A&E/National Geographic Join the Shift

Announced at CES: A&E and National Geographic are joining the Shift and working with Akimbo to distribute their content over the Net. This one has to have the cable/broadcast folks worried. (Although maybe the cable guys are ok w/it, as a lot of consumers of the service will get their bandwidth via cable)

How much longer until I can get the Amazing Race this way Mr. Moonves?

Jeff Jarvis has some interesting comments here

Bit Torrent/Time-shift media commentary

Jeremy has some interesting thoughts about the future of "Television 2.0" and BitTorrent

Reminds me of the guy from Australia. Hard drives are going to be able to store more and more content (and they are going to get smaller and smaller)

This stuff reminds me of all the Harvard Business Cases I read (ad nauseum) in grad school. Sea-change occurs in an industry. Current industry leaders are unable/unwilling to change, for fear of canabalizing existing products/channels. Companies unburdened by the suddenly "old" way of thinking move into the lead. Most of the new "dinosaurs" fade away and die.

In the end, that is how this one is going to go also. Time-shifted media will come to the fore. It is simply a more convenient mechanism for consumers.

The Apprentice: Time Shifted Media in Australia

I ran across a very interesting post by Nick Lothian the other day.

He lives in Australia and does not get CBS. Apparently he usually has to wait months for American shows to be shown Down Under. Instead of waiting, he grabs a torrent and watches it at (nearly) the same time we do in America.

This caught my attention on so many levels, but mostly, it is a great example of a revenue opportunity for the networks that they are missing out on today. I suppose we'll have to enlist Steve Jobs to get folks to a time-shifted media state of mind....

Jeff Jarvis - Give 'em hell!

Jeff Jarvis has been writing some fantastic blog entries lately, essentially questioning the enormous fines being levied by the FCC. His Freedom of Information Act Filing reveals that the Michael Powell isn't quite telling America the truth about a number of things.

Jeff has the cajones to stand up and point out what the major media companies are afraid to do and now Jeff is under attack for his stance.

Give 'em hell, Jeff.

Ring Tone Market Size

Here's an interesting posting about the marketing going on for the Incredibles movie. Apparently the studio has

  • two dozen wallpaper graphics
  • two new video games
  • three dozen custom-made ring tones.

The incredible part of this piece is that

"Kids pay around $1.99 a pop for downloadable ring tones of their favorite songs--a market that could hit $1 billion in U.S. sales by 2008"

Who knew? That is a large market segment by almost any measure. However, the thing that smells funny about it all is this part:

"The kids are snapping up these ring tones," says Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for market research provider NPD Techworld. "They'll spend $2 for a ring tone when they would rather comb the file-sharing networks for hours rather than pay for a 99-cent single."

My take on it is a bit different - if all the kids are into ringtones, how long is it until the popular ringtones are on all the P2P networks? $2 for a jingle seems incredibly expensive, doesn't it?

IM Roundup

Russell has a write-up about features of the "Big 3", AOL, MSFT and YHOO IM clients. Like all of us, he sees pros and cons in each of the apps.

<shameless plug>
One thing he doesn't mention is how to use his IM client to receive syndicated content, whether it be from a blog or Fox Sports
</shameless plug>

RSS Enclosures and Bittorrent

Here's an interesting blog about what it takes to locate and retrieve a Wilco cover of an old Blue Oyster Cult Song:

This effort required to integration of about eight web services, most of which were supplied by individuals, not businesses.

Web Service #1 - Wilcoworld webcasts the Fillmore Show live over the internet

Web Service #2 - Somebody records the internet stream using Total Recorder

Web Service #3 - HappyKev uploades the Bittorrent of the show into etree

Web Service #4 - Wilcobase posts the setlist from the Fillmore show

Web Service #5 - Bloglines shows me the setlist via RSS

Web Service #6 - I find the torrent on etree and download it using Azureus

Web Service #7 - I convert the files to MP3 using dbPowerAmp

Web Service #8 - I blog it using Typepad

Too many steps involved, no doubt. If you think about it, shouldn't content be encapsulated with enclosures? This would cut out a lot of the work that needs to go away if content delivery via enclosures is ever going to be successful.

I guess it comes down to a few questions:

1. When does TIVO (and other DVRs) add the ability to retrieve torrents?
2. When does Windows XP recognize a torrent out of the box and handle it accordingly? (Probably some others??)

To reach ubiquity, both of these things will have to happen. I have no complaints being on the bleeding edge (that is where the fun is), but until it is automagic, adoption will be slow.

Update: Blogtorrent is an open-source project enabling the RSS enclosures piece. Check it out.

London Calling/Vanilla Tapes

I've spent the last few days listening to the new Clash release, "London Calling - The Legacy Edition".  The original tunes have been remastered and sound crisp.  They really were the "Only Band That Matters" for a while there.  A completely amazing collection of music that doesn't wear thin, even after 20 years.  (Side note -- I wonder where I put that 8' x 4' blow-up poster of the album cover? It was on the wall in my college dorm...)

In addition to remastered sound, a 3rd CD is also included, the legendary "Vanilla Tapes".  Demos of the London Calling tunes, they are supposed to be a treat to the serious collector. You can hear the songs evolving into what was officially released.

I'm sure some folks are very happy these artifacts have been released, but IMHO, I have to say I'm not that impressed. Sure, I own my share of demos (official and unofficial). I'm used to the sometimes muddy sound and snippets of outtakes.  I think the issue is that reading various reviews, my expectations have been set high, apparently too high.

On a positive note, perhaps this release will herald the release of "Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg", the original version of "Combat Rock". Now that would be a score!

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment

I'm a fairly active runner, who seems to succumb to a bi-yearly injury.  Since I was healthy all last year, this was the year to go down. To make a long story short, I was (over)training for the Portland Marathon that was on 10/3/2004. I never made it.

Somewhere along the way, a few of us decided to pump up our weekend training mileage. (We had done Phoenix Rock n Roll in January and wanted to do 3 20-milers instead of 2).  The 16 week schedule had us ramping up fairly quickly, which I thought would be ok.  At the end of Week 6, I did a 18 mile run at Crystal Springs and felt fantastic. I remember telling my wife, "I've never felt better".  Probably jinxed myself...

Anyway, after our first 20 mile run, I was tired, but more than able to complete the run.  Later that evening, I felt an odd pain on the outside of my knee when going down some stairs. Not thinking much about it, I attempted my next run (18 miles) and was unable to go past mile 3.  Ice and Advil seemed to help, but I was not able to do anything. After a trip to Tahoe for the week, I sought some professional help.

A friend recommended the newly renamed Stanford Medical Institute. An initial consult found that indeed I had a major case of ITBS. I immediately began a twice-a-week course of therapy, combined with twice-a-day therapy at home.  The therapy was very very painful at the beginning, as my glutes/quads/<em>Tensor Fasciae Latae</em> were a trainwreck.

If this sounds like something you are suffering from, I highly recommend pursuing at least the foam roller treatment documented in this PDF It looks a little strange, but is very effective.

Twelve weeks later, I am doing a "long run" of 3 miles. The ITBS has lessened quite a bit, but hasn't left me just yet. 

Update: Fixed broken link to the .pdf

Moving to Movable Type

I've used Blogger.com for a number of months. I generally liked the service, but the lack of configurability and a few features finally drove me to install Movable Type.

So far, I'd have to say my experience has been <em>asi-asi</em>.  I am a dork by trade, and the installation process turned out to be more than I expected.  Quite a few trips to Google later, the site is officially up!