Sunday, December 27, 2009
This blog is not meant to be a review of the PS3 (there are lots of those around), but I must say I'm very happy with my choice. The console exudes quality, the games are a huge step up from the PS2, and the media capabilities are a great bonus.
However, I have to ask myself why, every time there is a new format introduced, the studios feel the need to up the price so radically. Locally, Kalahari.net has the District 9 DVD listed at R145.30 and the Blu-ray at R270.70, an 86% increase. The studios will ague that they have included a whole lot of additional material on the Blu-ray, but honestly, who wants this extra material. I almost never even look at the additional material on DVDs; I don't see that changing with Blu-ray. And is that additional material really worth the 86% on-cost?
To my mind, the cost of a movie, regardless of format, can be broken down into the royalty, the physical media, the manufacturing, and the marketing and distribution. The only differences between DVD and Blu-ray are therefore the physical media, the manufacturing and the additional material. Personally, I put zero value on the additional material, and, with volume, the media and manufacturing cost difference is negligible. So why the huge on-cost?
Well, we are being charged more for the 'perceived' value of high definition. The same thing happened when CDs replaced vinyl, and again when DVDs replaced VHS. And this is a huge rip-off, and a huge mistake!
Do you remember how people started building CD and DVD collections to replace their LPs and VHS tapes? That isn't happening now with Blu-ray, because the price is just too high. Instead, the format is battling to get a real foothold in the market, despite there already being a huge number of Blu-ray capable machines out there.
Sure, in the US especially, 'video on demand' services like Hulu offer an alternative to physical media, and these services have put a dent into both DVD and Blu-ray sales, but the fact remains that Blu-ray has not been the phenomenon it deserves to be.
So why should the studios do anything differently? Well, the security features built into Blu-ray make the discs much harder to copy. Almost anyone with a PC can copy a DVD; not so easy with Blu-ray. So, as a deterrent against piracy, the studios should be encouraging people to switch to Blu-ray, and they could do this by offering a 'movie only' version on Blu-ray, at a price point even lower than the DVD. People would flock to the new format, I guarantee!
That's what I would do.
Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
documented, and considering their basic business model, it makes a lot of sense. Their main revenue stream is from advertising, and quite simply, the more people they can get online, the more their advertising will be seen. So how to get more people online? Simple; create a set of applications, add a 'cool' factor to lure people in, and then give them away for free. They started with Gmail, added calendar, docs, photo editing and management, earth, maps, and so the list keeps growing.
People's acceptance for working in the 'cloud' is growing, and their concerns over privacy are diminishing. Next year they'll launch Google OS on machines that are simply a vehicle for the Chrome browser, and I have no doubt people will buy them in their millions.
What are the 3 main uses for a computer?
- Research - This is where Google started; their search engine dominates worldwide.
- Work - Google already has this covered with Google docs, and several large corporations have already made the transfer to the 'cloud'.
- Recreation - Google has a very popular photo application in Picasa, and has video wrapped up with YouTube. They have also been active in Social Networking, although Orkut wasn't as successful as they would have liked. However, Friend Connect continues to grow, and rumours about Google's interest in Twitter keep resurfacing.
Lala had a great model, and would have been a perfect fit for 'Google Music". On one's main PC, you access your Lala account and upload your entire music library to Lala, and then access it from any machine, via the web, for free. And legal. And the beauty of the system is that you don't have to physically upload your entire collection which would use many GB of bandwidth (and take days, if not weeks) - Lala scans your music library and registers each song in it's system. Then, if you want additional music, there is a nominal charge to allow streaming, or the option of downloading the song at a cost comparable to iTunes.
Lala sounded like they had the perfect model for Google, and they were for sale. But Apple beat them to it, and we will probably see these features being rolled out in iTunes at their next release.
The unfortunate problem with that is Apple's notorious 'walled garden'. You can only access iTunes with your iPod or iPhone, and although there are millions (and millions) of such users, supporters of Google's own Mobile OS, Android, will not be able to access Lala on iTunes. Google really slipped up on this one. Hopefully they have an even better solution!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
So if you want to support local music, find out more about the 'Comes With Music' offering from Nokia, or see what freebies are on offer, get down to your local beach on one of the days listed below.
From the Nokia press release:
SA’s hottest bands tour with the Nokia Comes with Music Party Bus
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I really love this program, and it’s made even better with the addition of the HRM features available with the N97. However, there have been several rumours on the web that Nokia is going to discontinue Sports Tracker. In actual fact, Nokia is not killing Sports Tracker, but giving it some wings. Towards the end of 2009 they will be migrating it to Sports Tracking Technologies, a company founded by the creators of Sports Trackers (Ykä Huhtala and Jussi Kaasinen). I only hope that they will continue to develop the program, and keep it free to users.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The arch is the key feature of the stadium, and a funicular will carry visitors from the north side of the stadium to a viewing platform at the top of the arch where they can get out and enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views of the city and ocean. The south side will have a 550-step adventure walk.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
- Ratings: I use the simple star functions to rate the music I like most. These can be changed on the Nano while I am listening to the track, and they automatically update the ratings on my PC when I sync.
- Play count and Last Played: Similarly, this data is updated on my PC when I sync.
- Auto Playlists: Most important of all, I have created autoplaylists on my PC that update the Playlist based on the above.
Monday, July 6, 2009
I prepared a crib sheet of all the riders and teams, which you can download here.
Friday, June 12, 2009
In Reader the integration is even worse. You have the option to share items from reader with your friends. The options are your Friends, or Chat buddies. Problem is, is that Friends refers to your ‘Friends’ part of your Contacts. Click on friends, and they’re all given access. Ah, there’s an option to remove each individually, that’s great. Remove a couple who you don’t think would be interested in your reading habits, and guess what? They’ve been removed from your Friends within Contacts! Next, you want to share with someone from Family, or perhaps a Co-worker? Can’t be done, unless you add them to Friends of course. Come on Google, this is an easy one to fix.
One of the features I would love to see Google add, with regard to Contacts, is integration with Calendar. Google recently added a function to add birthdays and anniversaries to your Contacts. So how hard would it be to automatically add those dates into Calendar? Problem is, Google Calendar doesn’t know how to handle birthdays. It adds them as all day events, which is fine within their app. It adds a pretty little block to the top of the specified day. However, sync that with your phone’s calendar, and you end up with an event running from midnight to midnight. Google needs to take a leaf out of almost any other Calendar; it needs options to add birthdays/anniversaries, reminders and notes to the main calendar, in addition to meetings, and the newly added Tasks. Unfortunately, Tasks don’t get added to the main calendar, so aren’t included in the sync.
I don’t think these changes would be that hard to implement. If there’re any Google employees reading, how about using your 20% time to fix these?
Thanks for reading.