Technology News

 2005

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20th December   

Pod Porn Empire...

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Melon Farmers logoAdult DVD Empire has announced the launch of "Porn On The Go" - the ability to download XXX adult scenes for the iPod Video and Sony PSP with exclusive rights to scenes from Digital Playground.

Adult DVD Empire and Digital Playground have partnered on the project that will launch with 12 scenes, each up to 20 minutes in length, to download for the iPod 30 GB and 60 GB video models as well as for the Sony PSP. Three scenes from each of these Digital Playground releases - All Natural 6, Taped College Confessions 12, White Panty Chronicles 1 and White Panty Chronicles 12

This is the first of many mobile video on demand updates at Adult DVD Empire - new titles and scenes will be added frequently. "Porn On The Go" is another project for Adult DVD Empire's Video On Demand (VOD) Division.

 

28th October   

Pod Porn Portents Poor...


ThatSexShop.co.uk

Sex Toys with FREE UK Shipping ThatSexShop

 
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Melon Farmers logoThere's a widespread notion that pornographers eagerly jump on new technology long before it goes mainstream, but with Apple Computer's new video-playing iPod, the adult industry is largely staying away. With a couple of exceptions, porn producers are in no hurry to provide content for the iPod, thanks to fears of a public outcry and a government crackdown.

We can't blindly walk into this, said L.R. Clinton Fayling, president of Brickhouse Mobile, a Denver company that is licensing adult material for mobile phones. We want to be conservative in investigating the opportunity of the iPod, to see how we can make money, what are the specifications, and what kind of safeguards are in place, " he said.

When it comes to the iPod, Fayling said there are few rewards and many risks. Fayling emphasized the pitfalls of combining a device designed for younger audiences with content they are prohibited from viewing. There's already a public perception that we (in the industry) are preying on youth. Without safeguards you open yourself up to more scrutiny from government and parents' groups.

To avoid such scrutiny, and litigation or legislation, Fayling said the industry will likely follow three guidelines regarding porn for the iPod: Customers will be age-verified through a credit card, no content will be offered for free and the material will be copy-protected so it can't be shared.

In the past, the porn producers have not been so shy about embracing new technology. VCRs, DVDs and the internet were all targeted early on by the industry. But the industry's skittishness about adapting to the iPod suggests that porn may follow, rather than lead, the video iPod revolution.

Regardless, some smaller companies are jumping right in. Last week, povPod.com started offering several downloadable videos "shot from the male porn star's point of view."

Porn on the go presents land mines for viewers as well as producers. Although there is no federal law prohibiting public viewing of adult content, some state and local governments have banned displays of pornographic films in automobiles.

Eugene Volokh, a University of California at Los Angeles law professor and an expert in First Amendment and cyberspace law, suggested that public viewing of porn -- even if it's accidental -- will probably not result in new federal legislation, but could bring binding legal precedent. With the widespread use of these devices, it will increase the number of incidents and the number of times courts will have to confront this. And these lower-court cases may work their way up to the Supreme Court.

According to Free Speech Coalition chairman Jeffrey Douglas, the challenges the video iPod presents are the same that have been faced by the adult film industry for years.
The real problem is, there is a small group of people who believe that any sexually oriented material is an offense to God, and they have a great sway with Congress, which is already hostile to the material. Unfortunately, citizens who like to watch people have sex -- and there are many more of them -- do not flood city hall and say, 'I don't want to make it harder to access that material.'

 

29th September   

All the World's Ills Filtered Out...

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Melon Farmers logoNew software which can ostensibly shield Internet surfers from websites containing pornography and has been designed in this country was presented at an international conference in Thessaloniki yesterday in the wake of a police crackdown on child pornography on the Web that has led to dozens of arrests in Greece this year.

The software, called Filter X, scans the text and photographs of any website being sought by the surfer and determines whether there is any pornographic content within a fraction of a second, according to information technology experts at Komotini’s Democritus University of Thrace who developed the program.

Existing filters operate by banning a list of known pornographic sites but are not capable of spotting, and barring, new sites, they said.

The Greek patent, which reportedly costs about the same as anti-virus programs for computers and is similarly easy to download, has been used in schools in Greece and other European Union countries over the past two years as part of a pilot program. It will be available on the market soon.

 

17th September   

High Definition Porn...

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Melon Farmers logoHigh Def Home Entertainment (HDHE), a new distribution company specializing in the High Def DVD format, has opened business, starting with the release of several adult titles in the format Sept. 8.

HDHE plans to release a variety of content — including feature films, concerts, music videos, extreme sports and documentaries — in addition to the adult fare. Most titles will contain both High Def and standard NTSC versions, meaning they still will function in any regular DVD player.

Working with Japanese company I-O Data (www.iodata.com), HDHE has also helped to bring the first High Def DVD players — the AVeL Linkplayer — to the U.S. market. These players allow for full High Def resolution playback, but can also still play standard DVDs, as well as connect to a computer for playback of other files, including video, photos and music.

One does not have to own one of these players, however, to enjoy full High Def playback of HDHE’s titles — they can also be played in full resolution on tens of millions of computers using Windows Media Player on (approximately) a 2.4GHz or better PC.

This format will provide optimal viewing experience for consumers who have invested in HDTVs. And although other forms of high definition discs — namely Blu-ray and HD DVD — are due on the market early next year, the High Def DVD format purports to present several advantages over those, including versatility (it plays multiple types of discs and computer files), price (it uses red-laser DVDs, making the cost of replication no more than for any standard DVD, and the players cost substantially less than estimates for either of the other technologies’ players) and availability (now).

HDHE has decided to release adult titles first because of the adult industry’s significant role in the proliferation of new entertainment technology, including VHS, DVD and particularly the Internet. Among the initial releases will be the most famous adult film of all time, Deep Throat, from Arrow Productions. It is currently being transferred and digitally restored from the newly rediscovered film negative. (For more details, visit www.HighDefXXX.com.) Mainstream titles will follow soon, with up to 100 titles planned for release within six months.

 

4th August   

Phone TV...

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Melon Farmers logoAs if phones didn't already have enough features, within the next few years, the mobile industry is going to add another major one: broadcast TV. The service will be consumer-led, but could there be other applications for business?

The leading standard for mobile TV, DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handhelds), has emerged from Nokia and been standardised by the European standards group ETSI, as EN 302 304 (paid download here).

DVB-H means building a new radio receiver into the handset, tuned to whatever spectrum is going to be used for mobile video broadcasting. It sends 15 Mbit/s of data per 8MHz channel, and adds error correction to compensate for possible poor reception.

Nokia has created DVB-H handsets - basically its 7710 device with an add-on radio module. Integrated DVB-H devices are due next year. Other handset makers including Samsung have prototypes and are expected to follow suit.

At first DVB-H will only be in expensive handsets. As time passes, it will become cheaper, until the DVB-H capability costs as little as adding an FM radio receiver. DVB-H trials, in Helsinki, Oxford and about fifteen other places, have focussed on consumer services, in which users pay between €5 and €15 for up to 20 TV channels.

In the US, Pittsburgh has a trial service provided by Crown Castle, which has a nationwide licence for spectrum at 1.5GHz.

Mobile phones bring several benefits for a service like mobile TV. Firstly, they are in users' pockets already, so vendors don't have to sell a whole new device. Secondly, they can use the cellular network as a communications channel for services like interactive TV. And finally, because users are already paying a mobile bill, it is easy to bill them for extra services, and users will (operators hope) be willing to pay to see TV on their mobile.

What about the spectrum?
There are currently no bands set aside for DVB-H broadcasting. However, in the short term, the technology is similar enough to DAB (digital audio broadcasting) to use DAB bands. In the long term, the bandwidth dividend when analogue TV broadcasts are shut down (around 2012) will provide more than enough spectrum for broadcast to mobiles.

As operators scent money, licences for spectrum that can be used for DVB-H may be auctioned, and prices could be high. However, the UK is unlikely to see a repeat of the "3G auction" of 2000, for at least one reason. Ofcom has become technology neutral, and will want to sell spectrum without requiring any particular use.

Any competition?
Mobile phone users can already see TV programs on their handsets if they want to. For instance, Orange's MobiTV system broadcasts CNN and ITV news over the 3G network, to users with the Nokia 6680 handset.

However, using a two-way data network for broadcast data is wasteful and does not scale well. MobiTV is on a free trial at the moment, but the actual cost will be €15, for a limited time (24 hours viewing per week).

Other competition includes Qualcomm's MediaFlo, which the company is hoping to get off the ground.

In Korea, services exist using DMB (digital multimedia broadcast) and there are proposals for S-DMB (satellite digital multimedia broadcast), which would use a terrestrial repeater network to relay signals from satellites. DVB-H promoters label DMB as being too close to DAB. Designed for video, DVB-H gives more data per channel, say its backers.

Any other applications?
Broadcasting to handsets could be very useful for information such as traffic and weather reports, or even warnings and emergency information.

Like other broadcast services, it may also be possible to piggyback other data on it, perhaps including software upgrades for mobile devices, or updates to customer or product databases in devices carried by mobile workers.

 

2nd August   

A Shared High Tech Buzz...

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Melon Farmers logoRight, let's get down to business - you've warmed yourself up with the vibrating knickers, plugged the iPod into the Muff Dock and slipped into the backless thong, but there's still something standing between you and an earth-shattering climax...

Ah yes, your boyfriend is at a data networking conference in Birmingham. But while this would previously have been an insurmountable barrier to sexual intimacy, distance can no longer keep the tech-savvy rumpy-pumpyists from enjoying a private moment together.

Indeed, while less connected couples would have to make do with a bit of solo flying, those with a broadband connection and £79.95 to spare can now avail themselves of the Highjoy Internet Enabled Rabbit, 10.5 inches of non-toxic vinyl rubber net joy which "invites couples to join the online sexual revolution".

Yup, praise be once again to the internet. Here are some of the bangs you get for your bucks:

With your purchase you receive a free membership to HighJoy, the website that enables you to watch and control a partners sex toys from any PC, anywhere in the world!

The revolutionary and vibratory Rabbit is available from sextoys.co.uk (motto: "One site fits all"). As the firm's Monique Carty told UK tabloid the Sun:
It brings the most-acclaimed vibrator, the rabbit into the 21st century with a bang.

 

21st June   

I Want my IPTV...

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Melon Farmers logoThe technology to turn the phone line into a TV delivery system is IPTV - television delivered over broadband internet lines to a set-top box that is attached to the TV set. There have been tests and smallish commercial rollouts of IPTV over the past decade (including a pioneering service at Kingston Communications in Hull), but making the sums add up has been difficult. The technology was expensive and the biggest phone companies were not that interested. But all that is about to change.

Over the past year, some of the world's biggest telcos have tested IPTV. And by the end of the year there will be hundreds of IPTV trials running around the world, including one on BT phone lines.

IPTV is the hottest product in the TV world , says Peter King, an analyst at Strategy Analytics. The telcos realise they have to get into the business of providing video, either broadcast or video-on- demand (VoD).

According to forecasts by Strategy Analytics, the number of IPTV set-top box subscribers will grow from less than two million in 2004 to 12 million by 2010. US-based Multimedia Research Group (MRG) is even more bullish, calculating that there will be 25m IPTV homes worldwide by 2008. All this activity has attracted the attention of companies from Microsoft to Pace Micro Technology, a maker of TV set-top boxes. Microsoft wants to extend its hold on software in PCs into the software for the IPTV television world, while Pace wants to leverage its know-how in developing satellite and cable TV set-top boxes into the IPTV market.

Last week, Pace launched a new IPTV set-top box that it hopes will outdo its main competitors. The new Pace box includes decoding software built into the box and a compression technology called MPEG-4 that means a telephone company can transmit high-quality TV pictures with only half the bandwidth previously required. The result is a set-top box that is more flexible and that will cost less than $100 (£55) to mass produce, according to Strategy Analytics, or less than half of what most IPTV set-tops cost today.

The new, cheaper box is important to the economics of the fledgling IPTV business and it is also crucial for Pace. Last month the company won a contract from the biggest US cable operator Comcast Corp, worth up to $550m over the next three years. Our IPTV revenues are very small at the moment, but we expect it to be a significant part in the next three years , says David Gilles, director of technology at Pace.

Although the telcos are the primary market for IPTV suppliers, some cable companies such as NTL are also experimenting with TV-channel delivery using IPTV rather than the more bandwidth-hungry standard broadcasts. And BT is expected to unveil its plans for delivering TV to consumers over the telephone line as early as this summer but it is still wrestling with decisions about which suppliers and systems to use. BT did not return calls for comment but it is understood that it will launch a set-top box that receives the Freeview channels and has a VoD service capability so customers can download TV programmes and films that they pay to watch.

The telcos have to get it right from launch, says Peter King. The user interface has to be spot-on. So until BT are 100% comfortable with it they are not going to rush it to market. In the UK this is particularly important because there is already a lot of competition in the TV market from Sky and cable and Freeview. It's not like there is pent-up demand for IPTV. There aren't lots of people saying 'I want my IPTV' because they don't know what it is yet.

Perhaps someone should tell them that IPTV may be the first media enabling mass market hardcore on British TVs. Perhaps a little porn gold may encourage them to get a move on.

 

18th June   

Playing PR Games...

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Melon Farmers logoPornography producers will soon release sexually explicit discs for Sony`s PlayStation Portable game console.

Two makers of adult movies plan to sell their products for the console from July, and several other companies are apparently ready to follow, Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun reported Friday.

It is utterly undesirable, but we cannot stop software makers from selling such videos , a public relations official at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said. [I wonder if they say the same thing about their DVD players]

The hand-held PlayStation uses the universal media disc, or UMD, format, enabling the console to play games or videos recorded on optical discs 2.3 inches in diameter.

The UMD format, developed by the Sony group, can play moving images for about 120 minutes. Much like the DVD, UMD discs can be produced and distributed by any company.

 

12th June   

Innovation Online...

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Melon Farmers logoGail Harris is an unlikely high-tech pioneer. The former model has created a multimillion-dollar Internet company with the world's largest collection of erotic images. Jason Tucker was a mainstream film producer frustrated by Hollywood's bureaucracy and resistance to change decided to start a profitable Internet company that sells technology to porn Web sites.

They're among the Web's most innovative and profitable entrepreneurs, but pariahs among mainstream business people. Online pornographers have been among the first to exploit new technology for more than a decade from video-streaming and fee-based subscriptions to pop-up ads and electronic billing. Their bold experimentation has helped make porn one of the most profitable online industries, and their ideas are staples at Fortune 500 companies.

Porn's recent tech tinkering could have sweeping implications for the music and movie industries, which are trying to protect digital content from being stolen and traded. Each day, millions of video clips and photos are filched from for-pay porn sites and traded, forcing the red-light districts of cyberspace to find novel ways to protect digital content.

Technology has paid off handsomely for porn sites in the USA. They generated $2 billion in revenue last year, up 10% to 15% from 2002, says Adult Video News, a trade magazine. That's about 10% of the overall domestic porn market. The number of porn sites has vaulted eighteenfold, to 1.3 million, since 1998, says the National Research Council. It will likely grow as more Americans get high-speed Internet connections. About 35 million people visited porn sites in December -- or one in four Internet users in the USA, says Nielsen/NetRatings.

The long partnership of tech and titillation precedes the computer age. Where there's sex and tech, there are sales , says Eric White, CEO of Virtual Reality Innovations, a profitable maker of cybersex toys.

Some established companies have quietly dabbled in porn for years. Comcast, the nation's largest cable company and Disney suitor, is one of the most far-reaching distributors of porn. Like other cable and satellite companies, it pipes adult films into pay-per-view TV services. But, like others, it doesn't break out revenue from adult programming in its financial reports.

The sex-tech combination went into hyper-drive with the emergence of the Internet, says White, 39, who ditched ownership of a video-store chain in Pennsylvania in the mid-1990s for the potential riches of online smut. At his video stores, 70% of revenue and all of the profit come from adult-video rentals.

The Internet lets anyone with a camera and Web connection produce content cheaply and quickly and distribute it to millions of people instantly. Porn purveyors no longer have to be in Southern California -- ground zero of X-rated movies -- to get into the business, he says.

Thousands of women like Sammy, 30, a former stripper in Florida, have created profitable Web sites. For $20 a month, subscribers to her site have access to nude photos and video snippets of her. Plus, online porn ventures routinely share technology and promote each other's sites because it generates more revenue. Sammy's photos appear on 400 other sites.

Technology has also taken porn out of seedy stores and delivered it to the living rooms of Middle America, says Frederick Lane, author of Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age.

Some of the new technology:

Digital-rights management software. Like the music and film industries, the adult-entertainment industry has grappled with digital piracy.

Playa Solutions, the company started by former movie producer Tucker, has developed software that wraps digital content in a high-tech force field of sorts. When the user presses play on a video clip, for instance, a computer system that controls the content is electronically notified. The system asks for a payment or lets viewers see the clip if they agree to watch ads. The process has tested successfully in the adult industry and has drawn interest from music and movie companies, Tucker says.

Video-on-demand billing. Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the world's largest adult-film producers, is conjuring up electronic-billing systems that would let consumers download and record on CDs chunks of content. Consumers would be charged by the minute. If the idea catches on, media companies could offer classic film scenes, music videos and TV shows for a fee online.

Wireless services. XTCMobile.com transmits porn video-clips of two to four minutes to cell phones. It also supplies "groan" and "moan" ring tones. Provocative content is just another way to personalize cell phones that already come with digital cameras, video games and Web browsers, XTCMobile CEO Jchris Morrison says.

Geo-location software. Porn and gambling sites are among the leading users of the software, which helps Web sites identify the city where a person logs on. That lets them target Internet promotions to specific consumers in specific regions.

 

10th May   

Blu-ray Shines in Hollywood...

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Melon Farmers logoAlmost two weeks after Sony and Toshiba began talking about whether to aim for a unified next-generation DVD format, Panasonic said it plans to open a technology center for producing next-generation DVDs in the Blu-ray format. The company said that it's a temporary move but one aimed at assuring Hollywood the format battle will be settled in Blu-ray’s favor.

Panasonic Hollywood Lab director Eisuke Tsuyuzaki said, announcing the plan: We wanted to show that the technologies are there waiting for companies when they want to launch their efforts. …The studios have been concerned with how a new next-generation format can be established, and this demonstration was more to alleviate some of those concerns.

Hollywood has hoped for a unified next-generation DVD format to avoid buyer confusion and the expense of printing movies onto different formats, discussions Panasonic has joined even though production efforts for Blu-ray have been ongoing, Tsuyuzaki told reporters.

A unified next-gen DVD format is finding a small but growing consensus among adult-entertainment producers. But Metro Studios production manager Gustavo thinks the next-generation DVD machines have to come out before anyone can even think about which format they might have to choose: And I'd rather see the customer have a unified format so everybody can watch it.

Panasonic has been marketing a Blu-ray machine, the model DMR-E700BD, in Japan only, a machine the company touts as capturing 4 1/2 hours of digital satellite high-definition television when used with dual-layer Blu-ray formatted rewritable DVD discs storing up to 50GB. Recording times are said to extend to six hours for digital terrestrial HDTV and nine for standard definition satellite TV. The machine retails for about $2,780, with 50GB discs selling for about $69.

Sony brought out its commercial BDZ-S77 Blu-ray recorder in April 2003, a machine now retailing for about $3,000. And Sony has also said its next-generation PlayStation 3 game console would run Blu-ray.

 

22nd April   

Playing Playboy on Playstation...

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Melon Farmers logoPlayboy has further expanded its portfolio of softcore services with the announcement that PSP owners can now avail themselves of the very best in widescreen naked fillies. And in particular Cyber Girl of the year, Amy Sue Cooper, photographed and formatted specifically for viewing on your PlayStation Portable".

Playboy.com's managing photo editor, Chad Doering, explained:
Gaming and the Internet go hand in hand, so shooting sexy, action-themed pictorials and video for the coolest piece of portable gaming technology out there was a no-brainer.

 

30th March   

Amateur Technology...

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Melon Farmers logoAs Paris Hilton can testify, it’s a brand new mega pixel world we’re living in now and erotic imagery has gone democratic once again. There were an estimated 53 million digital cameras sold in 2004 and I’d be willing to wager that at least 52.5 million of them have been used to take a nude photograph of somebody.

Now, there is no need to take that film of you in your man-thong to some guy sitting in a photo shop. Liberated by the instantaneous, self-contained production of photographs, people are feeling free to become their own porn producers and, increasingly, to share that output with others via the Internet.

An exhibitionist species Just how popular this trend is and what it means is hard to gauge, but it has been growing for “at least a decade,” says Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist and sexologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

It really started with the birth of the portable video camera, when couples began making porn tapes at home. But most of them had to be their own audience because showing it to anybody else gave away their identities. Not so with digital imaging.

What’s more, people are rejecting the idea that porn and erotica can only come from the pros.

The girl-next-door factor This is certainly the case for "Trent," a contributor to and frequent visitor of Voyeurweb.com, a site for those who want to show off and those who like to look at them doing it. He has come to “enjoy viewing those erotic photos better than watching professional pornography” because of what he calls “the girl-next-door factor.”

Such amateur images prove that people of all makes and models think they can be just as sexy and arousing as Jenna Jameson. Our sex life has been enriched because of my contributing; taking photos is very much like foreplay for us , Michelle, a frequent contributor, told the Voyeurweb owner.

And for the viewer there is something erotically compelling in the thought that your neighbor is taking a break from vacuuming to make porn in her living room.

Blogs are also coming out with homemade porn. Bloggers all over the world are uploading pictures of themselves in various states of undress or engaged in sex acts. Still selling sex But it’s hard to come away from visiting the realm of everyman porn without getting the sense that the new free exhibitionism is following the same old trajectory after all, and that it could have the same fallout.  For example, a few bloggers are turning pro. “Hotwife Allie,” who displays pictures of herself engaged in sex as well as portraits sells her own line of “Hotwife” apparel.

Voyeurweb has developed the neat trick of exploiting the urge to display ourselves for profit. While the site gets its content for free, it charges a fee to see the more explicit images.

And Trent sees a potential pitfall in his own viewing habits. On one hand, it keeps me wanting to be active with my wife, he says, but on the other, influenced by the photo competitions Voyeurweb operates, it also makes me unfairly want to hold her to a higher standard.   And so we beget Jenna Jameson all over again.

 

27th March   

PlayStation at Bedtime...

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Melon Farmers logoSony recently released its handheld PlayStation Portable, or PSP, a device for playing games, music and video. Despite months of quivering anticipation for this product, the techie community has consistently voiced one major criticism: the proprietary media-storage format.

The PSP uses Sony's Universal Media Disc for video, a format that is anything but universal. Even if you already own a movie on DVD, you have to purchase it again on UMD if you want to watch it on your PSP, or go through a torturous workaround to get part of the video from the DVD onto the device.

Sajeeth Cherian has solved that problem for us all. Cherian has developed PSP Video 9, an elegant application that converts several digital video formats -- including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and AVI -- to PSP format. Configure PSP Video 9 to work with Cherian's other program, Videora, and you can automate video transfers from BitTorrent to your PC to your PSP -- overnight.

Because this, of course, is a dream for porn fans. Once you get your porn on the PSP, delete it from your hard drive, and you can enjoy your porn in private while keeping the family computer freed up for other things. Like games.

I asked Cherian whether he thought PSP Video 9 was a killer app for mobile porn, and he sounded genuinely surprised.
All it does is let you take video and put it on your PSP. If (porn is) what people are really looking for, I guess it could be.

But PSP Video 9 has been downloaded more than 10,000 times in the three months that the PSP has been available in Japan. And people in Japan are creating weird little clips already encoded in the PSP format to distribute through BitTorrent, says Cherian.

Cherian describes the marriage of PSP Video 9 and Videora as "PSPcasting." For some, it might as well be porncasting. But while Sony seems comfortable with R-rated movies and M-rated games, I doubt it plans to release much hard-core on UMD. PSP Video 9 could quickly become a porn aficionado's best friend.

But that's not all. Like blogging and audioblogging (or podcasting), PSPcasting offers a platform for creating and distributing video, not just downloading and viewing it. With PSPcasting, enterprising actors, models, escorts or other adult talent could market their services in a big way if the PSP becomes the iPod of portable video. (And it might, if Apple continues to be so reluctant to make the iPod the iPod of portable video).

We could also put the PSP to good use in our own sex lives. The PSP is a non-intrusive device, less threatening than a laptop if you want to bring it to bed, alone or with your partner(s). I know several folks who use porn to help transition quickly from work and parenting to sex and loving. It's a shortcut on those nights when they want to have sex but know they're too tired to expend major effort warming up.

Rather than playing the movie on a television, why not cuddle around the PSP? My inside source at gamer channel G4 says the video quality is great and believes it would be an incredibly intimate experience to watch erotic movies together on the device. The PSP won't be in your way like a laptop or a DVD player, and you don't have to clear off the nightstand to set it down when you're done. It's also sturdy enough, says my G4 buddy, to survive falling to the floor when your attention turns to other things. Just be careful not to scratch the LCD screen in your passion.

One caveat: Until the novelty of the PSP wears off, I'd advise letting your partner know there's a private video on the device. You wouldn't want anyone discovering it while showing off the PSP to a colleague. Or a manager. Or a kid who wants to use the PSP for -- gasp -- games.

 

10th March   

Broadband TV...

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Melon Farmers logoBT is starting its push into television with plans to offer TV over broadband. As a telecoms company, BT is moving to a content distribution strategy, Andrew Burke, chief of BT's new Entertainment unit told the IPTV World Forum. We want to be an entertainment facilitator, he said on the opening day of the London conference. We see several opportunities for delivering the type of content that normally broadcasters find it difficult to get to viewers

With more people on broadband, and connection speeds increasing, telcos around the world are looking for new ways to make money from it. Increased competition between net service providers, encouraged by Ofcom, has eroded BT's position in the market. It is looking for a good return on its investment in the technology which has made broadband over ADSL a reality. It also sees delivering TV over broadband as a way of getting high-definition (HD) content to people sooner than they will be able to get it through conventional, regular broadcasts.
The BBC is also trialling a service to play programmes over the net and has not ruled out offering it to non-licence fee payers overseas. The corporation's Interactive Media Player (iMP) is its first foray into broadband TV - known as IPTV (Internet Protocol TV).

The BBC's iMP has just finished successful technical trials and is set for much larger consumer trials later in 2005. Before it officially launches, the BBC must show the government how it offers value for money. Delivering programmes over broadband offers clear public value, says the BBC, because it gives people more control, and more choice.

IPTV is a similar idea to VoIP services, like Skype. Both use broadband net connections to carry information, like video and voice, in packets of data instead of conventional means. Since it uses internet technology, IPTV could mean more choice of programmes, more, more interactivity, tailored programming, and more localised content outside of conventional satellite, digital cable, and terrestrial broadcasts.

It is all part of the larger changing TV technology landscape and, like personal digital video recorders (PVRs), gives people much more control over TV. Broadcasters see IPTV and PVRs as both as a threat and an opportunity. The BBC recognises that TV over broadband is a reality and aims to innovate with it, said Rahul Chakkara, controller of BBCi's 24/7 interactive TV services. The iMP is based on peer-to-peer technology, and lets people download programmes the BBC owns the rights to for up to seven days after broadcast. IPTV enables us to take back that programme to our audience at different times, said Mr Chakkara.

According to Benoit Joly from broadband telecoms firm Thales, 30% of Europe cannot get satellite TV or digital TV. They could get IPTV though. Analysts say that IPTV will account for 10% of the digital TV market in Europe alone by the end of the decade. What needs to happen now, agree analysts, is for connection speeds to be bumped up to handle the service; 20Mb connections would be ideal.

 

6th March   

Best and Worst of the Internet...

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Melon Farmers logoCheers and boos for the heroes and villains as the gongs were dished out at the annual Internet Services Providers Association.

As usual the most eagerly awaited opportunities to boo were for the villians of the Internet. The villains included Lycos for its DDOS initiative against spammers and Carol Vorderman for being uninformed. The trophy however went to the European Union for plans for data retention and actions that threaten ecommerce between member states.

BT was nominated as a villain for exaggerating the numbers of people attempting to access child pornography when publishing figures for its 'Cleanfeed' initiative - those 'attempts' could quite easily have been spam mail downloading images from such sites.

Erstwhile e-commerce minister Stephen Timms was named ISPA's 'hero' for his work against strong competition such as Ofcom and the All Party Internet Group which had worked hard at overhauling the decrepit Computer Misuse Act.

It wasn't an exclusively ISP-only affair however. Finnish security company F-Secure sponsored the best 'heavy' consumer broadband category, showing that ISPs are increasingly looking to offer their subscribers antivirus protection.

In the audience too there was a wide range of attendees: executives from Wembley Stadium were looking to get some ideas and applications for wiring up the stadium, and a company touting a granular billing system saw the event as a good opportunity to meet ISPs offering 'Pay-As-You-Go' broadband model.

In the supplier division, Google won best search, Fujitsu won best hardware, Global Switch won best data centre, Axiom Systems won best application, and best carrier went to Kingston Communications.

For ISPs, UK Online scooped best metered ISP, Tesco won best unmetered dial-up ISP, and Kingston again won best Sumo business broadband (Sumo referring to 'fat pipe' and leased line services). At the consumer level the Sumo title went to Telewest for blueyonder, Eclipse won the best 'Heavy' business broadband and Wanadoo won the consumer equivalent. Zen won the Light business broadband while NewNet scooped the consumer title.

UKFast.net came out tops for best hosting provider, Wanadoo grabbed another award for best portal and Datanet was knighted best business ISP. Wanadoo claimed its third award as best consumer ISP.

 

17th February   

Having a Buzz...

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Melon Farmers logoWith the debut of HBO's popular series Sex and The City , the topic of female masturbation has begun to lose the sting of its taboo. The episode detailing Charlotte's discovery of the elusive Rabbit vibrator helped millions of women around the country feel comfortable with the idea of self-gratification. Yet many women today still feel uncomfortable when admitting to their sexual desires. Over the years, technology has certainly helped in the matter - as shopping online now allows the anonymity of certain products and their users. However, most women would still rather be caught dead than found shopping in a porn store. For these women, Tempo has provided a list of helpful toys guaranteed to make for some unforgettable playtime

The Fluttering Monarch

As its name implies, this new toy is guaranteed to send your sex drive soaring. Marketed as a scintillating sex toy that provides "powerful reverberating stimulation," The Fluttering Monarch is a hands-free device designed specifically for a woman's clitoris. A spin on the classic vibrator, this little beauty comes complete with adjustable waist and thigh straps, which allow the user to keep her hands on more important things. The butterfly is made completely of silicone, which allows for an exciting, yet gentle sensation. Promising to send the user a flood of silicone waves, The Fluttering Monarch even comes with a powerful teaser tail which enhances the pleasure in a girl's hard-to-reach spots.

The Rabbit

Ever since its debut on "Sex & The City," The Rabbit has become the No. 1-selling sex toy in the country. This infamous bunny is covered in a soft rubber that proves to be both fun and delicate. In the center of the body are tiny pleasure pearls that enhance the experience. With The Rabbit, there are three different types of functions. Function one gives external stimulus while the body rotates and the pleasure pearls swirl. Function two creates slow, relaxed vibration while the body pivots right to left, front to back. Function three give pulses in short, quick motions as the body swings back and forth.

The Video Voyeur

In recent years, many celebrities have become incidental stars of their very own porn. And though many couples already enjoy videotaping their sexual encounters, they don't often get the opportunity to explore the inner workings of sex. That is where The Video Voyeur comes in. It is an ordinary plastic dildo and bullet vibrator; however, the memorable feature of this toy is the camera inside the dildo. The device attaches to any television set and displays whatever sight the camera at the tip of the dildo may see. Like all sex toys, the manufacturer doesn't explain how the device is used. The only indication of instruction found on the box explains that the "close-up lighted micro camera is insertable for internal viewing action."

Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker with camera experience or an amateur who simply wants to see things from a different perspective, this $100 purchase will surely launch into a new realm of cinema verity.

I Rub My Ducky

This vibrating duck can be kept in the bathtub and no one will know what its true purpose is, which, according to a salesperson at Hustler, is its greatest selling point. The toy is designed to make bath time more fun and can be used in any way you want. Whether you will be massaging your back or getting a little bit more creative, this is the "toy that plays with you." The novelty is available in a variety of styles, including bondage, black, devil style and even travel size.

 

16th January   

Technosexuals...

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Melon Farmers logoTechnosexuals, the freakish gadget dandies who like their technology as sexy as they are, were in virtual heaven over the weekend in Las Vegas as the annual Consumer Electronics Show coincided with the porn industry's annual awards bash.

The term technosexuals was invented last year as a backlash to the conventional image of technology geeks as unwashed, uncool men with pizza crumbs stuck in their beards. But it also connotes the growing focus in the technology industry on making products for fashionable lifestyles, from tiny pink cellphones equipped with MP3 players and digital cameras, to sleek red laptops designed to complement the little red Ferrari in the driveway.

Paradoxically, as the staid stable of tech companies were trying to get sexy, the sexy world of the Adult Entertainment Expo was going more mainstream. Respectable Columbia House, which dominates the book, music and DVD subscription clubs, was at the steamy expo preparing to launch a similar club for connoisseurs of porn.

Adult film entertainers participate in the 2005 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Sands Convention Center, in the Venetian Hotel , Las Vegas, Nevada.
PHOTO: DPA

The porn stars were out on the town more than they were at the packed convention center, mingling in surreal fashion with tech industry insiders.

There was hardly a bar in Vegas that did not feature provocative women with large silicon implants wearing skimpy clothes that seem to be shrinking even faster than the world's average gadget size.

The exhibitors at the CES, which is regarded as the world's largest gadget show, were trying their best not to be left behind. From huge, high definition televisions to tiny handheld gadgets that can communicate wirelessly, play games and movies and do almost everything but the laundry, there were gadgets for every lifestyle.

The best gadgets were those that were no longer in the experimental stage but ready to take center stage in our evolving digital lives.

The Dell Axim x50v is the first Pocket PC with a VGA screen and boasts more power than many desktop computers could boast just a few years ago.

Other mobile gadgets that earned plaudits were the PalmOne Treo 650, the latest version of the cellphone hybrid, which offers PDA functions, wireless e-mail and phone service in a single device. The XM2Go was another miniature marvel: a handheld receiver for satellite radio.

But the mini-device that earned the most attention, and will probably have the largest sales, was Sony's new PSP, a handheld gaming machine that the ailing Japanese giant hopes will help it capture the sector from Nintendo's GameBoy line.

Alongside mobile devices, the other great focus of the technology show was on digital home-entertainment products.

The king of televisions was without question Samsung's 2.6m-wide, high-definition LCD screen, a monster so large, bright and clear that it is sure to make even cinema-owners jealous when it goes on sale.

Unlike previous shows, which overhyped an imminent immersion into the converged digital lifestyle, this year's products are relevant now.

The concurrent advances in broadband, wireless connectivity and LCD technology, combined with the miniaturization of processing chips and storage devices, mean that the world is really on the verge of a new technological future, where information and entertainment will be immediate and ubiquitous.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 2004 sales in the US grew 11 percent to US$113.5 billion. CEA projections are that shipments will rise to US$125.7 billion this year, followed by a multi-year global growth rate for the coming decade of close to 15 percent.

If those numbers hold true, we will all be technosexuals.

 

12th January   

Blue for Blu...

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Melon Farmers logoThe concept may seem odd, but history has proven the adult entertainment industry to be one of the key drivers of any new technology in home entertainment. Pornography customers have been some of the first to buy home video machines, DVD players and subscribe to high-speed internet services.

The multibillion-dollar industry releases about 11,000 titles on DVD each year, giving it tremendous power to sway the battle between two groups of studios and technology companies competing to set standards for the next generation.

One side of the divide is a standard called Blu-ray backed by consumer electronics heavyweights like Sony, Philips Electronics and Thomson and movie studios Fox and Disney. Blu-ray offers storage up to 50 gigabytes, enough for nine hours of high-definition content.

On the other side of the fight is HD DVD, which has much the same structure as current DVDs and, backers say, is cheaper and easier to manufacture as a result. Supporters of the disc format and its 30GB capacity include companies like NEC, Toshiba and Warner Home Video.

Adult film producers want the higher quality picture as well as extra space for creative expression - like giving viewers choice of camera angles. They weighed in on the coming battle last week at the industry's Adult Entertainment Expo, which ran parallel with the largest US technology fair, the Consumer Electronics Show, and had many of the same technologies - sometimes a generation ahead.

Sentiment about the format rivalry varies, depending largely on the size of porn producer. Smaller outfits seem to prefer HD DVD for its lower cost, while larger outfits tend toward Blu-ray for the capacity.

Hollywood has begun lining up on both sides of the battle as they have watched the growth of DVDs slow. They will want a new standard in place soon, to accelerate again. Many are watching the porn industry to see what happens. That whole business has driven technology adoption of several platforms,   said one major studio executive.
A better, more intense experience is a good thing for porn.

 

12th January   

Porn Buddy...

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Melon Farmers logoA new Internet service will now allow you to trade your adult DVDs discreetly.

With adult DVD sales now topping 15 billion dollars, some men are afraid to leave behind too much of a legacy," said Adult DVD Trader's spokesman Scott Mabat:
The apex of trust in the 21st century is the Porn Buddy. In case of a man's death or incapacitation, his Porn Buddy's mission is to clear the house of all porn before his mother pays a bereaved visit. This modern day blood brother is entrusted with a house key and the secret location of the stash.

At a certain level, too many adult DVDs can seem a little extreme to the snooping outsider. There needs to be a way to maintain a manageable collection, while still acquiring new titles. To keep things in check, a new service has hit the web that allows users to discreetly trade their Adult DVDs.

 

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