Re¢ently

  1. Considering a Flip? Check this First

    brian on 2008.12.10 at 01:03 am

    Buying a Flip? check out Beau Colburn’s comparison of the Flip Ultra vs the Flip Mino HD

    You may have seen me complain about this on Twitter, (Beau and I went to high school together) but in reality, this post is a seriously useful resource for anyone considering getting one of those lovely Flip cameras.

    Posted in: Hardware · Media · Technology

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  2. Netflix Now Streaming to Macs (beta)

    brian on 2008.11.02 at 07:00 pm

    Good news for Mac users who are Netflix subscribers, or thinking about becoming one. After over a year of PC-only Windows Media-based “Watch Instantly” video streaming from Netflix, they have now put streaming to Macs and Windows via Silverlight 2.0 into public beta.

    Of course, I signed up for the beta instantly and tried it out right away. Here’s what I found.

    I selected the first episode of season six of CSI: Miami, “Dangerous Son” to watch on my Mac mini*, which is connected to our 26” HDTV via DVI-to-HDMI. I chose CSI: Miami because of its use of fast, vivid imagry. The color saturation is artificially inflated like no show I’ve ever seen. The style of cinematography is full of fast cuts and fancy, whiz-bang transitions. The sound moves from quiet dialog to loud sound effects and lots of thumping music.

    The results were mixed. The color came through as strong as it does when we watch it in HD. The audio was good, not amazing, but plenty good for streaming. However, the fast moving video was not good. This is always the challenge to test video with because it stresses the encoding (it’s very hard to compress fast moving imagery) and the playback hardware (hard to compress means more data per second needs to be processed to keep up with the motion).

    Most of the video, that didn’t exhibit fast pans, or speeding objects, looked good. It did not look as good as an iTunes SD TV download, which is the standard I would compare any online video to, (as it is excellent) but it was good enough. However, watching an hour or more of video that had a lot of action would not be enjoyable.

    I left this feed back in the comments of their announcement blog post, because I couldn’t find an official beta feedback option. I look forward to seeing if the video improves.

    The only other video I can compare this too that was powered by Silverlight was the Olympics. I watched the two hour men’s mountain bike race from Beijing, which also exhibited some fast panning. I believe that quality was a little higher, though it’s been two months since I watched it, so my memory may not be perfect. But I’m sure I would have remembered a speed issue.

    Comparable to Sliverlight is Flash streaming video, which powers Hulu.com. I have not watched action-packed video on Hulu, but I have watched a couple episodes of Saturday Night Live, and I also believed it’s video quality was a bit better. I basically forgot I was watching Internet video. I don’t forget that when I watch quality Flash video from places like YouTube.

    I still think Netflix has work to do, but I’m encouraged at what they’ve produced thus far. Besides, I get to watch it for free with my $11/month account. I can’t be too critical.

    • For reference, here are my Mac mini specs: 1.83 Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Safari 3.1.2, Silverlight plug 2.0, OS X 10.5.5, Comcast cable connection tested at 18.4 Mbps (! – I pay for six! That may be burst speed, not sustained, but still impressive. I’m still investigating, but probably due to their DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrade.)

    [All the comparison video I mention above was watched on the same setup, full-screen.]

    Posted in: Media · Movies · Television · Web

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  3. Cable Taking a Chunk out of the FCC?

    brian on 2007.12.13 at 01:12 am

    Just as the FCC was getting close to actually regulating the cable industry, comes a cable-industry backed proposal in Congress to continue to duck their regulation. An F-type Connector for Coaxial Cable is used to connect cable networks to televisions.

    There’s currently a rule that says the FCC can regulate the cable industry when cable is available to 70% of U.S. households and 70% of those households that have the opportunity to subscribe, do.

    Well we’re almost there. Unless (surprise!) a Republican from Tennessee has her say about it. Would it surprise you that she’s received a great deal of money from that industry in her career? Me, neither.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  4. Awesome Friday Videos

    brian on 2007.12.08 at 12:44 am

    The first trailer for the Wachowski Brother’s (Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta)adaptation of the cult classic Japanese Anime series, Speed Racer has been released, including HD.

    Speed Racer Movie Logo

    Speed Racer first trailer

    Secondly, Amazingly amusing Norton Anti-Virus Ad/mini-shows. These are ~5 minutes each and make two parts of a psuedo-Japanese kids show (subtitles in English, kitsch in Japanese). Awesome.

    When you make commercials this cool, people use their DVRs to record them, not skip them.

    Posted in: Media · Movies

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  5. Three Tips for New Podcasters

    brian on 2007.09.25 at 09:46 pm

    This October will be my first anniversary in podcasting. I’ve learned a lot in that time, and still have plenty to learn I’m sure. Podcasting is still a young endeavor, but I’m happy find more and more quality podcasts daily. I’m happy to see so many new faces in the game. But, there’s a learning curve in podcasting. I offer this post as assistance to those who are just getting started. These are the things I’ve found most valuable about getting good audio fidelity, which is so important, in my opinion, to keeping listeners.

    Bonus Tip #–1 – If there’s a PodCamp near you, regardless of your experience, go to it! They’re phenomenally useful! What a great place to start.

    Bonus Tip #0 – buy a Mac. Don’t think you like Macs? Hear me out. The software the comes inside makes podcasting significantly easier. GarageBand is a great piece of entry-level software that no other piece of podcasting software matches when it comes to ease of use, and cheap power. If you use a PC, Audacity will probably be your free weapon of choice, and it’s powerful, but damn hard to use. However, Mac or PC, if you need a application to split stereo tracks into two separate files, Audacity is the only app I know which does this. Apple’s cheapest Mac is the Mac mini which is plenty powerful enough to do everything you need. As with any type of editing (video, audio, photo) more RAM is always better. An iMac or MacBook would also make awesome podcast rigs. Plug a USB mic in, like the Blue Snowball, or the dreamy Røde Podcaster, and you’re set for instant one-track recording.

    Tip #1 – learn how to speak into a microphone. Sounds stupid, but what you may not realize is that there’s technique here, that varies from mic to mic! Many microphones need to be address from only a couple inches away. Your mic should include documentation on how to “address” it, and there is a sweet spot. Also not all mics make all voices sound great. You may have to experiment. May I suggested not speaking directly into the mic, straight on, Instead, address it at a 30-45 degree angle. This is to reduce “plosives” the big bangs and pops of various consonants like “B” and “P.” If you’re blowing your air past the mic instead of directly into it, you can greatly reduce these without buying mic accessories. Oh, and don’t tap or bump the table your mic is on!

    Many more tips after the jump, read more!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Media · Podcasting · Software · Technology · Web

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  6. (not) A boring rant

    brian on 2007.09.03 at 05:07 pm

    The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: A boring rant Look at the management team at NBC Universal. Look at the GE board of directors. Do these people scare the living shit out of you? They sure scare the hell out of me. They’re all buffed and polished and about a hundred and fourteen years old. They look like cadavers who’ve been done up by the world’s best funeral home makeup artist.”

    Fake Steve Jobs has really hit the nail on the head with this post. I’ve been meaning to write something about the NBC and Universal iTunes breakups since first hearing the news last week that NBC was pulling (or iTunes was ceasing sale of) NBCs television shows from iTunes.

    First of all, think it’s a coincidence that NBC and Universal (same company, essentially) both have taken big shots at iTunes recently? First Universal decides to start selling DRM-free music, like Steve Jobs had suggested, but not through Apple. Second, NBC says “let us jack up our prices or we’ll walk” when it comes to iTunes negotiations; Apple replies “don’t let the door of the world’s leading digital entertainment store hit you on the way out.”

    What’s going on here is the beginning of the end: The networks and record labels have finally begun to see the writing on the wall. They’re dinosaurs looking to the skies and wishing away that incoming meteor. But it won’t change things. They are mostly middlemen. And the middlemen in the entertainment realm are quickly being replaced by the network – the Internet. Apple’s the tip of the iceberg of said Internet. The Wal-Mart of internet digital media retail, with 70% of the market in a strangle hold (a funny comparison considering Wal-Mart is actually in the digital media retail space, as well) These distributors want to have Apple’s dominant position, so they’re trying to play hard ball. But they can’t beat Apple because they simply don’t understand internet distribution. Apple does, and they’re willing to share. The studios shouldn’t reinvent the wheel – just use Apple (and Apple’s competitors) for digital distribution, and spend your time doing whatever else you guys do.

    We’ll continue to see media distributors attempting to fight Apple, tooth and nail, because it’s the only way to stave off their irrelevancy. But any injunction they come to will only be temporary. Apple will win, and thankfully for once, consumers will win because for the first time, consumers have a say: if you don’t give us the media we want, in the way we want it, we’ll go elsewhere to get it the way we want it, when we want it, and you won’t get a dime. We have BitTorrent. iTunes is currently the only seriously good alternative to BitTorrent.

    Free advice to the middlemen: stave off your irrelevance a little longer by flexing your editorial muscle and find really good material to sell – not the mind-melting junk you’ve spit out for years. And then sell it where and when the consumer wants at a reasonable price. Apple knows what consumers want and iTunes is a grand step in the right direction. Once all DRM is dropped (the vast majority of consumers won’t need piracy if they’re given a good product at a good price) we’ll be in the promised land of digital media commerce.

    Otherwise, you’re just fast-tracking yourself to a slow and painful demise.

    You need your customers more than they need you.

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Movies · Music · Television · Web

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  7. Tivoli Internet Radio

    brian on 2007.08.14 at 02:42 am

    We’ve been considering purchasing a Tivoli Model One table radio for our kitchen for a couple months now. We often listen to NPR in the morning as we get ready and I eat breakfast in the kitchen next to an old clock radio that we keep there. Amanda will often pop it on in the afternoon when she comes home from work, while she’s going through the mail or cleaning or what have you. We’ve been thinking that it would be a nice upgrade for us.

    Tivoli's Classy Model One Table Radio

    If you’re uninitiated, the Tivoli table radio is a famous little radio in the home electronics world. It’s intentionally quirky and of unusually high quality – both marks of its creator, Henry Kloss. The model one is Tivoli’s most popular product1 and is simply a mono (one speaker) AM/FM tuner. But it’s one speaker is rich, it’s hand-made quality, hardwood body encloses one of the world’s finest analog tuning circuits (MESFET), with an weighted analog dial for precisely tuning stations.

    The product sparked a renaissance in table radios, including the Bose Wave Radio and the Boston Acoustics Receptor. (Cool note: these are all Boston area companies)

    We were just about to purchase one when they announced a new version, one that incorporates Internet Radio via WiFi!

    Read more to find out the whole scoop!

    Read More

    Posted in: Apple · Hardware · Linux · Media · Music · Technology

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  8. Suppot Local FM!

    brian on 2007.06.25 at 10:08 pm

    There’s a bill in Congress to allow low-power FM stations for local broadcasting. If you think that’s a good idea like I do, you can follow the following link to voice your support to your representitives:

    Support Local, Low-Power FM Radio

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics

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  9. News Writing for the Web

    brian on 2007.05.12 at 11:29 pm

    Cory Bergman – How to Write for the Web – Lost Remote

    I’ve been mulling over a “future of local news” post for a long time for this blog. I worked on it for a while today, some of my inspiration comes from Lost Remote. They’re an awesome resource for old media types looking to do the web right, or people watching old media crawl into the brave new world.

    I wanted to get this link out now, because I don’t know how many revisions its going to take to get my long piece out the door saying what I want it to say.

    If you’re interested in writing in a journalistic style, this guide is heavily grounded in the proper newspaper style, but a little more casual like the web. Quality advice.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  10. Rush: Ten Times Worse than Imus

    brian on 2007.04.24 at 11:54 pm

    This is unbelievable.

    If Imus got fired (something I disagreed with), then I guess Rush should be hung?

    Rush Limbaugh plays “Barak the Magic Negro” on his show. Listen for yourself.

    If Rush is not forced off the air, then there really is no justice. Absolutely unacceptable. Imus or no Imus. But certainly with Imus.

    UPDATE: I found out about this very late. This happened prior to Imus, March 19.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  11. National Geographic Doesn't Understand Podcasts

    brian on 2007.04.11 at 12:06 am

    I really enjoy the content National Geographic produces. They create some amazing things. However, they need to learn about podcasting.

    I’ve been listening to NatGeo podcasts for a couple weeks now, and boy do they bug me. There’s some great content in there, but to get to it, you have to listen to a deluge of blaring orchastral music (many times louder than NPR, and the music isn’t nearly as interesting) then you have to listen to a host with a near-characterization of a radio voice advertise the upcoming topics which will happen in about five minutes. Of course, they would be happening now if we weren’t listening to this damn list of story pitches.

    Then they mix in some lame segments where they talk really briefly to someone who talks as if he’s in his early 20s… as far as I can tell, that’s his only reason for being… they must think only teens listen?

    My advice, if I were asked how to improve the NatGeo podcasts: drop the intros, or make them just the titles of the segments, shorten the music until its just long enough to serve it’s purpose of story-spacer. Stop the radio-announcer impression, and speak as if I had your voice in my ear bud… which is to say, as if you had something cool to read me out of the National Geographic Magazine. Express the famous National Geographic personality that makes your magazine so great. Don’t pretend to be Fox telling NatGeo stories.

    To summarize, relax. You’re on the internet.

    FWIW – I’ve only been listening to the NatGeo News Podcast. There are several others also available that I have not listened to.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  12. Blogging Involves People, Thus Inherently Broken

    brian on 2007.04.10 at 11:29 pm

    Many present the idea of a blogging code.

    I ask, why not just have a “humanity code?”

    This will be forgotten within months. Humanity will continue on the same. In the same vein, I don’t think Imus should be fired. People will say stupid things. Sometimes they will mean them, sometimes they just are temporarily idiotic. I don’t think Don Imus is a racist. Just an idiot. Occasionally. He does host some high-quality political banter some times. Baby meet bath water. If it’s OK to say “nappy headed hos” in a rap song on the radio, then Don Imus should be in no danger of firing.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  13. Apple Shaking DRM

    brian on 2007.04.03 at 12:19 am

    Today was a great day for all fans of digital music. Apple announced the loss of DRM and the doubling of the quality of the music files it sells.

    I was hoping for lossless, you know, equivalent to CDs which have been around for about 20 years now. But I’m not going to whine about it.

    But I will complain about the people who do whine.

    Cory Doctrow is always the first person to bitch about everything Apple does. He claimed Jobs cried wolf when Jobs wrote his open letter to the record industry. Now is his day to eat crow, but don’t hold your breath. That’s just not his style.

    That also brings Ryan Block, writer at a site that publishes high tech PR announcements. he thinks:

    we can’t help but feel the whole thing is gestural at best, and subterfuge at worst.

    They get what they ask for, and then state that it’s an illusion. It’s incredible that they can keep up the whiny 5-year old just as well as Cory can. The world is a marketplace, if you don’t see something you like, then don’t buy it. Vote with your wallet. It’s the only thing that counts.

    Corporations don’t listen to their customers, just their dollars. And Apple’s betting the money’s where the DRM isn’t. I agree.

    Engadget does bring up one valid point:

    you’d think Jobs would be quick to encourage Disney-owned labels, like Hollywood Records, Lyric Street Records, Mammoth Records, and Walt Disney Records, to “embrace [DRM-free] sales wholeheartedly.”

    But, like most of the curmudgeons on this topic, they ignore that corporations move slowly, and have major political in-fighting. Steve might have a hunk of Disney stock, but he can’t willy-nilly steer the company. Heck, seeing that EMI was ready before Disney, Steve very well might have seen the trip to London for the announcement as leverage for his own intra-Disney political battles…

    Let’s call this what it is: a solid first step.

    And on to a bigger question:

    Which bands are on EMI? How can I figure that out, and when can I start buying those new tracks? I have gift cards to use! Record companies don’t get this point: you’re all but invisible to consumers, and they only notice you when you do something bad… see also: Sony Rootkit.

    [Updates: 1) EMI artist listing hopefully iTunes will make finding them easier. 2) These tracks should surface on iTunes in May. ]

    Posted in: Apple · Media · Music

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  14. Blogumentary

    brian on 2007.03.13 at 02:07 am

    I just finished watching “Blogumentary” a film by Chuck Olsen. You may recognize that name if you’ve watched Rocketboom, where he is an occasional contributor, or if you’re really into the vlogs, he is also Minnesota Stories.

    In truth, I was bored and had had the Google Video Player link sitting on my desktop for about two months staring up at me “Blogumentary.gvp” as if it were lonely. Other icons came and went, but this one held fast. I figured I’d give it a click, be bored after five minutes and be able to finally toss that sorry file into the trash can.

    Chuck Olsen, Blogumentary Maker

    One hour five minutes later, that didn’t happen.

    I’d like to recommend this film to people in our audience who fall in to two categories. First, if there’s anyone in the audience who has a blog they don’t write at much, or perhaps someone who is thinking about writing one. Maybe you use Facebook or MySpace, or maybe you just casually read some blogs, but you’re not an alpha-blog-geek. Perhaps you’re a professionally trained writer and you’re tempted to “do the right thing” and start a blog. I encourage you to watch the film. I think you’ll get a great background in blogs, and be inspired.

    Second, if you were a fan of the Howard Dean presidential campaign, you’ll really enjoy the section on the first campaign blog (Howard’s) and how the internet changed the face of American politics forever. Includes significant and insightful interview time with Joe Trippi, and footage inside the Dean HQ. Makes me want to cry this many years later, how much promise that campaign had, all ruined by a media smear campaign that may not be matched again in my lifetime. Coverage starts at about the 40 minute mark. Don’t think this is an unbalanced documentary, though. Chuck spends equal time with the people who think the New York Times is in the business of printing Democratic propaganda and that Democrats rule the media — the guys at PowerLineBlog.com

    [Transgression: This has nothing to do this the movie, skip to the next paragraph before this gets ugly… Question: if the Democrats have free reign in the media, then how would they have let it get this bad? Why would Democrats continue to look like bozos? People who think this also think people who believe climate change is a real threat have a hidden agenda. Yah, they’re going to get rich saving those spotted owls… somehow… and when we figure it out…]

    I don’t really have more to say about the film other than it was excellent. I encourage anyone to see it, if you are a web geek, you’ll see and hear “famous” web people in the flesh, instead of in phosphor, which is cool in and of itself. Go watch now. The video quality was excellent and the streaming of the data was flawless over WiFi to my beloved MacBookPro.

    Posted in: Media · Movies · Web

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  15. Media censorship by the US Military

    brian on 2007.03.11 at 05:46 pm

    Lamest excuse, ever:

    A top ranking military official in Afghanistan said photographs or video taken by “untrained people” might “capture visual details that are not as they originally were.”

    Why should the military be afraid of a guy and a camera in a public place in a country that is not the United States? Even if they have a legitimate reason, this stinks so badly of the things that our country is supposed to so strongly stand against. Bad message to send to the world. Much worse than the actual images.

    Posted in: Media

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  16. Fark.TV on Super Deluxe

    brian on 2007.01.26 at 03:14 am

    Fark.TV logoI’m not a regular reader of Fark.com but tonight I stumbled upon Fark.TV at SuperDeluxe.

    (All videos thus far)
    SuperDeluxe Logo
    A backstory to Fark.TV

    The only problem I can see right now is that it’s not available as a podcast. If it were, instant subscribe.

    Also interesting, SuperDeluxe is a Turner site. Now I remember Dominey posting about it…

    ( thx. SteveGarfield of SteveGarfield.com )

    Posted in: Humor · Media · Web

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  17. Mac and TiVo Users Rejoice: You're Screwed!

    brian on 2007.01.09 at 02:26 am

    Tivo to Go ImageThe biggest insult to Mac users who are also TiVo users wasn’t that we’ve gone without TiVoToGo software while Windows users had it for free. Nope.

    The biggest insult (beside the $800 price tag plus additional subscription charges for a Series III which is simply insulting to any human being) is that TiVo has released MacTivoToGo today… but it costs $99. And is still free for PC users.

    Dear TiVO, drop dead. I’m not buying a Series III, I’m not buying MTTG (which wouldn’t even work on a Series III) and perhaps the only other money you’ll ever get out of me is a trickle of the coin I drop into my Comcast subscription.

    It’s a damn shame. TiVO should be a much a better company. They should compare to Apple: make awesome products and have an awesome community supporting you. But their business practices are downright unethical.

    It’s no wonder you’re always on the verge of going out of business: you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re floundering about like a fish out of water. I’ll no longer shed a tear if you go bankrupt. Hopefully an intelligent company will hire your designers and programmers. Or, God willing, someone will snap up your company, hand out pink slips to your whole business team, and keep your brand, selling your wonderful and innovative products at reasonable prices.

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Television

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  18. Obama on OnPoint

    brian on 2006.11.04 at 09:10 pm

    If you missed Senator Barak Obama on NPR’s OnPoint a week or so ago, you can listen to it steaming on that site, or you can download the podcast. But, it’s already down from the iTunes Store (looks like they only keep a limited number of them up there) but it is still available at Odeo.

    It was a good interview.

    Personally, I think it would be a bit premature for Barak to run for President. But if he were the nominee, I’d vote for him, and I think he’d do a fine job. In fact, I strongly hope he does run eventually, but I think he could use another round in Washington, D.C. first.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  19. Need a blog job?

    brian on 2006.09.28 at 01:19 am

    Hey, if I were qualified (lets say these aren’t necessary qualifications if you were any other genre of org) I’d apply for it, but look, NPR is hiring an official blogger.

    Host (Blogs), NPR News & Administration Hosts and writes for blog that serves as users’ daily guide to the events of the day and notable stories on the network and the Web; uses news judgment and a lively prose style to present a singular perspective, writing and reporting original items and drawing other NPR reporter/correspondents and listeners into analysis and discussion; may also host a podcast of the day’s top on-air stories; and may serve as a public representative of National Public Radio, Inc. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience. At least five years of journalism experience, preferably daily news; familiarity with the blog form and a passionate desire to join the blogger “A” list; demonstrated excellence as a writer and storyteller; demonstrated ability to communicate in a sparkling personality and unique perspectives in writing; demonstrated ability to understand the difference between having an attitude and taking a (political) stand in the written word; a broad range of general news knowledge; well-developed curiosity in a wide range of subjects; ability to work quickly and efficiently under deadline pressure; ability and willingness to relocate; proven ability to consistently work well with others, demonstrating at all times respect for the diverse constituencies at NPR and within the public radio system; and a desire to be part of a new NPR venture. Prefer broadcast experience, the ability to be a voice of a podcast; previous blog writing experience; and familiarity with and an appreciation for public broadcasting.

    So, go ready your resume. And your references, you’ll need to contact them. You always forget about them till the last minute…

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  20. Mobile Podcast Recording Hardware

    brian on 2006.09.27 at 10:41 pm

    Some Hot Recorders for Those Cool Podcasts

    Read it before the New York Times locks it behind it’s for-pay firewall forever. I saved a PDF of the print version for my later reference.

    Mobile Recorders for Podcasts (courtesy of NYT)

    FWIW, there’s were tons of the M-Audio MicroTrack device they mention in the article, at PodCamp Boston 1.

    Posted in: Hardware · Media

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  21. Join the Boycott on ABC

    brian on 2006.09.08 at 11:17 pm

    Have you heard about the irresponsible fictionalize account of the 9/11 attack that ABC is airing? I personally am furious. ABC has been my favorite network for a long time, I’ve watched World News Tonight on ABC since I was 5 years old. Now my trust has been betrayed in the interest of controversy and partisanship.

    Below is the email I sent ABC via the Think Progress website, through an email from freepress.net

    Tell ABC to tell the truth about 9/11 - A project of ThinkProgress.org

    Robert A. Iger
    President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company

    Dear Mr. Iger:

    I’m very disappointed that you would make the horrendous choice to air a fictionalized, polarizing and politicized account of the events of a horrific event so recent in our country’s history, and so close to the 5th year anniversary — could confuse fiction with the truth (and your information has been determined directly contrary to the truth as stated by the 9/11 Commission) which could have an adverse effect on people’s perception of reality when they go to vote in primaries and elections that are now starting in our midterm elections. This ENTIRELY irresponsible of your company.

    I haven’t determined what I will do personally about this, but right now I’m beginning with boycotting your World News Tonight, which is really sad because Charlie Gibson is by far my favorite news personality on any channel. But it’s the one thing I watch regularly on ABC.

    I will not buy any more TV shows of ABC’s on iTunes. And I may write to all your advertisers to inform them of this as well. Additionally, I will be blogging this commentary on my blog, recently.rainweb.net, and talking about this at the blogging conference I’m going to with over 300 other influential bloggers this weekend. I will encourage them to blog about and join in the boycott as well.

    Below this note is some boilerplate that I agree with wholeheartedly.

    It has come to my attention that ABC plans to air a two-part mini-series called “The Path to 9/11” on September 10 and September 11. Accounts of advance screenings indicate that this program places primary responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration. This assertion is not supported by the 9/11 Commission Report upon which the program is purportedly based. This partisan misrepresentation of history is not surprising given that the movie was written by Cyrus Nowrasteh, an avowed conservative.

    It is wrong for ABC to play politics with the facts of 9/11 by providing a national platform to present his distorted view of history. I am unwilling to whitewash the truth. The events that led to 9/11 are important topics for discussion and debate. But it’s a debate that must be conducted honestly.

    I am asking ABC to either fix the many inaccuracies contained in the program – or to not air it.

    I would appreciate a prompt reply to my e-mail.

    I would encourage you to tell ABC what you think of their actions, as well.

    Posted in: Media · Movies

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  22. Good video

    brian on 2006.09.07 at 12:49 am

    Watched Ze Frank’s 2004 appearance at TED today. Unfortunately there’s no download for it, just a Google Video. Of course, if you use Google Video Player, you could watch it outside of the browser.

    Also, Scoble linked up TurnHere.com which has a ton of cool videos of people showing off their local communities. And the videos, about 4 mins each, flow into the next episode, so you don’t even have to “pick up the remote.” Check it out.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  23. CurrentTV

    brian on 2006.07.22 at 03:50 am

    Al Gore is everywhere these days. One of his current positions is as founder of CurrentTV, a cable video channel found on many digital cable systems and a website.

    I watched it for the first time for about a half-hour last night, and I must say that I was impressed. It gave the feel of a collection of really well-done video blogs.

    In August 2005 we launched a TV network with content created by, for and with an 18-34 year-old audience. Our unique programming shows young adults what’s going on in their world, in their voice and from their perspective. With a substantial portion of the network’s content provided by our viewers, we’re the first TV network in history whose programming is supplied and selected in part by the very audience who watches it. Current is available in 29 million cable and satellite TV homes.

    Their on screen motion graphics were something to behold. All the edginess of MTV graphics, without out all the tackiness (OK, that’s a little bit of a shot at MTV, some of their stuff is well done. But I like Current’s better)

    Current.tv is also something that’s visually impressive, but it could use a little clarity. In general, though, an impressive display all around.

    Something to be aware of.

    Hey, maybe they should hire Amanda Cogdon for some lighter side stuff. Nothing says video blog better than the face of the movement herself… and she’s in need of a West Coast job…

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  24. NPR and PBS under sneak attack again

    brian on 2006.06.08 at 06:31 pm

    Yes, the Republicans are attacking Sesame Street yet again, trying to destroy all funding for the only sound source of media in the country, by trying to axe all funding for NPR and PBS!

    Stand up to these bullies and defend our only unbiased news source!

    Can you imagine a child growing up without Sesame Street?

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  25. NBC gets a clue

    brian on 2006.03.09 at 02:33 am

    NBC is catching on. First all their involvement with the iTunes store, and now this.

    NBC Video

    Now, instead of searching the web for “borrowed” NBC highlights, you can go to the source! We’ve taken your viral favorites and gathered them into one convenient location. Watch. React. Tell a friend.

    YES!

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Web

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  26. Advice to the Grey Lady

    brian on 2006.01.27 at 03:32 am

    The other day, I came to the end of my rope.

    I enjoy reading David Pogue’s work. I was happy when he announced a while back that he would be beginning a blog at the New York Times.

    It has thus far been so-so. David’s a pro writer, so I suppose I expected more, but I suppose since he’s a pro writer, he writes so much stuff all over the place, there isn’t much left over for the blog. The tid-bits that fall through to this his last bastion of word and thought though, are enjoyable.

    I thus subscribe to his RSS feed. This is where my frustration began. His feed supplies only a title… not much to go on when deciding whether to click through to the piles of advertising that surrounds David’s work on the Times’ site. Annoying.

    But when you arrive and want to actually stay and read his blog, well, they make that difficult, too. Say I follow one link in. Then I want to get to the main blog page, or the next or previous entry.

    No links.

    Maybe I’ll hack the URL, and just shorten it down to the section’s root.

    Nope – the URL string is a dynamic fake.

    I was upset, so I sent David an email. I figured if other readers were annoyed, eventually something would change.

    “I’ll pass this along, Brian. All of this is way beyond me, but I will admit that I get a lot of complaint mail along similar lines!”

    It was really nice for David to write me back. Even if it didn’t change, a little human touch goes a long way.

    But, I may have had more influence than I had hoped. A day or two later, David writes again,

    “Hey Brian, your email has lit a fire under some people at the Times. These are only baby steps, but they wrote…”

    and there was a little more. Basically it says they were addressing the concerns I raised in my original email. Now, as soon as they roll out, I’ll feel like a feedback loop from your average Joe all the way to the most respected news organization in the world is beginning to become more responsive. Excellent.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  27. New Legislation in Washington

    brian on 2005.12.02 at 09:29 am

    Two pieces of legislation pending in Washington. We’ll start with the more serious of the two.

    By creating a federal agency shielded from public scrutiny, some lawmakers think they can speed the development and testing of new drugs and vaccines needed to respond to a bioterrorist attack or super-flu pandemic.

    The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee. “AP report”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051202/ap_on_go_ot/vaccine_agency

    This is a bad idea. The government that we pay for should be open to our scrutiny.

    Number two, on the lighter side, is a la carte options for cable and satellite television.

    A la carte would allow cable subscribers to pick and pay for individual channels rather than being forced to buy packages. A parent, for example, could pick Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network — and not have to take MTV or other channels they may find objectionable as part of a bundled package. “AP report”:http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051202/ap_on_en_tv/cable_indecency

    This is a good idea. If you buy a house, you’re not forced to take all the furnishings inside. If you go to buy groceries, you’re not forced to take whatever the supermarket puts into the basket. Why should I have to buy five Christian religion channels, 10 foreign language channels, 10 children’s channels, five shopping channels, or anything else I wouldn’t otherwise support? Consumer choice is always a good idea.

    Interesting twist, conservatives in Congress are for the a la carte option. Normally, they would be against anything that tells a business how to do business despite the government’s role of keeping businesses in line. The interest in a la carte for conservatives is seen in the quote above, people who don’t want to see MTV or CNN or anything but religious channels can simply opt out of them.

    Most cable companies (but notably not all) are expectedly against a la carte, stating that it would thin the choices in television programming. I’m tired of the cable companies choosing my programming. I bought a TiVo to filter out all the junk that’s on my TV. But, I refuse to buy the highest, most expensive cable packages just to get the Outdoor Life Network, or Speed Channel. You can keep the religious, foreign and children’s channels… give me the WRC and Le Tour de France. And cut my bill while you’re at it.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Recent Events · Science

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  28. A look inside North Korea

    brian on 2005.11.22 at 03:20 pm

    There’s an interesting interview with a Time Magazine photographer on WBUR.org He received rare access to the closed country, termed the Hermit Kingdom in the story.

    The link at WBUR has both both the interview in Real Audio format and a link to the flash gallery on time.com.

    Posted in: Media · Photography

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  29. Aardvark'd DVD

    brian on 2005.11.21 at 03:33 pm

    Watched Joel Spolsky’s documentary trailer today on Google Video. Looks like an outstanding film I’d very much like to see. However, I will not be buying the $20 DVD.

    To me, to see a film once is not worth $20. I have no desire to keep a copy of this potentially interesting film, and even if I loved it, I would never watch it again, and thus have no need for hard copy.

    I might go to a movie theater once or twice a year, and own no DVD movies I bought myself. I put my money where my mouth is. I do watch movies when they come to the small screen, but would watch more if I were allowed more control of where and when I could watch them. I would call this an untapped market.

    I’m certainly not saying everyone (or anyone) shares my views, but I feel Joel, as a leading software business mind, is missing on a big opportunity. Funny that its lacking considering his last entry on digital media distribution!

    I would have, in his shoes, chosen an H.264 download (with BitTorrent ) option alongside the DVD purchase option. There will be folk who want to keep a high-quality hardcopy, and they should get to have that. $20 is reasonable for that.

    However, I would like to download a copy for a more digestible $5. I think the sheer volume of downloads would offset any cannibalization of the DVD sales, in addition to the saved costs due to no packaging, two rounds of shipping, manufacturing… and BitTorrent would make the bandwidth very reasonable (ask Cringely ). Sounds lucrative.

    Afraid of piracy? Well, the tools to buy that DVD and change it into the format I described above exist in abundance. People will invite friends over to watch the movie, even! Gasp!

    If anything, a legal download provides a reasonable and easy alternative to piracy. It’s working for Apple right now. I don’t think FairPlay will be the end all of digital media rights management, but its a solid, first reasonable and reasonably successful attempt. The only thing I’d add to a download like Joel’s would be the downloader’s email address, which the downloader would a) know was attached, b) have to enter into the purchasing webpage to get emailed a link to the torrent file.

    Yes there are easy ways around these small features, but that’s the point. They keep honest people honest… if you share this on P2P nets and we see it, we’ll know you put it here. You can’t worry about those who will just strip it out, because of the DVD ripping issue I mentioned above.

    Piracy will be a given, but you can’t criminalize all your customers because of it. Give reasonable people reasonable options to stay above board, and this will put the piracy percentage to its minimum. That will net you all the profit you deserve.

    I cannot believe that digital delivery was not strongly considered by Joel. He’s a sharp mind. So even if we don’t get a downloadable option, I’d hope he’d post his thoughts on what made him go traditional in this case on his blog.

    Joel, I look forward to seeing your film, if you give me the opportunity to!

    Posted in: Media · Movies · Software · Technology · Web

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  30. Guns Germs and Steel

    brian on 2005.07.16 at 02:40 am

    If I make another PBS post, I may have to start a new category. I really enjoy watching PBS specials, but I get so hot and cold with it. It seems every other month they put on a bunch of shows I want to see… and then the next month it’s all British masterpiece mysteries… ugh.

    I tend to be more interested in their science, anthropology and nature shows. Some good travel and cooking shows, but I don’t TiVO those, just watch them if they’re on.

    Anyhow I enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel. The first of the three episodes is showing this week. Here’s a snippet:

    Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century.

    Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.

    • Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet?
    • Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead?
    • Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East?
    • Why did farming never emerge in Australia?
    • And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?

    Go forth and view.

    Posted in: Media · Science · Television

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  31. Nerd TV

    brian on 2005.07.16 at 02:19 am

    In my previous post I mentioned watching PBS content on their website. This post will be about a much less depressing topic.

    Nerd TV. My favorite general tech pundit, Robert X. Cringely, is going to have an entire series only for viewing online, starting in September.

    Check it out. I’m excited. Now for something completely random:

    I believe RXC is the same person as Food Network’s Alton Brown. All it takes is one great wig. Prove me wrong.

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  32. Private Warriors

    brian on 2005.07.16 at 01:54 am

    I just finished watching an episode of PBS’s Frontline called Private Warriors. It details what’s going on with the Pentagon’s use of contractors in its wars.

    The US has traditionally used contractors to ferry cargo across the world to it, or provide provisions, etc. But never has the government used so many contractors in so many positions. In fact, contractors are the second largest force in Iraq.

    There are tens of thousands of contractors in US war zones right now. Many carrying guns. But none of those gun-toting people have accountability outside of being fired. None of them have the intelligence or communications that soldiers in their positions would have. If someone dies, who is responsible when someone dies? Or kills an Iraqi? And if one of those contractors who is doing a very important security detail decides he wants to go home… can. A soldier cannot just decide to leave his watchtower without repercussion.

    Most importantly however, is the fact that an Iraqi doesn’t know who is a US Soldier representing the citizens of the United States… and who is an unaccountable contractor.

    Clearly there is a place for contractors, but perhaps when we take a look at who we have in there and what they’re doing, that maybe we should reconsider exactly what’s going on over there.

    You can go to PBS’s website and watch the entire episode, free. Well, since PBS is partially funded by your tax dollars, you’ve already paid for it. It’s a great resource and I would hope more of their episodes get archived there.

    Come to think of it… since many in the government are trying to cut the funding of PBS, perhaps they’re doing to good of a job. Get this info before they shut ‘em down.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Recent Events

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  33. Watch le Tour

    brian on 2005.07.12 at 01:40 pm

    Hey, if you’re in the Boston area and have Comcast cable, they’ve added the Outdoor Life Network so that you can watch Le Tour De France. If you’re in Brookline, you’ll find it on channel 62.

    Side note: Dear OLN, why bother having the official American lTdF website if it is going to be so dreadfully slow? You attempts to style and brand the site is one of the reasons your site is so handicapped… you’re sucking bandwidth. Your costs are going up and readership down. I won’t wait a full minute for your site to load through my fast pipe. I’ll get my web coverage from the Tour Blog and ESPN’s Tour Tracker.

    Posted in: Bicycle · Media · Recent Events · Sports · Web

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  34. Citizens Respond to London Attacks

    brian on 2005.07.07 at 01:41 pm

    In light of this morning’s bombing attacks in London, you may be interested in the web community’s reaction, and one place to look would be on Flickr. There is a London Bomb Blasts group with (at this moment) 200 pictures.

    It kinda sucks that a good number of the pics are TV captures and web page screen shots. But it’s the in-betweens that are golden citizen photographic journalism.

    One interesting pic that is a screen shot is this one

    Well, the picture is uninteresting, other than the BBC site is swamped… but the comments are cool… BBC employees are responding to the picture, and commenting on server load.

    You’re not going to get this on TV, radio or in newspapers.

    Update: See also WikiNews and WikiPedia for more outstanding citizen-based reporting.

    Posted in: Media · Photography · Recent Events · Web

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  35. Myspace in the news

    jake on 2005.05.13 at 06:30 pm

    There are a couple things in the news about Myspace. Before I get into their discussions I’d like to talk about my experience with this social software. I’d like to point you to my profile, but they’re not functional right now. Which is my biggest gripe with the service currently. I realize that they’re a very large site and have seen explosive growth but as far as I can tell the underlying structure is flawed.

    The pages load fairly slow and the HTML is right out of 1999. The tables wouldn’t bother me so much if the site had at least valid code.

    They allow you to hack your profile page and adjust colors or add in backgrounds, etc. And while trying to work with the code I actually found one spot that I couldn’t adjust because the tag soup was so atrocious. We’re talking incorrect nesting here.

    I’m not saying the developers don’t have a lot to handle, and they’re probably more worried about keeping the servers online than cleaning up the code, but they’re not gonna last long without bringing the quality level up a couple notches.. Heck I still use the site regularly. I just can’t take them serious when the code is as mature as the thirteen year olds (claiming they’re sixteen) rambling on and acting “cool.”

    Which is a nice segue for the first Myspace article. MSNBC brings up Myspace a few times in their article discussing how kids are revealing too much information on the Internet. Nobody seems to be telling them that posting provocative photos and revealing information such as your full name and hometown is not a good idea. Though it seems to be moving away from chat rooms and IM in discussions and heading over to personal weblogs.

    I’m smart enough to know that I should only give out Brian’s information.

    The other article is Tom Coates commending Myspace for surpassing Friendster. Apparently he was quoted in a Guardian article on the subject. Good for you Tom.

    I wish I was quoted in a newspaper, but usually my posts just turn into rants like above. I’m not as cool or well spoken as Tom.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  36. Meet Our Media

    brian on 2005.03.23 at 12:40 pm

    This should be interesting: OurMedia.org

    We provide free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches.

    Very interesting. Could be a great backend for local grassroots media efforts, like Universal Hub aspires to be. Additionally, OurMedia is actually a Drupal front end for the Internet Archive.

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Web

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  37. Hi-Fidelity Graphics and Music

    brian on 2005.03.10 at 02:44 am

    This evening, I decided to investigate this group that Mike Gordon has been playing with of late, Benevento-Russo Duo.

    Beautiful website. Has tables, but this isn’t a CSS-P rant. So I followed the “design by” link to davebias.org. Also attractive. No tables in sight. But what made me write this whole entry was the bio section.

    That was worth the price of admission right there. He says he still wants to write a screenplay. I think he’s over looking some great material.

    Posted in: Art · Design · Media · Web

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  38. ClearPlay is on the road to becoming legal

    jake on 2005.03.09 at 01:38 pm

    Engadget has a little post about ClearPlay. Hollywood wasn’t too happy that consumers could edit out objectionable content from their DVD’s. Again, I would not buy such a product, but if others want to then it should not be a problem.

    Too bad this didn’t go further and stop all this junk about skipping over commercials. I record a TV show, I should be able to edit out commercials when I view it. If Tivo can do it for me without me having to manually edit an mpeg file then even better.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  39. Stewart on Blogging and Josh Gannon

    brian on 2005.02.19 at 10:45 pm

    1. Watch Jon Stewart on Blogging
    2. Laugh ass off.

    Posted in: Humor · Media · Politics · Television · Web

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  40. Bostonian Apprentice

    brian on 2005.01.31 at 02:59 pm

    Speaking of The Apprentice, does one of these guys look familiar? Six degrees disclosure, I am 4 degrees from he. No, I don’t know him, or the degree closest to him at all. But I do enjoy his presence on the show, and we’re pulling for him! (Even though everyone knows the taping is already complete)

    Posted in: Media

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  41. Legalizing TV Torrents

    brian on 2005.01.31 at 02:16 pm

    I read somewhere this morning that networks were investigating how much a viewer might pay (per view) for their favorite show that they can watch when they want to. This made think about when people have to use BitTorrent to download their favorite show when the networks change their schedules to put your two favorite shows on at the same time, and you don’t have a dual-tuner TiVO to get on the record/watch goodness.

    The result of the torrent would be a high-quality version of the show, with commercials conveniently extracted. Since TV is clearly supported by advertising and advertising judged by ratings (which don’t count BT downloads, obviously)… this is a recipe for disaster for your favorite show: if everyone BTs the show, and doesn’t watch it over the cable box, there’s no ratings for the show, and it gets dropped, despite the unmeasured popularity of the show itself.

    What if, instead of charging micropayments, the networks simply followed Salon’s highly successful lead of day passes where any reader can have full access to a pay-for -content piece after watching a short, but highly-targeted ad. In the case of a TV episode, I’d say one of these ads for access to a network-hosted torrent (which of course, would route people away from pirate-torrent sites which would indirectly reduce pirate content’s popularity).

    If I had a legal way of downloading an episode of my favorite show in exchange for a day-pass-esque few minutes, I certainly feel it would be a fair exchange, a fair payment, if you would. Would you?

    There is a demo available! Someone (and I’m not suggesting you or anyone try this) could try this experiment at home. Locate an episode of NBC’s “The Apprentice” online and download via BT. Then go to Yahoo!‘s online Apprentice shill site. Look around, check out tie-ins to BK, Levis, Pepsi, Genworth, all the other companies that are pimped on the show, or pick up a Donald Trump Bobblehead doll.. I’d say that constitutes fair trade… NBC/Yahoo! Get you only a click or two away from buying their products… much more beneficial to them than a sign on top of a computer screen that says “Yahoo! Local.” Eyes and clicks. I’d almost guarantee a bump of purchases. And enjoy the show!

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  42. Short story about copyright extension

    jake on 2005.01.11 at 07:21 pm

    This morning I had the pleasure of reading The People Who Owned the Bible – a story. It’s a funny little story about copyright extension and how silly it really can be. Copyright extension is a rather ludicrous proposition. It’s doing a lot more harm than good.

    Thanks Cory

    Posted in: History · Media

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  43. Wrestle Control of your TV

    brian on 2004.12.02 at 01:48 am

    "If this thing didn't run Windows, I'd be all over it in a second":http://www.ehomeupgrade.com/entry/377/alienware_dhs_2 . Seriously, Linux DVR hackers... get to work. This is the only thing that can save us from the corporations coming together and ruling what we watch on TV... so long as "Alienware":http://www.alienware.com/main_home_entertainment.aspx can stay up and independent, and someone can put _anything_ but Windows Media Center.

    And while they're out there... mind as well enable some open formats (MPEG4 etc) and toss that Intel chip for something that runs cooler... but I'd deal with the first two of the three as a first step...

    Posted in: Media · Technology · Television

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  44. Grey Album for the Eyes

    brian on 2004.11.17 at 01:09 pm

    Can I get an encore?

    Someone has taken the time to create a music video for DJ Danger Mouse's Beatles White Album / Jay-Z's Black Album mashup.

    Beautiful. See it before the man shuts the art down.

    The Grey Video

    Posted in: Media · Music · Web

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  45. Change the Tone

    brian on 2004.11.14 at 10:58 pm

    One of the things I love about NetNewsWire's beta is that it shows you what has changed in a feed if it's altered from its original form. For example, on Yahoo! News Presidential Politics AP feed, it posted this excerpt:

    AP - Nearly two weeks after John Kerry conceded the election and President Bush laid out his agenda, New Mexico has not finished counting its votes.

    But that was pulled and replaced with...

    AP - Nearly two weeks after John Kerry conceded the election and President Bush laid out his agenda, New Mexico is among several states that have yet to determine the winner's margin of victory

    What does that say about the Associated Press's editorial process?

    It adds clarity about the number of states in which voting issues remain. But, in the first one, whereas the blurb is very politics neutral, what do you think of the second one? In my opinion, it goes from neutral, to pro-Republican, because it seems to reinforce the message that "despite the serious and widespread questions left about the recent voting process, we should realize that all this work is just solidifying that Bush is your legitimate leader, there's no chance that these irregularities could have helped him in a significant way... or even tipped the scales towards him, even if the many of irregularities that occurred, happened in traditionally liberal districts, like minority communities."

    What's it say to you?

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Technology

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  46. Marketing can be scary.

    jake on 2004.10.19 at 07:12 pm

    Coke vs. Pepsi

    I've never really had a preference in the whole Coke vs. Pepsi battle. I pretty much grab whatever is available. And if both are available I grab Dr. Pepper. Apparently the general populace has a much harder time with this whole decision. And after scientists tested with a sample of both Pepsi and Coke drinkers they found they could predict by mapping the brain beforehand.

    Simply looking at a person's brain scan, the scientists were able to predict which soft drink the individual concerned was likely to prefer. "We were stunned by how easy this was," Dr Montague said.

    This all apparently has something to do with brand recognition.

    When asked to taste blind, they showed no preference. However, when the participants were shown company logos before they drank, the Coke label, the more famous of the two, had a dramatic impact: three-quarters of the tasters declared they preferred Coke.

    From: Blues News

    Posted in: Media · Science

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  47. Doctrow on DRM

    brian on 2004.06.18 at 03:35 am

    Cory Doctrow had the unique opportunity to go to Microsoft and give a lecture telling them that DRM is bad. Everything that they were investing millions in is wrong. You should go read the text of his speech. It's brilliant. If M$ breaks down the gate, everyone else can follow, and evolution can get past its current copyright stumbling block.

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  48. O'Franken Factor

    brian on 2004.06.01 at 04:57 pm

    Today is the first time I've listened to The O'Franken Factor, on AirAmerica, an answer to the right-wing view point that rules AM Radio (and FM-Talk, as the genre now has some FM stations). Oddly enough, Franken's show doesn't play in the Boston market. Isn't Boston a "liberal haven?" The capital of "Taxachusetts?" Oddly enough, the local talk radio landscape is made up of 96.9 Right-wing Talk (they do get points for carrying Imus, however), and WBUR, one of the local NPR affiliates (which contrary to some opinion, is not a liberal power. They do host Boston-based Car Talk, however.)

    As expected, the show is entertaining. Even if you're not liberal, it's fun because Franken is funny. You can tune in at airamericaradio.com, using the Real Player, even if it doesn't play on your local airwaves. Got to love the internet. Well, there's something that could get better... it could be QuickTime. ;-) Actually, the quality has been very good, the best experience I've had with Real products. Also, if you have satellite radio, AirAmerica plays on both XM and Sirius networks, or soon, the audio will be on Dish Network's digital music selection.

    Posted in: Media

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  49. The Worst Kind of Propaganda

    brian on 2004.02.27 at 03:45 am

    Bush Backs New Terrorism TV Series.

    ...government agencies have rallied their resources and support behind the vision of DHS--The Series, including President G. W. Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, who both endorse and contribute sound bites to the introductions of the series."

    When asked to elaborate on Bush and Ridge's involvement, show representatives told E! Online, "They love it. They think it is fantastic,"

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  50. The Media are Always Right

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 03:29 pm

    We Have the Power (via Matthew Gross, from CQ)

    Establishment Media
    WE HAVE THE POWER
    Dean Press Corps 2004
    — T-Shirt given to Dr. Dean by the Press Corp

    "You certainly do have the power" — Dean, same day, as they gave him the T-shirt.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  51. TiVO To Go Feedback

    brian on 2004.02.24 at 02:37 am

    TiVo wants to know what you want. This is a great chance to feedback on the future of the TiVo. Remember ask for extra-special Mac support! The basis of the research is the possibility of transferring video to and from your PC to your TiVo, including DVD recording. It would involve a physical key (USB dongle) to allow play back on non-TiVO devices. They also ask about if you'd like to edit your video.

    What did I want? Here's a summary of the stuff I suggested in the free-form sections...

    • First, I want to be able to edit any video with iMovie, and be able to burn through iDVD.
    • TiVOToGo must respect me, and not treat me like a criminal. I want to use my media, and have 100% control.
    • Standard formats! Steer clear of proprietary. MPEG & DV formats. (MPEG 4, specifically-- this would also address the lack off AAC support in the Home Media Option). Open source stuff would be cool, too.
    • Network enabling is important. I would want to be able to stream across a home network (802.11g should have enough bandwidth, if the video is compressed in MPEG4). I would LOVE to stream video from my TiVO across the internet. Watch something while I'm on lunch at work, you know, make the Digital Media Server, an actual server.

    Go put in your two cents.

    Posted in: Media · Technology

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  52. Grey Tuesday

    brian on 2004.02.20 at 01:08 am

    If you haven't heard, the biggest thing in Hip Hop right now is "The Grey Album," a remix of Jay-Z's "The Black Album" a cappella vocals over top of DJ Danger Mouse's amazing remix of The Beatles (yes, The Beatles) "The White Album." I finally found the work last night and downloaded it. Very interesting, even if Hip Hop isn't your main genre.

    Now, you'll notice that I downloaded it, and didn't buy it. That's because I can't buy it, it's not for sale. It's a free work of art. That works like this: Jay-Z and his producers decided to release a version of his final album, with out any of the instrumentals, allowing others to remix the work. Since that, there have been a few notable releases, for example, "The Brown Album," which remixes Jay over top of jazz samples. I hear its very good (its next on my find list).

    DJ DangerMouse wanted to remix Jay-Z, using nothing but samples derived from perhaps the most famous album of all time. What you may not know is that now a days, you must pay a royalty to anyone you sample in a remix or Hip Hop tune. A far cry from the early, ground breaking work of the Beastie Boys in "Paul's Boutique." Such an album simply could not be made today, as the licensing fees would be astronomical. This is why "The Grey Album" was released on the Internet, without any direct benefit to DJ DM. He couldn't possibly afford to license those samples, so he didn't attempt to make a profit from it. It's not unlike a band playing a cover tune. An example, if the Dave Matthews Band plays "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan in concert, they don't have to pay a royalty (in my understanding) since they're not advertising that they're playing someone else's music, and are only covering one of his songs. This isn't the sole reason, or even a major fact as to why someone would buy a ticket to see them play. Hence, they don't owe a royalty. However, if they want to include that same song on their latest live album, the same song would need to have royalties since the album is selling his song as part of the advertised product.

    Now in this case, DJ DM isn't making any money (he's certainly upping his recognition, though, but he could have done that by covering Ricky Martin in an American Idol audition, too, while not paying a royalty) on the work of The Beatles. He is doing a few other things, that have positive economic benefits. First of all, I don't know of many Hip Hop fans who regularly listen to the Beatles. This promotes their work in a less penetrated market, makes them current to a younger generation. Secondly, it spreads the work of Jay-Z to people who might not have even bought (or even listened to) any Jay-Z album, who simply can't believe, and must listen for themselves to, a Hip Hop album built masterfully upon a rock 'n' roll standard.

    I find myself in the second group. I've always felt that Jay Z was a talented lyricist, although I don't necessarily care much for boastfulness, so I never invested much in him as an artist, per se. I had respect for him as a performer. Now, having listened to his words, I now know he has something to say (along side the token "bitches" and "ho's" "playas" "coca" "hustlers" etc.) , and I very well may invest in some of his work, most of all, ""The Black Album," since I now want to hear the original. I want to know what the hell HOVA stands for (yeah, I've heard the song, but I never listened closely enough to know that it serves as an AKA for him).

    Why do we still listen to the music of the 1600's, 1800's? Because the music of Beethoven, Bach, Holst lives on because its constantly replayed and reinterpreted by modern orchestras and conductors. "Borrowing from another artwork--as jazz musicians did in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators did in 1940s--will now land you in court." (quote from Illegal Art's site) However, most things in the 1900s will not receive the same immortality. They will perish due to the fatal repression of today's constrictive copyright. Most artists get their inspiration from other artists. A classic quote is "Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal."

    The Grey Album is great art.

    EMI is cracking down on the free distribution of this work. Grey Tuesday is a day of civil disobedience, February 24, 2004, where many websites will ban together to distribute the album in a sign of solidarity against short-sighted, artistically-asphyxiating copyrights. Join in. Get your copy at (aptly named) Illegal Art. Enjoy. Support art. Support artistic freedom.

    Posted in: Media · Music

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  53. ESPN Reporter Goes GaGa in interview of Stefan Lessard

    brian on 2004.01.28 at 02:32 pm

    ESPN (uh, EXPN, for eXtreme! sports! EXTREME!!) reporter Mary Buckheit goes crazy when she meets Stefan Lessard, bassist for the Dave Matthews Band at the Winter X-Games. Not a bad article once you sort through they 'teenaged-girl-meets-hunky-hero-star' junk.

    [PS- Stefan loves his iPod and the iTunes Music Store...]

    Posted in: Media · Music · Web

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  54. Feedback on CNN's NH Primary Coverage

    brian on 2004.01.28 at 03:04 am

    To wolf@cnn.com

    To the point: wow, Bob Novak is a moron. Dean, dead? Well, gee, wasn't it two weeks ago that Kerry was dead? Yeah, you guys are brilliant. How about less "commentary" and "analysis," which are really "biased opinion" (Novak, as a hard-core conservative sounds like he's writing Dean's epitaph since he's scared of him, and wants to convince Dems to defeat their strongest fighter. That way he'll continue to get tips from inside the White House so he can out more CIA operatives and endanger their lives and those of the Americans they work for. All while upping Novak's personal standing and perhaps wealth. )

    Weak.

    How about some more news? The candidates in their own words, not sound bites? How about investigating their claims, reporting facts? How did you guys let Bush off the hook for going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, but even tonight keep playing the Dean Scream? Is this Fair and Balanced? In the Fox News sense, absolutely. The "scream" is not pertinent. It's not news. You're skipping things that actually matter to Americans, and cramming junk down their throats.

    I'm happy for myself, since you're junk news reporting during the primaries turned me on to CSPAN. However, since most people don't even know what CSPAN is, I am scared for the future of America that only knows its news through your distorted lens. You've lost this viewer. And I tell all my friends.

    Brian Christiansen

    Brookline, MA

    [weblog note: I sent this right before posting it here. I don't feel like annotating it, in typical weblog style. It's likely all things you've seen before.]

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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  55. PS3 artwork making rounds as Sony concept

    jake on 2003.12.02 at 05:50 pm

    PS3 artwork by Julien VanhoenackerThis is the first time I have first hand info that a concept piece is fake. It's more annoying than anything else. kanex at GFXartist created a 3D render with Rhino3D and Brazil of what he thought would be a cool looking Playstation 3.

    In the last 24 hours his work has been published in a few different places as a concept image from Sony. Sorry, but this image was created back in July by Julien and I think he should get credit. gameindustry.biz thinks it's not actually a concept image, but I'd just like to prove that it's not before it makes the rounds even more...

    Posted in: Art · Media · Service Announcement · Technology

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  56. O'Reilly vs. NPR

    brian on 2003.10.09 at 12:54 am

    Bill O’Reilly has a new book out. He did an interview with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air to promote it. NPR has posted the entire, uncut interview on their site (WindowsMedia format). O’Reilly is claiming the interviewer attacked him, while weeks ago when she interviewed Al Franken (who wrote a satirical book taking figures like O’Reilly to task) she didn’t attack him.

    Well I listened to the entire interview, which O’Reilly claims is just another case of the liberal media’s bias, and I fail to see her attacks. She asked interesting questions about his personal beliefs about religion and state relations, Vietnam, his relations with his father, the environment, and other topics. Granted, she certainly doesn’t give him a free pass, nor did she attempt to sell his book, but I thought the interview was actually very good. While Gross took a congenial tone the entire time, O’Reilly assumed his typical rottweiler tone, even on the most straight forward questions, acting as if you don’t see things his way, then you are quite plainly a “pinhead.” O’Reilly’s childish antics ended the interview early, by taking his toys and going home. These can be heard past the 38 minute mark.

    O’Reilly got super defensive when Gross attempted to read an excerpt of a review of O’Reilly’s book that O’Reilly didn’t favor. This lead to his accusations of being attacked. Anything that disagrees with O’Reilly is a personal attack against him, which is “what’s wrong with this country” and you will be then labeled a “pinhead” on his show the next day. Oh, the irony. He really has no idea…

    By the way, only paying members can comment on O’Reilly’s site. that should ensure no dissenting opinions nicely. Sounds “fair and balanced” to me.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  57. BBC grasps the potential of the net

    brian on 2003.08.26 at 12:55 am

    In an announcement that hopefully will influence the future of the Internet in all nations, the BBC has announced its intent to release all of its media holdings, online, free for private use. Let's hope everyone else catches on.

    Posted in: Media · Web

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  58. Gruber debunks Boutin

    brian on 2003.06.28 at 02:11 am

    This story touches upon two of my pet peeves: stupidity in the media, and the assertion that since some companies sell commodities, all companies should be judged as if their products are commodities.

    John Gruber is a sharp guy. Usually his insights catch my eye because I appreciate his opinions on the world of Apple. Today, he caught my eye both for that, and for ripping apart a subpart piece of "journalism,", “Flipping the Switch: Linux’s new popularity may hurt Apple more than Microsoft.”

    One of the problems with major media news organizations is their tendency to emphasize conflict above all else. This vs. that. Conflict is interesting, and ostensibly, reports of conflict increase ratings and readership.
    Sometimes conflict is real. But many times it is not, or at the very least, it is greatly exaggerated in news reports

    That's a fantastic summary of news journalism, for the most part, today.

    Posted in: Apple · Media

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  59. PBS: Lessig v. RIAA, interpretations

    brian on 2003.06.14 at 02:55 am

    PBS Online has an excellent piece with Prof. Lawrence Lessig and the RIAA's Matt Oppenheim going to back and forth to answer tough questions on copyright, DCMA, fair-use, P2P, and the like. Very informative. The RIAA, while still obviously more interested in profit versus progress, sounds the most level headed I've ever heard it.

    Posted in: Media · Music · Politics · Technology · Web

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  60. Eldred Legislation: Public Domain Enhancement Act

    brian on 2003.06.04 at 02:10 am

    Lessig and Eldred are working on getting legislation, Public Domain Enhancement Act, passed in Congress allowing people and companies to extend copyrights for $1, if they choose. Others may let them lapse, to enrich the public domain. Here's a petition Lessig has started...

    If I were to email this to you, it'd look like this:


    Dear Friends,

    I have just read and signed the online petition:

    "Reclaim the Public Domain"

    hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
    service, at:

    http://www.PetitionOnline.com/eldred/

    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

    Posted in: Media · Politics

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  61. FCC does it anyway

    brian on 2003.06.03 at 01:30 am

    Today, as expected, the FCC went ahead with its changes to media conglomeration rules, against bipartisan objection. Now it's up to the Congress to do something, as this is the American public's only recourse.

    Washington Post's Story.

    Dan Gilmor's Take.

    Posted in: Media · Politics · Television

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