Monday, August 20, 2007

Copowi is Cool

Well there's no single important piece of news recently, so I thought I'd just use my main topic today to heap praises on Copowi, a new ISP that has promised net neutrality no matter what legislation gets pushed through. They're at the mercy of the existing telcos though as they obviously don't have fiber of their own out there. Of course, they have higher prices as well, and they're banking on the audience of users who aren't taking price into consideration. Heh, an interesting policy, right? Still, I think enough geeks may care about this cause to give them support. Are people really happy with their current broadband connections? I know I have unexpected, unpredictable outages, often at peak times because the connection is just inundated with users since Time Warner and Comcast and such are such cheap, greedy bastards. I think people would definitely pay a premium for quality service, and net neutrality would then just be an added bonus. There are certain niches where brand loyalty is important, and I think we don't have that in ISPs mainly because everyone hates them. If you change that though then you may have something to really run with.

This is interesting: Microsoft is licensing its audio watermarking technology to a small company in Seattle making its money off of similar technology. The idea? Free, ad-supported music. I'm not exactly sure how it would work, but it sounds like the watermarking would provide some targeting, and would likely bring up privacy concerns. I'm not going to cry foul until I see some solid use cases here.

In a very interesting move, Paramount and Dreamworks have decided to ditch Blu-ray for just HD-DVD, depriving the Sony-backed format of such titles as Transformers and Blades of Glory. Definitely not good news for Sony, but since HD-DVD is still playing catch-up, it isn't near bringing us to a definitive winner.

The Silicon Valley has decided to bring social networking to adult entertainment in the form of Zivity. It sounds nuts, but I'm genuinely intrigued by the concept (note that I didn't say this is the first Web 2.0 porn site, but it's quite different from Suicide Girls). They're going to give you high quality, free pictures of girls clothed, and you can pay to take the clothes off, and then you get a certain number of votes to give bonuses to the models you like best. This is strange because it's pretty racy and it involves significant investment, but it sounds like it tries to reward models and photographers appropriately, at least.

An MIT spinoff is trying to manufacture a chip with 64 processors involving the mesh architecture being researched at UT Austin by Dr. Doug Berger and Dr. Steve Keckler, both brilliant guys, in TRIPS. Can someone shed some light as to how they were able to fabricate this chip so quickly? In any case, I bet that TRIPS will come out with something even more powerful, but more useful for research than the mainstream.

There was only one piece of movie news I really wanted to bring up today, the teaser trailer for Harold and Kumar Go To Amsterdam where they're really running from the law as they're mistaken for terrorists. I'll admit that it's better than I would've thought, but it still leaves me skeptical.

Now for a bit of Monday Madness:

1. How many desktop computers in your home?
Just one, but I have on in Austin as well.
2. How many laptops?
3. What kind of internet service do you have? (i.e. phone modem, dsl, etc.)
4. Do you tend to use more than one email account regularly?
Yeah, Gmail and utexas, but both are controlled via my Gmail.
5. Do you use email as a main source for communicating to your family and friends?
Not exactly. I use IM or Facebook more frequently for family/friends my age, and the phone otherwise. I still use e-mail, just not primarily.
6. What kind of computer monitor do you own (flatscreen, or other)?
A 19" CRT in Austin, a 17" LCD in Houston.

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