ArchiveApril 27, 2006

This is a pirate, this is not.


CEA ad

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) attacks the record label industry for their attempt to outlaw recording of digital radio (space and time shifting, as the RIAA calls it).

This could be a first sign of a new, if loose alliance between consumers and electronics producers:

The electronics producers, because they wanna sell their products with all the features they developed, that is: to make a cool product. (Keep in mind that iPods and other mp3players, for example, would be nearly completely useless if the RIAA got their way.)

And we consumers because we want to listen to the music we bought where we want to. (Can you imagine buying a book you’re only to read at home, on your desk, while sitting on the same chair you were sitting on when you bought the book? “What do you mean, you’d like to read in in the subway – did you pay extra for that?”)

The most powerful thing the CEA could do is if their members stop manufacturing tech that controls their customers (as DRM measures do) and instead enables them to use the data in every possible way.

[via Boing Boing]

Damn that phone!


Dire pronouncements about new forms of entertainment are old hat. It goes like this: Young people embrace an activity. Adults condemn it. The kids grow up, no better or worse than their elders, and the moral panic subsides. Then the whole cycle starts over.

On Wired, Tom Standage shows great examples of how new developments and technologies are bashed by the establishment. Video games are one of these condemned technologies, as are movies and rock’n’roll music. But there are other dangerous developments, too, endangering our youth’s innocence. Well, historically, that is. Like, novels the waltz, and the telephone! But read for yourself:

“The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?”
– Reverend Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, 1790

The Telephone
“Does the telephone make men more active or more lazy? Does [it] break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends?”
– Survey conducted by the Knights of Columbus Adult Education Committee, San Francisco Bay Area, 1926

The Waltz
“The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced … at the English Court on Friday last … It is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous inter­twining of the limbs, and close com­pressure of the bodies … to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was con­fined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is … forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”
– The Times of London, 1816

[Wired > Tom Standage > The Culture War]
Maybe we can learn from this, if only a little bit? (Link)

[via Boing Boing]

War of the Worlds (on a budget)


Larry Knox was commissioned to produce a cover for a reprint of HG Wells’s War of the Worlds, on the cheap.

War of the World (by Larry Knox)
“The squid was purchased one dreary March Saturday morning in a seafood market located in the Chinatown district of Philadelphia”, reads the description.

Larry put the whole photo sequence on his website. (Also, there’s a beautiful step-by-step on how to turn yourself into Frankenstein.) There should definitively be more websites like that! Thanks, Larry!

[via Boing Boing]

live from your desktop


Live video broadcasting & conferencing from your own web page. Sounds absurd? Looks like it ain’t anymore: Stickam promises to offer web-based video conferences for up to five users at a time. (Plus some music and video playing feats.)

Differently from other Flash-based tools which allow you to embed rich-media content like photos, audio or video clips onto your web pages with custom widgets that contain one such clip or track, Stickam integrates these abilities into one customizable player which can carry within itself all of your selected music tracks, digital images and video clips that you want to share through your web site…

Stickam is completely free to use and can be used with any type of computer as it is completely web-based.

Stickam’s still in beta, and according to Robin Good it also needs to improve on usability, but hey, watch out for this.