April 22, 2007

Surprise! If You Like Radio, You Like Radio [11:51 pm]

Exposing the weak assumptions of exclusivity — paying for a subscription service does not mean eschewing other alternatives: Digital Subscribers Like Free Radio, Too

The data suggest that, generally speaking, fans of digital radio are seeking to supplement, not replace, traditional radio. “Heavy users of digital media don’t think, ‘If I’m doing this more, I’m doing the other thing less,’ ” said Bill Rose, an executive with Arbitron.

permalink to just this entry

The Evolution of the Concert & Reunions [11:45 pm]

Not Reunions, Reinventions Back and Better. Really.

Unless you are a lawyer or a promoter for one of these bands, all you have is your ears. Despite all the bien-pensant hand-wringing about how reunions smell fishy, a band is a band. It is not more powerful than the sound it generates on a certain stage at a certain hour, its grooves and tones and tension and release. It is made of musicians who are considered young for a while, and then become older. They play in a club, then maybe a stadium, and then maybe a club again. They have money disputes, or they don’t want to look at one another for a while, and they stop. Then the market changes in their favor, and they play again.

[...] If you had working knowledge of the Pixies’ and Stooges’ albums, you may have been stunned by how sophisticated live sound has become since those bands disappeared the first time, and how they have adapted the advances to their own needs. And what about the best of those who never formally went away — a band like Slayer, a performer like Prince? They carry so much maturity after more than 20 years that even if they don’t retain perpetual youth, they have something that might be more important: complete control over their own sound.

[...] There are clear reasons for this trend. We’re seeing the winnowing of the live-music era in America, as well as the end of belief in the album. Any crisis of belief leads to sanctification and orthodoxy; people want to see the saints work their magic. Ashley Capps, who helps produce mid-June’s Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tenn. — which has booked the Police as one of its headliners this year — put it in a slightly simpler way. “When I was growing up, the release of an album was an event,” he said. “We’ve moved away from the notion that the release of a recording is an event. Somebody can release a great album and get fantastic reviews and everybody’s talking about it, but how long does that last? Six weeks? In that sense, live performances are becoming the important event.”

[...] We have to allow for the possibility that Rage Against the Machine — or the Police, or the Jesus and Mary Chain — could be as good as it ever was, if perhaps a little more wizened, a little more skeptical. (It will depend on their practicing of course.) If you’re still looking for something sacred, it probably can’t be found in their values or politics or cult significance. It’s in you: It is your own reaction to how they sound. Nobody can take that away from you.

permalink to just this entry

April 21, 2007

Call It A Benefit, And Everyone Will Favor It [9:59 pm]

Google’s data-storing feature fuels privacy fearspdf

Facing worries about its tracking Web surfers’ every move, Google Inc. is now offering a feature to track Web surfers’ every move.

Its free Web History service is strictly voluntary — Google users can sign up to have the Internet giant keep detailed records of every website they visit so they can easily find them again later.

permalink to just this entry

April 20, 2007

OT: Some Sense At The End of a Long Week [11:06 am]

I’m sorry - it’s been a long week and I know I haven’t been posting as I should. But this LATimes op-ed says something important far better than I ever could, and it deserves posting and disseminating: We’re not all victims - pdf

FIVE DAYS after the Virginia Tech massacre, the friends and families of the victims are grieving — and despite the relentless glare of the media spotlight, their pain is still private. It belongs to them, not to the rest of us.

But you sure wouldn’t know it from the way we talk about the tragedy.

[...] Count me out. There’s something fraudulent about this eagerness to latch onto the grief of others and embrace the idea that we, too, have been victimized. This trivializes the pain felt by those who have actually lost something and pathologizes normal reactions to tragedy. Empathy is good, but feeling shocked and saddened by the shootings doesn’t make us traumatized or special — these feelings make us normal.

Our self-indulgent conviction that we have all been traumatized also operates, ironically, to shut down empathy for other, less media-genic victims. [...]

Our collective insistence that we all share in the Virginia Tech trauma is a form of anti-politics, one that blinds us to the distinctions between different kinds and degrees of suffering.

[...] Lumping together the space shuttle disasters, Columbine and Virginia Tech with terrorism, natural disasters and war dangerously decontextualizes these disparate events.

One Day Blog SilenceSilence is a Memoriam, Not a Reason to Stop Blogging
The Problems with A Day of Silence on the Blogosphere

permalink to just this entry

April 19, 2007

The Onion on Chinese Piracy [12:08 pm]

From the April 18, 2007 Issue (43-16): Fighting Chinese Piracy - pdf

The United States recently filed several complaints with the World Trade Organization against the Chinese government for its failure to clamp down on media piracy and counterfeiting. Here are some other measures the U.S. has taken to combat the problem:

  • [...] Implementing new security algorithm on all CDs and DVDs that slows down hackers for up to three hours

  • [...] Tracking all citizens, thereby creating a draconian hellscape to protect Resident Evil: Extinction from profitless consumption

  • Suimg pants off college kids

  • Fighting never-ending, futile court battles rather than adapting to new technological paradigm

permalink to just this entry

An Evolving Approach To Online Privacy [8:24 am]

And a demonstration that we can learn! Most teenagers with social network profiles online are taking steps to protect themselves from the most obvious risks - the press release for the report Teens, Privacy & Online Social Networks

A new survey and a series of focus groups conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project examines how teens understand their privacy through several lenses: by looking at the choices that teens make to share or not to share information online, by examining what they share, by probing for the context in which they share it and by asking teens for their own assessment of their vulnerability. For many online teens, particularly those with profiles, privacy and disclosure choices are made as they create and maintain social networking profiles. Of course, material shared in a profile is just one of many places where information is shared online – but it provides a snapshot into the choices that teens make to share in a relatively public and persistent online environment. Further, we went on to examine the interactions teens have with people unknown to them on social networking sites, exploring the nature of new friendships created on the networks, as well as unwelcome, and some times uncomfortable or scary stranger contacts.

permalink to just this entry

April 18, 2007

O. M. G! — Le Déluge Commence [11:21 am]

Inevitable, I suppose, but still very, very, very disappointing. Apparently, we now have MDs on the Supreme Court: Court Backs Ban on Abortion Procedurepdf

The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

I look forward to reading how Kennedy wrote himself out of his earlier position, and the dissents will be quite interesting - 2006 Term Opinions - Gonzales v Carhart (pdf)

The NYTimes AP link is a little longer — Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Abortion Procedurepdf

Also Dahlia Lithwick’s Father Knows Best

Later: Cass Sunstein’s Ginsburg’s dissent may yet prevail - pdf

Even later: Charles Fried is starting to smell a rat - Supreme Confusion

permalink to just this entry

A Provocative Set of Observations About Modern Media Culture [10:17 am]

Toughest question is still unansweredpdf

This is one of those areas where the entertainment and news media inadvertently have contributed to the coarsening of our culture’s sensibilities. You heard that Monday, when the traumatized Virginia Tech students were interviewed and automatically referred to the killer of their teachers and fellows as “the shooter.” This bland, police-report-neutral language is the stuff of tough-guy cop shows and hard-edged news reports and commentators. It is not part of the usual vocabulary of a young man or woman grieving for a dead friend or mentor.

It is — or should be — deeply unsettling that our journalistic technology and entertainment culture have implanted in the minds of so many young Americans a syntax of distance and dehumanization.

[...] One of the things that distinguished reports on the Virginia Tech massacre was the fact that it represented the first such atrocity in which “new media” were coequal participants in the coverage. This is a process that emerged first during the terrorist attacks on the London transit system, in large part because Europe has run ahead of us in the adoption of camera phones and other handheld technologies. In that instance, ordinary people trapped in the carnage, photographed and recorded what was going on around them and then made it available to regular news organizations, particularly satellite television.

The collaboration intensified Monday at Virginia Tech, where media-savvy students used camera phones and Internet technology to “document” their experiences. [...]

[...] [N]ew media’s other face — the blogs — clearly displayed their major shortcoming. Their approach to even events like this is almost completely politicized, and facts are subordinate to ideology. Thus, within hours of the shootings, these sites — both left and right — already anticipated and were preoccupied by the possible political fallout of this latest mass murder.

Right-wing and conservative sites immediately began a defensive discussion of the event’s implications for the never-ending debate over gun control and fulminated darkly over the loss of respect for teachers and adults generally, about the malevolent influence of Hollywood and violent video games. By Monday evening, when false reports that the killer was a Chinese immigrant began to circulate, an I-told-you-so denunciation of allegedly lax immigration policies began.

On the left, similar discussions of Virginia’s gun laws, the lapsed assault weapon ban — no such gun was involved — and the pernicious influence of the war in Iraq broke out.

All of it was drearily predictable; none of it was at all helpful.

In case you missed some of the kind of shocking and destructive blog hysteria that is cited above, Tim Grieve gives some examples here without being too egregious himself, except, perhaps, in his choice of titles: Compassionate conservatism and “Heartily ashamed”

permalink to just this entry

April 17, 2007

There Will Always Be An England [8:06 am]

Even with this new-fangled Interweb thingie: Paint Drying? Sorry, Wrong Link. This Is Cheddarvision.

Cheddarvision is only the latest boring Internet Webcam to randomly seize the public’s imagination, here in a country with an apparently unparalleled ability to produce them.

The ur-site was probably the one that showed a coffee pot in a Cambridge University computer lab in 1991. First displayed on the internal network as a way to show lab workers when the coffee was ready so they would not have to make fruitless journeys to the coffee machine, the site went global in 1993. It had more than two million visitors before being switched off in 2001.

Other dull British sites, helpfully compiled by Oliver Burkeman in a recent article (pdf) in The Guardian, include one that shows nothing happening on a side street of Neilston, a suburban village near Glasgow. Another one (now defunct) showed a pile of compost in Sussex.

[...] In fact, a time-release film of the cheese shows the effects of age on its person, as it progresses inexorably from young and smooth to old, veiny and mottled. Seeing the film is a poignant reminder of the ravages of time, similar in effect to watching, say, all the movies of Robert Redford or Nick Nolte in quick chronological succession.

permalink to just this entry

Industry Consolidation and Privacy [7:48 am]

Google plan raises privacy issue - pdf

Google Inc.’s purchase of DoubleClick Inc. would create the world’s single largest repository of details about people’s behavior online, an unnerving prospect for some privacy experts.

The $3.1-billion acquisition would combine two companies with massive troves of information about most people who use the Internet.

“This is something that is concerning,” said Kurt Opsahl, an attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Google’s associate general counsel, Nicole Wong, said Monday that Google did in fact hope to integrate the two companies’ “non-personally identifiable data,” and that mixing them would be of “great benefit” to both consumers and advertisers.

[...] “Provided consumers don’t feel snooped on, hyper-targeting makes everyone better off,” said Harvard Business School professor John Deighton. “Consumers don’t see irrelevant ads and advertisers spend less to get better results.”

“Provided…,” indeed! How would you know, exactly? The LATimes also has an editorial, but it’s a relatively mixed message: Microsoft the trust-buster? - pdf

YOU KNOW THE politics of antitrust enforcement have come full circle when Microsoft and AT&T are weighing in on behalf of the little guy. The two companies, along with media giant Time Warner Inc., are urging federal antitrust officials to scrutinize Google’s pending purchase of the ad agency DoubleClick, arguing that it would diminish competition in online advertising.

[...] The pair argue that a combined Google and DoubleClick would have unsurpassed economies of scale and a vast amount of information about Web users’ behavior — assets that would help Google target ads more precisely, making it more attractive to advertisers and websites alike.

[...] The market for advertising online is still in its infancy. Advertisers continue to experiment with ways to reach Web surfers, and they’re not yet sure how much to spend online instead of on television and other venues. And neither Google, DoubleClick nor anyone else dominate the emerging market for video advertising, which in the broadband era may emerge as the most effective and lucrative sector yet.

Later: EPIC files a complaint before the FTC - local copy (Washington Post article: Privacy Group Objects To DoubleClick Deal - pdf). (an earlier one In the Matter of Google Inc. and DoubleClick Inc. - local copy)

permalink to just this entry

April 16, 2007

OT: Some Background [1:13 pm]

I (lamely) just pull a number and post it in my header here — some folks go all the way: Watching the War and Acknowledging the Dead

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first with significant United States military casualties to take place in the Internet age. And while there have been debates over how much public attention to give members of the military who have been killed in combat, a string of Web sites has plunged ahead.

permalink to just this entry

Meraki Gets Some Globe Ink [9:24 am]

A part of the set of product profiles: Publish beautiful photo books - pdf

A small company with roots in the MIT Roofnet project has created a clever, if communistic, way to share your high-speed Internet connection.

Meraki (meraki.com) of Mountain View, Calif., sells WiFi routers you use to form ad-hoc “mesh networks” of devices all sharing data from a single, Internet-connected node.

Meraki is charging about $50 to $100 for its routers. The software for managing your network is free, and it could help you profit by selling shares of your connection, Meraki says.

permalink to just this entry

Defining “Misuse” For Something Whose Use Is Endlessly Mutable [9:12 am]

Lenders Misusing Student Databasepdf

Some lending companies with access to a national database that contains confidential information on tens of millions of student borrowers have repeatedly searched it in ways that violate federal rules, raising alarms about data mining and abuse of privacy, government and university officials said.

The improper searching has grown so pervasive that officials said the Education Department is considering a temporary shutdown of the government-run database to review access policies and tighten security. Some worry that businesses are trolling for marketing data they can use to bombard students with mass mailings or other solicitations.

Students’ Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and sensitive financial information such as loan balances are in the database, which contains 60 million student records and is covered by federal privacy laws. “We are just in shock that student data could be compromised like this,” said Nancy Hoover, director of financial aid at Denison University in Ohio.

Later: U.S. Limits Access to Student Loan Database

permalink to just this entry

April 15, 2007

Naysaying the Apple/EMI DRM-Free Push [6:09 pm]

A slam on the recent move - nothing like spinning when there’s no market data. Wonder who put him up to it: Higher digital music prices not a good dealpdf

But are consumers really receiving better value?

In Apple’s case, critics like Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation contend that consumers actually are getting a raw deal by being charged a 30% premium to effectively buy back their rights. And while audio quality is improved, it still doesn’t match CD quality.

In fact, analysts like David Card at Jupiter Research say it’s “unlikely” that premium-priced DRM-free music will jump-start a new surge in commercial downloading, since most consumers don’t place a value on DRM freedom.

Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner Research, is among the digital music watchers who think it’s doubtful that consumers will necessarily recognize the incremental value that has been built through the years by such services as Rhapsody and eMusic.

permalink to just this entry

April 14, 2007

A Warning From Another Quarter [10:51 pm]

A student pointed me to this article: Chinas latest export: web censorship - pdf

There are, however, signs that the West is getting cold feet about its laissez-faire approach. Concerns about cyber crime, paedophilia, pornography, violence and terrorism are growing, and even though in most cases the internet merely offers a newer and more fashionable outlet for age-old crimes and vices, the clamour for more invasive regulation may be difficult to resist.

In fact, resistance may be the least attractive option. Allowing unchecked web traffic runs counter to the deep-seated desire for control felt by many governments, and not just unelected ones. Last year, the US Government outlawed online gambling and the EU indicated a desire to regulate YouTube and other video-based websites as if they were broadcast television. Such measures may seem relatively trivial compared with China’s interventions, but they indicate a willingness to extend national boundaries onto the web. Western democracies may not like what China is doing in practice, but they seem to like the principle of nationally regulated cyberspace.

See also this, this and this one. Also, I note that I made this list.

permalink to just this entry

April 13, 2007

An Inflammatory Headline [4:39 pm]

But some serious work going on. I know more about GENI than others, so it’s nice to see a rundown. Fundamentally, the real challenge here has to do with something that’s very new to the engineering experience — how to design taking social and institutional considerations into account, not merely technical ones: Researchers explore scrapping Internetpdf

The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a “clean slate” approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on Sept. 2, 1969.

permalink to just this entry

April 12, 2007

Dylan Hears A Who [9:23 pm]

Tangled up in Seuss

If you missed his star turn, here’s what happened: Ryan, a 33-year-old Houston music producer and author, went into his home studio and engineered a sort of retro mash-up of two of his favorite artists, Bob Dylan and Dr. Seuss.

Ryan took the text from seven Seuss classics, including “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” and set them to original tunes that sounded like they were right off Dylan’s mid-’60s releases. He played all the instruments and sang all the songs in Dylan’s breathy, nasal twang. He registered a domain name, dylanhearsawho.com, and in February posted his seven tracks online, accompanied by suitably Photoshopped album artwork, under the title “Dylan Hears a Who.”

[...] Then Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the La Jolla, Calif., firm that publishes the works of the late Theodor Geisel, heard “Dylan Hears a Who.” Only two weeks after word of the site began spreading, Ryan got a cease-and-desist demand from the Seuss lawyers, who said the site and songs infringed the company’s copyrights and trademarks. Ryan complied quickly and quietly. Instead of the Dylan/Seuss tracks, visitors to dylanhearsawho.com find a brief message saying the site has been “retired” at the request of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

If you were caught up in the momentary wonder of how someone could execute such an ingeniously perfect blending of period musical style, ’60s attitude and loopy storytelling, it was tempting to see all of this as just another case of a heavy-handed corporate copyright holder — a master of copyright war, to call on the old Dylan oeuvre — sticking it to the little guy.

[...] Ryan himself — speaking, of course, after he heard from Seuss’ lawyers — seems to confirm Rothman’s judgment when he wrote in an online forum that “Dylan Hears a Who” was merely “a fun little project.” Having fun doesn’t make it impossible to produce parody, but to have a ghost of a chance of prevailing in a fair-use dispute, you need some serious justification and the ability to demonstrate it. In a sense, Ryan undid his most serious defense by admitting he used someone else’s protected material just for fun.

permalink to just this entry

April 9, 2007

Inside Higher Ed on Privacy [9:57 am]

Defining Privacy — and Its Limits

A student in a public university dormitory room had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” for his personal computer and its hard drive, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday. The decision also found that despite that right to privacy, an administrator in the case under review had the right to conduct a remote search of the computer — without a warrant — because of the circumstances involved.

The decision — by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit — is among the highest level court rulings to date on a set of legal questions pitting privacy vs. security that are increasingly present in academe. While experts cautioned that the decision involved a specific set of facts, several also said it provided guidance for students on their privacy rights and for administrators at public colleges and universities on setting computer policies that give them the flexibility they feel they need to prevent security breaches.

The decision — USA v Heckenkamp [local copy]

In this case, we consider whether a remote search of computer files on a hard drive by a network administrator was justified under the “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment because the administrator reasonably believed the computer had been used to gain unauthorized access to confidential records on a university computer. We conclude that the remote search was justified.

Although we assume that the subsequent search of the suspect’s dorm room was not justified under the Fourth Amendment, we conclude that the district court’s denial of the suppression motion was proper under the independent source exception to the exclusionary rule.

permalink to just this entry

Trying Not To Repeat [8:37 am]

DVD retailers try to avoid repeat performance - pdf

When movies shifted from videocassettes to DVD, retailers simply cleared the tapes off the shelves to make room for discs. That’s not so easy now that movies appear poised to follow music onto the Internet.

The shift of music online has hurt stores such as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Circuit City, and some retailers are looking to avoid a repeat with movies. Wal-Mart has launched its own movie download service, Best Buy is said to be in talks to start one, and Blockbuster explored buying movie download company Movielink this year.

Music and DVDs are important to retailers because they’ve traditionally driven customers to stores. [...]

But the decline in the number of CDs sold has accelerated every year since 2003 and was 11.7 percent last year, according to NPD Group. The number of DVDs sold grew 5 percent last year, but that was down from a 9 percent increase during the previous year. Selling prices for both music and movies have declined. And NPD said DVD sales would have slid faster if not for the growth of TV programs offered on DVD.

“They’re seeing fairly rapid declines in their CD business. That’s likely to happen in their DVD business,” said Andrew Hargreaves, who covers electronics retailers for Pacific Crest Securities.

permalink to just this entry

Government Openness & Disclosure In The Digital Age [6:10 am]

GOP-issued laptops now a White House headache - pdf

When Karl Rove and his top deputies arrived at the White House in 2001, the Republican National Committee provided them with laptop computers and other communication devices to be used alongside their government-issued equipment.

The back-channel e-mail and paging system, paid for and maintained by the RNC, was designed to avoid charges that had vexed the Clinton White House — that federal resources were being used inappropriately for political campaign purposes.

Now, that dual computer system is creating new embarrassment and legal headaches for the White House, the Republican Party and Rove’s once-vaunted White House operation.

Democrats say evidence suggests the RNC e-mail system was used for political and government policy matters in violation of federal record preservation and disclosure rules.

In addition, Democrats point to a handful of e-mails obtained through ongoing inquiries suggesting the system may have been used to conceal such activities as contacts with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was convicted on bribery charges and is now in prison for fraud.

Democratic congressional investigators are beginning to demand access to this RNC-White House communications system, which was used not only by Rove’s office but by several top officials elsewhere in the White House.

permalink to just this entry

April 2007
« Mar   May »
newer ·· older

0.223 || Powered by WordPress