Amazon Reader Hate

Seth Godin: “You won’t find me on Amazon’s new book reader.”

Rex Hammock: “I’d rather have an iPod Touchbook.”

Mathew Ingram: WTF?

Jeremy Toeman: It will fail.

My thoughts?

That Jeremy is probably right. I’m excited about the new reader to be sure. But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy. Getting a large market excited? That’s a LOT harder.

Why am I excited by this? Because it brings some very real advances to devices. Is it too expensive? For many people, yes. But one thing I’ve learned is that if something in the technology industry is too expensive today just stay alive for a few years. I remember when Steve Wozniak had a color printer that cost $40,000 that today’s $70 printers are better than.

For $400 this device is pretty damn remarkable. It can be read out in bright sunlight (my $3,000 Mac can’t do that). Its battery lasts dozens of hours. It’s a joy to use for the stated purpose: reading.

I do agree with Seth and Mathew: I really wish they had found a way to give away a stack of books and other content (including blogs). I told them almost the exact same thing Seth did and, yes, my words were just as unsuccessful at hitting the mark.

That said, even if Jeff Bezos turns out to be a failure here this device will push the market simply by getting you all to consider a world where you read your books off of a screen rather than off of paper. To me that’s interesting.

One other thing I told the team? Get Google Reader onto this thing. In fact, I tried to get my link blog onto it instead of just my blog (and I pitched them to include TechMeme, Digg, and Slashdot, among others, on it). We’ll see later today what they decided, but I don’t think they got the link blog onto it.

“The world changes”

After I shut the camera off when interviewing Yuri, the senior policy officer of the Russian Government, we started talking about how the world has changed.

I told him that if you had told me in High School that I’d someday have a friendly chat with someone from the Russian government I would have told you that you were smoking something that probably was illegal.

It was the time of the cold war. My dad worked at Lockheed. Building Star Wars satellites designed for nuclear war.

We were still preparing for the day that nuclear war could come with the Russians. In high school we all knew that the “Blue Cube” (a building near Lockheed at the corner of Mathilda and 101 where the government had its hub of communications equipment) was ground zero in Silicon Valley. Our government was spending huge amounts of resources to prepare for war with the Russians.

And yet here we were joking around about our father’s world and how remarkable it is now that we’re able to build Intel processors across our country’s borders (he told me in the interview that the software for Intel’s Centrino processors was developed in Russia).

Yuri punctuated that off-camera conversation with “the world changes.”

I wonder how the world will change in Patrick’s time? I sure hope it keeps going the direction it has. Talking with Yuri about geeky stuff is sure a lot more fun than the alternative.

TV 2.0 — a micro audience world?

This is an interesting panel discussion we held a few weeks ago at Swissnex, which was designed to start a conversation between Swiss entrepreneurs and US ones. The topic? The future of television content in a multimedia world.

I was honored to be at the same desk as Harry Fuller. Who’s he? He ran the local TV news station (CBS’s KPIX) for decades. When he started in the TV business it was all black and white and there were only four channels in the San Francisco market. His thoughts on the new TV were surprising.

But he wasn’t the only one — also on the panel was a guy who works for Switzerland’s public TV station, an executive from Logitech, an expert with virtual worlds, and a research engineer for SRI, the folks who brought us the mouse. Sorry for the audio. TV 2.0 has bad audio. Yikes.

In the video I made the point that on the Internet it is going to be very hard to get a big audience. That brings about an interesting discussion at about minute 53 into this video.