Have we seen the peak of Microsoft as the force in the Computer Industry?

April 30, 2009

There are so many articles appearing about with bad news for Microsoft:
Is Silverlight Stalling? – PC World.

NewsFactor Network | Microsoft Sees Its Profit Drop with PC Market. “Fresh off one of the worst quarters in company history,Microsoft Relevant Products/Services offered investors little evidence that a beleaguered personal computer market would recover anytime soon.

On Thursday, Microsoft set the wrong kind of record, as it reported the first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline since it first sold stock to the public in 1986. In its third quarter, which ended March 31, Microsoft said its revenue fell 6 percent, to $13.65 billion, from $14.45 billion. It reported net income of $2.98 billion, a 32 percent drop from the $4.39 billion in the period last year.”

Opinion: Microsoft is doing something half right.

“Ever since Bill Gates stepped down and Steve Ballmer took over his role, Microsoft has been getting one thing after another wrong. Vista continues to be a disaster both for users and for the company’s bottom line. And Microsoft’s ad campaign last year, starring Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, is already a model of how not to do television advertising. Somehow, though, after years of stumbling around like a drunken college freshman after an NCAA basketball win, Microsoft is getting its act together.”

And I love this one: “To make matters funnier, all those virtual devices will take their toll on speed, so it won’t run fast at all without very modern hardware. Add in the fact that you will need all of the resources to run Windows 7 PLUS all of the resources you need to run Windows XP. From what we hear, Microsoft recommends 2GB of memory for Windows 7, but then again, it also said you could run Vista in 512MB. Har har. Upgrading to Windows 7 on older hardware promises to be a very poor choice.

So, what you will get with XPM is not an XP machine but a bloated resource hog that emulates the worst of 2004. Slowly. It may be a good fit for green screen COBOL apps that won’t run on the Broken OS, but that is about it, and you will pay for the ‘privilege’ in terms of resources used and speed of operation.”
 Charlie Demerjian from The Inquirer

How can a company that was invincible a few years ago continuously and consistently stumble so badly? I think it is like what happened to GM (only much faster): they are big and bloated, they believe their own PR, and they are Managed by Committee.

The stories you hear here in the Seattle area about working on projects at Microsoft are legendary: where you can be on a team of thousands, and most of the team is just there to  coordinate  communications with the rest of the team.

Design by Committee gave us the Turd Brown Zune, Vista and now the crazy pricing install strategy for Windows 7, where as you use it it will tell you that you can do this or that after you connect to MS and “upgrade,” or rather “turn on,” features already in the operating system you already bought – (this should go over well with customers)!

They have lost any concept of caring about the user experience at the same time the rest of the market is making that their focus!


April 30, 2009

What colors are in? “COLOR SELLS. . . and the ‘Right’ Colors Sell Better!

This link give you a big step up with regard to what colors are hot in 2009: dickharrisonblogspot: HOT COLOR TRENDS FOR 2009.

Some great stuff:

the demand for colors and products that reflect an environmentally ‘greener’ world goes way beyond a trend. It’s now ‘a given.’ ”

Purple, Purple, Purple!
Emerging as a hot fashion color last fall, purple is not just a fad — it’s an entrenched trend, strongly influenced by the election. (After all, red plus blue equals purple.) Look for a grayed-out violet that works equally well as an accent or a neutral, as well as redder, plummier purples and bluer-influenced fuchsias in a huge range of products. Purple is 2009’s “must have” color.

Blue is the New Green >
Various greens have symbolized “green living” over the last few years, but in 2009 the “green” environmental message is delivered by the color blue. There are watery blues, sky blues and a whole range of blues that now represent our commitment to living on a greener planet.

Cooled Down, Grayed Out Browns and Grays
Complex neutrals satisfy our urge toward classic colors in an economically challenged time. They also bridge the area between black, which seems harsh, and brown, which doesn’t seem strong enough.

The neutrals may have grayed, but look for lots and lots of bright vivid yellow to give us energy as we re-build the economy. It’s the standout accent color for 2009.

Bright Accents from India, China, and Turkey
The exotic has become the familiar. Oranges, turquoises and teals, reds, and yellows will abound in hues from far-away countries that now seem very near. They are the optimistic touches we crave.

White is a new Business Color
Technology has produced amazing new (and very practical) finishes, which helps explain why white is showing up everywhere, even in corporate boardrooms. The contrasts are all in the finishes: matte versus gloss; shine and shimmer on reflective surfaces; textured whites versus smooth — all washable and cleanable. White also represents purity of thought, motive and result – exactly what we want from businesses now.

The Return of the “M” Word
It’s mauve. Remember mauve? An old color that looks new again, in dusty violet shades, mauve works as an accent but also serves now as a neutral, punched up by those bright Asian accents (orange, turquoise, teal, red, and yellow.)

Mapping the Current Web Transition – ReadWriteWeb

April 29, 2009

Great overview of where the web is going.  I should write a better version of this! But until then you should reed this:

Mapping the Current Web Transition – ReadWriteWeb .

Some Highlights:

Social Media: Closed social-network sites cannot survive in their current form, and yet they are so dominant today. So the transition to open and pervasive will be a big and messy fight… which will be great fun for journalists to cover!

Actually I think they will open up and link up – facebook and webpress and plaxo are already on this tract.

Advertising: Advertisers will adopt a barbell approach: CPM for branding, and CPA for direct-revenue generation (as soon as publishers figure out how to make money selling CPA). CPC will still be dominated by Google but will become less dominant as CPA gains traction. Google will play in CPA and CPM but won’t dominate as it does in CPC. Publishers will sideline CPA because nobody will be able to compete with the CPC price set by Google. Ventures that bridge the gap between publishers wanting to sell CPM and advertisers wanting to buy CPA will do well.

Revenue: Primary revenue will come from subscriptions and transactions, with advertising as one driver of those revenue lines. Today, we are in transition and in recession, so any revenue is good.

Content: UGC reduced the cost of content but created too much junk. Curation (adding human editors to automated UGC content) will be aided by semantic technologies that aim to do what humans currently do well.

Start-Up Hero: Today, it’s “Nobody” because we are all in a hangover funk. In the near future, entrepreneurs really will hold the best cards; financiers will be secondary.

Funding: The “Big VC” model is broken but will carry on for ages (“Zombie VC”). Angels and small VCs are in the cat-and-bird seat today. But they need a revived public market or something other, which we’ll call “private + transparent.”

Prime Market: This is a century-long shift, like the one from Europe to America. Asia is not ready yet, America is in turmoil, and Europe is conservative, so this is another transitional phase.

Shure acquires Crowley and Tripp a sign of a changing tide?

April 28, 2009

It seems like just six months ago the feeling in the pro audio and MI industry was that the microphone (along with most segments) were all about building cheaper or higher margin products in Asia.  Shure one of the oldest and strongest brands in the industry is expanding their microphone franchise by acquiring a US based maker of high-end condenser microphones:

Shure acquires Crowley and Tripp | Pro Audio | News by Audio Pro.

You can see their products at: Crowley & Trip

Most executives at the larger pro audio companies I have spoken with over the past few years all felt that the microphone market was simply a race to the bottom. 10 years ago a low priced large diaphragm condenser mic sold for $1,500 and now Asian made large diaphragm condenser mics regularly selling in the retail channel for under $100.

Is this move on Shure part a unique phenomenon based on Shure independence and uniquely strong brand? Yes, but I think it is more than that, it is a move away from mass sales and low quality to a different set of values.

These new values are taking root in our industry and the US / European markets as a whole across a broad set of segments (the financial crisis did not create it but it is excelerating   the trend) and they are built on: Sustainability, local support, lifetime value (not low purchase price).

These are the watch words of the market moving forward.

Web strategy

April 18, 2009

Everyone asks me about web strategy these days. We (primarily the Pro Audio Industry – but seems to be all over) have finally moved from people and companies feeling like they need a web presence and building what I call a monument site to people actually thinking about what they are trying to achieve with their web site and designing to meet those needs rather than simply making something impressive.

Here is a good article about web strategy and will be writing my own web strategy post shortly.

Guest Post: Designer Mitch Canter on the Web Strategy Redesign « Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing.

Great info on OS X Disk Fragmentation

April 15, 2009

When your disk get fragmented your over all system performance will suffer and applications that use large blocks of data will suffer performance hits especially badly.

The article linked bellow provides a great basic lesson on OS X disk fragmentation and uses the example of installing a boot camp partition for running your Mac in dual boot (Mac and Windows) mode as a reason someone might want to use a defrag application to “fix” your disk.


Disk Fragmentation Diagram

Many people reading this will be doing some digital audio recording with their computers  and along with video editing these type of applications use very large files and can suffer significant performance issues when your disk drive(s) become too fragmented. If fragmentation is bad enough it can easily be the cause of drop-outs or lost frames in AV recording / editing applications (which is why this subject is so important to the pro media creation community).

Apple official word on disk fragmentation is that OS X takes care of this for you, and under most instances it is true. But over time there are a number of circumstances that can cause excessive fragmentation. The biggest is the lack of free space.  I have found (empirically from years of use) it is a good practice to keep a MINIMUM of 10% of your disk free at ALL times.

The 10% is also dependent on the size of your disk and the size of files your work with (when considering the size of files remember the hidden files like cases you programs use but you never directly see – if you are working in photo shop on a 100 mb file you may have 5x or more the file size taken up in cases for undo’s and general workspace).  The overall free space needs to be considerably larger (10x is a good minimum so if you are doing music or video and yoru files sizes are 500 mb you ned 5 gb).

This is fine if you have a 500 gb disk and you can keep at least 50 gb free, how ever it can become difficult when your disk is smaller and the files you work on are big i.e. you have a 80 gb drive and you need to keep 8 gb free (as with a 1st gen Macbook air).  Using your computer for Audio Video hub applications like movies on iTunes can be very problematic on laptops that typically have small (and slower) hard drives.

In the Disk Fragmentation & OS X: When Does it Become a Problem? blog post on theAppleBlog.com  Andrew Bednarz does the best job of telling you what to do to reduce excessive fragmentation inlcuding links to tools you can buy to help.

How to be a Published Author great reference information

April 15, 2009

Anyone who wants to get published should read this (even though it is for a specific market segment most if is applicable to any book project.

How to be a Published Author – TRCB.

What’s up with / at NAB 2009 Vegas

April 13, 2009

Apple Computer & NAB?

Its final cut pro’s 10th year anniversary, but Apple can be kind of anti-sentimental (look at the last Mac Anniversary or lack there of) but there should be new Final Cut Studio version available.  They have lots of FCS stuff in the can including improved hardware control surface support. But is always hard to predict what Apple has up their sleves

Avid returns to NAB! Avid Technology, Inc.. Booth # SU 902, South Hall

Keynote Presentations

  • Gary Greenfield, Avid Chief Executive Officer & President and Kirk Arnold, Avid Executive Vice President of Customer Operations, discuss Avid’s path forward.
  • Larry Blake – Sound Mixer on Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Syriana, and many other films discusses the techniques and unique challenges of mixing for major motion pictures.
  • Norm Hollyn – TV & Film editor, Associate Professor, Author of The Lean Forward Moment, and Head of the Editing Track at the USC School of Cinematic Arts presents:  “Where are the new editors coming from? And how will they learn how to get there?”
  • Ted Schilowitz – Leader of the Rebellion at RED Digital Cinema discusses how Avid and RED are collaborating to enable a new level of post production quality and efficiency.
  • Michael Tronick, A.C.E – Editor on Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Hairspray, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour and many other films discusses the post production of the stereoscopic filmJonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

Avid at Sponsored Events:

PBS Technology Conference
Wednesday April 15 – 18 (Exhibits April 16 – 17)
Caesars Palace, Augustus Ballroom
Conference registration required

Explore Avid HD Production and Automation Products.

Avid Education Cocktail Reception for the Broadcast Educators Association (BEA)
Wednesday, April 22, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Las Vegas Hilton – Ballroom A

BEA Keynote Luncheon
Sponsored by Avid / Thursday, April 23, 12:00pm-12:45pm/ Las Vegas Convention Center – Room N250

Join Avid and Sex & the City’s Assistant Editor Carrie Puchkoff for an engaging discussion on the role of an assistant editor in TV and film, the critical skills needed to exceed in the role, and what an average day on the job looks like.

Friday, April 24, 6:00pm – 8:00pm / Las Vegas Convention Center – Room N250
The BEA Best of Festival King Foundation Awards Ceremony Sponsored by Avid and Charles & Lucille King Family Foundation
The BEA Festival provides a national referred exhibition of faculty creative activities and is a national showcase for students’ work.

Tuesday, April 23, 6:00pm-7:30pm / Avid Booth SU 902
Avid & Sony XDCAM Systems – A Perfect Fit

Avid and Sony are providing powerful new workflows – ones that will revolutionize file-based pipelines and help save facilities and broadcasters time and money. At this event you’ll get an up close look at Media Composer, Avid’s production-proven editing system, and XDCAM, Sony’s versatile and popular file-based video format.

Tuesday, April 21, 5:00PM – 11:00PM
FCPUG NAB 2009 SuperMeet. Join us and the FCPUG Network at NAB for the largest gathering of FCP Gurus and users on the Planet
Visit us in our SuperBooth #SL10129 in the South Hall

  • When? – Tuesday, April 21, 5:00PM – 11:00PM (Doors open 4:30PM)
  • Where? Rio Hotel Amazon Ballroom 3700 W. Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89103 Free Shuttle Service to Rio every 30 minutes from Harrahs, Paris, How Much? – $15.00 each. ($20.00 at door) Includes 2 raffle tickets per person. Who should attend? – Everyone who wants to learn more about Final Cut Studio, digital filmmaking and meet others who know more than you do. Food and Drink? – Food (free) and Cash Bar will be available.

Playing for Change: Peace through Music – Jonathan Walls
Over 3 years in the making, “Playing For Change: Peace through Music” is the 2nd film born out of an idea director Mark Johnson had while watching two Monks play music in a NYC Subway 10 years ago. It is a powerful documentary that takes us around the globe then brings us together through the simple but transformative power of music. Co-director and editor of Playing for Change: Peace through Music, Jonathan Walls will present.

Blackmagic Design presents Arthur C. Smith: The Arctic Frontier and Digital Filmmaking
Polar bears, climate change, and Alaska’s offshore oil are hot media topics, yet for the digital filmmaker, working in the arctic is cold business. Hear and see how Alaska documentary filmmaker, Arthur C. Smith III is using the tools of digital cinema to produce award-winning films like Ice Bears of the Beaufort.

From acquisition to post, Smith’s arctic-based PolarArt Productions has brought the digital age to the arctic frontier.

Author a Replicatable Blu-ray disc on a Mac
“Digital guy” Bruce Nazarian will be on hand with a very special announcement: You can now author a REPLICATABLE Blu-ray disc ENTIRELY on a Macintosh. Works with ANY Mac Blu-ray authoring program and you will be amazed at how simple it is.

Share the love: FCP and CS4 Production Premium
Adobe’s Jason Levine will show off workflows between FCP and CS4 Production Premium. JVC GY-HM700 JVC’s Craig Yanagi with help from DOP Tim Dashwood will show off the brand new “instant editing” GY-HM700 Camcorder.

The very first customizable music plug-in for FCP
For the first time on the planet — Larry Jordan will give one of the first public demonstrations of the highly anticipated new Final Cut Pro music plug-in from SmartSound. Watch closely as Larry effortlessly turns scoring markers into fully produced and edited music for his Final Cut Pro projects. Roundtrip editing with control over timing and instrumentation make music creativity a simple task for every visual producer. Say hello to the new go-to music solution for Final Cut Pro. This is brand-new and amazing stuff!

Syncing the Impossible
5 P2 cameras, 6 wireless microphones, freestyle shooting, a Sound Devices 788T recording 8 tracks of audio, and less than a week from shoot to air. How would you bring this all together in Final Cut Pro?
Jeremy Garchow, Creative Cow Leader, Editor and Post Production
Supervisor at Maday Productions, was tasked with the opportunity to organize and edit all of the elements to make a commercial for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Totaling over 6 hours of real time shot material to edit down to 60 seconds, Jeremy faced this challenge by having super-fast access to the native P2 media and auto-syncing with external audio, all with free run time code and a clap slate. MXF4mac and sequenceLiner fired it all over to Final Cut Pro, ready to edit through a workflow never seen before.

The Coca-Cola Pavilion and the Adidas Spiral Theater at the Beijing Olympics
Kim Salyer of Video Arts and Joanne Dorgan freelance producer/editor will present a case study about the Coca-Cola Pavilion and the Adidas Spiral Theater at the Beijing Olympics. The Coca-Cola Olympic Pavilion Venue showcased numerous site-specific media including one video that was projected over a 40-ft. screen. The Adidas Theater, the first of it’s kind, was a 3-tier spiral walkway with lined with continuous video panels spanning 354 feet long and 6.5 feet wide. The Video Arts Team will show media from the initial 3D models and client elements to the finished project.

Indy workflow and Red
Filmmaker and Red Guru Steve Sherrick will give us a primer on Indy style Red workflow and show us Red Footage

Wounded Marines Careers Foundation
The current class from the Wounded Marines Careers Foundation in San Diego returns to the SuperMeet to show off thier latest video.

April 22 3-11PM The Rio AMAZON B REDUSER NAB 2009. Would post more info but their lame Flash site make it hard – if you do go tell them marketing professionals do not do all flash sites!

OUR REASONS Why YOU should be at NAB 09

Posted by Bruce Nazarian-the Digital Guy in NetblenderNAB SuperMeet 09NAB PPWCNAB Post PRoduction World ConferenceNAB 09BluStreak

I always look forward to April – it’s NAB time, and that means fighting long taxi lines at McCarran, tired feet, and dodging thousands of attendees inside the LVCC all of whom are searching (in vain) for something OTHER than a $10 hot dog for lunch!

But the best part is always meeting up with you who come and mingle, and attend, and learn. And this year, I’ll be at three different places:

Sunday – April 19 – I’ll be hosting the Focus on Technology Blu-ray at NAB PPWC an entire day of technology sessions on the current state of Blu-ray authoring and production

Sunday night, I’ll be co-hosting the IDMA/DVDA meetup with the fine folks from Netblender, makers of Do Studio authoring suite. Details to follow shortly, probably tomorrow. This will be close-by LVCC, within walking distance.

Tuesday April 21st, 1:30-2:30, I’ll be presenting at the Netblender Suite about AACS and Replication for Blu-ray. It will clear away the cobwebs of the murky subject of AACS, and how it could impact your Blu-ray authoring plans.

Tuesday night I’ll be making a HUGE NEW MAC BLU-RAY PRODUCT announcement at FCPUG SuperMeet at the Rio Hotel Amazon Ballroom .

If you make Blu-ray on Macintosh, or have thought about it, and have replication as your end target, YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ANNOUNCEMENT!

NAB Party List:

Sunday Night Autodesk – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm info session Wynn Hotel, Room: ALSACE 1, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd South.  no cover, must RSVP

Autodesk – 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Autodesk Party Wynn Hotel.  no cover, must RSVP http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=12485709

Official NAB & FMC Content Creators Party RSVP $55 http://www.nabshow.com/2009/attendee/ticketedEvents.asp

Monday Night

Promax Lounge – 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm Promax Suite at the Venetian Hotel. no cover Must RSVP http://www.promax.com/Home/DigitalLounge

NABTweetup – 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm T&T Cantina Luxor Hotel. no cover, RSVP through their Twitter feed. http://twitter.com/NABTweetup

Sony Creative Software Users Group – 6:30 pm Las Vegas Convention Center Room N250.  Must RSVP http://www.thefullhd.com

Creative Cow MeetUp – 8:00 pm Hard Rock Hotel Center Bar,

MPEG – 8:00 pm – 12:00 am Harley Davidson Café bring printed invitation http://www.mpegif.org/exhibitions/NAB2009

Tuesday Night

Final Cut Pro FCPUG SuperMeet – 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm Supermeet Rio Hotel Amazon Balloom. 3700 W. Flamingo Rd.  RSVP $11. http://www.lafcpug.org/nab_2009.html

Promax Lounge – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm Promax Suite Venetian Hotel http://www.promax.com/Home/DigitalLounge

NAB Show Blush Lounge, Wynn, Free admission before midnight with an NAB show badge & 2 for 1 beer from 9-10pm. (found on NAB Show’s facebook page) http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1311325324

Wednesday Night

Red User Group – 3:00 pm – 11:00 pm Hotel Rio Amazon Ballroom http://www.redusernab.info

Promax Lounge – 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm Venetian Hotel http://www.promax.com/Home/DigitalLounge

*Dates and times are subject to change.  Be sure to RSVP directly with each individual event.

Send me a link or a listing to add to my NAB what’s up list.

Is Wal-Mart Killing Your Business?

April 9, 2009

Is Wal-Mart Killing Your Business? – small business – strategic marketing.

Wow while this applies to small businesses don’t try and compete with the big boys on price, compete by differentiating: premium brands, more choice, better service. . .

But in the MI industry is does this story tell why the current trends at Guitar Center (GC) are destined to fail (just something to think about as in no way do I think GC is about to lose it’s top spot in the retail MI/Pro biz). CG has been changing since it wend private (bought by Bain Capital).  Some of the changes are simply the fact that Bain as instituted a number of programs to improve profitability (reduce inventory and increase margins) that are obvious B school / PE fund tactics. Others may be more like responding to Wal-Mart.

Wal-mart is not a big factor in the MI industry (though both Wal-Mart and Target among other’s have added cheap guitars and instruments to their product mix they are not a threat to full line music stores).  But Best Buy is in that in addition to the entry level products the other big box stores sell they are rolling out MI Stores within stores around the country. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25875917/

So is GC responding by making some of the same mistakes listed in the Inc. story with regard to trying to compete on Best Buy’s terms?  From an outside perspective GC seems to be reducing the number of brands and SKU’s they stock.  Only time will tell.

MediaPost Publications Even In Recession, There Are Jobs In Media

April 9, 2009

MediaPost Publications Even In Recession, There Are Jobs In Media 04/09/2009.

The growth in marketing is in SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), Email marketing, and web development!  This should come as no surprise.  The current economic environment is accelerating the transition from print to online marketing.