John C. Abell

A little Internet private time

April 11, 2011


We all freaked out a little bit last week over what may have been the worst breach in e-mail address security ever. For me, the rolling thunder of annoyance came in the drip drip drip of e-mail alerts from a number of companies with whom I’ve done business saying that the address I had shared with them for limited, specific purposes had been acquired by a hacker.

Don’t beat the news innovators, join them

April 4, 2011


Getting a cease and desist letter isn’t exactly a laughing matter, but it often can be laughed off — even when it comes from lawyers representing 11 major media companies who say what your are doing is “plainly illegal” and you are a little startup using their copyrighted material in your little iPad magazine.

The Catch-22 of Google Books

March 28, 2011

booksIt’s almost a Zen Koan: How many books does a library make?

For Google the answer is: “All of them.”

As of last August that particular number was about 129 million, and since then probably tens of thousands have been added to the world’s shelves, even if you exclude Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s A Shore Thing.

The web isn’t dead: Newspaper edition

March 21, 2011


For all the talk about whether apps could be the salvation for newspapers, one little question has been glossed over: Are apps actually a disservice to readers of what, for lack of a better description, we still call newspapers?

Hey NPR: Leave the money, and run

March 14, 2011


The psychologists will tell you: Don’t try to interpret every little thing. Examine your collective behaviors to see what outcome you’ve engineered through a series of seemingly unrelated acts, including some which seem entirely self-destructive.

Staving off the search war apocalypse

March 7, 2011


Think the search engine wars are over? They’ve only just begun.

The fight isn’t over who’s the most popular anymore. Google has that sown up for now with a nearly 90 percent share, according to what StatCounter published last week. Microsoft’s Bing Yahoo account for an anemic 8 percent worldwide.

IPad 2. Who’s Xooming who?

February 28, 2011

Screen shot 2011-02-27 at 6.34.24 PM

Tomorrow, Apple is expected to announce a next-generation iPad, an iterative upgrade of the breakthrough product whose radical original Steve Jobs described as “magical.”

Watson’s a Kindle, humans are iPads

February 22, 2011

I missed the first and last days of IBM Watson’s assault on humanity, played out innocently on a game show. But Tuesday’s edition of Jeopardy alone was as demoralizing for me as a human as it exhilarated my android side.

Nokia and Microsoft? Just maybe

February 13, 2011
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer address the Senior Leadership Event before they announce plans for a broad strategic partnership to build a new global mobile ecosystem . Nokia and Microsoft plan to form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop (left) and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Credit: HO

Before there were smartphones Nokia made smart phones. Sleek. Colorful. Attractive. Sporting a distinctive, trademarked ring that, because there are so many Nokia handsets in the world, may actually be heard 20,000 times a second.

The Daily, news by the numbers

February 7, 2011


By John Abell
The opinions expressed are his own.

It isn’t every day that a new “mainstream” news publication launches, so hurrah for News Corp and deep pockets and experimentation. The Daily is not only a new brand, but a brand new approach to publishing, tied to a specific device — just as ink + newsprint equalled a newspaper. The really radical notion is that people are going to have to pay to get it, making content the deciding factor over style, speed and even convenience.