We mentioned recently that Viacom (Mtv, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, LOGO) bailed out on its agreement to work with YouTube to upload video clips. The parting was on bad terms, as Viacom felt that YouTube and Google were not working hard enough to stem unauthorized uploads of its copyrighted content as they promised they would. Google responded that new technology that would sniff out illegal uploads was on its way. This week, Viacom sued Google for ONE BILLION DOLLARS (which would be a large chunk of the $1.76 billion that Google paid to buy YouTube to begin with). According to Viacom, the company has "built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google.” This comes at a time when many of the owners of "creative works" are partnering with YouTube to upload their clips to reach an even wider audience.
It’s disturbing to think about how much information certain websites have on us, since they can often track our individual searches and activities to a particular location, user, and machine. Google has always kept this valuable information indefinitely, which makes them a tempting source for big-brother info hounds or subpoena-happy lawyers. This week, however, Google announced that it would change its policy to fully anonymize search log data after 18 to 24 months to protect user privacy. The official blog post didn’t hesitate to pat itself on the back: "After talking with leading privacy stakeholders in Europe and the U.S.,
we’re pleased to be taking this important step toward protecting your
Last week’s TED conference showcased, once again, some of the most intriguing innovations in "Technology, Entertainment and Design." This year’s TED awards for innovative thought leaders went to photojournalist James Nachtwey, Biologist E.O. Wilson, and President Bill Clinton. And, like last year, one person generating huge buzz based on his Multi-Touch Interface was Jeff Han. Video of the multi-touch screen in action made the rounds throughout the internet, and Han was inundated withe requests from manufacturers and venture capitalists for his invention. He decided instead to start his own company, Perceptive Pixel, to produce the hardware and software for the interface. So far, he tells Wired, his main client has been the CIA. But it’s clear we’ll be hearing much more from Han and his company. The video at the left shows a larger, more refined version of the display that he demonstrated at this year’s TED conference.
H&R Block and Travelocity are offering Tax Cut Premium software as a free download! [via gizmodo]
Real-life Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: researchers have found a way to eliminate a specific memory while leaving others intact. The findings may lead to a medication that will cure post-traumatic stress disorder — or make you forget ever getting involved with that psychopathic tweaker who stole all your CDs.
The tech/gadget/music world is abuzz about this new thing called Slacker, which was showcased this week at the influential indie music festival SXSW. But what is it, besides a lot of buzz? So far, it is a free internet radio service with professionally programmed channels in all genres of music. Coming soon, a portable MP3 player will allow you to listen to your radio channels wirelessly via satellite or WiFi, again, all free (except the cost of the player). While the company is competing with the likes of iPod and Zune, it has features that enable it to carve out a niche, particularly the personalized radio service that is growing in popularity (see Michael Goff’s post from today). Said Slacker Chief Exec Dennis Mudd: "This is
going to be the first personalized radio that’s really
portable." They already have the cooperation of 3 of the 4 big record companies as well as hundreds of indie labels.
"Don’t get me wrong – generally, I’m 100% for the wearing of pants, but that day I just had to take a stand." So starts a ficlet on Ficlets.com (an AOL property), a new site encouraging users to add a short story to the site to which other users can contribute. "Once you’ve written and shared your ficlet, any other user can pick up
the narrative thread by adding a prequel or sequel. In this manner, you
may know where the story begins, but you’ll never guess where (or even
if!) it ends."
"I ain’t tryin’ to f**k your man/Lookin at my Myspace, lotion in his hand." Tila Tequila, the Madonna of MySpace, according to Time Magazine, is attempting to turn her huge popularity on the social network into a music career by releasing her first three singles at iTunes this week. Tequila, who last year was the single member with with the highest number of MySpace "friends" teamed up with Lil’ Jon on her hip-hop inspired "I Love U," "F**K Ya Man," and "Paralyze" — each of which use the F and B word liberally. The former Playboy Playmate, who currently has 1,727,303 friends, is hoping to turn her MySpace popularity into album sales. Said Tequila, “I’m very nervous because this has never been done before."
TowleTech is written by TR correspondent Daniel Williford.