aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, April 13, 2006
TiVo beats EchoStar
The original idea for TiVo was that it would be a cable service, like HBO, that you’d subscribe to, not a machine that you buy. The cable companies never bought in. They thought, “We can do that!” and planned their own DVR service right off.
TiVo started building machines. (Among my sources: Michael Lewis’s 2002 book, Next: The Future Just Happened.)
Today TiVo won their patent suit against Echostar in a $73million ruling. It could mean a stop of all Dish Network DVR sales. TiVo’s stock spiked - and after holding it for years and years, I just sold me stock! Full details.
Via PVRBlog, “Wow… this could point to a lucrative future for TiVo in licensing its software to other companies producing DVRs.
LATER: Thomas Hawk has more.
UGA student detained for wearing a mask
I like Athens. The New York Times says Athens is a liberal college town “sometimes referred to as ‘the Berkeley of the South.’” This wouldn’t happen at Berkeley:
Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.
After being held in investigative detention, he was found to have violated no criminal laws and was not arrested.
“It was surreal,” Ransom said. “I was jogging from Wesley to Snelling when I heard someone yell ‘freeze.’”
Ransom said he thought a friend was playing a joke before he realized officers had guns drawn and pointed at him.
It was Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents who detained him; they were on the UGA campus for Project Safe Neighborhoods training. It’s not clear to me who was training who, but apparently it’s the agents who need more training:
Ransom was wearing black sweatpants and an athletic T-shirt with one red bandanna covering the bottom half of his face and another covering the top of his head, Williamson said.
“Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint - that’s not right,” McLemore said, explaining why agents believed something to be amiss.
The photo was snapped by a student’s camera phone. More evidence of the power of cameras in the hands of people. I want a law that makes it illegal to interfere with a citizen photographing a newsworthy event.
Yeah, yeah, he was a Monkee
And Wired says he’s monkeed around:
You remember Michael Nesmith. [In case you don’t, Wikipedia link.] He’s the Monkee in the wool cap.
But Nesmith is more than a pop-culture icon. He’s built impeccable credentials as a media visionary. In the 1980s, Nesmith invented MTV, helped pioneer the home-video revolution, won a Grammy for his music video Elephant Parts and produced the cult films Repo Man and Tapeheads.
Throughout the 1990s he gathered deep thinkers at his Santa Fe, New Mexico, ranch to participate in his solutions-oriented conference, Council on Ideas. And in 1998, Nesmith published his acclaimed novel The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora on the web.
I’ll read it later. For now I will hang on to my suspicion that the introduction to the Wired News interview is infused with some significant hype. Invented MTV? And we criticized Adam? (For the record, I did not.)
Google on Thursday unveiled a free Web-based calendar application that is expected to heat up competition with Yahoo and Microsoft.
The beta version of Google Calendar can be accessed without a Gmail account.
Users can easily search for and add events to their calendars from within the program or directly off Web sites that are either publishing events using open calendaring standards or which have added a Google Calendar button to their site. Users also can search for events from friends’ shared calendars and import events from Microsoft Outlook.
I’d do a screenshot but right now mine won’t render. I guess that’s why they call it beta…
Google is a portal, plain and simple. The company made its name, its brand, and its money on being one thing - a non judgmental service that quickly moved you from intent - your search query - to content - someone else’s page. Now, it’s moved quite systematically - with Base, Finance, Mail, and everything else - to being a company that is clearly about monetizing its core revenue asset - AdWords - on anything google.com related. That, my friends, is a portal.
I thought that word had been retired. It’s so 2000. “Community” has become “social;” isn’t there a 2.0 word for “portal?”
Librarians win on secrecy
After fighting ferociously for months, federal prosecutors relented yesterday and agreed to allow a Connecticut library group to identify itself as the recipient of a secret F.B.I. demand for records in a counterterrorism investigation.
The decision ended a dispute over whether the broad provisions for secrecy in the USA Patriot Act, the antiterror law, trumped the free speech rights of library officials. The librarians had gone to federal court to gain permission to identify themselves as the recipients of the secret subpoena, known as a national security letter, ordering them to turn over patron records and e-mail messages.
It was unclear what impact the government’s decision would have on the approximately 30,000 other such letters that are issued each year. Changes in the Patriot Act now allow the government discretion over whether to enforce or relax what had been a blanket secrecy requirement concerning the letters. [...]
[ACLU’s associate legal director Ann] Beeson said yesterday that she believed the government’s decision to drop the appeal was politically timed.
“The issue over whether the government was using its Patriot Act powers to demand library records was one of the hot-button issues in this debate,” she said. “And our clients could have been extremely powerful spokespeople in opposing the reauthorization of the act, because they had actually received one of those national security letters.”
Now that the debate in Congress is over, she said, “There’s no longer any reason to keep our clients quiet.”
Two points: One, librarians are privacy heroes; two, IT professionals have a lot to learn from librarians.