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21 posts from March 2006

Running Out of Time?

The Wall Street Journal featured this article (subscription required) today about Time magazine. According to the article, Time Inc. is about to take another shot at becoming “a leading web player.” One of the key steps they’re apparently taking is to tear down the walls between the web and print operations. To be honest, I would have thought they took care of this step long ago, thanks in large part to the extremely time-sensitive nature of most magazine content.

The article also talks about how Time is serious about this effort, despite the fact that they’ve produced mediocre results from previous attempts. They cite the success of, which is another Time-Warner property and apparently has been heading in the right direction. The funny thing is I couldn’t really say whether is making progress or not. I never go there…I’m an guy. Sure, I subscribe to Sports Illustrated magazine, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to their website. I also subscribe to Time magazine but I’ve never been to either. I get the vast majority of my news off Yahoo and Google.

I think it’s going to require some extremely innovative new services to turn into the type of destination site Time-Warner has in mind. I didn’t see anything in this article that got me excited enough to think they can really turn it around.

Is it possible that brands such as “Time” and “Sports Illustrated” will always connote “print product” in the minds of most consumers? As hard as it might seem to justify, I wonder if Time-Warner wouldn’t be better off trying to create new online brands for their content.

General Motors presents an interesting parallel: Did anyone ever really buy into the notion that “it’s not your father’s Oldsmobile”?

Book Summary Services

It was about a year ago that I made this post talking about my wish for a great book summary service. I tried one summary program, was greatly disappointed and never looked back. Earlier today I learned of another service called getAbstract. I visited their website, downloaded their two free samples and just finished reading one of them tonight (Bare-Knuckle Negotiation).

Based on this one sample, I would give getAbstract a much higher grade than the other service I tried a few years ago. In fact, I’m tempted to sign up for one of their subscription options, which is saying a lot given how disappointed I was with the other service. Does anyone out there have any experience with getAbstract’s summaries?


In addition to the great Sprint phone I got last week, I was also recently offered a free Excel tool from a company named Intellitabs. Why have so many people switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox? Tabbed browsing. That’s the same feature Intellitabs brings to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

If you’re like me, you wind up opening multiple documents by 9AM. Even though I use Firefox all the time, I never stopped to think about how nice it would be to have a tabbed interface in Excel, for example. Now that I have Intellitabs for Excel installed I can see what I’ve been missing. Rather than dropping down to the taskbar and finding the right entry to click on, I just go to the top of the Excel window and quickly switch from one spreadsheet to the next. It’s one of those little UI tweaks that saves more time than you might think.

It’s a great tool and all, but I wouldn’t want to have to pay full price for it. According to the Intellitabs website, a single license for any of the three products (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) costs $79. A bundle of all three runs $299. Although they offer discounts on multiple licenses, the lowest per seat price is $55. I think that’s too much to pay for a simple add-on like this. Again, great tool, but I hope they reduce the price and expand their audience.

Warcraft Legal Battles

Here's an interesting story about a fellow named Brian Kopp and his battles with the makers of World of Warcraft.  It seems Mr. Kopp has been trying to sell an unauthorized guide to the game, upsetting the game's publisher, Blizzard Entertainment.

For what it's worth, if the book does not include any copyrighted text/storylines from the game and makes "fair use" of some screenshots, as Kopp's complaint says, it seems as though he should be able to sell the book without being hassled.  I'm curious to see how this one plays out...