Daily Archives: December 27, 2007

Bloglines sucks

Hey, Bloglines, I don’t really care who’s problem it is, but my feed works just fine on Google Reader and doesn’t work on Bloglines. So, the only conclusion I’m going to come to: Bloglines sucks. Please fix before everyone switches to Google Reader.

UPDATE: Matt Mullenweg admitted it was a bug in WordPress and said that they are working on fixing it. Sorry for the stink, but I needed to force the issue because I was losing readers over on Bloglines.

The MacMini HDTV revolution

Yesterday I was over talking with the team behind Retrevo, the consumer electronics search engine.

We all agreed that Apple TV sucks. More on that in a minute.

But we all notice a trend: hooking MacMinis up to your HTDV. I think it’s a revolution. Revolutions always start small and among the weirdos.

Dave Winer had been on me for a while to get rid of my AppleTV and get a MacMini. As with other revolutions that Dave has started it took me about 1.5 years to get what he was saying and see the brilliance in it. Seriously, he showed me RSS for 1.5 years before I really started using it.

So, a few weeks ago I bought a MacMini, partly to get Dave off of my back and partly to help him test his new software, releasing today.

Now I’m pissed that it took me so long and I’m pissed at the industry that it just doesn’t get what’s coming and they keep trying to lock me into closed boxes like the Apple TV or the Xbox. I have an Xbox too, and a Media Center, so hear me out where I’m going.

Putting a MacMini on my TV is geeky. It’s not for everyone. Damn, I sound just like someone who discovered the Apple II back in 1977. Only the geeks got personal computing back then. Most people thought personal computers were stupid, back then. Heck, Wozniak offered to HP and Atari a chance to build his personal computer. They turned him down because revolutions in this business never are very obvious at the beginning.

Anyway, how is this a revolution? Ask my son. He now plays World of Warcraft on our 60-inch screen. He never really cared about the HD screen before. Or, look at Maryam. She loves putting pictures of Milan up on it. She also is crazy about Dave Winer’s new thing. More on that in a second too.

But why is this a revolution? Easy. It has a Web browser. It’s amazing how often I use the Web browser on the TV. “But you can’t read the fonts,” I can hear you saying. That’s not true. On the Mac keyboard you hold down the “Ctrl” key and then use your mouse’s wheel to zoom in and out.

The MacMini has totally changed my TV into something that’s NOT just a TV anymore. It’s revolutionary after you use it. Especially when you compare to the Xbox’s Media Center Extender (no Web browser) or the Apple TV (no Web browser) or my DirecTV box (no Web browser).

Why isn’t it a mass-market revolution yet? Three reasons:

1. They haven’t seen Dave Winer’s new software running on it.
2. The MacMini is too expensive to be a consumer electronics purchase (it costs about $700, and the Nintendo Wii demonstrated that consumer electronics needs to cost closer to $300, which is what the AppleTV costs, but the AppleTV doesn’t come with a Web browser so is ultimately crippled and will never participate in the new HDTV revolution).
3. It still seems a bit weird to hook a computer up to a TV (although the MacMini is ultra quiet, and cute so that it overcomes two of the previous objections that people had to bringing a computer into the living room).
4. Too many people assume a TV is just for watching TV and haven’t considered doing anything else on it. Sounds like the cell phone market before the iPhone, huh?

Anyway, what does Dave Winer’s new software do? It puts pictures up on my HDTV. “Huh, that’s the lamest thing I’ve ever heard,” I can hear you saying. But didn’t you also say that about Twitter? About IM? About the PC itself back in 1977? Yeah, yeah, you did, own up to it.

But it doesn’t just do that. It brings YOUR photos into my house if you put them on Flickr and I add you to my TV set. Even better, it puts professional photography up on my HDTV. Amazing images from around the world.

I love having great photography on my TV from my friends and from the best professionals around the world.

Oh, and the AppleTV does suck. I gave it to Patrick, maybe he can sell it to you so he can afford to buy a MacMini for his house.

Putting a MacMini on my HDTV was the best gadget purchase I’ve made this year.

UPDATE: I’ll demo it live over on http://www.qik.com/scobleizer as soon as it’s released. Dave tells me that should be tonight sometime, although it’s software so we’ll Twitter about it as soon as it’s done.

UPDATE2: we’ll be demoing it LIVE at 9 p.m. on my Qik channel. You can participate by leaving comments — I’ll see those on my cell phone.

Could Google Reader team have done a better PR job?

Looking back on it I’m wondering if the Google Reader team could have done a few things differently in the PR realm?

Looking at the advice to startups that ReadWriteWeb gave the answer is clear: yes.

Did the Google Reader team show anyone at a conference the new feature? No. Strike @1.
Did the Google Reader team do a video? No. Strike #2.
Did the Google Reader team brief bloggers ahead of time and get their feedback? No. Strike #3.
Did the Google Reader team show its #1 customer/user these features and get feedback? No. Strike #4.
Did the Google Reader team give an interview to a video journalist like Kara Swisher (or me) before release? No. Strike #5.
Did the Google Reader team release on Tuesday-Thursday, like ReadWriteWeb suggests? No. Strike #6.
Did the Google Reader team have a demo to show off? No. Strike #7.

Now, I’m not saying that the community still wouldn’t have reacted the way it did, but at least we would have had a dialog going and we would have had a lot more to go on and talk about than what they did end up doing, which was releasing a short blog post about the new features without even a screen shot.

That, to me, is setting up the team to fail.

It’s amazing to me that the company that owns TWO video services doesn’t get the power of video. Hello, Vic Gundotra, what’s going on here? Where was the campfire for new stuff? If the Google Reader team showed this to a few bloggers over a campfire they might have heard this feedback earlier when they could have done something about it.

Great tips for startups

ReadWriteWeb has 36 great tips for startups.

One thing I’d add to that list: make sure you use every tool you can to help get your story out. The startups that have gotten the best reputation with bloggers have been the ones that show up to conferences and little events around town, do videos, Twitter, AND do everything that ReadWriteWeb talks about.

I disagree that startups have to announce at a conference, too. Sometimes that’s the WRONG place to announce a new product. Why? Well, at Demo there’s 60 people competing for our attention. The next week? Might only be four. Want to get to the top of TechMeme? It’s a lot harder during Demo week.

But, if you don’t do a conference you MUST execute flawlessly on the PR front. How? I’d visit personally 40 bloggers and hold them to an embargo. Make sure you get some video and photographers in there too. They make your story more complete.

Of course if you have an awesome product it really doesn’t matter. I’m freaking over the top about Qik.com right now. How did I learn about that? An accidental meeting in an Apple store. I’m sure that if they had a PR team the PR team would be really pissed. But I’ve been showing everyone and their brother Qik. If the others, like Seesmic and Kyte don’t get their streaming servers up and running soon they will lose me forever. That’s how strongly I feel about this company.

But most companies don’t have the utility of live streaming video off of a cell phone to do their PR for them. So, for most companies ReadWriteWeb’s advice is good and should be listened to.