The web is 20. Is it still relevant?
As readers of this site know, I strongly believe that we are now in the middle of a major overall shift in economic trend that hasn’t been seen since the introduction of the paper bill in late 1700s england. Seen under this lens, I’m starting to think that there may be some truths to the claims that some of the traditional industries are making that their business is getting hurt by new technology. Their business is getting hurt but it’s not because of any particular evil on the part of Internet companies. The truth is that the reason those industries are starting to suffer from the propagation of Internet technology is that their traditional business models were based on inneficiencies in the market. The Music Industry Take, for example, the music industry. Traditionally, the music industry has been based on aggregating multiple songs on a piece of media. Every few decades, they would benefit from the introduction of a new technology (for example, shifing from LPs to 8-tracks, then to cassette tapes, then to CDs) as people had to basically purchase the same good over and over again when they upgraded their equipment. Then came the concept of a digital…Read More
So the big news coming out of the 2006 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is that all the portals are now trying to go into the video space. Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo have already made their announcements (as has Apple, which is not presenting at CES and is reserving its sparks for next week’s Mac World) and word has been leaking that Google will also get into the space. So it’s time to review, side by side what each player has to offer. Software The first thing I’m taking a look into is what are the software packages each offers: Apple AOL Google Microsoft Yahoo! Browsers supported None Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape or Safari Firefox or Internet Explorer Internet Explorer Internet Explorer or Netscape Media Players Supported iTunes, Quicktime Windows Media Player Google Video Player Windows Media Player iTunes, Windows Media Player Platforms Mac, Windows Mac, Windows Windows only Windows only Mac, Windows DRM Apple FairPlay Microsoft Windows-Media DRM Google DRM (based on OpenSSL) but providers can opt-out Microsoft Windows-Media DRM Microsoft Windows-Media DRM So it looks like we will be dealing with three different types of digital right management systems, making it difficult to actually have content play on every…Read More
So it took me some time to figure out what the Mac mini is about. Not so much what it is but what it’s impact in the long run may be and why and how it matters. Size matters My first thought, when I read the specs, was about the size of the device. My Shuttle computer, is 6 inches high by 8 inches wide and 12 inches long (yes, I had to pull out the ruler on that one). By comparison, the Mac mini comes in at 6.5 inches square and 2 inches high. Something tells me that there is more to the dimensions that pure aesthetic design. For comparison’s sake, I decided to take a quick look at my entertainment center: 2 inches happens to be about the height of my VCR (yes, I still have one) and my DVD player is taller than that. I then decided to look around the web. Tivo 2 boxes come in at over 3 inches in height; The smallest Windows Media Center edition machine (from Hush Technology) comes in at 3.9 inches in height. In fact, I could find very few items that would come in at the same size. Somehow,…Read More
HP made a big announcement today, and it was not its partnership with Apple. The real innovation was the introduction of LightScribe, a new technology to silkscreen CDs and DVDs. While the product itself would have been worthy of its own announcement, the news was buried into a general overview press release. Scheduled for shipping later this year, the new technology allows CD and DVD burner manufacturers to add a new feature that allows users to easily silkscreen disks. When you think of the potentials, this is pretty huge. I can see a couple of new areas expanding with this. First of all, manufacturers offering the technology will obviously tout it as an extra. Second, I could see a number of companies offering software package that allow you to better customize the images for your CDs. Last but not least could be the spread of professionally created images and backgrounds for such disk. LightScribe may seem like a small thing but I think it will have a much longer impact than HP’s partnership with Apple on the iPod. However, the partnership, in conjunction with Real Networks’ announcement that were supporting AAC in their new client, definitely puts Apple’s DRM in…Read More
The recent fights of the music industry remind me a lot about the early days of the personal computer industry. While I was still a kid then, it seems the software industry went through a similar experience in terms of trying to figure out how to deal with piracy. In this entry, I examine what I consider to be the four stages of dealing with piracy of digital assets. I believe that any industry that is seeing a move of their intellectual assets to a digital medium will go through four basic stages: ignorance, panic, protection and litigation, quiet acceptance. This was the case with software in the 80s and 90s, is currently the case with music, and will soon be the case with movies. I suspect that other industries like the professional photography market are facing similar issues currently or have in the past. Stage 1: Ignorance During this stage, an industry ignores the problem, either because it is seen as the domain of fringe elements or doesn’t seem like it could possibly have a huge impact. Consider this the ostrich strategy. Executives downplay the importance of a new culture (software crackers in the 80s, file-sharing in the mid-90s)…Read More