Weekend Update 10.03.09–The Media-Mangle Edition

ghostbustersBooks vanishing from e-readers…magazines on Hulu…DVDs from a kiosk…cats and dogs living together…mass hysteria!

If the medium was the message in yesterday’s zeitgeist, today’s “message transcends the medium” is a whole new mindset. It’s a brave new world out there, and AllthingsD didn’t fail to help make sense of it this week.

Boomtown was abuzz with the latest conversation from an Internet publishing sensation. Trip Adler, CEO of San Francisco-based Scribd, spoke to Kara about all things text and what its like to share a niche with giants. Speaking of giants, Boomtown was in Seattle this week, peering through everyone’s favorite Windows. While there, Kara caught wind of CEO Steve Ballmer’s embrace of the “new efficiency” by way of some executive belt-tightening. And in a followup to the near-viral “Louie Swisher loves Redbox” video, Kara wrote about a legal slap-fight between the DVD rental kiosk group and Fox.

While Fox was busy giving Redbox a black-eye, Digital Daily covered blows from a different kind of palm. It seems that Palm’s new mobile darling, the Pre, is a little over-abundant on store shelves. An 11 week-deep glut of the device may indicate tough times ahead for the smart-phone contender. If one plucky contender wasn’t enough, Digital Daily also covered IBM’s release of a LotusLive iNotes. This mail, calendar, and task management solution takes aim at a market currently in Google’s crosshairs. Finally, the week wouldn’t be complete with out a good Apple prognostication. John closed things out with some FCC documents that indicate a new wireless mouse and keyboard offering from the crew at 1 Infinite Loop. The logical jump is that the new input devices might be designed to complement a newly refreshed line of desktops.

John had new Macs and Peter had old tricks this week, specifically of the Kindle kind. In a settlement with the now-famous “1984 kid,” Amazon sealed up some of the holes in its policies about removing books from its Kindle devices. Now it’s most certainly against their policy to remove data…except when it isn’t. In a similar vein, more details surfaced about an upcoming e-publishing venture from Time that aims to put the content genie back in the bottle, Hulu style. The concept is to create a clearinghouse for magazines online and take back control of content and advertising dollars. Just in case we were beginning to think that there is always digital strength in numbers, Peter covered Comcast’s squashing of a rumor that it was looking to acquire a stake in NBC. Just the hint of such a move sent Comcast’s stock on a temporary tumble.

Walt was a personal technology machine this week with new additions to both the personal technology section and Mossberg’s Mailbox. And if that weren’t enough, Katie covered an important countertrend in personal tech that really turned some heads.

The personal tech feature of the week was the HTC Hero. This latest offering from the veteran Taiwan phone manufacturer features its most robust customization of the Android platform yet. Walt gave it high marks and placed it squarely among the Blackberry-Palm-Apple pantheon.

Walt checked the mailbox this week and answered some serious questions about the rise of the touchscreen laptop, the finer points of OS X and the iPhone OS, and tried to let a Vista Ultimate user down easy about the limited options for an easy upgrade to Windows 7.

Katie brought her A game to The Mossberg Solution with a succinct and poignant analysis of HP’s new growth model. The new Photosmart All-in-One with “Touch-Smart Web” bucks the current trend of photos and documents for digital display and tried to put consumers back in the printing game. The new printing experience uses a robust touchscreen and Web interface to allow printing of pics straight from the Web without a computer ever being involved. While she did have some good things to say about the printer’s apps and interface, HP’s overall strategy left her underwhelmed.

Whether you want to be the first to know when “that tablet” finally arrives or are just into the best coverage from the industry that is changing the world, there is no better homepage for all-things-tech than AllthingsD.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald