If you need still further evidence that Internet Explorer is a losing bet – if better standards compliance, superior plugins, great skins and overall better performance don’t sway you – check out The Beeb’s latest article on yet another Windows virus propagated through IE on malware sites.
OK, I know what I want next Christmas: a Radiient Technologies wireless surround sound speaker system. This innovative speaker system boasts an ultra-wide broadcast range to avoid Bluetooth, wireless and microwave interference and a true peer-to-peer network between speakers, where the optimal path for maximum efficiency and integrity is determined on the fly.
Those of you who regularly stop back to this blog have no doubt noticed that a fair amount of the news updates are concerned with “DRM,” but many of you might not know what that means. You’ve seen Warner Brothers, Sony, Apple and iPod, along with lots of other big media names tied to those articles. I figured this morning would be a good opportunity to tackle some of the basic concepts surrounding “DRM,” and why I think they are important issues for progressives to be out in front of.
DRM means Digital Rights Management, but more importantly, it represents attempts by media conglomerates to use technological means to prevent users from copying content they’ve produced. Originally, it meant preventing CDs and DVDs from being copied, but with the digital age n full swing with MP3 players and digital downloads, it has meant a variety of other things in a variety of different venues all centered around the media industry’s “right” to make as much money as possible.
Concepts in this arena get messy quick, so I’m going to keep this post relatively short and leashed to only one relatively narrow topic: what is it about digital media that has so complicated copyright law?
What the hell are they thinking? Is this the Democratic majority you intended to elect? This reads like Republican Conservatism all over again. Read this whole article as soon as you can. Be prepared. The Senate may not necessarily want to turn this law down, and the effects on the Internet and your private property could be enormous. Why the hell the Dems decided to push this in an election year is beyond me. Seems like a loser either way:
That broad definition would cover individuals, coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and even some government agencies that provide Wi-Fi. It also sweeps in social-networking sites, domain name registrars, Internet service providers, and e-mail service providers such as Hotmail and Gmail, and it may require that the complete contents of the user’s account be retained for subsequent police inspection.
The only thing sicker than Internet kiddie porn is politicians seeking to usher in the era of Big Brother on the back of masturbating sickos that look at kiddie porn.
Wired.com’s Sarah Lai Stirland summerizes the changes happening in the world of “Town Hall Meetings” and electoral debates with the advent of more constituent-centered, web-savvy debates. Her take: the MySpace/MTV style of openness is much preferred:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain performed well in an internet-enabled national town-hall event Monday. But the real winner was MTV’s and MySpace’s vibrant web-savvy format, which managed to hotlink the candidate to a national audience of voting youth, while making CNN’s YouTube collaboration look about as wired as the rabbit ears on your grandfather’s old Magnavox.
Of course the problem, as she alludes to in her report, is less to do with technology and more to do with more journalistic egoism. The journalistic community seems incapable of accepting that people are smart enough to ask their own intelligent questions without screeners. MTV, by contrast, has always had the freedom to try something different. Sometimes, that becomes vapid beach party V.J.s and scantily clad co-ed buttocks; sometimes, its penetrating questions by an informed and active electorate. So it goes.
Considering the fact that CNN’s debates really just allowed poorly-photographed private citizens ask the questions that some journo-bot CNN anchor with a ear-piece would have asked anyway, the YouTube CNN debates really don’t offer much in the way of newness. Considering the fact that modern debates have turned into primp-and-preen showcases, high school “ooh, snap!” dramas and one minute answers to over simplified questions covering vastly complex subjects, there’s not really much reason to think that this standard format hasn’t played itself out to death.
Here’s the really dangerous part about social networking sites: when they mess up, they tend to mess up huge. Facebook recently began a new advertising service called Beacon, which allows your online purchases to be added into your news feed when they happen. Those familiar with Facebook know that many of the things they do while on Facebook get added to their news feeds and broadcast to all their friends. It’s a neat way to be able to know what’s going on in your little Facebook community without having to constantly check other user’s profiles and can be tailored by both the broadcasting and receiving users to limit the amount of information included.
However, the Beacon advertising campaign was automatically turned on for all users without announcements, and then it required users to “Opt Out” of the service if they didn’t want it. The very real problem with that scenario – in addition to at least giving the impression of sneakiness – is that most users never see their own news feeds and so don’t know what’s happening until someone tells them.
This Christmas season, that “someone” often turned out to be the recipient, as the below story discusses:
Within two hours after he bought the ring on Overstock.com, he received an instant message from his wife, Shannon: Who is this ring for? What ring, he messaged back, from his laptop at work in Waltham, Mass. She said that Facebook had just put an item on his page saying he bought a ring. It included a link to Overstock, which noted that the 51 percent discount on the ring.
What a great gift idea! Perfect for the web designer who wants to ensure timely conclusions to weekly meetings and project check-points:
This laser is borderline illegal. With an output of 105 milliwatts, it’s 21 times more powerful than your average presentation pointer. It was designed for SWAT and military use in nonlethal takedowns. The adjustable-focus green ray will do permanent retinal damage to anyone within about 60 feet, visually disorients people up to 1,150 feet away, and illuminates objects almost 2 miles out. Alternative uses: melting plastic, lighting fireworks, and settling heated disagreements over Wired kitchen queue-cutting on Burger Thursdays.