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Category - Tech

WallStats Goes After Overpriced HDMI Cables

As a personal finance junkie and lover of all things tech, it’s not often when these two hobbies/passions connect (except when I tweet that it’s a good thing I don’t have $500 to spend on a new iPad.)

WallStats, which makes some great infographs on finance and the economy, is going after one of the most controversially priced technology products: HDMI cables.

In this infograph, WallStats is singling out Monster Cable for their pricing, but while they may have created the high-end cable market, Monster is hardly the only company to charge higher prices for their cables.

Check this out.

This Week in This Week in Tech: Genius

I’ve always had a ton of ideas, you know that.

Mentioned previously, I had the idea for a podcast about the best podcast in the world — Leo Laporte’s this WEEK in TECH. It’d be pretty meta, chatting about the actual podcast, the panelists and their takes on the tech news of the week.

Coincidentally, this was right around the time that my friend Noah Wolfe was looking to launch a D.C.-based tech podcast, which eventually became Tech Blab, featuring myself, Dave Weinberg and Noah.

So in addition to Tech Blab, Noah and I launched TWiTWiT — aka this WEEK in this WEEK in TECH.

It’s a short (5-9 minute) podcast, where we go back and forth with thoughts on this week’s episode and talk about our favorite panelists. (His is Leo, mine is obviously John C. Dvorak).

We’ve done 10 episodes so far, but the real pickup is just beginning.

Last week, Jason Calacanis — Internet entrepreneur known for Engadget, Mahalo, TechCrunch50 and often a panelist on TWiT — sent out this tweet to his 80,000+ followers:

GENIUS: This Week in This Week in Tech. The show about the show This Week in Tech! #twit

That gave us a nice pickup, both in downloads and subscriber numbers. But Calacanis wasn’t done, sending out this tweet a week later:

Listening to “this WEEK in this WEEK in TECH” brilliant! @leolaporte #twit #twist #oaf #facebook #wow

He’s timed both of these tweets perfectly, driving people to subscribe the day that we record the show, just in time to deliver the new episode the next day.

While we’re still waiting for Leo to directly say something on the air about us (hopefully the next time Calacanis is on he’ll bring it up), it’s always nice to hear that your idea (and of course the execution — Noah does all the hard work editing and posting) is both genius and brilliant.

Have you subscribed to TWiTWiT yet?

If Redbox is This Bad, It’s Got to Be Good

I love Redbox.

It’s the most convenient way to watch a movie, on a whim, without getting into any long-term contracts or recurring fees and at a great price. They even have an iPhone app for reserving movies before you go to pick them up.

Unfortunately, the movie studios hate Redbox. It’s too cheap. We don’t make any money off of it. It makes DVDs worth less.

Just how bad is Redbox for the movie studios? It’s going to destroy the entertainment industry, says a new report (via NewTeeVee).

This loss in revenue will lead to a slowdown in movie production, crops will wilt, the earth will turn to salt, etc. The study says that Redbox is disrupting the home video industry in four ways:

  • DVD sales are cannibalized
  • Customers will want lower rental prices from other outlets
  • The perceived value of movies will be harmed
  • Redbox’s sale of discs into the aftermarket conflicts with other retail channels

Redbox’s kiosks also will send shock waves throughout the industry and could lead to the loss of 9,280 jobs, $35.4 million in contributions to health and welfare funds being cut, and a reduction of $30 million in tax revenue.

What a load of bullshit. I’m not even going to explain why these accusations are totally off-base. The real story here is that, time and time again, the entertainment industry is too busy fighting the last fight and looking for a scapegoat for its problems.

There’s a reason why Redbox is so popular — it’s cheap and convenient. But it’s a business model that will only last for so long. Look at Netflix; they know that DVDs will become the minority and Internet streaming will become the norm.

Netflix is looking to the future. Redbox, I’m sure, is too. So why are the movie studios always stuck in the past?

Same Blab Time, Same Blab Channel

I have an argument that I am going to make about why net neutrality is a bad idea as it is currently being pushed through Congress.

It’s controversial, will definitely stir up some comments, and — in my humble opinion — a win-win situation for both service providers and customers.

But I can’t write it right now. It’d be like a major brain dump, into a post, with no coherent path to lead you through.

So I’m not going to write it. Right now.

But I will soon, since I want to be able to discuss it on next week’s episode of TechBlab. You know, the podcast where I make fun of Blogger Bob, the guy who writes on the TSA’s blog, and end up getting called out by a listener — and the TSA themselves!

While you’re waiting, listen to the episode. It’s a good one. And let me know what you think.

Vonage’s iPhone App is Pointless, Thanks Google/Apple/AT&T

apple_devicesEven before we got our first iPhone (Debbie’s 2G), I’ve been talking about the major impact an app like Vonage could have on the device.

Think about it. For us Vonage users, with a mobile app, we could:

  • automatically forward our landline to our cells while on the road
  • get access to all of our digital voicemails and transcriptions
  • see our latest inbound and outbound calls
  • even make calls on our cellphone through our landline number

It’d be an amazing app. But it’s not even close to the one we got. Yes, I know you can do most of these things by visiting their website, but it’s slow, not mobile-friendly, and does more than an app needs to.

Instead, Vonage puts out a Skype-like mobile calling app, targeted at non-Vonage users who want to be able to make calls over WiFi (and now 3G). So you have to buy minutes to make calls. And can’t do anything whatsoever related to your landline account.

It’s totally pointless. Why would Vonage ignore their current users by making an app that doesn’t do anything useful for them at all?

Well, there may be a legitimate excuse. But it’s a total cop-out. And I doubt it’s the actual reason they used to justify making this pointless app.

The ideal Vonage app sounds a lot like Google Voice. You know, the app that currently has Apple/AT&T/Google under scrutiny from the FCC. Being able to have “one number to manage them all” is great for users … not so much for telecom providers. Especially if it’s not their number.

Considering they’ve never been an especially cash-steady company, Vonage doesn’t have the ability to get caught up in a legal mess. But it’s a dumb argument, since all of the app features are currently available — just in an annoying, non-usable fashion.

I don’t know who to blame for this, so in a spirit of fairness, not only will Vonage take blame for being wimps, Google, Apple and AT&T also need to be called out for causing this situation.

© Jason Unger. A Digital Ink Production.