Monthly Archives: February 2008

Movies on flash drives: how not to think about technology

At the is a article on movies on flash drives. It’s a good example of how not to think about the future. It’s essentially a list of points arguing against movies on flash drives. And what are the points?
1) it’s hard to make money from it
2) flash drives are too expensive
3) you have to have every movie on a separate card
4) People like buying things
5) It would take too long to download a movie onto flash

None of these hold water. 1) Movie viewers don’t care if it is hard to make money from it: ask the music business. 2) They may be expensive now, but watch chip makers gear up if they see there is demand for them: they will get cheap soon. 3) This is just an assumption: there are many delivery models to choose from. 4) This one is laughable on so many levels, it’s not worth arguing. 5) This is in line with number 3: again, delivery models will take care of this.

And the line: “And by that time, the technological, business and social problems of downloading movies are likely to be solved.” Well, that is pure: stick your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. The problem – at least it is a problem for the movie business – is that the movie business will be in the same boat that the music business is in very soon. It’s part way there already. Moore’s Law will get it all the way there.

Read the article Buying Movies on Flash Drives: Nice Idea That Doesn’t Work – Bits – Technology – New York Times Blog and see what you think.

(Image from wikipedia)


Why I no longer read magazines

I love magazines. When I am commuting, there is nothing better. But other than plane travel, I haven’t bough a magazine in along time.  Magazines have been losing out to the Web. When I see all the amazing content online, all free, it is hard to justify buying magazines (and later throwing them into the recycle bin) when I can feast on all that is on the web.

I think flickr can make a better case than me. For people like me who love New York City, check out:

While there are still magazine out there with better content, the argument for them over the web will get harder and harder to make.

Thoughts on the world’s cheapest car

There was lots said on the world’s cheapest car awhile back. A lot of it was facile and derogatory.

What it reminded me of was the computer business. Computer prices level off from time to time, and the impression I used to have was: well, that’s it, you can’t make them cheaper than that. Faster maybe, but not cheaper. No sooner would I think that than someone WOULD come along and make it cheaper.

Now what making it cheaper did was 3 things.
1: it made people realize that there was no lower limit to how cheap you could make computers. And there is still no limit.
2: it greatly increased who could get access to computers, and everytime more people gained access to computers, better things occured.
3: It changed the design of the computers. Making more computers makes them better, not worse. 

And it is on that last point that I think that the world’s cheapest car could be a good thing.

For more, see Tata Nano: The Worlds Cheapest Car at New York Times. According the the Times:

“Over the past year, Tata has been building hype for a car that would cost a mere 100,000 rupees (roughly $2,500) and bring automotive transportation to the mainstream Indian population. It has been nicknamed the “People’s Car.” “

Tip of the day: don’t call people on your cell phone when you are doing something like …

… walking!

First off, people can tell from the way you talk. It’s obvious. And it is obvious that you are squeezing them in. If they don’t mind being squeezed in, that’s fine. But if you owe them more, that’s not a good thing to do. For whatever else you say, what you are “saying” is that the only time you have for them is “down time”, your “time scraps”, that they are “not important”. If the call is important, take the time to call them when you have time. Better yet, arrange to meet them in person.

What goes for walking holds for other downtime as well, such as commuting, waiting in a food court, terminal, etc.

Do I have to say never call someone in the washroom? Yes, it is a stupid thing to do, and yes, I have seen people do it often, and no, I never do it, and you shouldn’t either. The only way I want someone to phone me in the washroom is if they just remembered they owe me a million dollars and that they are bringing it over right away. Then it’s ok. 🙂

Ok, ’nuff said. 🙂

The simple and brilliant Instapaper

Instapaper is a great solution to the problem of too much to read (on the web) but never a convienient enough time to read it. Go to the site: you will become an instant fan.

Thanks to Victor Chan for the great tip!

Simple: thoughts on simplicity by John Maeda

John Maeda has a great web site. There is much to discover here, including the Laws of Simplicity.

Here’s the first one:

“Law 1: Reduce. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.”

To get the rest of the laws and other thoughts by him, it’s simple. Click here.

What happened to Haiti?

Note! If you want to read more about Haiti on this blog, click here.

For the latest on what is happening in Haiti, I recommend the They have a great section on Haiti here)

As I was going through the TIME archives, I noticed a quote from a Haitian government official on some matter of importance. It reminded me of something that struck me when I read “Paris, 1919”: the seeming importance of Haiti in world affairs. True, it was not as important as the Great Powers, but it was one of the countries at the table, both literally and figuratively.  It appears to be a middle player at the beginning of the 20th Century. And then it sadly declined.

One account of this is found here.