Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘prediction’ Category

By now you’ve read about Warner Bros. Entertainment announcement to drop HD DVD and focus on Blu-ray, a Sony Corp. backed technology vs. rival Toshiba.  Warner was the last major studio to put out movies in both formats and after May they will exclusively release on Blu-ray. 

The announcement by Warner rattled the industry nerves to the point that the N.A. HD DVD Promotional Group (which included Intel and Microsoft) canceled a major media event.  Who would blame them?   It’s not the kind of exciting news for what’s to come in 2008! 

I predicted Sony would not allow the “Betamax” struggle to repeat and that Blu-ray would prevail (HERE).  No need to bore you with the technology advantages of each format.  Ironically HD DVD has better interactivity today than Blu-ray, but that will evolve with BD Live.  I also observed evidence of a move of desperation during the holiday season when Toshiba HD DVD players flooded the market at $179.99.  Then Sony countered and jumped on the price discounting wagon with their BDP-S300 (entry level player) at Costco for $278.99 after a $100 rebate.  A $100 premium and never mind it didn’t support 7.1 audio. 

So what will Microsoft do now?  Speaking to Reuters, Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware, said in response to a question about Microsoft possibly supporting a Blu-ray accessory if HD DVD failed that they would consider it.  According to Engadget during holiday ’07 consumers purchased 92K HD DVD players for the xBox 360.   I believe Microsoft really wants the market to shift to digital download (aligns with xBox 360 content download service and their xBox 360 IPTV directions) and the format war was likely viewed as a gift which stalled adoption, create consumer confusion while digital download services improve. 

What is really important to most consumers is that the Warner announcement translates to the release of more movies which we want to watch (rent/buy) in stunning hi-def.  Now that the format battle is over I can plan on the Blu-ray release of Lord of the Rings (LOTR).  New Line (parent Time-Warner) will make this happen in ’08. 

And if all this wasn’t enough good news for the week, Sony demoed at CES the “next generation” of portable cinema viewing.  Samples of Blu-ray movies were successfully copied from a PlayStation 3 Blu-ray drive to a PlayStation Portable’s memory stick, as part of Sony’s new web-oriented service/approach to interactivity and play anywhere portability known as BD Live.  Other abilities include ring tone downloading and other media content to a BD Live media player.  One issue is that current Blu-ray players in the market (including the PS3) do not support BD-Live, but Sony confirmed the PS3 firmware update will be rolling out as early as this month to incorporate BD-Live playback into the system.

Now if Universal and Paramount can see that it makes sense (or is that $cents) to move to Blu-ray we’d be all set for a great hi-def year!

Read Full Post »

SafeLike the famous book “Give A Mouse A Cookie…” by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Illustrator Felicia Bond, “cookies” are often used by advertisers and Web analytic firms on most all web sites.   They place “tracking cookies” on your computer.  And like the book, the mouse will “ask for a glass of milk…” you can sure bet those web advertisers and analytic firms will be asking you for something. 

In most cases they don’t even let you know that they’ve ask!  Let me explain.  On the web, a “cookie” is a small text file that contains a string of alphanumeric characters. The tracking cookies tell companies what you are doing online, even though they don’t typically record your name or other personably identifiable information. The cookies are used by companies to try and match ads to a user’s interests or in the above mouse example they will “ask for a glass of milk”. 

There are two types of cookies used on most websites: a persistent cookie and a session cookie. A persistent cookie gets entered by your Web browser into the “Cookies” folder on your computer and remains in this “Cookies” folder after you close your browser. Persistent cookies may be used by your browser on subsequent visits to the site. A session cookie is held temporarily in your computer’s memory and disappears after you close your browser or shut off your computer. There are websites that use Web beacons (also called “clear GIFs” or “pixel tags”) in conjunction with cookies. Web beacons are small strings of code that are placed in a Web page. For example, if you arrive at website by clicking on a banner ad for a product or service, a session cookie may be used. This cookie will contain an identification number for the ad that you clicked on, or will contain an identification number for the site that you were visiting when you clicked on the banner ad. 

Most web sites tell you nothing upfront about tracking cookies, or how to get rid of these tracking cookies assuming that you want too.  Cookies are used all over the Web, but in most cases, their presence is only disclosed deep inside privacy policies.  When was the last time you read a privacy policy? 

Some of the more reputable web sites want you to know how to get rid of these tracking cookies or opt out of the cookies set by any ad-placement or analytic contractor they might use and will provide the information.  For example, here is a link to a page where you can opt out of the cookies set by an ad-placement or analytics contractor of Omniture

 I’d prefer a totally opt-in system, but, as far as I know, the ad industry doesn’t have a practical one yet and not enough consumers have complained about tracking cookies to make an impact for the industry to change. If you want to clean out all tracking cookies from all your Web sites the following links take you where you can download three programs that can help clean out tracking cookies: 

 I’ve used some of these applications and been satisfied with the results, but give them a try and let me know your results. You can also change the preferences or settings in your Web browser to control cookies. In some cases, you can choose to accept cookies from the primary site, but block them from third parties. In others, you can block cookies from specific advertisers, or clear out all cookies. 

Not all cookies are tracking cookies. Like a lot of Web sites, they may place cookies on your computer, in addition to any placed by advertisers. But they aren’t “tracking cookies.” They merely do things like save your registration information, if you choose to register. They do not tell the companies what you do or where you go online. 

I’ll take warm milk with my cookies, thank you.

Read Full Post »

coolsw page

There was joke floating around a few years ago about “What’s the difference between Intel, Inc. and Jurassic Park?”  As the joke goes one is a high tech dinosaur park and the other is a movie! 

Well, these days Intel is firing on all cylinders and the latest activity from the semiconductor company is not typical…they launched a new Web 2.0-inspired Web site to engage with the community and solicit feedback from the public on software companies and technologies.  Huh?!

CoolSW is a web site or forum where people — from software developers, gamers and tech enthusiasts — can submit and vote for their favorite software company or products. The site taps into the collective intelligence of the community and, much like the popular site Digg.com, uses user ratings to assign levels of importance or relevance to each company or product. Aside from the entertainment value, the data will provide a growing list of software companies with which Intel or others could potentially engage.  

In addition, CoolSW provides a forum where Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can raise awareness for their product and/or services. It may well even provide smaller companies an opportunity to share their solution with potential investors or partners.

Very cool!

Read Full Post »

I ran across a cool website mention in the local paper today and decided to give it a look. I’m a visual person and making things visual always gets my attention. IBM’s Visual Communication Lab enables anyone to upload all kinds of data and turn them into graphs, maps, tag clouds and other visuals.

For example, want to convert the rhetoric over Iraq into something you can see or visualize? A user did just that by taking the text of the British House of Commons debate on the Iraq war and then converted the text into a tag cloud that displays heavily used words in larger type and little used words in little type.

See the IBM site here or click on the image:




Enjoy those visuals…

Read Full Post »

I recently sat in on panel discussions and audience interactions at ETECH. At each session we were met by enthusiastic people/companies that have a genuine concern about understanding what customers want.

In a world where the noise of the social crowd is amped up exponentially with endless streams of chatter…what I took away was confirming some of the reading I have been doing lately (Check out Scott McKain’s “What Customers Really Want”):

We need to focus on creating customer experience, not customer service; personal focus, not product focus; reciprocal loyalty, not endless prospecting; and innovation rather than status quo.

Then I came across this new start-up website Oddpodz. It’s basically a website where creative, independent thinkers unite and share information.

I’m not sure how these type start-ups are changing the way we communicate or manage intellectual property?

Let me know what you think.

Read Full Post »

Apple will sale EMI music without anti-piracy (DRM – digital rights management) technology — Steve Jobs proclaimed in February that music companies should sell their music DRM-free. Evangelizing that DRM-free music would create a truly interoperable music marketplace.

About a month later (4/2/07), in agreement with music label EMI, Apple is making EMI songs available without DRM through its iTunes music store. The music will be higher quality (encoded at 256kbps AAC), and tracks will cost $1.29, or 30 cents more than the standard 99 cents.

This means you can take those songs (EMIs entire catalog (DRM free) – globally in May) and put them on any device you want too. I think this helps address how I only want to buy a song or album ONCE and be able to play it in my car CD, my iPod, computer, on my PS3 or my TV. I don’t want to buy it 10 times from 10 different sources to play it on 10 different electronic components.

Is this the next big step forward for music interoperability, a significant development for the industry or a move by EMI to garner headlines? Maybe it’s all three, but at the joint press announcement EMI stated they were confident this will grow their sales and put a stake in the groud stating that 1/4 of all sales would be digital by 2010.

Hard to predict music sales let alone the digital elements, but I like the interoperability and hope other label’s follow.

Read Full Post »

Sat-Rad Mergers

I’ve subscribed to XM Satellite Radio since April 2006. Previously, I was a subscriber of Sirius Satellite Radio for about two years. I remember the hype leading up to the Howard Stern launch. I’m a fan of the Satellite radio, and like XM better.

Now comes the proposed merger with rival Sirius Satellite Radio.

February 19, 2007

To: SIRIUS Subscribers

Today is a very exciting day for SIRIUS customers. As you may have heard, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio are merging to form the nation’s premier audio entertainment provider.

This combination of our two offerings will benefit you – our loyal listeners. As a single company, we’ll provide superior programming to you every day with the best of both SIRIUS and XM. Currently, XM and SIRIUS broadcast a wide range of commercial-free music channels, exclusive sports coverage, news, talk, and entertainment programming. Howard Stern. Oprah and Friends. The NFL. MLB. NBA. ESPN. CNBC. Fox News. Additionally, the combined company will be able to improve existing services such as real-time traffic information and rear-seat video as well as introduce new ones.

After shareholder and regulatory approvals, we anticipate that the combination will be finalized by the end of 2007. Until then, both companies will continue to operate independently. We will continue to provide you with the uninterrupted service – as well as the outstanding customer support – that you have come to expect and enjoy from SIRIUS. We do not anticipate any changes in your service during the merger process, however, please call our customer care team on 1- 888-539-7474 should you have any questions.

We look forward to the many benefits this combination will offer and continuing to make your listening experience an enjoyable one – offering more of the Very Best Radio on Radio.

Stay tuned,

Mel Karmazin, CEO

The business reasons as to why these two companies might want to merge are: Cost savings, efficiencies of scale, debt repayment, more muscle with music companies, sharing the cost of rolling out new technologies, etc., but I don’t see why its good for me?

Personally, I care about music (with out advertisements), catching CNN on the commute and an occasional sporting event. That’s why I subscribe to XM.

Being a previous subscriber of Sirius it has a lot that I don’t want: Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, and Tony Hawk’s Bucka-Bucka-Hucka-Jam-Bamma Xtreme Show. I’m certainly not interested in subscriber fee increases to get Stern!

I’m concerned that, as an XM subscriber, I’ll lose channels that I like and get channels I don’t. The satellite spectrum is limited and they won’t suddenly put up 300 channels.

I think that until the proposed merger can promise something more (new gadgets, more functionality), rather than something less (discontinued channels), we subscribers should be very, very skeptical.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »