The NYT’s piece today on TiVo once again questions the company’s prospects, and lays the blame for its possible demise on cable obivating the company’s hardware business by incorporating TiVo-like features into set top boxes. But as usual the piece ignores the implications of what happens to consumer choice and the future of ideas (in the Lessig sense) if we allow cable companies to control what features are available on PVRs. Not only do we lose the freedom to tinker, we also push intelligence, such that it is, into the cable companies’ systems, and away from the edges. Sigh. Time for Apple to step in?
While on the plane, I finished reading an as yet published story by Cory Doctorow, who was kind enough to send it my way. Cory is one of the great projectors/predictors of tech/culture collision, and in this tale, titled “Human Readable,” Cory use the inherent clash between engineers – who implicitly trust that all human problems can be solved by elegant code – and humanists – who believe that trusting in code alone is a recipe for abuse, and possibly worse. This tension is certainly playing out in the world of search – with most of the paranoia around Google and other search engines driven – in essence – by seemingly cold, soulless and maddeningly opaque code. Worthy of note: Cory’s first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, takes Page Rank to the next level and beyond. A great read.
Finally we’ve got this thing up and running. I’m in New York, seeing old friends, interviewing folks for the book. In some cases they are one and the same.
I suppose this first post should outline the goals of this blog, but to be honest, that feels far too forced. Suffice that here I’ll post this and that which I find noteworthy or interesting, in particular as it relates to search, the subject of my first book, and secondarily as it relates to the warp and weft of traditional media as it intersects with technology.