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2001, 20-02 Hindsight

At the beginning of each year, I usually espouse new directions of things to come.  This year, I'm way to humble for that.  Reviewing my predictions since January 2001, I see some things still are on track, like PVR hard-drives being distributed by the big set-top box makers.  I was however, way off on my prediction of Enron becoming a dominant player in the streaming media market, despite their alliance with Blockbuster.   Not as catastrophic as the Sep. 11th, 2001 events, Enron crashing is another case in point as to how fragile things are.  It doesn't take much to send things tumbling.  Just look at - the Excite At Home company; 4.5 million subscribers thought life was pretty stable - until their connection to the Web was announced as going away. How can people view streaming media if they don't have high-speed connections? That was a temporary setback for Internet movies on demand.  Perhaps DSL will pick up the slack. Cox, AT&T and Comcast are all hustling to make the switch as seamless as possible for their broadband cable clients.

The Code Red worm prevalent this last year caused broadband ISPs to restrict port 80 access to lots of servers, of which many were streaming entertainment on demand.  Microsoft's IIS server had holes in it that let anyone with the right command, take it over from a remote server. Once infected, that same server would infect any other servers on the same cable network.   My opinion of IIS went from a 95 to a 25, and that's low.  Were I to run a server instead of having hosted (as I do with ), I would surely choose something other than the favorite target of hackers.

On a more cheerful note, it was good to see the major studios get behind Internet-based movies on demand, with pooled resources at websites and .  When more people have high-speed access, these sites will do well.

For the last year, I have been wearing the hat of website owner/manager as well as the intellectual property rights protector for  I have applied for Surfview Entertainment (TM) as a US Trademark and should receive a registration number this year.  I have also tried to keep Motorola and WorldGate from using the Surfview mark for their Internet media streaming hardware, a box they call "SURFview," which is nothing more than a small CPU box that uses the TV as monitor. The user watches TV and surfs the Web with it.  People already access the The Surfview Guide (TM) using a cpu and monitor.  People also already watch TV on their computers using cards like the ALL-IN-WONDER.  In any event, a case has been in progress since early 2001, with the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, involving the Motorola/General Instrument and James E. Tessier.  This is a great time consumer.  Motorola, which is constantly downsizing, has no affinity for the mess that General Instrument left behind.  They don't mind stepping on a small guy with eight SURFVIEW-related domains. We'll see how it goes.  At the current rate, WorldGate (Motorola's "SURFview" marketing partner) will probably run out of money before the trial concludes.  When it's over, I look forward to spending my time on something more productive, like more improvements to 

As part of my year in review and year looking forward, I would like to introduce you to my new life theory.  While many psychological practices point to people, I prefer to point to events.  This eliminates blame and characterizations.  

Here is my Joy Event Theory, a new theory of life, as a pragmatic way to focus on creating and receiving joy. An event taken upon by a person can be one or more of 5 (five) types.  They all relate to the word JOY.  The five are: OUT, IN, NO, KILL and UN.   The same event can be seen in two different ways, relative to the person(s) causing it and the person(s) receiving it.

  • An  OUT joy event makes something happen, like a script, song, commercial, or a movie, or anything, even a friendly smile.  
  • An IN joy event occurs by a person receiving the joy; they enjoy the event. 
  • The NO joy event is something that causes no reaction.
  • A KILL joy is an event caused by a person who aims to destroy the OUT joy of another.  Example: when you write what you think is a great script and some idiot reads the first sentence and says "You should go to writing school" or "Don't quit your day job," they are clearly suppressing the creativity and joy of another person. Sadists are great at KILL joy events.
  • The UN joy is an event that causes pain (the opposite of joy), whether by intention or not. It's like a KILL joy, but the event occurs where no OUT joy was attempted.  People and things become arbitrary victims.

The reality is - that in Hollywood - there is a great amount of clique entitlement behavior as well as some very busy people.  If you are out of the loop, be prepared to receive ample portions of KILL, UN and NO joy reactions.  Also, don't mistake no communication as a kind of response.  My first year in Hollywood, I couldn't understand why an agent wouldn't return my call.  I told his assistant "In any other business, people will always return at least one call to someone trying to do new business with them."  The assistant replied, "The agent gets 200 calls a day.  He calls the people he knows and just can't get to the rest."   Here I was taking it personally, as some kind of KILL joy, UN joy event.  It was in fact of the NO joy variety.  The person was numb to me.  Persistence is the answer, until it results in something more obvious.  Hopefully an IN joy or OUT joy.

Considering the sobering and painstaking past year, my goal this year is to cause more OUT joy events, participate in IN joy events, and to eliminate my own KILL joy events and to not accidentally cause any UN joy events.  

Sep. 11, 2001 is behind us.  And forward, it's how we treat each other and our wonderful creations.  Creating more OUT joy and more IN joy events will make things better, with less surprises and hopefully no more unnecessary failures of good people, ideas, buildings and businesses.

Best wishes for a great year,

James E. Tessier editor

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