Because in the future, our descendants will want to figure out when the tipping point happened where Robots went from harmless playthings to — well — our new masters, we present our Robots Roundup, an occasional look at robot news.
While you were prepping for your Super Bowl (not “Big Game”) Party, here’s what we were checking out:
- Second Life and the Stupid White Man’s Burden, Part Two: Grief’s Interjection – In which we deconstruct the Web 2.0 phenomenon of griefing as it relates to Second Life and giggle at the phrase “armies of marching willies.”
- The Web’s Next Get Rich Scheme – YouTube is going to start sharing some of that ad money wealth with the content creators. It probably won’t make anybody rich, but it’s still pretty cool.
- In Which A Marketing Campaign Stops A City – As great as this story is turning out to be, it isn’t making any of us rushing to TiVo Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
- My Life in the Slow Lane – In the latest edition of our “That’s What I Like” series, Tim Gaskill explains how he survives his mind-numbing commute.
- Harry Potter and the Gynormous Spoiler – Like I said, just don’t kill Hermione.
- How To Copyright An Atomic Bomb – One of the funniest things about watching this story is whether or not the TV channels reporting on it blur out the extended middle finger of the little Mooninite guy. Also, “Mooninite.” I wonder if it’s related to “Solaronite.” If so, then perhaps the city of Boston didn’t overreact.
As you’ve no doubt heard, the final installment of the Harry Potter series — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set to publish on July 21.
The series, which started off as harmless child’s fare, has turned into something quite different, maturing and darkening as its protagonist tumbled into his teens and learned just how fracked-up his situation really was.
In a weird way, it’s of the literary equivalent of 24, where there is so much plot going on at all times that you don’t really have time to think about it — it’s more fun to immerse yourself than it is to harp on details and influences. (And BTW, if you don’t think this analogy won’t wash because Jack Bauer doesn’t have magical powers, then how is it that he can convince anybody to do anything when he needs them to? Magic!)
In any event, the question that is on everybody’s lips, of course, is what Harry’s ultimate fate will be, but it has struck me that I’m actually less worried about whether or not Harry will live or die than whether or not I will be spoiled about whether or not Harry lives or dies before I get to read it for myself.
As a public service, Medialoper offers the latest installment of I Hate The Cable Company, our monthly(ish) roundup of some recent stories where ordinary citizens have had issues with the service and/or pricing of their local cable company.
- In Worcester MA, a man was told by Comcast that they would have no problem hooking him up . . . as long as he paid them $14,995.35.
While you were looking outside and realizing that the winter hadn’t gone anywhere, but had just been stuck in traffic, here’s what we were looking at:
- The High-Definition Problem – Is essentially the 21st Century version of the same problem that happened with certain stars when the talking pictures were invented: some actors don’t translate, er, very well to the newer version of the medium that made them a star. Now playing across the nation: the horror of your local newscast in HD.
- Second Life and the Stupid White Man’s Burden, Part One: Anshe’s Ascension – Remember those jokes about selling you the Brooklyn Bridge? Or Swampland in Florida? At least those people didn’t have to worry about server crashes . . .
- Will Labels Join Party A Decade Late? – Just this once, we’re gonna be optimistic and say “yes.” (And don’t worry, the optimism will pass.)
- Washington Tries Its Best To Kill Internet Radio – Sigh. Those of us from California are embarassed to have a senior Senator who has been hating on the internets as long as DiFi has.
- Major League Baseball Hates Me – If I go over to Kirk or Tim’s place to watch games because they have DirectTV and I don’t, aren’t I, in effect, stealing that content from Major League Baseball? After all, they are in essence sharing those games with me.
- My Life As An RSS Junkie – Y’all will be glad to know that we had an intervention for Kirk this weekend, sending him off to the same rehab that is going to cure Isaiah W’s homophobia; Mel G’s anti-semitism and Michael R’s racism. Because that’s, you know, what rehab is for. Just ask Kirk’s new best friend: Lindsay L.
Dear Major League Baseball,
As you know, I am a lifelong San Francisco Giant fan. Since the days of Mays, Marichal and McCovey. However, I now live in the Los Angeles area, so my access to their games is much more limited than it was when I lived in the Bay Area. Boo-hoo for me.
So a couple of years ago, missing you a lot, I came very close to getting your “Extra Innings” package, but in the end, I didn’t. You were very expensive, and I wasn’t quite there finanancially. I was stuck with whatever I could get from the great ESPN broadcasts and those brutally awful FOX broadcasts. But I missed my Giants broadcasts — Krukow and Kuiper, especially. Now I have the scratch, but I can’t, because you — Major League Baseball — have decided to limit the availability of your package to a single provider: DirectTV.
Why? I can only conclude it’s because you hate me, and don’t want me to watch my beloved Giants on a regular basis.
We are now a decade into the digital music revolution, and everybody is on board. Everybody, except of course, those who have stood to profit the most from this — the major record labels.
Instead of realizing that this was the future in the same way that their customers did, the labels have ignored, sued, restricted, and DRMed digital music while futzing with CDs in a zillion ways (except, of course, significantly reducing prices) trying to stem the tide. Nothing — outside of iTunes, which was pared with the iPod — has worked. And iTunes has worked more for Apple than the major labels.
But now, there are rumblings that they are ready to throw in the towel, and embrace the 21st Century. And to be fair, we’re only 7 years into that century: they still had 93 years to go.
So the question on the table is this: are the major labels ready to start allowing unrestricted downloads of .mp3z? Files that will play on any device? Files that I can burn and rip and copy and trade and play on anything and open edit and do all of the same things that I was able to do with cassettes and albums and 8-Tracks and CDs?
While you were busy announcing your bid to become the next POTUS, here’s what we were looking at:
- An iPhony Controversy – I mean it’s not like someone came out with an actual phone that duplicated all of the iPhone functionality and the UI.
- Second Life and the Fourth Estate, Part Two: A Stupid Kind of Benevolence – “Second Life: Now You Can Stare At The Sun!” In the name of love, of course.
- 24 Season Premiere DVD Release Cool, But Not That Cool – And we were wondering why Magic Mountain didn’t get sold as part of the Six Flags deal. PARC obviously had some kind of advance knowledge . . .
- Fr*ck Da FCC – If we have learned anything from this whole flap, it’s this: Kirk is a “mental retarded” person.
- Asleep On Patrol: Old Media Misses The Real Enemy – It’s like that old Wired cover story about Newt Gingrich: “Friend and Foe.”
- P-Diddy and Burger King: Brand-Destruction in the World of YouTube – Our latest ‘Loper, Bill O’Connor, deconstructs Diddy and Burger King’s not-so-brilliant YouTube-based ad campaign.
- That’s What I Like: Knitting – Kassia reveals that she ocassionally steps away from her computer. We understand and support her in her decision.
Did you see 24 last night? Me neither. The whole two-night, four-hour premiere is resting nice and snug in our TiVo Series 3. Since there is only so much adrenaline rush “Do it, NOW!” we can take in a single sitting, we will probably watch it in one-hour dollops over the next couple of nights.
So no spoilers, please. Obviously things explode, people die, Jack yells, Chole pouts, Bill frets, Wayne looks better than any Prez ever (just ask Rox), and so on and so forth, but I just don’t want to know why these things happen.
And this year — this week, anyways — I have the extra added comfort in knowing that if my TiVo somehow malfunctioned, I could always run out and buy those four hours on DVD.
In what seems like just seconds after the announcement of Apple’s iPhone and its pretty icon-filled UI, clones of that UI have already appeared as skins for devices which — unlike the iPhone — have the advantage of actually currently existing.
Skins appeared for Windows Mobile devices and the Palm Treo, and one of the skins is called the “iPhony,” about which, ha! Apple, of course, has no stomach for jokes — even good ones like “iPhony,” hee! — and has wasted no time sending out cease-and-desist letters..
Am I the only person who enjoys the irony of Apple instigating legal action over people instacloning the look of a product when it currently doesn’t even own the name of that particular product?? After all, Cisco could come out with their iPhone tomorrow, you never know!