NTV Rerun: Funny or Die to Make Movies?

It was a year ago this week that a bottle-wielding toddler demanded rent money from Will Ferrell and kicked off a burgeoning comedy empire. Funny or Die celebrated its one-year anniversary with a celeb-studded tribute video and by sharing some plans for upcoming features.

It’s been a crazy year for the comedy site. The Landlord started the site off with a viral bang, racking up more than 55 million plays to date, but follow-ups failed to generate as much heat as the original, causing some in the industry to question whether the site was too Ferrell-dependent.

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Thoughts of the Day: The beauty in adversity

Recession, recession, recession. As if founding isn’t hard enough! We’ve written recently about how you can prepare yourself for an especially difficult year in the marketplace, and even about how such challenges can be good for startups. Still, it’s going to be a tough slog. Looking into the weekend, I thought we could all use a little inspiration. Here are a few historic thoughts on the strength, benefits and beauty to be found in the challenges you face every day as a founder:

“Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, under prosperous conditions, may have remained dormant….It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity.” — Horace

“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the Seed of an equivalent or a greater Benefit.”
Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
Peter Marshall

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. . . . You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” — Walt Disney

DEMO 08 Day One Roundup

Though it feels like DEMO just had a conference, this week the high-powered launchpad is back, showcasing another 77 products. Can’t be there in person? Check out the live video stream of the event and read our roundup of online video news and launches from the first day. Among the unveilings so far:

Squidcast, a P2P service that allows you to share high-definition video and other content over the web for free.

Asankya‘s Hypermesh technology, which is also angling for the HD content delivery market, but instead optimizes traffic over existing Internet protocols to reduce buffering, pixelation and lengthy download issues.

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A history of eBook readers: TeleRead

SonyreaderPaul Biba over at TeleRead offers up a great list of the devices he’s used as eBook readers over time. All of the devices (edit: aside from the Sony Reader) were capable of running MobiPocket, which looks to be Paul’s eBook software and store of choice. The device list is quite varied ranging from small-screened smartphones to traditional PDAs and up to Internet Tablet’s like the Nokia 770 and N800. Of course, the list tops out with a dedicated eBook reader, namely the first generation Sony Reader.

Ironically, I find my list of reading devices to be just as varied, which is great: the more devices that can read eBooks, the better I say! Unlike Paul, I tend to favor eReader for my content and software. Using eReader, I’ve read books on a Dell X3 and a Dell X51v not to mention my all-time favorite PDA and first unit with a VGA screen: the Toshiba e805. From the standalone department, I got a few months of hands-on use with the original Cybook from Bookeen back in 2004, which was a 10.1-inch color slate design running Windows CE. (It’s worth noting that Booken has a new e-Ink model due out shortly.) These days I find the best eBook reading experience coming from my Samsung Q1P UMPC. I’m sure many readers also have various devices capable of reading eBooks; what’s your current device and content platform of choice?

ThoughtFix live blogs his N800 Skype experience, videos first call

Skipe_on_n800Nokia N800 owners are undoubtedly excited about Skype on their Internet Tablet, but none may he as thrilled as ThoughtFix. He’s been furiously refreshing his view of the N800 firmware page and it paid off: he live blogged his whole firmware upgrade experience complete with a first-look video of Skype on the N800. How excited was he about Skype for his handheld? Let’s just say he testes Skype’s authentication function by mistyping his Skype ID. 😉 Check it to see how well this popular app runs and not just N800 to PC (or other computer): Skype Out support is there to, as is text chat! Guest cameo on the first call: Steve Paine on his Samsung Q1P. Nice!

No Naked DSL for You

FCC today announced that states cannot force phone operators to offer naked DSL service. Naked DSL, in case you did not know, is a phone line that is purely used for a DSL connection, and carriers no voice or no voice related charges. This ruling makes absolute sense because you cannot have 50 states making different rules.

Kevin Werbach thinks this the end of broadband service, and sees sinister shadows.

The FCC ruling makes broadband an extension of phone service, rather than the reverse. It ties the data applications of the future to the anchor of the public switched telephone network. That’s perverse. Voice is the application, not connectivity. We’ll never have real competition if the incumbents get paid even when customers want to switch to a competitor.

Blame it on TGI Friday cheer but I am not that despondent. The competition he talks about is as dead as the disastrous Telecom Act of 1996. Time to live with the harsh reality of capitalism. There maybe no competition on the copper line side, there cable. As Mike Masnick points out,

These telcos still don’t seem to realize that the only thing they’re doing is making cable modems look more attractive than DSL for anyone who doesn’t want a local phone line, but would prefer a mobile phone or VoIP.

I cherish the idea of two 500 pound sumo wrestlers trying to rip each others guts out. Cable and Bell battles will be equally entertaining.

Where I think FCC has failed us, is in articulating a national level policy which should mandate that pure DSL services should be made available. Phone companies should look at car companies for a cue – you can get a Honda sans all the trimmings or you can get it fully loaded. Phone operators, similarly should offer a pure DSL line for those who want (Qwest’s adoption rate shows that there aren’t too many!) and fully loaded packages to those who want the convenience. This is going to make for happy customers.

Got Videora?

Okay I have been obsessing about BitTorrent a bit too much these days, but I guess it is a technology which puts me in the media. It is also an area rife with innovation. Sajeet Cherian, emailed about his new software program, Videora.

Videora is the first personal video downloading program. Utilizing BitTorrent and Really Simple Syndication, Videora automatically and intelligently finds and downloads video you want to watch. With easy to use features like Wish Lists and Season Passes you will be able to watch your favorite video, no matter where you are in the world.

By the way did you notice how all this stuff is happening north of the border? Yesterday I talked about Hamachi, which is also being developed by Canadians. I think this actually makes it easier for newbies like me to kind of play with this whole torrent thing. Here are some of the features of the program which is only for Windows right now. (Download here, Screen shots are here! ) I am counting on you all to send me feedback. With all this stuff happening on Windows XP platform, I wonder if it is time to get a PC? I need to have XP and LInux platforms in the apartment, just to understand this stuff better. Anyone got a spare PC lying around? Just kidding!

Bonus link: Wired Magazine’s profile of Bram Cohen, the man behind Bit Torrent. “Analysts at CacheLogic, an Internet-traffic analysis firm in Cambridge, England, report that BitTorrent traffic accounts for more than one-third of all data sent across the Internet.” As an aside, who is Shawn Fanning anyway?