Steve Jobs, Net TV UI and Boxee

Check out this video (4min) of Steve Jobs on innovation in the TV market. A lot of coverage focused on Jobs’ jokey suggestion to “ask Google in a few months” whether people want to buy another set-up box. But one of the most insightful observations — one that you’ll miss if you’re not listening closely — is that building a consistent UI is a key element of success. Today, each box presents a new interface for us users to learn. In Boxee — which I love — it’s even worse: each content provider offers a UI of its own. But Boxee seems to be finding its way, with the unified home screen design and uniform interface around traditional TV programming. Now Boxee just needs to figure out that critical go-to-market piece. If it were me I’d be looking for a way to get baked into boxes that people are already buying: TVs, blu-ray players etc. There’s already precedent for baking network software into these devices. The key is to become the standard across enough of them to get some real momentum.

Rainbow

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Last weekend an amazing rainbow appeared over the Oakland hills. After scrambling around a bit to find my camera I managed to snap this photo from my front door.

Google Insights for Search puzzlers

I happened upon the Google Insights for Search page this evening. After testing a few search terms and observing patterns in the data, I came up with a little game. It goes like this: pick a trend, and then see if you can find search terms that generate that trend. So for example, suppose you want a trend that consists of a narrow annual spike, like this.

1. Annual, sharp peak.

This trend was generated by using a holiday as the search term. Can you guess which one?

Below are several additional trends. See if you can guess how each was generated, or try generating your own. I’ll post the answers in a couple of days.

2. Annual, broad peak.

3. Peaks twice per year.

4. Peaks four times per year.

5. Peaks every two years.

6. Single broad peak.

7. Steady multi-year rise.

Bonus challenge: Come up with terms that generate a steady multi-year fall.