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May 27, 2005

OT: Speechless [6:42 pm]

living with ghosts (in re: The Choirboy [pdf])

I think I’m sticking with the hero, brave words.

Later: The Register’s take: Lawrence Lessig’s other court case

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The Complexities of Deploying MS’ Rights Management System [8:45 am]

Oliver Rist: Microsoft amends Rights Management Server

For those who don’t remember, RMS is a cousin of Digital Rights Management Server, but it’s intended to protect documents that circulate within a single organization and perhaps within some partner organizations; it’s not aimed at securing documents, such as an e-book, that have a broader, Internet-wide audience. Within an organization, RMS has the power to enforce security policies down to the document level, and it allows the document to carry its security along with it wherever it goes in the enterprise.

RMS’s security features are significant, including encryption, specific user or group access, denial of save, print, or change capabilities, and more. So BT’s Pearson could create a hypothetical document alerting senior staff to buy millions of PlayStations for the Pearson Brain-Drain Game project, and he could make the document viewable only by a select group of BT executives. Let’s call them the Guinness Drinkers. If Pearson e-mails the document to the entire BT Executive Group, only those in the Guinness Drinkers subgroup will be able to open it.

Pearson could further make sure that no one in Human Resources, Legal, or Psychological Evaluations can even see the document, let alone print or save it. And should Sony issue an announcement that it will evaluate his proposal by a specific date, Pearson can set his original document to expire on that date in favor of his new document, “I Don’t Know What I Was Thinking.”

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The Evolving Demographics of ‘Net Use [8:38 am]

Silver surfers say net is ‘vital’

Two polls marking Silver Surfers’ day, suggest technologies like the net are considered essential by older people.

More than half of over-55s online say the net gives them a new lease of life. Seven percent look for love online, and 22% play games.

The annual Silver Surfers’ day tries to introduce older groups to technologies.

The day, which gets support from the European Union’s social fund, aims to ease 10,000 “digitally excluded” older people into a digital life by showing them how technologies might add to their lives.

The attitudes towards technologies across the generations is levelling out, thinks technology giant Hewlett Packard (HP).

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Funding A Digital Conversion [8:35 am]

UK cinemas share digital windfall

More than 200 UK cinemas have been chosen to get Lottery money to cut down on Hollywood films in favour of British, classic and arthouse movies.

The 209 cinemas will share £11.7m - equivalent to £56,000 each - to install state-of-the-art digital projectors.

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New Internet2 RIAA Suits [8:33 am]

RIAA takes new shots at Internet2 swappers

The Recording Industry Association of America filed lawsuits against people at 33 university campuses accused of using the high-speed Internet2 network to swap music files, the group said Thursday. The actions follow a first set of lawsuits focusing on this network last month.

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An FCC Decency Casualty [8:27 am]

You’re #@&$% Fired!

A reporter for WCBS-TV, Mr. Chi’en was on a Midtown street doing a live standup on MetroCard swindles. This was for the benefit of however many New Yorkers happened to be awake at 6 a.m. and tuned to Channel 2. Behind him stood two dolts who taunted him on camera, gesturing vulgarly and holding up a sign for the Opie and Anthony radio show.

Opie and Dopey, you may recall, are the geniuses who once broadcast a live account of a couple supposedly having sex inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral. They’re still around, heaven save us, on satellite radio. Their idea of fun now includes sending dolts to torment hard-working reporters.

Mr. Chi’en, acting human, lost his cool. After finishing his report, he turned to his harassers and yelled something on the order of, “What is your problem, man?” That last sentence is sanitized here. [...]

That was Mr. Chi’en’s foolish thing. He thought he was off the air, he says. But he knew right away that he had gone too far. When he went back live moments later, he apologized, but to no avail. Before the morning was out, WCBS had fired him.

[...] SOME of Mr. Chi’en’s allies sense a climate of fear in the F.C.C.’s pumped-up campaign against indecency.

In parts of the country, television stations have refused to broadcast the film “Saving Private Ryan” because it shows soldiers at war being, of all things, violent and foul-mouthed. Some stations have rejected “Schindler’s List” for showing naked female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp being herded to the showers. Never mind that any viewer sexually titillated by that scene probably needs a therapist.

It is in this climate that Mr. Chi’en lost his job, his supporters say. “It’s a gross overreaction,” said Al O’Leary, a spokesman for the police officers’ union, who used to speak for New York City Transit. “To sacrifice Arthur Chi’en’s career on the altar of political correctness is just wrong.”

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Ugh! [8:22 am]

As TV Moves to the Web, Marketers Follow

TELEVISION programmers are looking to make the Web a lot more like TV.

On Tuesday, the emerging-media group at Scripps Networks, part of the E. W. Scripps Company, plans to introduce an all-video Web site that will use programming from its Food Network, Fine Living, HGTV and DIY Network brands, as well as new clips.

A major advertiser in Scripps offline media, General Motors’ GMC division, has paid for a video showroom on the site and a presence throughout it.

Others are likely to follow, as advertisers show a growing interest in the approach. “One of the biggest drivers for online advertising the first time was Web sites advertising on other Web sites,” said Peter Petrusky, director for advisory services at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “This time it’s being buoyed by the offline brand builders like Coke, Honda, Nike, Visa and Nestlé.”

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Pre-empting the MPAA’s Piracy Argument [8:19 am]

With Popcorn, DVD’s and TiVo, Moviegoers Are Staying Home

With box-office attendance sliding, so far, for the third consecutive year, many in the industry are starting to ask whether the slump is just part of a cyclical swing driven mostly by a crop of weak movies or whether it reflects a much bigger change in the way Americans look to be entertained - a change that will pose serious new challenges to Hollywood.

Studios have made more on DVD sales and licensing products than on theatrical releases for some time. Now, technologies like TiVo and video-on-demand are keeping even more people at home, as are advanced home entertainment centers, with their high-definition television images on large flat screens and multichannel sound systems.

“It is much more chilling if there is a cultural shift in people staying away from movies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the Exhibitor Relations Company, a box-office tracking firm. “Quality is a fixable problem.”

But even if the quality of movies can be improved, Mr. Dergarabedian said, the fundamental problem is that “today’s audience is a much tougher crowd to excite. They have so many entertainment options and they have gotten used to getting everything on demand.”

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The WaPo on News, $$’s and the WWW [8:13 am]

News Groups Wrestle With Online Fees [pdf]

“For the cost of roughly two and a half martinis, you can have access to the entire archives,” [NYTimes Digital's Martin] Nisenholtz quipped. He took issue with bloggers who predicted the subscription plan will reduce the readership and influence of the paper’s columnists. “We expect quite a number of people will subscribe,” he said.

But since the New York Times has more online readers than print subscribers, it’s hard to believe the columnists won’t see a dramatic fall-off in readership even if its subscription plan catches on.

The painful transition facing the newspaper industry was on display here this week at the Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference. In a panel discussion, top executives from three newspaper companies — Knight-Ridder Inc., The Washington Post Co. and Dow Jones & Co. — expressed optimism about what they called the “challenges” facing their industry. Since most large papers have gained more Web readers than they have lost in print, the panelists said the industry has a chance to reinvent itself.

“If we’re in trouble, shame on us,” said Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive of The Washington Post, noting that total readership of Post journalism has more than doubled in the past seven years if online readers and those reading the company’s free Express paper are counted.

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I Know Where I Stand [7:55 am]

Unless the government want to pay me to get cable… Lawmakers split on subsidy for digital TV converters

Lawmakers seemed split along party lines Thursday over whether the government should buy converter boxes for millions of Americans who still use antenna-based TVs, once the nation’s shift to digital TV is finished.

A bill drafted by House Republicans sets Dec. 31, 2008, as the date by which broadcasters must return their analog airwaves to the government and broadcast in digital only. That deadline — two years later than Republicans originally advocated — drew bipartisan support at a House hearing Thursday.

But the bill includes no subsidy for the $50 boxes, which would convert digital to analog for consumers who use analog TVs that rely on antenna rather than on cable or satellite TV.

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