July 25, 2008

NFL and NBC to Stream Free Football on the Internet

According to the Wall Street Journal, the NFL and NBC Sports will announce on Monday a deal to stream 17 regular season football games over the internet for free live. It will cover only games that air already on NBC and won't include any playoff games or the Super Bowl.

Viewers will be able to choose from at least 5 different camera angles and get updated stats during the game. NFL and NBC will share the ad revenue. ESPN pays $1.1B a year, FOX $712M, Direct TV $700M, CBS $622M, and NBC $600M to air football games.

July 14, 2008

Netflix and Microsoft Announcing Video Streaming Deal

Microsoft and Netflix announced today that coming this holiday season customers of Netflix and Xbox Live Gold members will be able to stream movies and videos to their TVs from the Xbox 360.

The current streaming library is 10,000 movies and TV shows will continue to expand by the time it launches in the fall. This functionality will be very much like the $99 Roku box that Netflix came out with recently.

February 04, 2008

I'm on Twitter - Follow Me and I'll Follow You

I am finally on Twitter - http://twitter.com/firstadopter

If you become a follower of me, I promise to return the favor and follow you. I would love to get to know more fellow First Adopters.

December 27, 2007

Internet Sports Writers Make Millions

According to this New York Times article, ESPN and Yahoo Sports are paying several writers $150 to $350K a year and some get paid as much as $3 million. ESPN reportedly makes over $3 billion a year of profit for its owner Disney forcing cable companies to pay more than $3 a month per subscriber to get the channel. ESPN.com got 20 million visitors in November and ESPN the magazine has 2 million subscribers. Who knew that sports writers are the new dot.com millionaires.

Can you imagine getting paid to stay at home and watch sports all day. I bet Bill Simmons gets paid over a $1 million to watch sports and write his columns, probably expensing his DirectTV NFL Sunday Ticket bill to ESPN to boot. What a life.

June 01, 2007

Facebook is Accelerating

I've been using Facebook more and more of late. I've come to realize that it totally rocks. They just get user interface design. Keep it simple. Keep it fast. Don't let ads clutter the page. Keep adding innovative new features. And the new platform apps ability that third-parties can write is making it even more useful.

Mark my words, Myspace will be a fad and Facebook will rule within 12 months. Friendster is pretty much dead. I'm seeing accelerating user adds from my friends in the past few weeks and it's not going to stop.

March 19, 2007

SingShot Review - Online Karaoke Done Right

What do you get when you mix up Web 2.0, MySpace, Youtube, and karaoke together? You get SingShot. The site is in beta form, but already works very well. They are adding songs every week and it looks like they are going to charge for it as some point, so you might as well give it a try now. All you need is a USB microphone (costs about $12) and a PC.

I sang a few songs and I'm pretty impressed with the overall quality of the background music and recordings. Like YouTube, they are using Flash technology to lower the bandwidth requirements, so don't expect CD quality. However it works good enough and listening to other people sing their renditions is strangely addicting in an American Idol sort of way.

February 21, 2007

Favorite Podcasts

Podcasting is still such a young medium. My iTunes podcast subscription list has already gone through many iterations. Here is my current list:

1UP Yours (1UP gang talking about the latest games)
1UP.com - Retronauts (1UP gang talking about retro classic gaming)
Comedy Central: Stand-Up (stand-up snippet videos)
Diggnation (Kevin Rose Digg podcast)
EGM Live (EGM folk talking games)
Gaming Steve (best gaming podcast, seems to be on hold)
GFW Radio (PC gaming)
iinnovate (podcast from Standford business school for entrepreneurs - good interviews)
Legendary Thread (1UP gang talking World of Warcraft)
Maximum PC's No BS (PC hardware enthusiasts)
Next Generation Podcast (another gaming podcast with good interviews)
NPR: Car Talk (funny Q&A of the week)
NPR: Driveway moments (best story of the week)
NPR: Motley Fool (good business interviews)
PC Gamer Podcast (PC gaming)
PIMCO Investment Outlook (Bill Gross)
Science Talk (Scientific American)
1UP Show (video podcast)
The Economist (magazine podcast)
This American Life (radio show)
Twit (one of the pioneers)
U.S. Senator Barack Obama (He wants to be President)
X-play Daily Video (videogame reviews)
Yale University (some lectures)

What are your favorites? Please let me know.

February 17, 2007

The Story of Sergey Brin

Read about the life story of Sergey Brin. If it wasn't for his parents leaving Russia, he would of never been the Google billionaire he is today. A good read. Makes you think about how lucky we are to live in the best country in the world in this time in history.

November 18, 2006

Yahoo Executive Strategy Internal Memo

The following was written by Brad Garlinghouse, a senior VP at Yahoo. He basically says they are spread out too thinly like peanut butter. He also says the company needs to fire 15-20% of their employee to eliminate redundancies. He's sure going to be a popular guy around the office. Just in case Yahoo employees get upset, this memo was found on Yahoo Finance on their ticker page. The irony is hilarious.

Three and half years ago, I enthusiastically joined Yahoo! The magnitude of the opportunity was only matched by the magnitude of the assets. And an amazing team has been responsible for rebuilding Yahoo!

It has been a profound experience. I am fortunate to have been a part of dramatic change for the Company. And our successes speak for themselves. More users than ever, more engaging than ever and more profitable than ever!

I proudly bleed purple and, yellow everyday! And like so many people here, I love this company

But all is not well. Last Thursday's NY Times article was a blessing in the disguise of a painful public flogging. While it lacked accurate details, its conclusions rang true, and thus was a much needed wake up call. But also a call to action. A clear statement with which I, and far too many Yahoo's, agreed. And thankfully a reminder. A reminder that the measure of any person is not in how many times he or she falls down - but rather the spirit and resolve used to get back up. The same is now true of our Company.

It's time for us to get back up.

I believe we must embrace our problems and challenges and that we must take decisive action. We have the opportunity - in fact the invitation - to send a strong, clear and powerful message to our shareholders and Wall Street, to our advertisers and our partners, to our employees (both current and future), and to our users. They are all begging for a signal that we recognize and understand our problems, and that we are charting a course for fundamental change, Our current course and speed simply will not get us there. Short-term band-aids will not get us there.

It's time for us to get back up and seize this invitation.

I imagine there's much discussion amongst the Company's senior most leadership around the challenges we face. At the risk of being redundant, I wanted to share my take on our current situation and offer a recommended path forward, an attempt to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. [Read More]

October 18, 2006

Yahoo Releases Internet Explorer 7

I don't how long this will last, but Yahoo has released their own customized version of the Internet Explorer 7 browser before Microsoft did. Yes you read that right. Strange world.

October 11, 2006

Bank of America Offers Free Online Trades

Bank of America announced today it will offer 30 free trades a month for any customer that has more than $25,000 in deposits. This is is a game changer for the online brokerage industry. As many as one-third of the banks 50 million customers may be eligible. The company is initially offering this to its customers in the Northeast, but plans to roll it out to the rest of the country by February of 2007. Executives at E*Trade, Ameritrade, Schwab, and Fidelity are probably feeling like the mom and pop store did when Wal-mart came to town.

How to Ink a Comic Strip in Photoshop


Penny Arcade shows how to ink a drawing into the computer using Photoshop CS. Cool stuff for you art-types. Now only if I could draw or start a multi-billion dollar internet startup in 19 months to sell to Google, I would be happy.

October 10, 2006

YouTube Founders Thank Users


Watch Chad and Steve thank their users for making them filthy rich. They both look pretty dorky. Filthy rich dorky though. Listen them to say the most compelling part of this deal is giving users better service and functionality. Yeah right! They are literally laughing in glee and giddy at the end of the video. Full of crap.

October 09, 2006

Google Buys YouTube for $1.65 Billion

Google has announced it is buying YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. Let's talk about the big winners. The 3 founders will probably come away with about $200 million each, which isn't bad for 19 months of work. The 67 employees will also probably do fine. Sequoia Capital, which also funded Google btw, put in $11.5 million in two rounds (11/05 and 4/06). With a 30% stake, the VC firm will come out with a $483.5 million profit for less than a year of investing. Not too shabby indeed. Skype, YouTube, and the upcoming Facebook buy-out shows that the internet gold rush is alive and kicking. At what other period in history can entreprenuers literally make billions for less than 2 years of work? What a country!

October 07, 2006

MySpace is Older than You Think

According to comScore Media Metrix, 50% of MySpace users are 35 years or older. Only 30% of their users are under 25. MySpace had 56 million unique U.S. visitors in August. Facebook had 15 million, Xanga had 8 million, and Friendster had 1 million.

Google in Talks to Buy Youtube for $1.6 Billion

The 29 year old and 28 year old co-founders started YouTube in February 2005. Less than two years laters, they are in serious discussion to sell their online video site for $1.6 billion. YouTube serves up 100 million videos daily and has 46% market share in the online video market as of this month. The company has 67 employees and was backed by Sequoia Capital with $11.5 million in venture capital. Yes these are the same guys that backed Google. Talk about a crazy return on investment in less than 2 years. Source

August 07, 2006

Google to Pay at LEAST $900 million to News Corp.

Google announced today it will pay AT LEAST $900 million to News Corp. in the next 3 years for the right to be the search engine across News Corp.' internet sites, primarily MySpace. This is little over a year after News Corp. bought MySpace for around $600 million in July 2005. Rupert Murdoch will be now known as the "shrewd" internet investor indeed. He gets a 50% return and all he has to give up is search engine rights for a mere 3 years AND there is upside to the $900 million if MySpace growth continues. Not too shabby.

July 11, 2006

Yahoo Trip Planner

Yahoo launched their trip planner site yesterday. I think this is a great idea. In fact it's probably the best new Yahoo service in a long time. The site lets users plan their trips, create a travel guide, and publish a travel journal. They already have 20,000 trip plans for destinations and cities around the world on it. Users also vote for their favorites. So if you ever are looking for things to do anywhere, now you know where you can look.

July 10, 2006

Fun First Adopter Audience Marketshare Facts

Everyone so often I publish the various marketshares of FirstAdopter.com visitors. It's always interesting to see what the latest trends ares.

Browser
Firefox 59.17%
Internet Explorer 27.35%
Safari 7.56%
Opera 3.13%
Mozilla 1.07%

It's safe to say our audience is cutting-edge enough to put Microsoft's spyware attracting browser out to pasture. Good for you!

Platform
Windows 81.24%
Mac 12.95%
Linux 5.31%
SunOS 0.1%
FreeBSD 0.06%

First Adopters like their Macs at more than 5Xs the general population. Linux is also up there. Impressive.

Screen Resolution
1280X1024 32.39%
1024X768 29.53%
1600x1200 6.31%
1680X1050 4.86%
1280X800 4.54%

When I originally designed this site I wanted to make it readable for 800x600 users. How far we've come.

Connection
62.16% Cable/DSL
24.44% Corporate
7.2% Unknown
6.2% Dial-up

Over 90% of our visitors have broad-band. That's bad news for AOL as we're the bleed-edge of society.

Location
USA 73%
Canada 8%
U.K. 7.3%
Australia 2%
Germany 1%

No surprises here as these are all English reading countries ex-Germany. Until we start translating our posts this isn't likely to change. Permalink - Discuss

July 06, 2006

eBay Bans Sellers from Using Google Checkout

Seems like a desperate move to me. What eBay says about only allowing payment services that are safe is a laughable reason. Everyone knows it is because they are scared out of their minds that Google is going to clean their clock.

July 05, 2006

Rocketboom and Unboomed

It appears the the most popular video blog partnership duo is no more as Amanda Congdon has left Rocketboom. You can read about it all right here. I have the feeling Amanda is the one who is going to benefit from all this, not Andrew Baron.

Metacafe Gets $15 Million in Funding as Movie Sex Scenes Drives Traffic

For those of you that don't know, Metacafe.com is another one of those YouTube clones that has now received $15 million in venture capital funding. The site says they are different because they only let the best videos on their site thanks to a proprietary filtering system. Some filtering system!

If you peruse the videos, many of them are "soft porn"-ish clips of commercial movie sex scenes. Just like YouTube and Naptser, the company has been able to ride the wave of piracy to create millions of website visitors and then get a ton of money in VC funding. To see what I mean, so a search of "sex scene" on the Metacafe site with the family filter turned "off" (in upper right corner).

In fact new sex scenes are posted practically daily and are able to get through their proprietary video filter that only lets the "best" videos get through. I mean do these VCs even do any due diligence before they hand over the big checks?
Permalink - Discuss

June 29, 2006

Google Checkout Launched

Google Checkout launched today to much hyped fan-fare. In reality it is not the Paypal killer many people expected. In fact it is basically a copy of the Microsoft's ill-fated Passport universal ID service that let's you buy stuff by giving Google your address and credit card number once across a merchant network. Google has a good base of advertisers the company can cross-sell to and work with that Microsoft never had.

June 07, 2006

What Netflix Could Teach Hollywood

A good New York Times article showing how Netflix succeeded in acquiring 5 million subscribers and changing the way people watch movies.

Today, Netflix sends and receives 700 million little packages a year, a logistical operation that has few peers outside of FedEx, U.P.S. or the post office itself. The company's new head of operations, in fact, used to be the postmaster general.

In the San Francisco area, Netflix trucks pick up returned DVD's from post offices by 4 a.m. each weekday morning and bring them to a warehouse in a leafy Sunnyvale office park. There, workers mainly Asian and Latino immigrants arrive on the brightly lighted warehouse floor at 5 a.m. to begin tearing open the red envelopes and putting the discs in mechanized sorters. By 10 a.m., the workers are stuffing new envelopes to be sent out again and the discs are back at the post office the same afternoon.

Netflix has 39 of these warehouses around the country, one in each major metropolitan area. Because first-class mail service takes only a day within a 50-mile radius, most customers get a new movie two days after dropping one in a mailbox.

June 05, 2006

Google Spreadsheets

Google Spreadsheets will be launched on Tuesday. It will be similar to Google's Writely acquisition application, where users can collaborate on the same spreadsheet file at the same time. The files will be also hosted on the company's servers.

May 29, 2006

May 28, 2006

Make your own Dollar Bill Spiders

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You can make a spider with a few clean dollar bills. These are great tips at restaurants.

May 21, 2006

Link Roundup

3D Realms' Scott Miller Talks about Original IP Value

Economist on the Rise of Google

Google Notebook is Out

History of Videogame Console Prices - Inflation Adjusted and Absolute

May 13, 2006

Unique Visitor Growth of Web Domain Growth from 2005 to 2006

Top Web Domains Unique Visitor Growth from 2005 to 2006

The winners are Google 21%, MySpace 318%, Blogger 528%, About 26%, MSNBC 22%, Target 26%, Wikipedia 275%, Apple 48%, IMBD 41%, City Search 185%

The losers are eBay -3%, Expedia -21%, Orbitz -17%, Overstock -16%, Microsoft's Passport -18%, Geocities -19%, Real -18%, Monster -20% [Discuss]

May 06, 2006

May 02, 2006

April 30, 2006

President Bush and Steve Bridges Video - White House Correspondents Dinner

The President killed with his comedy routine with his alter ego, Steve Bridges. Watch and laugh your head off. [Discuss]

April 24, 2006

Ctrl+Alt+Chicken Launches

I'm a little late on this one, but Revision 3's cooking show is out and is worth checking out. It's entertaining, although they have yet to make an edible food creation. It's a promising start to more mainstream IPTV shows. Anyone know who this Heather Stewart person is and her background? [Discuss]

April 22, 2006

Netflix Mailer Evolution

For you Netflix fans, the evolution of the company's mailing envelopes. [Discuss]

April 21, 2006

Steve Jobs Commencement Speech Video

I posted the transcript from this greatest commencement speech of all-time by Steve Jobs to Stanford. I found the video, which is even better than reading it. See it, be inspired. Stay hungry, stay foolish. [Discuss]

April 08, 2006

Free Wifi in San Francisco from Google and Earthlink

Google and Earthlink won the bid to launch free Wi-Fi access to all the residents of San Francisco.

"In its joint bid, Earthlink plans to offer speedier access, but for a fee. No price has been set, but EarthLink plans to charge around $20 a month in other cities where it is negotiating Wi-Fi contracts, including in Philadelphia and Anaheim."[Discuss]

March 30, 2006

Facebook Buyout for $2 Billion?

Businessweek speculates that Facebook wants to get bought for $2 billion and has already rejected a $750 million offer. Can you believe the site was started only 2 years ago? I mean are we back in the dot.com bubble where you can make $2 billion in your early 20s in just 2 years?

March 23, 2006

Link Roundup

AjaxWrite - more like an online Microsoft Word than Writely

Microsoft announces better 360 availability - finally

GDC Ron Moore Keynote - Battlestar Galactica and why he was able to succeed

Dick Cheney Hotel Demands

Cel-da for DS

March 20, 2006

Ugly Websites Make Big Money

Interesting article that notices that some of the most successful websites out there are pretty ugly. They mention one site that offering a free online dating service that makes $10,000 a day.

March 12, 2006

Google Hires 15 Year Old

I don't know if this is a publicity stunt, but Google has supposedly hired a 15 year old to work at his own home to work on Gmail security. He is an expert in Javascript and AJAX.

"15 year old student, Tom Vendetta has been hired by search engine giant Google Inc. The student will receive a lowered salary, which will be placed into a bank account for future education, said Google CEO Larry Page. When asked what role Vendetta will play at the Tech Giant's offices, Page said he wouldnt have a role at the Main Offices. Instead he would work from his home in the New Jersey suburbs. Vendetta will be incharge of working with recent security flaw's in Google's beta e-mail service, "Gmail". Google said they first found out about him when they discovered the student's blog, at http://tomvendetta.be. The media giant said they looked forward to working with Vendetta's expertise in JavaScript and AJAX."

How Google does it?

One of the great wonders of the world is how Google can search billions of web pages and come back with its results so quickly. They also talk about how redundant their system is where all the data is replicated at different geographic locations. I thing is for sure, they aren't using Microsoft operating and file systems.

To deal with the more than 10 billion Web pages and tens of terabytes of information on Google's servers, the company combines cheap machines with plenty of redundancy, Hoelzle said. Its commodity servers cost around $1,000 apiece, and Google's architecture places them into interconnected nodes. All machines run on a stripped-down Linux kernel. The distribution is Red Hat (Quote, Chart), but Hoelzle said Google doesn't use much of the distro. Moreover, Google has created its own patches for things that haven't been fixed in the original kernel.

Google Payment Screenshots

200603121035
Techcrunch has some screenshots that show some features of the upcoming Google Payments service. They are going to have a seller rating feature (1 to 5) and also a feedback comment link. I hope they add an eBay like satisfaction percentage rating, along with number of transactions. Moreover Google needs to get a better web designer as this look is getting old. Google Video being the prime example of ugly looks and low utility.

March 11, 2006

Citibank Loses our Data AGAIN

Another day, another major security breach. When will these big companies learn that losing our data is not an option and when will the government clamp down on these guys other than a mere slap on the wrist?

Citibank, the consumer and corporate banking arm of Citigroup Inc., confirmed Wednesday that the bank and its customers were the victims of a third-party company information breach that has forced the bank to block PIN-based transactions for customers in Canada, Russia, and the U.K.
The bank did not disclose when the breach occurred. Once alerted to the breach, the company "began enhanced monitoring of the affected accounts for fraud" and in mid-February detected several hundred fraudulent cash withdrawals in the three countries, the company said in a statement. Citibank proceeded to block all transactions in those countries that rely on PIN authentication.

March 05, 2006

J-Mac Video

A story for the ages. Make sure you click on the video on the upper right. It will make you cry.

Flickr History

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Learn how Flickr started. Like most innovations in life, they aren't planned. They just happen.

Caterina Fake knew she was onto something when one of the engineers at her Vancouver, British Columbia-based online game start-up created a cool tool to share photos and save them to a Web page while playing. "It turned out the fun was in the photo sharing," she says. Fake scrapped the game. She and her programmer husband, Stewart Butterfield, transformed the project into Flickr. In less than two years, the photo-sharing site — now owned by Internet giant Yahoo — has turned into one of the Web's fastest-growing properties.

In 2000, he happened to meet her at a San Francisco party, where she declined his request for a date, instead leaving with her then-beau Evan Williams, a co-creator of Google's Blogger. Six months later, Butterfield read on a blog that she'd broken up with Williams. He arranged to return to San Francisco and try his luck again. This time, he invited her to British Columbia to go skiing, and she said yes. On the slopes, he proposed they try creating a website together. The rest, as they say, is history.

February 18, 2006

Ugly Chrome New Outlook Theme

200602181813

Yes is is the new look of the version of Windows and Outlook. Can you say ugly Apple eye candy clone? What is Microsoft thinking? I mean at some point they have to realize copying Apple with a second rate version isn't going to cut it anymore.

February 08, 2006

Zillow - A Real Estate Juggernaut

The founder of Expedia, Richard Barton, has launched the beta version of Zillow.com. It is a real estate information site that have an information database on over 60 million homes. You can find out what prices homes in your area have been sold for and the value estimate over the last 10 years. The site uses public sales, tax, and government records with an amazing Google Maps-like ariel satellite view interface. The potential for local ad revenue for Zillow is huge.

Vonage Files for IPO

Vonage, the leading player in VOIP phone service has filed for an IPO. The company plans to raise $250 million and is rumored to be valued at $600 million. Vonage also hired a new CEO, Mike Snyder, former President of the ADT division of Tyco.

February 07, 2006

Google to Pay $1 Billion to Pre-Load Software on Dell PCs

Is it me or does it seem crazy to pay someone $1 billion to install free useful software on Dell PCs? Google has gotten crazy with the beat Microsoft and Yahoo at all costs theme.

According to the paper, Dell set up an auction last Autumn in which it invited internet firms to bid for the rights to pre-load software on its PCs. It says that Yahoo! withdrew from the race and then Google went on to beat Microsoft in a straight fight. Google has already signed up for bundling with HP. It pays $1 for every PC installed with a Google toolbar and 75 cents for the first time the user types in a query on his spanking new HP PC, the WSJ says.

February 06, 2006

Cablevision is Phone Spamming its Best Customers

A year ago, I gave Cablevision my cellphone number because I didn't have a landline and needed to be accessible when the cable installer came. At the time I told them explicitly not to use it for marketing purposes. Starting last November 4, 2005 I started getting tons of calls from (516) 393-0168 on my cellphone, sometimes up to 4Xs a day. Since I didn't know this number, I never picked up thanks to CallerID. Today I got 2 calls from the number, it was interrupting my daily life, so I finally picked the phone. Guess who it was?

Yup. Cablevision. It wasn't even a live sales rep either. It was a computer generated recording pitching an upgrade to Optimum Online boost, which doubles the speed of their internet access service. I listened in shock, realizing that all those calls in the past few months was this phone spam . The computer said if you press this number, we will automatically upgrade you. I hung up.

Two hours later I looked on my cellphone and saw the computer called TWO MORE TIMES AFTER I hung up the phone earlier today. Right now I've been waiting on hold for 20 minutes calling Cablevision to complain. Of course their brilliant customer service forces their best customers to waste our time to get off their marketing list. What kind of company computer phone spams their best customers OVER AND OVER again after you hang up on them once? I am livid and I want the world to know this is totally unacceptable. It it looks like this isn't the first time Cablevision has done these tactics either, but repeated computer phone spam is a new low even for them. [Discuss]