November 30, 2003
Thanksgiving 2004?The Democrats' vision of a Thanksgiving Photo Op for 2004:
Lingering EffectsNASA has an amazing photo of the dust, soot, and ash that's been blowing westward in the past week in the San Diego area. Click on the photo or here to see NASA's page. The photo was taken on Thanksgiving Day, a particularly brownish, smoggy, cough-inducing, dust-filled day in San Diego. This photo shows why.
Posted by brian at 09:02 AM
November 27, 2003
KNX 1070 Jingle: RIPEven though I'm in the San Diego area, when I'm driving and want to tune in to the hourly news I often tune in to KNX-1070, a major AM newsradio station based in L.A.
The experience of tuning into the KNX news hasn't changed in over 15 years. A few minutes before the hour, I'll be driving along, notice what time it is, and tune to 1070 on the AM dial.
Often I'll catch the last traffic report before the commercials play after which finally the hourly CBS network news comes on. The KNX traffic reports are actually always interesting: seems every time I hear the L.A. traffic report, there's something crazy going on, like M&M's all over inteterstate 5, a big rig overturned spilling nails all over the freeway on I-10, or an alert that there's not just a couch in the fast lane of the Long Beach Freeway, but a couch that is on fire in the fast lane of the Long Beach Freeway.
So then there are the commercials leading up to the end of the hour, a quick blurb from a KNX announcer about what local news headlines will be reported right after the CBS news, and then comes the signature KNX-1070 news jingle that leads in the bing sound as the top of the hour is reached, followed by the start of the CBS news feed.
This blog posting is about the KNX-1070 news jingle, of which I wish there were an mp3 file, somewhere Out There on the net. I say I wish, because starting very recently, KNX is not playing their jingle anymore. Seems like it's been dumped. It's been changed to something menacing, downright sinister, right out of Terminator or something.
The old jingle, which I've heard for years and years, consists of a corny right-out-of-the-50s chorus of cheery men's and women's voices singing:
News Rayyyyy - Deeeeee -- Ohhhhhhhhhhh!
Theirs were the voices of innocence. Of high school and college pep rallies. Theirs were the voices saying, no matter how bad the news is that you're about to hear, hey, it's another beautiful day, and we love L.A.! We love it!
Even at the most bleak times, for example in the days and weeks after 9/11, the hourly pep rally of KNX's cheerleaders were there to remind listeners that it's not all bad.
I knew something was wrong, the other day, when I tuned into 1070 to hear the news, and I didn't hear the cheerleaders. No, what I heard is something I couldn't believe.
First, there's a moment of silence. Then a strange voice mumbling something, quickly followed by another voice mumbling something, followed by another, and another, and yet others. All in the span of three or four seconds, the cacophony builds until it reaches a crescendo, at which point a mechanical sound, something right out of Terminator 2, a mix of white noise and something hard to place, like a robot or machine, shushes the voices, after which there's silence for a moment. And then, a new voice. A single, man's voice.
Followed by another pause, and then:
Followed by yet another pause, and then:
At which point the bing chimes, the hour is reached, and the national CBS radio news begins.
What the hell is up with this new jingle? Well, wait. First of all, let's agree on something. This new "thing" is not a jingle. What exactly it is, I don't know.
Actually, I do. Obviously it is a message. A message to listeners that the company that runs KNX-1070 has changed. My immediate thought was, uh-oh, new product manager, trying to make a name for himself, gotta hire some new creative agency to come up with a new identity, and here ya go, let's try this. It's new, it's bold, we don't know what the hell it is. Well, we do. It is everything the old cheerleading squad wasn't.
Turns out, there was indeed a corporate shake-up, with the firing of KNX-1070 general manager George Nicholaw (who's been there 36 years), his job position eliminated. Here's a story on the KNX shake-up from some website called "WAG-net". And here is mention of it at a site called LAObserved. By the way, KNX is owned by Infinity Broadcasting, which in turn is owned by Viacom.
Answers. KNX. Los Angeles.
Nope. Questions. Lots of questions.
Michael: Your Minutes Are Up, All 15 of ThemMichael Robertson put himself in the news again, this time proposing that all of the music at MP3.com be "donated" to Brewster's Internet Archive.
A recent Michael's Minute at his software company website decried CNET's plan to shut down the MP3.com music servers and erase the files on there on December 3rd.
On the "Pho" mailing list this past week, Michael's been defending his article and decision to sell MP3.com in the first place (a deal netting him over $100 million). He claims he had to sell, that MP3 was a public company and he had a fiduciary duty to make a decision that was in the best interest of shareholders.
First of all, Michael's expression of support for "saving" all the indie music at MP3.com is touching, but I'm not buying it. A handy way of getting his name (and his companys' names) in the news, though. And his comparing the recent San Diego fires to the "scheduled" "fire" "to take place on December 3rd" by CNET is downright grotesque and trivializes the real loss of lives, livelihoods, and property that San Diego experienced a month ago.
As for why Robertson sold MP3.com: First, was it really his decision, or was he forced to by the board and the bankers? One would love to know. Let's say for argument's sake that it was his decision. Ok. If he hadn't sold, wouldn't the company have gone bankrupt pretty much immediately? That would be a good question for the media to ask him. Seems to me that Vivendi Universal had MP3.com right where it wanted it, at the edge of a precipice, and the decision to sell, at a fire-sale price, was the only way out of a very dire situation. Would MP3.com have been able to continue as a going concern even 30 days later, had the sale not taken place?
As for the music: How much of the "most popular" music on MP3.com was genuinely popular? In the sense of real people at their own computers really downloading and listening to it? Versus, how much of that "popularity" and download activity was faked, typically by the artists themselves, using bots or other schemes to generate tons of downloads (and pay for plays)? Only the data would tell us for sure. Trust the data. Wouldn't it be something if the data told us that in reality, MP3.com was to music as Enron was to energy?
Rather than the music, I would much rather see all of MP3.com's historical downloading and pay-for-play data be stored at Archive.org, so that an independent study could be made of what was real and what was not at MP3.com.
Posted by brian at 11:59 AM
November 26, 2003
TDS = JTS?I try very hard to avoid television. So much of it is utter rubbish. My favorite programs are also my favorite channels. That is, CSPAN 1 and CSPAN 2. Mainly BookTV and BookNotes.
In the past year I also kind of got swept up into heading to the television at 11pm to catch Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Problem with this show is, it's not always funny. When it is funny, it is the best thing on television. When it isn't funny, it's just another Comedy Central waste of time after which you feel hustled.
Another problem -- worse, even -- is that you never know if it's going to be a new show or not. The show runs four nights a week. Each night, when the show begins, the very first thing you see is a date, and an announcer reads off the date. The rule is, if you see and hear the date, you know what you're about to watch is a new show with fresh content. If on the other hand ComedyCentral goes straight into start of the show, with The Daily Show title segment, you know it's a rerun. Reruns of The Daily Show tend to be about as funny as two-week-old comics that you already read in the old Sunday paper. Unfortunately, The Daily Show takes a lot of vacations (or has budget problems) because increasingly, they show reruns. This is not a good sign.
I'm also noticing they're featuring more Hollywood starlets or glamour models as the guest interviews for the latter half of the show. This is a major clue that the show is hurting. Anyone who watched and loved ComedyCentral's Battlebots knows that when Carmen Electra arrived on the scene, the show was soon kaput.
Lately three words come to mind when I think of the three-word phrase, "the daily show." The three words that come to mind are "jumped the shark."
When I think about whether that's true or not, that is, whether The Daily Show has jumped the shark, I think, well, if I have reached the point of wondering whether The Daily Show has jumped the shark, maybe it has indeed jumped the shark . . .
Posted by brian at 06:30 PM
November 24, 2003
Texture Mapping: First Voices, Then FacesI've long been interested in the idea of texture mapping voices and faces. In fact I've long been convinced this is something that is coming within the next 20 years.
Let me explain by way of example.
Imagine it's 2015. The latest craze is the new Original Star Trek TV series on TV. That's right, the new original series. Meaning: Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, the whole original crew, of the original Enterprise, back as if for Year 4 of the original series.
Why not? Think about what you'd need: obviously a set of really good scripts. Ok, let's say you have that. Technically you would need to be able to create digital characters that looked, acted, moved, and spoke just like their counterpart actors from the 1960s show.
Imagine software that does texture mapping --- not just of any old textures onto 3D shapes, tools we have plenty of now ---- but faces and bodies and clothes, digitized right out of the original series episodes, and wrapped around 3D representations of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, etc. Then, take the voice recordings of these people, and apply their vocal patterns --- the characteristics of the way they speak and their vocal waveforms, and wrap them around a generic vocal reading the lines of these newfangled 2015-era Star Trek shows.
If you're still following me: imagine some teenager geek somewhere writes, produces, directs, and acts the entire series, through a powerful set of these tools. I think this is coming. And it won't just be Star Trek. It'll be The Beatles. Clint Eastwood. Mike Myers. You name it. Any popcult phenomenon. As long as we have original footage and original audio of the person, why not create a digital counterpart that can act, speak, walk, whatever, through whatever situations, stories, etc you can imagine.
So anyway, it's something I think is coming.
And then I saw this story in today's New York Times.
Seems like I might have to revise the 2015 date downward...
Posted by brian at 11:41 PM
November 23, 2003
Recent ListensSome music I've recently discovered (having read about it online or heard it somewhere, often at KCRW) that I'm liking :
Posted by brian at 08:10 PM
November 19, 2003
When Brick-n-Mortar Beats OnlineSo yesterday marked the release of the extended edition DVD of The Two Towers. Amazon offered it for $25.99 with free shipping, but the free shipping was promised at "3 to 5 days".
Out of curiosity, I called the local Blockbuster. "We have 12 in stock," the store clerk told me. "Price is $39.99." Amazing.
Then I called the local Target. Took forever to get through, finally got an operator who said "What department?" "DVDs." "One moment." "Electronics!" "Do you have the new extended edition DVD of The Two T--" "24.99." "In stock?" "Yes." "Thanks. Bye." Click.
I wonder how many people buy through Blockbuster.
Posted by brian at 11:23 AM
November 18, 2003
Dear YahooDear Yahoo!Movies Product Manager Team,
I like your movie listings and showtimes and use these pages regularly to find out what films are showing in town and as well as when and where they're showing. Great site, please never change it.
Oh. Wait. Please change one little thing: see, there's tiny new feature that would be very handy. It would be really cool if you would show a little (D) code or icon next to those showtimes for which the film is being presented in digital projection.
Some theatres provide this info for you, and occasionally I'll see a "DLP - Digital Projection" note associated with a particular screening within a particular theatre. But I don't have any confidence these infrequent mentions represent ALL of the theatres in my market (San Diego County) that are currently featuring films presented digitally. Maybe an orange icon or something loud and obvious would do the trick, enabling the digital showings to jump out when one does a quick scan down the page.
Perhaps if you got your bizdev folks to give a call to the digital projector companies, and have them pay you, or pay the theatres, to add this data to your movie showtime pages. After all, they want to create a market demand for these digital presentations but if the market doesn't even know about them or where they're showing, it's going to be a long hard road.
I look forward to a rapid implementation of this feature some time soon.
November 17, 2003
TinyURL Stock InvestingBoingBoing blogged today about tinkering with TinyURL's (looks like it's Erik Olsen's original suggestion). TinyURL is a great little site I use often to scrunch an absurdly long URL into something... tiny, that I can then pass along to someone in email or in a conference posting.
TinyURL (which I love much more than competitor MakeAShorterLink.com) works by your simply entering the URL you want squished and it spits back a 4-character filename at the tinyurl.com webserver that when accessed, is redirected to the long URL you specified.
True to form, the BoingBoingers tried out their names (think about it... Mark, Cory, Xeni...) to see where they led. Very clever, those BoingBoingers.
After all, guess what has four letters: Nasdaq stock symbols. Need I say more?
Hey: Maybe I've discovered the great secret way to divine what stocks to buy, sell, or hold, depending on what URL the stock symbol's TinyURL points to?
First, let's set up some rules:
Ok, with these rules in place, let's have some fun.
Posted by brian at 09:27 PM
Cheap Joe's postcardIt's not all "nasty reviews" here at Brianstorms. :-)
Today we got a nice little 3x5 postcard in the mail, from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff, a mail-order company my wife buys art supplies from.
Here's what their postcard said:
Living in the mountains of North Carolina its hard for us to imagine what it must be like to experience a devastating wild fire. But we want you to know how concerned we are that you might have experienced damage done by the fires that ravaged your area. If you (or someone you know) did experience a loss of art supplies (that won't be replaced by insurance) please call and talk with us. As our gift to you, we'd like to help you re-stock at no charge.Cheap Joe and the Gang
Posted by brian at 07:58 PM
November 16, 2003
New York TimesGood grief. I'm in Monday's New York Times. It's about the Tony Perkins humor piece I did here in this blog back on Nov 6th.
They even included a photo of Perkins. And he doesn't look very happy. I wonder if this will be in the print edition.
Meanwhile, I noticed that Marc Canter had some comments on the Perkins piece.
UPDATE - 7am, 18 Nov 2003:
Just in case anyone's wondering: in the telephone interview of Nov 13th, I explained to John Schwartz that I run a satire website called Denounce Newswire and that when I initially got Tony Perkins' email to the AlwaysOn Network members I first thought that I ought to "denounce" it, meaning, post a parody on the Denounce website. But then I thought that a line-by-line commentary would be a better method of examining Tony's letter, and such a style didn't fit the Denounce format (everything is done in press release style there) so I'd put it on Brianstorms.
Unfortunately, that explanation didn't make the NYT article, so now it sounds awfully funny: "You know, I should denounce this." I'm suddenly reminded of the Suntory commercial shooting scene in Lost in Translation... but unfortunately readers are probably not thinking, "are you sure that's all he said?"
Also, I did indeed mention my PLATO project in the interview --- I've been researching the history and significance of the PLATO system for years (grinding away!) with the goal of coming out with the first book ever on the subject. The idea that a good book covering the whole history of Google could be whipped up in weeks or months seemed absurd, and that notion ran counter to my own experience. If Tony pulls it off, fantastic. But I'm doubtful.
One other thing: I explained to Mr. Schwartz that in a way I'm doing something similar to Tony's email with my platopeople.com website: soliciting help, ideas, information, oral history from anyone and everyone. And it has worked. I can attest to the power of using a website and Google to cast a wide net to find lots of people to use as sources for the book. The difference is, I've found it takes a long time, and a lot of work to track down, interview, and transcribe. Maybe it doesn't if you have a whole army actually working on the project? We'll see, I guess.
Posted by brian at 09:48 PM
November 15, 2003
Apple's got this QuickTime movie preview running for a new movie called 21 Grams from Focus Features. Sean Penn's in it. Benicio Del Toro's in it. Naomi Watts is in it. It's directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The movie's supposed to be pretty good.
I really really hope so, because the preview's been driving me up the frickin' wall more each time I'm forced to sit through it. It's been showing in theatres around town seemingly before every bloody film I choose to go see.
"They say we all lose twenty-one grams at the exact moment of our death," the preview narrator's voice (sounding an awful lot like Sean Penn) creepily announces. "Everyone," he continues, "twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a chocolate bar. The weight of a hummingbird."
Let's see. "A stack of five nickels." Did you know that a nickel weighs exactly what two dimes weigh? That means a stack of five nickels weighs the same as a stack of ten dimes. Now, according to the logic of the universe where Focus Features comes from, such a stack weighs twenty-one grams. They're close. A single nickel is 4.5 grams (whereas a dime is 2.25). So a stack of five very clean nickels would weigh 22.5 grams. Alright. So they're off by 1.5 grams. Here's your dramatic license back. I'll let ya off with a warning just this once.
But wait. "The weight of a chocolate bar." It'd have to be a very, very small chocolate bar. Did you know that there are 28.35 grams in one ounce? When was the last time you bought a chocolate bar that weighed less than an ounce? Who writes this stuff?
Twenty-one grams, the preview narrator goes on to tell us, is "the weight of a hummingbird." Perhaps a hummingbird from Jupiter, or a really, really obese terrestrial hummingbird that just ate six other hummingbirds, but not a plain ordinary hummingbird.
Of the 338 species and 116 genera of Trochilidae, the biological family of hummingbirds, the typical weight is 3 to 5 grams. Three grams seems to be more common. Five grams, well, that's one hummingbird that should seriously consider Atkins.
So, what hummingbird were the producers of this film thinking of when they made this preview? Certainly not Mellisuga helenae. Why, you'd need a bleeding flock of them to total twenty-one grams. They each weigh about one tenth of that. What then? Threnetes ruckeri? Come now. Perhaps Campylopterus hemileucurus, one of the largest of the hummers. Sorry, still too light by a wide margin.
Three grams, why, that's less than a penny, which is certainly less than the "stack of five nickels." Three grams, that's, that's what, about six average-sized paperclips? Three grams, that's less than a bleeding pencil, for Christ's sake.
Go ahead, find a hummingbird, stun it gently, place it on one end of a balance scale and stack ten first-class letters on the other end, and the balance will stay in the middle.
Like hell, twenty-one grams!
This movie has an awful lot of explaining to do!
November 14, 2003
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking ForConsidering this is the brianstorms blog, there's sure been a dearth of brianstorming lately. Here's an idea:
There's an interesting new topic in the media conference on The WELL all about the crap, gossip, trivia, and nonsense that takes up so much of each broadcast news programming hour and subsequently fills out brains with so much useless information. Ever think about all the junk that the media passes on as "news", instead of news we could all use? Seems to me that society could really, really use a solid, no-nonsense news and information source. The antithesis of what's on television today.
I'm reminded of the line from the movie All the President's Men, where the Post editors are all meeting in a conference room, deciding what stories to run with in the next issue. One human interest story has to do with a strange phenomenon (some think a religious miracle) in the Phillipines that some think is causing unusually long rainstorms. The Ben Bradlee character decides it's not an important story. One editor disagrees, saying, "Laugh laugh, gentlemen, it'll be the only story anybody reads."
It seems that in thirty years the pendulum has swung such that the new Ben Bradlees of the world are much more interested in running the Philippine rain miracle stories and less interested in following big stories all the way through to their final conclusion or resolution.
Here's my current inventory of Things I Don't Care About Or Need To Know:
On the other hand, here is a very short list of some of the stuff that I am interested in, stuff I think we've yet to reach resolution or conclusion on:
That 9/11 site mentioned above really is remarkable, for its depth and sheer number of unanswered questions raised. Imagine if all major news stories had sites like that, with rich timelines, enormous amounts of links and references and background information, as well as a list of yet-to-be-answered questions that could be answered by "viewers like you"? (Hmm, imagine if PBS were no longer about getting money from viewers like you, but stories, facts, and eyewitness accounts from viewers like you.)
Here's an idea. We build a social network (along the lines of Ryze, Friendster, LinkedIn, Ringo, MeetUp, etc) but for news. A network that represents who knows what, who witnessed what, who's covering what, who's there now, who used to live/work there, etc. A network of not just amateurs but professional newspeople as well. Of course, the network would have reputation management. Certainly there's a good dose of Google Answers in this idea, but it's not about individuals. The point of the site would be that it's a comprehensive clearinghouse for information about news and who are the best sources for the news. There'd also be a strong dose of Snopes in a service like I'm envisioning. Perhaps one way to implement it would be using a wiki, like wikipedia, but it'd be a newswiki, where stuff that's happening right now can be written about, but also the background info, backstory, and historical context could be made available as well. A quick search around the web finds something called newswiki and timestreams but there's not much on those pages. Surely there's some discussion about these kinds of ideas out there somewhere? Would love to hear from you if you're doing something in this space already.
This is all random brainstorming at this point, but I would love to know more about social networks for news where we can go straight to all the Salam Paxes of the world and get their versions of the story, rather than the sanitized versions we're getting through the print and broadcast networks.
By the way I love how when you type in "newswiki" as a search in Google, Google responds with "Did you mean Newsweek?" No. I precisely did not mean Newsweek. That's the whole problem.
The ExtraI remember when the Master and Commander casting call appeared on the San Diego Craig's List website. I thought.... hmmm... I oughta do it. In the end, I wimped out, and didn't go.
In today's San Diego Union there's a story about someone who did go to that casting call. He got picked. He's in the movie. Read the whole story here.
Posted by brian at 04:29 PM
Fire SaleSo it's finally over. RIP, MP3. It will indeed be interesting to see if Lindows and SIPhone fare any better in the long run.
November 13, 2003
From the 'Just Returned From Very Long South Pole Expedition' Dept.Duh. I just made the connection this evening that Neal Pollack, who has this week announced he's stopping blogging, is in fact NOT Kevin Pollak, the actor. Up until 10 minutes ago, I thought the guy from Usual Suspects, Casino, LA Story, and Wayne's World 2, among other films, was indeed also the meretricious Dave-Barry-wannabe blatherskite much loved by the McSweeney's crowd.
Much, much slack is now being extended to Kevin Pollak.
Well, some slack. His recent movies suck, but that's another story. :-)
Posted by brian at 07:55 PM
Sign the ROTK PetitionSign the petition and help restore seven important minutes of footage to the upcoming Return of the King movie that have apparently been removed from the theatrical release. These are all of the Saruman scenes, and Christopher Lee sounds crushed.
As of this writing there are 5054 signatures at 7:12am on 13 Nov 2003. I suspect Jackson won't even hear about it until there are 5,000,054 signatures....
November 12, 2003
Steve Ballmer iPod AdRemember the Steve Ballmer video where he's raving crazy as a monkey, dancing up and down and screaming and cheering for Microsoft at the employee meeting? Someone's taken the audio of that and made it into a hilarious iPod commercial.
Click on the image to the right to see the commercial. (Requires Flash, of course).
Posted by brian at 11:29 PM
Fact Checker: White Courtesy PhoneFrom the current issue of TIME, re "cool inventions," there's an article about Friendster.com, in which author Anita Hamilton says,
"There are plenty of Friendster knockoffs, such as Ryze.com, Tribe.net and Meetup.com."
That's just flat-out wrong. Ryze, for one thing, has been around since October 2001. Meetup launched in June 2002. Friendster was founded in 2002 and launched in March 2003. Tribe launched in July 2003.
If anything, Friendster is a flat-out knockoff of Ryze, which in turn owes a lot to the good ol' SixDegrees.com founded years earlier.
Where do they get these "journalists" anyway!?
UPDATE 13 Nov 2003 -- 2:42pm: After writing the above I emailed Time magazine to alert them to the error, and today I got an email from Anita Hamilton saying that the online version of the print article, which is what I saw, differed from the print version of the print article, and that what I saw had been put online in error. She said that a new version was going up to replace it. I just checked. Yup, no more mention of "knockoff". Now it says:
All's well that ends well.
Posted by brian at 07:51 AM
November 06, 2003
Help Make Tony RichI signed up for the AlwaysOn Network blog a while back, and occasionally visit it to read the interviews. There are some VCs who hang out there, including some, like Draper, who like to solicit ideas from the suckers who signed up for AON (including me), as if they're really going to invest in something that's pitched to them publicly in a blog.
Today I got an email from AON founder Tony Perkins. You remember Tony, the "prominent opinion leader" and "pioneering media entrepreneur" who founded Red Herring magazine, the chronicle of the greedy 1990s? The publication is defunct now, died when the bubble burst. AON is what rose from the ashes.
What follows is the email Tony sent to the AON members today, with some between-the-lines interpretation thrown in, in a pale imitation of Bruce Sterling's Viridian Notes commentary.
GreenCine nettledIn which I finally get 'round to reviewing the GreenCine DVD rental service, something I've been meaning to do for about 15 months.
Alas, it didn't turn out to be a standard Nettle-style review. I blame Monty Python.
Posted by brian at 11:57 AM
November 05, 2003
The Matrix Revelations? Not.Veni, vidi, denounci.
Meanwhile, enjoy The Meatrix (requires flash). Alas, it's got a political message.
Then there's The Portal (requires flash).
Posted by brian at 12:02 PM
November 04, 2003
Giving the Gift of MusicA remarkable thing is happening on The WELL right now. Two WELL users, a husband and wife who live in Cuyamaca near Julian, were traveling in Paris when the fire hit last week.
Their home burned to the ground and, except for their pets which were rescued in time, they lost everything. When they got back to California all they had was what they carried in their suitcases from the trip.
And the husband's father also lived in Cuyamaca, and his home burned down too. His profession: he owns a Julian business which makes a line of specially-designed chainsaws for fighting forest fires. The family is now living temporarily in the office of the business.
Some folks on The WELL have set up a web page where people can donate money via Paypal. And elsewhere on The WELL, people have started helping the couple rebuild their music collection by donating CDs and burning copies of CDs that the couple lost in the fire.
Which begs the question, why didn't the RIAA think of that?
Think about it: what better way to earn some much-needed goodwill than for the music industry to announce it is going to spend a million or so restoring the music collections of those who lost their music collection in the fires. Maybe not everybody would care. But I know some who would.
Even if it cost $10 million to restore the music libraries of, what, 10,000 people: wouldn't value of the positive-publicity returns far exceed that cost?
Posted by brian at 10:37 AM
Stripped RanchOne can still smell soot and ash in Scripps Ranch.
I had to take my car out to the shop on Miramar Road here in San Diego, near where the fire destroyed so many homes in Scripps Ranch. Mechanic had to order a part, so I had to wait an hour. So I drove over to Pomerado Road, which cuts through the heart of Scripps Ranch.
The first thing you notice about Scripps Ranch is the eucalyptus trees. They're everywhere -- groves of them. It's what defines the area.
Now they're dead. And the ground is black, deep black, as far as you can see. Roads coming off Pomerado Road, up into neighborhoods, have police checkpoints (only residents can enter). In many places as I continued heading east on Pomerado, the fire had jumped the road, and scorched to blackness the hills on the left, sometimes climbing up to the neighborhoods and approaching the homes there. Every now and then I saw home, home, home, chimney, home, home, chimney, where the only thing standing where a home once was, was a chimney.
Blackness and destruction everywhere. Acres and acres of soot and char, rolling hills of blackness with dead trees. Yet, many houses and apartments and condos were spared, but these communities are surrounded by blackness on all sides. Look out the window from one of these homes and all you're bound to see is the fire's aftermath in every direction.
I saw a sign alongside Pomerado. It said "Welcome to Scripps Ranch." The sign, wooden, was intact, but the post holding up the sign was so blackened and charred, it appeared that the slightest wind would break it in two.
Strangely, the most dramatic thing I saw was not the chimneys where homes once stood (probably been oversaturated with that image from the media) but rather 50-foot, maybe 100-foot stretches of guard rail along Pomerado road, gently twisted and laying unnaturally on the ground. I was something you just don't see. At first I thought, huh? Guard rail melted? No. The guard rail was fine. Just laying on the ground, because all of the wooden posts that a guard rail is connected to had burnt to a crisp and no longer existed.
So the weight caused long stretches of guard rail to simply sag all the way to the ground.
Posted by brian at 07:57 AM
November 01, 2003
Online Reputation SystemsEsther recently invited me to review a draft of the upcoming issue of the $795-a-year Release 1.0 newsletter, which for this issue would be all about online reputation systems. I noticed the issue just went out in the mail, so it's public now.
Here's the writeup I sent back to Esther earlier this month having read the draft (some of the ideas in here made it into the published article in one form or another):
Thanks, got the file, and have read it all the way through. Excellent overview of reputation systems and good selection of examples. I fear there's not much I can add that's not already been said and said well, but here are some random thoughts that came to mind while reading:
Posted by brian at 03:09 PM
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