Celebrating CES 2019 Once Again With Last Gadget Standing

Last Gadget Standing, presented by Living in Digital Times — a raucous event at the tail end of CES — has been a tradition for 19 years, when journalist/editor/author Robin Raskin founded it. The event features a showgirl in skimpy red spangles and feathered headdress, loads of swag thrown out to the audience, and music with a powerful beat. Having featured New York Times writer David Pogue for several years, this year’s event was hosted by the first woman ever, consumer electronics journalist Jennifer Jolly, who wore a top hat with a video screen embedded in the front. Continue reading Celebrating CES 2019 Once Again With Last Gadget Standing

Pogue’s Last Gadget Standing Showcases New CE Devices

Last Gadget Standing, which took place at the LVCC on Saturday, January 7, is a well-loved event in its 16th year. Created by Living in Digital Times founder Robin Raskin and guest emceed by journalist David Pogue, the event chooses — by live and online audiences — the “most likely to succeed product.” The live event’s winner — which is chosen by an applause meter — was the Matrix PowerWatch, which is powered by the wearer’s body heat. The online winner was the Linksys Velop, a whole home wireless mesh system for robust Wi-Fi. Continue reading Pogue’s Last Gadget Standing Showcases New CE Devices

Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Yahoo chief exec Marissa Mayer has decided to close the company’s online magazine initiative, which was one of her signature projects. Yahoo notified editors and writers at 15 publications that they would be let go. The digital magazines covered topics such as autos, crafts, fashion, food, health, real estate, technology and travel — some of which will be folded into Yahoo News moving forward. Yahoo plans to continue some original content for areas including tech and fashion, but publications covering autos and food lost all their staff. Continue reading Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Zediva: Simple Rental Solution or Copyright Violation?

David Pogue of the New York Times writes that we are in a fascinating transitional period from physical media to streaming services, but that accessing streaming movies from our TVs, laptops and phones comes with a price. For example, we are missing some of the DVD features including subtitles, multiple languages and director’s commentary. We are also restricted regarding when we have access to some streaming content and how long our subscription or per-title fee allows us to view a specific title.

In response to these concerns, Pogue mentions a new streaming service named Zediva.com that provides subtitle, language and commentary options in addition to some surprising (and perhaps disturbing, for the content creators and distributors) business model features. Rented movies are available for two weeks instead of 24 hours, current titles are available the same day as DVD releases, and there are no hardware or subscription fees — simply a rental charge of $2 per movie.

The process is simple. Zediva has set up hundreds of DVD players in its California data center; the company purchases dozens of copies of current releases and makes them available to consumers. As Pogue writes: “The DVD is simply sending you the audio and video signals, as if it were connected to your home with a really, really long cable.”

Of course, content creators and distributors may have issue with this approach. In related news, the MPAA has filed a lawsuit against Zediva (since Pogue’s article), claiming that the company is violating copyright law by streaming DVDs. While the company bills itself as a movie-rental service, comparing its service with companies like Netflix that purchase hundreds of copies of popular movies and then mailing them to renters, the MPAA’s lawyers argue the service is a form of “public performance” that would require a license.

Related Wall Street Journal article: “Hollywood Studios Sue Start-Up Zediva” (4/4/11)