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Startups a Safer Bet Than Behemoths 378

Former Slashdot editor ScuttleMonkey raises his voice from the great beyond to say that "TechCrunch's Vivek Wadhwa has a great article that takes a look at difference between startups and 'established' tech companies and what they each mean to the economy and innovation in general. Wadhwa examines statistics surrounding job creation and innovation and while big companies may acquire startups and prove out the business model, the risk and true innovations seems to be living at the startup level almost exclusively. 'Now let's talk about innovation. Apple is the poster child for tech innovation; it releases one groundbreaking product after another. But let's get beyond Apple. I challenge you to name another tech company that innovates like Apple—with game-changing technologies like the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad. Google certainly doesn't fit the bill—after its original search engine and ad platform, it hasn't invented anything earth shattering. Yes, Google did develop a nice email system and some mapping software, but these were incremental innovations. For that matter, what earth-shattering products have IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle, or Cisco produced in recent times? These companies constantly acquire startups and take advantage of their own size and distribution channels to scale up the innovations they have purchased.'"

Submission + - Kindle Development Kit Announced (corporate-ir.net)

fractalVisionz writes: Amazon has just announced a Kindle Development Kit coming in the next month. It will be first released as a limited beta, so reserve you place in line fast.

From the press release:

The Kindle Development Kit enables developers to build active content that leverages Kindle's unique combination of seamless and invisible 3G wireless delivery over Amazon Whispernet, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, and long battery life of seven days with wireless activated. For example, Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews and more for restaurants in cities around the world, and Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles.

Additionally, the revenue sharing was announced, "User revenue will be split 70% to the developer and 30% to Amazon net of delivery fees of $0.15 / MB. Remember that unlike smart phones, the Kindle user does not pay a monthly wireless fee or enter into an annual wireless contract."


Monty Python Banks On the Long Tail Via YouTube 222

JTRipper writes "Monty Python seems to have done the right thing. Instead of issuing take down notices of their videos on YouTube, they are doing it better themselves with their own YouTube channel. They are putting all their clips (including snips from their movies) up in a decent resolution, with the only caveat being a link to buying the movies and TV episodes from Amazon."

On the Economics of the Kindle 398

perlow writes "Just how many books a year would you need to read before the cost of Amazon's Kindle is justified? The answer is not so cut-and-dried. If you're a college student and all of your texts were available on Kindle (possible but unlikely), you could recover the cost of the reader in a semester and a half. For consumers to break even with Kindle's cost in that time, they would have to be in the habit of buying and reading four new hardback books per month — if the convenience factor wasn't part of the equation. At two books per month, breakeven would be in three years." Here is the spreadsheet if you want to play with the numbers.

The Laptop Celebrates Its 40th Year 88

Wired has an interview with Alan Kay on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the idea of the laptop computer. Kay's vision, which he dubbed the "Dynabook," was for a 2-pound, 1-Mpixel color computing device. "... the Dynabook was never built. But it greatly inspired the devices we now call laptops, although it's taken four decades to slim the tech down to the point where usable computers actually weigh as little as two pounds. To honor his achievements, Mountain View's Computer History Museum on Wednesday will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary Dynabook. [Quoting Kay:] 'The Amazon Kindle is kind of a subset of a Dynabook — too much of a subset. The screen is too small, it is not very capable of dynamics, the keyboard is poor, etc. But it does have several limited service ideas that are good. The next version of a Kindle could be really exciting.'"
The Internet

Amazon EC2 Now More Ready for Application Hosting 149

For months now, I've been geeked about Amazon's EC2 as a web hosting service. But until today, in my opinion, it wasn't ready for prime time. Now it is, for two reasons. One, you can get static IPs, so if an outward-facing VM goes down you can quickly start another one and point your site's traffic to it without waiting for DNS propagation. And two, you can now separate your VMs into "physically distinct, independent infrastructure" zones, so you can plan to keep your site up if a tornado takes out one NOC. If I were developing a new website I'd host it there; buying or leasing real hardware for a startup seems silly. If you have questions, or especially if you know something about other companies' virtual hosting options, post comments -- let's compare notes.

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