When Amazon Dies

Food for thought regarding digital “purchases.” I was completely unaware that you could download the movie you purchased digitally from Amazon, rather than merely streaming it on demand.

The thing about this is perhaps it’s not so different. Vinyl was the thing for decades and seemed like forever. Notwithstanding its current comeback, you really only “owned” the music on vinyl as long as nothing happened to it – unless you had “backed it up” on tape and could still play that – and as long as a record player was available. And, assuming you weren’t using a wind-up record player and associated sound quality, electricity was available. And replacement parts.

Your VHS tapes were forever. Awesome! Owning a movie! Except if VHS became obsolete, if an individual tape died, if a played could no longer be obtained or fixed, if electricity remained available.

A CD degrades (especially one you have burned). A cassette tape degrades. My box of 8-track tapes sure does me no good without a player, assuming they would even work after decades of sitting around.

What is the actual life of a DVD? Will a player be available in 50 years? For a price you can afford?

So yeah, it’s a good question, but when it comes to intellectual property you license more than own, one could consider it a technological house of cards. I am attached to my Kindle because I can read all kinds of excellent books being published at an acceptable price. Nothing beats a book, though. Long-lasting, if not forever, depending how it’s made and conditions it’s kept in. Sure, if Amazon goes away, any books I have in digital form that have downloaded will still be there… as long as the device they downloaded to exists or they can be extracted from it to other devices and perhaps formats.

If enough of a CME happens, how long are we without any of that stuff? It’s not likely the laws of physics will change to preclude electricity, but hey, that too.

I’ve thought about this often enough, but mostly decided not to worry about it.

Then There’s This

NSA spying goes so far as to intercept packages to plant backdoors or other monitoring methods. It’s not enough to be offline, or to be on darknet, or to be on an alternative to the Internet. All unconstitutional, depending on how judges rule, which for all we know could depend on what they have on the judges in question, shades of the speculation regarding the Roberrts contortions on ObamaCare. And that speculation preceded the NSA revelations, and even the IRS scandal. But I digress into the non-technical, non-geek realm, if not into one that should concern us all.

What gets me is trying to picture how they do the physical interception. You order from, say, Dell, who ships it, say, UPS, then somewhere in transit to you the package is intercepted? Whatever is going to done to it happens, then it is inserted back into transit? Without the shipper knowing? Hard to imagine.

Brother MFC-240C

I hooked our new scanner/printer/copier/fax up today. It was delightful to be able to locate the fact that installation files were available for Windows Vista and download them from the company painlessly. The CD said everything through XP, so I was mildly concerned, but they’re working through their product line and released this one way back in March.

Apart from the fact that we have kids and limited space, it was pretty smooth. I hooked it to the Vista machine because that was where the device would fit in the room. I still haven’t setup the fax part, or programmed the date, but I’ve done so on similar machines for other people and it should be no big deal.

I made a color photocopy of Sadie’s drawing that included an apparent intentional stegasaurus in one corner, and Deb didn’t realize I was showing her the copy when I took the two of them to her with the copy on top.

This should be handy. I can start scanning in old photos I don’t want to lose, for instance. I can make printouts, even if low quality, of pictures of the kids to give the relative heathens who aren’t online.

I also have projects in mind like scanning in old handouts and training materials some of us created for VB support way back when.

Shedding Light

This commentary reminds me of something I noticed long ago, sometime in the past five years; the sheer number of little lights scattered about in formerly dark rooms.

While I am sometime annoyed when a room is too bright at night, my usual thought is to imagine what a time traveler from the past – not even the very distant past – would make of all that.

If a computer is on, it has at least one power indicator LED, if not internal lighting showing through. Power strips, routers, cable modems, chargers, phones, keyboards, optical mice, monitors… all with one or more indicator or functional lights. That’s not counting LED clock displays on clocks, microwaves, VCRs, DVD players, and so forth.

Is it really so annoying, though? Not usually; not from my perspective. Sometimes the light we really want, for phone displays and such, aren’t as smart, bright, or long-term as would be useful. I’ve never gotten that worked up about it, though. What do you think?