Content and services

I'm in the living room reading the newspad

If you have not yet heard about "The Daily," you will shortly. The new digital "newspaper" is a collaboration between Apple and News Corp., and it is designed expressly for tablet devices like the iPad. There will be no Web or paper edition. Hence, we need a new term for this, and I think "newspad" is just right, as it is derived directly from its predecessor, the "newspaper."

Knowledge Democracy:

Hulu: Watch all the TV you want for $8/month

In what has to scare the heck out of the cable companies, Hulu has released an upgraded version of its premium subscription service and software while dropping the monthly cost from $9.99 to $7.99. Hulu Plus gives subscribers access to many of the most popular current season "TV" shows. I am going to start putting "TV" in quotes because broadband services like Hulu and Netflix are not the old analog TV, but they sure deliver the same content.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

Facebook takes aim at Gmail

Facebook has announced a "modern" messaging system that will integrate email, text messaging, and Facebook messaging. Google's dominance, all of a sudden, is being challenged simultaneously on multiple fronts. And behind the scenes, it is often Microsoft that is leading the charge. Facebook's email service will draw some users away from Gmail, and Facebook has already announced a partnership with Microsoft to use Microsoft's Bing search engine for social search. And Yahoo!

Technology News:

Appitalism combines social media and shopping

Appitalism.com is an interesting new site that combines elements of the iTunes store, Amazon customer reviews, and tight links with social media. This might actually turn out to be a winner, as many of the "shopping" sites tend to lack enough traffic to produce reliable reviews, and in my experience, many listed products on those sites have no reviews. Finally, a lot of those shopping sites are basically just link farms for advertisers.

Technology News:

Facebook security problems

The Wall Street Journal has an article about issues with the way third party Facebook apps (e.g. FarmVille, HoldEm Poker, others) are grabbing personal information even though they are not supposed to be doing so. Facebook officials said they are clamping down to ensure that the 500 million Facebook users are protected.

Knowledge Democracy:

New York Times available on the iPad

The New York Times can now be read on the iPad via an upgraded NY Times app. The full edition of the paper is available for free until sometime next year, when a subscription fee will be charged. If I was the owner of a struggling newspaper with declining circulation, I'd be not only going the app route for distribution, I'd put together some kind of deal to bundle in an iPad with something like a twelve month easy payment plan for the iPad.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

Facebook: The Movie

Every programmer knows it: the dreaded infinite loop. You have a little piece of code that gets the wrong input and starts repeating, over and over again. Computers being kind of fast, an innocuous few lines of code can execute millions of times an hour, sending the system of the network into "conniptions," which is the technical term used by all good programmers.

Technology News:

Blockbuster, Netflix, and Apple

I still remember a conversation I had about a year ago when I told an business acquaintance that Blockbuster was toast, and that it was only going to be a year or two before the company would be gone.

Knowledge Democracy:

Crooks using location information to rob homes

All these location-aware devices we have now with GPS capabilities are turning out to be a boon for crooks. Here is how it works: people go on vacation, take pictures with their location-aware iPhone or Android phone, and upload the picture to Facebook with the exact location conveniently added in. Crooks browse Facebook pages, find someone on vacation a long way from home, and then head over to your house for a leisurely romp through your belongings.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

The death of TV: Part XXIII

Apple has announced a new version of Apple TV. Apple has cut both the price and size of the device; it's now tiny compared to the old version, and costs only $99. The old version of the product was able to store movies and TV shows, but the new version only streams movies and TV, either from online sources or from content stored on a nearby Mac computer.

Knowledge Democracy:

It's always about the bandwidth (or lack of it)

In this article that speculates about an Apple TV upgrade, there is an interesting tidbit that validates what I and others have been saying for a long time: HD content chews up bandwidth:

Knowledge Democracy:

Why Bing is winning

Bing has grabbed almost 13% of the search engine market share in the past year, and the Microsoft search engine appears to steadily getting more users. There are two or three reasons, I think. In my own experience, Bing returns fewer and better results, with less link farm clutter. The interface is better, and Bing is willing to send you other search engines, which suggests a certain confidence in their own results and/or a focus on helping you complete your search rather than stick as many ads as possible in your face.

Technology News:

Link farming: The perniciousness of Web ads

I just spent a few minutes clicking around trying to find the Web site of a particular business. After four or five attempts to click through on links that I *thought* would go to the actual Web site of the business, I gave up. Every link took me to another link farm or worse, actually just clicked back through to the same page I left. Of course, each time I clicked, another list of Web ads got loaded into the page I landed on, and that's what much of the Web has become--just a snarled mess of link farms.

Technology News:

Knowledge Democracy:

It had to happen: Facebook newbie phase is over

Like all popular Internet services, Facebook has enjoyed rapid growth over the past three or four years, as the service added many hundreds of thousands of users a week (or more--millions in some past months). But that growth has finally stalled out, as everyone who wants to be on Facebook already is. Geometric growth is a wonderful thing, but there was always a finite limit to that growth. Even more telling, the amount of activity by registered users has also dropped.

Death of TV, Part XXII: Hulu Plus

Hulu has announced a new subscription and ad-based service called Hulu Plus for $9.99 per month that will provide access to the full season of many "TV" shows. That's a heck of a lot less than the Apple iTunes Store, which sells shows for one or two dollars. Think of Hulu Plus as an alternative to paying for a cable or satellite subscription.

Technology News:

Is the age of blogs over?

Lately, visiting some of my regular "regular read" blogs, I'm finding not only fewer posts but notes from the bloggers that after five or six years, they are turning the blog off or just posting a lot less. The comments all seem to run in the same direction: "I've said everything I have wanted to say." And regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I am posting a lot less than I was three or four years ago. Part of the change is due the the growth in Design Nine; we're planning and building more networks in more places around the country than we were three or four years ago.

Knowledge Democracy:

More evidence TV is dead

Here is an article that says the median age of traditional TV viewers has moved up to nearly 51 years old. For an industry that covets the 25-44 year old demographic, that has to be bad news. It explains why you see so many laxative,Viagra, and arthritis ads on TV--nothing but creaky and cranky old folks watching.

Knowledge Democracy:

Newspaper sells out iPad ad space

The Australian, a major paper in Australia, has sold out the ad space on its iPad version of the newspaper. At least one paper intends to stay ahead of the news game and make the new medium work for its business. Good for them.

Community news and projects:

Google Music Store kicks Apple iTunes Store in the teeth

Google has announced that the next version of its Android operating system will have something much like the Apple iTunes software and a companion music store.

Technology News:

Google TV kicks Apple TV in the teeth

Google has announced the fall, 2010 availability of Google TV, which is a set top box but may also be built in to some new TVs. The little video that is embedded in the linked article shows an interface that looks remarkably similar to the interface used by the Apple TV appliance, which is also a set top box. Either Apple nailed the interface design for this kind of device, or Google could not come up with anything better, or both.

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