Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google Video Store

Yesterday, Larry Page announced that a Google Video Store will be available soon. The announcement came at his key note speech in Las Vegas. The store will provide users with the option to by various shows permanently or rent them for a period of time for prices ranging from $0.99 to $3.95. Google continues its trend of angering all other technology companies by taking a step above Apple’s Video Store and offering REAL shows and more variety. The shows you purchase will be linked to your account and you will be able to watch them from any computer. The store is no big news to most Google Video users; it is just the completion of the “put a price on your video” option.
The immobility of the videos prompts me to speculate of a possible wireless device to be manufactured by Google or its partners to move the media to your television. The Google PC announcement never came at Mr. Page’s speech. In question time Larry Page denied that Google is working on a PC and saying they have partners for that. Instead of a Google PC, the Google Video Store and the Google Pack were announced to the public.
I am looking forward to the official unveiling of the Google Video Store. I will be sure to buy myself some old “I Love Lucy” episodes for 99 cents each.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Canada vs. Russia

Today Russia lost 5 – 0 to Canada in the gold medal match at Junior Hockey World Cup. It is time like these that make me struggle with my identity. On the one hand I am a Russian patriot; on the other hand I enjoy Canada. I decided that I would be sad at the Russian defeat for two key reasons. The main reason is that I am Russian and I need to hold onto my Russian pride. The second reason is that most people will be happy that Canada won, and I want to be a thorn in their side.
Picking between Russia and Canada is one of the hardest choices for me when it comes to allegiance. I mean picking between something like Russia and Ukraine, or Canada and U.S.A is a no brainer. In the resent Gasprom affair between Russia, Ukraine and Europe, I was quick to side with my motherland. I found myself ridiculing a Ukrainian on the radio who spoke for the Ukrainian side of the issue, because his points were absurd. I was also deeply disappointed when the EU did not give Russia or Gasprom any support against the thieving Ukrainian government. Ukraine spoke like we were raising prices unjustly, while we were just trying to bring them to the market standard instead of selling gas for ¼ of its price to those orange revolutionaries.
In the end, hockey is not a big part of my life. From a purely sport view, I have no allegiance to either team. The only thing binding me to the Russian team is national pride. What really matters is that the Finns beat the Americans and kicked them off the podium.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Book Review: The Da Vinci Code

My affair with the Da Vinci Code started when I learn it was voted as the number one book of all time in some rather big internet survey. I knew that the book was not that good, since I saw many other pop novels above classics on that list, but my curiosity was stirred. A couple of weeks ago I finally picked up the copy of Dan Brown’s book that was laying around my house from when my mother left it there to collect dust. After reading the first twenty pages I was astonished. Now please do not misinterpret my astonishment as some sort of praise, for I was astonished at just how bad this book was. I found Mr. Brown’s writing style atrocious and could not bear to read any more of the book. I discussed the novel in a phone conversation with my mother and she reinvigorated by her comments that the book was an entertaining read.
I took her word for it and got back to reading the book. I finally finished it a little while ago while coming back from my ski trip. I have to say, the book did not cease to amaze me as I read through it. Once again, I am not trying to compliment; it was defiantly not the story twists that were amazing me. I was astonished at the fact that a book that was this badly written, with such badly developed characters, actually got popular.
After thinking about the book and the author for a while, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Brown was not an idiot, but in fact a genius. He has made a book that is bland in its wording so any American can read it and filled with cheap page-turning tactics. He added the sacrilege to it to gain the attention of readers, and made a bestseller.
I have nothing positive to say about the book, and very few general comments on it. The ending in particular left unimpressed with Dan Brown’s writing abilities. I do not recommend this book to who enjoys a well written peace and I have no hopes for the movie. This book might make a good beach mystery, but that it is all that it deserves. I am ashamed to see that it was voted the best book of all time.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Google PC

Sorry for the long absence of posts, everyone. I have recently been lazy, playing Fallout Tactics and leaving for skiing. However, I am going to try to get back into the swing of things after not posting for around a month. I have three topics I want to post on, and that should make for three days straight of posts. Hopefully I will have more ideas by the end of those three days. Maybe I will even decide that eventually I will have to post about the Canadian elections. For now, I will avoid politics and Canada for that matter and talk about Google.

On Friday, many are expecting Google to unveil a barebones PC running a Google OS or some device of the sort. The no-frills PC is expected to be unveiled this Friday by Larry Page during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The computer is expected to follow many ideas of the Mac Mini in making itself small and cost-effective. Since the speculated PC would not use Windows or other Microsoft products, it can cost under $200.
The biggest shock of the mainstream speculation about Friday’s announcement is Google’s partnership with Wal-Mart. Google enthusiasts speculate that Google will work with Wal-Mart in getting the hardware to the user. I find the news particularly interesting because only a short while ago, Wal-Mart was said to be finding ways to work against Google, because they were afraid the search engine could divert people form their stores.
Google has not confirmed any of the rumors, simply stating that “we do not comment on rumor and speculation”.

The Computer
I find the Google PC as an interesting way to introduce Google and Google OS to the shopper. However, I am not as optimistic as many speculators on such a drastic release. I am not sure if Google wants to throw itself into the world of low profit margin PCs. Through Google OS they would be able to propagate their adds, search engine and other software, but to who? Most people who would buy up these PCs are most likely Google users already. If Google is unveiling some sort of consumer hardware then I think it is more likely to be of the mobile sort. A device to harness the power of the Wi-Fi network Google has started to build. Google has recently been cooperating with Opera, a web browser company. Opera, on their part, has been working on Opera Mini, a browser made for low end Java-enabled mobile devices. I understand a Google device would most likely not need Opera Mini, but what Opera is doing shows interest towards mobile communication and I believe Google shares that interest.
Personally, I do not think Google is ready to leap into the consumer PC market right now. I think what Google needs to unveil first is a server PC. A cheap PC, running a server version of Google OS that is tailor made to work well with the Google Network. The Server PC would be a way for companies to have cheap servers that are easier to access by anyone using Google search. After setting their groundwork in Google servers, Google could expand out to making computers for the general public and creating that Google sub-internet I dreamed about not only through software but with their own hardware to back it all up.

The Alliance
The possible cooperation with Wal-Mart seemed foolish to me at first but after a bit more thought I realized that it is ingenious. If Wal-Mart is afraid of Google and thinking of measures to work against them, then why not subdue Wal-Mart and not have a threat to worry about? Working with Wal-Mart would be the best way for Google to reduce hostility from the giant. With Google and Wal-Mart cooperating together, the people at Wal-Mart would have much less reason to hatch ideas on combating against Google.
Even with that justification, the deal still seems strange to me.

For now all the Google PC information is not true information, but mere speculation. Google is a rather secretive company, and I guess we will not know what they are unveiling until the speech on Friday. I will keep looking into the matter and post more on the matter if anything materializes in Larry Page’s address.

Labels: ,