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July 21, 2008

Video: Web 2.0 Startups & the Valley Discussed

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Last week, I sat on a panel with Sarah Lacy and we discussed an array of topics from Web 2.0 startups to AOL acquisitions. We also discussed starting a company in Silicon Valley vs. everywhere else. This is something we actually debated about towards the end of the panel. Though I love the Valley, I don't think you need to be in Silicon Valley to start and run a successful business. I think it can help to be in the Valley but we have been proving through our TECH cocktail efforts that there are strong technology communities in a number of places and you can startup in any one of them. Sarah has since posted about it here and even challenges a smart DC company to prove her wrong.

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July 18, 2008

Video: Sarah Lacy Book Tour Hits DC

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Yesterday I spent some time with Sarah Lacy, a Silicon Valley BusinessWeek reporter, Yahoo Tech Ticker host and author of the new book Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0. She was visiting Washington, DC as part of her user generated book tour. Sarah spent time on the AOL Dulles campus in the morning. I sat on a panel with her discussing Web 2.0 Startups to a crowd of AOL Commerce and Shopping employees moderated by Michael Tolosa of DC Tech TV. It was a lot fun as we talked about her book and exchanged various startup stories. In the evening we headed to DC for her user-generated book tour which visited the DC Twin Tech Party hosted by iStrategyLabs which SOMEWHAT FRANK and TECH cocktail help sponsor. I captured a few photos and video clips which make-up episode 34 of SOMEWHAT FRANK TV. You can check out episode 34 of SOMEWHAT FRANK TV featuring Sarah Lacy (below).

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July 16, 2008

Video: AOL Radio iPhone App & Listen Anywhere

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
The Apple iPhone application was opened last week and AOL launched the AOL Radio application. The application is free and worth giving a try and a listen. It allows users to connect to both XM and local radio stations. It even is able to connect users with popular stations in larger markets. For example, I might want to listen to a popular Chicago station sports talk radio station like AM 670 the Score while in Washington, DC and AOL makes this possible. I gave it a try and was shocked at the utility. I also now understand why the AOL Radio application was awarded by Apple for its superior design. I demonstrate some of the value the AOL Radio application adds to the iPhone as episode 33 of the SOMEWHAT FRANK TV video podcast.

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July 10, 2008

Which iPhone Apps Are You Queuing Up?

Frank Gruber 7 Comments »
I just got the latest version of iTunes and have been poking around the new iPhone application store. So far I have been impressed by the applications that are offered. I started to queue up a number of applications that should be added to my iPhone as soon as the 2.0 software update is released. I took a quick screen-shot of the applications I will be adding as soon as I get the iPhone 2.0 firmware update, they are as follows: AIM, AOL Radio, Baseball, Eventful, Evernote, Facebook, Google Mobile App, Light, Local Picks by TripAdvisor, Loopt, NetNewsWire, NowLocal, NYTimes, Remote, Twitteriffic, Typepad, Whrrl & Yelp The two that I have not seen yet are Flixwagon and Qik as they both have made public statements here and here respectively saying they will be working on the iPhone. I am hoping they are released soon as they stabilize and perfect the service offering. I am curious to see what you will be added to your iPhone - let me know in the comment section below.

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May 25, 2008

NASA Lands On Mars, Google Health Launches, AOL/Bebo Deal Done, FriendFeed Adds Rooms, Twitter Database Crashes & Living Public Lives

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
SOMEWHAT FRANK Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending May 25, 2008.

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May 4, 2008

Microsoft Pulls Back Yahoo Offer, False Alarm Fuels PHP vs. Rails Debate, Online Personas, Social Wedding Planning & iVentures Launches

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
SOMEWHAT FRANK Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending May 4, 2008.

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April 15, 2008

AOL Buys Sphere For Content Recommendations

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
My first day working at AOL back in the fall of 2006 I had the pleasure of having lunch with Tony Conrad as he was visiting to start working with the AOL. Since then, Sphere which I covered previously when it launched in May 2006, worked with both AOL News and myAOL Mgnet Recommendations. It is a pleasure to see that AOL has finally acquired Sphere for an undisclosed amount.

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April 12, 2008

Video: Sociality Talk With Thomas Vander Wal

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
I am a taggaholic. I love to tag items in Flickr and across the Web. I even find myself sometimes tagging other peoples photos and online content. This would not be possible without "folksonomy" and recently got to watch Thomas Vander Wal present at AOL as part of the AOL Developer Network Speaker Series. Thomas Vander Wal invented the word "folksonomy" and knows a thing or two about the social web. It's more than just today's social networks - it's layers of interactivity, circles of sociability, reputation and identity. He also shared his thoughts on the spheres of sociability, social objects, and the path to get users to fully embrace creating and sharing social objects. I got a chance to talk with Thomas after his presentation and it is episode 20 of SOMEWHAT FRANK TV.

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April 10, 2008

AOL Launches the Technology Network

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
AOL as they have just relaunched Switched as the hub for the newly created AOL Technology Network. The network will bring together content from Engadget, Switched, TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog), Download Squad, Engadget Mobile and Engadget HD to form the second largest technology news publisher online. The network will helps to combine all the great technology blogs offered by AOL and Weblogs, Inc which was acquired by AOL in 2005 and should make for a compelling advertising offering for Platform-A, AOL's advertising conglomerate.

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April 9, 2008

Advertising.com Launches PubAccess Self-Service Ad Program For Publishers

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Smaller publishers like myself currently do not have lots of options when it comes to CPM ad solutions and there are lots of publishers just like me. Quite frankly the options are slim pickings. Platform A's Advertising.com, an AOL owned company, looks to change all that by today launching PubAccess a web-based self-service advertising program for smaller publishers. PubAccess will give small publishers access to the Advertising.com ad network. PubAccess gives publishers control over their ad inventory within the Advertising.com display network and allows them to block advertisers and categories, pull tags and view activity reports. PubAccess has a minimum requirement of 500,000 impressions per month for the CPM program and there is no minimum for the affiliate program. PubAccess will debut at the ad:tech conference next week in San Francisco.

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March 16, 2008

AOL Buys Bebo - KickApps Next?, Yahoo Semantic, Flickr Video Coming, Facebook IM Coming, YouTube Goes Hi-Res & SXSW Coverage

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
SOMEWHAT FRANK Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending March 16, 2008.

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March 13, 2008

Surprise! AOL Buys Bebo for $850 million

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Wow! AOL buying Bebo for $850 million was a pleasant surprise to wake up to this morning. I think this is a smart move for AOL as Bebo is currently the third largest social network on the Web behind Facebook and MySpace. With AIM offering one of the larger social graphs on the Web but a turnstile of online social networking site attempts in the last two years. It looks like AOL has finally decided to invest externally in the space which adds to the large number of other acquisitions that recently occurred in the social platforms group which include Goowy and Yedda.

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February 25, 2008

Xdrive Releases Desktop Lite Via Adobe AIR

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Xdrive, an AOL owned storage company, today released a new desktop offering built using the Adobe AIR technology. The product called Xdrive Desktop Lite offers an enhanced user interface which allows users to easily upload files and folders right from the hard drive, desktop, USB devices, or removable storage drives directly into your Xdrive web storage. This marks the first time that Mac users will have an opportunity to leverage Xdrive. David Liu, Senior Vice President, Social Media, Messaging and Homepages, AOL had this to say of the launch: “By deploying this application on Adobe AIR, we have drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to upload a file, and implemented simple drag-and-drop technology to ensure that people can easily transfer their files to Xdrive no matter where they reside originally – on the desktop, a hard drive or even a camera’s memory card.” I think it is worth noting that the Xdrive Desktop Lite application was built with developers in mind as it offers publicly available APIs which could be used to create products. AOL used Xdrive APIs to build Bluestring, the media aggregrator and sharing product, that I covered previously as it launched at TechCrunch40.

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February 18, 2008

Sneak Peak: AOL Desktop For Mac

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On Valentine's Day, AOL released a sneak peek of the new AOL Desktop for Mac (beta 8), available for all Tiger(R) and Leopard(R) users (10.4.8 or higher). Here are some of the highlights they list on beta.aol.com: * Increased Speed: Installs in seconds and launches quickly - so you can begin browsing immediately, without signing in. * New Browser: An all new browser allows you to surf all your favorite sites faster than ever before. * Tabbed Organization: Tabs on browser windows and instant messages offer easy access and an uncluttered, organized view of all windows. * Integrated AIM: AIM is built right in so you can see which Buddies are online, chat and more. * Customization: A highly customizable toolbar makes it easy to keep your favorites at your fingertips, as well as access them on any Internet-connected computer. Continue reading for additional details on the new AOL Dashboard for the Mac.

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February 14, 2008

AOL Partners With IAC's CitySearch

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
AOL has announced a strategic content and advertising partnership with CitySearch an IAC owned company. The agreement enables AOL CityGuide, AOL Local Search and MapQuest leverage CitySearch's local content and in return CitySearch gains access to AOL's distribution. CitySearch CEO, Jay Herratti had this to say: "This partnership is a classic ‘win-win’ for both companies; Citysearch’s content is great for AOL’s audience, AOL’s reach is great for Citysearch’s advertisers who will gain access to qualified local customers and the ability to deliver a consistent message across the web, and both companies will benefit from incremental revenue." Sounds like a simple enough deal to me. AOL will help get more ad units in front of Citysearch users and CitySearch will provide its local city reviews and information to AOL - makes sense.

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February 12, 2008

AOL Redesigns Seem To Be Paying Off

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
The latter part of last year, AOL resigned a number of its channel offerings including News, Sports and Money & Finance in an effort to increase engagement and traffic starting with AOL News in June 2007. According to a recent release by AOL, it appears that these changes are paying off. The redesigned offered a cleaner design and more blog-like social platform than before which might have contributed to increases key metrics like Page Views and Unique Visitors.

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February 10, 2008

MySpace Opens Platform, Google News Local, Plaxo & Bebo Rumors, Yahoo Live, FoxyTunes Acquired & Customers Turned Evangelists

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Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending February 10, 2008.

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February 4, 2008

AOL Gets Goowy, Acquires Widget Startup

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
AOL has just announced the acquisition of Goowy Media, a San Diego-based Flash startpage, widget and desktop application startup. One of Goowy's bi-products is yourminis a slick startpage that I previously reviewed and named one of the best beta products of 2006. It is pretty rad. Goowy's widgets can be distributed to just about any page or social network on the Web (as shown below) which is comparable to offerings by ClearSpring, Widgetbox and Gigya, which have also been getting buzz in the widget advertising space. These distribution capabilities will come in handy on myAOL as well as helping to syndicate AOL network content. Goowy also offers widget metrics in a dashboard that closely resembles the feed metrics dashboard of FeedBurner which was acquired by Google for $150 million.

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January 31, 2008

myAOL Adds Some Themes

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myAOL, the personalized startpage suite, has added a little more personal flair to its offering by launching the ability to select themes or skins for each page or tab on your personal dashboard. Now in addition to changing the background color users can select from one of six themes.

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January 19, 2008

Video: Kevin Lawver on Web Standards

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Video: This week I got a chance to sit down with AOL's Kevin Lawver who is very well respected at AOL and in the web development community. He has worked at AOL for 13 years and worked on everything from AOL search to conceptualizing and developing Ficlets. We sat down and discussed a new book Adapting to Web Standards : CSS and Ajax for Big Sites which he helped Christopher Schmitt, Robert Cherny, Meryl K. Evans, Mark Trammell and Kimberly Blessing author. The book is devoted to helping experienced developers to better understand the changing web standards landscape and somewhat frankly, adapt. Kevin wrote chapter 7 which focuses on AOL's move into the online space with the relaunch the new AOL.com in 2005. The chapter discusses managing "corporate swirl" and "combating the waterfall" methodology. It even explains how web development is an art and craft (not witchcraft though).

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January 8, 2008

AOL's Extra Sr VP of Special Excellence?

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
With the Hollywood writers on strike many of my favorite television programs have either stopped production or have had to improvise. One of my shows affected was 30 Rock where Alec Baldwin portrays a NBC executive. A video surfaced before the holidays of another role that Alec Baldwin has recently taken on as AOL's Extra Senior Vice President of Special Excellence.

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December 23, 2007

Someone Please Buy Digg Already!, Mozilla Weave News, Evan Williams On Product Ideas, Fraxi Digg Cloner & 50 Sports Social Networks

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending December 23, 2007.

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December 2, 2007

NASDAQ Internet Index, Facebook's Ad Plan & China Strategy, Google To Bid On Spectrum, Health 2.0 & Working On What Matters

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending December 1, 2007.

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November 27, 2007

Userplane Partners With TV Sites

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Userplane, the web chat and community tools provider, has announced today that they are working with network and cable TV media companies to rollout social networking and messaging services within their existing online communities to kick off online conversations. Userplane's deal includes Channel 4 (UK), The CW, FUEL TV, and the Independent Film Channel as they will be adding the Webchat, Minichat, and Webmessenger applications to their online communities.

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November 12, 2007

AOL Acquires Yedda Another Startup

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Coming off the recent purchase of Quigo, AOL has acquired Yedda according to Haaretz.com and paidContent. Yedda is an Israeli community-driven answers site that I previously reviewed on Somewhat Frank.

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November 4, 2007

Google Phone Details, OpenSocial Launches, No $200 Million Wordpress Deal, Zillow Launches Direct Ads & PlentyofFish.com $1 Billion?

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending November 4, 2007.

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November 3, 2007

A Trend TV Somewhat Frank Interview

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I got interviewed by trend junkie and entrepreneur Greg Cangelosi of Trend TV this week while at the The New New Internet Conference. In case you might not know Greg Cangelosi is a podcasting expert and just authored a book titled . I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.Greg and I sat down and chatted and he captured the casual interview on Trend TV.

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October 27, 2007

myAOL Intro at the Widget Summit

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I spoke a few weeks ago at the Widget Summit in San Francisco on a panel dedicated to discussing the personal homepage space. The session was an hour long discussion with a cast of industry experts. I had a chance to get ahold of a video clip of my introduction. Additional footage will be coming out soon but I wanted to preview this video introducing myAOL to the Widget Summit crowd.

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September 17, 2007

BlueString Media Aggregator Launches

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Imagine if you wanted to pull in photos, videos and music from both your desktop and multiple photo services on the Web into one place - with BlueString, now you can. BlueString, a new AOL product, has just launched at TechCrunch40 to offer a rich media aggregator for storing and sharing your memories all in one place.

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September 9, 2007

Pentagon Hacked, iPhone Announcements, Facebook People Search, 10 Web Trends, Delicious Preview, MyStrands Music Video & Netscape Digg Clone Gone

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Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending September 9, 2007.

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September 3, 2007

New AOL Mail Officially Launched

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
The new AOL Mail has made quite a transformation since its beta launch in March as it continued to add features until it officially launched last week. The new AOL Mail product is very feature rich, Ajax email application with a nice interface.

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August 25, 2007

Truveo Video Search: Tim Tuttle Explains

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Truveo, a video search startup which was acquired by AOL in 2006, recently redesigned the site and I have to is super. It offers a new layout that slices and dices its aggregation of videos from across the Web so users are bound to uncover videos that would have previously remained buried.

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August 19, 2007

Skype Outage, Google Health Coming, Social Money Management, Social Network Tools, New AOL Mobile, Slowing Down The Web & TECH cocktail Boston

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending August 19, 2007.

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August 12, 2007

Facebook Source Code Leak, Porn 2.0, Spock Launches, Personalize Jib Jab, Change of myAOL Heart & Startup Tips

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits from around the Web gathered by Frank Gruber for the week ending August 12, 2007.

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August 10, 2007

Instant Messenger Love Song Video

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
I recall getting online for the first time and how exciting it was to be on the World Wide Web. I am sure many people have similar stories of your first encounters with the WWW. This video of Nick Thune performing his acoustic rendition of his love story "Instant Messenger" live on The Tonight Show which talks about his first online experience. It may make you LOL. ;)

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July 25, 2007

circaVie For Memorable Photo Timelines

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Looking to plot your photos in a memorable timeline? circaVie could be just what you are looking for. With circaVie you can easily create a flashy photo timeline. Simply sign-up, start uploading or pointing to your photo links, associating a photo date and circaVie plots them on a scrollable timeline....

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July 15, 2007

AOL Named Top Site, myAOL Beta Released, Facebook a Fad?, Widgets Evolution and Formats, Tagging Tools, Blogging From Hobby To Fame and iPhone Hackers

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the week: These green frog cupcakes were spotted and then were quickly devoured at the most recent TECH cocktail in Chicago. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 07.15.07 AOL Top Web Site Under New Ranking Nielsen/NetRatings will begin reporting total sessions and total time spent on a site in order...

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July 14, 2007

Personalization: It's All About You

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Pimping your ride, ripping your jeans, popping your collar and putting lime in your water are all expressions of your personality. Thus you are personalizing your experience. Your web experience can also be personalized making it your web. Personalization is all about you. Jen Consalvo, Director of Personalization at AOL,...

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July 10, 2007

myAOL Personalization Suite Launches

Frank Gruber 5 Comments »
Today myAOL, a personalization product suite, has officially been released to the beta. As the myAOL Product Manager, I feel like our team just gave birth to triplets, as myAOL offers up three applications into one integrated dashboard experience with various levels of personalization. We hope you like it. I...

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July 7, 2007

Video Interview at Supernova

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
I recently attended Supernova 2007, a conference in San Francisco focused on innovation, and was interviewed by Adriana Gascoigne of Bub.blicio.us, Future Works and founder of Girls in Tech. The video interview (below) is found at the 3 minute 30 second mark on this 9:03 minute video clip. In the...

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July 1, 2007

iPhone Mania Turns To AT&T Activation Hell, Google Widget Payday, AOL News & CNN Redesign, Web 2.0 Tracking, A Tour of myAOL & French Web 2.0

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the Week: I spotted this sole mushroom while visiting 'the country' in Illinois. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 07.01.07 iPhone Mania Turns To AT&T Activation Hell The iPhone caused quite a stir and it appears Apple handled demands very well as it was almost too easy to get the...

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June 29, 2007

Watch Coders Like A Sporting Event

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
If action packed coding is your thing, you might want to check out the Top Coder Challenge today. I did a call-out previously for this event. You can actually watch coding just like a sporting event via Webcast live from the Mirage Resort in Las Vegas, coverage will begin Friday,...

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June 19, 2007

New myAOL Startpage Is Coming Soon

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
So you want to organize all your stuff on the web in one place? A new myAOL is coming soon. The current myAOL is solely a feed reader that offers some recommendations. The new myAOL offers a personalized homepage experience with some additional bells and whistles. Aside from an Ajax...

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June 10, 2007

Ask 3D Launches, Amazon Buying Netflix?, New AOL Feed Reader, WordPress vs. Movable Type, Web 2.0 Viral Growth Secrets, Gayest Sites & Widget News

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Photo of the Week: Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch from Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom by Josh Hallett was taken this week with the successful launch of the space shuttle. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 06.10.07 Major Relaunch For Ask: Ask3D It looks very sharp. I like the way they allow users...

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June 8, 2007

AOL Mail Adding AIM & Unlimited Storage

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
AOL Mail which I highlighted previously as it launched into beta has continued to change more than just its color palette from French gray to the more traditional AOL blue and gray as it improved over the past three months. I recently got a chance to sit down with Roy...

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May 25, 2007

Find Your Celebrity Look-Alike

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Which celebrities do you look like? AOL may be able to help answer that question with its recent launch of an innovative facial recognition technology, similar to that of Riya and MyHeritage, created by AOL Labs in collaboration with Oxford University and Caltech University. Thus far the technology has been...

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May 18, 2007

TECH cocktail Takes On Washington

Frank Gruber 4 Comments »
A few hours ago, TECH cocktail completed its first event in DC at the popular MCCXXIII bar (1223 Club DC, for the non Roman-numeral types). The event was packed with hundreds of guests mingling as the place rocked to music, wine, product demos and mingling. Over 225+ technology enthusiasts, VCs,...

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May 10, 2007

Twiisted Up in Santa Monica

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Twiistup took place last night (May 9, 2007) at Zanzibar in Santa Monica, California to bring together some of the Southern California technology community. Twiistup, previously highlighted on Somewhat Frank, was founded by Mike Macadaan with the help of Ryan Buckholtz. Twiistup attracted a large turnout which filled the bar...

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April 26, 2007

AOL Launches India, US & Canada Portals

Frank Gruber 16 Comments »
As hinted at last week, AOL has launched AOL India. The portal, a localized version of the United States version, is housed at aol.in. The portal looks very clean and light and could be considered an expression of AOL's now open and free business model. The portal offers audio and...

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April 25, 2007

Viddler: Embed Comments & Tag Video

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Viddler, a video startup created by a distributed team of developers, launched last September to enable users to upload, enhance, and share online video. Unlike its competitors Viddler has a different business model as it aims to offer both free and premium services on a subscription basis. The most interesting...

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April 22, 2007

StumbleUpon & Hitwise Acquired, Netvibes Universe Launches, Web 2.0 Expo Wrap-up, AOL India & Education 2.0

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the Week: I snapped this photo of the West Wing while celebrating Earth Day 2007 on the White House grounds. eBay Acquires StumbleUpon StumbleUpon was acquired by eBay for between $40 to $75 million but it seems Google Google tried to rain on their parade with a toolbar...

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April 14, 2007

AOL Feeds Now Powered by FeedBurner

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Since I was pretty tied up with TECH cocktail 4 the past couple of days, I did not get a chance to weigh in on the fact that FeedBurner, the Chicago-based feed management company, had announced the signing of a deal to manage the feeds for the AOL Network. In...

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April 8, 2007

Death to DRM, Future of RSS, AOL'Sphere It Widget, Zillow Relaunches, Blog Search Wars, Google My Maps & P2P Loans

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the week: robobunny by Courtney Brooke. Happy Easter. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 04.08.07 DRM-Free Music EMI announced DRM-free music earlier in the week and now Microsoft is hinting at doing the same. Is this the death of DRM? 500 million+!!! AOL'Sphere Goes Live AOL and Sphere quietly turned...

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March 25, 2007

Office 2.0, Mobile RSS, SplashCast, Yahoo Widgets & Netvibes Updated, New TechCrunch CEO & Web Launch Strategy

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Photo of the Week: The trees are blooming faster than web 2.0 startups these days. I snapped this photo, titled Flowering with my camera phone, while at the AOL Mountain View, California office this past week. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 03.25.07 Under the Radar Office 2.0 Winners I had a...

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March 18, 2007

Google Sued, Microsoft Buys TellMe, AOL Local, Last.fm Video, Attention Economy Overload & TECH cocktail 4 Coming Soon

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the Week: This is a photo I took in my old neighborhood in Lincoln Park in Chicago prior to moving on to AOL in Virginia. Happy St. Patrick's Day! Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 03.18.07 Viacom Drops a $1 Billion Nuke on Google Remember when Napster was a lawsuit...

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March 16, 2007

What is Ficlets?

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Ficlets recently launched a community to allow users a place to let the creative juices run free. What is a ficlet? By definition: "A ficlet is a short story that enables you to collaborate with the world." Once a ficlet is written and shared, any other community member can pick...

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March 12, 2007

Sphere It Widget Aids Content Discovery

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Sphere, the blog search engine that launched in May 2006, has been steadily disseminating and connecting the web via the "Sphere It" contextual widget. The widget has grown in popularity as it helps readers offer content recommendations from the blogosphere, as well as related content from current sites. It ultimately...

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March 8, 2007

AOL Launches Slick Web Mail Beta

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Sporting a French gray color palette, AOL recently released a new AOL Mail Beta (codename: Cayman) to update the current web-based email product. It offers a clean Ajax interface extending a users usable space and making it easier to manage and organize large quantities of email. It is pretty slick....

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February 18, 2007

Yahoo's New Patent, Google Reports On Feeds, Web 3.0 Explained, Mobile Examined, Dash & EggDrop Fun

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Photo of the week: Create a 2 gigabyte ChapStick as explained by The Machinist. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 02.18.07 Patent Monkey: Yahoo Ready to Smash Up the Mash Ups Yahoo was recently granted a patent that could cause a bit of a shake-up to other web portal companies if acted...

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February 16, 2007

AOL Supports OpenID By Enabling Over 63 Million AOL/AIM User Accounts

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Managing the login credentials for every web site or service you sign up for tends to be a daunting task. Remember your username is "somewhatfrank" on service A ,"franky-baby" on service B and "frankyhollywood" on service C can be somewhat troublesome. After exploring its options, AOL has decided to address...

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February 11, 2007

Web Influencers, Netvibes Security Issues, AIM is #1, Go2Web20.net Revamped, Attention 200 & Design Geekery

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
It rained quite a bit this week in Silicon Valley so I thought this photo titled rain on tuesday taken by Daisy Romwall was appropriate. Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 02.11.07 The Wizards of Buzz The Wall Street Journal took an in-depth look at some of the social bookmarking sites that...

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February 11, 2007

Community Next Conference Wrap-up

Frank Gruber 5 Comments »
The Community Next conference was this weekend in Palo Alto at Stanford University. The event was organized by Noah Kagan and Devin Reams and focused on building and managing online communities united many of the community site leaders of the web 2.0 industry. Friday evening (February 9, 2007) at Blue...

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February 5, 2007

Find Cheap Gas Prices With MapQuest

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Gasoline prices in the United States have been creeping up for a number years now. With little doubt that the prices will ever be under a dollar again, hybrid vehicles have become increasingly popular, with the Toyota Prius being a leading vehicle sold in the United States. If buying a...

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February 1, 2007

The Web Profile Aggregators

Frank Gruber 29 Comments »
With the flood of new products that have been developed as part of the web 2.0 movement, I have signed up for loads of products and services. Besides Flickr, YouTube, AOL Pictures, Digg and LinkedIn, I have too many profiles to even remember without really searching around the web. Several...

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January 31, 2007

Six Degrees to… Kevin Bacon's Charity?

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
We’ve all heard of the game “Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon.” It’s simple: start with a celebrity, say, Selma Hayek and connect her through movies to Kevin Bacon. Salma Hayek in Fools Rush in with Matthew Perry on Friends with Jennifer Aniston in Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller in...

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January 25, 2007

TECH cocktail 3 Tonight In Chicago

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
TECH cocktail, an event series I co-founded and co-host with Eric Olson with the mission of better connecting the technology and business community to help better tell the local story, is having its third event tonight in Chicago. With over 700 guests signed up we expect a large turnout at...

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January 9, 2007

Woohoo Brings Sexy To Photo Slideshows

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Woohoo, an AOL Pictures by-product, recently upgraded to offer a more robust Flash-based snaggable photo slideshow widget. The previous widget offered the ability to show images in a clickable stack called the photo collage as shown below or by visiting this link. The upgraded version of woohoo offers not only...

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December 13, 2006

With Skype 3.0: No More Free Calling :(

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Apparently there is no such thing as a free lunch as Skype, the Internet calling service owned by eBay, which has offered unlimited calls to landline and mobile phones within the United States and Canada since last Spring. Skype is planning on charging an annual $30 fee for those same...

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December 6, 2006

AIM Share Links With Your Buddy List

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AIM Share launched today to offer you the ability to share your favorite Somewhat Frank blog posts links or interesting stories as an alert to your entire AOL Instant Messenger buddy list. This could come in handy if you are big on sharing. Rather than clogging your friends email just...

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November 18, 2006

TechCrunch In the City

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
TechCrunch 8, an event celebrating the web 2.0 movement, took its show on the road to New York City this past week (November 16, 2006) and I traveled to be in attendance. AOL supported the event by being one of the many sponsors. AOL also had space at the event...

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November 11, 2006

Widgets Live! Everywhere

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
Widgets Live! was a fabulous day of festivities (November 6, 2006) which attracted the thought leaders of the web, mobile and gadget industries to discuss one of the hottest topics, widgets. Companies like AOL, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, Adobe all had representatives contributing details on its latest widget endeavors. A...

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October 26, 2006

Calling All Collegiate Coding Rockstars!

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
Are you a college student, computer programming superstar with dreams of being crowned supreme collegiate programmer of all the land? If so, you might want to sign up for the TopCoder Collegiate Challenge which is set to take place in San Diego on November 17, 2006. The event is being...

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October 26, 2006

Last Chance To Win $1 Million In Gold

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In my first few days at AOL, I highlighted AOL Gold Rush the innovative interactive game that offers players a shot to win $1 million in gold by leveraging their pop culture knowledge. I asked if people were playing AOL Gold Rush and according to a recent report I think...

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October 23, 2006

Constituent Dynamics Polls For Predictive Election Results

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
A few weeks ago I profiled The Washington Stock Exchange, a new site offering political junkies the opportunity to play in a special stock exchange dedicated to political probabilities. With just over two weeks remaining until election day, there have been a number of political sites emerging to better tell...

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October 6, 2006

"Heresy!" Innovation Discussion Covers Processes & Customer Inspired Products

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Innovation has become an extremely hot word in the last few years as companies work to push the envelope on the products and services. On Wednesday (October 4, 2006), I had the opportunity to listen to a brown bag discussion presented at the AOL Mountain View Headquarters. The event titled...

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September 28, 2006

AOL Pictures Launches With New Features

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
AOL Pictures, the online photo site by AOL, launched today to offer a number of new features and a totally new look. AOL Pictures now allows users to share picture gallery photos openly on the web which is a huge stride in the right direction as it works to gain...

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September 18, 2006

Are You Playing AOL Gold Rush?

Frank Gruber 4 Comments »
AOL launched the first ever, cross-platform reality game called Gold Rush this past week with the help of Mark Burnett and CBS. The game allows players to turn pop culture knowledge into gold. Yes, you could win real gold during one of the 12 rounds which are each worth $100,000....

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September 15, 2006

MySpace is the "______ of ______"

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Fred Wilson, technology VC, recently compared MySpace today to AOL of the 1990's by saying: "I've said several times in this blog that MySpace is the "AOL of blogging." I see blogging as the most open form of social media so that's why I used that term. MySpace made it...

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September 4, 2006

Feed Alerts Over Instant Messenger & SMS

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Do you want to stay connected with latest news updates from your favorite sources? Would you like to receive feed alerts and updates via instant messenger or over SMS? If the answer is yes to either of those questions you might want to read further as a few new services...

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September 3, 2006

The History of the Personal Homepage

Frank Gruber 8 Comments »
The Internet has changed a lot in the last twenty years as the days of the flat world wide web have been replaced by the interactive live web. Personal homepages, one stop shops for news updates, calendars, email and everything else, have become more prominent as the web has become...

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September 2, 2006

I am headed to AOL

Frank Gruber 10 Comments »
Yesterday, I bid farewell to Classified Ventures' Apartments.com as I have taken a senior product management/development role at AOL. So I will be moving out of Chicago to work at AOL headquarters in the Washington, DC area soon. I have truly enjoyed my time in the Midwest, growing up, attending...

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August 14, 2006

AOL Acquires Userplane

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AOL continued its torrid announcement frenzy today by releasing details of its acquisition of Userplane for an undisclosed amount. Userplane, a Los Angeles-based company, offers a suite of online communication tools which include chat, audio and video messaging to help power online communities. The full list of Userplane products includes:...

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August 13, 2006

AOL Search Data Put To Good Use

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
The release of AOL search data last week was an admitted mistake by AOL which prompted them to apologize and express anger for its release. With the NY Times identifying the first person, AOL searcher 4417749, based on her search query data AOL representatives once again apologized. I like the...

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August 6, 2006

AOL Video Portal Launched

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
AOL Video has launched, as promised in my previous post, and it looks great! The video portal ties together a number of on-demand channels and viral web video - loads of video content. The on-demand section is pretty amazing as it offers videos from a blend of partners which include...

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August 1, 2006

AOL Video Portal On Its Way

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
AOL, the Time Warner owned and Dulles-based company, announced today that a new video site, AOL Video, is on it way and should be released soon (targeting August 4, 2006). According to a recent press release, AOL is looking to be the ultimate blend of both content by offering 45+...

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July 8, 2006

AOL Bringing Down the Wall

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
AOL, a Time Warner company, recently announced it would be bringing down the premium services wall, thus exposing otherwise walled-off content. The move is said to be setting AOL up to lose a potential $2 billion in revenue. Services include e-mail, virus protection and other security software as well as...

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June 22, 2006

Power to the People Panel at Supernova

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
I just observed a wonderful strategic discussion pertaining to the ins and outs of community building and consumer generated content at Supernova 2006. I have highlighted some of the points made by the panel which consisted of the following participants: Craig Newmark (Founder of Craigslist) Saul Klein (VP of Marketing...

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May 17, 2006

Syndicate Structured Blogging Discussion

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Structured blogging a standard format for organizing blog information which was highlighted previously on Somewhat Frank was discussed at Syndicate NY. A panel was constructed to discuss the topic which included: Jen Consalvo - Director at AOL Eli Chapman - Co-founder of Mediatronica Chad Dickerson - Director at Yahoo Gus...

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April 17, 2006

Online Mapping Explored On TechCrunch

Frank Gruber 1 Comments »
TechCrunch recently published a comparison piece titled, Comparing the Mapping Services which explores the online mapping landscape. The field of online mapping services has grown and competition it heating up but this post should help you sort through all the noise to find a clearer signal. We looked into the...

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March 25, 2006

Lovefilm and AOL To Offer Download-to-Own Movies

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Lovefilm,a British movie rental service, has teamed with Universal Pictures and is planning to offer the first ever download-to-own service set to launch on April 10, 2006. The service will allow users to download movies to their laptop, PC or handheld device. The film's DVD release will coincide with the...

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March 17, 2006

Digging Up the 'Old' Netscape.com

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
According to several reports around the blogosphere, Jason Calacanis and AOL are setting up to take on the popular community driven news and aggregation portal Digg, by offering a similar site under the Netscape.com domain. As you may recall, Calacanis came over to AOL in the acquisition of Weblogs, Inc...

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March 3, 2006

Weblogs, Inc. Site Traffic Metrics Exposed?

Frank Gruber 3 Comments »
I was just viewing The Social Software Blog, a blog in the Weblogs Inc. Network which was acquired by AOL in late October 2005, and I noticed that it was using SiteMeter as an metrics and analytics tool. I also use SiteMeter on Somewhat Frank and I think it does...

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January 12, 2006

Yahoo Should Acquire Technorati

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch has a conversation sparking post today (January 12, 2006) about the fate of Technorati the blog search engine. It was sparked by a print article in Red Herring* by Liz Gannes. Technorati after some technical shakiness in the early summer of 2005, has emerged as the...

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December 19, 2005

Keys To Flipping A Start-up

Frank Gruber 0 Comments »
Dare Obansanjo wrote a compelling post recently in regard to flipping a start-up company. Aside from the fact that building a start-up just to flip it may be difficult as mentioned in these posts by Paul Kedrosky and Jason Wood it appears to be the Web 2.0 trend these days....

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December 17, 2005

Google Takes A Piece of AOL

Frank Gruber 2 Comments »
Google had a big day today (December 17, 2005) in acquiring 5 percent of AOL for $1 billion as reported by David Vise of WashingtonPost.com and Saul Hansell of the New York Times. The deal calls for advertisement sharing between the two companies. The most notable advertisements will be ads...

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