Simultaneous DVD and movie releases outside of the USA

While Mark Cuban is virtually the only one fighting the good fight here in the US, there is a continuous discussion about the merit of releasing a movie on DVD at the same time it hits the theaters.  Now China, in an effort to curb pirating, is going through the motions to find a better movie formula- they're releasing a DVD version just 12 days after the premier in theaters.  They believe that getting legitimate copies out on the streets might curb the sale of physical copies in subways and other places.  They may also find that its a legitimate business model, since the reasons people go to a theater are completely different than why someone rents a DVD, and one will likely not impact the other.  More to come in another post.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,


Google Maps Mobile has traffic reports

Google released a new Google Maps Mobile version that offers up to date traffic reporting directly on the map.  This is awesome if you drive, have WAP, and a phone that supports this service.  Unfortunately Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon, and a few other small carriers, even if you DO have a technologically capable phone, aren't capable of managing to run this application, which significantly cuts down its usefulness to a large number of cellphone users. 
On a related note, I'm beginning to hate Verizon for their insistance on not allowing any 3rd party interaction with their subscribers.  I wonder how difficult they have to make it before people start leaving their service?  It will probably not happen until we are all using are phones for MUCH more than talking - when services also dictate what we ultimately consider valuable in a phone.  For the time being, as long as they have the most reliable network, its hard to turn away.

Google quarterly revenue over the last 3.5 years

Google Quaterly Revenues Q1 2003 to Q2 2006
Here is a collection of Google financial charts displaying revenue growth and related information.  Both AdSense (people/companies using ads on their website) and AdWords (people/companies buying keywords) are growing steadily, leading to rapid overall growth of revenue.


Merill Lynch says its time to give up on Mobile ESPN


Merill Lynch issued a note to investors last week that Disney should give up on its Mobile ESPN project.  Even with the drastic reduction in price of the handsets, relatively few people have jumped on board.

"Cohen and Kopelman now estimate that ESPN Mobile will lure a mere 30,000 subscribers over the course of this financial year, well below their original estimate of 240,000. Along with the losses generated by a second Disney-branded phone service, ML expects that the Mouse will lose $135 million on its experiment in FY06."

The way I see it, the handset costs itself were not the issue.  The amount of people that will spend $80 dollars a month for a relatively small data/call plan is minimal already; then you have to consider how many people are going to give up their current plans, or current networks, just for the specialized plans.  Just like the discussion about Tivo, whether it should be a service or hardware, ESPN should consider finding a way to offer Mobile ESPN as a download or build into other company's phones, like Yahoo! Go.  Without having to make the choice to leave carriers or family plans, there might be an audience willing to pay for the premium service (which most sports fans would love).

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

The Tour De France causes huge increase in bike sales

tour v retail.png
Competitive intelligence company Hitwise has an informal discussion on an analyst blog discussing whether there is an increase in bicycle purchases during the time of the 'Tour de France.'  Based on their evidence, which relies on a loose correlation between page views of online bicycle selling stores and sell-through, shows that during the period around the Tour de France, when there is a huge online interest (via searches on portals), there is a direct translation to drastic increase in purchase of bikes.  Other available graphs show that the the correlation was strongest specifically with TrekBikes, the official sponsor of the Discovery Channel Team.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,


Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire steroid history by baseball cards

This is pretty funny - a look at Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds over time, by comparing a baseball card for each player year by year.  Try and guess when each started taking steroids by the pictures.  The pictures above are of their rookie seasons; compare that to other years, and other photos (in truth the baseball cards don't have the most easily noticeable pictures, but the idea is great all the same).
If the site is down, it's because the article was on Digg; it will be up again shortly.


Yahoo fights for DRM free mp3 downloads

 Jessica Simpson Personalized MP3 Download
Yahoo, of late, has been pressing the music companies to give up on DRM loaded music downloads, looking to push standard mp3's out to the consumer.  Their argument is basically that DRM protection does little to curb pirating, since it's easy to get around and only one person has to start sharing illegally a song before it does its damage, but that DRM hurts and restricts many of the legitimate uses a consumer has for his/her music when purchased legally.  If one could download DRM free mp3's, stream music in the house, hack up the song with dj software, and make a movie, or load it onto any personal mp3 player.  They also hint that managing DRM is expensive to a company like Yahoo, as well as poor competitive strategy when big players like Emusic (White Stripes, Lil' Jon), are offering the standard mp3's.
Sounds like a good argument, and a nice fight for Yahoo to wage for us, even if it comes down to selfish reasons on their part, but here's the funny thing: to promote the concept, they're selling a DRM free single of Jessica Simpson, complete with personalization of your name in the song "A Public Affair."  All for $1.99, a dollar more but going towards the personalization, not the DRM free mp3 that we should all be entitled to.


Kevin Smith describes his experience writing an early script for Superman

Kevin Smith, of Clerks and Mallrats fame, was asked by Warner Brothers to write an initial script for Superman- here he talks about the experience start to finish, although  I can' timagine it actually being as hilarious as he describes.

technorati tags:, , , , , , ,

Watch the first 24 minutes of A Scanner Darkly for free

A Scanner Darkly

I haven't decided yet if I'll watch this, but its an interesting offering- you can now watch the first 24 minutes of "A Scanner Darkly" on IGN for free.  I wanted to go see the movie, and watching this could help move me one way or another if i'm on the fense, but at the same time do I want to judge the movie in the first 24 minutes, and if i like it do I want to have to lose the momentum when i reach the end?  Would this be the type of thing that could go great with movie releases online at the same time in the theaters, so people who don't want to go to the theater and break from the story can actually pay to stream the rest right on the spot?

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

create custom cbs news dvds on amazon

Amazon has a new offering that allows you to create a custom DVD with clips from CBS News and 60 Minutes. As far as I know, this is a new idea, and definately an interesting one. Why not be able to tap into the historical archives of television? There might be people out there that want documentation of a developing news story, or a student who has need for a similar thing for a school project. Sure, you might be able to build something like this on your own through various channels, but Amazon is offering a simple service that just might help and certainly isn't a big chance for them to offer since the content is already there and wasting away in time.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Track your Verizon or T-Mobile account with a firefox extension

A new firefox extension lets you get instant information about your Verizon or T-Mobile account, letting you track how many minutes you've used simply by rolling your mouse over the extension.

technorati tags:, , , ,


NHL launching Social Network CONNECT

It's the kind of idea that probably should have happen sooner - the NHL is creating a social network in the vision of MySpace for communities to form around groups of people that already are extremely pationate about something (the sport in general, their team, etc).  The community will be called Connect; you can see a preview here.  ESPN, MLB, the NBA, there is no reason not to tap into this market, since their fan base is already committed to the point of fanaticism, and would a dedicated community would spread like wildfire.

technorati tags:, , , , , , ,

Overplot - Overheard in New York and Google Maps

Overplot is great mashup between Overheard in New York and Google Maps.  For those not familiar with Overheardinnewyork.com, its a website where people post the crazy things they've overheard in the city (they have a sister site, Overheard in the Office).  now with the power of Google Maps you can stroll down your street and read as you go what rediculous things people have posted as having overheard in each location.  Bother sites are hilarious and definately worth a few minutes poking around.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yahoo Messenger and MSN (Windows Live) Messenger work together

The proposed interoperability between Yahoo! Messenger and MSN's Windows Live Messenger finally went live today.  Now when you use one, you can add your buddies from the other, and talk back and forth.  This gives Yahoo! and Microsoft a comparable userbase (around 44%) to AOL Instant Messenger, which has itself about 56% of the market.  The numbers aren't perfect, since there are other messenger programs out there (Google Chat), but most people use more than one at this point.  When Google Chat becomes interoperable with AIM, then it will become much more significant in the market.

Visitor and Page View Information for k.b.$kob@c.com

If any of you are curious about the website traffic, Tuesday July 11 2006 was the first time I reached 100 visits (and 141 page views) in a single day. In the last week I'm averaging 56 visits a day and 83 page views, or almost 1.5 page views a visitor. While this doesn't sound like a lot, it's definate progress! Driving much of the traffic is my recent article mentioning the AT&T "see how they live" campaign, and to some extent the Technorati tags I've been more consistent about.

If you are usings RSS, and haven't switched over to a FeedBurner version of the feed, please resubscribe to the RSS for the website:

Subscribe in BloglinesAdd to GoogleSubscribe in NewsGator OnlineSubscribe in RojoAdd to My AOL

technorati tags:, , , , , ,


Firefox 2.0 feature list

Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Beta 1# Built in Phishing Protection.
# Search suggestions now appear with search history in the search box for Google, Yahoo! and Answers.com
# Changes to tabbed browsing behavior
# Ability to re-open accidentally closed tabs
# Better support for previewing and subscribing to web feeds
# Inline spell checking in text boxes
# Search plugin manager for removing and re-ordering search engines
# New microsummaries feature for bookmarks
# Automatic restoration of your browsing session if there is a crash

Why is that its easy to love Firefox? Look at some of the features coming out in Firefox 2.0.  Phishing protection, changes to feed subscription so you can add the feed to any agregator of you use, in-line spell checking, session restore for when your browser crashes, and closed tab history for when you accidentally close a tab.  All of these are features that I currently use through extensions, but within a few months Firefox recognizes their value and makes it part of the full build, so that they work completely seamlessly and create a more powerful experience.  This type of commitment to the application is why Mozilla is seeing such growth in the use of Firefox.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

Be Zinedine Zidane; headbut Marco Materazzi in the World Cup game

Here's the clip of Zinedine Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi in the World Cup game....

Want to give it a try? Click here to be Zinedine Zidane and see how many Marco Materazzi's you can head-but. (move your mouse, click to headbut)

technorati tags:, , , , , , ,

MSN Fanclub - Manage a real minor league team

MSN Fanclub: Reality Baseball is actually a cross between a reality tv show and minor league baseball.  From the producers of Project Greenlight, the HBO show reality show about filming a movie, comes the opportunity to manage a real minor league baseball team - the Schaumburg Flyers.  The Schaumburg Flyers, an independent baseball team near Chicago, will take orders from the fans for battling lineups, fielding positions, and pitching rosters, among other things.

This was actually done once before in 1951, when Bill Veeck allowed fans to run the game decisions between the Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns (fans deciding for the Browns) for Grandstand Managers Day.  The Browns won the game 5-3.  Veek wrote in his autobiography that "never has a game been called better."

They will not force the team to make rediculous moves like switching a catcher and a pitcher.  MSN will be selling the advertising around the online site, and even adding in product placement in areas such as the team bus.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , , , , ,


New York City Bars and Happy Hours

A new site that maps out where happy hours around the country are, with the help of user generated content on a wiki/google maps mash up. Love how easy it is to see what's around a given area, rather than having to search via something like CitySearch.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


RIAA to actually sue YouTube users for amateur videos?

There is a report that the RIAA is actually considering taking action against YouTube and Google Video for the unauthorized use of copyrighted music in amateur music videos uploaded to the services.  Can you believe a lawsuit because kids are doing their own Shakira "My Hips Don't Lie" videos?  The RIAA must not have an ounce of common sense in any of the leadership if this is being considered.  The complete lack of threat that this poses, and the PR that is gained freely, cannot be in question.
videos versus downloads.png

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,

AOL might offer completely free service

How is this for a reflection of how business models are changing online. AOL and its famous walled garden has been slowly been torn down, with the last of its private services, AOL Red, set to be launched for free on the web by early fall. Still, there are millions of AOL subscribers, many of which are legacy subscribers that pay a lower fee and tack the service on to their normal, often cable or DSL, provider. These are often families that are afraid to lose what they're used to, especially, their email addresses. Now AOL is considering:

"AOL is considering offering its services free to users withhigh-speed Internet connections, gambling that ad revenue will offsetthe loss of subscription fees."

Which is a long way from where AOL started, and recognition that people don't really need AOL as much as they might use it more often if it were free.  Would this stop the decline of AOL subscribers?  Could this possibly help AOL even gain subscribers?

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

New York City Parks to get WiFi

Map: Wi-Fi in the Parks

It turns out Bryant Park is just the first of many New York City parks that will be given ad-supported wifi:

"Wi-Fi Salon intends to activate 18 wireless "hot spots" by the end of next month at Battery, Central and Riverside Parks and in Washington and Union Squares in Manhattan; at Prospect Park in Brooklyn; at the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens; and at Pelham Bay and Van Cortlandt Parks and Orchard Beach in the Bronx."

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Friendster awarded patent on social networking

Friendster, one of the (if not the?) social networks that made social networks what they are today, has been far surpassed in popularity by MySpace. Still,they managed to patent "determining and display of realtionships between individuals who have entered personal information into a social network" back before that meant something, and now it may be their saving grace. Since the US Patent Office is 3 years behind, its allowed a market to bloom, and if upheld and defined within certain scope, may mean that a lot of big players have to pay up. alexa traffic rank chart for friendster.com and myspace.com

technorati tags:, , , , , , ,

Microsoft Ipod Killer Rumors

Rumors are flying around about the iPod Killer that Microsoft is expected to unleash this coming holiday season.  Of note:

- Built in WiFi that detects compatible devices nearby and notifies you, giving you coupons, or allowing you to set up an on the fly network to share music.

- The ability to tag music you hear on the fly for purchase/download later

- Microsoft will scan your iTunes library and give you all the songs you paid for, for free in a compatible format to the new player

The last point in particular is a big deal since it basically removes all of the barriers to entry for people afraid to switch off iTunes.  Apple's proprietary music format means you can't convert songs directly to mp3; rather you have to burn tracks as a music Cd and re-rip them.  If windows has a superior project, and is willing to swallow the cost of conversion, they might have a trick up their sleeve that they can fight Apple's monopoly with.

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Google founders trick out a plane

[Google 767]

Take a look at the plans for the refurnishing of a 767 that Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the Google Founders, are having done to the Boeing plane they purchased for personal use. Usually sitting 200 people, it will be revised to sit 50, with large bedrooms for Larry and Brin, a dining area, and lounge, a sitting room seperate from the seating room, and a large galley.  The building is being held up by lawsuits with the holding company, and issues with the builds.  The project is estimated at $10 million, with $600K alone going towards "high-end exotic wood veneer".

technorati tags:, , , , , ,


k.b.$kob@c now uses FeedBurner

I have run my rss feed through FeedBurner, for a few reasons:
1. I can now track readership statistics and subscription statistics
2. I can now mix in del.icio.us links and flickr photos directly into the rss feed
If you are subscribing to my rss feed, it will continue to work, but it is best if you re-subscribe with one of these buttons; then, if I ad photos, links, or anything else that I might splice with the blog feed, it will update automatically for you.
Resubscribe to my rss feeds with these buttons:

Subscribe in Bloglines
Add to Google
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Subscribe in Rojo
Add to My AOL

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


Gary Matthews Jr. and his rediculous catch

Gary Matthews Jr. robbing Mike Lamb of a home run by jumping practically out of the stadium to catch the ball (reminiscent of Ken Griffey Jr. back in his early years).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Shop Mobs / Team Buying = Flash Mobs + Commerce

The Economist has an article highlighting Chineese websites (http://www.teambuy.com.cn , http://51tuangou.com) that specialized in bringing together mobs of people that want to buy a particular item, with the intention of bargaining with a store owner to make a group sale at a discount.  This has a similar feeling of flash mobs, which have taken place in the US but for more to create humor and commentary than to purchase anything (one example was when at a particular moment large groups of people walked into a bed store and collectively laid down on all of the floor models, or another time when masses showed up at a Best Buy in blue shirts and kaki pants).
While some store owners might feel pressured and intimidated into selling products below listed price, others are enjoying the opportunity to liquidate an entire inventory at once, making money through the larger quantity sale despite the lower margin.
"Team buying turns haggling, a tradition in China, into an art-form" - The Economist
If you want to check out the websites, give Google Translate a try.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Riya to become a full visual search engine

Riya, the photo sharing site that has made a name for itself by devising advanced facial recognition software that includes taking into account the timing of photographs, georgraphy, etc, has revised their plans.  The Riya team is now targeting to become a visual search enging that would search for similar images to what is being entered into their engine.  For example, if you point it to a picture of a camera, Riya would be able to find everywhere on the web that has a picture of that camera.  Or, in a somewhat touchy subject, Riya suggested that it could be used to find person in internet dating services that look like a person you're interested (just one example of many).
While this is all interesting, what I'm really looking for is a way to utilize the information in Riya to help me label photos on my desktop, or even Flickr.  A partnership with Google that brought Riya technology to Picasa would be incredibly helpful in managing the thousands of photos we take yearly, as I will likely never fully port my photos to social photography sites, and still prefer to manage the entire colleciton on my personal computer.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


Top 10 Michael Jordan Dunks

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Swede offering insurance for pirating

To protest what he considers a recent antipiracy law, a Swedish Man is offering to provide insurance against penalties incurred due to downloading copies of copyrighted music, movies, or games.  He claims to be able to make this profitable for only $19 a year, as the fines and number of penalties are relatively minimal.  And if you do get fined for piracy, he even throws in a free t-shirt that says "I got convicted for file-sharing and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" on it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,