June 15, 2006

Capitalism at work: Getting more women to buy software

Today I read in the paper that software companies have found a niche in which to market software to women. Seems that women make up the majority of people who scrapbook (verb, not noun) and that women have less time to get out all their stuff and make the analog versions of scrapbooks. So digital scrapbooking is taking off and women can grab a minute here and there to create digital version of scrapbooks that they can then print out, complete with text and photographs. I applaud capitalism and its search for new markets and found it particularly interesting that the format for scrapbook pages--big and square--is incompatable with current printers so HP and other printer companies are creating niche printers to go with niche software. The new printers print big square pages.

I would have thought that women might move to different aspect ratios for scrapbooking, following the standard 8 1/2 x 11, but that wouldn't sell new products, but having to print odd size pages will. Also, companies that used to sell film and who are now in trouble because no one uses film and companies that used to make prints, because people shoot more pictures and print fewer, thought up the new printer and software systems.

Curious the interplay between analog and digital media and the continuing development of niche markets. Look at the Adobe site for more specifics on how a .pdf product has moved into this new market.

Posted by bwahlstr at 1:30 PM

June 1, 2006

Playing Games with Games

I like sudoku puzzles because I can always solve them, not so always with crossword puzzles that sometimes send me off to the dictionary to locate the Armenian festival held in the fall of the year or something I don't know rather than something I just don't recall. Sudoku puzzles have an answer that can be arrived at with varying degrees of difficulty and pencil and paper seems the best way to do these puzzles. Because I work with technology, though, everyone gives me sudoku games that are electronic. One that I got last year for Channukah sent me up the wall because it turned itself off--not possible to save the puzzle--if you paused too long. Solving the more difficult problems sometimes took me a while, and before I could enter a number, the machine turned itself off.

Somethings work better in digital format and some work better in analog. I read a review of a Nintendo DS game called "Brain Age" that got ++1/2 stars out of 4 and was supposed to appeal to people in their 20s. The fact that I'm not in my 20s and it had digital sudoku games meant I didn't buy it, but it remains popular because the games are set up like IQ tests and it's fun to watch you friends struggle over things and then tease them. This is a hot best seller and I wonder if it's hot because it's fun or what's fun isn't the digital part but the interaction among friends.

Posted by bwahlstr at 11:07 AM