Buzz Beer.

Seth has a thought on beer with caffeine in it:

It’s entirely possible that adding caffeine to beer will be remembered as a great idea.
Possible, but unlikely.

I’m not sure how much of a great idea it is when The Drew Carey Show was doing it five or six years ago as one of their running gags.

The internet is NOT the new TV.

An annual survey by Jupiter Research showed that last year American adults spent as many hours a week in front of a computer as they did in front of a television:

The survey of 2,231 people found that consumers spent an average of 10 hours a week on the Internet in 2004, the same amount as the year before. TV watching declined to 10 hours a week, however, from 11 in 2003.

Other activities suffered as a result of the increased online time. About one-third of respondents said they spent less time reading books, magazines and newspapers, as well as chatting on the phone.

Based on this, the New York Times suggests that the internet is the new TV. They are however two very different things.

Television is entertainment or educational programming created by someone else, pushed to me the passive viewer, based upon a schedule imposed by someone else. I the viewer have minimal input, other than through ratings, as to what the programming may consist of, and my selections are limited by the available channels, which are further driven by market forces. There are basically only a few publishers, and a few stars, and many viewers.

The internet on the other hand may consist of content created by someone else, but the schedule at which I view it is defined by me. It is an interactive medium where I select the programming. In fact, I may even create the programming (i.e. blogs). The selection is essentially infinite, and market forces have a lesser effect overall. There is an increasing number of publishers, anybody can become a star, and the line between publishers and viewers is indistinguishable.

The internet is NOT the new TV. Not by a long shot.

The survey does not seem to account for those who are online while watching TV, which is a frequent occurrence in my house.

(Link from Furdlog)

No accountability.

The province of Ontario, Canada, is proposing legislation to legalize same sex marriage, as is the Canadian federal government.

While many provincial politicians have had the courage to declare whether they support the legislation or not, it seems that the Liberal government has struck a deal with the opposition parties to avoid a recorded vote. This ensures that citizens will have no idea how their representatives voted, freeing the politicians from any accountability to the people who elected them.

Interestingly enough, only CanWest Global Communications-owned newspapers felt this was important enough to mention. The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail seem to have no mention of it.

Marketing at Microsoft.

John Dvorak thinks that marketing at Microsoft is a myth. He says:

I argue that Microsoft is a technology-centric company with incredibly poor marketing. So poor that it cannot even convince the pundits that it is anything but a me-too developer.

Robert Scoble agrees. He says:

So, the trick is to build better products and services. In my view. Now, where John is right is where we ARE building better mousetraps.

Eric Norlin takes a different road, stating:

…..and i disagree – its NOT simply about building better products and services. Marketing at its best is about having conversations with customers and potential customers. Its about building relationships. “market development” is a term for “pre-sales.” That’s what marketing does — it talks to and with the market to find out:
A) what the market wants
B) how the market will purchase things
C) what the market finds funny, sexy, useful, awful, etc.

Here’s my take: It’s never about better products and services.

It’s about a good product, that solves your problem, not the company’s, and is easy to integrate into your business or your life.

I would argue that Microsoft doesn’t build better mousetraps; in fact their mousetraps don’t always work. They are a me-too company in some situations – like word processing, spreadsheets, browsers, anti-spyware – lots of stuff. Most of the time they understand the customer problem, though sometimes they are a little slow to get there.

What Microsoft does really well is integrate. When they release something they’ve go a bunch of stuff built around it so that you can be productive right away. It’s never perfect, or everything you need, but it’s all you need to get your job done.

Sharepoint is a good example. Nothing fancy, but it makes you more productive right out of the box.

When you can do that, you don’t have to market. You make the market. In Microsoft’s case, you are the market.

Leadership?

The lack of leadership in Canadian politics is apparently a common thread today, the day the federal budget is being released.

Andrew at Bound By Gravity builds upon a post by Bob at Let It Bleed about the lack of leadership in Canada. As Andrew says:

Canadians aren’t hungry for a change of government. It’s not that they’re particularly electrified by what the Liberals are serving up – rather that they have not been given a coherent, intelligent, exciting alternative.

It reminds me of a comment from the movie “The American President”:

Louis (Michael J.Fox): “People are so thirsty for leadership they’ll crawl through the desert and when they find it’s only a mirage, they’ll drink the sand.”

President Shepherd (Michael Douglas): “People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”

I grew up in Canada before I moved to the U.S. I really can’t recall a real leader since Pierre Trudeau. The thing about real leaders is that they generate real emotions, either very positive or very negative. Politicians like Paul Martin want to be liked by everyone, so they can’t be true leaders, even if they had the ability to.

It seems rare that politicians these days actually have a plan. Instead they seem to be driven by polls, with their only concern being getting re-elected and maintaining power. They don’t really seem to care about citizens. They practice “gesture politics”.

As the New York Times said in The Triumph of Gesture Politics:

“The essence of leadership has changed into something that is less and less about significant undertakings and more and more about dramatic stunts.”

Though many people, and purportedly a majority of Canadians, disagree with U.S. President George Bush, it can be said that the man does exhibit the traits of a leader. Agree with him or not, he sets goals and never waivers. The same thing certainly could not be said about Mr. Dithers – Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Use it or lose it.

According to the Washington Post, a Georgia woman is suing Hewlett-Packard, claiming their printer cartridges are designed to expire on a certain date, regardless of whether they have been installed in a printer or not. According to the suit:

“The smart chip is dually engineered to prematurely register ink depletion and to render a cartridge unusable through the use of a built-in expiration date that is not revealed to the consumer.”

This has the potential to be a public relations nightmare, but Hewlett-Packard has made no effort to refute the claim.

(Link from Furdlog)

Banned.

Digital Domain is being swamped by traffic from a Netherland website. The same thing was happening to me a couple of weeks ago, only it was an Israeli site.

I don’t understand why these companies do this, but I have better things to do with my money than pay for them to use my bandwidth.

So I looked them up at www.whois.sc, and banned their IP address. Problem solved – until the next time.

The Canadian Identity.

Kate at small dead animals laments the fact that the Canadian identity may be reduced to a demonstration of what not to do, and in her words “simply to serve as a warning to the United States”.

I could try to summarize her comments, but she already says it so well.

Why I use Firefox.

Jeremy doesn’t use Firefox, and he gives these reasons:

I dont use tabs. I dont use gestures. I do so little web development, I dont need the toolkit. The download managers nice, but I dont miss it. The standards support doesnt matter either, as the number of sites which show up wrong in IE is minuscule compared to FireFox. And security doesnt matter, because I have 10 years experience locking down IE.

He certainly has every right to do what works for him, as does everybody.

I don’t use Firefox for the features – they really don’t matter much to me, but they are handy.

I’ve been using browsers since they first existed, and I use Firefox because I don’t ever want to make the statement that “security doesn’t matter because I have 10 years experience locking down” anything. That statement alone defines all that is wrong with Internet Explorer.

I use Firefox because my time is too valuable to me to spend it making sure my browser is working, and fixing it if it isn’t.

10 commandments of driving.

Many mornings I take the freeway into Toronto, Canada in the morning. The on-ramp to the freeway from my town is a two lane ramp, merging onto a three lane freeway. The freeway speed averages well over 60 miles per hour.

Yet every morning the traffic on the on-ramp comes to a complete standstill as people slow down, then stop, while they wait to merge onto the freeway.

I was still cursing these people when I noticed Chris Pirillo pointing to the 10 commandments of driving in Seattle. It brought back my sense of humor.