John McCain – new posterboy for “Flip-flopper” designation?

Have the Democrats, after many Presidential campaigns with candidates labeled flip-floppers or similar, finally found a break from the designation while a conservative worms into that position now? John McCain certainly looks to be front-runner for the flip-flopper title as we start seeing Presidential campaigns start up.

  • McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.
  • McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February.
  • McCain took a firm line in opposition to torture, and then caved to White House demands.
  • And now McCain has gone from insisting that the war in Iraq would be easy to insisting that he’s always said the war in Iraq would be hard. And yet, you’ll still find most of the political establishment arguing that McCain’s strength as a candidate is his credibility.

That’s just a sampling of the switches McCain has made. Of course, he’ll not be labeled a flip-flopped for them, because the conservatives only seem to use that and similar terms against liberals, whether or not the label is actually accurate.

I should point out here that I like John McCain. He’s one of the few politicians that I have any inkling of respect for. And I really don’t think having a change of opinion or taking a new stance after learning more about a topic is a bad thing. But I think every candidate running for President needs very careful scrutiny, and his actions deserve the same review Kerry’s actions got which lead to his being inaccurately called a flip-flopper. I still expect McCain to be a strong candidate for the conservatives, but he needs a sharp review the same as any other politician.

[tags]McCain fighting for flip-flopper title[/tags]

IP Radio

Since I’ve recently posted something about the online radio service Pandora, I figured why not post another online radio “thing” here (where “thing” is a highly technical industry term). The Phoenix IP Radio, highlighted in the latest issue of Computer Power User magazine (one of the few geek magazines I find valuable enough to actually pay for), provides IP access to online radio stations, playlists, and RSS feeds (think podcast here) over 802.11b/g connections. It’s battery operated, so you won’t be running a wireless network connection while being required to have a wall-plug to power it (except when charging the batteries, which are supposed to run 4 hours per charge).

phoenix-radio.jpgFrom the recent press release with some details on the radio

Features of The Phoenix radio include

  • alarm clock
  • eight preset radio station buttons and search mode
  • rechargeable batteries and integrated internal charger for portability
  • lightweight – under two pounds
  • integrated stereo speakers and spatialization enhancer technology for digital sound quality
  • can plug into any hi-fi stereo system or headphones with analog outputs
  • connects to any 802.11b/g wireless network with its easy Wi-Fi connection
  • no computer interface necessary
  • allows for Bluetooth¨ connectivity with adapter offered through Com One
  • bookmark favorite stations and songs for instant access
  • listen to missed shows with radio-on-demand or podcasts
  • embedded software for easy connection to the Internet-based service distribution platform, content & service customization, firmware upgrade over the air, push & pull interactivity and management of subscription or click & buy functions
  • lets you listen to MP3, WMA or uncompressed audio (WAV and AIFF) and supports Real Audio

[tags]Wifi IP radio, Take the online radio experience anywhere you have wifi[/tags]

Pandora adds audio ads

If you aren’t already familiar with it, you should check out Pandora. It’s a Flash-based free online music site that tailors a play list to what you like already. Start a personal radio station with three or four songs or artists you like and the site starts streaming songs with similar characteristics to you. As you listen, you can indicate songs you don’t like which should never be played again and songs you like enough to want to hear more like them. I’ve used the site off and on for a while (ever since reading about it over at Bill’s place) and have found a lot of music I really like this way. I’ve been remiss in not pointing any of my 6 regular visitors to Pandora before, but I’ve rectified that now.

With that all out of the way, news is out now that Pandora is testing out audio ads as part of the radio stream.

What formats for ads are you trying? (lengths, styles)

The only ad style we’re testing is NPR-style (“this station brought to you buy…”) The ad we’re running right now is 9 seconds. There are no current plans to test other styles or lengths.

How will Pandora make the final decision about how/how long/what type/which companies any eventual ad system will serve?

By listening to our listeners via support, our blog, and forums like the Digital Music Weblog. We pay a lot of attention to what our listeners have to say about all our decisions.

And I’ve found that to be true. Pandora seems very attuned to their customers. I’m sure there will be some uproar somewhere over this, but honestly I think it is good for companies providing great products (and believe me, I think Pandora really is excellent) to try finding ways to keep end-user costs down. This service has been free for a long time, does a great job of providing good music to listen to, has an easy to use interface, and very low personal information requirement to get started. I almost bought a paid subscription when Pandora first launched, because I think it is good enough a service to pay for. If the providers want to keep it free by running occasional ads, I’m all for that. I’m not like many ‘net-heads who believe everything should be free (as in beer).

[tags]Pandora online radio now streaming ads, Pandora testing ads to maintain free online radio service[/tags]