David Kirkpatrick

November 5, 2009

Selectable Output Control — Hollywood v. the consumer

These battles are growing very, very old. You’d think Hollywood would’ve gotten the message from the RIAA’s brainless battles against the digital world that this is going to solve very little to nothing, but the blowback can and will be significant. Just another entertainment dinosaur howling and thrashing at the changing world of smaller, nimbler and smarter competitors.

From the boing boing link:

Alex sez,

The battle over your home entertainment equipment is heating up again and the time to make your voice heard is now. Hollywood wants the FCC to grant the studios permission to engage in so-called “”Selectable Output Control.” SOC is a tech mandate that would allow movie studios to shut off video outputs on the back of your cable box and DVR during the screening of certain movies over cable.

Also from the link:

Yes, you read that right. The studios want the right to randomly switch off parts of your home theater depending on which program you’re watching. And the FCC is taking this batshit proposal seriously.

So do something.

Tell the FCC to Say “No” to the Cable Kill Switch (Thanks, Alex!)

June 3, 2009

Wednesday video fun — Captain Kirk loop

Bill Shatner’s graced the “video fun” post before, and here’s an interesting and unusual entry.

I’ll let the text from the boing boing post where I found this video do the explaining:

LA Weekly reviews the screening of a Daniel Martinico’s 15-minute movie, Khaan!, which is a loop of James Kirk winding up to scream the name of his nemesis in The Wrath of Khan. The two-minute clip above, according to reviewer Mark Mauer, “doesn’t begin to do justice to the size, sound and hypnotic power of the real thing.”

Last week Machine Project in Echo Park showed Martinco’s 15-minute meticulously re-spliced creation in a never-ending loop that transforms the moment from one of anguish (or snickering for the the audience) into a meditation, maybe even a mantra.

March 14, 2009

Health insurance and entrepreneurship

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:26 pm

Not certain if I completely buy this concept, but I have to admit it’s very interesting and may well have merit. I’m of mixed-mind in terms of any version of “universal” health-care. The current system is not working. Insurance as an industry is not truly serving its customers and far too many people are without health insurance.

For the next few weeks I’m included in that number, and over my career as a freelancer I’ve rarely been covered. When I have been it’s been on the coattails of my spouse.

From the link:

Even younger startup owners who are relatively healthy and have insurance are just a half-step from disaster. The insurance industry is in the business of not paying claims whenever possible, after all, and health insurers are working hardest to find ways not to cover people who might get sick even as they deny as many claims as possible from people who’ve been paying premiums.

The day we have national health care is the day that we unleash a wave of entrepreneurship the likes of which we’ve never seen before. That’s one of the best reasons for moving toward such a system.

February 6, 2009

Tim Berners-Lee on the semantic web

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:06 am

Very cool bit from Mark Frauenfelder at boing boing on the man who invented the World Wide Web and his latest project, the semantic web.

From the link:

Today, he has the same problem. People have a hard time understanding his new project, the Semantic Web. The Web was about putting your documents on Web. The Semantic Web is about putting your data on web.

From my Tech Review article about TBL:

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW: For several years, you’ve been promoting something you call the Semantic Web, but people don’t seem too excited. Why not?TIM BERNERS-LEE: It’s not the first time I’ve had this paradigm-shift problem. Early on, people really didn’t understand why the Web was interesting. They saw it in the smaller scale, and it’s not interesting in the smaller scale. Same thing with the Semantic Web.

TR: How do you get past that?

B-L: Right now we are just starting by putting applications onto the Semantic Web one by one and linking them up where it seems useful. But what’s exciting is the network effect. The vision is that we will get to a critical mass, where everything starts getting linked into an unimaginably large whole. Then, the incentive to add more to it rises exponentially as the value of what is out there also does.

Because few people initially get this great “aha!” of connecting to a huge mass of Semantic Web data, it all has to be done by people who are convinced — who understand that it’s worth putting the effort into getting the thing off the ground.

The technology is “linked data.” (Linked Data is a catchier term than Semantic Web. But is Linked Data part of the Semantic Web or the new name for the Semantic Web?) The cool thing about Linked Data is the relationships. He wrote an article called Linked Data a couple of years ago.

Why is linked data important? Curing cancer, understanding economy, global warming. A lot of the state of the knowledge of human race is stored in databases that are not shared — stored in “silos.” Now they are linking the data, bridging across different disciplines. “When you connect data together you get this huge power out of it.”

January 6, 2009

RIAA afraid of light of day

Filed under: Arts, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:39 pm

One more reason to oppose the losing battle the RIAA seems determined to keep fighting. I love the recording industry and hate to watch what this dinosaur in its death throes is doing in terms of public relations and sector growth.

At this point the RIAA needs to be euthanized and the labels ought to get together and create something that works in the 21st century. The old guard had its try and failed miserably.

From the Boing Boing link:

Campaigning law prof Charlie Nesson wants the whole world to see how the RIAA shakes down students, so he’s asked for the proceedings to be webcast. The RIAA wants to hide under a rock:

A Harvard Law professor representing some students sued by the recording industry for illegally downloading music has filed a motion to broadcast online the proceedings of two cases being heard by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.The professor, Charles R. Nesson, argues in the motion that to stream the court proceedings over the Internet — or as the students put it in their request, ‘admit the Internet into the courtroom’ — would help the public understand the legal issues at play in the industry’s lawsuits against thousands of computer users, many of whom are college students.

December 7, 2008

Leaf-imitating creatures

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:38 am

This site is astounding. I’ve seen bits and pieces of these insects, frogs, fish, etc., that imitate leaves for camouflage, but this is one awesome clearinghouse of YouTube clips and photos.

Thanks much to Buck Denton for putting this together. Do check the whole thing out.

Here’s a leaf mantis:


(via boing boing)

November 29, 2008

Canadian internet access?

Filed under: Arts, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:11 pm

Not so much.

Here’s an informative post from Cory Doctorow at boing boing titled, “Canada’s Internet is crap.”

Good thing a Democrat won the Oval Office this year or all those hippies who’ve been threatening to move north for the last eight years would have to deal with sub par net access.

From the link:

Every time I think about moving back to Canada some day, I remind myself of how miserable the national Internet infrastructure is — and how awful the big telcos are, and how weak-kneed and ass-licking the telcoms regulator is — and I realize I can’t possibly move home. The Internet’s where I live, it’s how I earn my income. Living on Canada’s Internet would be better than living on China’s Internet, say, but that’s a pretty low bar to hurdle.

1. Last week the CRTC sided with Bell against a group of small Internet Service Providers who want to offer their customers unthrottled connections where what they download is their own business and not subject to interference.

August 17, 2008

The latest Bigfoot claim

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:39 pm

I first read about this bit of nonsense here at BoingBoing. Follow that link to more information on two Georgia hunter/hoaxers who “found” a bigfoot corpse that amazingly looks just like a well-known Sasquatch mask.

Cryptozoologists have been all over this story, and in their typical scientific rigor have completely ignored many, many red flags attached to this latest “finding.”

Here’s the PhysOrg take:

Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer claimed before a crowd of sceptical reporters that they were hiking in a northern part of the US state of Georgia in June when they stumbled upon a body near water.

“I recognized it was unusual right away,” Whitton told the press conference in Palo Alto. “The first thing that pops into your head is that it’s Bigfoot.”

The body was said to be seven-feet, seven-inches tall and weigh more than 500 pounds. The men claimed to have stored the body in a freezer.

Photos of the “corpse” were posted at http://www.searchingforbigfoot.com. Advertising on the Web page Friday offered Bigfoot T-shirts and films.

Reports of Whitton and Dyer’s “find” appeared across national print and US media on Friday, with many experts suspicious of the men’s claims.

Jeffrey Meldrum, a prominent Bigfoot expert and professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University told Scientific American.com he doubted the find was legitimate.

“I’m extremely skeptical about this bigfoot claim,” he said. “What I’ve seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim. It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect.”

Bigfoot, also referred to as “Sasquatch,” tells of a gargantuan, elusive furred creature that walks upright and lives in remote forests in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada.

Georgia is in the country’s south.

Many scientists believe Bigfoot is folklore instead of fact.

Biscardi says he has been tracking Bigfoot since 1971 and speaks of his efforts on an internet radio show.

August 14, 2008

Thursday video fun — Robert Tilton, televangelist

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:59 pm

BoingBoing had a … , well, excited post about the “farting preacher” back up on YouTube.

The preacher in question is Robert Tilton, a crazy, money-grubbing, speaking-in-tongues, disgraced more than once maniac who operated his heyday out of the Dallas area (notice the 214 area code in the clip) during the late-80s/early-90s. He was something special to catch late at night.

If you’re in the Dallas area you can see his erstwhile complex just north of 635 on the east side of I-35. His “ministry” was called Word of Faith and he had a huge billboard of sorts painted on the side of an old grain elevator.

(Update — Maybe not on the building. This is from the Wikipedia link above, “The church building was purchased by the city of Farmers Branch in 1999 for use as a future civic center; however, the economy suffered a downturn and the plans were scrapped, and the building was finally demolished in 2003 to make room for a new youth hockey center.”)

This thing was put together years ago. I remember watching copied VHS versions a long time ago. A great takedown of a very deserving piece of work.

Anyway, here’s the fun — Robert Tilton, the farting preacher.

July 27, 2008

Sunday video fun — the Martin Jetpack

Filed under: Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:57 am

Have you been wondering where all those cool jetpacks we’ve been promised for decades might be? This little beauty, the Martin Jetpack, is going to debut at next week’s Oshkosh Airshow.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

June 17, 2008

Ethernet cables for $500?

Filed under: et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:37 am

I’ve blogged about audiophile lunacy before and this certainly isn’t the worst example out there, but it seems Denon is marketing some ethernet cables to audiophiles for a whopping five hundred dollars.

From the Boing Boing (second) link:

The people who sell super-expensive cables are on the march from Audiophileland to Nerdasia. Are we ready for the onslaught? First up: $500 ethernet cables from Denon!


IP is what we usually send over these cables, error-corrected from end-to-end. This means, generally, that throughput, rather than quality, is what drops with interference or long runs—the networking cards perform integrity checks on incoming packets and ask for re-sends if they’re imperfect.

From a standard computing perspective, then, this cable is outright robbery if what you use it for involves ethernet networking, with routers and computers and what-have-you.

April 3, 2008

Domestic aspect to John Yoo’s torture memo

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:17 am

I’m sure the interested web surfer has found plenty of information about the now declassified “torture” memo authored by John Yoo.

Here’s a Boing Boing post oulining a chilling domestic aspect to the memo. The Bush 43 regime essentially gutted the Bill of Rights on US soil.

The post:

Bush administration: Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to domestic military operations

Danny sez, “Following on from the memo allowing torture overseas, Kurt Opsahl from EFF has spotted a footnoted reference to a memo from the Administration that says ‘our Office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.’ So, if you’re abroad and deemed an enemy combatant you can be tortured. If you’re in the US, and you’re caught up in a “military operation”, you lose the bill of rights. Where exactly is the constitution supposed to apply?” Link (Thanks, Danny!)

April 1, 2008

Amazing CGI flash animation

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:43 am

This is one impressive bit of flash animation. The link goes to a CGI image (maybe layered photos rather than CGI according to the discussion at Boing Boing) that tracks the cursor with its — er, her — eyes. As the Boing Boing post below described the animation, it’s “creepily lifelike.”

Hat tip to this Boing Boing post:

I’ve got no idea what the story is with this awesome CGI Flash woman, except that she appears to have been created by a Brazilian design firm, and that she has made every person I’ve shown her to say, “Oh. My. God.” Link (via Kottke)

March 4, 2008

Seth Godin lectures the music industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:48 am

Seth Godin did a presentation on the music industry for recording executives. Here’s a link to a transcript of that talk.

I’ve blogged about the recording industry, the RIAA and some solutions being bandied about, and I think Godin has some interesting things to add to the conversation.

From the transcript:

The next thing we talked about, this technology wasn’t as good as we hoped when we started. And it’s had a lot of side effects, the biggest one of course being it’s digital. And once you make it digital, all of a sudden the math changes. Because, it used to be if I gave you my record, I didn’t have my record anymore. And now, it’s if I give you my record, I still have my record. And that’s different. I’m not saying it’s better, I’m not saying it’s worse. I’m not saying it’s moral, or immoral, I’m just saying it’s different and we got to accept that. And, one of the side effects of that is that something has fundamentally shifted here. Now, I’m going to give you a little bit of a preview which is, I think the internet is the new radio. And I think we’re needing, in the record business, people in the record business are going to have to think about the fact that, that might be a really good thing, not a really bad thing. And, we’ll come back to that in a minute.

The next idea is this idea that American Top 40, Casey, I don’t even know if he is still alive but its doesn’t matter so much anymore. And the reason it doesn’t matter is because of something called the long tail. I don’t know if you’ve read this book, you should go out and read it right now, you can read it in 45 minutes. And what Chris Anderson [author of The Long Tail] pointed out is this, if I look at Netflix, what I see is that Netflix rentals, half of them are products Blockbuster doesn’t even carry. If I look at Amazon sales, half of Amazon sales are products that are unavailable in any Barnes & Noble store. If I look at the iTunes music store, half of iTunes sales are titles that you could not buy if you went into any record store. What happens when you give people an infinite number of choices in any genre, polka, doesn’t matter, they spread out. And two things occur. One, they go down the tail and start finding what’s just right for them, and two, sales go up. And so what this means is that the very structure of “how do we force as much attention as we can to the top 40” is actually the opposite of what leads to more consumption.

And then the last one, you’ve seen it before, is this idea of suing the very people you’re trying to talk to is unfortunate.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

February 28, 2008

Thursday video fun — Bullfrog ballet

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:14 am

From the Vancouver Aquarium 

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

February 27, 2008

Beautiful nanotech image

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:28 pm

A tip of the hat to Boing Boing for pointing my browser to this awesome nanotech photo and short bit from Wired.


As described in the article:

An array of ZIF, or zeolitic imidazolate framework, crystals that were photographed by a robotic microscope using polarized light to show detail. ZIF crystals are the primary substances that Yaghi and his crew develop. The nicely formed and innately beautiful crystals at left await further testing in the lab. The finer specimens may be individually mounted and imaged using X-ray crystal diffraction.

February 26, 2008

Tuesday video — wind turbine self destructs

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:24 am

I found this video of a wind turbine self-destructing at Boing Boing.

 This second video of the same event was posted in the comments of the Boing Boing post

February 22, 2008

Rotten Neighbor dot com

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:28 pm

I’m with Boing Boing’s Mark Frauenfelder. Nothing good can possibly come of Rotten Neighbor dot com.

Here’s some sample posts chosen by Mark (he stripped the names):

hot neighbor, San Diego, CA

hot guy ignores me. i tried being sweet. i tried being assertive. i tried downright full on suduction. he just blows off my advances like he dose not even know i am hitting on him, but really i know he is just mentally torturing me, that is why i am warning you all. i should just get over him but he is sooo hot!

The **** Family, Frisco, TX

**** and **** need to leave Frisco with their tail between their legs. they have caused two homeowners to go into foreclosure because they won’t pay the rent. the people have caused many people heartache and frisco would be better off without them. Go back to Tarrant County **** ****!

drug addicts, Akron, OH

a guy named **** lives here with a poor excuse for a spouse & 2 unfortunate children. he’s a bad meth abuser & smokes crack. keep your children away from this house

Horrible Neighbors Everywhere, Glastonbury Center, CT

Too many whining and complaining *****y neighbors throughout building. They need to mind their own business and go about their lives… Seriously, if you don’t like condo living then get the f— out!

noisey during sex, Honolulu, HI

there is some lady in my building who has loud sex on saturday afternoons. she lives on the pool side of our building and it is embarrassing hearing her loud moans while the kids are down at the pool.

mean old lady with no life!!, Austin, TX

this women has nothing better to do then yell at myself and y famil, thinks she owns the block, tries to get us in trouble with the police, city hall, etc. you name it she has tried it!! the women has no life, hateful, nasty, even does things to little kids!! physco!! we are her whole mission in life and that is really sad!!

home wreaker

a 22 year b**ch lives here, she’ll lay down with anyone, especially if he’s married, established, and as old as her father. keep clear

From the site’s “About” page:

RottenNeighbor.com is here to help. It’s the first real estate search engine of its kind, helping you find troublesome neighbors before you sign the paperwork on your new house, condo or apartment. RottenNeighbor is the largest site anywhere in the world covering the neighbor space, and we’re certain you’ll agree that the value it offers is unmatched anywhere else!Use RottenNeighbor to:

* Get access to detailed maps of states, counties, cities and neighborhoods, all searchable by zip code

* Find important neighborhood information by searching the site’s user-provided data

* Help others by uploading your own good or rotten neighbors to our database

February 19, 2008

Tuesday video fun — awesome domino run

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:08 pm

Okay, I usually limit video posts to the weekend but this one demands instant gratification.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

Antikythera Mechanism mystery solved

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:59 pm

A long-time mystery has been largely solved

Some of the mystery surrounding the Antikythera Mechanism, a mechanical computer recovered from a 2100-year-old Roman shipwreck near Britain Greece has been unravelled. The device was an astronomical calculator — and it employed a differential gear!

Hit the link for more of this Boing Boing post.

Update 7/31/08 — Looks like this device has ties to ancient Olympic games.

January 29, 2008

Lego bricks turn fifty

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:50 am

Sadly I somehow missed this. The patent approval for the original Lego brick turned 50 yesterday.

I don’t mess around with them as much as I should (you know, it’s therapeutic or something), but I proudly own multiple large blue tubs of various basic pieces.

January 16, 2008

The entertainment industry and P2P networks

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:28 am

Here’s a Boing Boing post that includes a link to a longer article on Portfolio.com. The gist is an interview with Harvey Weinstein covering Hollywood’s take on P2P networks and piracy.

Certainly any solution to online sharing of digital content isn’t clear because currently that sharing is taking money out of the pockets of all involved, including your favorite music artists, filmakers and actors.

The problem is the recording industry (and now the movie industry) through the RIAA and MPAA are so hamfisted and stupid about tactics they’ve already lost the war and don’t even know it. The business model completely changed out from under their noses, they missed the bus and now are left shaking fists and filing lawsuits.

All this is accomplishing is creating a generation who not only know what the RIAA and MPAA are, but very actively hate both organizations.

Going back a number of years, consumers wanted high quality easy-to-access digital files with no restrictions on usage, time shift, media shift, etc. The “industry” didn’t offer consumers what they wanted because the industry saw easily copied files (with no quality loss) as a genie to keep in the bottle.

Consumers let the genie out of the bottle themselves, and now the creaking dinosaurs at the RIAA and MPAA have no idea where to turn. My guess is artists (particularly musicians) will continue to explore distribution techniques that cut the big guys out of the loop altogether.

This is already very prevalent, and I’m sure it scares the pants off the very groups that at one time held all the keys to entertainment market.

Weinstein in this interview shows just how out of touch he, and the rest of the entertainment industries (largely music and movies) really are. When asked by the interviewer if he sees any use for P2P systems, Weinstein answered, “No.”

Uninformed — really just clueless — moron.