Monthly Archives: December 2008

Apple announces final MacWorld, Steve Jobs won’t deliver keynote

Chalk this one up in your history books ladies and gents. You may not be a geek or lover of technology, but the fact that Apple just announced that this MacWorld will be the last one in history is big news. MacWorld is a major Apple trade show. It’s the location where Steve Jobs launched such ground breaking products as the iPhone, iPod, etc and now it’s all over. 

So what is the significance of all this? Well, trade shows used to be a great way of reaching out and engaging customers. However, it is much easier to reach the customer today than ever before. More importantly its much cheaper also. With the use of web based technologies such as twitter and other social networks, trade shows are becoming far less important. 

With the end of MacWorld, could we be witnessing the end of the trade show era in general? Only time will tell, what do you think?

Apple announces final MacWorld, Steve Jobs won’t deliver keynote: Engadget 

Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways.

Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.

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Have yourself a Merry Little BetaMax-Xmas.

Growing up in the 1980’s Betamaxmas reminds me of all those nights watching holiday specials . The website is set up like an old school television room around Christmas time.  The wood paneling is epic.  Via the power of the Tube of You, you can watch TV treats all day.  Look at the TV guide on the right hand side.  Alf is on at 7:30.

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Breakthrough: Scientists Extract Images Directly from Human Brain

Pink Tentacle reports that researchers at Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed a system that can “reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor.”

Scientists Extract Images Directly from Brain: Pink Tentacle

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.

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Watch the Brightest Moon Since 1993 Tonight

 

Remember 1993? Clinton succeeded George Bush Senior as the next US President, The Buffalo Bills became the first NFL team to lose the Super Bowl three times in a row and the moon was bright and I mean BRIGHT! Well today and today only, the moon will be the closest it has been since 1993 and star gazers from around the world will be eyes to the sky. If you’re out and about, probably stumbling around in a drunken stuper may I suggest you stare up instead of down at the cracked pavement. You may just find some inspiration … or just get knocked to the ground by a bunch of people passing by. Either way, its going to be one hell of a spectacle.

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Capitalism isn’t dead. How things have changed starting yesterday.

Some things won’t change because they remain untouchable; Cheers to all you entrepreneurs that have personal capital to invest into your companies (Ratio 1:1 million).  But unsuspected larger bodies of ‘power’ will lose because of simple things like cash and margins.  What ‘Nifty-50’ will take the dive this time?   In the 1970’s we saw indestructible companies that couldn’t possibly be defeated, lose in a quick, cut-throat race to the end. And then in the 1990’s the internet-bubble burst into the scene with its ‘Get large or Get lost’ aphorism.  Back then you could raise a substantially large amount of money without ever having made a profit.  And then the dot-com bubble burst, March 10, 2000 to be exact.  The dot-com bubble crash cleared approximately $5 trillion in market value of technology companies between March 2000 and October 2002.  Ouch!  And this is somewhat in relation to the current economic crisis.  So what will happen this time?  According to Richard Foster, coauthor of Creative Destruction, new regulations will be placed to help avoid the problem again.  Not an easy task. 

 

So how has capitalism changed, starting yesterday?   Three hints:  Ownership, regulation, and public borrowing and spending.  What do you think?

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Who Said Books Had to be Written on Paper???

I must have drank some seriously potent iPhone Kool-aid while I was in San Fran for the Web 2.0 Summit. Ever since I have been back all I can even think, dream or talk about is the huge potential behind the iPhone. The problem is that some people, in some cases even Apple, do not seem to be fully appreciating the scope of what is possible here. 

The most recent example of a company failing to see the full potential behind this new platform is Penguin Publishing. I received an email from a colleague at the start of the week letting me know about a new application that Penguin released. It’s part of a broad sweeping initiative by the publisher to embrace the new social web, so kudos to them for finally jumping on the band wagon. However their iPhone application simply does the following, and I quote, “It makes the features of the Web site—the blog, book previews, podcasts, news and Penguin-specific book-finding tools—available on the iPhone.” Wow, awesome, but am I missing something here? What about the potential of literally selling people books to read on the iPhone through the application? They now have a direct channel to a medium that users can easily read their books on, why not skip over all the book re-sellers and simply sell the digital format of these books through their app? I dont get it! I am not saying that they should stop using book stores to sell their products, but the iPhone is a highly effective tool for reading books, why not go straight to the source? 

I recently downloaded Stanza (an e-book reader application for the iPhone) and blasted through Animal Farm in 3 days flat. The reading experience on the iPhone is an absolute pleasure. I actually enjoyed reading using my phone over and above reading a traditional paper back (I may just be a seriously early adopter though). The best part about it is that I never have to lug around another book with me. All I have to do is go to Stanza’s book store, download a new book and its with me everywhere I go. If the iPhone really is to become a new medium for content, why would Penguin develop an application that does not include an ebook reader so you can simply download their new releases and old classics directly into your phone while your on the go?

The other element of this whole debacle that eludes me is why Apple has not made an e-book reader part of their own native application bundle. They have an internet browser, a music and video player, a camera, but no book reader. If this is really going to become the new media device of the future, they certainly should include the most trusted form of content … text! And whats more is they have the perfect distribution channel to be selling e-books through; iTunes! They already sell audio books, why not sell ebooks also to be read directly through an application on their phone just like MP3’s. Hell they can even include DRM for all I care, to get the publishers on the board. 

There is a lot of potential here in the field of text based content on the iPhone that a lot of people seem to be looking over in favour of more flashy features. I love all the potential behind some of these new innovative features but In my opinion (please keep in mind the line I stated off with, that I definitely drank some potent iPhone kool-aid) the iPhone has the potential to destroy Amazon’s Kindle business and in turn the future of Amazon’s e-book sales. Who wants to lug around an extra device or another book when you already have everything you need in your pocket? Not me, thats for sure.

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Yahoo’s Secret Layoff Double Speak Revealed

So I found this link yesterday thanks to twitter and couldn’t help sharing it with all of you out there. The only reason we all have a copy of this right now is because Yahoo has been firing people like mad. Given the inter-connectedness now of tech communities around the world, it has been very easy to pick up on some rather confidential documentation that has been swirling around as people get layed off. A great example of this documentation is Yahoo’s firing policy. This is one for the books. Take a look at the link below:

Yahoo’s Secret Layoff Double Speak Revealed: Valleywag

Yahoo isn’t firing people en masse — it’s “getting fit.” That noisome euphemism for today’s layoffs of 1,500 people must have hissed forth from the brain of some overpaid management consultant. Likewise for pages upon pages of instructions on how to sack employees — which Valleywag has obtained.

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