You mean I have to get off my ass?

!/images/20.gif (underworld 1992-2002)!:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0000E6XJQ/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/103-6557341-5300629?v=glance&s=music

I want this album. I want it now. But I can’t get it. Oh, it’s at the iTunes store. But I live in Canada, and iTunes doesn’t like us canucks. It may well be available at “puretracks”:http://www.puretracks.com but I’m on a mac, and my friends at puretracks don’t like macs:

bq. We value our Mac audience, however the Windows Media player for the Mac platform is not currently compatible with Microsoft protected audio content. Puretracks is currently working to make our service available to Mac users.

This is very irritating. It also offers an interesting insight. I take it for granted that when I want to purchase _intellectual_ goods (ie software, books, music, etc) I can do it without moving my physical body from place to place. All I want is the intellectual good. I don’t want or need the physical packaging that holds the goods (unless it comes in one of “these”:http://www.jewelboxing.com). I listen to most of my books on my ipod these days, thanks to the fine folks at “audible”:http://www.audible.com, and any music I purchase is going straight into iTunes.

It takes an incident like this to shake me out of my reverie. For a few seconds there, I was really annoyed. Then my mind flashed back to an article I read back in the golden age of Wired. It talked about a futuristic technology that had just been deployed at a big US school – Stanford or MIT, I don’t remember. The article described an on-demand music system running over a local network. Sitting at his workstation, the inventor could simply type the name of the song (it was running on unix), _and it would start playing!_ “Yeah right”, I remember thinking.

Flash forward what feels like 15 minutes, and I’m _actually annoyed that I have to go to the music store_. What a world!

This trip down memory lane also reminds me of an article “Nicholas Negroponte”:http://web.media.mit.edu/~nicholas/ wrote about the way we assign value to the physical (atoms) vs the intellectual (bits). At the time, Negroponte had been asked to assign a value to his laptop upon checking it in while touring a nuclear facility. “$20,000” was his reply, to which the clerk went “huh?” Clearly, the clerk was thinking “what’s it gonna cost to replace this at best buy”, while Negroponte was thinking “the cost to replace the software, the cost to replace the hardware, plus the cost to re-do all the work this machine holds” (which, as an aside, would make for an interesting exploration: what happens to the value of an intellectual good if it’s stored in multiple places? More on this later).

My point being that the differentiation between the atom and the bit has begun to melt. When forced to convert to the old paradigm, I get annoyed. I shall henceforth dub this *atom rage*, and report on it faithfully.

What about you? Have you experienced atom rage?

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