Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This is the coolest computer out there...



The elegant OQO 02

It's the perfect marriage between a handheld and a laptop. No cellphone function, but it also supports a built-in aircard for wireless anywhere. And that also means that you can use skype for calls ANYWHERE. Expensive at $1500, but it's still the coolest. The OQO 01 supported Linux, and the word is that this one will too. Even better...

Monday, March 26, 2007

For Wxman - not what he thinks...

In honor of my good buddy wxman (pronounced "weatherman"), I've added an Accuweather feed to this blog. I know what he thinks of Accuweather, so I'm sure he'll be touched. I will say this: the folks over at Accuweather have a TON of video content on their site. I'm really impressed, actually...

The video feed probably won't survive as it doesn't quite fit in, but who knows...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Linux is finally getting some commercial press!

These are pretty sweet! The second one is the funniest... Seriously, Vista eye-candy is old if you're a linux user...



Help save internet radio!!!

The internet is one of the PUREST forms of capitalism. Lots of competition, low barriers to entry in the marketplace, and almost zero regulation. By god, you can buy stuff and not pay SALES TAX! But the free market is a harsh mistress. Fail to innovate or give customers what they want, and you will be punished. And that's the way it should be. Unless you're a traditional marketplace monopoly with a billion-dollar political lobby. Enter the RIAA and old-school music industry. They failed to innovate, and failed to give customers what they wanted. Thus, they began to collapse. In it's wake, music download services have flourished. And even now, the iTunes of the world are becoming passe for the early adopter. Streaming internet radio featuring a wide range of artists and musical tastes has spread like wildfire. However, with it's last gasp, Big Radio has muscled a *Republican* administration into regulating the CRAP out of internet radio. Literally. Not only is this philosophically un-conservative, but this lobby is usually in the pocket of the Democrats! My Libertarian streak prevents me from identifying as a Republican, but this party has CHANGED.

Anyway, mosey on over to Save Internet Radio, and take a few minutes to preserve our free market.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Democracy TV

Although the Democracy Internet TV player has been around for about a year, I've held off on installing it until it matured. And, let me take this moment to say that it's matured. For a person like me who doesn't have a TV, this is the final piece I needed to complete my broadcatching setup. My TV-Torrents setup handles my favorite shows like Battlestar Galactica and Heroes, and now Democracy will handle my news (ABC,NBC, Rocket-boom) and viral videos. The functionality is phenomenal, and it's getting better all the time.

what is Democracy (the program, not the philosophical concept)? Well, there is a ton of video content online. Stuff like Youtube and Metacafe, but also stuff from TV networks like ABC and Scifi. Democracy ties it all together, including video blogs and podcasts. You've got to try it! And to sweeten the pot, it's cross-platform! Windows, Linux AND Mac. Yeah, baby!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

File-sharing is killing the actual pirates!

And it makes sense! I can't believe this is the first we've heard of this effect. P2P is a juggernaut...

Great name for a website...

Go and visit Slacker.com. That's seriously the name of the website. It's the newest internet radio station on the block. The best part about it is that the music plays back on the their web player making it operating system agnostic, and it's a REALLY snappy and responsive interface. The music catalog is not quite as extensive as Last.fm, but I think I'll explore it for a while...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

But, I'm the decider...

Maybe in the past, but I hope not on this issue, as the president seems to seriously lack the political will to get his done. Biofuels are the path to the future. Read on, if you dare...

I'm not much of an environmentalist. That's just the truth. It's a combination of laziness and tuning out the alarmists. I just don't agree with Greens who would have us riding bicycles to work, living in a huts, and recycling our piss. Sometimes this makes life at home interesting as my wife is a consummate Green. But, she falls on the practical side, rather than with the alarmists. And in honor of her, I present this Cnet article on biomass fuels. I will agree that our dependence on oil is ultimately untenable. What I didn't know is that alternatives are cheap, easy and within our grasp. Seriously. No, seriously.

Okay, let's get real. I didn't know that biomass stuff until today. And it doesn't apply to cars, which is the real issue, right? So, on to the next option. Hybrids are stupid expensive and .............. small. I am NOT a fan. Until they make a V6 3.5 liter 250 horsepower Nissan Altima hybrid, I call bullsh*t. But, this will make you stop and scratch your head. Did you know that biodiesel can be used in a REGULAR DIESEL ENGINE without modification?! And do you know what biodiesel is? Wesson flippin cooking oil without the glycerin or alcohol. Thanks to farm subsidies, do you know how much corn rots across this country? TONS OF IT!!! So, I can use rotting Iowan corn oil to power an unmodified diesel engine, so I don't have to negotiate with crazy Hugo Chavez. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions...

I'm calling it right now. Truckers are ALREADY behind this initiative. Biofuels are going to crush hybrids and take the crown back from unleaded. Farmers are happy. Truckers are happy. Greens are happy. You're sh*tting me, right?

yeah, right

Blu-ray will replace all other DVD's within 3 years? Somebody's been drinking. Besides me. People own LOTS of DVD's. Dozens, hundreds.... I'm sure there's even some freakshow out there with THOUSANDS! And I don't want to hear any high def 1080p bullsh*t. A good upconvert stacks up fine next to blu-ray. Hmmmm, $90 or $900. Except for the enthusiasts, DVD's ain't going anywhere for a looooong time...

What do you think?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The (soon to be) death of the Bittorent Video Store

DRM is reportedly killing the newly launched Bittorrent video store. For those just tuning in, bittorrent is the newest flavor of peer-to-peer filesharing. And DRM is the stuff that keeps you from sharing. Or stealing, in the words of the MPAA or RIAA. But what happens when you purchase something from the new legit Bittorrent storefront, but you can't play it because the embedded DRM isn't compatible with your video card, or operating system, or version of Windows? I guess it's back to the illegal stuff...


Guys, take a lesson from Steve Jobs. (Yes, I still believe he is Satan, the lord of evil. But that's beside the point.) Make DRM easy and transparent. Until you do that, the beatings will continue.

A disguised attempt to put the paddles to big radio

P2Pnet has got a neat article on how the FCC has mandated that the BIG 4 Radio Broadcasting Companies (Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Entercom and Citadel Broadcasting) must set aside a few hours per day to broadcast indie music. It's part of a settlement resulting from "payola" allegations from the FCC.

Basically, there's a reason why every radio station plays the same music. Duh, the broadcasters are paid by the record companies to play certain artists. In the 50's and 60's it was like $10 or a ham sandwich to the starving DJ, and the artist was usually an unknown looking to get his or her album on the airwaves so they could make it to commercial stardom. Today, the system has been turned on it's head, millions of dollars are changing hands, and the artists have already "made it" and are simply promoting albums, concerts, etc.

My opinion of the settlement? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Is this the FCC in a Republican administration??? Interfering with the mandate of the market??? Big music is DYING. And I say, LET IT DIE. I don't even know anyone who LISTENS to the radio anymore. The out-of-control payola has forced music homogeneity on the radio and it's KILLING both the broadcasters and the record companies. If they can't figure it out themselves and change their ways, who is the freakin' FCC to come in and mandate change. A few hours of indie artists per week?! Give me a break...

And don't cry for the indie artists. They have discovered a little thing called the internet. And that scene is THRIVING. I've heard more new, indie music in six months of listening to Last.fm than I have in 20 years of listening to the radio. Internet radio is the revolution, baby! If the FCC wants to help someone, help internet broadcasters! Their FEDERALLY MANDATED royalty fees just got jacked through the roof. Coincidence? I think not. So, Big Radio plays a few indie artists at 2am every day and stays on life-support, while indie internet-radio gets the wet banket of crazy royalty fees thrown over it.

Message to the FCC: Quit f*cking with the market. That's not your job. What you end up doing is snuffing out the competition before they even get going. That creates the very monopolies you were trying to prevent. Monopolies hurt America. Seriously.

So, where can you go and hear this indie music? I thought you'd never ask:

Magnatune
Last.fm
Shoutcast
Pandora
SomaFM
Digitally Imported
and my personal favorite for underground hip-hop: Smoothbeats.com

I personally think internet-radio is the best thing that's happened to music in my lifetime. I just hope it's allowed to thrive...

Monday, March 5, 2007

The real scoop on piracy?

Nice write-up over at TorrentFreak about a piracy documentary done by a Canadian. The actual documentary DVD is freely downloadable, so give it a watch and let me know what you think.

I've got some very strong opinions on this topic, if I can rant for a minute. I LOVE movies. No, really. I LOVE them. I watch at least three a week. Sometimes more. But I RARELY go to the theater anymore. Why? Because after I drive all the way the freak to the theater, pay $16 for my wife and I just to walk in the doors, pay $10 more for dry popcorn and over-sweet sodas, sit my ass in the uncomfortable seats, and start watching the tiny (this is the midwest, and I'm from L.A.) screen all while telling the moronic teenagers in front of us to "shut the f*ck up, I'm trying to watch the movie! This is NOT your flippin' living room!", I realize that the studios have not jerked me hard enough yet. Why? Because as the lights go down and the screen starts, a F*CKING PEPSI COMMERCIAL COMES ON! Wait a motherf*cking minute here! I PAID to see a MOVIE not a bunch of stupid commercials. Yes, I said STUPID commercials. At least we could get some clever superbowl-type spots, right? Naw, just an inane 60 seconds of nonsense about a giant Pepsi........ball rolling around the city with some stupid guy on top of it. YES! Can you believe this? Five minutes later (after MORE commercials) the TRAILERS begin. And the studios claim that piracy is killing them?! RIIIIIIGHT. High prices, sh*tty theaters, and 20 minutes of nonsense BEFORE the actual movie starts is killing the movie industry. Spending 200 million on making Superman fly when he flew just fine 20 years ago for a quarter of the price is killing the movie industry.

That said, the new David Fincher flick, Zodiac, is the bomb. You've got to be into serial killers and mysteries to enjoy it as it's really a stylized-documentary. VERY true to the actual events, but still giving you a true taste of 70's California. Very niche, so be careful unless you know what you're doing. The flick is 3 hours long.



But, I digress...

The movie industry is bigger and more bloated than ever, movie theaters are charging consumers more than ever, more crappy movies are being produced every year than at any time in movie history, and...........wait for it.........the industry's bottom lines are contracting! Profits are getting smaller! And the movie industry is blaming a few geeks with computers for crippling them? They need to wake up and figure out that people are tired of their reindeer games, and what we really want is to watch the latest Will Smith flick on our 60" Pioneer Elite plasma HD with the Bose 321 Lifestyle surround-sound in the comfort of our OWN MOTHERF*CKING HOME. The sooner they make that happen, the sooner they have a chance of NOT suffering the same fate as the music industry. And they also have to wake up and smell the economy. Movie budgets are ridiculous. Stop paying Brandon Routh $50 million for putting on a pair of tights, and maybe they'll have enough to invest in a content distribution system that will get their product into living rooms. They better figure it out, or Apple will do it for them...

Wow, was that ever a rant...

Here's some youtubes to the documentary, but beware. They are sh*tty quality.

Video 1

Video 2

Friday, March 2, 2007

Here comes another one...

Joost. A new way to watch TV over the internet. I'll give it a whirl, although I'm wary that it's Windows and Mac only right now, although they promise linux support soon. It's in HEAVY beta development right now, so you it's strictly an invite-only deal. But here's the press-release:

Joost™ is a new way to watch TV, free of the schedules and restrictions that come with traditional television. Combining the best of TV with the best of the internet, Joost™ gives you more control and freedom than ever before - control over what you watch, and freedom to watch it whenever you like. We're providing a platform for the best television content on the planet - a platform that will bring you the biggest and best shows from the TV studios, as well as the specialist programs created by professionals and enthusiasts. It's all overlaid with a raft of nifty features that help you find the shows you love, watch and chat with friends, and even create your own TV channels.

***Exactly. I still don't know what the f*ck it is, or how it works. I'll post some updates soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

New linux phone!


This is the literally the holy grail of cellphones. Everything you know they can do, but haven't. Did you know we're over a year behind the Japanese and South Koreans in cell phone technology? Grrr.

article

Driving traffic toward bittorrent

TV Wars: BitTorrent to the Rescue
Written by enigmax on March 01, 2007

Millions of UK viewers who have already paid for access to shows such as Lost, 24 and Battlestar Galactica are now facing blank television screens because of a dispute between Virgin Media and BSkyB. They now face a stark choice: miss the shows they love so much, or download them via BitTorrent.

article

***I know what I would do. In fact I do it every day...