Mashup Camp, Next Week

Mashup CampNext Week, I will be attending parts of Mashup Camp at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA (across the street from Justia Headquarters).

Nick and Dan at Mashup CampLast spring, I went to Mashup Camp with my coworker Dan, and competed in their SpeedGeeking Best Mashup Contest. Dan did rather well, scoring 4th place with his iPhoneLocator Facebook App (although he’s rather disappointed as only the first 3 places won prizes), and I unfortunately came in last place. I haven’t decided if I’m going to compete again or not, but I can guarantee you if I do, I refuse to get last place again.

This years event looks like it will be fun however, including a Keynote by Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, which, among other things the company does, is my favorite publisher of Technology books.

I’m way behind blogging about this, as Dan blogged about it back in August

Amazon Kindle Reader for the iPhone

I wish I was posting this as a follow up to an announcement, but actually it’s a suggestion to Amazon on how they can make more money, sell more Kindle books, and make more people happy.

Amazon KindleFor those of you who don’t already know, the Amazon Kindle is an ebook reader that uses E-Ink technology to display content on a screen. What’s cook about e-ink is that once it has rendered the screen’s contents, it takes no power to keep the content on the screen. The result is that battery life of the kindle is measured in “page turns” instead of hours. The Kindle is also cool because it has WhisperNet, provided by Sprint, which lets you have books you purchase from Amazon’s kindle store be sent straight to the Kindle, without the need to plug the kindle into your computer. The Kindle also gets a special email address where you can email documents to this address and have them appear on your Kindle for a nominal fee for reading. All in all, it’s a fantastic product, it only has one little problem, the price. The Kindle is $349 (previously $399), available only from Amazon, which is still a bit steep for an up-front cost before you start buying books from the Kindle store to put on it.

Amazon, I know you want to sell Kindles, but your bread and butter will always be the books themselves. My suggestion is that you write an iPhone app that can read the Kindle book format and will validate like a Kindle to your own DRM. You could sell this app in Apple’s app store to make even more money, I’m thinking something along the lines of $20 to $40. This way people with an iPod Touch or iPhone (which is quite a lot of people, including yours truely) can start buying Kindle books without a Kindle, and get the enjoyment of having instant access to literature the way only the elite Kindle owners do. The iPhone already has access to the internet, so it could support all of the functionality of Whispernet without any difficulty from you the developer. The iPod Touch has WiFi, so even it can download books directly when it’s on a hotspot.

Amazon can even take this one step further. Amazon already partners with Apple’s iTunes Music Store as a place to purchase content from it’s own Audible.com, once someone has purchased your iPhone app, partner with iTunes again and have people able to shop for books right through the iTunes music store, making it even easier for iPhone owners to purchase your Kindle books.

What I think Amazon may find surprising if they did this, is that it probably would bolster sails of the Kindle devices itself, not only the Kindle books.

See I’m a bit leery of buying a Kindle, and buying Kindle books, knowing that those books are locked to the Kindle. If I could start buying those books now, and reading them on another device, I’d probably later buy a Kindle knowing it’s a better platform for reading them on.

It’s also not exactly outside of Amazon’s business model to offer their digital products to other platforms either. In March, 2007, I blogged about Amazon and TiVo teaming up to make Amazon Unbox Videos (now known as Amazon Video on Demand) available on TiVo boxes. I immediately started buying Unbox videos when I never had before. Incidentally, I’d love it if Amazon Video-on-demand Videos were playable on the iPhone as well, and I’d probably buy a lot more videos from Amazon if they did, but I think that might be a bit of wishful thinking.

So come on Amazon, release an iPhone app that can read Kindle documents and you’ll have even more of my money then you do now, and I’d bet a whole lot of other people’s money as well.

Facebook – whoops there goes another major site!

Another major website comes crashing down!Two weeks ago I posted about Amazon.com being down for hours, tonight, another major website has gone down without warning, and has a very ugly error message, just like Amazon did. At this time the error message (shown on the right) has been up for at least 20 minutes with no sign of repair, in fact, much the contrary, while the error message is still there, it is taking longer and longer for the error message to load, meaning that even facebook’s error page is under serious strain.

Facebook fixes their stylesheet, story at 11!UPDATE: Update, the error message is still there, but at least facebook seems to have fixed their CSS, so as you can see to the left, the error message is much less “ugly” now.

Interesting a large outage like this happens on the evening of the day that it is announced that Facebook is losing long time Executive Matt Cohler to Benchmark Capital.

Update 2: It appears that facebook is now operational once again.

The infamous Carl Sandberg, not the famous.

Coworkers have recently encouraged me to get onto facebook. As people who know me well know, I’ve never been a big fan of Social Networking sites, so I resisted facebook for a long time, just as I resisted MySpace and Linkedin. Actually I resisted facebook longer, as I just got my profile up last week. I have always thought that social networking sites were a waste of time, that anyone who wanted to get ahold of me would easily find me on my blog.
Continue reading “The infamous Carl Sandberg, not the famous.”