Netflix CEO Rates Blockbuster, Amazon Threats (Reuters)

I've seen several articles about competition to Netflix over the years. But I've never seen one that mentions the competition that drew me away from Netflix: DirecTiVo - that wonderful combination of the TiVo DVR and DirecTV. Coupled with any premium movie channel or PPV, and it's a very important part of the TeleInterActive Lifestyle. The entertainment I want, when I want it, my way. Using Linux. Makes my geeky heart jump.

Reuters - Netflix Inc chief executive Reed Hastings said on Friday that Blockbuster Inc has more to lose in the war for online DVD renters than emerging foe Inc.

[Yahoo! News: Technology - Personal Technology]

"diff" utility for Windows

I have been asked what utility is good to use in the Windows environment that performs a similar function as the Unix command "diff", i.e., compare files line by line. My answer is: WinMerge.

WinMerge is an excellent tool that provides "visual text file differencing and merging tool for Win32 platforms. It is highly useful for determing what has changed between project versions, and then merging changes between versions."

I highly recommend it.

Collaboration Remembered and Predicted

One thing missing from Ray Ozzie's interesting article, "A technologist looks back, looks ahead" in C|Net about collaboration technologies' impact on business, government and the individual, is consideration of mobile and wireless technologies. On the 20 years anniversary of the software best known as Lotus Notes, he looks at the future, and how increased bandwidth to the home and terabyte level storage capabilities in the home will further the evolution of work and the workplace.

What I find most fascinating about this evolution is how many in both developed and developing nations, have the opportunity to "have it their way". We can live where we want, or need to, and find work throughout the world. Could Western society actually evolve past the trends brought about by the Industrial Revolution, to something more Agrarian in nature?

One problem brought about by this evolution, that many of us need to address is focus. As our work day becomes broken into 2 hours here and 4 hours there, as the amount of time spent working continues to increase, and as we are simultaneously in contact with business associates, friends and family, the ability to focus on one thing, and screen out the others becomes more important. The workplace won't exist in the future to do that for us.

Another interesting result may quite well be the decline of the USA as the leading economic power on the planet. India, China or some developing ex-soviet block nation may well supplant this country economically.

Customer Service Isn't

Isn't what? Is NOT a service to the customer. Not from most companies. [Present company excluded, of course &#59;D ] Not in most cases. Not anymore.

Case 1. The sinking feeling you get after interminable punching numbers on your phone's keypad, when you hear the static of a transoceanic cable, and a barely discernable voice asks you for some piece of information you just punched in, in an accent so thick you can barely understand them. In the USA, that accent is often Hindi. In India, that accent may be Rumanian. It just tumbles down the food chain. Providian, Longs, SBC, and many, many others have shown how little they care about their customers by outsourcing customer service.

Case 2. You've explained your problem to one "tech rep". They must go through their "script". After anywhere from an half-hour to an hour, you are back to your original explanation. The tech rep escalates the problem. You go through it all again, even though the first person made you wait, while they took notes. Oops, this person isn't the right one; they need to transfer you. And disconnect you in the process. Which means you are back to square one, calling your support number, and must go through it all again, because the tech reps can't do anything, even on an existing issue, without going through the script. After perhaps three or four repetitions of this, you get a scheduled block-of-time for a tech to come see you. But they have a shortened description of the problem on the work order, and they're actually an independent contractor who won't make enough money that day if they do what you need instead of what's on the work order. DirecTV, SBC DSL - you know who I mean.

Case 3. You're in your favorite gadget store and you want to pay big bucks for something you don't really need anyway. The sales people have no idea on how to advise you on your purchase. If you buy it there, you may not get something that actually works as you expected. Fry's, Circuit City, Good Guys, Home Depot - I'm talking about you, and you, and you, and all of your competitors. Buy it on the web - you're more likely to get what you wanted.

There are so many more cases, I don't know where to end, so I'll end here, before my ulcer explodes.

Bluetooth Bonanza

Many articles are saying that 2005 will be the year of Bluetooth. Maybe, maybe not. People have been saying that for awhile. Having lived with my Jabra FreeSpeak and convinced partners and friends to get one, I don't see how people can live with a wire crawling from their ear, through their clothes and into whatever pocket, pouch or clip-on holds their cell phone.

Now, we've finally begun playing with a Bluetooth/USB dongle hanging off of our laptops and one workstation. Our Palm Tungstens and our cell phones (Sony Ericsson T68i for me, T637 for my partner) connected up great. Finally, easy synchronization among our various contact databases. This is great.

Now, what I really want is a stereo, noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphone - maybe even with a good microphone. But there are so few on the market.

So maybe more choices on the headphones, and with more manufacturers including Bluetooth in laptops, TabletPCs and other computers... Maybe... 2006?

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889



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