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Archive: December 2006

Merry Christmas From Channel 4, Sort Of

My Christmas present from Washington's NBC affiliate (WRC-4) was an HD signal. Channel 4 has been broadcasting its over-the-air signal in high-definition for some time now, but I -- and others around the Washington area -- could not receive it. Until today, apparently. At my house in Northeast D.C., I...

By Frank Ahrens | December 25, 2006; 5:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Happy Holidays: Have a Database

One of the goals of this blog, Post I.T., is to create more than a collection of quick hits on tech, gadgets and media, which often evaporate almost as soon as you read them, like digital cotton candy. To be a real User's Guide to the 21st Century, we need...

By Frank Ahrens | December 24, 2006; 1:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

iPod vs. Zune Review Database

Here's what iPod and Zune owners have to say about their mp3 devices, as culled from comments to Post I.T. Perhaps their experience can help you make a shopping decision. I've weeded out the obvious plants from Microsoft and Apple marketers, pimping their products and bashing the others, but there's...

By Frank Ahrens | December 24, 2006; 1:32 PM ET | Comments (91)

Outsider's Guide to XM

Ground zero for satellite radio is someplace where you might not expect it to be: Across the way from the new Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms building, a Wendy's and in the crosshairs of some of the worst traffic congestion known to man. There, along New York Avenue on...

By Yuki Noguchi | December 22, 2006; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

Name Your Present!

What do you want for the holidays? Sure, we all want peace on Earth and goodwill to our fellow meat-puppets, that's a given. We're good people. We like that kind of stuff. What thing do you want? What gadget or service are you spoiling for, and why? And here's another...

By Frank Ahrens | December 21, 2006; 1:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Killer Technology

I have been reading "The Devil In the White City," a non-fiction account of the 1893 Chicago world's fair and the bizarro serial killer who set up shop only a few blocks away from the massive exposition, nicknamed the White City. One thing that struck me about the book by...

By Frank Ahrens | December 20, 2006; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

How's This Whole NBC 2.0 Thing Working Out?

Today, NBC Universal crowed about a "ground breaking year" in interactive television. The entertainment company, whose NBC television network is still searching for consistent ratings success, launched what it called NBC 2.0 earlier this fall, involving deep cuts in personnel and budget to pay for the move into the digital...

By Frank Ahrens | December 19, 2006; 11:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

California (Tech) Dreamin'

It's good to be back. I was out in Southern California last week working on a story that will probably appear later this week. Aside from the obvious delights of SoCal (basically, it's paradise -- sunny and 79 every day I was there), I've noticed that the market is an...

By Frank Ahrens | December 18, 2006; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Viral Videos of 2006

2006 was all about online video. Imagine, just a year ago, there was no Lonelygirl or Lazydork or widespread backyard experiments with Diet Coke and Mentos. So, it seems like a good time to come up with a list of the year's most popular user-generated videos, which, thanks to YouTube...

By Sara Goo | December 15, 2006; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tech Postcard from Asia

I recently returned from a three-week vacation in Asia. It's funny how you can gain a fresh perspective in that amount of time. My first reaction: Google is not everywhere. I was pleasantly suprised to find Internet access everywhere and available for free, whether we were in Siem Reap, Cambodia,...

By Sara Goo | December 14, 2006; 2:27 PM ET | Comments (1)

What's On Your Mind?

During its presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Google projected a scrolling list of what was being searched around the world onto a large screen. It was mesmerizing to watch what people query.... So today, AOL announced what was on our minds, at least as far as search...

By Yuki Noguchi | December 13, 2006; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video Game for Baby

How young is too young for technology? I pondered this about a year and a half ago, when Walt Disney Co. announced it was launching a kids mobile-phone service, raising the possibility that 6-year-olds would be running around with cell phones. Companies like Firefly argued it was actually a good...

By Yuki Noguchi | December 13, 2006; 5:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morgan Freeman's Movie Biz Lands Big Fish

Today, ClickStar -- the movie-download business started by Morgan Freeman and his partner, Lori McCreary and that I wrote about recently -- announced it has landed three big Hollywood studios. This is a crucial early get for the fledgling company. ClickStar's main early competitor in this space -- buying movies...

By Frank Ahrens | December 11, 2006; 1:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

Being a Smart Gadgeteer

My buddy Gene Weingarten told me over the weekend that his daughter, Molly, wants an iPod. He, raging technophile that he is, asked me what kind he should buy her. "Will she use it to watch video?" I asked. "You can watch video on it?" he responded, amazed. Sigh. Part...

By Frank Ahrens | December 11, 2006; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (4)

XM - Sirius Merger?

UPDATED: See below. Today, Chris Kirkham writes about merger buzz between the two satellite radio companies, New York's Sirius and Washington's XM. Note that the buzz is coming largely from one side: Sirius. It started a year ago when Sirius lured Mel Karmazin away from Viacom to handle Howard Stern....

By Frank Ahrens | December 8, 2006; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (5)

Music Industry Wants to Cut Artist Royalties

UPDATED: See below. So, let's get this straight: My buddy Brooks Boliek at the Hollywood Reporter writes that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) -- the music industry's lobby and cop, responsible for suing music pirates, including the occasional 12-year-old -- now wants the federal government to slash how...

By Frank Ahrens | December 7, 2006; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (6)

Arrr! Movie Pirates Busted

Yesterday, the Motion Picture Industry of America (MPAA) -- the trade group and lobbying arm of the major Hollywood studios -- announced the arrest of two L.A. 20-something cousins accused of stealing movies and uploading them to the Internet. The movies in question are "screeners." Screeners are DVD copies of...

By Frank Ahrens | December 6, 2006; 4:10 PM ET | Comments (7)

Can You Grade Me Now?

You know how wireless carriers love to tout the quality of their calling services in TV commercials, citing expert reports? Consumer Reports, the magazine put out by Consumers Union, released its annual cell-phone service report yesterday, and there wasn't much for some carriers to crow about. Sprint and Cingular fared...

By Yuki Noguchi | December 5, 2006; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (9)

MySpace vs. Creeps

Today, MySpace announced that it is building a new technology designed to block convicted sex offenders from joining the popular social-network site. MySpace boasts more than 100 million profiles. Many of those are minors. As such, sites such as MySpace and Facebook have been hunting grounds for sexual predators. This...

By Frank Ahrens | December 5, 2006; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Deck Chairs On The Titanic

Today, the Wall Street Journal unveiled a bold, new design for its paper that looks, well, quite a lot like the current Wall Street Journal. Oh, purists will notice that the "A-head" feature -- the usually quirky story in the middle of the front page underneath the line that looks...

By Frank Ahrens | December 4, 2006; 4:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Future Of Newspapering?

Today, I wrote about the eye-opening and eye-popping things the Fort Myers News-Press is doing to fight the newspaper industry's ongoing trend of declining circulation and ad revenue. At Fort Myers, it's all about the Web and hyper-local coverage. It's all about the go, go, go! Get fresh stuff up...

By Frank Ahrens | December 4, 2006; 2:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

CBS Nukes Ambitious 'Jericho' Digital Plan

CBS's Wednesday night show, "Jericho," new this fall, is about life in small town after a nuclear attack. Last spring, when CBS was shopping the story to advertisers, the network's head of advertising, Jo Ann Ross, said "Jericho" would have something CBS was calling a "D storyline." The idea was...

By Frank Ahrens | December 4, 2006; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Cyber Monday? Yeah, Right

Okay, given that Cyber Monday is a bogus day, just like Black Friday (not really the year's biggest in-store shopping day), Nielsen/NetRatings, which tracks Web traffic, reports on what people were buying online last Monday. Even if Cyber Monday is not the biggest online shopping day, merely a flimsy promotion...

By Frank Ahrens | December 1, 2006; 12:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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