Computers were once under our control. We could run any software we wanted on them, and the companies that manufactured the computer had no say. Today, computers are increasingly being locked down. Apple and Microsoft rule over their app stores with an iron fist, deciding what we can and can’t do with our devices. We live in a world where changing an iPad’s default web browser or email app is a crime.
My story begins sometime around the American launch of the PlayStation 4. I hadn’t turned my PlayStation on for about a week having been bowled over in work – I needed a break. I’d bought the new Call of Duty, and while it isn’t exactly the best sequel ever, it’s what I turn to for a bit of R&R. Don’t judge me!
When you pay Amazon some money for a Kindle eBook, you probably think it’s yours now. I mean, you paid some money, you got some content, and now you have it, just like any other book you buy on a brick-and-mortar store. Well, that’s wrong. Actually, you didn’t buy anything, and you don’t own that book you just paid for.
I’ve got a shelf full of books. I love them. I read them. I even use them as a backdrop for my wife’s science videos. And sometimes, I lend them to friends. It’s not complicated, lending out books – you just hand your friend the book. If you’re lucky, your friend brings it back (and you get to share a great conversation). If not, your friend has a book – and you no longer do. Since the dawn of human civilization, this is how lending worked.