Archive for April, 2011

YouTube Movie Rentals

There is a rumour that YouTube i.e. Google is about to launch a movie rental service. As grand and nice this might be in Google’s executives’ heads they are about to be rudely awaken by the reality of the entertainment industry. As it stands, cable operators all over the world are looking into providing on demand movie rental service of some sort. Even if Google manages to get the content rights holders on board with their little scheme they will run into some serious problems with other content providers. Since, in quite a few cases your cable operator is also your ISP Google is going to get blocked all over the place just like they did with GoogleTV. For whatever reason, Google refuses to admit that Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs was indeed very much on the money when he said that creating a TV streaming service/device is a bag of hurt and it comes with some serious challenges which currently cannot be easily overcome. The YouTube service will compete in price no doubt. Well that will not go well with a lot of other providers. And at the end of the day, if I am going to use my computer to watch content, then why on earth would I pay for it when there are countless free sources that I can choose from. Yes 1080p is great but Google seems to forget that most laptop screens (i.e. over 1/4 of all computer screens out there do not actually support a 1080p resolution). On top of that you have another 1/3 of all computers in the world being in household which cannot afford to pay for online content or simply refuse to pay for such. And as a result Google will have to work with a much much smaller group of potential users than they think. Yes youtube is popular but how much of that is due to the fact that it is a free service?

I hate to be a pessimist but I think this would be yet another project that Google might have to scrap eventually.
There are some rays of light however. An increasing number of TVs are coming with a YouTube viewer and that would allow people to rent movies straight from their TV provided that the ISP is not allowed to block the content. However, the player that TVs use might not always be compatible with the latest and greatest of YouTube and would probably need modifications in order to allow for the rented content to play. YouTube will have to introduce a modified player as the current one allows for the content to be downloaded to your computer and played without any restrictions. That would not go well with movie studios. Updating the software on your TV will literally take eternity and I would bet you money that most users don’t even know that your TV software can be updated or that your TV actually does run an operating system. One of the hardest and most expensive things for a company is educating their customers.

It would be interesting to see how the new rental service stacks up in such a complex environment and I honestly hope that I am wrong about it’s future. And for what it’s worth I really hope that Google is not pitching this as an on demand service for computer users and that they have indeed looked at what cable operators currently do.

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Ovi Maps

Nokia Ovi Maps 3D browser application
Ok I didn’t mean to post twice in such a short interval but man is this worth a post.
Ovi Maps has a beta demo for PC and Mac. It’s a browser application requiring a plugin and this is by far one of the most amazing things to come out. Not long ago I saw a demo by this Swedish company showing a very similar thing and I think it might actually be the exact same product. But yeah this is what Bing Maps eventually will look like due to the Nokia MS deal. I quite honestly think that Nokia got robbed blind with that deal considering what they actually have on their hands. This had the potential of destroying Google Maps and I am not exaggerating. The technology needed to create maps like the Ovi 3D ones is about 5-10 years ahead of what Google is currently using and there is very very little that Google can do about that. Yes street view is nice but the 3D maps that Google is using are a complete joke. It might be OK for a MS student, and most Ph.D. ones but Ovi Maps and Nokia have most likely acquired the Swedish military team that got axed not long ago. All this is patented and is literally technology that was never meant to be released in the general public. Except it did. It actually kinda gives you an idea of how intelligent missile guidance systems work. But anyway all the hype aside, come 2012 Bing Maps will have a new and shiny face and hopefully this time around Apple will let us switch the Maps provider too.

As much as I dislike MS I have actually started using Big recently as my default search provider. Most of the times results are cleaner and yes they are different but the search engine feels more powerful.

Oh yeah and Playbook got released with less than promised battery life etc. etc. wooopty f***ing doo RIM! Starting at $500 and well …. it’s an overgrown smartphone except it is yet to receive a 3G module … oops

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It’s been a while

So yeah it’s been a while since the last post. I got sucked into “real” life and it’s minutia … and I’ve also ended up stuck at this soul crushing childhood-dreams-destroying job but that’s another story all together. It always amazes me when upper management proves itself incompetent and absolutely oblivious to the importance of management tasks. Basically little by little I start living in an “Office Space” world [look it up if you’re not sure what that is, well worth your time plus Jennifer Aniston is smoking].

Other than that, well I gave in an got Virgin Media service. At the end of the day I mostly care about having a blazing internet connection and about having an alright TV service. Which is exactly what Virgin offered. I’ve also realized how bad reception actually is on iPhone 3GS and can’t wait until my contract is over and Apple releases the new and improved iPhone (please let it be in 3 month). I’ve gotten convinced that NFC payment are a pipe dream and while they might be all sparkly and glittery to the MNOs and SIM manufacturers, they are actually a complete joke. In today’s world £20 is way to little for it to be useful and banks are not going to increase the limits any time soon. I mean come on, if I take my other half out for a meal, 9 out of 10 times it actually costs me more than what contactless can pay for. Yeah thanks but we are not paying separately even if my bank account would love that. I guarantee you that certain other bits will not!

You get the point, contactless payments are alright cause you can pay a little bit quicker but at the end of the day there isn’t much that you can pay for with them so really no go at the moment. It might be great for corner shops and street vendors however, they hate paying for transactions and banks are not going to wave transaction fees. So yeah your £2.50 hot dog will still be cash only and no it will not cost you £2.60 just because!

There hasn’t been much on the Mac front either. It is a bit like silence before a storm. The Mac Apple Store is doing very very well and I’ve been using it quite a bit. Hey it made me actually buy a couple of apps that I’ve been delaying purchasing for a while (most noteworthy of which is Autograph). However, it’s got a big flaw, if you are going to allow developers to sell out of the app store you have to also allow them to import existing licences or essentially you setting them up for a bag of hurt. It’s shit having to repurchase software that you already own but at least with iOS software is cheap (mostly). Not the case with the Mac version at all. But hey maybe Apple is working on that.
Anyway Lion will be awesome and finally fixes some really really really old flaws of the OS ( like open application management and window management). Oh and on top of that, a lot of developers are not building application for 10.6 and above which is absolutely great. Not like the older ones didn’t work (this is not at all the Windows case) but hey I’d take the optimized version any day. Technically it saves you money cause less CPU usage = less power = less money out of your pocket (even if it’s a negligible difference).

Oh and Mac Desktop Update is still well worth it’s money even if some applications would only update through the App Store (no other version available for devel). I played with Mobile Me too and while it’s a great tool I find it hard justifying spending £60 for a year of service. Yes Virgin gives me an inferior service from a user perspective, but provided that you get the really fast internet, you also get unlimited online storage and pretty much everything that MobileMe offers … well a cheaper knock off of it at least. So yeah eventually I will go back to Mobile Me but for now I’d rather use my money for something else, like … well I’d rather not say actually 🙂

So yeah I’m back on my way to salvaging my digital life and will write a bit more in the very near future. Oh and in the mean time if anyone wants to get rid of an iPad 2 … I’m here and waiting. Those things are very impressive. Yes it’s missing about a laundry list of features that I’d like it to have but considering what it can do the way it is, it is fantastic. And yes I have played with the Android contenders and have seen the “not so final” version of BB and HP’s contenders. If that’s all you guys can do … BRING IT ON, and kiss your behinds good bye too 🙂

me out, peace!

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