Fascinating to see Nick Denton's take on our article. He takes a buzzsaw to our back-of-the-envelope estimates. I've been waiting to see what Nick would write, now that a certain other magazine has gotten around to posting its take on Denton. So far, nothing from Nick. Read the story and you'll notice that it includes estimates of Gawker Media's revenues that are considerably more ambitious than ours.
A few issues ago, we suggested a Short & Portly store as part of out Do This Get Rich cover package. Well, while we were reporting, we somehow overlooked Robert Stern, president and founder of Short Sizes, a Cleveland based retailer who sells -- drumroll, please -- clothes for short and portly men. He even has a website where I learned that Tom Cruise, Regis Philbin and Giorgio Armani qualify as short men. (Just when I thought I was perhaps the only good-looking short and portly man about town!).
We carry Shorts, Extra Shorts, Portly Shorts and Portly Extra Shorts. The men'swear industry is quite challenging with very few successful specialty stores surviving the change to a more casual lifestyle, the economic roller coaster we have been on recently and the consolidation within the industry.
So what is Robert's story?
I am 5'1.5" in height and after I finished law school I decided that the world had enough lawyers and what it needed was a good shorter man's clothier. In 1972 I took the plunge and we have developed into the nation's largest carrying distinctive apparel for men under 5'8".
Can you convince a Mac user to switch to a Windows machine? Of course you can, if you start espousing the benefits of standardized computing, software and feature compatibility, and lastly price. But you can never convince someone to use a PC that costs more than a fully equipped Apple PowerBook. Unless, of course, that PC happens to be a really tricked-out Voodoo laptop that runs a whopping $4,000. While reporting "The 22 Karat PC," I got a chance to use one of Voodoo's m360 laptops, and despite a paucity of funds, I am considering switching. Of course, there are thinsg about using a Mac that are pricelss -- for everything else, there's MasterCard. My review of the Voodoo m360 appears on my weblog today.
Microsoft released Microsoft Office for Mac 2004 last week, and after using it for two days I can deem it a hit. Why? One word -- Entourage! The email client is now truly enterprise-class, and thanks to some clever hacks works with Exchange servers seamlessly. It was a big shortcoming for Entourage, which always felt like a really poor and skinny cousin of Outlook. (Thank god for the skinny part.)
Entourage can back up your information with a click, the junk-mail filtering is superb compared to Apple’s own junk-mail service, which is beginning to show its age, and lastly, Entourage is leaner and faster. The new Entourage uses Outlook Web Access to work with an Exchange server -- non-tech types would not notice a difference.
Then there is a new feature called the Project Center. Now this, even Outlook for Windows does not have! Project Center allows you to maintain a central folder for every project you are undertaking and puts all files such as emails, contact information, calendar, and even non-Microsoft files into this virtual folder for easy one-click access. As a journalist, and a hyperactive blogger, I have many projects going at the same time, and for the first time in many years, I suddenly am making sense of the madness. For once, we Mac lovers have a better Outlook option, minus all those pesky viruses.
That alone is worth the $399 sticker shock on Mac Office 2004.
I couldn't let this gaffe by Reuters pass without comment: In an article about Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai's latest work, Reuters defines CGI as "Common Gateway Interface." Um, I'm pretty sure Wong was talking about computer-generated imagery, not a mid-'90s Internet technology for creating interactive Web pages.
As many bloggers have posted, there are now t-shirts that have video screens and speakers on them, as recently spotted in NextFest last weekend. But what hasn't come out until recently is what the whole story is behind these things. The Hollywood Reporter says that they're made by Brand Marketers right here in San Francisco. I'd like to know how those things work, exactly. What are they powered by? How long do they last? And more importantly, where can I get one?
The LA Timesreports that a cell-phone directory is coming soon. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of dispute about exactly how this should happen. Even Congress has gotten in the fight with H.R. 3558, aka the Wireless 411 Privacy Act, which would ensure an opt-in policy, unlike the current opt-out policy on landlines. But as the Times points out, the wireless companies will make money no matter what:
The carriers "are either going to make money by getting lots of people listed in the directory" and charging for its use, "or they they'll make money by charging people not to be in it," said Roger Entner, a wireless analyst for the Yankee Group.
Reuters has the story about how Steve Jobs is shuffling some execs around. The iPod's success has been pretty remarkable, particularly given the high price of the iPod mini. But as John Markoff pointed out recently in the NYT:
Two striking figures in Apple's most recent quarterly financial results, announced on April 14, underscore Jobs' new approach. In the last three months, Apple has sold 807,000 iPods, surpassing for the first time the number of Macintosh computers it sold (749,000). At the same time, revenue from products other than the Macintosh reached 39 percent of the total of $1.91 billion for the quarter, more than double the percentage two years ago.
Who knows what else that Steve has up his sleeve ... stay tuned.
As our own Om Malik points out, via Engadget, this idea of Rapid Messaging Service is pretty bogus. Check out what HeyAnita has to say about this "service":
Unlike push-to-talk: RMS is all about non-intrusive messaging and does not require that the recipient be available at the time the message is sent.
Since when was messaging intrusive?
Unlike voicemail: RMS is intentional messaging, while voicemail is the result of a failed attempt to make a live phone call.
Yeah, but usually when you get voicemail you'd rather talk to the person.
Unlike direct-to-voicemail: RMS works across carrier networks making it, like live phone calls, a truly ubiquitous communication solution.
Truly ubiquitous communication solution? Talk about corporate meaningless blather -- I guess by that definition all phone calls are "truly ubiquitous."
Unlike MMS: RMS is truly network interoperable, works across all handsets and does not require software to be downloaded on to the user's phone.
Uh, ok. Same goes for voicemail.
Unlike mobile email: RMS has no difficult provisioning requirements (as a matter of fact, RMS can be provisioned with one-click from the handset) and can be used hands-free because it is based on audio, not text.
Again, we already have this.