The B52s – Rock Lobster
Today’s Long Read:
The Fall of the House of Saud : The Atlantic
Cities and Citizens:
- Think Global, Drink Local. A Win for the U.S. World Cup Team Is a Win for U.S. Bars and Restaurants : The Atlantic – Citylab
- Want To Tackle The Childhood Obesity Epidemic? Then We Need To Build More Parks. : Think Progress
- How to Achieve Silicon Valley Anywhere : Re/code
- Silicon Valley comes to Oakland : Marketplace
Study claims evidence of a link between pesticide use and autism : Ars Technica
We need net neutrality to make money work better, too : Quartz
Net Neutrality: Is the Internet a Public Utility? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios
Google Odds and Ends:
- Google I/O 2014 – everything you need to know : The Verge
- Conspicuous in its absence. Where was Glass at Google I/O? : The Verge
- “[L]ow-cost Android phones are already common in many emerging economies … But many of those devices use versions of the open-source software that don’t include services such as search, maps, and e-mail or access to Google’s app store. Android One devices will have those capabilities by default.” : Google Announces Sub- $100 Smartphone : MIT Technology Review
- Google is beta testing a domain hosting service : SlashGear
- Google’s new Android TV platform is missing its biggest Android partner, Samsung : Quartz
With both “Chromecast” and “Android TV” now competing as brands — to say nothing of old stalwart YouTube — Google doesn’t have a TV strategy so much as a full broadside assault on your livingroom screen. I don’t know if the lack of consistent branding (or any coherent brand identity) is lazy on Google’s part, or scattered and thoughtless, or indicative of splits within and between the various Google teams, or spaghetti-against-a-wall…
or effin’ Brilliant.
Pre-existing power players can’t respond to Google if no one has any idea what the hell “Google TV” is or is going to be. Any of the three current competing brands (see also: defunct efforts Nexus Q, and the old Google TV) might show up as a branded service on Google Fiber at some point; more likely none will — but the tech (and content) is being iterated and incubated in a number of niche plays.
If you doubt the future of major tech and internet companies is in TV, you seriously under-estimate the amount of time Americans spend passively consuming entertainment on their respective couches. Additionally, Cable TV is a rare (unique?) industry where every damn consumer is practically begging for someone to come disrupt the so-called-service, because cable TV sucks.
on that note: Aereo lost.
But that’s not the real story about broadcast TV, if you ask me:
“Cable channels had a low-risk but lucrative business model: fill much of the schedule with reruns of shows that were proven hits on broadcast networks—CBS, NBC, Fox, and ABC — taking a lot of the guesswork out of programming.
“But that formula is no longer reliable. Audiences have fragmented so badly among myriad cable channels and online video outlets that broadcast networks are finding it harder to produce a hit. That means the pool of shows that can guarantee a strong audience in reruns for cable channels has shrunk drastically, driving up prices for what is available—even when audiences aren’t as strong.
“Most affected are the biggest cable channels, like TNT, TBS and USA Network, that have long aired mass-market entertainment programming most similar to broadcast networks. If those networks pay large sums for reruns that can’t bring in large audiences, ad revenue and profits will suffer.”
For TV Reruns, an Existential Crisis – Lack of Big Hits on Networks Creates a Drought Downstream on Cable Channels : Wall Street Journal (paywalled, link may disappear)
For all the press Original shows like Mad Men receive, “original series still make up just 7% of programming hours on big cable networks, factoring out their repeats, according to Nielsen”
I was also an Aereo customer myself – but cancelled months ago because the over-the-air broadcast offerings just weren’t compelling enough to justify the expense.
Amazon: Follow up -
“On the surface, Firefly also feels like a Fire phone gimmick. In reality, it’s a next generation search platform and likely to be the first significant Google challenger. I’m not suggesting Google will disappear or feel the pain anytime soon, but Firefly will force them to evolve.”
Why Amazon Firefly is important : Joe Wikert jwikert.typepad.com
Hot New Tech: Literally.
AMD’s new 5GHz chip runs so hot it ships with watercooling : Geek.com
Today’s Book Recommendation is that oldie-but-goodie, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power by Daniel Yergin (paperback, 9781439110126). Any discussion or analysis (like The Atlantic piece on the House of Saud, linked above) really has to start with the best book on the subject. If you can’t be bothered to read 900+ pages, you’ll be heartened to hear there was a PBS miniseries based on the book, which you can watch on Netflix (or buy on DVD for about $7 — or get from your local library; pretty sure they’ve got this one)
I’ll get my to-buy links sorted out eventually. In the meantime, you can still use most readers’ preferred option.
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