Digital Village Radio
July - September 1999 Programs
9/25/99Mika Salmi of AtomFilms. The egalitarian nature of the Internet is allowing more and more filmakers to show their work to more and more people. Our guest today was Mika Salmi, Founder and DEO of AtomFilms, a leader among a growing number of sites dedicated to showing short films and other digital media.
In the news:
9/18/99John Bates of BigWords. Online college bookstores are among this year's e-commerce success stories. Our guest today was John Bates, Chief Evangelists at BigWords. He told us how BigWords is working with schools and professors to make it easy for students to find out which books are needed for a particular class and then (of course) purchase the books online. But competition is tough and BigWords will have to fight to keep its business expanding. To that end they offer incentives to both students and professors to encourage students to use the BigWords site.
9/4/99Harry Shearer and DTV. So have you bought your new $10,000 digital television set yet? Neither has Harry Shearer, our guest today. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot to say about this doomed technology. After years of promises, the reality of Digital TV is starting to appear, and it isn't always pretty. In the meantime, many consumers are going to be forced to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in the next few years if they want to continue receiving televsion signals. The promise of High Definition TV has largely given way to the idea of Multicasting, which will allow broadcasters to charge money for most of the programming on the new system. Oh, and did we mention that the broadcasters got the frequencies for free? Remember that when they start sending you a bill.
In the news:
8/28/99Eric S. Raymond & Open Source. It's no secret by this time that the Linux operating system has Microsoft running scared. This should be no surprise, according to our guest today, Eric Raymond, who has long been an advocate of the Open Source model of software development and distribution. In fact his piece, The Cathedral and the Bazaar is often credited with convincing the folks at Netscape to begin giving away their browser (thus spawning the Mozilla project). He argues that the days of closed, proprietary desktop computer systems are numbered. This is particularly true as Fortune 500 companies are discovering the joys of Open Source and in doing so are convincing other businesses to do the same. And while this may mean a few less extra bedrooms the next time Mr. Gates remodels his home, it also means a more stable and powerful operating system on your desktop. You can decide which is better for you.
8/21/99Scarlett Chou. Eschewing oils and watercolors in favor of a mouse and VGA monitor, Scarlett Chou is one of the few artists who have made the transition to working completely in the digital medium of computer art. She tells of her desire to express her inner vision and how she finds a computer the best tool to use to bring these images to reality.
In the news:
8/14/99Siggraph '99 During this last week, Los Angeles played host to the 26rd Siggraph. Ric attended and remarked how this seemed to be the year that many of the promises of the past have begun to come within reach of the common user. Virtual reality is becoming less virtual and immersive environments are finding more and more uses in the "real" world.
In the news:
Selling Drugs.com proves to be a lucrative venture for a couple of Frogs - Two men get busted for selling drug kits over the Internet - The latest "Aid" music festival has NET in its name, so it must be better, right? - A Microsoft employee may have sent bogus email messages to slam AOL's Instant Messenger security flaws - Microsoft turns in their Passport as they close Firefly - IBM continues Linux development with its porting to the PPC - The Linux Beer Hike is more about the beer and the Linux, but that's okay - Linuxworld attendees like their mascots to be virtual, rather than actual - Andover picks up a piece of FreshMeat to add to its stable of open source sites - Red Hat saves the entire U.S. economy with its successful IPO - Parts of MCI's network crashed and burned this last week, hurting many smaller ISPs - This kept the Chicago Board of Trade closed and caused them to scuttle current plans for electronic trading - Irridium files for Chapter 11, but still promises the sky - AT&T may be warming slightly to AOL - The FCC revamps for the Internet age - Twinkle is a new crypto-busting technique may raise the bar when it comes to cracking "secure" communication - Kevin Mitnick gets a financial slap on the wrist after serving years in jail - His Holiness, the Dalai Lama went online last week - ICANN cuts NSI's influence on the Names Council - The battles between Mainland China and Taiwan have gone online
8/7/99Ed Foster & the UCITA. Imagine a future where software companies are allowed to remotely disable your software at will, where they can change the terms of their warranties and licenses without notice, or prevent you from giving software away when you no longer use it. That future is almost here, now that the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) has been approved by the National Conference of Commissioners for Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) and is now headed for the individual states for final approval.
Our guest today was Ed Foster, who writes the Gripe Line column at InfoWorld. Ed has been one of the few voices in the media talking about UCITA and what it means to consumers, both large and small. The Act, all 200+ pages of it, is seen by many as a boon to software companies and a bust for consumers. Critics say it will give these companies a good reason to continue making promises they can't (or don't want to) keep and gives them special treatment that is not enjoyed by other media, such as books and film.
We also briefly mentioned an issue that Ed has dubbed "sneak wrap", perhaps best typified by @Home and their willingness to change the Terms of Service of their product without properly notifying their customers. Ahhhhh, nothing like free enterprise...
7/31/99Brock Meeks & James Love. We were joined during the first half of today's program by Brock Meeks, Chief Washington Correspondent at MSNBC. We talked about recent ideas coming out of the nation's capitol. It seems that the White House and Congress have a lot of time on their hands. How else could one explain things like Fritz Hollings' proposal for a 5% Federal Internet Sales Tax?
During the second half, we were joined by James Love, Director of the Consumer Project on Technology. Jamie has a number of questions for Congress, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and Network Solutions Inc., the company which controls the Internet's DNS root servers on the Internet. NSI is claiming ownership of this database, raising the ire of those people who say it is public property. ICANN on the other hand, has made a number of propositions which can be seen as usurping the power of governments and their citizens. Brock compares them to a Star Chamber. Jamie wonders who ICANN will be answerable to. He also wonders what Congress is doing to avoid the fiasco they've created through their contracts with NSI.
In the news:
Clinton proposes FIDNET, but Congress says No Way! - Will Y2K be around after 1-1-0? - One Congressman wants to give tax breaks for snoopable encryption - Fritz Hollings proposes a 5% Federal Internet sales tax - More and more anonymous posters are being "outed" through legal maneuvers - The e-rate gets the okay from a federal court - Michigan Internet Law is struck down for being unconstitutional - Online gambling is ruled illegal by New York Supreme Court - AT&T win (for now) in San Francisco over cable modem access to the 'net - Maybe AT&T's threats against Broward County had something to do with the S.F. decision - Universal Studios doesn't want webmasters linking just anywhere within their site - Free Macs may be distributed beginning next week
7/24/99Competition and Cable Modem Access to the Internet Since AT&T announced its intention to buy Media-One, thus becoming the largest cable-operator in the country, it has revealed its intention only allow cable access to the 'net to those people who use AT&T as their ISP. This has caused a lot of people across the country to complain. Some have sued (and won) in court to force AT&T to allow open up its cable network to other ISPs. Los Angeles Mayor Riordan and FCC Chairman Kennard believe leaving AT&T's network closed will spur its competition to develop alternative technologies such as DSL and satellite connections to the Internet.
Our guests today were Larry Pryor, Director of USC's Online Journalism program, and Jim Pickrell, President of Brand-X Internet, an independent ISP in Santa Monica. Professor Pryor had an opinion piece in the July 22 edition of the L.A. Times where he said the Los Angeles City Council should think hard before trying to force AT&T to open its cable network to other ISPs. Jim Pickrell has been active in speaking out in favor of opening up this network to competition.
In the news:
7/17/99The Internet in the Middle East and Latin America. While the Internet has had a tremendous impact in America, the potential in the rest of the World is far greater. But the hurdles to bringing the 'net to these countries are often far greater as well.
Our first guest today was Eric Goldstein, Middle East Project Director at Human Rights Watch in Washington DC. They recently released a report on censorship and access in the Middle East. While free speech on the Internet is treated differently in each country, this survey of the region shows some disturbing trends that are common among them.
Our second guest was Steve Cisler, whose recent article in First Monday told of the contrasts between the high-tech environment of Silicon Valley, where he lives, and Central and South America where he often works with libraries and public institutions. He is working hard to train people there in the standards that underlay the Internet and keep it functioning.
In the news:
7/10/99News Update. Today Ric joined us by phone from Michigan, telling us about how things have become much more wired in the last couple of years. We used the balance of the show to talk about some of the recent news events.
In the news:
7/3/99Declan McCullagh. This week we take a look at things from a Washington D.C. perspective. Our guest was Declan McCullagh, Washington bureau chief for Wired News and one of the forces behind y2kculture.com. We talked about the current group of presidential hopefuls and their take on high-technology and the Internet. Declan was the person who first reported on V.P. Gore's claim to have created the Internet. We also went down the street to visit Congress and see what kind of mischief they are up to. It seems they've been busy with laws regarding banking privacy, Y2K legislation, FCC regulation and goodness knows what else.