The iPhone market.

Seth Godin comments on his belief in the success of the iPhone:

My take is quite different. I think the iPhone is going to sell 2 million units in 2007 and more in 2008. There, I said it.

I’ll basically agree though with a June shipment I’m not sure that they will make 2 million in the first six months. But I agree that they will grow, and I expect that they have the potential to capture between 1-5% of the market in five years. Keep in mind – about one billion (yes billion) mobile phones are sold every year. And I don’t expect Apple to have only one iPhone. I expect an entire family to handle every need. And handle them very well. Because Apple knows how to make customers happy.

Of course it’s easy to slam the iPhone, as Steve Ballmer did:

Steve Ballmer says, "There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance."

You could have probably said the same thing five years ago about a $500 music player called the iPod. Yet Apple sells about 40 million of them annually, and they pretty much are the market.

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The last mile.

The New York Times talks about a new movie download box about to be released called Vudu:

Vudu, if all goes as planned, hopes to turn America’s televisions into limitless multiplexes, providing instant gratification for movie buffs. It has built a small Internet-ready movie box that connects to the television and allows couch potatoes to rent or buy any of the 5,000 films now in Vudu’s growing collection. The box’s biggest asset is raw speed: the company says the films will begin playing immediately after a customer makes a selection.

If Vudu succeeds, it may mean goodbye to laborious computer downloads, sticky-floored movie theaters and cable companies’ much narrower video-on-demand offerings. It may even mean a fond farewell to the DVD itself — the profit engine of the film industry for the last decade. “Other forms of movie distribution are going to look silly and uncompetitive by comparison,” Mr. Miranz asserts.

Yet I can safely say that Vudu will be useless to me.It could be because Blockbuster is only a couple of blocks away and their movies are just as cheap. Of course there are never any in stock either. But that isn’t it.

The problem is with the last mile – my internet service provider. The fact that my internet provider, Rogers, throttles peer to peer traffic, which is exactly what Vudu uses.Oops, I meant to say that they employ bandwidth management. Either way, Vudu won’t work for Rogers customers. And if providers like AT&T get their way where network neutrality is concerned and start prioritizing traffic, it won’t work for them either.

There are other problems too:

Despite such high praise, Vudu faces hurdles. It is wading into a field dominated by heavyweights whose own aggressive efforts to kindle movie downloading over the Internet have largely failed. There is also little proof that consumers care much about the wide selection or instant availability of movies downloaded from the Web, especially if a movie isn’t cheaper than buying a DVD.

Vudu also needs to persuade regular folks to drag another whirring, electricity-guzzling gizmo into their already-crowded living rooms. “Three hundred dollars for the privilege of paying another 6 or 10 for a movie is a high hurdle,” said Nicholas Donatiello Jr., chief executive of the market research firm Odyssey. “Americans do not want more boxes under their TV if they can avoid it.”

Besides that, have you looked at movies today? They are barely worth the trip to the Blockbuster, let alone the cost of a trip to the theater, and they are out on DVD and pay-per-view pretty soon anyway. Anything I really enjoy I purchase on DVD. And TiVo records anything worthwhile on TV.

If Vudu is going to be successful they are going to have to overcome the attitude of the carriers that giving you any bandwidth at all is doing you a favor, and find some decent movies.

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The definition of Web 2.0.

To paraphrase the New York Times:

…a place that attracts people by encouraging them to create the content — thereby drawing even more people in to create even more stuff. The poster child of this Sawyeresque business model is the photo-sharing site called Flickr.

The article compares this to Tom Sawyer’s ability to convince his friends to whitewash a fence so he doesn’t have to.

Of course the definition of Web 2.0 success would be to find a way to profit from that content without paying the people who created it.Though even unpaid, they do derive benefits from the ability to share that content that they wouldn’t have had previously.

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Paying for your crime.

Well maybe not the crime, but if the crime is minor enough you can at least choose to pay to upgrade your accomodations while you do the time:

For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.

Many of the self-pay jails operate like secret velvet-roped nightclubs of the corrections world. You have to be in the know to even apply for entry, and even if the court approves your sentence there, jail administrators can operate like bouncers, rejecting anyone they wish.

“I am aware that this is considered to be a five-star Hilton,” said Nicole Brockett, 22, who was recently booked into one of the jails, here in Orange County about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and paid $82 a day to complete a 21-day sentence for a drunken driving conviction.

Jails as a profit center. What a novel idea. In some cases you can even bring a laptop so you can get some work done while you’re there. And if you turn off your email then committing a minor crime could actually lead to an increase in your productivity.

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What makes you think your rights supercede mine?

In today’s National Post, columnist George Jonas says what I’m sure many of us are thinking:

But for nuts we don’t need to go all the way to Iran. The Green Gestapo of the environment seems ready to launch nuts right here at home. Eco-fascists share the self-righteous arrogance of Islamo-fascists, safety-Nazis and other control freaks. They’re like the multicultural censors excising "Merry Christmas!" or the feminist ones neutering the word "fisherman" and substituting "fisher" as the mot juste. They’re the anti-gun crusaders obliging us to register Grandpa’s squirrel-plonker; they’re the Victorian don’t-step-on-the-grass crowd; they’re our version of the Persian dress police. They’re prepared to enforce a government- regulated climate in Canada, indoors and outdoors, literally and figuratively, itching to counter global warming with an economic ice age.

What will it be like? Dark and grim. Hot showers on alternate days. Cars carrying fewer than three passengers impounded. Failure to use the politically correct amount of toilet paper bringing down the full wrath of the eco-fascist state.

Read the whole article.

Striking union workers have the "right" to set up information pickets and slow all traffic down. What about the rights of the drivers to get where they are going?

Anti-smoking crusaders self-righteously denouce the rights of smokers to smoke, making more and more places into no smoking areas. I don’t smoke, but the last time I looked smoking was legal. What about the rights of smokers?

Increasingly people use the arbitrary "good of society" as a justification to remove more and more rights from others. If we don’t start to fight to preserve our rights pretty soon we won’t have any at all.

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Note to the National Post.

Guys, when I specifically type www.nationalpost.ca into the browser address bar, I probably want to go to the National Post newspaper web site. But you take me to canada.com, which might be great for your advertising revenue, but very ignorant of your customers. Then I have to select the National Post from a dropdown menu to get to where I wanted to be in the first place.

Add that to the fact that your search is useless and you often make it very difficult to find a particular article, especially commentary on the front page, and your frustrate your customers even further.

I’m sitting here reading the print copy of the paper. I shouldn’t have to work that hard to find the electronic version.

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Pot, meet kettle.

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore doesn’t like Canada’s new green plan:

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, now one of the world’s most famous climate-change activists, has called the federal government’s new green plan "a fraud."

Gore criticized the plan while in Toronto on Saturday to attend the Green Living Show and screen his documentary on the environment, An Inconvenient Truth.

David Suzuki isn’t pleased either:

"It’s a disappointment, John," Suzuki said as he beat a path to the minister.

"You know what you promised was a long way from what you delivered."

Baird countered that "this is more action than any government in Canadian history has ever taken."

But Suzuki was not impressed, saying that it’s not enough.

For these folks, nothing less than complete capitulation to their demands is enough.Of course neither Mr. Gore nor Mr. Suzuki plan to limit their emissions at all – they are far too important for that. They just buy carbon offsets to make up for it. In Mr. Gore’s case, he actually buys they from himself.

But let a government do any less than these gentlemen demand and their plan is labelled a fraud, regardless of the fact that it actually may reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Isn’t some reduction better than none at all?Given that the previous government did nothing at all given years of chances, at least this provides some progress without destroying the economy.

Apparently though, Canada is letting the world down:

Gore said the rest of the world looks to Canada for moral leadership, and that’s why news of the plan was so "shocking."

Hmmm. The Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, never planned to meet Kyoto deadlines for reducing emissions, and picked the 6% reduction number just to look better that the United States, even though he knew it likely couldn’t be met.

That doesn’t sound like moral leadership to me.

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Punishing the innocent.

When I was a kid it was teachers that got respect and kids who got punished. Appparently that isn’t the case today:

MIRAMICHI, N.B. – A New Brunswick teacher has been suspended after sending a student to the principal’s office for refusing to stand during the Canadian anthem.

Eric Cameron, a Grade 9 teacher at Miramichi Valley High School, was disciplined following the incident last Thursday.

The superintendent of District 16 school board has declined comment, citing privacy issues.

Tip of the hat to small dead animals.

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Because it makes people more guarded.

Farhan Mujahid Chak, the federal Liberals candidate in Edmonton, doesn’t seem too fond of Israel:

"As time goes on, you develop your views," explains Mr. Chak about his opinions. For instance, while he referred in a 2000 online article to then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon as a "butcher," he admits he wouldn’t use that term any more — because it "makes people guarded."

"Rather than blaming, I believe at this point, blaming drives people away. We have to bring the sides together."

Note that he doesn’t say that Sharon is no longer a "butcher". He just says that he wouldn’t use that term any more.Perhaps because when you share views that appear to be racist people might not vote for you.

He doesn’t feel competent to make the same judgements about suicide bombers though:

Does he still consider terrorist attacks against Israel as "erratic act[s] of frustration," as he once wrote? "Taking life is never acceptable," he says. "At the same time, you look at it and say, ‘Am I in a position to morally judge them [the suicide bombers]? Am I in a position to even talk about them?’ In some ways, yes, we are. In some ways, no, we’re not."

Oddly, Mr. Chak thinks the conservatives racist, though he gives no examples:

Mr. Chak admits he overstated things. "The Conservative government’s aim is not, intentionally, to destabilize Poland," he says. Asked about his charge the Tories’ have a philosophy of "racial superiority," he says, "Believe it or not, the Conservatives I’ve met in Edmonton are very racist."

But he is really just trying to bring people together:

Mr. Chak says he realizes he must be more careful with his words. There is a difference, he says, between "how you write something and how other people might take it." Nevertheless, he insists, "for me, most importantly, I want to bring people together. People might think I’m naive for that."

Which he apparently plans to do by insulting everyone with his comments.

Please note: Credit for this goes to Steve Janke of Angry in the Great White North, who is quoted in the story, and without whom you probably wouldn’t know about stuff like this.

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If you didn’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

The philosophical question "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" may not be so philosophical after all. Quantum physicists seem to have proven that reality doesn’t exist if you aren’t observing it:

Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.

They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. "Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics," Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. "You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism."

So if a tree falls in the forestand nobody is there to hear it, then perhaps the tree doesn’t actually exist.

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