Thursday, November 19, 2009

Amazing Amazon


I'm very interested in the Kindle since it first appearance for several reasons. First: I buy a lot of books, most of them from Amazon. Second: You can carry a lot of books with you with less weight than just two of them. Third: Is a new gadget, do you really need any other reason?
I was then very disappointed when I learnt it was only available in US. Now you can choose between the small and the new big one. I was able to play a little bit a big one (called DX) some weeks ago in US and I'm quite impressed, the weight is reasonable, the quality of the screen is very good and the selection of titles available more than enough for one life.
Good news: now the Kindle is available outside of US with free 3G connection, but so far it's only the small one, although the price is more than reasonable: 259$
I was reviewing again the options when I've seen the Kindle for PC link. It's an interesting application that you can install in your PC to see the same books that you buy for the Kindle. Well, that makes sense, so far nothing special.
But suddenly, an idea: can I buy books for the Kindle although I (still) don't have one and read them in the PC? And can I buy at Amazon.com?
I usually buy at Amazon.co.uk to receive the books in Spain because from UK I don't have to pay customs and the final price is similar to US, but if I can buy a book in Amazon.com, paying in dollars (with the very nice exchange rate that we have these days) and without customs and delivery expenses suddenly this looks like the best deal. And I can!!
I already have my first book in my Kindle for PC, 5 euros + transportation (another 6 or so) cheaper than from UK in just one book.

Next step: de-activate the one-click shopping or I'll block my credit card.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The new city


Do you remember Sim-City? It's a very old PC game from the late eighties. I think there are newer version, but I mainly remember this one, in black an white, you could copy it in a 5 1/4 inches floppy disk (do you remember floppy disks?).
Well, apart from the fact that I'm quite old, one the upsetting things of that game was that there was no way of getting rid of the traffic jams. No matter how many streets or how many lanes wide sooner or later traffic jams was one of the biggest problems for your popularity.

So it was upsetting but probably quite realistic if you see our cities today. What the governments can do to improve traffic and at the same time comply with Kioto protocol?Simcity already told us: there's no way.

So, let's going to think for a second out of the box (in the case of the government let's just think, I don't think they do it at all): let's get rid of the cars. If you do not have the cars there are no traffic jams and Kioto is possible. How? Very easy: promote remote working (working from home, tele-working, as you wanna call it). Invest the money in information highways instead of physical highways and keep people at home. It should be easy for the government to incentive the companies to offer this possibility to their employees. We are in the knowledge society, less and less jobs need the physical presence to be done effectively.

You can tell me that you'll still have the traffic jams around the schools, with all the parents dropping kids. I see a future with the kids at home studying through tele-presence inside an augmented reality environment.
You see traffic jams around the malls during weekends, I see all the people buying in Internet.

To not make this too long I think that the point is clear, invest in communications and keep people at home whenever possible, our planet will like this model much more.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bye, bye traditional shop

I would like to share an experience that I had recently.
As you can imagine I'm a heavy Internet shopper, not only in "traditional" Internet shops like Amazon but also in eBay, where the final shop perhaps it's not so clearly identified. So far I've bought in Internet a flat TV screen, an SLR digital camera, a quite special lens for that camera, a freezer, several computers, my watch (the current one and the previous one), books, lots of books, cooking devices, knives, shoes (I can not resist the on-line outlets), clothing, flight tickets, hotel reservations, rented cars, golf clubs (replicas and originals) and balls... You get the idea. If it can be done in Internet I always prefer that.
I think I've reached a quite high level of virtuosity in on-line shopping. As an example I bought a watch for a friend in Amazon while I was in Indianapolis and I received it in my hotel, avoiding the customs taxes (well, in fact Amazon.com do not send electronics to Europe, so even if you are willing to pay you can not buy). So I do Internet shopping even at hotels!
For four years I did my food shopping by Internet. Now they don't distribute to my current home :(
Well, now I would like to start playing the guitar a little bit so there I was in Internet looking for information, on-line stores, etc. Several colleagues at work play the guitar seriously and they provided me with some very good links: Thomann, Music Store, Musik Produktiv, ... I don't know the reason, but most of them are in Germany.
Together with this they also recommended a very good shop in Madrid: Arde Madrid. They told me they have good prices and sometimes, with the transport cost and so on the price can be the same as in Internet, with the added benefit of being able to talk with an expert and hear the guitar and the amplifier.
So after spending some time in the webs and the forums (like Ultimate Guitar, with a reviews section) I mainly identified my new guitar. Then I called the shop, because they say they can also sell by internet but you should call if you have any doubt or, even better, go to the shop. So I called... several times... an nobody answered. This, in Spain, usually means that the shop is closed because they are on holidays. Well, I was not going to wait so I gave a last opportunity and went to the shop, just in case. It took me some time to find a parking place (in August! It has to be a nightmare any other month), but finally I was lucky and there I was parking just in front of the shop. And they were open! Well, in fact they were just starting to close, it was five to eight and they close at eight. So I was only able to have a very quick chat, a view of possible starting options and prices. I'm not trying to say they were rude, not at all, but clearly they wanted to close and not to spend the time with the stupid guy that just arrives three minutes before they go home. Probably the best part is that when I was leaving they told me to come back and have a try to some of the options: good try, but too late!

So, let me do a quick comparison of traditional and on-line shops to see what looks like a better option:
On-Line Shop
Traditional Shop
Open 24 hours
Open just at certain hours
Huge selection of brand and prices
Limited selection of prices and brands
Buying guides that help you with the process and the selection of the right product. Probably not as good as a professional clerk, but a reasonable replacement
Expertise of the clerks
Cheap
Expensive
No transport cost beyond a given amount
No transport cost
You can hear the samples for every product in different styles
You can hear the real instrument and play it
Ratings available based on peoples feedback either in the web or in forums
Only the opinion of the clerk available
Accessible from any computer
You have to go there... and park
Telephone support in Spanish
Support hot line?

So, even a specialized shop, one of the best ones in a country, has a difficult time competing with a sophisticated Internet shop. Only if they are ready to spend a lot of time with you and provide you with an experience that is not possible (at the same level of quality) in Internet they have a chance. And most probably in that case you'll end up buying in Internet after making up your mind in the physical shop because of the price.
At least, so far, they have a future as a repair shop, but I'm not sure how frequently something like a guitar needs repairs.

Most of the traditional shops are already dead, perhaps they still do not know it, but they are.

Even for clothing. You can ask my wife, that is an expert in on-line outlets. Her view: when the price is sooo cheap (cheaper than the gas spend on going down to central Madrid), if it doesn't fit you well you already have a Christmas gift for somebody.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New interesting links (weekly)


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Innovation Map



Through this post I have found this interesting study from McKinsey about where in the world there is more innovation.
So sad, I've not been able to find any Spanish city at all! although perhaps there's one somewhere.
Try to click on Europe and then click on Asia. Do you see any difference? No Dynamic Oceans (the name used in the study for the cities with more innovation) in Europe and only some hot springs.

How many times have you heard that when you go through a crisis the innovation is even more important than usual? What is going to be the contribution of the European Union?
Sad situation, we have to start to get accustomed to world where Europe is no longer leading in almost anything.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brand analysis for free, Technorati way


This graph show how many times the terms Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have been used in the blogosphere (Cialis in the middle) by week.
Click the graph to see it bigger.
Do you think that somebody in the business can be interested in this kind of analysis provided for free by Technorati?

And you can create a page with all the graphs like this that you want and they will update automatically. So a kind of scorecard of brand tracking for free.
I can do this for our business in 20 minutes. Any value?

Thanks to Enrique Dans for the insight.

Nice picture













Isn't it funny?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good marketing and good product


OK, I know the image is big, but I really want to show it as I really like what this company is doing. I enrolled in the beta testing of the Seavus DropMind software (I twittered about it) and yesterday one person from that company called me to do a survey.
I was happy to answer and even more happy when I received this graph in a message. The graph is created with Seavus and personalized for me, of course they only change the name, but even in that case I think it's a good detail... we'll see if I can keep it free when they move to comercial version, but even if I have to pay I'll think about it.

So far my experience with the tool, and not only with the company, is quite good!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Kindle in your i-Phone


Through this Enrique Dans' post I've come to this post where they talk about the new i-Phone application to replicate Kindle functionality.

As you can imagine I jumped into i-Tunes store to download it and... Shit! is not available in the spanish store... I'm now investigating how I connect to other stores :-(


Try this link to access the app from iTunes: http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=8fq8akZie*M&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=http%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252FWebObjects%252FMZStore.woa%252Fwa%252FviewSoftware%253Fid%253D302584613%2526mt%253D8%2526partnerId%253D30

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Incredible Ad

You can see a new add from Toshiba here. You can also see how it was made, because unless you're already a video specialist that is quite amazing.

They have made a "Matrix" like effect, but instead of using photo cameras they use video cameras. 20 Teras of video have been used to create the ad.

Clearly we are in front of something new. And the music is quite cool also.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Windows 7

I have downloaded Windows 7... I had the idea to install and test it... I'm fine with having Beta problems if I get it for free. 
Well, hold on a second, it will no longer work beyond August. And either you have pay for the final version of Windows 7 or come back to Vista.
So, what's the deal? I test it, I send feedback and I get caught. Is this a Beta testing program or a new marketing campaign.

Please Microsoft, I'm fine with beta testing, but give me a free copy after that. At the end you're just allowing 1 million of beta testers. Probably a good price for having a much better product.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Web Footprint


I'm trying to create a picture of my "web footprint", the idea is to be able to put in a picture the main services of the web where I have some interaction.

Of course this is changing quickly, so I'll try to keep it updated.

The main thing is that you can see a big number of not conected elements. For example I have to keep four profiles for profesional networks (Linkedin, Plaxo, etc). I hope that this situation will improve in the future, with new tools that will make it easy for the user to update just one place, even if the information is then broadcasted.

I used OpenOffice Draw for the pciture.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New interesting links (weekly)


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Ping.fm

I'm testing Ping, a service to concentrate your updates in different social networks from just one place

Monday, January 5, 2009

Google calculator

This is funny, but will only be understood by SF readers.
By now all of you know that Google is (among other things) a calculator.
You can make a search for 8*3 and, apart from looking for that, it will give you the result of the calculation. And the calculations can be quite complex.

Now try this calculation "answer to life, the universe and everything"

This is specially for Adrius!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Note taking software comparison

Note taking software comparison.If by now you don't know who is profesor Wesch that means you're still a Web 2.0 nerd; no offense, just a fact.I think this post from his blog is very interesting as can point you to very good notebook software.

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