Archive for topic “new media”

FCC increases competition, OKs use of white spaces

Image: FreePress.net

Image: FreePress.net

Yes, there was another important vote yesterday and you did read that headline correctly. The Federal Communications Commission voted yesterday to allow the use of the vacated white spaces between TV channels to be used for broadband internet access. This is a huge victory for those of us who see the expansion of broadband internet access as an essential step in preserving our democracy.

All you have to do is watch your local television “newscast” to know that it is increasingly difficult to get access to important news and information away from the internet. Look at the success of Barack Obama’s campaign. The internet and its ubiquity are essential in our modern democracy. [Psst…I am not forgetting my neo-luddism here. But until we are plagued by EMPs and need to bust out the printing presses again, the internet is key.]

Visualize the TV spectrum, both old and new. Image: Sabine.com

Image: Sabine.com

Visualize the TV spectrum, both old and new.

I’m not going to bother you with the technical details of how this works, largely because I don’t have a technical grasp on it myself. In a nutshell, when the U.S. TV system switches to digital in February 2009, we will have more bandwidth available for local broadband access like city-wide WiFi and rural access. This will provide a viable alternative to expensive cable/DSL/Satellite/Cellular internet access. This is great news and a huge step forward; it is a marked change from past and concurrent FCC decisions. November 4, 2008. What a day!

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Why is the Commission on Presidential Debates partnered with News Corp.?

This image shows the front page at debates.org, where you link directly to News Corp property MySpace.

This image shows the front page at debates.org, where you link directly to News Corp property MySpace.


I was just minding my own business, trying to figure out how I could ask a question of the candidates tonight, when I happened upon this disturbing tidbit. Can someone please explain to me why News Corp, by virtue of their web property MySpace, is the official partner of the Commission on Presidential Debates? Doesn’t that seem a bit odd? Shouldn’t such a commission be independent of ALL corporate interest, let alone those controlled by Rupert Murdoch? For those of you who don’t know, Murdoch owns a controlling interest in News Corp, who in turn own Fox News, Fox, MySpace, the New York Post, and many, many other media properties.

Damn, I just dug into this a bit further and it is apalling. Details after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »

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Paying for music online? You are a sucker.

Cory over at BoingBoing has a crystal clear example why you should never, ever pay for music that contains DRM:

Hey suckers! Did you buy DRM music from Wal*Mart instead of downloading MP3s for free from the P2P networks? Well, they’re repaying your honesty by taking away your music. Unless you go through a bunch of hoops (that you may never find out about, if you’ve changed email addresses or if you’re not a very technical person), your music will no longer be playable after October 9th.

But don’t worry, this will never ever happen to all those other DRM companies — unlike little fly-by-night mom-and-pop operations like Wal*Mart, the DRM companies are rock-ribbed veterans of commerce and industry, sure to be here for a thousand years…They are as solid and permanent as Commodore, Atari, the Soviet Union, the American credit system and the Roman Empire. Cory Doctorow
Happy Mutant

It is a good thing Congress created a new cabinet-level Copyright Czar on Friday to make sure we, the pesky consumers of content, don’t start demanding silly things like access to the goods we have purchased. What’s that you say? You thought Congress was meeting on Friday with singular focus to solve the “impending doom” (clears throat, screams Bullshit!) that is the Wall St. meltdown? Damn, you really are a sucker.

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