iPod connected in Japanese cars

“We work very closely with automobile manufacturers because your car is a great place to listen to your iPod,” said Steve Jobs, chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple, at a Tokyo news conference.”We’ve worked with a lot or automobile manufacturers and I’m very happy to report that next year, in 2006, over 1 million cars in Japan will be offered either factory-installed or dealer-installed with a way for you to directly connect your iPod right into the stereo system.”
The stereos will be available from Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co. and can be connected to an iPod to allow the driver to both play songs through the car’s audio system and also control the music player from the car stereo.
Similar audio systems will be offered in BMW, Mini, Smart and Alfa Romeo vehicles. Car stereos that hook up to an iPod are also available from Alpine Electronics Inc., Clarion Co., Kenwood Corp. and Pioneer Corp., Apple said.

Why on earth would you like to have such a ‘lockin’. I don’t have an iPod, I have an iRiver. So I want an general solution for connecting an external device with a carradio! How about Bluetooth!

I want a Tablet PC

I’m contamplating whether I should buy a Tablet PC. I’m looking at the LE1600 from Motion Computing and at the Tatung TTABB12D. There is about a €1.000 difference between the two of them, which is largely due to the Motion Computing name.
The first time a worked with a Tablet was about two years ago when I started a pilot together with HP at a customer I worked for. Even as the machines were flimsy (10″ displays, bulky, slow, etc), the pilot was a success. The company bought the machines and they are pleased with them. Then all the Microsoft people I regularly work with started working with Tablets. I work with a laptop during meetings but using a Tablet at a meeting seems so much more natural.

The company where I did the pilot has moved on to the second generation Tablet PC’s, Fujitsu Lifebooks in this case. They tried the slate models but were not completely pleased with them, so they went for the convertible model. Most of the drawbacks, size – speed and power, are now gone and you can really choose a Tablet PC as a replacement for a normal PC or Laptop. The only thing is the price! Any way you look at it, it still is a lot of money.

Next generation podcasting

Podcasting is about one year old now. Pretty mature for a technology what started as a hype. It raised the question with me; ‘What would you like to see in the next generation of Podcasting’.

How do I listen to Podcasts
I started listening to Podcasts on my PC, simple because I didn’t have a MP3 player. That was alright but I didn’t like the fact that I always needed my PC. I have WiFi, I have a laptop but it didn’t give me enough flexibility.

The next step for me was to buy a player. The result was that I could walk around the house listening to a Podcast. I tried using it in the car but most of the time I’m at work in the car. I’m either busy driving it or talking on the phone. Bottom-line, I was alright but I didn’t think it was a 100% success.

The third step was when I bought a Philips Streamium SL400i. This is a device that I can connect to my audio equipment and I can play and stream audio files from the internet or from a server in the house. This is the configuration which works for me at the moment. I’ve setup a server on which I have iPodder installed which downloads the Podcasts I want al day. When I get home I switch on the streamium, look at what Podcasts have come in, select the one I want and listen to it while I do other stuff.

So what would I like to see as a next step:
– First of all Podcasting should support chapters. You should be able to skip to the section in the Podcast you want instead of FF. Linked to content of the OPML file would be great.
– Podcast should be a multimedia experience. It should be possible that in the middle of a Podcast a picture is shown of either the artist which is being played, the Senseo Adam Curry is using or just something to explain something which is talked about in the Podcast. That would be great on the Streamiun because it is linked to the TV as well.
– iPodder should have an auto clean up function. Everything older than e.g. 3 weeks should be deleted.

Maybe somebody will make this possible.

The MAC is switching to Intel

The MAC is switching to the Intel platform. In an article in the New York Times John Markoff makes a good analysis of what is really behind this move. It looks like IBM isn’t able to produce faster and less heat producing Power chips.

From now on, the MAC is just another Windows machine with a different look. I think within no time it will be able to run all the Windows applications.

WMA for PC Link is here !!

WMA Music File Format Support in PC Link and the launch of the radioio music service.

You should have received yesterday an email from Philips outlining future release plans of Streamium products. We acknowledge that the product is not currently ready for the WMA Services or My Media. However, we would like to communicate the following product upgrade improvements for your consideration.

Philips Streamium SL300i, SL400i and MX6000i are ready to be upgraded to play Windows Media Audio (.WMA) music files. In addition to the currently supported MP3 and WAV file formats, Philips Streamium is keeping pace with the market, and will now support the hugely popular WMA music format! The addition of (non-DRM protected) WMA music file support will enable you to play more of your favorite music from your PC. WMA support for My media is not yet enabled but can be expected in the near future.

If they could add RealPlayer support it would be perfect!

Streaming at home

Recently I bought a Philips SL400i, wireless multimedia link. The spec’s promise me the ability to listen to mp3, mp4pro, pcm and wav audio and divx, xvid and mpeg video. And it works, it works nicely
Philips SL400i
Setting up the machine was dead ease. You plug the scart plug in the back of your TV, audio into the reciever and connect the box to the internet, and off you go.

You can use it in combination with upnp Media Managers like Nero MediaHome, Philips Media Manager, SMC EZ Media Server and Microsoft Windows Media Connect. You can listen to your own mp3 files or watch your videos and pictures which are stored on a PC. But you can also connect it directly to the Internet and use streaming hosts like Yahoo, Live365 and others. It comes with a personal page (http://my.philips.com) on which you can store your preferences likes radio- & video stations, pictures and java applications.

A nice thing on the machine is that it has a display on which you can see what you are selecting. Otherwise you need to turn on your TV every time you want to change the source. Another nice thing about the machine is that it’s software can be upgraded via the Internet connection. That’s what happened to mine the moment I switched it on.
The bad thing is the limited format support. Real Player is not supported plus some other Media Player formats. Maybe it will be in the future.
Another bad thing is the quality of the upnp Media Manager software. Most of the software is to slow, hasn’t enough options and it can’t be run as a service under Windows 2003. Which I find important. For instance I would like to see to option to play radio streams and to transcode formats. Nero can transform formats but cannot play radio stations, SMC is fast but cannot transcode and Microsoft supports most of the formats, etc.
Maybe someday someone will combine all the good thing into one package.

A run for the money

On April 29th Adam Curry finally presented us his long expected ‘strategy cast’. This was going to be the unveiling of the Holy Grail: the future of PodCasting. Was it really?

I’ve been listening to Curry from the first PodCast he made he made last year and I have been enjoying it. It has made me look for other PodCasts and now I’m listening to stuff like ‘The Theory of Everything’ of Benjamen Walker, ‘Earthwatch Radio‘ and ‘Whole Wheat Radio‘.
The fun of this new technology or movement is that it has nothing to do with the big business, big corporations or expensive infrastructures. It is the extension of the open source movement, blogging and means total democracy. Everybody can do it and people are getting into PodCasting because they feel they have something to say and not because they want to sell you something.

Last year, in the spirit of that movement, Adam Curry together with Dave Winer, setup an open directory where everybody could advertise their PodCast. The result was that PodCasting skyrocketed even more and you could read about it in every newspaper.
Soon after that the first cracks began to appear. Up to than Curry had been working mostly with Dave Winer, the inventor of the RSS feed which technology is the core of this movement. Curry went to Florida to meet up with his friends Dave and Ron Bloom to discuss ‘the future of PodCasting’. The PodCast Curry made after that meeting sounded as if something had gone totally wrong. The fact that the PodCast directory was handed over to Curry, all Curry websites were moved off Dave’s servers and Dave name is hardly ever mentioned by Adam indicated that they must have disagree on something fundamentally.

After the ‘strategy cast’ and the news about Adam’s radio contract with Sirius it is obvious that Ron and Adam are trying the steer the PodCasting movement back into the arms of the big corporations and where the money is. If you read the recent comments on Dave website it’s obvious that he wanted nothing to do with that. That maybe one of the reasons for the splitup.

Next step will be that Adam is going to decide, more than what he’s already doing, which PodCast we should be listening to and which PodCasts will be sponsored via his PodShow firm.
Thank God Sirius can only be received in North America and the World is a bigger market than just the US. Let’s make sure that PodCasting is not going to be like those other “great products” from the US, like Disney World, MacDonalds, Coca Cola & SUV’s.

Adobe and Macromedia

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq: MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both boards of directors, Macromedia stockholders will receive, at a fixed exchange ratio, 0.69 shares of Adobe common stock for every share of Macromedia common stock in a tax-free exchange. Based on Adobe’s and Macromedia’s closing prices on Friday April 15, 2005, this represents a price of $41.86 per share of Macromedia common stock.

The combination of Adobe and Macromedia strengthens our mission of helping people and organizations communicate better. Through the combination of our powerful development, authoring and collaboration tools – and the complementary functionality of PDF and Flash – we have the opportunity to drive an industry-defining technology platform that delivers compelling, rich content and applications across a wide range of devices and operating systems.

By combining the passion and creativity of two leading-edge companies, we will continue driving innovations that are changing the ways people everywhere are experiencing and interacting with information.

Adobe is required to include the following legend on any communications that may be deemed to be offering or soliciting material under the applicable SEC rules and regulations:


Adobe Systems Incorporated intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4, and Adobe and Macromedia, Inc. intend to file a related joint proxy statement/prospectus, in connection with the merger transaction involving Adobe and Macromedia. Investors and security holders are urged to read the registration statement on Form S-4 and the related joint proxy/prospectus when they become available because they will contain important information about the merger transaction. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of these documents (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Adobe by contacting Macromedia Investor Relations at 408-536-4416. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by Macromedia by contacting Macromedia Investor Relations at 415-252-2106.Adobe, Macromedia and their directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the stockholders of Adobe and Macromedia in connection with the merger transaction. Information regarding the special interests of these directors and executive officers in the merger transaction will be included in the joint proxy statement/prospectus of Adobe and Macromedia described above. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Adobe is also included in Adobe’s proxy statement for its 2005 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on March 14, 2005. Additional information regarding the directors and executive officers of Macromedia is also included in Macromedia’s proxy statement for its 2004 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on June 21, 2004 and Macromedia’s proxy statement for a Special Meeting of Stockholders, which was filed with the SEC on October 6, 2004. These documents are available free of charge at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov and from Investor Relations at Adobe and Macromedia as described above.

New hybrid Tablet PC/eBook reader on the way?

We’ll level with you: the Tablet PC hasn’t exactly been the massive hit Microsoft hoped it would be.
There’s plenty of blame to go around (pick your pet theory: that people simply don’t want to write by hand anymore, that Microsoft made a mistake by charging OEMs more for the Tablet PC OS than for the regular version of Windows, that everyone did a terrible job at marketing these things, etc.), but there’s speculation that Redmond is getting ready to take the wraps off some sort of hybrid Tablet PC/eBook reader that’s about six inches by eight inches in size (no pics yet, that’s just a generic Tablet PC pictured at right).
Sounds a bit like other mini tablet-style PCs we’ve seen, like Sony’s Vaio U-Series, but apparently these new hybrid tablets will use the same active digitizer technology found in regular Tablet PCs rather than the more traditional touch screens. Assuming this is for real (and it sounds like it is), Microsoft Watch seems pretty sure that Microsoft will be showing off a prototype during his keynote at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference on April 25th.