Monday, November 26, 2007

Zune outselling Amazon.com

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I wouldn't expect that, but it's good news for Microsoft.

http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2007/11/19/daily3.html

A Zune media player is the top-selling digital musical device on Amazon.com, outselling Apple. Inc.'s iPod for the No. 1 ranking.
On Monday morning, Microsoft Corp.'s heavily discounted, 30-gigabyte, $134 Zune digital media player was ranked the No. 1 bestseller in the Seattle online retailer's (NASDAQ: AMZN) list of top-selling MP3 players in the "Electronics" category.
Apple's four-gigabyte iPod nano was No. 2, followed by Apple's 80-gigabyte iPod "classic" at No. 3.
Last week, the Redmond computer giant (NASDAQ: MSFT) introduced a new 80-gigabyte Zune player, but they're hard to find. Amazon's site on Monday said they're "temporarily out of stock" and no future shipping date was listed. Microsoft's own Zune site said the 80-gigabyte player can't be ordered until "early December."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reading figures

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Always amazed when traveling to Europe or to the US with the number of people you see at the airports, or on trains/buses, reading, I wondered the percentage of people in these countries that actually read books. Today I saw a text by the Seattle Times editor on this subject with the alarming figures that only 47% of Americans "read a work of literature - a novel, short story, play or poem - within the previous year". It seems to have dropped 7 points in the last 10 years and they are trying to fight that. Although any decrease is worrying, it is still pretty substantial figure. I wonder what would be the result of the same report on developing countries, where you can noticeably see that people don't read in general.

Although I confess I am reading more non-fiction literature, fortunately I am part of the group that read a work of literate the previous year.

Reclyced fiber and ink

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Looking for some information on the front page of "The Seattle Times", I see that "60% of The Seattle times newsprint contains recycled fibers. The inks are also reused". I wonder if this is something special or a kind of standard among major newspapers, but that definitely makes me glad.

Who will dream to be an astronomer?

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In "The Seattle Times" of today there is an article on China's efforts to fight against pollution that is inherently tied to its huge development in the last years (see online version here).

I am very glad to see that they are awakening to this problem. This problem will affect more directly the Chinese people, but not only them. Pollution from China can travel to as far as the US West Coast and can be felt even here in Seattle area. Some of the actions they are taking is the increase in the clean techonology investments (which doubled since 2006) and they are also working with planners, architects and venture capitalists to address these issues. One of most ambitious plan is to build a eco-friendly city on the outskirts of Shangai. The whole world watch with attention this effort.

Young Chineses can already notice the effects of the uncontrolled development and many environment groups are trying to educate people about the importance of going green. One of the activists, Wen Bo, who was born in a time with blue skies and white coulds, regret that this time is over. And he says something very interesting about how that could impact future generations: "if they've never seen starts, how can you expect them to dream to be an astronomer?". It is interesting to think how future generations may see the world in such a different way.

People with the mindset that "environmental protection and development are inherently a contradiction" still justifies the damages to the environment as the country grows and don't seem to care much about the problem. The reason behind this behavior is that they see no other way to develop the country, which was very poor a few decades ago. But, as another activist says, "Live is not just about money." Balance is probably one of the most important keys for live.

Finally, one curious information is that China is on the way to overtake US as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, although US still consumes more energy. As a matter of fact, energy consumption per capita in the US is 6 times China's. But being a high energy consumer does not mean that you will necessarily emit more carbon dioxide. And China must learn that. Maybe a "war" between US and China over which country is the greenest one could be one of best wars ever. And acting together, like they are doing now with joint efforts from China government, entrepreneurs and experienced people from the US, I foresee a possible great future.

China's impact on the world is not only about US or the pollution here in the Seattle area, but they will set standards. Worrying about environment is something that should be a top priority as doing it early in the process is much easier than trying to patch that later. I can see, mostly in developed countries, that protecting the environment and having an impact as low as possible has made its way into people's lives. I can see that all around me and how I end up try to do my part as well. Being a "compulsive" recycler, and avoid using disposable bags when doing groceries or disposable cups when drinking my daily coffee at the office are the two timid steps I took toward this direction.

PS: Although China is being the focus currently, we cannot forget about other country that has been having amazing growth rates and that is the country that had the highest increase in energy consumption in the 1990-2004 period: India. I would like to see similar initiatives with the Indian people. As it happens with Chinese people in the US that impact on this discussions (and sometimes even move back to their native country), hopefully the same will happen with India.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Podcast Diogo Mainardi com Reinaldo Azevedo

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http://veja.abril.com.br/idade/podcasts/mainardi/

Diogo e Reinaldo discutem reportagem da Veja sobre 50% dos brasileiros não saberem identificar o Brasil no mapa.

Luck

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The harder I work, the luckier I get.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Goethe

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"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe