Digital Workflow, S.I. Style
Monday, Mar 29, 2004
Doing some research on our new toy, I came across a teriffic article on Sports Illustrated's digital photo workflow.

Minutes after eight photographers stationed at this year's Superbowl took over 15,000 pictures in under 6 hours, it falls to two guys huddled around a monitor, giving the thumps-up or -down to two pictures a second, paring the shots down to a reasonable set, and that's just the beginning.

Just 18 months ago S.I. relied on film, two portable developers in a trailer, and a staff of negative-cutters and mounters to do the same job half as well. All-told, it's an interesting look at the melding of humans and computers in the workflow of managing 42 gigabytes of photos in under a day.

Project Time
Tuesday, Mar 23, 2004
So I've been good for the past couple days, setting aside some time in the evenings for project time. I have so many cool things that I want to build, update, or expand on, that it's been crippling for the last few years. Loads of creativity don't mesh well with a gnat's attention span.

Nevertheless, I've been refocusing, telling myself "yes, and we'll get to that new idea when it's turn comes" and concentrating on the oldest of my projects. I should have something out by the end of the week, if I get another couple evenings of work in on it.

Then of course there's also all the things I want to blog. The real problem is that I now read, via RSS or otherwise, over 100 sites daily, above and beyond the computing I do at work. I have this tide that flows in and out on roughly an annual cycle, flowing between being a consumer of information and being a publisher.

Inside there's this concern that if I take my fingers off the heartbeat of the blogosphere it'll run off without me, but at the same time I'm too busy counting beats to report my findings. Then there's the worry that a reporter of findings just becomes one more bare wall in the blogworld's already hollow echo chamber.

New content, fresh content, content from outside the digital realm...

Anyhow, I'm hot to finish this project, but I've also got to run to work. I have almost as many meetings as fingers today. If I'm destined to have those numbers equate, I wouldn't mind another few meetings.

Hope everyone local's enjoying the weather, and I hope those not in California are enjoying the promise that the arrival of Spring bestows, even if it's still, as yet, a promise.

TiVo will not die
Friday, Mar 19, 2004
Everyone's been posting Jim Louderback's premonition of TiVo's death like it's the Gospel, and so I feel compelled to tell you exactly why Jim (a reporter who's been naysaying the TiVo for years) is wrong, and that punchy three-word headlines don't equate to a balanced market analysis.

The simple reason TiVo will live is because TV is intimate. People want ownership of their experience, and they want ownership of the resulting media. This is exactly the opposite of what cable and satellite companies want.

Of course TiVo as a standalone appliance will fade away as Decoder-PVRs become common, but they'll grow into three other markets: The referenced cable/satellite set-top boxes, DVD-R burning hybrids, and as an integrated component of television sets. Two of these hybrids are already on the market (DirecTiVo and two different DVDiVos) and the third, Toshiba and Phillips TVs with integrated free 'tivo lite' will be here by Christmas.

Saying that Cable-PVRs will squash TiVo is like saying that cable squashed the VCR, when in reality it made it much stronger. For all the benefits that a cable PVR has (that it seems cheaper because the cost is built into your monthly charge), there's no content provider in the world who would ship a device that would record to DVD, and no network that would deign to be included in a service that did.

Recording to a DVD isn't as easy as recording to a tape, and this is where an integrated 'export this show to that disc' solution really shines. If you're going to buy a DVD anyhow, the incremental cost of adding PVR functionality is a gimmie. And yes, within the next 4 years it will be an incremental cost.

TiVo is source independent. Cable, satellite, bunny ears or closed-circuit TV, TiVo is your box. As each content provider has their own proprietary system, if you change providers, you have to change systems, a shift as big as switching from Mac to Windows. Oh yeah, and your shows are gone, too. It's content lock-in, and it's one of the big reasons Dish Networks wants you to use their box, so leaving their fold is more painful, even when they suddenly drop CBS, MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon because of a contract dispute.

As long as content providers carry copyrighted material on their networds, they'll be hobbled by the demands of organizations like the MPAA and Viacom who will use all the leverage they have to inhibit the end user's ability to export to any portable digital media. Standalone PVRs and in-TV PVRs are farther outside their control, and as that control is flexed, PVR customers will flock to these options.

TiVo-in-TV, which Sony plans to market later this year, is another gimmie. It will provide a free 3-day window to the future, with an inexpensive up-sell to season pass functionality. The TV-TiVo-DVR box is probably about 24 months away.

Jim's main point is that TiVo will fail because the costs of enteing the market and delivering product are dropping rapidly, but this is likely why they'll succeed. TiVo will never be a Yahoo or other conglomorate, but they will become a platform standard with a steady revenue stream. When prices fall uniformly, users flock to the best solution, not the cheapest. Getting PVRs into peoples hands cheaply, on the backs of other products is exactly why the market will succeed, and when the market succeeds, TiVo will likely be at the top of it, based on product quality.

True, you won't have to buy a $299 box for your parents to bring them the light, but when you see the glow in their eyes, talking about the magic recording TV they bought at Best Buy last month, you can bet it'll have a little guy with two antennae and no arms stickered onto the remote.

Quote of the day
Thursday, Mar 18, 2004

Irony is the hemoglobin of small minds

Moment of Rhino-follicular Zen
Thursday, Mar 18, 2004
Following my recent bent toward the pedantic and odd, I thought I'd share too much. Here goes:

Pulling out a nosehair is one of the most bracing things I ever do.

I really should explain, because what I said isn't what I mean at all. By bracing, I don't mean 'jumping into a cold river' so much as 'brace yourself', and by 'pulling out a nosehair' I mean 'sitting there, with the end of the hair firmly pinned between my thumbnail and fingernail, all ready to pull, flesh willing, mind weak, with the neurons right on that verge of firing, asking my brain "now? now?" and hearing back "ye- I mean, just a sec, no. go. now! No. Ow! Doh."

I love my blog.

New blog on the block:
Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004
Hot on the heels of releasing her photo site, Rachel (aka 'the grrlfriend') has finished construction of her weblog at

Cool design (getting cooler all the time), great photography, prose, and all the features Ben and Mena can churn out.

Of course she's also got an RSS feed, and I encourage all of you to subscribe. Rachel's turning into a more frequent personal blogger than I am, and if you read both, then we don't have to do double-duty posting on the same things, though I'm sure we sometimes will.

Go there now and read about our trip to Death Guild's 11th anniversary party, complete with photos of me dancing in the cage.

Yes, really. Go. Now.

Eating my Lucky Charms
Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004
So it's St. Patrick's Day again. Last night I celebrated in proper style, Irish dancing with friends at Ammy's new weekly ceili at St. Stephen's Green, in Los Altos.

Now I'm celebrating by wearin' green, eating my Lucky Charms, and checking out Google's Celtic Knot logo.

Which brings up a (very pedantic) point: What the hell's up with Lucky charms? Back in the day it had a catchy slogan, with the leprichaun touting LC's "yellow stars, blue diamonds, green clovers, and pink hearts." Today, the leprichaun has a whole mouthful to convey, with the addition of pink-yellow-blue rainbows, shooting stars, purple horseshoes, pots of gold, secret gold keys (gold marshmellows with a key-shaped core that dissolves in milk), and orange-somethings.

Forget the fact that these 'marshmellows' have as much to do with actual marshmellows as a cupcake has to do with a cup. Then there's the grey gunk at the bottom of the bowl from all the melted and re-solidified 'marshmellow detrius'.

Damn. it's all gone. I need to get another bowl.

The trouble with a flag burning amendment
Tuesday, Mar 16, 2004
Putting aside the saga of Diane Feinstein's strong support for a new flag-burning amendment, and her lack of consideration of the views of her constituancy, I figured out what really bugs me about such an amendment.

What happens if the amendment is passed, and someone breaks the law? How do we feel about federal prisoners incarcarated for burning a flag in defiance of the government? A State that imprisions its citizens for burning a flag is a State one step closer to Orwell.

Actors on Medicare
Monday, Mar 15, 2004
SFGate has a fascinating article on the Medicare press materials given to television stations by the Bush administration. The packages come readymade with cheering actors portraying reporters witnessing the signing of the bill, and scripts for 'real' reporters to use when introducing pre-prepared news segments from 'field reporters' who are actually actors using scripts provided by the government, portraying reporters while interviewing administration officials.

This comes at the same time that the Republican National Committee is sending hundreds of threatening letters to TV stations fraudulently threatening that they're violating campaign finance law if they accept money to air comemrcials from

I Demand Piggies!
Sunday, Mar 14, 2004
Because Rachel demands more Piggies:

Tell me a story about Giant Pig!
Do you have any stories about Giant Pig?


Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox