Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Because of local offers in the Netherlands, I have replaced most of the halogen spots at home and in the office - the energy consumption is now 25% of what it was. I did try some LED bulbs, but they didn't give enough light output, although they do climb to their brightest faster than the fluorescent ones. They don't work well in the bathroom where you need a lot of light for a short time.
I see California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine plans to introduce legislation this week called the How Many Legislators Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb Act. Bearing in mind 20% of the US electricity consumption goes into lighting, this is a good move. I am surprised that Philips has not been more active in the LED bulbs for domestic consumption. They have made press releases, but not put bulbs in the shops.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Won't be upgrading until I have to. Many drivers for applications I have don't work and the security claims are a challenge to a whole new generation of virus authors. If you have ever been through an OS re-install process, you dread moving platforms. And this is almost like going from XP to Mac. The launch in the Netherlands was toned down considerably from the way XP was launched 5 years ago at a theatre in Bussum.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Loic le Meur has been doing a number of interesting vodcasts from DAVOS in Switzerland. In fact, I saw Niklas Zennstrom in the flesh on a panel last week in Munich (see the Sunday 1600 hrs video session "The Future's Future in the DLD 2007 Video archive) . But because the DLD session was so general about the future, Niklas didn't say as much about Joost (surprisingly pronounced as "juiced" rather than "jo-st". In this DAVOS video cast though, he talks more in depth about the future of TV and how they plan to position Joost. Worth watching.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Just got rid of my (Gas Guzzling) BMW - so it was ironic for me to find a big BMW outside the hotel for a test drive. This one is different through - its runs on liquid hydrogen and is one of a small fleet of test cars being tested in Southern Germany. There was little difference in performance between H2 and ordinary petrol, the main difference being that when on hydrogen, the exhaust gas is simply water vapour. At the moment quite a lot of energy is put in to making the liquid hydrogen. The 5 "gas" stations in Germany have had some special modifications and the insulation on the tank inside the car is so good that a cup of coffee put into such a tank today would still be piping hot in a years' time. Currently, BMW seems to be betting on hydrogen. They're also sponsoring the DLD conference I'm attending at the moment.
Monday, January 22, 2007
I read a great article on the OLPC that Ethan Zuckerman had tried to get published and used it as a briefing before a press conference this morning with Negroponte at the DLD conference (www.dld-conference.com. When we heard figures of 50 million laptops being produced next year, I quizzed him on repair centres and when we would see the first OLPC on e-bay. It seems these laptops are assigned to specific kids and without the "key" the laptop freezes within 48 hours. The whole idea is to make the grey market nonsensical...companies that might steal them would quickly be targeted as having stolen equipment from children.
Negroponte says they will ship 5% to countries that order, to cover the machines that are broken on arrival or breakdown during the lifetime of the machine (nominally 5 years). He couldn't give guarantees that every component has not been made in a sweat-shop (but if they find evidence of this kind of practice they will change suppliers immediately. There will be repair centres as from this year. I think he will keep the first 100 machines and turn them into "the special series", auctioning them off to collectors and putting the money back into development. I have been sceptical in the past- but was impressed by the way Negroponte took the time and trouble to answer questions. He was gracious even though under a lot of pressure from journalists many of whom didn't bother to do their homework. I conclude that they're getting there. It is because Nicolas is in the education business not the laptop manufacturing business. This project is wider than just making laptops.
Bumped into two charming women on the train-ride from the airport to downtown Munich. Both are based in Amsterdam and both are very active in technology. Esme is the driving force behind open municipal broadband projects worldwide that are funded or supported by cities and towns, especially those projects that incorporate wireless technologies. These range from downtown hot-zones & city- and county-wide wireless broadband networks, to country-wide deployments.
The last time I saw Anina she was at Les Blogs 2, in which she made considerable publicity for her blog and her modelling work. Having moved from Paris to Amsterdam to persue her modelling career, she's now done a deal with NOKIA and made some amazing photos with the N-series cameras. Check out the site at 360Fashion. I was amazed about what this lady knows about network protocol and production technology.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
DLD is an annual invitation-only event organized by the Burda group in Munich, a day or so before DAVOS. When I discovered that Burda is a 103-year-old family-owned German company run by a 66-year-old man who is the grandson of the founder, the gut reaction was to dismiss the corporation as a dinosaur. That reaction turns out to be wrong. Burda turns out to be a huge publishing operation. They publish 250 magazines worldwide, many of them being fashion and lifestyle titles. Revenue is around 1.1 billion Euro and around 7000 staff members. Hubert Burda Media is also the largest magazine publisher in Russia and one of the biggest in Eastern Europe and Turkey.
That makes them big enough to organize a pretty impressive party, namely the DLD-Conference in mid January. I think the strategy is brilliant. Why spend money sending people to conferences all over the world to plan your next moves in new media? Instead, throw a 2 day celebration of the future - create scarcity by making it invitation only - and at the same time invite the world's movers and shakers to inspire top managers inside your company. Get Google, BMW, Lufthansa and some venture capitalists to sponsor.
Hubert Burda is quite a character. He bursts into song on stage and peppers conversations with references to classical music and world literature. He has been the driving force behind the company's move Burda into social media, insisting that he will never open a printing plant again. He has insisted that his company's publishers, editors and investment arms concentrate almost exclusively on digital strategies. He sat on the front row of his conference and took an active part for a great part of it. Burda himself worked in a variety of jobs in his family's company until he was appointed editor in chief of the celebrity-oriented magazine Bunte in 1974. I remember that magazine in the school library in the UK - the fashion photos were a great encouragement to learn enough German to find out what they were talking about...certainly better than the exploits of Hans and Gertrude in the school textbook "Deutsches Leben".
Now many publications from Burda are trying to build all sorts of communities. This ranges from a new website which allows women to access sewing patterns which has been put in the public domain to 45,000 subscribers who pay a monthly fee of Euro 4 to have nude photographs of 10 women sent to their mobile telephones each month through the company's links with Playboy. Burda holds the German license to produce Playboy.
It appears that Burda became a convert to digital scanning of photographs in the 1980s when he saw that it eliminated the need for the company's 250-person photo-retouching operation. He built relations with Marc Andreesen, a founder of Netscape Communications, after reading about an early version of the Web browser in 1995.
His conference is certainly a fantastic network opportunity. His staff manages to get a great line up of speakers which don't seem to pop up at other media events - at least not in this grouping.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
The Blackberry function doesn't work any more. KPN Business Centre is clueless - thats a Blackberry problem. No it isn't according to Blackberry. It takes 3 calls to KPN Helpdesk (33 minutes on hold) to discover that the Blackberry client on the phone needs upgrading, from www.businesssoftware.nokia.com . There I discover that they didn't give me the "latest" firmware upgrade at all...version 6 has been out for a couple of months and solves (apparently) the bugs that are causing the phone to operate v e r y s l o w l y. Oh, and a new (reserve) battery for the Nokia 9300 is a special order because the phone has been discontinued (6 months ago).
In short, trying to get clear answers is Mission Impossible. Why on earth can't users download firmware updates either over the web, or ideally over the network? My next phone is going to have this....and it may not be a NOKIA if they can't get their act together.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
He was intereviewed by Tapio Korjus (Rockadillo Production Oy, Finland)
Tapio Korius has known Peter Jenner for 30 years and they have worked together on acts like Roy Harper and The Clash. Lately the two managers have been collaborating in IMMF and European Live Music Forum. He too, was full of stories at the dinner table.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
The clue in this story is in the last line. The suggested retail price for having a factory installed HD-Radio (an option on all new BMW cars) will be US$500. Doesn't sound like much of a bargain when you compare the prices of satellite options or see how much Microsoft is charging for a HD-DVD option for the X-Box 360 (US$199). You could argue that those buying a BMW don't really care about another 500 bucks...but there are competiting cool options. My prediction.....HD radio will only take off when its a 100 dollar option in mid-priced cars.
MICROSOFT'S GATES KEYNOTE, CES UNVEILED AND NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES KICK OFF 2007 INTERNATIONAL CES
Las Vegas, Va., January 8, 2007 -
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates electrified the CES stage Sunday night with his tenth keynote appearance. After crowd applauds following Gates' announcement that he will return to deliver the 2008 International CES keynote, more than 4,000 attendees sat spellbound as he shared how the company is delivering on the promise of the "Connected Experience." Windows Vista, which Gates characterized as the most important release of Windows ever, will make it easier, safer and more fun to use the PC and will play a central role in the experience. "
Which planet do these people come from? Gates does not come to mind as the most exciting public speaker at the best of times. But "spellbound?"
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Got invited to become involved with the technology debate currently going on at this website run by the BBC. They are trialling webcam software from a UK company called All New Video based in Newbury in the UK.
Once loaded in an IE7 browser (doesn't work with Firefox 2.0 yet), you can contribute to the BBC show with a live mike or webcam. You can also record a 1 minute contribution or statement. I thought the insructions on what you had to do by the BBC News 24 presenter were a bit "fierce" for anyone who hasn't done this before, but they are clearly moving along the right lines. Last time I saw something like this was Streampower in Paris, with the great show called "cult". My contribution may be used in today's show at 14 UTC on BBC WS radio, BBC World TV and on-line.
Friday, January 05, 2007
I have a passing interest in logo design, especially since we are bombarded with logos every second of the waking day. I see the MPEG guys, who brought us MP-3 are now pushing the new logo to push its more modern standard, MPEG-4. So why does the logo have 5 blobs? The logic is lost on me. And if it needs an explanation, it doesn't work as a logo. Oh well, back to work.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
I think the current wave of digital radio "ads" on the beeb are well done and get across the concept that digital is no longer very expensive "is that all the presents you have for me?" . Some of the spots briefly made their way onto Youtube, but I see they have now been removed (late Thursday). If it was the BBC who asked them to be taken down, then I don't understand. Viral marketing is vital to any of these technology platforms campaigns. It makes no sense to copyright public information campaigns, especially since it is financed by a compulsory licence fee.
I agree with these guys at the p2p foundation that the future of distribution is going to involve this kind of technology - basically the consumers become the network. What is great is that many of the development tools are open source. The current p2p traffic on the web is HUGE. This is one of my best bests for 2007.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
Clock Radio, Media Gallery
Originally uploaded by Jonathan Marks.
Hello, thanks for dropping by and may all the dreams and promises for you and family come true in 2007. And let makes it a safe, fun and healthy one too for all of us. Its a blustery, windy night in the Netherlands on New Year's Eve. Hope you're with someone you love at the moment. And, if not, learn to love those you are with :-) (thanks to Zane for that line). See you further down this blog.