Quality vs. Connectivity

I remember back to the early days of file sharing.

It was 1998 or 1999 and I had just gotten my Rio mp3 player and found Napster.

I remember thinking that the quality of the mp3s were pretty bad and that the CDs were so much better.

But I could put the MP3s on my Rio and I hadn’t yet figured out that I could rip music from the CDs.

And I could get a bunch of music in mp3 format that I really wanted to check out before buying the CD.

So connectivity won out over quality and I adopted the mp3 format without looking back.

Today I regularly choose to play music on my laptop via Rhapsody (streaming over the Internet) even though I have the music available in CD format and can play it in much higher quality in my high end audio system with very little extra effort.  I am in fact doing that right now (Thievery Cosmic Game).

Connectivity wins over quality.

I have found the same thing to be true in photography.

I found the simplicity of moving jpegs so superior to the pain of getting film printed that I switched to a digital camera and never looked back a few years ago.

These days I am carrying around a Canon SD500 and a Treo 650 in my pocket.

The Canon is an amazing camera.  7 megapixels and a really nice small form factor.  The menus are easy to navigate and the picture quality in most circumstances is spectacular. It even does well at night.  And I almost never get blurry pictures.

But I regularly pull out the Treo to shoot something when the Canon is in the other pocket.  The Treo is a terrible camera when compared to the Canon.  I don’t even know how many megapixels it has (if it even gets to a megapixel).  The pictures are often blurry.  The menus are clunky and the pictures are terrible in low light.

But, the Treo allows me to send photos via email and MMS.  I can send them instantly to Flickr and Foundcity and anywhere else they should go in an instant.

Connectivity wins over quality.

The New York Times has world class journalists and covers most stories incredibly well.  Yet I almost never read it anymore.  I get most of the news I need from blogs.

Blogs are oftern poorly written and rarely comprehensive and objective.

But blogs allow me to comment, link, link back, tag, subscribe, and connect.

Connectivity wins over quality.

I suppose if I keep going I could prove that’s ultimately true in all forms of media.  But I’ll leave enough alone and welcome any additional comments from all of you who are reading this.