Weekly Reader – Dec. 29, 2007 – TV, coffee, patents and Branson

This week’s interesting reads:

  • Futurist: Digital TV’s Mixed Signals (CQ) – Congressional Quarterly takes a look at the impact of government action/inaction on the development and adoption of technology. As we near the Feb. 2009 date when analog broadcasting in the United States will cease, CQ looks back at what happened when television first came in to being. Similar blame/credit could be assigned to the government for the division in the United States between two incompatible wireless technologies. via Mark Stencel
  • Don’t Fear Starbucks (Slate) – What happens to mom and pop coffeehouses when Starbucks moves in to town? According to the piece from Slate, business increases. As Starbucks educates local audiences on the value of high-priced coffee, independent coffeehouses benefit. I prefer independents because, unlike Starbucks, many of them have free WiFi. via Robert Franklin
  • Apple’s Piping Hot Innovation (Forbes) – In related coffee news, a recent Apple patent filing describes a “wireless system that would allow customers to place an order at a store using a wireless device such as a media player, a wireless personal digital assistant or a cellphone.” In theory, you’d be able to tap a button on your iPhone as you’re driving to Starbucks to place your order. If only it would tap into the nav system on your car to know that you’re headed to the Starbucks and save you that button click. Hmm… where’s my patent attorney?
  • 10 Questions for Richard Branson (TIME) – One of my favorite billionaires talks about global warming, risk taking, the state of the music market and dyslexia. “Life is a helluva lot more fun if you say yes rather than no,” Branson says. The podcast of the interview is worth a listen.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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