Archive for May, 2010

Guess who had a birthday party today!

May 29th, 2010, 6:22pm by Kelvin


Another Apple-Palm Battle in the making?

May 26th, 2010, 1:39pm by Kelvin

There are a couple of new, free applications in the App Catalog that allow you to mine the iTunes-ome for song previews and set any song as your Pre’s ringtone.

 iTunes Search

Free Music Ringtones

Can Apple be OK with this? Is there anything similar for iPhones? Don’t they try to sell ringtones through iTunes to iPhone users? Apple protectionism aside, is this even legal, or is it a copyright violation?

AT&T Pre

May 20th, 2010, 4:44pm by Kelvin

AT&T’s Pre launched this past week with little fanfare. Obviously, it’s old news in many respects, especially in our circle, where our platform allegiences are pretty much set in stone. Still, we who have Pre’s have a vested interest in seeing the platform adopted more widely, so will AT&T help?

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On-screen Notepad

May 19th, 2010, 2:43am by Kelvin

This week’s webOS app is On-Screen Notepad, a virtual keyboard app. I usually don’t like virtual keyboards, and this one sucks worse than most. No spell-correction, no multitouch chording, separate app, landscape-only, etc. Once you type something into the app, then you can copy and paste the text into other text fields (like I did for most of this). I guess it’s kinda useful for those times when the hardkeys make too much clicking noise. Suffice to say, I’m much faster with the hard keys. 

Team Pyslent!

May 15th, 2010, 10:33pm by Jake

Team Pyslent!

Team Pyslent!

Originally uploaded by jakerome

Fun was had by all this weekend! Great getting everyone together again for the first time, we’ll have to keep up this habit. My favorite parts were probably a couple classic moments: the 1-hour BBQ shopping and the 2-hour car parking. More photos still to upload nearly 100 added so far in this set. Enjoy!

Goodbye eMusic, Hello (Again) Netflix

May 15th, 2010, 5:58pm by Mike

About 16 months ago, I cancelled our Netflix membership, since we weren’t really using it to its full potential, and it felt like we were throwing money away on it. In the meantime, I had kept my subscription to eMusic, which I started about 4 years ago. In the meantime, there have been quite a few changes to both:

Netflix has added Instant Viewing (i.e., streaming movies over the internet) to all accounts, and of particular interest to me, has made Instant Viewing work on the Mac. Not available on AppleTV (or Boxee on AppleTV), but I’m doing fine hooking my netbook up to our TV to watch soccer already. As Jake mentioned, it’s available on Tivo now, too.

Over the last 4 years, eMusic has raised their monthly price from $10 to $12/month, and lowered the number of downloads per month from 40 to 30. In addition to keeping up with new releases, they’ve also teamed up with some of the major labels to offer big back catalogs, so the price change didn’t really faze me too much.

What I’ve come to realize, though, is that subscriptions allow you to branch out and look at things you might not otherwise pay a la carte to investigate, and that paying individually puts up a pretty high barrier. In my case, I’ve pretty much gotten what I want from eMusic (for now), while I’ve built up a back catalog of movies I want to see — and I’d rather switch for a while to a movie subscription with a la carte music.

So, I got back onto the Netflix $8.99 for 1 DVD and unlimited streaming plan, and at the end of the month, I’ll cancel my eMusic account. I guess I’m actually saving a couple bucks in the process (and still exploiting that home internet connection while keeping only basic cable (which has skyrocketed 30% since last month, to $14.65! Yeah for XFINITY!).

My feeling is that I’ll switch back somewhere down the line, or if I miss eMusic, just add it back. Still much less than having cable!

To celebrate, last night I watched Moon, which I had wanted to see in the theater. I thought it was pretty good, and got me fired up about actually working through some of the many movies I’ve missed lately.

Tracking webOS Use

May 13th, 2010, 6:15pm by Jake

So for a couple months I’ve been tracking the growth in webOS using statistics from StatCounter. While far from being a perfect metric, it does provide insight into overall trends. Since webOS first showed up in July, share of the mobile browser market in the U.S. has climbed from 0.5% to 1.4%. But that doesn’t tell the whole story, as the mobile market has grown tremendously since then. So I took it to the next level and created a spreadsheet to track usage. The in-flight WiFi is flaky with Google, so I can’t share the link or update the usage to include the first few weeks.

StatCounter also tracks overall mobile vs. desktop share, so I’ve incorporated that. Then factored in the overall upward growth in internet usage by assuming a constant growth rate, increasing ~8%/year. Multiply the three together, and there’s a reasonable estimate of webOS browser use. Now, there are some bumps & wiggles that are obviously not real. I have done a couple things to smooth the data: 1) used an exponentially weighted average w/ a factor of 0.05 for the mobile share; 2) ditto for the webOS share with a factor of 0.2. For any non-engineers that stumble upon this, the exponentially weighted moving average with a low factor (0.05) places less weight on the previous day (5%) and a large weight on the previous day’s average (95%). Lower number leads to smoother curve that’s less responsive.

The trends since mid-August are clear– a very slow rise for 8 months during which use climbed 50%. Then, another 50% rise in the last 5-6 weeks. That coincides with the Verizon marketing for the Pre Plus & Pixi Plus. As Kelvin theorized, those increased sales may be the reason for Palm’s latest earnings warning– Verizon is doubtful to have ordered any more Pre’s, but for each one they sell Palm is probably kicking in a $50-100 kickback. That would be reflected as a decrease in revenue for this quarter. And Palm timed the warning to coincide with the HP buyout to deflect possible criticism for selling “low.” So while sell-in may meet Palm’s earlier guidance, the revenue warning could in fact indicate that sell-through has picked up. Conversely, it could also mean that sell-in & sell-through continue to lag and StatCounter’s stats are bogus.

Attentive kids

May 11th, 2010, 9:13am by Kelvin


Window seat view

May 10th, 2010, 3:08pm by Jake

On the train heading into Bston for the Sox game. Had some flashbacks while quickly walking down the street to the train station, arriving about 3 minutes before the train rolled by. Aaron would have been upset, as he preferred to time it so we’d run the last 200 yards after the warning bells started ringing. He had it down to a science!

The countdown is on to tonight’s game, hopefully the game itself will be as much as as going to the game! 

The view

Getting ready for some baseball

May 4th, 2010, 2:59pm by Kelvin

Click here to download a video of Lucas getting excited for the ballgame in Boston next week.
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