Mobile TV

Business Week writes:

Two companies from Korea, land of the wireless future, are bringing technology to the U.S. that will allow television stations to bypass wireless carriers altogether and deliver programs directly to mobile phones. The latest development on this front came on Apr. 3 when LG Electronics, in partnership with Harris Corp. (HRS), unveiled new, inexpensive technology that allows stations to zip local news and other video content to phones, portable video players, and in-car entertainment systems within a 45-mile radius.

The sudden emergence of direct-to-consumer broadcasting is a significant blow to companies that have been advocating alternative approaches. They include Qualcomm’s (QCOM) MediaFlo, Crown Castle’s (CCI) Modeo, and satellite radio companies XM (XMSR) and Sirius (SIRI). MediaFlo, for example, has been working with wireless carriers so that they can offer some television programming to their customers.

Mobile Search

SearchEngineWatch writes:

While Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have offered mobile search for awhile now, they’ve really begun to step up their efforts this year. In addition, pure-play mobile ad players like Medio, which launched a PPC text ad platform for mobile search earlier this month, are coming to market with viable monetization options for mobile.

According to an August 2006 report from the Mobile Marketing Association, Mobile search is in its early stages of adoption, but shows significant upside potential. In a study of mobile device users, 31-percent had used search in the past month, and more than half of the phone users that were not aware of the ability to search via their phones said they planned to use mobile search after they were made aware.

While 2005 and 2006 have each been hailed as the “Year of Mobile,” there are increasing signs that those predictions may finally come true in 2007. And if not, there’s always next year.

Photobucket

Fortune calls it “the biggest Web site you’ve never heaed of.”

Photobucket is the most important site on the Internet that hardly anybody understands. Unpretentiously, it has built an essential service that didn’t need to shout out for attention, the way MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, or other related sites have. Yet it’s built an audience of 38 million members, a figure now growing more than 80,000 per day. That’s up from just 50,000 members at the end of 2003.

Photobucket is where your photos live. Its name is well chosen. The whole point is to allow you to show those photos anywhere else you want on the Internet. “We let you aggregate and share your personal media with the rest of the world,” says CEO Alex Welch.

World of Video

Robert Young writes:

What happens in a future where video, not text, is the fundamental element of the web? If Google cannot translate and convert the advantages it had in a text-dominated web into a future web of videos, Google is in trouble.

In a web comprised of text, Google could dominate the market in terms of aggregation, search, and distribution without the need to strike one single agreement with content owners. All Google had to do was crawl and index.

But, in a web comprised of video, Google must deal with content owners and strike licensing and distribution agreements, as neither its technologies nor current copyrights laws enable it to autonomously automate the aggregation of a video library without the explicit consent of content owners.

Numenta and AI

Read/Write Web writes:

Jeff Hawkins made a name for himself in the tech industry as the founder of Palm Computing and inventor of the Palm Pilot. He later founded Handspring, where he invented the Treo. If you were a fan of his work then, you are going to love what Jeff is up to now. He is currently pursuing his life-long passions, neuroscience and intelligence. His latest work made quite a splash a few years ago when he published On Intelligence. In this thin volume Jeff Hawkins elegantly summarized his theory of how the brain gave rise to intelligence. Disputing conventional wisdom that the brain is complex, or that intelligence is inseparable from other human qualities such as emotions, Jeff put forward a proof that human intelligence is a function of the neocortex and that it is temporal in nature.

To prove his theory, Jeff founded Numenta – a company dedicated to developing algorithms and software based on the ideas put forward in the book. This spring Numenta released its first product, an experimental software aimed at researchers and advanced developers which embodies the algorithms and techniques pioneered by Jeff and his crew. Numenta is presenting here at ETech today and so it’s a great opportunity to familiarize you with these exciting new developments. Has the age of Artificial Intelligence arrived?

Cloud Computing

Wired writes:

Cloudware is filtering down to consumers. Google’s free collection of online apps includes a suite of personal productivity tools that rivals Microsoft Office. For a monthly fee, users can get 10 Gbytes of data storage and telephone support to boot.

At the same time, a profusion of Net-connected devices are challenging the primacy of the desktop. Exhibit A: the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, a slick handheld that does Web browsing, email, IM, and media playback. The TiVo digital video recorder sells movie tickets and streams Net radio. And smartphones like the Motorola Q, Samsung BlackJack, and a little monster called the iPhone are leaving the lonely desktop with less and less to do.

By offering online alternatives to desktop apps, businesses can amass a trove of data about customers and their activities — information that can be used to deliver ever more tailored services. Consider wesabe.com, a personal finance service. The site pulls financial data from a user’s bank, credit card, and other accounts. Then the server categorizes purchases, savings, and so on and compares them with the user’s stated goals. It also compares each user’s behavior with that of others on the site, computing average spending and saving habits. And it organizes communities of people who share particular aspirations or patronize a specific vendor.

TECH TALK: Creating Indias New Cities: Financing

By Atanu Dey

If you believe that the money exists for building amazing futuristic cities in India, you must be certifiably insane. That is the standard reaction to my scheme for building 600 cities for the 700,000 million Indians currently trapped in 600,000 villages. Where will the money come from? My answer is simple: out of thin air. Thats when they suddenly remember that they have an urgent appointment with their hair dresser or chiropractor.

Wait, wait, I say. Thats how all wealth is created: out of thin air. Let me explain, I say, as I force them to listen. Cities create wealth. And that wealth is what creates cities. Isnt that the old chicken and egg problem? It looks like that but there is a way out of this seemingly impossible situation. But first we need to get a couple of building blocks for constructing the argument.

Lets first distinguish between an expense and an investment. When you buy a productive asset or what is called capital asset, it is not an expense, it is an investment. You may have to borrow money to buy the asset but if you have chosen wisely, your asset will produce enough wealth for you to repay the loan in due course and you end up with the capital asset. What you need is the smarts to use the asset to increase your productivity. The capital asset may be as trivial as a cell phone that a vegetable seller uses to increase his sales. Or it could be as massive as buying a city to increase the productivity of millions of people.

The money spent in human capacity building also known as education is an excellent example for distinguishing between an expense and investment. The raw material is the basic human brain. The money spent transforms the raw brain into a trained brain. If the lifetime earnings of the trained brain exceeds that of the raw brain by at least the cost of the education, then you would say that the return on that investment (ROI) is positive. It is an empirically verifiable fact that the ROI for education is positive because investment on education has persisted for centuries. If the returns were non-positive, the market would have selected education out for extinction.

Modern factories are another example of a capital investment which create new wealth. Simply put, factories increase the productivity of the people. Which means that more stuff gets produced using the same or lesser effort. The increased production is more than what it took to create the factory in the first place. That is why factories persist.

A city, I submit, is capital equipment just like a machine or a factory. Only difference is that it is large. And while the cost of a city is large, so is the wealth that it creates. Therefore, theoretically at least, it is possible to buy a city on borrowed money and then pay back the loan from the increased income that comes from the working of the city. That is the secret of creating wealth out of thin air.

Tomorrow: The First Steps

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