Archive for Media

Tech Update 3

Posted in Politics, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2010 by raingeg

Tech updates are back!

Apple gets tough on explicit material:

For a few days now I’ve been reading a lot about Apples decision to get tough on some of the more indecent apps in the Apple App store. They’ve removed some 5,000 apps from the store that they deem explicit or pornographic. Many are angry over what they see as blatant hypocricy, as Apple has let the Sports Illustrated swimsuit app, the Playboy app and the Hooters App stay in the store. Apple is saying that they are letting some of the more established companies stick around. Maybe they don’t want the image of an indie porn dealer or some back alley porn shop.

I knew someone was going to say this and they did, this is an email from an app developer that came into Mobile Industry Review:

I’m not usually to swayed by what companies do, but Apple’s censorship has really ticked me off. OK the apps they binned were probably crap (on that basis alone, they should kill another 100,000 or so), but Apple has no right to tell me what I might be offended by.

Actually, unknown developer, they have every right to censor what ever they want. They are a private company and private companies can censor what they want to censor, for what ever reason they want to. I’ve seen it happen, working for a radio station you are bound to see programs come and go, and the ones that go are sometimes nixed because they are offensive to some people. I don’t like throwing the word “right” around like it doesn’t mean anything.

One of the many apps that got a notice of deletion was the Simply Beach app that allows women (or men if they really wanted too) to shop for swimwear on the iPhone.

From Cult of Mac:

As previously reported, Apple pulled the app by Simply Beach, an online beachwear retailer, as part of its great sexy apps purge over the weekend. Among other things, the Simply Beach app sold bikinis. On Friday, Simply Beach received an email from Apple about the decision to remove any overtly sexual content from the store and that included the Simply Beach application. “The email also made mention to numerous complaints they had received from customers regarding ‘this type of content’ and implied it was these complaints which had led to the changes,” says the app’s developer, Andrew Long. He added that Simply Beach thought this was a hoax. A few hours ago, the Simply Beach app was again available on the App Store. Neither Long nor Simply Beach received any communication whatsoever from Apple, Long said in an email. The same thing seems to have happened with Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet, a 12+  rated game that was pulled presumably because it features a female lead character in short shorts. Like Simply Beach, the game is quietly back on the App Store. Again, there has been no communication from Apple. It’s pretty clear that Apple’s doing damage limitation here, reinstating the high-profile apps, although iWobble is still banned.

There are issues like this that will inevitably come up and Apple seems be dealing with them. Its funny to see a company that has a fairly zealous young liberal backing be anything but young and liberal. This is a move that I commend, good on you Apple for taking a stand in a world where stands seldom are taken.

Read more at the New York Times and Tech Flash.

Wal-Mart enters the online video business:

Wal-mart has purchased a small company out of Silicon Valley called Vudu. Vudu’s business model centers around getting entertainment, movies and television shows to people with HDTV’s and Blu-Ray players. It seems as though they are looking to compete with some of the more established companies like NetFlix, which have similar services and offer those services on a lot of different hardware platforms.

From the New York Times:

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, Vudu announced deals to put its service into devices made by Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba and said it was expanding its older relationships with LG Electronics, Vizio and Mitsubishi. Panasonic and Sony are the only major manufacturers that have not yet added the Vudu service to their devices. With Wal-Mart, one of their biggest retailers, taking it over, manufacturers will now have another reason to include Vudu. Vudu competitors like Netflix, of course, are cutting similar deals with manufacturers, who are happy to build multiple services into their devices and make them more versatile. Vudu has sought to distinguish itself from its rivals by bragging about its large catalog of high-definition movies, its simple user interface and its integration of other Internet services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pandora.

To tie this story into the previous story, aparently Vudu has a pretty big pornography collection, something that Wal-Mart is not going to stand for.

Vudu also has a plentiful selection of pornographic movies available to its customers. A person briefed on the Wal-Mart deal said the retailer would close down that category “immediately.”

For those of you who have Playstation3 and XBOX360 I don’t know that there is too much that you can be happy with here, 360 and PS3 both have NetFlix capabilities, PS3 has the Sony Store, which I think is a bit pricey and you can also use programs like TVersity and PlayOn to stream sites like YouTube and Hulu.

FCC released a profile of Americans least likely to use broadband, as they try to bring the internet to all Americans:

It seems the government wants some of the action that the internet has to offer. As the recession rages on and people are without work the government is focusing some of its efforts on making sure that all Americans can have the internet.  The FCC has released a report on who is least likely to use the internet.

From the Wall Street Journal:

About 35% of Americans aren’t using high-speed Internet at home, the FCC says. Older Americans, the less-educated, lower-income Americans and some minority groups – including non-English speaking Hispanics – as less likely than average to subscribe to broadband. The agency is releasing the report Tuesday morning at an event in Washington. Only four percent of American households don’t have access to any high-speed broadband at home, the survey says, which means 31% of households aren’t subscribing for other reasons.

To paraphrase the WSJ, this is how the demographics brake down:

Digitally Distant: 10% of American population. Mostly elderly and retired.

Digital Hopefuls: 8% of the America population  these people can’t pay for internet. 26% Hispanic and 20% African American. Some are digitally illiterate.

Digitally Uncomfortable: They make up 7% of Americas population. They have the money but don’t buy internet because of a lack of skills or they don’t feel too comfortable with the internet.

Near Converts: 10% of the American population. They have internet, but Its generally dial up. They don’t like paying and they have high-speed internet at work.

This kind of stuff always scares me, because once the government start providing internet for everyone, then it makes it a lot easier for them to regulate the web, something that does not need to happen at all.

From Broadband.gov:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law on February 17, 2009. The Broadband Initiatives funded in the Act are intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States. The Recovery Act authorizes the FCC to create a National Broadband Plan, that “shall seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.”

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Olberman on Scott Brown, No One is Watching (Video/Ratings)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by raingeg

Keith Olberman goes off on Scott Brown on MSNBC.

Via Olberman Watch.

Joe Scarborough fired back this morning on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC.

The best part about this whole thing, no one is watching MSNBC.

TV By the Numbers Nielsen ratings 1/15/10:

Morning programs (6:00AM-9:00AM) P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
FOX & Friends- 1,202,000 viewers (394,000) (681,000)
American Morning- 609,000 viewers (255,000) (310,000)
Morning Joe- 417,000 viewers (133,000) (280,000)
Squawk Box- 204,000 viewers (76,000) (129,000)
Morning Express w/ Meade- 324,000 viewers (172,000) (216,000)

5PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Glenn Beck – 2,712,000 viewers (689,000) (1,183,000)
Situation Room—1,216,000 viewers (360,000) (570,000)
Hardball w/ C. Matthews —488,000 viewers (108,000) (243,000)
Fast Money —230,000 viewers (61,000) (122,000)
Prime News —226,000 viewers (114,000) (146,000)

6PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Special Report with Bret Baier – 2,420,000 viewers (510,000) (1,009,000)
Situation Room—1,251,000 viewers (378,000) (614,000)
Ed Show —666,000 viewers (158,000) (304,000)
Mad Money— 180,000 viewers (60,000) (98,000)
Prime News – 158,000 viewers (87,000) (109,000)

7PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
The Fox Report W/ Shep – 2,318,000 viewers (614,000) (1,116,000)
CNN Tonight – 1,184,000 viewers (397,000) (576,000)
Hardball – 693,000 viewers (187,000) (342,000)
Kudlow Report – 225,000 viewers (82,000) (102,000)
Issues – 280,000 viewers (116,000) (160,000)

8PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
The O’Reilly Factor – 4,205,000 viewers (1,085,000) (1,889,000)
Campbell Brown – 1,537,000 viewers (619,000) (788,000)
Countdown w/ K. Olbermann – 1,148,000 viewers (351,000) (606,000)
Illegal Gambling – 171,000 viewers (85,000) (105,000)
Nancy Grace – 867,000 viewers (289,000) (420,000)

9 PM – P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
Hannity – 3,255,000 viewers (927,000) (1,534,000)
Larry King Live —1,575,000 viewers (529,000) (767,000)
Rachel Maddow Show —916,000 viewers (320,000) (531,000)
Inside the Mind of Goggle — 167,000 viewers (68,000) (88,000)
Joy Behar- 794,000 viewers (153,000) (275,000)

10 PM P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
On the Record w/ Greta—2,167,000 viewers (622,000) (1,051,000)
Anderson Cooper 360 — 1,459,000 viewers (587,000) (787,000)
Countdown w/ K. Olbermann – 594,000 (215,000) (313,000)
Marijuana Inc. – 198,000 viewers (127,000) (128,000)
Nancy Grace –404,000 viewers (158,000) (207,000)

11 PM P2+ (25-54) (35-64)
The O’Reilly Factor— 1,558,000 viewers (509,000) (897,000)
Anderson Cooper 360 – 1,109,000 viewers (528,000) (651,000)
Rachel Maddow Show —479,000 viewers (159,000) (287,000)
Mad Money – a scratch w/88,000 viewers (a scratch w/44,000) (a scratch w/49,000)
Showbiz Tonight– 398,000 viewers (144,000) (189,000)

The Ridiculous Fight With Fox and Obamas Obamamania

Posted in Economy, Health Insurance, Politics with tags , , , , on October 28, 2009 by raingeg

Fox News v. The White House, it’s a issue that I’ve yet to address, mostly because I haven’t been paying that much attention to cable news. You see, I don’t have cable because I‘m trying to save money, so unless I go to my parents house I can’t watch cable news. I will say this, this battle conjured up by the White House seems a bit ridiculous if you ask me.

Just look at this in light of all of the issues that this country faces. This is a point that I’ve heard many commentators make and one that has to be stressed. The President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world, sees fit to really give it to them, to really let them have it, to show them what he‘s made of. If you thought the “them” I was talking about was Al Qaeda or the Taliban or maybe Iran you are sadly mistaken, its Fox News.

The President sees fit to flounder around and hesitates to make a decision on Afghanistan as the war gets worse. The President thinks that we need to talk with the moderate members of the Taliban, as the Taliban kills people left and right. If there are any moderates within the Taliban I fear that they lack the clout needed to make any changes, as I’ve said before, if it works, more power to the President, but I think it might be a mistake. And on the issue of Iran he seems to not mind that they are getting closer and closer to getting nuclear weapons. We have all of this happening right now, and that’s only on the foreign policy front, and the President is going after Fox News?

On the economic front we a loosing jobs left and right, jobless numbers are rising and approaching 10% and President Obama is telling the country that his $787 billion stimulus is working or has already worked. Lets just look at Arizona for a second, mostly because I live there. Job numbers created by the stimulus are dismal right now. It was supposed to create thousands of new jobs, but the only thing that has happened in Arizona is more and more unemployment. We’ve actually seen thousands and thousands of jobs lost in many areas of Arizona’s economy. There is so much unemployment that Arizona has to borrow around $600 million from the government or risk running out of unemployment benefits for the people of Arizona. If the stimulus is working, it isn’t working here. Yet last week the President was warring against Fox News?

Perhaps taking it to big bad Fox was an attempt to divert the American peoples attention away from the Health Care debacle and fire up his left-wing base. But we’ve seen nothing but the opposite, other news media outlets stood up for Fox after the White House tried to keep them from interviewing the pay czar, and the left is pushing back against the President telling him that they want him to stand up and grow a spine. So that couldn’t have been the case, did the President really think this would go over well with the American people? All of this facing our nation and he takes it to Fox News?

We saw what many people called “Obama-mania” a year ago and we had the privilege of seeing the historic election of the first African American President of the United States, something that I was very proud of. Now Obama-manania has all but died down and the only Obama-maniac left is Obama himself. It seems he is so angry, so desperate and so, dare I say partisan, that he comes off as an egomaniac because in the face of mounting hardship he takes it to a news organization that has political commentators that aren’t backing his every move. We can argue all day about Fox News and their coverage, but does it not seem just a little silly that this, of all battles that he could fight, is the one that he and his administration chose to wage?

The American people can only take so much rhetoric before they start demanding results, and that is what we are starting to see. Now more than ever more people are calling themselves Conservatives. Probably because while Washington seems to not have a problem with being fiscally irresponsible, the American people can’t afford to take that risk. And they know that they have it coming, its called the public option and cap and trade, which will, if passed, cause the government to grow to an extraordinary size.

Could it be that the people of this country just want to get back to work? I say yes. How about using free market principals to make improvements instead of government mandates. How about we start tackling one issue at a time as opposed to everything at once. President Obama, why don’t you stop fighting Fox News and start fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This is not meant as an attack, its meant as a suggestion. I suggest you start tackling the issues that people care about and stop ramming a leftist agenda down the throats of the citizens of this country. I say this only because your party is in for a rude awakening come the 2010 elections if you think that we will stand for anymore of this.

Cartoon credit goes to Cliftonchadwicks Blog.

Internet Nutrality and Internet Control

Posted in Politics, Technology with tags , , , on October 22, 2009 by raingeg

I need to write about this in my “Future of Media” section, because internet control is something that is just around the bend.

Investors Business Daily on the subject:

Diversity czar Mark Lloyd’s FCC votes Thursday on the issue of net neutrality. Advertised as providing access to all, it will do to the information superhighway what Lloyd proposed for talk radio.

Not much was said when $7.2 billion was included in the stimulus bill “to accelerate broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits.” The administration has big plans for the Internet — like controlling it.

Finish reading the article here.

The Future of Media: Radio

Posted in Music, Technology with tags , , , , on October 14, 2009 by raingeg

What will happen to radio? My prediction is that music radio will be gone within a decade if radio stations don’t start taking a new approach to music radio, well, it could be considered an old approach. The best part about old radio was the jocks, some might say that people don’t want to hear the jocks anymore, but I beg to differ. They don’t want to hear the jocks talking about useless junk. I would submit that if music radio took a highly opinionated and music savvy jock and just let him loose he would actually bring in listeners. Just let the DJ play what the DJ wants to play, and if the DJ wants to not play something or even say how much he dislikes a certain band, let him do so! I know that there are people that will disagree with this approach, but I think its the only real way that music radio can be salvaged. Pleasing everyone is a very hard thing to do, in fact its darn near impossible to do, so stop trying to do it.

The second thing that music radio can do to improve, is to start creating one to three hour long blocks out of the day and gear those blocks to certain audiences. We’re already seeing this on some stations but it is not done nearly enough. For instance, the rock hour or the hard-rock block. Just three hours of hard-rock with the same jock, playing what he wants to play, much like The Alice Cooper show. This is a very talk radio style approach to music radio, but I think it is a way to make radio more entertaining. If both of these methods, opinionated, music savvy jocks and block shows were implemented, I think music radio has a better chance of being salvaged.

If those two methods don’t get implemented, forget about listening to the radio for music, you might as well just buy an iPod or listen to Pandora on your phone. The internet and technology has ruined the old radio industry and a new type of radio is emerging in the form of pod casting and music radio is going away because people can create their own play lists of music that they want to hear.

Lets say something like what I recommended happens and music radio still dies, what happens then? I think that within a decade you will see talk radio shifting gears and completely moved over to the FM side of the dial. A trend that we are already seeing a lot of. The value of the FM radio station will go down and AM will be rendered obsolete. Something that might happen, as the value of AM radio stations drop, as a result of everything moving to FM, smaller entities might take over AM stations, possibly religious or independent groups, and use them to provide very low-fi radio, provided the FCC would let that happen.

Internet stream in cars is not far off. You can already hook up your Blackberry to an AUX port in your car while streaming Pandora. As technology like that improves and cars start connecting to the web, radio over the internet in the car will be a reality.

All in all, music radio has run its course. I am sad to see it leaving, but I am not sad about what’s on the horizon. Technology will improve and the internet will expand, and the internet will be the “transmitter” and a web based iPod or phone will be the radio. Will the jock all but disappear? That is yet to be seen.

In the coming days I will write about all of the media industries in depth and tell you what I think will happen to them. So be sure to look for these posts interspersed with my normal blog activity.

Please read my introduction to this series by clicking here.

The Future of Media: Introduction

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by raingeg

All forms of media have felt the effect of the internet and the consumers gravitation to new technology. You often see writers, frightened by what they see, writing about the uncertain future of newspapers, books, radio and television. As of late I’ve been fairly laid back about the whole issue and I still am. But there is a larger point that needs to be made in regard to these mediums and their future.

Newspapers, books, radio and television might not exist in the near future, well at least as we know them today. I have a problem with people getting worked up over loosing these mediums. While I don’t want them to go, I don’t want them to stay if they’re not wanted.

Here is the main point that anyone worried about the future needs to understand. Newspapers/books, radios and televisions are all delivery methods. Outside of a newspaper or a book, the alphabet and words will still exist. Outside of the radio industry, audio recording and even transmission via the internet will continue. And moving pictures will still be around even if televisions are not the sole mode of consumption.

Something that we all need to accept is that the internet will be the distribution method for all of the media that we consume. That does not necessarily mean that the computer will be the mode of consumption, it will be a middle man. The computer will be a way for the consumer to set up what they want to read, watch, and listen too. It will become a central access point for the consumer to pick favorites, subscribe to certain feeds for all types of media, and just make basic decisions about what they want to consume. The media will then be sent out via a network or internet connection too a smart phone, gaming console, entertainment computer, or reading device, and the media will be streaming on those devices waiting to be consumed.

Why streaming? Its simple. The one advantage that the newspaper, radio, and television industries have over the consumer is the fact that they are in charge of when and where the consumer gets their product. If the consumer has to receive the product after a short ad then so be it, that’s how its always been. There is a fear on the part of the industries and advertisers that the industries will loose this element of control and they will have no way of basically forcing the consumer to see an ad. If they loose that control the advertisers don’t spend money and the industries loose money.

That is where streaming comes in. This generally only applies to radio and television, this dilemma is not as common in the world of text. If something is streamed, interrupting that stream is virtually impossible for the average consumer/user and that allows the industries to be able to force the consumer to watch an ad. This is already happening with Hulu and popular videos on Youtube.

In the coming days I will write about all of these industries in depth and tell you what I think will happen to them. So be sure to look for these posts interspersed with my normal blog activity.

What Is Wrong With Country Music These Days?

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 10, 2009 by raingeg

When I was younger I was a fan of country music and for the most part I still am. I spent my younger years listening to the likes of Alan Jackson and George Straight and some of the older singers when I grew in age. There is something that I’ve always liked about country, apparently I’m not the only one. If you look at the numbers for radio ratings in Tucson, country music is always at the top.

Something happened within the last decade to country music that has turned it into a pop sensation, and that is just wrong in so many ways.

Here is the formula for Country music’s demise:
1 Serving of Jimmy Buffet.
1 Serving of Spanish words, that remind us of places like Cabo and Cancun.
1 Serving of Kenny Chsenee.
2 Serving of country singers that want to be rappers.
8 Serving of American Idol.
5 Serving of 14 year old girls that love country music.

Lets first address the Jimmy Buffet issue. I like Jimmy Buffet, I like “Cheeseburger In Paradise,” it’s a good song. But you can only sing about being a beach bum as a country singer for so long before it just gets old and I start longing to hear about cotton fields back home.

The use of Spanish words in country songs is fairly common, the first time I really heard any Spanish in a song was in George Straits “Easy Come, Easy Go.” “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash has a slightly Mexican flavor to it, but that’s not my problem. Its when we start using Spanish words in relation to places like Cabo or Cancun, or some boat in the middle of the ocean, with our feet in the sand, and a beer in our hand, ah, sickening.

Kenney Chesnee appears to take advantage of this whole beach bum style country. But when is enough, enough? How many times can you write that song about hanging on the beach with your buds before every song sounds the same. Far too many people have followed this formula and it gets pretty redundant after a while.

For some odd reason country music has decided that it would like to ditch the fiddle for some bling. Why artists like Big and Rich and Trace Atkins insist on writing music about “Budonkadonks” and saving a horse and riding a cowboy is beyond me. I don’t mind humor in songs, a lot of people can pull it off, but when you start making buffoons out of yourself it just gets old. Unfortunately people listen to this buffoonery.

American Idol. If anything has contributed to the death of good country music it is American Idol. These people get up there and sing songs that aren’t country songs with a southern accent and call it country. Don’t get me wrong, I love blending genres, but some of it just doesn’t work. Carey Underwood is a great singer, but I don’t think she compares to a good song by Reba, and I’m not even really a fan of Reba.

The transformation of country music into pop music has really contributed to its demise. For guy’s like me that want to hear sad songs with the steel guitar and a good fiddle, Taylor Swift just isn’t doing it. I think that with pop and rap music’s extreme popularity, those who want to actually hear instruments and a band but can’t handle hard rock or indie music have ventured over to country music. And country music has bent over backwards to appease these people, who tend to be 14 year old girls.

There are alternatives to the pop-country that is in the mainstream. You have the emergence Texas country, with artists like Pat Green, who play a more acoustic version of country rock, but even he‘s beginning to move more to the mainstream. They tend to follow in the footsteps of artists like Jerry Jeff Walker. You can always turn to Alt-Country, which is a blend of alternative rock of all sorts and country music. Older bands like Uncle Tupelo and The Drive By Truckers have been doing if for a while. Alt-Country can also be folkish, people like Ryan Adams fit into this mold. One of my favorite Alt-Country bands is Lucero. These people tend to follow in the footsteps of Pearl Jam on the alternative side, Bob Dylan on the folk-rock side and John Prine on the acoustic side. It is fair to note that the hardcore fans of Texas Country and Alt-Country probably don’t like each other too much, though I enjoy both. Alt-Country tends to be more political, while Texas country is not.

Maybe we won’t see too much true Country music hitting the mainstream anymore, but it would be great to see it come back. Instead we are stuck with songs about how great it is to sit on the beach with a beer in your hand, all true, but an over used formula.