Light bulb moment in California

I tried various CFL options and they all look like crap. There is no way a “60 watt equivalent” CFL puts out the same light that an incandescent bulb does. Plus, for can lights mounted in the ceiling you don’t have many options for CFL. Then there is that whole issue about the government telling me what light bulbs I can and cannot buy… what’s next, single ply toilet paper?

Light bulb moment in California: Should it ban the common bulb?:

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says compact fluorescent light bulbs, which often have a spiral shape and are being promoted by Wal-Mart, are so efficient that consumers should be forced to use them. The compact bulbs use a quarter the energy of a conventional light.

That’s gonna leave a mark…

The first device was found under Interstate 93, and the state police bomb squad was called and detonated the package in Sullivan Square just before 10 a.m. Officials said it contained an electronic circuit board with some components that were “consistent with an improvised explosive device,” but they said it had no explosives.

Marketing gone bad.

HP rides celeb’s bike for big game

I should probably wait until the commercial actually runs but this sounds like one dumb-ass concept.

Update: Dan posted a lengthy piece on the spot here. Obviously the people behind this campaign know a lot more about marketing than I could ever hope to, and HP has been successful at rehabilitating their brand through advertising and promotion. Having said that, the brilliance of Apple’s Think Different campaign was that it took something that was positioned as a negative, Apple’s small marketshare, and positioned it as a strength by associating it with the famous personalities that were admittedly different from everyone else. That an HP computer can do music, games, blah blah blah doesn’t motivate me because all PCs can do that crap, and do I really believe that Jay-Z is sitting in front of his PC on a saturday afternoon making everything work? No, he’s got “people” for that.

I think HP has good products, in fact I bought an HP desktop computer for my mom a while back (although when the hard drive crashed their customer support group took over a month to get her a new one, that sucked). When I look at HP’s product lineup today I am underwhelmed. Sure, they have all the feature and function options, but what about color and fashion. Would I feel good about pulling my HP laptop out of my bag at Starbucks? No. Having said all that, I’m not in their target demographic and I won’t be watching the game.

MercuryNews.com | 01/31/2007 | HP rides celeb’s bike for big game:

HP’s Super Bowl ad spotlights Paul Teutul Sr. from Orange County Choppers — an HP customer and the face of the Learning Channel’s reality TV show “American Chopper.”

The commercial, which boasts high definition audio and video, shows Teutul’s torso and tattooed arms as he rides a motorbike through a tornado of paperwork and speeds by the edgy designs he’s found on the Internet with his HP computer.

Social networking sites don’t belong to the people that created them…

Yesterday I wrote that the move Yahoo! made to force merging Flickr’s identity system into Yahoo’s bummed me out, but a lot of people are really pissed about it. The move to limit the number of contacts is really idiotic, they are taking their most passionate users and telling them not to use Flickr too much. Crazy.

It’s much worse over on the Flickr Forum:
bkusler: “seriously. this wasn’t rocket science. you guys just fucked this up.”

Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection: There’s Some Mighty Pissed Off Flickr Members Right Now:

Limiting your most active users from further social networking on a social networking site is the most idiotic thing I’ve seen in a long time. Flickr needs to reverse the asinine decisions made today to force people to merge their accounts with Yahoo and to place new limits on your contacts and tags.

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The Dearth of Web Services and a Solution

Joe McKendrick points out an uncomfortable reality about web 2.0 and published APIs, namely that there aren’t that many of them relative to the number of web sites that could be offering them. This is something that we faced at Teqlo, which of course is built on the premise that these services exist and provide functionality that is useful.

Bob, however, cites ZDNet blogging colleague Dion Hinchcliffe’s own calculations about the actual number of APIs and mashups currently in existence, which don’t suggest the revolution is at hand anytime soon. Dion had stated in a recent post, that as of December 13, 2006 there were 348 APIs registered and 1,350 mashups.

We have been in the process of building some applications as part of an effort to not just “prime the pump” with some useful apps but also learn through actual experience what it takes to build applications that are composites of third party services. In other words, put ourselves in the shoes of our customers before expecting them to do it. We hit a wall when we spec’ed out an app that scoured sales leads off popular networking sites, like Linkedin and Jigsaw. The problem was that these services don’t have APIs to take advantage of, and that was a big roadblock but fortunately for us an opportunity to try out something we had been watching for a while, OpenKapow.

With OpenKapow you can turn any website into a REST service and what that means for us is that we can turn anything into a component in our network that can be used in any our user generated mashups, such as the one in the screenshot below which features a Linkedin service component generated by OpenKapow. It was remarkably easy to generate and has been very reliable.

Joe is right to highlight the API shortage but rest assured, no pun intended, there are options for generating reliable REST services.

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The Politics of Minimum Wage Increases

Here’s a viewpoint on the minimum wage you won’t like hear much about.

Minimal effort | Free exchange | Economist.com:

CEO’s who support higher minimum wages are not, as the media often casts them, renegade heros speaking truth to power because their inner moral voice bids them be silent no more. They are by and large, like Mr Sinegal, the heads of companies that pay well above the minimum wage. Forcing up the labour costs of their competitors, while simultaneously collecting good PR for “daring” to support a higher minimum, is a terrific business move. But it is not altruistic, nor does it make him a “maverick”. Costco’s biggest competitor, Wal-Mart, also supports a higher minimum wage, and for the same reason. Wal-Mart’s average wage is already above the new minimum; it will cost the company little, while possibly forcing mom-and-pop stores that compete with Wal-Mart out of business. This seems blindingly obvious to me. Though I don’t expect we’ll see “the minimum wage—it’s great for Wal-Mart!” in many Democratic campaign commercials.

Profit Slips at Sony on Losses for PlayStation 3

Told you so… I do admire their attempt to put the spin on it, suggesting that the loss is due to the price point being below manufacturing costs, neatly sidestepping the bigger issue that they had 300k unsold units after the pivotal Christmas shopping season, but hey they did “ship 1 million units” into the channel. It’s really kind of frightening to think that the manufacturing cost is over $600, in the quantities that Sony manufactures, for this game console.

Profit Slips at Sony on Losses for PlayStation 3 – New York Times:

In a statement, Sony blamed the decline on a strategic decision to set the price of the PlayStation 3 below the cost of production as a way to bolster market share. It also blamed start up costs for the new consoles, which were released in Japan and the United States in November. Sales of PlayStation Portable hand-held players have also been slow, the company said.

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Flickr merges their login system with Yahoo!

Flickr is finally forcing the switch from the “old skool” login system that pre-dated Flickr’s acquisition by Yahoo! with the Yahoo! (is it protocol to put the ! every time you type out that company name?) login system. Bummer, I resisted merging my flickr account with my yahoo account for the same silly reason that you get tee-shirts for obscure bands, so you can say “yeah, I was into them before they were popular”.

On March 15th we’ll be discontinuing the old email-basedFlickr sign in system. From that point on, everyone will have to use a Yahoo! ID to sign in to Flickr.

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Competitious – Competitive News Clipping

One of the most obvious applications for the “wisdom of crowds” treatment has to be competitive news clipping, and it’s a mystery to me why more companies like Competitious are not on the scene. News clipping services like Cogenz and Connectbeam are enjoying usage growth, and both of those have enterprise deployment options, but to be fair they are bookmarking services that depend on someone being disciplined about bookmarking the content.

Techdirt has a great news clipping service, in fact when SAP switched over from their PR provided service not only did they get a much richer service that aggregated a wider variety of content delivered through multiple channels, but they also saved SAP about $500k a year with Techdirt. That’s real value when you provide not only a better service but you do it for less money. I am a huge fan of Techdirt for that reason (and I really like Mike and Grier as well).

There remains a gap for competitive data collection that sits below what someone like Techdirt is doing but above bookmarking and I think Competitious neatly fits right in there. What I like about it is that not only does it provide a place to bookmark competitive news and information, but it also allows some additional sorting based on things like the sentiment of the clipping, and they have an interesting “comparison matrix” that does provide additional analytics capabilities.

The “projects” organization means you can lump competitors together based on what type of competitor they are and then monitor the group as a whole. I use the “projects” to track things like partners as well, or companies I’m just interested in, so in a way the name “Competitious” itself is a limiting in nature, but probably the right place to start.

I really don’t know much about the company, not even where they are located, but I like the service and will be expanding our usage of it. I should also clarify something, I started out this post with a wisdom of crowds reference but in all fairness Competitious does not provide a true representation of that philosophy because you can’t tag or comment on existing clippings, but considering that they seem to have the basic functionality well implemented I am going to speculate that they could move in that direction.

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