Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Boxee: Hulu’s Dilemma

Boxee is getting so successful that many of its users are seriously considering to stop their Pay-TV subscriptions.

Boxee is a cool open source software for Media Centers based on Mac or Ubuntu. This software transforms a Mac Mini, Apple TV or any Linux small-form PC into a social network  set-top-box. With a great user interface, Boxee enables you to enjoy on your TV not only your media library but also online video such as YouTube and Hulu, as you interact with your buddies.

Hulu -the joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp- offers a sensational online catalog of  TV shows from their parent companies and others, that has made their user growth in 2008 stunning.

Such is the success of the Boxee-Hulu combination that Hulu’s content providers have requested Hulu to be removed from Boxee,  in an attempt to stop cannibalizing their traditional revenues from TV ads and Cable networks.

Again the traditional Innovator’s dilemma in front of a disruptive threat. Innovate first and cannibalize yourself? or wait and risk to be eaten by others with less to lose?

NBC and News Corp might worry about Online TV in the short-term, but in the long-run it will ony bring good news:

  • CPM of Online TV should be higher than traditional TV. As marketers say, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Online TV ads can be targeted to specific viewers.  Interactive responses can be measured. That should  reduce wasted ads, and therefore advertisers will be ready to pay more for an Online TV Ad.
  • Online TV might display less ads per show than traditional TV, but ads are at least seen.  A way to avoid all the wasted ads wiped out by DVRs and Tivos.
  • Online TV can enable Content Providers to sell subscriptions for premium content and VoD directly to the user without any Cable intermediary.

If Hulu is able to build a stronghold in online TV, they will capture all the benefits of a richer online TV in the long-run.

The ones to worry about Boxee are the Cable and IPTV operators that will need to ad significant value to avoid being by-passed by over-the-top solutions such as Boxee, and dumped by their customers. There is time. Boxee is great, but still for Mac or Linux geeks, a minority.

“The question is not whether Telcos want to be a dumb or a smart pipe. They are already a dumb pipe. The question is do they want to be something else on top?”

Max Foresite – Telecom, Internet & Media Analyst

Vista sucks. Ubuntu or Mac OS X?

Just google “Vista sucks” and you get 2.5 million results. It is now unanimous: Vista is slow, unstable and annoying. Apart from my Commodore 64 and the OS/2 Warp of my days in IBM I have always used Windows: 3.11, 95, 98, 2000, XP and now Vista. So if I divorce now from Microsoft, where can I go? and will I be able to survive without Windows?

For consumers that use the computer for Internet browsing, email, watching movies, listening to music (and Sync iPod), video-conference with the family, store and slide-show pictures, and produce video clips of the kids, is there a reason not to switch to Mac? A Mac can do all that, and probably far better than Windows. On top of that, a Mac is stylish. Whether an iMac or Mac mini in the living room, or a Macbook at Starbucks, you will be the envy of your friends (specially of those do not dare to get free from Windows).

Ubuntu is the other option. Open Source. You belong to a community with a cause: freedom and putting innovation at the service of the society. Let others build on top of what you have done. If you are a developer, master Unix, and love the share philosophy, there is no other option than Linux. Less fashion than Mac, but higher ideals. If you are not a geek but can not afford a Mac,  probably you can survive with Ubuntu for a basic use: Web, email, movies, music and pictures. For a more advanced use, you will need some Unix training first. Matt Assay’s post, Ubuntu, it’s time now, might convince you though.

The best defense is attack: Goobuntu or Google Linux


Microsoft has openly declared that its bid to acquire Yahoo aims at improving their position in advertisement and fight the dominant position of Google. Do not expect Google to remain quiet.

What are Google options to defend from Microsoft, apart from sending missives? Counter bidding for Yahoo, is not an option as it would not be approved by authorities. Getting a deal to post Google ads on Yahoo search, would give Yahoo some air to look for alternatives to Microsoft bid, but still Google would be helping a direct competitor, not to be underestimated.

So in the event the acquisition succeeds, what should Google do?

I would recommend: Hit them where it hurts

Microsoft gets a big chunk of their revenue, and more importantly of the profits, from Windows and Office software licenses. These profits are to finance the online services of a merged Yahoo-Microsoft Live.

What can Google do about that? Goobuntu. The same way Google is bringing Linux to mobile devices with Android, Google is the only company that could make Linux conquer the desktop and hurt Windows and Office.

People love Google, and many people hate Microsoft. Hit them now. Millions of users would thank you, Google.

Note: Meantime, the bid already had its effects and Yahoo is stopping its online music service.

Time to be freed from Microsoft

Microsoft Vista
No doubt that Vista flaws are somehow helping promote Open Source and Linux. Many users annoyed by the problems with Vista (HW and SW incompatibilities, WMP database corrupt..) are turning to see if Linux can be an alternative for them.

I have nothing against Microsoft. I do admire Bill Gates and I have always enjoyed their SW, but all the issues around the immaturity of Vista makes me feel like a hostage of Microsoft, without any other alternative than to wait for the SP1.

As many users I got frustrated when I found that my new Vista PC was unable to do many of the things my old WinXP does. e.g. I could not use my PC-link to stream to the KiSS player, and the MS Outlook 2003 installation crashed the system, blue screen included, only to find later that Outlook 2003 is not compatible with Vista.

Fortunately I found some solutions for the Vista PC in the OSS world: I got Thunderbird for my email and StarOffice instead of MS Office, for my new Vista PC. I also installed Kubuntu in my old PC, to test if I could get totally freed from my hostage.

Kubuntu Ubuntu
No doubt Linux is winning the battle on the server side.

As for the Home desktop, I really find Kubuntu as an alternative for basic users that just do email, web browsing and watch or listen media files. Easy to install and easy to use.

It is also very powerful for the very advanced Linux user, who were familiar with the Unix shell, and can re-configure the system in minutes, if not seconds. For those MS advanced users, if you do not spend time to learn the Linux Shell, you will find it unfriendly compared to Windows, and end up blindly copy-pasting commands from Linux Forums.

Good news is that Linux distros keep improving. Two years ago I installed Fedora Core 4 on an old laptop, and just to configure the Wifi card it took time, Kernel recompilation and may trial and error.

This time with Kubuntu , things were smooth (no kernel recompile) and it includes a very powerful SW Package Manager (Adept), to easily install new software. Adept really excellent and much faster than yum in FC4.

I plan to install LinuxMCE soon, which seems very promising and likely to be a better option than Microsoft Media Center. I will let you know.