Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Harvard vs. RIAA?

Harvard Prof Fights RIAA's Fright Tactics

In recent weeks, two federal judges have criticized the record industry's attempts to extract exorbitant sums from alleged file-sharers, who might have uploaded/downloaded tracks on peer-to-peer services, but only for personal use as opposed to profit.

In one case, judge Michael Davis in Duluth, Minn. pleaded with Congress to revise the copyright law so that individuals like Jammie Thomas, who a jury found liable for uploading 24 songs to Kazaa, wouldn't face astronomical fines. The jury in the case had ordered Thomas to pay $220,000, but Davis last month set aside the verdict and ordered a new trial for reasons unrelated to the size of the award.

Also, Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio, Texas recently fined 20-year-old Whitney Harper $200 a track for file-sharing -- significantly lower than the $750 a track set out in the statute. Rodriguez departed from the minimum on the theory that Harper, a high school student at the time she shared files, was an "innocent infringer."

Now, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson is asking a court to declare the statute the RIAA is relying on unconstitutional.

Nesson, who is representing Joel Tenenbaum, another teenager at the time of the alleged file-sharing, writes: "The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish [Joel Tenenbaum] beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused. They do this, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by Joel's individual action, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using computers, and so frightening to parents and teachers of students using computers, that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future."

There's no real question the record industry has seen revenues fall because of file-sharing. At the same time, the RIAA's campaign against individual users appears grossly random. The record labels have targeted around 30,000 unlucky individuals who have allegedly used a peer-to-peer service to share tracks. But that's out of millions of file-sharers.

And while CD sales have plunged, no individual user is responsible for the billions in lost revenue.
Obviously, the record industry needs to figure out new ways to bring in revenue, whether by ad deals, selling concert tickets or some other business plan. But suing ordinary music-listeners into bankruptcy is no way to save an industry

Out of the Box Thinking

Great Moments in A/V Advertising.

Comments No Longer Moderated

We've been asked to delete the comment moderation and adds more controversial topics to boot.

As of yesterday, there is no more comment moderation. As for controversy, stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

White Space Questions Continue

Dingell asks commission for white space answers
Oct 28, 2008 10:35 AM

Congressman John Dingell, D-MI, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has asked the FCC to explain the way it apparently is going about making rules aimed at allowing unlicensed devices into unused portions of the TV band known as white spaces.

In a letter to all five FCC commissioners Oct. 24, Dingell centered his questions on two areas: peer review of the “Evaluation of the Performance of Prototype TV-Band White Space Devices Phase II” report from the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) released Oct. 15 and accountability for taking corrective steps if white space devices cause harmful interference.

Dingell asked for written responses from the commission by Oct. 31.

On the same day the OET released the report, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he favored allowing unlicensed devices to operate in TV band white spaces with certain conditions. The FCC is tentatively scheduled to move on the issue at its Nov. 4 meeting.

Opponents, such as various broadcast trade associations, broadcast networks, affiliate groups and others, have asserted that allowing white space devices that rely on spectrum-sensing technology to identify unused spectrum for operation into the TV band threatens the billions of dollars both broadcasters and viewers have invested in DTV technology. While Martin said he favored opening the band to devices that incorporate geolocation technology to access a database of available frequencies in a given locale, the OET report held open the possibility of authorizing devices that only use spectrum sensing in the future.

Repeated tests by the FCC have shown that prototype white space devices have failed to accurately and consistently detect the presence of DTV transmission and those of wireless mics, which share the TV band.

Among Dingell’s questions:

Was the OET report released Oct. 15 peer reviewed? If so, when and by whom? What changes, if any, were made based on the peer review?

If the commission believes regulations do not require a peer review, why did the FCC subject its first report detailing the results of phase one white space prototype testing to peer review?

How would the commission address reports of harmful interference to over-the-air TV signals?

If white space devices are sold, and interference problems surface, how will the commission remove them from the market?

In what other bands is spectrum sensing used to avoid interference?

How does the FCC deal with those instances of interference?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Google/Microsoft Win White Space Battle?

Wireless mics not considered...

FCC chairman announces green light for unlicensed white spaces use
Oct 24, 2008 2:15 PM

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has announced the agency’s plan to approve the use of fixed-location white space devices.

On Oct. 15, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin proposed opening up unused portions of the TV airwaves known as white spaces for unlicensed devices to deliver wireless broadband service. The proposal, made in the wake of field tests, is a victory for the Wireless Innovation Alliance, a group of technology companies including Google, Phillips and Microsoft that have been pressing for unfettered access to the spectrum space being vacated after the switch to digital television Feb. 17.

The new frequency usage rules are expected to be issued on Election Day, Nov. 4, with an Oct. 27 deadline for interested parties to submit formal comments to the FCC. This is an unusually short comment period, especially considering the protracted time this issue has been under consideration. On Oct. 17, the NAB filed an emergency request that the agency seek a 70-day period for public comments, stating, “The report’s conclusions are not supported and in fact contradicted by the underlying data.”

The filing also noted, “The FCC seems satisfied that white space devices will not significantly interfere with broadcast or cable TV signals in the home, a finding seemingly not well documented in its published test reports. At issue is the report’s contention that ‘proof of concept’ for the safe use of WSDs has been adequately proven in testing.”

While promising to consider the NAB request, the FCC seems satisfied that properly designed white space devices will not pose a significant interference threat. The FCC summary report states: “We are satisfied that spectrum sensing in combination with geolocation and database access techniques can be used to authorize equipment today under appropriate technical standards and that issues regarding future development and approval of any additional devices, including devices relying on sensing alone, can be addressed.”

That summary specifies only white space devices operating from a fixed location being allowed into the spectrum with the transition to digital television. Portable white space devices and products that rely on spectrum sensing only remain under consideration, though it seems clear that the agency expects to approve them at a later date.

Google welcomed Commissioner Martin’s comments on the proposed ruling on the company's public policy blog. "This news should be greatly encouraging for American consumers," it said. "The FCC now has more than enough information to develop appropriate rules that protect TV stations and wireless microphone users from harmful interference while at the same time allowing innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technology that productively uses these airwaves."

Wireless microphone manufacturer Shure joined with the NAB in filing a request for a longer comment period (see Shure white space filing echoes broadcasters' call for public comment). Shure is a long-time proponent of using science to determine the best course for white space devices, and broadcasters, while still accommodating RF microphones as incumbent spectrum users, were not prepared to comment formally, because the reports issued to date do not specifically mention the fate of its products. “We are continuing to discuss matters with the commission, learning all we can about the planned ruling. Our goal is to make sure that wireless microphone users are adequately protected, now and after Feb. 17,” said Christopher Lyons, Shure’s manager of technical and educational communications.

There does appear to be a disparity between the positive test outcome noted in the FCC summary and actual test date found in the full Office of Engineering and Testing report on white space device field testing. The executive summary’s statement that the “proof of concept” had been met was particularly interesting insofar as it is the first time the FCC has used this language in referring to the purpose of white space device testing.

In addition, it appears that much of the unfavorable test data found in the field test summary report by the OET was downplayed or ignored. For instance, false-positive results from a Phillips prototype are credited as accurate scans, dramatically inflating the rated accuracy of that device. Even less favorable data from RF microphone testing is not published in full, but only summarized. Still, the report notes that, during testing at FedEx Field, one device found all channels occupied whether ESPN’s wireless mics were on or not, and another prototype “indicated several channels as available even when the microphones were on.”

As a result, it seems clear that the FCC’s pending white space device spectrum use rulemaking will be controversial as the agency attempts to balance the desire for expanded economic development in the technology sector and provide broadband wireless access to rural areas with the acknowledged need to ensure continued viability of broadcast TV, cable TV and wireless microphone systems.

For more information, visit

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Comcast Providing Faster Internet

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) (CMCSA) on Wednesday said it will begin rolling out faster Internet speeds over the next few weeks in selected markets to homes and businesses.

The nation's largest cable operator and residential Internet service provider will offer speeds up to 50 megabits per second, which enables users to download a high-definition movie in 16 minutes and a standard definition movie in 5 minutes.

Most Comcast customers will double their speeds for free.

The service will be available in parts of New England, including the Boston area and southern New Hampshire, as well as in portions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Over the next few months, Comcast expects to roll it out to over 10 major markets.

For residential users, Comcast's new 'Extreme 50' tier, including up to 10 Mbps upstream service, will cost $139.95 a month. For businesses, it will cost $189.95 monthly, including extra features and support.

The 'Ultra' plan for individuals will offer speeds up to 22 Mbps for downloading and up to 5 upstream for $62.95 a month. The business "premium" tier will offer the same speeds for $99.95 a month.

To get the new Internet plans, individuals must also subscribe to Comcast's cable TV service.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

ARCHI-TECH Reader's Choice Award Winners

ARCHI-TECH announces Readers' Choice Awards Winners

(Cedar Rapids, Iowa)— ARCHI-TECH named the winners in its annual Readers' Choice Awards. Each year, visitors to vote for their favorite technology products. The Readers' Choice Awards feature the most innovative technology products in the commercial buildings market today. Product entries, submitted by manufacturers, are applicable to commercial facilities in the areas of audio/video, building controls, glass and glazing, HVAC, lighting, security, and sustainable technology.

The award winners will be featured in the December 2008 issue of ARCHI-TECH magazine and will remain on until June 2009. Voting for the 2009 Readers' Choice awards will take place June 2009 through August 2009.

"Specifying technology products in commercial buildings is the job of ARCHI-TECH's audience. The winners of our Readers' Choice program should be particularly gratified that their products won the attention of this influential community," said ARCHI-TECH publisher Jim Forthofer.

Audio/Video Winner: Lencore Music Page Interface
Honorable Mention: OmniMount Motion52, motorized cantilever mount

Building Controls Winner: Lencore Spectra i.Net, networked sound masking system
Honorable Mention: Lencore CrossNet, networked sound masking system

Glass & Glazing Winner: Sage Electrochromics SageGlass, electronically tintable glazing Honorable Mention: Southwall Technologies HeatMirror, insulating glass

HVAC Winner: Crestron CHV-TSTAT, heating and cooling thermostat
Honorable Mention: Big Ass Fan Element, commercial fan

Lighting Winner: Visa Lighting LED Advantus, tubular lighting fixture
Honorable Mention: Crestron iLux CLS-C6M, HD digital video processor

Security Winner: Krieger KriegerShield, radio frequency doors

Sustainable Technology Winner: Lencore Spectra i.Net, networked sound masking system Honorable Mention: Big Ass Fan Element, commercial fan

The Internet if a Cesspool- Google

Google's Schmidt Says Internet 'Cesspool' Needs Brands

Says the Solution Is Quality Content; Tells Publishers and Editors to 'Increase Your Relevance'

By Nat Ives Published: October 08, 2008 MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( --

The internet is fast becoming a "cesspool" where false information thrives, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said yesterday. Speaking with an audience of magazine executives visiting the Google campus here as part of their annual industry conference, he said their brands were increasingly important signals that content can be trusted. "Brands are the solution, not the problem," Mr. Schmidt said. "Brands are how you sort out the cesspool."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt: 'We don't do content. You all create content.'

Photo Credit: Doug GoodmanWelcome words Those were welcome words for the editors and publishers who have been watching the internet draw more and more ad spending every year. Mr. Schmidt took aim, however, at the Association of National Advertisers for opposing Google's planned ad deal with Yahoo. The association has said the deal will diminish competition and help Google and Yahoo increase ad prices. "If you're going to criticize us, criticize us correctly," Mr. Schmidt said. "We're guilty of many things, but that's not one of them."

In a talk that he structured mostly as an invitation for questions and ideas, Mr. Schmidt declined to advise magazines on looking more popular to Google's page-ranking programs. "We don't actually want you to be successful," he said. The company's algorithms are trying to find the most relevant search results, after all, not the sites that best game the system. "The fundamental way to increase your rank is to increase your relevance," he added.

On the subject of print, especially newspapers as we have known them, Mr. Schmidt was decidedly gloomy. "The evidence is not good," he said, guessing that the print business will eventually comprise a smaller piece of publishers' much larger online businesses.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pearlman Resurrects Church Microphone

Source: PRO AV News ServicePublication date: October 1, 2008
By Pro AV Staff

Pearlman Microphones, a boutique manufacturer of handmade tube microphones, launched a meticulous remake of the Church mic, a revered microphone originally created by Stanley Church for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in the mid 1950s. The Pearlman replica adheres to the original schematics, including the use of the authentic Triad transformer that has been out of production for nearly 50 years.

Church served as the studio's chief sound engineer during that era, producing no more than 200 of his custom vacuum tube condenser microphones strictly for in-house use at MGM. Over the years, however, the mic's reputation and resale value skyrocketed, with originals in decent condition going for up to $20,000 on the vintage market, says the company.

"The Stanley Church MGM mic is widely considered an engineer's Holy Grail, delivering a vibe that is reminiscent of the best U47s and C12s," said Dave Pearlman in a statement. "But the original mic's transformer had been unavailable until just recently, so we're now finally able to replicate the critical combination of the original capsule, tube, and transformer. I'm also making each amplifier by hand, using all point-to-point, old-style wiring. So, essentially, I'm not recreating this classic legacy microphone--I'm simply continuing it."

Like its predecessor, the Pearlman Church mic uses a Neumann M7 (or optional K47) capsule, hand selected GE five-star 6072 dual triode, (12AY7) vacuum tube, and "new old stock" Triad transformer, currently exclusive to Pearlman.

"We put this mic up next to a couple of U47s the other day and people were absolutely freaking out about how good it sounded," Pearlman said. "They couldn't believe their ears. It's not exactly the same, of course--the mic has a different sonic flavor--but it's every bit on par with the sound of those amazing mics of yesteryear, yet available at a fraction of the price."

Encased in the same housing as Pearlman's TM-1, the new Pearlman Church mic is equipped with a handmade power supply, custom Mogami/Neutrik tube microphone cable, heavy-duty shock mount, and aluminum shipping case. Available to order, the Pearlman Church mic lists for $4,500.

Chinese Government Monitoring eBay and Skype

Sickening, but you should know they have 30,000 people monitoring your conversations...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New chip promises four separate HD streams over Wi-Fi

Most cool.

Hollywood Sues Real Networks over DVD copying.

Yawn... In their continuing effort to get paid multiple times for the doing nothing, Hollywood is suing to keep DVD's from being copied onto computers...,0,3710188.story