Tag: malik

Is Mac OS X Leopard's Mail App Junk?

Om Malik is taking a poll on his site today about the new features in OS X Leopard. He is asking readers to say which of the new features will compel them to move to Leopard.

Om’s own choice is Apple’s Mail app.

Personally I used Mail for years and loved it but I had to drop it eventually in favor of Thunderbird because its junk mail filters are useless. I kept clicking on the Junk button to try to train it to learn what was junk from what wasn’t but Thunderbird was orders of magnitude better at stopping spam so I had to move away from it.

Reading that there is a new version of Mail in Leopard I quickly checked out its new features but I was disappointed to see no mention of improved junk mail filtering.

I don’t see any compelling reason for me to upgrade then 😦

Do you?

New Audible podcasting format – why bother?

I have recently started to take an interest podcasting again – I produced a few podcasts during the summer to dip my toes into podcasting but I had to stop when the soundcard on my PowerBook blew.

Recently, I have recorded a couple of my talks and podcast them with generous help from FrankP and NearFm and even more recently, Robert Scoble has agreed to let me record and podcast an interview I will do with him by phone tomorrow evening.

So I have been following the world of podcasting with increasing interest and was surprised to see a war breaking out there over the weekend!

The war is about what audio format to use in podcasts – traditionally the audio format has been mp3 files but a company called Audible has proposed a new .aa format. According to Mitch Ratcliffe (an Audible consultant), the main advantage of the .aa format seems to be that it is possible to audit how often they have been downloaded – this is, of course, important from a monetisation point of view! However, Mitch rather lost the head (and thereby the argument) when not everyone agreed with him.

As Michael Arrington put it:

Instead of embracing the bloggers that would normally talk about this, Mitch Ratcliffe (an Audible consultant) went on an unmitigated, unprovoked character assasination romp (with follow up attacks) against Dave Winer (â€?he’s willing to stealâ€?), Om Malik and others. This sure is an interesting way to engage the sneezers. As Om puts it, Mitch “goes after the dissenters with a verbal baseball batâ€?…. If you find yourself on the other side of a debate with Dave Winer, Om Malik, Doc Searles, Jeff Jarvis and others, maybe you should rethink your position. Because it is very likely you are wrong.

Doc Searls, Dave Winer, Michael Arrington and others have been mounting a robust defence of mp3’s.

In my own case, I don’t see myself shifting away from mp3s any time soon. As far as I can see from reading about Audible’s new format, you upload your podcasts to Audible’s servers, they convert to .aa and host the podcast there. It is a paid service.

My podcasting is pretty basic – I record the sound, convert to mp3, upload to archive.org (free hosting and bandwidth) and then link to the archive.org file from within my wordpress blog. WordPress recognises the .mp3 file as an audio file and creates the correct enclosures transparently for me so I don’t need to worry about the tech side of the podcasting. How would WordPress deal with .aa files? I have no idea. I suspect, it wouldn’t recognise them as audio and therefore podcast subscribers (listeners) wouldn’t know you had published new podcasts.

I think Audible’s strategy is wrong here – I think they would have been far better served coming up with a mechanism for measuring stats on mp3s rather than coming up with a new proprietary file format. What do you think?

UPDATE:
Post updated after comments from Mitch and Pete informed me that .aa is not a new format – sorry ’bout that guys.

Microsoft 2.0? Yawn.

The online world is buzzing with the news of Microsoft’s conversion to Web 2.0!

Tim O’Reilly is quite positive about it:

Overall, leaves me with a lot of optimism that Microsoft is fully engaged with the right problems, and we’ll be hearing a lot more from them.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch said:

After what I saw today, I despair for many a silicon valley startup. Seriously.

And Om Malik, in what has to be one of the more original posts on Microsoft’s announcement reckons:

A little nip-and-tuck, some hip-hop and a $500 haircut with highlights to hide the 40-odd summers. Its a midlife crisis you can see from a mile. Trust me!

What are they all on about? Well, yesterday Microsoft announced two new services – Windows Live and Office Live – these are not, as the name might imply, online replacements for Windows and Office (more’s the pity – but i guess that’s one cash cow not ready for the slaughterhouse just yet!) – they are more like portal sites.

Windows Live, for example, is Start.com but there’s loads more coming to it we are promised – just look at the Windows Live Ideas page.

The announcement was made by Bill Gates himself, and by Microsoft Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie – and it is being claimed as another “turn on a dime” moment (remember the last one was in 1995 when Bill realised that there was something out there called the Internet and people were using it without paying microsoft anything?).

Personally, if it weren’t for Michael Arrington’s enthusing, I’d fail to be even slightly whelmed!

UPDATE:
I just spotted the Live.com team have a blog

Further Edited to add:
Of course, if you have a Mac, don’t bother trying to view live.com – as usual microsoft’s developers live in a monocultural Windows only world – the chances of them taking over the web when they stubbornly refuse to develop for other platforms are, thankfully, small!

Yet another update:
I see Joel Spolsky has also rounded on Live.com’s poor Firefox support and DHTML issues