CNN Poll: How Do You Like Your Congress?

cnn vote hate your congress

For international netZoo readers, yes, the United States is still a democracy in which the people elect their Congressional representatives. But, who really wants a job where they can only satisfy 5 percent? The incumbency conundrum is not as unrelenting as, say the neverending reign of a Castro or Idi Amin. Another year of nothing but procrastination, pandering to the Bush Administration, and shrugging away plans and objectives just as quickly as they’re put on the table combined with the ineptitude of the 435 two-year House terms (in other words, one year of doing nothing, and a second year of campaigning for reelection) has left us with an ineffective, corrupt, and disgraceful Legislature.

So, now it inevitably “see ya later, Joe” in Connecticut. But no matter the situation in Iraq, whose gonna speak up for our soldiersleft blind without a plan and several billion dollars short?

In the fallout of the weekend’s intel report clarifying yet again that the Iraq War has made the world less safe, President Bush’s own church, the United Methodist Church, has launched “a week of protest and civil disobedience against the war in Iraq by signing a declaration of peace urging President Bush to pull U.S. troops out of the country.”

On the optimistic side of things — Pew Internet has released Part II of their “Future of the Internet” study and according to NYT, the future is bright and green.

Can a Trademark a Day Make Apple’s Competition Go Away?

Russell Shaw takes his obsession with Apple’s “iPod” trademark addiction to ZDNet in this expose of Apple’s latest USPTO encounters and recent C&D letters to the likes of Podcast Ready for daring to use the “P” word in his article: “EXCLUSIVE: Apple Trademark Office docs point to REAL reasons for” Podcast” controversy

we have Apple, maker of the iPod, trying to get right with the Trademark office about achieving formal Trademark and related mark protections for iPod AND its sought-after IPODCAST applications.

Not only would this restrict ANY individual or company from using the term “podcast” or “podcasting,” it would also put a lock on, for example “iPod socks,” not to mention T-shirts declaring “iPods suck.”

Dave Winer proposes a start-up idea for a “real podcast player” that would put Apple’s DRM to shame.

AOL/Netscape’s Jason Calcanis is rightfully dismayed: “Anyway, Apple didn’t come up with the concept of Podcasting but they have benefited from it immensely.”

Former MSFT evangelizer Robert Scoble wonders if team Apfel will up and sue his new employer, Podtech.net

Todd Baur at the Apple Blog asks if Apple is going to sue the framers of the Constitution for proposing the First Amendment: “When the iPod was introduced, no one would have associated pod with an MP3 player. Now that the little guy has become the king, there is no argument that the term is almost synonymous with music players.”

Warner to Send Videos Thru YouTube

woutube is warner plus youtubeIn a potentially groundbreaking move for the music / entertainment industry, Warner Music Group is set to announce an deal to distribute copyrighted content through the video upload/download/streaming megahub, YouTube.

Details are still emerging, but interesting provisions have already been leaked regarding the preemption of inevitable remixing and mashing. YouTube has apparently developed royalty-tracking software that promises to “detect when homemade videos are using copyrighted material.” Somehow, the technology will enable Warner to maintain ownership control and “review the video and decide whether it wants to approve or reject it.”

“Technology is changing entertainment, and Warner Music is embracing that innovation,” said Warner Music Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr. “Consumer-empowering destinations like YouTube have created a two-way dialogue that will transform entertainment and media forever.”

An interesting twist to a weekend that began with Universal Music Group’s head, Doug Morris, flat-out cursing out YouTube and similar Web sites as “copyright infringers.”

Read the entire A.P. article (source).

MORE: TechCrunch, PaidContent. Buy the rumor, sell upon the news?

UPDATE: NYT’s article quotes Sonific CEO Gerd Leonhard:

“The record companies are realizing their game is completely lost in terms of controlling the market,” Mr. Leonhard said. “Digital sales aren’t picking up as they should. If they don’t play ball now, they’re going to sit by themselves while everyone else is using their content for nothing.”

PLUS: Peter Kafka in Forbes on the adolescence of YouTube.

Universal Threatens to Sue YouTube, MySpace

No surprise here. As if NBC/Vivendi/Universal is not already getting enough free pub and promotion from the UGC-oriented social networking and video sharing Web sites alone, now they’re getting double the love after threatening to sue YouTube and MySpace over copyright violations.

Universal Media Group Exec Doug Morris: “We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars.”

Making the issue sound even more ridiculous, Morris proceeds to say Universal is just adapting from experience, saying: MTV “built a multibillion-dollar company on our (music) … for virtually nothing. We learned a hard lesson.”

This is a blatant misunderstanding of the law, as the infringers would be arguably those who download the music/video, not the sites that unknowingly host it (and would be quick to remove it, at least in the case of YouTube, if an argument was filed).

Does Morris blame FM radio for coming along and broadcasting cuts from records other than or in addition to the singles he pays them to play? I do wonder.

LINK

USC’s GeoDec Project: At the Crux of 3D Visualization and Privacy Concerns

The Geospatial Decision Making visualization/simulation project is one of many research focii at the University of Southern California’s Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC). GeoDec conflates various data on a 3D desktop application which extends upon Google Earth-like technology to provide advanced temporal data integration.

The inherent value of innovations like GeoDec as journalistic tools are rivaled by the intense privacy issues they present as online, desktop and handheld applications on the cutting-edge of 3D visualization and real-time multimedia data.

GeoDec as a technology and concept is mind-baffling, difficult to describe in English, and worthy of poignant headaches in my aim to comprehend it. I admire the work of the numerous faculty, staff and countless hours/years several Ph.D. students have invested in the project and their willingness to teach me about it. (list of people involved here).

One example of GeoDec in action is real-time tracking of USC’s tram system on a 3D virtual map of the campus. Where is the most convenient tram to my location right now? This is infinitely useful data — not only as applied to transportation, but as applied to, let’s say, mashing up video and sensory data of a live wildfire with real-time weather conditions, etc, to predict its path.

But when it comes to real-time — and video — privacy alarms abound. No matter how much grant and research money is infused into such innovation, it’s impossible to look past the intrusion issues. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. I’m not gonna look it up nor do I really wants to know how many cameras would capture me while strolling the streets of Los Angeles, London, or New York. Granted, much of the video is eventually scrapped and even more is never seen by a human eye.

But with the GeoDec interface, it is possible to call up specific geographic areas or points and view a time lapse video stream for a given time period. A 360 degree shot of Disney Hall, archived and animated — you can get that from Google Earth. But a 360 shot of the Coliseum after the USC-Nebraska game with live video — this is where GeoDec gets, lets just say, provocative.

I’m interested in thoughts and feedback, as well as suggestions for deeper research — both for the GeoDec team, and for my dissection of exactly what the project means to the future of journalism.

Brochure: http://infolab.usc.edu/projects/geodec/GeoDecBrochure.pdf
Web site: http://infolab.usc.edu/projects/geodec/index.jsp