Give me a Raspberry Pi and I’ll want 12

For quite some time, I avoided acquiring any Rasbperry Pis. I already have four VPS, and I genuinely wanted to avoid expanding the number of Linux instances I was responsible for. My hesitation was for good reason; less than a month after acquiring my first Pi 3, I found a reason to add a second to our home network.

To be clear, I’ve nothing against the Raspberry Pi; I simply knew that my addictive personality would compel me to find ever-more uses for the devices, compelling their multiplication.

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The missing intro to “Issac and Ishmael”

Despite having watching the series about 74,000 times, I’m still bothered that the Netflix/DVD version of The West Wing‘s “Isaac and Ishmael” omits the intro that aired with it back in 2001. While I recognize that the message isn’t appropriate now, the context that’s lost is more-confusing for new viewers.

In particular, this bit from the end of the intro, delivered by the character Joshua Lyman, is important:

Now, don’t panic. We’re in show business and we’ll get back to tending our egos in short order, but tonight we offer a play–it’s called “Isaac and Ishmael.” We suggest you don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out where this episode comes in in the timeline of the series; it doesn’t. It’s a story-telling aberration, if you’ll allow.

In Interview with Broadcasting & Cable, FCC’s Levin Attempts to Calm Broadcasters’ Fears of Spectrum Grab

Given the controversy that has arisen since the FCC first announced its desire to reclaim broadcast spectrum from over-the-air television broadcasters, it comes as no surprise that the agency’s broadband pointman recently attempted to quell broadcasters’ fears. Blair Levin’s interview with Broadcasting & Cable came roughly two weeks after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski appointed a controversial Distinguished Scholar in Residence who advocates imposing burdensome regulations on television broadcasters that would imperil their viability.

In his interview, Mr. Levin noted that while “he does not think any of the commission’s plans for spectrum reclamation ‘threatens [sic] the future of over-the-air broadcasting…’, he also [said] that broadcasters [sic] own actions and revenue streams do not support retaining all of their spectrum all of the time.” His statement is likely of little comfort to the organizations threatened by spectrum reallocation considering the expense they incurred in the digital transition and their hopes for revitalization through mobile DTV and multichannel digital broadcasts.

As the FCC originally proposed in October, broadcasters would forego over-the-air high-definition (HD) broadcasts and the spectrum needed to offer additional digital services, instead reverting to a single standard-definition (SD) broadcast channel. In return, the broadcasters would receive a portion of the proceeds garnered from subsequent auctions of the relinquished spectrum.

Until the FCC releases its official plan, which is due to Congress by February 17, 2010, the rhetoric surrounding this issue is likely only to intensify, and I suspect no quantity of interviews and appeasing statements from the Commission will settle broadcasters’ worries.

The idiom, “Actions speak louder than words,” certainly holds true in this controversial debate.

“The Good Wife” In Real Life

Spoiler warning: This post deals with an episode of a television show that aired last night and includes details beyond those provided in previews for the episode.

I’ve begun to watch CBS’ “The Good Wife” with some regularity, and the previews for last night’s episode particularly caught my attention. The show’s central character, Alicia Florrick (played by Julianna Margulies), represents a client before a judge she believes to be a racist.

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Networks Eyeing Increased Web Traffic Should Post More Shows Online

If television networks want to drive more traffic to their websites, they should post more full-length episodes of their programming online, and do so sooner, rather than focusing on superfluous marketing gimmicks. In the DVR and TiVo age, when many viewers simply fast-forward through commercials, providing full-length programs on networks’ websites with limited commercial interruptions has a better chance of keeping viewers focused on the advertising. As someone who regularly finds himself catching up with certain programs on the network’s websites, I have noticed that because the commercial breaks are rather short (often between 15 and 45 seconds), I am exposed to more advertising. Also holding my attention on the commercials is the fact that I cannot channel surf during the breaks. Simply put, by delivering shows in an environment that eliminates most distractions from an advertiser’s message, networks can increase exposure to both their programs and their revenue sources.

Timely posting of shows to networks’ websites also helps, as I often need to catch up with a previous episode before a new one airs.

Updated FTC Guides Seek To Deny Bloggers’ First Amendment Rights

Recently-released updates to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” seek to deny bloggers’ free speech rights by restricting how writers may discuss products or services companies provide for their review. While I favor transparency and honest disclosure wherever conflicts of interest may exist, the FTC’s disparate treatment of old and new media inherently denies new media its First Amendment rights.

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Approval of Mobile TV Standard A Positive Sign for Digital Broadcasting

Earlier this year, much ado was made over the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. So controversial was the switchover that Congress delayed the transition from February until June to give consumers more time to upgrade their equipment. Among the myriad benefits touted by proponents of the switch was the promise of new services and added content. While few of the promises have been met, the recent approval of a standard for mobile television is a step in the right direction.

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To Be A Human Lie Detector

If you’re a fan of Fox’s Lie to Me or generally have an interest in detecting deception, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston did an interesting piece for Morning Edition entitled “Spotting Lies: Listen, Don’t Look.”

For more information on the science behind detecting deception through facial expressions, see Dr. Paul Ekman’s site. Dr. Ekman is the forefather of the study of microexpressions. His site includes microexpression training exercises and a column breaking down the real and embellished aspects of Lie to Me.

Clinton Secures Release of Reporters Jailed by North Korea

Citing North Korean state media, numerous major media outlets are reporting that Euna Lee and Laura Ling have been released from a North Korean prison following an unannounced visit to the country by former President Bill Clinton. During his visit, Mr. Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, but all reports have indicated that the meeting was focused on securing the release of the two journalists detained since March 17 of this year. According to the BBC, the North Korea News Agency released a statement saying Kim Jong Il “granted a special pardon” to the journalists.

It is unclear whether or not North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were discussed, but all indications are that the meeting focused on the reporters. North Korea’s lead nuclear negotiator did, however, greet Mr. Clinton at the airport while Kim Jong Il was absent.

The reporters were working along the North Korea-China border on a documentary about North Korean refugees for, a project of Al Gore’s, when they were arrested for crossing illegally into North Korean territory.

Citizen Journalism Strikes Again

The blogosphere has done it again. As discusses on its website, Fox edited its video and transcript of Sean Hannity’s hour-long interview with Senator John McCain. Fox removed a portion of the interview where McCain revealed that he “really didn’t love America until he was deprived of her company” while held as a prisoner of war. It’s not that surprising that Fox would edit something like this out. After all, the channel’s hosts have regularly criticized Michelle Obama for saying “…for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Fox was just covering its tracks, trying to keep the egg of its face and avoid the embarrassment that could come with this revelation.

The blog post can be found here. The blog post includes video of the original broadcast.