Category Archives: Technology

TV Isn’t Really Free, You Know

This doesn’t actually seem like a bad idea:

Starting August 15, Fox will offer its next-day Hulu options only to subscribers to the Dish Network (or Hulu Plus). Non-subscribers will have to wait eight days to watch the shows, even though in regular, not-Internet life, those with and without the Dish Network can watch Fox programs on DVRs whenever they please, with equal impunity.

New York is operating under the assumption that this move is irregular — but chances are, it’s something all of the networks have been discussing together, or in their own silos.

And why not? TV viewers are beginning to expect that they can watch shows the next day on the internet — and networks are getting very little out of that. Charging a bit for that capability is probably where all networks are headed.

Granted, I may be biased as I’m a happy Hulu Plus subscriber (it’s a critical supplement to Netflix in my cable-less household), but the service is fairly cheap and well worth it.

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A Praise Chorus (For Amazon’s Cloud Player)

I’m on my feet
I’m on the floor
I’m good to go
And all I need is just to hear a song I know

At 10 (!!) years old, Jimmy Eat World’s best album, Bleed American holds up almost shockingly well. It only had one hit, “The Middle,” and that isn’t even close to the best song. I’m sure you remember the video: At a party full of underwear-clad hot young things, one couple manages not to succumb to the pressure to strip down, and instead leaves the party together, fully clothed.

I was reminded of my affection for this album today while browsing Amazon’s MP3 store, where in the last 24 hours I’ve purchased more music than I have in the last year. This is thanks to Amazon’s new Cloud music player (Amazon account required, but of course you have one), which is available via browser and has an all-too-convenient app for Android. There’s no Apple store app, duh, since it would compete with iTunes.

As you probably know, a cloud player circumvents the need to carry music on one’s phone or tablet. This is pretty sweet, since my Android phone doesn’t have much space on it, and switching out music is tedious. And while I have a lot more room on my new Motorola Xoom (it is awesome, by the way), the convenience of the cloud player still beats having local copies.

Downsides? After the initial free 5gb of storage, you have to pay for more. It comes in tiers from 20gb up to 1000gb, and it costs a dollar per gig, per year. There seems to be an unannounced promotion right now where if you purchase an MP3 album, it bumps your storage up to 20 gigs for free (for a year). But the biggest downside is that’s possibly too easy to spend money. You can purchase music on the fly, and even more clever, music purchased through the store doesn’t count against your storage space. The interface on both browser and app are snappy and easy to use, as well.

Smart, smart planning. Couple this with the free streaming Amazon is offering to Prime members, and it’s clear they’re really trying to put a dent in both Apple’s and Netflix’s market shares. And while I’m a bit of a Google acolyte who was waiting on their cloud player, it’s pretty exciting to have another option — especially one that integrates with my life so well. I’m definitely curious to know whether Google will let the Amazon app co-exist with its own, whenever it comes out.

My praise for Jimmy Eat World, it should be noted, comes with a caveat. The album’s still very much of its time — but for my money ($5), it’s the best album of the alt-rock-pop-late-90s/early-aughts.

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“Hello Our Dearest”

I get the sweetest spam to my CAP e-mail address:

Hello Our Dearest,
Warmest greetings to you.We know that our mail will be suprising to you since you do not know me and my brother. Please, we are very sorry if we disturb your privacy.

The letter goes on to offer the recipient 25 percent of $6.2 million if one can “provide an account” for these orphans to transfer the cash to, from the Ivory Coast. Occasionally, I’m tempted to respond, because I’m very curious about what happens next. Obviously this is a scam to take money from the recipient’s account, but it amazes me how frequently these messages hit my inbox.

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My Very First GChat

Inspired by this most excellent post at Thought Catalog about the social implications of GChat, I decided to go back into my own archives, where I have 6,280 chats saved. The moment occurred on June 19, 2006:

2:33 PM me: hey dad
2:56 PM Keith: hi…bye

A great moment in father-daughter relations, for sure.

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How I Know We’re Living In The Future*

Choire Sicha marvels, hilariously, at the Chase bank app that allows you to deposit checks using your phone:

SERIOUSLY I just DEPOSITED A CHECK INSIDE MY BANK WHILE BEING INSIDE MY OWN HOME, by taking “pictures” of the “check” with my “smart phone” and then suddenly the “money” is “in” the BANK. (Well okay it is “pending,” and if they “accept” it then I just get to “destroy” (their word!) the check?

When I moved to D.C. about six months ago, I had to open a Bank of America account because Chase wasn’t in the area, and I had to deposit my first paycheck. (By the way, I still don’t understand why direct deposit doesn’t happen immediately.) My roommate had a Chase app on his iPhone, and I lamented that there wasn’t one for Android.

Choire’s post reminded me to check the Android market to see if there was now a Chase app, and lo and behold, there now is!

The point of this is to say, one of the few drawbacks to Android is that it has a limited app selection (actually, it’s the only drawback). But in six months of Android phone ownership, I’ve consistently found that major apps are becoming available. Essentially, the question is no longer: “Why isn’t there an Android app for that?” It’s now become: “When will the Android app for that be available?”

This is a sure sign that businesses are recognizing Android ownership is on the rise, and considering the OS is available on all carriers, they can get deeper market penetration by offering apps on other systems besides iOS. This will change a bit when Verizon gets the iPhone — there are certainly people holding out for it — but it’s encouraging to see that apps are being developed for multiple systems.

*My mom, on the other hand, suggests that this is a sign of the Last Days.

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