7
Jul
2009

jackson casketAre we all done now?

Can we stop throwing ourselves in to hysterics over some singer?  Can we stop with the wall-to-wall coverage?  The live updates?  No more ‘chimpclusives‘?  In short, can we just get past the embarrassment that has been this grotesque spectacle that was the Michael Jackson funeral?  The man’s casket cost $25,000 for crying out loud, how is that even remotely normal?  It was gold plated!

I understand marking the passing of an entertainer you’ve enjoyed, heck, I do it all the time around here with people like George Carlin, Paul Newman, Lux Interior and so on.  The difference is that I make that post, mark their passing… and get on with my life.  This has been 12 days of non-stop coverage that has been sickening.

I know I already asked you all to stop, but instead it just got worse.  For the first time I can ever remember, I turned off Twitter for several hours today as I was getting multiple play-by-play reports from people I follow.  One was bad enough, but ten of them was just over my breaking point, and off Twitter went.

He was a singer, a talented one, but still just a singer.  He made music you enjoyed, fine, but what did he ever do besides live his life to obscene excess and be vilified by the media?  Oh, you do all remember that don’t you?  The media spent years making this man out to be a monster, but the day he died we get soft focus images of him with heartfelt music about “the king of pop”, and what a wonderful person he was.  Thanks media for being a complete and utter sell out.

There are soldiers dying in wars across the planet.

Unemployment is approaching a 26 year high in the United States.

There are children starving to death in third-world countries.

The police in Ft. Worth are beating bar patrons apparently for their sexual orientation.

Iran is still in civil unrest.

China is cutting off the Internet to keep news from getting out of ethnic cleaning going on.

But, you know, really, lets spend 12 days doing nothing but talking about a man who is as well known for his mental issues as he was for his ability to sing.  Fine, you’ve had your little crying jag, you had your giant spectacle today in the form of his memorial service., can we just get back to paying attention to the things in this world that actually matter to people?  Can me move on to subjects in the news that actually impact your lives?

Twelve days… twelve freakin’ days… enough already folks, it’s over.

6
Jul
2009

cbslogosmall

This week Steven Hodson, Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins and myself took on, a full load of subjects, and got in a good amount of Gillmor’ing.

– Steven introduces us to “the man wall“.

Good-bye Joost.

– More on the real time web… Mark likes it… Steven and I not so much.

Judge Posner is an idiot.

– We all actually enjoyed some new Microsoft ads… did Hell freeze over?

Perez Hilton gets a scary, scary amount of traffic.

What exactly is Mahalo for?

– Possibly the most disturbing movie trailer ever

Push the big green button and have a listen.

5
Jul
2009

hollywood signI’m not sure what get put in the Hollywood water system, but it seems to be some really, really good drugs.

Just when I think Hollywood can’t get any more desperate for movie plots, they go one step further to a point that reaches such absurdity that it boggles the mind.  It was announced earlier this week that the 1979 Atari video game Asteroids would be made into a movie.  This was followed up by a possible joke, but no one is yet sure, that the View-Master picture viewer would also be getting a movie.

… are you kidding me?

Asteroids was a vector-based video game where you flew a triangular ship around, shooting at incoming asteroids.  Occasionally a UFO would fly through and shoot at you to spice things up a bit.  That was the entire “plot” of the game?  Don’t believe me?  Play the official Asteroids online game to see if I’m lying to you.  There was absolutely no story behind this game, but yet someone in Hollywood thought it was worth to buy the licensing rights to it.

View-Master was a device that came about in 1939 as a way to view stereoscopic images.  It wasn’t until the 1960’s that it became a child’s toy when they started manufacturing picture discs for things like Star Trek and Disney.  This movie came to light thanks to Brad Caleb Kane, a write on the TV series Fringe.  It is thought it may be a joke as he works with the writers behind the two Transformers movies, but I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood.  I can actually envision this movie being, “Kids find a magic View-Master that transports them to another world where they learn to love one another and appreciate their parents” type of film you see typically in the summer movie season.  Doesn’t mean I hope it doesn’t happen, but I can see it.

asteroidsAsteroids on the other hand just totally blows me away. This was way back in the infancy of video games, before they went through the trouble of giving them characters, a plot or anything more than “shoot this” type of concept.  Is it going to be 90 to 120 minutes of a spaceship just flying around shooting rocks?  Maybe they will try saying the UFOs control the asteroids?  I don’t know, it just screams stupidity to me, but what else do you expect from Hollywood these days?

It seems every movie has to have a product tie-in any more.  Where are the movies like Die Hard these days?  A great action movie made just to be an action movie.  No products to be sold, no big name actors (at that time), just plain fun.  Sure it was improbable, but who cared?  It was engaging and a good time!

So, in order to help Hollywood down this new path of theirs, let me suggest some other possible arcade game based films they can start looking in to:

Centipede – A movie about giant bugs?  Come on, Hollywood, how have you not already optioned this?!?

Frogger – He’s a rural frog that’s come to the city, but he learns his momma is sick and has to get back to the lily pad to help her save their family home.

Pac-Man – Totally a stoner film.  Come on, he eats pills!

Pong – Kind of like The Karate Kid where a young boy learns from a Pong master after he has been beaten up by Pong bullies.  In the end he becomes the Pong champion and they go on to make some mediocre sequels.

See?  Any old video game could be made into a movie with little to no imagination!  Get to work, Hollywood execs!  You can have these ideas gratis!

4
Jul
2009

michael jackson


Folks, please, just… stop.

I have really tried refraining from even touching on the subject of Michael Jackson, but this has now reached absurd proportions.  I can understand fans being sad at his passing, but the idea that the website set up to award tickets to his memorial service (which the fact they are giving out tickets to this is disturbing in its own right) received 500 million hits in the first hour of operation.  While it is safe to say many of those were multiple visits from the same people, that is still insane.

Even though only 8,750 people will be issued a pair of tickets, 1.2 million officially applied for tickets.  The city of Los Angeles is expecting around 500,000 to 750,000 to descend upon the Staples Center to stand around outside the center during the ceremony.

Now comes the news that the networks are going to make this in to even more of a circus

  • CBS is handing over the majority of its programming for the day to coverage of the event.  The Early Show, Evening News with Katie Couric and a special edition of 48 Hours anchored by Katie Couric will all originate from the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the event is being held.
  • ABC will be doing live coverage of the event starting at 10 AM PDT and will pre-empt their normal daytime programming.  They are sending Charles Gibson to do the coverage.
  • NBC will not do live coverage, but instead will do a one-hour highlights show Tuesday night.
  • CNN will be live.
  • MSNBC will be live.
  • E! will be live.

Stop… please, for the love of the deity of your choice, just stop.

Michael Jackson was indeed a talented singer, but he was just that… a singer.  He didn’t cure diseases.  He didn’t serve his country.  He did nothing heroic.  He was a cute child singer, and he grew in to a very disturbed adult man due to any number of reasons that became better known for his eccentricities than his talents.  If you want to mourn him, fine, but does anyone really need to stand outside of an arena in the summer heat to mark his passing?  (hope you all remember to bring water)  Does every network need to have a crew on hand for this?  No.

This is all part of an idolism of celebrities that makes no real sense.  Anyone remember the insanity surrounding the death of Princess Diana?  At least she went out and tried to change people’s lives, while Michael… spent money on amusement park rides?  The fervor over Diana’s death didn’t make any sense either, as I said in Scattercast Episode 50, I’m not sure a terrorist attack by Osama Bin Laden would have gotten media coverage during that week in 1997, and that’s how I’m feeling about this insanity swirling around everything involving Michael Jackson.

You don’t think it has spun horribly out of control? Did you know that Anderson Cooper 360 actually went through the trouble to track down Michael Jackson’s pet chimp, Bubbles? Thanks to The Colbert Report, you can see this news handled in the manner it was most deserving of.

When you start hunting down a chimp as ‘news’, you know this story has been beat to within an inch of its life.

Up until the day he died, Michael Jackson was vilified by the media for close to 20 years, but come the day he died, he turned into something close to being a saint in the eyes of the media, and that is just sickening to me.  Not only have you obviously used this man’s death to improve your ratings, but you have betrayed your previous stance on him with your sickeningly saccharine-laced new version of the events of what and who Michael Jackson was.  Shame on the media.  How about you take that energy you spent on finding Bubbles and look in to what happened in Ft. Worth?  What is the latest on the civil unrest in Iran?  How is the world reacting to the seven ballistic missles North Korea fired in to the Sea of Japan today?  No no, that’s okay, please go do a hard hitting interview with Bubbles… really, that’s what we need more of in this world, not real news.

As for the public… well… I won’t say “shame on you” because I don’t know what each person’s individual motivation is for caring about this man so much about him, but it sure doesn’t make any sense to me to get this worked up over a celeberities death.

3
Jul
2009

Scattercast is 50… whoa.

I can’t believe this is episode 50, and also technically my one year anniversary since I skipped two episodes due to voice problems. Since it is such a special occasion I decided to bring in… you guessed it… M. The ever mysterious female known simply as M to my readers and listeners is back for her third episode of Scattercast. So not only do you get a longer than usual episode… and not only do you get M… but you also get the introduction of my new theme song! I actually bought the rights to use this music, so… you’re stuck with it!

– Michael Jackson died… and the media will NOT let us forget it.

Helen Thomas calls Obama administration out on social media smokescreen.

– What does Perez Hilton’s traffic numbers say about America?

– Are you even aware of what is going on in Ft. Worth? Probably not.

– M makes fun of me… big surprise.

Here is to another 50 episodes! Thanks to everyone who tunes in each week!

Here’s

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for those who wish to download it, subscribe to Scattercast via iTunes.

2
Jul
2009

***MAJOR SPOILERS***

Continue Reading ->

2
Jul
2009

thank youWith only 6 months down, and 6 to go, I already have to take a moment to thank my readers for the amazing success this site is enjoying this year.

Normally I do a round up of how things have gone on this blog at the end of each year, but considering the growth I’ve seen this year, I felt compelled to take a moment out of the day now to say “thank you”.  While I originally started this blog more for myself than anything else, I have been amazed to discover that people actually seem to enjoy reading my ramblings.  Why they do I have no clue, but I must admit I find it gratifying.

Measuring January 1st, 2008 – June 30th, 2008 against January 1st, 2009 – June 30th, 2009 finds that my unique visitors have grown by 1,075.47%, and total page views has grown by 897.83%. Even more stunning is if I compare all of 2008 against the first six months of 2009, unique visitors has already grown by 175.31% and total page views are up 149.51%.  I am stunned by this growth, and I am at a total loss as to what has caused this to happen.  I haven’t changed the stories I cover very much, and it’s still just me sitting here plugging away day in, day out, but obviously something has changed somewhere in the mix, and, well, I’m surely not going to argue with it.

Mind you my numbers are still very much in line with a personal blog, as in I am not getting anywhere near the number of visitors some of the blogs I work for get, but for a blog of my type, the numbers have become very respectable.

So, again, thank you for coming here and reading my extremely random commentaries on the world around us.  I know not every post is going to be for every reader’s taste, but I hope you are willing to wade through the ones that may not seem like a natural fit for you.

1
Jul
2009

link arrestSometimes I read something online that is so mind numbingly stupid that I can’t even conceive how someone reached that conclusion. Yep… this is one of those times.

Over the weekend, Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch wrote up a post about how Judge Richard Posner wrote up a blog about the death of newspapers, and he had one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard of for saving them from the worsening economy:

Imagine if the New York Times migrated entirely to the World Wide Web. Could it support, out of advertising and subscriber revenues, as large a news-gathering apparatus as it does today? This seems unlikely, because it is much easier to create a web site and free ride on other sites than to create a print newspaper and free ride on other print newspapers, in part because of the lag in print publication; what is staler than last week’s news. Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

For those of you unfamiliar with the theory of linking and how it works, it’s a fairly simple concept.  Take me linking the word “TechCrunch” above.  I chose to link to the actual story Ms. Schonfeld wrote, so now when this post is published he will receive a notice called a “trackback” that allows him to know that I referenced his article in my post.  This will also be used by search engines to see how relevant his post is and how much credence they should give it.  The more links a site or story receives, the more importance a search engine puts on it, and the more chance of people searching on the appropriate terms will see it.

Essentially, links are the life’s blood of blogging.

Now, what Judge Posner is suggesting that linking to copyrighted material, or using a portion of it as a quote (like I did with his blog post above), should be illegal under copyright law , you have to wonder how he thinks this will save the the newspaper industry.  I’m not sure where to even start with just how wrong he has gotten this, but lets give it a go anyway:

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking…

Okay, lets say you want to link to NYTimes.com, that would probably be fine, but if you want to link to a specific story, say Karl Malden, Everyman Actor, Dies at 97, the link would look like this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/02/movies/02malden.html?_r=1&hp

This is known as “deep linking”, and I have a feeling this is what Judge Posner is talking about as this is actual copyrighted material.  The problem is that without deep linking you could never share a story with any one.  Are you going to link to the main page and then tell them “Okay, click here… and then here… and then do this…”, no, you aren’t.

Deep linking is also essential to how search engines index the importance of a specific page so that it knows how much priority to gie it when people search on a term.  The more links a page has to it, the more important it is, the higher up in search results it appears.  Deep linking is a very, very good thing in the Internet business.
posner kitteh

…paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent

What he is talking about here is block quotes like I did above.  The problem with this is that it would make it impossible for anyone to write a rebuttal to anything as you would have to do a long, drawn out, explanation of what the original article said.  You would have to make sure the wording was different enough so as not to be accused of plagiarism, but then balance making sure you got the original tone of the article.  That is essentially impossible.

Quoting stories is as old as journalism and is essential to editorials as well as stories.  So long as you only quote a small portion of the story it falls under Fair Use, and I don’t really see that ever being written out of copyright law.

It all comes down to “consent”

Judge Posner does stipulate that people could get the copyright holder’s consent and do the linking and quoting, but due to time constraints, and the timeliness of stories, would any newspaper want a dedicated person sitting around 24/7 just to approve requests?  Of course they wouldn’t,  so the solution would be giving people carte blanche to link and quote.  Those papars that wouldn’t do it would quickly see themselves losing popularity due to a lack of links, and… in short, everyone would have to give blanket permission and we would be back to where we started.  Everyone would have permission, and those that didn’t grant it would get zero traffic because of how far behind they are.

So, basically I am saying that Judge Posner’s solution is flawed beyond belief and that he shows a total lack of understanding for how the Internet actually operates.  His ‘solutions’ will do nothing but create grief for bloggers and newspapers alike  It would take no time for workarounds to be found, and in the meantime it would end up costing those papers money as they try to handle all of the increased number of requests for permission.

Try to save old media if you want, but at least have a working knowledge of your “solution” before you suggest it.