Last night's 60 Minutes interview with the Obamas was great. Sometimes our next President comes off wonky and tired, and other times, like last night -- human, warm, smart, even funny.
There were a lot of memorable moments, and a great sense that this is an extrordinary person, who knows how special he is, but is also very humble. They talked about how his old car had holes in the floor (he called it the air conditioning) and it was how he knew his wife loved him (the holes were on her side of the car). They described his Washington apartment that the Secret Service wouldn't let him use at some point in the campaign, after the building caught fire.
At one point the interviewer, Steve Croft, tried to get Obama to compare his mother-in-law to his dog, but Obama, with his wife sitting next to him, wasn't having any of it. But he let all of us in on the joke. The Obamas have a sense of humor about life, and while they feel happy, even euphoric about their new place in the world, they also are trying hard to stay true to who they are.
Probably the nicest moment of the interview, for me, was at the end when he was asked about his plan to add a round of playoffs to college football. The man's eyes lit up, he pulled his hand away from Michelle's and explained how he thought this was something fun he could do with the power of the Presidency. I hadn't heard about it, and while I'm not a college football fan, I say Go For It! Mr. President-Elect, but don't forget to fix the economy too.
It was the most-watched-ever episode of 60 Minutes, and no doubt people were pleased by what they saw. I was. America is a great country that we have the collective vision to create such a person and to empower him. Good work.
In a post about Comcast: "I bought EyeTV devices for three of my computers so I could receive digital over-the-air broadcasts. It amazes people when they find out that such high quality transmissions are available for free over the public air waves."
I got a couple of questions wondering what I was talking about, and I promised to write about it here. So here goes.
A few years back a friend told me he had put an antenna on the roof of his house and was receiving digital versions of local TV stations. He showed me, but even though it was the familiar programming, I didn't understand what I was looking at.
Last night, when the Obamas were on 60 Minutes, I watched it in digital, using an antenna next to the computer, plugged into an EyeTV USB dongle thing. The picture quality was awesome. Every bit as good as if I were watching it over DirecTV, which I pay $100 a month for. I get KCBS, the local affiliate, over the air, for $0. It's totally legal. How could this be?
Well, it's really not that astonishing. When I lived in New Orleans in the 70s, I had a TV my grandmother gave me, a black and white tube set. I watched President Ford on TV, through an antenna next to the TV on the local NBC affiliate, WDSU, which I got over the air for $0. Only the quality was nowhere near as good. If my grandmother were alive to see the show she would not only plotz because we had elected a schvartze president (I'm sure she'd be happy about it), but the quality would probably astonish her as well. But the concept is exactly the same as over-the-air free TV in the 70s.
If you've been watching commercial TV you've seen the announcements about how on February 17 next year, TV is switching over to all-digital broadcast. This is what they're talking about. At that point, if you have an old analog set like the one I had in the 70s, all you'll get is static. Until then, believe it or not, that TV would still work.
The cool thing is that, because the signal is digital, it doesn't take much hardware to make it possible for you to watch that signal on your computer. There are adapters available for both PC and Mac, they cost between $99 and $200, and they work very nicely. Anyone who reads this blog has all the technical skills needed to make it work. And it's worth it just for the mind-bender, and for the times like yesterday when they have must-see programming on commercial TV, they get you access where ever your laptop goes. You don't need a net connection, this stuff is going over the air.
Here's a screen shot I took of President Bush at the Olympics this summer in an EyeTV window on my desktop iMac.
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Steve Outing: Do newspapers have 6 more months?
I posted a comment there...
And maybe at some point before they shut the whole news industry down they'll let independent bloggers into their process so we can get some ideas into their ecosystem. It's time to think about degrading gracefully, passing the baton to amateurs to do what the pros used to do, and not in a condescending way, do it as if our civilization depended on doing it well.
These people are only thinking about themselves, they need to start thinking about the function they perform. That's what I've been thinking about all the time blogging has been booting up. They think our contribution is over, that they've usurped blogging. This is wrong -- they're going down, and it's terrible, but we need to be left with a news system after the collapse.
Dave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.
"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.
"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.
"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.
My most recent trivia on Twitter.
© Copyright 1997-2008 Dave Winer.
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