Archive for August, 2007

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iTunes as Directory and Browser

NBC Peacock

Media outlets report that NBC will not renew its contract with Apple’s iTunes. The stated reason was control over pricing. Apple likes simple pricing that everyone can understand. Traditional networks and record companies want to maximize revenue even if it means confusing users. They seem to have forgotten all about the original Napster.

Apple created the legal market for media downloads, and iTunes has become the hub for all downloadable content. That’s a nice position. The Networks and record companies will try and create an alternative hub with a terrible user interface, confusing pricing and lots of strings use of content. Users will revert to Bit Torrent. People use iTunes because it’s a very usable director and content browser.

Ultimately pricing will probably become more complex, but you should be able to buy and download NBC content from mulitple sources. May the best directory, browser and e-commerce interaction win.

Municipal WiFi Dead?

wifi router

Earthlink‘s recent problems has set back the cause of municipal WiFi. Earthlink missed a deadline in Houston, and has bowed out of WiFi in San Francisco. Chicago has scrapped their WiFi project.

The question that has stalled most municipal installations of WiFi is whether private enterprise or local government should build and own the network. The other question they should be asking is whether WiFi is the right wireless technology. Local governments don’t deal with change very well. If they build a mesh WiFi network in 2007, you can bet it’ll never change. You’ll have the same network in 2020. For the companies thinking about entering the municipal WiFi business, dealing with the demands of local politicians may make the task impossible.

I’d like Internet access everywhere. I’d like to resolve the digital divide. But will municipal WiFi really solve those problems?

Mimi Jensen: September 6, 2007

Mimi Jensen: Montecristo

If you’re in San Francisco on September 6th, drop by the opening of Mimi Jensen’s new show at the Hespe Gallery. Mimi has provided a preview of the show on her Web site. Her paintings are filled with wit, an unerring sense of composition and a master’s hand with oil paint.

Here’s the info:

Hespe Gallery
251 Post Street, Suite 420
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-776-5918
September 6, 2007

Remember, paintings can’t really be seen on a computer screen. You need to meet them face-to-face. And ideally, you need to live them and have a silent conversation over the years. It’s then that you really begin to understand the meaning of value.

The Small Internet: Bell’occhio

french pen nib

As has been previously established, the Internet is dead and boring. Some say it’s because we don’t have enough bandwidth, and that the network isn’t ubiquitous. Without question, more will make more possible. But will it make better possible? Sure, it’ll destroy television as we know it, but that’s really already happened. Once the distribution system got beyond 3 major networks, it was the beginning of the end for the economy of scarcity.

The real problem is that there’s not enough quality content to be distributed through 800 cable channels, zillions of Web sites and your phone. And even if there was, you wouldn’t have enough time to consume it. The reality is, you need to filter out 99.9% of the crap people are aiming at you. Your friendly local venture capitalist hopes that social networking sites will provide that filter for you. You and your “friends” can collectively filter the vast wasteland of the Web to something that’s actually interesting. But even that may be too much, people may have to stop sleeping to keep up with the river of “interesting stuff” their friends have dugg.

While gossip can be amusing, can the Internet also introduce us to the small, the original, the unique and the beautiful? Small shops like Bell’occhio are much better in person, but I love seeing them on the Web. No VC invested in this company, but it’s more interesting than all the Web 2.x companies missing vowels from their names.

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