website hit counter June 2005 - Posts - Chris Lanier

June 2005 - Posts

Vacation Time!

Vacation time has come! Starting today I get to drive home (7 hours), then fly to NC on Saturday, then drive to TN on Sunday, thn fly back to TX on Wednesday. Almost too much work to consider it a vacation, but I think I will manage. =)
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CNET Recommends My Blog?

CNET Newsburst | I’ve noticed some clicks from CNET Newsburst in the past, but the other day I visited the site to see what it was all about.  Newsburst is basically a web-based RSS Aggregator.  Nothing new or extremely exciting there, RSS is all over the place.


What got my attention was when I clicked on their Recommended Sources link to find non-other then my blog listed!  The most interesting part about that is where I’m listed and who else is associated with those categories.


I’m listed as a Recommended Source for news on Microsoft!  In the same group are none other then Mary Jo Foley (Microsoft Watch), Joe Wilcox (Microsoft Monitor), and Robert Scoble (Scobleizer).


I’m also listed as a Recommended Source under the Tech Blogs category.  In the same group as Doc Searls, Tim O'Reilly, Mark Cuban (Blog Maverick), and Dan Gillmor!


Just and interesting tidbit there!  And I'm sure if you use Newsburst to read my blog your thinking I'm crazy for just now realizing this, but that's okay.  ;-)

Jason Dunn Not Exactly Happy With CD Copy Protection

My First Experience with a DRM Protected CD | “I put the CD into my computer and immediately a MediaMax installer pops up. I thought it was some lame "enhanced media player", so I declined the EULA installer - and it ejected the CD. Shocked How curious! I put it back in, left the EULA installer open, and fired up WMP10 to rip the CD. After the first few tracks ripped, I listened to one - and it was a mash of skips and distortions. My first DRM'd CD! I looked at the CD case, and sure enough, there's a paragraph on the back of the CD that explains that the CD is protected against "unauthorized copying" and the software needs to be installed in order to play the CD on a computer. It played fine in my wife's car, but you have to install the MediaMax software to listen to it on a PC - and you can't rip it. Interestingly enough there's also no CD logo anywhere on the case - Philips must have revoked their logo because it's not a compliant CD.“


I ran into the same type of thing a new weeks ago when I picked up the new Foo Fighters CD.  A press of the Shift Key later and it ripped fine.  If you have installed the software, System Restore in Windows XP will remove it and then you can rip it following the steps in Jason's post.

Mark Cuban Q&A on Grokster Verdict From Gelf Magazine

Mark Cuban on Grokster Verdict (Gelf Magazine) | ...


At first glance, it would seem that the Supreme Court has dealt Mark Cuban, who helped fund Grokster's legal team, a pretty severe blow. But Cuban says the Supreme Court focused on how the technology was marketed, and not the technology itself, and thinks that the ruling will stem any moves by Congress toward passing laws that could potentially be even more restrictive of technology.  Cuban spoke to Gelf about the case, whether his money was well-spent, and why one reaction to the ruling is "lame, brain-dead and foolhardy." Here's a snip:


Gelf Magazine: Is this a major victory for the entertainment and recording industries?


Mark Cuban: No. It's a major victory for lawyers everywhere. The entertainment industries didn't stop anyone or anything. The amount of illegal file-sharing didn't change a bit because of the ruling, nor will the industry be able to change anything as a result of the ruling. They just got the right to sue some people-Grokster et al-who don't have any money. That's not a victory. They may take license and try to sue technology companies that they feel present a threat to them. Honestly, that will be worse than suing students and grandmothers because it will be obvious what they are trying to do and it will rally all the technology companies, venture capitalists, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs against them because of the inherent threat to their businesses.

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Media Center 2005 Database Query Tool

MCE Database Query Tool (Daniel Pollard) | Haven’t had a chance to play around with it, but check it out!

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BT Goes With Microsoft IPTV Edition

BT Selects Microsoft TV as Software Platform for TV Over Broadband in the United Kingdom | Microsoft Corp. and BT today announced BT’s intention to use the Microsoft TV Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) Edition software platform to deliver TV over broadband in the United Kingdom. The announcement further strengthens Microsoft’s continued commitment to working with the world’s leading network operators to bring next-generation television services to consumers.



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VC-1 on Every HD-DVD, Windows CE on Every HD-DVD Player?

Microsoft and Toshiba Strengthen Relationship | No, that’s not exactly true.  However, for HD-DVD Microsoft’s VC-1 is a mandatory codec which all players must support (video can be MPEG-2, VC-1, or H.264) and now Windows CE will be powering Toshiba's HD-DVD Players.

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Grokster Loses File Sharing Fight

File-Sharing Networks Can Be Held Liable, Court Rules |  "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties," Justice David H. Souter wrote for the court.


Watch for comments from Mark Cuban in the near furture on the issue.


Update: Kaboom! | Cuban just posted his comments about the ruling.  You can also read his previous post, Let the truth be told…MGM vs Grokster, where you can get the point-of-view of an intelligent content owner.

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Dianne Feinstein Doesn't Get It

Dianne Feinstein on the Broadcast Flag: Idiot or liar? | This is the response to her constituents in California in regards to the Broadcast Flag.


Thank you for writing to me about the digital broadcast flag. I appreciate hearing from you.


I feel strongly that we must prevent the theft of copyrighted works, and that includes digital television (DTV) programming. As we move forward in the digital age, it is increasingly easy for unauthorized copies of copyrighted works to be made and illegally distributed. Over-the-air digital content is the easiest to pirate.


As we contemplate the use of new technologies to protect copyrighted works, we must pay careful attention to ensure that a balance is struck between competitive protections and individual consumer interests. It is important to allow for the continued fair use of copyrighted material, even while we seek to stop unauthorized reproductions from being illegally distributed outside the home and over the Internet.


Again, thank you for writing. Please know that as the Senate considers legislation of the broadcast flag, I will be sure to keep your views in mind. If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact my Washington, DC staff at (202) 224-3841.


You can seek (and succeed) in stopping piracy without killing our fair use, and that’s the only thing the BS (I mean, BF) does.  If you live in California (Thomas), I would do my best to ensure that this is Dianne Feinstein last term as your senator.


Note: Titled Edited.  Still waiting for anyone to be able to explain how the BF can be enabled and still allow for “fair use”

Longhorn Gets RSS Support

Microsoft to Deliver RSS Support to End Users and Developers in Windows “Longhorn” |  Microsoft Corp. today announced support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) in the next version of the Microsoft Windows operating system, code-named “Longhorn.” The RSS functionality in “Longhorn” is being designed to make it simple for end users to discover, view and subscribe to RSS feeds, as well as make it easier for developers to incorporate the rich capabilities of RSS into their applications. In addition, Microsoft announced Simple List Extensions, a set of extensions to RSS that can be used to enable Web sites to publish lists such as of photo albums, music playlists and top 10 lists as RSS feeds. Microsoft is making the specification freely available via the Creative Commons license, the same license under which the RSS 2.0 specification was released. The announcement was made in Seattle during Gnomedex 5.0, an annual conference for technology enthusiasts and industry influentials that focuses on RSS, blogging, podcasting and other new media models.


Other Sources/Comments/Videos:

Microsoft’s RSS Platform: The What (Microsoft Monitor)

Microsoft’s RSS Platform: The How (Microsoft Monitor)

Microsoft’s RSS Platform: The Why (Microsoft Monitor)

Longhorn (heart) RSS (Channel9)

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MPEG-4/AVC or VC-1 for IPTV Networks?

HDTV Pushes Telcos Toward MPEG-4 | Light Reading is reporting that most of the North American telcos are looking towards MPEG-4/AVC instead of Microsoft's VC-1 for use in IPTV.


…so far, encoder vendors report a clear preference among North American telcos for the MPEG-4 codec. In fact Alcatel America CTO Kenny Frank told Light Reading that Microsoft TV customer SBC Communications Inc. doesn't plan to use Windows Media 9 in its IPTV network, preferring MPEG-4 instead.  European operators, sources say, are split evenly between MPEG-4 and Windows Media 9.”

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The Media Center Show #14

The Media Center Show #14 - Eirik Solheim | 23rd July 2005 (1hour 7min 42sec) - MP3 - 23.6MB (Download Here)


This week Ian Dixon talked with Eirik Solheim.  Eirki did a great roundup of the different media center platforms on his blog so he shares his experience with The Media Center Show.  He is also involved with the Norwegian TV industry so will get his take on the digital media issues affecting the TV industry.


Also, get your Media Center development questions answered from Michael Creasy.  Send questions to


Remember, Vote for The Media Center show on Podcast Alley!

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NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder Platinum Trial

NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder Platinum Trial


Release Notes

  • Windows Media Player 10 and Media Center Edition, added seamless playback of ATSC and DVB transport streams in both SD and HD formats.
  • Improved the smoothness of HD MPEG-2 material for Windows Media Player 10.
  • Windows Media Encoder 9 - added support for UVYV output formats
  • Set Smart de-interlacing control setting as the new default.
  • Implemented a method for catching bad edits (gapping time stamps) from 3-2 film, and soften them in Smart mode. This helps eliminate the combing effect in some scenes of the “Making of the Big Lebowski.”
  • Implemented support for inverse 2-2 mode.
  • Numerous compatibility fixes, click here to view the Release Notes

System Requirements

  • Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional, or Windows XP Home Edition
  • DirectX 9.0 or higher
  • Windows Media Center or Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher for DVD Playback
  • DirectShow compatible software for MPEG-2 file playback
  • A DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) compatible graphics processor, such as GeForce 7800 GTX.
  • DVD-ROM drive required for DVD viewing
  • TV Tuner is required for TV viewing under Windows Media Center and must meet the Designed for Windows XP Media Center Edition logo requirements
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S1Digital's Media Center Just Lanuched

S1Digital's Media Center | S1Digital has just launched their first Media Center Edition PCs, and they look great!  The first thing I noticed when I visited their website is how everything is clearly laid out, explaining exactly what you can do with a Media Center PC.  Prices of their units start at $2000 for their Gold Edition and $2500 for their Platinum HDTV Edition.  Check them out.


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Microsoft Watch Weighs In On Emerald

XP Media Center 'Emerald' Nears the Finish Line | Notable quotes...

  • "Adding features like native digital cable support would be useful and make the platform more compelling. The other (features) would make the user experience better," said Michael Cherry, Senior Analyst at Directions on Microsoft.
  • But "calling (the pending release) an 'upgrade' is potentially misleading," Bott said. "Windows XP Media Center Edition is only available as an OEM product. If someone is already enthusiastic about Media Center, they will probably want this update (which I suspect will be made available as a free update package). If they're ready to get a new Media Center PC, this will be the one they're able to buy. So the upgrade decision isn't that big a deal."
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My Movies 1.37 Released, 2.0 Currently In Development

My Movies for Media Center 2005 | Some HTML changed on IMDB which broke the data loader as of yesterday or today (depending on your time zone), 1.37 fixes that issue.


Brian has also started commercially licensing the source code, which is a good move in my mind.  Instead of charging for the product to end users, charge to license it to those who want to use it commercially.


Features planned for My Movies 2.0 include…

  • .NET Framework 2.0 based.
  • SQL Server Express 2005 database based instead of Microsoft Access.
  • Photos and Covers in database (Allows easy backup and copy of the database)
  • Easy Client/Server installation.
  • Filters (Create your own filters to pick movies from, based on contents of the database)
  • Multiple discs (Add a single title, holding more than one disc)
  • Series (Create series, and have them hold more titles)
  • New database design with optionally a lot more information about the movies.
  • Option for others to create additional data loaders as plug-ins.
  • Adding and removing of titles from Media Center interface.
  • Monitoring folders for automatic movie adding.
  • "Edit collection" interface to be replaced by "My Movies - Collection", a much better collection management tool.
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Ed Bott Says I’m Wrong About CableCARD and Media Center

When will HDTV over cable come to Media Center? | Just a few notes on Ed’s post…

  • First off, I hope so!
  • A CE device being hacked is much different to the industry then a PC.  A PC is “open“ from the start.
  • The bit on Multichannel News is actually leaning me to having HDTV support in MCE.  However, the article was published weeks ago and nothing had been announced by Microsoft, Cable Labs, or any hardware partners.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out in the next few months.  =)

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