Monday, October 31, 2005
Porn on iPods raising eyebrows (among other things)
What's of particular interest is that such definance apparently stems from major adult production companies themselves, wanting to avoid a littany of foreseeable lawsuits as a result of underaged people inappropriately accessing blue material. I must say I'm impressed.
It's like when Budweiser started running "don't drink and drive" ads - a new sensible maturity emanating from the San Fernando Valley. It's the kind of savvy PR tactic/right thing to do that makes me want to go out and rent a Jenna Jameson DVD, just because.
Everyone knows there's always been a strong link between sex and technology, so the issue isn't encouraging the distribution of pornography - it's controlling access by demography.
Companies directly involved with distributing such material want to contribute to the development of a parental locking control system on the iPod to prevent children from storing and/or accessing such material. And other DRM-esque features like age-verifying a user prior to downloading and copy-protecting adult content to prohibit transferring files between devices are in the works. But that's just the initiative from the big companies, the instant and immediate targets of class action suits, not the cease and decist-caliber independent publishers giving people their jollies for $11.59 per month.
In time these efforts will give rise to new and interesting ways of delivering content in the Digital Age. Lessons learned will trickle down in a retroactively progressive fashion, if you will, to more traditionally mainstream classifications of content. This will mean better, more reliable, more secure and legal distribution models for all types of multimedia (text, audio, video, imagery), helping to address the ever-present quandary of piracy.
Portable porn has been envisioned for a long time, and the adoption of such content on the PlayStation Portable and iPod is, dare I say, critical to the success of mobile video overall, both technologically and in terms of a reliable revenue model. Adam Curry, the father of podcasting, predicts time-shifting adult material being phenomenally huge towards promoting portable communications, interpersonally and for business. Adult entertainment has for years been the litmus test that validates the commercial legitimacy of a new platform or product; everyone relies on it, but no one talks about it.
There are already several services, paid and otherwise, that produce mature mobile content for the PSP and other video-capable devices. Stag images and movies, custom formatted for portable video devices, are popping up left and right, motivated specifically by the expected commercial explosion of the video iPod. Several independent, DIY online services have already produced softcore and/or hardcore feeds that can be subscirbed to and downloaded in freeware RSS aggregators like iTunes, copied onto a portable device, and then played back. Suicide Girls joined POVPod.com as being the first to get a lot of press in offering content suitable for the new iPod's H.264 video, 768 Kbps, 320x240 hi-res, 2.5" LCD screen. And those sites followed the footsteps of Sam Sugar's PSPPorn and Porn4PSP in offering content suitable for Sony's mobile communications device.
In the grand scheme of things, porn continues to innovate, if you want to call it that, and whether you admit it or not.
Fantasy football, Week 8: getting the most out of your Hurricanes
This week we're doing something special to commemorate the halfway mark in this NFL season - we're taking a special look at players from the University of Miami. Great schools have scores of guys in the league - Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, USC...but no other institution of higher learning has as many players in the league than the "U".
Keep in mind the bye week teams - the Falcons, Colts, Jets and Seahawks all have the week off, so that means no Reggie Wayne ('01), no Edgerrin James ('99) and no Vinnie Testeverde ('87). Too bad, because the first two are fantasy studs, so you'll have to resort to your bench. Vinnie gets to rest his aching Achilles' heel in preparation for the Chargers next week.
WHO SHOULD PLAY
As for who you should play, how about the guys from the national championship team of '01? Clinton Portis won it all in Larry Coker's first year in South Florida, but only has 1 rushing TD this season. Still, he's always played bigger than his 5'11", 212-lb. frame, and has the lowest center of gravity of any back in the NFL. He can bust a 150-yd game at any point, but expect him to be better in the red zone against the Giants.
Also play his fellow redskin Santana Moss (Class of 2000). He'll be in the Pro Bowl this year for his speed, and he leads the league in receiving yards and is second in TDs. He's found a home in D.C., and should have one on your roster. Also in that game, Jeremy Shockey ('01) is averaging 5 rec/game and 17 yard/rec, so he's good for points. He also gets a lot of looks with the giants revamped aerial attack, and is among the league leaders for yards after catch for tight ends. Staying with that position, another tight end to play is Bubba Franks ('00). The Pack is devastated with injuries, so play Big Bubba...he's a deeper threat than most give him credit for, good for a score.
What about '02's Ken Dorsey? Unlike most Hurricanes, he's not from the Sunshine State. The former Heisman finalist hails from California, but he's starting for the Niners against the Bucs. Alex Smith's injury might mean 2 TDs in Dorsey's 5th career start, and although he faces a good Tampa Bay secondary, the home cold of the Bay Area gives him an advantage. Jarrett Payton ('04) isn't such a bad fantasy choice for the Titans, given Chris Brown's injury and Travis Henry's suspension. Expect maybe a TD, but not big-time yardage from the the "Son of Sweetness". Lastly, 2002's Willis McGahee is a fantasy goldmine. The Bills probably won't get the win in Foxboro against the Pats in the Sunday Night game but McGahee can put up numbers - 150 YDS, 2 TDs.
WHO SHOULD SIT
OK - what about the 'Canes that you should have riding the pine? Roscoe Parrish ('04) has only played in one game this season, is is outshined by Buffalo's Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and Josh Reed. Last year Andre Johnson ('02) made the Pro Bowl, but this season he got hurt for the first time in his career and was putting up sub-par performances anyway. And Najeh Davenport ('01) is on injured reserve. And even though Kellen Winslow, Jr.'s only played 1 game in his first two seasons, but the man has skills and is a good choice to draft next year. Also something to think about - on the defensive side of the ball, Ray Lewis ('96) & Ed Reed ('01) are both hurt, so play as many Steelers as you have on your Roster - Ben Roethlisburger, Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Willie Parker...all can get big points for your league.
No BCS love for 'Bama?
Virginia Tech took care of business against BC. USC stomped Wazzu. Texas got off to a rough start and then blew Oklahoma State out of the (Still)water. UCLA had arguably the day's best finish, routing Stanford in OT. Georgia, minus fifth-year senior quarterback DJ Shockley, wound up with the short end of the stick in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. But somewhere, somehow, lost in all the hype and pageantry and glitz and media and tradition and BCS and bullshit, the spotlight forgot to shine on Tuscaloosa.
Have we forgotten how good Alabama is this year?
Sure, the Crimson Tide didn't make it into most sports show's first 10 minutes because they oddly had a non-conference game this late in the season, hanging 35 on Utah State and allowing only a field goal. But lest we forget they play in the SEC, arguably the nation's toughest conference across the board. Any and every conference game is a must-see. And Bama's right at the top, 8-0.
Pride of the Tide Brodie Croyle is having an outstanding year under center, and even after losing junior slot receiver Tyrone Protho to what's one of the more stomach-turning injuries you'll ever see, he's still got weapons. But rare are the national sportswriters who give them their due cred.
They're at Mississippi State next, then play what should be the featured game of the week - pulleeeze, ESPN? - hosting LSU. And then, ah yes, the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 19. And yet they continue to be on the outside looking in within most discussions about a BCS-determined national championship. The relative strength of SEC inter-conference play should give them leverage, vaulting them past the Bruins in the BCS Poll now that the 'Dawgs are out of the #4 spot.
Everyone has pigeonholed Texas-USC as Pasadena locks, and pundits with a decent dialectic can plead a case for Virginia Tech. But 'Bama just isn't mentioned. Had we a proper tournament - need I remind you that NCAA Division I-AA, Division II and Division III all use, to great success, such a format - to determine a national champion, taking the top teams in the Big Ten, Big XII, Pac 10, Big East, ACC, SEC and a pair of at-large berths, Alabama would be right up there, possibly meeting the Hokies or Longhorns in the semis. Wouldn't that be sweet?
Arguably, they haven't had the toughest road to hoe. They beat Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks in Columbia and then demoralized his former team, besting a very confident Florida squad. But that's about it. Still, they've gotten the work done.
My point is that Alabama has proven itself. And they deserve better.
The Sheen-Stamp connection
As soon as the credits started on AMC, it hit me that Sheen's "Dick" and Stamp's John Tunstill both have significant roles...and neither makes it past the halfway point in the film.
Book review: "Murach's Java Servlets and JSP"
The book is the rare breed of tech manual that stays relevant to the neophyte reader and the experienced developer alike. It's outstanding as a college-level classroom reference, with oversized dimensions (it's a large book, height- and width-wise) are loaded with rich illustrations and healthy amounts of code with thorough explanations of the concepts behind then. Physically the book is ready to sustain the harsh conditions of the learning programmer. Its rigid design will survive a reader's rampant paging through chapters to find that one code sample and stretching the book's spine, in the classroom as well as the web shop.
The book presents the reader with the holistic JSP experience, and the organization of the chapters is very logical. I particularly enjoyed the chapters dealing with JavaMail programming, working in SSL environments, database access with JDBC and MySQL, working in the HTTP pipeline, custom JSP tags and use of XML. Also featured are basic discussions of incorporating componentization in your projects through JavaBeans. I also liked wrapping up my reading with the capstone project: designing, coding and deploying a very practical Music Store web app.
The accompanying CD-ROM is outstanding, including the Java 2 SDK for Windows, Tomcat 4.0, MySQL, and trial versions of HomeSite and TextPad.
In criticism, I felt the book to be ironically a little light on servlets themselves. I would have liked to see more on servlets and beans programming discussed, and perhaps highlight a bit more some of the key classes in the Java 2 API. The book also I feel neglects the object-oriented programming concepts that are so critical to modern-day development. Maybe such topics are out of this book's range, but simple class design would have been nice. However, the best-practices approach to development - use of patterns, proper system organization and implementing MVC architecture greatly offset the book's very minor shortcomings.
I fully recommend this book to anyone looking to get into beginning to intermediate JavaServer Pages programming. It's essential to becoming a well-versed Java programmer.
First-to-market: rolling out Guam's first vidcasts
This works better for my operations because our videos are inherently captured digitally as WMVs for storage in our Webcast Archives, so it's merely a matter of taking those files and converting them to MP4s. While I'm still working on hacking out iTunes-friendly enhanced podcasts using my Windows tools to do things like chapterizing, time-synched imaging & hyperlinking, but we'll see, given the fact that there are limited automated tools to do so.
my company's existing RSS feed for news, which a ton of people already have plugged into their RSS aggregators (reader apps as well as dedicated podcatchers). We just added the additional
This is a fun project for me, mainly because I wanted to be the first to do so in my hometown. This makes sense, seeing as how we previously were the first broadcast news station in the region to produce a series of podcasts and a royalty-free, RSS-based music subscription service.
I'm jealous of Mac folk
Hopefully, there will be a Windows version or at least some equivalent utility hack.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Sebastian the Ibis is my vote for nation's top mascot
Major League Baseball has used popular mascots for years like The San Diego Chicken and The Philly Fanatic. Certain NBA teams (Seattle, Phoenix, Utah) do a decent job of promoting mascots, and the NFL is just horrendous at it. There's also something to be said about not using a mascot. Heck, my Michigan Wolverines don't even use a mascot, live animal, or anything other than their M Club. The Yankees don't have one.
At any rate, good luck Sebastian! (Vote for your own favorite mascot here).
Don't roll a Hummer through Berkeley
There are about 8 Hummers on Guam at the moment...scant traces of H1's and several H2's. I've not seen any H3's but the brother of a friend of mine just brought back a sweeeeeeet sky blue H2 with the full chrome package.
The additional charges for shipping one of these babies is about another $8,000, usually from Hawaii. With no local dealership, they're a tough buy for the average auto enthusiast, so service rates are through the roof, and don't even get me started on fuel.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Wolverines face scary Northwestern squad
Quarterback Brett Basanez is Heisman-good, and we're already #25, with the 'Cats are #21. I'm hoping that the M Club bought a case of whatever Steve Breaston was drinking the past two weeks, because he'll need to run up the scoreboard on those NU boys. Their defense allows points (good for UM), but their "O" puts 'em up, too. Mike Hart is gimpy, so let's hope Chad Henne gets some rest, studies his playbook and gets frosh phenom Mario Manningham the ball early (and often) and lets Jason Avant & Breaston go to work.
On Forbes' "Attack of the Blogs": behold the power of mainstream media
Chris is dead-on in his blog post, but in so doing proves new media's challenge in winning over the unenlightened masses, those not yet living the web lifestyle: new media, in the grand scheme of things, still plays second-fiddle to mainstream media in getting the word out. MSM continues to own the world's greatest distribution channel - timeliness aside, traditional mass media still circulates way better than new media, because more people enjoy newspapers and magazines than their digital equivalents.
So whether the Forbes piece is a brutally honest look at what many in the blogosphere are too myopic to realize, or serves as a gross mis-report as a means to stave off something the magazine is threatened by, the damage is done. Forbes is institutionalized enough to influence those who aren't blogging to shy them away from it. And that's the power of today's big money media machine.
In many cases even the slightest exertion from a major corporation has more immediate influence and greater lasting effect to the fairweather consumer than years of passionate community drive and development. Take podcasting for example: you can argue that prior to the release of iTunes 4.9 this past June, the platform was still underground; it never really took off with mass appeal until Apple rolled out subscription support for DIY radio shows via the iTunes Music Store. A similar argument can be made for video podcasting - it won't really be "accepted" until Microsoft bakes support for it into Windows Media Player v.Next.
Being fortunate to simulaneously swim at both ends of the pool (being involved in MSM and participatory journalism), I'd like to comment on Chris' conclusions:
- Some magazines now use articles as a weapon, unleashing swarms of critics on their rivals.
- The print-driven haters have formidable allies amplifying their tirades to a potential worldwide audience of 900 million.
- Attack magazines are but a sliver of the rapidly shrinking periodicalsphere.
- A magazine columnist can go out and make any statement about anybody, and you can't control it. That's a difficult thing.
- Even some magazine columnists see the harm they can pose.
- Yet magazines edit and censor print content all the time - to protect their own interests.
So while we're going to salvage what we can and launch our own offensive against the piece, we've got a ways to go until we have an equal circulation chain and amount of credibility as mainstream newspapers and magazines. We've got the advantage in archival: the sheer volume of posts ripping the article already far outweigh and will likewise lean people to think the piece is inaccurate. I'm still pushing the concept of everybody being "the media". As a proud blogger I feel slighted by the piece, but the paid journalist in me also sees the point and gets the larger message.
We're getting there, but this round goes to Forbes.
Friday, October 28, 2005
ESPN's reheating of "Cold Pizza"
I catch CP at night because Guam's time difference from NYC means the 8am broadcast comes on for us at 11pm the next night, and the genuine morning show concept never really took. Not on ESPN. DVD reviews, fashion tips, recipes, mainstream news headlines & weather, etc...on a sports network??? I've got at least 4 other major channels I can find that stuff on, which is dramatically better. Right tool for the right job, says I.
The producers did cast experienced TV people, which is the smarter/safer thing to do when starting out, but neglected to stay focused on the network's core competency.
Fixing the show's big problem - lack of sports credibility - was key: ESPN got rid of cheesecake and stocked up on meat. Removed from duty were the peppy, bubbly personalities in Kit Hoover and Thea Andrews, replaced by experienced sportswriters Woody Paige from The Denver Post and Skip Bayless from The San Jose Mercury News (the latter two admittedly less aesthetic than the former by several orders of magnitude). Jay Crawford, the show's only remaining original castmember, co-anchors with veteran anchor Dana Jacobsen, both experienced broadcast sports journalists.
(And yeah, like any 31-year-old heterosexual male, it sucks not to be greeted by hotties every night, but the content's generally better and more on track for sports enthusiasts.) To the show's credit, there were some intriguing series and recurring segment during the first run, like "America's Best Sports Bars".
At any rate, I watch every night. "1st and 10" is nice to fall asleep to.
TV physics and the $1.99 price point
How many audio podcasters will make the upgrade to video?
I'm embracing portable video myself in distributing my company's RSS-based content. It was always my intent, once the tools for content creation became in wide enough distribution and costs were driv, the publishing platform made hosting affordable and the price and availability of appropriate consumer technology became so low and so prevalent, to deliver video. It's the ultimate platform through which to marshal a message.
So fellow podcasters making the migration to moving pictures, I salute you. Good to see you taking the initiative to try out something new and make your shows that much more entertaining and valuable. But take it from me, 'cause I do it all: if you thought editing audio was hard and laborious, you ain't seen nothing yet. Literally.
The new media regime: mainstream vs. citizen
An analogy I just thought of was the regulation Google uses between the sites, services and sources it lists and indexed within Google News and the new Google Blog Search. The former is very meticulous (or used to be anyway) in selecting resources to list and crawl, being only formal, legitimate news organizations. Obviously, the latter applies to the general blogosphere. A nice system of reliable control is therefore maintained, in being able to provide a very distinct separation between what's coming out of the mainstream and the word on the street. You might disagree, but I prefer this method.
I really am loving the fact that "the media" is no longer a separate entity from the general population, and further like how it's been delineated to what's mainstream and what's citizen-based.
As an interesting corollary, Steve Outing wonders whether MSM should train PJ. I thought that freedom to express onesself through open distribution channels was the point.
This is the stuff
I just got some Breyer's Reese's Peanut Butter Ice Cream. It looked interesting enough in the grocer's freezer, and it's the weekend, so my lactose intolerance is more managable. One word: whoa.
This is some seriously good stuff. It's rich as hell, but really good.
Has Google re-indexed my resume?
I try and keep my CV as current as possible, but it looks like people are sniffing at it more than usual these days.
Washington Post vidcasts look really good
I just caught Rob Pegogaro's review of the video iPod, which is really cool. Great production quality - someone took care to shoot and edit the piece. (Heads-up, TV affiliates who are just rehashing broadcasts as MP4s in an RSS feed.)
Princeton is also doing vidcasts of its university journal, following in Stanford's footsteps.
Yes, dammit...I am authorized to work in the U.S.
But the one thing that gets me is how HR staffers or hiring managers never take into consideration that (1) Guam is a U.S. territory, and (2) we're not in the same time zones as the mainland. I've taken several 3am calls recently from prospective employers wanting to talk. They always get embarrassed for calling at such an odd hour, and always say "I've never dealt with anyone from Guam before, but I know it's in the Pacific...".
Also, deferring back to Point #1, people have a tendency to ask me if I'm fluent in English - in mid-conversation and despite the fact that my CV lists me as an American broadcaster. The kicker is also when they ask if I've got the proper visas or if I'm authorized to work in the Continental U.S. It's a running gag with me.
So yes, we out here - in a U.S. territory - enjoy full citizenship. And do keep in mind we're GMT+10.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Hail to the Flickr
Good job, Andrew! Keep it up!
Apple software on Windows: oy, my aching PC...
I'm testing the time spent exporting a night's newscast in Quicktime 7 Pro for Windows, which I bought for $29.95, which takes insanely long on my Win2K Pro box in my office. I played with a 30-second commercial and 85 minutes later, I had an MP4. That won't work with hour-long shows. I've also used ImTOO's MPEG Encoder, which works great in Win32 environments and is a helluva lot faster with comparable quality. And unlike QT7, imports WMVs.
That might, as Jon Lovitz would say, be the ticket.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Linksys homepage display Red Hat test page???
A friend and I were surfing and found that Linksys' main page curiously loaded the default Red Hat Linux Apache page loaded (check out the URL in the image).
Philadelphia Daily News makes cry for survival
"We must be the message, not the medium, and so we must adjust to give consumers news in the high-tech ways that they are asking for, not the old-tech way that we are confortable with. If we don’t change, we will die – and it will be our fault. It defies all the conventional wisdom, but I believe that the Philadelphia Daily News can be an agent of that change – and not a victim. ..."
This is exactly the "change the platform, not the profession" concept I've been preaching for months, directly related to the inherent weakness of the print medium. It's a fact: you can only integrate a legacy platform in so many ways and for so long before it reaches its limits, not being able to cope with the new opportunities or complexities of a newer structure.
And that's where obsolescence kicks in.
TypePad now supports video blogging
Safari's internal RSS reader is too cool
A stupid booting error on my Windows XP Pro box in which the OS won't load past the post-POST screen forced me to use a Mac OS X machine (I'm blogging on this now). I was messing with Safari, and noticed the 'RSS' link at the end of web pages that have such feeds referenced in their META tags. I clicked on it and noticed the FEED:// page layout (assumedly if a feed doesn't bind to an XSLT process) and the cool features, especially the ability to use a slide control to decrease/increase the length of an artricle. Absolutely amazing.
We have NOTHING like this in the Windows world (at least not with MSIE), but expect it in Vista. The only thing that comes close is Feedburner's default HTML layout, or the default page formatting applied for Blogger's Atom feeds, like mine. It apparently works for feeds that have the FEED nomenclature, as well as raw RSS 2.0 feeds.
And the screen captures are really neat. This is so much easier than the Win32 "Print Screen and copy into Microsoft Paint" gimmick I've used for years.
This is beyond cool.
APIs for marketers/journalists
Comedy Central announces new broadband channel
If my PR forays are to be trumped by anyone, I'm glad it's Comedy Central. Or VH1.
If you're going to do an audio news podcast, don't use TV talk
My intent isn't to rip on a fellow news affiliate, much less one in a market much larger and significant than my own (Guam). Rather my point is to bring to light a growing problem from newspapers and broadcast stations that are adopting new media like podcasts, blogging, wikis, etc. If you're going to do something, do it right - and don't try and force square pegs to fit, because they never do. Either produce a new show catering to a specific medium, or write scripts in more platform-agnostic fashion.
My station has TV newscasts, which we stream (and soon will be vidcasting/vodcasting as part of my brodcast strategy) and then we also produce audio podcast versions, which are written more radio friendly to avoid such awkward translation mistakes. It's a lot more work, and has caused us to bend and flex in directions we didn't initially intend - but isn't that the point? Tech will do that to you.
ESPN.com combines the best of both worlds - producing original audio content for its podcasts, as well as time-shifting ESPN Radio programming like "The Dan Patrick Show" and audio tracks to TV segments like "Cold Pizza's 1st and 10".
Overall, I really enjoyed WLS-TV's work and remain subscribed to their RSS feed. It's just little things like this get to me.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
TomTom coming out strong
I'm saving up for the day when we here in TechnicalNeverNeverLand (where tech never grows up) can use DVRs. That probably won't happen anytime in the next 4 years, so I'm going to try watching L.A. affiliate programming on my home PC via a SlingBox at a friend's house. It'll be a trip to catch "Grey's Anatomy" when it actually airs, not two weeks tape delayed.
iPod owners more likely to be influential with tech
FoxxyNews: butt-naked vidcasting
OK, it's non-nude, but the women are hot. Perhaps in tribute to Canada's well-known Naked News (or not to be outdone by it), FoxxyNews offers gorgeous women, including several Playboy Playmates, delivering fake news over video podcasts. 'Nuff said. I'm sold.
Should citizen journalists have full media access & rights? Nope.
I'm about as big a proponent of participatory journalism while being in the mainstream as you'll find. I fully support empowering citizens to make their voices heard, and liberating the distribution of their thoughts. This tears down the dominance those of us in the mainstream information business have had over those not in it for decades. But in this case, I'd favor time-tested structure over potential anarchy. Non-MSM types shouldn't be granted press passes, credentials or be allowed to attend most official press conferences. I'm not proud of it, either.
For someone to just show up at a news event and say, "Hey, I'm going to cover this for my blog,", or "I'll be podcasting this event", isn't enough. This is one of the few instances where I'd say the professional training outweighs honest zest for being part of the process of the documentation of human experience. That doesn't make hobbyist or new media types any less passionate about their craft - or any worse at it than MSM reporters - just less accountable. And that's key.
I don't doubt that a blogger who showed up at a press conference would ask any illogical or unresearched questions, or conduct herself in a manner any less formal than me, a professional reporter. I'm just leery about making events that may be public domain open to be covered by any goofball with a cameraphone. Since the President of the United States is a public servant, should anyone wanting to ask him a question at a press event be allowed? Of course not.
If that does prove to be the case and enough people in significant decision-making capacities are in favor of it, sign me up - I'd love to take my cell phone inside the press room at the NBA Finals and create an ad hoc report. And I know at least 100 other people who would be willing, too. See what I mean? There needs to be a managable system of control over who's allowed and who's not. Anything less increases the potential for chaos.
Citizen journalists by their lack of association with an official source lack the breadcrumbs that we in the mainstream have. It's good old fashioned organizational CYA (cover your ass) in full effect. I've said for years that the true power of the the almighty press credential isn't where it can get me into...it's what it can get me out of. Such priviliges makesmy colleagues and I accountable in the event we screw something up, giving the person(s) or organization(s) being covered a source to take action against should we get something wrong. If I offend or misquote and interviewee, or get a story on someone completely wrong, the person has the full right to call my company, chew out my boss, ans demand my termination for being such an idiot. DIY'ers are exempt of such "luxuries".
And that's the delicate balance mass media manages with the people we write about, shoot on video, and capture in images. MSM diehards would argue, complain and make a stink about why their precious press passes separate them from the average citizen, and how they had to go to college for years to learn the craft, and then cut their teeth as an intern before finally "making it". But that's not the real problem. It's not the practice of journalism that's the issue - it's the audience. The masses aren't ready for such empowerment. And it's sad.
...and the Heisman invites go to...
- Reggie Bush, USC
- Matt Leinart, USC
- Vince Young, Texas
- Drew Stanton, Michigan State
- Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
- Brett Basanez, Northwestern
It's going to be incredibly close between Bush and Young. Stanton caught my eye early and is a heckuva athlete, Quinn's turning heads, and Basanez is laughing all the way to the Big Ten title.
Should iTunes act as RSS blogreader?
Despite criticism of iTunes' RSS parsing capabilities (or lack thereof), it would make for consolidated information consumption. And, it would put less pressure on content creators to develop and maintain seperate RSS feeds for essentially information that should be hybrid within the same channel.
How USC could remain undefeated and wind up #3
As a computer science guy, one thing I've always had against artificial intelligence is the constant hurdle we face when trying to replicate human thinking on a machine. Logic is easy, but common sense is nearly impossible to express digitally. All the theoretical mathematics in the world coupled with the most brilliantly written software can't replace human rationale. That having been said, can you believe that USC was booted out of the #1 ranking by Texas, thanks to some algorithmic process by the Bowl Championship Series?
I can, and I predicted it. And I'm not saying I like it.
So relying on good 'ol fashioned gray matter, I'd like to postulate how the still-undefeated USC - the two-time defending national champions - might wind up at the end of the season without a loss, and tragically ranked as the third-best team in the country.
USC's remaining schedule is pretty soft. They spent so much time on the road during the season's first half that they're only two remaining away games are at Stanford and at California, and only the latter of which will be even remotely competitive. So they lose out on strength of schedule, putting pressure on them to blow people out big time, because USC can't exactly tout a huge roster of Spurrier-esque 50-point annihilations. They rocked Hawaii and Rice, but haven't been dominant against the rest of the PAC-10, or Notre Dame. Except for USC, the PAC-10 hasn't been a nationally-intimidating conference in years. Pete Carroll's only real legitimate challenge is in the season finale at home against UCLA, who looks good. So there's a little bit of hope, but it doesn't bode well for the Trojans.
Texas has a moderately smooth ride to Pasadena. Their biggest opponets now lie in rubble behind them, having taken out Ohio State and Texas Tech, so they're looking ahead to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State (they don't play Nebraska this year). Mack Brown's Longhorns have their early season blowouts of non-conference and Big XII teams like going for them, so look for them to be #1 if they win out. However, consider the x-factor: the Big XII championship game has displayed a tendency to wreck a team's chances in the BCS poll in recent history. They'll probably face Missouri or Colorado, both of which are good, but will be summarily dispatched. So if all goes according to plan, count on the BCS favoring UT. And here's where it gets interesting.
#3 Virginia Tech, in terms of strength of schedule, has its work cut out for it - and has the most to gain. Should Frank Beamer run the table and finish the season with an unblemished record, the Hokies would have beaten Boston College and Miami - both assumedly ranked in the top 15 at the time they lock-up, and both of whom they play in Blacksburg. I'm also projecting a VT/Florida State ACC championship, to be held at a neutral site, which should make for a great game any way you slice it. VT started the season by obliterating the opposition by an average of 30 points (including a pair of 45-0 shutouts of Duke and Ohio). The only ranked opponent they beat was Georgia Tech (at the time #15), who they handled 51-7. So while they took care of business against lesser teams early, they'll step it up against ranked opponents later on in the season, which the BCS also factors. Were it not for Vince Young in Austin, we'd all be talking about Marcus Vick.
So even though 99.9997% of America's sportswriters (myself included) would have the Trojans face the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl, the BCS, based on its programming model considering schedule strength and margin of victory, may likely rank Texas #1, followed by Virginia Tech and then USC. This would mean, if we did truly have a 1 vs. 2 national championship game - which was the whole damn point of the BCS' inception anyway - we'd see Hokies and 'Horns.
It'll still make for a great game...albeit not the one many of us want to see.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Workaround for using .WMVs in Feedburner RSS feed
Here's a great workaround to get your Windows Video recognized in Feedburner.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Articles of interest today
- What obstacles exist for online journalism?
- The lowdown on mobile TV
- NetFlix movie downloads delayed
Will vidcasting be the death of streaming?
There's also PSPcasting - delivering high-res video to Sony's Playstation Portable. Same concept, different device. Tragically, although it does go beyond the iPod family in being an Internet appliance, an RSS-based subscription model hasn't been worked out just yet, with a couple of hacks implemented loosely.
Podcasts, either of the audio or video variety, remain pre-produced exhibits and unable to be broadcast live and requiring time to properly set up. And with Video iPods and the legion of knockoffs they'll give rise to at the moment not being Internet-aware devices, we can't send streaming content to them. We're still relegated to physically transferring files between a PC/notebook and a storage device. So there remains a strong market for timeliness over quality.
Time-shifting and place-shifting is catching on rapidly, but mobility's already made its mark as the big consumer convinience with the masses. It's easier to explain that you can take a newscast or radio show with you to the gym or in the car rather than trying to explain podcasting to someone with the "it's like Tivo for radio..." analogy.
So we'll likely continue to expand on our broadband plans, incorporating vidcasting for iTunes users and RSS enthusiasts, weening the daily downloaders to that more feature-rich platform; and also use streaming on the desktop to cover live and breaking events, and wirelessly for Java-enabled phones.
Greasemonkey for Google Reader enables scroll wheel
Some ABC affiliates start iTunes video podcasting
Many do this because the read-only nature of streaming technology prohibits such downloadingof permanent hard copies of the cast, keeping intact the profits generated by selling copies of broadcasts. Maybe this will calm the waters of ABC affiliates freaking out over network TV shows being available in ITMS.
I was thinking about doing this with our newscasts, perhaps creating an enhanced podcast for video, implementing Apple's proprietary RSS tagset to do things like chapterizing and embedding time-synched hyperlinks within iTunes. This would allow a user to be able to move to a specific story within a newscast, and jump to that story's written article on the Web, respectively.
Porn invades Video iPod
Quite often many new formats are embraced and exploited to the fullest by companies out of the San Fernando Valley, giving them real-world legitimacy. Adam Curry projects the translation of adult material as a driving force for video podcasting. I even predicted that porn star podcasting would be a killer app within time-shifted digital audio distributed via RSS (which surprisingly, no one's capitalized on yet).
The same categories of data - porn, religion and business - are going to drive portable video (and multimedia in general) as they did for podcasting, like with directory services like Podcast Alley.
Stanford launches iTunes support for university services
Stanford on iTunes will provide alumni—as well as the general public—with a new and versatile way of staying connected to the university through downloads of faculty lectures, campus events, performances, book readings, music recorded by Stanford students and even podcasts of Stanford football games.
At launch, the service will contain close to 400 distinct audio programs, and the university will continue to add new content as it becomes available.
Given that description, it's going to be a hell of a recruiting gimmick. Digitized audio, whether distributed as standalone MP3s or subscribable podcasts, is going to have the immediacy, cost-efficiency and survivability for new student orientation and campus tours what PDFs did for college catalogs and HTML did for course schedules.
My dad's been integrating multimedia and Internet products into his lectures at the University of Guam, but in so doing noticed how students are skipping class and just downloading PowerPoint slide decks, visiting his blog and accessing MP3s. I told him it's a matter of proper course design, that the total media experience would provide a full view of the topic at hand, not an alternative to a classroom lecture.
Video iPods enjoy 50% profit margin / Nanos scratch easy
This is good news, seeing as how complaints are being lobbed at Apple for the easily-scratchable Nano.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Top 10 blog design mistakes
What's interesting is that many of the principles laid out aren't that much different from those taught in any entry-level web design, web marketing or usability course. Things like not having your own unique domain, poor chronological navigation, illogically-arranged content - they all apply to web publishing, blog-based or not. It's funny to see people get all jazzed about time-tested concepts they should be adhering to anyway.
The only point that really stands out to me is Mistake #9 - "Fogetting that You Write for Your Future Boss" speaks to the editorial nature of blogs. That's a keeper.
Samsung's new Bluetooth headphones
These new Bluetooth headphones by Samsung look pretty neat, and would surely provide better sound.
Platform-agnostic list of Ajax frameworks
Jobs: There's No Market for Portable Video
I can see how Jobs might make such an assertion...video is the ultinate trump to audio, like audio is to the printed page, so by fully getting behind moving pictures, he's ostracize the base media upon which the iPod was built. Still, this came as a surprise to me, how he would seemingly neglect video's mobile potential.
The real threat behind Web 2.0 and the Network Computer
I can quickly ditch my Windows XP Professional PC for a new Mac Powerbook and not lose a beat. As long as I'm in range of a decent WiFi connection (and support soon for WiMAX, mesh networks and smart radios), I'd just need to sign-in to my various web-based services and I'm back in business. Instant synchronicity and no time lost doing installation/setup/configuration of a slew of applications to bring me back up to speed. I launch a web browser, visit my services, maybe set some cookies, and it's like I never left.
Because I never did.
On the contrary, NewsForge wisely cites three reasons against the practice of Internet-based applications, all rooted in ill-serving ISPs and the fickleness of infrastructure, both in regional networks, and in the Internet itself.
Video podcasting projected to be next dominant delivery platform
"The video desires of most consumers will continue to be served by free-to-air broadcast TV, and by pay TV services like Cable TV and Satellite...but a thriving premium video market will develop over the Internet. Really Simple Syndication (RSS), audio podcasting, and upcoming video podcasting initiatives will certainly drive demand for lots more video on the Internet. Apple's announcement that brings ABC's Desperate Housewives onto Apple's iTunes service marks a major turning point for video over the Internet.'"
It's evolution, dammit! Google Print needs to happen
Having studied intellectual property, I can see how not having the explicit permissions from all involved in the authoring, publication and distribution complicates the matter. But as a technologist, this has to be done.
The company plans to restart the scanning of in-copyright books on Nov. 1, according to Alexander Macgillivray, Google senior product and intellectual property counsel.
Google’s aim for Print is to make searchable the full text of as many of the world’s books as possible with the library portion of the project involving the scanning of books from five facilities — the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, The New York Public Library and Oxford University. The arrangement with each library differs, with Michigan offering the entirety of its library, while both the New York Public Library and Oxford University are only making public domain library books available to Google for scanning, according to Macgillivray.The archival benefits alone mandate that great (and not so great) works of literature, reference and entertainment be replicated in a more survivable format than the printed page. That Yahoo! would announce soon after the initial complaint was filed against Google that they'd be doing essentially the same thing just shows it's inevtiable. Everyone predicted this chain of events happening, and it all got started with the advent of the e-book.
Could print diehards be holding onto their platform, out of fear that the world's libraries will become ghost towns if everything one day is available via the Web? Perhaps. Is this a legal issue that'll be stuck in litigiation for insane amounts of time? Likely. Is this an argument that needs to be quashed so that progress can take place?
Media bias towards Apple?
Perhaps MSM is being sympathetic, not wanting to bite the hand that ultimately feeds them? Or at least provides the base facilities to get their work done? Is said bias due to just an unfamiliarity with any rival platforms? The way I see it as a MSM journalist, anyone's fair game - I do my job without passion or prejudice in the hopes of preserving the objectivity we're all supposed to subscribe to. As a blogger, anyone's an open target for a flaming arrow.
I'll admit that I've become less and less "Rah, Rah Microsoft" over the last year, having dabbled in other product lines and tracked other companies.
PSP on TV possible, how about iPod video on TV?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Bulk purchases in iTunes Music Store
(I wonder how long the download would be for that the entire season.)
I'm still in favor of a proactive subscription-based model, but I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.
I'd like to see Google compete with Monster
Why the hell not? They'd be indexed a heckuva lot quicker with Google's search technology. Think of it as Froogle for job seekers and listers. Why not?
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Easter egg in "Point Break"
So tonight I'm channel surfing while eating dinner tonight and AMC's got 1991's "Point Break" on, which I haven't seen in about six years. A great movie, and I truly believe a flick that the original "The Fast and the Furious" ripped off nearly completely. Apparently, I'm not the only one.
Anyway, I'm watching the scene where Keanu Reeves' straight-arrow FBI character comes to the relevation that Patrick Swayze's philosophical surfer-and-bad guy character is the criminal mastermind behind the Ex-Presidents. Reeves looks Gary Busey straight in the eye and, describing the enlightened naturalist, says "...he has lunch at Patrick's Road House." (Obviously a tongue-in-cheek reference to Swayze's 1989 film with Kelly Lynch.)
It's not on the movie's IMDB goofs page either. But here's an excerpt of the screenplay:
... so I started tailing him.
This Zen master surfer.
Bodhi, yeah. I'm on him all day,
right. He goes here, he goes there,
he goes to Tower Records and buys
come CDs, he has lunch at Patrick's
Top 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years
I found even more compelling the fact that the most recent cover appearing was 2004's Vogue with Nicole Kidman (the Dixie Chicks' nude political statement on Entertainment Weekly was the sole entry from 2003). Maybe such a trend is indicative of people moving away from print?
At any rate and before I start getting political myself, it's a good collection and makes for better coffee table fodder than many of the publications referenced within.
My dad's already downloaded a gang of videos that he's watched just for the sake of watching them.
Journalism's future: maintain the profession, replace the platform
Yeah, I get that a lot.
Rob from Podcast 411 interviewed me and said afterward that I'm the first MSM person he's met that supports - much less professionally acknowledges - new media products as legitimate communications platforms. This blew me away. The wayI see it, I've got to embrace applications affecting my company's core competency, lest they become the source of my annihilation.
I realize not all my colleagues know of new platforms on which to market their wares (and fewer are the number that endorse them), and this is where the greatest tragedy lies, I think. People often naively think I've got a bone to pick with the newspaper industry and that like many in the TV/radio/web industry, I take potshots at what I view as an inferior platform. Not true.
I have a great deal of respect, admiration and love for great journalism. I continue to read, watch and listen to great works. We're always going to depend on the savvy reporting skills of trained professionals, we'll continue to rely on the polemicality of editorialist who writes intentionally to incite emotion, and we'll always demand the thoughts and insight of the world's truly great thinkers. I loathe not the people that drive the amazing content that makes up the world's information, but the shortcomings of the platforms on which it's distributed. The only exception I take are MSM hard-asses who are too blindly loyal to their base media to try anything new.
Someday TV will become passe, too. Print's been dying for years, radio's already in the toilet and the tube is next on the chopping block. So do the right thing and continue to support the efforts of journalism, but likewise encourage the evolution of new ways to compose, distribute, share and refine information.
I've got a ton of reading this week
- Murach's Java Servlets and JSP
- Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader's Guide - C# Edition
- Pro C# 2005 and the .NET 2.0 Platform, Third Edition
- Pro ASP.NET 2.0 in C# 2005
CBS to list podcasts in iTunes
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Is Manningham Michigan's next "#1" receiver?
I'm marvelling at the stellar frosh campaign of Michigan wideout Mario Manningham, who has made a bunch of big plays for the maize & blue already, but none bigger than hauling in a touchdown against undefeated, 9th-ranked Penn State in the Big House last Saturday. He wears #86, the same number worn by Tai Streets, but my big thing now is if he stays in school, will he get the privilige of wearing the coveted #1?
Some think he's nailed it now. Biletnikoff Award winner Braylon Edwards had to earn the most valuable jersey in the Wolverine's locker room, waiting until his junior year. Now that #1 is firmly established as the premiere jersey for receivers in Ann Arbor, it's seen as a number that's granted - not selected. Anthony Carter, David Terrell, Derrick Alexander and Edwards all set the bar really high. So the honor is one that's got to be time-tested and well-deserved. To give Super Mario the shirt anytime before next year would be unjust to the tradition.
But sure, not only top wideouts get the honor. Desmond Howard won the Heisman with #21, and Streets, Marquise Walker, Mercury Hayes and Amani Toomer all had great success with other digits.
So could Manningham be the next exalted wideout? He's certainly on his way, #1 or not. Let's hope he eventually gets the blessing from Lloyd Carr, but let's do it the right way and give it some time.
A very Web 1.0/MSM attitude: stop having an opinion
This is a very Web 1.0/mainstream media mindset, that while comical in this instance, is a growing problem for organizations. Companies should positively adopt both schools of thought - embracing an energy to blog, podcast, create wiki entries, stream, and generally create, share and contribute to information channels openly. But, you should also temper your enthusiasm for commenting on every single thought entering your mind.
New age communications, as we're coming to see, if best if used tastefully and sparingly.
Network affiliates sweat over iTunes TV deal
And that's completely hypocritical on my part because I work for such an affiliate, operating channels for NBC and CBS (neither involved in the iTunes agreement). But my stance is also justifiable: my employer's one of those left on the outside looking in, not being able to realize sales revenue from downloads, or perhaps insert their own localized advertisements. Affiliates shouldn't be able to get a cut of the profits generated by downloads (or hopefully in the future, subscriptions) from the iTunes Music Store. That's something solely between the networks - who own the intellectual property to the shows - and Apple. Trying to petition to milk a little more out of an association with a network is outside the scope of an affiliate relationship. And a little desperate.
Apple/ABC intentionally didn't inform the little guy because they knew a leak would have been inevitable, ruining the shock value of a really cool distribution model. I predict this is going to have a tidal wave effect on broadcasting, and I'm hoping more networks list their shows as a means of propagating digital distribution of traditionally televised content. It's bringing time-shifting to network TV programming, sans DVR.
Sure, I'm concerned that the migratory pattern of all mainstream media is to move towards digital platforms, distirbuted over the Internet. I realize this changes and in many aspects limits how I'll be able to serve my audiences going down the road. But I'm also cognizant of the significance of the precedence that'll ultimately be set by Apple's strategy for the future of content delivery; and that despite getting TV programming via ITMS earns a stratospheric rating on my personal Cool-O-Meter, it's not that significant to hurt mainstream broadcasting. At least not yet.
And both are too important to be stymied by petty bitching.
What's the deal with delivery to Hotmail/MSN???
I tried checking the usual sources for info on this, but nothing yet. Hopefully, it works itself out.
...And justice for all: MLB's need for instant replay
My suggestion would be for MLB to develop a "challenge rule" not unlike that used in the NFL. Setting a limit on the number of times a manager may challenge an official's call during a game, so as not to excessively elongate the experience, and penalizing a manager's team (i.e., advancing a runner one base, imposing a strike on a batter, imposing an out on a team) for calls they challenge and lose seems only fair and, like football's proven, serves to self-regulate the practice.
But of course, baseball being the big complainfest that it is, people would subdivide history into the "B.I." and "A.I." eras - Before and After Instant Replay. Sportswriters would start creating questionable subfactions of stats pertinent to "the play that should have been" and debate the merits of current and future stats and records based on era. However, do recall that certain rules have made the game better. When Babe Ruth played, a ball bouncing out of the field of play was still considered a homerun, and a significant number of the Bambino's dingers can be credited to this oversight. Now, it's the infamous ground-rule double. And it's been received well.
But in the end, we'd get more accurate results. It's a proven system in football, even if it is the second time around.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Small world: the filmography of Vasquez from "Aliens"
I always wondered what happened to Jenette Goldstein, aka Pvt. Vasquez of the Colonial Marines from "Aliens", and more so, what her body of work comprised of. Now that I think about it after snooping her on IMDB, she was the foster mom in Terminator 2, huh? Most people gravitate towards Bill Paxton's wise-cracking Hudson, and Vasquez did die; but in that film, she's the man. Figuratively speaking.
What I'm reading now
- The Mad Dog 100 : The Greatest Sports Arguments of All Time
- Gasping for Airtime : Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live
- A Byte of Python
Wikipedia loves the Emerald City
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Vote for Bush! USC tailback will run away with 2005 Heisman
- Chris Leak, QB, Florida
- Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota
- Matt Leinart, QB, USC
- Reggie Bush, RB, USC
- Omar Jacobs, QB, Bowling Green
- Vince Young, QB, Texas
- Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio State
- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
I had Bush winning last year, and he'll do it this year by a slim margin over Young.
"May" should be a cult classic
It's got a lot of eerie fade-to-red segues, some really bizzare music, and between vaguely-told scenes that don't tie in together until the film's climax. It's also got Anna Faris.
But of course, the all-time great movie that leaves you bothered for weeks on end is 1999's "8MM". I don't know anyone who didn't watch that and a couple days later be a little weirded out.
Now I remember who Jeremy Renner is...
And then after moving past the horror section last night, I saw it: the DVD box for the 2002 movie "Dahmer", which I'd seen previously and in which Renner chillingly played the title role. That movie naturally left me very, very disturbed. I guess that's a credit to his acting talent.
I'm happy to have finally gotten closure on this.
"X-Men Legends 2" kicks total ass
You can play as a whole host of of classic and newer characters - 16 in total from the X-Men and Brotherhood - like Angel/Archangel, Colossus, Deadpool, Scarlett Witch, Sunfire and Iceman, In addition to the ones you'd expect like Wolverine, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Cyclops.
I enjoyed the vocal talents of Patrick Stewart's "other" famous role as Professor X. And I swear, that's gotta be John Lithgow playing Magneto. And I'd bet serious moolah that one dude who's in all the Adam Sandler movies is the voices for Juggernaut, Gambit, Grizzly and several other characters. I think the guy who voices Beast in the cartoon is also in the game in that role. It's very accurate, unlike the movies (my biggest boner-killer was Colossus not being Russian), and has a really challenging trivia mini-game.
I logged 2.5 hours last night, and I'm only a little into the story. I'm such a video game pansy these days, being years out of practice, that I'm playing 'easy' mode.
Good job on this one! (And "Ultimate Spider-Man" looks really good, too.)
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Essential blogging bookmarkets
Good work, Steve!
I've got a Sony Bluetooth headset on loan
So he got his own, but hasn't been too pleased. he asked me to swap for the weekend, and seeing as how he conceived, raised, educated and reared me, I figured it was the leastI could do. He complained of incessant echoing, caused maybe by the Sony's elongated, rubber mic. I'm not crazy about the fact that his headset sits rather awkwardly on my ear, being flimsy. I tend to get really peripatetic when I'm taking on it, constantly walking around and making hand gestures as if I were giving some big technical speech. My Motorola by comparison is much smaller and sits snugly, but not uncomfortably.
I've got no such sound concerns with I use Dad's device with my phone, but there is a deeper sound, such that I've got to max out the volume when I talk. I guess my Father's Day/Christmas shopping's already done.
Dad's Bluetooth headset (left) and mine.
Big Ten outlaws flag-planting
This will only urge other teams to do the same in other conferences. Someone in the SEC will do it in the next few weeks, prompting that conference to ban it. If you're going to do it, petition the NCAA and set the precedent across the country. Implementing such policy individually at the conferencelevel only asks for more trouble.
Better yet, let's make a deal: we'll give the NCAA and the conferences flag-planting, if they'll eliminate excessive celebration. Let a playa play.
iTunes Music Store should adopt subscription for TV programming
How cool would it be if Apple/ABC/other sources collaborated on a permanent subscription model for network TV content? A consumer would pay a set fee for a certain number of episodes, which would be a certain percentage cheaper than if you bought an entire season's shows individually and got automatic delivery of the content. It's retooling information by applying new media applications to proven concepts, taking a page right out of Sports Illustrated (pun intended), and from blogging/podcasting.
Think about it: assign users a secure account in the iTunes Music Store. They agree to pay $25.37 for a 15-episode season of "Grey's Anatomy" (15% off the cover price of $1.99 per episode). Add an incentive - subscribers exclusively get an extra bonus video of cast interviews, outtakes, etc. - and programmatically subscribe the user's local version of iTunes 6 to an authenticated RSS feed that delivers their shows according to a set schedule (an additional subscriber-only incentive might be they get the video a few hours earlier than its released in the ITMS).
For the consumer this would mean cost-effectiveness, guaranteed delivery, convenience and reliable viewership. And the networks get more money up front, regardless of the quality of their programming, the ratings of their stuff, or whether the end-user actually watches their stuff, or not. It's the perfect application of RSS to paid content.
Operators are standing by, cancel anytime.
Opinions mixed on ABC's ITMS strategy
Many in the blogosphere think current tech like DVR, VHS, streaming and P2P provide a suitable solution, generally being cost-free, and with the exception of many P2P networks, legal and in real-time. Such a mentality holds that for-purchase shows just won't make it due to existing tech platforms. Others within the biz say the purchase offering will kill mainstream TV ratings, because people will be willing to miss the aired show for free over cable if they can get it asynchronously time-shifted over ITMS. (I've also come across blog posts stating that said videos can't be paused, rewound, or forwarded...I'm trying to find the links.)
I'm hoping other networks follow suit. Imagine the additional revenue Fox would gain if reality shows like "American Idol" released their season finale in ITMS. The institution has become such a pop culture phenomenon that all the major networks carry coverage of it ad nauseum anyway, so imagine ($1.99/unit * 100,000 units) in additional after-the-fact profits generated by people wanting to relive the big moment. Mark Cuban projects such practice giving rise to a rich new paradigm of content syndication.
And further, think what would happen if Apple/ABC/other sources collaborated on a permanent subscription model, wherein you'd pay a set fee for [X] number of episodes, which would be [Y%] cheaper than if you bought an entire season's shows individually and got automatic delivery of the content. It's retooling information by applying new media applications to proven concepts.
Steve Speicher doesn't think the iTunes model will last and a few people have already noted opposition that ITMS isn't at the moment supporting independent or homemade movies. But Cuban defends the tactic as a stroke of genius and that it will forge a new economy, and I tend to agree. The model works for music and it can work for TV/video. It's simplicity is what makes it effective. But I don't think we should go all-in just yet and start demanding networks to translate their entire programming schedule to ITMS.
I've been asked what would happen if other networks decide to adopt more liberal streaming practices in order to compete. Easy - it's still streaming, and not a hard copy you can carry around with you or not easily port to other platforms. MTV Overdrive, that network's broadband service, can still become more aggressive in releasing its content. It's free, customizable, includes additional goodies, and is supported by ads a user can't skip of fast-forward like many DVRs.
The balance of power in delivering mainstream media content will be preserved in that content people want and are willing to pay for (or just don't know of any other alternative) will be available in paid services like the iTunes Music Store and the others that will undoubtedly pop-up, and free services.
The NES Micro
It's a mobile device capable of playing the 16-bit Nintendo titles we all grew up playing and loved so much. I'm waiting to see if someone hacks together one of the old LCD Game-n-Watch units. I ruled at Donkey Kong and Octopus.
User hacks MySpace's friends list with Ajax XSS
I've expressed concern about Ajax programming as a threat to security and performance, that XSS worms and DOS attacks might be more prevalent.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Argh! (Mis)use of the term "mashup"
See my previous comments on erroneously using "mashup", and a good piece on "remixing".
An updated look at the future of newspapers in the Web Age
John Branston of The Memphis Flyer makes a plea to support local newspapers, writing, "Opinions and blogs and summaries of other people's work may be interesting, but they’re not news." Somewhat true, but that's changing. If you define news as the act of (hopefully) objectively recalling an event, or composing a thought and defending an argument for public rebuttal, many bloggers don't fit the mold. But they don't have to - and that's the beauty of new media applications on communication. It's a new take on an old set of rules in need of revision.
John's is a well-written piece, but doesn't consider some of the more in-place technologies propagating information, and appears desperate in its support of an inferior platform that realistically hasn't got that many years left in its current incarnation. This leads me to herein update a previous column I wrote just eight months ago - as a member of the mainstream news media - in which I predicted the newspaper industry's inevitable death due to the increase in popularity of new media services. (The same certainly applies for today's broadcast industry, as well.) This is a theory passionately shared by participatory journalism advocates, and by a growing number of mainstream media types the world over.
In the web-enabled Age of Information, free's the word - free content, free tools for creation and access, free choice, free archival, free retrieval, free opt-in, free opt-out, free customization, free personalization. The newspaper's traditional subscription-based revenue model doesn't keep up, and banner ads can't significantly support a full transition to web-based publishing. The fact that a paper can't diversify by adding rich multimedia to its site, lest people gravitate towards such material and cannibalize the paper's core competency also stifles the platform. Print additionally lacks the immediacy and time-shifted accessibility benefits of blogging and podcasting. A newspaper also can't be customized, unable to tailor itself to the needs, tastes and preferences of the individual.
So they're stuck.
Branston also proposes that "the printed newspaper is morally superior to the computer." Here's a reality check: most people are willing to sacrifice morals if doing so saves them some money. Likewise, being well-principled ultimately takes a back seat to choice, timeliness and speed/frequency of delivery. So let's consider the real argument people have about new media: quality.
Reporting excellence realistically isn't really much of a factor anymore...no longer is "the media" seen as an exclusive club that puts us in the business in some elite class above the average citizen, privvy to control the flow of information, the world's most valuable commodity. I know hobbyist bloggers who can run rings around professional reporters in terms of being able to ask the right questions, being well-connected, maintaining a captive audience, properly using humor, telling a compelling story and writing effectively. Sounds a lot like grassroots journalism, doesn't it?
Credibility, on the other hand, is still largely measured by one's association to a respected organization, so that's a hurdle we've yet to truly overcome. Accuracy wavers, with a third-party editorial function absent from most blogs.
To further compare new media services to print, consider research indicating that the age of newspaper readers is getting older, implying a preference shift to Internet-based delivery mechanisms. Steve Rubel also discovered that many people don't really care about a blogger's literary acumen and consiciously don't expect blogs to be traditional masterful publications, just expecting interesting thoughts.
John very wisely notes that today's newspaper beats out the Internet in privacy, but leaves out the critical interactivity aspect that so sorely hurts papers (another element print media hasn't widely been able to effectively leverage). True, a paper doesn't track and submit demographic data about you in the background and is a mobile product in the truest sense of the word, but in what capacity can you interact with the editorial staff? Today's world is about sharing information, not hording it.
The big knock on blogs used to be that the classical promotional engine of big-budget corporations would trump any viral marketing effort by the cyberspace community. Not so - the hype generated by shareware/freeware, web promotion, word-of-mouth advertising and community push has proven to be self-sustaining, and for some applications has exclusively driven their popularity. Look what's become of WikiPedia.
People have also said blogs wouldn't get off the ground because they'd be too hard to find amidst the millions of domains and web pages. Good point - recent analysis indicates the size of the blogosphere reportedly doubles every five months. Blog trackers now deliver near real-time content at no cost; old school wire services used to provide such services at a price so premium only formal news services could afford them. RSS is everywhere these days, to the point of sites without them being labeled inferior.
Advanced services categorizing, filtering and distributing content according to popularity in the blogosphere like Technorati, Memeorandum, Blogniscient and Digg aren't just improving the quality of experience for existing consumers by eliminating the tedious search function...they're bringing more people in by simplifying the process. And these services weren't even publicly available when I penned my column above this past February, exhibiting the rapid product development cycle of new media apps. Blog search tools like those of Google and Yahoo! make finding content even easier, social networking services like del.icio.us make one's content of interest accessible (Flickr adds a multimedia twist), and RSS aggregators like Google Reader ensure you get just what you want without having to sift through nonsense and clutter. Litefeeds even makes it mobile.
Google News tracks only legitimate news agencies, sources, stations and publications and updates its index every few minutes, delivering a rapid response surpassing anything a paper or broadcast could ever hope to achieve, the latter media being limited by rigid distribution schedules.
The bottom line is that the system works. New media apps beat the static, non-interactive, dated nature of newspapers. And whether you agree with it or not, to ignore such products and services is asking to get wiped out by them.
(And in fairness, as Steve also mentioned, broadcast media outlets are subject to the same doom as print, just not as immediate. Radio's current state, in terms of content delivery, revenue model and accessibility is horrendous; and traditional TV is already starting to head down the same path.)
Apple's real plan for iPod video?
Good reading, well thought out analysis. Check it out.
Microsoft XML NotePad's inability to process CDATA
Anyone got any suggestions?
Apple's breakneck versioning cycle for iTunes
iTunes 4.9 debuted at the end of June, and iTunes 5 came out sometime in August. And now, a little more than a month after 5.0, Apple dropped iTunes 6. Wow. Some, are questioning why 5.0 didn't get enough breathing room. What caused this? Here's a little speculation.
- The PSP likely cut into the iPod's market share as a truly multimedia device, with better support for multimedia, specifically, imagery and video, forcing it to come out sooner, rather than later
- The ROKR phone/iTunes 5 rollout didn't exactly take the world by storm
- With the new iTunes Music Store offering TV programming, the Fall TV season, only a few weeks old, accelerated the need for in-demand current content
- The iPod needs to be out before the holiday shopping season
Should content creators include the full text in an RSS feed?
From a user's perspective, I've gotten mixed reactions. Half of the RSS consuming community - who's prime interest would seem to be the user experience, putting longer load times ahead of having to follow links - likes the full article loaded in an aggregator, saving them the need to click to the actual article on that source's site. The other half - evidently more concerned about payload - seems to appreciate abstracts and headlines, with links provided for the full stuff. I also noted that for this reason, perhaps content creators should consider writing tighter, more succint articles.
(For the record, I'm in the former half....I don't mind staying within a single app and reading stuff.)
Looking at the flip side of the argument, marketers would naturally oppose the notion of displaying an article's full text in an RSS feed, because it denies her the ability to display client ads. Certain RSS feeds have progressively tagged all their items with promotional mentions or even in-line client banners, which is cool. Services even exist that do this.
Today, many of the big-time sites, like CNN and ESPN, use a headlines-only approach, while smaller sites lean towards the full text. Maybe it's the eternal argument with RSS.
ASP.NET 2.0 needs cross-transport handling facilities
A handful of cross-transport modules for SMTP, SMS, and MMS are floating around, but nothing sadly exists at the moment that's easy to use, supported by Microsoft and that can be plugged right into ASP.NET 1.x/2.0 web applications. Blogger does this really, really well.
I'm disappointed that the ASP.NET team didn't make this part of the 2.0 build. Anyone know if something like this is coming down the pipe anytime soon?
Titty-based MP3 players
Memeorandum is tracking several blog posts to an article that projects computer chips embedded within breast implants - electronics in one and storage in the other - making it possible for surgery candidates to play music through their boobs via BlueTooth, making them more useful.
I guess this is eventually going to put all strip joint DJs out of work, with exotic dancers being empowered to cue up their own music. Here's a UI tip: make a recipient's areolas function like the iPod scroll wheel - functional AND entertaining.
BillG's Big Ten tour
I'm hoping someone will put up video of said tours, but hoping more than BillG, exhibiting his trademark sense of humor, suits up in the maize and blue for a picture on the 50-yard line of the Big House and launch into a rendition of "Hail to the Victors". That would be classic.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
The new marketing tagline for movies from this point on
Imagine the new mandated tagline movie compaines, TV networks and content multimedia producers are going to have to start using in commercials -
"[ SOME MEDIA PRODUCT NAME HERE
Praying for VH1 programming in iTunes Music Store
- Lasting appeal - I'll watch them over and over and over and over
- Portability - I could transfer files between the desktop and wireless devices (iTunes 6, iRiver, desktop Windows Media Player, iPod, PSP, mobile phone, PDA, Mac, PC, burn to CD)
- Lack of current product - I've long been critical of VH1's lack of merchandising for its series
- Faster, on-demand delivery - Guam's cable TV service is tape-delayed, so I'll have to wait 2 weeks after it airs
BlogLines adds Google Reader-esque keyboard shortcuts
I have noticed that my "J" and "K" keys are markedly more worn down since getting a GMail account.
Watching full-length TV/movies on portable devices
I'm now asking myself the same thing about people watching entire TV shows on video-capable iPods. Getting into a game in the final seconds with the constant "here's what you missed" approach of network sports TV is one thing, a drama, comedy, or formal broadcast presentation is another...meaning we'll have to watch things all the way through. Are people really going to be that locked-in to their devices?
Don't get me wrong...I'm a big consumer tech advocate and I think the notion of video on iPods is great. I'm just wondering if people will tolerate rich content on a limited screen. But integrating the new iPods with iTunes 6 is a residual benefit, as the main consuming clients for video is expectedly other apps/platforms/appliances.
Then again, the smallest screen that ever held my attention captive for extended periods of time was the original GameBoy.
Wachowskian philosophy: the overlooked duality of Agent Smith's name
In considering the numerous references made by the pop culture phenomenon that continues to the Wachowski Brothers' "The Matrix" saga, I've recently developed a theory about one character - a main one - that has curiously gotten overlooked in the dissection of his name, one that may carry more meaning than at face value.
The theological, literary and historical significance of the names used in the films (The Matrix, The Matrix - Reloaded, and The Matrix - Revolutions), video game (Enter the Matrix) and collection of animated shorts (The Animatrix) can't be understated. Names like Morpheus (the god of dreams in Greek mythology), The Oracle (at Delphi), Captain Niobe (Biblical), The Merovingian (as in the Merovingian Kings of France, who believe they are descendants of Jesus Christ), Commander Jason Locke (a la John Locke the empiricist), Captain Soren (as in Kierkegaard), the ship The Logos (meaning "the word"), etc. connote a deeper meaning than just coincidental, and often their characters display traits common to those they reference. This proves the deliberate, intelligent placement of their names; and I've read, watched and discussed countless hypotheses regarding what people, things and events those names represent.
However, one supposition I've yet to see is relating the villain Agent Smith to the economist Adam Smith. Sure, the general consensus by diehards and passersby alike is that Smith (the agent) by his nature in executing his function as a program within the system is a completely generic character, devoid of any redeeming or extraordinarily unique characteristics. Being modeled after a male human being, the agent requires a name of some sort to adhere to the very human quality of personality (apparently, even agents need some distinction, at least among themselves). As such, he's given the name Smith.
Most people accept Agent Smith's mandated abstraction as the sole reason the Wachowskis named him as they did. But I see a more meaningful, more philosophical relation in his behavior, carrying out the theories of the father of modern economics. This peers beyond the casual first glance, delving deeper than just the initials "A.S.".
Thus, I propose that Agent Smith is the personification (in a manner of speaking) of a firm competing in a capitalist society.
Consider that Smith (the economist), in introducing utopian capitalism in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, suggested that as entities within a macroeconomy, each individual inherently has the opportunity to attain sovereignty by way of attempting to fully maximize one's utility. Agent Smith certainly took this approach and pursuing self-interest over altruism when revolting against the system that enforced the rules governing how he could both exist and "live".
Adam Smith stressed the importance of laissez faire ("leave us alone") economics, with the system's governing authority not regulating an individual's actions, eventually allowing the enterprise to be free. Agent Smith ultimately adopted such a strategy, becoming an exile of the Matrix, gaining penultimate control within the fabricated reality, and attempting to overthrow the system itself. He nearly did so, were it not for the collaborative intervention of Neo and Deus ex Machina.
Additionally, one might consider Jean Jacques Rousseau's concept of an economic agent. Pretty interesting.
I'm quite certain I'm not the only person who's made such an observation. The similarities between the academic ideas of the real-life Smith and the behavior of the fictional Smith are, I think, too closely related to not warrant some investigation. Get in touch with me if you are such a person and let's rap about it.
(This article is also published at THEMATRIX101.COM)
Should RSS aggregation mandate publishing shorter articles?
Does this mean all media publishers - mainstream included - should seriously consider writing smaller, more succinct articles to maximize readership? Should those of us that distribute multi-platform work (web, RSS, wireless, e-mail, etc.) consider reducing the content's payload?
Steve Rubel asked if a blog post's length mattered to people, which for most, doesn't. I've started making my web-based articles at KUAM.COM a bit less verbose, and the RSS-consuming community say they appreciate it. Of paticular importance is writing tighter when distributing content wirelessly, to reduce the number of page reloads on space-limited screens.
What do you think? Should colummists, journalists, bloggers and writers shorten their work to ensure people read them?
iTunes 6 supports video - an integrated approach
I've been pondering the total impacts that today's release of iTunes 6 is going to have on the media business, with the platform's key feature being its integration with the iTunes Music Store to support video. So, as Joel postulated, in addition to movies, music videos, short films and specials, TV programming like many (if not most) of ABC's sitcoms and dramas will be available for download a day as QuickTime clips after they've aired on network TV.
This makes perfect sense. Apple was quick to forge an alliance with ABC's family of networks (Disney, ESPN, ABC Family, etc.), as was evident in the earliest podcasts available after iTunes 4.9 came out. So they've gotten a major platform advantage on the other networks. And it's no scheduling snafu that they're coinciding this with the announcement of the new video iPod to surge demand for the player, hitting the ground running with great, in-demand content to show, via a $1.99 per video purchase at the iTunes Music Store .
Is Ajax wrecking mobile development?
Or, it'll be too much work to do so.
Think about it: I was mentally pseudocoding a Google Local mash-up suitable for wireless phones and PDAs, wherein a user could perform a lookup for an address, and then based upon their GPS-accessed position, have driving directions to/from their locale calculated automatically. Nice in theory, but there's so much functionality dependent on Ajax (not to mention everything is written in a client-side script block, which not all mobile browsers support), I don't know how to get around it or if such an application is even possible, sans client-side callbacks.
I think Microsoft has taken this under consideration and is implementing depracating considerations in Atlas. I think.
Video iPods would really empower podcasting/v-logging
This would be a very expected stategic step, with Apple trying to edge itself into the market and compete against Windows Media Player and portable devices like high-end iRivers and the PSP. But my bigger interest is the impact this will have on podcasting.
It's likely going to encourage more content creators to start v-logging, and could see a whole new Apple-centric shift in podcasting, moving from audio-only MP3s to audio/video-capable MP4s, corning the market on high-end podcasts. Since Apple extended RSS with its iTunes 4.9+ tagset to enable enhanced podcasts (find links about enhanced podcasts), this gives it the edge on Microsoft. For the moment.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Average age of newspaper readers: 55
The Minneapolis Star Tribune (itself a paper) published a report citing a study that determined the average age of newspaper readers was 55. I didn't think it would be that dramatic or this soon.
"Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups."
Finally! Someone has something nice to say about Google Reader
It's moderately technical, although not menacing for the neophyte, and couples some very specific examples of what the program does right and does well with helpful screen grabs, which makes his review the perfect de facto tutorial/help. The lack of such documentation is something I've had a problem with.
Getting used to Blogger over .TEXT
Here are some things I enjoy about Blogger over .TEXT:
- I can post to my blog from my mobile, from e-mail
- I can post blog about RSS-based posts via Google-integrated apps like Google Reader and other mash-ups implementing the major blog APIs (WordPress, MovableType, TypePad, et al.)
- Permalinks seem to be better integrated
- There's an internal search tool
- Permalinks are the actual URLs used for each post, reducing the need for separate/additional paths (which has always confused me)
- Blogger, AFAIK, won't let me setup custom categories each with its own RSS feed
- The site's default RSS feed is Atom only, not RSS 1.0 and/or RSS 2.0, and doesn't appear on the page
- I don't like the fact that each blog post's title doesn't link to a dynamic page (the archiving is kinda weird, but I'm a programmer so I like dynamics like that)
- I'm still trying to figure out where to find stats
- I've neven been a fan of the "/this-is-my-blog-post.html" file naming convention
No iPod love for Toyotas?
With Toyotas far and away being the dominant brand on Guam, this is sadly yet another reason iPods aren't going to propogate locally anytime soon. And making for yet another hurdle for me to get people into podcasting.
Browsing to Google's ROBOTS.TXT implies product release schedule
It's been discovered by simply browsing to http://www.google.com/robots.txt that a directory name "/purchases" and "/gwt" have been blocked from crawlers.
Hunting for throwbacks
- NHL - Hartford Whalers Jersey
- NCAA Basketball - Michigan Wolverines Chris Webber #4
- NCAA Football - Florida State Seminoles Deion Sanders #2
- NCAA Football - Michigan Wolverines Desmond Howard #21
- MLB - New York Yankees Mickey Mantle #7
- USA Hockey - Mike Eruzione #21
- USA Volleyball - Karch Kiraly #15 / Craig Buck #7
Reactions to Google Reader
Yahoo adds bloggers to news pages
New domain/blog (slight return)
I'll also be putting a lot of things about ASP.NET 2.0, JSPs, embedded programming, sports, how much I loathe reality TV, podcasting, cool consumer tech, and other stuff.
Here's the new RSS feed, since apparently it isn't showing up on this page: http://www.jasonsalas.com/blog/atom.xml
Gold star for Writely
I finally figured out what everyone has known for awhile - Writely rules. I've setup an account and have been messing around with it in between taping my sports show this afternoon. I've previously used the roaming collaborative environments Basecamp and WriteBoard from 37Signals before with the Podcast Specification Working Group, and those were really fun.
I see it as a mash-up of the wiki concept of community-editable documents with RSS feeds to track document changes chronologically. It's amazing how simple the concept is. I prefer Writely mainly for the fact that I can (take the product tour):
- Import files (Word documents, images, HTML)
- Apply tagging and share documents
- Post straight to my blog
- Export to Word
- Generate/subscribe to RSS feeds
I think this app is in need some of sort of mobile support, but it's way cool. I've already added this to my list of Firefox tabbed start pages.
A local IT guy thinks this is neat, but won't start using it, citing similar functionality within SharePoint Services.
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