Car Audio Remembered

Maybe it’s just my age or the fact that I spend most of my days in New York City or even today’s gas prices, but it seems that there are fewer people into car audio than there used to be. There was a time, not too long ago when I was in high school, when much of my attention went to car sound systems – what brand speakers a car had, how large were the speakers, how many watts, what type of deck was running the whole system up front, etc. I didn’t have a nice car audio system then (and I don’t know), but a few of my friends did. I have great memories of summer nights, just like tonight, driving around my hometown in my friend’s car with no particular destination in mind listening to good music. Those were the days.

But now, I don’t really care at all. I still like music and all and enjoy driving to my tunes, but who really cares. A stock car audio system these days is just fine. Funny how things change.

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The Future of Books

I must admit that I am a big fan of Amazon.com and have been loyally purchasing products from it since 2001. I don’t buy a lot from Amazon, but I do write a lot reviews and often peruse the treasure chest of customer data when considering potential purchases. But despite how much money I spend on Amazon, the site has been good to me. Amazon has provided conscientious and personalized suggestions of various products as well as free books over the past few years. I am awaiting the free Kindle offer, but don’t expect it to come anytime soon. For someone that loves to read, you would think an e-reader would be ideal. But I still don’t have one even though I have looked at a B&N’s Nook and thought about the Kindle. My biggest problem is that I would then have to buy books, or at least electronic facsimiles of them. And that bothers me, especially since Amazon is already sending me free hard copies of books through its Vine program and the library is near my house. As much as I want a e-reader to easily store and read several books at once, I am not ready to pay for the books I read. Why isn’t there a peer-to-peer transfer system for wireless e-readers to zip books across the ether? What about a website for second hand e-books? These are both unlikely scenarios, not surprisingly, which means that the price of books will continue to stay around $10 at the low end.

But let’s think of where the future of books is headed in light of other forms of media and entertainment. I no longer pay for the music I listen to thanks to Pandora and podcasts. If I switch over to e-books, I don’t want to pay for those either. I know this is unfair to the author or the publisher, but it is no different that what has happened to the music artist and the recording company. Print has changed with respect to newspapers and magazines and those companies holding on to the old world will go the way of the dinosaurs. Refusing to change has nothing to do with holding on to core values or tradition and everything to do with the lack of acknowledging change. More change will come to books as well. You and I can’t stop it. Prices will have to go down with time regardless of how hard Apple, Amazon and the publishers try to maintain a price floor. I mean, how much does it cost to publish an e-book, really? If I could get books for free in exchange for watching an ad every 50 pages or so, I would be purchasing an e-reader as soon as I could choose which model to buy. I think time will prove this view to be correct. Text is no different than music and video. And look at those industries. Do you pay much for those services you use these days? Would you pay more than what you are now? Didn’t think so. Books will soon be the same, just wait and see.

Four Years Out

It is no wonder every conference I attend or hear of has a section on ethics. In my line of work, I feel as if I am placed in a quasi-ethical dilemma every day. Do I let the presentation go ‘as is’ knowing that it violates the rules? Do I insist on changes even though we have been doing things the wrong way for years? Will any harm come from not making a few minor changes? What are the chances that any thing I review comes back to bite us? These same questions are tossed around my head on a daily basis as I review materials our marketing team uses. How did I get into this line of work? Two years ago when I joined this firm I never thought I would be in this position. But that’s often how career paths work – one thing leads to another and before you know it you have some knowledge and are an expert in a field.

When I was in law school I remember looking at job posts for the class of ’03 and ’04 knowing that if I could just get some experience I would then be marketable a few years out. Just like that, I have now been out of school for four years. But it is a very positive sign that I have not once started thinking about finding another job since I started with my current firm two years ago. I am not one that is usually content with these types of things, yet I am content with my current job and the role I play and the direction it’s headed. Don’t get me wrong, ethical dilemmas are part of the job, but I am happy to have this particular job – a statement I would have never guessed I would truly mean.

A Decade of Declining Vision

Ten years ago this month I had my eyesight “fixed” by Lasik. The surgery had only been commonly applied in the U.S. for a few years by that time and I was able to get a discount on the surgery thanks to a family friend ophthalmologist. After wearing glasses since the seventh grade I was more than ready to get rid of my glasses for good. The results of the surgery were amazing. I remember my vision the months after the surgery – it was like I had x-ray vision things looked so sharp to me. It truly was 15/20 vision. Needless to say, I was happy with my new self and vision.

Fast forward ten years. College and law school are behind me. I have read thousands of pages of text on computer screens and dimly lit trains and I have watched hours of television and movies. I am proud to say that I still don’t wear glasses. That is, however, except when I do.  I wear glasses these days to drive, often when I watch television or movies and anytime I believe sharper vision would help. I’ve had my glasses for about three years now. The prescription is relatively weak compared to what it was, but a completely glasses-free life did not last through the decade. My hope is that my vision does not get worse. I can live with my current state, but returning to an all-glasses-all-the-time life is not appealing. This has only been the first ten years. Only time will tell what the coming decades bring.