Buzz Out Loud 644: No Child Left Inside

You know how you get kids to play outside and quit watching TV? Taxes. No, really, it's true. P.S. Robots can lie now.

In the news today, NBC and Apple are kissing and making up--so, is "Heroes" coming back to iTunes or what? Also, we find out how to get kids to play outside and quit watching TV: higher taxes! Robots can lie now, TiVo launches on Comcast in Boston only, and the new fear du jour is "vishing."

--Molly


Listen now: Download today's podcast

EPISODE 644

TODAY'S LINKS:


TODAY'S VOICE MAIL:
James the game developer
Video game industry: they're no angels.

Anon.
I hate you, Netflix!

Anon.
Button paranoia in iTunes.

Alex from PA:
Isn't this just AOL, round 2?



TODAY'S E-MAIL:
Metered bandwidth
Hey Buzz crew,

In reference to Episodes 642/643 where you were talking about metered bandwidth, I live in Australia, and most people have metered bandwidth here. I have a 5GB per month limit, and an admittedly slow 512Kbps connection, and I have two laptops and a Wii connected up to the 'net, and I listen to about seven or so podcasts, four video podcasts, buy music from iTunes, and I rarely go over my limit. If I do go over, I don't get charged, I just get throttled back to 128Kbps. It's not that bad, to the guy that downloads 20GB worth of stuff, what are you downloading?? I buy my DVDs for $AU10 to $AU20, and save on bandwidth and have a hard copy should my HDD die. (Incidentally, we still can't buy/rent movies or TV shows on iTunes anyway, and things similar to Netflix are just getting started.)

Love the show,
Dave
Melbourne, Australia

From a Frenchman, about book price
Hi Buzz crew,

I thought I would react to episode 643 where you talk about the book pricing French law. The law requires books to be sold at the price specified by the publisher (or the importer). Price cannot be higher, and maximum discount allowed is 5 percent. Two-third of EU countries have the same law. Why do we have this law?
  • to give an equal access to culture (same price wherever you live).
  • to keep a really wide and decentralized book distribution network (small vendors can stay in business).
  • to help culture diversity. It is believed that in the long term, large discount practices will favor high volume, fast rotation books, and therefore limit the number of original, break-through books.
Love the show,
Jerome, the French guy

Appointing myself Molly's conscience
As Molly's new conscience, in regard to metered bandwidth, I would like to point out all the other things that could be paid for by the ounce/mile/day/etc., and are not currently: roads, public education, television (OTA or cable/satellite), garbage collection--don't tell me I need to count my banana peels and empty cans of soup to make sure I don't go over my 'fair share'. My simple point is this: If people want to pay a flat rate for something (like for TV or cell phones), then the market will shake out that way. The important thing is to make sure we have more than one choice for ISPs so that if one company finds that they can make more money with metered Internet, then consumers have the choice of how to pay, not the providers.

And...

...on the issue of the MacBook Air, I think you guys are overanalyzing the port layout on this thing; if someone needs something this portable and light, they will understand that certain interfaces are going to be sacrificed, but if they need all the ports that you're talking about, they'll need to go with one of the other MacBook form factors. This is a "road warrior" machine, and no one who spends most of their time in airports and cafes is going to be looking for a wall jack for their IP connection.

Christopher W. New
("Chris from Ankeny, Iowa")

iPod Touch outrage!
After hearing William's voice mail about the craptastic iPod Touch firmware and apps that cost $20, I ran right out and jailbroke my (brand- freaking-new) Touch, and installed the missing apps. I will give my $20 the the iPhone dev team and will do anything in my power to take away Steve Jobs' *#%-eating grin.

Seriously, $20 has never thrown me into such a rage before. I think I need a nap.

Chris the attorney in DC

iTunes movie rental issue
Hi Tom, Molly, and Jason,

Not sure if you have covered this yet but I ran into an issue with the iTunes movie rental service. My wife has a fifth-generation video iPod and rented the Superbad movie. When she tried to transfer the rental to her iPod, an error message popped up stating that it was not possible to transfer the rental because it "could not be played on this iPod." The Movies page on the Apple Web site advertises "Rentals to go. Movie rentals from iTunes transfer to your iPod or iPhone to watch on the go. Either device remembers where you stopped watching on your computer and picks up where you left off."

An e-mail to the iTunes tech support revealed that "You can play iTunes Store movie rentals on iPhone, iPod Nano (3rd generation), iPod classic, iPod Touch, Apple TV, and in iTunes on a Mac or PC." Their replay was quick, and I was offered a refund.

Nevertheless, I feel that this fact should be stated more prominently within the iTunes store and Apple Web site.

Thanks I enjoy the show.

Best,
Ben

'Blue Harvest' digital copy!
My friend's brother-in-law bought the Blue Harvest DVD the day it came out, and in it is a second disc that has the digital copy of the "movie" on it. Before you can play it, you have to run the app that comes along with it (one of those auto-start things) and tell it to import to iTunes (or just open iTunes and it recognizes the disc as a device). You then are presented a page asking for a code. Well, the ONE- TIME-USE code is on a separate insert, so after you locate this paper (shouldn't be hard to do) you key in the code and iTunes starts to rip the copy from the DVD to your library. It is DRM-ed and only playable on one iTunes account.

Josh the high school student from South Carolina

Poking holes in your iPhone
A word of warning if you're thinking of poking holes to increase the volume: The plastic shield is probably to stop dust getting into your phone.

If you've ever had a phone with inadequate dust shielding, you'll know how annoying it is when it builds up behind the screen.

My HTC Typhoon/Orange C500 became almost illegible in strong sunlight with light reflecting off the dust.

P.S. Molly--For the love of god, please don't sniff next to your mic. ever ever again.

Keith

Time Warner's conflict of interest
Hi guys, (sorry, I couldn't come up with something catchy)

While I don't disagree that the concept of Time Warner's usage-based pricing structure doesn't sound bad on the surface, I wonder if there is not a conflict of interest. I am a Time Warner cable and Internet subscriber, and if this pricing structure moves forward, I end up having to pay extra for bandwidth to watch an iTunes movie rental over the pay- per-view that Time Warner is offering me.

Couldn't this be a different tactic to make the competition's product more expensive while protecting your own, similar to the tiered Internet?

Thanks,
Ron
Cincinnati, Ohio

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

Molly Wood was an executive editor at CNET, author of the Molly Rants blog, and host of the tech show, Always On. When she's not enraging fanboys of all stripes, she can be found offering tech opinions on CBS and elsewhere, and offering opinions on everything else to anyone who will listen.

 

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