Thursday, March 31, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This post was inspired by my comment to a post by Russell Beattie regarding his PSP and his use of BitTorrent to put an unreleased movie onto his device, which is very cool, but not legal. I like Russ and his blog is a daily read for me. My comments to him were partially tongue in cheek as he currently works for the would be Media giant called Yahoo. I think that it’s problematic to work at a company that makes a living off of helping to promote to consumers the valuable intellectual property that media companies create and then post on a highly trafficked blog that you use BitTorrent to get the movies that you want.
It’s totally Russ’s business to do whatever he wants in his home and as the Libertarian that I am, I salute him for exercising that right. I also like the brashness of his comments. It’s good entertainment and I plan to read on in the future.So after Russ slapped me down for my negative tone and condescending preachy post…
It got me to thinking about two issues. The first is BitTorrent. I love Bittorrent. I sent the guy money and I proudly wear my BitTorrent T Shirt to the gym often when I work out. I make a BitTorrent version of my podcast The $250 Million Radio Show as often as possible even though the majority of the people who get my show download it directly from my servers. I think its an important technology that you should support provided you are using it in a legal manner. Back to my previous post, The beauty of BitTorrent, and the reason that the Grokster case isn’t going to help out people who use BitTorrent is that everyone has to upload to download. This puts you in clear violation of the DMCA as rendered through the various decisions in the various cases adjudicated to date. Lots of legal stuff can be found on Google, I mean Yahoo.
Russ said something to the effect that everybody is doing it and not talking about it isn’t going to help. You can find his direct smackdown in the comments to the post. Well, that may or may not be true, but it is illegal. Period. I may do some things in my house that are illegal, but I am certain that I am not going to post about it on the Internet. That just seems to make sense to me.
The second thing was the conflict between technology and media that is at the heart of what many of us have been working on for a lot of years now. Because I highlight the issue some think that I am stung by the copyright issue and that I hate content companies, etc. That couldn’t be further from the truth. For most of my professional career I have worked for big media or companies that supported big media. I am certain that I will quickly pass that as I have spent a lot of the last several years working in small media and technology. Those of us who play in these waters are aware that you have to walk a fine line. There are some who take an extreme position on either side, but the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle hoping that the content companies wont quash technology, while enjoying and wanting to find new ways to help traditional content reach new and broader audiences.
The important point is to know where your bread is buttered. When I was in my early 20s I worked at Sony Pictures and managed to get into a preview screening of Johnny Mnemonic. At the same time I was marginally active on the alt.cyberpunk list on Usenet. I naively posted a review and had a conversation with Amy Harmon who is now at the New York Times. She published my comments out of context in the LA Times on opening day. The head of the studio called my boss early Monday morning screaming for my head. When I saw Russ’s post I could see Terry Semel (Former head of Warner Bros.) reaching through the Internet to grab him by the neck. As he clearly pointed out its not really any of my business, but I thought that a word to the wise would be time well spent.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
We think that this is the highest quality selection of shows produced to date that all have music where we have the permission of the rights holders.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
Sunday, March 20, 2005
That said, as I understand it, this woman expressed to a number of people that she didn't want to be kept alive on life support machines. I haven't heard this disputed. As a Christian, I can't see how people can view being kept alive on a respirator or any other machine as complying with God's will. If God wants you to live without a machine, then you will live. If not, then your time has come. This whole matter is unfortunate and kudos to her husband for trying to let her decision on this subject supersede the grossly intrusive episode we see unfolding. As a believer in personal liberty, and as someone who respects the tenets of faith, I can't understand how anyone could support the interference of people who have such a clear agenda to have their way and prolong the life of someone against their wishes and against what would result in her passing without outside intervention.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Monday, March 14, 2005
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Our first product, Rabble, passed BREW certification last week and is now ready for distribution on CDMA networks who support BREW. We hope to announce some more things around that shortly.
We have spent a lot of time working on a robust and easy to use personal publication platform for consumers. Its taken a lot of people to get it this far and we are really proud of how far it has come. As Shawn would say though, "We just made it to the starting line."
I really like how it hits on the combination of Create, Promote and Consume, which are concepts we are big believers in. In fact the product we are unveiling tomorrow is built around these concepts. It's been a fun trip the last several months having conversations with a variety of people who see the world in this way and how each of us take different approaches to trying to create different pieces in that puzzle that Eli so plainly demonstrated. Good stuff.
Afterwards we actually worked. That was a Big Easy first for me.
This morning I also had another first, I went jogging. It was fun making my way through the Quarter on a slightly balmy morning. That was until my iPod battery died. I think I am at the battery failure point right now. Not cool.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
A good friend called me the other day to follow up on a call I had made when I was in NYC. He was calling to catch up but also gave me some grief for making fun of Rhapsody. I told him that the cancellation shenanigans are ridiculous but I thought that Rhapsody was by far the best service available. If you like music and don’t have a problem paying for it, the best experience to date, IMHO is Rhapsody. It is a real music discovery tool. It falls down in a couple of areas but they are minor.That said, my comments above are as it relates to content and content discovery. The whole scheme that RealNetworks deploys to make you cancel your service with a phone call is worse than laughable. It has been about a year and a half since I have voluntarily viewed a file delivered in their format. Their intrusive and deceptive client doesn’t have a place on any of the machines that I own.
We got into SD late Thursday, got to spend the day in the office on calls on Friday and then hit the airport, yet again to get to New Orleans.
New Orleans rules. It's one of the places that I come back to very often. I think 4-5 Jazzfests and a Mardi Gras for me. It's going to be a long week.
Over the last several weeks we have been traveling heavily. Most of the longer distance travel has been on American Airlines. As someone who has been a longtime customer with elite status, you get in the habit of requesting upgrades as you have accumulated a large collection of upgrades. Unfortunately with the introduction of JetBlue in the SD to JFK market, AA has been forced to have comparable prices. I guess fortunately is the better word because a roundtrip ticket between SD and NYC is like $200.
The downside is that getting an upgrade is impossible. The other day I went to the ticket counter and checked the status of my upgrade request. They said that I was on the list but it didnt look good. I told Shawn that this was a joke. He said that it was better than that. He said it was like a request to have a unicorn. "Excuse me, I wanted to check the status of my request to have a Unicorn. Mr. Oien, we have your request, but it doesnt look like we will be able to accommodate you at this time. " Ok. Maybe next time. Ironically I got upgraded today on the flight to
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Our last meeting was at SFO which was unfortunate as we were flying out of OAK. We had yet another frantic cab ride to catch a flight and got there with at least five minutes to spare.
We decided to stay downtown so we could grab a bite to eat at Ciudad, which is one of my favorite places in LA.
I had a bout of insomnia and did an early morning run from the Bonaventure to the Disney Concert Hall, around
LA is a great place although many people not from here don’t get it. I don’t think I will explain my thoughts on it at this point rather I would say that if you get into town sometime make sure you grab a drink at the rooftop bar at The Standard. It’s not to be missed and to me gives a good flavor for the sense of the city.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Got into San Francisco last night at midnight or so. I decided to take a couple of mile run this morning. My Ipod dished out the following for my run:
Coheed and Cambria
Saves The Day
This Mortal Coil
It was great. A little aggressive but nice in the cool foggy morning as I ran from Fishermans Wharf into Golden Gate Park.
The guy sitting next to me on the flight was Andrew Thomas from CSFB, who coincidentally covered MP3.com back in the day. He covers Internet and Gaming sectors and was headed to The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco which explains why we had such a bad hotel.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, Its Morning. I love this CD. I can't get enough of the opening track. My 2 1/2 year old is starting to pick uo the lyrics.
Calexico - Feast of Wire. I am a late comer to this band, but I am really starting to dig their sound.
Supernauts - The management company sent me a track and I have got to say I am hooked. I am going to lead off my next podcast with these guys.
Rome Total War - On Flights Only
Accident Hash Podcast
Other AMP Podcasts
CMJ - Been a long time since I read this. Just recently subscribed.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Late last year I did a brief consulting engagement where I provided an overview and evaluation of the various music services. It was fun getting back up to speed on the state of the various services.
After the evaluation I went about deleting the various applications. I had no problem canceling with any of them except Real/Rhapsody. When I tried to cancel, I found out that you could only cancel by a phone call. Hmmm. That's pretty weak for an online product. I called. It was Sunday. They were closed. I couldn't cancel. What a joke. Is that illegal?
This was in December, Yesterday while looking at the army of icons on my desktop I realized that this nasty program was still on my machine and I was STILL BEING CHARGED by them.
I called the number. They asked me why I was canceling. I freaked out. I promised them that I would ensure that there were no Real products on any of the machines that I own and that I would delete the products from any machines that I touch.
I know that the digital music space is a difficult business, but if this is how you have to make your money, I would recommend shorting their stock.
I walked around the floor to see who the new people were and to my surprise one of the people working there worked with me at Mp3.com. Small world, or rather small floor.
As we are getting down to the wire with our launch, I will take this as a good sign.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Funny though, nothing from any of their music shows. Hmmm. I like what they have on the sidebar of the linked page:
"Legal constraints and copyright issues currently inhibit our ability to offer listeners our music shows as podcasts."