Posted on February 9, 2012
A casual remark during a Harlem educator’s interview inspired the title for the public-education documentary, Waiting for Superman. As a poor child in the 1950s and early 60s, Geoffrey Canada read comic books. One day his mom explained Superman was not real. He cried, because he had expected Superman would arrive someday to fix everybody’s problems. Eventually he concluded if a quality education were available, he could make it his pathway out of the ghetto.
For exceptionally talented and dedicated online students, the new version of Apple’s iTunes-U implies Superman can soon become a virtual reality. Read more…
Posted on February 7, 2012
Part 1 concluded that the fundamental disadvantage of conventional books is their limitation as isolated information silos. In contrast, e-books are simultaneously both (1) information repositories, and (2) portals into the nearly infinite resources of the Internet. For example, not only are definitions of unfamiliar words easily obtained in an e-book by highlighting the applicable word to summon a digital dictionary, but more context is conveniently available by “Googling” the term, or connecting to Wikipedia.
Apple’s iTextbook emphasizes a couple of additional features that conventional books cannot match. First, it encourages authors to mix media. Second, it permits interactivity. Read more…
Posted on February 3, 2012
A couple of months hence shall mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. In response, I’ve been reading several books including Charles Lightoller’s memoirs, purchased from the Kindle store for ninety-nine cents. Lightoller was the ship’s senior surviving officer. His story is so incredible that fiction editors would likely reject the plot as too improbable. As playwright Oscar Wilde put it, “(audiences) will believe the impossible, but never the improbable”. More to the point, the experience of reading the e-book on an iPad via Kindle’s App hints at the potential for Apple’s iTextbooks and iTunes- U initiatives.
At age thirteen Lightoller apprenticed aboard a four-masted “three-skysail yarder.” Being an unfamiliar term, I put my finger on “skysail” to summon iPad’s dictionary which described it as “a light sail above the royal”. The definition was not useful since I was also unfamiliar with the meaning of “royal” sails. Fortunately, iPad’s dictionary also provided links to Google and Wikipedia. The Wikipedia link connected to a full explanation including photographs and diagrams identifying all the sails of a clipper ship. Read more…
Posted on December 13, 2011
As noted five years ago in this Inside Digital Media video podcast, the device is more accurately labeled a “teleputer”. (The podcast is so old it was done in Windows Media Video). George Gilder originated the concept about twenty years ago when he envisioned a hand-held unit providing convenient wireless access to a global computer network. It was kind-of the evolutionary destination implied by a popular computer industry slogan at the time, to wit, “the network is the computer.”
Each day Gilder’s concept becomes increasingly obvious to a growing proportion of iPhone users. Today everyone realizes telephone conversations are only one of many useful iPhone functions. More significantly, iPhone users are progressively learning that computer applications are becoming the unit’s raison d’etre. In short, the phone’s digital capabilities such as photography, geo-location, audio & video playback, and especially Internet access, are the defining characteristics. Applications like Skype and FaceTime portend an era when cellular telephony per se, becomes irrelevant to iPhone owners. Read more…
Posted on November 28, 2011
Today’s podcast is a twenty-five minute interview with Ulik Broida who is the Vice President of Marketing at Israel-based Wavion, which is a subsidiary of wireless equipment maker, Alvarion. Wavion specializes in Wi-Fi access points designed for outdoor use.
Earlier this month the senior founder at Trilogy Partnership disclosed that Steve Jobs was originally seriously considering whether Apple could build a nationwide Wi-Fi network for the iPhone. Since Wi-Fi spectrum is unlicensed Apple could build its own network thereby avoiding the possibility that the iPhone user experience would be dependent upon cellular carriers. Presumably, with the iPad on the drawing board, Jobs could see that much of Apple’s future growth would depend upon the availability of reliable wireless service at reasonable fees.
According to Trilogy’s John Stanton, who spent a lot of time with Jobs during iPhone gestation, “(Jobs) wanted to replace carriers. He and I spent a lot of time examining whether a new carrier could be created synthetically with a national Wi-Fi network using unlicensed spectrum.” Jobs eventually partnered with AT&T, partly because the carrier agreed to subsidize the iPhone subscriber costs. Nonetheless, Stanton concluded, “If I were a carrier, I’d be concerned about the dramatic power shift that occurred.” Read more…
Posted on October 30, 2011
Future televisions will be nothing more than wireless display stations. No longer will they be the control center for our home video entertainment. In a Slave-to-Master role reversal, hand-held units shall become the gateways.
Let met explain.
In the future, we’ll access content on portable devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, and choose to display programming on whatever screen is spontaneously most convenient. If we’re in a restaurant for lunch, we’ll likely select the smartphone screen. While sitting in a comfortable upholstered chair with a tablet computer, we’ll likely use the tablet screen. But if were in the TV room, we’ll simply instruct the applicable smartphone or tablet computer to display the video on the television screen.
It’s already happening for those with home Wi-Fi networks. Characteristically, Apple is leading the way. Read more…
Posted on June 27, 2011
Almost three years ago (August, 2008) Inside Digital Media released a video podcast entitled “RIP for RIM Blackberry and the Radio Industry?” Three smartphone and radio industry experts were interviewed. Inside Digital Media concluded both the Blackberry and radio broadcasting would thereafter be challenged with technological obsolescence by launch of iPhone apps the preceding month. In short, we recognized Apple’s App Store as the “game changer” it later proved to be.
Since the podcast Research-in-Motion stock has dropped almost 80% from $130 per share to about $29. Similarly, privately-owned Clear Channel Communication which is the largest radio broadcaster is struggling financially. While Clear Channel’s problems partly result from a mountain of debt, they also reflect a perilously weak recovery in advertising revenues. The weakness is not merely cyclical, but instead reflects a secular decline much like trends earlier impacting newspapers and record labels.
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Also, inspect our eBooks including the first half of “Third Generation Television” which is offered at no charge. Our latest analysis, “Television Band White Spaces” is available through The Diffusion Group.
Posted on June 13, 2011
Today we interact with Internet media nearly as routinely we checked our wristwatches to read time-of-day fifteen years ago. While the conversion might seem radical to consumers from 1996, the advent of portable connected devices such as smartphones and tablet computers implies an even more fundamental change in the future. In short, all media shall become interactive – not just Internet media.
The underlying force is a previously latent demand from sponsors for more effective advertising. As John Wanamaker put it about a century ago “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Yet during the past decade, Google AdWords introduced a new paradigm. The service generates more than $25 billion annually by only charging sponsors for ads that are actually used by the consumer. At Google, advertising is targetable, accountable, and can be convincingly tracked. It is only a matter of time before sponsors will demand the same of all their advertising campaigns in whatever medium, whenever possible.
Significantly, app-enabled mobile devices are empowering traditional media to adapt to such a transformation because the portable units are evolving into cognitive prosthetics. Much as experienced amputees routinely use mechanical prosthetics as artificial limb extensions, habitual smartphone and tablet owners are starting to use the devices as convenient intelligence aids. They help users gain more information that would otherwise be unavailable, or difficult to obtain. For example smartphones can find price comparisons merely by scanning bar codes and other implanted signals off shelf merchandise labels. Specifically, a price-comparison app reads the barcode or embedded signal to (1) identify the merchandise and (2) display a website where up-to-date prices for the item from all merchants are complied. Read more…