Monday, December 13, 2004

Monday the 13th

iPod-esque video player with no DRM. Daddy like. $600 and its yours.

Talk about a guy who missed his calling. This home-made iPod ad is better than 95% of the junk out there.

Business Week's Best Products of 2004 in pictures.

Lexar's new USB flash drive. Nano-technology at its finest.

Merlin's List of Fives. This one hits way too close to home....

Fast Company's caustic take on holiday office parties. Where's David Brent when you need him?

Cable companies will expire your Six Feet Under recordings after 2-4 weeks
By Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow: Time-Warner is arm-twisting cable companies into agreeing to a scheme to automatically erase your saved episodes of Six Feet Under from your cable-company-provided PVR after a month or so. This is the danger of sucking up to the studios in the first place: they say, "Suuuure, we'll 'let' you build a PVR that will tape the shows you cablecast to your customers, but that permission is contingent on our ongoing goodwill. So if in the future we decide, for example, that your PVR can't record certain shows, or can't skip certain commercials, or can't store certain recordings for more than a few days, you'd better implement it. Or else. So what if your customers can't figure out why their PVRs don't work properly? That's your problem, pal."
Why do cable operators think they have to get a studio's permission to build a PVR? Since when do studios get to have a veto over the design of TV-recording technologies? In a way, I can sorta feel sorry for the cable operators, whose utter lack of spine has put them in a position where they have to face the wrath of angry, $70/month cable customers whose PVRs have stopped working because some Time-Warner exec's astrologer has told him that four weeks is the longest anyone can hold onto a copy of Six Feet Under without driving their business into the ground.
But I don't really have a lot of sympathy for the cable operators. It's hard to work up a big mouthful of warm feeling for a company that makes you feel like you were
just traded to another inmate for 2 packs of menthol cigarettes. After all, if they hadn't sold us all out in the first place, they wouldn't be in this position.
A middle-level executive at Time Warner has approached several cable companies and broached the idea of restricting the ability of customers who use those company's Digital Video Recorders to record several popular Time Warner TV programs...
Viewers would be able to record an episode with their DVR, but there would be a time limit on how long it would be available for viewing. The executive was pushing for an expiration date that coincided with the premiere of the next episode. The consensus of the cable executives was that it needed to be between 2-4 weeks. Of course, you can just get around this problem by following
the advice of Microsoft's senior DRM engineers and downloading your Six Feet Unders from a P2P network like Kazaa. They won't expire, you can watch 'em on any device, and you don't even need to sign up for a $70/month cable service. Link (via Copyfight)

Prisonbreaker used bow & arrow to fire cell phone into prison. Looks like Ted Nugent has new gig as a spokesman for Nokia..

Redneck dog toy to avoid this holiday season.

A theory in operations management and Starbucks' java-jockeys. What can brown do for you?

Complaint against Tyson over car damage dropped
A complaint against former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for damaging a car was dropped after the vehicle's owner was reimbursed. Tyson was cited Tuesday on suspicion of criminal damage for allegedly jumping on the hood of Asaf Alikadich's vehicle outside a nightclub in suburban Scottsdale on Nov. 27.
Last time I checked, Tyson was in bankruptcy. Sure hope this guy got two forms of ID and a driver's license number on his check from Mike.

Best Business Books of 2004 from Fast Company.


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