The God Machine

FCC's Powell declares TiVo 'God's machine'

LAS VEGAS -- The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a new convert -- to the personal digital video recorder faithful. "My favorite product that I got for Christmas is TiVo," FCC chairman Michael Powell said during a question and answer session at the International Consumer Electronics Show. "TiVo is God's machine."

If Powell's enthusiasm for digital recordings of TV broadcasts are reflected in FCC rulings, the entertainment industry could find it difficult to push in Washington its agenda for technical restrictions on making and sharing such recordings.

Powell said he intended to use the TiVo machine to record TV shows to play on other television sets in his home, and even suggested that he might share recordings with his sister if she were to miss a favorite show. "I'd like to move it to other TVs," he said of his digitally recorded programming. A number of products already allow that. [...]

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a relationship of trust, dependency, and rubber hoses

U.S. Asks Judge to Deny Terror Suspect Access to Lawyer, Saying It Could Harm Interrogation

In a new court filing, the government disclosed that Mr. Padilla has been under interrogation by military personnel for several months. The government said letting a lawyer into the process "would threaten permanently to undermine the military's efforts to develop a relationship of trust and dependency that is essential to effective interrogation." That could "set back his interrogations by months, if not derail the process permanently."


Bar Monkey

What those crazy nerds are up to in the dorms these days:

The Bar Monkey, simply put, is a vending machine that serves mixed drinks. It houses 16 reservoirs which currently contain the following ingredients: [...]

Using these 16 ingredients, a total of 188 different drinks can be made, with the included ability to add ounce increments of each ingredient to customize (or create) a drink. The drink database is easy to update and nearly infinitely expandable. [...]


Strange World

The SciFi channel is re-running a series called "Strange World". Apparently I'm the only person who ever saw it, and it has been long-since cancelled, but it was really good, you should watch it! It was very much like the X Files, except minus the UFOs and aliens: conspiratorial mysteries based in more realistic science (genetic engineering, etc.)
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Clash of the Bastards

MPEG-4 backers protest Microsoft license

So let's get this straight:

  • The MPEG-4 "open" "standard" (creative uses of both words) is so encumbered with patents that to use it, you have to pay 25¢ per decoder, and 25¢ per encoder, to make use of it.

  • Microsoft undercuts them by charging 10¢ per decoder, 20¢ per encoder, or 25¢ for both.

  • The MPEG-4 consortium cry foul because "the interest of consumers is best served by open standards."

This is another one of those, "who is more evil, Union Carbide or Phillip Morris" situations, isn't it?

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