Particle Debris (week ending 3/6) Featured Videos and the Borg Mind

Even though this was posted a long time ago, I was just introduced to it this week. Ever wonder who could beat the world champion texters? How about a 150 year old technology called Morse code. Jay Leno hosts the competition here. An iPhone probably wouldn't have helped the texters.

On Monday, I saw how the U.S. Supreme Court is finally being dragged into the 21st century and having to grapple with the YouTube era. It's the see-for-yourself society we live in. Or at least, see what others have prepared for your eyes.

On Tuesday, I read that Comcast is rolling out DOCSIS 3 in the (San Francisco) Bay Area with 50 Mbps service to homes. But it's gonna cost you US$139.95/month. At this kind of speed, a standard definition movie can be downloaded in 5 minutes. The DOCSIS 3 standard is capable of 150 Mbps.

I suspected that the Kodak Zi6 and Flip Mino cameras wouldn't be the only pocket camcorders on the market for long, and I was right. This new one looks very interesting, the JVC GZ-X900. It boasts iTunes compatibility, h.264 video, removable storage cards, image stabilization, what looks like a removable battery, 1080 x 1920 video and a 9 megapixel still camera. It's about the size of a large cell phone, and I think I want one. Here's a little more. The bad news? US$1,000, and available in June.


JVC camcorder

JVC GZ-X900, June 2009, ~$1K

One sign of fast changing technology is that it both titillates and terrifies executives. They want all the money but none of the enablement for consumers, and how they handle that challenge defines a company. Last week, executives got together to talk about just that: Internet enabled TVs -- and digital downloads. While the industry waffles and wrestles, consumers wait for a vision to emerge.

Apple has a vision, but outside the cooperation and the context of the industry as a whole, Apple's vision remains truncated. It takes a Steve Jobs to manage that challenge.

It's not just a technical challenge. It's a demographic challenge. Fine shows like Life on Mars and Eli Stone get cancelled thanks to low ratings, but the people who object note that the networks are catering to idiots instead. The only way around this is paid-for, personal, customized channels, and only the Internet can deliver that. The cable and satellite companies better get a clue fast. At least Tom Seleck's On Thin Ice shot to near the top of the Nielsen ratings last Sunday. There's a clue.

Earlier in the week I wrote an analysis of the Safari 4 beta and noted some command line fixes to return to well regarded features that Safari 4 drops. It didn't take long for someone to come out with a GUI app to fix that: published Safari 4 Buddy on Wednesday. I've tried it, and it works fine.

Boxee is fighting back against the Luddite stand by the networks to block Hulu from their service. An assessment, along the lines of what I mentioned above, was published by a familiar name, Dan Frommer, at Silicon Valley Insider on Friday. He goes into the reasons why Hulu did what they did and how boxee is, for now, fighting back. Good reading.

Here's another video that was published a long time ago, but escaped my attention. It's a musical lament for the passing of FireWire 400. James Snider, the spokseperson for the IEEE 1394 Trade Association told me that he's astonished by the emotion surrounding the issue. Perhaps FireWire 400 is one of those technologies that's more than the sum of its parts.

FireWire 400 Lament

Smule has taken the world by storm, but I never saw this video until All Things Digital made it the Featured Video for today. With creative things like this enabled by the iPhone, RIM and Microsoft's Windows Mobile are doomed. Just doomed


As a prelude to my closing, I noted on Friday that there are now 77 million active Websites. TG Daily published a list of the oldest Internet domain names, an interesting chart showing the growth of domains, and a neat snapshot of what looked like back in 1997. Oh, how quaint.

Finally, I'll close with a thought that landed on me on Friday. This is the first real Internet recession. The superb communications we have of every kind is a great thing, but also has the capacity to send information, dosed with fear, at the speed of light throughout the blogosphere, Twitter, e-mail and Websites.

A decade ago, all we had was Tom Brokaw and the Wall Street Journal. Our own actions -- indeed our ability to launch packets of fear thorough the aether -- were limited to phone calls to parents and friends. That gave the economy time to heal and, with blessed isolation, a chance for financial markets to correct themselves of their own accord. In the military, this modern, Internet driven, rapid response is called getting inside the enemy's decision cycle.  Americans, with the Internet, are inside Washington's decision cycle, and it's having a similar, disastrous effect.

For example, nowadays, when a GM auditor sneezes, we all know about it in seconds and the Dow Jones drops 250 points as everyone jumps on the Internet with E-Trade and bails some more. As a result, the subspace field burns with rumors and nervousness, preventing a more natural return to normalcy.

The one thing that might save us is also a weakness: Our National A.D.D. problem. Soon we'll all just get bored with the misery, then we'll just will ourselves out of the recession. I can feel it now. Strrreeeetch. I feel better already.