Archive for December, 2007

RIAA against CD ripping

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer. The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings,writes WashingtonPost.

I hope RIAA goes to hell. It’s as simple as that. As someone put it well:

“Making a copy on your computer is part of the normal process of playing a CD on an MP3 player – not fundamentally different from making a copy of the music in the RAM of an anti-skip CD player as part of the normal process of playing the music. I’m willing to defend the notion of copyright and the reasonable rights of copyright owners, but this is going too far in my opinion (and it’s stupid – by the time they argue that buying a CD and ripping it for your iPod is as illiegal as pirating the album, people might as well save the money and pirate stuff).”

Maybe the cause of this stupidity is indeed what this Stanford uni professor (and board member of Creative Commons) said: that both sides of the fence are going into extremes to piss each other off now, without any logic behind their decisions.

Tigers and Ethics

I have enough archived HD footage of the San Francisco zoo tiger that this past week got out of its cage, killed a teenager and hurt two more people. Some of you might have seen parts of that footage on my zoo video.

Tonight I got a message by a fellow videographer telling me that I should try and sell my footage to the news TV channels. I replied that this would be a bad idea, and he replied “why? why is this bad?”. And this is what I replied back to him:

“It is inappropriate because it’s an exploitation of the current unfortunate situation. IF I had been selling that footage for months before the accident happened, that would have been ok. But selling it now, after and because of the accident, that’s greedy and it shows a low quality person.”

I hope more people think about their personal ethics before they do the things they do. In the specific situation everyone lost: the tiger got shot, the kid died, two more visitors got hurt, the zoo was closed for days. Everyone lost. And then, here I would be, the smart-ass prick, selling footage and be the only one who gains something from it. Sorry, but no sir. I like my conscience to be clear as day. If shooting and selling footage was my job, I would have pursued a sale, but not under the current conditions.

Update: It’s amazing that there are such low IQ people in the world. Now the guy calls me a hypocrite, because my Vimeo Zoo video uses footage from that tiger. No matter that this video was put together MONTHS before the incident and so it has nothing to do with the ethical dilemma I posed… That guy is so unbelievable! He is either 10 years old, or someone with an IQ below 80. “He will pray for me”, he said… What a fucking joke.

Cellphone usability

Occasionally I’ve been asked which phones I believe they have the best usability. I’ve tried over 30 phones in my time as a reviewer in the past 3 years, so here’s my opinion on what’s intuitive:

Sony Ericsson’s non-smartphone OS tops the list, with Series60 from Nokia being close. Everything else in that market is mediocre IMO. In the touchscreen market, iPhone kicks everyone’s ass. PalmOS and Windows Mobile can kinda compete because they have been in the market longer than anyone else so they have fixed some mistakes over the years, but overall, Apple got it right, right off the bat. The funny thing is, that I consider UIQ having the worst usability of all touchscreen systems I ever tried (even worse than some half-baked Linux systems I’ve seen out there). Sony Ericsson bought UIQ this past year. And they went from having the best smartkey OS, to the worst touchscreen OS. Nice going SE.

LG KU990 Viewty

UPDATE: A video grabbed by the Viewty, downloadable higher quality VGA version here.

I will be reviewing the Viewty on OSNews in a few days, it’s an interesting competitor to the iPhone. Is it as good though? Here’s a screenshot from the touchscreen system, rendering OSNews in windowed and fullscreen modes. The browser used is a 2005 version of Obigo (the company behind Obigo is out of the browser business for a year now btw).

More RED footage

Some amazingly-looking footage from the RED camera can be seen on this site. I especially like the “Engagement Clips” here. Looks great on an HDTV.

Samples by the New Wave of Videographers

I published an article on OSNews with some of my favorite video clips out there, created by video enthusiasts. Solomon Chase’s “Rainy Day” remains my favorite such clip ever. Canon should send the guy a check, a lot of people bought the HV20 because of this clip alone.

Regarding brain doping

You might have heard that the latest fashion is brain doping. In a world where the most intelligent or best performing employees get the most benefits, it appears to be “wise” for some people to dope themselves to equally compete in the workplace. The reason this is not illegal (yet), it’s because these pills are prescription medication and there are no conclusive studies (yet) if they are truly harmful or not.

I am personally a purist when it comes to medicating oneself, so I dislike drugs in general. However, I can understand people wanting to perform better. That’s how our competitive society is built. So I can’t hold this against them, although I am concerned that doping the brain is the same as over-clocking your CPU. Eventually, it will crash, except if your brain is actually built by mother nature in a way that can handle this pressure.

However, I gotta say that it doesn’t make sense to dope humans forever. Instead, allow some gene manipulation so the next generations are by default more intelligent than us. When we have the technology for something like this, of course.

Casinos of Reno

Happy holidays everyone!

We just came back from vacations in Reno, NV. I shot 25 minutes of video there, that translated to 2 minutes of a presentable video clip. I hate casinos btw, but hey, they make nice flashy videos. HD version here.

General computer stupidity

We are currently in Reno,NV and i only got with me the nokia n800 to use with the hotel’s wifi service. This blog post message is written with the n800 too, painfully slowly. So, while using the file manager, it automatically picked up smb connections from other users in the hotel. It didn’t ask me if i wanted to search for computers in the network, it just did it. There are a bunch of people with sharing on! I did not open their files but there were a lot of documents there that *obviously* belonged to the company that employs them (filenames). Such is the ignorance of some computer users. And this ignorance can put honest users into legal trouble, just because their device automatically connects to network shares. I hope nokia is listening and adds a checkbox preference for that feature or only search if someone hits the ‘shared’ virtual folder – the same way mac and win do it.

And yes, even if these folders are shared, connecting to them it’s still considered ‘computer intrusion’ according to the law, because obviously this was not intended by these clueless users.

I am an aunt

Cogratulations to my little brother and his wife in Greece for becoming parents of their first child, a 3.3kg daughter. My parents are grandparents for the first time, and very happy too. This was the first time i wish the iphone had mms support so my brother could send me a pic of the baby right away.