Posts filed under “Film”

MacWorld’s Big Reveal?

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Lots of buzz in Macland today as Apple gets ready for its big show: We’ll find out just what it is starting in about an hour or so.

Once again, the obvious bet is an iPod enabled cell phone. Since nothing has toppled the iPod yet, I suspect Apple has correctly figured out that they are more likely to get cannablilized by non-MP3 devices than pure MP3 players: It won’t be the Zune that dethrones them, but rather a combination of Treos, Blackberrys, and (LG) Chocolates that slowly eats into their market share.

So instead of letting the competition hurt them, Apple could cannabilize themselves. That remains the likely bet, with both a direct PC/Mac connection to as well as over-the-air downloads as integral. Will a Zune-like sharing feature be included? Considering how useless the RIAA has made this potentially neat feature, its hard to see Apple even bothering.

Other buzzworthy bets? The touchscreen iPod is the next most likely, followed by a set top box of some sort, and maybe a sooner-than-expected Leopard (OS 10.5) upgrade.

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For my money, I think they have more intriguing items in the queue. The September 2006 opre-announcement of iTV — streaming movies from your PC to your TV — makes it unlikely that my fantasy device will be rolled out this Macworld. But let’s indulge our imaginations a bit:  What might be more intriguing than a cell phone? What will rock the digital media world is a functional (ie, non-crashing) combination of big screen PC/DVR/DVD. 

Here’s what I want: a robust and truly functional iTV built into a 50 or 60" version of an iMac. Bring this in so it only costs marginally more than other flat screens — figure $3500. Then, build in all of the Front Row software controls into a full function remote control — TV, DVD, music, etc. Oh, and build in a TiVo for that matter (other DVRs don’t cut it).

But this could be more than an interactive television — there could be an eCommerce aspect to this: A smart contextual feature understands the content (i.e., reads the show description or the transcript) of the show you are watching, and, On Command, pulls up a list of relevant links –  transparent text down the left side of the screen which is selectable. Since this is a PC as well as a TV, it opens up all sorts of possibilities: If you are watching a movie, you can go to IMDB and get more info, then to the iTunes Music/Film Store for the download, or to  Amazon to buy the DVD.  Same with music, news, TV series, etc. 

That gets Apple into the coveted digital living room, makes convergence a reality, oh, and opens up an entire new stream of revenue for the company.

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Live blogging of MacWorld is here: MacRumors Live

Mac20060912

Category: Digital Media, Film, Television, Web/Tech

Preston Sturges: Spectacular DVD Set

Category: Digital Media, Film

Gift Shopping: DVDs

Category: Digital Media, Film, Retail

Edge of Blade Runner

Category: Film

Touchscreen iPod

Category: Film, Music, Web/Tech

Zune, Microsoft and Corporate Culture

What do you think of the new Zune?

That question led to fascinating discussion about Microsoft on Thursday. What they do, how they work, brainstorm, etc. It also covered how Microsoft develops new products (notice I didn’t say innovate).

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A few quick thoughts on the Zune: The coolest thing is its owners ability to zap songs back and forth via a Wi-Fi
connection — but those songs expire after "three plays or three days, whichever
comes first," which is kinda poor. The 3 inch screen versus the 2.5 inch on the iPod also looks pretty nice. Other than that, its not a particularly compelling piece of hardware.

Brown? How long til that gets cancelled? 

We don’t know the price yet, but I expect it to be in the $249 – 349 range, and a function of how much MSFT is willing to lose/subsidize each unit.

What I found most fascinating about "This Week in Microsoft" were the 3 separate products that leaked out over the past few days:

• The Zune iPod challenger (in classic "steal the other guys thunder" following Apple’s event)

Soapbox: The Microsoft YouTube Clone;

Live: The Microsoft Google challenger;

Let’s get a few things straight about Mister Softee. First, forget all the chatter coming from Redmond about innovation. They are now and have always been uttery shameless copycats. They do not innovate; They do not create cool products; They are boring code writing cubicle dwelling drones — and that’s what they should be.

The second thing you need to know about Microsoft: They print money like they were a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department.

That is the bottom line for investors, and the cash ain’t coming from all these other products attempting to recapture lighting in a bottle. Its Windows 1st, Office 2nd, and then a big 4 way tie for SQL, Hardware (mouses etc.) Server SW, and then everything else. All these other products — including Xbox, hotmail, MSN, etc. — are what happens when you have more money than God and still want to be one of the cool kids.

And, they’d probably get just as much criticism if they didn’t make all these attempts at imitating other successful innovators. Otherwise, they would just be a mature company milking their monopoly products until the next paradigm shift came along.

Understand my complaint about Redmond: I don’t begudge them these many attempts to stay relevant and hip, to keep pressing buttons until they find the next thing that works. Hey, after you become one of the most successful firms in the history of Capitalism, it becomes hard to repeat that performance every quarter.

I’m just tired of the bullshit about all their terrific innovations (Spare me the techno-babble about multithreading processors or dynamic ram usage).

To understand how Microsoft got to be the "innovator" it is today, you need to have some background into the psychology of its leadership. My favorite example comes via Robert Cringely

If there is a reason, it has to come from the competitive nature of Bill
Gates as Microsoft’s spiritual and ethical leader. Everything is a competition
to Bill, and every competition has a winner and a loser. Microsoft people have
always been encouraged to see the game, not the consequences, and to win the
game even if winning this way makes no sense.

Let me give an example of this behavior. In the early days of Microsoft, one
of the popular games was to see how late the boys could leave work for the
airport and still make their flights. These weren’t people who were habitually
late, they were playing a game. The eventual winner was Bill Gates, of course,
but to win he had to abandon his car [a new Porsche 911] at the departures curb.

Tht pretty much says it all. They are competitive to a fault — its in their DNA. Its also why they have been such a vast money machine. But please: Spare us the sanctimonious garbage about Microsoft the innovator, and keep the focus on Microsoft the moneymaker.

Here’s some more recent ideas out of the innovation factory:

Soapbox: The next YouTube?
Msnsoapboxshot

 

MSN Live: Where ever did they get the idea for that interface?
Live

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Category: Corporate Management, Film, Music, Technology

What is Apple’s New Digital Product?

Category: Film, Music, Technology, Television

Hey Ballmer! Why yank the leaked videos ?

Category: Corporate Management, Film, Web/Tech

Coming Soon from Amazon: Unboxed Videos

Category: Film, Technology, Television

Zune: mPod or iClod?

Category: Corporate Management, Film, Intellectual Property, Music