In re: Netflix price rise should be no surprise

If your a Netflix subscriber (and I am currently not, but I do join on and off when I get in the mood to watch some movies) you have no doubt heard about the change in pricing coming up this fall making streaming and disc mailing two seperate prices and that being a pretty steep increase if you choose to stick with both (had you been only interested in one or the other not so bad for you).  While quick increases might not be good, they also make some sense as getting known for pricing creep a couple bucks now and a couple bucks later adds a lot of uncertainty and Netflix has had fairly long periods of time on the pricing planes although they have changed several times in the past.  The backlash at least in cyberspace has been enormous and somewhat surprising, but I have found it interesting that some of the backlash is pretty unrealistic, demanding in their “Dear Netflix” tweets that the price shouldn’t go up and oh get more streaming content.  The reality of the situation is Netflix was able to grow streaming on the cheap as content providers had yet to learn the income that could be earned from it and two because they needed to grow to a certain size to get their streaming tech put into every blu-ray, connected tv, video game system, etc and one way to do that was keep it cheap/give it to everyone with Netflix.  So fast forward a few years, add in some new content deals that have cost a lot more to Netflix and add that customers don’t seem happy w/ only obscure content and demand more high value content and price increases were inevitable.

But don’t worry Netflix folks there is competition out there to keep a check on Netflix despite every mail order disk besides the red envelope failing,  folks like myself who would be prime users can get away from it.  I am pretty stocked up on movies on our DVR right now w/ Directv (during the first three month promo we had every channel it seemed and that meant a lot of movies) couple that with the HBO Go service that streams every episode of HBO shows ever (yeah, ever, pretty neat) and you can see that Netflix doesn’t have any time at my place.  Add in some things like Hulu, YouTube getting into premium content, along with RedBox, on demand content via cable/sattelite and any number of online video services, Amazon (their prime subscription gives quasi Netflix content) and iTunes.  So basically yeah price increases suck, but this has to happen if online content is going to become their primary business, which there is no doubt is where they are going as mailing DVDs is not the future.



In re: Country of Origin?

“The concept of country of origin for manufactured goods has gradually become obsolete.”

An interesting article in the WSJ on tech supply chains and the problem with a lot of trade statistics. Remember how much of a trade deficit we have? Well apparently the iPhone’s wholesale cost counts towards China’s exports, not ours. Its interesting as really the only issue is statistics, but in today world where a device like the iPhone contains parts from any number of countries all around the world, is designed in a different country and assembled in China, well it just might not fit neatly into the stats of old. This type of production makes enormous sense, have everyone work on what they are best at, but it leads to strange results. One pair of pants I once bought in the US had a label that read “Made in Mexico with United States fabric” – a lot of trucking going on to make those.

“Chinese labor accounted for only a few dollars of the iPod’s value, even though trade statistics credited China with producing its full value.”

Read the article at the WSJ here

In re: iPhone amazing for blind as well?

I have seen a lot of technology for the blind, and I can safely say that the iPhone represents the most revolutionary thing to happen to the blind for at least the last ten years. Fifteen or twenty years brings us back to the Braille ‘n Speak, which I loved in the same way, so have a hard time choosing the greater. In my more excitable moments, I consider the iPhone as the greatest thing to have ever happened to the blind, and it may prove so. Time will tell.

via My First Week with the iPhoneBehind the Curtain | Behind the Curtain.

Thought this was a great post by a blind iPhone user on his experience with the iPhone and its voiceover / accessibility features and how amazing it is.  Gotta admit I hadn’t noticed the features when they were first added to the phone, but then I came across a David Pogue post that mentioned the voiceover and having it read PDFs, so I tested it out, and while annoying to have to access all the voiceover features or none (I just wanted to have it read a PDF) I was amazed that my phone, that I slip into my pock can read a document out loud and it sounded good.  Anyway check it out,  great look at the features and what he is using it for.  (also shouldn’t they add SMS read aloud as an option outside of accessibility, how useful would that be while driving).

In re: Coffee consumption up north

“We know from lots of other situations that the Scandinavian nations lead the world when it comes to such important things like environmental matters, gender equity, income equality. But amazingly, its not just Finland where they need a lot of coffee amidst all the darkness to make it through the day. But its Norway, Sweden and Denmark — all of those four countries take the top four stops globally in the world for coffee consumption.”

via Which country drinks the most coffee? | Marketplace From American Public Media.

Had this passed on to me because as you may remember I noted all the caffeine in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Well,  apparently Stieg Larsson the author the Millennium Trilogy (Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo is the first book) was just being accurate when he put a pot, thermos,cup or some other form of coffee in every scene in the book, including 3 am when someone is going to bed.

On a side note I finished all three of the books (on a borrowed Kindle DX) and aside from wishing as many have that Mr. Larsson was still alive to work on the fourth book (selfish I know) it did lead to me ordering up the new wifi only Kindle.

In re: Is Time Warner Cable finally innovating?

Time Warner Cable has never exactly blown me away with their services.  They have added more HD over the years now (although Fox Soccer in HD is missing, would trade a few Bravo & A&Es for that) anyway, what definiately doesn’t blow me away is their crappy cable box that crashes and has all kinds of video problems (should probably swap it but of course I have programs on it).  So while their homegrown TV guide software is not going to win any awards, maybe they are looking ahead.  Came across the fact that TWC is writing an iPad app to allow changing the channel, setting up recordings and watching programming.  Seems like a nifty idea – guessing it won’t be that great, but who knows maybe changes are coming at stuffy old TWC.

see a video of the prototype here

In re: Apple’s magical…bumper?

A funny video from Slate V, the first time I watched it I had thought Jonathan Ives and some of the Apple folks had a sense of humor and were somehow involved but its really just some clever editing repurposing their ‘magical’ commments.

In re: Pandora + iOs 4

So you probably know I like the iPhone, I was one of those fools who paid way too much for the first one and have been hooked since. So like a true addict I was counting down the days to iOs 4.0 that added background processes for apps (I know, I could have been on Android doing stuff like that, but its not as good – sorry).

So while I am still using my 3GS and won’t be getting a iPhone 4 due to cost, I am happy getting my background music.

A few apps I use this makes a huge difference for, MLB’s amazing app and Pandora. Pandora was great before, but the inability to check email, or anything else for that matter made it limited, MLB had limited background abilities by using a Safari workaround. Now however I am happily streaming tunes or a game and zipping around doing other things. (For example today the Indians had a day game, I’m in NY for work and was able to pop on the game and still keep up w/ all my work emails that were pouring in. The only flaw is it doesn’t resume after a phone call MLB).

So while backgrounding is great, one of the other great improvements I didn’t really think about was the integration of the playback controls (pause, play, next , back) meaning that now I can plug my iphone into my car, start Pandora and skip tunes using the controls in my car – how amazing is that? (amazing I say) Makes me wonder why I have Sirius…
Okay probably too much of a post on what most people would say is a pretty small thing that Apple should have had all along but there you are.