Saturday, August 30, 2008

An example we should all follow

I agree with Diddy, we should all stop flying our private jets.

Sacrifices must be made.

Marketing strategy in the Web era

It used to be simple, you would develop a product in total secrecy, maybe give a few prototypes to sworn-to-secrecy customers to test, then launch at a major conference.

Today it has all changed, at least if you have a product that people care about. Fan sites like Nikon Rumors avidly parse every scrap of information they find, distilling it to arrive at what have turned out to be largely accurate predictions of the manufacturer press announcement.

I suspect that more than a little of this is deliberately stoked by the manufacturers themselves. But that is not necessarily out of choice. Even if the rumor is false it may cause real customers to put off real purchases.

As a result we can be fairly certain that next month Nikon will announce what will be hailed as the worlds best camera - if you have $5000-$6000 to spare. And we can be reasonably sure it will be called either the D3x or the D3z and it will have a resolution of 24MP.

Nikon Rumors is somewhat less accurate when it comes to lenses rather than camera bodies. This is probably because a camera body requires extensive beta-testing by photographers in the field while lens testing can be accomplished in house.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bad for the environment, worse for developers

Predictably, everyone is complaining about the Bush administration attempt to gut the endangered species act on their way out of office.

But will removing the requirement for agencies to consult with government scientists before approving projects have any effect coming at such a late date in this administration? The earliest date that the changes can come into force is September 30th and the changes are certain to be challenged in court. And even if that decision comes down before the next administration takes office, any decisions made under the new rules will face an automatic challenge from the environmental lobby that is sure to play out the clock till then.

Unless by some further misfortune the net administration takes the same approach to the environment, every decision taken under the new rules will be set aside by the incoming administration. And by the time the dust settles and a working process established again it will be next August and an entire year will have elapsed in which nothing could be approved.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Photographic Phelps

Detroit Free Press on the life of an elite professional sports photographer.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why was the NBC Olympics commentary so idiotic?

Next time round I am going to install a slingbox somewhere in the UK and watch the BBC feed. The NBC commentary was the most intrusive idiotic drivel ever.

At many times in the performance the commentators interrupted to have personal discussions and to say 'er'.

The other aspect of the performance missing was the scene changes, how do you get 2000 people on and off stage so fast?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

PC World - Apple Can 'Kill' iPhone Apps Remotely, Or Can It?

I have absolutely no inside knowledge concerning the purpose of the Apple iPhone 'kill switch' that allegedly allows Apple to kill an application.

But given the tight control over iPhone apolications, it is pretty clear that at least one purpose of the kill switch (if it works) would be to allow crime-ware such as keystroke loggers etc. to be disabled.

One possibility is that a criminal might create a virus that performs a DDoS attack on the AT&T network or repeatedly calls premium rate numbers or any similar crime with a money motive.

Of course, Apple may have other reasons for introducing the switch and this might not be one of their intended uses at all. But regardless of what their motive is, once the device is sold it belongs to the owner, not to Apple. I predict that any use of the switch would require significant involvement of Apple lawyers.

As it happens, Microsoft can in fact kill any program running on my Windows box. So the capability is not exceptional. But Microsoft have that capability because I run choose to run Windows Defender and I regularly opt in to the 'remove malware' agreement when installing updates.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Court allows DVR system with remote storage -

Very interesting

It might not seem a big deal, after all whats the difference between a disk in the home and a disk at the cable head? But the key thing is that the cable co can provide PVR technology to customers without the need to upgrade their cable box.

What is not clear from the article but likely to be even more worrying to the content providers is whether the cable co has to keep a separate recording image for every subscriber. If they are allowed to share the system becmes much cheaper as one disk can store the Jepoardy image for a hundred households.

On balance its worrying for the content providers but probably should not be as in the end the one thing we can be sure about is that there will be demand for new paid content and thus a business model to support it. My problem with my cable bill is not what I pay, its the fact that almost none of that money goes to pay the content providers I watch. Most of the channels are supported by advertising, not a share of my cable fees.

I pay $1200 a year for phone and Internet. By my reconing it should not cost more than $300 a house to run a last mile cable. So I am buying that cable again and again and again, four times a year.

In Europe I could get real high speed Internet for $300/year or so. Telephone is essentialy free now, its only legacy POTS customers that create cost. I am quite happy to pay the remaining $900 I am currently paying for my 'TV service' to content providers for ad-free content.

Just make it easy for me to buy and I will pay.