Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

Weekend Update 02.13.10–The Hot Mess Edition

Rogue waves aren’t completely unheard of during surfing competitions in Northern California, but a foot of snow in Dallas? About as likely as Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz grilling Kara Swisher in front of a packed auditorium.

All right, it was a cafeteria packed with Yahoo (YHOO) employees, but still. Check out Kara’s write-up and video of the experience, but be warned: no embed of the official Yahoo video so far, so those of us who weren’t there have no idea (yet) about what sort of profanity ensued. We’ll keep you posted. Kara also took a look this week at the serialized drama that is MySpace. The latest episode, of course, is the firing of brand new CEO Owen Van Natta, who may or may not have wanted to leave anyway. An insider described the company to BoomTown as a hot mess, since it’s both “impossible to save and hard to give up on.” BoomTown started off the week with a couple of the more amusing takes on Google’s Super Bowl ad, “Paris Love”–now its own meme–which includes the search history of Tiger Woods and a different kind of Parisian story.

Walt recently fired up Windows 7 on a late-model Apple (AAPL) MacBook Pro, using both Parallels Desktop 5 and VMware Fusion 3. Not at the same time, although both have been updated to get the most out of Snow Leopard and Windows 7 and will run the two operating systems simultaneously on an Intel-powered Mac. The quick version is that Walt thinks Parallels is the better product. The version with all the logic and details is in this week’s Personal Technology. He also took time to answer some readers’ questions in Mossberg’s Mailbox about iPad batteries, zooming on text in Firefox, locating the calendar in the latest version of Windows Live Mail and feeling stuck between a Kindle and a Nook. In this week’s Mossberg Solution, Katie Boehret tested some stylishly small scanners and desktop printers: the Fujitsu’s ScanSnap S1300 and PlanOn System Solution’s PrintStik PS905ME. Not surprisingly, she found that style comes at a price with both gadgets.

In Digital Daily this week, John Paczkowski quoted Bill Gates’s underwhelming response to Apple’s iPad hoopla: “It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.” Then he quoted Gates on his initial reaction to the iPod in 2004: “There’s nothing that the iPod does that I say, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t think we can do that.'” Apparently, Gates was much more forthcoming–with his own Microsoft (MSFT) execs, anyway–about iTunes in 2003 when he wrote in a memo that “Jobs has us a bit flat footed again….” Maybe admitting you have a problem really is the first step toward overcoming it. But then again, Zune as a second step is pretty much three steps back. John also dissected the buzz around Google Buzz this week, which, admittedly, wasn’t overwhelming, but it could still dovetail nicely with the search giant’s mobile strategies.

Jeff Bronikowski, formerly of Universal Music Group–the world’s biggest label–explained in a Billboard interview this week that the business of Big Music is doomed. But Peter Kafka is reserving judgment, at least until a few more music industry vets leave their jobs and weigh in publicly on the matter. Which is not at all the same thing as being optimistic; it’s just being realistic. It’s important to point out, though, that Google (GOOG) made Peter feel better this week about having Time Warner Cable (TWC) as his ISP, which could signal optimism, realism or something else entirely. Back on the music front, MediaMemo spoke with Veoh CEO Dmitry Shapiro and found that although it’s tempting to blame music behemoth Universal Music Group for the company’s demise, the Web start-up dug its own hole.

Here’s hoping for good sound bites for next weekend’s update and no need for mention of the weather. Stay tuned.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus