Have you registered your lounge & RFID tagged your friends and family?

In the continuing saga of the MPAA riding roughshod over the general public comes this wonderful article via my friend Trev which covers the latest lobbying of congress by the MPAA.

Dan Glickman want to regulate things before they get too far out of hand and the MPAA loses control like they have with online sharing of copyrighted information. “We have a right to know what’s showing in a theatre.” says Glickman. If passed by congress (the same group of people see the internet as a bunch of “tubes” [MP3]), this would see home theatre equipment manufactured in the future requiring technology to directly inform the MPAA of what was being shown and specific details fo the audience. You’ll need some motion sensors and biometric technology to help them out with this too.

Now, for those of you who are thinking that your setup isn’t flash enough to be defined as a home theater, get this – the MPAA defines a home theatre as:

“… any home with a television larger than 29″ with stereo sound and at least two comfortable chairs, couch, or futon. Anyone with a home theatre would need to pay a $50 registration fee with the MPAA or face fines up to $500,000 per movie shown.”

Glickman (and by extension, the MPAA) doesn’t believe that you should be able to buy a DVD and invite people (including your own family) to watch it as it denies them the revenue they would have otherwise generated. He concedes that since it’s not feasible to expect everyone to have their own copy of a DVD, that the ‘registration fee’ is a “fair compromise”.

Oh – if this has you shaking your head in disgust and vowing never to upgrade your gear to this new ‘enhanced capability’ equipment, the bill also seeks to ensure that existing home theatres be retrofitted with the same technology, unless the owner is willing to take responsibility for directly informing the MPAA and receiving approval before each viewing.


Thank goodness I live in New Zealand and not America and our government won’t be swayed by such ridiculous notions… oh, hang on… bugger.

Crikey… A PC built “specifically for World of Warcraft”

Heh – it must be a sign, just a few minutes after posting my first entry in this blog, my RSS feed catcher popped up this story from Gizmodo.

Widow PC The PC costs US$1495 and it’s main selling feature is a funky network card designed to improved network performance… SERIOUSLY people, your home network is unlikely to be presenting you with much if anything in the way of lag, the problem lies past your sphere of influence and 30 or so hops away across the vast wasteland of routers and switching gear which makes up that magical thing we like to call the interweb.

But still, if you’ve got the money and like the look… purchase away.


Seperating the worlds

Well – I’ve been playing WoW for 9 months now and during that time I’ve written a few posts in my other blog. I’ve covered the long suffering of my wife, the fascinating world of in-game economies, and how fast and vast some of these immersive online communities are growing

Things in-game have taken a turn for the ‘more involved’ and so I felt that it’s time to separate out my and create a dedicated (and themed) blog on Blizzards brilliant World of Warcraft.

Edit 18/02/2008: Hey, look… this hasn’t turned out to be a happening thing, so I’ve moved the old blog content back into Rob the Geek. These things happen…

Some of you will be yawning and thinking ‘yadda yadda yadda, another Warcraft blog’ and you’re right – that’s precisely what this is, you can probably click away to another corner of the web if you were looking for something special as my intentions for this blog are somewhat selfish, I’m planning to use this as a musings point, and to capture some of the interesting things I learn in my in-game and real world research into the World of Warcraft.

First things first, I need to tweak up this theme so it’s not so… ‘Hogit’, it’s a great theme, but personalised for the original author – who’s nicely written blog (in character) you can find here. The theme you can grab off this link at sourceforge.

If you’re going to personalise the template for your use, you will also need to find the Warcraft webmaster files and change the ‘Hogits Story’ logo (logo.gif) to something more reflective of you (or your character(s)). Other things which need changing to personalise the theme are the post-author-*.gif and the sig-*.gif graphics. I intend to do another post on this later once I’ve found the base graphics I need and had a look at the template code.

So anyway, that’s about it for my first post in this blog, I’ll introduce my characters and do some posts around what I’ve found useful in the future.

* Characters
* Talents
* Skilling Up
* Tactics
* Guilds
* Gameplay / Community
* Annoyances (bloody bots!!)
* Mods / Addons
* Rolling your own website

Righto, that’s enough of a top of mind list to write about in future posts. Until next time…

Yeah – that ought to almost do it…

Yeah… 100Gb/s – that’s what I’m talking about!!

I just saw this article on Engadget about the University of California who have sucessfully stood up a 100Gb/s link over fibre between Houston, Texas and Tampa, Florida.

Now THAT kind of speed to the premisis would certainly support multiple HD streams for all the TV and PVR devices in the home! Now if only we could sort out a fair DRM system and allow for local caching so as not to kill New Zealands international link 🙂

Getting High

A few weeks ago, I was transferred to the ‘Video Services’ team while our company-wide restructure continues on into its ninth month. This transfer is part and parcel with the braindump we’re doing after my recent trip to IBC and has the potential to get my darling Wife ‘into’ TV enough to let me finally get that HD Flat Screen mounted on the wall I’ve been looking forward to since running the draw wires during our renovations.

Now – I’ve had my head in the TV space for a number of years, yet – despite broadcasters overseas recognising the benifits of HD to the viewing experience, broadcasters here in New Zealand seem to be playing something of a mexican stand off to see who will run with High Definition (HD) broadcasts first. It’s unlikely to be forced by our government who’s plans are still at a ‘wait and see’ stage, but the emergence of Freeview in New Zealand in 2008 should at least level the playing field for broadcasters who would liketo offer up HD.

I have my own opinions on this, and as some some of them are formed from knowledge of the industry (which obviously I’m not discussing in a public forum), but the up shot it, from overseas trends alone HD is coming, and my next TV will need to support it. (Well, okay it doesn’t need to support it, but my Wife has given it a thumbs up after I explained she could use a new HD screen to run her presentations off for our new business.

So anyway, the next step is to do some research, pick through the Digital Home magazines we subscribe to at work – and buy an HD TV.  I’ll update this entry as I find more information which proves useful in the New Zealand market.

Update 11/12/2006:

Ahh the tyranny of technology – just as you’re almost ready to make the jump into new capabilties – something new and more exciting is ‘just around the corner’. The specs for HDMI 1.3 have just been released and are discussed here. So now I’m torn – should I buy now, or wait for the new features such as:

  • More complete HDCP support (read: compatibility with poorly implemented ‘other’ devices)
  • Double the HDMI bandwidth (new audio formats)
  • Automatic lip-syncing
  • 30-bit colour (less banding between colours/better gradients, better contrast ratio, better ‘shades-of-grey’ representation)

It’s all pretty compelling stuff and gives me even more reason to lurk in the HDTV Discussion forums where I’ve been hanging out for the last month or so (still haven’t caught up but meh… never will). Digital Home - HDTV Resolution / Viewing Distance Chart

One of the best finds from the forum was this chart which shows at what point you actually get benefit (as opposed to bragging rights) from your xx” HD Display. YMMV of course (oh, sorry – that’s Your Mileage May Vary – ref: the L33t Sp34k post) but there’s also threads which I have in favorites on some relevant themes such as a HDTV buying discussion, Which Plasma to Buy, as well as an assortment of threads discussion the pitfalls and virtues of 720p vs 1080i vs 1080p vs Whatever-comes-next.

Update: 22/01/2007

Well, I’ve had enough friends and family ask me what kind of screen they should by to warrant another update to this posting. One of the big gotchas about buying a ‘HD’ display is what different manufacturers (and marketers) call High Definition (HD). The difference between true HD (as per the resolutions in the table below), and HD Ready need to be understood and challenged when making your purchase decision as their may be ‘economies of truth’ in the description of the sets capabilties.

Resolution / Scan Type / Aspect Ratio
1920×1080 / Progressive / 16:9
1920×1080 / Interlaced / 16:9
1280 x720 / Progressive / 16:9
1280×720 / Progressive / 16:9
720×576 / Progressive / 16:9 and 4:3
720×576 / Interlaced / 16:9 and 4:3

I’ve also included Standard Definition (SD) in italics for completeness. Obviously there are different scan rates but this is a rough guide, if you’re that keen you’d be checking out the Wikipedia entry wouldn’t you!

Update 13/04/2007

At what distance resolutions matterFollowing my recent discovery of the ‘Coolness Roundup’ podcast, there’s a new graph created by Carlton Bale from his post “1080p Does Matter“ which you may find useful.