Friday, March 30, 2007

International Rules Part 2

This is a follow up post from my initial "International Rules" post

This week German authorities have sent the USA a "please explain" request with the view that they are unhappy the CIA kidnapped a German national (lol-they even got it wrong and later released him under a case of mistaken identity)

As I posted earlier you cant just go around the world kidnapping people off the streets, sweating them for information and then either holding them incommunicado OR sending them home without an explanation.

We all share the surface of this earth. And within this boundary each country gets to say what it can and cant do (eg Women cover up in Saudi, Australians eat Kangaroo meat, Americans get to produce shows like Baywatch).

No 'super country' has the right to say what another country can and cant do within their own borders. Now you can prevent people from visiting. You can ask guests to leave (lol-I sometimes wonder when some republican is going to read this blog-lol lets just hope he reports to a democrat boss), you can refuse to trade business with them (lol-yes even if they have a ton of oil you need) but basically until we terraform Mars what happens on this blue ball is defined by borders.

You gotta learn to play nice's the rules otherwise we're gonna tell your momma on you.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

What We Call The News

Chris posted this in his blog today, lol - I almost spat coffee out my nose laughing so much. I've never heard of JibJab before today but you should check out some of their other originals seem like a pretty funny bunch of guys.

And yet...every cable company in america has stated that there is no public interest in broadcasting Al Jazeera (yep I'm still ranting about that).

P.S. On a more serious note please read this blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cablevision Loses Network DVR Case
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp. has lost a legal battle against several Hollywood studios and television networks to introduce a network-based digital video recorder service to its subscribers.

Cablevision have lost this case but I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this one, I'm still not sure which way I fall on this decision as I can see both sides of the argument.

In case you haven't been following the case; Cablevision (a USA cable tv provider) has implemented a technology that allowed them to move the DVR's from your home into their network data center.

A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is just the modern version of a VCR in that a set top box with a hard drive sits in your living room connected to your TV, it is used to record your TV shows for later viewing.

You can use the onscreen TV Guide to record individual shows or you can select an entire season (eg record all Sopranos showing for the next 16 weeks on Monday at 10pm) or you might go through and select record to automatically record any TV show with Mel Gibson acting in it.

My Scientific Atlanta 8300HD box has a hard drive of 160GB that allows me to record between 30 to 40 hours of video depending on the percentage of High Definition shows I record (which takes up more space obviously).

Now what Cablevision have done is move this functionality into a central data center but instead of stacking a room full of these DVR set top boxes from the floor to the ceiling and connecting each one to your home, they have consolidated all of the hard drives and cpu's into a single server.

You are still allocated a fixed amount of space, you can still only view the shows that you have set up in advance to view, you still control it from a remote control in your house but that instead of the video content data sitting in a box under your TV it is sitting in a data center at the end of your cable connection.

The content providers are calling foul on this. Their issue is that it's not legal for Cablevision to 'store and forward' content (often called time shifting) which currently is legal for consumers under 'fair use' rules brought about by earlier betamax vcr rulings.

I can see both sides but eventually I just see this as shifting ground, the same way we move from one technology to another.

With the introduction of the "place shifting" Slingbox's which allow you to watch content from your home DVR on your mobile phone or laptop while working remotely from home eg. in the office ( and multiroom DVR's (eg your DVR in the bedroom can play content recorded on the DVR in the living room) this is just another extension of eventual technology, you can try and fight it or start to change your practises so you benefit from it.

I've got some thoughts on how content providers can make more money from place shifting applications but thats for another time under NDA's and not for public consumption :)


P.S. After I wrote this post I found an interesting piece a friend of mine posted here and while looking to post a reply to his site I also came across this article

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dragon's Lair

Wow how neat would this be - I used to love this game and was stunned to hear it's 24 years old. Many many dollars were spent at Hurstville Westfields playing this and Qbert.

Depending on how good the game play translated onto the PS3 this for me would almost be a decision maker for my console of choice. What a trip :)

Can't wait to see it in store.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Very Neat Marketing Campaign - Part 2 - it's global

At least they got a better beer in NZ :)

Now that we know it's global I'd really like to find out who the creative agency was.


BarCampUSA Cancelled

Disappointing news, although this is the first time I've discussed this outside a select group of people for some time a few of us been concerned at the lack of progress from the BarCampUSA management team.

I guess the old adage about you cant pay too much for good project management skills because the clock will always keep on ticking rings true yet again.

Full refunds are being made so no one is really out of pocket but I personally invited a large number of you to participate and some of you have provided substantial amounts of time for the various areas.

It saddens me that the concept of a 'mega barcamp' isn't going to eventuate, at least not in Wisconsin, I still believe that with the right management team driving the project this concept can be revitalized, in another part of the world, at another time, and I look forward to being a part of it.


Dean Collins
Cognation Pty Ltd
+1-212-203-4357 Ph

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> On Behalf Of Ken Rheingans
> Sent: Thursday, 22 March 2007 10:15 PM
> To: BarCamp USA
> Subject: BarCamp USA has been canceled
> I am sorry to announce that BarCamp USA has been canceled.
> While many of us were excited about the possibilities of the event it
> has become clear that we simply would not have the funds necessary to
> cover key expenses that were going to be due in May. (high speed
> broadband, event insurance, venue, etc.) In total, over $50,000 was
> going to be needed.
> Many of us here in Wisconsin recently hosted BarCamp Madison
> which was a great success with about 150 people
> in attendance. We are looking forward to hosting that event again in
> the future.
> If you purchased a ticket for BarCamp USA you should be getting a
> refund notice and credit applied to your card.
> There has been some discussion about a possible alternative event.
> Check or the BarCamp USA general Google group for
> updates on that.
> If you have any questions check the BarCamp USA Google Group and/or
> send an email to me.
> Ken Rheingans

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Very Neat Marketing Campaign

This has to be one of the neatest B2B targeted marketing campaigns I've seen for a while, would only work with certain products and in certain situations but perfect for 'influencing' a journalist if you ask me.

Wheeled into our office this afternoon by a special ops team of beer couriers was this £146 pile of Fosters on behalf of one Microsoft Corporation.

Was it because of our gushing GDC coverage?

No, apparently MS has a more specific reason for its generous gift."What would you purchase for £146...?

(The price difference between an Xbox 360 and a PlayStaion 3)", asks the included Xbox 360-headed notice. "Well, for a start we thought you might like £146 worth of beer to kick start your weekend early."

The fact they delivered it as Fosters is appalling but what can I say, they're British and have no idea about beer.

Anyway, great campaign - going to have to remember that one for my own use some time (if anyone finds out who the creative agency was that implemented it let me know).


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hoodoo Gurus

Went to see Hoodoo Gurus downtown at BB Kings last night, what can I say but you don't get to last from 1982 to 2007 without having major skills.

A couple of other interesting things came about last night;

1/ What is it about the brain that makes us able to sing a chorus word for word when we haven't listened to a song for 10 or more years?
Seriously on this point, how can we harness un-recovered memory in way more readily accessible, it's obviously still there and with the slightest stimuli we are able to initiate massive amounts of recollection.

2/ What is it about Aussies that make us unique looking?
I mean last nights crowd was at least 60% Australian and just by looking at people's faces you could tell who were the Australians versus the Americans. Some of us may have been here longer than others and even though we come from unique backgrounds, anglo, european, asian etc there is something quite distinct about an Australian.
It might be the way we act or carry ourselves versus anything else and even though if I passed some of these people in the street I wouldn't necessarily have distinguished them but there was a real common thread with 60% :) of the people people at the concert last night.

Makes me want to start up again, I still own the domain and I have a spare server here, I might fire it up again in the next few weeks.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Screw the RIAA part 2

I posted about this earlier but wanted to flag again that this decision to charge per listener is just insane and is going to drive out some of the most innovative providers in the music industry (eg. pandora etc).

I just came across this great article which pretty much covers all the key points so check it out (gets better from page 2 on)

Pretty much anyone who is streaming audio content is just going to relocate their servers internationally (Panama anyone?) and continue on as normal. It's just a farce only the RIAA/SoundExchange clients (the record labels) just haven't noticed and haven't realised how the end game is going to resolve.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Mars Panorama Photo

Seriously people how cool is the Internet?? I mean here we are able to click on a URL link, which is nothing more than a few dots on a web page and then right before your eyes in the comfort of your home or office is a 360 degree photo of Mars.

It's freaking Mars people!!!! somewhere in our solar system most of us will never ever be able to travel to (and the way they are going most of us wont even be alive to see humans travel there) and just be clicking a link we can scan the horizon, zooming in and out to look at points of interest.

I don't know about you but this blows my mind. I think the Internet is the coolest thing in the world and I cant believe how lucky we are to have it available to all of us.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Cisco buys Webex

Lol - at first glance it looks like the return of the 'buybble' (and yes that is my word- i created it, if i see it in an article it better be followed by an accreditation to me :)

So Cisco bought a seemingly unrelated company and everyone is running around saying WTF???

I mean Webex has been around forever and at $3.2billion dollars this isn't a small whim of a decision.

I have to admit so was I for the first few hours; I even floated a joke idea that the acquisition strategy is being driven by the Treasury Department in Cisco who have so much cash in the bank just sitting there they decided the ROI on the acquisition was higher than the T bills they are currently invested in.

ha ha.

Until I remembered about one of my favourite 'almost idea' companies. Check out my post about Cisco buying Orative in October last year

In simple terms Orative is a mobile phone application that enables you to determine whether the people in your office are "on the phone", "logged off" or available for your call through the use of your SIP presence status on an IP handset.

Now whilst we are yet to see the resulting "borganisation" of Orative once it's been re-branded as Cisco when you put Orative and webex together you can see their strategy.

It's really simple and yet brilliant.

From either a desktop or any other kind of application they want to enable you to be able to communicate via voice conferencing, video conferencing or desktop share conferencing your message or presentation.

To be able to move from a 'chat session' (anyone know if Cisco has bought an IM platform like MS LCS or Jabber etc?- if not start buying stocks in the likely suspects, it has to be coming soon) to a voice session to a video conference with desktop share using Webex it will all be available.....but only if you use Cisco phones (take that Polycom :)


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Microsoft buys Tellme

Hmmm interesting day today. Basically Microsoft bought Tellme for $800 million dollars.

Long history between myself and Tellme;

So basically in April 2005 someone I knew from Australia went to work for Tellme in CA. He called to talk to me about his new company and eventually I was introduced to his boss, TellMe's CTO - Don Jackson.

I was explaining to Don about my involvement with the Asterisk community and how Tellme could really benefit by getting involved.

What I was trying to suggest they set up was a speech recognition ASP SIP gateway.

The concept behind this is that there were 20,000 Asterisk servers globally (now probably closer to 35,000), if Tell Me were able to set up a SIP gateway that allowed "the little people" to do 'offboard speech recognition processing' on a low value prepaid basis then there would be sufficient volume to set up a special channel support team just for the asterisk community and this whilst initially would require more support, through code reuse and easy install sample conf files would be a valuable market.

So long story short, this went back and forward for a while, nothing came out of it until Tellme announced a joint venture with Skype to do exactly what I was proposing.

This was just plain dumb because although skype are set up to handle the front end billing (this is one of the main issues with Tellme setting up a SIP gateway) no real developer is going to be happy using a skype channel for their Vxml application.

Of course they've basically made nothing out of it and the idea for a sip gateway is still sitting there unrealised BUT... thems the breaks. Besides they get to work for MS now and become zillionaires.

Oh and in case anyone out there wants to tell me there is no money to be made in servicing "the little people" check out how many ITSP's exist in just north america providing termination services the secret is automation from credit card processing to minute allocation to processing allocation. Get that all sorted and your done, application stickiness will ensure an ongoing revenue.

Articles linking to the news.

Interesting chart in here showing the VC relationships (all told kicked in $237M over 8 years to get this payoff)


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy Pi Day

This is a story about love. About inscrutable complexity and remarkable simplicity, about the promise of forever. It is about obsession and devotion, and grand gestures and 4,000-word love letters.

It is about a curious group of people with an almost religious zeal for a mind-numbing string of numbers. Actually one number, made up of a chain that is known — so far — to be more than one trillion digits long. They are the acolytes of the church of pi.

And once a year many of them gather to talk about pi, rhapsodize about it, eat pi-themed foods (actual pie, sure, but so much more), have pi recitation contests and, just maybe, feel a little less sheepish about their unusual passion.

That day falls on Wednesday this year: March 14. Or 3.14. Obviously.

Happy Pi Day all, interestingly enough Einstein's birthday as well.

You know you it's all around you, all day every day, maths is a beautiful thing.
Think about it some time.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Officially Lame Duck Season

Well '08 may be some time away but it's already officially lame duck season for Bush.

He's just headed off for his longest trip to south america of his presidency

And the Congress are about to restore Habeus Corpus (Not that i think I'm pro democratic or pro republican but it is nice to see the keys to the country are being handed back to the sane people.)

When you have articles like this written about you when you are only 2 years into your second term thats got to hurt.
LOL- I love the quote at the end "You are not being governed"

Now if only they can hold out for 2 years refusing to speak about monkey business they got up to it will all be over before we know it.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Veyron Crash

Q. What's worse than crashing a US$1 million dollar car?

A. Crashing your brothers US$1 million dollar car :)

Yep you read that right, the worlds first Veyron has been crashed by the owners brother who had taken it out for a spin to show off to some of his friends. It is one of only 300 built and 1 of only 12 in the UK. The worse part, it was only delivered a week ago.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about check out the video below.

P.S. ....and I thought I felt bad when I crashed my parents car at 18.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Note to dont run the whole world you know.

Save Internet Radio
If the
RIAA and SoundExchange get their way, independent webcasting / Internet radio will soon cease to exist.
Why? Earlier today, the
Copyright Royalty Board, the group overseeing statutory licensing for US-based internet radio stations, announced the new royalty rates for streaming radio performance rights.
The board rejected the arguments made by webcasters and instead chose to adopt the proposal put forth by industry-backed SoundExchange, a royalty fee collection agency created by the RIAA.

The new rates are based on “performances” of songs. A “performance” is defined as one song being streamed to a single listener. In other words, a station with 1000 listeners is charged for 1000 performances of each song it broadcasts.

The rates per performance are as follows:
$0.0008 in 2006

$0.0011 in 2007
$0.0014 in 2008
$0.0018 in 2009
At first glance, those seem like fairly small numbers: eight ten-thousandths of a dollar, eleven ten-thousandths of a dollar, and so on. When you actually do the math, however, you see the truth revealed. The average radio station plays 16 songs in an hour.

Under this system, that would be equivalent to 16 performances.
0.0011 x 16 = 0.0176
Still a fairly small number - under two cents.

But now assume this station has 1000 listeners. That means that, in one hour, the station would be billed for 16,000 performances.0.0011 x 16000 = 17.60 That’s $17.60 an hour.

Now we’re starting to see how expensive this truly is. Multiply that by 24 hours a day.
17.60 * 24 = $422.40 a day.

But there’s 365 days in a year.
422.40 * 365 = 154176

$154,176 for the year in performance royalties alone for a station with 1000 listeners. And that’s just for 2007: it gets even worse.In 2008, the cost rises to $193,536 for the year. In 2009, it goes up to $248,832.

Even for a much smaller station, the royalties owed are huge.

Simple solution, put the server internationally, host it outside of the domain of the RIAA problem solved.

When are people going to realise the world and the Internet truly is global.

You cant just 'manhandle' content the way you used to be able to.

Whether it is music, porn, or corporate information, if it can be served out of a computer there is somewhere you can host it outside of the reaches of someone that wants to stifle you.

You are now in control.

(oh btw read the rest of the article and find out that these 'costs' don't apply to actual radio (terrestrial radio) .... oh yeh now tell me that they aren't trying to stack the deck).

Friday, March 02, 2007

John Edward's Second Life HQ Vandalized

This reaches so far into the human psyche it's perfect. In my mind Second Life (which i don't participate in but have watched from afar) has just increased my interest level, this truly is a more closer representative example of what people truly want to 'be' in their real lives should the shackles of physicality be removed.

Think about what this means for a minute.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

International rules
The State Department's top lawyer said Wednesday that the United States would refuse to extradite CIA officers who face kidnapping charges in Italy, warning that European criminal prosecutions of U.S. agents were harming transatlantic counterterrorism efforts.
An Italian court issued indictments against 25 CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force officer Feb. 16, charging them with kidnapping a radical Muslim cleric in Milan four years ago. Although the Italian government has not made a final decision on whether to ask the United States to extradite the defendants, John B. Bellinger III, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said the request would be rejected regardless.

Boys Boys Boys, if you are going to play in someone elses backyard then you need to respect their rules.

You can just imagine the outcry if someone from the mafia in Italy flew to Washington and kidnapped a US Judge and flew on to Sicily for a beating or two before releasing him without reason but basically refusing to answer questions on the grounds of "national security".

Whats happening to this country?