VON 2007

CTIA and General and Policy and social media and strategy and VON 2007Ashley on 29 Apr 2008 03:54 pm

Sadly, this is going to be my last post here at the Diner. I will be leaving my firm at the end of the week to go to the Hill, where I will be a legislative assistant for a Philadelphia member, and while I’ll always be a co-founder of the Diner, I’ll no longer be a contributor here.

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to write about some things that have been on my mind and leave you with some parting thoughts. I apologize in advance, but this is going to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, so loosen your belts…

First off- thanks!

I really want to take a minute and thank Chris for inviting me to help him in this venture. About two years ago, when Chris asked me if I wanted to help him out in starting a blog about wireless, I said, “But Chris, you’re the wireless guru, who’s gonna care what I have to say?” Well, Chris picked up his cell phone, held it up, and said, “Do you have one of these? That’s what I thought. You know plenty about wireless.” He believed in me, and I hope that I’ve helped him build the blog and develop a community that’s passionate about wireless like he wanted to! That brings me to my second point…

People in new media are AWESOME!

I suppose that if you are compelled to blog, you have an inherent interest in sharing your knowledge and in learning what other folks have to say. Well, I learned that to be the case pretty quickly working in the Diner. When Chris and I were first starting out, we were inundated with tips and suggestions from fellow bloggers. From Steve Garfield, who showed us how to use our new video camera, to Chris Brogan, who was willing to be our first interviewee, to Jeff Pulver who invited me to blog at VON 07 in San Jose, to Jonny Goldstein and the DC Media Makers for introducing us to folks and letting us get in on some live broadcasting, and to the people at CTIA who asked me to lend a hand when they were first getting into the blogosphere, everyone who does this wants to help others do it too, and I’d just like to say thank you. It’s the inclusiveness of these on-line communities that makes them so profound! Continue Reading »

General and Social Networking and VON 2007chris on 28 Jan 2008 09:42 am

The NY Times had an article last week discussing Twitter and how many news journalists were now utilizing the technology on the campaign trail. Ashley and I have been talking about Twitter since last Spring when we discovered it at the VON show in San Jose.

In any case, the article spurred me to think about Twitter and what I have seen since we started using the technology.

1) Mobile Social Networking – Twitter brings mobile social networking to life. In many instances, events have been started via Twitter and I have met Twitter friends during conferences and in major cities. Twitter has mobile functionality built into its platform so loading the website on your device is not clunky and is fast. Note to Evan Willams / Twitter – this is an area you can build on and other companies are trying to catch up. Continue Reading »

General and VON 2007chris on 02 Nov 2007 02:06 pm

VON Entrance   I just returned to the District of Communications after another insightful VON conference.  As always, great to see many friends attending the Video on the Net portion too. 

Instead of a full meal – here’s some hors d’oeuvres to chew on:

Mobile Envy – VON has always had panels on wireless (3G, WiFi & WiMax) but there seemed to be more attention than usual to folks / issues in wireless.  For instance, Tuesday morning’s keynotes were by Nokia and Sprint.  Amol Sarva also headlined a discussion about the upcoming 700 MHz auction and how his new coalition was backing Frontline wireless.

States have appetite for VON Coalition too - I had the opportunity to listen to what is occuring on the regulatory landscape for the VON Coalition.  It was very troubling (there are some growing international issues too).  It seems that a bunch of states are interested in regulating VoIP providers in various ways (sound familiar?).

Foneshow – It was great meeting with Erik Schwartz (CEO/Founder) of Foneshow.  They are doing some great stuff in wireless.  Basically, you can download (like a RSS feed) topics of interest (sports, news etc) to your mobile phone.  There are other ways this product can be utilized (campaigns, public safety alerts, advocacy) too.  Check them out…

Video on the Net – There are some exciting things going on in this space.  Specifically, I enjoyed hearing Ustream’s founder talk about the “live” opportunity on the web.  Live videoblogging / tv shows (Jonny’s Par-tay) / or even an episodic initiative like “35″ have potential.  On that note, I’m hoping to do some live videoblogging here at mobilediner.com in the future.


General and VON 2007chris on 29 Oct 2007 10:55 am

I’m flying to Boston this afternoon and looking forward to attending another VON show.

As always, the conference has some great keynote speakers.  I’ll probably do some blogging from the show.

Stay tuned…

General and mobile diner video and T-Mobile and VON 2007Ashley on 06 Jul 2007 09:22 am

This past Spring at VON 2007 in San Jose, Chris and I had the opportunity to meet with some real innovators in the blogging community. One such person was Chris Brogan, who is a Community Developer for Network2.tv and Video on the Net, as well as the co-founder of PodCamp.

Chris is a real leader in building communities, and was nice enough to take some time at the conference to share with us some of his experiences with the wireless carriers and his insights on developing a conversation with consumers. With some much appreciated video blogging tips from Steve Garfield, we filmed our first interview and were excited to add video to the diner. Unfortunately, as Chris explained in a previous post, we had some camera compatibility issues and couldn’t upload as soon as we would have liked.

Fortunately, we’ve salvaged the video and are able to finally share it with the rest of the diner. Enjoy!

Update: If you have problems viewing the video in the player, you can also access it at http://www.blip.tv/file/292586/.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

General and Policy and social media and VON 2007chris on 30 Apr 2007 09:43 am

We have entered a time that is different than any other period in business. Today, the power of the consumer is unprecedented. No longer can a company push down a message to the world. Today, it is a two-way conversation. One that can lead to building powerful brands and loyal customers.

The recent news about skype intimidating a blogger surprised me. Especially considering the way Skype represents themselves at conferences and in Washington. At the recent VON conference in San Jose, Niklas Zennstrom provided a quite rosy view of the company. Ironically, they are pushing a petition at the FCC to force carriers to open up their networks for any device to access the network or allowing any application to be downloaded on the phone. Although Skype has been clear that they will not allow the same type of open access on their application.

With regard to social media, I think Skype blew it here. It seems that they had an active advocate who both promoted and at times criticized Skype. It didn’t matter and the lawyers have put the blogger on notice. Skype should ask Michael Dell about embracing subjective criticism on the internet or Netflix’s Reed Hastings about engaging a blogger and turning them into a powerful advocate.

The wireless industry has a great opportunity to join the conversation and learn from consumers. Skype’s decision to silence criticism is a big step in the wrong direction.

dish disclosure – our firm represents CTIA and opposes Skype’s petition to enforce Carterfone rules on wireless. 

Social Networking and VON 2007Ashley on 10 Apr 2007 10:39 am

This past December, back when I was just a wee tyke of a blogger, I wrote my first mobile diner post on mobile social networking.  I explained, “Phones are messaging devices in and of themselves.  As long as mobile social networking options revolve around simply alerting people of activity on their page or messaging, opportunities for growth are limited.”  As it turns out, this is exactly what Twitter is, and it is exactly what alot of people want.

Facebook has also been developing Twitteresque themes: it implemented a “newsfeed” and will soon be reorganizing profiles so that status changes will be the most prominent feature of the page.

But what is the difference between Facebook status updates and Twitter?  One is that the former isn’t completely mobile, yet.  Another is that they appeal to vastly different age demographics.  The Twitter phenomenon has grown substantially over the month of March, and as Chris noted previously, it created major buzz at VON.  But, as Tamar notes, it doesn’t seem to have caught on with the sought after high school/college crowd yet.  Perhaps it never will, since these networks have more physical bounds than those of the tech/blogger community. 

What do people in the diner think?  Will Twitter replace group SMSing for the demographic that grew up IMing?  Or will it stagnate as a microblogging medium for those who already blog?



Apple and General and Sony and VON 2007chris on 04 Apr 2007 04:09 pm

As many of you know, we want to add video to the menu at the mobile diner. We are hoping to have future conversations with tech gurus, policymakers and consumers. One of the many reasons for attending VON was to soak up the expertise of those who are creating great content on the web. On that note, we shot our first interview in HD and it looks great (on the camera). However, uploading and editing the film has been the most frustrating experience known to mankind.

The Sony HDR-SR1 is an amazing camcorder. Most of the functionality on the camera is easy to use. For instance, I like the ease of switiching to video or camera (and it takes great pictures). The problems with this product deal with editing / lack of editing software for the AVCHD format that Sony and Panasonic pioneered.

Problem (1) – If you have a MAC, you are basically out of luck. The AVCHD is not compatible with Apple products (Final Cut Pro, iMovie). Supposedly, you can work around the incompatibility by recording in SD (we have not tried this yet) but that defeats the purpose. I called Sony’s technical support this afternoon and there was no intel about working with Apple or information when software would be available.

Problem (2) – The software that Sony provides is weak. Once you upload the video on the PC, you are highly limited in terms of editing your film (basic video clipping).

Ultimately, I am hopeful that AVCHD editing software will be available soon. Otherwise, Sony should disclose on the box that this camera is not a wise choice for those that want to make or edit films. On a related note, here’s some reviews from Alx Klive and Final Cut producer that provide more technical commentary and suggestions.

Any thoughts?

Update – Unfortunately, no announcement at NAB about a program to edit AVCHD on Apple.  Thus, we bought a Canon HV20 and our Sony has been shelved.

General and Mobile TV and VON 2007chris on 02 Apr 2007 09:23 am

According to a study reported on 901am.com, “only 5% of people with broadband connections in the United States, approximately five million people, use the mobile internet, despite 60% of them having a mobile internet device.” My question for diners is what can stimulate this market?

Ashley covered the VON show a few weeks ago and I believe that more mobile video options combined with more coverage (3G, WiFi or WiMax) could be the right medicine. With regard to mobile video, I feel that mobile video cams like the Nokia N93 and N95 offer bloggers, citizen journalists and others a chance to broadcast anywhere.

Steve Garfield has demonstrated his skills in this area. As Ashley mentioned in her coverage, Steve can record, watch and edit video with his N95. We not only need more devices on the market but we need folks who can also teach us how to optimize the features. On that note, perhaps the carriers should set up something like Apple’s ProCare package. As Apple users know, for an additional $100, you can get tutored by Apple gurus on how to utilize your Mac. Phones these days are loaded with great stuff. However, in many instances, the phone is not user-friendly and reading the thick user manual is not an option.

Ninety percent of revenue in the wireless business comes from voice and text messaging. The carriers are having some success in growing data revenues but they are counting on broadband to drive future revenues. Perhaps, more user generated video content (not just downloading but uploading), more Rocketbooms and more Steve Garfields will help unleash the full potential of the wireless revolution.

General and Social Networking and VON 2007chris on 26 Mar 2007 04:59 pm

There was a great deal of buzz out in Cali about Twitter.  I had heard about this service but didn’t think too much of it initially. However, after being at VON and around many tech gurus who are utilizing Twitter — I now understand the power of this application.

Twitter satisfies the need of those who want to be connected at all times. In this new era of communications, that’s a great deal of folks (especially, under 25 demographic).  I consider Twitter a new flavor of blogging or short-form – limited to 140 characters – blogging.  You can IM or SMS your latest thoughts or what you are doing.  Accordingly, your friends can subscribe and get updates on your latest moves.  If you thought “Crackberry” was an addiction that folks couldn’t shake. It looks like Twitter is more powerful and the new drug on the scene.

I think Twitter is great for another reason – collaboration. The carriers didn’t create this application. Obvious did. Consumers are enjoying this product and both – the carriers and Obvious – will reap the financial benefits (via text). Twitter plans to offer more and has recently introduced twittervision. This allows the user to see a Google map of where everyone is twittering.  It’s very cool….

Do you twitter?

General and Mobile TV and Politics and Press and VON 2007Ashley on 25 Mar 2007 03:33 pm

Steve Garfield, videoblogger at SteveGarfield.com and Boston correspondent for Rocketboom, gave an inspring presentation on “A New Look at Content.”  (Aside from the presentation itself, Steve was nice enough to take some time with Chris and I to give us some interviewing and video blogging tips for the diner, which were very much appreciated.) 

Steve has become a leader in videoblogging, and I highly suggest that anyone interested in starting a video blog check out his tips

For Steve, cell phones have become an integral way of capturing, producing, and sharing content immediately.  He currently uses the Nokia N93 and is testing the Nokia N95.  As you will see in the presentation, Steve shot and edited a clip in 15 minutes on a train with the Nokia N95, and then later uploaded it via wifi.  Here is a picture of Steve filming with his N93 during the presentation:

steve-garfield-2.jpg Continue Reading »

General and Mobile TV and VON 2007Ashley on 25 Mar 2007 02:37 pm

As Chris explained, our ‘Jetblued’ traveling experience caused a bit of a delay in getting back to DC.  Incidentally, my Thursday evening post has turned into a Sunday afternoon post.  Tardiness aside, the insights shared at the conference were invaluable, and I am truly grateful to Jeff Pulver for inviting me to cover Video on the Net. 

Shelly Palmer, managing Partner of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC, led the Video on the Net conference discussions.  He opened the conference by discussing the many different models for Internet TV, such as video-snacking, download-to-own, and streaming, as well as the three revenue models for TV and all content on the Internet- I pay, You pay, Someone else pays.  However, while many promote the ‘end of TV as we know it,’ Palmer emphasized that that is not yet the case, noting that while production capabilities have been democratized, promotion has not.  He cited the fact that 20-25% of advertising on television is for TV programming itself.  The Internet does not currently have a model for such promotion, and until this is achieved, Internet video will not eliminate TV as we know it, but rather will evolve independently, with its own advertising and revenue models. Continue Reading »

General and VON 2007chris on 24 Mar 2007 11:32 am

Ashley and I finally made our way back to DC. However, we got stuck in Arizona on Thursday because of severe weather in Phoenix (our connecting airport to DC). This includes being “Jetblued” on the runway in Tucson where we were forced to wait out the storm…. Overall, it was quite an adventure in Arizona but it would take a great deal more to damper my post-VON mood.

With regard to the show, I always come back from VON rejuvenated and with new ideas. It was after the show in Boston that finally inspired me to launch the Mobile Diner and build a community of wireless enthusiasts. If you are interested in what is going on with the intersection of social / new media and technology — the VON show is for you. Continue Reading »

General and Policy and VON 2007Ashley on 20 Mar 2007 09:29 pm

VON Screen

Jeff Pulver kicked off the conferences with three announcements regarding the state of the evolution and development of IP Communications.  

First, in a move reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ announcement that Apple was dropping “Computers” from its name at Macworld 2007, Jeff announced that the “IP” should be dropped from the term “IP Communications.” He explained that IP Communications has developed to the point that it is now an incumbent industry itself, and will become the new target for disruption. 

Because IP Communications is now susceptible to disruption and regulation, his second announcement of the morning was the creation of the Video on the Net Alliance, an international alliance which will “advocate on behalf of the emerging video on the Net community, focusing on educating the industry, users and government about the promise of internet video and the best policy framework to foster innovation and evolution of internet video.”

Jeff’s third announcement was that Network2 filed a petition this morning with the FCC for declaratory ruling that Internet video is not subject to regulation under Titles III or VI of the Communications Act, which regulate video franchising and content.  Jeff explained that the FCC should be “hands off” regarding Internet TV, and that he hopes that this morning’s filing will be an opportunity to set the tone for regulation in other countries.

Vinod Khosla, the second speaker, discussed the limitless potential of the device that “used to be your phone,” and the many software developments that are changing the role of cell phones and wireless networks.  He cited Moka 5, a company he has invested in which allows you to virtually tote your PC on a USB drive.  Khosla also spoke to the growth of the Internet, and noted that even amidst the Internet burst, “Net growth has never stopped, and it won’t stop anytime soon.” 

Niklas Zennstrom, founder and CEO of Skype and co-founder of Joost, discussed the wealth of product innovation occurring within Skype.  He explained that 44% of time on the web is spent communicating (e-mail, IM’s, VoIP, etc.), and that there is ample room to grow the voice component of this communication. 

Another exciting announcement this morning was the winner of Network2′s “How to Watch Internet TV” contest, which asked people to submit videos showing how people can watch Internet TV.  The winner, Mike Ambs (for his very creative video “Friend #1 & #2“), received a “Prize Patrol”-sized check for $25,000 for his submission. 

General and VON 2007Ashley on 20 Mar 2007 09:25 pm


VON Entrance

Chris and I made it to San Jose last night, and have spent the day at the concurrent VON and Video on the Net Conferences, which explore the future of communications and innovation on the Internet.

Video on the Net Screen









Steve Garfield









Before the opening session, we got a chance to meet Steve Garfield, one of the pioneers in vlogging.

Vinod Khosla

We also got to speak with Vinod Khosla, venture capitalist and founder of Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures, about the future of wireless networks.