aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Mac Mini: the hub
Think Secret: Apple’s Mac mini will be reborn as the digital hub centerpiece it was originally conceived to be, Think Secret sources have disclosed. The new Mac mini project, code-named Kaleidoscope, will feature an Intel processor and include both Front Row 2.0 and TiVo-like DVR functionality.
While the specific model and speed of the Intel processor in the new Mac mini is unknown, sources are confident the system will be ready for roll-out at Macworld Expo San Francisco, in line with other reports Think Secret has received that Intel-based Macs will be ready some six months sooner than originally expected.
Via Thomas Hawk:
Ironically, Steve Jobs has been publically somewhat negative on using a computer as a PVR in the past:
From News.com in November 2003: “Jobs said there are several problems with the Media Center concept, in particular the wide divergence in the way people want to watch television as compared with how they use a computer. “Generally what they want to view on television has to do with turning their mind off,” he said.
Jobs said that video recording is processor intensive and is best left to a device that is not doing other things such as playing games or running spreadsheets. “When I want to record ‘The West Wing,’ I want to make damn sure it records ‘The West Wing,’” he said.”
Perhaps Jobs objections back then were more because of the fact that Microsoft had a Media Center PC and they didn’t. If in fact Apple unveils a DVR as part of their Front Row platform I’d expect him to change his tune.
Jupiter media says if they do it, the media will ignore the Media Center angle.
You know it’s true! Slate recently looked at “the Apple polishers in the press corps who salute every shiny gadget the company parades through downtown Cupertino as if they were members of the Supreme Soviet viewing the latest ICBMs at the May Day parade.”
Photography & the copyfight
[p. 33] [E]arly in the history of photography, there was a series of judicial decisions that could well have changed the course of photography substantially. Courts were asked whether the photographer, amateur or professional, required permission before he could capture and print whatever image he wanted. Their answer was no.
The arguments in favor of requiring permission will sound surprisingly familiar. The photographer was “taking” something from the person or building whose photograph he shotÃ¢â‚¬"pirating something of value. Some even thought he was taking the target’s soul. Just as Disney was not free to take the pencils that his animators used to draw Mickey, so, too, should these photographers not be free to take images that they thought valuable.
On the other side was an argument that should be familiar, as well. Sure, there may be something of value being used. But citizens should have the right to capture at least those images that stand in public view. (Louis Brandeis, who would become a Supreme Court Justice, thought the rule should be different for images from private spaces.) It may be that this means that the photographer gets something for nothing. Just as Disney could take inspiration from Steamboat Bill, Jr. or the Brothers Grimm, the photographer should be free to capture an image without compensating the source.
Fortunately for Mr. Eastman, and for photography in general, these early decisions went in favor of the pirates. In general, no permission would be required before an image could be captured and shared with others. Instead, permission was presumed. Freedom was the default. (The law would eventually craft an exception for famous people: commercial photographers who snap pictures of famous people for commercial purposes have more restrictions than the rest of us. But in the ordinary case, the image can be captured without clearing the rights to do the capturing.
We can only speculate about how photography would have developed had the law gone the other way.
Things Are Queer reminded me to go back and take another look at the Zoomquilt. Check it out, the flash version, not the html version. It may take a while to load if you have a slow connection. It’s very cool.
Things are Queer
At a lecture tonight on the history of photography, one sequence of images really caught my eye. Things Are Queer:
[In] Duane Michals’s remarkable series of photographs, things are queer, not only because the world cannot be known and all representations are fallible, but because of the transforming process of art itself. In Michals’s beautiful photographs, queerness becomes an ideal; the circularity of the series suggests that the image is inexhaustible and unknowable. But in the end, art’s pleasures, its humor and mystery, do help us know the world in all its queerness.
I have a t-shirt that says, “83% of Internet traffic is malicious!” People look at me oddly when I wear it. My experience is it’s wrong. It should read 92%!
My traffic here has increased, slowly but steadily, to a Site Meter average of 137 visits per day today. As long as it hovers around 100, I’m happy. To accommodate that traffic I’ve got 7GB a month of bandwidth; you’d think it would suffice. You’d be wrong.
Over the weekend - ironically enough at the same time a reasonable and just change was implemented in the TTLB Ecosystem knocking me from the lofty heights of a Marauding Marsupial back down to a perfectly respectable but much more lowly Flappy Bird - I got an email from my provider warning that I was approaching quota.
I checked my Webalizer stats and found that my daily average for visits there is reported to be 1,682. (4,245 PageViews!) Go figure.
Now some - not all - bloggers complain that Site Meter is often wrong. Me, I don’t think so. I watch it fairly closely - not too closely - and it never misses a single one of my visits. (I know, I know, I could fix that.)
My conclusion is that all that traffic is spammers and bots. I divide my Site Meter by my Webalizer and conclude that 92% of my traffic is malicious! Now if you know something I don’t, please clue me in. In the meantime, I bought more bandwidth.
IN OTHER NEWS: Eugene Kaspersky says the truth about anti-virus products is they have a long way to go. He got that right!
A la carte cable channels
I want them. Techdirt is skeptical:
[T]he FCC studied the issue and pointed out (probably quite accurately), that any a la carte offering would likely be prohibitively expensive for cable viewers. It would clearly drive up costs for the TV providers, who would have to create new systems for managing a huge number of programming permutations, rather than just a small number of bundles. It would also drive up the cost of acquiring content, since many networks only offer certain channels if the cable provider agrees to bundle it with a less “desirable” channel or two. All combined, it means that each channel in an a la carte bundle would likely be quite expensive, and most people would be better off just sticking with a bundle. Where this gets problematic is that if it’s mandated, a good part of those costs still need to be dealt with by the providers—even if very few people will opt for the (expensive) a la carte offerings… While many people (myself included) would love to be able to pick channels on an a la carte basis, the likely expense probably wouldn’t make it worthwhile.
I’ll be looking for the counter argument, but the Techdirt post was precipitated by this from Reuters:
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to suggest that cable companies could best serve their customers by allowing them to subscribe to individual channels instead of packages of several stations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to announce on Tuesday that the commission will soon revise the conclusion it reached in the report it issued last year on “a la carte” pricing in the cable industry.
Citing an FCC official familiar with the revised report, the Journal said the report will conclude that buying individual channels could be cheaper for consumers than bundles and that themed tiers of channels could be economically feasible.
Why the change? Techdirt:
[O]ne possibility is new FCC head Kevin Martin—who is also known for being a stringent supporter of cracking down on “indecency” (perhaps more than his predecessor). Back in March, we noted that the crackdown on indecency could reopen the debate about a la carte programming, as many of those who support cracking down on indecency believe that a la carte programming is a way to avoid the “bad” channels and just get the “good” ones. Perhaps that view is now getting more attention at the FCC. Of course, weren’t we just saying that the concept of the “channel” is increasingly outdated?
UPDATE, they did it. Sort of (we get the indecency part with only a nod to a la carte):
Declaring television coarser than ever, a top federal regulator served notice on cable and satellite programmers Tuesday to shield children from racy shows or risk coming under sharper government scrutiny.
“Parents need better and more tools to help them navigate the entertainment waters, particularly on cable and satellite TV,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told Congress. [...]
He also said that cable and satellite providers might want to consider letting consumers pay for a bundle of channels that they could choose themselves, a variation of the so-called “a la carte” pricing system that some in Congress have backed.