Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Sunday Watch: The trouble with technology are the technology troubles..

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 20, 2007

I've been hampered in my posting lately because my usually trusty Thinkpad X31 crashed early last week and I have to send for the recovery CD and install a new drive.

Vid Shots and Shorts

Plus, I've been trying to learn how to use my Sony high-definition camera and load it into an editing suite and then publish here on SVW and on podtech.net. It has been a very good learning experience and part of the solution means I have to get a Mac.

I've also realised, (again) how things are not made simpler by technology, but often are made more complex. My Sony video camera uses a hi-def format called AVCHD, which Panasonic also supports. But editing suites don't--and it is only just now that products such as from Ulead are coming out with editing tools...but it is about 6 months after the cameras were introduced you'd think Sony and Panasonic would lay the groundwork ahead of time, they are certainly large enough. Does this show how much or little they care about third party support?

I hear the AVCHD format has many good qualities but it is an example of how everyone is overlaying a proprietary layer on top of existing standards, which makes a mockery of the whole standards process.

This strategy is not new, tech companies have always sought the proprietary layer because that is where the margins are excellent. And if you can get there with a de facto industry standard, such as Intel and Microsoft--it is a gold mine. (And that is why we no longer have de facto industry standards being established.)

In open source you make the money on services, which is people dependent and less scalable and profitable. But it is still a good business. Open source puts money in people's pockets but they have to earn it by the hour.

IP or software licenses--that's money that you make without having to get out of bed. Much more attractive.

BTW: My frustrations with all the video stuff will be solved very shortly, and that is when you will see more video on SVW and elsewhere.

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