News of the Day 12/2/2009

We've got changes at EA, unpleasant economic issues,the suggestion e-book readers are a temporary fad, and a guy with WAY too much time on his hands! Let's jump into today's news for the profan and the geek-at-work!

Have a bitter laugh with Laurie of Punk Rock HR and her predictions for 2010

Skills for a location-independent lifestyle – Good reading for people interested in travel, telecommuting, consulting, or just not being tied down.


Dubai World to meet with it's creditors – Sounds like the crisis is mellowed if not diverted.

Economy still shedding jobs – With depressing yet lovely graph. Keep in mind that layoffs and low employment can (and in my poor knowledge, often do) continue even as a recovery begins. This means even if the economy roars back to life, it's not going to result in an immediate reduction of layoffs, let alone a significant increase in hiring.

A look at gold prices, and bubbles – With tasty, tasty charts. A nice intro and overview of gold's odd, continuing price increases over the last decade.

Housing will keep declining – Predicts a well-known economist. Sounds like he knows what he's talking about – making the point some forclosed houses have yet to hit market.

Anime and Manga:

An Inuyasha-themed shop in a Tokyo department store? May sound odd continuing the series seems to have done its thing, but its not unheard of in Japan – and not just Pokemon. A fun bit of synergy and something to think over (such as could it be done elsewhere . . . )

Time Inc.'s experiment with a virtual Sports Illustrated sounds impressive – Though requiring better technology than some e-readers out there. Sounds like they may almost be overdoing it – though as I expect e-readers to be subsumed by other devices I think they may be more ahead of the curve. A publisher going whole hog into super-rich online magazines is a lot more likely to pay off than half-hearted attempts.

Are e-book readers the next eight-tracks? Put me in the "agree" column, more and more I think e-readers are getting the idea out there, but because of cost, efficiency of delivery, etc. they'll eventually become programs on netbooks and iPhones, with maybe some super-cheap or super-deluxe devices. Must-read for writers, publishers, and book enthusiasts.

Social Media:
Groupon, the social deal-finder, raises $30 million – Never heard of them, and their strategy of group-signons-for-discounts seems odd. On the other hand it's hyperlocal AND raised $30 million so let's see how they do. See if they're hiring, they do have the cash . . .

Offerpal works on a way to earn virtual currency from real-life online purchases – An obvious form of synergy I'm surprised we haven't seen more of. Now to see if it WORKS – though my guess is it will work, somehow, for someone, even if it's not Offerpal. Too many good chances and opportunities.

Video Games:
EA's Chief states bluntly his company will be doing more digital releases, less boxed games – It sounds like their digital side is doing better than the company as a whole. Since Digital distribution is often money-saving and efficient, it sounds like a reasonable strategy. Now pair this with EA's additional focus on Social Media via it's last acquisition, and it's clear the company is massively re-engineering itself for the future (if only by jumping fast onto bandwagons). Wether EA can successfully make this transition is another question. I'd still keep EA on the "observe but do not send resume to" list for awhile until we see what they're doing exactly – and if it will work. Also watch to see if anyone else jumps on the "radical realignment bandwagon" now that EA clearly has.

Meanwhile THQ signs some sweet deals with Dreamworks. A nice pairing. Of course I'm also biased towards MegaMind (originally OoberMind) as it sounds hilarious.

Wal-Mart cuts its game prices – Of course it's holiday-oriented. This could hurt others (GameStop the most, to judge by this), and may have an influence later in 2010 on prices. They're also offering gift certificates if you get a Wii. Wal-Mart angered Amazon and now appears to be getting on the nerves of game sellers.

Game layoffs at Smith and Tinker of 'Nanovor' and . I'm not familiar with Fuzzyeyes, though I was curious about Nanovor's possibilities – and now wonder why the layoffs happened.

A player in Taiwan unlocked all of the World of Warcraft achievements – or did he? Either way it's like one achievement away, and there's some weird display bug. Now, how will he react to Cataclysm?


See how Charles Dickens edited 'A Christmas Carol' – Learn a bit from the master – and realize how technology can deliver to you!

QUESTION FOR THE DAY: Will Wal-Mart's recent undercutting of media companies result in a backlash against them?

-Steven Savage