My breakfast with Scoble

Nut graf: I’ve been educated.

I had breakfast this morning with Robert Scoble and his family at their home as we watched the England/Portugal World Cup match on their 60-inch Sony HDTV. Last week I responded to a blog post Scoble wrote about his HD setup by saying that I didn’t “get” HD. Seemed like an awful lot of money for television. Scoble, ever the evangelist, responded with an invite for me to watch with him.

Yes, HDTV is pretty – damned pretty. Sharp? Yes. Bright? Yes. Expensive? Damn straight. I’m still not sure why I need to watch the news (not that I ever watch TV news), or sitcom reruns in HD. Where it really seems to shine, though, is with feature programs – sports, documentaries (think Discovery channel), movies. As I said to Scoble this morning, if I could get the Speed channel and F1 races in HD, that might tip the scales (I’m surprised that Bernie Ecclestone hasn’t figured out how to charge the networks more for an HD feed). A total HD ecosystem would certainly provide nice viewing (as he pointed out, Xbox 360 is really an HD content delivery system), and I’m sure it’s in my future, but not now.

As I was leaving the Scoble residence this morning (after Portugal’s keeper prevented England from advancing), he asked if I was going to get and HD system. No, I said, Julie told me not to come home with any boxes from Best Buy. “It’s only $130 a month” he replied, grinning. Get it before the next baby arrives, he suggested. Hmm. Maybe once my Sony tube screen finally kicks it.

Thanks to Robert, Maryam, and Patrick for their hospitality this morning and good luck with the new jobs and the move!

Don’t know about Scoble? Read up on him here, here, here, and here.

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Making friends

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, knows how to make friends. He just finished the first discussion round here at Gnomedex and the q&a was like skeet shooting for him and a spectator sport for the rest of us. Good fun (unless you were on the receiving end).

Best line of the day so far: “Don’t use my facts against me”

Gnomedex 6

I’ll be at Gnomedex 6 for the next few days. Should be a good time. Sen. John Edwards is speaking tomorrow just before lunch. Julie and I are ditching the party tomorrow night at the Museum of Flight so we can catch Superman Returns for far less cash. Sad, I know, but 50 bucks is 50 bucks. Any Gnomedexers care to join us?

Saturday will be very interesting. Scoble responded to my earlier post about HDTV by inviting me over to watch England kick the living crap out of Portugal at 8 a.m. on his enormous screen. Julie has warned me against coming home with an HD jones.

If you’re curious about Gnomedex, head over to Flickr for a constantly updated stream of photos. I’ll have my own stuff up on Flickr if you’re interested. For the über geek in you, play this song.

Note to Scoble: I still don’t get HD


Count me among those who still don’t “get” HD. I’ve seen the demos and I’ve seen friends’ HD sets (not as nice as yours, though) and I still don’t get it. In fact, I was in the Sony Style shop at University Village last week getting a Blu-Ray demo on their brand new demo unit and walked away shaking my head (even after the excitable young fellow from Sony showed me the Kill Bill HD/SD split screen about five times). I don’t see it.

Usually I’m a guy who latches on to new technology as soon as I see it. What did Chris Pirillo call us last year at Gnomedex? The Lunatic Fringe? I haven’t seen the light when it comes to HD. Yes the picture is pretty, yes it’s crisp, yes it’s big. But $4,000 for a television? Either you’re the one smoking the good dope or I just need to be educated.

Can you explain why HD should matter to me? I have a 2-year-old in the house so TV time for us adults is limited. The TiVo always finds us nice stuff to watch and I’m fairly happy with the 26“ Sony WEGA CRT screen I have now. So to enjoy HD I’d have to get:

  • a new screen
  • a new DVD player
  • a new cable box and additional HD service
  • a new TiVo
  • an XBox 360 to replace my older XBox
  • a mile of insanely-priced cable

Is that about right? Again, why should HD matter to me? (maybe it shouldn’t?) I’ll be at Gnomedex next week and I’d love it if you could explain it to me, Scoble. Just what Julie needs: me coming home drooling over a $4,000 television. Sort of makes my current $130 DS Lite jones seem like an easy sell, no?


Users and developers partying together

I came home from Gnomedex Friday night not feeling good at all. The day’s presentations had been great but I really felt like I had little to offer since I’m not a developer and am really just a consumer of the technologies on the day’s agenda. I drove home in a bit of a foul mood – even debating if I should come back for Saturday’s presentations or just listen to the live stream.

But I went, and man am I glad I did. The message the was driven home to me was that users like me are extremely valuable to the process. The room was repeatedly referred to as not just a group on the “bleeding edge” or the ultimate early adopters, but as the lunatic fringe. 300 people willing to try out raw new technologies and create markets, new products, and new ideas from them. This is the group of people who turned blogging into a word that many Americans have heard, convinced Apple to implement RSS in Safari and podcast support in the upcoming iTunes 4.9, and who convinced Microsoft to support RSS in Longhorn. The room was packed with bloggers, podcasters, video bloggers, and developers of web sites like Technorati, PubSub, and Bloglines, as well as developers of critical RSS applications like NetNewsWire, FeedDemon, and RSSBandit. Not to mention inventors of the underlying technology (thanks, Dave). But none of that would have been possible if users hadn’t picked it up, kicked it around a bit, given feedback to the developers, and helped make it all useful.

So, Adam has been correct all along, it is all about users and developers partying together. That’s what makes technology work, and what makes it relevant in the real world.