Consumer electronics site Etown has become the latest victim of the dot-com bust, dismissing its entire workforce of approximately 100 people in New York and San Francisco. The company had run out of money, according to chief executive Robert Heiblim. Etown, operated by Collaborative Media, Inc., has transferred its remaining assets to electronics retailer Best Buy, Inc. of Minneapolis, a major investor. The site was still active as of Sunday, February 18; whether Best Buy will simply shut it down or use it as a sales organ isn't known at present.
The European Parliament has enacted a strong new law to protect copyrights, approving the use of encryption to prevent piracy of publications, movies, and recorded music. The new measure, known as the Copyright Directive, will give copyright holders better protection in Europe than they enjoy in the US, according to Italian representative Enrico Boselli, sponsor of the law. The widespread availability of advanced digital technology requires establishing "clear rules for consumers, consumer-electronics manufacturers, Internet service providers, and others," Boselli stated.
The affair started quietly enough, with the following exchange that appeared in Stereophile's January 2001 "Letters" section, following my decision to put the Digital Audio Labs CardDeluxe high-end PC soundcard on the cover of our September 2000 issue:
Major music companies may have conspired to keep CD prices artificially high in the United Kingdom by limiting cheaper imports. That's the presumption behind an inquiry launched February 9 by the British government's Office of Fair Trade.
Controversy may sell magazines, but it can also cause all sorts of editorial and letter-writing ruckus. In "Where's the Real Magazine," John Atkinson follows the heated trail that began when he decided to put a PC soundcard on the cover of Stereophile back in September, followed by a Denon surround receiver (horrors!) that graced the December issue. Included as a bonus is the hot-off-the-presses March 2001 "As We See It" in response.
Coaxing great performance from an orchestra requires that a conductor combine the talents of interpreter, psychologist, actor, coach, and drill instructor. It also requires a unique auditory ability: the capacity for simultaneously hearing the complete ensemble as well as all its individual performers.
Listening to and evaluating audio products in the CES trade-show environment is usually an utterly useless exercise. But every once in a while, a demonstration will clearly prove an exhibitor's point. PS Audio was able to do this with a convincing introduction to their Power Plant a couple of years back, as was Ray Kimber with his DiAural technology. This year, the "proof of concept in a hotel room" award would likely go to a new Australian upstart, ClarityEQ.
One of the oldest names in American audio is venturing into new territory. Indianapolis, IN–based Klipsch Audio Technologies has acquired "selected assets" of privately held Mondial Designs Ltd. of Dobbs Ferry, NY, maker of the Acurus and Aragon brands of amplifiers, preamps, and signal processors. Paul Rosenberg, Mondial's co-founder and former vice president, will become a director at his new parent company, with primary responsibilities in marketing and product development for Acurus and Aragon. Mondial chief engineer Adam Gershon and senior engineer Michael Kusiak will also remain with the company. Anthony Federici, Mondial's president, has moved on to form a new company called D & A Labs, which plans to debut a "high-end home theater receiver" this spring, with other quality electronics to follow.
The year was 1948. As a six-year-old, I haunted record stores with my Uncle Stan. A quiet bank teller from Manchester, England, childless himself and quite overpowered by my Aunt Emily, Uncle Stan shared with me his love of music and movies.
LOS LOBOS: El Cancionero Mas Y Mas Warner Archives/Rhino RS 76670-2 (4 CDs). 2000. Los Lobos, Luis Torres, T Bone Burnett, Ry Cooder, Mitchell Froom, Hal Willner, others, prods.; Larry Hirsch, Tchad Blake, Bob Schaper, John Paterno, others, engs. AAD? TT: 5:01:49 Performance ***** Sonics ****