Radios on the way out?
In a sign of digital times, Dixons has confirmed plans to dump analogue radios from the products it sells online - and CD players and boomboxes may be the next to disappear.

I don't think they're going away any time soon, but I do wonder if this is a canary in the mine passing out for a bit. I have no idea who Dixons is, but Macworld UK apparently thinks they're worth noting. So I'll blog on that strength alone.

If there's one "baby with the bath" in the digital revolution, it's radio. I suppose I see the point of replacing even FM stations with digital, since the ranges are paltry and they're often used solely for hi-fi music anyhow, but to force the re-settling, as it were, of public airways [in the US] with digital radio across the board is a mistake. Look at the installed user base for AM radio, for instance. There's barely a car on the roads without it. And AM can broadcast for miles on miles on miles... from time zone to time zone without much trouble. If we needed to broadcast emergency information in the future, that's a very easy way of doing it.

Even then, I'm hard pressed to feel good about saying goodbye to the FM analog band. Is there really any reason we can't achieve the same advance as digital radio with satellite radio? Ah, yes, only one -- we want all our bandwidth to both feed content to the consumer and consume what they want to say right back, if only to ensure they've paid for what we're pumping out of our radio station. No more anonymous audience for public airways.

Lulled by the promise of more public dollars to spend through the use of "more efficient" digital services -- where more companies can now buy up what used to go to one -- the US is reselling bandwidth formerly for analog systems to digital content providers. But it's not a net boon for the average American [as in "my bias to call US cits American cits -- hand over the Victory Gin, prole" American]. We're losing TVs and radios in a forced obsolescence of what were supposed to be durable goods so that companies can sell more expensive players to higher end consumers and charge them for the privilege to ask for services in "real time." The government's making you give up the radio and your anonymous listenership, folk.

Imagine jumping into your 1960s muscle car, turning on the stock radio, and getting nothing. I understand closed formats going digital (what were 8-tracks but a way to commoditize the content for your cars' speakers? Replace 8-tracks with Sirius; I don't care), but to replace all of our airways with zeroes and ones is not only the product of poor motivation. It's bad national strategy and more evidence of one dollar, one vote. I despise the casualties of consumerism.

Another barely coherent, if that, late-night rant brought to you by mfn.