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User Generated Content



Regarding things like User generated content, content in general, technology, and media.



Updated: 2017-09-27T15:01:37.525-07:00

 



Mobile Industry Trends 2017

2017-01-11T13:24:51.556-08:00

I had a chance to opine on what I thought the trends would be for 2017.  Check it out in Forbes here.
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Google Home

2016-12-13T15:45:34.958-08:00

For my birthday this year I received a trio of Google products, the Pixel phone, the Google Home device and the Google Daydream headset. I have been spending a lot of time with each and have been pretty happy with them all. Previously I wrote a bit about the Pixel. Today I want to talk about Google Home.

So first off, I have to say that I am totally bought into the Google ecosystem and that this starts with Android which I have used since it debuted on the G1. Everything else here should be viewed through that bias.

My father in law has had the Amazon Echo for two years now and my kids love asking it the same goofy questions they would ask Siri or Google. I toyed with getting the Echo but I always felt that my need for weather, traffic or some random information was pretty low at $150. Around my birthday the price for the Home was dropped from $139 to $100 so I figured at 50% of the cost, what the heck!

The device has a great low profile. The speaker for the system is pretty good. The ability for the device to hear commands from anywhere around the room is downright scary...even over other noises.

So here are some high level thoughts...

The Bad -

Ecosystem - Not much set up for the system yet. The Echo has a 2 year head start on the ecosystem development so the Google command set seems really limited. I suspect this will rapidly change now that the Google Actions and Assistant API pieces are opening up to developers. I suspect it will grow as quickly as the Android ecosystem did once it got rolling. I bet what I am calling a Bad today will quickly become an awesome.

Sonos Integration - I have 3 Sonos speakers in the house. It kills me that there is no integration point with Google Home. While the Home speakers are good, they are not of the quality you have with Sonos. I really hope that Sonos decides to do some kind of integration.

Language interaction - While I don't have any extensive experience with the Echo, I bet that it has a similar problem. The Home wants some pretty specific commands to interact with you. I was struggling mightily to get the Nest interaction down right. Now that I know how to do it things are easier but new interface interactions are going to always have a learning curve in the near term.

The Good -

Design - Low profile. Good sound quality. Creepy good listening.

Nest integration - Love this. I had a bit of a hard time working out the commands but now that I do it is killer to tell the Google Home to warm the house up or to cool it off.

Pixel integration - When you call the action word - Ok Google, both devices respond. If there is an interaction it comes on the louder Google Home. The two devices appear to work seamlessly together although I know that there are some occasional hiccups with that.

The Future - Being totally bought into the Google ecosystem I know that the future holds the ability down the road to search through my old emails, update my calendar, read me a particular document etc. The creation of an "App store" like framework for developers that can be used for things like Android phones and Chromecast devices has some killer potential for home automation and interaction.

Bottom Line - If you are a Google centric user, save the money and grab a Google Home. It is not at the same place as the Echo in terms of support currently but my guess is that it will get there in the next 12 months and accelerate beyond the Echo. If you are not a Google user and you want to experiment I am guessing the Echo dot might be a good call. I haven't looked into it yet but I believe that you can get one solo without an Echo. I suspect voice interfaces are in for a lot of great developments in the coming year.
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Google Pixel

2016-12-01T16:10:31.651-08:00

Over the last few extended weeks of my birthday celebration, I managed to get 3 gifts that are from the current Google lineup. I wanted to share some brief thoughts on them. Today is the main one, my new Google Pixel phone.

I have been an Android user since the first Google phone the G1. Along the way I have repeatedly updated my phones as the newer version have come to market. In many cases I have had a later model iPhone as well as a testing phone for the various companies I have been at over the years. While I know many of my friends love iPhones, my favoring of Android has never let up.

Over the last 6 years I have exclusively owned Google Nexus phones. While I know a number of people who enjoy the Samsung and other variants of Android devices, I have always preferred the stripped down software on Nexus devices and I have enjoyed having early access to the latest flavors of Android.

My most recent phone until the Pixel has been the Nexus 6. I recall at the time it came out I was very disappointed that I only had one option to buy a gigantic phone. Over the two years I used it I definitely became comfortable with the size and all in all it was a pretty outstanding phone.

The Pixel for me is a move back to a smaller device which I am generally excited about. I think I could have easily gone with the Pixel XL as well but it was nice to switch back to a smaller device.

There are a number of great sites that have comprehensive reviews of the Pixel so I am not going to try to cover much but instead wanted to highlight a couple areas that are either very interesting or very disappointing. Before I do that I have to say that I really love this new phone so any issues are generally minor.

The Bad...

GPS - My GPS has something crazy going on. When using Maps or Waze, the Pixel occasionally looses precise location tracking. This has resulted in some annoying freeway announcements from my phone as well as literally getting lost in a residential neighborhood while trying to pick up a kid from a friends house. I have contacted customer support and sometime in the next few days will try to take the steps that will fix it. Unfortunately I don't think the steps will work but we will see.

Speaker - The speaker on this phone is just bad. I cringe at the thought of using this phone for conference calls in speaker phone which was something that was stellar on the Nexus 6. I am dumbfounded on why you would go cheap on a premium phone in the speaker department.

USB C - Guess all my old chargers are obsolete now. The upside though is that the charging time is amazing.

The Good...

Software - Clean new Android software with lots of good bells and whistles.

Camera - Probably the best camera I have had on a phone.

Speed - Everything is lightning fast.

The Awesome...

Google Assistant - While this is not where it needs to be today....it is light years ahead of Siri and is a big improvement on the Google Voice / Google Now services that I have grown to love on the Nexus 6. Google will be granting API access of some sorts for Assistant in the coming month and I am sure that there will be some great development in that arena. I especially like the way Assistant interacts with the Google Home device. I will chat more about that next.

Google Daydream - Wow. That like the Google Home will be it's own topic but suffice to say it has been the first wow moment I have experienced with virtual reality.

Back soon with comments on Google Home and Google Daydream.




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ScoreStream - User Generated Sports Photos

2016-11-29T12:44:26.439-08:00

In addition to the great videos we get each week, we have been getting some amazing photos from the crowd like these from last week:


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ScoreStream - User Generated Sports Clips

2016-11-23T11:38:59.547-08:00

This last year has seen our company get to a point where each week we get some amazing amount of photos and videos each week. Here is an example of last week's nationwide Top 10 clips:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ax3krPXKDdQ" width="560">

The volume and quality of content that users can create when given a platform never ceases to amaze me. If you want to see all 14 weeks you can find the full playlist here:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/54BIaVESSN4?list=PLZ-frcHYi6kiret04uTQwSBlKnWZjeI6V" width="560">

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Medium?

2016-11-22T16:50:05.131-08:00

Haven't been here in forever. I have been contemplating dusting off the keyboard and giving it another go. Seems sad to leave the old diary behind but maybe a fresh start is a good thing. In any case...will see if I can do this for a few posts at least and then make a call. I have been spending more time with other tools as well so maybe something will stick naturally....
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My Top Music from 2012

2013-01-10T13:50:26.372-08:00

Around the holiday break each year I try to spend some time listening to the best music from the previous year and I spend the first month or so trying to come up to speed on what was new in the last year of music.  While many of my friends think there has been no good music since Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, I would beg to differ.So for those friends who want to put down the cassette tapes and try something new, I humbly submit that these were some of the best artists making music in 2012 in no particular order other than loose groupings by take of music:Hillbilly / Country / YalternativeMumford and Sons - Not only did the sell a ton of music, it was a ton of awesome music.  In my 20s, if you told me that I would be vaguely listening to hill billy music I would have laughed.  Somehow, here I am.  I blame the Grateful Dead.  Mumford and Sons followed up their last awesome effort with an almost as good follow on.  This is a must have.Avett Brothers - I don't like them nearly as much as Mumford, but they have a great sound and I find that the more I listen the more I like.HippieEdward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Not as good as the debut but still full of a lot of hippy 60s good lovin.Blues and R&BJack White - Jack White is amazing.  Whether it is The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or any of his other projects, he is always top notch.  I am sure we will look back over time and he will be thought of as one of the top notch artists of our time.  Blunderbuss is an AMAZING work.  Buy it.Alabama Shakes - My neighbor and camping buddy Dave turned me on to them and while it took a bit to get used to the voice the first go around, it really grew on me and I like it a lot.  It is consistently on a ton of top 10 lists all over the place.The Heavy - Following up from the work that had "How you like me now?" from the movie The Fighter, this one continues in the rocking tradition of music that I swore was James Brown.  I recommend What Makes A Good Man.Frank Ocean - AWESOME album.  Not something I would normally listen to but really infectious.  Pretty much a consistent top 5 on people's year end list and if you listen you will get it.Electronic / Indie / ExperimentalMNDR - Ok, it is my sister in law, but I swear, check out this performance from The David Letterman show.  Her debut work had a ton of great tracks and I can't wait to see what she does next.  Great remixes on Hype Machine too...Santigold - The artist MNDR is compared to a bunch.  The band has a great sound that is really catchy and puts them at the forefront of what is happening in dancehall electronic etc.Passion Pit - Loved the last one and love this one too.  I Take A Walk has got to be the happiest song of 2012.Alt J - Eclectic and very listenable.  It is one that grows on you and drives you to obsession.the XX - One of my favorite bands of the last several years.  Wonderful, rich, haunting music with a voice to die for.Bat for Lashes - New to me this year like a couple of others.  Really well done though with lots of great tracks.Of Monsters and Men - I am still not sure about the whole record but I am still in the early part of this growing on me and might even throw it in the same grouping as Mumford.Gotye - I don't like most of this one.  I do love the big track Someone I Used to Know.  That sounds just seemed to play all year long last year and I still like it...Punk and RockI will admit that I didn't get to spend as much time this last holiday break digging in the crates for my fill of what is truly my bread and butter music, but these three jumped out and even hit the mainstream to some extent...The Mars Volta - I was dying for the new record and it didn't disappoint.  Unfortunately it seems that the At The Drive In  reunion might have taken them off the circuit for [...]



Google+ for iPad

2012-07-11T15:42:30.450-07:00

I want to like Google+.  Seriously.  I am an Android user on mobile even though I use Apple everything else.  Mac, Ipad and AppleTV (both of them).  Google+ highlights the value of "the conversation" for me.  For most of my friends and family, the conversation is on Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter.  Since that is the case for me, Google+ is like talking to myself, in a weird room where only Robert Scoble and Bill Gross post.  Good stuff though for what it's worth.  The most valuable thing for me so far has been Google+ contact integration in Android and hangouts.

Hangouts are a really good collaboration tool and to me it kicks the shit out of Skype.  When I have to talk to more than one person I always use Hangouts.

Google came out with a new iPad version of Google+ today and while it looks great and does all the stuff you would expect of a higher end tablet application, it is Hangouts that has me excited.  We did a 3 way conference call at work this afternoon and it was amazing.  The iPad seamlessly handled all the audio and video and was drop dead simple to use.  The best part for me was the nice switching between the various speakers during the conversation.  If you do remote collaboration and have an iPad I would highly recommend using it.
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Random Things I Am Using

2012-07-10T15:27:26.162-07:00

Started using two new applications in the last couple of days and thought it might be fun to share some of the stuff I have been playing with that is new/cool.

Voxer - I had this on my tech to do list for a long time but couldn't really figure out why I would want to use Push To Talk Technology (PTT).  One of the fantasy football leagues I am in insisted that we all use it so I signed up and overnight had something like 70 messages where two guys were going back and forth about how awesome they are and then talked about all kinds of nonsense.  You have to love starting out with Spam.  Aside from that though, it is a really cool tool for doing asynchronous group messaging and once we get the other guys to figure it out I am sure it will be frequently used.

Google Drive - Saw the Fred Wilson post on Dropbox vs. Drive and installed the Mac client.  So now I have Dropbox, Drive and Pogoplug.  Interestingly Pogoplug is the only one that I think really helps me with anything as the others have such a small size ( 5 gigs) and the main use for me is to do things like archive photos and movies which require 10s of gig.

Waze - Waze rules.  I am not even going to tell you what it is, you just have to get it.  There.  Just kididing.  Waze is a crowd sourced navigation tool that does really cool stuff like tell you where the cops are and where there are accidents etc.  The speed trap finding capabilities and the smart traffic routing when you are driving in places like LA make this a very frequently used app for me.


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My new company - ScoreStream

2012-04-23T10:36:30.874-07:00

I just recently started a new company called ScoreStream.  I posted our first post here.  Please take a look and check out our application here.
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Theme: Personal Automation

2011-10-20T15:24:34.834-07:00

This is the first in a series of posts about technology themes that I outlined in my last post.  This post is about Personal Automation.To begin, what is personal automation?  When I first think about personal automation, the first thing that pops into my mind were the "intelligent agents" people spoke about when the Internet was just coming into vogue.  People would wake up and the news tailored to them would be delivered to them by programmatic agents that gathered things of interest to them.  Today there are no shortage of services that offer features like that, but when I think about personal automation I think about it at a more nuts and bolts level.  By that I think of it as a fairly straightforward combination of programs, rules, notifications and web services.  I will explain that more, but I think that this way of thinking about it is fairly broad and allows for personal automation on a broad scale and this also highlights how big the opportunity is.  I plan on walking through a number of examples and services to illustrate the point. Why does personal automation matter or more specifically what is the benefit?  To me there are 3 key benefits of using personal automation.  The first one is that you can adjust your technology or delivery of information based on context.  Examples of that might be "turn my phone on silent between 10 PM and 6 AM", or "If I am home or at work turn on the wifi of my phone on and turn it off when I leave" or "If there is any new information about my fantasy football roster send me an instant message."  Context is huge.  At work or at certain times of the day I may want things sent to me or blocked based on the work context. The second benefit to me is that you are able to shift off work into the background and allow your technology to work for you.  I don't need to scour blogs for information on a topic.  I can have them sent to me.  I don't have to wonder what the weather is going to be like today, I can have my phone read my the forecast when I wake up.The final benefit which is closely related to the 2nd is the benefit of set and forget.  If I am willing to do some work on the front end, I can enable a variety of services to perform in the background and know that they will continue on unless I intervene to stop them.  While that may not seem like a big deal to some, using these types of technology allows you to structure how you work and also allows you to protect yourself by giving you self imposed "time outs".Ok, so lots of jargon speak.  What EXACTLY are you talking about.  I think the best way to do that is to walk through the services I use as an example.  In general I am going to discuss this as it relates to web services, mobile devices and other devices.Web ServicesNotify.me - A couple of my friends who are some of my favorite entrepreneurs started a service called notify.me that unfortunately they recently shuttered.  I was an advisor to the company and I totally got the value proposition but unfortunately they didn't come to a clear business model and other projects ultimately led them to the conclusion that it was better to shutter it and refer users to other services.  When it was up I used Notify.me almost every day over a 2 year period.  The basic service allowed users to subscribe to a feed or some information source and then direct information to some communication output.  The output could be email, SMS or instant messaging.  In my case I used instant messaging which allowed me to not get text messages around the clock, only when I was at my computer working.My three main use cases were A. Realtime fanatsy football news, B. Hacker News updates and C. Updates to a[...]



Themes in Technology

2011-10-13T11:20:43.256-07:00

A friend the other day asked me what sort of stuff is interesting to me in technology right now. I said a ton of stuff and started rattling off a lot of things I use or things I am interested in. As I thought about it more it sounded like a scattered list of things but fundamentally there are some commonality and classification if I spent some time thinking about it. Actually one of the most articulate ways I have seen this sort of classification presented is on the Foundry Group VC website where they talk about what they look at from an investment standpoint. Other VCs refer to this as their "investment thesis" in certain categories but I think Foundry does a great job laying things out and giving good examples of what the theme means and a selection of companies that represent the theme.In addition to the conversation with my friend, I also realized that when Google + launched that I had some boiler plate about me stuff that represented what I was interested in back in 2004 and not necessarily what I am interested in in 2011. That is not to say that I am not still interested in those things, which in many cases I still am, it is just that with time and the change in technology I think a lot of those things have either been refined or have changed substantially. In any case, I have sort of hit the wall with the social networking sites and miss my blog so I thought it would be fun to share the themes that occupy my free thoughts and share some of the things that I either purchase or use on a frequent basis that are examples of those themes for me.So going back to that old profile stuff from 2004, I think a recap is a good place to start.  My blog description says "regarding things like user generated content, content in general, technology and media."  Nice and broad I suppose.  At the time there was an explosion of things like blogs and photosharing sites and the early SNS sites like Friendster and Ryze and Linkedin.  I was certainly interested in those things and still find that with the exception of my blog, these things are still big powerful forces where I use the products or consume information from sites like that.  Having worked in digital media and both the music and film business, I still find content very interesting and certainly am still very interested in media, both in the sense of media as something a consumer watches, sees, reads, etc. as well as media in the way of advertising and advertising technology.With that said, at chumby there is a lot of work that has been done with getting content onto interesting CE devices and also working with TV and TV related products.  We are also working to create advertising opportunities for our partners and think that there are some novel and interesting ways to do that.  In hindsight then, I really have spent a lot of time on the things I thought I would and hope to continue to do so.When I stop though and look at what else I am interested in today, I see things grouped into a couple of categories that I think are worth sharing with my friends and others who might be interested.  I hope over the next several weeks to write a couple of posts that walk through these in detail but for now I would like to highlight these themes that occupy my waking hours when I am not busy at work.The following is a brief classification and explanation of those areas for me:Personal Automation - There are a number of services and products that automate tasks and make my life easier.  They range from online services like ifttt.com, to mobile applications like Tasker for Android, to actual hardware devices like Eyefi SD cards and X.10 devices.  Some of these are extremely powerful and I think that there will be an increase in n[...]



Randy Lofgren, R.I.P.

2011-07-21T09:36:55.755-07:00

I just got back from a trip of the lifetime, rowing down the Grand Canyon for 6 days. While the trip was amazing, I climbed out of the Grand Canyon to get the news that my Uncle Randy has passed away while I was gone. It was sort of uncanny to me as we hadn't talked in a while but had a good long chat the day before I left on my vacation.

My Uncle was always around throughout my childhood. There were a bunch of years where he lived with us and with my real father divorced and usually out of state, and my step father almost always overseas, my Uncle was certainly a big impact on me as a father figure. He was a giant of a man around 6'4", who was liked by all and extremely friendly and outgoing. I wanted to share a couple of thoughts about my Uncle.

As a child I remember driving with my mom to pick him up from his Navy ship in Long Beach.

I remember the time when he had a full face cast from a bad motorcycle accident and he would scare the living shit out of me pretending to be the Gila monster. I must have been 4 or 5 back then.

He took me on my first camping trip up in Big Bear near the gold mines.

He took me on my first fishing trips.

He took me on my first motorcycle ride.

He was probably the first person to take me out shooting guns, and if he wasn't the first, we certainly did it a lot together.

He would discipline me when I was just about to enter my teens and my mom would try to spank me and I would laugh at her.

He took me to Vegas for the first time on a "fishing trip" to Lake Mead and my brother and I stayed up pretty much all night playing video games while he gambled.

I will never be able to listen to The Eagles, The Rolling Stones or the Beach Boys without thinking about times driving around in his muscle cars through the desert.

Simply put, he was a good man who meant a lot to me and even though I spent very little time with him over the last 20 years, his influence and impact on me has been with me through all of my years. My uncle was a big part in helping to make me who I am today.

I will miss him dearly, and will always hold those memories we shared deep in my heart.

Rest in peace dear Uncle.(image)



The last one at the party

2011-03-23T11:01:07.232-07:00

Techcrunch just posted this article here. The headline says amazingly that the Myspace decline is accelerating.

This absolutely isn't surprising and in fact makes total sense. One of the dynamics of community sites is the "empty room" problem at startup. Nobody wants to be the first one to the party and would be happening places have to figure out how to address that issue. Once you gain the "cool" factor then it is a race to the top. That is until you aren't cool anymore. Then it is a race to the bottom as nobody wants to be the last one at the party when the party is over. There was a good article about this I read several years ago that actually showed this with math and I think they used Friendster as the example. If I find it I will post.(image)



The chumby8 is getting ready to ship!

2011-03-22T20:32:05.539-07:00

Did a blog post on the corporate website here.

Tech docs can be found here.

You can pre-order the new chumby8 here.(image)



Cookbooks 2011

2011-03-16T21:42:22.019-07:00

At the end of the year each year I like to sample all the new music and spend time keeping myself current on "what the kids are listening to". In addition to this I also like to pick up a couple of new cookbooks that are either critically acclaimed or are in an area that I am trying to learn. I wanted to share the 4 cookbooks I picked up around the end of last year and the beginning of this one.The first book I am in love with is "Around my French Table". You can find the Amazon link here. This book was at the top of most of the food blogger lists this last year and having spent a month or two reading throughout the book, I can only say that this is the best French cookbook in my collection by far. While there are a lot of the crazy complicated French recipes, I would say that the vast majority are straightforward and very accessible.The second book I grabbed this year from the food bloggers was "Stir-Frying to the sky's edge". Amazon link here. I decided this year that I was going to master wok cooking as I have become a master at seasoning pans and I am excited by doing fun things with vegetables. I received a very nice electric wok for Christmas so the whole seasoning a pan went out the window but I have had some fun getting ready to dig into the book in a big way. The book covers a great range of things you can do with Asian inspired foods in the stir fry tradition.The other two books were not blogging inspired but were actually the cookbooks of two of my favorite restaurants over the last year.The first book was from London based Wagamama. The cookbook I picked up was "The Wagamama Cookbook" and the link is here. This book was a best of cookbook selection from 2007. My office in London was right next to the Covent Garden Wagamama and I was always pumped to eat their spicy chili mein. As soon as I bough the book I cooked this recipe back to back over two days. This book is awesome and was a great companion to my other stir fry book, although this is less about stri fry and more about noodles and other things.The last book I picked up was "Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors". The book is not available yet but you can pre-order it here. I bought the book directly at the restaurant as I believe it is by far the best restaurant in San Francisco right now and I try to eat there whenever I get the chance. I generally eat at the bar and usually eat a variety of mezes, which are Greek tapas style dishes. Their Gigantes, Asparagus, and Brussels sprouts dishes are to die for. I like it so much that this morning I cooked the sprouts dish for breakfast this morning as I am trying to perfect the dish. If you get to SF, eat here and if you don't get the chance, get this book when it comes out.[...]



Chumby screen saver

2010-10-25T20:45:03.330-07:00

Having a little fun with chumby as a software platform...here.(image)



Blogging at work

2010-10-21T14:28:01.360-07:00

Just made my first work blog post here. Will keep things mostly personal or unrelated to work on this place.(image)



Androidboss website plagiarized my post

2010-10-07T08:58:21.158-07:00

My post yesterday about the G2, was directly lifted by some guy named shadow at a website called Androidboss.com. Unbelievable. No attribution, no changing. They directly copied it and posted it as their own. I think this article here is a good gameplan for people who face a similar situation.(image)



My G2 review

2010-10-06T15:58:10.529-07:00

Today is the day most people can buy the new Tmobile G2 phone. I was fortunate to receive a device late last week and have had almost a week to play with it. As this is my fifth Android device (G1, Droid, Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy) I have a lot of experience with this mobile OS. For the purpose of this post I think there are 5 areas worth commenting on: hardware, setup, usage, HSPA and applications.Hardware - The G2 is a hefty little device. I actually feel like having some heft is a good thing in a device. Of the devices I have had, the G2 weighs in as the heaviest at 6.5 ozs. I thought the Droid was actually heavier but it in reality is lighter at 5.99 ozs. Maybe the boxy industrial design gave me that impression. This is contrasted with the G1 which was 5.6 ozs. and the ultra light Samsung Galaxy device which is an amazing 4.59 ozs. For a non-Android comparison, the iPhone 4 is 4.8 ozs. It is interesting to me how close in weight the iPhone and the Galaxy are, but how much more solid the iPhone appears. As far as durability, I think the G2, Droid and iPhone all seem fairly similar in that regard.The G2 to me, looks a lot like a beefed up Nexus One. The faceplate appearance is a slightly more squarish version of the Nexus One, but that is where the difference ends. The G2 has an amazing spring loaded slide action that is as strong as what I saw on the Helio devices back in the day. Not quite a switchblade locking action, but a strong spring loaded slide up. The keyboard is gorgeous and most closely resembles the Sidekick 2 with slightly raised rubberized buttons.Setup - Like all Android devices, you need to be bought into the whole Google thing to experience the full range of the device. In my case that means I am a user of Gmail at work, I have all my contacts in Google Contacts and I use Google voice. With a simple login with your Google credentials you have a quick OTA update of the relevant services and before I knew it, my 1800+ contacts were loaded and ready to go. Two additional comments on setup. Thus far, I have had to load back every application when I set up a device. It would be great to have your application profile saved so that when you migrate from one device to the next you don't have to go back and redownload all the applications. iTunes has Google beat on this front in that an iTunes sync to a new device does all that the Google OTA stuff does but it also brings over your applications. I am sure that is either fixed and I don't know it, or it will be fixed.Usage - The device works great. One of my big concerns was that the processor has a slower clock speed than the Nexus One with 800 mhz vs. 1 gigahertz. I am not sure if there are memory optimizations or other things that make the speed comparable, but I have yet to notice any speed differences between the two devices.One last thing on Usage, one of the primary things that I love about 2.2 Froyo, is the Car mode and how unbelievably amazing voice search and voice controls are when I am driving. I connect my phone with my Blue Ant hands free and basically toss the phone in the seat next to me.HSPA - I can't say that I have any concrete comments about the HSPA network speed vs. my previous experience with Tmobile's network in general. I am sure that with time I will have a clearer perspective. Two things I have done to test out speed that are worth noting were traveling down the freeway at maximum speed limit and streaming NFL Sunday ticket this last Sunday morning between San Onofre and North San Diego county. I w[...]



Some Nice Press

2010-10-05T18:10:19.335-07:00

Local tech press did a nice write up here.(image)



I am an Android

2010-10-01T09:48:52.782-07:00

As the various smartphones have emerged in the last several years one of the interesting by products of the carrier model in the US is that the carrier that you do business with is a big determinant in the type of smartphone you own. ATT and you are an iPhone user. Verizon and you use the Droid. For me, I have been a Tmobile customer for something like 10 years.One of the advantages of Tmobile (and also ATT) is that you can use whatever unlocked phone you want. In the US, that is the exception as most people purchase subsidized phones. My initial phones with Tmobile were Sony Ericsson candy bar phones. I think that was the T610 and T635 if I recall correctly.As I went to Intercasting, I wanted to see where phones were going(unlocked) and became a fan of the Sony Ericsson P series of phones purchasing the P910 and later the P990. Man were those phones big! I have to say though that I loved those phones and even became fairly happy with Symbian UIQ at the time. Unfortunately for me, Sony Ericsson made the decision to go with Windows Mobile on the Xperia and I was lost to them. This of course happened around the same time that the G1 was about to come out. Per my earlier point, since I was a Tmobile customer, I was happy to be an early adopter of Android and was extremely pleased to get my first G1.Arguably the G1 paled in comparison to the iPhone. While I think that was true, I still loved the device especially the fact that it had a keyboard. During most of my time at Intercasting I was also a Sidekick user, spanning 3 different models of Sidekick before abandoning the devices as the product cycle times extended and much of the differentiation was absorbed by smartphones.I faithfully used Android/G1 up to the Good acquisition, which resulted in my change in focus from feature phones to smartphones as it related to an increased focus on enterprise mobility and thus higher end devices. For the last year, I have been using the last 3 versions of the iPhone, The Droid and the Nexus 1. Interestingly, while I think all three of those phones were outstanding, I was the biggest fan of the Nexus One. The Droid certainly had the best network with Verizon, and the hardware from Motorola was very hardy (I think you could bludgeon someone to death with it and it's sharp corners), but I found the keyboard very disappointing, which has been the case for me with most Moto QWERTY devices historically.Certainly the iPhone is an amazing device from a usability perspective and from a services perspective, but the lack of keyboard and some of the better features on Android devices leave me with more interest in that platform. I have to note that this is really only as it relates to smartphones as I use a Mac, have Apple TV, and love my iPad.The reason I write this is that on my last business trip with Good before coming over to Chumby was that I lost my personal Nexus One at Seatac airport my last week of work. I can't tell you how angry I was when that happened. I knew that Tmobile had rumors of the G2 coming out but I needed a phone immediately so I headed over to the nearest Tmobile store and bought a new device. At the time, the hot device for Tmobile was the Samsung Galaxy phone called the Vibrant.I think Samsung is an amazing company, and has amazing hardware, but I have to say that I was very disappointed in this device. There were 3 big issues for me. First, the GPS didn't work right. My two major differentiators for Android over iPhone are Google V[...]



TripIt Pro Discount Code

2010-09-28T21:24:34.512-07:00

Tripit is without question one of my favorite services. I signed up for Tripit Pro earlier this year and it has paid for itself many times over. I get text messages when I land telling me of gate changes. I get flight delay updates before others. The point tracking system is simply amazing.

With all that said, I am basically shilling for Tripit right now. They have lowered their annual price to $49 and have sent a discount code to distribute to friends for $5 off. If you travel at all on a frequent basis, I have to say that you will be amazed by this service. If you are interested, the discount link is here.(image)



My new gig

2010-09-23T17:27:12.992-07:00

So...

Yeah. Well I didn't really take much time off between gigs.

A couple of weeks ago, I took over the ceo position at chumby from Steve Tomlin. We had been thinking about external communications and for the most part wanted to talk to partners like Sony and Best Buy and some others prior to saying anything in public. Somewhere along the way, I forgot about this press release which hit the wire as I was coming back from NYC and Boston last night, so I guess it is time to say, this is what I am doing!

I have been close to the chumby team over the last several years, but certainly the most with Steve Tomlin who founded chumby and was also my investor and board member at Intercasting. Beyond Steve, the founding team of Bunnie, Duane, Ken and the rest of the team at chumby have done an amazing job creating not just a product, but a product that people actually buy!

In addition to having success with their own product, the idea that the chumby network of flash applications can be proliferated on other devices has been validated with their work with Sony on the Dash and with Best Buy on the Infocast. Expect to see more of that on devices like tablets and televisions in the coming months.

For me this gig brings some new challenges and some familiar ones. A significant part of the job going forward will involve working with content companies, which I have done throughout my career and also marks a return to the advertising world, where I cut my teeth at MP3.com and at Vivendi. The new challenges are consumer electronics and working with retail distribution. My past two gigs at Good and Intercasting involved working with some of the same players that I expect to work with in the future, although in a different context.

I am excited to take the helm at chumby and look forward to helping to scale the business beyond the success achieved thus far. It is a great honor to take the reins of a company that you have watched someone build from scratch and I will do everything in my power to deliver on that promise to the team, to our partners, and to the many people who have become great fans of what chumby has done thus far.(image)



Happy Trails

2010-08-13T06:12:19.613-07:00

Today is my last day at Good Technology. While it is the end of a run at Good, it is actually the end of my run with Intercasting and mobile as well. It’s been a bit over 6 years and besides saying, gee how time flies, I have to say that it has been a great adventure and a period of time that I know I will look back on with pride and a sense of accomplishment.Much like my run at MP3.com and Vivendi, which was almost the same amount of time, I am pretty sure this is a marking point for a move into a new sector. I have really enjoyed mobile and think that mobile is more exciting today than when Shawn and I started Intercasting in 2004. It’s just that, like digital music before it, I find that I am looking for some time in a different place. That is not to say that I won’t go back to mobile in the future, or digital music for that matter, it’s just that for me, I think a change is a good thing at this point.At a point like this I think it is important to ask one self, what have I learned these last six years? Aside from some industry specific things, which I don’t feel like exploring in this post, I think I have learned a lot of similar lessons to my time in digital music. It’s probably worth pointing out a few. First, markets in technology are extremely volatile, fast moving, and not prone to any great amount of predictability. In 2004, there was no iPhone, there was no Facebook, and messaging revenue was king. Because of this, winning and losing is something that is driven by luck to some degree, but most important for an entrepreneur is the ability to pivot in a market when the path to success isn’t necessarily all that clear. Flexibility, the ability to slaughter your sacred cows and a focus on execution are key. With that and a little bit of luck, you might get a win.Second, and actually more important that the first, is that it is all about the people. The people you hire, the people you do business with, and the people you compete with in the marketplace. To me the most rewarding part of the last 6 years has been working with some of the most talented people I know, getting to know new friends and acquaintances in my day to day interactions, and finding a number of inspirational people along the way. Without that, I can’t imagine how I could pursue my dreams every day.Third, it is extremely important to always remember the most important people in your life, which in my case is my wife and my four kids. While I have traveled over 120,000 miles this year already, I always made it home on the weekend, and I always did everything in my power to keep things at home as important as my work. My kids will grow up with good memories of hanging out in my office with my team and that thought will always make me smile. More important than that though is the unending support my wife has given me with this venture and in our marriage of 16 years. She is without question the best and most important part of my life.So other thanks. I have to thank the team that I worked with at Intercasting for this entire time. They are, without exception awesome. Their hard work and innovation were the key to our success. Shawn and I could never have spun the tales we spun if they didn’t give us the tools to back it up. I also want to thank my team at Good. While most of my previous team went on to various roles at Good, I inherited an entirely new team and add[...]