December 20, 2004

Clearing Copyright [8:39 am]

Poles play with GameBoy ‘blip-pop’

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project has taken the game sounds to put together music tunes they have dubbed “blip-pop.”

Think of it as Donkey Kong meets Norman Cook, or maybe Tetris takes on Kraftwerk.

Any way you slice it, the sound is distinct.

All the sounds are made by six Nintendo GameBoys, with a mixture of older models and newer Advance SP handhelds.

The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project tweaks the software a bit, and then connects the units through a mixing board.

[...] The Gameboyzz Orchestra Project’s tracks are available online and the group hopes to make a CD next year.

And they have sponsorship, courtesy of the Polish distributor of Nintendo products.

See also Getting Game Boy to Play Their Tune and More on Nintendo Music Performers

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Hacking for Fun and (Some) Profit [8:18 am]

A Toy With a Story

Ms. Ellsworth has squeezed the entire circuitry of a two-decade-old Commodore 64 home computer onto a single chip, which she has tucked neatly into a joystick that connects by a cable to a TV set. Called the Commodore 64 - the same as the computer system - her device can run 30 video games, mostly sports, racing and puzzles games from the early 1980’s, all without the hassle of changing game cartridges.

[...] Sold by Mammoth Toys, based in New York, for $30, the Commodore 64 joystick has been a hot item on QVC this Christmas season, selling 70,000 units in one day when it was introduced on the shopping channel last month; since then it has been sold through QVC’s Web site.

[...] Her efforts in reverse-engineering old computers and giving them new life inside modern custom chips has already earned her a cult following among small groups of “retro” personal computer enthusiasts, as well as broad respect among the insular world of the original computer hackers who created the first personal computers three decades ago.

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OT: Anything To Defy The Firm I Love To Hate [8:13 am]

In the Bay Area, TiVo Supplies DVR’s at a Terrific Price: Nothing

Last Friday, TiVo gave away nearly 2,000 digital video recorders to Comcast subscribers who showed up at its Silicon Valley headquarters between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

TiVo scheduled the giveaway to capitalize on problems that Comcast, the major cable provider in the Bay Area, was having in getting its own DVR’s to customers.

“Comcast has let down its customers with promises unfulfilled,” TiVo said on its Web site.

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How Long Can They Resist The $$$s? [8:11 am]

And, more importantly, why exactly is it that the wireless companies get to define “acceptable” content? Cellphone Entertainment, Yes, but Carriers Shy From X-Rated

With new functions to send e-mail, take pictures and listen to music, the mobile phone has turned into a portable minicomputer. But the operators of phone networks are resisting new services that proved very popular on the old personal computer: pornography and violent video games.

[...] “We’re not going to offer adult content; we’re not going to offer ultraviolent games,” said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Cingular. “That is not compatible with the Cingular brand.”

Such decisions show the fine line that the carriers are trying to walk. Many, for example, already offer downloadable images of bikini-clad models from magazines like Sports Illustrated and Maxim. But some critics are raising concerns that the phone operators are acting as content gatekeepers.

Historically, telephone carriers have not been allowed to censor what people say over the telephone or what phone numbers they call. Similarly, the Federal Communications Commission has said that mobile phone operators cannot censor what sites consumers visit on the Internet.

But the F.C.C. said no rule governed what content the carriers could sponsor and sell themselves. Gene Kimmelman, senior director of Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, said the operators of telephone networks, while not stopping consumers from visiting sites over the Internet, were creating two tiers of access, then making their own value judgments about what content to include in the more accessible tier.

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Suprnova Gone [8:08 am]

Hollywood campaign hits websites

Movie studio efforts to stop pirated films being shared on peer-to-peer networks have claimed a high-profile victim.

The campaign of legal action is thought to be behind the closure of the widely used Suprnova.org website.

The site was the most popular place for people swapping and sharing links for the BitTorrent network.

Also: Popular File-Sharing Site Shuts Down [pdf]; File-Swap Site Folds for Good; Slashdot followup - Following up on Torrent Shutdowns

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