realize the model

With this baby, I wonder: Older babies coo and giggle when you play with them; smiling and laughing in response to attention. I wonder if Keaton’s doing the same thing inside, but her little face and vocal cords haven’t learned the motions yet. I play with her like she can: zooming my face close to hers until our noses touch with a loud “boop” sound (don’t ask me what “boop” means, I think it’s kind of onomatopoetic for the kind of soft fleshy impact sound two noses may make, in the exaggerated children’s-cartoon world of sound). Even though her little face doesn’t give away anything, I like to think, on the inside, she’s feeling those same feelings that will later get translated into smiles and giggles – when the proper neural pathways connect the emotions and expressions. So, I forgive her for not visibly reacting – at least for now.

Uh-oh my leet pirate friends, looks like the digital-pirate spotlight is beginning to shift in dangerous directions. In an article in the Boston Globe, the writer examines an “obscure data network technology” called Usenet. Hint: this is what you’ll see me refer to on sounds familiar as “absmi,” “the groups,” “binaries,” or “the newsies.” It’s an interesting article, with some relatively insightful commentary on the day-to-day of the newsies:

The Usenet has long been one of the primary sources for the illegal files found through peer-to-peer services… [it] also has long been a center for illegal file swapping. …huge numbers of illegal video and music files are traded every day on the Usenet. [It] offers the downloader an extra measure of privacy, because the Internet address of his machine is known only to the Usenet server and can’t be intercepted by investigators.

Hollywood’s attack on the Usenet companies [is like]… ”a strategic strike to cut off the supply, like a drug cartel. This is top of the food chain stuff.”

They even have some ideas about news users, and what’s said to be a rise in Usenet usage:

”A common misconception among people who use networks like these is that they’re in a group that is above the law,” said movie industry association spokeswoman Kori Bernards. Indeed, she said the popularity of the Usenet as a place to swap illegal files has grown recently, perhaps because the music and movie industries have successfully shut down several distributors of peer-to-peer software, the most popular means of file swapping.

It’s obvious the article isn’t written by a binaries guru, as there are some misconceptions – but it is somewhat worrisome that terms like NZB, Usenet, and piracy are all being used in mainstream media articles.

Until now, it’s been relatively difficult for ordinary Internet users to get at illegal Usenet files. They aren’t indexed by Google, and downloading them is often a slow, painstaking process.

Usenet trading of illegal files hasn’t become a a large-scale problem yet. One reason is that NZB downloading isn’t free. The NZB search sites charge membership fees… By contrast, peer-to-peer systems are free.

Read the entire article if you’re inclined (if won’t let you access the article, try using one of these bugmenot logins).

Slow? Painstaking? Not free? Fingers crossed everyone; let’s hope they don’t find out. You take my newsies and I may be forced to go straight… the horror, the horror. When the story hit the front page of this past weekend, the digg user comments echoed my thoughts above. Some of my favorites:

First rule of Usenet is you do not talk about Usenet.


waves fingers
You didn’t see any USENET.
disappears into the shadows

this is not the warez network you are looking for, move along

Never heard of it. Move along, nothing to see here.

But, of all the comments, one stood out as particularly insightful to me:

this is crap. why can’t the industry understand. I have “a friend” who uses newsgroups. “He” pays a subscription fee to a nzb provider, and pays a monthly fee for access to “the usenet”. now what does this mean? it means that even people who are called pirates are WILLING to pay for a service that provides reasonable pricing and CHOICE. driven by demand and request, and not dominated by a drm technology that impedes the ability to listen or watch content on the medium of their choice. these stupid organizations need to take a lesson away from their so called “discovery” of usenet. idiots, realize the model and present a compelling alternative, and you get subscribers.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, seeing as I also have a “friend” who follows the same model. What a great comment. If someone is willing to pay ~$15/month for unlimited access to illegal binaries, wouldn’t stand to reason that they may be willing to pay the same for unlimited access to legal files? Sure, there’d need to be a huge selection, and they’d need to be DRM free – but the model is already working, just illegally. Flip that, folks, take that and do it within the boundaries of the law – and you’re a rich man. Too bad there are so many middle men and so much payola in the music business that it’s unlikely a Utopian agreement like that will ever be able to happen.

Everybody catch England’s newest hitmakers on Saturday Night Live this weekend? Coolfer has some interesting commentary about the Arctic Monkeys craze (which I’ve written about previously here and here), and how their US success is much slower-coming, if coming at all, than it is across the pond. This band is more hyped than anything I can recently remember. Every time I hear something new about them, I pull out the album again… in an attempt to hear the greatness so many extol. I plan to check it out again tomorrow, just to be sure. In related news, The Four Stages of the Arctic Monkeys:


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