Monday, September 22, 2003

Aura Communications

Bet you've never heard of them. Neither had I. But you will be hearing about them soon. Aura is taking (or at least trying to take) a bite out of Bluetooth. If you don't know what Bluetooth is, Bluetooth is a wireless standard pioneered by Motorola for use in device that need to communicate with each other in close proximity. Bluetooth uses radio frequency in a defined spectrum to accomplish connection.

Aura, on the other hand, uses a magnetic field to accomplish the same goal as Bluetoooth with some surprising advantages. Advantages include: singificantly improved battery endurance and security. Essentially the magnetic technology creates a "bubble" that extends a certain distance out and around the transmitter, while Bluetooth blasts radio frequency signal all over the place from the transmitter (this is what causes massive power drain).

Pay attention to the fact that much of the funding for the Aura team comes from Motorola Venture Partners, the investment arm of Motorola. Interesting to see Motorola potentially hedging its bets against Bluetooth . . .

Friday, September 19, 2003

Ever heard of BigChampagne? Me neither, until I read this . . .

Apparently BigChampagne is watching you . . . if you are downloading music from a P2P program like Kazaa. BigChampagne actually tracks volum downloads for particular songs and artists and sells the data to Guess Who? Record companies! Read the full article here, it's almost too much to believe. Although maybe this quote from the article explains it:

"The fact is, P2P is a likely distribution channel for our wares," says Jed Simon, head of new media for DreamWorks Records. "If we're going to be intelligent businesspeople, it behooves us to understand it."
Look out Nextel!

Here's a cool company with a cool idea. As a long-time Nextel fan and supporter, I was a bit surprised to see that someone had such an easy idea to compete with Nextel. Basically this service uses the existing voice capturing and playback capabilities built into cell phones to allow you to broadcast to 1 person or to many people. Surprisingly enough, you do NOT have to be on a special network to do this. Rather, you just download this software application. And I thought it was big when I could use my Nextel nationwide!
Follow up to "It's gonna get interesting . . ."

Seems I left out part of the number portability according to this article. What about transferring you land-based phone number to a cell phone or vice versa? Seems it's open to interpretation by the phone companies, but if you're one of those people that forwards phones to different phones anyway, it might be worth looking into . . . at least you can save those forwarding charges.
Might be blue times for Jet Blue

If you are one of the 5 million people that flew Jet Blue prior to Sept. 2002, you may already know what I am tlaking about. If not, read this article about the apology e-mail Jet Blue sent out to its customers for releasing customer information to the government. Feeling offended, mad enough to sue? If so, visit this website to join in the potential class-action.
It's gonna get interesting . . .

On November 24 cellular carriers will have to allow customers to keep their existing phone number when transferring to a different cellular carrier. In the past, customers have had to stay with one particular carrier to ensure that they got to keep their number that "everybody knows," regardless of that company not having the most competitive rate plans, coolest phones, etc. You can find the full FCC text here if you care.

What you will see happening as the date grows closer and certainly after November 24 is cellular companies becoming a lot more comeptitive and, most likely, cellular companies copying each other's tehcnology offerings; and in the process slamming each other in commercials. Perfect example: Verizon's new push-to-talk technology that is supposed to compete with Nextel, which Nextel has dubbed "push-to-wait."

Furthermore, companies are going to try and rope consumers into longer and longer contracts with hefty early termination fees. More than likely service providers will offer what was very expensive hardware at substantially reduced prices provided you sign a 2-year service agreement with a $300.00 early termination fee. Of course, this is already happening, check out Sprint's offer for the Handspring Treo here.

Some brain-surgeon virus creator has disguised his/her new virus as a Microsoft update that comes to you in an e-mail. Microsoft has a policy of NEVER sending updates via e-mail -- genuine Microsoft updates can be found out the Windows Update site here (and while you're there, click on the Office Update link because, yes, there are problems with Office too). Here's the full story on this new virus.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Cool phone! Really cool!

Check it out. Can't get it here yet, but you will soon. Look at it by clicking here.
How big is your hard drive?

Check out article. These folks in California are bringing a class-action lawsuit against computer manufacturers because the usable size of their hard drives is not the same as the advertised size of their hard drives. Pretty lame if you ask me.

Here's a quote from the article: "For example, when a consumer buys what he thinks is a 150 gigabyte hard drive, the plaintiffs said, he actually gets only 140 gigabytes of storage space. That missing 10 gigabytes, they claim, could store an extra 2,000 digitized songs or 20,000 pictures. "

Let's analyze the quote above. They are essentially saying that they cannot store more of their illegally downloaded songs or downloaded pronographic pictures. What a compelling argument!

By the way, to be fair, there is a legal basis for their argument.
PDF under siege!

Several companies are challenging Adobe Acrobat's domineering hold on the portable electronic document format (read ".pdf" if you remove my insertion of the word "electronic"). Read the entire story here.

As a long-time user of Adobe Acrobat and long-time supporter of the PDF format, I can only say good luck to these other companies. Adobe almost makes it too easy though. You can download their reader free for any operating system. Download the Windows here from or for other operating systems from the Adobe Website. Additionally there are a bunch of programs for free on for various operating systems that allow you to create PDF documents from MS Word and other applications.
The best IM client gets better.

I've used the free Trillian IM client since I first came across it a year and a half ago. Trillian allows you to connect to all of the popular instant messaging protocols with one program -- Yahoo! Messenger, AOL, MSN, ICQ. They just released a software upgrade on their website to ensure continued compatibility with Yahoo! and MSN. Oh, by the way, Trillian allows you to set up secure IM connections with other persons using Trillian. Think your IM's are private without secure IM? Don't bet on it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

This year is the end of the record business as we know it.

It's pretty sad when you think about it. CD's have been overpriced for the longest time. Napster and Kazaa and Limewire all provided a way to subvert the system, albeit illegally, and to get the music you wanted for free by people willing to provide it to you. These people that used these services were the PEOPLE THAT BUY CD's! What's the Recirding Industry of America to do? Here's an idea, let's start suing all of the people that buy our product. Sounds great on paper. Wait a minute. No it doesn't. It really doesn't even sound good on paper. What was the RIAA thinking? Not only are you going to alienate your core audience of CD buyers, you're going to alienate your occassional CD buyers. The problem is that although the Internet is not as anonymous as users would like, the user data that the RIAA receives is anonymous. Case-in-point: 12-year-old girl gets sued by the RIAA. Well done. Anyobody that said any media is good media really hasn't had horrible media.

Oh, and by the way, does it seem a little bit convenient that as the RIAA starts it's attacks, Universal music group announces that they will be discounting the price of CD's? Maybe that's a smart play for Universal, but all your artists are part of the RIAA.

Also, today, Senator Sam Brownback expressed his concern for the RIAA's exploitation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (the Act that the RIAA is using as its basis for these suits). Check out what the Senator had to say in this article.

The one's who are really going to win? Try the I-Tunes Music store by Apple. What? You don't have a Macintsoh? Neither does the vast percentage of the rest of the population. But if you're looking for proof that the model of $0.99 per song works, simply look at the volume -- 1 million songs per week. So you don't have to get out your calculator, that's about 1 million dollars per week, of which Apple gives about 65% back to the record company. Seems easy right?

Maybe not for Seems that, as usual, the simple and elegant Apple solution is just a little too hard to imitate. Not to belittle what Buymusic is trying to do, after all they are after the vast majority of us with Windows PC's. The problem is that there are different prices and different digital rights management issues and . . . see can't even easily explain it. Much easier to say $0.99 a song -- Apple wins again.

So if on-demand is the wave of the future what's that leave for CD's. In my opinion, CD's should go after a niche. Why not pick the audiophiles? You know the people that claim to be able to tell the difference between a MP3 or AAC-encoded track and a CD version of the same. Market your SuperAudio and DVDAudio stuff to these guys. They'll pay for it, most of them are used to paying $25.00 a foot for speaker cable.

Oh, and by the way . . . DVD's should look out as well.
Want a free PC?

As part of an anti-trust settlement, Microsoft has to pay. Lindows, a Linux-based Windows alternative, is willing to give you a free PC and some free software if you qualify for a setlltment -- click here to find out more.
Little more on the Sun Microsystems announcement. Check out this blog. It's interesting that they make note of Apple's PowerMac G5's -- they're making them so fast they can't keep them in stock. Very interesting. You know Apple got surpassed by Microsoft because they sort of stuck their heads in the sand and let themselves get surpassed. Is Microsoft paying enough attention to Apple? Maybe Microsoft has their head in the sand, maybe they'll be too busy paying attention to Sun . . . interesting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

The real news . . .sort of.

Looking for a dose of news every morning, try The Onion for your daily headlines. And who said there's nothing good in the paper?
Let's talk about a new way to compute.

That's what Sun's CEO Scott McNealy wants to talk about. He proposes that every user in a company should be charged $100.00 per year to use the same kind of functionality that they now receive from their Windows machine. Oh, and by the way, he's not going to send auditors around to check on your company, he'll simply take your word for the number of employees you say are using the product.

Sound revolutionary doesn't it?

What it really sounds like is fear . . . at least to your IT department and to Microsoft.
I initially created this blog to update every day. Did it happen? Nope. Is it going to happen? Not likely.

I just changed the name of the blog from Strategize to FUBAR. Why would I do that? For those of you that know what FUBAR means, you might think that I made a pretty big turn. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't -- you'll just have to wait and see.

I will still provide you with notable business quotes, but I will also provide you with cool stuff I find, my opinions, etc.

Part of my insipiration for this was Seth Godin's blog. Seth is the writer of A Purple Cow. If oyu haven't read it, I would suggest picking up a copy. Too bad for you that you won't get your shipped to you in a milk carton! In my support for and enjoyment of Seth's books, insight, etc. I wish to support him in slamming this site. Hoepfully you searched for Seth or more hoepfully you searched for the site. Either way, Michael Moore and Sharon Summerlin ripped Seth off and that's good enough for me to jump in and pass on the bad news about these 2 and their company.