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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Great Divide

Tuesday
November 8, 2005

News came out yesterday that both NBC and CBS plan to release on-demand, pay-per-view programming of first-run television shows. Survivor, ER, etc. will be available the following day from its original airing... but for the cost of 99 cents.

I mention this because it concerns me with how this could impact the DVR (Digital Video Recorder.) The Supreme Court's landmark 1984 ruling in the MGM vs. Betamax case, which allowed for the private use of VCRs for fair use recording of television shows, has already been damaged by the horrid Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Now with this new technology, the DVR could be shown as something that could cause harm to the profits of the big networks, and that worries me. Fair use rights are trampled left and right as it is, and with TiVo recently revealing that it has the capacity to implement time limits on recorded programs... it seems to me that dangerous precedents are being set.

Today I visited BlogMaverick.com, which is the weblog of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. On there he talked about a venture of his called IceRocket.com, which is a search engine for blogs. On a whim I did a search for my name, and surprisingly I found quite a few entries. One of the most recent was this one, which talked about something I had written concerning the Variety Hits radio format. I found the whole thing quite fascinating.

One downside is that I can't get Ice Rocket to crawl my website here for its blog section. Why? Because I don't have this site set up for RSS (Real Simple Syndication) or XML (eXtensible Markup Language), and I haven't yet figured out how to get it to work the way I want it to work for that. I know it can be done, and I think it can be done without too much trouble, but the reality of the situation is that I've been too busy lately to give it the investigating it deserves. I know that there are external sites that you can route pages through to "transform" them into XML code, but that flies over my head a little bit. I'm a guy who still codes everything for my sites by hand; I use DreamWeaver for the Bubba The Love Sponge websites, but that is by necessity, and even then I would be a dead man without my hand-coding background.

The new CD by Death Cab For Cutie, titled Plans, is incredible. Amazing. Inspirational. As of this writing, you can listen to their new single, "Soul Meets Body", on their MySpace site. The entire CD is great, and it's well worth the purchase price. It's $13 and change on Amazon.com; click here for the details. If you like light/pop sounding rock at all, you should love it (and you can listen to previews of all of the tracks on that page.) Plus if you're already ordering something, you can get it with Free Super Saving Shipping, which is a win-win situation.

I've seen Death Cab twice in concert before: at the Exit/In in Nashville, November 2003 and at Masquerade in Ybor City (Tampa), October 2004. I regret not having gone to see them in Orlando last month, but sadly I missed out on the info that they were playing there until after the fact. Damnation! I'd love to hear some of the new tracks from Plans performed live in concert.


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