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21 posts from March 2006

Happy 10th Birthday Palm

Or, as I considered calling this post, “Wow, you guys are still in business?!” I was one of the first and most loyal of Palm’s original customer base. I was fortunate enough to see the original product at DEMO ’96 and I ordered one on the spot. Why? Someone finally invented a portable device that was just the right size and, more importantly, did just the right things.

Over the course of the next few years I wound up buying at least two of their next generation products as well. I thought I was a customer for life…and then came Microsoft. In typical fashion, Microsoft’s hardware partners came out with products that offered more features at a better price than Palm’s lineup. In 2004 I finally jumped ship and bought an HP iPAQ. As I mentioned last year, it was a great product but was victimized by a lousy upgrade policy. I learned my lesson and decided I wasn’t going the HP route again. In fact, I was so turned off that I didn’t know where I’d go next…until I got my first Blackberry.

So, a great product (Palm) gets crushed by the Redmond monster (PocketPC) which then gets trumped by awesome usability and feature set (Blackberry).

Happy birthday Palm. Even though you’re a shadow of your former self, we have you to thank for the rebirth of the PDA marketplace. (Remember the Apple Newton?! Yeah, that’s right…Apple isn’t immune to poor product design!)

IDG’s TechWords

Why should Google have all the fun? More importantly, why should they get a cut of the advertising revenue when you can build your own AdWords/AdSense engine?

IDG apparently feels that way as they plan to roll out their TechWords program this Spring.  Interesting and brilliant, if you ask me.  They already get all the eyeballs and can create an auction-based system to sell the keywords.  Sure, Google has a lot invested in their technologies, but it’s not rocket science.

Kudos to IDG for proving that disintermediation is alive and well!  I’m surprised we’re not seeing more and more of this popping up, at least on the sites that are part of a larger network within one parent organization.

On Being a Sprint Ambassador

I mentioned the invitation I received last week for Sprint’s Ambassador program. A quick Google check indicates there are lots of other Sprint Ambassadors out there (examples here and here). The phone arrived two days after I accepted their invitation. All I can say is “wow!”  What a phone and what a service. Yes, the price is right (six months free as a participant in the program), but I’d be all over this if it weren’t for the fact that I’m already addicted to my Blackberry.

What do I love about this service? The #1 feature for me is all the multimedia functionality built in. Digital camera? That’s yesterday’s news, although this one also does a worthy job of recording video as well. No, what really caught my eye are the ways it can serve as a television or radio on top of being a very reliable phone.

The Ambassador program features Samsung’s SPH-A90 phone (available for $99.99 as an online special at Sprint’s website) that is a bit bulkier than the Nokia phones I just upgraded to for my family’s service plan. The extra weight and size are well worth it though. You might wonder how hard it is to make out the details on a TV screen that’s reduced to the size of a cell phone. Samsung has done a fantastic job with this phone though – I haven’t struggled at all watching the video feeds, and I’m now at the age where I have to wear reading glasses from time to time.

I really love the fact that Sprint offers several Sirius satellite radio stations via subscription for the phone. I’ve been holding out waiting for Samsung and Pioneer to release their next generation XM Radio devices. Thanks to the Ambassador program, I can enjoy satellite radio today while I wait to see if the new XM devices are better. The phone has two tiny speakers on each end of the clamshell hinge. They sound OK, but the bundled earbuds provide a far better listening experience. I listened to Sirius for about 3 hours yesterday and only heard a couple of very minor hiccups. As you might expect though, listening to the radio tends to drain the battery – I went from 3 battery bars to 1 over the course of the afternoon.

I’ll continue to play around with this and report back on the pros and cons. For now though, I’ve got to hand it to Sprint for not only a great product but also for having the wisdom tap into the PR and marketing power of blogs.

The Case for a Creator, by Lee Strobel

I finally finished reading The Case for a Creator. It took me much longer than I originally thought, mostly because I got halfway through it, let it sit for awhile, then picked it back up again a couple of weeks ago. I also found that the first third and the last third of the book were the most interesting. It took me a lot longer to work through the middle third of the book.

Don’t let my slow reading mislead you… This is a great book. Regardless of your beliefs, you owe it to yourself to read this one. Through the use of “expert witness” interviews, a model that Strobel uses in other books, I learned quite a bit along the way.

SEO and the Tech Book Publisher

Former colleague (and all-around great guy) Erik Dafforn offers this post about search engine optimization in the tech book publishing segment. He makes several good points about things we can and should be doing today to improve our search engine results. I’m off to send the link to our website team to see what we can do about improving our results…

P.S. – It’s always a treat to see your own blog pop up first on a Google search. Thanks to tips from Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, this blog is the first link to appear when searching for “publisher blog”.