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Archive: November 2006

Viewers to Late-Night News: Later

Today in Style, John Maynard reports that all three local TV stations showed precipitous drops in viewership for their 11 p.m. newscasts, compared to last year. At least one station manager repeated the typical excuse: Bad "lead-in," or lightly watched shows in the 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. slot. Yeah,...

By Frank Ahrens | November 30, 2006; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wireless Mobile Live TV

You can watch episodes of TV shows online as soon as the closing credits roll. Or on your iPod. With a Slingbox , you can watch your recorded TV anywhere there's Internet access, on your laptop or handheld device. If you have the right mobile device, Slingbox lets you watch...

By Frank Ahrens | November 29, 2006; 5:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Movie Downloads: Would You Do It?

Today, I wrote about Morgan Freeman, of all people, starting a movie-download business called ClickStar . The idea is: Pay to download a movie off the Web, like you would a song, and watch it on your computer or, if you have the right hookup, on your TV. With the...

By Frank Ahrens | November 29, 2006; 11:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tough Times At The New York Times

Bad news for the New York Times Co. stock this morning. Citigroup investment research group has downgraded Times Co. stock from "hold" to "sell." After the report's release this morning, Times Co. stock (NYT) opened down. UPDATE: As of 2:20 p.m., Times Co. stock was down nearly 3 percent on...

By Frank Ahrens | November 28, 2006; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gadget Overload

How many gadgets is too many? The television commercial for the new Samsung BlackJack smartphone got me thinking about this question. The BlackJack looks like a BlackBerry but skinnier. The commercial is a slick one, and it shows a pair of hands digitally shuffling a half-dozen small electronic devices --...

By Frank Ahrens | November 27, 2006; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (9)

Kramer Helps Seinfeld DVD Marketing. Not.

Today, Sony -- which owns the digital distribution rights to "Seinfeld" -- launched a MySpace page to promote the show's Season 7 DVDs, on sale now. In addition to the usual bells and whistles, the page lets you paste some memorable "Seinfeld" video onto your MySpace page. One more example...

By Frank Ahrens | November 24, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (3)

Shopping for Techies

Things have been relatively quiet in tech news this week -- hey, it's Thanksgiving week, what did you expect? The biggest job on my plate this week is putting together the annual technology gift guide, which will appear in this Sunday's Post. A self-described gadget geek, I'm always leery of...

By Sam Diaz | November 21, 2006; 5:38 PM ET | Comments (17)

Hollywood Chiefs Take on New Role: Lobbyists

Today, the Motion Picture Association of America -- the trade group and lobbying arm of the major Hollywood studios -- will announce an all-star summit of studio heads set for Feb. 6 at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The aim is to get the studios' issues -- chiefly, piracy, both...

By Frank Ahrens | November 20, 2006; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Turkey With a Side of Crackberry

It was about two years ago that I wrote about BlackBerry addictions wreaking etiquette-havoc in the workplace and on personal relationships. Personally, I'm so over my "crackberry," not to mention the fact I find it hard to focus on tech during a week when I have turkey on the brain....

By Yuki Noguchi | November 20, 2006; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (1)

Web Watch, R.I.P.

If you wondered why Web Watch was missing from Sunday's paper, and even if you weren't, we've decided to end it. Web Watch's history describes the recent history of the Web. It was created to serve as a TV guide for the Internet -- to tell you what's on, what...

By Frank Ahrens | November 20, 2006; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Universal Music Sues MySpace

Universal Music Group -- the world's largest music company, with acts ranging from Eminem to Elvis Costello -- is suing MySpace, the world's largest social networking site. The issue: Copyright infringement. Universal claims that MySpace users are posting copyrighted songs and videos by Universal artists, who are not getting paid...

By Frank Ahrens | November 17, 2006; 5:33 PM ET | Comments (20)

Listeners Send Clear Channel Clear Signals

Today, I wrote about the radical overhaul at radio giant Clear Channel, which just sold itself to some private-equity firms but, more to the point, is also selling off more than one-third of its stations. After the sale, it will still be the radio industry's biggest player, but it will...

By Frank Ahrens | November 17, 2006; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Zune-alanche!

A great and vigorous discussion here yesterday on Microsoft's Zune vs. Apple's iPod. Right now, I'm crashing on the big buyout of Clear Channel, but later -- hopefully today -- I'm going to go through all the comments (more than 160 so far) and commit a little journalism on them....

By Frank Ahrens | November 16, 2006; 1:21 PM ET | Comments (2)

Who's Zuning? Are You Zuning?

So, Microsoft's iPod-killer, the Zune mp3 player, went on sale yesterday. Apple's iPod has 75 percent of the mp3 market; Microsoft is trying to make a dent in it. Some recent research shows that 30 million of about 110 million U.S. households own at least one iPod. That's penetration. Microsoft...

By Frank Ahrens | November 15, 2006; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (204)

Camping Out for the PS3

Washington-area lines for the PlayStation 3 have begun. In Rockville, about 100 people have already staked their places in line to take the Rockville Pike Circuit City store's inventory of the new game consoles. Bethesda residents Michael and Valerie Torres joined the line Tuesday afternoon, grabbing positions 78 and 79...

By Mike Musgrove | November 15, 2006; 5:30 AM ET | Comments (21)

The Return of Rocketboom Girl

Video blogger Amanda Congdon , who rose to Internet fame with her daily video blog (vlog) on Rocketboom, is taking her act to ABCNews.com, owned by Disney. Former Rocketboom star Amanda Congdon is headed to abcnews.com. (AP Photo) The quirky-cute Congdon, whose irreverant vlog captured tons of viewers, left Rocketboom...

By Frank Ahrens | November 14, 2006; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (2)

Online Gambling Craps Out, At Least For Now

Not surprisingly, online gambling took a big hit last month, following the passage of a new law that prohibits financial institutions from letting gamblers place or settle debts using checks, credit cards or other forms of e-currency. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, which tracks Web use, traffic to the top 10 Internet...

By Frank Ahrens | November 14, 2006; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

No, We Don't Take Cash

Have you seen the new Visa check card commercial that shows lunchtime in the fast-moving deli? If you haven't, take a look at it here. A clockwork-operation comes to a crashing halt when some schlub pays for his lunch with actual cash -- horrors! -- instead of a Visa check...

By Frank Ahrens | November 13, 2006; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Ted Leonsis Became Web 2.0

For today's paper I wrote up what really is a long anecdote from AOL vice chairman Ted Leonsis, who shared his personal quest to manipulate Google search results of his own name. What I enjoyed is the pure honesty of it all. Everyone does the vanity Google search, but few...

By Sara Goo | November 13, 2006; 1:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

PS3: The Lines Begin

Some die-hard video-game fans in Burbank, Calif. have already started lining up outside a Best Buy for the PlayStation 3--more than a week before the new console goes on sale. The device, which is expected to be in short supply this fall and winter, doesn't hit stores until next Friday,...

By Mike Musgrove | November 10, 2006; 2:17 PM ET | Comments (3)

Women and Tech Shopping: Shocker!

Can this be true? Big-box retailer Best Buy -- which makes a lot of its scratch selling electronics -- has discovered that women spend more than men on electronics. Citing research from the Consumer Electronics Association, Best Buy says women outspend men by about a 60/40 ratio when it comes...

By Frank Ahrens | November 10, 2006; 11:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

20th Century Fox Movies Next To iTunes?

I just got around to listening to the third-quarter earnings call from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp that came out on Wednesday. What can I say? I've spent the whole week chronicling the demise of my industry. I'm backlogged on my earnings Webcasts. At any rate, NewsCorp president Peter Chernin dropped...

By Frank Ahrens | November 10, 2006; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Field Guide To Digital TV

Soon, thanks to the federal government, you will have to buy a digital television if you want to watch TV. (See the detailed explanation of this in the Comments section below.) Congress has mandated a switchover from analog TV -- which is what TVs have been since their invention --...

By Frank Ahrens | November 9, 2006; 4:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rummy On Technology. Sort Of.

This blog has a philosophy much like that of the outgoing Defense secretary. As he once said : There are known knowns... There are known unknowns... But there are also unknown unknowns. Genius. What it means is, there's plenty of stuff we don't know we don't know. Some of that...

By Frank Ahrens | November 9, 2006; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (0)

Windows Up On Ray Ozzie

If you're the man who replaced Bill Gates, you're sure to inherit a certain mystique and engender intense interest both inside Microsoft and out. But since Ray Ozzie took over as the company's chief software architect this year, he has studiously maintained a low public profile that has fueled curiosity...

By Alan Sipress | November 9, 2006; 7:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

A peek at this week's new games

It's been a pretty big week for video game releases. Microsoft released a game called Gears of War-- it's a big sci-fi action game for the Xbox 360 that the company is hoping will be another Halo-style hit. Sorry, I haven't gotten a look at the finished version of it,...

By Mike Musgrove | November 8, 2006; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

From Web 2.0: Video YouWho?

YouTube is so last month. Sure, this Web sensation became synonymous with online video less than a year after it started and then took our breath away when its twenty-something founders sold out to Google four weeks ago for $1.65 billion. But other Internet video entrepreneurs are already looking ahead...

By Alan Sipress | November 8, 2006; 7:12 AM ET | Comments (0)

Now You Know the Rest Of the Song

Television advertisers love catchy tunes. They used to make up their own jingles, like the Chicken of the Sea tuna tune. Now, they like to license pop songs to look hipper. Mostly, companies just focus on the hook of a song or its feel (happy, contemplative, in-the-mood-to-buy-a-Hummer, that sort of...

By Frank Ahrens | November 8, 2006; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Internal L.A. Times e-mail About Baquet's Firing

This e-mail was passed along to me by an L.A. Times source yesterday after editor Dean Baquet announced in the newsroom that he was fired for refusing to make more staff cuts that parent company Tribune Co. demanded. It came from managing editor Leo Wolinsky and it enumerates a number...

By Frank Ahrens | November 7, 2006; 11:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another Shot at a Music Phone

About a year ago, news outlets were reporting that cell phones would kill the iPod. That doesn't seem to be true yet. To date, most people I talk to say music on the phone gets second billing to their MP3 players. Several phones, such as the ROKR, tried to approximate...

By Yuki Noguchi | November 7, 2006; 3:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Election Technology: Maddeningly 20th Century

Today being election day, I am forced to wonder: Why cannot the United States come up with a voting system that's more reliable, easy-to-use and verifiable than the Iraqi blue-ink-on-the-finger method? An Iraqi woman displays her ink-stained finger indicating she voted. (Majid Saeedi - Getty Images) Here's yet another story...

By Frank Ahrens | November 7, 2006; 11:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lunchtime Briefing: XM Finally Achieving Orbit?

XM Satellite Radio may be on the brink of its long-promised goal of not hemorrhaging ghastly amounts of cash every quarter. Satellite radio is an expensive business -- hey, you're launching satellites into space. Sometimes they blow up or otherwise fail and you have to launch a new one. It's...

By Frank Ahrens | November 6, 2006; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (3)

CBS's New Digital Dealmaker

Today, CBS will announce the hiring of Silicon Valley dealmaker Quincy Smith to its L.A. digital headquarters, hoping that he's the guy who will find and buy the next YouTube before it's as big as YouTube, as CBS president Leslie Moonves has said. Quincy Smith is CBS's new digital dealmaker....

By Frank Ahrens | November 6, 2006; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Lunchtime Briefing: Why the Tribune Sale Affects You

Tribune Co., one of the nation's oldest and largest newspaper companies is up for sale. Why should you care? Unless you're a sports-style fan of business -- who's up, who's down, which deal is happening, who's the big player -- you have little reason to care. Switch the name "Tribune"...

By Frank Ahrens | November 3, 2006; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video Games Go Prime Time

Video games have been creeping into TV shows more than ever in the last few weeks, seems to me. Last night, Comedy Central's Freak Show, an animated series featuring the voice of David Cross, featured some Capitol Hill grandstanding against some gay content in a video game called Blood Crusade...

By Mike Musgrove | November 3, 2006; 9:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Coming Zune: An iPod killer?

Microsoft's entry into the digital music player space is just about here and the tech team at the Post got a peek today. The Zune's selling point, as Microsoft pitches it, is that it lets users share their music with each other, by sending songs around wirelessly. If another Zune...

By Mike Musgrove | November 2, 2006; 1:42 PM ET | Comments (26)

Tech Anxiety Stalks Dreamscape

Remember that classic anxiety dream? You're in high school and you oversleep for the SAT. You run to the testing site and burst in with five minutes left, but your future is already ruined. Maybe you still have that dream, or a version of it: First day of class and...

By Frank Ahrens | November 2, 2006; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Someone's in the Kitchen With...a Laptop

My college roommate Meaghan, who's like a sister to me, started graduate school and moved back in with me recently. Our primary domestic habits include: 1) blubbering like idiots over my cat Phoebe and 2) fetishizing dinner I daydream about dinner during the morning commute. I take mental stock of...

By Yuki Noguchi | November 2, 2006; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

YouTube sued by UTube

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp., of Perrysburg, Ohio, sued YouTube Inc. earlier this week, claiming that millions of people confused its Web site, utube.com, for the online video site where people watch entertaining home-made videos. UTube said it is now receiving 70,000 visitors to its site per day, a...

By Sara Goo | November 1, 2006; 6:49 PM ET | Comments (13)

Lunchtime Briefing: Media (Heart) Borat

If it were not for the media, it's hard to imagine you would have ever heard of Borat. A quick backgrounder for those of you unfamiliar with Borat, whose movie opens on Friday: He is a character created by Brit television comic Sacha Cohen, who gained fame in England via...

By Frank Ahrens | November 1, 2006; 12:12 PM ET | Comments (6)

 

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