Updated: 1/6/2004; 11:10:02 PM.
Jeremy Allaire's Radio
An exploration of media, communications and applications over the Internet.

This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.


Sunday, March 09, 2003

When you look at a simple example of paid content like this, it's very clear that it's a highly inefficient model for the consumer, but perhaps still a profit-maximizing model for the seller (Real).  It is highly unlikely that a consumer would listen to even a small percentage of the total baseball games, but still shell-out for unlimited access.  Would make a great case-study in micro-payments.  Pay-per-listen at $1 per game, and if you found yourself listening a lot it could scale into a subscription.

10:11:11 AM    comment []

Powerline products complement Wi-Fi: The powerline HomePlug products use electrical wiring in a house to connect devices without hubs: they bridge networks using Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi. Oddly, the article doesn't mention Siemens remarkable SpeedStream product which is both HomePlug (for bridging) and Wi-Fi (as an access point)--and it comes in under $100.

Back in 1996 I began experimenting with the convergence of wireless and powerline infrastructure in the home.  For wireless I used CDPD-enabled mobile phones using a beta of Unwired Planet's HDML micro-browser (it was on an ATT PocketNet prototype phone).  That connected to my home through an ISDN connection, talking to a ColdFusion Server.  The CF server talked to appliances in my home using X10.
But I quickly starting imagining the possibilities of using the home electrical network for higher-bandwidth network sharing.  My research left me at a dead-end, though the HomePlug organization had just formed.  I also looked into how and whether power companies themselves could and would use their power trunk to carry data (many already do, using it for remote meter monitoring), and ultimately see the real "Grid" become the data grid.
But just as powerline broadband inside the home is a reality --- through products like the above, which can deliver 14MBs --- WiFi is exploding.  But as WiFi-enthusiast Glenn notes, they are truly complementary.  Powerline can bridge to anything, anywhere in the home while WiFi still has significant physical limitations in terms of coverage and throughput. 
I still have the dream of buying a Sony stereo, plugging it into the wall and knowing that that alone is its broadband pipe. Soon enough.

9:55:37 AM    comment []

Me on mesh: My latest InfoWorld Test Center Insight in which I look at mesh networking's advantages, the companies deploying, and how developments in the near future from Intel's signaled interest could reshape the landscape of point-to-point into something new and strange.

9:42:53 AM    comment []

Part 1 of Tony Perkins interview with the CEO of Sony over at Always On Network.
[via Werblog]
Interesting interview overall, but I found this choice quote:
"They have to change their mindset away from selling albums, and think about selling singles over the Internet for as cheap as possible—even 20 cents or 10 cents—and encourage file-sharing so they can also get micro-payments for these files."
I've been thinking about paid content a lot lately, and the issue of micro-payments as an approach.  It's certainly true that the value of digital assets (often) approaches zero, but that the available volume and cost of distribution is radically larger.  Micro-payments for secured digital content seems to make sense, but hasn't worked for a variety of reasons.  Would you pay 25 cents for a music file?  $2 for a copy of a video?  What else would you pay less than $5 or $10 for (the cost which becomes uneconomical for credit-card and other payment systems to handle because the 2% clearing fee doesn't cover their transactions costs)?

9:14:25 AM    comment []

Now that's talking! A British provider plans 30,000 WiFi hotspots by the end of the year. The company's main business -- gaming (aka gambling) machines. Guess they won't be coming to the US any time soon.
[via Werblog]

This raises the interesting and obvious question of how and whether existing Internet end-points get WiFi enabled, with or w/o commercial services.  I'd be interested in learning about parallels to this UK business in the US market.  Keno-WiFi here we come. :)

8:56:05 AM    comment []

Tim Bray on spam: "I think we may be winning." (I'm not so sure.)
[via Werblog]

Tim Bray and Kevin Werbach are vollying on the spam issue.  Lately I've been looking into the space, in particular software and hosted services that try and crush spam.  There appear to be many many different approaches, and enterprises still complain about false-positives (when spam filters block legit messages).  I'm interested to hear from folks here what they use, how they think it works, and how they feel about the results.

8:12:13 AM    comment []

Why blogging isn't a fad Arnold Kling offers one of the best explanations I've seen of the value of blogging as a distributed information filtering mechanism.
"This filtering process makes all of us more efficient. Information with low value does not travel far. Information with high general value tends to travel the farthest. Information with low general value but high local value tends to reach interested people but then die out because as it gets passed along its value decays below the threshold. Everyone tends to receive information with a high value to them, and they avoid having to read information that has low value to them."
[via Werblog]

I guess this item itself has high general value within the local domain of bloggers who blog about blogging.
8:04:22 AM    comment []

The future of online community

Jon Udell offers some excellent insights on the convergence of weblogs and online communities.  I'm very familiar with Jon's much earlier work around online forums, NNTP and all things web collaboration.  I also share his enthusiasm and assertions about weblogs superceding/replacing many past forms, but still lacking some of the permanance and structure that a dedicated place online might hold.

Interestingly, my original passion for web applications stemmed from a belief that the killer app of the Internet was communications --- the first app that my brother JJ and I built (pre-ColdFusion) was an online threaded discussion system.  One of the core apps that drove ColdFusion's design center was online community systems, and in fact this quickly became a part of the Allaire business -- Allaire Forums, one of the earliest commercial threaded discussion systems.  Allaire eventunally shifted from selling this (selling a $495 online forum system isn't a great business -- to my knowledge there are no good examples of significant software businesses created from web-based online communities) and focused on core runtimes and tools.

Anyway, Jon asks some important questions, such as how/whether we can add a deeper form of community and persistent dialog than comments and trackbacks.  I've thought about this some, and seem various experiments.  One thing I think would be interesting would be to deepen the comment systems into richer threading systems, and expand the range of content to include text/audio/video.  I'd also like to see standards for integrating presence and live discussion into weblogs.  If a weblog is a reflection of a person's intellectual presence online, they should be able to make themselves available for 1:1 or 1:many interactions, including live audio and video.  Mike Chambers from Macromedia played with this for a while on his Flash MX blog using Flash Communication Server.

Nonetheless, it would be useful for us all to step back and imagine the forms of community and interaction we'd like to see grow from weblogs, and start crafting some of that into standards.


7:51:46 AM    comment []

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