Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Engadget says some  hacker has Netflix for iPad running on iPhone.   I’m sure this will do wonders for AT&T’s 3G networks.

Ports like this have to be expected by Apple; there is probably no technical way to prevent it.  I have to wonder whether there are terms in Apple’s deal with AT&T that address what happens when people start using AT&T’s network to constantly stream video to their handsets.

Netflix now, Slingbox next…

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So of course, if you have kids, the only logical thing to do is to pay someone else $15/month to stalk them online for you.

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I’m thinking that negotiating a secret treaty that will strip rights from internet users to pacify movie studios is a pretty good way to make sure that it’s eventually rejected by the American people.

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This is one of those questions that has bothered me ever since the DeCSS thing went down way back in 2001. The crux of the problem is this: the movie industry wants to sell you a DVD like it’s a physical object, and then use technology to restrict your use as though you have taken a license to the content.

If they are selling you the physical object, they can’t complain when you decide to make a backup of the content- it’s classic fair use.

If they are selling you a license, they either need to (a) give you the option to negotiate the license, or put it on the outside of the product packaging, or (b) replace the physical media at cost (a few cents) when it becomes damaged, because your license has nothing to do with the physical media.

Right now, the industry is trying to claim that it gets to work the deal both ways, depending on which context is more favorable to them in any given situation. The facts of this case make it sound like it’s ripe to really treat the issue properly.

SAN FRANCISCO – Hollywood studios told a federal judge here Friday consumers have no right to make copies of their DVDs.

The U.S. courts, however, have never squarely answered whether that was true, a legal vacuum that might be answered in the Motion Picture Association of America’s lawsuit against RealNetworks.

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Seriously.  There is essentially no other way to interpret this data from Pew Research, which emphasizes the number of people who haven’t yet realized that their photos are somewhere on the web.  Much more revealing than the photo statistic is the one about “Home Address.”  If you have ever had a phone line or a utility bill in your name, anywhere in the US, I would bet that your home address is freely available online unless you’ve taken affirmative measures to remove it.

You can check by visiting pipl.com.  Or you can just use Google.  Pipl reveals every address that I’ve ever lived at since 1997, all seven addresses, all the way back to Pasadena, CA.  It’s more than a little unsettling.

I can’t help thinking that people would be a bit more concerned about the privacy implications of living in a pervasive surveillance state if they realized how much of their personal information is already published online for the whole world to see.  And although Pew downplays this aspect of their “daily number,”  the real take-away here is that the majority of people are simply unaware of how little privacy they actually have.

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After all, this sort of thing is exactly why the GOP seated Roberts and Alito.  Got to keep the rabble in their place, don’t you know- can’t have just anyone standing up for their rights.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court rejected a challenge Tuesday to the Bush administration’s domestic spying program. . . . The American Civil Liberties Union wanted the court to allow a lawsuit by the group and individuals over the wiretapping program. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit, saying the plaintiffs could not prove their communications had been monitored.

Fourth Amendment?  Never heard of it.

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Never mind that MySpace is stupid, and that Facebook is for people who don’t have real websites.  And never mind that if you don’t like ads on the internet, YOU CAN BLOCK THEM.  Ad-blocking is not new or surprising.  I’ve been using it on every computer we own for at least the past six years.  Some people still argue that using an ad blocker on your web browser is ethically tantamount to stealing.  They are wrong.  But Businessweek seems to simply ignore the whole phenomenon:

Trouble is, the boom isn’t booming anymore. . . . [M]any people are spending less time on social networking sites or signing off altogether. The MySpace generation may be getting annoyed with ads and a bit bored with profile pages.

It’s my screen.  My eyes.  My internet connection.  I have every right to exercise absolute control over what content my computer displays.  The minute that a corporation or a web host crosses the line from respectful, unobtrusive advertising to flash-based or animated gifs, I block all of the ads on their site.  And this is a one-way street to 100% ad-free: I’m never going to unblock, and all of those blocks apply to every other site I visit.

Businessweek ignores this fact and blames the ads for driving people away.  I think the user churn they’re describing is a deeper issue with the market: MySpace and Facebook are reaching the saturation point.  The problem they’re missing is that MySpace is the AOL of this decade, full of users who are ignorant about their options and just don’t know any better.  It’s training wheels for the internet.  But as AOL has demonstrated so convincingly, once people realize that there is a better option they abandon the training wheels and move on.

MySpace is a success because they’ve used viral marketing and peer pressure to attract lots casual web-surfers who are unsophisticated about their internet use.  Unfortunately, as new users become more sophisticated, they realize that MySpace is a waste of time.  Users who were already sophisticated at the time MySpace was introduced have either simply ignored the site, or joined and then abandoned  in favor of venues that provide more interesting and meaningful interactions.  People only have so much time to spend online, and eventually people begin to realize that pictures of intoxicated teens vomiting on each other just aren’t very entertaining.

If Businessweek honestly doesn’t get that, it’s no wonder they don’t understand anything about the dynamics of internet social networks.

[updated to repair link on 7/22/209]

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