Salut e Arivederchi: Goodbye to the Sopranos

No matter who gets whacked, who goes to jail, or who turns into Tweety and starts singing secrets, tonight the world will say goodbye to the Soprano family.  But their family name will stay present next to the Corleone’s from the Godfather, Tony Montana from Scarface and all the other legends of Mafiosa Entertainment. 

sopranos Whatever happens in the episode, the curtain call will also mark the end of a program that, arguably, changed the fabric of Television programming as much as any other show in recent decades.  Just as Mash and All in the Family opened new doors for sitcoms – from the subject matters considered, to the tone of the dialog – the Soprano’s too, altered TV.  In bringing a gritty, edgy, violent concept and layering it with complex psychological nuance and wildly detailed character development, the Soprano’s ushered in a new era.   The Soprano’s was more than just mafia TV.  It was a program written and filmed with the kind of creative ambition and techniques usually reserved for feature films.  The Soprano’s brought the air of film making and story telling back to the short form.

Click to Read More

Will Elevation save Palm?

When investors look at early stage companies one of the biggest decision criteria underlying their investment decision is the quality of the people.   “Better to bet on a C idea and an A team than an A idea and a C team,” the saying goes.  With great ideas being somewhat plentiful, and the kind of adaptable idea-executing work being a challenge, it’s easy to understand.  Success is about execution.  And that requires a few things including, as Charles Schwab said, Vision  (“A man to carry on a successful business must have imagination. He must see things as in a vision, a dream of the whole thing.”) and as Vince Lombardi said, Teamwork (“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”)

This past week, struggling hand–held maker Palm announced it was taking a sizable minority investment ($325m) from private equity firm Elevation Partners. The deal raises the question – are good people, and a change of perspective enough to fix a troubled, established company.  I don’t know the answer, turnarounds are tricky beasts, especially in consumer-facing product companies, but it’s a question worth asking.

Click to Read More

Metue: Site Issues

As some readers have noticed, our web hosting service has had some outages this week that have caused the Metue site to be down for a few hours during the middle of the day. They were apparently having electrical power management issues in their data-center. We are told the issues are resolved but needless to say, this was cause for concern and we are proactively looking to insure it can’t happen.

Click to Read More

More libraries sign up to digitize their books

Microsoft and Google have been racing to digitize the books of the world.  Over the past year, the battle of dueling press releases has seesawed back and forth as each has announced new agreements to digitize and index vast libraries.

The nature of the two companies efforts are different, with Microsoft scanning copyrighted material only if rights–holders opt in to the service and Google’s project scanning everything it can gain access to but only providing limited summaries and background for copyright materials the rights holders haven’t authorized full disclosure of.

The latest two announcements have belonged to GoogleClick to Read More

Microsoft in my Kitchen?

iclockLast week in response to Microsoft’s Surface Computing initiative, I haphazardly speculated on Metue about some of the future applications we might see from both Microsoft and other firms developing bleeding–edge user interfaces.  Turns out, (even though my ideas weren’t too creative a leap) some of them ideas may be closer to reality than I’d have thought.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet earlier today wrote that Microsoft is moving forward with an effort to develop customized Windows platforms for different rooms of the home.  A kitchen focused software package seems to be the first area of focus.  She wasn’t able to get on-the-record comments from Microsoft but presumably, application layers focused on other household needs will follow too.   Maybe, not far off,  the alarm clock I dreamed about may be available.  Hopefully, I’ll have a choice of an Apple iClock   that’ll wake me with iTunes and give me a visual display of my voicemail, but a Windows Vista based model might be ok too ….. who knows. 

Going Once, Going Twice: eBay launches auctions for Radio Ad Spots

eBay announced Tuesday that it was ready to begin auctioning advertising airtime through the eBay Media Marketplace for Radio.  The service, which is powered in partnership with Bid4Spots (which has been hosting radio airtime auctions since 2005) will provide an open access market for buying advertising slots on 2,300 US Radio Stations.

radio advertising

A similar effort to create a marketplace for cable television ads ran into a wall of resistance from cable television channels and the Cable TV Advertising Bureau in April. That’s not the case, so far, with radio.  The hammer will fall today, in a positive way, when the service goes live.  All of the major radio operators will be part of the market including Clear Channel, the nation’s largest radio operator.

Stations in all of the top 300 markets nationwide will be represented and the auction marketplace will include access to ad inventory for both conventional over-air radio (terrestrial but not satellite) and Internet radio Click to Read More

EA Casual Entertainment

Electronic Arts (EA) Tuesday announced the creation of a new division which will focus on creating “casual gaming” titles for PC’s, Consoles and mobile devices. The division will be called EA Casual Entertainment and headed by former Activision Publishing president Kathy Vrabeck. No titles have been announced yet.

Within the gaming industry Casual Games are defined as games with a mass market audience. They typically have simple rules and intuitive gameplay to allow a player to begin playing with little to no learning curve (in stark contrast to many of the games sold for popular gaming consoles). Click to Read More

Page 6 of 7« First...34567