Wednesday, July 31, 2002
BookCrazy Radio Network
"Check Out BookCrazy Radio Network. BCRN is a 24/7 Book Radio Station heard exclusively on the Internet. They are for avid readers and bookoholics. All of our shows tie into books in one way or another. From 'how to write' to 'what to read.' They have a show for almost any book fan. The shows repeat for 24 hours throughout the day & night. Pick the time you want to listen and BookCrazy will be there. Want to listen to a specific show? It will repeat up to 6 times daily on its air date. Another unique feature about BCRN are the commercials. 90% of our commercials are about books." [LISNews.com]
Activision Games Coming to Mobile Phones
"Wireless video game company Jamdat Mobile has entered into a publishing arrangement with industry heavyweight Activision. The deal covers 'extreme sport' titles from Activision's action sports brand. Among the games included under the license are 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4,' 'Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer,' and 'Shawn Murray's Pro Wakeboarding.' Jamdat, whose chief is a former Activision exec, is backed by Qualcomm, Sun Microsystems and Intel. It publishes games for phones running both Qualcomm's Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless and Sun's Java 2 Mobile Edition. Earlier this year, the company signed deals with Electronic Arts and THQ." [PDABuzz.com]
My favorites from the Top 20 Blogger Insults
- Your websiteís so ugly, blind folks asked you to remove your ALT tags.
- I wouldn't feed that XML syndication to my neighbor's dog.
- Hey, 1994 is calling... They want their website back! [Davezilla, via Daypop Top 40]
Oooohhhh - I missed news of the Odyssey 1000 portable audio player while I was gone!
"The Odyssey 1000, which will be available to consumers this fall, boasts superb sound quality and outstanding battery life, with a minimum of 13 hours of playback time. The feature-rich Odyssey 1000 has a 20 Gigabyte hard drive for optimum MP3 and Windows MediaTM WMA playback and doubles as a data storage unit for movies, spreadsheets, e- books, and more. Its stainless steel, sleek industrial design only enhances the aesthetic appeal of this digital audio powerhouse, which is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse.
The Odyssey 1000ís high-speed USB 2.0 connection and remarkable ease of use make downloading and transferring music a breeze. With the Odyssey 1000ís USB 2.0 connection, users can transfer an entire CD to their player in about 5 seconds. And e.Digitalís Drag Ďn Rip technology enables users to transfer music in one easy step simply by dragging tracks directly from a CD directory onto their playerís hard drive. Drag Ďn Rip optionally enables users to create a mirror library of music on their computer. The Odyssey 1000 also is compatible with Mac iTunes TM.
Another outstanding feature is the Odyssey 1000ís voice navigation capabilities. The Odyssey 1000 uses e.Digitalís VoiceNavTM user interface based on Lucentís speech recognition technology so users can navigate through their libraries of music simply by the power of their own voice. It also has an easy-to-use scroll wheel for effortless manual navigation. In addition, the Odyssey 1000 is a voice recorder that comes with a built-in microphone for hours of voice recording on its massive hard drive....
The Odyssey 1000 also has an FM tuner with 12 available station presets and 16 MB DRAM buffering for robust anti-skip protection and increased battery life.
The standard Odyssey 1000 package will include e.Digital Music ExplorerTM 2.0 software for PC (featuring Drag Ďn Rip technology), carrying case with belt clip, an installation CD and manual, stereo earphones, USB 2.0 cable with standard and mini connectors, a universal DC adaptor/battery charger, and RCA audio cable for home stereo connection."
All for (supposedly) $349. As we say at my house, no cuts, no buts, no coconuts. Quit shoving and step back because I WAS IN LINE FIRST!
Addendum: Saw this little gem over on WillConsult4Food after Will left me a comment noting that I should live after eating the questionable M&Ms. Seems he's right, and that sigh you heard was from Gloria because she ate them, too.
And thanks to Will, you, too, can learn about M&Ms and GI Joe.
Pressplay to Offer Unlimited Downloads [CNET News.com] (emphasis is mine)
They finally get it: "Under one section of the new plan, subscribers will be able to download or stream an unlimited number of songs to their computer for a single annual fee of $179.40, the equivalent of today's $14.95 monthly fee, according to a customer service representative."
Oops, they don't get it: "Along with the unlimited downloads and streams, consumers will be able to burn 120 songs a year to CDs after paying their annual fee. Packages that allow more songs to be burned will be available for individual purchase."
They don't get it some more: "Sources familiar with the plans said other new features will be added or expanded, including the offer of downloads that can be permanently downloaded and transferred to portable devices." - which means you can't download them to portable devices now?!
They're still in search of clues: "However, sources said that some of the music currently available on Pressplay, which offers songs from Sony, Universal, and EMI Music, will not be available under all the features of the new plan."
Sigh. Still waiting for someone who's willing to make a fair trade for my money....
Does anybody know if M&Ms "expire?" In a drawer in my office, I found a 16 oz. bag of peanut M&Ms that is obviously from Christmas (red and green and the bag says "season's greetings"), but there's no expiration date on it and I don't know which Christmas it would be from.
I'm going ahead and eating some, so if there are no further posts to this site, you'll know what happened.
Copyright as Cudgel (emphasis is mine)
"When Congress brought copyright law into the digital era, in 1998, some in academe were initially heartened by what they saw as compromises that, they hoped, would protect fair use for digital materials. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Recent actions by Congress and the federal courts -- and many more all-too-common acts of cowardice by publishers, colleges, developers of search engines, and other concerned parties -- have demonstrated that fair use, while not quite dead, is dying. And everyone who reads, writes, sings, does research, or teaches should be up in arms. The real question is why so few people are complaining....
Back in the 20th century, if someone had accused you of copyright infringement, you enjoyed that quaint and now seemingly archaic guarantee of due process. Today, due process is a lot harder to pursue, and the burden of proof increasingly is on those accused of copyright infringement. For the copyright act, in essence, makes the owner of every Internet service provider, content host, and search engine an untrained copyright cop. The default action is censorship....
Besides prompting such censorship, the act has another major provision, which upends more than 200 years of copyright law that has, until now, served democracy well: the principle that what copyright law does not specifically protect remains available to all to use, for whatever purpose the user sees fit. The DMCA bars the circumvention of electronic access controls that protect online works, a provision that seems to block the use of even those portions of works that might be in the public domain....
As a result, course packets that used to be easy to assemble and affordable to students are now a hassle and a big expense. Professors are abandoning them in favor of prefabricated published readers or less-convenient library reserves. Getting permission to quote from a song or to include an old photograph in a scholarly publication is getting to be prohibitively expensive. Some professional journals are demanding that academic authors assign all rights in all media in perpetuity to them, then gouging subscribers and libraries for the right to read materials that academics weren't compensated for in the first place. Online journals are replacing paper volumes, allowing publishers to extort all sorts of user restrictions from libraries. And those are just the micro-horror stories, the short-term costs of current trends....
The second rhetorical strategy involves focusing on users of copyrighted material -- everyone who reads, writes, watches, photographs, listens, or sings. This is a more pragmatic approach, intended to warn people that the harmless acts they have taken for granted for years, like making a mixed tape or CD for a party, or 'time shifting' television programs and skipping commercials, are threatened by recent changes in law and technology. The organization digitalconsumer.org is promoting 'The Consumer Technology Bill of Rights,' which makes private, noncommercial uses positive rights instead of weak defenses to accusations of infringement....
We must be blunt about the current system's threats to free speech, intellectual freedom, and the free flow of information. We must be careful not to be trapped in nihilistic rhetoric about the 'end of copyright.' Copyright need not end if we can rehabilitate and rehumanize it. Our jobs depend on it." [The Chronicle, via LISNews.com]
The Sizzle: What's Up In Digital Marketing and Advertising
"A new technology developed by Vert, a small company based in Somerville, Mass., transforms ads on top of taxicabs into real-time, animated electronic billboards. Vert's software, first tested in the Boston area, lets advertising messages change according to ZIP codes, neighborhoods, even city blocks, enabling marketers to target audiences in a way never before possible with outdoor transit advertising.
With Vert, a Webserver, built into taxi-top screens, communicates with a global positioning system. The GPS determines the taxi's location. In turn, a wireless modem, which keeps in touch with Vert's central server, delivers the relevant ads for a particular area. So, a cab passing through a city's financial district can display stock quotes. Another traveling in a Latino neighborhood can relay ad messages in Spanish. Or a taxi at an airport can beam temperatures of major cities to travelers. The messages appear in color on the taxi screens-10 times brighter than televisions-in a format similar to Web banner ads....
One company test-driving the technology is Lycos. 'We thought it was perfect for Lycos because you can target by city blocks or areas of the city,' says Kim Patrick, vice president of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, the Boston agency handling a $20 million year-long campaign for Lycos. The Vert-enabled cabs are part of a $1.2 million effort within the larger campaign to attract 18- to 34-year-olds in 'unexpected places.'
By year's end, roughly 200 Vert-enabled cabs will be deployed in Boston and in New York...." [Business 2.0, via Andy Rhinehart]
Sounds like something out of Minority Report (how long before they're talking directly to you). It's definite eye candy for pedestrians, but won't it be distracting for other drivers? As Andy says, "some heavy information shifting" going on here in terms of moving targeted advertising to where people are.
Another example in the news today is Sony Ericsson's upcoming 60-day PR campaign to plant actors in tourist attractions and clubs to get people to notice and interact with their new T68i cell phone (which can also be used as a digital camera or for videoconferencing). I'll admit that if I was at a bar and I saw someone videoconferencing with the T68i, I'd go up and talk to them, but then I'd do that almost anywhere with any cool gadget.
A New Use for the PS2
"It requires the ethernet adapter due out at the end of the month, but the BroadQ - QCast Tuner looks very slick. It will play mp3s and divx videos off of your computer over your PS2. I'm seriously considering picking this up so I can watch DiVX files on my TV. How very cool." [life - listed chronologically]
Hurry and order one today before the company is sent to court and shut down! This may actually spur me to upgrade to the PS2, especially since I already have a wireless network in place.
David Mattison asked for my thoughts on ebooks and libraries, which prompted me to write the following mini-rant:
eBooks aren't important to libraries right now, but they will be. Digital files of all kinds will be an important part of our circulation, cataloging, indexing, and preservation future, so while there isn't much libraries can do about ebooks right now, there is a foundation we need to start laying today.
The biggest obstacle to the implementation of ebooks in any type of library is that we play virtually no part in the creation, publication, or dissemination cycle so we are completely dependent on vendors, publishers, organizations, and authors to provide us with digital content. We can't force publishers to release their latest titles as ebooks, we can't implement more appropriate pricing, we can't settle vendors on an open format standard, we can't circulate their titles without the necessary software, and we can't change publisher OR consumer attitudes' overnight. So for all intents and purposes, ebooks simply aren't ready for consumption but even if they were, libraries aren't ready to help consumers consume them.
So if the above is a laundry list of things we can't do to move ebooks forward, what can we do? We can talk to ILS vendors so that our catalogs are ready to circulate ebooks when the time comes. Imagine the light bulbs that might illuminate over publishers' heads if every library that had an interest in circulating ebooks (either text-based or audio-based) signed a petition calling for the adoption of an open ebook standard (I stress might, but we need to start aggregating our voices and this is one way to do it). If even half of the public libraries in the country bought one copy of one ebook as a show of force, that title would shoot to the top of the ebook bestseller lists, generate buzz, and spur consumer sales from the publicity.
We need to contact publishers ourselves and ask why they're not moving forward and offer our help and advice. We need to jumpstart discussions with hardware and software manufacturers to rectify usability problems now, before ebooks blow yet another chance at becoming a full-fledged market. We need to survey our users (especially audiences well-suited to the benefits of ebooks) and become a conduit between them and the ebook industry.
We need to insert ourselves into the debate and the cycle now, because look what a horrible mess this has all become without us.
Pubs Suing Because They Canít Compete, Gator Says
"Those who can, innovate. Those who canít, sue.
That is Gator Corp.ís assessment of a lawsuit filed last month by The Washington Post Co., The New York Times Co., Dow Jones & Co., Gannett Inc., Condenet Inc., Tribune Interactive Inc., Knight Ridder Digital and three other publishers.
Judge Claude Hilton issued an injunction July 12 in federal court in Alexandria, VA, barring Gator from advertising on 16 Web sites pending resolution of the suit.
The publishers claim that by serving unauthorized pop-ups, Gator infringes on their copyrights and trademarks, depriving them of revenue.
Nonsense, contends Scott Eagle, chief marketing officer at Gator, Redwood City, CA. 'This is about competition,' he said." [DM News]
I wanted to post this just to suggest a new slogan for those fighting off the entertainment industry: "Those who can, innovate. Those who canít, sue."
"Far be it from me to wish for anything more from Radio. Okay, I admit I'm overindulged and spoiled. Nevertheless, here is what I wish for. I would like it if Radio came with a default "category" called "Radio Questions." And as we all know, this implies a separate XML feed for that channel. Then the folks at Userland (and the phalanx of developers who lurk in Radio Userland) could subscribe to that channel for some of the more intrepid users (i.e. Rick) and respond on a publicly available channel. Thus you would have an XML channel with the latest hot tips and fixes for current Radio problems. So, it would be sort of like an online demonstration of what a corporation could use Radio for: i.e. a robust, and inexpensive KM solution. It sounds cool, but (as the guy in the commercial says), is it implementable?" [Ernie the Attorney]
This is absolutely brilliant, and I hope the folks at Userland can find the time to set something like this up. I haven't read the discussion group in weeks because I can't keep up with it, and the mailing list is for developer stuff that sails so far over my head I can't read the logo on the ball.
The more I think about this, the more I want to emulate it at SLS as we begin to implement an intranet and extranet. It will take me quite some time to get my member libraries to understand the value of a news aggregator, let alone use one, but a streaming FAQ with a targeted search engine for the archives makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Ernie!
Two fun Flash-based sites:
Camera Makers Unveil New Media Format
"The new xD-Picture Card will be less than an inch square and will be capable of storage capacities of up to 8GB....
Fuji and Olympus will begin selling cameras with xD-Picture Card this fall, along with Fuji-branded cards in 16MB, 32MB, 64MB and 128MB capacities. Adapters that allow the cards to work in PC card and Compact Flash slots will also be available.
Advantages of the new format include its compact size and significantly faster data transfer speeds. A card with capacity of 64MB or higher can record data at 3MB per second, according to Fuji, six times faster than a comparable SmartMedia card....
'To be honest, Fuji and Olympus don't have the clout to make this catch on,' [Niebel] said. 'It's going to be a very niche market.' " [CNET News.com]
Agreed. More format choices = bad, although when you get beyond 128 MB, there's some incentive. Smaller memory cards worry me because I have a difficult enough time keeping track of my Sony memory sticks. Anything smaller (the xD-Picture Card is about the size of a penny) and I might accidentally eat it thinking I'm grabbing a breath mint out of my bag.
Besides, the user interface for tracking 8 GB worth of pictures would be unreal. I have problems organizing the 6 GB on my Archos Jukebox MP3 player, so 8 GB of anything that I'd have to wade through on a small device would probably make my head explode. The industry needs some serious usability testing and implementation before introducing this much memory in a package that small.
Forgery Bill Could Criminalize Copying
"The deletion of a single word has dragged a relatively uncontroversial bill into the fair-use fray.
Anticounterfeiting bill S2395 introduced in April by Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) exited many groups' radar screens by the time it left the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-July. The bill was originally designed to criminalize the forgery of a "physical feature" used for authentication on software, movies, and music--such as mock holograms created to make pirated CDs look legitimate.
But as the bill heads for a full Senate vote, critics are noting that a key word--physical--was dropped. The omission extends the proposal's reach from tangible trickery to digital dupery as well, an addition that some say the legislation is ill-equipped to tackle. It also raises concerns about fair-use rights, say some consumer advocates....
Biden's office says the change was made because digital and physical counterfeiting should be treated the same under law--in the case of this bill, that means a jail sentence of up to a five years and a fine as much as $25,000.
The bill wouldn't restrict consumers from making copies for their private use because the proposed legislation targets trafficking--meaning that copies need to be traded for value, a Biden aide says.
However, some critics argue that the bill's language isn't specific enough to guarantee protection for all fair-use situations.
For example, libraries that trade digital works could, in theory, be sued under the bill, says Jonathan Band, a partner with the law firm Morrison and Foerster." [PC World] (emphasis is mine)
It used to be that everyone agreed that libraries are good things. Not anymore. Sure, censorship has always been a problem but in the digital age, publishers and copyright holders see libraries as the enemy and for the first time, they have tools to physically stop libraries from circulating their material.
Of course, they'd never come right out and say this, so instead they pay for a back door with a deadbolt on one side. They call it an effort to establish laws that would protect their copyrighted works and yes it would do that, but ultimately it would also prevent libraries from circulating digital content altogether. No more borrowing something for free when they can force you to pay to access it.
Copyfight is tracking the controversy surrounding this bill, especially in noting the opinions of some folks that don't think the bill is as bad as it is being made out to be. Knowing how much the entertainment industry would loooove to lock up its content and charge whatever it decides is appropriate for access, I can't overcome my skepticism.
They told us the DMCA couldn't be abused, but it has been. They've promised to retain fair use rights, but they don't offer anything at the negotiation table to support this. In fact, they refuse to implement what has traditionally been the loophole that lets libraries continue on about their business of loaning items. Why? Because if you allow one technological loophole for one group, it will be exploited by other groups and that little pinprick would bring the whole dam crashing down.
These are the people that denied price fixing, deny trying to kill webcasting, and are now trying to legislate into effect the status quo that got them into this mess in the first place. And we're supposed to trust that they won't abuse Senator Biden's proposed legislation? Sorry - I don't have any trust left for them.