June 25, 2009

It's not often you hear your company name brought up on a popular TV show, but we heard just that in the most recent episode of TNT's 'The Closer' (episode entitled "Red Tape").

In describing the possible events that led to a police officer shooting an unarmed teenager (or possibe suspect), Lt. Tao (played by Michael Paul Chan) said it was a "syzygy." He went to give a very thorough definition of the word and how it related to the events being investigated. It happens about 10-15 minutes into the show.

Appreciate the plug, Lt. Tao.

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June 25, 2009

The Internet has rapidly impacted - negatively and positively - TV, movies, music, newspapers, medicine, technology, and so on. Essentially, there isn't an industry that hasn't had to deal with seminal changes due to the online world's growing power.

What caught my attention this week are all the articles detailing efforts by the "old guard" media players to staunch the growing practice of having materials made available online for free. The head of The Wall Street Journal railed against Google (WSJ vs. Google) and its use of materials printed in the paper. Time Warner, Comcast, and DirecTV plan to offer a subscriber-only online service that would compete with the likes of Hulu (cable TV goes online). And music's been fighting this battle since Napster and MP3 jumped up and bit them in the CD's.

There are supporters on all sides of this cube, and there are no easy answers at the moment. But it brings up a question that I've discussed with any number of people from any number of industries - what is your product worth now? This is not an absolute figure type of question, more of a philosophical take (somewhat Marxist) on why we work. Do music bands work as they do just to produce the music or do they produce the music to make a living (or even get rich)? If no one pays for their songs but 10,000,000 people across the globe listen to them via LimeWire or some other mechanism, is that worth all the work the band puts into their music? (And don't bring up paying to see their shows, it's a different argument.) If you write an Pulitzer Prize-winning article, but Google links to a site that publishes the story without paying for it, is the prize worth the effort? There has developed online a paradoxical expectation between producer and consumer that doesn't exist - for the most part - offline.

I know where I stand on the topic - how about you?

"When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?'" Don Marquis

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June 19, 2009

UPDATE:

It is a travesty ABC canceled this great show. Enjoying the final 4 episodes. Another great show meets an early demise.

"Our fridge is in porn!" That has rocketed up to my top 5 lines of all time. Series finale of the show. Noah Hawley - you have a new fan.

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June 18, 2009

The baseball season is a marathon not a sprint... well, considering the consternation the Phils home play is producing, I'm sitting out this portion of the marathon for sanity's sake.

Have reached pg 184 of "Cryptonomicon" - would help if I stuck to one book at a time but I'm re-visiting "The Sandman" compilations and started "Y: The Last Man." I know, I know, those are such "guy" reads (the Brawling Brunette can't understand why I like jumping from one to the next; it's a guy thing). For those not familiar with "Y," check out this dedicated Y blog.

Exactly a month until Ronan and Mark hit the Nokia Theater in Times Square (can you tell I'm excited?). And I owe credit to Crunch Gym for having such an eclectic music channel; I just "discovered" Silversun Pickups (they've actually been around a few years). Great melding of voices & instruments; really cool sound.

"The Hangover" is a classic. You know you've hit on something when Mike Tyson singing "In The Air Tonight" is just one of your top 5 funniest scenes.

So, as a prognosticator, I'm not very good (picked Magic & Red Wings). What a Stanley Cup final - unbelievable that hockey isn't more popular. Gonchar plays almost 14 games with a torn ACL (my friend, Johnny, played the final 6 football games with one, too); Crosby has minimal impact the entire series; and the Pens are blown out 5-0 in game 5. Winning game 7 in Detroit is probably sweeter than winning it at home. As for the Magic - talk about overwhelmed by the moment; and talk about a yawner of a finals. Cannot stand watching the NBA - I'm bored to tears.

And a quick self-promotion - my co-ed football (2-hand touch) and co-ed 3-on-3 basketball teams both won their respective championships this season. Our charities received a combined $1,000 for our efforts. Way to go Tigers and Rim Rockers. For those in the NYC area, check out how you can get involved at www.ZogSports.org

"No pressure, no diamonds." Mary Case

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June 11, 2009

Some think that if a nuclear reactor in the United States melts down completely, it will burn through the Earth's Crust, Upper Mantle, Mantle, Outer Core, Inner Core, Outer Core, Mantle, Upper Mantle, and Crust, and reach the other side. The concept was called the China Syndrome (even though the Indian Ocean is actually opposite us, the Indian Ocean Syndrome didn't sound sexy enough). Whether it could happen has been debated (not hotly) for decades. (In a bit of macabre synergy, the movie "The China Syndrome" opened 12 days before the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Spooky.)

So, what does all of that have to do with Internet control? Well, it was revealed the Chinese government has ordered PC makers (e.g., Dell, HP, etc.) to ship all machines that will be sold in China with web filtering software called Green Dam-Youth Escort (is everything green now?). The government says it's an optional software that is strictly to filter Internet pornography. As you can imagine, there are strident proponents and opponents of the software. But the situation again raises the who/what/when/why/how regarding Internet control.

In an April posting ("Technology on the leading edge..."), I talked about a bill making the rounds that would grant the President powers to essentially shut down the Internet in certain situations. In my mind this falls into the same category. The Internet is essentially homeless - servers can reside anywhere in the world, content is available from virtually any browser, and the content on sites can be uploaded from any connection. But once the content is available within a country's borders, does that sovereign nation have the right to police that content (to the extent technology makes that possible)? In the US, online gambling is the major domino - in my mind - that will provide a roadmap as to how that question will be answered. Stay tuned.

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June 04, 2009

Not too many people I know seek out disappointment, though I come close when I get my hopes up for something. "Terminator Salvation" wasn't on the level of bad as a "Wolverine," but it did plumb the depths. "Up" on the other hand is an instant classic (with thanks to the world wide leader). It ranks right up there with "Finding Nemo" as my favorite Pixar flick. Go see it.

Just started "Cryptonomicon" by Neal Town Stephenson (great middle name). Check back with me in about two months, should just be finishing.

So I've known about cKy for years, but didn't truly realize how good they are. Highly recommend you give a listen. And if you're in NYC - check out Terminal 5: The Cult will be performing "Love" in its entirety on Sept. 11. Tickets go on sale this Saturday (6.6.09).

Magic in 6 (pulling for them). Red Wings in 6 (pulling for the Penguins).

Losing Meyers hurts (regardless of how well Bastardo does - and tell me Mets fans won't have a field day with that name). The bullpen is being taxed (and underperforming); luckily the offense is clicking. Dodgers for 4; Mets for 3; Red Sox for 3; this is a tough road but the Phils seem to play their best when challenged. The team has a swagger now, though the organization's history makes it tough to truly take comfort in this team's confidence. But I like it!

"Lost" - the brilliance of this season's finale won't be known until the end of the show's run in 2010. And ABC made a huge mistake canceling "The Unusuals" - excellent show.

RIP in David Carradine. You personified unique.

"Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day." Albert Camus

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