Particle Debris (week ending 5/8) Sun, Sparcs and Kindling

Will humans become obsolete? That's a question that has more and more relevance as time goes on. Michael Swaim pondered five technical avenues that could lead to human obsolescence on Monday. The next logical question to ask is, do any of the products or philosophies of Apple tend to support those avenues or prevent them? Food for thought. Maybe I'll speak more on that next week.

On Tuesday, Bob Cringely got some press with his notion that Apple should use its riches to buy the rights to a lot of current TV content and use that as a way to solidify their position as a content provider and avoid the vagaries of Hulu, advertising supported content and the general defocus of Internet TV.

On the same day, Disney's Robert Iger made some comments about his company's 30 percent stake in Hulu, almost as if it were a rebuttal. According to Smart Money Mr. Iger said that, "Disney's relationship with Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) online media download story won't be compromised by making the same content available free of charge on Hulu because some consumers want to pay for commercial-free content that they can put on a hard drive and use however they please."

So it appears that the TV studios have a fairly good understanding of their various outlets, their demographics, and the ROI for each. All of us who would hope for clarity and homogeneity and focus, all wrapped up in the Apple TV, are barking up the wrong tree. Or are we?

We are constantly faced by the dangers of politicians who either engage in foolish, non-technical behavior for political gain ... or ... try to enact laws out of ignorance of the technology. An example of the first case is bringing charges against Craig's List for content posted by users. Federal law already protects Craig's List. In the second case, we have politicians meddling in the design of Internet browsers. Have you ever pondered the meaning of this headline? "P2P bill could regulate Web browsers, FTP clients."

Also on Tuesday, Sascha Segan, one of the people I follow on Twitter (@saschasegan), pointed out how an Apple "iPad" or, as we call it at TMO the iPod super touch, could give the Kindle DX a really hard time. Neither product is shipping yet, but at least Amazon has put its cards on the table. Can Apple catch up? They probably can if the iPad is announced at WWDC.

On Wednesday, Steven Sande wrote about the "Six things I learned from losing my iPhone 3G". Sobering stuff. High recommended.

Also on Wednesday, Eric Stoffle wrote about "Surviving the Twitter Learning Curve." I've written my own articles about how to approach Twitter from a technical professional standpoint, but it's always good to hear it from someone else too. Check it out.

No sooner than I start thinking about the disintegration of TV Internet than ABC announces a new YouTube Channel. Tell you what. Every time a network announces some new Internet TV initiative, they have to add it to a single portal page that clearly displays all their outlets. And have a search window. All I wanna do is have some fun: search the episode guide for a favorite show, then have the portal tell me where I can find it. No wonder DIRECTV subscriptions are skyrocketing. Maybe some people do want organizational clarity and focus -- and high quality high-definition -- in their TV viewing.

Finally, on Friday, John Paczkowski at All Things Digital wrote an important article about Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's approach to the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Some pundits had surmised that maybe Oracle would shed Sun's investment in the Sparc chip that powers Sun's UNIX desktops and servers.

Well, um, guess again.

In fact, Oracle plans to pour more money into Sparc chip technology because Mr. Ellison believes that optimizing the Sparc hardware for database applications can give them vertical integration and help in the war against IBM.

Clearly, Mr. Ellison understands the concept of the integration of hardware and software to obtain a competitive edge. He must have had a latte recently with Steve Jobs. The announcement also gives me a good feeling that Oracle won't screw with Java.

So, Mr. Ballmer, Oracle, IBM, and Apple all have their own vertically integrated hardware and UNIX to throw at you. And then there's Google batting clean up. Sleep well.

Technical Word of the Week (TWoW)

Digital Native (n.) Someone who grew up in the digital age and whose values were formed in that age. Thanks to Susan Blum and her book: "My Word" which explains why young people are so ready to rip, share and plagiarize.