Study the past, understand the future.
Back when they came out, I said that tools like Tivo and Replay could change the face of television watching. A couple of years ago, I assumed that game boxes would be the new home media center. What I missed, though, was the end run that Tivo was doing around the game companies. With yesterday’s announcement that they would offer connectivity to computer platform, Tivo is placing itself square in the middle of the convergence world. Their strategy is simple: focus on the core engine and use the PC as a storage area. It is braindead simple logic. The Tivo box comes with a big hard drive but it is mostly filled with TV programming. Alternately, the box does not need to provide web surfing as attempts by companies like AOL and Microsoft have failed in that space, probably bringing on the realization that most people don’t want to surf on their television sets. Thus, Tivo leaves the download of music to computers for now. The reason I am saying for now is that I expect them to eventually offer a more widespread network connectivity set in the future. However, they realize that most Tivo users are probably already computer…Read More
CNN is running an interesting article about information data stores and the semantic web. A very sad thing was the following statement about the semantic web: One hopeful journalist from the Economist asked Berners-Lee to give an example of how companies could make or save money using it, but he didn’t have an answer. This is clearly an illustration that often geeks speak in terms that most people do not understand. I am often guilty of it myself (a cursory look through recent entries will give you an idea of why I’m making this statement) and I realize that we need to do a better job in explaining some of the key concepts in new technology. XML, RDF and other technologies related to the semantic web are indeed hard to understand when you talk to techies. As a result, they often get dismissed as too hard. In order to help people get a better understanding, I’ll try to come up with a simple example. Right now, this page is served to you either in HTML or RSS. Those are two different languages. One, HTML, is understood by your web browser. The way text is bolded, for example, is that I…Read More
Today’s announcement about Cisco’s acquisition of Linksys is one that leaves me scratching my head a little. What is the logic behind this? Could this represent a change in Cisco’s strategy? Or is it a realization in the part of the networking equipment vendor that its future may not be enhanced by moving into the now heavily depressed telecommunication field. Let’s imagine for a second what this could do in the long term. First of all, by acquiring Linksys, Cisco gets a strong foothold in the small office/home office market as well as the hobbyist/consumer market. Why? Largely because this is where Linksys’ strength is. What Cisco gets out of this is a new source of revenues in a market it has had troubles getting into. The announcement that they will not change the name of the company and will let it run as an independent unit seems to point to that end. Second, it provides Linksys with strong support in enterprise sales. Linksys has been getting into the enterprise largely through the back-door, with employees installing cheap wireless routers in offices. Now, with Cisco’s backing they can get into the enterprise as part of a more complete solution. The…Read More
Back in the early-ish days of the commercial Internet (circa 95), we were talking about the browser wars to describe the fight between then-leader Netscape Navigator and Microsoft’s upstart Internet Explorer. Should we start talking about the search engine wars as Overture and Google are about to go head to head in a new set of battles? On the left, you’ve got Google, the 2000 pounds gorilla of search which is now looking to expand its advertising program beyond its site and is fighting to not have its name associated with searching on the Internet. However, playing to its advantage is that it now owns a patent on its ranking technology. On the right, you’ve got Overture, which once had a business that most people figured would fail (after all, who would pay for a placement in a search engine?) but somehow managed to prove the naysayers wrong and is now going out and buying itself a new seat at the search table. At stake is the future of search but it may be much more. It looks like the market is reshaping itself to become not just about search but also about targeting. Give the right search result, attach…Read More
As regular readers of this newsletter know, I’ve been looking a fair amount at how to get untethered from the Internet lately. While I have played with a wireless Palm and looked at WAP, there seemed to be something missing to the whole unconnected Internet issue. What I came to realize is that what works for a computer does not necessarily work in a wireless environment. The main issue is input and output. A wireless Palm is great to get information but somewhat difficult to use to send out email (typing in graffiti being the biggest challenge so far) and WAP works well to get little bits and pieces of information but is limited to a set number of characters (depending on which version of WAP you’re using, you will get an allocation of between 1500 and 2000 characters). As a result, sending out something like this newsletter over WAP does not seem to make sense. However, a new breed of services is now popping up and it could be the next big thing: connecting to the Internet by just dialing into a phone number. In order to test this out, I checked out several services: Tellme Networks, which launched…Read More