Call it the comeback kid. Only a year ago, electronics retailer Best Buy Company was on the brink of disaster. Reeling from rapid expansion---34 new stores in two years---and suffering from an industry-wide sales slump, the retailer was said to be close to defaulting on some large-scale loans. Customers were being offered no-interest long-term credit as an inducement to buy anything on the sales floor.
Telecommunications giant American Telephone and Telegraph announced March 16 that it too, now, has technology for digital music delivery. AT&T's system, called a2b music, is based on MPEG Advanced Audio Coding.
More than 50 independent music labels ("indies") have signed on with Liquid Audio, the leading provider of music downloads over the Internet. The announcement was made March 19 at South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual music and media conference in Austin, Texas.
You may have noticed recent news items about proposals to deregulate the electrical power industry. You may have received solicitations to sign on with some start-up utility you never heard of, promising 10% to 40% reductions in your electrical bill. The model for this deregulation---if it comes to pass---is the long-distance telephone industry.
Remember how your Uncle Charlie used to hole up in the basement with his ham radio rig? He'd spend hours down there, tweaking his equipment and chatting in an arcane jargon with fellow hobbyists around the world.
Members of San Francisco's legendary Grateful Dead have announced plans to reunite for a six-week, 25-city tour beginning in June. The group---whose core consists of original Dead members Phil Lesh (bass), Bob Weir (guitar), and Mickey Hart (drums)---will call itself The Other Ones, after an old Dead tune. The group will headline the third annual "Furthur" tour.
On February 23, Pacific Microsonics announced that Atlantic Records' forthcoming golden-anniversary release will feature classic popular recordings remastered using Pacific's high-resolution HDCD technology. The patented High Definition Compatible Disc process enhances the detail, richness, and dynamics of compact disc performance.
February 20---Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil's president, has signed into law two bills intended to rein in that nation's widespread abuse of intellectual properties and bring Brazil into compliance with worldwide copyright law. One covers software piracy; the other, authorship rights.