Category: Technology

Another device?

Amazon are set to release an electronic book reader called the Kindle today according to NewsWeek.

The device sounds cool, in theory (built-in wireless over EVDO, email, long-life batteries, search, lots of storage, etc.) but do we really want another device to be carrying around?

Especially at the price point being talked about ($399).

I’m already carrying my phone, laptop, iPod and sometimes my dSLR camera. I say sometimes because at this point I often make a choice – which one can I manage without.

I can’t imagine forking out for a Kindle. Especially not when I can get much of the promise of the Kindle on my iPod (and more besides).

Having said all that, I think Tim O’Reilly makes a great point when he says:

I’m rooting for Jeff and the Kindle. I’m not sure that he’s going to win his bet that people will use a single-purpose device rather than reading on a multi-function device like the iPhone and its successors. But I’m also not sure he needs to. Even if some other device becomes the reader of choice, Amazon will still become one of the leading sources of the books that feed it. All Amazon needs to do here is move the industry forward, and I think that’s already been accomplished.

YouTube to serve hi-def from their website

I see Rafe Needleman is reporting that YouTube are going to start streaming video in hi-def imminently.

According to Needleman:

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, speaking at the NewTeeVee Live conference today, confirmed that high-quality YouTube video streams are coming soon…. the service is testing a player that detects the speed of the viewer’s Net connection and serves up higher-quality video if they want it.

Chen also confirmed that YouTube stores the native quality of the originally uploaded video – this is no surprise to iPhone or iPod Touch owners who have a hi-def YouTube service already.

Is Facebook's Search function useless?

I met the CEO of Telligent Systems, Rob Howard in Barcelona. Telligent are the company who make Community Server amongst other things.

Rob and I had a great chat and decided to hook up on Facebook. It turned out to be a lot easier to meet in person then in Facebook! I typed Rob Howard into Facebook search and got back over 500 results! I gave up after paging through 15 of them!

Ok Rob, I said, Raftery is an uncommon name – try searching for that. Rob eventually found my profile on page 21. Over 500 Raftery’s? Who knew!

The Advanced Search in Facebook is no help in this scenario because that is limited to your existing network.

With over 50 million people signed up to Facebook, if you get 500+ results back on every search, is their search function now broken (or at least badly in need of tweaking)?

Cubic Telecom wins an it@cork Leader Award

A big congrats to Pat Phelan and the Cubic lads on Cubic Telecom’s winning the it@cork Leaders Award in the Emerging Company category.

Pat was up against some very stiff competition and I am glad I wasn’t involved in the judging ‘cos I know Tom Keane of Nitrosell and Paul and Frank from YouGetItBack as well as Pat and any of them would have been a great choice for the award.

The Awards night was a fantastic success and I think I can safely say that this is set to become an annual event.

Other winners on the night include Treemetrics, TCH, and Abtran.

John Collins did a really professional job as MC – his look back over the last 10 years brought waves of nostalgia.

If I had to criticise anything about the night it would be that the talks dragged a bit in the middle of the evening but this was due to the fact that it was a double celebration, the Awards and the 10th anniversary of it@cork’s inception. As such this is unlikely to be an issue in the next nine Awards nights!

[Disclosure – I am on the Steering Committee of it@cork and Pat is a client of mine]

Google's OpenSocial to become the platform's platform?

One of the biggest problems with Social Networks is that your information is never synchronised across them if you are in more than one and if you are in only one, the time you invest adding in information, is time you are investing in locking yourself in. You can’t get your information (profile, friends list, feeds, etc.) exported and you therefore need to start over when you join another network.

Google, it is being reported on TechCrunch, are set to launch OpenSocial (url to go live tomorrow (Thursday)) to help with this.

OpenSocial will be a one-stop-shop for APIs for developers to add applications/information to a number of Social Networks. This one-stop-shop will become a de-facto platform for Social Networks. According to TechCrunch:

OpenSocial is a set of three common APIs, defined by Google with input from partners, that allow developers to access core functions and information at social networks:

* Profile Information (user data)
* Friends Information (social graph)
* Activities (things that happen, News Feed type stuff)

The participating Social Networks, so far, include Orkut, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Ning, Hi5, Plaxo, Friendster, Viadeo and Oracle while the application developers (who developed some of the most popular FaceBook applications) signed up include Flixster, iLike, RockYou and Slide.

FaceBook is conspicuous in its absence. This is a massive challenge to its dominance by probably the only player who could take them on head-to-head.

As you can imagine Marc Canter, who has been hammering away for more openness for Social Networks for as long as I can remember and whose PeopleAggregator product has been an open network aggregator since it launched in June 2006 is very impressed with this development. As marc said in his own post on this:

Man oh Man – this is getting fun.

For the record – we at Broadband Mechanics will be supporting ALL THIS STUFF and making it available to OUR customers. Though right now I’m in NYC making those customers happy and actually building systems using PeopleAggregator.

So there you have it – the future has arrived and it rocks. Thank you Google (and I have to admit I never thought I’d be saying that.) Now what about Apple?

"In my language"

This is one of the most unsettling, powerful, thought-provoking videos I have ever seen.

It doesn’t make for easy viewing but to fully appreciate it, you need to watch it to the end.

From the description on YouTube:

The first part is in my “native language,” and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation. This is not a look-at-the-autie gawking freakshow as much as it is a statement about what gets considered thought, intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not.

The New York Times discovers how free pays!

I was listening to George Hook, Karlin Lillington and Simon McGarr on The Right Hook yesterday discussing newspapers’ online business models.

They referred to the New York Times and how it charged for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives (what it perceived as premium content).

Overnight the New York Times abandoned this model in favour of free access to all its content.

Mark Evans has looked at the numbers and shows how free could make financial sense:

TimesSelect was an pretty interesting experiment that attracted about 227,000 subscribers and $10-million in annual revenue. But the growth clearly wasn’t there to justify the status quo…

Let’s assume, about 20% of the NYT’s content was behind the walled garden. Now that it’s free, the NYT could added another 2.6 million unique visitors. Let’s assume, the average online NYT reader consumes a healthy 20 pages/month. This would give us 52 million more page views a month.

If you can generate $20/CPM per Web page from these additional page views, that’s $1-million of revenue per month or about $12-million a year

Anyone want to put a bet on how long before the Irish Times changes its model to entirely free? This lifetime? The next lifetime? Not in a million years?

Irish Times subscription page

First iPhone photo editor app?

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Pixenate on the iPhone, originally uploaded by pxn8.

Having recently successfully deployed their Pixenate FaceBook app (a photo editor for Facebook), it looks like Sxoop Technologies are now out to be the first company to deploy a photo editor for the iPhone!

How cool is that? There is a beautiful fit between the iPhone, which people will be using to take pictures, and photo editing software.

Go Walter – woo hoo!