Aaron Perzanowski and Deirdre Mulligan have just posted a wonderful pre-publication paper called "The Magnificence of the Disaster: Reconstructing the Sony BMG Rootkit Incident," which will shortly be published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Exhaustively researched and footnoted -- but written in clear, non-lawyerese prose -- The Magnificence of the Disaster comprehensively analyses the madness that led Sony-BMG to install dangerous, illegal rootkit anti-copying software as well as spyware (produced by a company founded to supply Elvis impersonators, no less!) on millions of its CDs, leading the company to enormous financial and legal penalties.
Potential customers who were aware of the existence and dangers
posed by Sony BMG’s protection measures steered clear of XCP discs.
The sales history of Get Right with the Man, an XCP-infected album by
Van Zant that was released some six months prior to the rootkit announcement, is emblematic of the online retail impact of the rootkit incident. On November 2, just two days after the initial public announcement
of the rootkit, Get Right with the Man ranked at number 887 on the music
charts at Amazon.com.61 The next day, after Amazon user reviews alerted
shoppers to the dangers posed by XCP, the album dropped to number
1,392.62 By the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the XCP recall was underway and the album plummeted to number 25,802.63 In contrast, in retail
environments in which customers had less immediate access to information about the dangers of XCP, sales of Get Right with the Man were relatively undisturbed.64 Since brick and mortar retailers like Wal-Mart, the
nation’s leading seller of CDs,65 do not facilitate the sort of customer
feedback common to online retailers, this outcome is hardly surprising...
SunnComm, the company that delivered MediaMax, offered even
more cause for concern. The company began as a provider of Elvis impersonation services.114 After a change in management following a false press
release announcing a non-existent $25 million production deal with Warner Brothers,115 the company purchased a 3.5” floppy disk factory in 2001,
displaying a disturbing dearth of technological savvy.116 After two em-
ployees announced their intention to leave the fledgling company to de-
velop copy protection software, SunnComm convinced the pair to lead a
new division, leaving both Elvis and floppy discs behind in order to de-
velop what would become MediaMax.117
On the crowdfunding site Massdrop, board-game fan Cassidy Williams is taking preorders for a $160 Scrabble-themed mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (if you've got a mechanical keyboard kicking around that you'd like to convert, you can get the $47 keycap set instead).
Sony’s Digital Mavica FD was a digital camera that saved pictures directly onto floppy disk: a wonderful convenience in an age when flash cards (and their readers) were expensive and rare. Images were saved at up to 1280×960 (1.2 megapixels!) and “not that bad”, and it takes up to 6 seconds to save them to […]
I think all modern computers should look like these vintage ones photographed by James Ball a couple of years ago. [via Wired]
Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle […]
As more companies aim to reel in costs and boost productivity, project managers are becoming an essential part of many operations, and they’re paid handsomely for their expertise. But, while demand is high, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not toting the right certifications. The Official Lean Six Sigma […]
Learning how to play the guitar is no easy feat, and plenty of aspiring rock stars wash out due to either lost interest or simply lousy teaching. The Jamstik+ aims to remedy both of these issues with a 21st-century approach. This smart guitar teaches you about chords, scales, and the like via an app on […]