Once again, music dominated high tech in 2003. For
once, though, both the consumer and the industry
seemed to win. Amid studies confirming that people
are consuming music by the song, not the album, companies
wised up and got with the downloading game rather
than simply trying to crush it into oblivion. Puretracks
is a good start, but just wait until the iTunes shop
1 iTunes Apple’s music-playing
program has changed the way we listen to music (song
by song rather than album by album), while the company’s
online music store convinced people that a pay downloading
site could be almost as good as Napster in the old
2 MUSIC INDUSTRY LAWSUITS The music industry’s lawsuits against a teenager and a pensioner summed up how not to combat the online music trade.
3 WiFi Wireless Internet access. Still growing, but if it helps me get rid of the thicket of cables behind my hard drive, I’ll be on my knees in thanks.
4 Spam Never did I imagine that e-mail could be so infuriating. It’s so overwhelming now that letters offering to “help block annoying messages like this” inspire laughter, not rage.
5 TIGER WOODS GOLF 2004 No other game is as maddening, as addictive and as much fun to blow an entire weekend on.
6 www.puretracks.com It’s hardly perfect, but the attempt to create a legal framework for downloading music (after pretending the problem didn’t exist) should be celebrated. On the other hand, we could have more idle bluster.
7 NOKIA N-GAGE Why talk on your phone when you could simply use it to play Tony Hawk Underground?
8 THE OFFICE: The complete First Series The DVD of the year, and the funniest thing I’ve seen in ages.
9 www.fuckitall.com/bsh/ The altered State Of The Union address. As bang on now as it was when it launched.
10 THE BLACKOUT There
was something special about walking down the street
and seeing house after house of people out on their
front stoops talking and listening to their radios.
Low technology strikes back.