there are 5 posts from May 2010

May 27, 2010

the ipad really is the family computer

Back in January I wrote this about iPad after the announcement:

It looks like a great machine to travel from the living room to the kitchen to the kids room to the bedroom. We'll search the web on it, read the news on it, the kids will do email on it, play Brushes and Bejeweled on it, and it'll be the perfect complement to the Sunday afternoon TV football ritual. We'll use it to control the music in the house, and do some quick bet-settling during dinner. I'm sure we'll eventually enjoy some multiplayer "board" games on it, or read a book on it, or watch a TV show on it. And the kids will argue with each other over who gets it next. (Dad will.)

While we haven't found any good "board" games, this is pretty much how it's turned out. Self-select bias is at play here, obviously, since that's what I bought it for, but it's nice to see others using it the same way. Fred Wilson blogs today...

We use it for our sonos remote, to do crossword puzzles, play games, pull up menus to order in, read techmeme and hacker news, and watch the occasional youtube video. It's replaced our kitchen computer on our kitchen countertop. It's become a member of our family. And when visitors come over, they love to use it. It's great at a party.

He's right, it is great at a party! But vodka's still better.

May 27, 2010

dear mr. keillor: U R 2 1derful

Garrison Keillor comes to the shocking realization that unlike the kids of Lake Wobegon, writers are no longer above average.

And if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a Web site. And if you want to write a book, you just write it, send it to or BookSurge at Amazon or PubIt or ExLibris and you’ve got yourself an e-book. No problem. And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.

Every sentence in this paragraph fills me with joy.

May 26, 2010

sports grid

Rex Sorgatz (for Dan Abrams) launches Sports Grid, which I think could be (inadequately, narrow-mindedly) pitched as "ESPN meets The Awl."

Our goal is a simple one: to cover the culture of sports and entertainment, as well as the media personalities who talk and write about it, in a fun, compelling and easy to consume way. Perhaps more importantly, we also aim to objectively rank the legions of participants of our favorite pastimes by tracking who is – at any given moment – receiving the most “buzz” from his or her actions on and off the field.

Theory: Sports Grid is a bet to build a future home for Bill Simmons, whose contract with ESPN is up this summer. In the sports media world, he's the free agent that matters. Which I now know for a fact, thanks to the Sports Grid Power Grid for writers.

May 20, 2010

facebook tv

Currently connected to the flatscreen TV in the living room: one cable box from Comcast, one Apple TV, one Wii and one Blu-Ray player with integrated Netflix subscription. We're not lacking for widescren entertainment options.

search on google tv

If Google TV is going to have a shot at displacing one of those boxes (or even joining them and their mess of cabling) it's going to have to do something radically better. And I'm not quite sure a search box interface is it. I don't have problems finding things I already know I want to watch. I do have a problem discovering things I should be watching that I didn't know about before. And in my mind that's a social problem, not a search problem.

Thought experiment: what if tomorrow Facebook announced Facebook TV? Would their default UI -- a stream of recommended items from your friends -- be more or less compelling than Google's search box?

May 03, 2010

lust removed from nature

Over the weekend I discovered Popular Highlights magically appearing in the book I was reading on my "Kindle."[1] As widely reported, Amazon is collating the highlighting activity of its readers, and making that activity visible to readers on the Kindle...and on the web. So now you can satisfy that previously impossible-to-satisfy desire to know the most popular highlighted passage in Dan Brown's Lost Symbol, or Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, or Joshua Ferris' The Unnamed.

Or this one from Don DeLillo's White Noise:

This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.

Welcome to the future.

[1] Where "Kindle" = Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad, the combination of which is absolutely unstoppable. Anyone interested in a first gen Kindle Kindle? Make me an offer.