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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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December 28, 2005

From the “Don’t Let the Door Hit You” Department…

December 28, 2005 | By | No Comments

So, how many file formats have cost you your job? According to Digg (and yes, I’ve double-dipped Digg, referencing them twice in one night), “Peter Quinn, the man responsible for bringing Open Document to the state of Massachusetts as CIO will resign on January 9, citing the controversy around the decision as well as personal attacks aimed at him as reasons for his departue.” I’m not knocking Microsoft specifically in this, because they’re tring to make sure that their products enter into the consideration set for any purchase. That is their responsibility to their shareholders and employees; however, why should a CIO (even for a government entity) not be able to decide which file formats his organization should support?

Let’s take this discussion out of the IT arena and look at the overall organization, instead. Can a CEO institute a policy that they will only contract with public companies or ones that permit certain levels of due diligence? Sure. So, how’s this different?

read more | digg story

Tim Peter

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December 28, 2005

Amazon sizes up the competition…

December 28, 2005 | By | No Comments

And it ain’t who you think it is. According to a story posted on Digg, Amazon is allowing customers to download some artists’ music for free as MP3’s. The original post states, “Here are some pretty good downloads that amazon gives away each week free mp3 downloads from The Strokes; The Pornographers ; The Hives and so many more.” Clearly, Amazon has seen the enemy, and it’s MySpace. In the future of commerce on the web (and, to some degree, its past), who you compete with isn’t the same folks you always thought it was. File-sharing (swapping, piracy, whatever) scared the content producers and now social networking sites might be scaring the online retailers. Looks like we’re getting back in the “sticky eyeball” business of the boom days, with the sites that can draw traffic getting lots of play (see Barry Diller’s recent gobbling up of MySpace for a half-billion dollars).

Back in the boom days, people talked about the concept of “getting Amazon’ed,” where an online upstart would come along and pull the rug out from under an established (offline) player. Seems Amazon is getting worried about getting a taste of its own medicine and is looking for ways to avoid “getting MySpace’d.”

read more | digg story

Tim Peter

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December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 25, 2005 | By | No Comments

No post today, folks. Enjoy a great Christmas!

Tim Peter

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December 24, 2005

The future (will|will not) be televised…

December 24, 2005 | By | No Comments

So, Dan Gillmor, who we last visited with just about a year ago, has been named as a fellow to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The interesting thing about this is that this is Gillmor’s second attempt to study blogging as a social movement. The first, Bayosphere, appears to be plugging along, though doesn’t appear to have caught hold the way Gillmor probably was hoping when he left the Mercury News. What I find most interesting about the move is that it doesn’t look much like he’ll be doing anything different, except that now he’ll be doing it in a non-profit environment. How much does this say about the profit-potential for blogging? It’s tough to say, both because Bayosphere doesn’t have to publish its financials and so could be profitable, and because some folks do appear to be making money (Gawker Media comes immediately to mind, despite Nick Denton’s posturing protests to the contrary).

CNN Money published an article not long ago in which they describe/critique the many business models from which blogs can choose. It’s a decent read, though they’re overthinking it. Blogs, and most online businesses, basically can pursue one of three strategies: focus on content (like what AOL Time-Warner and Disney try to do); focus on distribution (like what Google and MySpace try to do); or attempt some form of hybrid (where to begin — almost everyone’s doing it to some degree, including most of the folks I just named).

In the early days of radio, and then television, individual stations created their own content solely for local distribution. Over time, networks of stations evolved, with the network chosing from the best content created at each of its stations and distributing it to the other member stations (these types of media networks still exist, with PBS one of the best known examples — Howard Stern on ClearChannel was, until recently, another great example). In many cases, the ownership of a large, popular station would buy up a number of stations in other regions, too. Finally, specialized production houses started producing content, with networks buying the content and providing distribution (independent films probably illustrate this model best these days). Obviously, hybrid approaches of just about every stripe exist, too. What’s happening with blogs these days, such as AOL buying Weblogs, Inc. (which itself followed the network model), looks increasingly like history repeating.

Which model will win out? It’s probably too soon to say, though, there’s really no reason that companies following each won’t do well. So, good luck, Dan. For profit or non-profit, we’ve really only just begun figuring out how the world will look down the road because of the Internet. It’s going to continue to be fun to see where that road will take us.

Tim Peter

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December 20, 2005

Future adventures in the Internet as operating system…

December 20, 2005 | By | No Comments

So, how long do you think it is before another OS displaces Microsoft Windows (2000, XP, Vista, what-have-you)? As if there weren’t increasing evidence, such as Apple’s (albeit modest) lift in market share, the key chink in the armor is the increasing utility of the Web displacing the traditional OS. Along those lines, Yahoo has now added aliases to its search mechanisms. They refer to the feature as Search Shortcuts, and it’s pretty cool, actually. Isn’t it interesting that the Web has gone from command line (think the days of Lynx and the like), to GUI (Mosaic, Netscape, IE, Firefox, etc.), and is heading back to command line again? What do you want to bet that if this catches on, Yahoo begins looking for ways to monetize this little bit of functionality, much like AOL does with its keywords? Software as services assumes that someone’s willing to pay for those services.

Just, whatever you do, don’t call it “Web 2.0.”