Chambara Towers gets good company

The local pub about 200 yards from our base camp in Bow has just won The Evening Standard’s pub of the year. Just two years ago it was a Rovers Return-style working man’s pub. Some top quality posh grub, leather sofas, green paint and obscure beers pushed it into the premier league. The Morgan has beaten thousands of pubs from all over London to win this prestigous award.

Around the web

The PSP has fired the imagination of grass roots developers already, which bodes well for its competition from Gizmondo – the Tiger and Microsoft-backed alternative. Nintendo’s DS doesn’t make claims to be any form of ‘convergence device’, but an honest mobile games console which focuses on playability rather than speeds and feeds. iPSP allows you to synch music with iTunes, carry your iPhoto library around with you and back up game data on to your Macintosh. Whilst Sony would probably not approve of this close linkage between the PSP and Apple’s iLife suite, it will not harm sales of the device amongst generation iPod.

Expect sales of PSP movies and Sony Connect sales to be on the low side as PSP early adopters rip from their DVD and MP3 collections instead. Sony’s best option as with games is to go for exclusive movie and music content for the PSP.

Folksonomy seems to have caught the imagination of both and Charles Arthur’s contribution of netimperative. Yahoo’s purchase of Flickr is seen not only as a way of getting hold of a great info-imaging service, but also of harnessing a grassroots approach to creating true contextual searching.

Who stole the ‘new’ in news?

People are alleged to be increasingly turning away from print media to receive their news, relying on the internet. However, despite the facility for instant publication, the news is not as fresh as the medium promises even when you look at news wire websites. This is because the news wire businesses have primary customers who pay to receive the news first like your 40,000 USD Bloomberg terminal that sits on a traders desk. Timeliness of information is directly related to money for these people, its one of the levers that keeps the vast majority of day traders at an unfair disadvantage to the professionals.

In addtion, the way web users are going online to look for news is ensuring that the news they get is stale. The principle behind Google News is that Google takes an ‘average’ of the reported news; so it has a bias towards news that has already broken and widely distributed, over fast breaking stories. On the other hand traditional web portals have an advantage. I still have profiles and pages on and that have been set up since 1997/8 to give me the latest news based on my preferences.

There is no averaging effects, as soon as Reuters, AP or Bloomberg give the portal the relevant news it appears on My Yahoo! or My Excite page. The moral of this story is that not all progress is automatically better, Google News is a valuable tool so long as you are aware of its strengths and limitations. It is great for PR people to set up alerts when their clients have been covered, as a backup to their reading agency. For a news junkie, a well configured portal page offers a better barometer on the world.

Off the ledge

I remember one time hearing a joke about a man who jumped off a skyscraper, as he fell down people in the floors he zoomed by could here him say “Fine so far…. fine so far…. fine so far…. fine so far…. fine.”

I was reminded of this joke by an article in the New York Times this morning about the value of the dollar. American institutional investors are making very big noises about the direction that the dollar is due to take and Asian central banks that prop up the value of the dollar are looking to diversify into other currencies like the euro. The response of the author seems to be that the drop hasn’t hit yet. Read more here. In addition, this posting from last November has some useful supporting numbers and links to research and analysis by Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley.

Crystal Ball Gazing

“The man who predicts the future, even when he is right is a liar” The Koran

Business 2.0 has an interesting article about ‘What’s Next For Apple?‘. The article in its weak efforts to delve into the future has collated some useful insights from respected industry experts about current issues and trends in the technology, media and consumer electronics sectors. In addition, it is interesting that a mainstream publication like Business 2.0 has joined the dozens of fan sites, blogs and underground web publishing industry that feeds on the rumour mill of what Apple will or won’t do next.

It is a recognition that the company dismissed by many as irrelevant is now at the heart of the technology industry. Its about time that IT directors followed the lead of technology vendors, market analysts and the media in following Apple more closely and getting acquainted with its technology.

The next big thing will not come about by being taught on an MCSE syllabus.

BTW: have you remembered to put your clock forward one hour?