From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

todd's blog

games and emotions

I could tell something was wrong as soon as I saw my friend's eyes. It was back in 1997, and he'd been playing the recently released Final Fantasy VII. That afternoon, he'd gotten to a famously shocking scene in which Aerith, a beloved young magician girl, is suddenly and viciously murdered.

He looked like he'd lost a family member. "I'm just totally screwed up," he confessed as he nursed a lukewarm beer at a local bar. Nearly all my friends were playing Final Fantasy VII too -- so, one by one over the next week, they all hit the same scene, until every nerd I knew was sunk in a slough of despond.

Submitted by todd on November 7, 2005 - 12:35pm

podcast #3: sleighbells of death

#2 in a series, #3 overall. Another episode of "Song, Interrupted", this time listening to how sleigh bells signal the death of the protagonist in a pair of Steely Dan songs.

Sleigh Bells of Death

Submitted by todd on November 4, 2005 - 1:16am

sony more evil than MS or Google?

It seems that Sony is using some new DRM that essentially utilizes malware technology and installs nasty things without telling you. Very detailed info here:

Sony DRM Blog post

Submitted by todd on November 2, 2005 - 3:26pm

appropriate use of technology: podcast #2

I seem to be on a roll. Following up on the first podcast (that I had been meaning to do for the last 2 years), I present my second. This one is a longer form piece that started as a written concert review. But text just couldn't really cut it for this application. Enter the podcast, which imho is a perfect medium for this kind of thing. Comments welcome.

Marcus Miller Review

Submitted by todd on October 30, 2005 - 11:30am

pushing copyright: my podcast

First in what should be a fairly extensive series. Who knows...maybe it'll crank some people off, although it shouldn't. There has to be the ability to legally "quote" something other than text.

Submitted by todd on October 28, 2005 - 10:26am

its the windows, stoopid

Many electrons have given their life in discussing the video iPod and the ramifications (or lack thereof). The problem is that most seem to be missing a critical piece of the puzzle: its about the windows. And no, I'm not talking about Microsoft. Films have certain release theaters, dvd release, VOD, cable, TV. These are gentlemens agreements between the studios. The problem that is hounding the iPod, VOD, and related distribution is that it falls *after* the DVD window. Why download if you've already bought? It is not secret that the studios make a nice chunk of money on each DVD sold. They make about 5x *less* on a VOD purchase. But they can make it up in volume, right? Well, not if the window for "buying" on VOD/iTunes falls after the DVD has been on shelves for awhile.

Submitted by todd on October 24, 2005 - 5:35pm

what if I don't want it?

Very interesting piece on web 2.0 and the issues involved in relinquishing control of your applications to someone else:

Web 2.0 and the drive-by upgrade by Fraser Speirs -- Overnight someone sneaked into my office and upgraded an application on my computer....

There are a number of issues on the table here. Besides someone else determining what "version" software you're running, there is the other problem of needing the network to work. This is a problem I have with wikis and blogs, and why I've done quite a bit of playing around with trying to "sync" mySQL databases. Yuck. VooDooPad is a great local wiki solution, but is weak on the network side...but at least I can work when I'm off the grid.

Submitted by todd on October 24, 2005 - 4:31pm

vingle me

Apple has patented the term "vingle". What is interesting are the details of the filing. As reported at tuaw, there are bits about temporary use of on-line non-downloadable software to enable users to program audio, video, radio, etc..."

So...Apple is going to do remix for the masses? Stay could get interesting.

Submitted by todd on October 18, 2005 - 3:25pm

blackboard + webct = even worse product

egad....opensource take me away...

Blackboard and WebCT, leading providers of enterprise software and services to the education industry have announced plans to merge. The announcement was made at October 12th at 4 pm EST in a news release posted on PR News wire.

"I have had experience with both companies and view this merger as combining excellence with excellence to advance the e-Learning industry, I also see this combination as a way to break down barriers across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to open the door to new opportunities for collaboration among institutions using different e-learning platforms." - Jack Wilson, President of The University of Massachusetts and current WebCT Vista client.

Submitted by todd on October 17, 2005 - 1:01pm

mobile video ready for primetime?

Mobile video and TV has been tried before and failed. This week Apple announced their video iPod, and more importantly, a deal with Disney/ABC. So will the vPod prevail? The iPod certainly changed the way that people consume music, and by extension, is changing the way music is produced and distributed. Will the vPod do the same? The jury is out. One argument for the sucess is that Apple is very good at creating a seamless and simple user experience. The iTunes Music Store is close to perfect, and the integration of software and hardware is dead simple.

Submitted by todd on October 14, 2005 - 11:22am