Particle Debris (week ending 3/27) Twitters, Shudders and Shivers

On Monday, I saw an article that questioned the Wall Street Journal's take on Netflix. The WSJ thinks that the studios will negotiate tougher deals with Netflix and that could cause margins to drop. That's because streaming movies, so far, have been catalog items that have low value. As Netflix seeks to modernize its streaming content, studios will charge more and Netflix will make less money. No so fast, says Dan Frommer at Silicon Valley Insider, and I tend to agree with Dan.

Also on Monday, Seth Weintraub delved into some of the things that Apple didn't talk about at the iPhone 3.0 event, but which various developers have discovered. More disclosures like these are likely to emerge as developers dig into the new SDK.

On Tuesday, I read about a new competitor to boxee called ZeeVee. For now, it's PC only, but the developers are promising a Mac version. (Heard that before?) Personally, I'm finding these kinds of apps unfocused and explained why earlier in the week. Too much flexibility and not enough focus -- and focus brings value.

The next item is not something I usually talk about, but it does indirectly affect all of us on the Web and in print. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D., MD) has proposed that, because we are losing our print newspaper industry, that they be allowed to operate as non-profit organizations. Well and good. The public's interest might be served by that. Be he has a catch in mind. Forewarned is forearmed.

Blockbuster, asleep at the wheel for the past few years, has finally emerged from its sleepy time and now plans to rent and sell movies in partnership with TiVo. Too little, too late? But, hey, we'll see how it goes.

In the "so what did we expect" department from Car Talk Plaza, politics and money are starting to play a role in Twitter, according to the L.A. Times midweek. Leo Laporte was immersed in it, and Dave Winer thinks that Twitter is now too important to be left to its creators. Fun reading, even for non twitter fans.

Meanwhile, the ever productive Dan Frommer reported on the six features Twitter users would be willing to pay for. They're all very good ideas. It's a sign Twitter has really taken off when discussions like this get started. I'm betting Twitter won't look at all like it does now in 12-18 months.

On Thursday, Wendy Davis at Online Media Daily summarized he legal situation regarding commenters to articles and other electronic posts. The issue is whether anonymous commenters can be unmasked and held responsible for their possibly libelous remarks. Ms. Davis noted that "Arizona, California, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia -- have said that online commenters are entitled to safeguards before being unmasked." Other states have yet to weigh in.

John Dvorak, the tech writer some love to hate, has come up with a sober, intelligent commentary on the uses of Twitter. His column was posted at PC Magazine earlier in the week, but I didn't log it until later. Those who are still skeptical about the utility of Twitter should read "Nine Ways to Use Twitter."

The good news is that the RIAA has halted new lawsuits against individuals, saying it's not good for their image. (Why this didn't occur to them years ago, no one knows.) The bad news is that they want to work through ISPs to identify and possibly suspend accounts of users who download music illegally. That's put some ISPs, like Comcast, on the firing line, and the company recently had to squirm out of a misunderstanding.

On Thursday, Tom Yager wrote a review of the new Nehalem powered Mac Pro that will have you drooling and shivering with anticipation. I mean, seriously, if one is going to buy a desktop computer, shouldn't it have more processing punch than a notebook computer? Mr. Yager is most persuasive. If you've been toying with the idea of settling for a new iMac with a Core 2 Duo, you won't after you read this review.

Finally, as I heard it, Sony executives were exposed to this video at an executive conference to gear them up for the next few years. As Mac users, we believe we are on the cutting edge. However, the challenge of exponential growth in knowledge and technology must leave some executives shaking and shuddering in disbelief. This is a fabulous video for all of us.