Category Archives: Technology

Spending $1,000 Dollars to Watch Internet TV for Free on My TV

Yesterday, I drank the koolaide and finally gave in and bought a Mac. Actually, I bought a Mac Mini. The device was easy to setup. The interface seems more intuitive than I thought it would be.

I discovered that what I hated about Macs whenever I tried one in the past was the keyboard and mouse. I don’t like the new Mac laptop mouse controls. My friend has one, and I always end up doing things that I didn’t intend on doing. Mac accessories have always seemed overpriced to me. And I don’t like how Apple keyboards feel.

The nice thing about a Mac Mini is that it can work with virtually any keyboard and mouse. It is small and packs a lot of power for the size. A Mac Mini can be easily transported or integrated into many different configurations. Specifically, I have wired my new Mac Mini into my TV. This allows me to watch online videos and TV shows streaming off the Internet. It is a much better experience than watching Hulu, TV.com or Netflix on my laptop. I am using a wireless mouse and keyboard to make my TV a true message/computer/entertainment application.

I thought about buying an Apple TV and using  a bootloader to allow me to get beyond Apple’s proprietary iTunes controls. But this would still give me less options and functionality than buying a Mac Mini. Plus, I have always wanted to try a Mac, and the Mac Mini is the cheapest way to do that with the most multi-application possiblities.

So far, so good. By the time I got everything for the Mac Mini, I paid about $1,000. I plan on using this setup for quite a while. As I play with it more, I will let everyone know what I think.

The koolaide seems pretty good right now. But you never know if it will leave a bad after taste in my mouth.

What Is the Future of Reporting?

B2B Magazine recently carried articles on the the future of newspapers and newsweeklies. These two articles identified issues that have haunted me for a while. The news industry has sure changed from my college days at Mizzou. You can read the article by clicking on the links below.

 http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090119/FREE/301199990

http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090119/FREE/301199995/1149/ISSUEMB

With rising distribution costs and dropping circulations, it is only a matter of time. The news industry is suffering from Internet fatigue. People want news quickly, and the value of professional journalists as gatekeepers seems to appear less important. It is funny. Google doesn’t produce any original content. But the Internet (especially sites like Google) is helping to kill news content producers.

Some news brands still have a lot of public value. But the actual results for advertisers appears to be dwindling as ad dollars decrease at the same time. Some news companies will take advantage of the changes and will rise from the ashes to be stronger players in the market. This is not the final gasp for breath from a former institution. But it certainly is a clear shock to the system.

I believe the future of reporting will be…

-More collaborative. Newspapers need to work to involve readers more as extensions of their newsroom. This means that there will be greater need for fact checkers and editors.

-Print will be a luxury that people will have to pay a high price to receive. Most people will get publications via the Internet.

-Community publications will be the most profitable, sough-after publications. I believe there will remain a strong demand for very local reporting because people like to know what is going on with their neighbors, school sports teams, etc.

-Newsweeklies will have to offer premium content. That means something you can’t really find elsewhere.

-Electronic readers and e-paper will decrease the need for print publications. Customers will adapt and learn to embrace electronic readers as they become more like print and less clunky.

-More content will have to be put back behind the firewall so that only subscribers can read it. Too much free content makes it appear as if good information should be free. 

-Many newspapers will go out of business. Journalists will look for work in related fields, such as truck driving. 🙂

The New Paper – Electronic Paper

While reading through Technology Review tonight, I came across a truly amazing product. And I am wondering how this will change the publishing industry forever. I first saw this concept as a kid at an exhibit at Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, F la. Back twenty plus years it was heralded as the future. I knew it would come around some day. And it looks like the day may be here for true electronic paper.

Plastic Logic has developed a technology that provides an e-reader that resembles a pad of notebook paper. Using plastic electronics, the device is supposedly lighter, thinner, stronger and more durable than any other e-reader. It is supposed to be open source and will support multiple document formats.

The screen is much larger than an Amazon Kindle and is being marketed to the business audience.

Just imagine if you could carry around one piece of paper that stored all your important documents. Wow! I wonder if this thing will be as great as the developers claim.

Technology should make the next 20 years very interesting.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid980795693/bctid1778578839

Great New Apple Ideas

 Wow, The Onion sure gave Apple Computer a good spoofing with its fake news report about the new laptop that doesn’t have a keyboard.  Take that Steve Jobs! 

I watched the video over and over. You can see it at http://www.theonion.com/content/video/apple_introduces_revolutionary

I came up with a few new outrageous Apple product ideas of my own. What do ya think?

1.) IPOD/stun gun combo

2.) MacBook Pro built entirely of recycled materials. Will retail for only $4,500. Comes in a convenient box made out of bamboo.

3.) Apple cologne (Knicknamed-  iSmell Good) will make everyone think you are the smartest and most creative person in the room.

4.) iTunes meets Priceline where you can name your price for what you want to pay for songs, movies and ebooks.  I’m sure the recording industry would love that little innovation.

5.) iPoster – video screen poster that continuously loops those crazy “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials.

6.) iPhone with built in beverage dispenser. Why pretend to drink a cold one on your iPhone when it should be able to dispense the real thing? Refillable cartridges can be bought at the closest ABC Store or beer retailer.

7.) Apple Easy Artist – Voice directed art rendering system allows any MAC user to paint a masterpeace using voice commands. You don’t even have to be an artist; the computer does it all for you.

8.) Steve Jobs Office Shrine – That’s right. You too can have your own personal moment of zen and inspiration at the office. Comes with miniature Steve Jobs Buddha figure and ornamental shrine. Figure speaks one of ten sayings when you rub its belly.

9.) iGlasses wearable computer. Special glasses allow you to surf the Web, call home or dictate a memo while providing excellent protection from UV rays. Comes in art deco, sporty and yuppie styles.

10.) Flat panel TV with Apple’s exclusive smart touch screen technology. This is perfect for those who need more exercise and should drop the remote. Warning people with oily fingers may want to invest in a case of screen cleaner.

Grading the New Blackberry Storm

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas so I bought myself a new phone two weeks ago. It arrived in the mail on Friday, and I have had two days to play around with my new Blackberry Storm.

For anyone who has drunk the Apple kool-aide, the Storm device won’t be as cool as the iPhone no matter what I say. Online reviews by technology experts have been especially brutal over the last two weeks. Sure, there have been problems with the device as Research in Motion pushed it out just in time for Christmas. But the latest software updates seem to have fixed some of the major criticisms of the first devices.

Here’s what I like about the Storm. You can edit Word, Powerpoint and Excel files without adding extra software like you have to with the iPhone. You can e-mail pictures and easily integrate with your Flickr account.   The camera takes great pictures  and video with its 3.2 megapixel lens. It has a built in flash too.

As a business device, Blackberry has always been the leader. My Storm seamlessly syncs with my Outlook email, calendar, to-do lists and contact information. I think the Storm has better e-mail capabilities at the moment.

The Storm gives you  all the conveniences of a Blackberry with a pretty nifty touch screen. I like the clickable screen because it gives you the impression of punching real buttons. Some people may not like it. But I find it easier to use than just a touch screen device. The Storm has more data input options including a full landscape keyboard in most functions. The iPhone only offers this for its Web browser. Plus the Storm has Blackberry’s SureType option. As a browser, the iPhone is a bit better in the ability to do pinch gesturing for zooming in to items on a Web page.  

The functionality of the media player is okay although it is not as good as an iPhone in the eye candy department. The Storm has fewer third party applications right now than the iPhone, but this could change in time if it becomes popular enough. The iPhone blows the Storm out of the water when it comes to gaming. No Dave… I can’t do bowling on my new phone.:)

Overall, I am very happy with the device although the initial setup process was about as pleasant as eating jello with chopsticks because the instructions left out critical steps. By the time I figured this out, Verizon’s new device setup department was closed until the next day. Thus, my Storm languished as a paperweight for one night until the tech department opened the next day.

The browser didn’t work right for a few hours on Saturday. But Verizon quickly got that corrected. The best news is that I discovered a great tech rep at Verizon. He was like the phone wizard and will be my go-to-guy for any future phone problems.

Probably the biggest benefit is Verizon’s network. All of my friends are on Verizon. It has the best network. The Storm seems to function well as a phone, which is something that may not be true for the iPhone depending on where you are calling from.  

Another major plus for me is that Verizon is not AT&T. After a major phone battle with AT&T eight years ago, I swore to myself that I would never do business with AT&T ever again. The only other vendor that I dislike more is Pitney Bowes. AT&T  could develop a phone with the ability to read people’s thoughts, time travel and zap bad guys and I still wouldn’t buy it.

Here’s a fairly positive review of Storm by another Website: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/40305/145/

Any other thoughts from actual Storm users? iPhone apologists please don’t comment. I have a big chip on my shoulders, and his name is Steve Jobs. I am tired of hearing how Stone Age  I am because I have not joined the Apple cult.

Change Is Happening Faster And Faster These Days

I just saw this video in class about the pace of change today. It is scary. I remember back when I first sent e-mail using Telnet. I remember when I first was a Web browser or used Yahoo in 1996.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihbL8ewkP-o

Here is an interesting take on the future by the Discovery Channel.

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/next-world/top-10/2009.html

We can’t even imagine what the world will look like in the next 30 years.

Wii Business

Who said a Wii system at work is bad for business? Last month a friend of mine showed me how Johnny Lee turned a Wii remote into a next generation workplace tool. Lee demonstrated his Wii improvements at the TED2008 conference.

Lee used Wii video game remotes to turn the Wii video game system into a whiteboard tool, a tracking device and even a multi-touch screen. It is amazing to see the possibilities of the Wii system in the hands of talented coders. This makes me wonder if the Wii could be coming to a boardroom near you? Will some innovative software outfit develop brainstorming, training and teamwork tools that could liven up business as usual?

Check out Lee’s work and see how your Wii can be used for more than just sports and racing games. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/