Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama; The Second JFK...?

(As I hadn't put up anything in quite a while, I thought it seemed like a good time to put in my thoughts on the election last night.)

As any one who know me personally knows, I have very little use for politations and politics in general.
However, as I watched the speeches, and considered the conditions which brought us our first African American President, similarities came to mind of a President, 47 years ago, and nine presidents ago: John F. Kennedy.

While it can be argued that there are many things that are different form JFK and Barack Obama. Both were the first in a number of ways; JFK, was a Boston born, blue-blood, who came from wealth and power, his father, Joe Kennedy, was a major player in many circles and he was eventually was drawn into the political arena. Obama, on the other hand ,is the son of a immigrant, and born in Hawaii, and was raised in very different circumstances. The end result both men found themselves in the right place at the right time on history.
Many things had to be just right and happen for them to fulfill their destiny's .

One of the major players in the two presidencys , 40 years apart, was/is the mood of the country. Simply put the country, ie people. particularly young folks, are tired of the status quo. Things were not going well back in '59-'60. and people were starting to see that changes could be made, if enough people were upset enough and willing to try new ideas and programs that would allow the country to grow and prosper. In short the "Old guard" was out, JFK became a symbol of of the hope of the nation to turn itself around and make a more level field so every man had a equals chance to get ahead, and not just barely get by.

As I said it came to me that JFK was the first in several way; First Irsh-American, Catholic , and he used the media of the day, Television, particularly the debates to his advantage. He also dis a very grassroots campaign that involved shaking millions of hands and traveling thousands of miles. All of this lead to his stardom, and helped build the mystique that has covered him for almost 50 yeas. When he was Killed that bullet took the breath away from the country, to to a large extend the world. It has never quite completly recovered it. No one has come close to following his legend, yes, I said Legend. its up to history to judge how great he did, or could have been, had things been different in Dallas.

Last night we may have seen the begins of the legend to follow Kennedy. At least we can HOPE.
The country is in a place where it need straight no B.S. answers and a clear path that everyone need to get aboard on, regardless of their political color, or skin color. What is needed is to sit down and pick apart what will work here and what will there and put it together and make the whole thing work regardless of where the ideas came from, what matters is quality of the ideas and not where they came from.

What Obama has succeed in doing is uniting the whole country in a way which it has been very seldom united for many years. He used modern tools, such as Tv, and the internet in creating very localized grassroots movement that was able to move people to do more then they could ever have done in the old traditional campaigning methods, The power of the internet and the savvy of the people using has created a whole new school of political power.

What is needed now is a cross between Harry s Truman, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ike. These were men who said what they meant and for the most part did what they said. and Most importantly took responsibly for their actions, and were prepared to accept the consequences if what they did failed. They tried new ideas and for the most part made them work. It might be a good time to revisit some of the old programs and see how some of them could be reworked to fit todays economy and workers needs,. it called Learning from your past...

The question is now, Can Obama, live up to the promises, either said or implied by election. Will he handle events that are thrown at him in a clear level headed manor and learn to "draw his gun quickly, and take his time" and act quickly but not so quickly that he over or under shoots, and misses completly, today as then, it could be fatal. Only this time he has the whole country standing behind him if he misses.........

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Reports of my Death have been greatly exaggerated.... "

"Reports of my Death have been greatly exaggerated.... "

Said the Television Industry to the Media,

Over the last few years media pundits have have been predicting the downfall if not death of traditional television.
Due to both the advent of the Internet and DVD, high definition and the ability to take your media almost anywhere you go. Yes portable media is nice, handy and a nice way to kill time while waiting for doctor,ect, It will never replace the experience of sitting in your favorite lounge chair watching a High Definition Movie with 7.1 surround and eating your favorite snack, and when its over turning out the lights and going straight to bed, without driving a hour to get home.
In spite of all of the types of media there are, and ways in which one can listen to, or watch the main hub to organize and centrally locate the source seems to be some kind of media server, which uses your tv as a display screen to both navigate your media, and play it.
our old friend, Microsoft has a media server,which from what I have seen in on-line demo clips show it looking pretty good, But they didn't say exactly what was under the pretty interface, Of course it didn't crash during the demo. The idea of ripping all your movies onto a couple of huge hard drives and watching them form one box on any tv in the house is both nice, and scary at the same time.
However, with the move to a all digital format in February of next year and the popularity of content from many other sources It no wonder the death dredge for tv has been sounded.
I think it a lot premature to call the television industry dead. As long as there is mass marketing there will be mass media of some sort. Television will evolve and programing will change and the interface will change, however the lure of sitting mindlessly watch a show all evening is still strong. Hopefully the content will improve. Anyone who has followed my blog for anytime know I have little use for 99% of the new content of tv today.
What the networks are starting to understand is that the days of a captive audience are over. They have been , for the last 20 plus years when VCR and cable came along, as soon as consumers had more choices and the ability to tape something and watch when they wanted, they weren't as tied to schedules and being there when a show was on. and of course they had more shows to tape..

The tie-in between the web and the tv is getting tighter every month. Both Playstation3 and XBox360 are positioning themselves to become a media hub in the living room. Not just a box to play games on. Thats not even counting the dedicated media servers and other ways to get content to the tv.

The media content providers are saying that revenue are down. Viacom just released 2nd quarter statements, basically saying that ad revenue was stalled had only grew worldwide by 2% and US Ad sales only 1%. Which means they're not selling the ads like they had been and they fewer people are seeing the ads they do sell. Link to story;

You can read it and draw your own conclusions, Essentially the MTV generation is moving away from just sitting in front to their black box for hours at a time. They want their media with them, wherever they go, Be it MP3s notebook, or a device that plays everything from music to full motion video on a small portable screen.
The Television and Movie industry have to accept that they're not the only game in town anymore. With new computer coming out that are designed to be used as both a tv and a computer, playing content from other sources is even easier and more of a option for many folks.

The choices of content to stream on you computer, and hopefully eventually stream directly to you tv and sound system have grown considerably over the last year or so, The start with Google Video and now Youtube have opened the door for many types of streaming media to be available and the growth of broadband have allowed more people to take advantage of their faster connection by doing things they never dreamed of, Such as streaming classic tv shows on their laptops while sitting in a MacDonald's, or Starbucks or even the Library. The point is they have more options.

The top of the tv streaming heap is launched back in March it is already racking up huge number of streams and users. 83 million in June, and it keeps going up. Why all the hulua over For several reasons: One picture quality is excellent, while its not as good as watching natively on you tv, its the best I've seen online. However their compressing the feed , it opens and plays with very little shudder or lag most of the time. Compared to YouTube, its night and day. The other big thing is their selection. While they have a large number of newer programs, they have a even larger number of old classic tv, Which is great way to introduce a young person to shows you watched as a kid and still miss. While there are commercials during the shows they well spaced out and VERY sort, ie 15-30 seconds and right back to the program your watching.
Another contender for tv viewing time is DVDs. With the drop in price for a standard definition DVD player to well under a $100. most everyone has some kind of player, that not even mentioning all the Sony PS2 out there that play dvds and are used as stand alone players, and rarely play games. Of course the Movie studio have been crying pirertcy and that they're losing money for years.
With all of theses and more options available to the consumer is it a wonder that the Tv-land is shaking in its boots. There are surveys that say as much as 20% watch tv on the internet, and it will probably grow, The networks need to work to provide a wider platform to allow viewers to watch whenever they want. One may catch a show as its broadcast one week, and the next week be busy and not able to see the show, being able to go to the web and watch the show you missed and keep up is something that networks need to work on. On the web side commercials need to be kept to a mimmium or they'll drive viewers to other sources for the programing they want, and not watch the "Official" streaming version. Also the ability to download shows and watch later is also something that networks need to work on, But then there you get into the Dirty word...DRM...
Once you start actually downloading material, your opening the door to DRM issues and how dose the network control its material once its downloaded.
To compete and hold its own with the new medias coming out almost daily, the networks need to rethink their stragies, the old captive audience has long ago unlocked he door and flew away. Web content should add to the viewing experience, with such things ans interview with actors, producers ect, and behind the scene looks at how the show is made, maybe even web only offering to ad to the knowledge of the background stories of the show. this would keep viewers on the"official" site and probably make them more interested in watching the show on tv more often. By embracing the new media and helping the audience enjoy their favorite shows how and where they want to, they will in the long run build up the viewer ship they and their advertisers crave. Television has to continue to evolve with the demands of the audiences, or the television industry as a whole will wind up in the same shape as the recording industry has in the last few years. Trying to control their material and protect their precious copyright will strengthen the consumers view of the tv industry as Big Brother, and put them in the same light and breath of disdain of the RIAA. And No one wants to be thought of on their level.

Here are some Links to check out:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Now IS The Time To Come To The Aid...Of Our Planet....

Over the last 5-6 weeks or so I had the chance to watch a new network brought to us by the Discovery family of channels. 'Planet Green" Planet Green was put on to replace a very popular Discovery Home. I must admit in all fairness I had never watched Discovery Home much, about the only show I cared for they had was "Holmes on Homes" It follows the adventures of Mike Holmes Contractor extraordinar. His mission is to go into jobs that had been either never finished or done very wrong by the original contractors and fix whatever needs fixing and fix it he way it should have been done in the first place. Simply put he treats each project like it was his own home and dose the job they way he would if it was his own place. But I digress; the emphasis of this is the replacing of Discovery Home. I have both watched many of the shows and been very active on the message boards. The concept of the network is excellent. a network devoted to everything green and sustainable, renewable and energy efficient. While the grand idea is noble, the execution leaves some to be desired. The sudden replacement of one network with a another with little or no warning is not a good start. The only way I knew about it was I read about it in my monthly magazine from Dish network, and was waiting to see what they were doing. Over all I do like the channel, they do have several shows which at this point I seen no use for, however time will tell. The important thing is that they work to bring in people who used to watch Discovery home and have turned off the new programing, mostly because they felt that wasn't fair to just kill a popular shows like Holmes on Homes, and a couple of theres that have been mentioned in the message boards, to either them or the show. I have expressed a similar opinion on the message boards along with other ideas for improving both the content of the shows and and the web site.

Over the last few years being "Green" has become socially acceptable and a financial necessity as well as environmently.too.
Here in my corner of Western New York, Wind power is all the rage theses days. There are wind turbines up in Buffalo, in Towanada a place once known for some of the worst pollution in the area, due to Bethlehem; Steel , which is now long closed, and the towers, if there even still there now stand empty with no smoke. replaced with wind turbines generating electrically. There are a number of other windmill farms in the area. In fact my five corners of Centerville is in the process of getting, I believe between 50-75 or so windmills put in in the surrounding area. I have come out in favor of them. As with any project like this there are always the naysayers, who for whatever reason are opposed to the project. While i haven't been as actively involved in the process as I would have liked to have been, The reports I've gotten is that is going well, I know they have a number of windmills up already and have seen them, and have no problems them.

The push for more fuel efficient cars has put the care makers on notice. if they don't make what the public needs they won't buy anything at all. The rise in gas price has hurt everyone across the board. A while ago a car that did 30-40 miles per gallon was considered pretty good. Now the push is to see how far we can stretch the millage, There are a number of hybrid cars, cars that run on both electric engines and when the hit a certain speed, the gas engine kicks in, the gas millage is way up and the overall appeal of the car is also up.
As the resources of the world are used up and unrepairable damage is done to the planet, the more important it is to take more drastic measures now. The idea that in 10-15 years we find that some of the prognosis that have been made by the scientist were not as dire as first thought,We would still be ahead of the game, with cleaner air and more economical ways of living.
Other areas which need serious work on being more consumer friendly are alternative power supplies, such as wind, and solar, and geothermal. The push for residential plug and play windmills and solar systems and other form of energy conservation needs to also bring the price down to where it is possible for a average family to afford to put in a system with minimum effort and a relatively quick payback. Of course the payback will be the and environment and the community.

There are many people who have a passion for the Environment and also for all things mechanical and a desire to push the envelope to see what can be built and actually work , have built many vehicles that run on alternative fuels, usually batteries, and have shown that they are viable, with more research and backing and promoting, many of theses vehicles could and should find they're way into the mainstream and compete successfully with traditional versions of their type, The vehicles I'm thinking of range from snowmobiles, to 4 wheelers and other types of vehicles not traditionally thought of in the same breath as Environmentally friendly .

The point is all means of conserving the resources of the planet need to be seriously considered. Not just the ones that are politically correct and have the highest profile, and bring in the biggest venture capitalist to help finance it. One would do well to remember that some of the giants of today and in the last 100 years started out in garages. The only difference is now its much harder to get out of the garage.

I would urge anyone who can get Planet green on the tv to please give it a look at, while there are a number of shows who's value I question, there are several shows which are interesting and informative and while your there participate in the web site .While it has its own set of issues it still need to be looked at and commented on. I realize that is is a bit of out character for me to recommend something so directly its important to both support the network and in so doing hopefully eventually help support the planet itself.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Ride in My Way Way Back Machine... & Back Again

Its been a busy couple of weeks around here, between spring and spring stuff needing to be done and my wife's work I discovered that my pacemaker of 14 years finely died. Its not something that just suddenly happened. It had probably been slowly dying over the last several months probably, any rate it finely quit completely. Of course it then needed to be changed.
I have a very usual heart condition that I was born with, called transportation of the great vassals, which in in simple terms means that the blood wasn't flowing through my heart the way it dose in everyone Else's heart. In in 1961 there was very little that could be done. They went in and opened up the hole that was supposed to close when I was born, didn't thus allowing blood to back flow into the body and give me oxygenated blood, When I was about 6 weeks old or so they went in and made it bigger and sent me home. There wasn't anything more that they could do so they sent me home. I was what was called back then a blue-baby, due to the lack of oxygenated blood in my system. Several years later a surgery called the Mustard Procedure was developed and I was the first in the us to have it and survive. Fast forward many years which the many folks didn't know exactly what to do with me, and I did many things which I was never supposed to to do: .Like graduating high school with a regular diploma. I have since married and have four kids the oldest of which is now 20. There are still limitations on what I can do and how much I can do especially as I get older.
I am very glad to say that everything went better then expected I was in and out the same day. and so far have had no problems.

I have said all of this as a way of say that technology has imported itself into out lives in so many ways that we don't even realize it anymore. from the watch that we wear, that tell us not not only the time, date month, timer, countdown timer, I've seen some with calculators and even heartbeat monitors and have mp3 players and thumb drives all on your wrist, the countless little toys you can put in your pocket,

While I was busy with my pacemaker and other spring projects I kept a eye on all things tech..I followed the proposed merger of Microsoft and Yahoo. while I not a fan of either I really wasn't thrilled with the idea of Microsoft and Yahoo joining at the hip, so to speak, I for one,and glad it went south. I also see that Echostar lost the suit with Tivio and while the final results aren't in yet the principle is set and it doesn't bode well for the future of in general and other recording devices in general.

The discussion of DRM is a hot button, that most folks don't know enough or care about enough to know about. I have tried recently to start discussions with folks about this type of subject and they look at me like I've lost my mind or an talking about a scientific principle they never heard of before. The only time I get any response is when I'm "preaching to the choir" so to speak. Regular folks don't understand whats at stake, and by the time they figure out what DRM is its have their media all locked down and they wouldn't know what to do to get around the locks or even care to.

I have also been reading about the resurgence of LP, remember them?, the big flat round disc you played music on, years ago..? True audiophile say they sound better in many ways then a CD, I can't tell personally, they all sound good. Whats interesting is the number of turntables being issued that have usb capabilities, allowing you to easily convert you collection of oldies to mp3 or whatever your favorite format is and play it on your Portable MP3 player. So its safe to say that the LP isn't dead yet. With new ways to make the music that on them playable in many more places and formats. This is whole niche market that the record companies can't get their hooks into, the LPs were bought and paid for years ago and any royalties have been payed years ago they're a dead issue as far a the labels are concerned, However, the number or artist releasing new material in both a digital format and also offering a LP version is increasing . I just saw that Amazon has come up with a way to offer out of print albums back on the market by doing a print to order type of model, something which has been done for books for several years.
Some other items that caught my attention was the proposed Microsoft/ Yahoo merger, which fizzled out as I had hoped it would. I have no love for either MS or Yahoo and the idea of them merging was rather unsettling. Ms has too much power on the desktop, and has it hands full trying to keep Vista alive and keep anyone who can from either staying with XP or completely jumping ship to either Linux or Mac. Not to mention it other projects,ie, Xbox/360 and the 2nd generation Zune. Yahoo has its own set of problems such as loosing the search competition from Google. While the the Yahoo mail dose offer many of the same productivity features Google dose, just not with Google's interface and style and simplicity.
Face it, Saying you a Gmail address just sounds better then

This month marks the 10 year of the passing Frank Sinatra. Long lauded as one of this Century's greatest crooners and performers. While his presence was felt through most of his life, it seems to be coming back, again. I have always appreciated his music, there are certain songs of his that I love. I've seen many of the movie,and understand why he has the following he did and still dose. Many of his movies and much of his music is being reissued on dvd/cd in anniverisesary collections . All of this is well and good, and should be done. It should be remember that off stage he had a life and left 3 kids who have to live with his legacy and being children of a icon. The next question is, is there someone today preforming that people will release 10th anniversary collection of his 50+ year old work, 10 years after their death? To my mind, the answer is no.
Granted the entrainment business has always been a commercialized business, object being to make money, however, in the last 30+ years the business has been putting the dollar above making and promoting artist expression and making movies that push people to think. a classic example is. "In The Heat of The Night" when the White Plantation owner slapped Virgil Tibbs and Tibbs slapped him right back , and the Sheriff sat there and watched and didn't say a word. recently I heard a story that Nelson Mandel saw that movie while he was in exiled in South America, and he noticed there was a cut, but it wasn't until years later when we found out what was in that cut,; it was that scene,. In recent years there has been more in the way of indie film making and distributing, Because big movie houses don't want to back anything that's different, and now with the Internet and other distributing means a writer producer can bypass the MPIAA, and if he's lucky have them come knocking on his door.
Well, I hope that you have found my ideas worth waiting for and interstring reading if you like to comment please feel free to,,


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More on DRM and Other Issues of Importance

Image this; You sit down with your family in front of your brand new 50+" High definition tv with 7.1 Surround; sound and all the trimmings to watch a Blu-ray movie you borrowed from a friend. You played the movie in your brand new Blu-ray HD DVD player the hooked up to the Internet via your wireless connection which for your wi-fi network for the computers. This give you extra features not on the player itself,,, or so you thought.

A week latter you receive a summons to the Piracy Court in your area, Apparently the movie your borrowed from your friend was a copy and not the original, and the DVD player realized this and played it anyways and then "phoned Home"

The above scenario is make believe right now.However,the hardware is available now to do exactly that or something very similar to it. Once a device is put a network theres no end to what can be done even in the background, if the program is in the rom chip it can run in the background and the owner never know its even there until its too late. By then everything that they've done with that device is no longer their own personal business, it now part of a giant profile either a general profile or a specific profile based directly on them by name, or other qualifying data.
There are other issues here beside just devices spying on us.The ramifications of this are frighting.

Other issues that have come up in the last few years include music, and of course HD and the DRM in General. The music industry has pretty much given up on drming their mp3s. Theres has been a huge backlash against the perceived enemy's, in the form of the RIAA, and the MPAA and other media distribution bodies, . Over the last several years there has been a huge drop in CD sales, this is blamed in large part on music sales though on-line retailers such as I-Tunes ect. along with everyones old scapegoat piracy . yes there is piracy however I don't believe its the only reason the sales have gone down. Maybe most of the music isn't all that great in the first place and people don't want it. All that aside, two artist tried something very different last year, they got shed of their contract with the big studios and independently publish their cd. the big twist is was they didn't price their cd,
RadioHead released their album "IN Rainbows" was released Oct 10, on their site and anyone could down the entire album and pay what they wanted for the album. They also had the option of pre-ordering it and also a special box set with a vinyl version and other items. Although they wouldn't release exact figures, all indications are that they did very well, and the best part is they got all the money not most of it going to middlemen. Here are couple of link to story's about the Radiohead ablum;,4670,OntheNet,00.html

Earlier this year Nine Inch Nails followed Radiohead by releasing their album free and offering better quality versions for fees. They said that so far they have earned 1.6 million on their free album. See Link;,25642,23390248-5014239,00.html

While theses two example prove that people will pay even if they don't have to most artist are not in a position to do something like that. But it dose prove the concept of people paying the artist directly without the middle man, AKA the record companies. When people know the artist is getting all the money they're more willing to pay more.

There are other venues that also lend themselves to artist self-producing their works, such as publishing. Do a quick Google search and you will find thousands of places that will publish your book. Some are places that will publish your book for a price, while other are real publishing houses that actively look for talent and will publish your book. The biggest boom is the idea of on-demand publishing, there are many places where they only actually print and bind a copy of the book after it has been sold, the idea being theres no no huge inventory of books sitting around wasting paper and taking up space, they only print exactly what they need.

Which bring us to a another new concept that has been getting widespread attention, Creative Commons licenses.

The idea of Creative Commons Licenses is that you can decide what kinds of rights that you want give your work.

Here are several ways in which you can copy write your material,

1. Others can copy my personal videos, edit if they like or even distribute them on their own sites but should not sell the videos.
2. Others can copy photos from my Flickr Gallery, use them on blogs but they are not allowed to edit or manipulate the photos.
3. Other are allowed to take my images and even manipulate them using Photoshop but they should license their new creations under identical terms.
4. Others can take my music albums and distribute them on their own sites but they should neither modify the contents nor make any money out of my music.

This lets you have a say in what ways your work can be used. The Creative Commons Licenses can be used with anything from music to art, to books published online. This is a idea which is catching on all over the world, One look at the Creative Commons website shows that they developed it to work in many languages and countries.

There are a myriad of other issues to be dealt with over the next several years. Among them; the idea of Net Neutrality, the idea of keeping the Internet a even level playing Field for everyone regardless of how get on line or what speeds they're going be 56k or a T1 line, One the we everyone is equal, President Bush as access to the exact sites and information as I have or anyone Else on at the time, I could be shopping at the same on line store as Bill Gates and never even know it, and we're both equal as far as the web is concerned.Except that Bill Gates can spend WAY more then me..
Theres also the recent auctioning off of spectrum by the FCC. One round of Auctions has ended. The 700MHz bandwidth is the bandwidth that analog tv uses to broadcast you tv signal from your local broadcasters to you. With the coming transition to digital in February 2009, that bandwidth is now freed up for other uses. The FCC has had a auction to licences the bandwidth to various providers, who can then use it to either add or upgrade their services to the consumer.Among the winners were big players likeVerizon, and AT&T won most of the licences and blocks .

Here are two links;

This is the FCC site with the Auction Summary;

Here is another story on the results,;

For more reading do a search on 700MHZ auction Results. The eventually outcome of this and the future auctions for other bandwidths will not be known for quite some time, However, consumers should be aware and keep informed of whats happening in the wireless space as well as in cyberspace.
Its very important for consumers to not take what their fed by the mass advertising and other media outlets at face value . They need to question and do research and find out exactly what going on behind the sences and try to understand how it will affect their rights asa consumer and as a citizen. To to this end I offer the following links to places and peaple who are trying to protect our freedoms as we know them now;


Below are a listing of all the links at the bottom of the Public front page. Please take your time and go through them, I think you'll find some interesting reading.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Round One of the DRM War......

Round One
Of the DRM War
Has Started....

As any one who has read my blog over the last several months know I have very definite ideas about the upcoming digital transition, and more importantly issues surrounding it, i.e. DRM and the consumers right to play what they want when, and on what they want. The first salvo of the DRM war against High Definition media owners vrs the consumers was fired earlier this year when a hacker was able to find the AACS Code the encrypted the title and locked the High Definition Disc. This was posted and eventually made its way to the website, where it was posted. soon received a cease and Desist order requesting they take down the code and any post related to it. However, there was a revolt and very soon after it was remover it was put back up in many different forms by thousands of readers, The folks at Digg finely relented and let the post stay up.

The bigger picture is that while the Media companies and studios will try to limit how consumers use their media, forcing people to find workarounds to to what they've always done before, which was well with the preview of "Fair Use" I have seen reports of some rather nasty ideas floated using hardware embedded
software that "phones home" and alerts the powers that be what your doing if your playing a DVD that not quite legit they will know and may do anything from shutting down the machine either later next time you try to play that disc, or right then and there, or filling a report to someone who can make your life miserable for months after.

it was just brought to my attention that Direct tv, has put a 24hour cap on letting folk view a per per view movie, that include items you've started watching and haven't finished, once the 24 hrs was up it disappeared, and if you want to see it again you have to pay again. Heres the link;

The encryption code used in Blu-ray HD DVD is called AACS code its a encryption used for content distribution and digital rights management for dvd, I foresee other uses for it, none of them good..

Here are two Links to information about AACS Code;

Also related to the AACS Code the page detailing the crack to the DRM on the HD DVDS:

Heres a link to the DIGG Story about their taking down the code and putting it back up again.

Also heres a link to a page on the HBO Site I found this morning;
This explain their position on recording show off their networks;

I don't think most people realize how their rights as consumers are being slowly eroded and what we have taken for granted as rights granted to us back in the 1970's with the advent of VCRS , and a supreme courts decision that vcrs did not violate copyrights or tv produces as long as the tapes were made for personal use. its called "Fair Use" What is needed for people to call and email and write their local congress people and let them know they are against DRM and crippling DRM in particular.As far I'm concerned that fair use law extends to CD's DVD, HD DVDs and any other media, as long as I make copies for my own personal use they have no right to limit my ability to record or archive any media.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the Winner is....Not US....

The time as come to wax poetically, or just rant... on and on,,,,,,,,,,

I have several pet issues, which I've covered in some detail. I don't want to bore you by going over ground you can just as easily read by clicking on my archives.
As you may know the Oscars are coming up very soon, I haven't watched a Oscar show in many years, I've also not watched any awards show for music in at least as many years.
I haven't let myself get pulled into the pettiness and shallowness and gaudiness of of toady's commercialism . While its hard to completely ignore the advertisements and the push to get you to buy into a system where you want it before you even know what it dose. It can be done. The thing to do is realize that 99% of the "stuff" that is pushed into the market is either useless or just plain junk that should never have ever been brought to market in the first place . I have been heard many a times, when a commercial come on, saying to whoever was around, usually myself,"If you believe that, I've got some Farmland in the Middle of the Ocean to Sell YOU" meaning they're full of" whatever adjective you want to insert.". and I don't believe one word of their BS.

This morning my seven year old daughter wrote up a list of item she wanted for her birthday this spring,there were only three, but the point is, She saw them all advertised on tv this morning and decided based on one 30 second spot that she wanted them. Of course I know by the time her birthday comes around she'll probably forgotten about them, but it bring home the point about people particularly young kids thinking they have to have every new thing that they see, whether they need it or not. Kids are not he only who fall into this trap. Many adults of the last couple of generations have grown up with advertising blasting at them from the time they wake up in the morning, till they go to bed at night. They think they have to have every new do-dad that is shown them. weather they need it or not..

The basic of the new economy is consumerism and a throw away mentality, that is use something once and throw it away. It all started after WWII during the prosperity of the 1950's when the US economy was a giant in the world, exporting more then we were importing and selling goods all over the world. Science was making new discoveries every day and they were trickling down to the consumers at unbelievable rate. Consumers were bombarded with a whole new world of goods and experiences that had never dreamed of, soon they had more stuff then they knew what to do with.All that new stuff has to go somewhere when is being replaced, It used to take 10 plus years before something needed replacing, now almost anything needs replacing in two -three years; either because it stops working entirely or because its so outdated its useless it has to go.

Technology was moved so faster that its impossible to keep up with it. Computers that cost $3,000.00 10 tears ago, are now relics sitting in the back of a closet collecting dust, while some of the faster of the older machine can be used as servers and linux boxes, the vast majority are consigned to the giant tech pile of trash we as a world are building everyday.

All of this is not even counting the push for alternative means of generating energy. windmills, solar, ect, and some really off the wall stuff that if implemented with the proper backing and funding and management could actually work, People have a knee-jerk reaction to new ideas, if we don't as a world and as a country step back and reexamine every idea to help save our world or we'll be digging our way out of a massive pile of Tech junk the suffocating us so we can't breathe what air there is.

I realize that this is a pretty broad indictment of the economic system which we've come to know and love. I think that one to take a step back and reevaluate what they're spending their time and money on in the way of contributing to the national economy.
Well, I guess thats my rant for this week, I hope it give folks some ideas of things they should think about...
And if we're not very careful the winner will not be us...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tivo, Dish, Microsoft, and other News,of Noteable Interest

In reading over the rss feeds I have set up to come in on the top bar of my gmail, I found only two that piqued my interests. One of the Items that caught my attention is quite possibility a direct impact on me, Tivo suit of Dish Network on their "Stealing " of Tivo Patented Time Shifting technology. I hope that they can work this out like gentleman, and not have to have Dish shutting down millions of DVRs, I'm afraid that cats out of the bag, o to speak, Weather Tivo has a leg to stand on is after all theses years almost impossible to tell. What is in some way more scare then that prospect of Dish having to temporary disable all dvrs while they settle with Tivo. is when they're turn back on they're dumbed down and capabilities reduced so can conform to both what Tivo, and the DRM Gods want. Anyone who has read any of my earlier articles knows How I feel about DRM.

The next item that interested me is Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo for 44.6 Billion dollars. Letters of interest have been written and published almost as soon as they were delivered. So much for keeping things on the QT.... I personally have very little use for Microsoft and even less for Yahoo.. Haven't used Yahoo in years.. Only use Microsoft by necessity . The big over all question is what dose this mean for consumers and and the Internet and computer world in general.. You can rest assured that every new computer bought will have Yahoo hooks into the next computer you buy if this goes through.
Microsoft has realized in spite of being the 500 pound gorilla in the computer software world, people don't like them in spite of having to use them daily. Unfortunately Yahoo's creditability with consumers has fallen, Google is the new 500 pound gollia in the Internet world and quickly branching out, I haven't even mentioned Apple yet, I just read that Apple stock rose sharply, Mac sales were up 64% YOY, a considerable jump in any one's book..., In the recent years Apple has made serious inroads into mainstream PC markets the advent of Intel macs that could be Dual booted OS X and Windows XP, now Vista, The mac min which was only 6 inches square and could dual boot, Apple is now announcing its newest laptop a super thin light model, of course there are major trade off to achieve this thin profile, such as no cd/dvd drive, among other things, I like thin and light I don't think I'm ready to make this kinds of trade offs to get it.. I said all this to say Microsoft has many business looking to taking a piece out of its hide, and Yahoo hasn't been faring much better against Google. I think the original google interface, one single search box and a logo, brought many people to , it was simple, it loaded quickly, especially on a dial-up connection which is what most folks were using, and I was up to about 2 years ago, in other words. KISS; Keep It Simple Stupid!!! Too bad Microsoft forgot KISS... There is the possibility that the FCC will step in and not let it go through even if Yahoo says yes.. In some respects it would be like Google buying Yahoo, FCC probably would let it go through either. Microsoft's search is failing miserably and Yahoo.. isn't doing any better, They hope to build a advertising basis and get more eyes seeing their ads, only problem is people have become so desensitized
to ads they don't really see them anymore, If there is a ad on a page I sort of automatically mentally block it out so I see it but I really don't see it not so I could tell you what it was 5 minutes later.. I think most people who spend a lot of time on line have learned to do this see without seeing. So all those extra eyes seeing their ads are seeing without seeing... Hopefully Microsoft investors will raise such a ruckus that the idea will be dropped..

On the other side of things,,The FCC spectrum action is coming along.. and One of the main big hurtles in the action is the "Open Access Spectrum" in the C block, It had a reserved bid of 4.71 billion dollar bid, The bid is still sealed as are all the bids for all of the different spectrum until the end of the action, which is when there are no mere bids, This is the airways we now use for our tv , By moving to the digital bands they are freeing up this the bandwidth to be used by communication companies to improve our services and add

Hopefully Tivo and Dish can settle their differences without undue bloodshed, although I doubt that they will. Microsoft was sleeping on the job when they came up with the idea of merging with Yahoo.The federal Spectrum auction is going to play out over the next few months. Then theres the February 9 2009 deadline. When analog signals will cease. by then the Auction will be over and the systems will be hopefully upgraded to newer cheaper capabilities.. Right now, the climate is changing and depending on which way the judges , bidders, and investors blow, it could be a interesting spring....

As A disclaimer,: I am very biased for and against some of the people, entities mentioned above. I say this to make you understand I mentioned these because I feel hat following theses stories will for many of us in the long run have a direct impact on our lives, and for many more a indirect impact. Do your own research and follow the leads to the stories and find out as much as you can about the FCC spectrum auctions and how you will be affected when he new rules go into effect. We now return you to our regularly scheduled blogging...


I am adding links to the items mentioned in this article:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Today's Media and The Future..

Early Adapters, pay through the nose... That said.....all the formats we have now, Mp3. wave, Apple's AAC, ect, Dvd, HD, & Blu-ray will eventually be superseded by whatever new technology is developed over the next years, However, as the film/movie preservationists have pointed out many times, as we move forward much is lost,, I am thinking both of lost films themselves and the the people who actually were there, and, almost as importantly , the equipment to play edit and do anything with the old media. This premise can be extended to many other things such as old computer hardware, there are millions of computer reels of data siting that no one can access because the machines to play the magnetic memory data tapes are not around any more. Soon there will be millions of VHS tapes laying all over the world with no vcrs to play them on, like the fate of 78rpm records, eventually cd and optical disc will suffer a similar fate... Although it will probably take longer.. All this is not counting what is eventually done with DRM and what effect it has on the hardware. All this is is to say, there is something ,to be said, for the printed page. One can still read a 100+ year old book and one may be able to read the same material digitally 1 year or even a week later after it was digitalized..

DRM is Digital Rights management, What it Essentially boils down to is the copyrights holder, be it the studio, author or production co, whoever, controlling what we can do with the content, whether we can record a show/movie to a pvr, or record something to a dvd burner like I have the big deal in all of this is that its digital, which means every copy is as good as the original, and theres no degradation over the copies like we had on the old analog tapes, What they don't want is perfect digital copies getting out in the world uncontrolled so they can't make any money off them The music industry tried DRM in their MP3s they sold and soon found it was a losing battle, People were still decoding the mp3 or most of them just ripped the music off their legal cds and put them up on file swapping sites anyways. So finely they are giving in and stripping all DRM off the MP3s they sell, Heres a link that will give you a general idea of what were talking about with the music. As for movies Broadcasters can put in flags that tell receivers what they can and can't do with certain material, most of this is getting into the HD realm, Essentially, dumbing down and crippling sat and cable receivers, and making content harder to enjoy. However, the Saga is not dead, for proof, I refer you to the following link,
The new battle cry will be watermarking so copyright holders can track a piece of material back to the original buyer and hold them responsible for letting the material getting into the wild.. Of course, privacy experts are having their say about the idea. The whole DRM/privacy issue will continue to boil over for many years to come, and probably will never be completly settled one way or the other, There will alway be a contingent of the population the change the status quo and fight for the rights of the average person, in this case, the right of the average person to play his own media as he see fits on what he sees fit.

Old Movie Studio System

The history of movies is very colorful especially in the black and white and early silent era.
The advent of the studio system and the star making machines and in the process created most of the greatest screen legends of all time, many of which still live on in at in in the hearts and minds of many. While none of the glitz and glamor of the old school movie machine still survive, except in studio warehouses and in very short and chopped clips of stars doing what they did best making appearances and generally creating the romance the public so desperately needed at the time.. The old studio system run their stars like horses in a race, however, the really good ones stood out , when they get to a certain point most were able to write they're own ticket or at least keep good steady work and build a very good catalogue of work,, In the process of building their careers they learned their trade, and earned the right to call their own shots, many eventually formed their own production companies allowing them to what they really wanted, if it didn't do as well as they hoped, that was OK, they were doing what they wanted.
Not everyone lead such colorful lives, many thousands of actors and actress did many parts that are now just being remembered and called to folks attention. Its nothing to find that a certain actor has done 15-20 films in a year, thus bring his total lifetime output of material up close to 100 if not more films over 50-60 year career.. How many of today stars can say their output comes anywheres near that kind of commitment. Theses people came to work everyday knew their lines and did the parts the best they knew how. That's not to say all the material they put out is Oscar material, obviously the greater number of work you do the chances increase that you'll get some of the better material..
The other thing to consider while they were making all those films every year, they generally didn't have a huge budget per film. Which by default means the director had to really have a vision in mind when he shot the film and and sent it to the editing room. If a director shoot it right there was really one one way to edit it so it would work and he Essentially edited while he shot. So he had to be really creative to get what he wanted on a tight budget.

Economics won't allow it, and the movie machine has changed too much to allow it, and its well-known that there were a lot of problems with the old studio system, However, the idea of bring back the old studio system dose have merit. One thing is would help insure actors got the training and dedication,they really need. One may wonder how many of today stars would have lasted in the old system,if they didn't measure up and didn't pan out at the end of their contract they studio could cut them loose and they had they're chance to be big stars.. Thee are a lot of very good reason why the studio system shouldn't be brought back , and equally as many reasons why it should be brought back. The people who are responsible for setting up the original system are long gone, However, the people running toady's systems would be hard pressed to try to get actors to sign multi- year deals with the actors knowing that they were at the beck and call of the studio and had no choice but to do whatever project was given them, and if they didn't they were fined. Not to mention the studios to really go back would have to hire in-house acting coaches dancing and a whole host of other specialized teachers to work with the contract players and keeping a staff a of screen writers busy, and stunt doubles and many other support personal, many of which they still have already.
But the bigger question is will the public accept the old studio system ?
I'm not a film movie historian, so I don't know all the ins and out of the old studio system, and even less about how the system works today, However, I do know that I don't see many movies today that can compare with the old movies of the40's and 50's, I don't know any actors today that I have a connection with, oh theres a couple I like well enough, but they don't have style or charisma the older ones had. They wee no angles back then either, but most of what they did pales in comparison to the stunts some of today "actors" have pulled. But they showed up on the set every morning and did the job. and turned in good performances. So in while the old studio system did have problems it still was able to produce most of the greatest films of all time, certainly some of my favorites, such as "Casablanca" And Boogie & Bacall in in "To Have and Have Not"

"You do know how to whistle, do you Steve,
You just put your lips together....
And Blow"