Monthly Archives: March 2012

Steve Jobs Discussed Potential Television Deal with CBS CEO Les Moonves

Les Moonves to Steve Jobs:

You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business.

The question Moonves needs to be asking is, “what is the television business?” Because if he thinks it only involves people sitting in their living room watching a big screen, he’s mistaken.

Unlike NBC, ABC and Fox, CBS shows are not even available on Hulu.

Google Wants to Serve Ads Based On Your Phone’s Background Noise

The patent discusses the technology to analyze the background noise during your phone call and serve up ads for you based on the environmental conditions Google picks up on. Yeah, that’s creepy.

While Google isn’t technically “listening” to your calls, meaning there isn’t someone on the other line listening to your conversation, the fact that the company could unleash technology that monitors our calls in real-time is weird. Here’s some of the information on the patent, titled “Advertising based on environmental conditions”

I hate to use the word “creepy” because I think it’s a cop out. But there certainly would be backlash if Google tried to implement this. Smartphones “listening” to your calls seems way more invasive than Gmail “reading” your email to serve you relevant ads and prioritize your inbox.

It reminds me of the failed Color app that used your mic (all the time, not just during phone calls) to try to detect your location.

Eternal Copyright: a modest proposal

No, it’s clear that our current copyright law is inadequate and unfair. We must move to Eternal Copyright – a system where copyright never expires, and a world in which we no longer snatch food out of the mouths of our creators’ descendants. With eternal copyright, the knowledge that our great-great-great-grandchildren and beyond will benefit financially from our efforts will no doubt spur us on to achieve greater creative heights than ever seen before.

Wealthy inventors and artists providing for their family is a good thing. Including their children and grandchildren. But when copyrights, patents, and excessive wealth are passed down eternally, we’re setting ourselves up to live in a caste system. This is why I believe copyright expirations, patent expirations, and an estate tax on excessive amounts are a good thing.

Piracy v. do not track

Some media outlets get paid by selling their work. Others get paid by selling ads.

Jeff Jaris asks, then, what is the difference between pirating paid content and blocking ads on free content? And why are certain media outlets cheerleading the “do not track” movement, which will reduce their income from ads?

NPR Ethics Handbook

While the New York Time is debating whether or not to challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers, NPR has taken a much clearer stance:

Our purpose is to pursue the truth. Diligent verification is critical. We take great care to ensure that statements of fact in our journalism are both correct and in context. In our reporting, we rigorously challenge both the claims we encounter and the assumptions we bring. We devote our resources and our skills to presenting the fullest version of the truth we can deliver, placing the highest value on information we have gathered and verified ourselves.

TV Is Broken

In a Netflix world…

“Why did you turn the movie off, Daddy?”, Beatrix worriedly asks, as if she has done something wrong and is being punished by having her entertainment interrupted. She thinks that’s what I was doing by rushing for the remote.

“I didn’t turn it off, honey. This is just a commercial. I was turning the volume down because it was so loud. Shrek will come back on in a few minutes” I say.

“Did it break?”, she asks. It does sometimes happen at home that Flash or Silverlight implode, interrupt her show, and I have to fix it.

“No. It’s just a commercial.”

“What’s a commercial?”, she asks.

The End of Ownership: Why Aren’t Young People Buying More Houses?

The decline in young home owners is a puzzling trend. Interest rates have steadily declined over the last 30 years. Mortgage lending has loosened. Women have ascended in the workplace and supplemented their spouse’s earnings. How in the face of all of these positive developments did home ownership among the young keep falling?