The past week has been a blur. Coming off the holiday weekend which because I'm in Australia and a day ahead meant a six day weekend and that really piled things up. Conference calls using a combination of Calliflower, Voxeet, UberConference, GoToMeeting, WebEx and Skype. Lots of social media. Calls at 4 AM on Google Hangouts to recap the TADS Summit for this week's VUC weekly session, plus reading, writing has meant one thing. I needed to stay connected. A MiFi with a GigSky SIM, a phone with Truphone, plus a back up local SIM from OPTUS. Google Voice ringing everything, honestly, other than the 19 hour time difference, I haven't felt that far away.
And that's the way we're able to work. As a global nomad staying connected has become a game for me. Will I have strong enough WiFi or a wired connection in my hotel. Is 4G going to cut it? Will they block my UC provider Simple Signal? Will Skype work? When it does...as it has from the moment I landed in Bangkok until now...so staying connected, no problem. Sleeping normal..well that's another story...Now..on to the news.
Long time pal Ian Rogers keeps turning out the hits. Ian, who knows music and technology better than anyone I know recently took the helm at Beats Music.Their new service will take on Pandora, Spotify and iTunes so watch them do more than the others, as Ian's inside the industry approach and past successes (we helped him launch MediaCode that was acquired quickly by Yahoo) will mean, he's surely got the beat bopping along.
The new Beats Music streaming music service will launch January 2014, according to CEO Ian Rogers. The service also launched a ' name claiming' site today that lets you snag a primo username early. The project has been in private alpha for a while under the code-name Project Daisy, and has been garnering some heated attention.
We all know teens are glued to their cellphones. New data from the Family Online Safety Institute shows which mobile activities are keeping them hooked. Text messaging is the most popular activity, which 87% of teens have done in the past 30 days.
Being at the TADS Summit and ITU Telecom World two weeks ago showed me how much telecom and mobile is expanding in the Far East, Middle East and Africa. And the Dark Continent is seeing explosive growth.
We tend to have certain paradigms about the "developed world" and the "developing world." Including, of course, media-fed images of Africa as a place of almost irredeemable poverty, deprivation, and pain. Many of our paradigms are, of course, illusions.
Former Skype partner in the UK, THREE has struck back on International Roaming, creating a program where going away is the same as staying home. And they added the USA. Now when my friends in the UK visit they can take their THREE phone and use it here just as if they were there. Sounds alot like the Truphone Zone to me.
In a thoroughly consumer-friendly move that challenges its rivals, the British mobile operator Three has effectively eliminated all its roaming premiums for customers traveling to the United States. Three has form in this arena.
Speaking of Truphone. The company's first foray into sports marketing brought their brand of innovation to the Caterham FI team. Truphone delivered a Converged Operator Service solution that brought together Truphone's brand of global mobile service with Caterham's own VoIP provider so their team could always stay connected.
F1 team Caterham is looking to squeeze every penny of value out of its IT services as it refocuses its effort on major rule changes coming into force next season. As one of Formula One's newest teams, Caterham was able to start with a clean slate when it was first accepted onto the grid in 2010, with no legacy IT to deal with.
GigaOm's Kevin Tofel, who can claim to be the second to last person I ever had a Philly Cheese Steak wid (Philly folks will get the local foodie humor) picked up on client Gigsky and their global roaming data SIM that lets you buy just what you need, where you need it just in time for the holiday travel season.
It's amazing that we can use a private company to put satellites into space, yet international roaming with a smartphone, tablet or laptop is still such a hassle. I thought about this recently as some friends are planning to travel abroad this holiday season and they asked me what their options are.
UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile has reportedly identified eight further markets in which it hopes to launch by February 2014, including Canada and unspecified countries across Latin America and Asia. Lycamobile, which generated sales of more than EUR1 billion (USD1.35 billion) in FY2012/13, currently claims a global MVNO base of more than 30 million users.
Just like in the USA, where stolen phones are a problem, in the UK OFCOM and the operators are working together to create a database that stops stolen phones from being usable while also attacking roaming fees........
Four of the UK's largest mobile phone networks have agreed to change some of the rules around pricing and contracts in a bid to reduce the charges that arise when roaming abroad or if a device is lost or stolen.
Long time friends and clients, Alon Cohen and Ari Rabban should be smiling. The duo behind rapidly growing Phone.com just scored their first patent, where they have brought some of their technology wizardy to SMS.
RIP IMS If you haven't read Chad's break up, then you should. It is touching. And true. And the comments on it are great. We've had a ball at the Expo event, but that last day got me pissed off - it was the service providers track, with many of its vendors suggesting their IMS systems should be hooked up to WebRTC in order to save it.
Gigabit-class broadband is capturing the imagination of Internet users throughout the country. With Google and other companies bringing fiber-based services that deliver a gigabit of data each second to the home, communities are accelerating their push to get the highest speeds.
On the Googlewatch front. Over in London they have created an open "campus" that is attracting all kinds of new business starting types, bringing them into the Google Ecosystem in what is known as the Hub.
Opened in April 2012, Campus London, Google's East London 'startup hub' was something of a new departure for Google. It was taking out a ten year lease of a building which would be populated by co-working spaces, hackers and startups that Google had nothing to do with and Google would not have a stake it in.
Video is still in the news..and people are using it. Taking part in a global Hangout today that was offering amazing quality, even on my iPad Air, only tells me it's not that far away from being mainstream...
With video conferencing unshackled from the confines of the expensive, high-end telepresence room, enterprises are exploring a wider swath of video options -- like desktop video calling and managed or cloud-based video services that could improve their businesses. The arrival of more accessible video endpoints is removing one of the final barriers to every conferencing vendor's dream: ubiquitous business video calling.
Last week was the third rendition of the WebRTC Conference & Expo, and it covered a range of topics from business implementations and applications to more technical aspects like signaling and the WebRTC data channel. There was also a lot of discussion about the current state of the IETF movement to decide on a video codec standard for WebRTC, mainly between H.264 and VP8.
Platitudes are a dangerous way to build a company. What passes today as start-up wisdom can be attractive, even seductive to new entrepreneurs. We have witnessed the creation of a sub-industry of how-to advice on creating the next tech blockbuster.
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I now know how my winemaker friends feel as they wait to see just how a wine they have made tastes after it has been bottled. The anticipation, wonderment, trepedation and that nagging feeling of...what if it's not...well, safe to say, the 2011 Comunicano Wine Company "Single A Cuvee" is not going to suffer from the Sophomore Jinx. Quite the opposite, it's drinking out of the bottle like a champ. Hoenstly, I think it's going to be better than the 2009 Double "AA" Cuvee. Which giving it's winning record in tastings, and how well it keeps showing is no easy feat. But it's a different wine. A very different wine.
If the 2009 with it's massive Syrah structure is very much like a Northern Rhone--St. Joseph or Crozes Hermitage, the 2011 is nothing like it. Quite the opposite, it's a Languedoc red, with the aromas and taste of a wine from Pic St. Loup. Think L'Hortus or La Roque of old. Already it's showing amazing concentration, minerality, fruit and depth. While the 09 has aromatics of olives and roasted bell peppers, the 11 is black raspberry, blueberry, wild cherry and garrigue herbs. It's also more concentrated, where the 09 is round and ripe.
The bottom line...the new 2011 made by Doug Margerum, with some help from Penfold's Grange's Assistant Winemaker Jason Barrette is no slouch. Quite the opposite, it's a tour de force.
This image shows a red wine glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Census Bureau map of Little Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yesterday I was doing some wine touring in the Woodinville Washington area with two very dear friends who like me, share a very deep passion for wine, and as wine professionals, we don't normally go touring on a weekend. But, one of them, is a very dear friend who moved up to Washington recently and for his birthday, my neighbor and I decided since he no longer can take part regularly in "our Secret Wine Society" events in San Diego, we would bring the "Secret Wine Society" event to Washington with three days of wine to make up for what he's missing.
At the end of the day of tasting and touring using a combination of lifts, limos and Uber Car, we ended up at Sparkman Cellars, a garage winery in the warehouse district of Woodinville. Of the six wineries we visited yesterday, it was the winery that turned me on the most. Much like Margerum Wine Company or Core Wines from friends Doug Margerum and David and Becky Corey, there was a vibe around the people, and the wines. As I was tasting wines I was offered the opportunity to make a donation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy back in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey where a $5.00 donation let's you play a cork toss game. If you got one of the corks in the jar, you win a magnum of the unreleased 2010 Sparkman Cellars Wilderness Red.
The premise was simple. A glass jar had been set up about 10 feet from the ground. You were handed ten magnum wine corks. You stood ten feet back on the charity line, otherwise known as the "free throw" line.
On toss five, after "whiffing" and a rim shot, the cork floated right into the glass jar. Much to everyone's amazement, and yes, even mine. Tossing a cork, that weighs almost nothing, that distance, in a drafty winery, where the lightest breeze can shift where the cork will end up, of course made it no easy feat. But I did it.
And I did it, not for the magnum, but for the cause. I grew up in Philadelphia and drove through Little Egg Harbor and Egg Harbor on my ways to the Jersey Shore. My late uncle Meyer used to call out the township's name as we drove down in the car "E---gg Harbor" with his southern drawl.I used to laugh when I heard that or when my mom would tell us the story, so for sentimental reasons I gladly gave the five dollars because it wasn't for the toss, but for the cause.
So now I have this magnum. My friend, and neighbor, RIta and I cooked up an idea on how to drink the wine, once it arrives.
We are going to toss a party for our friends. I'll cook up some "crack" from Cardiff Seaside Market, various flavors of it ranging from the original Burgundy Tri-Tip to the Chipotle marinade to even the Hanger steak, pork tenderloins and chickens. I'm all in, but I've decided to add a wrinkle.
Let's raise more money from the bottle.
We'll open the wine, and for a $10.00 per taste donation I figure we can raise another $300 dollars or so for the people of Little Egg Harbor. I figure we can easily get 30 tastes or more out of the magnum.
Date and time of the party is TBD.
Oh..and yes, I ended up buying some of the Sparkman 2009 Wilderness too. It was the best red blends of the day I tasted. It will go great with Cardiff "crack" or pizza, or chicken or even turkey. Best of all, it will go great all by itself.
English: Modified version of Commons image Image:Rhone transit suspension.jpg to show the major cities, rivers and wine regions of the Northern Rhone Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last night I drank a bunch of wonderful wines that just have to be noted. I was up in Seattle for a birthday dinner of a friend. The first was the Le Petit Cheval, 2003, a Bordeaux blend that was light, silky and smooth. It was very clearly ready and and delicious.
The second wine that just needs to be known about is from a winery I have become a fan of. Domain de Mourchon, is a Rhone Valley producer I have gotten to know this year. Nestled up in Seguret, not far from another winery I'm fond of, Chene Bleu, is the McKinley family's winery. The 2007 Domaine de Mourchon Family Reserve is made from 100 percent Grenache, and is so complex and rich, layered with forrest floor, raspberry, blackberry and cherry flavors. The wine is nowhere near showing any age, and will clearly go for another 8-10 years. It's complex, knitted and tasty.
The last two wines are wines that are special to me. The first is the 2009 Comunicano Wine Company Syrah, that I blended in conjunction with friend and winemaker Doug Margerum. The second is the 2007Domaine d'Aupilhac Les Cocalieres. Both are moving along nicely, and are showing forward development and lots of years ahead. The Comunicano red is becoming the Northern Rhone style red that I envisioned when I first started with Doug on the project. The Aupilhac wine is numbingly complex and requires an hour or two to open, but when it does, it goes from being a very good wine, to something for the textbooks of what a wine from the Languedoc should be. Garrigue herbs, fruity middle and an amazingly long, lingering finish.
It started up in SF, or maybe in Los Angeles. Then again, some would say that back in the day when I was a student at Temple University it may have started there. But the Gourmet Lunch Truck movement is alive and well, and really, something that is clearly part of the mobile enterprise in its own way.
The truck owners are not just serving up food and drink, but are making use of blogs, Twitter, Facebook and now, thanks to one of my teammembers, Jordynn, even getting the message out via Tout, a new social video network that we're working with.
Oh, and the food. Its a combination of healthy, fresh and tasty. These are not the "roach-coaches" of old and given the lack of good healthy fast food, we're finding trucks like these are better than other options...now, if they would only have hotspots.....
I'll admit, that I love to go to Starbucks as my "get away" from the home office office. Meeting are easy to arrange at their locations, as most people in the technology world know where one is. So of late, after returning from my exhaustive 6 week European business trip and mini-vacation, I found my Starbucks card in my USA wallet, not my EU/UK version. And guess what, I've yet to switch back.
But after a week of using "cash" I remembered I had the Starbucks Mobile Card app on my iPhone (it also works on the iPad and iPod touch) so between that app, and my drivers license, a headset with mic and an Amex card, who needs more? I mean, you can do just about everything you need to do away from the office on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad that's work related. I can check email, surf the web, make VoIP and Skype calls over the AT&T WiFI and of course get caffinated to go back to the home office and do more work.
With apps like GoToMeeting, Calliflower and WebEx, even virtual meetings are possible in what I've dubbed Conference Room S for many years.
So while you can only have the Starbucks Mobile Card active on one iOS device, it does mean my wallets a lot thinner. Digital...if you're not.. Wake up and smell the coffee.
This makes me wonder sometime why others like Wal-Mart, BestBuy, Target, Vons and other so called forward thinking retailers haven't gone to the digital bar code app, that ties together the frequent buyer club data, with a digital wallet. Forget the emerging idea of NFC (near field communications) the implementation of the digital bar code by Starbucks inside an iPhone app and it's ties to their loyalty program and balance recharge program is just plain dumb, simple. It works, and it works very well. As a matter of fact between that and the Mobil/Exxon SpeedPass the whole idea of going cashless without a "credit card" seems a lot more personalized.
Is GetSatisfaction.com's SXSW HomeSick Blues remake/remodel of the Bob Dylan "Homesick Blues" true creative parody or is it a royal ripoff of long time wine maker Randall Grahm's "Sub-terroir Rhonesick Blues" marketing video?
Grahm, who I have casually known via wine events and mutual friends since 1989 totally punked the wine reviewer world, taking pots shots at the likes of the iconic Wine Advocate's Robert Parker, the WineSpectator, the misplaced hype and fuss over Crushpad, whimsically needled the wine snobs, expressed disdain of wine trophy hunters who seek out high scoring wines over great wines that are under appreciated, and more in his 2009 YouTube viral video.
The best way to determine if it's a copy cat idea or not is to Take a look atGetSatisfaction's new release, which is well done, but not the first to use the web and Homesick Blues as the basis of parody.
If one watches both it's easy to walk away with feelings of "that's funny" or "that's nice" or "great idea." But if your are a wine insider who knows some of the players that Randall is singing about, and if you're startup insider, or industry type, you'll also gets the "humor" of who is being poked fun at, and who is being "punked." That means you'll quickly see the similarity of the two, and how it all goes back to the Bob Dylan original. In the "Sub-Terroir Rhone-Sick Blues" video the inside humor goes all the way down to pals Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat and Qupe's Bob Lindquist back in the day finding cuttings of Rhone and Burgundian grapes and reportedly doing the same thing Randall Graham reportedly also did--bringing them back inside a Samsonite suitcase. For long time Bonny Doon wine fans, the video is an extension of his irregular newsletter that has always been satirical and parody like. Longtime fans will recall the famed 2003 April Fool's Day edition that had people rolling on the floor as they read it. Dubbed the National Vinquirer, it was a total pun on the tattler/tabloid, National Enquirer, which to say the least, always had a flair for eye-catching headlines that would make many a popular blog a shrinking violet in today's era of headline oriented journalism. Then after going back and watching GetSatisfaction's version, listening and watching you'll see the execution of the same approach.
For those who go to baseball games you'll all recall that there's always a huckster outside the ballpark selling programs. He's using the time honored old line, "you won't know the players, unless you have a scorecard." Well in these two cases, if you happen to know the players, either wine or tech, you'll have a good laugh at both...
It's great marketing, but not original. Just give credit to where credit's doo....n
I'm a nomad, and I admit it. Put me on the road and I'll find what my heart lusts for. Wine, food and Wi-Fi. And the more time I spend in Europe, especially Spain, the more I find Wi-Fi in coffee shops, retaurants and gastro bars. And it's basically free.
Sure, you need to ask for the WEP key, but as a solo diner at times, being able to stay connected indoors, through the thick walls that makes 3G connectivity a challenge, but the restaurants and coffee shops are quick to offer the access to customers.
Sadly, I find less of this connectivity option in USA dining establishments and feel we're lagging behind. In essence if the cable operators and telcos in the USA worked WITH the dining establishments, adopted a "roaming" access model, the subsidized Wi-Fi would likely lead to more business for everyone.
I think we are seeing the rise of the temporary office, networking "hub" and candidly think Starbucks really missed it.
For many a year I referred to Starbucks as Conference Room "S" to many. You could head over to one, and then organize a meeting. They had chairs, tables you could rearrange, couches, work desks, all that you wanted, and of course, amazing broadband from T-Mobile.
Then somewhere along the way, as their success overcame them, they lost their way. First they turned up the music. Then they turned down the temperature. Next came less and less tables. And then the final blow. Bye Bye T-Mobile and the amazing bandwidth. Hello AT&T and usually a DSL line. A slow DSL line.
These new Hub Spots though are the wave of the future in my book. Already Regus/HQ has opened a similar spot, dubbed the Business Lounge in Cupertino, CA not far from Apple's HQ. While they haven't added all the glitz and "social" components of Hub and Hub Culture, what they have both done is given the road warrior, and the "no need for an office" type of worker, a series of quiet, well decked out and useful locations to get down to work in environments that are serene and very functional.