Unbox and Tivo

This weekend I rented a flick from Unbox and was surprised to find a $15.00 credit in my account. Somehow in all the Tivo & Unbox press I missed the note that Amazon is giving away a $15.00 credit for Tivo owners. That essentially represents 5 free movie rentals at the highest rental price of $3.00, or 7 free rentals of older films. If you haven’t already registered your Tivo with Unbox, now might be a good time to do it. According to Amazon’s site, the offer will be available through the September, so you’ve got time.

Overall, the Tivo Unbox service has really turned out to be the best of all the movie download services – the combination of direct to the living room downloads of DVD quality films, coupled with Amazon’s online browsing and user review information make this service a killer app. (I just wish they’d hurry up and get Weeds ported over to the Tivo format so I can watch the season I’ve already purchased.) Right now they have about 630 feature films and about 100 television shows converted over according to the search results. I’ve been tracking the numbers and they seem to be addings titles every week. Hopfully by the end of the year they’ll be completely caught up. Note, downloads on a Friday or Saturday take about two hours to complete, so you might want to queue up that DVD rental from the office so it’ll be ready when you get home from work.

Union Darwanism

The Freelancers Union, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., doesn’t bargain wages or benefits with employers. Instead, it offers low cost health care, life insurance and networking for its 45,000 members who are writers, artists and Web site designers.

“The idea of a union conjures about so many images,” said Sara Horowitz, who founded the union in 2003. “The real answer is you have to be helpful and provide something valuable.”

Horowitz said that unions don’t need to engage in collective bargaining to grow.

“There are many structures that have helped workers from mutual aid societies to guilds,” she said. “The essence of a union is people coming together to solve their problems.”

It’s nice to see Unions evolving into something more helpful and less destructive than the “‘cough it up’ or we strike” style that has damaged the U.S. auto industry over the last 30 years. You have to wonder though how long this will last. Give an inch, take a mile tends to be the mentality of these groups. Time will tell.