Monday, December 31, 2007

What Did the RIAA claim about ripping?

There was another dustup this weekend over RIAA. It was originally spawned in early December by this Slashdot post which found this gem in a lawyer's brief:
Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies...
Is the RIAA really claiming what most of the commentariat has written: "illegal to rip CDs" and "personal compies are illegal," etc.?

As I (a non-lawyer) read the excerpt from the brief, the issue is not simply ripping the files as mp3s, but ripping them and storing them in a shared folder. Can someone take a deep breath and put those two clauses together? Is the loathesome RIAA really arguing against ripping, which surely comes under Fair Use, or against sharing what you've ripped, which in RIAA's view, is simply inviting people to steal it.

Mickeleh's Take: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance but the surcharge of freedom is not crying wolf every time the RIAA sneezes.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

How to User FlickrFan with iPhone

Open iTunes, Select iPhone from the sidebar and then follow the same steps as outlined in my post on using FlickrFan with AppleTV.

Mickeleh's Take: Apple. Consistent U-I pays off.

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How to Use FlickrFan with AppleTV

I had a couple of inquiries about how I set up FlickrFan to work with AppleTV. Here's how:

To use Photos on AppleTV, you need to sync it with with one of the computers on your home network. I'll assume you've done that.

From the computer that is sync'd to AppleTV launch iTunes. (This is counter-intuitive for many. You'd guess that you'd manage the photos in iPhoto. But it's iTunes that is the master ap for AppleTV. It's a similar U-I to sync'ing with iPhone)

In the iTunes sidebar navigation, select AppleTV and then select the Photos tab. (By the way, you can select iPhone from the sidebar and follow these steps to sync your FlickrFan feeds to your iPhone. It's a tethered update, not a wireless sync, but still... it's cool.)

There's a pop-up menu that manages which photos get downloaded from your computer to your AppleTV. The two choices are to select some albums from iPhoto, or to point AppleTV to a specific folder on your hard disk drive. Select Choose folder...

Then navigate to screenSaverPics inside your Pictures folder. This is the folder where FlickerFan places the photos it downloads from Flickr and the AP.

Each feed appears in its own sub-folder.

Click the button for Selected Photos. Check the ones you want on your AppleTV. In the lower right of iTunes click Apply, then Sync. (The other choice puts all of the photos into one collection. Using this choice lets you be selective in your viewing. And you still get the option to view all.)

Allow a few minutes for the transfer (depending on the speed of your local network). and Voila!

The feeds are there ready for TV viewing. You can look at the whole collection or any individual folder.

Mickeleh's Take: So easy, even a marketing dink can do it.

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Thanks to Dave Winer, my TV has a New Channel

My TV has a new channel this morning, thanks to Dave Winer, the Associated Press, and a bunch of my friends on Flickr. The channel shows photos—from the news and the lives of my friends. (In case you're wondering, that's a news photo above. Not from the lives of my friends. Back off NSA.)

As timing would have it, the debut of this channel today is dominated by distressing images from Pakistan related to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. (but without the inane gibbering of the cable news anchors.)

After a teasy weekend of buzz building, Dave Winer released the beta FlickerFan, a neat new product that will download photo albums from friends on Flickr and/or the news photo feed from the Associated Press—or any other RSS photo feed.

First round is Mac only and pre-wired to work with the Mac OS Screen Saver. There's huge potential beyond that, which, no doubt, will keep Dave and other clever coders busily digging for a while.

I like the promise of FlickrFan. It's built on a solid, stable code base and web standards, that Dave has been refining all century. I'm having fun with it. I wish Dave much success with it.

That said.

FlickrFan had one of the most bizarre intros I've ever seen--Robert Scoble webcast the first authorized demo from his Qik channel (is that pronounced kick or quick?) from his magic telephone—you heard me. His telephone. Amazing audio quality. Pretty darn good video quality. Another miracle of modern technology.

Gathering an audience with breathless hyperbole on his blog that promised a TV revolution, Robert launched into what seemed like an unplanned, unrehearsed demo. FlickrFan was not well served by being munged in with a bit of AppleTV, Media Center, and Xbox bashing, countered by the promotion of Mac Mini, browsers on TV. All of that is what politicians call "off message." It does nothing but provoke an audience to take issue with you.

Making things worse, the Qik channel had a come one, come all, anonymous chat widget that unleashed the evil wise-cracking gremlins lurking in many visitors. The chat got ugly fast.

You'd think Scoble would have absorbed the basics of how to do a good demo by now.Show the product... what it does... why you'd want it. Above all... plan and rehearse. What will you show? What will you do? What will you say? In what order? It can be loose. It can be off the cuff and conversational. But it can't be chaotically random.

The way Scoble pitched it, the price of admission was--trash your Xbox, put your Apple TV on eBay, buy a Mac mini etc. All for a free download that shows photos. Hmm.

At one point Dave called in to offer some live demo coaching. He didn't seem happy.

For what it's worth, I haven't trashed my AppleTV. I'm synching it with a folder on my G5 where FlickrFan is running. I set it up in about 8 minutes. I'll be sending Dave lots of feedback.

Mickeleh's Take: FlickrFan is a simple free download (for now), easy to install. It adds a bit of a good and a nice to my life. I'm a FlickrFan Fan

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