....LMB: "Et Tu, TiVo?"....

November 17, 2004

I wonder if successful companies will ever learn that if you change your product so that it sucks, people will abandon it?

Like TiVo, for example.

TiVo was a clever product that recorded TV shows to a hard drive rather than individual videocassettes. It had a computer inside that let you tell it what shows you liked, so it would find them and record them automatically. It even would try to extrapolate what other shows you might like and record those too, just in case. And, of course, you could skip through the commericals with ease.

Until now, that is.

As one might guess, TV broadcasters were pretty pissed off that there was this device that let people watch their shows but skip their ads. That's the whole point of TV, to sucker people into watching advertisements.

But TiVo has now removed its ad-skip techonolgy and replaced it with "skip the TV commercial but watch an ad from TiVo while you're waiting." In other words, TiVo has crippled one of its own key selling points.

This pisses me off. More and more, media companies are trying to control the technological devices that you and I purchase, limited their usefulness to increase their profits. Luckily, there are usually ways around these limits, if you care to look.

As if that wasn't enough, all your interaction with TiVo-- the programs you record, the programs you watch, what you stop to rewind and watch again-- is recorded sent back to TiVo headquarters to be sold to advertisers as marketing data.

I hope people leave TiVo in droves.

I'm not too familiar with it, but a non-/less evil alternative to TiVo might be Moxi, which appears to do all the stuff that TiVo does, plus more, plus is Open Source.

Posted by Jake at 06:27 PM | TrackBack (0)

They're producing these DVDs that self destruct now, media is instigating our lives.

Posted by: inonthekilltaker at November 18, 2004 09:10 AM

I could probably tolerate it if it was just one thirty second long commercial, but then you have to take into consideration that it's probably the SAME fucking commercial over and over again, for the entire time you own a TiVo.

Posted by: Snow Crash at November 18, 2004 01:26 PM

Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake, Jake....

TiVo is the least of it. For a guy whose web site is called 'Lying Media Bastards', when are you going to realize that televison IS the entire problem? The US population is utterly, totally, completely, BRAINWASHED BY TELEVISION. No one questions the necessity for it in our homes or lives, congress and the FCC waste vast resources regulating it, and like a bunch of zombie-robots, we suck up 6 hours per day (average American) unquestioningly. Time for you all to revisit something Frank Zappa said THIRTY F**KING YEARS AGO. A song that he performed on his only-ever network TV appearance (Saturday Night Live) - truer today than it ever was:

I am gross and perverted
I'm obsessed 'n deranged
I have existed for years
But very little had changed
I am the tool of the Government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And regulate you
I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I am the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I am the slime oozin' out
From your TV set
You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't go for help...no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold
That's right, folks.. Don't touch that dial
Well, I am the slime from your video
Oozin' along on your livingroom floor
I am the slime from your video
Can't stop the slime, people, lookit me go

-I'M THE SLIME, Frank Zappa, Overnite Sensation, 1974

Posted by: Dead Civilian at November 18, 2004 03:50 PM

Well, Dead Civilian has definitely gnawed his way through the coaxial cables!

Posted by: Miss Authoritiva at November 18, 2004 07:54 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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