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Monday Morning Technologist
Tablets, Micrsoft Office 365, Facebook, Netflix and more today on the Monday Morning Technologist.
<play snazzy theme song>
You Can Almost Hear It Breathing
Amazon will probably be introducing it's long-rumored Android tablet this week and a lot of people who aren't in Cupertino, CA are pretty excited. This may be the first tablet that really gives the iPad a run for its money. Though the initial device is only supposed to be 7" in size (roughly the size of a Kindle) a 10" unit is reportedly in development and expected perhaps early next year.
So what makes the Amazon tablet different from the scores of predecessors? Well, first off - the price. As the HP TouchPad firesale demonstrated there's a HUGE demand for inexpensive tablets. If you price your tablet at $499 (like most have) you're in iPad territory. Why would somebody choose a Motorola Xoom over an iPad at the same price? But the rumored Amazon tablet is supposed to be priced at a mere $250 - half the price of it's main competitors. AND that price is rumored to include a membership in Amazon Prime - their special club for people who get free 2-day shipping on all orders through Amazon, plus free streaming movies and more.
Not surprisingly the Amazon tablet will likely feature very prominently the Amazon catalog of products - after all one of the reasons they can sell it so cheaply is that they expect people to use the tablet to shop at Amazon.com.
I won't throw out the overused cliche' "game changer" but if all of these rumors prove true the iPad may finally have a worthy opponent.
As long as we're talking about Amazon Prime being a competitor of NetFlix...
Amazon Prime announced they now have 11,000 streaming titles. NetFlix has 20,000...though that's been beset a bit recently by their loss of their deal with the Starz network who provided a lot of their streaming content. To compensate NetFlix recently announced a deal with Dreamworks though you won't be able to get "Antz" on NetFlix streaming until 2013 so don't start making the popcorn just yet.
Frankly part of the problem with ANY streaming service is that the studios have the same level of access to the Internet that the streaming services do. If HBO or 20th Century Fox or anybody else wants to start streaming their content they can put up a site and start streaming it - the middleman (i.e. NetFlix or Amazon) has to come up with some reason (usually a network effect and a LOT of cash) to entice the studio to stream through them instead.
The other problem ANY streaming service is going to have is that they're a victim of their own success. A significant percentage of the data on the Internet today is streaming media and that's growing very rapidly. That has two consequences:
- Use of streaming media is expanding faster than bandwidth is. As a result, especially in areas with already sort of marginal Internet speeds, users are increasingly getting "buffering" pauses in their streaming media.
- Bandwidth providers are doing away with "all you can eat" plans and starting to implement tiered data plans where users are going to have to start paying more if they use more than a certain minimum of bandwidth. Just as you're getting dependant upon streaming videos and music you may find yourself with increasing Internet bills.
Microsoft Office 365
Wishing you had an Exchange server but concerned about the costs. It *MIGHT* be economical for you to look at using Microsoft's Office 365 product instead. Office 365 is a hosted Exchange server AND hosted SharePoint all available at rates starting at $6/user/month. You can use your own domain name - in fact we host rolandschorr.com's e-mail on Office 365 - and you can access your mail from any web browser, from Outlook 2010 or any major mobile device (including iThings, Android, Windows Phone and even Blackberry).
One tip with Office 365: if you migrate an existing mailbox to Office 365 (and you can) and Outlook 2010 you may find it to be a bit slow for the first 12-48 hours. It just takes a little time to synchronize everything, get it all indexed, then it will smooth out and run well. My suggestion is to leave Outlook running for the first couple of days (lock your Windows console with Windows Key + L when you're away from it) so that Outlook can get all of that initial synchronization done quickly.
Got more questions about Office 365 or want to take it for a 30-day trial? Contact us, we're Office 365 partners and would be happy to set you up. email@example.com
Facebook Is Charging?!?!
No, they're not.
A hoax has been going around suggesting that Facebook was going to start charging a subscription fee. One of the giveaways that it was bogus should have been the claim that if you simply repost the news in your status that you could get Facebook for free...there's zero incentive for Facebook to offer a premium like that if they were going to charge.
In any event, it's bogus. The Facebook folks themselves tried to put it to rest with this simple entry:
A rumor on the internet caught our attention. We have no plans to charge for Facebook. It's free and always will be.
Are we done with this hoax now?
Troubleshooting with System Restore
If your machine suddenly starts acting badly one of the easy troubleshooting steps we recommend is to try System Restore. It's built into every version of Windows since Windows XP and if you're not happy with the results can be undone. System Restore won't touch your data, it simply puts system files and settings back to where they were as of the time/date you select.
For more on how to do it...read here.
Action on Klout has heated up over the last few weeks. Suddenly everybody seems to be concerned with their Klout score and are looking for ways to increase it. For them I offer the words of Confucius (Yes, really)
"I am not concerned that I am not known. I seek to be worthy to be known." (Analects, Part 4)
It means that if you want more followers, be worthy of being followed. Post interesting things. Engage with your audience. Don't merely retweet; have an original thought now and again.
Original Thoughts and Content in Moderation
And finally...all things in moderation. I recently unfollowed somebody on Twitter. Not that unusual, people get unfollowed all the time. I thought I'd mention this one as a bit of a cautionary tale though. This particular fellow did often post interesting content. The problem was two-fold:
- He posted WAY too much of it. The other day I saw at least 190 tweets from him; most of them coming in spurts of several dozen in just a couple of minutes. At some point the volume exceeds the value. The sheer quantity of tweets was making it hard to read any single tweet of his. And, he was overrunning my feed - I could scarcely see anybody ELSE's tweets because my tweet stream just filled up with him. I sometimes have a dozen tweets to send, but I try to space them out - maybe over the course of a few hours or a couple of days. Rather than just spew them all at once.
- I don't recall ever seeing an original thought. Everything he posted was just a link to an article or page somewhere and while some of them were interesting, after a while if you're just tweeting a link to every single article on a website...it's just not interesting. At least offer some occasional commentary. Tell the reader WHY it's interesting or what YOU think about it. He didn't post anything I couldn't have found on Google, ultimately, so I decided I didn't really need him and his firehose of links.
My suggestion: Post in moderation, offer some orginal content or commentary and don't be afraid to engage with your audience.