Those e-Books Aren’t Yours

Microsoft’s ebook venture is belly-up .  they are shutting it down- and taking back all the ebooks they sold.  They are refunding customers and if you tell them you had annotations you valued they give you 25 dollars (was unclear to me whether this is per book or just a flat fee).  Never mind that your notes and annotations ought to be yours forever, not at the whim of some pencil-head at microsoft.

You can read more about it here.

I thought this point has a wide application:

“These events keep happening,” Perzanowski says. “When they happen there is a sort of momentary blip of outrage and frustration, and people get upset. And then they go about their lives until the next time, and everyone’s surprised and frustrated all over again but without a sense that something needs to happen to change this power dynamic.”

I am not saying it’s a nefarious plot, but our attention spans are shorter and shorter thanks to how the electronic media we’ve give our brains to works.  And  these repeated events, unresolved little outrages not just in the tech world, but in culture and politics, do serve to gradually desensitize us and we don’t really wake up and insist that this is not okay.

Remember the tale of Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut?  We are doing the work of the Handicapper General to ourselves.

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