Is Tower Records closing up shop?

If any doubt remains that the sales of CD's and traditional record stores will soon be a memory, the news that several record companies have stopped shipping to Tower Records should make it clear.

While the reason for the suspension of shipments is clear, the deeper meaning is less certain. The companies have stopped supplying albums because of lack of payment. Whether the venerable Tower Records is out of cash or is attempting to force better terms remains unclear. What is more certain is that the last vestiges of the former record distribution chain will be completely gone within a few years.

It would be funny if only....

"We are experiencing minor problems with voice mail," is the note that was sent to everyone in the company. In this case minor means it's been completely non-functional for several hours in the middle of the business day. Rather like the minor problem of my air conditioner. It doesn't cool and it is 115 outside.

Communications Conundrum

Not long ago the communications plan seemed simple. At the house there is only one cellular carrier that has  a signal. DirecWay satellite is increasingly poor and the time has come to do something different for interent connectivity. For several months we tried, unsuccessfully, to get the local wireless co-op to hook us up. Terribly long story short they're not a serious contender. It all seemed so simple. EvDO on the Sprint connection and we're good to go. Sprint has the best-in-class price for EvDO at $15 a month on a cell phone or $50 for a standalone wireless card. Then the plan goes to pieces. Cingular goes and puts up a tower in town. Now there are other options and yet fewer options at the same time. The problem now is the waiting game. Do we wait for Cingular to get their permanent tower up? What about Cingular not having EvDO.Then out of the blue comes another option. Looking around the net WildBlue seems to have a pretty good reputation and not have all the same problems as DirecWay. Seemingly overnight the problem has gone from too few options to too many. The problem being that each of the options requires a contract to make the up-front price palatable. Which way to jump?

Sad news for Apple Store

Macenstein reports some bad news for the newest Apple Store in New York. Everybody needs to take a look at this article.

What you know trumps where you tested

An article in eWeek yesterday says what many of us in technology leadership roles have long known. Namely, technical knowledge, communication and customer service skills are more important than a string of certification letters behind your name. Foote Partners released a study on Wednesday that shows this is being reflected in compensation for tech workers. Employers "are finding other qualities of IT professionals more critical to
their businesses going forward, and they are willing to pay more for
those," David Foote said in a statement.This comes as no surprise as someone who has interviewed and hired dozens of employees in the technology arena. It is far easier to teach technical skills to a great employee than to teach work ethic to a great technician.

AOL goes for second round of name calling

AOL's spokesperson, Nicholas Graham, evidently wasn't satisfied with referring to people raising concerns about AOL's plan to charge for email delivery a like a bar from the original Star Wars movie. Now he's gone on to accuse those wanting a public debate about the risky practice "deliberately confusing".

"There has been a philosophical debate that has been deliberately confused by critics. Their arguments are misguided and erroneous," Graham said. "We're taking these steps at this time because of the confusion that has been created in the marketplace."

Graham's comments come on the heels of news that AOL will allow "not-for-profits" to send free email. Though the news sounds good there are few details about which non-profits will qualify. Plenty of PTA's, community groups, school clubs and civic groups are informal organizations that lack official not-for-profit status at the state or federal level. Will these qualify? Will Graham have a new name for those who ask this question?


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