The idea that you actually own the media you buy is vanishing faster than that goddamn Walkman you swore was in the closet. And it's more than inconvenient for consumers; it may be apocalyptic for our society. Here's why ... (click for full article)
  1. It's Not Just Software -- It's Everything
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    Everything is embracing the "You're just renting it" philosophy. Imagine you come home from work one day and go to flip open the erotic thriller you've been reading -- the one about the time traveler who journeys back to the Cretaceous period to be with the dinosaur he loves. But when you sit down to delve back into Tyrannosaurus Sex: You Don't Need Long Arms To Fingerbang, you find the book has vanished from your Kindle. That can, and has, happened. And what's more, it's completely legal.
  2. The Things You Own Are Now Tied To The Fate Of The Company That Makes Them
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    Gamers are already painfully aware of this. Many video games now require you to stay connected to the company's server to play, even in single-player mode. If the server goes down or gets overwhelmed, you can't keep playing -- you have to switch to Solitaire. At least, until Solitaire moves to a subscription model. Then it's back to good ol' masturbation for you.
  3. Digital Obsolescence Can Have Actual Physical Effects
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    A company called Revolv released a full home automation system that allowed the user to put all of their home functions on a timer. In 2014, Google acquired Revolv and announced that they'd be shutting down its servers. And by "announced," we mean they put up a note about it on their website. They didn't contact customers to let them know that they were going to brick their entire house.
  4. We Are Accidentally Erasing History
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    You know the one thing we've been getting progressively worse at since the beginning of civilization? Data storage. We're still digging up readable clay tablets from thousands of years ago. Then we switched to paper, which naturally decays. We only find paper records if they were meticulously prepped and stored for centuries. Now we're digitizing everything, and history itself is in danger of obsolescence every time we switch formats.
  5. No Data Is Immune From Bit Rot
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    Hard drives don't distinguish between functional and corrupt data. They'll copy the corruption over, and then start rotting in their own way. If you're trusting in the experts and authorities to preserve the important stuff for you ... don't. Government agencies and official record keepers are at the most risk for bit rot, because the sheer size and cost of their archival systems means they don't update often.