Weekend Update 03.06.10–The Blue Meanies Edition

All of us at AllThingsD are getting out our tuxes and gowns in anticipation of the big night. It’s going to be all about the story of a huge, profit-hungry oppressor using its might to crush competition for precious resources. Or, the Oscar might go to “Avatar.”

John got to cover the outset of an epic conflict this week. It has all the marks of a mega-hit. It’s about property, philosophy and most important, resources that both parties need in order to survive. It’s a shame the Oscar deadline has already passed, because the coming battle between Apple and HTC might have challenged a particular blue blockbuster in the category “best use of technology in a screenplay.” They do seem to share the same basic plot structure, anyway. Shortly after reporting on Apple’s (AAPL) opening salvo at HTC, John stepped back to offer some perspective on the conflict and guessed that maybe, just maybe, Apple was really firing at Google (GOOG), as the Android based devices are the subject of Apple’s legal scrum with HTC. Who doesn’t love a good proxy war? It was an Apple-a-day this week at Digital Daily, as John rounded things out with a post about the on-again-off-again release date for iPad. The iPad certainly cometh, but the confusion as to when led to some serious chatter in the blogosphere. Read John’s post. He’s got it all figured out.

BoomTown wasted no time getting back in the groove after returning from meeting all the Mexi-geeks in Monterrey. Upon arriving back in soggy San Francisco, she descended upon the AAAA. This year’s advertising agency confab was all about the social, Kara reported. Weekend Update wonders if Kara was forced to watch preroll video ads about Lipitor and Kiva before she was allowed to change interviewees. That’s the ultimate social advertising. Midweek, Kara posted about a viral video that gets the distinction of being the only Oprah product ever consumed willingly by Weekend Updaters. The short piece on Roger Ebert getting his own voice back seems like the best possible application of technology to better a life, and it’s just darn cool. Kara finished the week with a post about Google’s purchase of DocVerse. The move represents a shot right at the heart of Microsoft’s (MSFT) flagship software package, and is just another weapon in the arms race for what may be a coming war in the cloud.

MediaMemo was on the case of the missing comedy this week, when Peter reported that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart had left the Hulu lineup. Their shows represent only a small fraction of the total Hulu content monster. A small, hilarious viewer-drawing, ad-selling fraction. Peter moved on to a quick update on the semi-empire that is the Huffington Post. Arianna is doing well, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 million unique visitors in January according to comScore (SCOR). The “get huge” model may work for start-ups out here in Silicon Valley, but everyone in the media world is waiting to see if she can monetize that monster. Toward the end of the week, Peter talked with Jeff Smith of Smule about why he won’t be developing mobile games for Android anytime soon. Maybe Google has more to fight with than just Apple.

The Mossberg contingent was in overdrive this week and treated us all not only to the normal triad of great posts but to a Mossblog as well. Personal Technology pushed into a new frontier, as Walt wrote about the emerging market for wireless computer-to-TV video transfer. He tested two separate systems, Wi-Di and PlayOn which both aim to put video from your computer on to an enabled TV. Both worked as advertised, though each has drawbacks, in either technology or content limitations. Walt tells it like it is, and Weekend Update has a feeling that he’ll be telling us more about these technologies as they mature in the consumer space. The Mossblog this week has some informative video of Walt discussing Internet video displayed on TV. He appeared on the WSJ’s Digits show to talk about wireless display technology, but said we hadn’t reached a tipping point yet, partly because we hadn’t reached the necessary market penetration. Mossberg’s Mailbox had even more questions in it about Quicken for Mac this week, and the news was much the same as in last week’s column: The new Quicken for Mac isn’t up to par with the version, so think hard before you buy. Katie offered analysis of yet another 3-D device that may be coming to a lap near you. She reviewed two laptops, one from Asus and one from Acer, both with 3-D display technology. She had good things to say about the devices as solid laptops in their own right, but she’s still not sold on the glasses.

Get your popcorn ready, throw on your 3-D glasses, and wait for the lights to dim. The new week is about to start.


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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