LaidOffCamp: A User-Generated Conference for the Recession

laidoffcampThe very first LaidOffCamp — think BarCamp for those who have lost their jobs due to the recession — kicks off tomorrow, March 3, at 9 a.m. at Temple in San Francisco. It’s billed as “an ad-hoc gathering of unemployed and nontraditionally employed people (including freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups) who want to share ideas and learn from each other.” You don’t have to be unemployed to attend.

Over 20 discussion sessions are planned for the day on many topics that might be of interest to web workers, such as “Networking 101,” “Building Your Personal Brand” and “How to be a Freelance Consultant.” There should also be plenty of networking opportunities, including an after-party.

LaidOffCamp is being organized by recently laid off consultant Chris Hutchins. Tickets are free, although attendees are encouraged to make  a donation that suits their budget. LaidOffCamp is expecting between 300 and 500 people to attend; according to the event’s Facebook page, there are more than 280 confirmed attendees so far.

Further events are planned in Dallas, New York and Miami, with more cities in the pipeline.

Are you planning on attending LaidOffCamp?

Boot Camp: Taking the Sting Out of Your Sin

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I run XP on my aluminum iMac. My girlfriend is ashamed of me and my brother won’t speak to me. All because of a 40gb hard drive partition and a start button.

I did it mostly so that I could play City of Heroes again (look what you’ve made me do, NCSoft! Release a Mac version already). I also like Corel’s PaintShop Pro Photo XII for quick and dirty photo editing, as I find it doesn’t require as much attention or time as Photoshop for minor changes.
Regardless of whether you agree/disagree with my reasons/excuses, there are a couple indispensable tips for those inclined to be-Windows their Macs the Boot Camp way.
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RF Modules Planned for Future Apple Gadgets?

RF Modules Proposed by AppleA new proposal from Apple, highlighted today by AppleInsider, hints at their desire to provide ubiquitous connectivity to the internet through a series of tiny RF modules. At present, the only device in Apple’s lineup capable of providing wireless connectivity anywhere is the iPhone, supporting Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G and other wireless data technologies. An RF transmitter could — in theory — perform a very similar function, passing the connection on to all your nearby short range devices (such as laptops, iPods etc).
The vision is that these devices would be present in your home, car, clothing and workplace to ensure that you’re never without a connection to the internet. Apple suggest that “When the user moves from one location to another, the host device may determine which RF module to access when requiring use of a long-range communications protocol.”
One potential use would be to provide a robust VoIP network, passing your call data from one transmitter to another as you move around with no loss of connection. They won’t necessarily be simply inanimate network devices either — other proposed features include a microphone, display (an iPhone controlling watch anyone?), or the ability to control nearby devices.
The possibilities here do seem endless. It would provide a real new wave of innovation in terms of connectivity and re-write the book on how devices can interact with each other. That said, it’s also a very complex and ambitious technology to pursue — leading the field in a system such as this doesn’t fit with what Apple have done in the past. Their oft used approach favors watching other companies fumble around with a new technology before launching their own competition which alleviates all the problems posed by competing devices.
It’s a ground breaking concept, and a space worth watching, but I don’t foresee any physical products in the near future.

Apple’s Quarterly Earnings Call Summary

Apple Earnings CallApple announced their quarterly earnings report yesterday, including some great news surrounding iPhone and Mac sales. Steve Jobs also made an appearance on the earnings call — a rare occurrence for this type of event. Much of the financial news was centered around the screaming success of the iPhone this year. Apple’s summary of the quarter is as follows:

For its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter, Apple today posted revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share. Gross margin was 34.7%. In one of the best quarters in its history, Apple shipped 2.6 million Macintosh computers (an all-time high), 11 million iPods, and 6.9 million iPhones.

iPhone

This (financial) quarter, Apple announced sales of 6.9 million iPhones — a huge jump from a total of 6.1 million sales in the previous five quarters. This can be put down to the worldwide launch of the product, huge increase in availability, and customers upgrading to the latest 3G model. This successful quarter means that Apple has already beaten the aim of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008, even before the start of the holiday season — their busiest period of the year.
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IMDB Gets Full TV Shows and Films

Visitors to the Internet Movie Database can now watch full-length movies and TV shows for free. Amazon announced yesterday that its subsidiary offers up 6,000 films and TV episodes including current popular shows like House and Battlestar Galactica, classics like Charlie’s Angels and Star Trek, feature films like Liar, Liar and Some Like it Hot as well as independent shorts.

The content is provided a number of partners such as Hulu, CBS and Sony and is integrated into show pages as well as being collected on a main video page.

Amazon recently launched its own VOD video streaming service, but extending that paid model to the IMDB wouldn’t make as much sense. People visiting Amazon are in a shopping mindset, and would be more willing to pony up for a TV show. On IMDB, they are looking for information quickly and are much more likely to watch something for free.

But it’s also a tool for the networks to promote their shows (and companies like Hulu to get more plays). A visit to the Heroes page on IMDB greets you with a huge ad for the third season of the series at the top, cast and crew info, and now you can check out an episode right there without having to go anywhere else.

Shouldn’t Gossip Girl (and the CW’s Other Shows) Be Online by Now?

For the last five weeks of its freshman season, the CW discontinued posting its buzzy but largely unwatched series Gossip Girl online, as part of an effort to drum up its oldteevee viewer numbers. We newteevee watchers booed and hissed, hoping the ploy wouldn’t work and set an example for other networks. Ratings stayed low, but the series got renewed, and then over the summer, the CW said it would reverse its policy and post Gossip Girl online when it returned to the air in September.

But…It’s been nearly a week since the series’ sophomore debut, and episode 1 still isn’t online. Standard practice among the TV networks is to post shows online after they air in Hawaii; if not then, sometime soon the next day. A week is pushing it. We have to wonder if the CW is reneging on its reversal.

Furthermore, as far as I can tell, the CW hasn’t posted any episodes from its new season; what seems to be the most recent video in its full episode queue is an episode of Everybody Hates Chris that originally aired in May. Either the guy who loads new videos into the system quit last week, or there’s been an unacknowledged policy reversal. And this at a time when networks across the board are posting more and more of their shows for free, ad-supported streaming online, in some cases before they air on TV.

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Widgets Don’t Age Well

How far can you push a widget? YouTube video embeds, quite possibly the most successful widgets of all time, are seriously failing these days. Click on most any embedded clip, it seems, and you’ll get a “This video is no longer available” warning. Perhaps this is a fatal flaw of widgets; maybe they are best used for delivery of information that is time-sensitive and forgettable, like the weather or the stocks. Read more on NewTeeVee.

Are Optical IPOs Good Investment?

Infinera, one of the shining stars amongst new telecom start-ups has filed an S-1, hoping to go public sometime in the near future. It is not the only optical/networking related start-up looking to tap the public markets. BigBand Networks is another IPO candidate and there is talk of a Force 10 Networks IPO. (Read: Return of the Tech IPO)

NeoPhotonics and other optical start-ups could be lining up really soon. For most of these companies, the underlying theme is mega growth of online video that is leading to big bandwidth demand in the back-haul and access networks. They also play into the massive data center upgrade trend. But are these good investments? Do you think they the online video wave is lifting all boats? Have your say!

Early Spring Cleaning: GigaOM Changes

Back in December 2006, we asked for your feedback, suggestions and what you would like to see improved on the site. Many of you obliged us with your time, gave us invaluable suggestions and offered some quick tips for improvements.

We made notes, and have been diligently trying to put that into practice. Ideacodes, a design firm I highly recommend, who designed the original site, re-tweaked the design for nearly a month, before we settled on the one you see. I asked them that we have to keep the best features of the site – layout and colors – and at the same time simplify the site.

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