Ajax Calendars

Joel Solsky is not impressed with any of the new crop of calendars (Trumba, Kiko, 30 Boxes, Yahoo! Calendar, and Spongecell) and writes about his needs:

Here’s what I need a calendar to be able to do:

* Enter flights. Many of these calendars only lets me enter things that start on 15 minute intervals, and flights are just not scheduled that way. Many of these calendars insist I specify the duration, which I don’t know — I know when the flight lands, but not the duration.
* Understand enough about time zones so I can enter a flight. Flights from New Zealand to Los Angeles arrive before they departed. It’s confusing but it’s true and if I can’t enter them properly on my calendar I’m back to typing itineraries in Word.
* Allow my assistant to enter appointments and see my schedule, although some things may be private. Many calendars have this feature.
* Notify me in advance of a meeting using some reliable mechanism. Surprisingly many of the hot new Ajax calendars omitted this basic feature because they’re web apps. At the very least, I’d like something to pop up on Windows, which means a downloadable widget, and an SMS message on my cell phone. Different meetings need different advance warnings … I need to be notified 3 hours before a flight at Kennedy but 3 minutes before a meeting in my office.
* Print out something reasonable that I can take with me before a trip listing my complete schedule for the trip. Some of my appointments have driving directions or complicated notes attached. I just want a list of where I need to be, when, and it’s surprising that very few online calendars can handle this.

Edgeio

Business Week writes about the new start-up:

Essentially, Edgeio is doing just what its tagline says: gathering “listings from the edge”–classified-ad listings in blogs, and even online product content in newspapers and Web stores, and creating a new metasite that organizes those items for potential buyers.

The way Edgeio works is that bloggers would post items they want to sell right on their blogs, tagging them with the word “listing” (and eventually other descriptive tags). Then, Edgeio will pluck them as it constantly crawls millions of blogs looking for the “listing” tag and index them on Edgeio.com.

Also, Edgeio sends a trackback to the blog, providing a way for the blogger to go to Edgeio and modify the listing, adding other tags such as “autos” and other data that will further help the listing appeal to potential buyers.

Mathew Ingram has more.

India at Davos

Knowledge@Wharton writes how India built its brand at Davos:

In India’s case, though, another factor also was at work. Determined not to be overshadowed by other countries or business agenda items, Indian business and government leaders spent some two years and more than $4 million putting together an elaborate marketing and PR campaign — much as a multinational corporation might plan a major branding initiative — to ensure that the “India story” got prominent play and did not get lost this year amid the chatter at Davos. For a country with aspirations of growing from a regional to a global economic power, the summit offered a platform to showcase its strengths and opportunities in front of the world business and political elite.

A key part of making India more visible at Davos involved increasing the country’s bench strength at the summit. Some 110 Indian business leaders and government officials attended this year, participating in more than 200 meetings and speaking in 60 sessions. In contrast, India had 50 delegates who participated in just 60 meetings in 2005, and it had 40 delegates who took part in 10 meetings in 2004. The total Indian force at Davos this year was about 300, including some 20 print and broadcast media representatives, a dozen chefs, support staff, artisans and musicians.

Paying for Video Content

David Deisel writes:

The ad-supported video model is currently underrepresented and carries huge potential. However, in the medium- and long-term, I believe that well see an array of sustainable digital video pricing models emerge. In the same vein as analog television today, we have ad-supported pricing (broadcast), ad-supported plus subscription (basic cable), subscription (premium cable), pay-per-use (pay-per-view and DVD). The same models break out for other media as well, like print (which has free pubs, periodicals, exclusive newsletters, books, respectively) and music (radio, music magazines, CDs, etc.). Whats interesting to note is that the digital video, unlike modern media radio of and analog television, started with pay-per-use, as opposed to an ad-supported model.

As the field matures, well see a mix of pricing which will discriminate among customers tastes for immediacy, location, viewing screen size, and whole number of factors. Ad-supported will likely emerge as the predominant driver of revenue, but the mix among the pricing models will change over time as technology and tastes change evolve.

Sudoko Craze Continues

WSJ writes:

There is a mini-industry springing up to sell sudoku in a variety of new forms. A number of software makers are introducing versions for cellphones and personal digital assistants, including popular models made for Palm Inc. Retailers such as Discovery Channel Store are introducing hand-held electronic sudoku games, and board-game makers like Millburn, N.J., based Briarpatch Inc. are coming up with their own versions.

Web sites such as sudoku.com are offering premium services where players order an unlimited number of puzzles to play online for around $15. Other sites are also launching new twists, such as a two-player version from number-logic.com that allows players to compete head to head.

Sudoku is even showing up in math classes, thanks to a growing number of Web sites that make it easy for teachers to download age-appropriate versions of the puzzle.

TECH TALK: India Internet and Mobile: Connecting Indians (Part 2)

The opportunity in India of addressing the Internet and mobile needs of the tens of millions of users thus lies around the twin tracks of providing an Internet computing infrastructure for the next 100 million users, and building a content and services platform for them so that urban users can (among other things) alleviate lifes daily inconveniences and rural users can increase their incomes. How do we build this out?

Let us start with the Internet computing infrastructure. To bring the benefits of the computer to the mass market, we need to reinvent computing in a world where broadband exists. This solution needs to address the ADAM problems of computing. This is where the computer industry needs to learn from the mobile industry by providing an access device that requires zero-management and is affordable, and by a pay-as-you-go business model. In other words, computing has to become a utility in India with pricing along the lines of what people pay for their mobile services every month.

This can be accomplished with the use of a network computer, a broadband connection (wired, over DSL), and a computing grid at the telephone exchange which provides both the applications and data storage for users. This grid is then connected to the Internet over fibre. Between the home and the telephone exchange, it is possible to get 512 Kbps-2 Mbps connectivity using DSL today. From the telcos point of view, this is free bandwidth there is no operating expense once the capital expenditure is done. There are 45 million phone lines in India, of which about half could support this kind of access.

The network computer would cost about Rs 7,000 ($150). The DSL modem and telco equipment would cost about Rs 2,500 ($55). The fractional cost of the computing grid per user would be about Rs 500 ($11) for near-unlimited computing and storage. Thus, for a total capital expenditure of about Rs 10,000 ($220), it would be possible to equip a home with a managed computer and broadband access. Taken over a four year period and accounting for financing charges, the monthly costs would be about Rs 250 ($5.50). Add to this the monthly broadband access fee that operators charge (Rs 200) and an applications fee of Rs 50, it should be possible to put the entire solution together for about Rs 500 ($11) per month per user. This is the price point at which home Internet access will take off.

A similar calculation can be done for SMEs, where the server (a microgrid) would reside at the company location itself. For SMEs, the additional cost would be a stack of software applications relevant for the business. It should be possible to provide a fully managed solution for about Rs 700 ($15) per user per month.

Taken together, this will create an opportunity for about 100 million computers in the next four years and help build the digital computing fabric in India. This will also give a fillip to various content and software providers. All of it can be done with the technology components that are available today.

From the mobile data perspective, what is needed is an open publishing environment which encourages thousands of microentrepreneurs much like what i-mode enabled in Japan. Operators should open up their walled gardens they will make for the money lost with far greater data traffic because in India the mobile has the potential to become an alternative device for Internet access.

The Internet and mobile will thus play a complementary role the small screens of the mobile offset by the full-sized input/output capabilities of the network computer, and the fixed nature of the computer offset by the portability of the mobile phone. India can be the role model for other emerging markets in creating a digital infrastructure which brings information access to hundreds of millions. This is what will change lives. Entrepreneurs will thus have the opportunity to do good and do well.

Next Week: India Internet and Mobile (continued)

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