You may be a great dancer but can you carry a Zune?

I’ve been avoiding all the speculation around the new Microsoft branded media player/ecosystem, partly because of NDA restrictions and party because there was way too much chaff in the wheat. But it seems like they have finally come clean with an o-fish-al statement.

What has me very concerned is the tidbit that this device is not PlaysForSure compliant, and, even more troubling, that the DRM employed by this device and the accompanying music store/service is not WindowsMedia DRM compatable.

The implication is two fold: This device will not play tracks you have purchased from any service that employs Windows DRM technology (MSN Music, Napster, CinemaNow, MusicMatch, Ruckus Network, et al). And second, it’s really going to piss of all those folks that made the investment in the Windows DRM technology with the promise that it would be ubiqutious in the Microsoft ecosystem. If true, Microsoft has now become a direct, non-compatable, competitor in the same market in which they charged others significant amounts of money (in the form of licenses) to join.

However, the most disappointing thing about this is it flies directly in the face of what is truely needed in the marketplace; fewer DRM platforms. I’ve said it many times before, and apparently I’ll say it again, if the market for digital media is to become mainstream it MUST be dead simple. As simple as inserting a shiny disk into a player. You’ll loose 20-25% of your customers for every additional step (button click on a web site, driver install, whatever) you require them to perform to use your product.

Let’s see how this new ‘ecosystem’ from Microsoft stacks up against that metric: Continue reading

My money is on the baboon…

In the last few days I been dumbfounded (pun intended) and the gross ignorance shown by some elected officials.  I swear these guys have the IQ of an autistic baboon.

First, there was the now infamous ‘the internet is a series of tubes‘ statement by serial spamhead Ted Stevens.  Today there is this gem from James Inhofe of Oklahoma; “Al Gore is full of crap…This global warming thing is a hoax.”  Gee, what it is that they do in Oklahoma?  Right, cows and oil.  I wonder where Mr. Inhofe gets his campaign money from?

How do these people find the bathroom on their own much less get elected to the US Senate?  And even more troubling is how do these mental midgets mange to ge re-elected?!  It’s no wonder that we are a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

I’ve often said that it’s quite impossible for someone to manage/lead a group responsible for a task without being an expert in that task.  Would you think it appropriate for a plumber to be head of surgery at your local hospital?  How about an assembly line worker as a federal court judge?  Both are patently absurd, right?

Then how is it that spamhead Stevens is Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation?   Does he have a science degree?  How about civil engineering?  Umm…. MBA?  BZZZT – Nope.

He’s a lawyer.

Think Progress » Sen. Inhofe: ‘Gore Is Full of Crap,’ ‘All Recent Science…Confirms This Thing Is A Hoax’

Gizmo Project announces free calling to any number*

For the astute amoung, yes there is a ‘*’ in that statement. It allows any Gizmo Project member to call any other Gizmo Project member for free. There is nothing new about this, they have this (and I’m a user) forever. The new bit is that they allow you to call other members on any number be it PSTN, Cell, SIP or Gizmo. This is HUGE!

It’s a further sign of the asymptotic decline in per-minute pricing of phone service. Decreasing costs of bandwidth and switching fabric are placing downward pressure on the per-minute model. It’s clear that the market is moving to a flat-rate, all you can eat, model for telephone service.

If I were in a telcom manager I’d be actively investigating commercial VoIP based options. I do continue to harbor concerns about voice quality when calls are carried over a public network (internet) but for intranetwork calls, such as those between branch offices, there is no reason not to leverage existing infrastructure. The network impacts are well understood and manageable and the long term cost savings real.

As I begin planning for an office buildout and move for my day job I can promise you that VoIP will play a prominent role.

New Domain

I finally got around to moving the site to a ‘real server’ and a bit more friendly domain name. Welcome to! And before you ask, yes, was taken. Besides, that’s way too long and hard to spell.

I’ve done a fair bit of testing but please let me know if you find any broken bits along the way.


Contrary to the common usage of the term, I consider WalMart the Evil Empire. They destroy locally owned business, strong-arm local governments into granting the zoning variances needed for their behemoth stores and feeds the Chinese slave.. err.. employment market.

I just wanna punch that little smug, smiling, yellow bastard. Pardon my French but what the freck is the difference between $1.99 and $1.86 for a bottle of shampoo? As if 13 cents were a life altering change in my life. “Gee honey, I just saved 13 cents on shampoo! Let’s go to Disney World!”

When I first read that “the W store” had started up a MySpace-like site to appeal to teens and tweens I fell off my chair laughing. After I saw the site, I had to grab for my O2 bottle (you do have an oxygen bottle by your desk, don.t you?). This is the lamest thing I have seen since that thing Whoopi did with online currency.

What teen/tween is going to be duped by the scripted pseudo-hip on this site? Remember folks this is the same company that sells guns and ammo alongside sanitized versions of CDs and DVDs. They are sanitized because the violence and ‘harsh language’ are “harmful to our youth”.

I guess the guns are just a huge bear hug of support and happiness.

Boy, can you hear me now!

Everyone is familiar with the way telephone calls sound.  That particular ‘sound’ is created by significantly limiting the range of frequencies that are carried through the phone network.  A full range of sound, like you might hear from a CD, is approx. 20hz to 20khz.  It’s very likely that the sound system that you are listening to that CD through is not capable of reproducing that entire range, but that’s Ok since only young children can hear it anyway.

Almost every phone call you’ve ever heard narrowed that 20khz range down to only 8khz, less than 1/2 what we normally hear.  The brainiacs over at the open source PBX project FreeSWITCH have created a new codec that doubles that range to 16khz.  The result is a much more natual sounding voice. :: Open Source Telephony Project

Digital Media and whatever else flows through my head…