News Of The Day 3/3/2011

Disney gets into HTML5 games, DirectTV angers theater owners, and John Romero goes casual. A lot's up in today's geeky news!

A few improvements, but the unemployment report is grim.

I hesitate to call this a must-read as it's more for demography geeks and californias, but this year-plus old look at Job Sprawl in Northern California is fascinating. this area (which I live in) is a mix of cities and towns, sort of a megaregion, sort of not, and facing assorted challenges – and jobs are not always in the areas best served by public transport. I've witnessed some of this trend, and it's actually a bit strange to realize how many big companies and big jobs are NOT in major urban areas, which makes transport an issue. Can't say I agree with everything but it's fascinating.

Ruckus Media gets $3.5 million in investment. It may not be a huge amount, but check out their business model – children's stories done as apps. They've got 15 books already, and as I've heard kids take to tablets very well, they may be onto something. I christen them resume-worthy just on ambition . . . and $3.5 million dollars.

Demand Media continues to expand by buying another blogging service, CoveritLive

The mathematics of How Oscars affect box office. Something to chew on for film buffs and pros.

Sofware As a Service: Salesforce releases new version of ServiceCloud and integrates with Apple's FaceTime. They just keep going forward quietly and humbly – more or less – and dominating the market. By the way, catch the comment near the end that services aside, some of them might run into bandwidth problems . . .

Social Media:
Facebook Seattle is slowly growing just so you know it's not all about Palo Alto. Facebook will inevitably keep expanding to take advantage of different geographic footprints – the question is where and when.

Paypal focuses on Android in their next developer challenge. Gives you an idea of where their focus is – though I think with recent Android app security concerns they might also be hyping security . . .

MUST READ: An analysis of why Sun failed. One of the takeaways I get is that oddly, their free-giveaways really didn't work well with their goals, and their goals were at odds with who they were or became.

Up those video wars: DirectTV plans to launch early video-on demand. Whats the problem? Theater chains aren't happy. Actually the whole lifetime of a film seems to be compressed at this rate so I'm not sure anyone's happy . . .

Video Games:
Important news: Disney acquires HTML gaming startup Rocket Pack. Why important? First, Rocket Pack does HTML5 games – games in browser and not relaint on other technologies (such as Flash or as installed apps), and Disney's backing will give HTML 5 a boost. Secondly this gives us a better hint of Disney strategies – we know they want to go multiplatform, but it appears that'll be browser-based in many cases. Finally, it's a reminder that the browser isn't going to die as long as people are bloody tired of rewriting the same app several times.

John Romero is heading toward casual games, as is his new company Loot Drop. Let's see how that goes – and see if Loot Drop is hiring! I like how he views some of his games as ways to learn to play games, which suggests some smart demographic thoughts.

Ryzom is the latest MMO to go Freemium.

Finally, I don't care if you like Disney or not, these live-action reconstructions are just cool. Also Hugo Weaving's Red Skull looks incredibly menacing.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Disney's obvious move to HTML5 get any immitators in the short term?

– Steven Savage