donderdag 31 juli 2003

PC Rivals TV at Home

The PC has clearly become more ingrained in the home, as half of Americans say that their PC is their primary communication vehicle,' says Doug Adams, director of marketing for InsightExpress. 'But its becoming much more than just a tool to check email and surf the Web, as consumers are clamoring for new applications once thought to be reserved for the early adopter.

A Drawing Board for Multimedia E-Mail

A Drawing Board for Multimedia E-Mail: "Netomat allows users to compose and exchange messages containing typed and handwritten text, photographs, hand-drawn graphics, simple animations, sound and other multimedia elements. A beta version of the program was put online last week at"

dinsdag 29 juli 2003

Blown Away by RSS Feeds & Blogs

"Its been quite a while since a technology 'blew me away' but last Friday I had one of those Eureka moments while riding the bus from downtown Vancouver to White Rock where I live - all because of RSS feeds & blogs. I'm still exploring and digging deeper into RSS but let me share the chronicle so far."

Wired News: Iraqis Log On to Voice Chat

Wired News: Iraqis Log On to Voice Chat: "Baghdad resident Usama Kamil Al-Sharqi paid a taxi driver $50 in 2001 to smuggle him a copy of Yahoo Instant Messenger on a CD-ROM from a friend in Jordan. It was a high price to pay for a program that has been downloaded for free by millions of people around the world. But Al-Sharqi says he would have paid an even steeper price had the regime of Saddam Hussein, which banned the use of instant messaging software, found out about it. 'If the government knew what I was doing, I am sure they would kill me, because they would think I was a spy,' says Al-Sharqi. "

Tim O'Reilly interview: Digital Rights Management is a Non-starter (and other topics)

At last year's Apple World Wide Developer Conference (2002) I was lucky enough to attend a very informative talk by Tim O'Reilly (of O'Reilly Publishing) in which he spelt out his theory of watching 'alpha geeks' in order to spot future trends and how web services, open standards and always on connectivity mean that the internet is replacing the desktop operating system. Just over a year on from that talk, Tim was kind enough to answer a few of our questions here on stage4.

zaterdag 26 juli 2003

No Complaints in the Online Ad Biz

Snazzier ads and better technology are luring more marketers to the Web, providing nice, steady growth for DoubleClick and aQuantive. DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan says he always seems to get the same reaction whenever he sees old friends: They'll offer a sympathetic handshake and cautiously whisper, "Times must be tough." Well, they were. But after two lean years, life is looking up again for Ryan and the online ad business.

Verizon's Gutsy Bet

Business Week interview with  Seidenberg, Verizon's CEO. He has a vision I share. Broadband everywhere, everything over broadband, and one company providing all services to customers. However, his execution is not necessarily the only possible model nor the best.

vrijdag 25 juli 2003

Web Supplants TV as Teen Media Hub

The Internet has surpassed television in overall time usage to become the primary medium of choice among teens and young adults. That was one finding from a research study commissioned by Yahoo! and Carat North America to determine media consumption among consumers ages 13-24. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive and Teenage Research Unlimited, also found that the younger generation uses the Internet as its media "hub" and feels empowered by the available media choices.
When I mentioned in last week's column that I would this week be writing about a legal way to do a successful music downloading business -- a business that would threaten the Recording Industry Association of America and its hegemony -- dozens of readers wrote to me trying to predict what I would write.  Some readers came at the problem from a purely technical perspective, ignoring the fact that the real issues here aren't technical but legal.  Some readers took a legal approach, but they tended to ignore the business model.  Some were looking solely for the business model.  Interestingly, nobody even came close to my idea, which makes me either a total loon or a diabolical genius.  Truth be told, I'm probably more of a diabolical loon.
Interactive television -- or enhanced TV, as many developers now prefer to call it -- may seem too young an industry for clich�s. But these hypothetical chestnuts of next-generation broadcasting are as overused as they are outdated, said TV producers at the American Film Institute's sixth annual eTV workshop Wednesday in Los Angeles. "Look, we don't want people clicking all over our shirts or sofas, and we don't want seven endings -- we just want the right one," said Todd Stevens, co-executive producer of NBC's Friends.
Angela Valaine had a problem. The 25-year-old Atlantan was spending so much time building websites that she had nearly forgotten what sunlight was like. But in a classic lemons-into-lemonade move, she decided that rather than get lost in her computer, she would get creative, and find new friends in the process. So she started a clique. A clique is traditionally defined as a group of mostly teens who spend a lot of time together, control who hangs out with them and talk about a few specific subjects. But these days, another definition of a clique is a website that serves as a virtual gathering place, where the site's owner picks the topic of discussion, sets rules for joining and vets whose on-topic sites can be linked.

Contrary to what you might have heard, American businesses are buying more high tech equipment and computer software than ever. So far this year the pace of investment is faster than during the heroic phase of the 1990s boom, and even faster than at the prime of the dotcom bubble in early 2000. Yes, the notable exception is purchases of fiber-optic cables and network gear. Telecom companies are not buying to increase their systems' capacity. But everybody else is. Economists forecast that the inflation-adjusted amount of computer equipment being bought by businesses this year adds up to more than $300 billion. That's more than one-fifth higher than the summer 2000 peak. High tech investments have been growing at an average rate of more than 20 percent per year since the recession's low point in the summer of 2001.

donderdag 24 juli 2003

In the Lecture Hall, a Geek Chorus

At the University of Maryland, it started as an innocent question posed in an e-mail message to those attending WebShop, a three-week lecture series about the Internet.

"Does anyone else think it would be a good idea if we all had IM available to us during these lectures?" asked Sinan Aral, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, referring to instant messaging. "Several times after questions, I wanted to 'whisper' to someone across the room or send a relevant link."

woensdag 23 juli 2003

'Blogs' shake the political discourse

"Oliver Willis, 25, doesn't match the old-school profile of political influence. He's not a rich man or a player in Democratic circles; in the 2000 presidential campaign, the most he did was purchase a Gore/Lieberman hat.

But he has a political platform of his own, a website called, which he runs from his sparsely furnished apartment in Dedham. And when he posted an essay there, promoting former Vermont governor Howard Dean for Democratic nominee, he drew a flood of comments from people he had never met. When Oliver Willis talks, it turns out, the blogosphere cares."

Your Permanent Record

My 81-year-old mother - until recently a computer-phobe - is living the future. Not so long ago, whenever I would visit her, the first question she'd ask was "Which pictures did you bring?" And, as she is a Jewish mother, whichever pictures I brought were, somehow, the wrong ones - until one day I said, "All of them. All the pictures I have taken since the last time I saw you." I had my laptop with me. We went through the photos, and when we got to the last one, my mother said, "I want that." I assumed she meant the image on the screen and offered to print it. But no, she wanted the computer itself. I bought her one and loaded it up with pictures.

vrijdag 18 juli 2003


Korea's Weird Wired World

Strange things happen when an entire country is hooked on high-speed Internet. Dear Abby has yet to receive a letter on this one. Last September Han Sang, a 14-year-old boy in Seoul, stole $35 from his parents to buy sunglasses and other accessories. The petty thievery was bad enough, but what really irked his dad, Kim Sung Bae, was that none of the stuff he bought was real. They were for the animated character, or avatar, the boy used as a stand-in for himself on the Internet. Han was spending four hours each night hanging out online with his friends and wanted his virtual stand-in to look as cool as possible. Kim punished his son with an Internet curfew: No more surfing after midnight. Every Sunday afternoon would be Internet-free family time, and Han Sang would have to watch TV with his parents for a few hours a week. His parents, in return, promised to visit Han's virtual worlds with him. South Korea has gone gaga over broadband. This nation of 46 million people, packed into an area smaller than Virginia, has quickly become the world's most wired nation. Politics, entertainment, sex, mass media, crime and commerce are being reshaped by a population as online as it is offline. Some 11 million homes, or 70% of the total, have broadband accounts, and at peak times just about all of those homes are online. Nearly two-thirds of Korean mobile phone users have shifted to so-called third-generation handsets that offer speeds up to ten times that of mobiles in the U.S. Here, residential broadband isn't expected to enter 50% of homes until late 2004.

donderdag 17 juli 2003


Cell Phones, Billboards Play Tag

Point and click your mobile phone at a poster in London movie theaters this July and you'll be able to directly access the movie's Web page. Due to be launched in 20 cinemas in mid-July, the Hypertag technology will enable mobile-phone and PDA users one-click access to Web pages by pointing and clicking at advertising posters. The real-world equivalent of hyperlinks, the small battery-powered electronic tags use infrared signals to send Web links to mobile phones. Developed by the Cambridge, U.K.-based company Hypertag, these smart tags can be discreetly attached to any information display surface, such as advertising panels, billboards or walls, enabling any mobile-phone user with an infrared port or Bluetooth to access digital content by downloading a small software application.
The Wall Street Journal

Rising Clout of Google Prompts Rush by Internet Rivals to Adapt

Google, a clever online search service with a silly name, has already transformed the way people use the Internet. Now it's shaking up the strategies of companies all over the Web business, from Microsoft Corp. to Yahoo Inc. To its rivals, Google is gaining a strategic position that could give it too much influence over Internet commerce. Its dominance of online searches means it can reach Web users from the moment they start browsing, and steer them to anyone with a product to sell or advertise. Of roughly four billion Internet searches conducted in May, 32% were conducted directly through Google, compared with 25% for Yahoo and 19% from AOL Time Warner Inc., according to comScore Networks, an Internet market-research firm. Google long ago realized something that is only dawning on many other companies: Searching isn't a Web sideline -- it's the Web's strategic heart. While Amazon and other sites try to position themselves as the central place for online shopping, thousands of shoppers are simply Googling for sandals or curtains and whatever else they want.

The software that hunts low fares

America West�s online site, like most of its rivals, used to ask prospective passengers when they wanted to travel and returned a price quote accordingly. Unlike most of its rivals, however, America West relies heavily on leisure travelers. So when customers said they wanted an easier way to search by price, the airline listened. Price-consious customers were frustrated by how long it took on traditional systems to hunt for low fares. So the airline offered a different method: Choose your fare, then browse the available dates. �Before, when you picked a market you�d have to go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth to pick a lowest price,� says Chris Stanley, America West�s director of Internet distribution. �This essentially allows you to search by price.�

woensdag 16 juli 2003

New York Times

The Lure of Data: Is It Addictive?

This is Charles Lax's brain on speed. Mr. Lax, a 44-year-old venture capitalist, is sitting in a conference for telecommunications executives at a hotel near Los Angeles, but he is not all here. Out of one ear, he listens to a live presentation about cable television technology; simultaneously, he surfs the Net on a laptop with a wireless connection, while occasionally checking his mobile device � part phone, part pager and part Internet gadget � for e-mail. Mr. Lax flew from Boston and paid $2,000 to attend the conference, called Vortex. But he cannot unwire himself long enough to give the presenters his complete focus. If he did, he would face a fate worse than lack of productivity: he would become bored. "It's hard to concentrate on one thing," he said, adding: "I think I have a condition."

dinsdag 1 juli 2003


The free research movement

The Public Library of Science aims to break the stranglehold that expensive academic journals have over federally funded research -- and start a scientific revolution. Michael Eisen, a biologist at UC-Berkeley, once spent a summer working as a play-by-play announcer for the minor league Columbia Mules, and when he talks about the sorry state of scientific publishing, he has a tendency to slip into an announcer's voice -- quick, high-pitched, loud, intense.