aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, December 17, 2007
Faster firewire coming
David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London:
The speed of FireWire is set to quadruple next year after the group behind it announced a new specification for the networking interface.
FireWire is the best-known brand name for the 1394 standard, which is also known as i.Link. The technology is used as a high-speed data interface for linking devices such as external hard drives and camcorders to PCs.
On Thursday, the 1394 Trade Association announced the S3200 electrical specification for FireWire. The specification builds upon the existing IEEE 1394b standard by boosting the maximum speed from 800 megabits per second to 3.2Gbps. Importantly, S3200 can use the cables and connectors already in use for FireWire 800 products, the association claimed.
How did I miss this? Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia plans to launch a new social network and user-generated content website to be called Marthapedia:
Martha Stewart, the paragon of expertise as content, is adopting the style of social media for her next website—to be called “Marthapedia.” But Ms. Stewart, who didn’t get where she is by suggesting that the hoi polloi know more than she does, made clear that Marthapedia will not be so freewheeling as, say, Wikipedia. Editors at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will check to see if the public’s ideas are better than their own, she said.
The site initially will be seeded with existing content from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, such as Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, but will open for information and suggestions from the public, Ms. Stewart told an Advertising Week audience this morning. “It will be a very interesting site,” she said.
Martha’s not known for her community spirit; and Marthapedia won’t change that. It looks more like the ploy of a savvy marketer to co-opt and cash in on the wiki cache than to really open up to the unwashed masses:
It’s important to be in the print and online worlds; that’s where the customers are-both places. Magazines are not going to go away. They are still a viable form of communication. The magazine is core to our business, and from there, we expand to all other media. You go to our Web site for information, for inspiration, a recipe, a how-to and for pleasure. Our traffic is building quite nicely.
We’re working on a new project called a Marthapedia that [is based on] my home-keeping handbook, which is an encyclopedia on how to take care of everything around your home. There will be user-generated information that is edited. Not like a Wikipedia, but more like comments and communication that are edited.
1 down, 36 to go: NJ abolishes the death penalty
In a 44-36 vote last week, the Democrat-run New Jersey state assembly replaced the death sentence with life in prison without parole.
Gov. John Corzine is expected to sign the bill into law today.
On Saturday the NYTimes editorialized that it was a long time coming:
By clinging to the death penalty, states keep themselves in the company of countries like Iran, North Korea and China - a disreputable pantheon of human mistreatment. Small wonder the gyrations of New Jersey’s Legislature have been watched intently by human rights activists around the world.
Spurred in large part by the large and growing body of DNA-based exonerations, there is increasing national unease about the death penalty. The Supreme Court is poised to consider whether lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, an exercise bound to put fresh focus on some of the ugly details of implementing capital punishment.
SEE ALSO: Are you one of those who buy into the death penalty as deterrent argument? Then let’s test it!
Saudi King pardons rape victim
You’ll recall that a Saudi court sentences a 19-year-old gang-rape victim to 90 lashes for meeting with an unrelated male. When her lawyer appealed the court upped the punishment to 200 lashes.
Today comes word that King Abdullah has pardoned the victim. But, says a spokesman, the pardon does not mean the king doubts the country’s judges:
‘’The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair,’’ al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.
It’s unlikely that the king would want to eliminate the kingdom’s strict segregation of the sexes even if he could, but in that light it’s worth revisiting the May Atlantic’s The Kingdom of the Closet to understand some of the unintended consequences of such restrictions.
The piece opens with a young gay man, “Yasser,” touring the article’s author, Nadya Labi, around the gay spots of Jeddah:
Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. “Oh shit, it’s a checkpoint,” he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brown uniforms. “Do you have your ID?” he asked me. He wasn’t worried about the gay-themed nature of his tour-he didn’t want to be caught alone with a woman. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I’d left my passport in the hotel for safekeeping. Yasser looked behind him to see if he could reverse the car, but had no choice except to proceed. To his relief, the cops nodded us through. “God, they freaked me out,Ã¢â‚¬Â� Yasser said. As he resumed his narration, I recalled something he had told me earlier. “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,” he had said. “If you go out with a girl, people will start to ask her questions. But if I have a date upstairs and my family is downstairs, they won’t even come up.”
Om Malik: the New EchoStar Should Buy TiVo
Satellite TV company EchoStar recently decided to spin off its set-top box and other non-broadcast businesses into a separate company, EchoStar Technologies Corp. (ETC), betting that this standalone business will grow with the demand for smart, next-generation set-top boxes. ETC has one big problem, though: It has inherited the bitter patent feud between EchoStar and TiVo. One way to end that feud for ETC — buy TiVo.
The move has more upside than the chance to put an end to the legal drama. It could make ETC, which also includes the recently purchased Sling Media, a set-top box powerhouse. [...]
TiVo (TIVO) sued Englewood, Colo.-based EchoStar (DISH) in 2004, alleging that it stole TiVo’s DVR technology for pausing, fast forwarding, and rewinding live TV shows. The Patent and Trademark Office recently sided in favor of TiVo, putting EchoStar at a serious disadvantage. In fact, in documents filed with the SEC, EchoStar listed the TiVo patent case as one of the big risks to spinning off its hardware unit.
With a market cap of $811 million, Om says TiVo’s an affordable consumer-friendly product with good brand recognition and the potential to become a compelling next-generation device to satellite, IPTV and cable TV service providers:
TiVo, which led the time-shift revolution, missed the place-shifting movement spearheaded by Sling Media. When you combine those two features, and layer Internet downloads (TiVo has deals with Amazon Unbox and several independent video content creators like Rocketboom), digital music and home networking capabilities, you have a set-top box that does it all — minus the clunkiness normally associated with set-top boxes made by Motorola and Scientific Atlanta, or the complexity of Microsoft Media Center. And the Sling and TiVo brands are strong enough to withstand any challenge from newfangled IP set-top boxes being offered by companies such as Amino.
Given the Patent and Trademark Office’s recent decision, this patent fight may not be one that EchoStar can win. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em?