The ’90s Tech Industry is Back

The Verge has an interesting article, Facebook is the new AOL, that discusses how the tech industry of the 1990s is back.

The 90s were a decade of excess and mistakes and excessive mistakes. The rollicking good times of the 90s ended with the dot-com collapse of the early 2000s, the memories of which continue to shape the industry today.

So it’s worth noting that the broad outlines of tech in 2015 look surprisingly like the late 90s. The major players are set up the same, the fights are the same, and the mistakes will almost certainly be the same…

2015 will be defined by the Revenge of 90s Internet: media and tech giants flirting with each other, dominant players throwing their weight around, and portals, portals everywhere.

The article does a good job of comparing the major tech giants today with the ones of yesteryear. Facebook as AOL. Apple as Sony, Qualcomm as Intel and Google as Microsoft. The two that really hit the nail on the head for me are Apple as Sony and Google as Microsoft. That being said, some of these comparisons may just be skin deep. I think companies like Apple and Facebook are in much better positions than there predecessors. Perhaps that’s the point of the article. The companies of the ’90s could do no wrong and no one saw the downfall that would be not far off.

Stopping Data at the Border

Another article in the never-ending war against net neutrality and the fight against privacy.

The ITC recently gave itself the power to rule on data as it crosses US borders, as a result of a complex 3D printing case. If the ruling holds, it could have huge implications for the way data moves across the global web, and give the MPAA the site-blocking powers it’s been grasping at for years…

If you shipped in a boatload of Expendables DVDs, the ITC would have no problem stopping it at the border — so why not an ISO file? The technical mechanisms for blocking that file in transit would end up looking a lot like site-blocking, and the memo goes on to explain why targeting consumer-facing ISPs would be their best strategy in the wake of a favorable ruling by the Federal Circuit. It’s still unclear whether copyright would fall under the same rules (the current ruling may only apply to patents), but if it does, it would be Hollywood’s best legal channel for blocking sites in transit, supporting the same ISP-based blocking regime that was proposed by SOPA.

Giving the MPAA power to block sites because of the content on the sites is a slippery slope, one that should make everyone uncomfortable.

SNL’s Serial Spoof is Absolutely Brilliant

This past weekend SNL took on the popular podcast Serial with a brilliant digital short. Cecily Strong does a great impression of host Sarah Koenig. The spoof investigates the story of Kris Kringle, an elf who allegedly leaves presents in people’s homes. Watch it below.

Winter Breaks by Bop Alloy

winter breaks

My favorite jazzy hip hop group, Bop Alloy, released a new EP for the holidays. The album comes as part of their Kickstarter stretch goal for the last album, Another Day in the Life of. The new album is entitled Winter Breaks and can be downloaded from their bandcamp page.

According to the site, ‘Winter Breaks’ compiles 6 sonically vintage Hip Hop tracks. Producer, Marcus D handles the live instrumentation mixes masterfully while infusing jazz, soul and a pinch of Afro beat samples. Lyrically, Substantial touches on the personal, social, and economical effects of the Holiday season, using thoughtful lyricism, wit, and a variety of flows to paint a different portrait of Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s.

Best of all, it’s name your own price (but support good music and throw some dollars their way).

An Oral History of Sports Night

sports night

Speaking of great Aaron Sorkin TV shows, Entertainment Weekly has a great article about Sorkin’s first show, a 30 minute short-live comedy entitled Sports Night.

Set in the high-stakes world of a live sports news program, the Aaron Sorkin-scribed dramedy followed the behind-the-scenes exploits of fictional “Sports Night” coanchors Casey (Peter Krause) and Dan (Josh Charles), their brilliant producer Dana (Felicity Huffman), harried associate producer Natalie (Sabrina Lloyd), gruff executive Isaac (Robert Guillaume), and whip-smart researcher Jeremy (Josh Malina).

The series was less about sports and more about the interactions of the characters who hosted and ran the fictional Sports Center-like show. It featured Sorkin’s trademark quick and witty dialogue, with a ton of Capra-esque optimism about the world. While it only lasted two seasons (one with a horrible laugh track), it is, in my opinion, one of the best comedies ever made. I watch both seasons at least once a year. Read the entire article. It’s great.