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January, 2011

"Where are We Going?"

by Webmaster

Last year at this time I wrote about about how far AcousticByLines and it's members has come since it's inception on January 1, 2004.

Last month I wrote about my new projects: another album of original and co-written work, starting with Western and Cowboy songs and poems, and a book of my father's WW II poems and letters.

New Year's Eve seems to be the day to look back and remember. "Should Oulde Acquaintance" and all that.

I'd rather look foward to the future than dwell on the past.

And, I do wonder about the future of things that we've come to take for granted in the last 10-15 years, especially the internet and CDs.

The future of the music industry is in doubt. CDs may go the way of LP's, 8-track tapes and cassettes. Downloads are becoming the way to purchase music. When people buy one song at a time, there's no future in theme albums. Digital music is improving. The old heavily-compressed files with digital artifacts have been replace by larger files with better sound quality. As memory and processing speed of digital music player improves, the size of the audio files will increase and the sound will continue to improve.

Music marketing is changing as well. There are sites for musicians to upload and share their music for free. The internet with all of its social networking and blogging sites is used to generate interest in new music. Download music sites are the future of music distribution. Internet radio offers a lot more choice in music. We're not stuck with the canned programming offered by a corporate office somewhere and played on the same channels in every city: we can take thousands of hours of our own music with us wherever we go, in a device the size of a pack of cigarettes. .

The internet is also used to add to the information about a CD. I saved money on the physical duplication of my CDs because I put a lot of the info about the songs, including the lyrics, on two web sites which complement each other. I didn't need to put all that info on paper in the CD package because it's so readily available.

And, the internet itself is changing. Web sites need to be redesigned for increasing access by cell phones rather than computers with large monitors. Web sites were redesigned to take advantage of the flat screen monitors with wide display screens. Bigger pages with more images were possible because people were migrating to faster internet access: dial-up to DSL to cable.

Now, we're going in the opposite direction: making web pages more compact and concise for use on cell phones / PDAs.

That make me think of Dick Tracy's watch which was also a walkie-talkie. Recently I listened to a show on NPR about technology. They said something that made me stop to think: people aren't buying watches anymore because they can get the time off their cell phones. One caller to the show wanted to know how to get his cell phone to "speak" the time into his Bluetooth receiver so he wouldn't have to take the cell phone out of his pocket to see what time it was. It's possible to do that: just speak the command "time" and hear it.

Magazines and newspapers: do you think they'll still be with us in another 10 years? Another 5 years? Can we justify killing trees and burning fossil fuel to distribute paper products when all the same content is available just by "inconveniencing" some electrons?

There are days when I feel excited about what the future will hold. There are days when I feel very old and don't want to be bothered learning a whole new technology / software package / whatever.

I wached my 4-year-old grand nephew as he showed me the various apps he could play on his mother's cell phone, while his 2-year-old brother reached for it. In my youth, this technology was the subject of science fiction. My grand nephews were born to inherit the future, whatever it may be.

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