Archive for February, 2005

Hope For TiVO?

From PVRBlog:

Reuters is reporting that TiVo stock is up up up based on rumors that Apple might acquire the company.

Could be interesting, if true. Things have been fairly bleak for TiVO lately, but being acquired by Apple could be the boost they need.


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Court questions FCC’s broadcast flag rules


WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court on Tuesday sharply questioned whether the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to ban certain types of digital TV receivers, including peripheral cards, starting in July.

Two of the three judges on the District of Columbia Circuit panel said the FCC never received permission from Congress to undertake such a sweeping regulation, which is intended to encourage the purchase of digital TV receivers that curb Internet distribution of over-the-air broadcasts of programming such as movies and sports.

“You’re out there in the whole world, regulating. Are washing machines next?” asked Judge Harry Edwards. Quipped Judge David Sentelle: “You can’t regulate washing machines. You can’t rule the world.”

In November 2003, the FCC said that every product sold in the United States after July 2005 that can receive digital TV broadcasts or digital TV streams must be able to recognize a “broadcast flag.” Such products–ranging from TV sets to computer tuners made by Elgato Systems and Hauppauge Computer Works–are permitted to deliver high-quality digital output only to devices that also adhere to the broadcast flag specification.

The groups challenging the FCC’s broadcast flag regulation include the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They argue that the FCC exceeded its authority, that Congress should be responsible for making copyright law, and that librarians’ ability to make “fair use” of digital broadcasts will be unreasonably curtailed.

But one of the judges, Sentelle, suggested that the library and other nonprofit groups challenging the FCC’s rule would not suffer the kind of particular harm necessary to allow the case to proceed.

“You have to have a harm that distinguishes you from the public at large,” Sentelle said during oral arguments. “If there is not a particularized harm, you do not have standing…There may be someone from the industry who can come forward.” Edwards also said he was concerned about the groups’ “standing,” referring to the judicially recognized right to sue. Special rules exist for organizations suing federal agencies.

From the perspective of the entertainment industry, the broadcast flag is needed to encourage over-the-air distribution of valuable content. Without the FCC’s action, the Motion Picture Association of America has argued, the threat of Internet piracy would imperil the future of digital TV.

I definitely need to look into getting a HDTV tuner card before July.

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Nat Friedman interview on TLLTS

Here’s a pretty interesting interview with Nat Friedman on The Linux Link Tech Show.

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Microsoft Rot?

Pretty interesting observation about Microsoft from ABC News:

Great, healthy companies not only dominate the market, but share of mind. Look at Apple these days. But when was the last time you thought about Microsoft, except in frustration or anger? The company just announced a powerful new search engine, designed to take on Google – but did anybody notice? Meanwhile, open systems world – created largely in response to Microsoft’s heavy-handed hegemony – is slowly carving away market share from Gates & Co.: Linux and Firefox hold the world’s imagination these days, not Windows and Explorer. The only thing Microsoft seems busy at these days is patching and plugging holes.

I pretty much agree with the author. Miscrosoft definitely doesn’t lead in technology, but then again, they never really have.

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Computers & Buggies

Sunday, I went up to Cleveland to load FC3 onto my sister’s computer. Normally, it shouldn’t have taken more than an hour or so, but there machine was unable to read my DVD installation disk, and I was forced to download the CD iso’s while I was there. I was finally able to begin the installation around 8:00 and spent the next few hours watching the Superbowl, while there machine installed the latest security updates. Finally, around 11:30 the system was finished and I was able to get some basic configuration done, before heading back to Columbus, since most of the remaining tasks I could do from there. Of course, it looks like I’ve caught the flu, so I haven’t done much since returning to Columbus.

While driving home I passed an Amish buggy, which I thought was weird since it was around 1:30 a.m. on Monday. Of course, about an half-hour later I came across an Amish guy riding his bike. Very wierd, what the hell could they be doing at that late hour?

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Revolution In The Valley

Revolution in the Valley Cover

Just finished reading Andy Hertzfeld’s Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How The Mac Was Made. It’s a collection of stories about the development of the Macintosh, which where collected from Andy’s website, I’m not really a big fan of Apple, but it is interesting to read about the genesis of the Macintosh, and the team that created it. The book really does bring back memories of what computing was like back then (using cassette tapes for back-up, having very little memory, etc.). Regardless if you are a Apple enthusiast or not, it’s definitely worth a read.

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ENTERPRISE Taken Behind Stables

From Warren Ellis’s Bad Signal:

Those who’ve been following my occasional pieces on genre TV might be interested to learn that ENTERPRISE was finally cancelled today.

Story’s on AICN right now.

I hope that the people involved with the show who I occasionally heard from find new work soon.

And so another Star Trek show descends into TV Hell. I met someone last year who’d been brought in to pitch a new Trek show: but, more than half a year down the line, I haven’t heard anything else. So my suspicion is that Star Trek is gone from our screens for a comfortingly long time.

And, with the final Star Wars film on the way, it seems that by the end of the year the culture will feel peculiarly cleansed. As if the shackles were released from us in our cultural basement, and we can finally take from our mouths the shattered antique underpants used as gags and wash old men’s semen out of our bum crevices.

— W

Too bad, this season was ten time better than the previous three.

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