Scripting News for 10/24/2006

Salon: U.S. generals call for Democratic takeover

A bit of a smackdown between Ze Frank and Rocketboom. Competition is inevitable, and a good thing, imho. 

67MB movie demo of my entertainment system. 

Why doesn’t Howard Stern have a podcast? (Or does he?) 

Grace Davis explains why “we don’t mind the crazy ass real estate prices and earthquakes.” 

O’Reilly has a $7.99 booklet about OPML written by Amy Bellinger. I’m sure it’s good, Amy does good work. 

I was checking out Google’s new custom search engine feature (released today) and was surprised to see them support OPML format for “annotations.” Screen shot

My TV has its own computer 

Kent Newsome: “No one other than a honking nerd wants to watch TV in a little window on a computer, when a big screen HDTV plasma is sitting 20 feet away.”

I have a 46 inch LCD TV, made by Sony, and it’s great, and it does HDTV, and I watch broadcast stuff on it regularly, like the World Series (Game 3 starts in a few hours) and serials like Studio 60 and Lost. I said it before, HD changes not only the way you look at TV, it changes the way you look at everything. I’ve been struggling to find a way to explain this, and haven’t come up with one yet, but I recommend if you want to find out more, find a friend with an HD setup and watch one of your favorite shows at his or her house. It’s not enough to go to a store to get a demo, or to see a quick demo at a friends’ house. For me, it was watching Phantom of the Opera at Scoble’s house in Half Moon Bay that made the difference. Two weeks later I had my own HD setup. Yes, it happens that quickly.

But Kent is missing something that I think a lot of other people miss. His big honkin plasma TV probably has a PC video-in jack on the back, and while the UI to switch between the cable box and PC is klunky, once you learn how to do it, it’s not difficult, and it opens another door that’s totally worth opening. I know, because in addition to HD, I also bought a Mac Mini with a 120GB hard drive to watch movies that come from its hard disk. I’m developing quite a collection, thanks to Netflix and Handbrake. But it also means I don’t need an aggregator from Tivo, I just use the same one I always use, a copy of Radio running on one of my servers in Dallas. Why? Because my TV (through the Mac) also has a net connection.

I think maybe I should write a book about how you invent and promote standards for fun and profit, because what I’m doing here is exactly what I did when I started blogging, or publishing in XML and then RSS, or started pushing audio blog posts as enclosures in my RSS feeds. You start by putting two things next to each other that you think should work together. Then you shorten the distance, and shorten it again, and keep optimizing until you have something that other people could use. Then you tell them about it, and tell them again, and again and so on until you have a standard.

HD and Macs and cable, Bluetooth (for the keybaord and mouse), RSS and TCP/IP. All these techonologies come together in my home entertainment center. I don’t watch TV on my computer screen, but I do watch my computer on my TV screen, if you get what I mean.

BTW, Engadget has an excellent HD website, they tell you what’s on, and about new technology that’s relevant to HD users.

Dave Zatz wonders whether it’s time to get HD. Yes, yes, yes. If you want to help figure all this stuff out, we need you to have the new eyes that you get from HD. Think about it this way. If there was an upgrade available for your eyes that gave you 3D vision when you just had 2D, would you pay $1500 for that? Yes, it is that big a difference, imho.

A 67MB movie demo of my entertainment system.

Another Republican for Cut and Run 

Lindsey Graham: “We’re on the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working.”

Seems the Republicans are finally ditching Dubya.

I love what Nancy Pelosi said at the end of her 60 Minutes interview on Sunday, when asked if she would go for impeaching Bush after she becomes Speaker of the House.

“Wouldn’t they just love it, if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth in 12 years, is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me.”

Those were the last words in the interview, and they reverberate.

No matter what, we’ve got the change we were looking for, even if the Republicans retain control of Congress. They can’t recover in two years from the kind of internal warfare they’re waging against each other now. No matter what, Bush is already the lamest of lame ducks.

7 responses to this post.

  1. I do think you should write that book. Because after chatting with you on Saturday I know that you have some very valuable knowledge to share. And writing the book could be the start of something else for you.

    I’ve also been thinking more about your desire to join a media company. But I’ll save those thoughts for the next time we chat. I’ve got some other ideas.


  2. P.S. There are premium Howard Stern podcasts available:

    However, I will never pay for them. I grew up in DC with Howard on DC101 before he was HOWARD STERN. So to pay for his content just rubs me the wrong way. But if you want to hear it, there it is.


  3. Jen, I would never pay for it, and I don’t think it’s a podcast if it’s behind a firewall. Not to say it’s not valuable, but it’s not the same thing.

    I don’t really want to listen to Howard Stern. I got the idea hearing him discussed on some cable show, and I realized how he’s dropped off my radar. If he had a podcast it would serve as a way for him to find NEW listeners. Right now he’s realllll easy to forget.


  4. Posted by Will Cate on October 24, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    I want my HDTV, for sure. But the wife isn’t quite ready. The five-year-old 36″ Sony VEGA tube TV, which weighs about a zillion pounds and takes up a great deal of our living room suits her just fine.

    Then we forgot to record last week’s “Lost.” No prob, I told her, I’ll just grab it off the ‘net. I wound up getting a full HD copy which we watched on my PC screen (23″ LCD widescreen).

    After about 30 seconds she said “Wow… this looks really good!”

    HA! A crack in the ice. I see a new TV in my future…


  5. Posted by jeremyw on October 24, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    Nice HD setup. At one point it looked like I would “need” to purchase a new TV this year, and I was considering doing something similar.

    My preference, though, would be to avoid having to use a mouse (and keyboard) in my living room. If I ever do my own setup, it will probably be with a software PVR like MythTV, with one of the RSS/BitTorrent plugins out there (e.g., Torrentocracy). I’d buy one of the IR remotes to control it.


  6. Welcome to the mini HTPC world, Dave!
    I just set up 500 GB of storage for mine… man that disk space runs out quickly. It’s the same experience of having all your music instantly at your fingertips thanks to MP3 players and desktop software, only in video form.
    (Although you might want to drop the discussion about Netflix. 😀 Now, breaking the DMCA for fair use with your own movies and TV box sets? That’s something we’ll all speak up for…)


  7. Posted by trevor on October 27, 2006 at 7:10 pm

    Dave, having a “computer” hooked up to the television has completely changed my way of thinking. I have a modded xbox with a 160gb hard drive in it, hooked up to our TV. Video podcasts get downloaded to my pc (to a shared folder) and I watch them on the tv.

    There really is a difference between watching television and watching A television!


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