January 2, 2009
News and Comments Now that the Holidays are Over
It's been a while, but sometimes a vacation is good. Over the holiday break we found out a few things:
- VHS is dead, but you probably knew that. Here's the official notice courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.
- Texting costs phone companies a lot less than they charge. A LOT less. Congress is interested in knowing why.
- Intel leaves nothing to chance in accounting for its products. It goes beyond marketing research by hiring anthropologists for its staff. This came up in a CNN story about Yahoo and Intel collaborating on smart, interactive web-based television that, gasp, may be living room based. There is probably a market for combined television and the Internet. That's obvious with web sites such as Hulu, Joost, YouTube, and others. The holy grail for Microsoft is getting the PC in the living room. With all the boxes Microsoft (Web TV anyone?), Apple, Amazon, TiVo, and Blockbuster have to deliver content, convergence doesn't look like its 1990s vision.
- Speaking of dead technology, the 30 Gig Zune model decided to die en mass on New Year's Eve. No comets or meteors involved in this one. Microsoft traced the problem to the clock, which couldn't handle the extra day in a leap year. Microsoft recommends draining the battery and restarting the player after Noon GMT on January 1st. That seems to do the trick. Will there still be a Zune when this happens again in 2012?
- Digital downloads outpaced album sales for the first time, but the value of digital downloads did not make up the value lost in falling physical unit sales. In other words, the labels sold more files, but didn't make as much money. Lamentable in one sense, but the business model of selling music by the album is a dead one. The labels will figure that out one of these days and adjust. Bands will as well.
- The beta of Windows 7 was leaked via various torrent sites. It officially comes out later. The reviews are mixed. Then again, people hated XP interface changes initially, but got used to them. The same thing happened with Vista, though some did not get over them and stuck with XP. Windows 7 is getting a better pre-release impression than Vista. Aside from the the previously noted changes to the task bar, Microsoft really wants you to access programs from the Start Menu search. It's doing its best to suppress desktop icons. Expect a treasure hunt of customization settings to get it to work your way instead of Microsoft's way. The Engineering Windows 7 blog has more general information on the interface changes.