Tuesday, January 15, 2008


As we go into another year and new product planning activities, the tensions run high and everybody comes with all guns blazing. We're a company with, as Seth points out, many cultural vestiges reflected in our product line.

The temptation is to declare legacy an antiquation that must be hacked off. But easier said than done. Companies that succeed completely at this exercise (and by definition completely reinvent themselves) are exceedingly rare. Does anybody have any examples?

Monica pointed out a site that reports on demographics of various on-line sites (www.quantcast.com). Take a look at some of the major sites listed. Sears.com? I didn't know Sears The Retailer was still in business--let alone operating a web site with 20M unique page views per month. Facebook it ain't, but it seems to be serving a certain demographic looking for product information pretty well.

Sears is using its cultural vestiges to its advantage and focusing on its customers as an the life blood of that culture. Something for us to keep in mind.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Oh and one more thing..

Mark your calendars for the Maker Faire in early May. Possibly my lovely wife will let us all attend?

Misc stuff

First of all, we were at the zoo today and had the rare opportunity to hear one of the kangaroos pass gas. How many of you can say that?

I located my TivoHD. I was furious when the UPS on-line status said it had been delivered, when it clearly had not. As luck (or unluck) would have it, the house up the street (which appears unoccupied at the moment) is 1782, whereas we're 1872. And the UPS delivery person must be dyslexic. My precious package had been sitting on their front porch for two days. I retrieved it greedily and canceled my vendetta against UPS.

I ordered this book on Design Patterns in Ruby this morning. I love design patterns for their refined beauty, and love ruby for similar reasons. I am hopeful I'll be inspired to fool around with some ruby code as a result, and will stave off my impending insanity due to day-to-day non-technical duties.

Please contribute to John Hodgman's charity event, Scrabble for Cheaters. For $500 he can use words he makes up (which requires a made up definition). This is right up his brilliant comedic alley, and worth funding.

Finally, A "me too" MacWorld Prediction:
Apple patented a docking mechanism that allows you to slide the notebook vertically into the side of a display, like you now slide a DVD into an iMac display.
I predict Apple will introduce something that makes use of my MBP's ExpressCard expansion slot. And this sort of idea sounds not unlike Apple. I think it's crazy that there isn't a third party docking station thingy out today that let's me combine all my cables into one simple solution (via the ExpressCard).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Finally, somebody's making some sense..

According to this article on the Warner/Blu-ray deal,
Tsujihara said the company needed to quickly erase consumer and retailer confusion over dueling DVD formats before economic conditions deteriorated.
No kidding. Thank you Warner Bros. The big money's in us middle to late adopters. There are more winners than losers when this thing is decided.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Beta wins!

According to Mr Smarty Pants (not his real name) via IM, Blu-ray rules. And the NYT (via Warner Bros) seems to be backing him up. I did notice a dramatic slant towards Blu-ray in the retailers while looking for TV's recently. I guess this time Betamax wins..

If you're curious, I did begin the Analog/SD to HD conversion process. I have a S3 Tivo on order (still hasn't shipped yet, grumble), and purchased a 32" el-cheapo Vizio LCD from Costco. Now for the controversial portion of this post:

Does 1080 res really make a difference in a 32" TV?

I was initially disappointed to find that most 32" TV's don't support 1080 resolution natively. They're all 720 with the single exception of the Sharp Aquos LC32D62U. I was this close to pulling the trigger on this set at Circuit City (the only retailer in town who stocks it). I would have too if the sales droid hadn't been busy down the aisle with something else. Then a little voice inside my head told me to go on-line and get a feel for why so few 1080 32" sets exist on the market. I did so (via my blackberry no-less) and found the consensus that the human eye can't tell the difference on a 32" set at normal viewing distances:
The Math
(Screen Diagonal x 0.87) / Horizontal Resolution = Pixel Width
(Screen Diagonal x 0.49) / Vertical Resolution = Pixel Height
At a distance of 10 feet, the eye can resolve 1/120 of a degree of arc, which translates to a width of 0.033 inches.
So I walked out of the store and retreated to Costco. I then commenced a very scientific comparison and analysis of the available 720p 32" sets on display (I looked at them for a few minutes), and went on to purchase the cheapest. My logic being that the technology still has some settling out to do in the next few years, in the digital world Moore's Law comes into effect, and this TV isn't going to be around for 20 years like my old one, so it's going to be obsolete on the way to the car anyway--might as well reduce my sunk costs now with the intention to upgrade in a couple of years anyway.

The results at home are pretty dramatic. Our old TV wasn't just an SD set, it was a poor example of the format. It hadn't had a clear picture since the Clinton era and never had good color anyway. In recent years it took on a yellowish tint, and the picture was skewed towards the top such that Kelsey Grammer looked like that alien in the Corbomite Maneuver.

Anyway, the TV looks fantastic. Right now it's playing SD DVD's like they're whole new movies. So I can rest assured that it'll look even better with a Blu-ray player to go along with it.