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Friday
Feb042011

Is Apple Experimenting With Touch-Like Behavior for the AppleTV 2?

I use a Harmony remote to control all of my AV setups.  It's a one-stop remote to control all of your AV devices and includes time saving "activity" buttons.

I've been noticing that occasionally, when I choose to watch something using an Apple TV 2, it will display a wiggling podcast (or other) icon.  The same kind of wiggling you get on an iPhone or an iPad when you select an app.  This grabbed my attention, and by the time I could find a camera, the screensaver had kicked in, and I couldn't reproduce it. Well I finally figured out how to regularly get the AppleTV into this mode, and when I did, I also found that I could reorganize the icons just like you can organize apps on iOS.  All of this is done just using the Harmony remote which is key in getting the AppleTV 2 into this mode as it's only when a specific set of IR commands are issued to the other devices in my AV setup.

So, is this behavior intentionally included for future use(s)? Does everyone know about this but me? Or is this simply an oversight and this iOS code was never intended to be executed without a touch screen?

Tuesday
Jan112011

Fermi Lab Tevatron to shut down...

Thankfully, we can go to future.maps.google.com and see what it will look like in a year or so :-(

Click for full size.

Monday
Nov082010

How not to create products...

Inspired by comments from Ryan Block on TWiT #273

Monday
Sep132010

This guy is not me!

Irrespective of what this ad may imply, I do not own a Karmann Ghia.  I did have a thing or two to do with ClearWire's WiMAX technology, however.

Sunday
Sep122010

beezid.com Auctions - Is this a sustainable business model?

If you don't know how the auction site beezid.com works, check out their explanation here. In a nutshell you pay to bid on new, generally high ticket items like new cars. The key is that the price of the item goes up by a single penny every time someone bids, and that each bid can cost the bidder between one dollar and 60¢ (if you buy 200 bids at once).

For example, take a popular item like a 2010 Ford Mustang GT - let's say a $30K version like the one "Brian178" won for $719.66. This car was likely purchased from Ford on the A or X plans (employee/vendor/friends), and it likely cost beezid less than $28K. So how much did beezid.com make on this auction?

71,965 bids @ 60¢ each results in $43,197 (worst case).  That's about $15K more than they paid for the car. So far so good. Of course their bandwidth isn't free, but's it's nothing compared to what sites like Revision3 or Twit.tv consume. Surprisingly, most beezid advertising impressions appear to be made on cable tv which is expensive (I have yet to see one on the web while browsing).  Then there's delivery, shipping etc. Even given these expenses, it's likely beezid is currently producing a reasonable, if small, profit.

That sounds great, as few web businesses can get to profitability this quickly.  However, I think there's a problem looming. And I'm not talking about representing what might be considered "gambling" as an action site. Is it that beezid triggers a compulsion behavior loop in people? Sure it does - but only for a very short while in most users. Nothing like what goes on in casinos.

Here's what may be the problem. Unlike eBay, where the winner to bidder ratio is much lower than at beezid and the feedback driving the compulsion to participate is weak at best. Most folks will spend $10, $20, $50 on bids and then move on, having found no reward, no high to base future hopes on. It's not like Las Vegas where you can see the other winner's who could be you. All you get is a bitmap to view.

Only the occasional winners will remain engaged for longer periods of time, while cable tv advertising dollars need to continue to be spent on an audience that is constantly churning. Some of this sounds vaguely familiar to me...