Daily Del.icio.us for Jan 20, 2006

Daily Del.icio.us for Jan 19, 2006

Daily Del.icio.us for Jan 18, 2006

Interesting new campaign from Sprint

Samsung A920 phoneLate last week, I got an email from Sprint asking me to participate in something they are calling the Sprint Ambassador Program. At current, it’s an invite only program that is targeting bloggers and Jeff, Scott and Steve are also blogging about it. This program is a clever attempt to get a Sprint phone plus free service to people that blog about technology. As part of the program, I get a free Samsung A-920 phone and 6 months of free service that apparently includes the Sprint Music Store, live TV broadcasts, gaming and other items that are part of the Sprint Power Vision Network. The only thing I have to do is provide feedback – how often or how little is up to me.

It’s pretty easy to guess Sprint’s intention here – They are hoping and counting on people that are in the program to blog about their experience. With free calls and data services for 6 months, I know I will be using it quite a bit and probably blog about it as well.

The Samsung A-920 is billed as a Razr killer and is a dual-band CDMA phone that supports EV-DO for high-speed data downloads, stereo speakers, Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel rotating camera with flash and camcorder capabilities, dual color displays, and an internal antenna.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’ve accepted the offer and hope to get the phone soon. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should add that I get to keep the phone after the 6-month experiment is over. I can at that point sign up for Sprint service using that phone but I would have to pay the normal charges. I should also add that I used to be a Sprint customer till about 2 years ago when I switched to AT&T. I was happy with the Sprint service but the thing that made me switch and pay the $450 ($150 times 3 phones) to get out of my Sprint contract was the lack of devices. With Cingular, I’ve bought GSM phones off eBay or other websites and just slid in my SIM card to make the phone work. At the time when I was a Sprint customer, they would let you get a new device but you had to re-up your contract for a 1 or 2 year period. So I ended up paying $450 to get out of my Sprint contract to sign a 2-year AT&T contract. 🙂 But in the time I’ve been with AT&T, I’ve gone through about 6 different phones before settling on my current phone, the Audiovox SMT 5600. I have a data-plan through AT&T or Cingular now and I use the browser all the time on my phone.

I’ll blog about this topic again when I get the phone. I guess its mission accomplished for Sprint. 🙂 Free swag is another great benefit of blogging.

marketing, sprint, samsung+a902, audiovox, cingular, razr, ev-do,

Daily Del.icio.us for Jan 14, 2006

Google Video Blows

I guess I’m one of the many people that thought, Is this what we’ve been waiting for when I finally got a chance to purchase a video from Google’s new online video store. There were a bunch of hiccups right after the launch yesterday and I couldn’t buy a video as their authentication system was hosed (that’s a technical term 🙂 ). After I supplied my credit card information, it wanted me to re-enter my Google Account password which I did correctly several times but it wouldn’t accept it. Pass that off as launch issues – we’ve all been there, right?

So I finally go out and buy a music video from the extensive collection (count 9) of music video and the quality is crap. Total crap – and yes, that is another technical term. The quality of the video is just horrible and that’s watching it normal size and not double size or full-screen. To compare apples to apples, I go to iTunes to try and purchase the same music video but I couldn’t find the video of ‘Kelly Clarkson – Behind These Hazel Eyes’ on iTunes. So I end up buying ‘Because of You’ to compare quality and there is no competition. The quality of video from iTunes is far superior when compared to Google Video. And they both cost $1.99.

The biggest problem with Google Video in my opinion is that you always need to be online to watch any of your purchased videos. When you purchase a video, you are downloaded a little file with the extension .qvp. Google Video Player opens this file and then uses the URL in this file to essentially stream the video to you. I’m not fan of DRM but Apple at least lets you keep your music/video on your machine but Google’s do-no-evil video store keeps it on their server. And because this video is not available offline, you can’t copy it over to your video iPod (assuming that the Google DRM was on the iPod).

Google Video gvp file

Now I shouldn’t blame Google completely for this as my expectations were out of whack, but that’s partly Google’s fault. Like others, I was looking forward to something off an iTunes killer and we ended up with a dud. How can you deliver gems like GMail, and Google Maps and then a total dud like Google Video? Now I know this is really a market place for selling videos ala eBay but the limitation of the DRM’d format ensures me that I will never buy anything from Google video. If I can’t physically have the file, and the quality is questionable at best, why wouldn’t I just go to iTunes and buy the video there. In the near term, content providers will make proprietary deals where you can only get ABC content through this vendor and NBC content through this vendor but they will eventually come to their senses and sell their content through all the available channels. Makes sense – If DRM is DRM and the content you are distributing is protected, why would you limit the potential pool of buyers by only using Google Video or Vongo or Yahoo or any other store for that matter.

Is this a big misstep for Google? If Microsoft buys Yahoo, what would that do to Google? As of market close today, Yahoo’s market cap is about $60 billion and Microsoft could muster up $100 billion for Yahoo and everything they brought to the table. While everyone has focused on Google and Microsoft, Yahoo has been quietly buying up companies and building a very nice portfolio of products and people. Wouldn’t that be an interesting place if Microsoft and Yahoo banded together to take on Google? Life certainty would be interesting. I guess it’s like the old Chinese curse or blessing: May you live in interesting times. 🙂

google, google+video, yahoo, microsoft, itunes, ipod, apple, drm

I am such a loser :)

Discovered EgoSurf via. Steve Ruble’s blog and so I gave it a shot and scored 9130 points. I need a life 🙂 The idea is simple – You enter your name and your blogs web address and EgoSurf searchs google (MSN, Yahoo, Technorai, Del.icio.us also) and finds links to your blog which is used to calculate your ego ranking. Pretty interesting and a great way to kill a few hours at work 😉 EgoSurf is the creation of Jason Hyland.

egosurfall

Daily Del.icio.us for Jan 08, 2006