Monthly Archives: May 2009

Wolfram Alpha: Revolution in Search or Hype?

I am sure you have already heard about Wolfram Alpha, the new search engine that will shake the thrones of  Google and Wikipedia as kings of Internet knowledge. 

Soon to be launched, Wolfram Alpha defines itselft as a Computational Knowledge Engine, aiming at providing factual answers, more than a set of links to search results. See it in action in the clip above. 

The man behind is Stephen Wolfram, a Brittish professor who, in the early 90s, created Mathematica, a software tool for maths computation well known among engineering and science college students.

DVRs Go Mainstream, but for how long?


The Silicon Alley Insider Chart of the Day (above) shows the great curve of DVR (Digital Video Recorders)  adoption in US, where almost one in three households already have one. This poses a threat to the advertising model of broadcast TVs, as DVRs are commonly used to fast-forward ads.

DVRs are clearly growing, but for how long? Take the analogy of answering machines. In the 80s and 90s, everyone had an answering machine at home. Then Voicemail Service arrived, managed by the telco, and now answering machines are not sold anymore.

Similarly network PVRs, or even further, Catch-Up TV, make the DVR at home irrelevant. Why program the DVR to record a show, when you can have it from the Catch-up catalog when you want and where you want, accessible from a laptop or a mobile handset?

And the good news for telcos and content owners: with a Catch-up TV service, you take back the control of ads.

It is the Hulu model taken to the three screens (TV, PC and mobile). If you have Hulu, why would you want to record a show in your DVR? why would you want a DVR at all if the content is always there available?

I Love Music, but I Hate CDs


I guess that by now, all music labels have already realized that music downloads and subscriptions are the only way forward to distribute music. CDs are dead, and rightly so.

Maybe because we just finished unpacking the shipment from KL in our new home in Shanghai, I just happen to realize how I hate CDs. I have hundreds of CDs purchased before the MP3 era, and while unpacking them, I could only feel  how useless was the task of putting them on the shelves in my study room.

For my next move I only hope I will have already got rid of all the CDs after ripping them all to my music library, (or alternatively legally download private copies of them with Bittorrent).

I do not think I will ever buy a Music CD again. The last music CD I bought was played only once while ripped to my library. 

R.I.P. Music CDs.