Monday, February 12, 2007

What did the Aqua Teen overreaction really cost?


Bottom line is that the total costs were less than half the cost of a superbowl commercial, but probably not the smartest thing to do.  And it didn’t help ratings anyway.


What does this have to do with computers?  Viral Marketing.


The top half of the article also clearly lays down just what the national debt means to us in relative terms.  Have to admit this is something I never knew that much about but was kinda worried it would be a bigger problem in the future, but knowing that compared to our actual GDP it’s not as bad as it was 50 years ago is actually a bit of a relief, but still needs to be managed better.

My pet peeve: Diamond Hype

One mission I'm on is to get more people to question the worth of diamonds.  If you do the research and still feel that spending your hard earned dollars on them is worth it, more power to you, but most people I know simply listen to the marketing hype and are trained to spend ridiculous sums simply to show off.  There are plenty of other truly valuable gems and metals out there that don't have a mysterious global monopoly artificially inflating the costs.

Friday, February 09, 2007

FW: [Politech] New Jersey, California officials like the Real ID Act [priv]

OK, Someone smack our state officials with a clue please.  Real ID is a terrible terrible idea gone amok and it needs to die now.  Read on for Declan's recap of why...

-----Original Message-----
Subject: [Politech] New Jersey, California officials like the Real ID Act [priv]

So I spent part of this week at the RSA conference in San Francisco,
where I stopped by a panel that seemed to be created by and intended for
state DMV officials. The topic was the Real ID Act, and everyone seemed
to either like it a lot or be entirely in love with the scheme. All were
former or current government officials, and not one said it was a bad idea.

In fact, California and (especially) New Jersey loved it:

One idea they had was for the feds to mandate biometrics (fingerprint,
retinal scan, DNA sample) on these federalized ID cards. Right now DHS
can but isn't required to do so; we're still waiting for the regulations
to be made public.

Another idea came from Paula Arcioni, the chief information security
officer for New Jersey's Office of Information Technology, and a member
of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council:

Clearly electronic commerce could never happen unless it were properly
"coordinated" by some state governments.

Anyway, Arcioni not only applauded the law but said it would be made
much better if it was turned into a microprocessor-enabled smartcard
that both state governments and corporations could use for online

Compare this to what Maine did a few weeks ago:

Guess these states either haven't gotten the message yet, or perhaps
these midlevel bureaucrats are simply so caught up in their own fiefdoms
that they ignore what the public actually wants.

Politech mailing list
Archived at
Moderated by Declan McCullagh (

Thursday, February 08, 2007

So, Station Exchange seems to be a big luser

Bottom line is they made a whopping $272k from it.  OK, maybe not a luser but big whoop. 

This is NOTHING compared to what they make on name changes and server transfers, if Smed was being honest with Business 2.0 back in '02:,17925,514908,00.html

[quote]Hidden revenue streams are just starting to be understood. Sony runs about 42 versions to avoid overpopulation in any one world. But instead of simply load-balancing the number of players per computer, it allows fans to relocate their characters to different worlds on other servers -- for $50 a move. "Would you believe we've generated over $1 million in revenue simply from moving characters?" Smedley marvels. While the company discourages players from selling off their personae or equipment for real dollars, black-market auctions are commonplace, with some gear going for as much as $2,000. (See The Real Economics of Virtual Worlds.")[/quote]

What I don't see talked about too much is "what comes next?"  Obviously for a mature game like EQ adding SE isn't going to affect servers too badly one way or the other, tho those 'pilot' SE servers in EQ2 launched with the service if I remember right, so players knew what they were getting in to and could choose appropriately.  But for the future this isn't something that is settled by a long shot.   Trading real dollars for virtual tokens is still a big grey area in so many ways,

FW: [IP] Warner Music Chief Says Apple's Online Music Plea Lac ks Logic

From Bloomberg via the IP list.

`The notion that music does not deserve the same
protections as software, television, films, video games, or other
intellectual property, simply because there is an unprotected
legacy product available in the physical world is completely
without logic or merit,' Bronfman said

Well, that's the point ain't it?  Let's get to the heart of the matter.  It's not that DRM doesn't work, it's that COPY PROTECTION of any kind doesn't work.  Never has.  Never will.  Never ever ever.  Despite the fact that it's the legitimate users who pay the price of inconvenience for the locks that dont keep the bad guys out anyway.  Regardless of whether a type of media has a legacy format that is unprotected (and to be fair TV, books, magazines and most movies (think VHS) are completely unprotected too, just that CDs have a DIGITAL version that is unprotected) or not, they ALL should be unemcumbered by DRM or copy protection of any kind. 

GO AFTER THE PIRATE DUPLICATORS don't bother the end users.  Now, that becomes more complicated in the bittorrent world where every consumer of pirated media becomes a defacto producer as well, but these need to be taken care of by LEGAL remedies, not technical ones.  Witness what GooTube is doing under the 'safe harbor' provisions for video and every media type could be doing the same.

-----Original Message-----

Begin forwarded message:

Warner Music Chief Says Apple's Online Music Plea Lacks Logic
2007-02-08 13:40 (New York)

By Connie Guglielmo and Don Jeffrey
      Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Warner Music Group Corp., the world's
fourth-largest record company, said a plea by Apple Inc. Chief
Executive Officer Steve Jobs to let songs be sold on the Web
without copy protection software lacks ``logic or merit.''
      Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman said Jobs's proposal that
companies drop digital rights management coding on songs sold
online would leave music vulnerable to piracy. He disputed Jobs's
claim that so-called DRM software prevents consumers from playing
music purchased from rival services on different devices.
      ``We advocate the continued use of DRM in the protection of
our and our artists' intellectual property,'' Bronfman said on a
conference call with analysts today. ``The issue is obscured by
asserting that DRM and interoperability is the same thing. They
are not. To suggest that they cannot co-exist is simply
      Warner Music, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music
Entertainment and EMI Group Plc required Apple to add rights
management software as a condition of selling their music on
iTunes, the most popular legal site for music downloads, Jobs
said in a letter posted on Apple's Web site two days ago.
      Without the program, iTunes users could play songs purchased
online on a range of digital devices, rather than just on Apple's
best-selling iPod player, Jobs said.
      Shares of Warner Music fell $1.20 to $20.31 at 1:37 p.m. in
New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Apple's shares rose 9
cents to $86.24 in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading.

                             No Doubt

      Bronfman's comments come a day after the Recording Industry
Association of America said Jobs should instead open Apple's
FairPlay rights management software to rival online sites.
      ``We all want to see this marketplace work and for fans to
enjoy the music they have lawfully bought on various devices or
services,'' Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Washington-
based trade group, which represents the U.S. recording industry,
said in an e-mailed statement last night. ``We have no doubt that
a technology company as sophisticated and smart as Apple could
work with the music community to make that happen.''
      While Cupertino, California-based Apple could license
FairPlay to its competitors for a small fee, Jobs wrote that
distribution of the software might lead to leaks about how it
works, thereby rendering the copy-protection technique useless.
      Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI together
control rights to more than 70 percent of the world's music,
according to Jobs.
      The four should drop the rights management requirement on
online music, which accounts for about 10 percent of global music
sales, since they don't require similar copy protection on music
sold on compact discs, he said.
      ``The notion that music does not deserve the same
protections as software, television, films, video games, or other
intellectual property, simply because there is an unprotected
legacy product available in the physical world is completely
without logic or merit,'' Bronfman said.
      EMI said it recognizes that interoperability among music
players and services is becoming an issue for music buyers and
the company is working with partners to find a solution.

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Valleywag disects what makes a great blog post

And comes up with the ultimate blog post venn diagram.

Very funny but pretty true on a primal level.

Kick ass, Iceboating is back on the Navesink!

One good thing about the 15 degree weather we've had the last few weeks is that the Navesink River is freezing up and that means that ice boating, a sport long in hibernation around here, could soon be back in action.

Definitly hoping to see some boats out there soon and get some good photos.  I havent seen  any out there yet, but the 'channels' have still been open flowing water, it's not a solid freeze yet.  Maybe they are running up closer to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank.... 

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reactions to the Jobs music posting

Check out all the commentary here:

Some of the best responses:

Here's the question that I havent seen anyone asking:  WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER MEDIA formats?  TV.  MOVIES.  BOOKS.  Video games. 

Music is the low hanging fruit here.  It's not even the most potentially profitable.  It's Apple's bread and butter of course, but they sell all of the other stuff too.  Hmmmmm....

HD DVD review round up.

Been slacking on linking to my reviews at HTF here, let's catch up a little:

Brokeback Mountain HDDVD/DVD (Combo)

Fearless HD:

Accepted HD:

The Sting HD:

Next up is The Mummy Returns and then Hollywoodland.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fuel for fighting the BRAC

Many of you know that my job is slated to be moved to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Md. no later than 2011.  So far Congress has ordered this to happen but hasn't begun funding for the place that we will move to.  Seems pretty stupid to me to make big moves like this when real work has to continue, but hey I'm just an Engineer not a politician.  =)

This article appeared in yesterday's Asbury Park Press.  Hopefully the message isnt clobbered due to the author's obvious involvement with the situation, but this mess pretty clearly parallels the message from above, regardless of whether it's global warming, security, religion, stem cells or job jerrymandering, once direction from the top is given the facts cease to matter =(

Just wish people with more clout than me could get people to wake up.  Here's your chance Navesink, let's start here.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

More on the Flickr Mess

A full review of the issues here at Ziff Davis:

Steward Butterfield blowing off his most valued customers here:

It gets worse at Flickr

Here was my message to the dunces running things over at Flickr this week.

"So can I get a list of the 300 people over 3k so I can start adding more of them as contacts as my own little way of protest?

I follow Thomas's photos from his blog (I only favorited him today since that wasnt really a flickr feature I use much, thomas I understand you cant reciprocate!) but I've started adding more from this thread. 

Despite all the engineering hogwash above, none of you have addressed why you cant go with Merkel and Thomas's suggestion of limiting non reciprocation.  There are MANY ways to limit such links, for example on Xbox live every 'Friend' HAS TO BE a 2 way street.  The limit friends obviously for this reason.  But you've got smart people that can figure this out without snubbing your biggest users.  Here's one clue:  Why not figure out what the largest number of contacts for a single user is, remove the number of reciprocal contacts they have, and use THAT as your starting point?

But the truth is that the contacting process on Flickr needs work and if you dont all take the time to get it right, someone else will.  The ONLY thing you have going for you is that you are doing all of this the least worst of any of the competing solutions.  And if you let stupid decisions like this continue to guide you, Google or Microsoft or even an improbable like Zooomr will get it right and beat you BECAUSE they are the small guy again.  I LIKED that about Flickr when I sighed up and it was exactly these issues that I worried about.

So think about this from your user's perspective and not your pocketbook.  You can't buy back the good will that you are burning, and your unapologetic insistance on being 'right' because you say so isn't going to mean anything when it affects real users."