Microsoft & Seinfeld: Lame

After watching this clip I realized two things.  The commercial lacks creativity and Seinfeld’s show closed before 9/11.  Our world is a lot different today.  The AD/PR firm should be fired.  I thought there were creative types in NYC.

Latest read: The Last Lecture

Have you ever been so moved by an event that you drop just about everything and rip through a book as quickly as possible?  Along with millions of people (6.5 million actually) I watched Randy Pausch’s famous last lecture at Carnegie Mellon on September 18, 2007 and was very moved to read his bookThe Last Lecture.

It goes without saying that the news of his passing was very sad.  And to make matters worse, I was unable to finish his book before his death. This has left me with a sense of being cheated in some way.

The book is very much the lecture with a bit more background on all his points from his famous presentation.

Randy wrote about one of the more important projects that has been handed over to a former student, Alice which is available at Alice.org.

Alice is a breakthrough 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing.  And best of all for schools and educators, Alice is FREE.

This project helps young children learn computer programming.  His description in this book has provided a bit of inspiration for me to talk with my niece Maya about becoming a computer programmer.

Thanks to Randy and his students, young girls including my niece will be able to learn computer programming and use this as a foundation for their education.  His work lives on….and that’s a great thing.

Book website | Oprah Winfrey Show Appearance

MKE Angelbeat Conference

angelbeat logoToday WiscNet is offsite at the 10th annual Angelbeat conference at the Milwaukee Hilton City Center.  The team is coming in from Madison and I was able to sleep in this morning until 5:30am and hang with Max for a bit before driving downtown. The agenda looks pretty good, should learn much today:

angelbeat agenda

On my reading list

Looking forward to Larry Lessig‘s new book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.

Larry has documented how the music and movie industries are turning students into criminals because they use cheap software, the internet and their creativity.  His presentation at TED hilights the core principals of his upcoming book.

The power and impact of the digital economy has placed copyright and the old guard clearly on the defensive.  Those aging companies still want the market to be “published” (in analog format) are unwilling to change to the new information economy.
Well okay what I’m really trying to say is they don’t want to give up their revenue streams.

Okay maybe they do understand how the game has changed, yet I’m not sure the impact of how young people are wired has fundamentally changed their business model.

Actually I’m hoping Remix may also hilight how the RIAA should be chasing down the millions of pirates in China rather than students in America.  Larry is proving what everyone under 30 already has accepted as a fact of life…They have never been forced to purchase a majority of their entertainment in analog format.  Should be a great read!

Latest read: Once You’re Lucky Twice You’re Good

There was something from Sarah Lacy’s book Once You’re Lucky Twice You’re Good which really hit home.  Today kids look to FaceBook as their exclusive communication tool.  They don’t do email like our generation overdoes email.

That’s a key indicator of how different today’s Web2.0 kids are changing the rules.  Can the establishment keep up with them?  Well see in the very short term future.

This was a great read and I must thank Kate Olson who was able to get a copy for me to read and post my review.

Lacy’s book, IMHO starts with the best story first.  Max Levchin.  His inspiring story of fleeing Ukraine the night of the Chernobyl disaster was amazing.  He flees from a hospital in the middle of the night to later leave college to start PayPal.

Yes, that’s right a kid who flew the USSR makes his way to Silicon Valley and San Francisco to put his amazing mathematical skills to use and builds an amazing tool that would later be purchased by eBay.

Sarah also documents the story of Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com and proves again that Marc Andreessen really is a jerk. But from the outside many of us would not know the ins and outs of the Web2.0 world and all their financial venture “vulture capital” stories.  Pretty rough from the outside…but Sarah makes this work.  Interested to know more about the inner circle of the Web2.0 world?  Read Once You’re Lucky, Twice your Good!

Whats new is now old

Microsoft’s Photosynth was a hit at TED last year and looked to be really promising regardless of running only on XP SP2 and Vista (shame on you Microsoft) but the same team along with the University of Washington has moved forward with new photo, video and VR technologies:

This should be a very interesting mashup of multiple media formats.  Great work and a wonderful tool for education.

Tags: Photosynth, photo, virtual reality, panaoramic, globalization, trends

Yahoo Music closing

I continue to be amazed that consumers are being held hostage to failed business practices regarding digital products sold on the internet and requiring a connection to “use” your product.
If you buy a book, read it and then move to a new house, you take the book with you right.  Sure.  Simple and not even something to think about.

But if you purchased digital music from Yahoo and move that music to a new computer or external drive, you cannot take it with you.  Yahoo’s underperforming music store has announced they are closing their doors (and also taking down their DRM technology keys) stitched into your downloaded music.

This means the music you paid for will not play anymore.  If you purchased Yahoo music you are simply SOL. Actually Yahoo tells a better story:
After September 30, 2008, you will not be able to transfer songs to unauthorized computers or re-license these songs after changing operating systems. Please note that your purchased tracks will generally continue to play on your existing authorized computers unless there is a change to the computer’s operating system.

This should serve fair warning to all the music etailers to abandon DRM.  The customer is always right and today’s teenage market has a powerful voice and the tools (like Digg) to flex their collective financial muscles….so don’t piss them off.

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