BitTorrent Tracker Just For IPod Content

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A new BitTorrent tracker devoted to video, movies and music in iPod-friendly formats has just launched.

Called Podtropolis, the site says:

“Our streets are filled with loads of high quality content for your iPod including movies, television programs, music videos and of course music. All video is encoded in iPod compatible formats (H.264, MP4, M4V) so you do not need to bother with conversion.”

So far, the offerings are fairly thin: a dozen TV shows, half-a-dozen movies (including Pixar’s Finding Nemo — Steve Jobs isn’t going to like that), and a handful of music CDs.

However, there are dozens of music videos. It looks like people who’ve bought Apple’s $2 music videos through iTunes, which are pre-formatted for the iPod, are uploading them to BitTorrent.

Of course, BitTorrent is highly trackable. Use at your own risk, and karma.

W0z & J0bz 0wn Dr8per

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At a reunion of the legendary Homebrew Computer Club at the weekend, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recalled his hack0r early days with Steve Jobs. Reports CNet:

“… Wozniak related a story about figuring out how he and fellow Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had broken into the digital user group account of John Draper–the inventor of the blue box, a device that allowed its user to make illegal free long-distance calls from any phone.

“We found his resume,” Wozniak remembered, “and we were going to add something about his arrests, but we didn’t.”

Lugz To Apple: Pull Eminem IPod Ad

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Lugz footwear has sent Apple a legal cease-and-desist letter ordering it to pull the new Eminem iPod ad because of “disturbing” similarities to a 2002 Lugz spot called “Arrow,” according to AdWeek.

Larry Schwartz, evp and a principal of New York-based JSSI, which makes Lugz, said in a statement, “If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there’s a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights.”

The Eminem ad was created by Apple’s longtime agency TBWA\Chiat\Day, which previously denied accusations of plaigarism.

Woz Watch: Homebrew Computer Club Reunion This Weekend

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Apple I nerds may be interested in a Homebrew Computer Club retrospective at the Vintage Computer Festival this weekend in Mountain View, California. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak will be there, as will several other Homebrewers.

“The VCF in conjunction with the DigiBarn Computer Museum is proud to
present a 30th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Homebrew Computer Club, the legendary Silicon Valley institution that helped to launch the era of the personal computer. Bruce Damer of the DigiBarn Computer Museum will moderate this panel of former Homebrew members, including Steve Wozniak, Lee Felsenstein, Allen Baum, Len Shustek, Bob Lash and Michael Holley.

Join the panel as they recount their experiences and gab with the group as we feast on some yummy cake, courtesy of the DigiBarn.”

(The comical Homebrew diorama is taken from an Information Age exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History).

The Festival is at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Doors open 9:30am until 6:00pm; full exhibit is $12 per person per day; $7 per person per day for exhibit and marketplace only. Kids under 17 are free.

The Burgeoning Business of Podcasting

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BusinessWeek looks at the rapid commercialization of podcasting:

“In February, Volvo agreed to pay $60,000 for a six-month sponsorship of the monthly podcast of Weblog Inc.’s Autoblog, as well as advertising on the site itself. Over that period, the show was downloaded 150,000 times.

Because the number of listeners is changing fast, a flat-rate sponsorship can end up being a bargain or a bust. KCRW, the public radio station in Santa Monica, cut a deal with Southern California Lexus Dealers for a sponsorship this summer, when the station was getting 20,000 downloads a week. Since then the number spiked to 100,000. When the Lexus deal ends, KCRW plans to charge $25 per thousand listeners. “Once we get out of this sweetheart deal, our goal is to cast our net as wide as possible,” says Jacki K. Weber, KCRW’s development director.

The rates podcasters are getting are attracting attention. Although there aren’t reliable figures for the whole field, the $25 per thousand listeners that KCRW plans to charge seems to be about average for popular podcasts. That’s pretty lofty, considering a New York City morning radio show charges between $12 and $15.

…Podcasters are experimenting with ways of pulling in money without advertising. This Week In Tech, an indie podcast with over 200,000 listeners, asks for $2 donations per month and rakes in around $10,000 a month.”

Apple Market Cap in Big Leagues

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As noted on MacMischief, Apple’s market cap is nearly $50 billion, pushing into the league of industry giants like Dell and Hewlett Packard.

“With its recent stock price closing of $59.95 per share of stock, Apple Computer Inc. now has a market capitalization of $49.8 billion.

After years of being only a fraction the size of rivals such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, Apple now appears within striking distance of both companies ($72.3 and 82.5 billion, respectively). Apple’s stock has been on the rise due largely to the continued success of both its iPod and Macintosh product lines.”

Of course, Apple is a weeny minnow compared to Microsoft, which is capped at $283 billion.

IPod VR

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The latest iPod experiment from Make’s Phillip Torrone is the iPod VR: a video iPod hooked to a pair of VR glasses.

Torrone says it works well, especially for long videos, and would be the thing to use on airplanes, if he weren’t more interested in seeing people’s reactions.

There’s more to come. He writes: “And as soon as I get time, controlling iTunes and iPods with a VR glove!”

Webcam Watching For Signs of Bird Flu

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Over at Low End Mac, Belgian Koen Bogaert tells how his two pet chickens are being watched the world over via webcam for signs of bird flu.

Bogaert has a Mac-powered webcam inside the henhouse where his two chickens, Thelma and Louise, are currently quarantined.

“Since Europe is under the threat of the bird flu, Thelma & Louise became the symbol of the fight against the forced quarantine and massacre of domestic birds,” he writes. “Newspapers, radio, and television are all bringing Thelma & Louise into the picture, and thousands of visitors are watching these funky chicks daily.”

Here’s the Thelma & Louise webcam.

IBall IPod Speaker

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Oregon Scientific’s iBall is a $300 wireless speaker that streams music from a dock up to 100 feet away.

The dock also charges the iPod and can sync it with your computer. On the other end, the speaker acts as a remote control for the iPod.

It’s a clever device with a clever name. Let’s hope it sounds good.

Tunewear’s BoomTune also caught my eye. It’s a $40 tripod speaker system that plugs directly into an iPod headphone jack. It’s also a clever design, and Tunewear says it “booms,” though I doubt that.

Websites At War — BuyMeAniPod Hijacks SmashMyiPod Traffic

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Two iPod-related websites went to war on Wednesday afternoon, with one trying to hijack the other’s visitors.

Buy Me an iPod .com briefly hijacked SmashMyiPod.com’s traffic — if you visited SmashMyiPod.com at about 4PM PST, you would have been redirected to Buy Me an iPod .com.

The hijacking was only possible because SmashMyiPod.com contained hidden code to Buy Me an iPod .com that was intended to overwhelm and crash the site, according to Travis LaMarr, Buy Me an iPod .com’s webmaster.

LaMarr, a 19-year-old student, said there was a link to his site hidden in an iframe on SmashMyiPod.com that was visible only when viewing the site’s source.

As a result, visitors to SmashMyiPod.com were served the contents of Buy Me an iPod .com, but never got to see the site. The tactic was intended to eat up Buy Me an iPod .com’s bandwidth and crash the site, LaMarr claimed.

Why would SmashMyiPod.com do this?

According to LaMarr, the site is unhappy with accusations he made calling the gadget-smashing project a “scam.”

“I call them a scam as everyone else is,” said LaMarr by IM. “I’m guessing (the iframe is) a way to sabotage me.”

So LaMarr added a script to his site that hijacked visitors to SmashMyiPod.com. The script worked only as long as SmashMyiPod.com contained the hidden iframe link.

The iframe has been removed, but can still be found in Google’s cache of the site. The redirect still works, and the hidden iframe can be seen if you view source and search for “buymeanipod.”

LaMarr said he found the hidden link when his visitors jumped overnight from 100 to 10,000 a day. He said he sent SmashMyiPod.com e-mail asking for the hidden link to be removed, but didn’t get a response.

“Yegor Simpson,” a 19-year-old student who runs SmashMyiPod.com, admitted inserting the link, but said he hasn’t received any e-mail asking for it to be removed.

“I got no e-mail from him,” said Simpson in an e-mail to me. “I did ask him to get rid of the scam comments about my site, he didn’t. So I’m doing it for him.”

LaMarr said he’s happy to get a link from SmashMyiPod.com, but he’d like one visitors can actually see.

“Hey, I’m all for the free publicity — 10,000 hits in a day (is) not bad. But no one can see it. I’d be fine with it if they posted a link to it, but they won’t.”

Wireless ‘Phones for ITunes Phone?

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Engadget got its “sweaty paws” on the next version of Motorola’s iTunes phone — the SLVR L7 — and it looks like it’ll pipe music through wireless Bluetooth stereo headphones.

“… it has Bluetooth, a VGA digital camera, and a TransFlash memory card slot for storing up to 100 iTunes tracks, but there is one real surprise: the phone doesn’t have a headphone jack. Seems a bit odd for a phone with iTunes, but we’re hearing that Motorola will offer Bluetooth stereo headphones.”

One Million Porny IPod Downloads

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Quick update concerning porn on the iPod. Last week, Suicide Girls launched a weekly porny-podcast, SGTV. I wrote cofounder Lauren Suicide asking how it was going. She replied:

“everything is going great with the new SGTV stuff! In 24 hours after the launch we had 500,000 downloads of the new featurettes, and then the three days after that we had one million downloads, which is huge.

It’s been pretty consistent since then, I think we’ll do a million downloads/week average. The other cool thing is that after we launched SGTV we suddenly shot to #24 on all of itunes podcasts for the radio show we do on Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles.”

Actual IPod Baby

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Talking of iPod babies, on Monday (Halloween), Nick Fruhling sent an email:

“This is me and my son Felix this morning going into the office…”

“I was Steve and he was a shuffle, if you can’t tell.”

Competition: World’s Cutest (iPod) Baby

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IPodMyBaby.com is running a contest to find the World’s Cutest Baby
and the top prize is a family of iPods: a video iPod, a Nano, a Shuffle, “and much more,” according to the site.

IPodMyBaby is the baby-clothing operation of iPodMyPhoto.

The rules are:

“In order to participate, the baby must be photographed wearing the iPodMyBaby Click Wheel Outfit or the (newly added) Click Wheel Long Sleeve T-shirt. Submissions must be sent to ipodmybaby@gmail.com by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on December 15th, 2005. The winner will be determined by our celebrity panel of Judges. Their decision will be final.”

The contest opens today, and I’m one of the judges — bribe details to leander -AT- cultofmac.com ;-).

SmashMyiPod Responds — Where the Money Went

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Apparently Yegor Simpson of SmashMyiPod.com didn’t get a note I sent him a few days ago asking why he smashed an older, cheaper iPod and what he did with the extra money he raised.

(I know e-mail isn’t reliable but there’s no other contact details in the Whois database or on the web that I could find).

Simpson sent a note earlier today in response to yesterday’s post, accusing me of fabricating “lies” about his project. He wrote:

“Everything I need to say has been posted on my site. I didn’t receive any emails from you other than the initial interview questions which I answered.

Where is the base for your hypothesis that we scammed everyone? We bought a 4g ipod, since video (5g) wasn’t available at the time, and smashed it. I agree video sucked, but we didn’t scam anyone.”

I wrote back saying I didn’t make anything up, and that I noted widespread suspicion about why he bought and smashed an older iPod. I also asked what he did with the extra money that was raised.

Simpson replied:

“So your sources for the story were comments posted by ipod fans on engadget? Talk abou solid, unbiased info….. I hear ipod video screens cause impotence and hair loss.

Anyhow…..

Ipod cost us $365 cnd. That’s due to the unexpected “student discount” of $50. We planned for $415 cnd, which was the price on their site (including 15% sales tax). We raised $550 usd “on paper” but you forget that paypal takes a large % of especially when you have a lot of small payments. In the end we got about $120 cnd of usable surplus, which I used to pay the hosting bills.

The only “pocket money” I’m making from this is coming from the ads.”

Wu-Tang’s Apple Shout Out

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Wu-Tang’s new album — Think Differently Music; Wu-Tang Meets Indie Culture — is the oddest homage to Apple I’ve ever seen in pop culture. It’s so cultish, it’s disturbing.

The title borrows Apple’s “Think Different” advertising slogan, and the cover image is Wu-Tang’s symbol remixed with Apple’s old rainbow-stripped logo.

At first, I thought it was phony — a fanboy mockup — the kind of desktop wallpaper you’d see at The Apple Collection. Perhaps it’s ironic, but I don’t think it is.

According to an Amazon reviewer: “Wu Tang Meets Indie Culture is a compilation album put together by Dreddy Kruger, an affiliate of the Wu Tang Clan and a part time rapper … The concept was bringing Wu Tang affiliated rappers/producers and the best of the hip hop underground together for some crazy collaberations (sic).”

A lot of rappers are big Apple fans. There are more shout-outs to Apple in hip-hop than any other music genre. The Coup’s “Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Granada Last Night,” for example, goes: “Microsoft muthufuckas let bygone be bygones / but since I’m Macintosh imma double-click your icon.” Gunshots.

Still, this is weirder than that. If anyone knows what’s going on here, please post an explanation in the comments. I’m pretty sure you guys know more than I do.

(Via MacFeber and TUAW)

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

iReaper

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Instead of dressing up as an iPod for Halloween, this iPod was dressed up for Halloween — as the Grim Reaper.

It must have been hacked for the screen to display the reaper’s face. He’s quite a friendly little fellow, for a reaper.

Update: Reader Trevin Ward in the comments suggests something that never occurred to me: that the iPod is an iPod photo. No hacking required!

Apple Sells 1 Mill Videos

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Apple has sold more than 1 million videos in three weeks through the iTunes music store.

“Selling 1 million videos in less than 20 days strongly suggests there is a market for legal video downloads,” said CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. “Our next challenge is to broaden our content offerings, so that customers can enjoy watching more videos on their computers and new iPods.”

The ITunes store offers about 2,000 music videos, popular TV shows and shorts from Pixar.

In 2003, when the iTunes store launched, it sold one million songs in its first week.

IPod Smashing Video Not Very Smashing

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Yegor Simpson, the 19-year-old student behind SmashMyiPod.com, has finally posted video of his iPod smashing — but it’s not worth watching.

About 10 minutes long, the first nine minutes is the deadly-dull documentation of Yegor buying the iPod at an Apple store.

The last minute or two concerns the actual smashing, but there’s not much joy in it. Simpson and a friend first try to smash the iPod inside the Apple store, underfoot, but are escorted out. They finish the job on the sidewalk with a hammer. It’s pretty joyless.

To refresh: Simpson raised more than $500 in donations to buy and smash an iPod. He promised to post video for the jollies of everyone concerned.

The actual smashing happened last week but until now was no video. Simpson did post pictures — but of an older $300 iPod, not a brand new $500 one. This raised a lot of suspicion he was pulling an elaborate scam.

“They collected $400 (+$151 extra) and spent it on an iPod 20GB???” noted one skeptic among many at the Engadget blog. “How stupid. They probably already owned the 20GB, smashed it, and bought a brand new 5th gen for themselves. Anyone that donated is officially a sucker.”

Over at TUAW, there was a similar note of suspicion: “The guy had a destroyed 4G, got the $400, and got a new 5G,” wrote one commentator. “He smashed up the 4G good and is laughing all the way to the Apple store with a new iPod.”

Scam.com says it was an “obvious scam.”

Simpson didn’t respond to a request for comment. But in the video, you can see him buying a new iPod for yourself.

Meanwhile, Simpson is full steam ahead with his other smashing projects: SmashMyXBox, SmashMyPS3, and SmashMyRevolution.