“Jobs never glanced at their presentation," the article noted. "Instead, he walked up to a whiteboard and drew a square. This is the program, he said. Users will drag their movies here to create DVD menus. Then they’ll click ‘burn.’ That’s it. ‘I don’t want to hear anything about drawers or pop-out’ windows, he said.”—AppleInsider | iDVD hung out to dry as Apple pushes movies online
I’m enjoying the upcoming album "Dark Was The Night". Its a compilation of various artists that I discovered by Colin Meloy (lead singer for the Decemberists) tweet. And today I’m posting another song from the record. I also have it on order. It’s wonderful.
After the kids went to bed, I unpacked it and took a long look. Beautiful.
First thing I had to decide was where to put it. Our whole home AV system is a bit complicated and most of it is based on a network server + Sonos + Boxee.
I decided the turntable was going to live in a parallel universe and separate from the home audio system.
I had an extra receiver lying around and a set of Paradigm bookshelf speakers. So i put those plus the turntable in my home office. Unlike my complicated digital system (which requires weekly router reboots and firmware updates to the Sonos), the new setup took about 10 minutes to “configure”.
Then came the moment of truth. Time to put a record on.
Earlier that day I went over to Newbury Comics which is only a few blocks from my office at Spark. I picked up The Who’s “Quadrophenia” and Neil Young’s “Live at Massey Hall”.
I decided to put the Who record on first. Oh. My. God. So many old memories came back as I lifted the arm and watched it float down to the record. And then the music delivered as promised. The first song is “I am the Sea” which then leads to “The Real Me”.
Neil Young on vinyl was also an incredible trip down memory lane. Loved every minute of it. The experience playing vinyl records is something that i long forgotten. The sound and feel is simply amazing.
Now comes the fun part. I need more records!
I’m consuming new music like crazy as you probably know if you visit this blog. But for now I am only going to buy the “classic” stuff for the turntable. At least for the time being. (the one exception I made was for Ben Kweller’s new record, “Changing Horses” which I pre-ordered but have been listening to on my iphone for awhile).
I think the next record I’m going to buy is first album by The Police - “Outlandos d’Armour”.
They clearly address pent up demand and they are especially timely during this economic climate. They are simple, small and low cost. And as the New York Times points out they are breaking old business models. They easily connect to the internet and with most of our data in the cloud - well, you can see which way the wind is blowing.
Netbooks are just a start. I think the next family of products that will follow suit is the age old set top box.
The current state of the art set top box from your cable operator has multiple tuners, encoders to deal with analog broadcast, a hard disk, HD decoders and hardware based drm.
The next generation set top box will share many netbook attributes. Lower end CPU, drop the tuners, ethernet, small disk and HDMI. That’s it. They will be small, light and inexpensive. And just like your netbook comes ready with Firefox, your netbook STB will come with software like Boxee or something else to get you online quickly and easily.
I think the game console is the next target after that. Once games are all in the network we won’t be on this cycle of new game console. That will make life easier for developers (ever talk to early PS3 developers? the stories they tell. Oy). And it will be much easier for consumers.
That moment you realize you are in a room full of democrats
Last summer we moved to a different town outside of Boston.
Since then we are meeting lots of new people. Mostly through our kids but also getting to know the neighbors. And I joined an indoor soccer team.
Last night we went to a dinner party hosted by one of our neighbors. I didn’t know their political pusuasion and I wasn’t going to bring up politics.
But during dinner our host brought up politics. And it was clear he was a big Obama supporter and against many of the Bush policies of the past 8 years. And the other couple chimed in as well with a similar sentiment.
Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of conservative friends. And I have friends that are way left of my politics.
But there is something nice about meeting relative strangers and happily discovering their politics. It’s more than just a breathing a sigh of a relief. It’s just a nice breath.
* * *
(in direct contrast, I had the opposite situation last week on a train heading home from NYC. The train was packed. I was sitting in one of those Amtrak seats that was 2x2 facing each other. The two guys across from me were older, highly educated but avid supporters of Bush, Gitmo, bombing Iran, tax cuts for the rich and generally cynical about Obama. That was a tough 3 hours to take. Fortunately my Bose headphones did their job).
New Beruit/Zach Condon comes out in a few weeks - double EP March of the Zapotec/Holland, part recorded with a 17 piece Mexican marching band, part bedroom recording materials. This is from the bedroom part, gorgeous.
I’m seeing a lot of tweets about the new version of twirl. It sounds very promising. Some people say its the best way to use twitter while tweetdeck loyalists don’t agree.
As I look at my friends tweets I see a wide range of applications. As the time of this post, amongst my friends last 20 tweets in my timeline, I see twitterberry, twitterfon, twitterfeed, tweetie, web, txt, twhirl, tweetdeck, twitteriffic, tweetree and power twitter.
My personal favorite turns out to be sms.
Its clear to me after using twitter for the past 20 months or so that there isn’t anything that can be defined as the best way to twitter.
And that makes me pretty happy actually.
I’m glad there are so many choices for twitter users - because clearly one size does not fit all.
Last night I read on news.yc that Paul and Jessica from ycombinator are moving to Palo Alto full time. As many of you know Y Combinator is a seed program investing in early stage companies in Cambridge and the bay area. (We are investors in one YC company - iminlikewithyou.com. And I’m a big fan of other yc companies like disqus and dropbox.
Paul and Jessica are moving for family reasons. They are expecting the arrival of their new first baby. First and foremost, I want to with them congrats and best wishes. That’s wonderful news and I’m happy for them.
I know what its like to move cross country for family reasons. My wife and I moved the opposite direction. After nearly 10years in the bay area we moved to the boston area in 2001. For a variety of reasons we wanted to be closer to our family.
On a professional note, this yc move is a loss to the northeast startup ecosystem. Its especially significant in the current market as many angel investors locally aren’t as active as they were in 05-08 due to the recession.
I very much believe in this northeast region (I include nyc when I say northeast). We’ve made 13 investments in the northeast and will continue to do more here. But as a tech community, we need more early stage efforts. We need to do more for our ecosystem.
I’m going to miss yc cambridge. You definately left a mark.
(Disclaimer: I wrote this post on my blackberry so excuse typos and lack of links)
I had lunch with a good friend of mine last week. He’s working on a very interesting product and seems possessed by its possiblities.
But he’s stuck on something. He’s stuck on what to name the product. Something easy to spell. Something memorable. Something serious but not too serious. Many of you have gone through this exercise. It ain’t easy.
At the end of the day the question is whether any of this really matters. Maybe all thats needed is just a great product and the name is less important?
After thinking about it more I dont’ think that is the case. Just for a moment consider the product names at Apple. Do you think those names matter?
I think choosing your product name is crucial. And it’s not just the name, consider it the starting point of the soul of your product.
I remember when I first met Biz Stone, one of the Twitter cofounders, he told me that Twitter wasn’t their initial name for the product idea. The core idea that your phone would let out a short “chirp” drove their naming decision. They started riffing on names like jitter, twitch, twitter, etc. Ultimately they fell in love with the name Twitter but it wasnt available at the time. So they created the initial site at Twttr.com to move foward before buying the vowels later.
I think great companies are passionate about everything they do. And it all starts with their name. Don’t give up on it. Make sure you love it.
“Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.”—Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address (via jdel) (via inauguration)
Late last year, I switched back to a trustt blackberry. My iphone 3g is taking a back seat to the Blackberry Bold for now.
The Bold does so many things right. But its missing some apps. I can’t wait for the Blackberry App Store to open up. I’m so happy to hear they have started accepting applications.
Here are the apps I’m hoping show up at launch:
1 - Twitter. I want an app as good as Tweetie for the iphone. Clean UI and fast. Right now I’m using SMS and Dabr which is a mobile web site. The perfect app would include Twitter search with the ability to save search like the iphone app Summizer.
2. Last.fm. I never liked last.fm on the iphone. The app itself was great but the iphone doesn’t let apps run in the background. That doesn’t work for streaming audio. I hope last.fm builds a killer app for the blackberry. It would be perfect in the car and at the gym.
3. Hype Machine. I know Anthony at the Hype Machine carries a blackberry. I know this is far fetched but a blackberry hype machine app would be awesome.
4. Shazam. I miss this one. I used it several times a week on the iphone.
5. Tumblr. In my opinion the best Tumblr app on the iphone is Tumblrette. I’d love a version for the blackberry.
6. Games. I need some great games for my kids. They haven’t forgiven me for making the switch back :)
Great song and I love the look of this upcoming compilation. Bon Iver, The National, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, MMJ, New Porns, Conor Oberst w/ Gillian Welch … and on and on. What a lineup!
I’m happy to see Boxee as the feature story in the New York Times today and picked up on Techmeme as well.
The article is focused on the idea that consumers may use Boxee to bypass cable:
“Boxee has allowed me to replace cable with no remorse,” said Jef Holbrook, a 27-year-old actor in Columbus, Ga., who recently downloaded the Boxee software to the $600 Mac Mini he has connected to his television. “Most people my age would like to just pay for the channels they want, but cable refuses to give us that option. Services like Boxee, that allow users choice, are the future of television.”
That may be true in the future as even cable operators are investing in their own online video products bigtime. Just take a look at Fancast which is owned by Comcast to see which way the wind is blowing.
But the bypass cable story isn’t the entire story behind Boxee. I love Boxee because it’s open and social. As an open source media center you can port it to any hardware. Developers can go nuts with it. That is the key.
And Boxee’s social features like friends recommendations, friends activity/minifeed and twitter integration are just the start of something big as tv becomes social.
The team at Tumblr launched Tumblr v5 today. They have been working really hard on this and it shows. It absolutely amazing. (disclosure: I am an investor in the company)
Here are my favorite things about this release.
1. Tumblr Search. Tumblr search is now available for anyone to use. It works for your own Tumblr site or across all tumblr powered sites. And best of all, it doesn’t matter if you are a registered user or not. You’ll have to try it out to believe how good it is. But here’s an example for a search on “Ben Kweller" or plane crash.
I took the red eye last night from SF back to Boston. And I didn’t sleep at all. So I’m working from home today. Found this song by going to the hype machine and searching for songs with the word “sleep”.
“If Steve Jobs dies it’s going to be a day of mourning eclipsing the rites surrounding those of the latest O.D’ed musician. It will be like the loss of Lennon. We will feel collectively that we’ve lost something, that can’t be replaced.”—
At the time, I tried to clarify or illustrate the difference between positive early adopters and negative early adopters. There is nothing better than an active, passionate community of early adopters. In many ways they are more important than anything and more important than spending time thinking about “going mainstream”.
The (positive) early adopters are the pathway. They show the way.
Last week Gillian Regan from The New York Observer reached out to me. She said she was doing a story about early adopters and saw my post. We talked a bunch of the importance of early adopters. Some of that chat made her column It’s Geek to You, but Not to Them: Meet the Early Adopters which came out today. I’m glad she used my Tumblr example and FriendFeed example for the story.
I think it’s sometimes easy for us early adopters to get pegged as small and not mainstream.