Month: September 2004

The Long Tail

The October issue of Wired has an
oustanding article called, “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson (it isn’t
available online yet). It is about the economics of “misses” rather
than “hits”. It talks about how much money there is to be made in niche
markets and cites Amazon and Netflix is prime examples. “The average
Blockbuster carries fewer than 3,000 DVDs. Yet a fifth of Netflix
rentals are outside its top 3,000 titles.” Rhapsody, an online
subscription music service is also given as an example. Every title in
Rhapsody’s top 100,000, 200,000, 300,000, and 400,000 gets downloaded
at least once a month. The article argues that because these retailers
are not constrained by physical space, they can offer unlimited
selection. This means their offering can be tailored to the likes and
dislikes of every consumer and we get to explore our true tastes rather
than having them fed to us by marketing machines.

People are going deep into the catalog,
down the long, long list of available titles, far past what’s available
at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the
more they find, the more they like. As they wander further from the
beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they
thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a lack of
alternatives, and a hit-driven culture)…For too long we’ve been
suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to
brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop.

As online collections become more vast, and delivery becomes less of a
problem, I’m reminded of a Stephen Wright joke which goes something
like, I have a large sea shell collection which I keep scattered on the beaches all over the world.
At some point, my CD collection is really composed of slices of the
World’s CD collection. I’ll pay to access it as much as I want. My
iRiver becomes an edge-of-network server, cacheing what I listen to
most frequently for easy access.

On board with iRiver

I haven’t had a chance to update the blog recently–I’ve been too busy
with my latest diversion: ripping my CD collection. I’m trying to get
it copied to my newly-purchased iRiver H140.
I’d been putting off getting an MP3 player for a long time. (I actually
bought an Iomega HipZip a few years ago but I took it back because it
lacked the capacity I needed). But, when my colleage showed up with a
Gateway MP3 jukebox, it really got my gears turning. So, I did some
research. I originally thought I’d get an iPod but after looking
around, the iRiver seemed like a better deal. Upgradeable firmware,
replaceable battery, an FM tuner, and better sound quality were all
reasons I chose to go with the iRiver.

One of the reasons I’d been putting off the purchase was that nothing
had the capacity to hold my entire collection. I figured, if I had to
do a bunch of swapping due to limited space, there wasn’t much point–I
already do that with CDs. At 40GB that won’t be a problem (at least for
a while). I’m nearly done copying more than 400 albums to the device
and it is not quite at 50%.

This weekend I added an audio input to my car. I wanted decent
quality–no FM broadcaster or cassette interface for me. So I went for
an interface from Blitzsafe which I purchased from
I had Ultimate Electronics do the installation. Now, I can take my
entire collection on the road. The Blitzsafe interface plugs in to my
CD changer input. I can hit the CD button once for my MP3 player and
again for my in-dash CD player. It works great. No more agonizing over
the 10 or 20 CDs to take on the next road trip.

For the home system I’m set up as well. The iRiver has an optical out
on it. I’m out of optical inputs on my receiver so I had to buy an
optical-to-digital-coax converter. Other than that, no problem. So, my
300 CD changer has become obsolete and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve only had one minor problem with the iRiver which is that when I
play it on my home system it periodically cuts out. It doesn’t seem to
be a problem with the file–I can back up and play the same spot
without problems. Maybe it is a problem with the optical out or my
converter. I’ll have to do some research. Other than that, I highly
recommend it.

Interwoven TeamSite for Linux

Interwoven Announces TeamSite for Linux.
Interwoven, Inc. announced that it will release a version of its
TeamSite content management software for the Linux platform. TeamSite
will join Interwoven OpenDeploy and Interwoven WorkSite MP on the Linux
platform. The initial release of TeamSite for Linux, a Workgroup
Edition, will help ensure a low total cost of ownership for
departmental solution deployments such as employee self-service,
portals and intranets. Interwoven TeamSite for Linux supports Red Hat
Enterprise Linux ES version 3. A license for the Workgroup Edition,
which encompasses five websites and 100 users, starts at $49,000.
General availability is scheduled for September 2004. [Gilbane Report News]

Day’s promotion of JSR 170

Day Provides Content Repository API for Java Technology to Apache to Promote JSR 170.
Day announced that it has made available an implementation of the
Content Repository API for Java Technology (JCR) to the Apache Software
Foundation in order to further promote industry adoption and
collaboration of the JSR 170 standard. Apache has formed a new
Incubator project, code-named “Jackrabbit”, to accept the donation and
guide future development of the software.[Gilbane Report News]