* You are viewing the archive for May, 2007

Going Paperless Can Complicate Lives of Loved Ones After You’re Gone

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has a valid point in explaining the under-anticipated downside of going paperless. Once you’re gone, your family may not know where to begin to look for your accounts, assets, insurance policies, retirement plans, etc. So you should write all that information down and keep it in a safe place, right?

Well, not exactly. Having a list of your passwords and private information all in one place is asking for trouble.

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Amazon One Ups Apple: All Music Not Only DRM-Free But Also MP3

Looks like the rumors are true, Amazon has officially announced its plans to start an online music store later this year with “millions of songs” and the same major label offering (EMI) as Apple. The news comes only a month and a half after Apple announced its DRM-free agreement with EMI. The biggest difference being that Amazon appears to be sticking with the all or nothing mentality rumored earlier: all songs will be DRM-free and MP3.

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Report: For Every $2 Spent on Legit Software, $1 Goes To Pirates

A new study / survey results conducted by the U.S. Business Software Alliance (BSA) claims that the rate of global software piracy has been static for three years even if the cost to businesses is still rising. The conclusion is that for every $2 spent on legitimate software, $1 goes to pirates.

BSA CEO Robert Holleyman explains how static isn’t necessarily a good thing: “The bad news is that overall global piracy rates have remained stagnant… Overall dollar losses have gone up because the overall market is growing.”

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Should files have expiration dates?

Lee Gomes of Wall Street Journal fame has an interesting Q&A with Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He thinks files should have expiration dates because human beings are “better off” when we forget certain things.

It’s an interesting argument, though it leaves me wanting to know more of the reasoning before I’m ready to support any law mandating it. In fact, it goes against the latest movement of society to be more interested in genealogy and family history. But check out the Q&A:

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Why Do Hotels Still Charge for Internet?

So this week I’m on vacation in Orlando (never been to Disney World until now). The hotel is called the Buena Vista Palace and is located right outside the theme parks. I found the hotel via Priceline.com and thought it was a good deal until I got nickel and dimed to death upon arrival. I’m not sure who to be annoyed at more: Priceline for not including specific, applicable information that any visitor would want to know beforehand, or the hotel, which has a backwards approach to the term “convenience.”

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Breaking: Microsoft & Yahoo Considering Merger

Quoting our favorite source of “people familiar with the situation,” the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) claims that executives at Microsoft and Yahoo are in early-stage discussions about merging the two companies to take on Google. Investors seem to be taking this seriously, as Yahoo shares surged in overseas trading because of this news. The company’s market value is now close to $38 billion up from $32 billion earlier this week. So if you want to quantify this rumor, there you have it: the world thinks its worth $6 billion dollars.

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Q&A with DoubleClick CEO About Google Acquisition & Digital Privacy

GooglelogoThe Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has an interesting Q&A with DoubleClick CEO David Rosenblatt about the pending acquisition by Google. Rosenblatt tries to reassure consumers and privacy advocates that this merger won’t change how safe their data is. He says things like, “Ad-serving information collected by DoubleClick has always been the property of our clients, not us… so we are very comfortable with our current policy.”

“Current” being the operative word. Companies change policies all the time. It’s nice DoubleClick’s “current policy” protects me, but it’s not difficult to see why privacy advocates would want to see a force external to the company to ensure this going forward. So are his answers reassuring? Judge for yourself, the Q&A follows:

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Can iTunes & Musicmatch Work Together on the Same Computer?

AppleitunesOne of the first articles I ever wrote for Computers.net was back in 2005, and it was called Music Downloads Explained: Musicmatch, iTunes, or Napster? Since then, it’s been getting hits every day from Google and other search engines. The most popular queries are different takes on the same problem: “musicmatch will not open itunes problem” or “other MP3 won’t work on computer after iPOD software downloaded.” I figure it’s time to bring the issue out in the open again.

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