Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Like MySpace, but for people who can read

I think the idea behind this website is effing brilliant: catalog your book collection and then get recommendations on other books you might like based on overlap with other people's collections (that's collaborative filtering, people... like what Amazon does, but not colored by the textbooks or gifts you bought that you'd never choose to read for yourself). There's a little bit of social networking, but I like the fact that the website isn't focused on collecting 'friends'. WSJ article about it (free) here.

Spiderman 3 leaked trailer quality less than satisfactory

The Spiderman 3 trailer has been leaked, so now you don't have to wait and see it before Superman Returns... at least, if you want to see the, like, characters and stuff, you do, but if you want to listen to the music and bootleg background noise and try in vain to read some of the teasers, you're set. Much funnier bashing of the quality + the trailer itself here.

Wi-fi for all who want to pay for it...which isn't many

As someone who hates the idea of paying through the nose to get fast internet service (at least, I did until I no longer had a laptop to take advantage of it), I was really excited by stories about wi-max and citywide wi-fi networks growing in popularity, even with the high likelihood that they would have spotty coverage. As far as I was concerned, it was a step in the right direction. Of course, I think I assumed that they would be paid for via taxes and/or advertising and would at least feel free. It could be that that's the only way they'll have the success everyone's envisioning, too: there was an article in the New York Times this morning about how Taipei has set their citizens up with a citywide wi-fi network accessible to 90% of the population (which is impressive--if/when LA adopts this strategy, that kind of coverage will likely take years)...and only 40,000 people (out of 2.6 million), a paltry 1.5%) have signed up for it. It's not expensive: $12.50 a month is completely affordable, and I'd be more than willing to pay such a fee (particularly compared with the $38 a month I'd been paying to Comcast previously, and that a promotion rate... it was going up to $60 soon). Then again, my options are limited. In Taipei (and in San Francisco, where Google and Earthlink are looking to build the first citywide wi-fi network in the US), there are plenty of free options: cafes, work, your neighbor's unsecured wireless, hotels and airports that want to attract more business travelers.

In fact, cities in the US are looking for a way to provide wi-fi free to their residents, with the company that made the investment recouping it via advertising. A company that had started negotiations to build a network in Sacramento pulled out earlier this month because the city insisted they make back their money with advertising rather than subscription fees. People just don't like paying for stuff that they don't see as essential, which is the case in Taipei. We're willing to put up with everpresent banners and commercials you can't skip if it means we get something free. I'm willing to pay a small fee to get rid of it, but we're talking a pretty small fee: I pay Yahoo about 20 bucks a year to get my email advertisement-free. Of course, along with that perk I also get more storage, I got to switch to Yahoo Mail Beta (which rocks, it's like a portable Outlook) months and months ago, whereas regular users still have to sign up to try it out and hope for the best, and there are some other perks that I really can't remember because the beta mail interface is so friggin' awesome... anyway, I think that $20 is well-spent. But I'm not willing to spend much more. With wireless it'd be about the same, I think: ubiquitous wireless access is a nice-to-have: I can't live without the internet, it's true, but I spend 8-10 hours a day in an office where I have access to it for free. And I would imagine that most of the people who would be interested in wi-fi in the first place are in a fairly similar situation. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Whole27: Recap

So we didn't quite make it 30 days. On Thursday, we looked at the prospect of a dry Memorial Day weekend (and the Friday leading up to i...