Kiosk Video rentals growing rapidly, but for how long?

There is a very distinct trend in video rentals. Kiosk rentals are increasing rapidly, as kiosks appear more frequently in grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and quick-serve restaurants, according to research by the NPD Group.

Kiosks rentals are expanding rapidly that I wouldn’t be surprised if kiosks are available at gas station convenience stores in the near future. In fact, Kiosk rentals have grown way faster than DVD rental subscriptions (ala Netflix), which have only grown 2% in the last year. Kiosk rentals are popular for 2 reasons;

1. They are relatively cheap at around $1 per day for a DVD rental
2. They are easily accessible – one could simply rent a DVD on the way home from the grocery store;

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Skype apologizes for outage and offers 30 minutes of calling

Skype apologizes for the worldwide outage last week that had most users unable to use Skype services. Below is an email from skype CEO regarding the outage and offering 30 minutes of free calling to landline phones (note: some information in email letter has been modified to protect privacy).

Sorry for any inconvenience

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Skype Out – no really it is OUT!

skype logo The blogosphere and the twittersphere is aflame with the news that Skype has an outage, making it clear that this outage is BIG – in terms of news and in terms of the duration of outage.

With more than 500 million friends, it is not surprising that many many people notice when Skype is down. According to a Skype blog post, about two thirds (2/3) or users still cannot log in. Skype is working on activating new ‘supernodes’, but at this moment, I cannot even get to the Skype blog .

An afterlife for smartphones

Smartphones are clearly becoming a commonplace phenomenon. In the USA, smart-phones now comprise more than 20% of all cellular phones, and this number is expected to rise to more than 40% in a few years.

What’s most interesting about smartphones is that, unlike feature phones, smartphones can have a useful second life.

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Bump my iPhone and I’ll call you

bumptechnologies_logo.gif Imagine meeting someone new or a friend a colleague after a long time and you decide to exchange phone numbers with that person. Exchanging a phone number the usual way would mean asking the other person for his/her contact information, typing in his/her name and phone number, storing it in the phone’s address book, calling the other person, and then having the person type in your name and storing your information.

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Skype moves into the Asterisk IP-PBX

digium-asterisk_logo.gifskype_logo.png

Last month Skype announced an agreement with Digium, the primary developer of the asterisk open-source IP-PBX software, to enable Skype from Asterisk. What this means is that one could make skype calls, even long distance and International telephone calls, from your office office phone as well as receive skype calls on your office phone. The initial versions will only support voice, with video support to be supported in the future.

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When its awkward to talk to someone……just leave a voicemail

slydial_logo.gifA Boston-based company called MobileSphere has just announced a service called Slydial to send a voicemail to any mobile phone in the U.S. without having the risk of the called party answering the call. Anyone can send a voicemail by calling 267-SLYDIAL (267-759-3425) and entering the phone number of any U.S. mobile subscriber. The service is free, but you have to listen to a 10-second audio advertisement.

What MobileSphere has done is to figure out a way to connect you directly with different U.S. cell phone providers voicemail systems.

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Telephony Usage among U.S. Adults shows Cord-cutting continuing

Harris Interactive, a market research firm, has conducted a survey of 9,132 adults conducted in 4Q of 2007 to find out the telephony usage patterns of U.S. adults. The survey shows that about 14% of adults are cord-cutters, up from about 10% in 2006. The percentage of adults with landline phones has dropped slightly to 79% from 81%. This shows that the number of people who use a cell phone exclusively for voice communication (i.e. have no landline phone), also called cord-cutters, is increasing.

The Chart and the table below show the telephony usage patterns among U.S. adults

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Will “Gmail Custom Time” become reality!

On 3/31, I noticed this new “New! Gmail Custom Time” notice on Gmail. Curious to know what it was, I clicked on it but the link didn’t work at that time. I was surprised that a Google link was not working, but didn’t take much notice beyond that.

Turns out this was an April Fool’s joke (The link started working on 4/1). I didn’t fall for it, because I heard about the joke before I got to the link on 4/1 (shown below), but I didn’t realize the joke on 3/31 either.

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