Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.
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USA Today explained that RealNetworks started out trying to woo Apple rather than egg it on: "Earlier this year, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser sent Apple CEO Steve Jobs an e-mail seeking ways to make their digital music systems compatible, only to be rebuffed. Apple dominates digital music with an estimated 70% share of legal downloads. Its iPod is the leading music player, with a 50% market share. Most of the other 50% is in the Microsoft camp. Its Windows Media Audio format has been adopted by many rivals to offer copy protection to record labels, including the revived Napster, MusicMatch and Wal-Mart. Songs purchased in the WMA format will not transfer to the iPod. Real's songs are in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, like Apple's, but use a slightly different copy protection scheme," the newspaper said.
And the Los Angeles Times report sheds light on why anyone should care about the Apple/Real tiff. "At the heart of the conflict is the major record companies' demand that downloadable-music stores wrap their songs in electronic locks. To the industry's chagrin, Real, Apple and Microsoft Corp. developed incompatible anti-piracy techniques. Hence the Real-iPod predicament, which Real thought it had resolved," the paper said.
The New York Post summed up the feud with the kind of headline only the Post could dream up: "Ripping Off iPod." In the article, Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman asks the golden question. "Is the goal here to just create a technology that you can layer over iPod, or is the real goal to bring Apple to the bargaining table?" Goodman said. "There's an interesting question here of what RealNetworks' true motivation is."
New York Post: Ripping Off iPod
Blogging the Convention: Reader Feedback
Yesterday's Filter column on blogging at the Democratic National Convention prompted some readers (and bloggers) to write in with tips on other sites to visit. Thanks to all who took the time to write in. Gabe, no last name given, plugged his site, memeorandum," which gives a peek at a sampling "of the most talked about news stories on politics-oriented blogs along with excerpts from the blogs." Another reader, Kevin Patrick, said the Blogs For Bush site will cover the upcoming GOP convention. The site also features a list of credentialed bloggers." For the sake of full disclosure, Patrick is a writer for the site and runs the BushCheney2004 blog.
Mike Butcher, a guest blogger on TheStandard.com, started out by writing in an e-mail "Excellent column!," but he really let me have it nonetheless. "It's a shame you saw fit to accuse me of sour grapes, when later in the piece I actually said 'However, it would be churlish to deny bloggers their day in the sun.'" I mentioned yesterday how Butcher wrote about "feeling slightly jealous" since bloggers are covering hot news events by just setting up a blog. More from Butcher's reply to me. "And it's interesting to see that you back the bloggers against the journos and yet there is no blogger-esque way of 'commenting' on your column. But I guess that's just the policy of the big media company you work for, huh?" Thanks for the comments, Mike.
Stop the Presses! Blogs Still Wow Journalists!
You read that right, the blogging coverage is continuing. Larry Magid of CBSNews.com did some convention blog-watching of his own and decided that bloggers have matured since the convention started, morphing from writing about bloggers blogging to actual convention events. "While watching John Kerry's acceptance speech on TV, I was tuned into some blogs and I was reading commentary on Kerry's speech -- as he was giving it. You can't get that from the morning paper until the next morning and it's not possible on TV or radio without interrupting the speaker," Magid wrote.
CBSNews.com: Slogging Through the Blogs
The bloggers are so important to the convention coverage scheme that they even got their own party. "On Wednesday night the bloggers were feted at a swanky bash thrown by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where [Washington Post columnist] E.J. Dionne and Janeane Garofalo mingled with the technorati," the Los Angeles Times wrote. "They're trying to put their best foot forward, cater to us, make us feel like stars. It's getting ridiculous," blogger Ezra Klein, a political science major at UCLA, told the paper.
The Los Angeles Times: A Nod To Blogs (Registration required)
Klein posted this on his blog last night after Kerry's speech. "He did it. I didn't think he could, not after Obama and Clinton and Edwards and Cleland. But he did it. He gave the perfect speech for this moment, for this race, for this crowd. He couldn't rely on his charisma and so he instead told the country where it needed to go. He couldn't do flash so he did substance...and he did it. There's nothing I can say beyond that."
News on Political Ads
Political ads are a dime a dozen these days, but to online news sites they are a money-making source and offer a chance to fill sites with paying ads, as washingtonpost.com reporter Brian Krebs reported today. (Full disclosure: washingtonpost.com, if you haven't noticed already, is among those sites.) "But in pursuing political advertisers, news organizations are grappling with the difficult task of setting rules for where, when and how campaign ads will run on their Web sites, resulting in a hodgepodge of policies that some observers say could prompt campaign reformers to take action," the article said. "Political ads on the Internet are not governed by the same rules that apply to radio and television, leaving news sites free to run ads without having to disclose who paid for them. Sites also are under no obligation to provide equal time to candidates or offer campaigns the lowest available advertising rates." Merrill Brown, a media consultant and former MSNBC.com editor-in-chief, told post.com that it's important for Web sites to avoid placing ads in inappropriate places on their sites: "If you were doing a story about the financial plight of a major airline in your [newspaper's] business section, you probably wouldn't allow a big ad for that airline to run on the same page if you were doing your homework right."
washingtonpost.com: News Web Sites Court Campaign Ads (Registration required)
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