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OpenMarket: Tech and Telecom

  • Conservatarian Thoughts on the FCC

    June 5, 2007
    Our friend (and former Open Market editor) Peter Suderman makes an excellent free market point at The Corner today about broadcast obscenity and the FCC on the heels of the Commission's recent Supreme Court loss.
    HBO...tends to run kids shows (or movies) on Saturday morning and save the R-rated fare for later in the evening. The network could run whatever it wanted during the day, but it generally sticks to less graphic fare—not because it has to, but because it's good business. I don't see why the same wouldn't occur on networks if given the chance.
  • A Tale of Two Googles

    June 5, 2007
    Google, the company turned into a common verb, has come under fire recently because of the fear that many have of the potential misuse of the troves of data piling up at the ol' Googleplex. Although these fears aren't totally irrational, I recently pointed out in CEI's tech newsletter C:\Spin (C-SPAN for nerds) that Google and other similar companies do a great job of handling our data. Moreover, they do a much better job than the alternative guardian of our data, the federal government. Think of the mayhem! A C:\Spin reader was kind enough to point out that, while I was right to defend Google against the anti-trust regulators and the privacy hawks, Google isn't exactly an innocent party. While I think that Google is a tremendous force for innovation and has created and will create more wealth than can be measured, they do also...
  • Chronic Vague Symptom Syndrome: Wi-Fi Edition

    June 4, 2007
    There's more wi-fi scaremongering this week in The Indepedent, which cites an alleged wave of parents and school administrators in the UK who have disconnected wi-fi networks in their homes and schools. The idea that people were actually dropping wi-fi entirely because of phantom health concerns seemed positively eccentric when former CEI analysts Isaac Post and Peter Suderman wrote about it happening at Canada's Lakehead University in March 2006. Now, however, it seems the retreat from technology has become more common. I predict that a maximum of sixth months will pass before a multi-million dollar lawsuit is filed in either the UK or U.S. alleging...
  • Time-Delayed TV Popularity

    May 31, 2007
    According to Television Week's Jon Lafayette, broadcasters have begun taking note of the increasing difference between traditional Neilsen ratings vs. traditional ratings + DVR playback. Turns out The Office has one of the biggest ratings differentials, which, given its overall popularity, makes it one of the most frequently recorded shows. People who love The Office love their technology. This change, however, has left advertisers and broadcasters haggling over ad rates. While people with DVRs can fast-forward through the commercials, not all of them do. Thus, DVR playbacks add somewhat to the value of a TV ad, though no one seems to agree on how much.
    As next season's upfront ad market unfolds, some media agencies have already said they plan to buy commercials based on...
  • Partial Nudity Delays Halo 2 for Vista

    May 31, 2007

    Halo 2 for Vista was found to have a hidden part of the code containing a character which moons the player. Much like GTA's hidden Hot Coffee code, this "Easter egg" is a piece of the code, likely a joke from one programmer to another, is only accessible by someone who is very familiar with programming and has a lot of time on their hands. This should not be confused with unlockable levels or characters, which are common to many games and a completely kosher part of game design.

    That said, after the fallout from the Hot Coffee controversy, the ESRB did change the terms of the contracts that it signs with software makers to mandate disclosure of...

  • Like Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, Rachel Carson is still wrong

    May 29, 2007
    CEI's Angela Logomasini gives kudos to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Olka.) for his stand against honoring the 100th birthday of environmentalist icon Rachel Carson. Here's why.
    Carson used explosive rhetoric and junk science to advance an anti-technology agenda that turned many people against using all man-made chemicals. Most seriously, Carson inspired enough fear to prompt nations to discontinue using the pesticide DDT, even for malaria control. Before Carson completed her book, DDT played a vitally important role in the eradication of mosquitoes carrying malaria in Western nations and was making progress in other nations around the globe. This success was so great that DDT's discoverer, Paul Herman Muller, earned a Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the National...
  • Typesetting and technology

    May 10, 2007

    Today the BBC's website has an article that caught my eye, “Helvetica at 50.” No, Helvetica's not a movie star or a rock band -- it's a type font and one of the most popular type faces currently used for logos and ad copy.

    The typeface, inspired by the 1896 font Akzidenz Grotesk, was designed by Max Miedinger in 1957 in conjunction with Eduard Hoffmann for the Haas Type Foundry, in Muenchenstein, Switzerland.

    The reason I was interested is part of the history of typesetting. When I started out in book publishing, hot metal type was used with Linotype machines, and a mixture of molten metals, including lead, was poured into forms with the type laid out. The typesetters were skilled and highly paid union...

  • MSYahoo Would Be Good for the Market

    May 4, 2007
    The New York Post is speculating on the possibility of Microsoft aquiring Yahoo! This deal would deflate the notion that Google is a monopoly as the combined company would be a formidable force in the online world. I also found this aspect of the story very interesting:
    Aside from cost savings, a deal would also create opportunities to use Yahoo! content on Microsoft devices, such as making music exclusively provided to Yahoo! Music available on Microsoft's Xbox game console and Zune music player.
    The online music point is important because currently the iPod enjoys a 70 to 80 percent market share. MSYahoo! would put the Zune on better ground to be a serious...
  • Amensty International Helps Fight to Free Kareem

    May 3, 2007
    Amensty International posted this summation of the injustice that has landed Karim Amer in prison for the next four years. Karim's 'crime' has been speaking out against the policies Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egpyt, and arguing for the expansion of many rights to women. Criticism of government is a reflex in the United States, especially for CEI, but it's still a distant hope for many in Egypt and throughout the region. I'm glad to see that AI is supporting the Free Karim effort. Karim is innocent of any real crime and should be immediately freed. To help Karim, visit...
  • The Digg Revolution?

    May 3, 2007
    Websters are calling the 'revolt' at Digg an online Boston Tea Party. This is offensive to anyone who knows the history of the Boston Tea Party. The Sons of Liberty destroyed someone else's property, a very non-libertarian thing to do, but they did so to protest the unjust taxation of their own hard earned dollars and the tyrannical British rule. Besides, the British East India Company was nothing like what we would call a private enterprise. Before it was dissolved in the middle of the 19th century the East India Company had many governmental and military functions and virtually ruled India. The revolutionaries were against this kind of government granted monopoly and unjust use of power...

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