Monday, December 27, 2010

Morning Brief: the unofficial holiday week kicks off; one retailer blew it out; media events in Hungary get noticed

It's the week between Christmas and New Years and for many a holiday week of shopping, travelling, relaxing, and everything except work. But us Internet slaves are here just in case.

I spent the entire day yesterday out of the house so that I wouldn't be forced to watch what has become of my once-great 49ers. Oh well, I can still spend the winter watching reruns of the World Series.

Out at the mall I could see that things were fairly busy, despite the lake effect snow we were having. But one store was positively jammed: the Apple Store. The place was packed with folks looking at iPads and iPhones, Macs and such. But a huge majority of those in the store seemed to be taking advantage of Apple's set-up services. Now my wife asked "why do you need someone to help you set up your iPad?" -- and I agree. But there they were, nonetheless.

I went into the store several times to see if I could make it to the back to check out phone cases and each time I found the place packed to the gills. The thought kept getting in my head about those columns I read back in April and May from our supposed media gurus: "The iPad is retrograde", "I don’t have $500 to throw away" wrote one media blogger who I never read anymore simply because I know it is no longer 1999.

I also thought about those writers who proclaimed when Apple announced it had sold 3.2 million iPads in the first quarter following its launch. "Where's the market?" asked some, assuming I suppose that the world was about to end and there wouldn't be a second, third or fourth quarter to follow.

I have no idea how many iPads or Samsung Galaxy Tabs will be sold during the holiday season, but I bet there will be a boat load (actually, a few plane loads). And then January will happen and guess what? Apple and others will announce new tablets. Predictability can be fun, too.

How long can the dinosaurs continue to be denial? Forever. Believe me.

Media and tech news may be minimal this week, but that doesn't mean there aren't some important things going on out in the world. One story that I don't think has gotten enough coverage here in the States, and which I've tried to promote by including headlines in the Short Takes section, is events in Hungary.

Today the Washington Post gets around to writing an editorial about moves being made by Prime Minister Viktor Orban to limit press freedom. Their editorial, titled The Putinization of Hungary? obviously compares moves being made in Hungary with those by Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Of course, the Washington Post is pretty quick to see tyranny abroad while promoting it at home. This is, after all, the same paper that allowed Marc Thiessen to write that WikiLeaks must be stopped column back in August.