Thursday, 28 September 2006
A metaphor that came to mind is that we need be building the Weasley's clock, not the Marauder's map.
Update: Jorge points out that Microsoft Researchers in Cambridge have built a prototype.
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
Tuesday, 19 September 2006
Does the iTunes store's support for video podcasts count as Apple's video sharing competitor?
Sunday, 17 September 2006
The glaring omission in that report is of course podcasts, which have shown huge growth, and have been part of the iPod and iTunes experience for over a year now.
On average, the study reports, only 5% of the music on an iPod will be bought from online music stores. The rest will be from CDs the owner of an MP3 player already has or tracks they have downloaded from file-sharing sites.
The report warned against simple characterisations of the music-buying public that divide people into those that pay and those that pirate.
Even though I got $250 of credit on the iTunes Music store from ValleyWag, we have been reluctant to spend it, compared to buying CDs from Amazon. The need to burn your own CDs after purchase (to be sure that the tracks don't vaporize next time you have disk trouble) is a significant extra burden, driven by the DRM. Apple's sync-back from iPods to computers in the new iTunes is a step in the right direction, but a more sensible policy towards failed or deleted downloads is long overdue - failed TV show downloads, and purchases lost through disk failure meet with shrugs from Apple.
From Apple's point of view, the iTunes store is a small part of their business - the bulk of the money passing through it goes straight to the rights-holders or in payment processing or bandwidth costs, while they make far more revenue and profit on the iPods themselves. Overall this is a good thing - if Apple were really beholden to the labels and studios for significant revenue, then online culture would be in worse trouble. As it is, Apple's neutrality means that they are happy to encourage podcasters to show up in their listings, as more media means more iPod sales.
I never met Rob in person, but his indefatigable work in keeping freenode running supported hundreds of conversations I have had with people around the world, many becoming friends, colleagues or collaborators, and I counted him as a friend. I was hired at Technorati through a conversation on freenode, and the #microformats, #technorati, #wordpress, #wikinews and of course #joiito channels are a key part of my online life.
When setting up transient channels for conference backchannels, Rob was always helpful and courteous. I am sad to hear of his death, and the best memorial would be to keep freenode and the PDPC going as he did so well.
Lilo's accounts are still logged in at freenode, and every so often jibot reminds us:
lilo is the executive director of Peer-Directed Projects Center in Houston, Texas & he's another boring cooperativist propertarian Peircean pragmatist anarchist & he runs freenode (http://freenode.net/) & certainly hasn't been getting more sleep lately & is working on freenode-registry in Ruby & blogs on http://spinhome.org/ & http://bloggage.org/ & also uses the nick 'somegeek' & passed away Sep 16th, 2006 (RIP)
Update: Rob spent his days in a constant battle to keep freenode as a place for civil discourse, fighting off trolls, spammers and other net parasites. He did this with grace and good humour, imposing as few rules as possible, and generally inspiring people to behave well by trusting them to. Sadly, the self-described deletionists who infest Wikipedia (summed up well as people who remove what they find unsuitable, while giving little "awards" to each other for removing things) have decided to delete Lilo again. Please help explain to them why this is mistaken, pettifogging, and in appalling taste.
Wednesday, 13 September 2006
There is a version up on Google Video, but I also cached it on the server I use in case the BBC's 'no-one outside the UK' policy whisks it away from us again. Download Hyperland here, and join me in remembering Douglas Adams.
Tuesday, 12 September 2006
- Songs bought from iTunes can be burned to CD and play anywhere. Why can't movies and TV shows bought from iTunes be burned to DVD?
- Could this explain why they have sold over a billion songs but only 45 million TV shows?
- Jobs talked about 640x480 movies. The Apple screenshot shows Pirates of the Caribbean filling the screen. Does this mean they are selling pan-and-scan versions, not widescreen? (checking with the iTunes Store, Pirates is widescreen, which makes sense)
- Apple's pre-announced iTV box has an HDMI output, but looks like it is running Mac OS - does it implement HDCP-style downrezzing?
- In other words, will it play HD content made by independents cleanly, or will it require broadcast flag handshakes?
What this does illustrate is that the telco's coveting of the Cableco's TV revenues may be irrelevant. As I have pointed out, their model of delivering TV by real-time streaming, requiring massive upgrades to their aging networks, can be completely short-circuited by downloading movies and TV over current broadband, scaling from slower than real time to faster than realtime depending on connection speed and congestion.
Bittorrent users have been doing this for a while. Apple is making it more convenient and much easier to use than most cable set-top boxes, let alone whatever the telcos are likely to come up with. It all adds to the alternatives.
The real revolution is hinted at by Jobs showing Rocketboom in his set-top box demo. Chatting to Andrew and Joanne this weekend in Boston, it is clear that they and others are growing their audiences and ready to short-circuit the existing broadcast or Hollywood commissioning treadmill.
The Swiss QuickTime page is already showing links to 'Vidéos iTunes', though clicking through gets you to the It's Showtime - The iTunes Store is being updated page.
I still think Apple has an opportunity to do an end-run around all the HD complexity by selling an integrated system that avoids the nonsense of HDMI, but I think they may burden us further with their DRM instead, and miss a lot of it. Lets wait until the rumours are dispelled.
Saturday, 9 September 2006
If you're at Podcamp, and want to talk about Technorati or Microfromats or anything, come and find me, I'm in a bright orange shirt.