Palm Centro arrives at AT&T, here’s a video overview

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQU_TkUp_TY]

I think 2007 will be the year where mobile technology vendors proved that inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean cheap and unusable. It happened with the Asus Eee PC and then again with Palm’s Centro for Sprint. The trend continues in 2008 now that a Palm Centro has arrived on AT&T’s GSM network. This $99 Palm OS smartphone has definitely impressed me over the past few days of hands-on use, but I’m just getting started. Remember, in my years of using mobile tech, I’ve never purchased a Palm device so this loaner is intriguing. Folks that use feature phones don’t have to spend much more to get a full-featured smartphone and I think that’s why we’re seeing so many Palm Centro units fly off the shelves. The full press release with details follows and in this short video, I give you a very quick look at the device and its capabilities. I’ll have more thoughts over the next week or two before I return the unit.
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Instapaper: Bookmarking Elegance for Web Workers

If web site bookmarking is something you do day in and day out, there’s a new bookmarking tool you need to add to your browser – Instapaper (via TechCrunch). The side project of Marco Arment, creator of the very cool micro-blogging service Tumbir, Instapaper is online bookmarking that gets out of your way so you can bookmark the way you need to when you spend your working day on the web.
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Coffee break with the Eee – offline YouTube videos on Linux

Coffee_man_2I had to run out to pick up a *gasp* paper book that just came out so I’m sitting in the Barnes & Noble Cafe with a grande and an Eee. While standing line to pay for the new hardcover book, I realized that my Eee was actually smaller, lighter and thinner than the book I was purchasing. With my 3G USB modem in my pocket, I’ve got my connectivity and therefore everything I need to blog, work online and relax. This is turning into a flexible, little Linux blogging platform.

I thought about my connectivity and of course, without that I’d be limited to whatever I have locally on the device. One item I wanted to watch was Tyler’s review of the Eee, so I could plan his next mobile tech video escapade. With connectivity, I can just jump over to the YouTube video direct, but what about without a connection… and on Linux to boot?

Not a problem if you plan ahead and hop over to www.keepvid.com. This website will convert or download on-line video from any one of around 30 video sites. Yesterday, I entered the URL of Tyler’s YouTube video and downloaded a flash .flv file of it on the Eee. Couple that with VLC, which plays the majority of file formats on multiple platforms, and your device can view on-line videos, "offline". Yes, you do need connectivity to initially get files to your mobile device, but if you know you won’t have connectivity, this can provide hours of simulated on-line entertainment.

Sling Scores a Touchdown with NFL/DirectTV

Updated: Sling Media, the early leaders in place-shifting technology have scored a touchdown – they are working with DirecTV on a new offering called SuperCast.
As part of this deal, viewers can get online streams of NFL games every Sunday. The deal has been rumored for a while, but it has been confirmed by a company spokesperson. I couldn’t get the details last night since it was very late, but we spoke to the company and here is the lowdown.
First of all you don’t need a Sling Player to get this video package and you don’t need the Sling software. The video steams are accessed with the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. If you are a DirecTV/NFL Sunday (HD) package customer, then you get access to the games the web for free as part of your package.
Sling Media is providing a hosted service to DirecTV and is managing the web-operation, including authentication and also decides which streams are available to you based on where you live. The videos are being streamed off DirecTV’s servers, not Sling’s servers. Sling also built the browser-based front end for DirecTV. The service only works with IE browser, which is kinda lame. This is a new business foray for Sling, which till now has been purely a hardware vendor.
The company is looking to expand this business. John Malone, who now owns DirecTV is also an investor in Sling, as is Charlie Ergen, the maverick behind Echostar (DISH), and have been the biggest supporters of Sling. National Hockey League has also partnered with Sling for its clip-and-sling service.
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Monday Morning Vid-Biz Headlines

AT&T Video Share Launches, in 160 U.S. markets. (release)
Make $5.3M Posting Nude Scenes on Web? That’s what Mr. Skin did last year — now studios even send the site advance copies of their movies. (New York Times)
The Daily Reel Starts Social Network; ReeledIn wants to connect online video makers. (New York Times, site)
TinyTube Does iPhone; the site that helps optimize video search and playback on mobile phones now has an iPhone-compatible version. (company blog)

First million is the hardest

Sometime early this morning, not sure precisely at what time…. I crossed the million page views a month threshold. I guess, it was a big enough surprise for me to see the email with the stats report. Could it be, that so many people actually find the time to read my gibberish? I promise one day, it will all make sense. Thanks folks for your encouragement – you voted with your clicks. I appreciate that!

Shut up Rob, Get Real Rob

In the immortal words of Bill O’Reilly, SHUT UP! Rob Glaser should just get out of business while he can and go promote something dumb… like world bowling league. The dude has not clue about nothin. Why the rant? Well turn to Business 2.0’s Dumbest Moment of the Week.

We’ll make it up in volume. RealNetworks claimed victory after its $2 million half-off music sale vaulted it to the No. 2 spot in online music sales. The dumb part: It sold two-thirds fewer songs at 49 cents than Apple sold at 99 cents. As CEO Rob Glaser said, “This is no different from how physical music stores work.” Except for the making money part.

[Via business2blog.]

MCI on a slow road to nowhere

For past week or so I have watched with a degree of bemusement, the punishment being doled out to AT&T. Having pretty much lost the UNE-P battle, the company was forced to reduce its revenue and earnings estimates. Now it is being said that Moody’s will downgrade nearly $11.5 billion of its debt. While this is not good news for Ma Bell, this is worse news for MCI. The company is just a timebomb waiting to explode – though you could not detect that from $14 a share price, which ironically is the same price AT&T shares are trading at.

Businessweek reports that the company had racked up “$388 million first-quarter loss and faces declining revenues in most lines of business.”

But they’re not. MCI’s sales of Internet access to businesses — the company’s core customer base — fell a steep 27.8% in the first quarter, to $465 million, while archrival AT&T’s (T ) Internet revenues rose 5.9% in the same period, to $471 million. Overall, MCI’s business Internet sales, which account for about 13% of total revenues, are expected to decline 18% this year, to $1.8 billion, while overall revenue contracts by 14%, to $21 billion, according to analyst Patrick Comack of Guzman & Co. in Miami.

It is going to be worse that that I am afraid. At this point you can buy one megabit per second bandwidth for about $50 a month – and that is retail. Think about the wholesale prices where MCI competes with equally desparate players such as Global Crossing. My report on Global Crossing from earlier today pretty much said so!

CSFB analyst Ido Cohen believes that the MCI and AT&T would be locked in a bitter price war (Read Let the price wards begin!) which is going to cause a havoc in the business.

MCI has limited ability to respond to what we now believe will be a longer-term price war waged with AT&T. Given the extended timeframe of the price war, we also believe any potential M&A interest will be delayed until visibility improves.

Cohen estimates that MCI will have 20,000 VoIP subscribers in 2004 and 400,000 in 2005, not enought perhaps to make up for the loss of UNE-P business. The bottomline on MCI or as I like to call it – Massively Corrupt Institution – that it will die sooner or later. By allowing WorldCon to get away with “fiscal murder” US government did us no favor. It bought into the UUNet hype and cut WorldCon unncessary slack. It allowed folks like Carlos Slim and a few others to speculate and play around with the stock. I fear the small investors who have bought into this crap again are going to get hurt. MCI is like a terminal cancer patient with rotting kidneys. Why give it a transplant?