Friday, December 08, 2006

The Evolution of Revolution

A little more than halfway through Fergie's "Fergalicious" video, it becomes an extended commercial for Samsung's K5 MP3 player. I mean a naked, unabashed, who-cares-if-anyone-knows commercial.

The Pussycat Dolls also have a rendezvous with the K5 in their "Wait a Minute" video. And Jessica Simpson's "Public Affair" video had an HP placement (though it was much less intrusive than the K5 examples).

But Gwen Stefani is bucking the trend. In "Wind It Up" she sings about the lamb on her shirt, not-so-subtly hawking her L.A.M.B. clothing line. Priceless free plugola, and no one can stop her.

That is "sticking it to The Man," 2006-style.

The Today Show Revealed James Kim's Secret Today

I don't know how other networks covered the heartbreaking and heroic story of James Kim, because the only network news show I watch is The Today Show. But I've been struck by how Today has steadfastly refused to mention what James did for a living.

They referred to him only as "the father"... which I'm sure would not have bothered James one bit. But I never once saw them refer to him, as Keith Olbermann did, as a senior editor at CNET. Why the mystery?

If he were an attorney or a doctor or a chef or a juggler, I'm certain NBC News would have found some moment to mention it.
Hell, even JonBenet was referred to as "pageant contestant JonBenet" or "beauty queen JonBenet." Lindsay Lohan is "actress Lindsay Lohan" and Britney Spears is "singer Britney Spears" and Paris Hilton is "socialite Paris Hilton"... no doubt to distinguish her from the former Prime Minister of Ghana, also named Paris Hilton.

If the story were about, say, Paula Zahn, they would surely mention that she's a media personality... James is someone with a larger audience than Zahn's, but not a word about it. Isn't that weird?

I would have thought they'd mention it, even if only as an excuse for B-roll. Knowing how starved TV is for footage of the people involved in these stories, it's baffling that NBC wouldn't have drawn on the countless hours of footage of James in action on CNET (except for one three-second podcast clip that appeared, without explanation, in one of the stories and was never shown again). Instead they relied on three or four family photos, zoomed in to the point of graininess.

But this morning the dam broke. Another CNET editor was on for a gadget segment, and afterward Matt graciously offered his condolences on the loss of his colleague.

Whoever is responsible for NBC's odd veil of secrecy must have been furious.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


As I've discussed here before, I am a big fan of the iTunes capabilities of both the TiVo and the Xbox 360. Both make it easy to integrate your downloaded music into your home theater. But since they're MP3 only (as in they won't play iTunes Music Store purchases), sometimes an iPod dock is the way to go.

There are a lot of docks out there, but each has its own flaws. Some don't do video. Some have remotes that control audio, but not video; you have to physically use the iPod itself to select video content (more of a pain than you might think). Some put menus on your TV, but are useless if you're not in the room. The same is true for those with IR remotes.

The new TuneView from Keyspan seems to have solved many of those problems, and in an elegant and seamless way. You place your iPod in the A/V dock, and the remote itself displays iPod menus. Plus it's RF, so it works from anywhere in the house, even through walls.

At $179, it looks like a great way to make your iPod play nice with your house. And if, like me, you're addicted to the wonders of the Airport Express, you'll be pleased to know there's a USB version of the TuneView coming soon.

UPDATE: iLounge has posted a review. It gets a B+, despite a few quirks.