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Carnivale shuffling back from the dead?

November 27, 2005

I was disappointed last winter when HBO decided to drop Carnivale at the end of its second season; the damn thing had started making sense finally (after a fairly confusing first season); and had just taken a fairly interesting end-of-season plot twist…

The Knoxville News suggests that there just might be a little life left in the thing, however.
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Tivo & Transitional (Un)Fair Use

September 15, 2005

Well, that didn’t take long — last December, when the whole “Transitional Fair Use” thing started rearing it’s ugly head, I said “Tivo seems to be going out of their way to knuckle under to this kind of crap from the content producers, so we can probably assume that our equipment will be “enabled” (more like “disabled”) to enforce this at some point.

Now of course, it’s happened — Tivo users are catching flags indicating “the copyright holder prohibited saving the episode past date XX/XX”. Not on premium content, but on reruns of the Simpsons of all things.

Tivo is busy backing and filling, claiming that a “noise” glitch caused the Macrovision protection flag to be “accidently” set.
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HD PVRs – Rock and Hard Place

May 19, 2005

Thomas Hawk has some comments on my Dish 942 article.

Thomas writes:

These type of HDTV PVRs will be the competition for TiVo and Media Center going forward. It will be important that TiVo and Media Center are able to distinguish themselves in the HDTV PVR space in order to convince people that it is worth spending the money over what you can get for free (kinda free anyway) from your cable or satellite provider.

Absolutely — and there’s the rub.
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Starbucks as Social Mechanism

March 5, 2005

A sociology professor is holding classes on coffee houses bringing about the resurgence of a valuable and historic social contact mechanism, according to this CNN article.

Over the centuries, “cafes became places where informed men, some educated and some not, would come together and talk about stuff,” including literature, plays, poems, economics and politics, Weston said.

In recent years, the emergence of the Seattle-based Starbucks chain has brought the coffee house back into vogue in this country.

“Having a place to do that enriches a culture,” Weston said. “It takes us out of the cocoon of private life and into the public world. Cafes are important for creating a public life, particularly in a democracy. It becomes a place where the town, or, in the big city, where the neighborhood develops.”

WordPress 1.5 – Better for Business Blogs?

February 20, 2005

The 1.5 version of WordPress is here!  And, well…  …here.  I’ve just finished upgrading this site from WordPress 1.22 to 1.5 — and I’m quite impressed. 
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PageRank Simplified – What you need to know

January 20, 2005

If you get anywhere near search engine optimization discussions, you’ll hear the term PageRank.  There is both a lot of math and a lot of supposition regarding PageRank, but really only a few concepts that you need to know.
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All About Links

January 13, 2005

Backlinks, inbound links, outbound links, reciprocal links, etc.  There are too many names for a relatively simple concept.  Let’s de-mystify all of this, shall we?

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Driving With Your Eyes Closed

November 24, 2004

I once worked R&D management in a fairly large organization that did a lot of data processing.  The head of operations was infatuated with the idea of “Executive Information Systems”, and kept wanting ever more “distilled down” and “rolled up” reports. 

At one point, I suggested (tongue in cheek) that what he really needed was an icon on his desktop that was either Green, Yellow or Red, to indicate “all systems go”, “problems”, and “update your resume”.  Much to my chagrin, he liked the idea.

He’d have loved something like this.  Ambient’s newest toy “information system”, The Dashboard apparently boils down whatever information you find critical (unread e-mail, weather forecast, how much time the pool boy spends in your house, etc.) to drive a set of three rockin’ and rollin’ analog needle gauges wirelessly.

That way, if there’s a problem, you can spend some quality time trying to figure out what critical factor made your gauge flatline before you actually deal with it.  Maybe with any luck, it’ll just be your P.A. causing interference by running the microwave…

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Libraries – free, cheap or abused

July 26, 2004

You can find a collection of free technical books online at FreeTechBooks

Telltale Weekly is on a mission to record, produce and sell quality audio recordings of public domain material—at a very reasonable price in order to cover a bit of overhead.  How reasonable?  How’s a quarter strike you?  You can’t buy everything for a quarter, but it’s all still damn cheap, and available in MP3, AAC, or Ogg Vorbis formats.

Meanwhile, the RIAA continues to show no class whatsover in their commitment to donate CDs to public libraries to settle a price fixing lawsuit.  For example Wisconsin libraries are reporting that very few of the 105,000 CDs they’ve received thus far are useful

Unless, of course, you really have a lot of demand in your community for things like 1,235 copies of Whitney Houston singing the Star Spangled Banner in 1991.

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Coffee and Health

April 2, 2004

Coffee and health used to be a controversed theme in the seventies. Nowadays, moderate coffee consumption is rather exonerated from its supposed negative long term effects upon health.

My mother used to be one of those persons who teaches her offspring, in its early ages, that coffee is not bad. It is bad bad bad! In consequence, I managed to keep away from coffee. At least untill the difficult age of 10, when, as I remember, I was permitted to join mother and neighbour-friends at the coffee-tattle table.
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