published Friday, May 21st, 2010

Jenkins: New cell-phone plans skip long-term contracts

by Donnie Jenkins

The prepaid cell phone model is becoming more common for broadband or fast-access Internet service. It is much more expensive than regular broadband access, but like all such services, it will probably come down in price over time.

Many writers online believe that there will be many more businesses that can benefit from using a prepaid model, and this is certainly good for customers who then can choose among several approaches to getting their work done or for being entertained. reported this week that YouTube is now streaming 2 billion video views per day, amazing for a 5-year-old company of any kind. YouTube is the go-to place now for almost any information, music or other content. I regularly direct friends and clients there to search for hard data or difficult-to-find music and videos.

What has fascinated me most about YouTube is how little credit the site gets for the creation of the social networking phenomenon we find expressing itself in Facebook and Twitter. In fact, YouTube videos are among the most shared content on all social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube was among the first to show the influence of a community deeply involved in making comments and updating content to quickly respond to others' contributions. While the short-lived music service Napster was the first to show this tendency in media sites, YouTube has raised it to a fine science. Just read the comments below many videos and watch the videos posted in response to others, and you'll see what I mean.

One of the most brilliant moves made by YouTube early on was making its videos embeddable in other web pages, meaning you can copy and paste a bit of simple code to show any YouTube video on your blog or website. Almost all other video sharing and hosting sites now do the same, so this has been a great boon to sharing content online. In fact, you now can embed slide shows, documents and more via various services, a nod to how well this feature has been accepted by users.

When the Apple iPad was released recently, many questioned if this attractive device might hurt sales of the Apple Mac computer, especially the low-end Mac Mini. Interestingly it appears that it has not done so but rather is affecting sales of the omnipresent Apple iPod music player, based on a recent article from Business Insider online.

This may not be such bad news for Apple if true, since the iPod is much less expensive and has long been considered to be reaching its limits of market saturation. Still, it's unlikely a larger device such as the iPad could completely replace those sleek iPods you see everywhere in pockets and purses.

Speaking of Apple, one of the most persistent rumors now online is that the company is building in native support for Facebook in the next Apple iPhone operating system. Several sites have pointed toward recent Apple patent applications and similar documents to prove this.

While nothing is certain, this would be a logical move as Apple continues to compete more and more with former partner Google and of course Microsoft and others. While Facebook is getting grilled for its recent changes concerning sharing of data and other issues, it appears close to attaining a total of 5 million users, according to an article in online. Apple and Facebook combined would be a giant difficult to beat.

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