So Much for Portable Computing

I’ve switched over to a new work laptop, and it’s significantly bigger than my old laptop. Yes, bigger. I decided I wanted a large, wide-screen device since I stare at it virtually all day long. The trade-off, of course, is that my new laptop is harder to carry around. Should I get a UMPC for … Read more

Does Anybody Read Anymore?

That is, does anybody read books anymore? Like 8.3 million other people, we bought the final Harry Potter book for our household on Saturday. The huge sales would seem to suggest that people are still engaging in the offline activity. But, beyond the Harry Potter series, I wonder how many people actually read regularly just … Read more

Why the Verizon Hub Just Might Work


In the CE world, success is all about timing. Verizon debuted its Verizon One gadget years ago, but that was before the widget craze, before FiOS was a household word, and before streaming radio and digital photo frames raised the profile of non-computer, Internet-connected devices.

In its latest form, the Verizon One is now called the Verizon Hub, and Dave and I got a chance to see it during our recent visit to Verizon HQ. I love this thing. In brief, it’s a cordless-phone-plus-widget-station that lets you make calls, get news, weather and traffic, share photos and control your FiOS TV (Motorola) set-tops. There are plenty of things it doesn’t do, like let you surf the Web, but that’s what your computer is for. And with the Verizon Hub you won’t get distracted by all of the unread emails in your inbox when you just want to check traffic.

The Verizon Hub has a gorgeous display, a POTS connection (no VoIP), Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port. I’m drooling over the device, but ultimately I think its success will depend on cost. This is a whole new gadget category and it will take a reasonable price point to get the unwashed masses to try it out. That said, if there was ever a time when the Verizon Hub could be successful, it’s now. Lots of people use widgets and RSS feeds, and lots of people like to show off photo slideshows. This isn’t a complete paradigm shift anymore. — More pics after the jump.

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Verizon Customer Service Not As Bad As I Feared

verizon-logo.jpgI was all set to blast Verizon for manipulating my parents into buying their DSL service when my dad gave me the surprising update: Verizon had admitted to making a mistake and fully refunded my parents’ money. Yup, you read that right. Full refund.

Here’s the story in brief. My parents have had trouble with Comcast in their neighborhood (it works great in mine) and decided to make the switch to DSL when Verizon told them it was available. Unfortunately, when they made the switch, Verizon’s broadband proved flakier than Comcast’s. They lost their Internet connection constantly and nobody could explain to them why the service was so unreliable.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and some savvy support technician finally figured out that my parents’ house was outside the recommended distance from a Verizon hub. In other words, they’d been sold a service that was virtually guaranteed to fail.

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Uninterested in A La Carte

Forrester Research just released the results of a survey showing that consumers don’t care that much about a la carte channels and wouldn’t be willing to pay very much for the privilege. I might not have agreed a few years ago, but here’s why my opinion has changed:

  1. Better shows on more cable channelsforrester-survey.jpg
    ESPN and Comedy Central used to be the only networks I watched on cable, but now I regularly tune in to FX, TNT and the SciFi network at the very least.

  2. On-demand viewing
    By ordering Netflix DVDs or downloading shows from the Web, I can get access to almost any content I want. If I wanted to drop my cable subscription, I’d virtually be able to get a la carte viewing through other distribution sources. (ESPN being the big exception)

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New TV Stats

Because there’s nothing like an official study to make us think we know which direction the market will go… A study conducted by Canalys (reported on ZDNet) found that 51% of the European adults surveyed were interested in mobile TV. However, the content they reported being interested in varied widely, from live sports events to … Read more

Comcast Launches TVplanner

There was a fair bit of conversation at the recent Cable IPTV conference around how Comcast is approaching competition from online video services. Part of the approach involves having its own online video destination, (see news about the upcoming launch of Fancast), and the other part involves using the Internet to push subscribers to cable … Read more

Criminals & Comcast

In the category of you can’t make this stuff up, the Jackson Mississippi affiliate site had the headline yesterday: Meth Addicts Posed As Comcast Workers. My first reaction – couldn’t they have found something more exciting to pose as? Of course, it turns out they were pretending to be Comcast workers to rob someone’s … Read more