Verizon Embraces Google’s Android

It is premature to remove Verizon from the list of anti-tech companies, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

In yet another sudden shift, Verizon Wireless plans to support Google’s (GOOG) new software platform for cell phones and other mobile devices. Verizon Wireless had been one of several large cellular carriers withholding support from the Android initiative Google launched in early November.But given the stunning U-turn Verizon Wireless made Nov. 27, announcing plans to allow a broader range of devices and services on its network, Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam says it now makes sense to get behind Android. “We’re planning on using Android,” McAdam tells BusinessWeek. “Android is an enabler of what we do.”

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The Most Anti-Tech Organizations in America

Excellent article @ PCWorld written by Mark Sullivan on the 5 most anti-tech organizations in America. History is replete with examples of products, companies, and industries that fail to adapt and adopt to new technology. These 5 will be next.

From PCWorld by Mark Sullivan

Their names keep coming up over and over again in courtrooms and corridors of power across the country–those groups whose interests always seem to run counter to those of technology companies and consumers. They come in many forms: associations, think tanks, money-raising organizations, PACs, and even other tech-oriented industries like telecommunications.

The tech issues that they’re concerned with are what you might expect: digital rights management and fair use, patent law, broadband speed and reach, wireless spectrum and network neutrality. I talked to a good number of tech and media policy insiders in Washington, D.C.–mostly off the record–to find out who these groups are, how they operate, and who pays their bills. We’ll start with the biggest offenders first and work our way down.

1. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

Issue: Copyright and Fair Use

The Internet economy should be a boon for digital media companies and for those of us that like to buy our music and video online. It’s also a very powerful way to connect with people of like mind with a view toward learning about new things to watch and listen to. Unfortunately, the content owners in the record and movie industries have mainly seen the Web as a platform for piracy, and have mainly failed to adapt their businesses to the realities of online, as one lonely industry executive recently admitted. (more…)

Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10?

Leopard BoxApple’s new operating system and its massive new feature set challenge users and developers to explore new and better ways of working. I don’t think Leopard is a perfect 10, but the author, Tom Yager, opines that Leopard’s many new features and underlying capabilities allow Leopard to “stay out of the user’s way while being a microsecond away from answering any user demand, and to make sure that the user never has to do anything twice.” This article is worth a read.

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Home Theater Modeled After Enterprise Bridge

Someone thought it would be a good idea to model their home theater after the Enterprise NCC-1701D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The result is super geeky, but actually rather cool. The system also features “one of the largest Kaleidescape hard-drive based storage systems” ever created, amassing eight servers with 3,816 DVDs.

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Intel to Unveil Chips for Improving Video Quality on the Web

From the NYT:  Intel plans to announce a family of microprocessor chips on Monday that it says will speed the availability of high-definition video via the Internet.

As consumers clamor for more Internet video, a huge computing burden is placed on companies like Google, Microsoft and providers of digital video, who must compress the video files so they can be streamed to desktop and portable computers.

Intel’s new family, made up of 16 processors, would first be used in servers and high-end desktops that compress the video. They are the first chips based on a new manufacturing process that Intel says will give it a significant competitive advantage by increasing computing performance while reducing power consumption.

To get better video compression, Intel has added a set of 46 instructions it calls SSE4 to the new microprocessors.

The leading designer of the new processor, Steve Fischer, said the new instructions would make possible a new generation of servers that enhance the compression of digital video. “Video is becoming ubiquitous on the Web,” he said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, “and it’s probably the best use for this 45-nanometer technology over the next couple of years.”

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I Want My iTV

Cliff Sullivan from BusinessWeek writes,

But I won’t be getting it soon. While the technology is mostly in place, the players—from cable companies to film studios—can’t agree on how to make it happen.

I want to listen to music, have a box pop up on my screen telling me who’s phoning my home, or watch a vacation-themed slide show before forwarding it on to bore my friends on Facebook—all while sitting in front of the set in my living room. No one has yet put this wish list together in one nice, easy-to-use package.

They sure haven’t. As the author correctly points out, the reason is not the technology, but protection of existing business models. No one is addressing the gap between online content and the television.

While new technologies like IPTV bring digital content over IP to a STB connected to a TV, they do nothing to bridge the gap between online media and the TV.

So read the article at the BusinessWeek site and weigh in. What do you think? Is anyone addressing this gap? Do you want to watch online media on your TV? What features would you like to see in an iTV offering?

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