Saturday, April 29, 2006

PSP Software Upgrade to Version 2.7

I just realized that version 2.7 of the PSP firmware is available. Here is a list of features I found. The big improvement here to me is support of Flash. I can't wait to see it!

Eyespot Mobile Video Contest

Eyespot, (full disclosure - I am an advisor to them) is having a 72 hour mobile video mix up contest. Check here for details. I am pulling some fun triplet clips together to give it a go as well.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Tool is not on Napster or iTunes

While wondering through the Napster site, I saw a really cool banner for the Coachella concert which is in our neck of the woods this weekend. If I didn't have the enormous young family I would either be at Jazzfest in New Orleans or at that concert this weekend. I was even more depressed when I realized that Tool is headlining the show one night. I can't say enough how much I love Tool. I don't know if their new album (the first in like 5 years) is out yet but if not it will be soon. Allmusic had links to samples that I didn't play but a search of both the two above mentioned services not only didn't have the new CD which I would buy right this second, but none of their previous works. That bums me out. Its that sort of thing that keeps a lot of people, certainly not me though, out on the fringes on the illegal services. Come to think of it I think I recall the band not wanting to do the digital thing so at the end of the day that is their right. I as an avid fan have all the CDs, the collection of videos on DVD and I see them each tour. They aren't losing any cash with me.

Free Napster

Tonight Napster rolled out their new advertising supported free portal. For my money it's the last newish thing I can remember in digital music in a while and Napster seems to be the first to launch this. I keep waiting for Mashbox or one of the legal P2P swappers to launch but I suspect that publishing has this locked up tight for now. I hope I am wrong on that.

You can see the details of the Napster free portal service here.

So is it really free? Well, sort of. You can play any song you want five times before you get locked out unless you want to buy the individual track or sign up as a Napster to go member. The five play limitation probably won't be a big consumer earthshaker but if you think about the flexibility to create playlists and add them to your blog and social networking site etc. it is pushing things a bit further than or Pandora.

From a label perspective it is a push for more experimentation. I have to play with it a bit to see what I think of it but it is encouraging to see the labels trying to dip their toe in the water a bit more with each passing day. If the widget style stuff is good then this could be a big deal for them. If those pieces are lacking then this is a marketing advertisement disguised as a portal, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but not a needle mover.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spam Your Phone

I was catching up on email. I categorize into do immediately which I do, deal with later, or file. The first and last are fine. Its the middle ones that are bad. They are either things I should take some action on or are left over emails that came in while traveling. Tonight I closed that window down to everything acted on or filed up to the last 30 days. Not too bad in terms of lag. As soon as I hit that milestone I was looking at some sites and the "send alerts to your phone" tag on one site made me laugh really hard. Right, with all the interupts from email and IM the last thing I need is to have my phone going off all night. I will pass and save the SMS messgaes for Jessica and co-workers. I think the jury is still out on what the right kind of messaging we need on our phone in terms of SMS. My early interactions on automated alerting have been short lived before I cancelled them quickly.

Bloglines Communities

I was cleaning up my Bloglines subscriptions today. Deleting a few and adding a couple. It's funny how I have grown to appreciate people who blog a moderate amount or a little amount and how seeing Boing Boing at 200 everyday drives me nuts. Sigh. Unsubscribe. In the process I saw a new tab called communities. I clicked on it and saw that Bloglines has added support for Blogger, Buzznet, Flickr, Myspace, Live Journal, Spaces, Tribe and Xanga. Wow. Thats cool. I need to try it out to see how it works. I know a number of these sites are very protective of their advertising revenue so I am curious to see how they will view having their sites viewed through an aggregator.

Drivers of Adoption

The NFL Draft is this weekend. For those of you who aren't crazy addicted fantasy football players, it is the weekend where all the great college football players find their new home in professional football. For me in particular, it marks the official starting point in my keeper fantasy football league(see I am extra sick) were we can begin trading people and draft positions in advance of our draft the weekend prior to the start of the football season in September. Does this sound crazy yet? It should.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because this is the sort of thing that drives the adoption of technology. Let me explain.

I have been playing fantasy football since 1998 or 1999. I was working for CSC at Sun in Silicon Valley and I had a lot of time on my hands as my wife was back in Los Angeles. Over the years my addiction to fantasy football has grown as my expertise (or so I say) has developed. With each year the level of engagement and involvement has increased to what I would say was probably a saturation point two years ago. Last year I was certainly on my game but I had developed the right balance to stay competitive and still remain married.

So fantasy football leads to technology adoption. Several years ago, I decided that I needed to be able to watch more than one game at a time. In fact, it became necessary for me to watch all the games. Especially since I had players on just about every team in football. At the time I had Cox digital cable, which is a fine service, but not one that had the NFL Sunday ticket package that was only on Directv. What is an addict to do? Get Direct TV.

I didn't want to get rid of Cox as there were some particular things I liked about Cox and most importantly they provide me with my cable modem at home. So I got both. I kept both for a number of months until I realized that Directv had just about everything I wanted except for the broadband connectivity. Goodbye Cox Digital Cable. Hello Directv. I kept the cable modem though. Cox lost me because of the NFL.

Last year I bought a PSP. A lot of the purchase was about my personal ongoing market research but quickly, given all the stuff going on in my life, I put the device in my bag and forgot about it. Until Location Free became available. Location Free was some gee whiz technology that was fun to show people but as I am not really a TV watcher it too sort of wore off quickly. Except on Sunday. Suddenly I could be watching my TV with split screens in my house with two games on and then use the PSP to watch a 3rd game. Nice huh? I wish this was a joke.

Recently I recently received a Sprint demo phone which has been really impressive for a number of reasons but most importantly to me because I can use it as an EVDO modem for my laptop. The TV on my phone stuff? Not so interesting. That was until Sprint announced the NFL draft coverage on my phone. Um, ok, that's kind of cool. Especially since we are busy this weekend and I can't stay glued to the television. Well, maybe TV on your phone is kind of cool...I will certainly be taking period looks to see who got who over the weekend.

Yesterday Shawn and I were up in SF and Silicon Valley for meetings and I was driving around in a car that had Sirius radio. Shawn commented that it was kind of pointless for Hertz to spend all that money deploying that. I suggested that it might be Sirius putting it in for marketing purposes. I am not sure what the actual answer is, but I told Shawn that I thought it was brilliant. I told him that last football season I was going to buy a Sirius radio but couldn't get entirely over the hump because I was worried about using it after the football season. Having rented two cars now with Sirius I am ready to make the jump as I think there is certainly enough other content to rationalize my football purchase. That is, I will buy it when football season actually starts.

Although this story is a sad indication of the sickness present in sports fanatics it highlights the marketing challenges to me of any new technology. What is the best way to drive adoption? What are the must have things that makes a consumer feel compelled to adopt a new technology? In my case the technologies association with the NFL will warrant an investigation into whether or not it is something I should acquire. There are certainly many other analogues to this for other subcultures or affinity groups. It will be interesting to see which levers work most successfully in mobile.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Myspace Banned from Texas Community College

This article details that Myspace use was 40% of the Internet traffic at this school. That was until they turned it off.

Russ hangs it up

One of the earliest people I started reading when I started blogging almost two years ago was Russ Beattie. Russ would sometimes iritate but always engage. His passion and understanding of mobile is something that I enjoy consuming and over time have struck up a casual relationship with him that I hope continues beyond the death of his blog (for now I am sure).

In one of his last posts which was an open letter to MobHappy, he beseeches them to have fun with mobile and show that they really enjoy mobile (which they certainly do). While there are certainly a lot of great mobile bloggers around today, Russ will certainly be missed as one of the most enthusiastic and a thoughtful booster for the differences between mobile and the Internets. I wish him well in his private endeavors and hope he comes back soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Quien es mas macho? Odeo or Podshow

I am an errant podcaster. I haven't done a show in months even though I have a lot of tracks lined up. I just haven't been able to get it together with all the work stuff going on. Today for some bizzaro reason I was doing some Alexa searches on podcasting companies that I believe started with some non-sequitur about traffic on Garageband. I couldn't recall their podcasting initiative and after digging recalled it was Gcast.

I then recalled that I hadn't been paying attention to the two big players in podcasting who raised approximately $9 million each in August or so of last year, Odeo and Podshow. I am a big fan of Odeo but hadn't heard much lately but was very excited to see this Alexa chart showing that in the face of all the satellite radio and Madison avenue style hype, that the Odeo guys are actually moving along quite nicely and quietly and at least according to the oft maligned Alexa, they are in the lead. Good stuff.

Track Your Kids from Sprint

Sprint announced earlier this week the introduction of the Sprint family locator here. I believe this is one of the first commercial deployments of LBS technologies in North America that isn't fleet management. Very cool. Wavemarket, the same company that offers Streethive is powering the product.

Based on the lack of understanding of phone applications by the over 30 set (What's a ringtone?) I am curious how many kids will help their parents set up an application that allows their parents to track them. There are interesting privacy and security issues in the discussion of LBS and this too will be a hot topic in the coming year or so as more consumer offerings begin to rollout.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rabble Addiction

I don't like to talk much about the goings on inside the Rabble community itself although I do post about the various technical things and content things we are doing. If you want to see what is going on download Rabble and see for yourself. This post today had me in tears though:

"Im addicted to rabble. i quit and remove the application every day but just buy it again. so i am trading in my cell phone razr for one without get it now or mobil web. i am neglecting my job my friends my studies my body. i learned a lot about myself. goodbye forever shalom"

I am not sure if that is a good thing or not but we must be doing something right.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just Because

Ok, now I go back to work.

Vacation Epilogue

A good time was had by all. It took me until Thursday but by Thursday, I was really on vacation. I didn't finish my book. I didn't listen to any more music. I didn't blog. I didn't read blogs. I scanned email headlines but didn't respond. It was awesome.

There was swimming, and more swimming. There was a lot of time with grandma and grandpa.

One day I had to drive someone to the train station in downtown San Bernardino. It was kind of bizarre because my great grandmother lived there and I spent a great deal of time at her house and my uncle's house when I was a kid and in my teenage years. Seeing the blight of the area was kind of shocking actually. The area around the train station and the neighborhoods where I had played looked like a neutron bomb had hit and all the business were gone. Pretty weird.

It inspired me to visit my childhood house in Rialto which is five minutes away. I hadn't seen the house in 6 years or so. It looked pretty run down although the neighborhood has changed demographically and I am fascinated by what the future holds for some of these blighted or in transition areas over the next 5-10 years. When I was a kid Rialto tripled population in 10 years resulting in the elimination of all the citrus groves where we played as a kid and their replacement with cheap housing. The area has some really amazing natural beauty in terms of setting with these beautiful mountains as a backdrop but is plagued with scorching heat in the summer and terrible smog.

We had an egg hunt. We took the aerial tramway up to the snow. And then as an added treat we swung by my sisters house and got to spend time with all my family and all the cousins which made it a complete sweep of relatives as Jessica's whole family was with in Palm Springs.

Now I am back but the calm and peace of La Quinta is in my soul.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Road Trip - Music and Books

I had to head up to work for a meeting and then drive back this evening. Not much time for commentary but the soundtrack today was:

The Bravery - The Bravery: This 80s revival band sound has a CD that has been sitting on my stack of to be listened to CDs for a long while. I had seen it on a number of best of the year lists from last year and have to admit that after a good listen I am kind of bummed that it had taken me that long to get around to it. A definite add to my itunes list.

Sleater Kinney - The Woods
: I love this band. I was turned on to them on their last CD One Beat. This new one continues their unique, awesome punk sound.

Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures
: I just started listening to this. Very cool sound but a bit more mellow than my usual taste. More after I finish the full thing.

Books. I am currently reading the The Lost Gospel. When CNN did all this promotion of the discovery of the Lost Gospel of Judas I thought it was news. What I didn't realize was that it was a big PR push for a series of books. Very nice. At any rate this is a fascinating book so far. It chronicles the discovery and the long 25 year trek of the only known copy of this document into the hands of people who actually knew what it was.

Last year with all the Pope mania and my previous reading of the Da Vinci Code I decided that I would read From Jesus to Christianity which was an awesome book. That book gave an interesting history of how the New Testament was written and over what time period that really is worth a read if you are a history buff. It talks about what books made it in and which books didn't. It also gave me a number of laughs when I think about people taking a literal view of the language in theology. Especially as many of the gospels came out of an oral tradition.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


This is the week we ritualistically take our clan out to Palm Springs to recharge. I am doing some work but not much.

Getting to Palm Springs involves a trek through the desert to our retreat. On this year's trek I was driving solo in the supplies vehicle and had a lot of time to just listen to music and unwind. For the trip this year my outward journey was highlighted by the following:

The Very Best of the Grateful Dead. A great compilation of Dead hits that reminded me yet again how great they are as a band and how glad I am that I saw them play several times back in the day. The great revelation for me was a quote from Touch of Grey where the lyrics say "It' even worse than it appears" and I had an aha moment when I connected the dots and realized that the header line from Dave Winer's blog Scripting News is that quote. It's funny when you realize things and they color your view. I thought that the headline before was kind of snarky and now realize that its kind of playful.

The Matchbook Romance - Voices. I am still early in my listening of this. I like it but don't have my head around it enough to give a good description.

Scarlet Symphony - Vulture. This is such an amazing CD. I believe they broke up. Such a bummer, I could have sworn they would have been huge. I need to find out what happened. Go find this hard to get CD and be prepared to be BLOWN away.

Mae - The Everglow. I love this CD. It took me just a bit but now I am completely sold. It takes the heart and soul of Dashboard Confessionals combined with Ben Folds Five and creates an instant masterpiece. See them this summer on the Virgin Megatour opening for Yellowcard.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Yahoo API Update

I always hate when people grouse and then don't give an update if something changes. So here is an update. I hadn't really spent enough time with the Yahoo Developer documentation. Once I did I realized that although I had been talking to a specific group, it probably made sense to go through the formal process of the overarching business group to make sure that things were tracked.

So I sent in my initial request to the Yahoo developer group and received both a form response and a direct response from Eleanor who is in the group. So we are going through the things companies have to go through to make sure that all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed and we will see what comes out of it. We are certainly chomping at the bit but having been at a big company in past lives I understand that there are processes. I still am not aware of any companies doing anything commercial with the Yahoo APIs but no doubt there are others that are further along in the process than we are currently.

More as things develop.

You Can't Get There From Here or Planes, Trains and EVDO

CTIA wrapped up for us this morning. There were some meeting glitches today that were fine considering most of the heavy lifting had been done earlier in the conference. I have to say that I never really got to spend much time on the floor but had some great meetings, conversations, and saw a couple of cool new things.

We decided to try to catch an earlier flight out of Vegas back to San Diego. Shawn had a 4 something and I had a 7 something. Being that we were at the airport around 1 ish getting on a new flight was key to avoiding a long stay in the Vegas airport. We signed up for the first flight and we were something like number 35 on the standby list. Ouch. The next two flights were delayed. Hmmm. Not looking good. Shawn says, "Want to fly to LA?" I say, "Good idea"

We scramble over to the LA gate which is just about to close and manage to get on the flight. Sweet. We get to LA around 2:30 and then catch the 4 PM train to San Diego. We get a couple of hours to work in peace on the train. Wait a minute. We go out onto the runway and wait for around 30 minutes. The train is looking bad now. Eventually we get off the ground and get into LA about 3:10PM. This isn't too bad but it means we have to cab across town to Union Station in Friday rush hour traffic which isn't impossible but the over and under is close. We make it with a couple of minutes to spare. Then the train breaks before we leave. We get a 30 minute delay and they bring a new train.

Net net I am getting home earlier than my original flights departure, which I think makes it all worth while but what a journey. The point of all this though is that this is the first time I get to try out the Sprint EVDO network on the Samsung A920 they sent me a month or two ago. So far, I am WAY impressed with Sprint's EVDO implementation. Shawn is using Verizon's EVDO Laptop card and at some point we will do a data race to see which network is truly faster.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Edge of the Network Media Instead of User Generated Content?

A couple of days ago I saw this post from a different Derrick, er Derek. Stowe made a post about it here. Susan Mernit did here. Debi Jones here.

I don't recall where I first heard the term but I think it was sometime around 2001 or so. While I agree it may not be the most elegant term it seems very descriptive to me. In this post back in January I explained my use of the word as descriptive of an area of business interest/platform approach to me and as a bit of a joke on myself.

I don't have much to add beyond that post other than to say that the other word I was using when I was describing, and our Low Def TV project and now Rabble, was Edge of the Network Media in addition to user generated content.

I think this term actually captures the concept that there is a decentralization of media production that is benefiting from cheap technology tools that allows people to create and consume media that isn't traditionally coming from the center of the media network ala Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC (depending on your flavor of media).

So if you want to kill the phrase User Generated Content, feel free to use Edge of the Network Media or whatever other phrase you desire. To Debi's point, this user plans on continuing to generate my content at this blog for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

At CTIA - Day One

I flew into CTIA a day earlier than planned. A couple of meetings got moved around so today made sense. I came in midday and the coming storm left behind in San Diego seemed a bit off. I took care of some business and then got to catch up with a good friend Jim Rondinelli who previously worked with me at but is now working at Warner Music Group (WMG) in publishing. We grabbed an early bite and a margarita and got to catch up since I hadn't seen him much since he moved to NYC recently.

Tonight is a bit of chilling at the Palms and then maybe one of the parties du jour. The next couple of days will be back to back.

We had a mention today in a WSJ article that I need to find a link to.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Eventful Part 2

Thanks to Brian and the crew at Eventful for pushing out the second part of the Rabble/Eventful integration. What do you mean part two? Well here are a couple of examples:

I am at work getting ready for CTIA. I go to Eventful to find out if they have an entry for CTIA. They do, it is here. On the description on the upper right hand side there is a drop down button that says Add to /Remove from a group or Calendar. You press the link. There is an Export this Event to: Rabble. Nice. If you are set up, then this event is published to your Rabble Channel. Other users of Rabble can see this event on your channel but more importantly, other users will now be able to see that event if they happen to be in the Las Vegas area.

Two weeks from now I am in NYC. I am sure one night will be free to I check out concerts in NYC. A quick scan shows that The Matchbook Romance is playing on the 20th here. Click add to Rabble. I need to remember to grab some tickets.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Eric's Podshow Flame

Eric sends up a post that captures what many I know think of Podshow here. I too know a number of great people involved and hope for only the best things for them personally. For a long time now it seems that these guys view podcasting as a necessary evil to sling advertising. How unfortunate.

Google Dating Launches

Big news. The front page of Google has a link to their new dating service, Google Romance. So Hot or Not? Is this a dating landscape game changer or something like their RSS reader (yawn)? Or is it April 1?