Monday 05 October 1998
I think we can all agree that the Starr Report has given us a bit more detail than we really need. To my mind, Chris Gulker (28 September) perfectly summarised this in his refreshing article about its publication on the Internet.
What pleased me more, however, was that, unlike so many other commentators, Gulker did not take the easy way out and blame the Internet for the whole business. After all, American politics was dragged into the mire long before the Net came along.
What the Net does do, however, is afford us the opportunity to see for ourselves the full details. Before, we would have all been dependent upon the opinions of newscasters as to the seriousness of the President's misdemeanours because we would not have been able to see the detail ourselves. This whole case would have been based on how carefully the Republicans could exploit the "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" element in order to blow minor things out of all proportion.
The power of the Net has enabled people all over America to see for themselves what a waste of time the whole inquiry has been, and these results have been reflected in the opinion polls. This is democracy in action, and if the long-term effect is that people like Kenneth Starr are forced to come up with something a little more substantial and important in their reports, then this far outweighs the potential problem of little Johnny asking his parents embarassing questions about cigars.
Mini-discs are not just status symbols
In the report on Live 98 ("Where have all the innovations gone?" 28 September), there was a reference to the mini-disc. In response to the claim that they are little more than a status symbol, I would say that their sound quality and versatility are far superior to normal cassette recorders, and they are much better suited for use than normal portable cassette recorders.
As to the reported death of digital compact cassettes, this is untrue it is also resurgent, mainly due to the production of dual-media DCC and standard cassette player/recorders.
As the end of the digital decade approaches, I remain in the hope that that the prices which are currently attached to it will stop being so overinflated and the digital revolution will then be accessible to all.
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