Bing Crosby, Nazis and Silicon Valley

May 13th, 2013

Paul Ford on How Bing Crosby and the Nazis Helped to Create Silicon Valley:

The nineteen-forties Bing Crosby hit "White Christmas" is a key part of the national emotional regression that occurs every Christmas. Between Christmases, Crosby is most often remembered as a sometimes-brutal father, thanks to a memoir by his son Gary. Less remarked upon is Crosby's role as a popularizer of jazz, first with Paul Whiteman's orchestra, and later as a collaborator with, disciple to, and champion of Louis Armstrong. Hardly remarked upon at all is that Crosby, by accident, is a grandfather to the computer hard drive and an angel investor in one of the firms that created Silicon Valley. […]

Ford mentions one other technical innovation in broadcasting that Crosby allegedly inspired, but you'll have to read the article to the end to find out about that one. It's worth it.


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Video for Kindle

July 10th, 2011

Mark Longstaff-Tyrrell brings us Video for Kindle:

[…] I've designed a system to automatically convert a terrestrial digital TV transmission, as captured by a DVB card or PVR, to a sequence of static images annotated with the subtitles from the stream that convey the story as a kind of comic strip format. This can be viewed as HTML or PDF, so expanding the number of devices the content can be viewed on.

This is one of those ideas that straddles the boundary between genius and lunacy; I can't for the life of me decide which way it's going to fall.1

[Via BERG Blog]

  1. Of course, at the moment it's somewhat hindered as a practical proposition by the lack of a Kindle model with a colour display, but I think it's safe to say Amazon will be taking care of that little problem soon enough. Call it 'Video for Nook' for now, if you must.

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… is good news?

August 25th, 2008

Chris Hanretty quotes from the Social History of British Broadcasting:

On Good Friday 1930, in the view of the news editors, "there was no news of the normal type or standard for broadcasting, and as a result no news bulletin was given. The announcer simply declared 'there is no news tonight.'"

Not an announcement we're likely to hear in my lifetime, I suspect…

[Via Adrian Monck]

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