The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Sunday, July 13, 2003

AOL to Introduce Moblogging, Too!

'AOL Journals' To Bring Blogs To Millions

"Whatever you call them, the idea is a Web page that people can update frequently with commentary and links to material they find interesting online. Blog software automates posting the commentary, images and links.

AOL will give members three ways to update their blogs -- through an online template with blank boxes for text input, through AOL's instant-messaging system or by telephone. The phone option will be available only to subscribers to the extra-cost "AOL by Phone" service, who will be able to leave voice messages that will be posted as MP3 sound files.

To publish via instant messaging, AOL members will send a text message to an IM software 'bot' -- or automated script -- that will post the message to the user's blog. The IM posting will work only with AOL's internal messaging system, not its free AOL Instant Messenger program. Robinson said this would be a quicker way to publish than navigating to a Web page to type into a form: 'You might have a fleeting thought you want to capture, and you don't want to take the extra few seconds to go and open up the publishing interface.' " [The Washington Post]

More details about AOL's upcoming integration of blogging software into the company's software. I still think this is going to be big, as will the RSS trail that follows. I didn't realize that they are going to integrate pictures, but of course they are because it makes perfect sense. Mo' moblogging down the road.

That idea has me quite intrigued because I've been following Aaron Schmidt's photoblog of pictures sent from his cell phone. It's fascinating to watch his daily life through it. I like that I can see Aaron's friends (none of whom I know), his cute puppy, and snapshots of the places he goes, so I can't imagine how much more enticing it would be to find feeds of photos and blog posts in my aggregator daily. And audio files posted by phone? You mean I could hear my niece in my aggregator? I am so there!

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Some Funnies from the Last Week that I've Meant to Post

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Reveling in the Heavenly Jukebox

Apple iTunes Music Store Boogies Out the Wazoo

"Now that I've made the switch to an Apple computer I have been able to savor the online music store that is built into the iTunes software....

Here are 5 reasons why the iTunes Music Store rocks

      1. If you find that you have a bad quality song you don't have to look for the CD to rip it again.  You can just snag the song (the quality of which is assured) from the iTunes store.
      2. If you are starting out with a new iPod and need to get a lot of varied music you can snag a bunch of individual songs of different varieties, without having to buy whole CDs of music.
      3. You can browse for music in your underwear (or without underwear for that matter)
      4. You can snag a bunch of long songs like Freebird (11:41 for the live version) or Low Spark of High Heel Boys (7:18) and you only pay .99 cents.  This is also a good way to get your music collection of to a quick start.
      5. Four words: Impulse buying on steroids.

I guarantee that when Apple makes this service available for Windows users there will be a massive surge of people using the service.  This is truly a revolutionary thing.  But you have to experience it to understand the full impact.  Reading reviews isn't going to convey how insanely amazing iTunes Music Store is. 

Quality music, easily purchased on a per-song basis.  That's what people have been asking for.  They're getting closer to getting what they want." [Ernie the Attorney]

Ernie's getting the fever for legal digital downloads, and I totally understand where he's coming from. I thought the iTunes store was the service for which I'd been waiting, but it turns out that it's not. Don't get me wrong - I really like the idea of being able to hear a song before buying it and not having to worry about the whole album. However, there is definitely something to be said for the subscription approach that also lets you burn tracks.

In an ideal world, I should be able to pick a package that lets me just burn songs (Apple's approach) or burn and listen (Rhapsody's approach). Because what Ernie hasn't discovered yet is that when you suddenly have access to 340,000 songs from any computer, you start listening to 340,000 songs from any computer.

In other words, there is a heckuva lot of music out there that I want to listen to but not necessarily purchase. There's a certain freedom in being able to listen to the whole of a song or an album without worrying about shelling out money to permanently own it. There are literally thousands of songs that I'm okay not owning but which I like listening to when I'm at work. Maybe if the price gets down to a dime per song, but even then there are some things I just don't want to pay for. And yet with Rhapsody, I can still listen to them.

One problem with this is that I can't unsubscribe from the service without losing that access, but I'm willing to pay that for the moment because the stuff I really want I can burn for $0.79 per song so I get the best of both worlds. (Well, I would get the best of both worlds if the labels would make their whole catalogs available across the board.) However, the bigger problem turns out to be that I can't take those 340,000 songs with me when I go on vacation. There are so many pop songs that the kids like that I don't want to pay money for. And yet I've set up play lists for them to listen to, and now we won't be able to take those on vacation to the cottage on the lake. I'm lucky that I have broadband internet access at work and at home, but there is a void in the car, on vacation, on the plane, etc.

I need the promised always-on, high-speed wireless internet in my pocket today.

Of course, the bigger question for me is how do libraries fit into a future where music is mostly digital and these types of services are the norm?

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