Since the advent of the Internet, its users have been able to hide behind a certain vail of anonymity. So I wonder how can one use the web accurately to research market trends? Some of this will make sense, other times it will be a brain dump. Bear with me, this is a long term project in the making.

4.23.2005

Weekend Reading 4.23.05

Happy weekend to all. Let's dive into to this weekend's reading right away, you'll enjoy the first posting.

This week new articles heralded the supposed start of talks over the next generation of DVD technology. I found a Reuters article that lays out what is happening, but not really what is at stake. The short and skinny is that there are two next-gen DVD standards in place, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Both are capable of storing more data than current DVDs which is good for storing HD content, but they are not compatible. Think BetaMax versus VHS all over again at the end of 2005. Now companies behind the standards, mainly Sony and Toshiba, have decided to try and define one standard for HD DVDs. While not mentioned in the article, I think the main reason is that consumers would be turned off by the confusion and decide to stick with their current DVD players and would also increase their usage of OnDemand HD movies through their cable operator or FIOS operator. If the DVD talks do not go well, could this put an end to the purchase of DVDs for entertainment purposes as people rely more on faster Internet speeds for delivery of HD movies and content?

Expanding on the HD discussion above, Gizmodo links to a story about Texas Instruments' new 1080p DLP chip which is going into production sets this summer. This could be a big driver for sales of new TV sets come the end of the year or the start of NFL season. The reason being is that all of the early adopters have picked up their HD plasma/LCD/DLP sets while the next set of adopters are waiting for prices to drop lower. The introduction of a lower cost DLP chip should create some healthy competition for the LCD producers and nudge down prices making HD more affordable for the masses. Could we see HD TV set sales take off in the second half of the year as opposed to 2006? That would definitely go against my original train of thought.

Moving on, my thanks goes out to Mary Jo Foley for writing an article pertaining to the end of mainstream support for Windows 2000. This will serve as a reminder to me to consider my server upgrade options when I return to the office next week. Since I am only using the server as a print and file server, should I upgrade to Server 2003 or go the Linux route? Being part of a small office, I can only surmise that thousands if not millions of Windows 2000 customers are scratching their heads wondering what they should do? Could this be the needed revenue driver for Microsoft during the summer duldrums in software? Might print and file server users decide enough is enough I am moving to Linux?

4.13.2005

A Weekday Comment, Curious

I was doing some reading up on Microsoft's next mobile platform and came across the following article that asks a very interesting question, "Is Microsoft delaying MS Mobile 2005 due to push email patent concerns?" I don't know the answer, but I am sure millions would like to know. I had to blog this one so that I would remember where I read this and will revisit it after following a few threads.

Also, after posting over the weekend that Sony was going to one up Microsoft and give everyone a glimpse of Playstation 3 before we saw Xbox 2, seems Microsoft has regained the title of being first. It's all over the news now, but here is a posting from one of Xbox Live's employees commenting on the Microsoft and the MTV infomercial.

4.10.2005

Weekend Reading 4/9/05

My apologies for not posting last weekend, I was busy getting ready for a road trip. So without further adeui here is this week's readings. I will be posting throughout the weekend as it is beautiful outside here.

First up, via Gizmodo I was directed to PCWorld's site to check out new oxyride disposable batteries. Reading through the review it looks like alkaline batteries are in a for a challenge, but lithium are safe. As the article points out the new oxyride batteries will last longer than alkaline, but cost the same. While lithium batteries will still outlast the oxyride batteries, lithium costs more. The review also points out that Panasonic holds the patent for the oxyride tech, so you'll have to look for that brand. If they have a large enough distribution channel, could this pose a threat to the Energizer bunny?

Moving on, I will be listening in to a podcast posted by Mikehall on his Microsoft Mobile podcast blog this afternoon and posting some short comments. The podcast is an interview with a product manager involved with Microsoft's Mobile operating system. For now I am off to present a scholarship and enjoy the seventy degree weather.

Furthermore, I was checking up on Mary Jo Foley's Microsoft Watch site and was directed to a quick summary of when the next-gen gaming platforms from Microsoft and Sony. Looks like at E3 in May Sony will show off Playstation 3 with the Xbox 2 as the encore. Quite frankly we will all have seen the specifications before the E3 show, but what should matter most is when the platforms will be released and what media they choose to support. It's pretty much a given what HD DVD technology Sony will use, but what will Microsoft favor? Also, with this spring's release of the Playstation portable and refreshed iPods along with a sleu of other MP3 players being released this year, where will the consumer spend their money? Last year it was an easy question to answer, maybe not so much this year.

Next up, I checked out [Bill] Burnham's Beat to see how his virtual software portfolio fared for the first quarter. He beat the NASDAQ, but only by a slight margin. Some interesting picks in his portfolio, longs focused on business intelligence and a couple of shorts. Check out the comments on salesforce.com as a short, Burnham along with everyone else is looking for cracks in the armor of the company and a big drop, what are the worries?

Further through my blog reading, I was pointed towards an intesting site listing numberous uses for mobile devices. I have not had a chance to read through all of the ideas, but skimming through the first two or three on the site make this one to return to in the future. Thank you Russell Beattie for the recommendation.

That's a wrap for the weekend, I need to get to the podcast on Windows Mobile and do some other research.