Archive for January, 2008

Weekly wrapup, 21-25 January 2008

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Note: apologies for the sparse wrapup this week. Normal service should resume next week.

Top digital lifestyle news

That’s a wrap! Enjoy what’s left of the weekend. 

YouTube Mobile is greatly improved, but not quite ready for prime time

youtube logoThe intro screen for YouTube Mobile says it all:

YouTube Mobile is a data intensive application. We highly recommend that you upgrade to an unlimited data plan with your mobile service provider to avoid additional charges.

YouTube Mobile is ready, but not for prime time.

This week YouTube announced a welcomed improvement to its existing mobile video offerings, unveiling a new service at that will carry most of YouTube’s catalog of millions of videos.

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Warner Music sues SeeqPod, testing DCMA "safe harbor"

seeqpodSeeqPod, the novel and handy playable music search engine, is being sued by Warner Music for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), only there’s a twist. SeeqPod isn’t necessarily doing anything wrong: It is not hosting any copyright infringing music.

With SeeqPod music fans can search the Web for artists they are interested in, turning up not only official recordings from bands but EPs, rare tracks, and music recorded by fans at concerts, with varying levels of quality. Users can browse the results, create a playlist, save it, share it, and listen to the tracks right in the browser.

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FCC's 700 Mhz spectrum auction begins today; why it matters and gives us hope

fcc wireless logoGranted, the start of today’s FCC 700 MHz spectrum auction is no spectator sport. No network coverage. No $3 million ads. No pre-game shows.

And yet the auction isn’t without intrigue for you and me, although it’s more along the lines of Tammany Hall or a Dick Cheney cabinet meeting. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at AT&T, Verizon, Google, and the Federal Communications Commission, the chief players in the spectrum hunt.

For the most part, nobody yet cares about the 700 MHz spectrum (FCC table) except for teleco geeks, the tech press and bloggers, and the players themselves. It’s too early for any of this to matter at a practical, day-to-day level. But do not underestimate its importance to our lives in the long run, at least here in the U.S.

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Vudu "slashes" price again (sort of)

Vudu When Apple announced the launch of iTunes movie rentals and an updated AppleTV, most of the talk was about how it would compete with incumbents such as Netflix. But one company, Vudu, has more to fear than most.

It’s set-top movie box offering (see our full review) is very similar to the AppleTV/iTunes combination, minus additional features such as YouTube/Flickr integration and media extender functionality, but costs considerably more.

Until today that is.

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BBC Worldwide adds MySpaceTV channel

bbcworldwideThe BBC Worldwide is bringing short video clips from programs such as “Doctor Who”, “Red Dwarf”, and “The Mighty Boosh” to MySpaceTV.

The deal brings current and archived video content from BBC Worldwide programs to a MySpaceTV channel. The programming is available globally. As Mashable notes — and we must agree — the BBC site on MySpaceTV looks great. It’s more BBC than MySpace.

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Report: Yahoo may be next to offer unprotected MP3s

yahoo music logoOffering unprotected music MP3s on a download-to-own basis or as part of an ad-supported service is all the rage these days.

The Associated Press reports that — to no one’s surprise — Yahoo Inc. is in early discussions with major labels to offer MP3s free of digital rights management (DRM) for purchase or as a part of an ad-supported streaming music service.

Two record company execs familiar with the talks told the AP that Yahoo hopes to launch the service this year.

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CBS, create "communities around content", not just another music streaming site

During the announcement today, CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves said the company was looking into developing “communities around content.” “Community clearly is the future,” he said.

cbs last fm logosInteresting. What does this mean?

But first, here’s the deal: CBS and, the London-based online music streaming site CBS bought for $280 million last May, have built a site where music fans can stream any song they want for free. Well, almost for free. The site is supported by advertising.

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Forget the usual PR schtick — what is TiVo really doing?

tivo boxI expected more from TiVo chief exec Thomas S. Rogers, who recently answered a few questions from the Los Angeles Times at CES. Instead of vision, passion, direction, and confidence we’d expect from an innovator like TiVo, we got lukewarm, the obvious, and uninspiring.

TiVo has been doing some interesting things lately, evolving from what it’s known for (time-shifted digital video recording) into a company offering a wide range (and still growing) list of “television services.” In the last year or so, TiVo’s signed deals with Comcast and DirecTV, Amazon (downloadable content), RealNetworks (music), Jaman (indie content), and has begun offering video podcasts, among other services.

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Apple: iPod Touch first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform

The iPod Touch is Apple’s next generation iPod, right? Wrong.

Apple: iPod Touch first mainstream WiFi mobile platformDuring the company’s Q1 earnings conference call, Apple executives finally let the cat out of the bag and admitted publicly what they’ve known and I believed all along: the iPod Touch is potentially the “first mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform, running all kinds of mobile applications”, not just music, video and casual web browsing.

Two words stick out: platform and mainstream.

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