Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Saturday, March 16, 2002

My son Patrick's wisdom:

"Bike rides are more fun than laundry."

"I wanna go to Dave's house cause he's a totally cool guy."

"What happens if I push this button on your computer? Does it go off and make you go riding with me?"

Oh, OK, I'm outta here, gotta take Patrick riding.

Hey, I've spent $500 in music in the past two months. The music industry has totally missed a new boat here (and I haven't seen anyone report on this even in the weblog community). What am I talking about?

DVD Audio with Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

WTF? (You figure out what that three letter acronym means).

I just bought a new Denon receiver along with a Polk speaker system. It rocks!

But hook up a DVD player to this sucker and you get a whole new experience.

The music industry is starting to sell DVD audio disks. Whoa, you thought DVDs were only for video, right? Wrong buddy.

There is a whole new generation of audio DVDs that don't contain much video content. What makes these hot?

First of all they sound way better than CDs, even on two-channel sound systems. (They have more audio information due to being sampled at a higher sound rate. Here's a FAQ.

Now, why does this new trend guarantee that I won't be stealing content anytime soon? Easy: content size. I don't have enough hard drive space (or bandwidth) to steal an entire DVD audio disk. I'm sure that some kid on a T3 line somewhere does have such a capability, but it sure isn't available to me.

So, what does the "music stealing" software do for me? Easy, it lets me try music out before I head down to Tower records and buy it.

I don't get why the executives and store owners don't understand this.

I'd buy even MORE music if I had a clue of what I was looking at. For instance, I was looking at the bins the other day and there was a DVD Audio by "Train." Now, I have no clue who Train is, so I didn't buy it. But, I asked around and one of my friends sent me some MP3s and I liked them, so I went down and bought the DVD Audio disk.

That's $25 that the music industry would never have gotten if I wasn't able to check music out before hand.

Is that stealing? Am I a thief? Well, I guess the music industry thinks I am. Hogwash.

OK, I've been called a moldy old conference planner before (I used to plan conferences for Fawcette Technical Publications) but this one takes the cake: "California Mold Litigation Conference."

The fact that there are enough lawyers suing over mold to have a conference scares the bejeebers out of me. Hey, Buzz, maybe I'm in the wrong business! Instead of trying to get people to write weblogs, maybe I should sue someone over some mold.

I just can't imagine two days of sessions about mold litigation is gonna be all that exciting. By the way, why the hell am I getting SPAM from this company? Well, at least it's more interesting than "your penis should be larger" kinds of SPAM.

I'm in an anti-gravity zone. I've moved from #10 to #5 in just the past hour on the Radio popularity list. Watch out Adam Curry, here I come!

Joseph wants to go camping this summer. I'm totally up for that. How about we take over one of Yosemite's campgrounds in July? I think that camping with webloggers would be a whole lot more fun than going to Las Vegas with them. The only problem? Getting a DSL line or an 802.11b connection will be a bit hard. But, maybe that's a good thing.

Could you imagine a camping trip with Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Adam Curry, Glenn Fleishman, Deborah Branscom, and others? I think it'd be a trip! It might turn into a cultural event like Woodstock or something.

What would happen if all the famous weblogs went dark for a weekend? Hmmm.

Warning: more meta blogging ahead. It's a weekend and I don't have anything original to talk about, sorry.

Henry Jenkins has confirmed that I, indeed, was the "weblogger" who was sitting next to him at the Pop!Tech conference that he talked about in his article (now on MSNBC). So close to fame yet so far away! Heheh.

I disagree with Henry on a few points, though.

"Turn to the Web and itís impossible to distinguish the good stuff from the noise."

That's just utter bullshit.

So far I haven't had any problem telling the difference between the good stuff and the noise, thank you very much. Why? Well, I read dozens of webloggers every day (thanks to the news aggregator in Radio UserLand). I'm constantly visiting and looking for new weblogs.

I find that I keep going back to a small group and seeing what they say about something. Webloggers as a group will figure out whether something is credible or not. Yeah, we can all be Kaycee'd, but not for long. Someone will soon figure out the truth and report that.

Really, that's the power of the weblog movement. We're thousands of people. Sooner or later someone will find the truth and it'll spread through the viral networks we call weblogs.

For instance, let's say a jetliner crashes across the street from me.

You might not believe my first messages. Remember 9/11? Glenn Fleishman said he first learned of the disaster on my weblog and didn't believe it. Soon, though, the overwhelming evidence showed him that what I was writing was true.

Yeah, I could hoodwink you for a few minutes.

"Hey, an airliner just crashed across the street."

But, if you take what I write and believe it without checking it up for yourself you're not doing your job. Anyway, the evidence would soon hit you in the face as other webloggers checked out my claims.

"Why isn't CNN reporting that?"

The power of weblogging is in its granularity. If a plane crashes into a neighborhood near Winchester Boulevard, who would you come to for the best information? Me, or some unknown journalist who needs a map just to find the place?

If something happens in the 802.11 world, would I go to Glenn Fleishman's site, or would I go to one kept by a Knight Ridder-paid journalist? I'd go to Glenn's site, cause he's made himself an expert on the 802.11 world.

If something happens in the XML-RPC or SOAP worlds, would I go to the Oakland Tribune, or would I go to Dave Winer's site?

I think the answer is self evident and I think that is the reason that journalists around the world (more accurately, the middle men who make tons of money off of journalist's work) are scared shitless.

They see their businesses going away. I no longer read newspapers. I've been a news junkie all my life. I read the San Jose Mercury News since I was 11 years old (hint: that's before Dan Gillmor worked there). I no longer turn to them for my first news.

I turn on my news aggregator. I know that if there's something important (say 9/11) that it'll be talked about by every weblogger imaginable.

Yeah, I might look at the San Jose Mercury News' site once in a while (I regularly read Dan Gillmor, for instance) but my relationship with the newspaper has changed.

15 years ago they were the only source of information about what's going on in Silicon Valley. Today they are a still a good source, but they are surrounded by a multitude of voices. Some of which are far better and far more in depth than what is possible to do with a 50 page newspaper.

What has really changed? The cost of publishing has gone to, well, $40 a year (or less). In just the past 12 years.

Look at my 1989 earthquake experience. I was a journalist in training at West Valley Community College when the earthquake hit (I was 10 miles from the epicenter). A newspaper on the East Coast wanted to buy our photos and some of our story. We had exclusive news about what had happened to libraries in the region.

It took us about eight hours to get a photo scanned at the only scanner the Associated Press had in the area (happened to be in the San Jose Mercury News' newsroom). We had to wait in line (there were a LOT of requests that day for stuff to be scanned and faxed).

Today anyone with a $200 digital camera can do a better job in about two minutes.

The "media elite's" hold on exclusivity is slipping and that scares the bejeebers out of them.

What does weblogging need to really hurt the newspapers?

A business model.

When webloggers figure out how to make money then it's over for Knight Ridder and similar companies (or at least their existing business models).

I remember 10 years ago being in Journalism School at San Jose State thinking about today. I remember saying "everyone will be able to publish and we'll have computers that gather the news we want from all over the world and give it to us" some of my professors and fellow students looked at me strangely.

What will this whole mess look like in 10 more years?

I think it'll be even more fun and even more granular, although I have a feeling Knight Ridder will figure it out soon too. They have to, or they'll be irrelevant in just a decade.

John Robb is doing some Google searching of his own and found out who has similar weblogs to his. I'm honored to be in John's company. He's a former fighter pilot and started the K-Logging movement. That's far more than I've done in my 37 years here. I guess I better get busy.

Ernie the Attorney writes about Knowledge Management and weblogging's role in such. Ernie's a real interesting guy. Glad to see such diverse viewpoints getting into weblogging.

Oh, oh, I've been meta blogged again. How's that for a self-referential link? Heheh. Are you caught in a weblogging loop? Follow the link here, then you can come back again. Can you escape?

Shane makes some interesting points, though.

First, what's an "uber-blogger?" Sounds like I'm an elitist or something like that. Personally, I don't think I'm that good at this weblogging business. I read dozens of weblogs every day and mine is typically among the worst offerings out there. Just visit and click on any random weblog and you'll probably find one that's more interesting than my offerings.

Of course, I think all weblogs are separated from Dave Winer's by only six links. Can anyone find a weblog that is more than six clicks away from Dave's site? Maybe that'll become this summer's hot game, now that the weblogging community is starting to get bored by Googlewhacking. Shane makes the point that he found my site by visiting a site Dave pointed to and that site had a link to me, so I was only two clicks away from Dave. Same as today.

Shane says: "And if you're a weblogger, weblogging is by definition one of your interests."

True here as well. But, what I'm trying to do is push it down my list a bit. Of course, I've utterly failed in doing that today.

He also says "My point here is that meta-anything, especially in media, can easily grow to overcome the source material, the real stuff."

True enough. But, I was trying to say that if all you do is watch Entertainment Tonight and you never go and see any of the movies they are talking about then you'll become a pretty shallow boring person.

I've become that shallow boring person and I'm fighting to get back to some depth.

"But as far as Scoble's point that we may all be taking ourselves too seriously, well, I respectfully submit that we ought to take ourselves pretty seriously."

Well, Shane has a point there.

But, I think I was taking myself TOO seriously. I started noticing that 30 people were showing up here instead of my usual 15 or so, and my head started to swell. Maybe I'm famous now. Maybe someday I'll be as important as Dave Winer.

Then I learned why Dave is so important. Hint: it's not his weblog. It's because he helped invent SOAP.

Think about that one for a while. Is Steve Wozniak important to the world because he has or because he built the Apple II?

Yes, if you take the group of weblogs as a whole, these are pretty important, but my little old weblog being important? Um, no.

I proved this to myself. I stopped publishing for about two months. Did the world end? No it didn't. A few people noticed, yes, and a couple of them were even sad, but life went on.

On the other hand, though, I'm thrilled about this new technology. I remember during 9/11 thinking how wonderful that I could publish to tens of thousands of people from a Starbucks and I could say anything I damn well wanted to.

For the first time in history regular common folks (sorry to burst your bubble, but I am not anyone special) can publish to the world freely (at least without technological constraints).

That's a huge shift and, yes, it's one that we should take seriously. But not too seriously, OK?

Have a great weekend.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 1:28:45 AM.