Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where is that remote?

Originally written summer of 2010, for my dad:

I was reminded recently that the current state of affairs for licensing of video content on the "airwaves" or the "tubes" is all a mess. I didn't come to this conclusion lightly, I have actually been trying to study it and finding information is quite hard to come by. You see, there is a portion of people that are involved with this who don't want the public to know what's going on because what's in place is "working", and then there is a portion who don't care, they simply want to throw out the old and put in the new "everything should be free" model. Is one better than the other? This is really hard to say, partly because today's model is fundamentally broken. But let's step back…

In the beginning of what we might call "Content Providers 101" there were the networks, those companies which came after the invention of a form of technology, radio at first and eventually TV's and Movies. In America, these companies were licensed by the federal government and given a charter or a "public trust" to use the "airwaves" wisely. They created some studios or at least got into bed with production companies that owned studios and then the radio show was born. The TV shows soon followed, when that technology finally became viable. In both of these forms, the radio show or the TV show, all of this was paid for by an advertiser who subsidized the creation of the show itself with money to the studio or production company and in turn the show itself was broken into pieces with commercials in-between those pieces of the show.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Friends, what are they?

The dictionary lists one of them as “a person with whom you are acquainted” and yes, today, I have one person in mind. A better definition might be “a person you know well and regard with affection and trust.”

With all of the social media attention recently, with Twitter and Facebook and the like, there are a few terms being thrown around, like “Friend Me on Facebook” or “Follow Me on Twitter”, or just what is this thing called FriendFeed? It seems like everywhere I turn these days, someone is asking me this – “Friend me on Facebook.” Sometimes it’s a person; sometimes it’s a company. Should I become “friends” with a company? GE – I don’t know, Comcast – nope, Rockwell, Nike, Ford? How about HP, or Accenture? Barrick Gold, or Ryanair, or Phillip Morris (jeez I could talk a bunch about how big tobacco and these “scientists” of theirs setup the climate change debate we’ve been going through these last few years), or Halliburton, or Monsanto?

It’s a difficult situation with social media these days, as I said, everyone wants to be your friend, and I’ve “followed” a small group myself, those people with similar interests on Twitter, or my family on Facebook. But I find myself (after posting a few things) wondering what all of the fuss is about. Isn’t this all supposed to be about communication?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Excuses

Check out this newspaper account ---
Not since I posted (link) about txting and driving last November, have I seen anything that matches this "no excuses" campaign going on in the South of Britain. I had thought it was going to get worse for drivers, because we are being slowing going over to the dark side of talking, txting, makeup, and other nefarious things, like Mike Arrington (thanks Technorama for the link). Personally, I have no sympathy, just fess up, pay the fine, try to do better. This stuff really does have to stop.
Special pleadings are not acceptable in the “No Excuse” initiative being run here in Dorset, a largely rural county on Britain’s south coast. The yearlong, $1.25 million project — a combination of advertising, education and increased police patrols — is an effort to reduce the number of accidents caused by driver inattention, a common problem across the car-driving world. 

My favorite from the newspaper account (I found this in the NYTimes, but the story was originally in the Weymouth Journal) is:
“I was out about a year ago and we stopped a lady who had three children in the back of the car,” he related. “The officer said, ‘Why aren’t these children belted in?’ and she said, ‘They’re not my children.’ ”