Archives for October 2010

MacBook Air: Still Lust-Worthy With Core 2 Duo?

Am I the only one stressing about the fact that the new MacBook Airs run the older Intel Core 2 Duo architecture instead of the newer Core i5 or i7 chips?  They arebenchmarking and performing very nicely to rave reviews (engadgettechcrunch,gizmodo) due in large part to the flash based storage, and the battery life is great, but will they become obsoleted that much faster?  Admittedly, they are less expensive and designed for portable productivity not desktop performance, but still, the older chip architecture has to give one pause.  (Never mind: after much soul-searching, I still lust for one, but I’ll hold off until they offer the Core i7.)

Square Is Cool

Received my Square credit card reader recently, downloaded the app, and have been using it for a little while.  Overall, I’d have to say it is a nice tool.  The reader is very poorly made and flimsy, so I worry about its durability in the pocket, but it was essentially free, and is easily replaced, so no biggie.  Payment process is incredibly simple and easy – in fact, it is almost too easy; the first time through it, the screen elements are so spare and elegant as to be confusing; it is not always clear what to do next (for example, the signature capturing screen is very plain.)  A few labels or some guidance would be nice.  But once you get the hang of it, it is very quick and easy and the notifications are fast and convenient.  It is nice to be able to take credit cards.  Too bad the dongle doesn’t have a keychain loop.  Still, I’m a fan.

Apple & Sony? Get Real.

And Jobs is certainly not going to dividend out that cash. He worked very hard to earn it and he’s not going to return it to shareholders whom he doesn’t like and to whom he’s already given an amazing ride.

 

Apple + Sony? Sorry, it ain’t gonna happen. I think Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry of Silicon Alley Insider outlines the reasons better than I could. And the snip above is the frosting – perfectly captures indifference Steve Jobs has for his shareholders – for him it’s not about the trappings of being a public company CEO, it’s about making great products and having a bully pulpit from which to shout about them.

Gruber’s a Genius, But I’d Quibble With This One

Nothing particularly controversial in this John Gruber post, but I think it misses the importance of Apple’s $700 laptop – the 32GB iPad 3G.  For many people this is emerging as the “go-to” portable device, leaving the Air in a tough spot in the line-up.  I had a previous generation MBAir and I basically stopped carrying it because finding or bringing my own wifi was such a pain.  The iPad 3G is light, connects everywhere, and does what I need 98% of the time.  And for those times when I need a laptop, I generally REALLY need a laptop, so an 11 inch MBAir is not going to cut it.  So I think John missed some of the complexity here – for many people it is the iPad 3G + serious laptop like an MacBook Pro that is the killer combination.  That leaves the Air in kind of a sticky spot – not as light or connected as the iPad, but not as powerful and useable as the MBPro.

Android: Barely Controlled Chaos and Kludgy Results

Perhaps the biggest point of friction for Android is the same thing that led to its success. Because Google makes its software available free to a range of phone manufacturers, there are dozens of different Android-compatible devices on the market, each with different screen sizes, memory capacities, processor speeds and graphics capabilities. An app that works beautifully on, say, a Motorola Droid might suffer from glitches on a phone made by HTC. IPhone developers, meanwhile, need to worry about only a few devices: iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Talking about Android momentum is very much in fashion at the moment, and it is a good thing to have some competition for Apple, but Jenna Wortham hits the Android nail on the head in today’s NYT Technology Section – this platform is barely controlled chaos and the kludgy results appeal to only the geekiest of users.

Congratulations To Portfolio Companies 3Play Media, Zyrra and Localytics

Congratulations to Race Point Capital portfolio companies 3Play Media, Zyrra andLocalytics for their excellent showing in the Mass Challenge finals tonight.  Localytics made it to the semi-finals out of about 300 companies who entered and both Zyrra and 3Play Media were $50k check winners.  Congrats to Raj, Josh, Derek and all of their teams.  Great job!  (Special shout out as well to Race Point Capital friend Rentabilities which was also a check-winning finalist!)  Well done!

Steve Jobs: “These New Tablets Will Be DOA”

I’d like to comment on avalanche of tablets poised to enter the market. It appears to be just a handful of credible entrants, not an avalanche. Nearly all use 7-inch screen. One thinks this would offer 70% of benefits of 10-inch screen. But it’s only 45% as large as the iPad’s 10-inch screen. If you cut iPad screen in half, that’s what you’re looking at. Not enough for good tablet apps. You’d also need to include sandpaper so people could make their fingers smaller. We think 10-inch screen size is minimum to create great tablet apps … Even Google is telling tablet companies to wait for new release of Android next year. What does it mean when software supplier says not to use software for tablets, and you ignore them and use it anyway? New tablets won’t have any apps. And competitors having a hard time coming close to pricing, even with cheaper, smaller screens. These new tablets will be DOA: Dead on arrival. “Sounds like lots of fun ahead.

Steve Jobs talking about the emerging tablet market on Apple’s Q3 earnings call as recounted by Dan Frommer, Senior Business Writer for Business Insider.

Blogcasting?

If I am not mistaken, we’ve come full circle and are now offering written podcasts for downloading and later reading on ebook readers. I guess we’ll call it blogcasting? To wit:

“Following last week’s debut of “Kindle Singles,” a new shorter-form publishing format exclusively for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, book retailer Borders has announced its own blogger-centric e-reader publishing platform called “Borders — Get Published.”

Do You Really Want to Rely On The Wisdom of Your Crowd?

It really started back when Facebook began seeding third-party sites with “Recommend” buttons, most of which were later changed to the annoyingly simple-minded “Like” button. This week’s announcement of Facebook’s partnership with Bing is another big step towards the Facebookization of everything.
In principle it’s a fine concept: When you connect Facebook with Bing, your search results will also feature occasional recommendations from your Facebook friends. If, say, you’re searching for a good Indian restaurant in town, you might see that six of your foodie friends gave India Majal a big thumbs up. Helpful info, to be sure. Kind of like using Yelp, only in this case you know for certain whether these people are idiots (instead of just assuming they are).
In other words, instead of relying on the “wisdom of the crowd,” you’ll be relying (in part at least) on the wisdom of your crowd. That’s an improvement, right?
Well, yes and no.

“Analysis: Do you really want to rely on the wisdom of your crowd by linking your searches with your Facebook friends?” From an hilarious article in PCWorld byITworld TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan. Visit his snarky humor site eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter:@tynan_on_tech.

Paul Graham On Founder Dynamics

Interesting set of observations about founder dynamics by Paul Graham, one of the smartest and nicest guys in the start-up world.