The Big Think

December 14, 2004

iPod Viral

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 11:28 am

More iPod news this morning. George Masters has created a beautiful iPod mini ad that’s posted over at Wired. It’s been watched by thousands online. I think it would be great if Apple picked it up and ran it once or twice on TV. The only problem might be that the holy Apple logo is sullied by the old muti-colored look at the end of the ad, but it’s in keeping with the spirit of the thing.
Come on, Apple! Give it some airplay.

The Rebel Sell

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:20 am

Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter have a long and fascinating essay on Western consumerism here. Their thesis:

“Keeping up with the Joneses,” in today’s world, does not always mean buying a tract home in the suburbs. It means buying a loft downtown, eating at the right restaurants, listening to obscure bands, having a pile of Mountain Equipment Co-op gear and vacationing in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things, what matters is the competitive structure of the consumption. Once too many people get on the bandwagon, it forces the early adopters to get off, in order to preserve their distinction. This is what generates the cycles of obsolescence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism”…

…it’s easy to see why people care about brands so much. Brands don’t bring us together, they set us apart. Of course, most sophisticated people claim that they don’t care about brands—a transparent falsehood. Most people who consider themselves “anti-consumerist” are extremely brand-conscious. They are able to fool themselves into believing that they don’t care because their preferences are primarily negative. They would never be caught dead driving a Chrysler or listening to Celine Dion. It is precisely by not buying these uncool items that they establish their social superiority. (It is also why, when they do consume “mass society” products, they must do so “ironically”—so as to preserve their distinction.)”

…taste is first and foremost distaste—disgust and “visceral intolerance” of the taste of others. This makes it easy to see how the critique of mass society could help drive consumerism.

I don’t agree with their solution (change the tax code), and find it ironic that they’re offering the kind of anti-consumerism book that they decry in the early part of the essay, but heath and Potter have some interesting things to say. Give it a read.

80GB iPod?

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 10:37 am

Toshiba has just announced an 80gb version of the hard drive that is in the current iPod generation. This opens the door to a future iPod that will actually hold all of my music.

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