Strange New World: Picks of the Week

This week, things are heating up politically, so we thought we'd get into the fray with a couple pseudo political tech nuggets: Microsoft is going to try and get gamers to vote with their Xboxes, and Joe Biden might not be a friend of peer-to-peer networks. And if you've had your fill of politics, how about a little Internet radio?

Here are our picks of the week.

Xbox 'Rocks the Vote'

Microsoft has teamed up with "Rock the Vote" and will try to register 2 million under-30 voters in time for this fall's election. Beginning with this week's Democratic National Convention and continuing through the Republican National Convention next week, there will be exclusive forums and polls on Microsoft's Xbox Live network, accessible via the Xbox 360. You will also be able to register to vote through the service.

"Rock the Vote" will also have several public service announcements available for download on Xbox Live. Microsoft also will be active at both conventions, talking to both parties about violence in video games and touting the Xbox 360 family settings as a way to stop kids from playing games that aren't appropriate for them.

Where Does Joe Biden Stand on Technology?

Sen. Joe Biden is a good friend of Hollywood, and in 2002 sponsored a bill that would have made it a federal felony to modify PCs or media players so they could play copy-protected music or unauthorized programs. The bill eventually died.

A few months later, he signed a letter to the Justice Department that recommended prosecuting "individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks."

Last year, he sponsored another bill called the Perform Act, which would limit the ability of satellite radio listeners to record and play back content.

Sen. Barack Obama has pledged to update current copyright laws if he gets elected, but his vice president may have other ideas.

Web Radio May Be Dying -- but Don't Tell That to the Web Radio Guys

We might just be looking at this with the nostalgia of something that is about to fade away, but it sure seems like the state of audio on the Web has never been better: Take a test drive around the Web's audio assets and you should find a simply fabulous array of offerings.

We love the very cool Anywhere.FM. Basically, it's an online music storage service that also acts as a music player and sharing site. The service allows you to upload your music library so that you and others can listen to it.

Another interesting site is Musicovery. This online app lets you navigate through a web of songs, sort of like Pandora, but it does it visually. You wander among a sort of universe of candy-colored synapses sampling music. We didn't find the kind of depth here that you'll get with Pandora, but based on the content we could sample this is a fascinating idea.

Finally, we also like Slacker.com. This online radio station has also recently released an MP3 player that lets you take your personal station on the road.

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