I began the week early with my fortnightly spot on TVNZ Breakfast Show. It's an interesting challenge. You get three, or at most, four minutes to say something pertinent and intelligent about some development in, or around, the Internet.
Three or four minutes aren’t much. So, for some, it's an opportunity to say that television is by definition incapable of saying, or covering anything in depth, or with intelligence. I'm happy to confess I once was of that opinion - and perhaps, it's still true, and all thats happened is I've been beguiled by the medium.
But I've also discovered that it’s also a challenge. People, especially at this time in the morning don’t especially want to be made to pause, marshal their thoughts, and engage in a civic dialogue.
Rather, it's a chance to offer up a topic - make a point - and then try and leave a question, or a pause for thought. In short, it it's a challenge to do something really well - and, while you are at it, connect to an issue that will push the revolution on one more time.
This week was the first session back from the New Zealand summer holiday break. Kay Gregory and I discussed what Apple was up to with the iPhone - was it a mistake - Steve Jobs making one of his rare [ but not unknown] mistakes while everyone else, especially the applecenti applauds in wonder at the elegance of the screenshots. There being no product even in the USA 'till later in the year.
My opinion is that this is a defensive move by apple to protect the iTunes channel. However, I also think it’s a big ask to make it work - who, for example, are they going to partner with in New Zealand? It won’t work at all on Telecom if the tech specs are accurate. So that leaves Vodafone, unless someone else comes to the party here in NZ.
Will Vodafone partner with a new recruit and in the process undermine their own plans of a triple play of voice, TV, and data courtesy of their recent acquisition of iHUG? They have also taken on board Stephen Smith the recent deputy CEO of TVNZ, who once lead their interactive division, and is now reported to be right up there in his ideas for IPTV, et al.
And what about the phone makers? Motorola and Nokia have over 50% of the 1 billion a year handset market? They are going to sit back and watch Apple wander onto their turf and tell them all how to do it? Unlikely.
Sumsung MP3 player/ iMate
Then we have the competition right now. I have been playing with the Samsung [YP- T9B], MP3 player.
It is beautiful. Definitely a match for the iPod. And it has a radio - plus images - documents. I connected it to the Vista build I am running on a Toshiba Portégé notebook which arrived just before Christmas for me to play with. It all worked fine - RSS/pod cast feed - music - talking books - transfer to the player - all sorted!
I've also use an iMate Smart Flip as my mobile on a Vodafone 1 gig data plan. The gives me a mobile phone - e-mail to our exchange server - Mp3 layer, web browser - web camera, [whose photos can straight to Flickr]. This all works just fine as well!
All up, this is a very busy space. But better, it’s a fun space. Can Apple play in it? Despite my skepticism, I hope so - they do bring elegance to the space - and there is nothing wrong in giving the established players a run for there money.
So is it all toys for boys - nah - not for me. For the record - my favorite podcast - bar none is the truly brilliant talking head radio series, In Our Time, from Melvyn Bragg - BBC Radio 4. The last one was on The Jesuits. It wasn't one of the absolute best - try the archive - e.g. The Siege of Constantinople, or Alexander Pope [early blogger?] The archive is here.
In short - whatever the toy or the tool - for me content wins every time. And yes, I'm more than happy to see/hear about other people's favorite podcast.