In re: Mainstream blogs

So I'll take back a little of what I said against American mainstream media failing to adopt new technologies in an innovative manner. NBC news anchor Brian Williams has a blog called the Daily Nightly. While many may find network news a bit stuffy or bland these days the blog is an interesting meeting point where Williams defends or explains their choices of stories and interacts with viewers. It is quite interesting to read actually althought ocassionally it too is bland.
Also its been interesting to see how the media (cable news that is) have put a lot of information they've found in blogs or online on their news relating to the hurricane in the gulf coast. CNN and others have had numerous reports with their internet corespondants reading updates they've gotten from blogs on the hurricane and other stories such as how many people have been posting requests for information on Craig's List and offering people places to stay as well.

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In re: BBC entering digital music foray

The BBC is planning on becoming the next iTunes by entering into partnerships with private companies to create a service dubed MyBBCPlayer. The BBC has already had dealings with digital music downloads, providing free downloads (which were online only for a limited time) of Nine of Beethoven's symphonies. 1.4 million users downloaded these recordings (myself included) this summer and now the potential for having listeners to its online radio be able to purchase the music they are hearing seems to have potential.
I feel more entrants into the digital music arena can only be good, for now iTunes place is secure, but the BBC stands in a unique position with already making one of the best news/media sites on the web, having all their radio streaming on the web and having Podcasts of many of their specials available. They also plan in their new player to offer their BBC 1 and BBC 2 TV in a simulcast version with their live TV broadcast. I for one am glad to see even a giant like the BBC moving into a new realm, one couldn't really seeing an American network embrassing new tech in a beneficial way (example Disney/ABC 's go.com)
See the story on Wired here. See story on BBC News here.

In re: Linux Insurance? Linux Lawsuits…

So I am sitting in my new study carrel, trying to read the 400 page record i've been handed for my app ad class so of course I end up doing some light side reading. I found an interesting story that tells of Lloyds of London about to be offering Linux insurance to shield companys from potential lawsuits arising from their usage of Linux. There is more of a backstory to this however, it goes back to Steve Ballmer CEO of Microsoft telling Asian governments that they will be sued (didn't say by Microsoft, but then you have to wonder by whom?) if they use Linux. In response to this and other threats against Linux users Red Hat who creates a Linux distribution has asked Microsoft to stop threatening users about IP Lawsuits and instead deal with the distributors. And on that note back to my reading…

In re: Tuesday’s with Saddam

In the July issue of GQ there was a fascinating article about the PA National Guard members who had the assignment of guarding Saddam Hussein. Besides mentioning his love of Doritos and of being a neat freak the article describes how these teenagers from PA had to deal with knowing Saddam as both a mass murdering dictator and also as a very pleasant, kind man to them. Saddam was very friendly and truly liked his guards, President Regan, ping pong and loved to tell stories, garden and smoke cigars and was convinced he was going to come back to power (he made the soliders promise they would come visit him for a proper tour when he had the country restored). The story outlines both these soliders dealing with Saddam in his underwear and the task of keeping what their assignment was secret from even their parents who were worrying they would be shot. There is an excerpt online available here.

In re: Civic + Natural Gas = Good Idea

I also meant to mention a good article about the Honda Civic GX, which is a Civic that runs on natural gas. The gas is available at gas stations in CA, but you can also fill up overnight in your own home with an adaptor that uses the Natural Gas lines that run to your house. Why is this a good idea? Well for one the car is about the least polluting car you'll find on the road (including all the hybrids) in fact it is the only one that gets to go in the HOV solo in CA right now, not even the Prius gets that status. So why doesn't it catch on more? We have abundant natural gas that is produced right in the United States and the car is made right here in my home state at the Honda plant in Marysville, OH. I find it curious that these cars aren't getting the press run or the attention the hybrids are. Removing some of our reliance on middle east oil (or oil in general) is a good move from a security as well as environmental perspective. If our government (and i include the rest of us, as its for the people..) were truly concerned with distancing ourselves from the House of Saud we would be putting the money we spent on Iraq towards alternative fuel ideas, this is what would make us safer.

In re: Iraqi Reality TV

A NYTimes article discusses one western idea that has taken root, reality tv. One of the shows "Material and labor" is a cross between this old house and extreme makeover home addition (the NYTimes says in addition to one part Appocalypse Now). I think that it would be very interesting if we could get these shows dubbed into English and put on over here as they might provide a glimpse of whats going on (although so far only 6 Iraqi's have recived the reconsturction of their bombed out home which costs about $30,000), so it is not really depicting the 'reality' of most Iraqis. The concept of the show is great, and the emergence of Iraqi TV programming is compared to the Italian film movement following WWII. Either way hopefully technology will be able to share these kinds of programmes with the parts of the world that have put them in the situation they are in.

In re: Price hike for iTunes?

NYTimes today had an article how when the current contracts with record labels expires with Apple, they will look to introduce variable pricing, something Apple has resisted so far. The pricing would raise the price of popular songs likely to $1.49. Right now iTunes sales consist of 75% of the digital online market, however this could change as record companies have begun to want Apple to allow other devices to use music purchased on iTunes and iTunes/iPods to play music purchased on competing services. The record companies (who get around 70 cents of the 99 cents a song) complain that Apple wants to make money off their iPods (true) and doesn't mind selling the songs for such a low price (a reverse Gillete model, giving away blades, selling expensive razors) In anycase we must remember that before iTunes there wasn't any viable scheme for making money on the internet and all the talk was about P2P networks stealing from the record companies. Personally I feel that it might be a bit too soon to run away from the model of fixed prices that has worked so well, I personally am already used to a model of buying songs online without thinking twice about cost as you know what it is and trying to squeeze more profits out of the online market right now might just be pushing their luck.