Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Apple - Trailers - March Of The Penguins

This has to be one of the cutest things ever: Apple - Trailers - March Of The Penguins (courtesy of nanphan).

Monday, May 16, 2005

more arrested development

As reported by an article on the TV Squad website, the best-written show on television, Arrested Development, will be back for a second season. The only way this could get any better is if they start distributing it online too.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The MPAA/RIAA Guide to Leveraging New & Promising Technology: just kill it

Today the MPAA targeted and shut down 6 major websites which specialized specifically in trading television programs via bittorrent (cnet story).

I, personally, was a regular user of the first site listed in the MPAA press release, shunTV. While I can't speak for the other websites which were targeted, shunTV had a very specific and strictly enforced "no HBO shows and no DVD rips" policy. As a result, almost all shows posted to the site were captures of television shows freely availible on broadcast television. Thanks to shunTV, my tv viewing habits grew by approximately 700%, I started buying television show DVDs that I would have never purchased otherwise, and I started writing a column for the MIT school newspaper about all things television related.

What is particularly frustrating is that, as far as I can tell, there isn't a very strong legal standing for the MPAA's actions. Movies? Music? You know, the MPAA and RIAA came off as bullies, but it truly was within their prerogative to take legal action -- both are content which users pay for that is often behind a content protection technology. Broadcast television, on the other hand is transmitted over what is considered the "national resource" that is the television broadcast spectrum and is, by definition, NOT enclosed in any sort of content protection. IN FACT, the federal courts just recently ruled that the FCC (taking action requested by the MPAA) did not have the authority to even INTRODUCE such restrictive technology. In this case, the MPAA is just plain-ol-big-enough that it can flex its muscle and shut down these sites which can't take the risk (shunTV didn't charge money or run ads, so I seriously doubt it was trying to make a profit, let alone a signficant take-on-the-MPAA like profit) or bear the cost of questioning their authority.

All of this two weeks after the return of a television show which was resurrected, more than two years after its cancellation, thanks to staggeringly high DVD sales fueled ALMOST ENTIRELY by extensive online trading by young adults.

Such stupidity

Sunday, May 08, 2005

look ma, a blog

I went to a talk Friday about algorithmic analysis of social networks. The talker collected data from the livejournal community and so, as an aside, asked a room full of ~40-50 members of MIT CSAIL how many of us had a blog. About 4 of us raised our hands. Is it me, or does that strike you as rather low? I still remember how at the beginning of last summer I had to explain to one of my coworkers what a blog even was. I thought these things were commonplace by now.

Moon toilet/the cobbler is in Taiwan right now providing humrous cultural commentary she's allowed to make because she's the right ethnicity. Anyways, apparently National Geographic there had a show about viruses which devolved into a sexually charged indian music video. This leaves me utterly speechless... I'm flabbergasted and so confused as to (a) how someone could ever come up with this (b) what it was doing on Taiwanese television.

More comics which will disappear evntually.

Friday, May 06, 2005