Category Archives: Technology

TWIT: The growth of a new business

I have listened to the This Week in Tech podcast since it’s inception and is a great show. It covers the weekly news in the technology world and gives you a range of opinions from a rotating group of guests.

The article is an interesting look inside the TWIT network and on the growing industry of podcasting if done right.  The two shows I listen to/watch is as mentioned This Week in Tech and Macbreak Weekly, as the name implies focused on Apple and it is products.  As the article mentions core group of people who started out as commentators on TWIT where from the Tech TV network and the show The Screen Savers.  Which is what attracted me to give the new show a chance, since I had enjoyed The Screen Savers so much.  Overall, it has been great to see Leo Laporte’s and his TWIT’s network success grow over the years.

Balancing on a giant rubber ball in a broadcast studio and control room carved out of a cottage in Petaluma, Calif., Leo Laporte is an unlikely media mogul.

From that little town in California wine country, he runs his empire, a podcasting network, TWIT. For 30 hours each week, he and the other hosts on his network talk about technology — topics like the best e-book reader or how to get rid of a computer virus — for shows that he gives away online.

Nerdy, yes. Silly, no. TWIT gets its name from Mr. Laporte’s flagship podcast, “This Week in Tech,” which is downloaded by a quarter of a million people each week. He produces 22 other technology-focused podcasts that are downloaded five million times a month.

via Leo Laporte Builds Empire With ‘This Week in Tech’ – NYTimes.com.

 

The future of books, print or digital?

(c) Andrew Mason on Flickr

The New York Times has an interesting article up on the growing discussion/battle between physical books and e-books on devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad.  The quotes below show one case of this tension, and the growing numbers of e-book device readers in some form.

Auriane and Sebastien de Halleux are at sharp odds over “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” but not about the plot. The problem is that she prefers the book version, while he reads it on his iPad. And in this literary dispute, the couple says, it’s ne’er the twain shall meet.

“She talks about the smell of the paper and the feeling of holding it in your hands,” said Mr. de Halleux, 32, who says he thinks the substance is the same regardless of medium. He added, sounding mildly piqued, “She uses the word ‘real.’ ”

By the end of this year, 10.3 million people are expected to own e-readers in the United States, buying about 100 million e-books, the market research company Forrester predicts. This is up from 3.7 million e-readers and 30 million e-books sold last year.

via Print or Pixels? Publishers Strive to Advance Both – NYTimes.com.

Personally for me it has taken me a long time to come around to reading books on my iPad or more generally reading books on an electronic device.  Since I have gotten the iPad earlier this year I have read parts of books on the device.  I have not read a whole book on it quite yet, but that is because of me losing focus on a book and starting and stopping.  I am not sure if I really will for the foresable future ever give up on physical books, but I certainly think I likely will split where I buy my books between digital and physical books from now on.   In the end I think digital will keep growing but I think for a long time at the very least that there will be a place still for physical books.  From the article and what I have written it is easy to see that in this one area it makes for an interesting discussion on the advancement of technology into this realm of book publishing and reading.

An interesting new design for wind turbine

I certainly am not an engineer, but I certainly find this new design for a wind turbine that I came across interesting.  Also interesting that we have not seen a similar type of design before like this before.  For me I like this new design in an artistic sense and not from an engineering angle.

Via The Most Powerful Wind Turbine Looks Like the Weirdest Too and Dezeen » Blog Archive » Aerogenerator X by Grimshaw and Arup.

A paid tier on Hulu, the future of TV?

Hulu announced their service Hulu Plus this morning while I was working on this post last night and this morning, so here is the original post with a few corrections.

I have seen news items and speculation for upwards of a year or so on whether Hulu will add a paid tier to its current ad supported model that they currently use.  The current article has stated that the subscription service Hulu will offer is as follows: (they basically got it right on the price, only 1 cent off at $9.99)

For $10 a month, viewers will reportedly have access to a wider selection of shows than the free, ad-supported version Hulu currently offers. The service would work on PCs and specialized devices such as the iPad, videogame consoles and set-top boxes.

That price range is within the area that I would be willing to pay depending on the content/shows available.  In the article it also talks about a report that Hulu “is talking with CBS, Viacom and Time Warner’s television studio divisions to add their shows [to Hulu],” additional content is crucial to getting to people to sign up and then retaining them as subscribers.  Hopefully this part will come true.

If the networks prove they can charge consumers directly, and consumers are happy to supply their own “cable boxes” in the form of game consoles, television-connected computers, set-top boxes, tablets and so on, it’s difficult to see why networks would tolerate cable and satellite providers grabbing a slice of profits, just for sending the shows through one pipe rather than the other.

via Subscription Hulu: Beginning of the End for Cable, Satellite TV? | Epicenter | Wired.com.

This is where the potential for change comes in, with subscriptions to Hulu and say another service like Netflix and its streaming service I could see people getting enough content of movies and TV to not have cable any more.   If Hulu is able to add CBS to their offerings then obviously they have all the big four  broadcast networks and it’s that much easier to cut the cord for cable.  It is important to have the broadcast networks on Hulu, but the area it would be personally most important for me is to make sure to to get the best cable shows on Hulu Plus.  If I cancel cable, I can still receive CBS, ABC, FOX, and NBC over the air using an antenna.  With that in mind I want more of the popular cable shows like Mad Men from AMC.  Hulu does have some cable shows but I would want more of them.

The other angle that would make me hesitate on whether I would pay for Hulu Plus or not is how soon after the show airs would it be up on Hulu.  While a lot of the shows on Hulu are on the next morning I believe, on some shows like Stargate Universe and some others (not sure what shows) Hulu is one episode behind and episodes are not on the site until the next new one airs.  That is a big drawback for me.  Not sure if I really want to have to wait a week or even several days before the shows are on the website, so will have to wait and see on this aspect of it.

Back to the title of the post.  I think potentially internet-based tv services like Hulu as they expand more have the potential to really harm cable companies but I personally don’t see that happening at least for the next year or two or maybe longer.  Certainly more long term I can see where they take over or really impact the cable companies, but only the future will tell.

iPhone 4 round up.

While I won’t get my own iPhone 4 until tomorrow (and then selling my iphone 3GS to help with the cost) I thought I would do a round up of some of the iPhone 4 coverage that has happened in the last few days.  First here are a few excerpts from the iPhone 4 review over at Engadget.

Perhaps the most notable change with the new iPhone is the drastic industrial design overhaul — Apple seems to have completely rethought its strategy on how the phone should look and feel, and the results are nothing if not striking.

We can’t overstate how high-end the design of the iPhone 4 is. The 3GS now feels

cheap and chubby by comparison, and even a phone like the HTC Droid Incredible — which just came out — seems last-generation.

We’re not going to beat around the bush — in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of

gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package.

via iPhone 4 review — Engadget.

Initally I was not quite sure about the new design, but I think I have started to come around and actually like the re-designed phone.  However the real test will be how it feels in my hand come tomorrow morning.  I have to say the most anticipated new feature for me on the new phone is the new 5 megapixel camera on the back. From the Engadget review it sounds like the new camera does a great job for being a camera phone and that’s much more of a reason to not carry a dedicated camera and getting to the point where one can take decent casual shots that look great on it.  The other feature that will be neat to try is facetime or Apple’s version of video conferencing with the front facing camera they added.   Not sure how much actual use I will get out of the feature, but at least have to try it.

Collection of other iphone news:

A good round up of some the other reviews that have hit the web. First iPhone 4 Reviews Mostly Sing Its Praises | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

If you are upgrading to a new phone soon this might help you out. The Real Cost of iPhone 4 VS. Android Rivals | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

If you are real geeky or just like to see how electronics are made check out this site and its teardown of the new phone. iPhone 4 Teardown – iFixit.

This is a problem I will have to test for myself and see what happens.  iPhone 4 cell reception suffers when picked up?. & via iPhone 4 Loses Reception When You Hold It By The Antenna Band?.

Believe I read somewhere that if you have a case on the antenna band you don’t loose signal, but will see on that as well.

iPhone 4 pre-orders go crazy.

Like Engadet says below, I am also a bit surprised that Apple & AT&T sold out of iPhone 4 pre-orders.  Granted I was one of the people making a pre-order so I helped in a tiny degree to it.  For me it makes sense to get the new phone when I can sell my current 3GS model to cover most of the cost of the new one.  The one thing that the pre-order sell out tells me at least is that the interest for the iPhone has no real sign of letting up and that there is still a huge amount of interest, which is not a surprise thing really but more the magnitude of how many pre-orders there where for the phone.

We were amazed last night to see both Apple and AT&T sell out of iPhone 4 pre-order units despite the sustained ordering issues, and now we know why: Apple managed to move 600,000 iPhones in just a single day. Yes, that says’s a lot — Apple says it’s the largest number of pre-orders it’s ever taken in one day, and AT&T says it’s ten times as many orders as it took for the iPhone 3GS. It’s not all sunshine and roses, though; Apple’s also apologizing to the large numbers of people who simply couldn’t get through yesterday.

via 600,000 iPhone 4s pre-ordered, Apple apologizes for issues — Engadget.

Also the increase in the new iPhone 4 is not just in the US, noted in this article over at Mac Rumors that the German carrier also had a ten fold increase in internet traffic compared to last year for 3GS.

Another quick Apple note is that I am quite happy to see that Apple has announced an update to the Mac Mini line.  While a shame they have raised the price $100 on the lower model, the Mac Mini that I got in 2007 has worked out very well for me and it is a great machine.  Nice that they finally added in HDMI to it, but not a huge need for me if I was to consider upgrading my Mac Mini.  For more details check out this post at Macrumors.com Apple Updates Mac Mini with New Design, Faster Graphics