Corn Farmers Against Piracy

03.11.12 - Mark

In the whole NBC dropping iTunes / iTunes dropping NBC shenanigan the other day, bloggers started point to these comments that NBC made to the FCC on the subject of piracy and it has some great boneheaded comments like

Would the government permit Federal Express or UPS to knowingly operate delivery services in which 60-70% of the payload consisted of contraband, such as illegal or stolen goods?

Because of our nation's interlocking economy, two-thirds of the lost earnings and lost jobs are in industries other than motion picture production. For example, in the absence of movie piracy, video retailers would sell and rent more titles. Movie theaters would sell more tickets and popcorn. Corn growers would earn greater profits and buy more farm equipment.

You know, I think that somehow, those poor corn farmers will survive. They've got some really competent lobbyists on their side. On the other hand, I'm really tempted to go out and register cornfarmersagainstpiracy.org

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Petty Bickering

19.51.36 - Mark

Apparently NBC and Apple are bickering over video on iTunes, with NBC saying they're not going to renew their contract (which expires at the end of the year) with Apple because they want to bundle Movies with TV episodes, jack up the pricing and throw more DRM at non-existent problems. Apple meanwhile is more than happy to let NBC screw themselves.

There are a few things to note in this little mess. First, at $1.99 the networks are making a decent wad of cash. I haven't dug up the numbers recently, but for an hour long prime time TV broadcast the network will make about $.60 per viewer selling advertising spots.

I'm sure what's bugging some idiot executive at NBC is that they can't price the iTunes videos the same as the inevitable cost of the same episode of DVD. While things like Heroes, Studio 60, and other broadcast shows might sell for just under $2 / episode in a box set, some of their cable properties like Battlestar Galactica, Psych, or Monk are well over $2.50 an episode (BSG is over $3.50 an episode on DVD). There's a certain understandable logic in that argument, but it's flimsy at best.

iTunes videos are low quality, limited to a couple of devices, and lack all the special features you get in a DVD box set, so in reality iTunes videos are, bluntly, a rip off already. Jacking the price up any is stupid, but pushing it up to, is one article has placed it, $5 an episode is just shy of mugging your customers and leaving them for dead.

Personally I've got bittorrent.

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Curling over in pain

19.16.01 - Mark

I'm getting pretty interested in curling, for an olympic sport it seems the most geek friendly - i.e. not overly athletic and very reliant on physics and strategy - kind of like pool on ice. Unlike some of the events, I could see myself trying curling (and kind of want to), but NBC's coverage of the Curling matches is abysmal.

Fred Roggin, NBC's curling anchorperson is almost spending more time talking about food and making bad puns than talking about the sport, not that he seems to have any clue about the sport. One night when he was talking to the president of one of the larger Curling clubs he threw out a handful of bad dates, contradicting his expert guest as well as verifiable sources, then after the very brief discussion on curling, he proceeded to hand his guest a ridiculously stupid loaf of bread with a crescent roll jammed into it (hee hee hee, it looks like a curling stone, hee hee hee) Then went into some segment on how those loafs of bread were being made. If I want to watch food TV, I'll watch food TV, if I want to watch Curling, I want to watch Curling.

Other times Fred has talked about pizza, and how the American men's skip (captain) is using his free time in Italy to eat as "research" (because he owns a small pizzera - which is getting so much free advertising from these clip its not funny)

And his puns are terrible. In the brief moments when Fred makes a sad attempt at explaining the sport he resorts to really, really bad jokes. When he talked about the brooms used, he mentioned hog hair pads as a type of pad many curlers like, "although" Fred quiped, "the Hogs feel differently". When talking about the modern brooms being used at the olympics, he talked about the synthetic pads and the carbon fiber handles, reminding his audience that "we can all use more Carbon Fiber in our diets".

Having seen some of his interviews with Curlers, and him giving them those stupid loafs of bread, its a wonder that no one has forced one of those Carbon Fiber rods down his throat.

Overall NBC has been doing a great job with their olympic coverage. The anchors they have for most events have been lively, energetic, and informative, even entertaining. I've even willing to give the Curling anchors a little bit of slack because Curling isn't exactly the most active and energizing, but there are zombies that could provide better Curling coverage than Fred.

As proof that you can derive entertainment from curling, check out Jonathan Coulton's 20th Thing - Curl, and to help gain some understanding of the sport , see Wikipedia's Curling article

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