Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Splinternet

Is the World Wide Web an endangered species?

Driving home last night I listened to author Josh Bernoff on NPR's Marketwatch make the case that the golden age of the Internet is over. Bernoff argues that smart phones and devices like Apple's iPad are fundamentally changing the nature of the Net.'s really the Web that is shattering into pieces here. We've had 15 years now where there was a common standard for the kinds of computers that were connecting up to Web sites, and this really made it easy for the people who were delivering content to those folks. But now, between iPhones and Tablets and Kindles, you can't be sure if you build a Web site that everybody will experience it the same way anymore.

The comparison was made to the early 1990s when you had AOL and Compuserve -- the Coke and Pepsi of the Internet. You either used one or the other. There some features and services that one had the other didn't -- pros and cons to each. Then the Web came along and unified the way we use the Internet.

But up until now the Internet has been tied down to our home computers or even our laptops.

Now it's gone mobile. We carry the Internet around in our pockets with iPhones, Blackberries, Droids and whatever else. The Internet is often accessed and utilized through various apps. But there is no standard for them. An app for one device won't necessarily work on others.

This could pose a challenge for developers and consumers alike as they try to choose which horse to back. Is this the Internet equivalent of Beta vs. VHS?

Monday, January 25, 2010

iPod inspection #4

Time for another iPod inspection.

I've been getting some odd mixes lately. The other day I was rocking out to a classic Van Halen song only to awkwardly segue into a much more easy listening James Taylor tune.

And the last time I went running I kept getting hit with slow songs like Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman," which just goes to show I need to use a playlist for exercising instead of just shuffling everything.

Anyway, here's today's random 10 songs:
  1. "Killer Queen" - Queen
  2. "Every Breath You Take (Acoustic)" - Sting
  3. "Mr. Pitiful" - The Commitments
  4. "Imperial March" - John Williams (what, you all know I'm a giant geek)
  5. "Paper In Fire" - John Mellancamp
  6. "Black And Tan" - Hair of the Dog
  7. "Where the Streets Have No Name" - U2
  8. "Even Flow" - Pearl Jam
  9. "Home by the Sea/Second Home by the Sea" - Genesis
  10. "Frankestein" Edgar Winter
It seems like I get a U2 song and a Hair of the Dog song every time I do this. You'd think that's all I own, although I can assure you that's not the case.

What's got your ear these days?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun at the Frost Faire

I've written before about how much I enjoy going to the Saratoga Battlefield. It is just so awesome to stand amid such beautiful scenery and know you are surrounded by history.

We paid another visit to the battlefield today for their annual Frost Faire.

We started out by taking a horse-drawn wagon ride out to the big tubing hill. And when I say big, I mean BIG. There was more snow last year. This year there were actually some patched of grass on the hill that slowed things down a bit. But it still went pretty fast. Nolan and I went for a few good runs down the hill.

Thomas was a little intimidated by the steep slope. So he hung out by the campfire at the top with Kris, who was nursing a sore knee, and worked on a assembling a life-sized puzzle of a British soldier.

Then it was off to the warming tent for hot chocolate and cookies before taking the 3/4-mile wagon trip back to the visitors center. That's where Nolan got a lesson in how to handle musket (it was only a pretend one) and Thomas got to practice writing with a quill and ink. There were some crafts to work on and -- best of all -- one of the big canons was fired off a few times. I never, ever tire of that!

It made for a pretty fun afternoon, and every time we go to the battlefield we leave having learned something new.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Social media ain't kid stuff

It seems like I still run into people who think Facebook and Twitter are for youngsters. But get a load of these figures Lost Remote pulled from a Forrester Research report...
  • A third of adults post at least once a week to social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • A quarter of adults publish a blog and upload video/audio they created.
  • Nearly 60% maintain a profile on a social networking site.
  • 70% Read blogs, tweets and watch UGC video.

Clash of the talk show hosts

There are a lot of subtle details to the late night TV debacle at NBC. This video sorts it all out.

Sure it's in Chinese. And it depicts Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jeff Zucker as costumed superheroes battling each other. And it features David Letterman wacking Zucker with a folding chair.

But otherwise, it really tells the story well.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Avoid the Noid

Domino's Pizza has new ad campaign touting a new tastier recipe and saying they've listened to the comments of their customers.

Enjoy Stephen Colbert's analysis of the campaign...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - Domino's Pizza
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

iPod video test

I'm impressed with the video camera on my iPod Nano.

Over the weekend while Thomas was playing in the front yard I decided to pull my iPod out of my pocket and play with the camera since I had never really used it before.

The tiny microphone doesn't pick Thomas up very well, but you can hear my voice just fine. The camera lense is also in kind of an awkward spot -- right where it would feel most natural to place your hand while holding the iPod.

Other than those nitpicks, the video looks pretty good considering it came from such a small device.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

iPod inspection

Time for another iPod inspection. I’ve been listening to a steady diet of podcasts lately (I’m hooked on Current Geek). But when we shuffle the tunes, here’s what comes out…
  1. “The Scotsman” – Hair of the Dog
  2. “Up on the Roof” – James Taylor (Live)
  3. “One Year of Love” – Queen
  4. “In ‘N’ Out” – Van Halen
  5. “You May Be Right” – Billy Joel
  6. Hard to Handle” – The Commitments
  7. “Crash Course” – Crash Test Dummies
  8. “Oliver’s Army” – Elvis Costello
  9. “Bullet the Blue Sky” – U2
  10. “Lonely Ol’ Night” – John Mellencamp

What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Passing it along

There is nothing better than sharing something you love with your kids and seeing them enjoy it too.

For Kris, this often comes when we go camping or spend time in the Adirondacks. She tries hard to instill an appreciation of the outdoors in the boys and loves seeing that pay off.

With me it often comes with more geeky pleasures.

Case in point -- last night I took Nolan to see "Raiders of the Lost Ark" at the Palace Theatre in Albany. He had seen the movie before, but I assured him that he had never seen it like this. I told him that there was something magical about sitting in a dark theater and watching the adventure play out on the giant screen. I told him that the picture might be scratchy or the sound not always crystal clear, but it would still be way better that watching a DVD in our basement.

I don't think he understood what I was talking about. But when the movie was over, he told me that I was right. He got it.

Another example -- it was a big weekend for "Doctor Who" fans. The latest (and some might argue greatest) actor to play the main character in the long running British sci-fi show left the series.

One of the things that has kept the show going since 1963 is a clever little plot device that allows different actors to come and go in the role. You see, the Doctor is an alien with the ability to regenerate -- essentially transform into a new body -- when he is dying.

Fans of the show always have a certain fondness for their first Doctor. For me it was Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor. For Nolan and Thomas it has been David Tennant, the 10th Doctor.

When I was a kid I was aware that there had been other actors who had played the Doctor. But still, seeing Tom Baker regenerate into the fifth Doctor blew my mind. And that was the case for my boys. There was much hoopla and hype leading up to Tennant's departure. When the moment of the big transformation finally came, they were literally on the edge of their seats. It was so cool to watch them enjoy that.

There are lots of things we try to pass on. Some things take better than others. It's always a thrill when you find you can share something you love.