My sister’s a quilter and Google mugged her!

On my home page you’ll always see a link to Portrait Quilts, my sister’s web site where for several years she has sold quilts, pillows, and tote bags printed with customer photographs. This is how she makes her living, selling on the web and through photo stores. Buy one, please. Or if you are a quilter she’ll print your photos on cloth so you can quilt them yourself.

Then approximately three months ago Google decided that Portrait Quilts does not exist.

You can find a Google listing for portraitquilts.com, if you search for that specific string, but if you look for photo quilts or any similar search term, Portrait Quilts — which for years was always the top result — no longer […]

I was, uh, wrong: Chromecast does what Google claims

FallonChromeA couple weeks ago when Google introduced its Chromecast HDMI dongle I wrote a column wondering whether it was really such a good product or simply good demoware? Now that I have my own Chromecast and have been playing with it for a few days I have to admit I was wrong. Chromecast appears to be every bit as good as Google claims. That’s not to say it’s perfect (more below) but pretty darned good.

What I really doubted was Google’s claim that the Chromecast could turn on your HDTV, switch the HDMI input, and throw content onto the big screen all in one seamless succession of events. It wasn’t that any […]

Google ChromeCast — Fabulous product or fabulous demo?

chromecastYesterday Google announced a product called ChromeCast — a $35 HDMI dongle that’s essentially YouTube’s answer to Apple TV. While the event was more Googlish than Applesque (the venue was too small, the screens were too small, the presenters weren’t polished, and as a result the laughs and applause didn’t come) the product itself was astonishing — or appeared to be.

The press today picked-up on the most obvious headline item in the announcement — the $35 selling price which drops to $11 if you factor in three months of free Netflix per dongle even for existing Netflix customers. That’s Google attaching an $8 bill to every ChromeCast — something Apple would never do.

But […]

Silicon Valley conquers Hollywood, part 3 — think small, not big

Some readers of my last column in this series seem to think it was just about the movie business but it wasn’t. It was about the recorded entertainment industry, which includes movies, broadcast and cable television, video games, and derivative works. It’s just that the movie business — like the mainframe computer business — learned these lessons first and so offers fine examples.

Whether from Silicon Valley or Seattle, technology companies see video entertainment as a rich market to be absorbed. How can Hollywood resist? The tech companies have all the money. Between them Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel and Microsoft have $300 billion in cash and no debt — enough capital to buy anything. Apple all by itself could buy the entire entertainment industry, though […]

Silicon Valley conquers Hollywood, part 2 — There’s no business like show business

theproducersA friend of mine who is a securities lawyer in New York worked on the 1985 sale of 20th Century Fox by Marvin Davis to Rupert Murdoch. He led a group of New York attorneys to Los Angeles where they spent weeks going over contracts for many Fox films. What they found was that with few exceptions there were no contracts. There were signed letters of intent (agreements to agree) for pictures budgeted at $20-$50 million but almost no actual contracts. Effectively business was being done, movies were being made, and huge sums of money were being transferred on a handshake. That’s how Hollywood tends to do business and it doesn’t go down very well […]