Updated: 4/6/03; 8:56:18 AM.

On Deciding . . . Better log
A news page for the philosophical action site, "On Deciding . . . Better"

daily link  Thursday, September 12, 2002

A picture named tony.gifTime-Warner Chairman Richard Parsons: "'If (AOL) is going to live, and I think it is, it will be somewhat like HBO,' the company's cable-television division. He added that AOL would need to schedule programming that people were willing to pay for." Does this strike you as weird? I thought AOL was an email and instant messaging service. Programming like HBO? I like the Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Great stuff. But what does that have to do with AOL? I must be missing something. [Scripting News]

I know exactly what they mean Dave. Maybe my insight comes from having been on the inside at AOL, indirectly. My web writing career started with The Motley Fool. The Fool started out as a message board community on AOL. I think we tend to forget that the net was in its embryonic stage back then and communities like Compuserve, The Well, and AOL were where communities were collecting.

AOL then developed a strategy of nuturing its own content. They actually were an early investor in The Motley Fool. After posting actively in the community, I was eventually asked by Tom and Dave to become a staff writer. I had access to the tools used to create AOL content, called "Rainman".

At one point the Web started to take off. The Fool made the decision that they had to have a website as well. Apparently, their deal with AOL was non-exclusive, so they started migrating their content to the web. Soon after, the Fool went to a professional staff. I didn't have the time, so I dropped out.

Around this time, AOL started to abandon their concept of having exclusive content. In AOL, you were more and more often getting linked out to the Web. Soon, AOL was an ISP and web portal, with very little interesting exclusive content. It became the Internet with training wheels.

Once there was no important content that wasn't available for free on the Web, I dropped my AOL access. Haven't thought about it since.

Knowing this history, I wouldnt be at all suprised if they were formulating a strategy to return to their roots of developing content for distribution. As a media company, they should know how to produce content.

Now that the web is free, can the genie be put back into the bottle? Subscription web sites don't have a great track record so far.

Yet television was free and cable became a large industry by creating exclusive content. Email and other web services are free but Apple is now charging for it. Even Userland moved from the free EditThisPage to the fee for service Radio hosting.

For me, AOL would have to provide a package of content to get me back. Video and audio are obvious hooks, but content from magazines, if exclusive, could pull me back. It's a matter of total value for the fee.

These are the post dot.com bust business models. Things are getting interesting again.  11:13:36 PM  permalink  

Sharp's One Bit Technology What was a high end demonstration technology is moving into portables and consumer products. This could be an important driver for higher resolution audio formats like SACD, which can be directly amplified with this technology. High power, low weight and heat production.  10:31:27 PM  permalink  

Economics of Hot Spots The 802.11b Networking News looks at an analysis of the market for hotspots which concludes that the 100's of thousands of installations necessary can never be profitable given the small numbers of subscribers that are willing to pay for access. I think their analysis is correct, this kind of projection would have predicted that cell phones would never be economically viable. It seems to me that ubiquitous voice and data access is inevitable eventually. As the price of hotspots comes down and enabled devices become common, localized Wi-Fi (or its future equivalent) will become expected wherever there's public computing. Conference rooms in office buildings and hotels. Cafes and bars. Trains.  10:18:22 PM  permalink  

Big moment here tonight as I've finally set up a wireless network in my house. I bought an Airport Card for the G4 Cube and I'm using the OS X 10.2 software basestation ability. It's well integrated into the system, so its simpler to get going than I suspected. One simply turns on internet sharing then activates the Airport Card and the network is up and running. The firewall built into OS X blocked the Radio feed on port 8080 until I created a new service in the firewall

Right now, I've got a Compaq iPAQ wireless card running. I picked it up at RadioShack on sale for $70 with a $20 rebate.

Next up is to see whether I can get the card up and running on the old WallStreet G3 Powerbook.

  9:06:11 PM  permalink  

Eight Commandments of Credit
Follow these rules to win at the borrowing game. [Motley Fool]

I'm testing headline copying for NetNewsWire. I realize that I've developed a style of weblogging where I quote from the site to communicate the point. A copied headline promotes a more spare style of collecting links.

  8:48:17 PM  permalink  

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I'm working on getting the Favorite's back on the homepage. It's useful when I want to check for updates over the net.  8:24:05 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2003 © James Vornov.
Last update: 4/6/03; 8:56:18 AM.