Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Additional thoughts about Apple's tablet (The iPad?)

Now that I have had a chance to think about the possible paradigm shift (see previous post) due to the upcoming Apple tablet, I believe the shift will go much further than ebooks. The shift will occur to the entire print media. Users will access all forms of print media, especially newspapers and magazines. iTunes would be expanded to have subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, much like podcasts. And while we are on the subject of podcasts, podcasts and video podcasts would also be accessible on the device.

What makes this device different from accessing the information on your Mac or iPhone? Simply put, form factor. All of us have read newspaper articles, etc. on our Macs and iPhones. But something was missing. Macs (OK, PCs for you non Mac people :-) ) are good for reading articles but they're not as portable as an iPhone. iPhones have great portability but the screens are small for reading articles and you are constantly flicking to the next page or resizing the screen.

Now imagine reading a magazine or newspaper on a portable device with a 10.7 inch screen. Its easy to hold, like a book or a small portfolio. The screen can easily hold a "page" worth of information - the newspaper page looks like a newspaper page, a magazine page looks like a magazine page. Its easy to use and easy on the eyes.

The big question is will it save the newspaper and magazine industry. Advertising revenue in printed media is dropping tremendously. Would the savings in physical printing and distribution costs make up for the loss of advertising revenue. Probably not for most publishers. I personally feel that the industry will downsize leaving a few major players but then will recover with new players entering the marketplace now that the entry cost would be so low.

Steve Jobs revolutionized the music industry. Can he do it again with printed media? Lets hope so.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Apple's next device? iPad?

Today the Wall Street Journal has an article about Steve Jobs and his focus on the new tablet. Following the article was a link to a discussion group addressing the question, "Would you buy Apple's tablet device?" The following is my posted response to the question:

Yes I would, however, I would try to wait for second or third version. Apple has a history of creating new paradigms - Macintosh, iPods, iTunes, iPhone. The question I keep asking myself is what would be the new paradigm for a successful tablet? I can only speculate that it would be a wifi internet device that would use "cloud computing", i.e., internet based applications. An existing example would be Google Docs. The goal would be to move the storage of apps and data out to the cloud. The primary cloud destination would be Apple's MobileMe subscription service. The next question is whether or the device would access data via a cellular network. Perhaps it would connect via a tether to an iPhone thereby eliminating the need for a second data plan. I don't see the tablet having voice telephony. The keyboard would be a larger implementation of the virtual keyboard, however, hard core typists could purchase an external bluetooth keyboard. The real hook, however, is ebooks. This device would be a Kindle killer. The ebook market would be broken into four segments - fiction/non-fiction books; newspapers, textbooks (college and grad students); professional references such as a law library (court cases), an accounting library (GAAP), a tax library (IRS code and Regulations) and a complete medical library (PDR, etc.). The fiction/non-fiction segment obviously competes with Kindle. The newspaper segment would now have a media pad the could resemble a newspaper metaphor. The textbook segment would be a hit with today's high tech device savvy students who are more comfortable with a browser than a pen or pencil. Finally, you would have the professional segment would be more than happy to pay for a portable casebook/reference book metaphor. Once again, I'm just speculating, but doesn't it sound like the next paradigm change would be the printed page?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Squirrels of the world Unite!

It began with a couple on vacation in Canada. They were taking a photo and a squirrel stopped by to participate. The photo was a hit on the internet and the couple was interviewed on the Today show. Next thing you know the little guy pops up during the broadcast.

Now, introducing The Squirrelizer...

Here's the handiwork -

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lack of Common Sense

On July 16th Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested for disorderly conduct. Today the charges were dropped. However, more importantly, the charges could have been avoided if Mr. Gates used some common sense.

On July 16th the police receive a call that someone is trying get into a house. The police respond and find no one outside. Mr. Gates answers the door and the police then question Mr. Gates. who refuses to show identification. The incident then moves to the porch outside the front door where Mr. Gates started yelling at the police which led to the arrest.

Let's see, hmmm, if Mr. Gates had simply shown the officer his driver's license and kept his mouth shut none of the would have occurred.

Here's a word of advice to the general public and Mr. Gates. If a police officer asks you a question, answer it politely and then shut up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Question - Is the Internet bad?

Recently the CEO of Sony posted an article stating the Internet is bad - see commentary - Sony Pictures CEO: The Internet Is Still Bad. His point, in a nutshell, is that piracy of intellectual property is harming content providers, e.g., Sony distribution. Some have counter argued that society/business models have changed and content providers should welcome free distribution of content.

My initial reaction - The counter argument is made by those individuals who have not had their intellectual property stolen. Intellectual property laws are significantly comprehensive and exist internationally. There are state laws, federal laws and treaties addressing intellectual property. To simply dismiss these well established rules is a demonstration of one's lack of knowledge of the law and its reason for being. Content can take a great deal of time and money to create. Doesn't someone have to pay for it? How should today's content providers, e.g., newspaper, magazine, music and movie industries, earn money to pay for the creation of the content?

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Red Sweater Software and MarsEdit visit BMAC

Last night at the BMAC user group I had the privilege to listen to Daniel Jalkut, a software developer for the Mac and, in the near future, the iPhone. Dan’s company, Red Sweater Software, LLC is based in Massachusetts and currently has five Mac applications on the market:

Clarion – Music interval recognition
FastScripts – Keyboard shortcuts for applications, scripts and documents
FlexTime – Productivity tool
Black Ink – A truly great crossword puzzle application accessing free crossword puzzles on the web
MarsEdit – A blog publishing tool

Dan is very articulate and knowledgeable making his presentation and demo a joy to watch. The scene stealer of the night was MarsEdit. My personal blogging experience is limited to what you see hear. However, I could quickly see the benefits of using a Mac oriented blog publishing tool that would effortlessly sync with sites such as Blogger and WordPress. I plan on purchasing MarsEdit and encourage you to download the free 30 day trial version to learn more about the product.