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Volume 68, Issue 161, Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Opinion
 

Privacy prevention needs work

Jim McCormick
Opinion Columnist

My computer went on the fritz on Monday. I know I don't exactly have a fast laptop, but when it absolutely refused to do anything, I was forced to take drastic measures and reset the hard drive. Now I can get on the Internet and write again, but it took some reloading.

This is a problem because Microsoft, in its efforts to curb software piracy, requires all of its programs to be activated. If it is the first time you are installing the software, you can go online and take care of the activation. But if you've had a crash similar to the one I had, you've got a problem.

Microsoft is completely right to do everything in its power to fight piracy. In fact, the activation process is a decent idea, but it could use some tweaking. For example, I'd like to be able to re-activate online after reloading a copy of their software onto a computer that crashed. All it would take is asking if you were reloading the software onto the same computer. Granted, it would require a method of verification, but I'm sure the geniuses at Microsoft can come up with some way to do that.

I've also noticed something else: most of the cities I've visited don't have decent radio stations. There are a lot of types of music that don't even get played on the 40-song cycle every radio station seems to be on these days. I've never heard ska music, for example, as there's no radio station in town that plays it. I'd like to listen to it, but I don't want to buy a CD of it. Furthermore, radio stations usually only play one song off an album, and few performing artists are releasing singles anymore. So, if I don't want to make a $15 gamble on an album that I may only enjoy one song on, the only option is to download.

The radio stations and media companies that own them have also gotten quite greedy. In one hour, I usually hear more commercials than I do music, no matter what the radio station claims. And when they aren't playing commercials, the disc jockeys are talking. So in the course of one hour, I may only hear 20 minutes of music. During rush hour, the amount of music decreases to about 10 minutes, as they step up the commercials and DJ chatter during that time. I may not hear a single song on the radio during my 30-minute commute.

So, here is my proposed solution: first, break up media giants like Clear Channel, so that radio stations are run by different individuals and are actually competing for listeners. 

Second, the recording industry and artists should demand that the stations play more music and cut down on commercials and DJ talk. This would get more artists recognized, and possibly get more than one song on an album some play time. My third and final request is to actually run your own MP3 downloading service. It saves money on making singles, the people get the music they want and the artists get paid.

Now, I'm going back to watching a few DVDs.

McCormick, a sophomore biology major, 
can be reached at rantman_2000@sbcglobal.net.

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