Freeze frame.

Why can’t I do a screen capture from a DVD on the Mac? The Grab utility insists that screen grabs are unavailable during DVD playback, and tells me I have to close the DVD software. Is this a real software problem (not likely) or just something to make media companies happy?

Location matters.

The other day Chris Shipley of DEMO wrote that location doesn’t matter anymore; your tech company can as easily be located in Kansas as in Silicon Valley. That’s true enough. The basic necessities are available almost everywhere.

Today Renee Blodgett comments that while location may matter a little less, she’s not so sure:

The article points out that “the infrastructure to support technology development – broadband connectivity and plenty of caffeine – is available almost anywhere.” While this is true, I think its harder to get Stanford and MIT grads to move to the middle of Kansas……or sophisticated marketing savvy pros to head to rural towns, where the only choice for greens on the menu is iceberg lettuce. There are other considerations of course, including the quality of schools, cultural diversity and airport access.

I currently live and hour west of Toronto, Canada, where I moved when I was affected by the downturn in Massachusetts that Renee mentions. There is a small technology community here co-located with a university with a computer science and engineering program. The companies here build technology products, long on engineering, but short on marketing. But there are no tradeshows here. There are no Mobile Mondays or meetups. All of the real action is happening in Boston or in the Valley, primarily because of the sheer density of talented people, organizations, and infrastructure.

Yes you can build technology anywhere. But location can be a pretty powerful factor.

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Say a little prayer.

The FCC now thinks that a la carte cable channel selection and pricing will lower costs for consumers by allowing them to select only those channels that they actually want to watch, as opposed to being forced to buy packages of channels they don’t want just to get the one they do.

According to Broadband Reports, televangelists aren’t all that happy at the prospect, given the fact that viewers might not be interested in paying for their programming, cutting off a lucrative source of revenue.

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Branded.

When I was a kid all of the cars had dealer nameplates on them, branding the car so to speak. The more elegant cars had embossed nameplates; the cheaper ones had stickers. But either way, the car could fall to pieces before those little emblems fell off.

The idea was one of advertising. As long as that car was on the road people would know where it came from. Of course that was when cars were built to last. People don’t seem to keep their cars as long these days, or they just don’t last as long. And the sword cuts both ways; if the car is a piece of junk people will know who sold it to you.

These days dealer nameplates more often take the form of rear license plate holders, which are much eaier to remove. These days I guess we prefer to wear our brands on our clothes.

In automobile industry jargon, a nameplate is the name given to a vehicle by its manufacturer. As of May 27, 2004, there were 267 distinct nameplates, or automobile names, in the United States alone. And that doesn’t count different body styles.

Good question.

The Business 2.0 Blog recounts a story by Doug Edwards, former director of consumer marketing and brand management for Google, about a question Sergey Brin asked of him in his interview:

I’m going to give you five minutes,” he told me. “When I come back, I want you to explain to me something complicated that I don’t already know.” He then rolled out of the room toward the snack area. . . . I found out later that he asked almost everyone to do this, so if a candidate wasn’t hired, at least it wasn’t a total waste of his time.

A very good question. And I have absolutely no idea what I would say, but I’m going to give it some thought. What would you say?

Tip of the hat to Alex Barnett.

Not so fast.

Transport Canada is testing an integrated GPS device that compares your speed to the posted limit of the streets you are driving on. The idea is to make sure that you can’t exceed that posted limit.

Even in a country where the citizens are subject to so much government control, it seems implausible that people would be happy about giving up control of their gas pedal.

Tip of the hat to Engadget.

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Lights.

I put up my Christmas lights today. We’ve bought numerous sets of lights over the years, but this year we switched to LED lights for outdoors. They claim to cut energy costs by 80%-95% over the old bulbs, though they use a high value of 12 cents per kilowatt hour to make the numbers look higher.

I bought them solely because they are virtually unbreakable. I can usually be counted on to break one or two bulbs when they hit the interlocking brick driveway, but I was unable to break these ones.

Twenty five years ago I remember playing with light emitting diodes as a kid. I can’t believe it took this long to put them to use as an energy saving alternative.

The danger of blogs.

The media may not be interested in promoting the power of blogs as an alternate information service, but they sure have picked up on the danger of them.

CTV, a Canadian television network, is airing a special news segment tonight on employer concerns over blogs, probably related to a recent study that suggested employees waste time reading blogs at work:

Workers in the U.S will this year waste the equivalent of 551,000 years reading blogs, a study has suggested.

The research by Advertising Age magazine has calculated that some 35 million workers, about one in four of the U.S labour force, will read blogs and visit blog sites during the year.

On average they will spend 3.5 hours, or 9 per cent, of their working week engaged with them.

Time spent in the office on non-work blogs this year will take up the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs, with blog readers essentially taking a daily 40-minute “blog break”.

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The Web 2.0 Validator.

I missed this the other day, but The Head Lemur points out a very useful tool for people on the web today – the Web 2.0 Validator:

Who makes the rules?

You do. All the rules of web 2.0 are provided by users of this site. The definition of web 2.0 changes on a daily basis. Now you can keep up with your web 2.0-ness since this site checks randomly against the most recent rules decreed by it’s users.

My initial score was 5 out of 25. So I’m going to add the following and see what happens:

I plan to create a Web 2.0 startup that creates mash-ups using metadata, del.icio.us, and the Google Maps API, built with Ruby on Rails. I’m going to be the Flickr of RDF and the Semantic Web.

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