Myanmar: cut the internet?

As emotional as a situation can become over a short period of time, the Myanmar  (Burma for all you old school) government’s decision to cut internet connections is a desperate act and clearly a sign that a total crackdown is underway.

From the The New York Times and from CNN

Amazon’s new music store

Today Amazon opened the beta door to their new music store amazonmp3beta and as the name suggests, everything is available in mp3 format. In comparison Apple’s iTunes format is AAC for all those millions of iPods.

Amazon MP3 offers the top 100 songs for 89 cents each and the top 100 albums for $8.99, with most albums priced from $5.99 to $9.99.



However I believe the breaking point will be what is available.
Search for U2 and you get:

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NBC: slap yourself in the face

Well after three weeks of questions regarding where NBC would move its digital television programs after breaking ties with Apple’s iTunes. I blogged about their greed. Well NBC Universal “announced” many popular shows would be available for free download.

But hold on. They are pulling a fast one. In attempting to fight the TiVo generation (watch TV programs when, where and how you want) NBC has decided on the following conditions on their new NBC Direct program:

Shows available for one week only following broadcast.
Playback on computer only – no transfer to mobile devices.
Commercials included: viewers cannot skip through ads.
Shows will “degrade” — become unwatchable.
Windows only support – Mac and iPod support later in 2008

So you download The Office and have only seven days to watch it before it “implodes” rendering the video useless on your computer. This seems to imply re-downloading…but maybe NBC is taking the position you have just one week to watch the show or else.

Even industry analysts are calling it a stretch. A blunder is more accurate.

But this idea actually gets “better” for consumers. At some point in 2008 (if ever) NBC will sell you the same shows without commercials and allow them to be moved to mobile devices … yea it’s called iTunes. Who is running the store over there…Jack Donaghy???

Tags: NBC, iTunes, tv show, download

Google takes on PowerPoint

Google has now added to their on-line tools solution to include presentation software very similar to PowerPoint. This compliments their word processing and spreadsheet tools, virtually serving online version of Microsoft Office. And all you need is a Google account.

google prezo

Impressed that it supports PowerPoint (.ppt) file format. You can upload an existing presentation created in Microsoft PowerPoint program and share it with a few people (in a secure environment) or choose to share it with the world (via a url) or better yet simply upload your file to SlideShare a great free site where people are sharing presentations.

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Globalization: Lessons learned?

China has been taking quite a justified beating in the global press for their product safety crisis. From toys to medicine China is stumbling over its global reputation. Today’s article in the New York Times proves Europe has learned from the mistakes of American toy companies.

Mattel is probably the biggest American company to also take such a beating in the press. They probably deserve it in making the choice to shift production outside the US where they easily have manpower to inspect factories. In China it has proved to be a huge disaster. Where was Mattel’s Quality Assurance on this one?

Mattel is really guilty of not working hard enough to grow their business relationship in China. After all, at some point Mattel executives felt comfortable enough to shift business overseas yet clearly failed to ensure their new relationship was running smoothly. Mattel’s public statement.

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Latest read: Made to Stick

What book would be a perfect follow up to The Tipping Point and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell? To prove timing is everything I read Dan and Chip Heath’s new release: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. The book’s authors acknowledge that their book complements Gladwell’s The Tipping Point by identifying “traits” necessary to make your ideas ‘sticky’ with your intended audience.
Made to StickWritten by brothers Chip and Dan Heath they share experiences and research in finding ideas that stick. Chip is professor of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Dan is a consultant to Duke University’s Corporate Education program.

Made to Stick provides wonderful insight to learn how powerful ideas succeed in the face of big obstacles (and people) especially in a stale environment. Take Subway’s series of commercials featuring Jared for example.

Originally passed by PR firms, Jared’s story was brought to life by the Subway store manager where Jared ate while attending Indiana University. The ad campaign was eventually created pro-bono by a firm thinking they would fail. Even Subway’s PR firm did not support this idea. Chip and Dan prove not only how wrong they were, but how powerful the idea has turned out to be for Subway. Continue reading “Latest read: Made to Stick”

Tech futures in higher education

internet2 k20Today’s Live Discussion at the Chronicle of Higher Education points to the growth of new technologies that will change the college campus. Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Higher Education” focused on technologies that will transform colleges in the next 10 years: global library digitization projects, personal devices with campus network access, Internet2, e-learning repositories, quantum computing and virtual worlds.
I am very glad to see Internet2 getting more press as a key, defining technology for the future of colleges.

Tags: The Chronicle of Higher Education, Internet2, future technologies,trends

Latest read: Blink

Following the successful read of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference and learning of discussions underway on the internet regarding his follow up book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking it was clear Blink had to be the next book I picked up the night I finished The Tipping Point. And its another success for Gladwell.
blinkSo what is the truth about instantly making a decision in the blink of an eye? We have the ability for rapid cognition…but do we use it in our daily lives? It should tell you a lot about the situation at hand regardless of the outcome:

For instance Gladwell shares these situations: Can you tell the forgery of an ancient piece of art or can you tell the difference between two musicians playing behind a curtain during an audition with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra?

And can you instantly recognize when a professional tennis player will fault on serve even before the ball is struck by the player’s racket? Gladwell shares how rapid cognition can work to your advantage and how we have unfortunately conditioned ourselves to look beyond the ‘gut’ feeling because our eyes can play visual tricks … often for the worse.

I was impressed to learn of police organizations who study facial recognition patterns to develop rapid cognition between a frighten citizen and a hardened criminal … all in the blink of any eye, when life or death can hang in the balance.

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Firefox: 400 million downloads

In less than three years Firefox has turned a movement into a crusade. A open source web browser written by a programmer in Australia and a undergrad at Stanford and distributed via the internet for all for free.  The staggering numbers clearly indicate the worldwide desire by many to use an alternative browser. And it looks like the ripples keep coming….

firefox download

Firefox is the best story demonstrating the power of the open source software movement. Just imagine if Dell, HP and others began shipping Firefox pre-installed on new systems … Wait a minute … wouldn’t Microsoft alter their software distribution arrangements with these companies? Think Netscape. Remember them?

Seems that times have changed.  Imagine that two people across the world (who never met one another before the launch) can collaborate and create such a powerful program.  Are you ready for our future?

Tags: Firefox, Open Source, web browser, download, trends

NBC: slap the iTunes hand that feeds you?

nbcApple’s iTunes music store has been a benefit to NBC and other TV networks selling episodes and full seasons of their television programming worldwide. A number of NBC shows and special programming events have been online for $1.99/episode.

To prove money greed makes the world go round NBC has broken off relations with the iTunes music store over their demand to charge $5.00/episode … more than double the current episode download price point.

Shame on NBC for pulling such a greedy decision. Exactly who is going to provide that revenue (and successful download solution) tied to all those iPods?

Tags: NBC, iTunes, tv show, download