Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Open-Source Product Ideas

It makes sense in programming to work collaboratively with other coders on a piece of software. After all, the more great minds donating time and ideas the better. Is this concept really unique to software development though? Or could it be ported to other industries? Apparently, it's a trend that started a few years ago. I actually always wondered how it is that product development teams seem to think of everything, but it turns out that a lot of consumers have lent a hand to some producers for a little while now. I suppose this has always been happening through focus groups and such, but is that enough? One MIT professor argues that these companies should actively seek out these innovators, who are called the "lead users" in that field. Could the whole process of product development cycles revolutionize? As many of you can probably guess, most products are created to fulfill some need rather than outside creativity. It should turn out to be interesting, and hopefully I'll have more on this trend as it develops (or of its lack thereof).

The nerd news pipe is a little dry, but I still have a few things I thought I'd point out. Microsoft has decided to make certain beta (test) software, namely Visual Studio, licenseable because they believe the quality of the code is good enough for real-world development and use. I think they're being a little too sure of themselves; no code on that scale is close to perfect without rigorous testing. M$ has also been in the news quite a bit for its preview build of Longhorn, and now there's a better look at its search features as opposed to Tiger's search features. It's an interested read if you haven't heard much about it. If you ever wondered about the efficacy of online advertising or how it started you may want to check out this pdf report on its history, including a look at one of the first banner ads. I posted about a webseries called "The Scene" about a month ago and now there's a couple of new episodes for those of you who forgot about it. Lastly, I have to plug this article because it was rather random that I encountered an article about a company releasing holographic storage.

Today's movie scoop is pretty decent. Revenge of the Sith has this publicity machine underneath it that just never quits. They've put out yet another 3 tv spots, which you can engross yourself in over here. They're actually pretty good. Another piece of media you can feast on is a set of pictures from V is for Vendetta, which is notable for being directed by the Wachowski Brothers and starring Natalie Portman. It sounds like it may turn out to be a good revolution-oriented movie. There's finally a site for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which is a must-see for fans of the series because it looks so neat. As part of the ongoing X3 pre-production saga, there seems to be word reinforcing the likelihood of Vinnie Jones being Juggernaut and his wearing a big red rubber suit to simulate the dastardly villain.

Talk about big shoes to fill

Also, the article seems to suggests that Toad won't actually return, which I mentioned yesterday. Having been a fan of Transformers in my youth I feel obligated to continue reporting on it and the fact that the movie adaptation is tentatively set to be released in November 2006 at this point. I don't doubt that many of you have heard of David Fincher from such movies as Se7en and Fight Club. The great news is that he'll be directing Zodiac, a movie about the Zodiac Killer, including Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downing, Jr. I already have goosebumps! I've saved the biggest news for last though: we may finally have a Silas for the Da Vinci Code movie. The actor is Christopher Eccleston, who you probably don't know of because he's British. Part of being British I think is being really strange because he actually has to think about whether he wants the role!

Today's post just wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the selection of the next Pope. He's a German cardinal named Joseph Ratzinger, but his Papal name will be Pope Benedict XVI (Papa Benedictus Sextus Decimus being the proper, Latin name). He was chosen in a surprisingly short amount of time, but it appears that he was one of a few cardinals believed to have what it takes to run the Church and the Conclave wanted someone who would continue the legacy of Pope John Paul II since he worked so closely with the former pope. He's the first German pope since almost a century ago and is one of the oldest elected. Strangely enough, he was elected around the time my luck went sour and I lost my umbrella! Oh well, I tried to smile a lot anyway today for my heart if for nothing else.

And now, you know you want some Tuesday Twosome:

1. Mail-in rebates: A pain to deal with or worth the wait to get money back?
I always thought they were worth the wait. It's kind of cool to get money in the mail that you forgot you had coming to you.

2. Warranties: Take a chance without them or a must have when buying high-priced items?
I usually take a chance without them for products from companies who I know are pretty reliable. Like if you get a Canon Powershot, you really shouldn't need a warranty because that's an awesome line of products.

3. Product knowledge: Research before you buy or rely on salesperson?
I always research before I buy. Through magazines, other people, forums, and reviews wherever I can find them. I guess it's something I got from my dad, and I think it's worthwhile. It makes getting the product all the more exciting when you know how good it is.

4. Word of mouth: Base purchases on what your friends say or disregard because you know what you are doing?
I take them into account, but I don't rely solely on them. You wouldn't rely on anecdotal evidence if you were conducting a study of any sort after all.

5. New Versions: Must buy the latest version right away or wait for a while?
It depends on how good the latest version is. Usually though, I just wait. My money flow isn't too fast nowadays and I'd like to see more of it before I spend it on new versions of things I already have.

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