Thursday, 15 February 2007

Claiming my blog on Technorati!

Technorati Profile

Monday, 12 February 2007

The Music Industry

Since a post by a certain Mr. Jobs last week, a lot has been written about the music industry and where it is going. Some of it I agree with (especially Fred over at AVC) but most of it is nonsense. Apple is not the good guy in this situation. There are NO good guys, except the musicians, and sometimes I have serious reservations about some of them.

Apple have taken advantage of (yet more) lack of foresight by the music labels to gain the monopoly in mp3 players and the mp3 sales industry. Steve Jobs has absolutely no interest in removing DRM from iTunes, and why should he? Everyone knows that Apple makes almost no money from iTMS, and a lot of money from iPod sales. None of this is new.

As has been said before, Apple would sell more songs from removing DRM, resulting in slightly increased profits, but would have to rely on customer loyalty to ensure that they kept selling iPods. Personally, I think that the people who buy iPods probably fall into one of two categories - iPod fanboys who would never think of buying anything else, and people who don't realise there are other options out there. The people who fall outside these groups are probably so small as to be insignificant. Therefore I don't actually think Apple would lose out too much in the short term by removing DRM.

The problem will come with mobile phones increasing capacity enough to store music to rival the iPod. Hence the iPhone. If Apple opens up FairPlay, the opposition will not be other mp3 players - people don't buy them. The opposition will be the mobile phones that people will already own. Instead of having to think about which mp3 player they buy, customers will begin to realise that their phone can already do it - iPods become a thing of the past.

I personally think that the European nations will force Jobs' hand. If the UK became involved that would happen even quicker. I don't think this will result in the crumbling of the Apple empire, but I do think Nokia, Motorola and the other handset manufacturers will be the major competitors in the coming year, not Microsoft's Zune or iRiver, Creative, etc.

PassPack - Relieve those password worries

Ok, so I just started using PassPack to keep track of my online passwords. Like most people I guess, I have a lot of online accounts, and I tend to (stupidly) use the same passwords for most accounts. Even then, I still often have to go through each password before I get the right one. It's even worse if the account is linked to an email address, as I still often use my old hotmail account to sign up for stuff I'm not 100% about, so I can go through 6 permutations before I get the right one for services I don't use often.

Now, most of my stuff isn't particularly confidential. I use internet banking, but I don't need help remembering the password for that, so I'm not too concerned using an online service for storing my emails. If someone really wants to hack my MySpace page, good luck to them! So when I read about PassPack, I thought I'd give it a try, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with it.

You give absolutely zero personal info, just choose a username, a password and a packing key and you're away. Okay, I can hear people complaining that this is another three things to remember, but once you can remember these three things, that's all you'll ever have to remember again! Plus, because PassPack doesn't hold anything remotely, you can access your passwords from any computer, a major downside to most password managers. This does mean that you need to log into passpack everytime you want to use it, and it has a very quick timeout, which means that you need to put in your packing key each time you use it, but I have found this to be a minor inconvenience.

PassPack is still in beta (v.3!), but it already looks good enough to me. The site is clean, easy to use, and very intuitive. There is some nice use of Ajax, without being over the top, and the general feeling of the site is extremely professional. If you're looking for somewhere to keep track of all those accounts, I'd definitely recommend PassPack.

First Post!

Ok, so this is my first post on this blog. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, and for someone with such an active interest in all things Web 2.0 (although I hate that term!), it's probably long overdue.

I'm going to use this to post my general thoughts on Web 2.0 and technology related items, but there will probably be a host of other things I decide to write on - especially current affairs. I wouldn't describe myself as a political person, but coming from England that doesn't necessarily mean anything! ;-)

So, yeah, I don't know if anyone will ever read this - to be honest I don't think it matters, but if you do, and you react to it in some way, good or bad, please comment!