Thursday, August 26, 2010
I write because I read New York Times writer David Pogue's article-review-analysis on the new kindle today.
I am a user - a gadget geek probably - who actually has both devices. I purchased a Kindle just before last summer and picked up the IPAD WIFI/3G just before this summer. I probably rushed into purchasing the IPAD without thinking too hard about where each device would fit into my life. It's like getting a new dog at the spur of a moment when you already have one - as my family actually did - and letting nature see how they coexist and find their new way in the world. The coexistence is confusing at first, and then acclimation ultimately renders a clear path, and you are left with an understanding of how the relationship will be.
For me, pre-IPAD, I had used the Kindle as an e-reader for books but more so on a daily basis as the device for all my papers and magazines, particularly the New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, and the Economist. I learned to read on cardio machines at the gym in the morning - which changed my life (and the big font options and text-to-speech allow you to actually enjoy while running on a treadmill) - and I loved the fact that I could always carry around this small device (I have the 6" version) and pop it open to read anything at any time. It was perfect.
Then came the IPAD. On the whole, the IPAD obviously allows you to do a lot more. From using applications to seeing things in color (gasp!), to traversing the 'net on a super-fast N wireless connection, to email in a beautiful interface, to even e-reading.
And to make it all the tougher, the Kindle application on the IPAD only allows for book reading; that means none of your daily/weekly/monthly subscriptions that you have on the Kindle are visible in your IPAD. This makes the daily dedicated device issue an all-or-nothing gamble. If subscriptions were to sync, your choice of what device to leave the house with would be one of daily preference.
At first, i stuck with the Kindle, which meant the IPAD stayed at home. That was my original plan, too: the IPAD would be my home device and the Kindle the traveler. But as I moved on, I started to become very aggravated with the subscription issue. Here I had this great device in the IPAD and I could - I should - be using it in the day. How dare Amazon force me to choose what device I use each day? So just like that, I went all Tea Party, and cancelled all subscriptions on the Kindle.
What does this all say about the IPAD vs. the Kindle?
Well, from a reading standpoint, the IPAD is too heavy for reading for too long (there's what "long-form" means) and the screen - which provides a beautiful touch screen interface and color - finds its kryptonite when exposed to the sun. It is rendered annoyingly unreadable and you find the thing you can see most clearly is your own visage, as the reflection from the sunlight creates a perfect mirror that obscures anything behind the screen.
My opinion is that if the subscription sync issue can be figured out, why not have both? If you were to purchase both WIFI versions of the devices, you're looking at a pricetag of somewhere around $650, basically the price of the mid-range WIFI/3G version of the IPAD. With the subscription caveat, you will now have devices that speak to one another. One of the cool features of the Kindle and its IPAD/IPHONE apps is that your reading and how far you read on each of them syncs across devices. So, if i read to a certain location on the Kindle, when I open the book on the IPAD or the IPHONE it will offer me the opportunity to go right to that point, and vice versa.
Forever, we had, in essence, been buying one "device" for each book we bought, in the form of a single hardcover or single paperback book. Think of the IPAD as a hardcover and the Kindle as a paperback. These two devices are different and don't necessarily cannibalize one another, but have the real opportunity to complement each other.
But for me, until subscriptions syncing get figured out, my Kindle - outside of my last vacation to the beach, where it was truly needed - has sat next to my bed as a prop.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The Nets finally closed out an era, even if it was the newest incarnation of a bridged era from their highly successful time in the early 2000s. The Nets would have been at this day quite possibly four years ago had they not netted the 27 year-old Vince Carter back in 2004-05. Back then, Jason Kidd was on the verge of doing what he did in 07-08 much earlier: turn himself on the team. Carter was not the answer to all of the Nets problems - and what he could not do made his preternatural skills such a tease - but he ultimately did some phenomenal personal things.
Carter's exploits particularly down the stretch in 2005, leading the Nets to an improbable playoff berth, was one of the most impressive things a Nets fan had seen since the days of Dr. J. His feats of scoring and engagement - and until then unforeseen aptitude as a passer - gave Nets fans the feeling that anything was possible on the basketball court. You think back to all the unbelievable moments - the whirling dervish at the Staples Center; the game-winning shots in Utah, Toronto, and at home against Atlanta; the effortless olley oops and forays to the hoop; the how-did-he-do-that pick and roll passing; that time against the Spurs when he had mid-40s in the third quarter before Bruce Bown went cheap shot on him - and you can't help but be somewhat saddened by the departure of Vince.
He took the controls as a leader last season - when other veterans in the twilight of primetime might have shirked those responsibilites (see Kidd, Jason) - and he did everything you would expect. He was not a bulletproof no-doubt Superstar, of course: his moments of settling for the fadeaway J (which might i say he made many), for being possibly too easy going, of not showing that "killer instinct", pepper his sportscenter highlight moments with just as many moments of fallibility. Those who see him every day know what you are going to get - it's not too the degree, but somewhat akin to how Yankee fans probably feel with Alex Rodriguez.
So much talent - and hype - which appears to come so easy, and yet there seems to be big swaths of mortality laced in there when purposefully watched over the course of time.
Sure, Vince can do that. But there is also a somber feeling about the end of this era, flawed as it was but surely with its moments. Because it also seems to portend to something happening beyond basketball for the Nets. (It seems, as their incessant catch phrase goes) It's about...salary dumps...and surviving. Rod Thorns seems to be making the trades that he so often was on the other end of shrewdly making. Sure, Courtney Lee is good and young and showed some things. But in earlier Nets eras, the Rafer Alstons' and the Tony Batties' sound a lot like the Eric Williams' and Aaron Williams' - and the "contracts" of Alonzo Mourning. Vince was traded by the Nets the way he seemingly was brought to New Jersey.
And for that, it peppers this trade with holes. His window is closing on primetime, as his contract numbers escalate, but when the Nets make a trade like this - while substantially laying off their business-side workers (and advance scouts!) and the contracts of their assistant coaches - it feels not only like a salary dump, but a dump for survival. As if, even with their immediate salary relief, it might still not be enough. Unfortunately, it does like it's "more than a game." That was their catch phrase to signify all the entertainment options you could find at a Nets game in somewhat more flush times, but it could be the basketball state of affairs now.
You understand the trade on its face, but it feels like the Nets will only be more inconsequential now.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Kidd is no longer the top guy on his team, as he nears the final weeks of his maximum level $100 million plus contract, but he is still integral and is completely driving the ship, always providing the intangibles and is still as competitive as any player in the league. He averaged 10 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists (to .6 turnovers), 2.4 steals, and hit 10 of 23 from deep (43.5 percent).
The problem I am having with him is that, with this triumph in five games, he is leaving the trap door open. Yes he is being asked and he can play dumb and say he is just answering a question honestly, but why is he even entertaining questions of leaving Dallas at this point. This was the place for which he nearly held a franchise - the Nets - hostage to get to.
"I'm going into it with an open mind and see what comes up," he said to NBA.com. "There could be some great situations again, so maybe this time I'll think with my mind and not my heart."
In New Jersey, he says he thought with his heart. As for the potential of staying with Dallas, THE TEAM WHO HE JUST ADVANCED PAST THE SPURS WITH, he said:
"I can't (put odds on it right now)," he said. "I wouldn't even know how to handicap it, but I like it in Dallas."
A leader needs to do better than that and not even talk about it at this time. You can't hold it against him for leaving Dallas, who frankly as it stands are not a championship team. Kidd, at 36 years old, wants to be the quarterback of a team with uber-talent (remember: he loved his set up with Team USA). With Dallas, he still has to scrap and go pedal-to-the-metal more than he'd like. Unless the Mavs blow him away - like the Nets had to do to retain him - he probably won't return. While he says he will think with his mind this time, and not his heart, the truth will still remain and held true back in 2003 with the Nets: there's no romance without the finance.
The issue at hand with Kidd comes to this: why are we talking about this after his team just dismantled the once-great Spurs?
Monday, April 27, 2009
And that is what is important about the Twitter explosion: if everyone is using it, it is useful. If everyone is using it, then it is a true stream of consciousness for the online chatter. If you build it - and they come - that is the whole battle with online platforms. Everyone came to Myspace, then Facebook took everyone; everyone uses/used Facebook for its status updates, and now Twitter is taking that utility. It is all about cultivating our short attention spans and riding the wave.
Twitter is the ultimate handheld social network, flexible and fast-paced, made for on-the-move. Like the utilities that have come before it and will inevitably appear on the horizon, it is not a Holy Grail. It is meant to be tapped while the public has the hankering and love affair with it. But the online realm is, like sound investing, all about diversifying. For an online marketer, you must know everything about Twitter, but not put all your eggs in that basket. It is one of many channels, with many more to come, and harnessing all of these networks is a true 360-degree approach.
The New York Times wrote about managing your reputation online to coincide with the inception of Google’s new profile program, aptly named Google Profile. Go to Google, and type “me” to see how it works. In short, you feed Google your information so it can build connections between your profile and give a 360 degree picture of you, looking to leave nothing to chance about who you are. As the profile of this Google program builds up, expect it to show high results for your name.
The Times article has other good tips about “helping” - or optimizing - your personal results on Google:
1) Register your own web site and domain (ie, for me that would be matthewmcqueeny.com) or set up a blog on a free service like blogger.com.
2) Set up profiles in Web sites with high PageRank, or authority (like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Flickr, etc.). This will help stack the deck and move those profiles high up into Google results for your name. It works: for me, a search of my name first yields facebook, linkedin, and a blog i write about the New Jersey Nets.
3) Set up a Google News alert with your name to actively monitor any chatter that might be taking place around your name.
In the Wall Street Journal this morning, there is this:
Facebook Inc. is expected to announce significant plans to open up core parts of its sites — namely the information that appears in the stream of updates on users’ homepages and profiles — to third-party developers so that they can build new services on top of it, people familiar with the matter say.
The announcement, expected Monday, means developers can build services that access the photos, videos, notes and comments users upload to Facebook, with users’ permission. That’s a big change for the social-networking site, which has exercised tight control over the look and feel of its service and how developers can interact with it.
Facebook isn’t charging for the feature, instead hoping that developing new ways to access the information it houses will build user loyalty and get people to engage more often with the site, say people familiar with the matter.
You knew this was coming. Opening up the source for development is a core component of the internet overall, and everyone is doing it in this web 2.0 world, so facebook recognizes that it needed to give a little bit otherwise it could find itself as inconsequential as it seems Myspace has become. Believing your system unaltered can stay #1 is a foolhardy assumption in a constantly changing landscape housing short attention spans. They seem to see this and now it will be a mad scramble for developers and then a wait-and-see on how it all plays out.