Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Market, Empty Space and Pedestrian Friendly

A few blogs ago I discussed the need for an urban core to become pedestrian friendly. I know this is now one of the buzz words being used in any dialogue for a city to redevelop its downtown core. If there is a place that both has the opportunity and the need it is downtown Brantford. What is needed is for something that makes people to want to be downtown, to establish the critical mass of people that allows the development of further space and place for people to gather.

Much is being made for the plan to tear down all the buildings along south side Colborne and build more university buildings and a Y. Apparently partnerships are being discussed to make that happen. Brantford is attempting to transform its downtown into a university campus which will bring the population of the core up and with that further retail entering the place.

One of the challenges facing the downtown has to be Market Square. Here a massive structure of commercial and retail stands for the most part empty. There are only a handful of businesses within it. If it wasn't for the City of Brantford, and a church it would be very empty.

From personal experience I recall going to the Square and watching a bat fly around the ceiling. Yes a bat. Nothing says desolation like a bat flying inside a building. The good news is there were no mosquitoes within the building. Still it speaks volumes of the state of the structure. I was reading the fascinating blog The Brantford Blog. He's a self-proclaimed grouchy old man. He had a blog entitled Cursed, that examines a bit of the history and problems of Market Square. Some do speak of the curse, others suggest the curse has more to do with the collapse of both Eaton's and the economic foundation of Brantford. It apparently was a fairly busy place with a number of very good shops that catered to the downtown business community. However now its stands an empty shell. How bad is it? When Freedom House Church moved in, it was greeted with cheers from the local newspaper. In fact the Expositor made the move a part of its editorial, it cheered the move as part of the revitalization of the downtown.

One result of all this empty space has to be the depressing of commercial value in the downtown, I did a little research and discovered rent in Market Square is about 10-12 dollars a square foot. Likely as long as Market Square stands empty that will be the reality. On one hand, this should inspire people to move business in, on the other hand, it stifles development- if you're not going to make any money on it, why bother?

If there is one question that comes to mind is why hasn't the University used this structure; they've been busy buying up all sorts of empty building to expand, when they are not building there own, and yet they keep away from the Square. While William's exist as part of the place to hang out if you're a student, there is not much else. Even when there is retail development, it is heading south of Iconn Street, in the Price Chopper Plaza.

I suppose if there is any scepticism towards the development of south side Colborne it has to do with the fact this City has gone down that road of new structures only to end up having very large white elephants that add nothing to the downtown but empty space and homes for bats.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

South of South Side Colborne

It seems the plans will go ahead. The article states thta money is now available to start tearing down the buildings. While many are looking forward to that moment there are some voices of concern regarding the entire exercise. I don't mean from groups who believe some of the structures are heritage structures and perhaps still may have a future use in downtown Brantford. There is a lot to be said for preservation and restoration, which I'm not going to get into. Although I will say some of the architecture is quite interesting. I do admit to not having any past or ideology regarding the downtown core, I just want to consider a few things that's all.

However and this has interests me, how it will take place. One of the local writers made some points. Tim Philips in a recent commentary mentioned his concern about the numbers which are being used to describe the costs of the project.
Now you have to demolish the buildings. While demolition is not rocket science, this site holds some particular challenges for engineers and contractors. At some places, the difference between Colborne Street and Warfe Street is more than 15 metres. The challenge is to keep Colborne Street from sliding down the hill into the parking garage.

This means that you cannot just bring in the bulldozers and start knocking down buildings. This is especially difficult as the tender calls for the complete removal of the foundations except, I believe, for the front wall if needed to stabilize the slope. Bear in mind, a similar issue of shoring up a structure existed at the water-treatment plant and the result was a building that tipped over and a bill for millions of dollars.

The distance between the two feet and by that I mean vertical feet, or metres is the challenge. As he states, its not a matter of getting the bulldozers out and start levelling, but to consider the fact that the ground slopes and it does that with different depths over the area.

With that in mind, I took my trusty cellphone and decided to take some photographs. Fortunately, it was a lovely afternoon:

There is some scale issues which need to be addressed. Still they were built that way and the topography hasn't changed since the first structure was built and from the dates on the buildings, they have passed the test of time. It seems the issue has to do with the overall collapse of the economic base of Brantford rather then anything which might have caused the dilapidation to this part of the street. Perhaps some are concerned with the potential structures to be built, more University buildings, a Community College, and a YMCA. All three have the potential of producing some large structural footprints and with the slope, then again the hope is the city will hire the right sort of engineers and contractors. People that are not just demolition experts but are aware of things such as soil and the effect of slope on demolition and building.

The costs so far are just under $7 Million for the purchase of all the properties. All of which must put the City of Brantford as the major tenant and landlord throughout the downtown core. The end, we all hope is that a revitalized downtown with buildings and people not only learning and working but living. I believe I have mentioned that what downtown Brantford lacks is the critical mass of people living downtown. If they achieve it, then the entire picture of the Core will change and the downtown will be reborn.

The plan is for everything to start in February and finish in June. I shall be there to record it all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crush It! A Review

Time for some disclosure. I don't drink wine, my knowledge of wine is very limited. I don't understand tasting at all. So, why am I reviewing a book by Gary Vaynerchuk who is better known for his very popular video podcast Wine Library TV. The answer is simple, because the book is not about wine tasting, drinking or anything to do with wine. What the book is about is Gary's philosophy of how to live your passion and make a career out of it. Just mentioning about his video blog, as he refers it, let's you know Gary is a man out there in web 2.0. His blog has got him interviewed on a number of mainstream shows, as well as internet shows. He took his career as a successful wine entrepreneur and brought it to the web, using the means of social media to expand his brand and also to demonstrate his enthusiasm for wine.

The book Crush It! is about his personal philosophy on how to live your life with passion as well as an instructional book on using the Internet and its tools to develop your own brand. I am going to assume the title is as much a play on wine making, crushing grapes, yes there's that much I know, as well as just getting out there and taking full advantage of life.

His philosophy can be summed up in three statements and he makes these early in the book
1) Love your family
2) Work very very hard and
3) Live your passion

I should say I listened to the audiobook, which I purchased through itunes, it is also available through The book is read by Gary and so you get to hear his passion for his philosophy and life, you also get his asides. He likes to break in to other thought not necessarily expressed in the book, which is part of the beauty. He presents the three points through personal experience and understanding how it worked in his life and how to transfer to your life. Ultimately, he wants us to enjoy life and to him its done through living your passion. He also is honest and reminds us to be true to our DNA. By this he means, not all of us can be Gary V, he states that if we're not comfortable making a video blog, perhaps a audio podcast is better, or maybe the written word is our strength, but stick with what we are.

Perhaps I'm jumping ahead here, what he tells us is to build our brand online. He tells us that the tools on the Internet makes this very possible and very inexpensive. If you wanted to start your own business based upon your passion and to Gary it is possible because if you are passionate about something, there's always someone who wantss to use that passion as a tie in to selling something. He states its important to build that brand and through the tools of social media it is possible. Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs with personalized addresses are just some of the tools that are inexpensive that will build that important web presence. He lays out the tools in a simple, straightforward manner that all of us can grasp and apply.

There are other great comments from Gary, such as Legacy is more valuable currency. It all goes back to passion and transparency. For the latter he shares about the time he appeared on Diggnation and some of the forum members thought he was very arrogant. He told that he spent time writing emails and comments of apology to those who were offended by his actions. This is apply that truth to his own life. He is living it and sharing that inspiration with us. He gives other advice, such as first knowing what your passion truly is and then shareing it with others. But again and again, he wants us to get out there and make it with our passion.

So the book, part discussion of the social media tools that exist today, part a book of inspiration. It is truly a fantastic book, in fact as I write this review I think of example and example he writes and more of his philosophy but I think I would rather you read, or listen to it and learn for yourself.

I understand it is a relatively thin book, only 160 pages or so. To listen will take a little over three hours, which makes it a good book to listen while working out at the gym or going for walks.

It is a book that will inspire you in so many ways. I want to conclude with the conclusion of another review, because he said it best:
“Crush It” is an excellent book offering personal stories that illustrate the importance of passion, patience, hustle and the value of doing what you need to do to be happy. Success takes hard work and this book does a great job of showing anyone the framework for making what really makes them passionate and turn it into an online business.

Available through Amazon, Chapter-Indigo and other fine booksellers.

One more thing, he's a big fan of the New York Jets, saying his plan is to purchase the team, that would not surprise me.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pedestrian Friendly Brantford

An article which caught my attention a few weeks back in the Brantford News. The headline spoke of the need to develop a pedestrian zone along the south side of Colborne Street, as part of the overall transformation of the area. This was from the city's 'walkability taskforce, which one person in the comments noted that committees seem to be one of the few growth industries in Brantford. We seem no end of task forces. Everything is centred along the southside of Colborne. At one time it seemed the idea of tearing it all down and building some brand new structures was a no brainer. One person I know suggested they get the 56th Field Artillery Regiment to bring a few howitzers out and enjoy some fun target practice. It could be a major fundraiser for the city or a number of local charities. Still I digress. Although it might be a lot of fun.

The issue of making a city 'pedestrian' friendly is now a concept which is gaining steam in a number of places. It's the idea of making a city, or a downtown more people rather then car friendly.

One article defines the concept this way:
Pedestrian-friendly streetscaping is the process of recreating
streets and sidewalks as the center of communal
life. At one time, streetscapes were where people
of all ages walked, biked, shopped, ate, played, and
met their neighbors. But today, streets with this kind of
activity are the exception rather than the rule. Towns
and cities are full of barriers that discourage walking or
bicycling as a means of transportation, recreation, commerce
or keeping fit and healthy. The occasional pedestrian
is often made to feel like an alien in a world
made only for cars.

As it stands, downtown Brantford is anything but pedestrian friendly. In fact there's not a whole lot of pedestrian traffic, unless it's near areas such as the University.

It seems to me what needs to be understand why people want to be some place. I think the three things people want to do are:
1) stroll
2) shop and
3) eat.

Any part of a city that allows people to do those things will be considered pedestrian friendly. I believe these three should be asked for anything planned for the downtown. Right now, there are some placess to stroll, such as the area around Harmony Square:

As for the other two, while there are a few restaurants and places to eat and or enjoy a few drinks, they are still not generating the critical mass required. As for shopping, unless you go to Crazy Bill's, hard to say, hard to say. In fact the downtown almost begs you to shop at the mall and to Brantford Commons.

Another article I read, gives this overview of the pedestrian friendly city:
If you go to the best neighborhoods and downtown areas, you’ll find pedestrian friendly streets. If you visit economically depressed downtowns or neighborhoods, you’ll often encounter environments that are hostile to the pedestrian. Pedestrian friendly streets help foster economic growth

The writer also gives this idea for the concept of what can be done:
Pedestrian friendly streets follow one simple rule—the pedestrian is the priority. These streets tend to share the following physical characteristics:
• Pedestrians are effectively separated from moving traffic. Separation is provided through the use of wide sidewalks, onstreet parking, and landscaping.
• Pedestrians can cross the street safely and easily. Intersections are designed to reduce pedestrian crossing distances,crosswalks are clearly marked and aligned with sidewalks, and pedestrian crosswalk signals are automatic not push button.
• The streets are full of life. Storefronts and buildings are continuous and contain many openings that create visual interest and activity. On-street parking is available to support healthy retail and is never replaced by bicycle or travel lanes, or landscaped medians. Well designed paving, street furniture and lighting make the street a place where people want to be.

This last point needs to be the priority, where people want to be, the downtown of Brantford can have a number of fun things which bring people to the downtown, such as the "Find your Spirit", the Jazz Festival and the upcoming Chili Cooking. Certainly all of these are fun and enjoyable and having Harmony Square as the Centre is important, but what can happen that brings people to the streets on a consistent basis and brings that sense of life and celebration that helps with the development of the downtown core.

Just a few thoughts for this day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

McGwire Admits Using Steriods!

Seriously. Does anyone believe his tearful confession and admission of steriod use?

As you know from reading the blog I am a big baseball fan. I love the game. I am a big fan of the Detroit Tigers. I think it is a truly wonderful sport, filled with history, statistics and wonderful memories.

This is not to say the sport is perfect, certainly if one goes through the history, it is a collection of the best and worst. From cheaters to heroes to colourful figures. There is the moment of the young boy going to "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and asking 'say it ain't so Joe', in light of the Black Sox Scandel.

But Baseball has always been able to spring back.

Now Baseball has finally concluded the era that has become known as the 'Steroid Era', a time when records fell as players decided to juice up with all sorts of interesting substances. All of this was done because practically everyone, including us fans, decided to look the other way.

Of course the big news is the admission of Mark McGwire that he took steriods during the period when he was the king of the long ball, breaking the coveted most home runs in one season record that was held, and let's be blunt, still held by Roger Maris. Mr. Maris did it honestly, by hitting the ball out of the park 61 times over the course of 162 games, which earned an asterik because Babe Ruth did 60 in 154 games. Now we fast forward to the 1990's when McGwire and Sammy Sosa put on an offensive display with the purpose of breaking one of baseball's hallowed and important records. As I recall, there was a lot of joy that night when McGwire put it over the left field fence. He embraced and was embraced by team mates and opponents alike. After he touched home plate, he went over to the Maris family and showed them his support.

Now we know the reality, that night was based upon a lie. He did it because he was maxed out on steroids. His chase for the record was based upon not natural ability but because he injected himself with performing enhancement drugs.

His name started to appear on lists and in a book written by his teammate Jose Canseco. A lot of people tended, at first not to believe, after all, Jose was a cheat. He injected, he was not loved, plus by the end of his career he was a bit of a buffoon. However, we understand this, Jose Canseco was absolutely right. Every word of it.

What is disturbing, is not the fact Mark McGwire took so long to confess, but the fact that so much of it was still based upon bafflegaff. I think the big lie that he's still trying to get us to believe is he really didn't need to take steroids. He did only to speed up the healing process. This is what he says:
During the mid-'90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too."

The Sporting News, has this article about his tearful confession.

Should we believe him now? Should we believe that he could have done all those wonderful things and not needed the 'roids or the growth hormone. You know what, we don't and right now it doesn't matter. He did take it, he did hit all those home runs and because he denied it for so longs makes one to think that he knows he wouldn't have been able to hit as long, both distance and duration if it wasn't for what he used. The fact he took it and could make say such nice things to the memory of Roger Maris makes him even more dispicable. He chased the record with junk in his veins. The magic season is nothing more then smoke and mirrors, and now Mark McGwire has the nerve to think he can say a few nice words, cry a few tears and think all is good. It isn't.

The question is why now? Perhaps his new job as hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals has something to do with it. Does the fact he spoke now means there can be no more discussion or questions on the subject. Are we all now to simply think, well he admitted it, all is right in the universe, we can now love him and forgive him.

No we can't. I would suggest that each and every batter of the Cardinals be tested often and regularly for steriod use, after all, I'm sure McGwire will teach those young batters all he knows, including what is the best stuff to take.

Of course, not a lot of sports fans are buying this. We can see through an orchestrated confession done to say as little as possible and make the confessor a figure we should forgive and feel sorry for, well we don't. It was contrived, we know a script when we see one. As well, we should never forget the steroid era, we should remember what a joke it made of the game. Sadly this lesson is not being learned by the Commissioner. Bud Selig said, in a statement that was probably equally prepared beforehand stated:
The use of steroids and amphetamines amongst today’s players has greatly subsided and is virtually nonexistent, as our testing results have shown. The so-called steroid era — a reference that is resented by the many players who played in that era and never touched the substances — is clearly a thing of the past, and Mark’s admission today is another step in the right direction.

That's it, no more questions, keep moving, nothing more to see.

Forget it. We must never allow it to happen. We must never allow ourselves to be blinded and wink at the obvious. We must make sure those who cheated are chasticed and those who played clean be honoured.

I noticed Mark McGwire said this has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame, which means it has everything to do with the Hall of Fame. He should be allowed in, only when a special wing is established as the 'Roidheads Hall of Fame'. There are too many players who did it right, they don't need their legacy tainted, like it has already become.

Mark McGwire, a cheat.

The true home run king, Roger Maris.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Ham Sandwich

I was listening to one of the food podcasts provided through National Public Radio. The topic in question is what food became important or distinct during the first decade of the new century/millenium. The guest was Henry Balzer of the NPD Group, an organization that studies among other things, the food and eating habits of Americans.

When asked about what food became important, he stated it was yogurt:
Dr. BALZER: Well, if there is one that defines this decade it would have to be yogurt.

NORRIS: Yogurt?

Dr. BALZER: Yogurt would be the category or the food that has increased in our dietary habits more than any other food during the past 10 years.

NORRIS: Color me surprised.

Dr. BALZER: And it probably, if you think about your own behavior, I'll bet you start your day off a lot with yogurt or have it during lunchtime, or maybe have it as a dessert or a side dish or as a snack, more than you did probably 10 years ago.

This is interesting and as I thought about it, he's absolutely right, yogurt is now a part of everyday eating, it's quick and easy, either to throw in the lunch bag, box or pick up at the convenience store. The individual size makes it perfect for all meals and snacks.

What got me thinking about this blog is a statement he made near the end of the interview:
What won't change is what we eat. I will tell you the number one food that we will eat in the year 2020 will be a ham sandwich. And I know that because I've been doing this for 30 years and I was hard pressed in 1980 to be asked what we'll be eating in 1990. When I discovered that the ham sandwich was the number one thing we ate in 1980, and I made a prediction that we'd be eating it in 1990. And guess what we ate in 1990 - a ham sandwich. What do you think it was in 2000 - a ham sandwich. 2010? A ham sandwich.

So do I have to go out on a limb to tell you that the number one food we'll be eating in this country in the year 2020 will be a ham sandwich? What I don't know is what will be the bread. There will be something new about the ingredients or the condiments that go on this. But when I ask you, what did you have? You'll say, oh, I had a ham sandwich.

The one consistency of the last half century, and perhaps even longer is the Ham Sandwich. Again, I have to agree, what sandwich is easy to make, easier to consume and goes good with everything? The Ham Sandwich. When one considers our obsession with all things bad for us, such as fat and stuff, it's amazing it has lasted as long. Pork is either liked or hated and with the ham sandwich, it should be on the downward slide, yet it persists.

Perhaps because we simply like it. As I also said, it's the easiest sandwich to make, you take two pieces of bread, a few pieces of ham and cheese, add some butter, mustard, perhaps some lettuce and or tomato, stick them together, put it all in a sandwich bag and you have the basis of a good lunch.

There's also a certain ability to invent, for example, the type of ham can be varied, from cooked, to black forest, sugar and honey cured. Then there's mustard or the spread one can, to say nothing of the bread or mix the whole thing together with some mayo and make a ham salad sandwich or roll.

While doing my research, which included making a ham sandwich with leftover cooked ham, some cheese and a bagel, making sure the ham covers the hole, so not to have a cheesy mess all over the plate, I discovered a number of great recipes for ham sandwiches.

One declares the "Perfect Ham Sandwich", in fact it is a signature creation.

Another amazing sandwich is Croque Monsieur


There is also a feminine version called the Croque-Madame, which sounds equally nice, especially with a fried egg on top.

So cheers to the champion sandwich of all time, a survivor that marks decades as easy as we eat them.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Nexus of the Universe

The reference is, of course to Seinfeld. Over the past couple of days, we have witnessed the launching of another cellphone by a previously non cellphone company. I am talking about the Google Phone, the Nexus One. When it was announced, the spokespeople at Google declared it to be not just a smartphone, but a superphone.

It has some interesting features:
3.7 inch touchscreen
1GHz snapdragon processor
5 Megapixel camera with LED flash
GPS and compass
Noise cancellation technology
Voice recognition can be used with all applications
Light sensor changes screen brightness to conserve power
512MB Flash memory with SD card slot (expandable to 32GB)

There is also one more feature, and for this you need to visit the Google Nexus One site, because should you do so in Canada, you will be greeted with these words:
Sorry, the Nexus One Phone is not available in your country.

That is correct, the phone is going to roll out in the US, many parts of Europe as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. Again, no mention of Canada.

It is interesting to note one article mentioned that Android based phones are beginning to show up in a number of countries, none of them Canada. It seems we are now considered a technological backwater when it comes to telecommunication advancements. The nation that gave the world the telephone is now not considered on anyone's list of the newest products. Remember how long it took us to get the iPhone, I believe we got it before Turkey, but I'd have to look that up.

The reason for all this is, our well protected, well insulated cellular industry. The big three, Rogers, Bell and Telus treat us as complete dolts and believe we exist to serve them, not the other way around. Why put out money to improve networks, when it will mean possible expenses. You might recall a few months ago, they started to drop their 'service access fees', and then increased their monthly rates to compensate. Then again, there is a long history, it wasn't too many years ago that Bell Canada had a little surcharge on everyone's bill that was for the cost of digital phones. Indeed, they charged everyone for the privilege of having a digital phone, even though something like 99.99% of Canadians had a digital phone. I wonder if those six people with the Rotary phones still had to pay. Tell me that didn't bring in a whole lot of money for Bell.

All this was done to increase the value of the companies and make their ownership teams very wealthy. It is no wonder Canadians view cellphone companies in the same light as politicians and, politicians. It is also no wonder we are becoming a backwater. One statistic I saw suggested that cellular growth in Canada is slow, with only 60% of the population owning and using a cellphone.

Canada ranks last in cellphone penetration among developed countries.(6) In the final quarter of 2007, cellphone subscriptions averaged 99.7 per 100 inhabitants in the developed world, compared to 60.9 per 100 inhabitants in Canada, according to the Merrill Lynch Global Wireless Matrix. Of the 53 countries in the developed and developing world tracked by Merrill Lynch, Canada ranks 44th, just ahead of Peru, Pakistan and Indonesia and just behind Morocco, Brazil and the Philippines. However, many users outside North America have multiple cellphone accounts. Because the data does not correct for this, comparisons between mobile phone penetration in Canada and the rest of the world should be made with caution.

This is not good. It speaks of the fact Canadians have a strong hate on for these companies and would rather shut themselves out of the growing technology then give any money to these robbers. I suppose the amazing part of it, is that we are into digital when it comes to cellphones, instead of analog phones. Remember those yellow bricks?

However, with the fact the spectrum is now being opened up, one of the new providers are looking at the potential of bringing the Nexus to Canada.

They also are positioning themselves to use the new technology
WIND Mobile's third-generation network is based on the same basic technology as Canada's three incumbent carriers in Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp.

Yet its 3G devices run on a different frequency band called AWS (Advanced Wireless Services), also know in telecom circles as band 4. The Nexus One is designed to run on band 4, as well as bands 1 and 8.

The three bands make the Nexus One compatible with most operators around the world. But not all.

Unfortunately for Rogers, Bell and Telus, the three do not use band 4. Or 1 or 8. The three firms use bands 2 and 5 for their smartphones. The Nexus One can still theoretically work on their GSM-based networks, but the performance of the device would be degraded.

Read more:
The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.

Wind Mobile has made a few enemies because of its lack of the right number of Canadians sitting on the Board of Director.

TechCrunch, by the way, had a review of the Nexus One, you can read here.

The question is now, when do we get the Nexus One, then again, the question is, when will Canada cease to be a cellular backwater?

Stay tune

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Ipod Decade

I know I'm a few days late with this posting, but I've been thinking about the first decade of the new century, new millenium, however you want to describe it. When you think back there's been a lot of things happening; from 9-11, the War on Terrorism, Hurricane Katrina, the latest global recession and all that. So much to think about and write about. While all that could be considered important enough to mark a decade, I've thought about a few other things, trying to keep positive about it. After all, how do you deal with two wars and the expansion of terrorism. It's easy to point all sorts of fingers and while many have tried to make this a 'west' vs 'east', especially in content of radical Islam, it goes far deeper then that as the only reason.

There's was a fair discussion regarding the decade,just as was the case in the year 2000, was that the first year of the millenium, century, or the last year of the previous? I know those who keep count will say the thing doesn't begin until you see the number '1'. I got to agree, so as I write this it's the last year of the first decade, so I think I'm safe.

A few years ago I purchased the book The Cult of the Ipod. It was written about 5 years ago and give one person's look at the impact of this little music player. It's rather interesting to consider some of the statements made by the book. Leander Kahney does wax a bit eloquent when he writes:
The ipod is a bona fide hit- a genuine cultural phenomenum..The Ipod is changing the music industry- not just how it is played and enjoyed but how it is distributed and perhaps how it is made. The Ipod has usurped the album as the key product of the music industry, replacing it with the playlist...The Ipod has rescued and redefined Apple. The company may yet turn into a music company or one that sells all sorts of entertainment devises.

Steven Levy wrote a book and called it "The Perfect Thing", which sums up his feeling about the devise.

As disclosure is good for the soul, I have been an owner. I've owned the Mini, the Nano and now the IPod Touch. While not known as a MacSlappy, I would say it is one of my favourite electronic devises. I've gone from listening to music and podcasts, to viewing photographs to now, movies, televisions show, in High Def of course, audiobooks and games. Apple calls the Touch, the funniest Ipod ever and when one considers all that is possible, one would be hard pressed to call that some hyperbole.

It has been pointed out that the IPod was not the first MP3 player, but since its launch in Octobe 2001 it has defined the genre. In fact since its launch companies have tried to imitate it, not only in service but looks. It has become the gold standard of that is to do with portable music. Probably it could be said there are other devises that are at least comparable in looks and ability, perhaps even adding a few more features and certainly a lot cheaper or at least more at the same price, but it still holds true, there's something about the IPod.

As I read those comments I have to say, that even after 5 years, those words hold true. It has tranformed Apple, yes it still has computers and my understanding some very nice computers, but with the ipod and iPhone it has become the player on portable computing/communication devises. the iPhone has transformed the cellular phone industry as well, now everyone is attempting to build the "IPhone Killer". What it has, others must make a feature. Touchscreen? Better have it in an upcoming devise? Apps? Your app store better be growing, because all of a sudden people want apps on their smartphones and more then something to simply make notes and keep a list of contacts plus a calendar. The environment better be seamless as well so the people who own the devise don't have to go out and find content.

So has this devise defined the first decade, I would say it has. When it first came out, the white earbuds was the status symbol, you could look and see if a person had them and you knew they had an ipod, now if you see someonen with an mp3 player you naturally assume it's got to be an ipod, or touch or iphone. It just has to be.

The 2000's, the iPod Decade.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I was listening to a podcast from NPR, in particular the episode talked about those wonderful things called "Internet Memes". The guest was Kenyatta Cheese of the excellent site "Know Your Meme". One that caught my interest was the one dealing with StarWars Kid. While it may be debated on what this was like, there was a fair bit of fallout from the posting of the video. While it inspired a lot of people to have fun with it, making things with it. The result of it was a lot of lawsuits.

Honestly, you look at it and realize its just some kid having a bit of fun with a video camera and pretending to be a character from StarWars. Like everyone who has done that since the release of the first movie. I realize this is the mid 21st century and obviously the parents wanted to protect their little boy from the humiliation of being made fun of by this thing called "Internet".

Let's move ahead a few years, perhaps instead of calling for lawyers, the parents should have called for a few agents. Give them the duty of turning this little bit of video into a money making opportunity. Get him a few minutes on Oprah, or Ellen. The money would have rolled in. Yeah, it's amazing how a few years would have turned something like a little embarrassment into a major source of tee shirts.

So parents of StarWars Kid, I hope you enjoyed the few dollars you made on the settlement, just meditate on the income you lost over the years.

Respect the Meme.