Growing Disk Drive Capacity

WSJ writes:

Toshiba Corp. said it expects in August to begin shipping a drive that can store 178.8 gigabits of data a square inch — a gigabit equals one billion bits — compared with 133 gigabits for current products by Seagate and others. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies last year said it has achieved storage densities of 230 gigabits a square inch, though products based on that technology aren’t expected until 2007.

The latest achievements are made possible by a technology called perpendicular recording, which arranges bits vertically, rather than horizontally, to fit more on a disk. The technique has increased the rate of capacity improvements by drive makers, which face competition from flash-memory chip technology that is more shock-resistant than disk storage but also more expensive.

Ray Lane on Web 2.0

Business Week has an interview with Ray Lane of Kleiner Perkins:

At Podshow, a company I’m on the board of, they find user-generated podcasts, promote it on their network, and syndicate advertising into those podcasts. So it’s a consumer business. I’ve had them come and talk to a number of enterprises, and it’s funny. There are these glassy looks on the executives’ faces because they’re the senior CIO types who have no idea.

Then they get into it. They see this is going to be a more democratic, bottom-up process where people are blogging and podcasting and using social networks. They see that’s going to be a great way to communicate because more of their customers are not going to be listening to radio or watching TV. They’re not going to be reading magazines. The only way you can communicate with them is through these new media.

The Future of Advertising

strategy+business writes:

After a decade of denial, both mainstream media companies and major marketers are now accepting the facts: The methods by which consumers absorb information and entertainment and the ways they perceive, retain, and engage with brands and brand messages have changed irrevocably. As marketers take notice, their decisions are reshaping the media environment. Magazines are losing advertising to the Web (with total ad revenues declining about 2 percent per year since 1998); radio broadcasters are losing listeners, talent, and revenues to satellite upstarts and iPod playlists. Television networks also see the writing on the wall, as the penetration of digital television heralds the rise of video-on-demand, video downloads, interactive game networks, Internet TV, and other broadcast- and cable-busting enterprises.

Interviews with more than 50 senior marketers and media executives, ongoing research conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA); and analysis of data from a score of research services all gathered from 2005 through early 2006 support the observation that the prevailing attitudes among marketers have shifted. Most have come to accept the signal lesson of what is coming to be called the nonlinear and engagement-focused media environment: Marketing communications must be reborn as a consumer-centered craft.

What VCs Want

Business 2.0 has tips for entrepreneurs:

Most venture capitalists will tell you that they invest in people, not business plans. They like experienced entrepreneurs they’ve worked with before. With luck, you’ve got one of those people on your team, preferably as CEO. But if you’re not a veteran and can’t find one, don’t fret.

A common misstep is to pitch the wrong partner at a VC firm — that will get your business plan nixed immediately. Find the partner whose expertise aligns with your business and send that person your well-honed executive summary. (Save the full-blown plan for later.)

The Google of Mobiles

Business 2.0 wonders who it is.

While Google and Yahoo are trying to extend their Web search engines into the wireless world, mobile search startups like 4Info and Promptu are trying to make the most of what people use cell phones for today — voice calls and text messages.

4Info, a Palo Alto, Calif. startup, is aiming to popularize text messaging as a way to search the Web, presuming that cell-phone users want quick answers rather than page after page of search results. By sending text messages to 4Info’s designated shortcode — an abbreviated phone number used for information services — users can receive sports scores, weather reports, flight information, and even package-tracking data. 4Info plans to sell keyword-related advertising, and has struck a deal with Gannett (Research) to promote its text-message services in the pages of USA Today.

“People want answers, not links,” says Amol Joshi, 4info’s senior vice president for business operations. “Google has the disadvantage of being a Web search firm.”

TECH TALK: Computing for the Next Billion: OLPC (Part 2)

The One Laptop Per Child sites FAQ answers many questions that one would have about the project:

What is the $100 Laptop, really?
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode displayboth a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3 the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data.

Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to learn learning through independent interaction and exploration.

Why not a desktop computer, oreven bettera recycled desktop machine?
Desktops are cheaper, but mobility is important, especially with regard to taking the computer home at night. Kids in the developing world need the newest technology, especially really rugged hardware and innovative software. Recent work with schools in Maine has shown the huge value of using a laptop across all of one’s studies, as well as for play. Bringing the laptop home engages the family. In one Cambodian village where we have been working, there is no electricity, thus the laptop is, among other things, the brightest light source in the home.

Why is it important for each child to have a computer? What’s wrong with community-access centers?
One does not think of community pencilskids have their own. They are tools to think with, sufficiently inexpensive to be used for work and play, drawing, writing, and mathematics. A computer can be the same, but far more powerful. Furthermore, there are many reasons it is important for a child to own somethinglike a football, doll, or booknot the least of which being that these belongings will be well-maintained through love and care.

What about connectivity? Aren’t telecommunications services expensive in the developing world?
When these machines pop out of the box, they will make a mesh network of their own, peer-to-peer. This is something initially developed at MIT and the Media Lab. We are also exploring ways to connect them to the backbone of the Internet at very low cost.

How will these be marketed?
The laptops will be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child. Initial discussions have been held with China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand. An additional, modest allocation of machines will be used to seed developer communities in a number of other countries. A commercial version of the machine will be explored in parallel.

The laptops are expected to be available in 2007.

Tomorrow: OLPC (continued)

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