Archives for the month of: July, 2012

The Tour de France, the Olympics, Zynga dragging Facebook into the hole and the media-or-technology debate. It’s all been too much for this correspondent to keep up with when it’s so nice outside. We’re taking a two-week hiatus to sort things out, speed-read a pile of books and drive around Southern California.

We’ll be back shortly with more irrelevance, but if you’re looking for something to read in the meantime, have you checked out the Links section? Unlike this correspondent, these guys never rest.

These are the news you should have paid attention to but didn’t, because you were too busy looking for that damn ticket.

Larry Page didn’t just lose Marissa Mayer – apparently he’s also losing his voice.

The top news of the day, summarized at the end of the day: Evening Edition. Simple idea, well executed.

Michael Mace gives RIM a great tip in dealing with the press: don’t mention your death spiral if you don’t want people talking about your death spiral.

New York-based Breakfast created an electromagnetic dot display for a TV promotion. The result is fantastic.

Remember when America’s hearts swooned by listening to Obama singing Al Green’s “Let’s stay together”? BMG didn’t give a shit and issued a takedown notice. YouTube complied.

Did you “lose” the hologram that proves your Rolex is genuine? Fear not, the internet is here  to help.

They say the Google Nexus 7 tablet is a joy to use, if you manage to unbox it without shredding it to pieces.

And finally: there’s no hurdle you can’t conquer with the right amount of charm and a positive attitude (hell yeah pun intended, via @marceloeduardo).

Enjoy your weekend and follow me on Twitter.

it’s still there, exactly where it was last week

If your core business is placing ads in front of eyeballs, does it matter if you’re a “media company” or a “product company”? Is Yahoo, in its essence, so different from Google that Marissa Mayer’s presence signifies a major shift? Isn’t this just evolution (as opposed to revolution)?

This correspondent doesn’t know the answer to any of these questions, but is tending towards “no”, “no” and “yes”.

These are the news you should have paid attention to but didn’t, because you were too busy trying to understand the legal definition of cool.

Nothing, not even the protagonist’s best friend in a Hollywood action trilogy, dies a slower death than a mobile platform.

@Kellan launched a search engine for the first 12 months of tweets appropriately named oldtweets. Rationale here. Buzzfeed compiled some highlights. Missing from that list? Anything related to Digg, which is now so appropriate.

Apple left something called “the EPEAT registry”. A lot of people who until two weeks ago had no idea what the EPEAT registry was got really concerned, because this really matters! Marco Arment wrote the most obvious sentence in the history of tech blogging (that first paragraph is a gem). Then Apple backtracked and rendered the whole discussion completely irrelevant.

If your black hat SEO tactics are now hurting your SEO, it’s time to get the lawyers involved.

This week’s must read? CNET’s tell-all about Netflix’s “lost year”. The whole story is cringe-inducing and should serve as a warning that will be royally ignored by would be self-disruptors trying to be ahead of the curve and firing their own customers.

Are you finding hard to keep up with all these new technologies, languages, platforms and frameworks? Do you want these damn kids to get off your lawn? You’re not alone.

A Kickstarter campaign for an $99 Android-based game console has raised almost $5 million by the time of this writing.

And finally: Breaking Bad Season 5 premieres this Sunday. Do you need a refresher?

Enjoy your weekend and follow me on Twitter.

how did he?

Sic transit gloria interneti. One day you’re Digg or Myspace or Webvan or Zombo.com and you’re fending off investors like they’re a zombie horde. The world is your oyster. But one day Fortuna, velut luna, drops reality on you like a ton of bricks. It could be your corporate sponsor saying yours was a failed merger, or maybe your company, in which investors shoved $45 million, being acquired for the “pocket change” of $500,000. Talk about a liquidity event. “You know what’s not cooler than a million dollars? Half a million dollars.”

Save the magazine cover above (did you notice who wrote the article?) and keep it. Refer to it whenever someone talks about any web-based technology company as if they were an incumbent. Repeat to yourself: sic transit gloria interneti – internet glory is fleeting.

No better way to warn one of his impeding doom than by telling a nice story

This correspondent has been rereading the history of HTML5 and has been taken aback by the dramatic aspect of it. It has all the components of a classic tragedy – power, love, hubris, deceit, downfall. If there’s a theater, or even better, an opera producer in the audience, please get out your checkbook and acquire the rights to this story, because it is pure gold. It’s the new King Lear.

Tim Berners-Lee is the senile king, playing the title role. Old and tired, and with big designs about the future of the realm. His daughters Goneril and Regan are the W3C, promising him eternal love but only have eyes for the kingdom that will be bequeathed to them. His third daughter, Cordelia, is the honest one. Not afraid of speaking truth to power, she’s disinherited by the king. She is, of course the WHATWG. The Earl of Kent (Opera Software) protests the treatment received by Cordelia and gets himself banished from the kingdom for being insubordinate. The King of France is impressed by Cordelia’s strength of character and marries her. He is played by Apple.

Now comes the part that didn’t happen yet: From there things go downhill pretty quick – the king is deceived by Goneril and Regan and goes completely mad. Throughout it all, the Fool, played by none other than Mozilla, stays by his side. Then mostly everybody dies a very violent death, including Cordelia, who’s hanged under Edmund’s orders (you can choose who’s your favorite to play him).  Lear succumbs to the unbearable pain. Kent announces he’s going to kill himself. The end.

Writers of the world – that scent you’re picking up in the air? That’s the fragance of an EGOT.

PandoDaily’s rough guide to Asia

These are the news you should have paid attention to but didn’t, because you were too busy memorizing the right button sequence.

Ah, PandoDaily. You never cease to amaze us. While commenting on the success of a South Korean start-up, writer Hamish Mckenzie marveled at the fact that this start-up hailed from a country “known more for fermented cabbage than for innovation.”

This was a busy week at the hardware rumor mill. Today there were reports that Amazon is working on a smartphone. Way more interesting than the smartphone itself is the distribution model they’ll chose. Will they sell it through their own channels with a subsidy like they do with the Kindle Fire? Or will they find friendly operators to embrace the device?

And earlier in the week Bloomberg reported that Apple would launch a 7-inch iPad. Soon after they reported on the Apple stock rally fueled by their initial report. As a side note, this correspondent is a big fan of the seven inch format for portability and is happy to see some real competition in this segment, so far dominated by the Kindle Fire.

Remember when GM publicly pulled their Facebook ad campaigns saying they were getting no returns? Apparently it’s kiss and make up time. Totally missing from this discussion: the fact that GM hasn’t been very successful marketing its products, with or without Facebook’s help.

The city of Mcallen, Texas turned a former WalMart into a public library. Every white person in Brooklyn made this face when they found out about it.

Twitter issued a Transparency Report this week saying they have never complied with a government request to take down a tweet. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, said governments all over the globe in unison.

And finally: Belarusians do it synchronized.

Enjoy your weekend and follow me on Twitter.


It is too early to trample on Siri’s corpse. So for now just stop and admire Apple’s panache. They tried to beat Google in Google’s home turf – natural language processing, information retrieval and six or seven other very hairy computer science subjects that were mostly restricted to academia before Google decided to package them to consumers. Apple felt confident enough to try and create what would become, in the long run, a Google replacement in the Apple ecosystem (and perhaps beyond).

(A bit of context: the first video shows 40 voice searches being conducted on Android’s new version, Jelly Bean. The second video shows a similar attempt with similar queries with Siri on iOS6)

Just like Netscape one day looked at Microsoft and saw nothing but “a poorly debugged set of device drivers” (the quote is not Andreessen’s but whatever, it is too delicious), Apple looked a Google and saw nothing but a PhD. thesis gone awry. And thought they could do better.

Can they?

i’ve seen the FUTURE it’s NOT HERE YET

This is a list of very important people from very important companies saying big, bold things about HTML5 (and, by extension, the web as an application platform) over the past couple of years.

  • “The Web has not seen this level of transformation, this level of acceleration, in the past ten years (…) we’re betting big on HTML5.”  - Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, Google, 2009
  • “We love HTML5 so much, we wanted it to actually work.”  - Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate VP for Internet Explorer, Microsoft, 2011
  • “The world is moving to HTML5” – Steve Jobs (reportedly), CEO, Apple, 2010
  •  “We are internalizing our own strategies around HTML5 to prove out that this emphasis on the mobile Web can actually work.”  - Eric Tseng, Head of Mobile, Facebook, 2011
  • “HTML5 brings to the table (…) the freedom to create rich, dynamic and interactive experiences for any platform with a web browser”  - John Ciancutti, VP of Personalization Technology, Netflix, 2010
  • “HTML5 Apps are really going to be the way to deliver all apps on mobile devices.” – Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com, 2011

Now consider that Facebook, the home of the mythical Project Spartan, will  deploy a native app for iOS this summer, reportedly because of performance issues with the previous, hybrid iOS application.

Is everybody in that list still as bullish on HTML5?

He’s not kidding

A couple of things happened this evening.

1) This correspondent went with Mrs. correspondent to the mall on a quick shopping trip and seized the opportunity to rub his greasy paws on expensive hardware, gaze over people’s shoulders and generally be a creep at the Apple Store. A substantial amount of time was spent poking at the Macbook Pro with Retina Display . It’s an amazing piece of hardware, but here’s an important detail: the price for that thing starts at $2199. Now, this isn’t the place where you get told what do with your hard earned money. Apple sycophants will tell you it’s the only way to fly, but more balanced individuals will reason that 22 benjamins is way too much money for a notebook.

2) Later, Lea Verou tweeted a link to an old-ish Coding Horror post summarizing some points from Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational. The first excerpt he quoted reads:

When Williams-Sonoma introduced bread machines, sales were slow. When they added a “deluxe” version that was 50% more expensive, they started flying off the shelves; the first bread machine now appeared to be a bargain.

If it wasn’t clear to you before, it should be by now: you’re not really supposed to buy the $2199 notebook. You’re supposed to think the $1199 one is a steal.

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