Archive for November, 2007

Ariane 5 Payload Record

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Ariancespace set a new record Wednesday evening:

Dans la nuit du mercredi 14 au jeudi 15 novembre 2007, Arianespace a mis en orbite de transfert géostationnaire deux charges utiles : le satellite de télécommunications militaires Skynet 5B d’Astrium Paradigm pour le Ministère britannique de la Défense et le satellite de télécommunications civiles Star One C1 de Thales Alenia Space pour l’opérateur brésilien Star One.

Trente-cinquième lancement d’Ariane 5, vingt-et-unième succès d’affilée et nouveau record de masse en orbite. Ce nouveau succès du lanceur Ariane 5, le cinquième en 2007, confirme que l’offre de Service & Solutions d’Arianespace est la référence pour tous les opérateurs du secteur des télécommunications civiles ou militaires. Depuis le début de 2007, Arianespace a lancé dix des douze satellites commerciaux de télécommunications lancés avec succès vers l’orbite géostationnaire.

Now, in English:

On Wednesday evening, November 14, Arianespace boosted two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit (GTO): the Astrium Paradigm Skynet 5B military communications satellite for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), and the Star One C1 commercial communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Brazilian operator Star One.

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5, the fifth in 2007, confirms that Arianespace’s launch Service & Solutions continues to set the standard for all telecom operators worldwide, whether civil or military. Since the beginning of 2007, Arianespace has successfully launched 10 of the 12 commercial telecommunications satellites placed in geostationary orbit. The Ariane 5 ECA launcher set a new record on this mission, orbiting a total payload of more than 8,700 kg.>

This is very cool: a video shot from the jungles of French Guiana. So this is what’s its really like to be there.

The ESA explains what went on, rocket-wise:

The Ariane 5’s cryogenic, liquid fuelled, main engine was ignited first. Seven seconds later, the solid fuel rocket boosters were also fired, and a fraction of a second after that, the launch vehicle lifted off.
The solid boosters were jettisoned 2 min: 19 sec after main engine ignition, and the fairing protecting the payload during the climb through the Earth’s atmosphere was discarded at 3 min: 10 sec. The launcher’s main engine was shut down at 8 min: 58 sec; six seconds later the main cryogenic stage separated from the upper stage and its payload.
Four seconds after main stage separation, the engine of the launcher’s cryogenic upper stage was ignited to continue the journey. The upper stage engine was shut down at 24 min: 56 sec into the flight, at which point the launch vehicle was travelling at 9377 metres per second (just over 34 800 km/h) at an altitude of 626.1 kilometres and the conditions for geostationary transfer orbit injection had been achieved.
At 27 min: 12 sec after main engine ignition, Skynet 5B separated from the launcher, followed by Star One C1 at 33 min: 47 sec.

What about that payload?

The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) uses the Skynet satellites for communications, with this newest generation provided many times more capacity than the previous series. Interestingly, the MOD doesn’t really own the satellite. They contract with Paradigm Secure Communications to design, build and operate the entire Skynet system. They make sure it’s suitable for military use (hardened, jam-proof, etc.)

Star One C1’s X-band payload will be used by the Brazilian military, but most of the payload will be used for television broadcasting and Internet applicaitons. Representing the third generation of Embratel satllites, Star One C1 was built by Thales Alenia Space and is based on the Spacebus 3000B3 configuration. It will replace Brasilsat B2 at 65° West. The C-band beam will be pretty hot over Brazil, and will be available to commercial teleports in southern Florida, as will the Mercosur Ku-band beam. The Brazilian Ku-band beam will be concentrated over Brazil’s urban centers along the southeast coastal area.

We blogged about Intel helping establish the most remote WiMAX city in the world before, so we’re glad to see Embratel placing an emphasis on bridging the digital divide. The Embratel Institute is their dedicated organization, setting up communications points, digital libraries and distance learning programs throughout Brazil.

Hey, that reminds me. Have you done your part to help? The One Laptop Per Child project deserves your support.


Qualcomm Wins U.S. Contract to Track Mexican Trucks

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007


"Qualcomm has won a federal contract to provide a satellite-based tracking system for U.S. and Mexican trucks participating in a contentious experiment that opens the border to long-haul commercial traffic," SignOn San Diego reports:

Federal officials said yesterday that the San Diego-based company’s OmniTRACS system will allow the U.S. government to closely monitor trucks from both countries, including compliance with regulations that prohibit truckers from driving more than 11 hours per day.

Although Qualcomm is best-known for its prominent role as a chip-maker in the wireless industry, the company also is a major designer of satellite tracking systems for vehicles.

Qualcomm will provide tracking technology for 100 trucks at a cost of $367,000, officials said.

U.S. transportation officials hope the tracking system will soften congressional opposition to the two-month-old pilot project. Five carriers from Mexico and three from the United States are participating in the program, which is limited to a maximum of 100 carriers from each country.

OmniTRACS uses geosynchronous satellites and "helps fleets improve productivity, reduce operating costs, enhance customer service, and increase security." Features include:

    * Automatic satellite vehicle positioning
    * Two-way text and data communications
    * Highly reliable message delivery
    * Customizable reports
    * AS/400, Windows®, or web-hosted operation
    * Panic Buttons (available option) 

We’re not sure what the Panic Button achieves, but we assume it won’t be ignored like the car alarms that bleet plaintively in our local mall parking lot. 

Qualcomm has a nice flash demo of OmniTracks here. The system predates commercial use of GPS, and its next iteration — OmniVision — will provide real-time directions and maps using Maptuit’s NaviGo to truckers on the move:

Maptuit NaviGo is a real-time, hybrid  in-cab navigation service that provides professional truck drivers and trucking companies with interactive maps for increased routing efficiency and improved driver satisfaction.  QUALCOMM plans to offer NaviGo on the OmniVision platform later this year….

The OmniVision mobile computing platform is an integrated system consisting of hardware, software and network infrastructure, enabling delivery of two-way data communications and value-added services to enterprises in a mobile environment.


NASA “Launches” Dishes, Launch Pad at White Sands

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

NASA’s been busy at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. Just last week, they unveiled their new 18-meter Ka Band Antenna Network

 “Ka band” refers to a section within the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Much like how listeners can’t pick up FM waves on AM radios and vice-versa, Ka band signals require special equipment to receive them.

The three new dishes help meet the growing demand for ground stations to handle high volumes of science data generated by today’s new satellites. The Ka band system allows satellites to transmit more data to the ground than ever before, in the area of 45 terabytes a month. That’s about the equivalent of 1,152 fully loaded 40-gigabyte iPods!…

The network makes use of a two-part epoxy developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Tests have shown the glue and the dishes will last for decades, according to Raymond Pages, chief of Goddard’s Ground System Development Office.

The first missions to use the network will be the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). SDO will study solar variations that affect life on Earth. LRO will focus on selecting landing sites, identifying lunar resources and studying how the moon’s environment will affect humans. Both probes are slated for launch in late 2008.

And today, NASA is breaking ground on a new Orion Test Pad at White Sands: 

The pad will be the site of a series of tests of a launch abort system that will help ensure the safety of astronauts aboard the new Orion spacecraft.

NASA’s Constellation Program is developing Orion to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond. Engineers will use the test results to help design Orion’s launch abort system.

The first of five planned abort tests is scheduled from the new pad on Sept. 23, 2008. Two of the tests will evaluate the performance of the launch abort system at ground level. Three more tests will evaluate its performance at different altitudes.

Although a strong advocate for the space industry in New Mexico, Governor Bill Richardson won’t be attending the groundbreaking today, as he’s having pizza with caucus-goers in Nevada as part of his bid for the presidency. 

In addition to White Sands National Monument (pictured above), the area is home to the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missle Range. Unlike at the Monument, however, visitors to the Missle Range should learn about UXOs before wandering around this beautiful and stunning desert landscape.

Can Pakistan silence satellites?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

You’ve probably read about Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf’s decision to declare a state of emergency, suspend the constitution, and fire the chief justice of the Supreme Court. You probably have not read about his decision to limit television to state controlled media:

When besieged President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency Nov. 3, suspending civil liberties and the constitution in Pakistan, one of his first targets was the newly independent media, which he helped create and gave unprecedented freedom. Immediately, the government knocked about 40 independent Pakistani TV stations off the air, which has added to concerns that parliamentary elections set for January may not be free and fair.

"It used to be, we’d stay up until late at night, until 3 a.m., watching talk shows and the news," Khan said. "Now we go to sleep at 10 p.m."

The only news channel Khan could find was government-run Pakistan Television, or PTV, and it featured a bland documentary on India and a news ticker saying that Musharraf had explained to President Bush why an emergency was necessary and that Bush praised Musharraf and Pakistan for helping in the war on terrorism.

Since the emergency was declared, the Pakistani government has grown increasingly thin-skinned about any criticism. TV stations were barred from broadcasting anything that ridiculed Musharraf, who also is the country’s army chief. Cable operators were banned from relaying international TV stations. Internet services were restricted.

At times last week it was almost impossible to find out what was really happening in Pakistan as rumors flew that Musharraf had been overthrown in a bloodless military coup.

But it’s not as easy as it used to be for autocrats these days. As media becomes more decentralized, thanks to satellites and the Internet, its becoming very difficult to cut transmissions of independent news reporting.

There is the "problem" of Satcom for Musharraf. Despite authorities blocking sales of satellite dishes in two Pakistani cities, a dish is a hot commodity right now:

…satellite broadcasts are growing as a source of independent news as well. “Sales of satellite dishes have jumped since the weekend,” Agence France-Presse reported, citing several shopkeepers who were interviewed. One dealer said that while he usually gets one or two new orders a week, this week he already had 30.

Signs of a brisk satellite-dish market in Pakistan were also evident on a local blog in Karachi, which reported a $65 jump in price in the past few days. Below the post, a commenter claimed that the price of installation had suddenly increased as well.

Since the dishes can help Pakistanis circumvent the media blackout by picking up signals from sources beyond the government’s control, the latest development should hardly be surprising: CNN is reporting that the government has banned the sale of satellite dishes.

Musharraf may have underestimated the media’s power:

The Pakistani media, so aggressive that fistfights between reporters at demonstrations are not uncommon, haven’t accepted the new rules quietly.

At least two private TV stations have started broadcasting on the Internet, advertising the service by sending text messages to cell phones. Others are smuggling out news to Dubai, where the channels are broadcast to anyone in Pakistan with a satellite dish and the expatriate Pakistani community.

Journalists have started boycotting minor official events, such as news conferences or military ceremonies. They have held protest rallies. Most think the restrictions can’t continue.

"The government is so mad at the media," said Asim Awan, a TV reporter for Dawn News, an English station, who has continued to work even though most people cannot see his reports.

"But I think this is the only country in the world where political talk shows are more popular than soap operas. People miss them very much. I think they’re more upset that they’re missing their talk shows than they are about the emergency."

No More Satcom for Andrew

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Big news in the SatCom industry – Andrew Corp. has announced the sale of its satellite communications business to private equity firm Resilience Capital Partners. It appears that Andrew Corp. will receive $39 million total over three years based on meeting "certain financial targets". It will also own a 17 to 20% stake in a new SatCom company Resilience will create from the sale. More details on the sale here.

Andrew Corp’s SatCom business is well known. Check out their extensive list of products and services here. They also run a world-class training institute – "The Andrew Insitute" – which offers free training on how to use their products. They even offer online videos and guides, with product information and installation instructions for many of their products. For interested parties, check out the videos on their "SureGround Grounding Kit" or their "Positive Stop Connectors".

By the way – if the name "Andrew Corp" doesn’t ring a bell, you might recognize its products from the distinctive "red lightning bolt" logo, seen here:

Andrew Corp Satellite 

And one last thing – we’re not exactly sure why Andrew Corp sold its SatCom business. But it might be related to the recent loss of a patent infringement lawsuit. In September, a Pennsylvania jury awarded TruePosition Inc. $45.3 million in damages from Andrew Corp. for violating its patent on "locating wireless phones using the wireless network control channel". This is the second patent infringement lawsuit Andrew Corp has lost to TruePosition. More info on both suits here

New Satellite Radio Content

Monday, November 12th, 2007

SIRIUS has announced "Doctor Radio", a "24/7 Health and Wellness Channel" that will launch in early 2008. The new channel will be a collaborative effort from SIRIUS and the NYU Medical Center and will feature content from doctors and medical experts.

From the press release:

To serve Americans’ hunger for health, medical and wellness information, SIRIUS’ Doctor Radio will cover the human condition and the complexities of the bodies we inhabit, as well as entertain a little bit along the way. Doctor Radio will give listeners direct access to the best doctors in every field, breaking down barriers between the medical world and the everyday world, and giving listeners information to make important decisions about their health and well-being. NYU Medical Center doctors will take new medical research and findings and translate them into easy-to-understand advice and knowledge in an innovative and new way to better peoples’ lives. 

This announcement comes just five years after GE Medical Systems and NBC launched "The Patient Channel", a television channel that distributes health-related content to US hospitals. NBC also maintains "The Newborn Channel", a similar health-related network that focuses on parenting. 

Want to check out these channels but don’t want to visit the hospital? Both channels are carried by AMC-3, transponder 1K – check out Lyngsat for the latest downlink information and tune-in.

On the other side of the content spectrum, XM Radio has just announced the launch of the Led Zeppelin channel this Thursday.

From the site:

A 24/7 celebration of the music and magic of Led Zeppelin. A handcrafted channel dedicated to everything Led Zeppelin, including studio albums, rare and archival concerts, interviews, and listener interaction. A continuous and mystical radio voyage into the past, present, and future of the mighty Led Zeppelin.

This is part of "Whole Lotta Love Week" in America. It also coincides with the release this Tuesday of "Mothership", the newest "greatest hits" album in the Zeppelin catalogue, hand-chosen by the three remaining members of the band and remastered for sonic perfection (read Pitchfork’s review). The band is also re-releasing the live album "The Song Remains the Same", including versions on HD-DVD. But perhaps the biggest news is the release of the entire Led Zeppelin catalogue exclusively on iTunes tomorrow. For $99, you can purchase the "box set", which includes every single Led Zeppelin album. If you don’t already have copies of all albums in vinyl or CD, that’s a fantastic price for an essential part of anyone’s music collection.

Of course all of this recent Led Zeppelin mania has been inspired by their upcoming concert in London this December. For those who are lucky enough to go but already bought your plane tickets, you better call the airline – the concert has been postponed for two weeks because guitarist Jimmy Page broke his finger. I just hope it’s not his left ring finger – the solo on "Stairway" wouldn’t sound the same without those crazy arpeggios at the end. 

Canadian Content Changed by Chinese

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC): 

In 1992 a new spiritual practice, called Falun Gong, began to spread throughout China and by 1999 had acquired over 70 million adherents. Fearing the popular practice, the Chinese government banned Falun Gong in 1999 and began harassing and jailing practitioners. To date, over 200,000 have been sent to Chinese jails and forced labour camps, many of them brutally tortured, and at least 2,500 killed.

In 2006, new reports have come from China alleging that thousands of imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners have had their corneas, kidneys and livers forcibly removed for sale by Chinese authorities.

“Beyond the Red Wall” is a hard-hitting documentary special focusing on the movement and the persecution of these people by the Chinese authorities. It focuses on two Falun Gong practitioners – an internationally renowned painter, a Canadian citizen and resident of New York who was jailed and tortured for his beliefs, and a typically North American housewife who actively participates in and fights for Falun Gong.

The film also includes never-seen-before torture footage, smuggled out of China.



The Chinese government was quick to blame Falun Gong when one of the SinoSat satellite’s transponders was overpowered by a pirate signal in 2002. Then again in 2004 and 2005, both on an AsiaSat satellite. Falun Gong denied it, arguing they lacked the tech know-how. Was it poor satcom management? Without a sophisticated transponder locator service, I don’t see how they could quickly triangulate and concluded it came from Taiwan. Considering CITIC Group is a major AsiaSat shareholder, I’m not surprised.

Now we read in The Globe and Mail of a new episdoe in this ongoing saga:

CBC pulls Falun Gong documentary

Network postpones repeat of film aired in the spring after Chinese diplomats raise concerns


November 8, 2007

CBC Television abruptly cancelled a featured Falun Gong documentary just hours before it was to air on Tuesday night, prompting complaints that the network bowed to pressure from Chinese government officials.

The network, which had actually already broadcast the documentary once in English and once on its sister French service, Radio-Canada, switched the program at the 11th hour to rerun a piece about Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf.

A CBC spokesman said the network is simply doing its "due diligence" in holding Beyond The Red Wall: The Story of Falun Gong for prime time, in order to make it "more solid" before airing it at an unspecified date.

"If there is re-editing that’s required, we’re going to do that," CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said. He confirmed the network had been talking with Chinese diplomats who had expressed concerns about promotions the CBC had aired in the runup to this week’s broadcast.

"I was actually contacted myself by a gentleman who is a cultural consultant with the Chinese embassy," Mr. Keay said. "He was very polite." CBC will run a new version of the documentary "sooner rather than later," the spokesman added, but couldn’t say precisely when.

The Canadian director of Beyond The Red Wall says he has no intention of re-editing a piece that he spent three years working on. "We have to quote-unquote give balance," veteran filmmaker Peter Rowe said in an interview. "… I’ve never experienced anything like these kinds of demands."

The Falun Gong and Beijing are locked in a global campaign against one another. Falun Gong members said they interpret the delayed documentary as the latest example of China-sponsored interference against their movement, which Beijing considers a cult that represents a security threat.

The documentary draws attention to Falun Gong practitioners’ complaints of persecution, including beatings, torture and labour camps in China.

It also explores an investigative report done by the former Canadian MP David Kilgour and Canadian civil-liberties lawyer David Matas, who concluded last year that a "large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience" were being executed and their hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas harvested for transplant.

Beyond The Red Wall was to air on The Lens, which CBC Newsworld bills as a forum for Canadian filmmakers whose "up close and personal documentaries feature dramatic stories with new perspectives; films that inform, provoke and entertain."

Parts of the documentary, however, may have been too provocative for the CBC. At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Rowe said, he spoke to CBC documentary chief Catherine Olsen, who said the piece would not air during its scheduled 10 p.m. time slot. He said the specific concerns that were raised by Ms. Olsen included explorations of self-immolations in Tiananmen Square that China and the Falun Gong accuse each other of sponsoring.

Another contentious portion was the way the documentary explores the controversial organ-harvesting report.

The Falun Gong-supporting Epoch Times newspaper featured an interview with Mr. Rowe last week in anticipation of the piece. At the time, he lauded the CBC for broadcasting the controversial documentary, especially given the network’s ties to the Olympics in Beijing.

"The fact that they’re willing to broadcast a film that has people in it advocating the boycotting of the Olympics, which they themselves are the broadcaster of in Canada, is remarkable," he told the newspaper on Oct. 29.

What’s most galling for Mr. Rowe is that English CBC already aired the film this spring, albeit in a 4 a.m. time slot.

Radio-Canada aired a French-dubbed version of the film last month, Mr. Rowe said, adding that broadcasters in Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and New Zealand are airing Beyond the Red Wall unedited. He pointed out that CBC had sponsored the project throughout. "Without their funding, the rest of the funding would not have come in," he said.

Prompting this blog post by Clive Ansley:

Human rights advocates the world over lament the Beijing government’s consistent suppression of accurate news reports in China, and its determination to ensure that Chinese citizens never receive fair and accurate information about Falun Gong. Now it is apparent that Beijing has the power to approve or disapprove what is broadcast by news services in democratic countries. CBC is apparently quite comfortable with the idea that what Canadians are allowed to see or hear should be determined by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.

Even the New York Times picked up on the story.

Dancing With Mark Cuban

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

A Delta 4 Heavy rocket will launch the DSP-23 (Defense Support Program) satellite from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight (Launch Window: 8:39-10:41 p.m. EST; 0139-0341 GMT). Built by Northrop Grumman, the DSP satellites have been the spaceborne segment of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD’s) Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment System since 1970.


DSP satellites use infrared sensors to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against the Earth’s background. Air Force Defense Support Program satellites provide early detection and warning of missile launches and nuclear explosions to National Command Authorities and operational commands.


The launch will be broadcast LIVE via satellite (G26 @ 93° West, transponder 5, analog C-band, dowlnink frequency 3800 MHz Vertical) and webcast on the United Launch Alliance site — if they can get it right. ULA’s prior webcasts haven’t worked well. SpaceFlightNow will have real-time text updates. At 11:00 p.m. EST, you can watch it in HD on HDNet, which is available on Dish Network and DirecTV, and many other multichannel providers. HDNet may not stay on DirecTV much longer, given the lawsuit they’ve got going on. DirecTV want to put HDNet in a higher-priced package with other HD channels, and Mark Cuban doesn’t like that at all.


You’ve got to admire how he’s going about this. He saw the future and it was in HD. Yes, he grabbed old shows like Hogan’s Heroes — it was simple to convert from 35mm film to HD, but there wasn’t much content around when he started. Broadcasting launches from the Cape is something we like to see, even if it pre-empts regulars programming. In this case, for example, NASA TV will not be broadcasting the launch (showing STS-122 roll out instead).


At the CTAM Show in Washington last summer, held annually by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, trade publication Television Week held a luncheon and discussion with Dan Rather, formerly of CBS News and leader of Mark Cuban’s original news program, Dan Rather Reports. Really good interview; honest, candid and insightful: watch it here.



Also got to give him credit for doing what he wants to, whether it’s competing on Dancing With The Stars on ABC, or picking a fight with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News.  He talked about these topics and more in his closing keynote speech at the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas . Here’s the transcript, courtesy of Fast Company:

Connection between Dancing With the Stars and blogging. Dancing With the Stars taught me value of different mediums. People complimenting me for blogs is nothing like little old ladies telling me i should have won and that I was cheated on Dancing With the Stars.

I started my blog in 2004 because I did an interview with the Dallas Morning News about the Dallas Mavericks. I expected to see a write up that equated with the conversation. What was written was different than the email exchange. I decided it was time to start a blog. I put up a link to the article and then put up the email exchange. The response was amazing and was an accelerator for me to start blogging.

All of a sudden they realized they weren’t in charge of me. They had to realize they had to pay attention to people. Blogging isn’t just about people getting things off their chest, it’s a way for ideas and the truth to come out.

Over time I understood what blogging meant to me. Before kids and marriage I knew I could call up my buddies and we talked about everything on our minds: sports, tech, politics — but it was limited to the 5 or 10 drunks I knew

I got to talk to a whole universe of people. It was about how everyone was responding to me. More than 1 million people read the blog in 2004, and the software couldn’t support the comments. But it was the response coming back that mattered.

Are you honest in what you write or are you not? Are you just writing to get people to read. If you do that than you’re no different than mainstream media.

I learned you have to be brutally honest. Once you are honest you can define your brand.

If you’re gonna go the corporate route. MSM is trying to introduce blogs. If you’re a reporter for the newspaper — you’re a reporter. Either you’re a reporter or you’re not.

As exciting as we think our opinions are — we’re gonna run out. I think I’m gonna be able to whip something out in 15 minutess and I say someone is going to call me on that. I wrote a blog recently about facebook about opening its api vs what google is doing for opensocial. As i started doing more homework I realized I was not only gonna look like an idiot to readers but I was gonna feel like one. It becomes stronger when you do the work behind it.

The blogosphere is changing and becoming corporatized. You have to compete with nonbloggers; it’s your opinion vs The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News. You have to understand where you fit. As others enter your brand starts to dissipate.

Replenish yourself through good old fashion research and work. Decide if it’s full time or part time. Is it who you are or not who you are.

When you take the step to get paid to blog you’re going to lose ability to be perfectly honest. Someone is going to want something for paying your bills.

Bill O’Reilly is a moron. I’ve fallen into that trap. I’ve done my f you blogs. The hardest ones are the ones where you scream and yell at someone. It feels really really good. Then you remember these blogs are forever. The Internet archives are there forever. Whatever you write is going to be there forever.

What appears to be an honest answer that brands you today may not be in 2008. People Google you. When we hire people we Google them.

I don’t hold myself back but I’ve got a lot more money than you. I don’t care. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I can sit up here and not care. But not everybody is that fortunate. But I’m not saying muzzle yourself. Just be honest.

Mark Cuban takes questions from the audience.

Q: When starting should you worry about ads?
A: GoogleAds cheapen it. They need to be appropriately placed. Once you start getting some traffic and you realize you can turn it into a business then you can make decisions about it.

Q: Have you ever considered turning off comments because of haters?
A: I’ve turned them off; deleted them. Anonymity makes people say the darndest things. They say I can’t dance because my toes are funny.

Q: How do you marry your business with blogging?
A: I have this site called Sharesleuth where we investigate companies. I’ll take a position in the stock prior to publishing. I’m open and transparent. We are factual. We haven’t been sued or questioned.

Q: Did it work asking people to vote for you on your blog?
A: I was a complete whore. I put it on facebook and on my blog. I spent more time on trying to get votes than my dancing.

Q: Future of blogging — what can change it? What can take over?
A: The history of all of this is the Website. A lot of people were setting up sites in the 90s. People were putting up sites and speaking their mind. There were forums in Compuserve and Prodigy. Then it was an application that changed it all Don’t think the game is gonna change all that much. I’m not a huge fan of UGC and YouTube. Whenever it is easier to create everybody does. The longer and longer the tail becomes. MSM is also adopting easy tools … other things will come up. It’s gonna be hard to have more than just the ultra long tail. Viewers or readership impact. Look at the music industry. It’s so easy to create a song right now, everybody does. It’s harder to stand out. It will come down to content is king, with marketing being a major part of it.

Q: What about facebook’s new advertising?
A: It’s an advertising forward. It’ll be okay the first couple of times. Then everybody turns into a super spammer and they ain’t your friend no more. Someone will get paid to send and someone to receive. There are much better alternatives.

Q: Do you write your own blog?
A: Yes I do unlike Donald Trump. See I always go back to the people I pick on. Yes I write my own blog.

Q: Do you find Bill O’Reilly’s attacks on you to be a net plus or a net minus?
A: It’s neither. I’ve been putting my e-mail out in the public since 1986. I put it up on the JumboTron. I’ve said it on Letterman and and Leno. It’s the same 25 people saying the same thing. He says I’m gonna get you. It sounds like my 4-year-old daughter.

We put together HDNET and Magnolia so you can see it before it goes to theaters also DVD releases same day. Sneak preview on HDNET. Redacted in limited theaters — theaters don’t want what we’re giving free previews of . But at the end of the day, even if you have large screen, you’re going to the movies — it’s a different experience.

Q: What do you think about UGC now? Do you still think YouTube is not a real business?
A: If the media writes about it, then more media writes about it. YouTube is subsidizing any video you want to put on the Internet for free. Because they hide behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — Google can’t get in trouble if someone puts up South Park. South Park has to find it and request it be taken down. They don’t know what’s there. They are hiding behind the DMCA. they can’t put ads around what they don’t know is there. Let Google pay. They can’t sell ads around non-licensed content. If it were any other company in the world, they’d be gone. But they can subsidize a lot of things.

Q: Is facebook overvalued?
A: It’s cheap at the value Microsoft gave if they ever really get to monetize their members. Facebook is the only place where there’s all that information about me. Facebook has the opportunity to be gianormous. But the biggest opportunity is a new OS right now. Microsoft is like 25 years old. Mac is great but you can only use it on Apple. It’ll be great to have something like what Google is proposing with a mobile OS.

Q; If facebook were for sale would you buy it?
A: Yeah I’d buy it but I can’t afford it. The two companies I would buy are Verizon and facebook.

Another highlight at BlogWorld was the world’s larget pajama party, held at the Hard Rock Cafe.


No Jungle Launch Tonight

Friday, November 9th, 2007



A la suite d’une anomalie constatée sur l’un des équipements du lanceur Ariane 5, Arianespace a décidé de reporter le lancement prévu le vendredi 9 novembre afin de procéder à des vérifications complémentaires. Une nouvelle date de lancement sera communiquée dès que possible.

Translation: Arianespace has postponed tonight’s Ariane 5 lift-off following the detection of an anomaly on the launch vehicle. Additional verifications on the launcher are being performed.  A new launch date will be announced shortly.

Le poop, via Arianespace:

Tonight’s Ariane 5 lift-off has been postponed by Arianespace following the detection of an anomaly on the launch vehicle.

Both the launcher and its dual-satellite payload are in a safe mode, and the Ariane 5 is being moved back to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building. The electrical anomaly involves a flight support unit on one of the launcher’s two solid propellant boosters, and this unit will be swapped out with a new one.

A new launch date for the mission will be announced shortly. The flight will be Arianespace’s fifth Ariane 5 mission of 2007, and the launcher carries the Skynet 5B and Star One C1 satellites.

Skynet 5B was built by Astrium, and will be delivered in orbit to Paradigm Secure Communications. The spacecraft is to provide military telecommunications services for the United Kingdom’s armed forces, NATO and other countries.

Star One C1 is a Thales Alenia Space-manufactured satellite, which will be used by Brazilian satellite operator Star One for communications, multimedia and broadband Internet services over South America.

Big Ten Network — hurting cable companies?

Friday, November 9th, 2007

In July, I wrote about a Midwestern rage brewing because of local cable companies’ unwillingness to add the NFL Network and the, then launching, Big Ten Network to the cable lineups. Telling Wisconsin fans that they can’t watch Packers or Badgers football from their living rooms is a recipe for disaster. And it may be having an impact.

Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, two major cable carriers in Wisconsin, are reporting they have lost thousands of cable subscribers, a development some tie to consumers upset that they can’t get the Big Ten Network and the NFL Network.

While acknowledging the erosion of subscribers nationwide and in Wisconsin, spokesmen for both companies say other factors are behind the loss of cable subscribers. They include the downturn in the economy and the roiling of the housing market, as well as heightened competition from telephone companies in major cities around the country.

"The impact of not having the NFL Network or the Big Ten Network has been non-existent," said Alex Dudley, a Time Warner spokesman in New York.

Anita Lamont, a Charter Communications spokesman, echoed that comment, saying her firm had not seen a loss of customers due solely to people unhappy about not being able to purchase the two sports networks.

Time Warner Cable said Wednesday it had lost 83,000 subscribers in the three months ended Sept. 30, and another 57,000 in the three months prior. Time Warner has about 600,000 households in eastern Wisconsin.

Charter, which has 500,000 households in Wisconsin, reported Thursday it had lost 40,200 subscribers in the three months ended Sept. 30 and another 29,300 in the three months before.

At the same time, DirecTV, which has a contract to carry the Big Ten Network and the NFL Network, reported this week it had added 240,000 new subscribers as of Sept. 30, a 6% increase over a year earlier.

At the DISH network, which also has deals with the two sports networks, spokesman Parker McConachie said the company added 170,000 new subscribers in the second quarter.