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Greening our houses

I’ll start with a gadget story but we’ll end up with saving energy, with greening our houses, I promise.To save another kind of energy, patience, I tried a Logitech Harmony One “universal” remote.  Again.  A few years back, two previous experiences with Harmony remotes had been frustrating and, ultimately,  abandoned.  It could be me, I am a certified klutz with a gift for pushing the wrong button at the wrong time.  Or my combination of devices couldn’t be “unified”, made to work together.  And/or the Mac version of the software was too painful to use.  Still, my Logitech friends kept insisting Harmony remotes were an extremely successful business of theirs.  I decided to try again three years after the second attempt. More

Press is bleeding faster than ever

“Tomorrow will be the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News. (…) You all did everything right, but the business model of the press changed, the economy changed and the Rocky became a victim of that”.  Last Thursday, these were Rich Boehne’s (CEO of EW Scripps) terse words when announcing the end of the 150 years Denver-based newspaper.

By any measure, the fate of the Rocky Mountain News epitomizes the evolution of the American press: heavy reliance on advertising and strategic paralysis.  The latter demonstrated by the inability to transfer declining classifieds revenue from print to online and by keeping large staffs in spite of a steady readership erosion. Under those circumstances, expect no mercy when the recession hits. More

Enough with the cell carriers’ games

I write this both as a consumer and as a VC: Enough with the cell carriers’ games, we need a Carterfone decision. We need to connect what we want to today’s and, even more, to tomorrow’s wireless networks.  Carriers abuse the airwaves We The People licensed to them.  Or, perhaps more to the point, our elected representatives, instead of protecting our interests, let carriers pick our pockets and strangle innovation.  Speaking of Change We Can Believe In, transparency in government and respect for the citizen’s hard-earned and vanishing buck, how about the Obama administration getting carriers to open their wireless networks the way landlines are?  How about me, having the freedom to connect what I want and run whatever applications I want – as long as I respect rules similar to the ones for ordinary telephones, modems and fax machines? More

The Future of Print Could be… Digital Presses

Before we “stop the presses”, and acknowledge the extinction of newspapers, as many pundits suggests, let’s take another look at the future of printing. In my view, within four years, newspaper production will become radically different from today’s process. We’ll enter an era of small print runs, highly decentralized printing units and above all, customized papers. More

Convergence

Old word, at least in the Valley. The meaning has shifted over time; we no longer say digital convergence: everything is digital now, precisely the reason why the convergence concept arose in the first place.  Everything being reduced to zeroes and ones, to bits, all sorts of information, media, content (all much abused words) would now be stored, networked and rendered, played together.  As a result of this uniform digitization, content would be ‘repurposed’ thus providing ‘business model extensions’.  In a plainer English example, celluloid movie libraries are now be sold as DVD, on cable TV channels or iTunes downloads, Netflix rentals and streaming. More

Upgrades on the Monday Note

- The blog is now open for comments.
- Posts can be shared with social networks (Facebook, LindkedIn, Digg, etc.)
- We have added a Blogroll of some of our prefered site.
- Pages are in a printable-friendly format.
- The newsletter and the site are now compatible with all mobile devices.

– New design has been created by Upian, integration by Kim Gjerstad.

Recommendation Engines: A Must for News Sites

A piece of advice for news sites operators: invest money in a real recommendation engine, tag-based, social, or even semantic filtering. Readers will stay longer on your site, increasing the value of their visits. On average, major news sites don’t get more than 3 to 4 pages per visit. Sadly, those who manage to go well above those numbers rely on lame tricks such as increasing the page auto-refresh rate or stuffing their site with click-intensive items: online games or slide shows. More

Pen and Paper

We haven’t had a gadget story in a while, this is one and perhaps more than that. Not about Kindle 2, I haven’t tried it yet, but still somewhat related as we’re jumping again into the paper and screen topic.  Ebooks deal with one kind of electronic ink, the one used to display text.  Another kind is offered by Tablet PCs.  That PC sub-species has struggled for years and now enjoys a niche in vertical applications such as data collection/transmission/display in hospitals or for insurance adjusters.  The dream of writing on a computer tablet as pleasantly and flexibly as we write on paper and magically transcribing our scratches into machine text is still a dream. More

And now, let’s try micropayments

Free, then paid-for, then free again, then partially paid, then free and now possibly micro-paid. That’s the New York Times pattern for its website since 1995. Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, floated the idea in an email Q&A sessions with readers:

“The idea is that readers may not pay a subscription fee for a new Web site, but they might pay a few pennies every time they click on a page, if it was simple and frictionless. In the heyday of Napster and other steal-this-music Web sites, a lot of people believed that consumers would simply not pay money to download music. Enter Apple and iTunes”.

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