Saturday, August 04, 2007

Aljazeera on the Net

As far as I know, no major U.S. cable carrier currently offers Aljazeera English, but if you are in the U.S., you can still watch Aljazeera programs on YouTube or directly from

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Labels, The Internet and The Musician

Internet, as a giant copy and distribution machine, may and should continue to afford artists with greater autonomy well into the future. Reports of musicians' success in using this copy-and-distribution tool continue to pour in.

For example, Wall Street Journal's John Jurgensen writes about how musicians use the Internet to promote their work ("Singers Bypass Lables for Prime-Time Exposure," May 17, 2007, WSJ, B1). The report focuses on the case of singer and musician Ingrid Michaelson, "a 26-year-old Staten Island native who ... was discovered on MySpace by a management company that specializes in finding little-known acts and placing their works in soundtracks for TV shows, commercials, movies and videogames."

Many shows will only pay unsigned artists about $1,000 for the use of their music on TV, while artists on major labels might garner more than $30,000. Since she has been signed to Secret Road [Music Services, not a label], Ms. Michaelson has been paid up to $15,000 each time her music has been featured on a show or commercial, according to someone familiar with the deals. Secret Road says its cut of Ms. Michaelson's income is in keeping with industry standards of between 15% and 20%.

TV, of course, has become an increasingly powerful force for driving music sales. Apart from "American Idol" and "Saturday Night Live," possibly the most coveted TV slots for musicians are on "Grey's Anatomy," which has helped make songs like "How to Save a Life" by the Fray into top sellers on iTunes. A finale spot on "Grey's" is considered a particularly plum slot. Last year, the finale allowed Scottish band Snow Patrol to break through to a broad audience and played a role in making its featured song, "Chasing Cars," a hit.

Because Ms. Michaelson doesn't have a record-label contract, she stands to make substantially more from online sales of her music. For each 99-cent sale on iTunes, Ms. Michaelson grosses 63 cents, compared with perhaps 10 or 15 cents that typical major-label artists receives via their label. So far she has sold about 60,000 copies of her songs on iTunes and other digital stores. Ms. Michaelson is pouring most of her profits into pressing her own CDs and T-shirts, hiring a marketing company to produce promotional podcasts and setting up distribution for her CDS.

The fact that much good music today is discovered on the Internet before it ever makes it to the labels demonstrates that the labels need to reconsider their full "supply chain" and continue to review their policies and rules governing the protection and distribution of cultural content they come to license ("for a limited time").

On the same day as the report above, The Wall Street Journal also reported a significant move away from DRM which indicates the labels are recognizing the role of the Internet as a means to build networks of fans for artists through low-cost copy-and-distribution of content:

EMI Group PLC, the world's third-largest recorded-music company by sales (and the fourth-largest in the U.S. market) announced yesterday it would license its catalog to Amazon's DRM-free service. The three other major music companies haven't said publicly whether they expect to play ball with Amazon, but people close to all three companies said they don't expect to license content to Amazon in the near future. That means consumers shopping for downloads on Amazon will be able to buy tracks from EMI artists like Norah Jones and Coldplay, but are unlikely to be able to find music by most other major artists, including, for instance, each of the top-10 selling albums last week. Another complication: Apple's iTunes is moving toward offering music without copy protection, and also plans to release EMI's catalog in that format.

Much of the early use of DRM technologies has focused on limiting the power of digital copy and distribution of content.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Google and its Acquisitions

Google has recently made some major acquisitions:
Google paid $1.65 billion to acquire video-sharing site YouTube in November, it's biggest deal at that time. Then, a month ago, it announced a $3.1 billion deal to buy DoubleClick, which offers advertising delivery technology and services.
However, the Reuter's review of Google's recent acqusitions and executive pronouncements also reports that Google "still sees small technology deals as its primary thrust for buying businesses."

Looking into Google large acquisitive actions in the market make, one would conclude that Google sees itself primarily as a company that supplies content (through search or otherwise) and advertising space. Big acquisitions are meant to protect this turf. However, the smaller acquisitions are rampant:
"In the past, we would buy businesses in lieu of (hiring) engineers," Schmidt said. These days, Google buys a start-up once every few days, or around one a week, he estimated.
That makes it more clear.

Monday, May 07, 2007

JavaOne 2007

At, I will be compiling some blog entries in anticipation of JavaOne 2007 and following the conference (mostly from the pavilion floor).

For a database related topic, you might want to check out Francois Orsini's "Enabling Offline Web Applications with Java DB," where he previews his upcoming JavaOne talk with Zimbra's Kevin Henrikson.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Blogs and News

We are witnessing the close of a decade when blogs might begin to mirror meaningless news and when meaningful news might begin to appear as blogs, like these Reuters Alternet Blogs.

Note that Sun Microsystems Inc. powers Reuters Alternet for the Reuters Foundation.

With its independent board, Reuters remains as one the most independent news organizations in the world.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


In his MetaMedia blog, Thomas Crampton gives a nod to Joost, and the folks behind it, who also brought Kazaa and Skype to the Internet users.

By the way, did you know that Skype uses PostgreSQL as its system DB?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Debt Blogs

Bloggers give financial advice and blog about their debt, reports IHT. Here are some examples:, "Poorer Than You" (,

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Rails can be fast but ...

Rails can be fast for Web 2.0 application development but it can also have its challenges.

Another Web 2.0 Application

Check out Tariq Krim's Netvibes. Tariq is a Sun Microsystems alumni. Netvibes is a highly-interactive, personalized content and messaging portal brought to us.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Identity and e-Government

Fulup Ar Foll, a Sun colleagues and one of my good friends with whom I recently had dinner in Palo Alto, is not only a true and rare genius but an engineer with a great reservoir of practical wisdom about computing, Internet and telecommunications protocols. It is out of pure good fortune that I came to know him better while representing Sun at the Open Mobile Alliance some years ago. Every time I have the chance to meet Fulup, I learn a great deal from him. No young engineer interested in systems, open source technologies, Internet and telecommunications can have a better mentor than him. If you want to catch him speak and learn something from him, try the Oasis Symposium 2007 (April, San Diego). He will be speaking on the "New Generation of Identity-Aware E-Government Applications." (I should add that Fulup also maintains and builds and supports SIP systems for the school in his local community in Brittany.)

Growth Signs

Financial Times on video and film downloads: (a) Growth from now until 2012: 10 folds. (b) Worth in 2012: $6.3 billion. Chad Hurley at Davos: YouTube will share advertising revenue with video uploaders.

Privacy and Data

Ellen Nakashima has been reporting on data and privacy for The Washington Post. See her reports on legal issues, delays and the EU scene.

As more data is collected by various web services, search engines, e-commerce web sites and portals, data and privacy questions continue to be debated.

If you are looking for a fresh perspective on data protection and privacy, you should also take a look at the weblog by Sun Microsystem's Chief Privacy Officer, Michelle Dennedy.