years. Our Kindle use has gotten to the point where we no longer like to use up space for bookshelves. We read more than ever. Our good bookshelves hold a few outstanding volumes, plus lots and lots of sheet music. Any publisher still hanging on to the old ways with the expensive production of hardcover books will find themselves under increasing cost pressure as more and more of their customers ditch their expensive hardcover books for the e-versions. Authors doing promotional tours still need something to sign, and what will happen to the lucrative first-edition aftermarket? Plus, reading from a screen isn't everybody's cup of tea. Who knows where this thing will end up?
E-books should be the exact cost of the physical book, minus the cost of producing the physical book, plus the (negligible) costs of hosting and transmission of the electronic copy. Amazon then adds its cut, which includes Kindle and Kindle infrastructure development costs and subsidizes the low prices of the Kindle readers. Attempts by publishers to raise prices of ebooks higher than dead tree books should be met with resistance. Everybody knows the e-book cost the publisher next to nothing after the sunk cost of physical publication, so after the royalty pretty much every penny of e-book revenue is pure publisher profit. It is Amazon that has sunk the millions into developing the Kindle and its ecosystem, not the publisher. Setting a max dollar amount for any Kindle version is unfair to the publisher. But if Amazon set the rule that the e-book always be priced less than the physical copy, I'd say that's a no brainer.
I hate Communism and I hate crony capitalism, which is what was going on before Castro and his communists took over. But better now than in the '50s? Nope. Was the island in dire need of liberalization of economic policy? Yep. Did that happen? No--precisely the opposite in fact. If Castro had brought the rule of law instead of the strongman approach, Cuba's favorable climate and soil, delightful mix of people, art, music and culture could have produced one of the Western Hemisphere's most dynamic economies, with opportunity for anyone willing to show up consistently to work. Cuba could have had a stronger working class than Canada, with the kind of income that allows movement into the entrepreneurial class. It's a damn shame the communists got rid of the corruptocrats rather than the island's liberals, who were either shot, escaped to Miami or kept their lips zipped.
Send him Michael Moore and Sean Penn.
No analog could approach 192k bytes per second? Analog is infinite, friend. All of the transduction problems of analog are present in digital, with the added complication of conversion, compression, decoding and re-conversion on playback. My vinyl still sounds as alive as the best FLAC files on my network drive (played through the awesome DACs of my Oppo BD player/network media hub). I gotta say, digital done right sounds great and I have no complaints. But I have yet to find an MP3 file that sounds as good as the vinyl pressed from the same master. Just my personal experience.
That has been true of most of the music of any era. The best still survives if it had the good fortune to see the light of day. And great quality recordings of truly great music are still widely available as long as you don't slave yourself to what is "current." There are several awesome hi-fi blogs devoted to software that will have you compiling lists of recordings to acquire far beyond your ability to pay for them. Good music is still being recorded, and there is a large catalog of good music currently available. Most important today is to find today's musicians' avenues of getting their stuff out there. Today you can record much better than a traditional demo tape in your basement with a few quality mics, a USB mixer and a high end sound card. The "record deal" is no longer the only way to gain exposure, and there are acts on the radio now because of their youtube success rather than the other way round. The label executive was always better at wearing a suit and stealing from the talent than he was at actually making any music. Today's convenience tech is shoving him out on his butt. We're only at the beginning of the digital age. As the new pathways to success get better defined, you'll see middlemen cut out, musicians keeping what they earn, and music prices to consumers continue to drop as the RIAA cartel is busted. So it's not all to the bad.
I didn't know Dennis was an audiophile. I still get a thrill from good vinyl played on my perfect vintage Thorens (Shure v15 V magnetic) through my hot rodded Musical Fidelity integrated (the only component in my system made in the last 10 years, and it has a tubed front end), and restored KEF 104/2 speakers, in stereo like Saul Marantz intended. Depending on the mix, the 104/2s can not only tell you where each musician was on the stage, but audience noises--cheers, claps, coughs--often seem to come from behind me. Good sound is eerie that way. It's not live, but done right it can almost be better sometimes. I would just say that the iPhone is capable of very fine music reproduction using ALAC files of well-recorded source material. The op-amps of the iPhone 5 sound quite good with a decent headphone amp and good cans. These kids today may not care about good sound but there are some grownups over at Apple who do. Now if they could only open up an ALAC section in the Apple Store. For now, my ALAC files are either recorded live or ripped from CD or SACD. Dennis is probably right that we have succumbed to convenience and there probably won't be a market for high-res digital sound files. They sound worlds better through my equipment, but through $10 earbuds there's not a dime's worth of difference between lossless and low bitrate mp3.
Palin appeared in the Presidential debates? Your dog tell you that?
Organic is usually shorthand for overpriced and inferior quality. Mankind has been eating hybrid species of food plants and animals for generations, corresponding with increases in life expectancy and decreases in disease wherever such foods make their appearance. I must say, the produce department at my local Whole Foods is magnificent, albeit very expensive. Other than that I have little use for the place. If Chuck sells enough cheap fitness machines through the mail to finance his organic food obsession, fine for him. I'm looking for quality and I'll pay for it, but not Certified Organic prices.
I think Mrs. Hagelin is just a bit biased as an Eagle Mom. The BSA, as of today, still does not admit homosexual men as leaders for the same reasons the Girl Scouts do not admit heterosexual men as leaders. At best, it doesn't look good. At worst are those cases where predators have become scout leaders and tragedy has resulted. So the BSA does its best to screen out leaders with male sexual attraction as a sensible precaution. I don't really want to go out in the woods with a troop of young girls. But there are unscrupulous men who would jump at the chance. The BSA deals with the same problem. But that is not the substance of this current decision by the BSA. The whole idea behind scouting was that as the industrial revolution moved fathers off the farm into jobs and out of the lives of their sons, the resulting lack of direction could cause some young, vulnerable and easily confused boys' lives to spin out of control. Many have been wrongly convinced they are homosexual. Scouting aims to provide positive male role models for boys who might be missing that in their life. Who knows how many boys who thnk they're gay will get themselves together by being part of a group whose founding purpose was to straighten boys out before their lives went seriously off the rails. By all means, admit gay scouts.
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