My Tivo Ate My 24 Series Premiere

I hate to post anything that even resembles something bad about Tivo, but…

My DirecTivo ate my 24 series premiere.  Or more accurately, it failed to record the second 2-hour block last night.

I caught it part way through.  At 8:45pm, nothing was recording.  When I checked, I saw that for some reason, while my Season Pass was there for 24, the guide showed “no upcoming episodes”.  That was strange, since obviously one was playing on the screen.

I hit record, and ran to the bedroom to discover, thankfully, that my 2nd DirecTivo was recording the show correctly.


But how bad was this problem?  I had a problem like this 2 weeks ago, when the Scrubs premiere failed to record.  All the other shows recorded fine, but Scrubs was showing “no upcoming episodes” even though there clearly were shows in the guide.

I found this post on PVRWire which went into some detail about problems people were having.   I don’t buy the conspiracy theories about DirecTV trying to ruin people’s Tivo experience to get them to “upgrade” to the craptastic box that is the DirecTV-branded DVR.  But bugs and issues can and do happen, and it made me realize how much I depend on my Tivo “just working”.

I double-checked my To Do list for the week, and I discovered no less than four other shows that had the same problem.  I manually added them to the To Do list, but I’m worried.  I hope they fix this problem soon.

A spokesperson on CNET has saidit is aware of the problem and should have it fixed by this evening (last Friday).” However, at this point in time DirecTiVo users are continuing to report problems.

Yesterday, The Venice Project. Today, Joost. Tomorrow, Yours.

There is a lot of coverage today about the official unveiling of The Venice Project, now called Joost. You can easily do a search on Google News for Joost – I’m sure it will be in all of the papers tomorrow.


Joost is the latest and greatest attempt to bring high definition video to the internet. The reason it is getting so much attention is simple: Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. They are the founders behind the infamous peer-to-peer music service, Kazaa, and more recently, the voice-over-IP phenomenon Skype.

Om Malik, on NewTeeVee, has the best write up of the new venture:

The Venice Project is not just another online video start-up. The Luxembourg-based company is the latest co-production of the two-person hit factory of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. The founders of Kazaa and Skype are hoping that The Venice Project will upend the television experience just as their earlier efforts turned the music and phone businesses on their respective heads.

And while the glam duo might hog the headlines, the task of making the Venice Project a reality falls on the shoulders of Fredrik de Wahl, a lanky Swede with a quiet demeanor who has been a cohort of Messrs. Zennstrom and Friis for more than half a decade.

Before reading his piece, I had no idea how much of the Joost application was built over Mozilla.  Very interesting, and a smart move in the current environment where the market will not reward you for rebuilding UI and application frameworks.  It will reward you for quality of user experience, and of course, our good friend time-to-market.

The Joost website is fun to read – you can sign up for the Beta if you are running Windows.  You can also enjoy the colorful design of the sight, and the flowery Web 2.0 language.

I had the opportunity, briefly, to meet Niklas & Janus in December while attending an eBay leadership conference here in San Jose.  I cannot pretend to know them well, but it is immediately striking when you meet them how passionate they are about user experience and simplicity, and how direct and honest they are with their comments and discussion.

I’m not sure how to resolve the limitations of our current broadband infrastructure in the United States to allow for the peer-to-peer distribution of content like high definition television, which is just incredibly large.  It’s so large that a Tivo Series 3 requires a 250GB drive just to store about 30 hours of it.   Hard drives are big, but the upload support that most people have from their ISPs is quite small.  For example, I get 3Mbps download from Pacific Bell, sorry SBC, sorry AT&T, but only 1/4 that is available as upload capacity at 768Kbps.  That means it’s possible for me to download video, but hard for me to use my upload service to “share” the content with another user.

In any case, I’m glad to see The Venice Project come out from under wraps.  Let’s see if Joost becomes a verb the way that Skype did.

How I Spent My Birthday Weekend (2007)

This year was special, because the entire United States decided to celebrate a three day weekend in honor of my birthday. I thought I’d jot some notes for you on what I considered a really great birthday weekend:


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Watched Joseph
  • Helped give Newton & Darwin a bath (my specialty is drying the beagles as they go through “Beagle frenzy”)
  • Went to lunch in Los Altos at Tour Eiffel with Carolyn & Jacob & Joseph (Vietnamese Pho)
  • Took Jacob to get his haircut
  • Got coffee with my Mom
  • Listed about 8 items for sale on eBay
  • Ate dinner with my parents
  • Put Jacob to bed


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Read the NY Times Sunday Business & Week in Review
  • Went to lunch at On The Border in Milpitas with Carolyn (Jacob & Joseph napped the entire time!)
  • Spent a couple hours online
  • Went to my parents house for dinner with my brother & sister, parents, and grandparents.
  • Blew out birthday candles & opened presents
  • Went home late! Put the kids to bed.


  • Woke up (8:00 am)
  • Had breakfast with Jacob
  • Watched the two boys alone for an hour or two.
  • Watched the first two hours of 24
  • Went to lunch at Chili’s
  • Went to Costco
  • Set up my new GPS unit for my car
  • Went out to a movie, Children of Men, with Carolyn (alone!)
  • Came home, ate dinner.
  • Put Jacob to bed
  • Packed & Shipped the 12 successful items that closed on eBay over the weekend
  • Blogging

My time with Jacob & Joseph is so precious. They are growing so fast. This weekend was filled with so many great and simple moments with them. Even a trip to Costco is fun when you’ve got Jacob in the front of the cart, and you’re racing down the ramp. I’m not sure how it could have been better.

And that’s how I celebrated the big 100000 (binary), or the big 20 (hex).

Steve Jobs: Master of Presentation (aka the Reality Distortion Field)

Steve Jobs is famous for his presentation skills. I myself have seen him present and speak at over a dozen different occassions, at Stanford, at Pixar, at Apple, and at big Apple events like WWDC and Macworld. Audience members can be so taken with Steve during a speech that they often are surprised themselves at how locked in the moment they were, hence the infamous “Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field”.

Steve Jobs is not a great speaker by accident. It’s something that he spends a lot of time and meticulous attention on. Marissa Mayer, VP of Product at Google, told me that she often goes to the Macworld keynote with members of her product management team. Afterward, they try and do a quick breakdown of not what Steve said, but the how and why of his presentation, timing, word choice, and style. I personally agree that anyone who has an outbound role representing their company and their product in the technology space should go to the school of Steve, when it’s in session, if possible.

There was a great article in Seeking Alpha this week by Carl Howe that did a wonderful job breaking down why Steve is such a good speaker. Normally, I’d just link to it, but the content is good enough that I’m going to reproduce it here, for fear of the link at some point going dead.

If you enjoy public speaking, or are called on to present to executives or large audiences, think about the points below and your own presentation style.

One of the benefits of being at MacWorld this year was that it gave me the chance to dissect Steve Jobs’ presentation style in person (you can stream it yourself from Apple’s Web site). And while I was madly blogging on my cell phone while the keynote was going on, I did jot some notes about just how he sets up what is fondly referred to as his reality distortion field. My conclusion: there’s no magic here. He simply does all the things that a great communicator is supposed to, including many techniques that we teach. Jobs is so persuasive because he:

Rehearses — a lot. Jobs is extremely comfortable on stage. You can see in his eyes that he knows his content cold before he even starts. He isn’t trapped behind a podium. He knows when to get excited and when he needs to pull back. All of these things aren’t hard — provided you have the entire story you want to tell in your head. Jobs does — and that only happens if you have done the story over and over again in rehearsal.

Is himself. Jobs doesn’t try to imitate other people or be something he isn’t. He’s not afraid to get excited and emotional over what he is talking about. As an example, when he thanks the families of Apple employees at the end, you can hear him getting choked up about the commitment and dedication they had. The audience can feel the emotion behind his words, and that adds impact to anything Jobs says.

Uses visuals effectively. Jobs doesn’t clutter up his presentation visuals with a lot of words. In fact, the slide shown above probably had the most words of any slide he used. Most of his slides have such illuminating reading as 2.0B (the number of iTunes songs sold to date), or “Ads”. Without a lot of reading to do, the audience listens to Jobs more, giving the words he says more impact. Jobs also uses demos effectively; all of them use very simple examples rather than complicated ones. Why simplicity? Because simple ideas are easier to convey and easier for the audience to absorb.

Focuses on the problem he’s solving in detail. Watch Jobs’ first 7 or 8 minutes of the iPhone introduction (starting about 26 minutes in and running until 33 minutes). All of that time he spends setting up why smartphones are dumb and clunky. He doesn’t even talk about his solution to the problem until he’s told the audience no fewer than three times what criteria a successful product in this market must have. And amazingly, the product he introduces has exactly those criteria. It’s not only an effective marketing technique, but it creates drama and tension where there would be none otherwise.

Says everything three times. Jobs always introduces new ideas first as a list, then he talks about each member of the list individually, and then he summarizes the list later. And, he always uses exactly the same words each time. A great example is the three functions that the iPhone has: an iPod, a phone, and a revolutionary Internet communicator. Every aspect had its own section of the keynote, and its own icon that kept being repeated. He even got the audience to chant the three items sequentially with him over and over. The result: even listeners who aren’t paying attention get the message.

Tells stories. At one point late in the presentation, Jobs’ slide advancing clicker failed. He switched to the backup, and it wasn’t working either. So what did he do? He told a story about how he and Steve Wozniak build a TV jammer and used it in college TV rooms to stealthily mess up TV signals. The story had nothing to do with the presentation, but it kept the audience laughing and amused while the backstage crew fixed the problem. Yet, the story fit beautifully into the larger iPhone story overall.

Isn’t afraid of the dramatic pause. When Jobs switches topics or is about to say something important, he doesn’t rush into it. Often, he will go to the side of the stage and grab a drink of water. Or, he’ll just stand to the side of the stage and say something like, “Isn’t that amazing?” and just wait. The pauses both keep the audience from getting tired out and allows them to absorb what he has said. And more importantly, they create drama and anticipation for what is to come.

Uses comparisons to demonstrate features. When Jobs has a feature he really wants people to remember, he always compares it to something else. In the iPhone introduction, he compared the iPhone with other smartphones. When he introduced the iPod nano, he compared it with other flash players. Comparisons allow him to emphasize the unique selling propositions of his products and paint the competitive landscape on his terms. This one feature of Jobs’ presentations puts his presentations head and shoulders above others.

If anyone needs more convincing of how much of a difference presentation technique makes, just contrast Cingular CEO Stan Sigman’s presentation yesterday with Jobs’. Despite his professionally written content, his presentation just falls flat on too many words and not enough life. The audience started clapping at once point just to try to convince him to cut it short. Ouch.

Apple has built its reputation by sweating the details for its customers. Jobs does the same for his audiences. Few companies will effectively compete against Apple until they start doing the same. Until then, Jobs’ reality distortion field will be as powerful as ever.

Next year, the Macworld 2008 Keynote falls on my birthday.  I think I’m going to try and attend in person.  It has been a while since I’ve seen Steve Jobs live, and its something you want to do while you can.

Star Trek XI: Return of Kirk & Spock & Scottie?

With new actors, of course. Thank goodness.

Just a quick post tonight – I’ve been busy this weekend celebrating my birthday. I promise to write up more about that later.

However, since I was on a movie kick yesterday, I thought I’d post this juicy news tidbit. They are, in fact, working on a new Star Trek movie, currently known as Star Trek XI, and our friend William Shatner seems to have leaked some details.

From the SyFyPortal:

The man best known as the Capt. James T. Kirk says the rumors on the Web have been right all along: J.J. Abrams is working on a story for “Star Trek XI” that will bring Kirk and Spock back to the franchise with much younger actors. And if Shatner has his way, he’ll have some part in the whole thing.

This sounds fairly interesting to me, since it seems that pseudo-retro revisits to the original storylines have been fairly popular with other franchises, why not Star Trek? We’ll see how well this does, but it’s an interesting development. I had always kind-of assumed they would end up making either a Deep Space Nine or Enterprise movie (they kind of capped off Voyager completely). But in truth, going back to the original series might be the most likely success story for Star Trek.

Apparently, the new movie will also feature a young Scottie, and Captain Pike. Interesting.

Hot Movies for 2007: Harry Potter, Spider-Man, Transformers & More

Not my typical blog post, but I have been a movie vacuum for the past few months, after the birth of my second son.

All of a sudden, I found a reference on one blog to the new Transformers movie coming out this summer.  While I was never an action-figure fan, I loved the Transformers when I was growing up, and so I am extremely excited to see this movie come to the big screen.  I was nervous when I heard that it was going to be live-action, and not animated, but the trailer looks pretty good.

If you missed the 1980s, and need to read up on the Transformers, I continue to be amazed at the quality of the information on Wikipedia.  A friend of mine at eBay, Michael Morgan, has a feedback score of almost 2000 now selling & collecting GI Joe & Transformer action figures.   I know he must be excited about this one.

Since I’ve been in such a movie void that I missed this big movie, I decided to poke around and find out what other big movies are planned for 2007.   I’m delighted to share here a few of the movies that caught my eye for release this year:

(Dates borrowed from the blog, Cinematical)

Clearly, this list of movies tells you a little too much about my taste in blockbusters.  But please note, for the record, that after the living hell that was sitting through Pirates of the Carribean 2, I have already stockpiled at least 10 excuses on why I won’t be able to see #3 when it debuts this summer.   And as much as I liked Die Hard when it came out, I’m not sure I’m excited to see Bruce Willis reprise the role again this year.

A couple notes on the movies above, since a few might be unfamiliar to you:

  • Evan Almighty is a sequel to Bruce Almighty, but focused on the Steve Carrell character.  Since right now, I’m liking every show & movie Steve Carrell makes, I’m assuming this will be worth seeing.
  • Ratatouille is the new Pixar movie.  The movie focuses on a rat, living in Paris, who dreams of opening his own restaurant.  Did I mention it’s the new Pixar movie?

I am particularly excited about the new Spider-Man movie, and the new Harry Potter movie, both of which promise to be more complex and rich than the previous sequels.

Some people lament the current sequel-happy culture in Hollywood.  I have to admit, there are far too many self-serving, vapid sequels like Ocean’s Twelve (and now, this year, Ocean’s Thirteen) floating around for my taste.  Evan Almighty has the potential to be weak in this regard as well.

Still, it is so wonderful to get strong sequels to great franchises, like Spider-Man, I’d rather they spend more time on the next Spider-Man and Superman, and less time making movies about marginal superheroes like Daredevil, Elektra, and coming soon, Iron Man.

One movie not cited above for 2007 is the planned Wonder Woman movie, by Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire and Serenity fame.  This promises to be a great one, but although IMDB says 2007, since they haven’t even cast the part yet, it feels like this will be 2008 at best.


My Simple Explanation for the iPhone Apple/Cisco Fiasco

And make no mistake, it is a fiasco.

Here’s my interpretation of what happened. Please note, I have no factual data to back this up. Just comments from someone who has been reading the press like anyone else.

Apple wants the iPhone name. It begs. It pleads. It promises Cisco some case, and tie-ins to Cisco networking gear, and Steve promises to introduce Chambers to more of the cool crowd.

Cisco agrees in principal, and faxes over final contracts by Monday 8pm.

Steve feels like the deal is done, and doesn’t sweat the details of signing on the dotted line before the keynote.

Big announcement. Awesome. Amazing.

Cisco now realizes, wow, this trademark just became worth a whole lot more! I’m glad we didn’t sign anything.

Cisco tells Apple, it’s going to cost a lot more now. This violates Steve’s sense of fair play, and a lawsuit is born. The lawyers take over, and it’s all animosity until the posturing is done, and a richer deal for Cisco is worked out.

Dumb move, really, by Apple. Next time, sign the contracts or don’t announce the name. The product doesn’t launch until June anyway. You gave a fake name for Apple TV (iTV)… you could have done the same thing here.

Cool product, though! It would be cooler if it ran Skype

Update (1/11/2007):  Jim Cramer has his own theory on what the lawsuit is about.  He thinks Cisco wants to force Apple to let it into the “cool” club…

A Disappointing Macworld 2007 (no iLife ’07, no Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard)

I hate to say it, but I was disappointed with Macworld this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Apple TV. I think I am going to buy four of them – one for each TV, and one for the minivan, that can synch at night when it’s in the driveway. All my kiddie videos are going into iTunes, so that my two year old won’t manhandle the DVDs any longer. I see a direct mapping between the success of ripping CDs and iPods with the ripping of DVDs and Apple TVs.

And, please don’t mistake my enthusiasm for the iPhone. It looks gorgeous, and once I can try out the touch screen, I’m very likely to get one.  There has been a lot of concern voiced by some friends of mine that Apple hasn’t opened up the phone for development.  My guess is, they will, at WWDC, but they don’t have it stable enough and/or the build environment ready yet.

The problem was… that was it.

What was missing? No new software!

No iLife ’07. My number one application from both a time and enjoyment factor is iPhoto. Last year, I got to see iPhoto 6 for the first time, and it was fantastic. Made my whole 2006 better.

This year… nothing.

No Leopard booth! No Mac OS X 10.5 to discuss and play with… at least, not that I could find.

I guess I didn’t find the preview of Microsoft Office 2008 that exciting.

Oh well. I will share one new product I found that was better than expected: the new HP Color LaserJet 2605dtn. The price is great ($629). Two paper trays (one for paper, one for labels for PayPal postage printing). 10/100 Ethernet built in. Duplex. Rendering on the printer, not the computer. Fast. Great print quality.

It’s almost perfect, except for the manual paper feed that only takes one sheet at a time. If they fix that, I’ll be on my way to upgrading my 6-year-old laser printer to color.

And note to Apple – I didn’t expect iLife ’07, or iWork or Leopard to make the keynote. But I did want to see them at the show.

See you next year.

San Francisco Has a Bad Case of Loser Denial (49ers, that is)

I had an alternate version of the title of this blog:

Diane Feinstein is a loser.

But I  had a problem when I discovered, today, in the San Jose Mercury News, that I would also need to add Carole Migden to the title, as in:

Back off Diane Feinstein & Carole Migden.

Hopefully, I went with the best version.  I hope, however, that Diane and Carole find their way to my blog somehow, to hear this simple message:

The 49ers are moving to Santa Clara.  Get over it.

San Francisco is a beautiful city.  I have a lot of friends who choose to live there, for various reasons.  But there days as the center of the Bay Area are long over.  San Francisco is on the periphery of Silicon Valley – more of a specialized niche for people who will give up weather and land for nightlife and long commutes.

Some basic facts:

  • San Francisco has about 15% of the Bay Area population now.  About 750K out of 5M.  San Mateo & Santa Clara counties are clearly larger.
  • The fans aren’t in San Francisco.  Only 10% of 49ers season ticket holders live in San Francisco.  30% live in Santa Clara or San Mateo counties.  Yes, read that again.  San Francisco is actually under-indexed for season ticket holders, compared to their share of the population.
  • It is very common for a sports team to have a stadium outside the name of the city proper.  Where do the New York Jets play again?

The news about Diane Feinstein really pisses me off.  Last I checked, she was a US Senator from California, not San Francisco.  She has for more constituents who benefit from this move than those that lose out.

I will admit to not being a huge football fan myself.  The truth is, when the 49ers aren’t that good, I just don’t care that much.  I don’t watch college football.

But I grew up watching the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco 49ers, and I’m extremely excited about the fact that within a few years, I’ll be able to take my son to games so close to home.   The design of the Cisco Stadium looks fantastic for the A’s, and I’m assuming the new 49ers stadium will also be impressive.

San Franciscans usually brag about their access to culture – symphony, opera, museums, etc.  Consider losing the 49ers a good way to cleanse your city of the more mundane and brutish elements.

That’s better left to the vast majority of fans here in the Valley.  The study is kicked off, and no new taxes to pay for the stadium.  Now, that’s the Silicon Valley I love.

See you in 2012.

MacWorld 2007: iPhone, Apple TV & Airport Extreme

Not like you need to read yet another article on these huge announcements from Apple today.

It seems like every media outlet is just bursting with articles, analysis, pictures, and hype about Apple these days. In fact, I’ve even noticed that the old media stand-by from 1997, “The beleagured company…” has been replaced with “The legendary company…” in the most recent New York Times.

What a difference 10 years can make.

Well, if you’ve already read 100 articles on these products, I’m not sure you need to click many of these links. But, if you are a normal human being, and you’ve somewhat tuned out all of the recent press and hype, here are a few good links if you are curious.

The best web pages about the products are actually at Apple. So start there:

If you are interested in a few more links:

Also, it looks like David Pogue, at the New York Times, actually got to sit down with Steve and play with the iPhone today. Read about it on his blog.

Let me just say up front, these products are gorgeous. Who knew that everything I’d want for my birthday would be small & rectangular this year? In all seriousness, Apple has taken design language and brand identity to a new level. It’s across their advertisements, their software, their hardware. It is constantly refreshed and new, and yet it maintains a language and style that consistently tells you it is an Apple product without even seeing the logo. It may look easy when Apple does it, but there is a reason why no one else does. It’s hard, bordering on impossible.

I am actually going to Macworld 2007 tomorrow afternoon, so I will post again with thoughts after I’ve seen the products in person. Let me just highlight here some of my initial thoughts:

  • iPhone. Yeah, this is the reason Apple’s market capitalization went up by $6.1 Billion dollars today. The pictures make it look large, but I’m expecting to be surprised by its dimensions tomorrow. Not available until June, but clearly something that Apple felt they needed to announce now to capture excitement. It’s always risky to give the market a half year to formulate a response to your product, before you even ship.

    I am 90% sure that I will buy one of these to replace my Nokia cell phone and iPod nano. My biggest concern is that while Steve is selling the touch-sensitive screen, I think people may be underestimating the value of three dimensional button feel. If you have a universal remote that is all touch-screen, then you understand the loss of that physical feedback. I can dial my phone today without looking, with one hand. The iPhone seems to be geared towards someone who will look at it and hold it with two hands while they are using it.

    But man, is it gorgeous. Unbelievable. Beyond the physical device, notice the difference that great software makes? Does anyone still think that Windows Mobile/CE is impressive now that they are seeing what Mac OS X lite can look like on a device? Palm OS looks like it was written in the 1970s next to it. The biggest complaint I have heard about the Motorola RAZR family is just how bad the Motorola software is. I expect the software to be a real selling point for the device.

  • Apple TV. Believe it or not, I’m more excited about this device than I was about the iPhone. When I had a Tivo Series 2, I used to love the Home Media Option. Displaying my iPhoto library and playing my iTunes library was great, and the fact that it presented all of my personal data (playlists, albums) was fantastic. Unfortunately, my move to DirecTivo forced me to give it up, in favor of dual tuners. Apple TV looks even better, because it will handle video, even high definition, and it has the only UI that I’ve seen on a set top box that looks as good as Tivo. The price point is excellent at $299. Everyone should have one of these.
  • Airport Extreme (802.11n). You won’t see articles written about this one, but this is the companion piece to making wireless a real potential video distribution solution for the home. Like previous incarnations, I don’t think this will be a product that non-Apple devotees will buy. I guarantee you, there will be cheaper 802.11N basestations on the market within minutes. Still, I’ll buy one, largely because I am one of those Apple devotees, and because I expect it to just work flawlessly with my home network, and with my new Apple TVs.

I’m not sure if it will be feasible with this initial release, but I’m eager to find out whether it will be viable to have multiple Apple TVs in the same house. I’d love to have all of my photos, music & video on my G5 server, and then be able to watch them on any TV in the house.

So, $599 + $299 + $179 = over $1000 of new product that I now must own. Unbelievable.

More to come tomorrow, once I get a chance to see these and other products in person tomorrow.

The Apple Stock Option Backdating Scandal

Yes, I know you are expecting me to post about all of the new Apple products announced today during the Stevenote at Macworld 2007.

I will definitely post on them tonight and tomorrow, as I’m going to Macworld in person to see them tomorrow afternoon. It’s my annual birthday treat.

Still, despite all of the excitement, I thought I’d post a few worthwhile articles on the ongoing developments in the Apple options backdating scandal. I find the scandal particularly interesting because:

  1. I know some of the people now mentioned in the investigation
  2. I worked at Apple in the time period where the alleged abuses occurred
  3. I am a lifelong fan of the company and its products

I do not own any shares in Apple Computer (sorry, now it’s “Apple, Inc”). But I think people who do need to follow this ongoing development with their eyes wide open.

I find the last article troubling in particular, because I knew Wendy Howell when I was at Apple. I didn’t know her well, but I knew her, and it’s shocking to see someone’s name in the press like this.

I haven’t fully digested my thoughts on the scandal, or formed a final opinion about what should happen. But this much seems clear – every announcement and release seems to reveal more and more “issues” and more direct involvement by executives, including Steve.

At the same time, it’s hard to argue that Steve & team have not created far more value for the company in the past 10 years than these transgressions may have caused. Steve has increased the market value of Apple by literally $50 Billion+, and compared to other executives in similar positions, seems to have actually taken a surprising low % of those gains for himself. In fact, you could argue he has literally charted a new course for the entire consumer electronics industry at this point in regards to digital media.

There is also no doubt that going forward, Steve is absolutely the value maximizing person to run this company for the next 10 years. No question.

That leaves Apple shareholders with an interesting question: do they impeach their leader on this arguably minor infraction? Or, will they issue a full pardon? (I apologize for the political mixed metaphor)

I think Apple is making this situation worse by not effectively admitting the mistake, and apologizing for it completely. They are turning this into the type of theoretical ethical issue that is just too juicy for the media to give up on. I think the complete absolution of Jobs by Al Gore & Jerome York may have actually stirred things up more, given the revelation of email from Jobs on setting the timing of the option grants. The inclusion of Pixar in the investigation is also troubling.

Make no mistake – this drama will peak in 2007.

Now, about that iPhone, Apple TV, and Airport Extreme basestation that I want for my birthday…

Video: Download the Season Premiere of 24 before January 24th? (Promotional DVD Leak) is getting better and better at not only being a great blogging client, but also as a blog reader. I found this tasty tidbit today on Clint’s Blog:

Fox is releasing the first four episodes of the 2007 season of 24 on DVD. Read about it HERE. Of course, the dvd has already been leaked to p2p networks. Anyone with any bittorrent savvy can watch the first episode of 24 right now. It wont actually air until January 24th.

I don’t think Hollywood hasn’t adapted to the reality that DVDs are now easily ripped and distributed. The sooner they embrace that reality, the better it will be for their ability to develop business models around what customers are doing.

Build an eBay Photo Lightbox… out of a Corona Beer Case

Found this blog post today on on how to build an inexpensive eBay photo lightbox.  An amazing find!



I love the ingredient list:

  • Empty Corona 24-pack box (or any cardboard box)
  • Paper towels (I used Bounty quilted)
  • Printer paper (8.5″ x 11″)
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors and/or razor blade
  • Reading lamp (Mine has a 60W bulb)
  • Camera

If you don’t know what a lightbox is, it’s a way of diffusing light to help take flattering images of standard objects.  This can be extremely helpful when you sell online, because giving your photos professional quality framing and lighting can literally add dollars to your bottom line.

I don’t use a lightbox today for my photos, but as I consider selling coins more regularly on eBay, I’ve wondered if I’d need a lightbox to get high quality results.

Consider this a “fun find” if you sell on eBay.

Tivo for Comcast HD is Here… It’s ALIVE!

Well, CES 2007 is underway, and the big news for me is the official demo of the Tivo software on existing Comcast Motorola HD DVRs…

From EngadgetHD:

They took their freaking time getting around to this, but at CES this week Comcast is showing off what they’d been promising to deliver for nearly two years: a cable DVR box with TiVo software on it. It’s good news for subscribers who know the pain of Comcast’s current DVR offerings, though as of right now we still have yet to learn how much a TiVo-enabled box will cost or when exactly it’ll be available.

If you click the picture above, you’ll get a small series of snapshots.

First thoughts… I may get the Tivo Series 3 after all. This looks like some weird hybrid – the Tivo software, with the Comcast/Motorola guide. I like the Tivo Guide a lot – it may not be perfect, but after 7 years of Tivo, I know it like the back of my hand.

Lara, if you are reading this, maybe you’ll be my guinea pig for trying this out? 🙂