Info

A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Archive for

Kindle Family
So, yesterday James Tye, CEO of Dennis in the UK had a question for me:
qforadders.png
And the answer is “no”. 
I remember the incident very clearly, because I remember picking my words very carefully indeed. And this is what I said, as best I recall it:
The Kindle? At that price point, in that form factor? It’s stuffed. (pause for laughter) Amazon needs to become a platform, selling ebooks on all devices.
Media Week reported what I said, but directly quoted only one word. I bet you can guess which one. :) So, James, the reason I don’t regret saying that the Kindle would be dead in a year is because, well, I never predicted that. I just pointed out that the Kindle, as it existed then, was unsustainable. 
Here’s why I gave that answer: back then, the Kindle was expensive. It was half the price of the iPad, for a tiny fraction of the features. It was uncompetitive. And sure enough, a month after that conference, the price came down, and has been on a steady downwards trend ever since.
In the light of iPad, Amazon had three options:
  1. Make the Kindle a lot cheaper
  2. Make the Kindle a lot better
  3. Become a device-agnostic platform
At the time of the conference, Amazon was clearly following the third path, which is why I highlighted it. That said, I did think it was possible that Amazon wasn’t really interested in the hardware business long term, and would slowly wind down their own Kindles as the software spread. Then the price came down, and it became clear that Amazon was pushing towards option 1, too.
What the announcements earlier in the week make amply clear is that actually, Amazon was taking all three options. I didn’t expect that. I’m not sure anyone did.
Amazon is clearly protecting its own future as more and more media shifts to digital not just by becoming a digital storefront, but by pushing as hard as it can to make cheap, accessible content consumption devices and get them into the hands of the general public, tying them into Amazon’s ecosystem. And that’s what differentiates both Amazon and Apple from other players in the tablet field: they both have content ecosystems to support their devices. The key difference, for those who care, is that Apple uses content sales to encourage hardware sales. Amazon uses hardware sales to encourage content sales. 
In the last few months, I’ve been an enthusiastic Kindle user. I went on holiday to Florida over the New Year period, and went sans the normal huge pile of paperbacks, carrying all but one book with me on my iPad. That pushed me over into full-on ebook enthusiasm, but also made it clear to me that a cheaper, eInk device had a place in my life. I wouldn’t take my iPad down to the pool or onto the beach, but I would a much, much cheaper Kindle. Within a few months, I was a happy Kindle owner
On a personal level, I’m delighted by the new Kindles. The one I’m lusting after is actually the Kindle Touch. The physical buttons of the Kindle I have are just terrible. Awful. The sooner I have a simple, touch-screen eInk device in my hands, the happier I’ll be. The second it becomes available for pre-order in the UK, I’ll be there. I’m a lot less interested in the Kindle Fire, because I have an iPad, and am perfectly happy with it. There isn’t space for a content consumption only device between my iPhone and Kindle and my iPad right now. I am not the target customer for it. Also, I have one very significant caveat about the Fire, while I’ll discuss in another post. 
On a professional level, I’m possibly even more delighted. For the first time, Apple has a real, viable competitor in the tablet space. It’s not a direct competition, because the Kindle Fire fits quite neatly between two Apple products: the iPad and the iPod touch. I’m sure it will nibble away sales from both devices in the coming years. And that’s a good thing. Because competition drives innovation. The waves of Android tablets that came before the Kindle Fire weren’t (and aren’t) strong competition. They’re pricey knock-offs of the iPad. Amazon has done something different. And something cheaper. And that’s much more interesting. 
But, still on a professional level, it’s also challenging. It throws another form factor and platform to figure into our publishing plans. And it’s almost certainly speeded up the shift to digital content. It’s gonna be a wild ride…
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wow. If we had any doubt that Google+ was going to become a significant part of what Google does, I think we can abandon it now. Checking recent referrals to this blog, I stumbled across this search result:

Circle counts
I’ve talked about authorship markup before, but now they’ve added circle counts. That’s interesting.
Authorship is a way of socialising search results – it gives the author of any particular page a high level of emphasis. I’ve seen a small, but noticeable, uptick in search click-throughts since I started using it. That’s to be expected – people respond to images of people. 
However the circle count gives some indication of authority – how followed this person is, how worth listening to they are. Looks like Google+ is going to end up as an integral part of Google search…

Saying goodbye to LewishamIt has been a week of changes, which is one of the reasons for my silence on the blog. The big change came on Monday, when we finally completed the sale of the flat I’ve lived in for the last decade and a half. For a short while, I am no longer a property owner. Instead, I’m a happily renting with my wife in a town on the south coast, and positively relishing not having a home in London for the first time since, as far as I can recall, 1990. After two decades I am officially no longer a Londoner. And yet, I’m not tired of life. ;-)

And that means some changes for this blog. During 2004 and 2005, this blog was often focused on Lewisham and its surrounds. That phase has long passed, and apart from some recent quick flings with my past, it’s not coming back. This blog is now firmly around the intersection of journalism, social media and technology, and I have other places for other subjects. Most particularly:
And there’s assorted other stuff, too, but those are the blogs that have inherited what were once parts of this blog’s remit. So feed free to dump this feed if you don’t care about journalism/social media/technology and pick up one of the others instead…
And, as the week was already one of adapting to change, I made the decision to change the software running this blog. The last time I mentioned this, I was choosing between Movable Type 5, Melody and WordPress. I dismissed WordPress first. Although I create the majority of new blogs I set up on the platform, the effort of migrating the 3000+ entries on this blog, plus all the assets, and then getting the URLs all lined up just didn’t seem worth the benefits I’d get. Melody fell next – I like and respect what the team behind it are doing, but they haven’t yet persuaded me that they’re in it for the long-haul. Perhaps if version 1.1 was out by now, I might have chosen differently. But it isn’t, and I didn’t. 
One Man & His Blog on Movable Type 5
And so, this blog continues its eight year history on Movable Type, finally hitting version 5 with this software upgrade. (5.12 for the pedants). 
A new start this week, on lots of levels. And lots of stuff to talk about. Onwards, to the future… ;-)
Enhanced by Zemanta

OK, I really can’t decide if Facebook’s new Timeline approach to profiles is cool or creepy:


On the one hand, it’s a cool visualisation of who you are. On the other, it really feels like your life laid bare. I wonder how granular the privacy controls will be over the different sections of the Timeline? And do I really want a single company knowing this much about my life?

And, although this may seem morbid, I wonder if they’ve thought through how to deal with the inevitable end of the timeline: death?

Image representing CloudFlare as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

A brief diversion into administrivia. People with no interest in self-hosted blog platforms can move right along. There’s nothing for the like of you here. :-)

This blog has languished somewhat, from a technology point of view. Apart from switching to Disqus for the commenting, I’m essentially running on the same bit of software I’ve been using for four years now – nearly half the lifetime of the blog… That has to change sometime soon, and I’ll make the decision between Movable Type 5, Melody or the more challenging shift to WordPress sometime later in the year, when I gave a little more personal bandwidth to get stuff like this done.

In the meantime, and in the quest for faster loading of the blog, I’ve activated a service called CloudFlare:
alittleflare.png
It’s acting a combined content distribution network, security service and all-round site speeder-upper (a technical term, you understand…). I’ve had it running for around four hours now, and all seems fine. Load times are noticeably down on what they were before, and I’ll be interested to see if that has any influence on site traffic.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Quoting myself, from nearly eight years ago:

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, true enough. What most people fail to realise is that they are not entitled to have that opinion taken seriously. The ability to bash out a few hundred barely coherent words and post them on the internet does not automatically make your opinion worthy. That respect has to be earned.

Still a useful things to bear in mind when interacting on the internet…

Well, this is really useful:

Introducing Vimeo Music Store from Andrea Allen on Vimeo.

I was hunting for some music for a video project the other day, and struggled to find reasonably-priced selections of tracks to be used in that sort of context. Given the boom in popularity in online video in recent years, I was genuinely surprised there wasn’t something like the Vimeo Music Store. But now there is. Given that I’ve utterly exhausted the possibilities of the music that ships with iMovie, I suspect I’ll be digging into this store a fair amount.

A predictably insightful and inspiring post from Mr Mayfield:

It occurs to me that media and marketing businesses are like the master craftsmen of old. Master masons in the middle ages created cathedrals and castles of staggering scale and beauty. 
When science – and especially mathematics – began to make its influence felt more, though, a whole new world of possibilities opened up – what we think of as the modern discipline of architecture. Projects of scale and ambition were led by architects.

Architects brought together science and the art.
That’s not to say that master masons wouldn’t and didn’t have a future – but it was a future within the context of architecture as a discipline, as a world view.

I’ve felt for a long time that the future of media will look very different from even its recent past. This is more grist to the mill.