Posted at 03:05 AM in Apple, Business, Facebook, Flickr, Funding, Google, iPhone, Microsoft, San Francisco, Social Media, Social Networking, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Startup, Technologies, Technology, Tumblr, VC, Web 2.0, Web/Tech, Weekly Tidbits, Widget Summit | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Amazon, Conference, Facebook, Google, gPhone, Porn 2.0, Social Porn, Startups, Summit, Tumblr, VC, Web 2.0, Widget Summit, YouPorn
I have written several times about my love/hate relationship with email. So I am definitely on the lookout for email management applications and I just came across something interesting. Anymails, a project created by Carolin Horn as part of her thesis, allows you to visualize your received emails as microbes. The objective of this Flash-based project is to offer the user another type of email experience. Unfortunately, it only currently works on a Mac.
iTunes has been offering personalized recommendations within the iTunes application for quite sometime and I have found them to be very accurate and helpful. I have often discovered new songs that I like within the recommendations and downloading them quickly for instant gratification. iTunes has started to role out syndication of personalized music data as My iTunes Widgets, making it easy to share your music interests.
Posted at 11:01 AM in Apple, Feeds, iTunes, JiwaMusic, Last.fm, Media 2.0, midomi, Music, Music Search, MyStrands, One Llama, Pandora, Personalization, Personalized, Recommendation Engine, Recommendations, Riffs, RSS, Social Media, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Syndication, Technologies, Technology, Web 2.0, Web/Tech, Widgets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
The iPhone frenzy has been brewing all week across the country. I just was curious to see how many Somewhat Frank readers were going to get an iPhone immediately. Take this poll and let me know.
With all the hype, both positive and negative, this week about the release of the Apple iPhone on June 29, I wanted to find out what the iPhone can really do. It appears Engadget has gotten ahold of a user manual which highlights several of the features included in the iPhone. The video (above) also takes a closer look at what the iPhone has to offer. It's much more than just a phone! Check out some of its additional functions. :)
Are you looking for music videos on YouTube? You are not alone. Middio launched publicly on Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2007) to help users find all the music they are looking for on YouTube. Middio indexes YouTube music videos so that you can search by song or artist and returns search results with embedded video thumbnails. Interestingly, Middio was created by Jake Jarvis, the sixteen year web developer, blogger, student and son of popular blogger Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine fame. Nice work Jake!
I performed a few video searches and received pretty good results but I also expect the search algorithm to continue to improve with time. I think the real value in Middio lies in the fact that it removes many of the bogus results you might encounter when performing the same search on YouTube itself.
Additionally, Middio enables users to convert YouTube videos to iPod format to be taken with you which is similar to a product put out by the TechCrunch team that allows for the download of YouTube videos. TechCrunch reported that it is possible that YouTube will try and block this portion of the application. Middio also currently enables users to share videos to Facebook so it could use some additional means for sharing but I figure they will come with time. Videos are played within Middio and you can see a screen-shot below.
Posted at 12:55 PM in Apple, Beta, Entertainment, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Internet, iPhone, iPod, iTunes, Middio, Music, Resource, Search, Small Business, Social Media, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Startup, TechCrunch, Technologies, Technology, Video, Web 2.0, Web Development, Web/Tech, YouTube | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Jake Jarvis, Middio
Somewhat Frank Weekly Tidbits: 04.29.07
Newsvine Relaunches... Announcing Evergreen
Mike Davidson proudly announced the first major overhaul of Newsvine since launching a little more than a year ago. It is now a personalized news page that you can customize to your liking.
The Tech Industry Is On Fire
Nick O'Neill explains how tech companies are banking these days, as one company after another have come out with record breaking profits.
Q&A With Google Personalization Gurus Sep Kamvar & Marissa Mayer
Search Engine Land offers up some interesting Q&A about personalization at Google.
Podcast: Taking Ajax offline
Offline web applications are a hot topic, but often misunderstood. Dojo offers an offline toolkit among others...this podcast talks through these developments.
Warm Up To a Protected Advertising Climate
FeedBurner announced AdClimate, a new feature of the formidable FeedBurner ad server for blogs and RSS feeds. AdClimate gives marketers and advertisers the power to suppress their ads from being served into content they might deem questionable.
Firefox Extension: Smart Digg Button
The Smart Digg Button extension for Firefox places a button in your status bar. It uses the newly released Digg API to determine if the web page you are currently viewing has been submitted to Digg.
(Text) Size is Everything When It Comes To Startpages
Kent Newsome give some interesting perspective on the problems he sees with text size controls on personalized startpage products. He believes these applications need to give users a way to permanently set the text size, preferably at the module level. He understands that you can change text size at the browser level, but that makes every other page look too big.
GreenDimes Reduces Snail Mail Spam
Everyone hates junk mail. Even though you tend to get more male enhancement solicitings in your spam email, real junk mail is actually harmful to the environment and keeps your counter-tops wonderfully messy. To keep it out of your mailbox, GreenDimes ($36 per year) will help reduce the amount if snail mail spam that comes your way.
DoMyStuff.com - Find People to Complete Your Chores
DoMyStuff.com is the solution to all of the chores you need to get done, but can never seem to find the time to do them. You post what you need to get done, and others post bids on how much they’re willing to do the job for.
Adobe Takes Flex Open Source
Adobe Systems announced this week that they will be open sourcing their Adobe Flex framework so developers can access their source code to enhance its ability to create Rich Internet applications.
The Filter Automates Playlists
606Tech examines The Filter, a service that automatically creates playlists for you to put on your computer, iPod or Nokia mobile phone. This recommendation system works similar to Pandora, FineTune and MyStrands.
Posted at 02:12 PM in Apple, Business, Digg, FeedBurner, Feeds, Google, Microsoft, Personal Homepage, Personalization, Personalized, Q&A, Recommendation Engine, Social Media, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Spam, Startup, Technologies, Technology, Trends, Web 2.0, Web/Tech, Weekly Tidbits | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Weekly Tidbits
The "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials produced by Apple which consist of a war of words between two actors playing the roles of a Mac and a PC have created quite the buzz. With the release of Vista the most recent commercial describes the user "Allow/Cancel" prompts that might frequently bombard a Vista user. Current.tv decided to see what would happen if one of these Mac commercials consisted of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Place your bets now, as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs square off and duke it out in the clean white virtual world of the Mac ads. Who do you think will win this "tech czar" duel?
Posted at 12:06 AM in Advertising, Apple, Bill Gates, Business, Comic, Content, Film, Fun, iPhone, iPod, iTunes, Microsoft, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Steve Jobs, Technologies, Technology, Video, Virtual World, Vlog, Web 2.0, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Ads, Apple, Bill Gates, Mac, PC, Steve Jobs
The Macworld was energized earlier this week as Steve Jobs introduced the long anticipated Apple iPhone. In case you missed it the phone is going to bring multimedia to the masses with a sleek new design as shown in this video. However, one detail that might be a problem for several interested consumers is the fact that the new Apple iPhone will be carried solely by Cingular Wireless service. As a Verizon Wireless terminating my current contract prematurely would cost me an early termination fee.
CellSwapper, a Lakewood, New Jersey based startup, recently launched to offer cell phone users an exit strategy for an existing long term mobile phone contract. Contracts and early termination fees are a thing of the past, as CellSwapper facilitates a legal contract transfer to another interested party. The interested party in turn receives a cell phone contract without having to pay activation fees.
To participate you can register your basic mobile phone plan details with CellSwapper for free. If you find a taker you will be charged a small transferring fee by CellSwapper. Once your plan is on CellSwapper you can offer additional cash bonuses or even an old cell phone which could make your cell plan look more attractive. You can also search the site for a new cell phone or plan. Overall, the site is pretty straight forward but I noticed some design issues (i.e. missing images, quirky rotating images, etc) which probably should be cleaned up.
CellSwapper creates an online marketplace for transferring mobile phone contracts. It solves a problem that plagues many cell phone users as mobile service can be somewhat subjective. I would love to see this same type of idea applied to other types of contracts like automobile leases, apartment sublets, fitness center contracts and home security contracts.
Posted at 07:07 PM in Apple, Business, CellSwapper, Cellular, Internet, iPhone, Legal, Mobile, Mobile/Wireless, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, TechCrunch, Technologies, Technology, Tool, Web 2.0, Web Development, Web/Tech, Wireless | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Tags: Cell Phone, CellSwapper, Contracts, iPhone, Law, Legal
Qloud, a Washington, DC based startup, recently launched a music search with social networking features and tagging. Qloud music search allows a number of search options as users can search for music by artist, song, keyword, genre or a number of other criteria. Upon finding a song it can be previewed, added to a wishlist, sent to a friend or purchased from a number of different music services (including AOL Music, Amazon and iTunes). An interesting feature is the ability to export any search to an RSS feed, an email, or most importantly, a playlist to get onto your iPod.
Qloud uses social networking to allow users to add friends, view their music preferences and their recent activities. Qloud enables users to better organize music collections with tagging via the use of the Qloud iTunes Plugin. Upon installing the Qloud iTunes Plugin I found it could definitely help to find music within iTunes. Though I did not experience it myself, I have heard that the Qloud iTunes Plugin install could cause iTunes to be shaky potentially fail. So proceed at your own risk. It was definitely something that iTunes was lacking though I presume they will now try to add the feature. The tagging feature is shown in the screen-shot below - click the screen-shot for a closer look.
Qloud has created a helpful Qloud tutorial as well as iTunes Plugin help to aid the adoption of the product. Also be sure to check out the Qloud blog. For other blogosphere perspectives visit GigaOm, Mashable! and PaulStamatiou.com.
Bottom-line: While reaching critical mass may be an obstacle, Qloud is a people powered music search engine which leverages tagging and other social networking hooks to enhance discovery of new music on the web.
Widgets have become a hot topic in the web community lately as a large number of sites are allowing users to personalize their experience. The term widget can be used interchangeably with gadget, badge, module, capsule, snippet, mini and flake but for the sake of simplicity I will use the term widget in this article to cover all of these terms.
What is a widget?
As the web has become widget happy with community development projects popping up everywhere, I think it is safe to assume that the general public does not even know what a widget is. Rachel Cunliffe, cre8d web designer, recently asked this very question as she encountered an advertisement which pointed her to a widget. A widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate html-based web page. A widget can be created for just about every site or service possible thus allowing users to pull it into personalized homepages (Netvibes, Spotback and Pageflakes), blogs (WordPress and Typepad) or other social website pages (AIM Pages, TagWorld and MySpace).
Why all the buzz about widgets?
Widgets are a great way for a site or service to creatively offer products, services or news without having to visit the actual site. Similar to feeds and syndication, widgets can save a user time by making everything they care about on the web easily accessible in one place. Widgets can also leverage syndication in unique ways. The idea really rings clear on a personalized homepage which allow users to aggregate and create their own configuration of widgets. In a recent TechCrunch article Mike Arrington explained the value in a widget-driven personal homepage, Netvibes, as it positions all your favorites in front of you in at one time in saying:
“Like Google search, the best thing about Netvibes is that it has no problem with me quickly leaving the site to take care of other business. And that’s why it’s earned my loyalty as a user.”
Ease of use and the ability to see all or items in one page (via widgets) makes them a key component in the personalization process.
It is unclear exactly who was the first to create a widget. History seems to believe the word "widget" is derived from the combination of "window" and "gadget." A number of widget projects have risen up to help further along the widget movement. Konfabulator was swept up by Yahoo and leveraged to launch Yahoo Widgets to place widgets in front of a mainstream audience. Dashboard, an Apple project, was created to place widgets on the Mac OS X desktop. Opera web browser offers desktop widgets. Google Gadgets launched yesterday (October 3, 2006) to unleash 1200 new widgets which can be used on any web page. Microsoft also offers Gadgets for Windows Live. IAmAlpha.com is an AOL widget initative for AIM Pages which launched with a makeover in May 2006.
A number of widget marketplaces that have also popped up. Widgetbox, a the online widget marketplace, looks to widgetize the web by offering a number of different widget options. Widgipedia, a free widget community deems itself the ultimate cross-platform resource for both users and developers of widgets and gadgets. The Spring Box, offers a platform to create widgets on for both the desktop and the web and Clearspring, currently in private beta, also appears to be a widget platform looking to widgetize the web.
Bottom-line: Widgets are the wave of the future of the web as our attention continues to be overloaded with too much information. With widgets, users are able to customize a page to be able to get their sites and services in personalized homepages. An open standard development infrastructure which would allow a single widget to be plugged into any application and work properly seems to be something the widget movement is currently lacking – it may be a pipe-dream but I think it is worth wishing for.
Posted at 01:12 PM in Apple, Blogosphere, Blogs, Business, Feeds, Gadgets, Google, Internet, Mashup, Microsoft, Mike Arrington, MySpace, Netvibes, Nonprofit, Open Source, Pageflakes, Personal Homepage, Personalized, Portal, Product Development, RSS, Social Media, Somewhat Frank, SomewhatFrank, SomewhatFrank.com, Syndication, Technologies, Technology, Trends, Web 2.0, Web Development, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Widgets, Yahoo | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (3)
Tags: Badges, Gadgets, Modules, Web2.0, Widgets
Major League Baseball has a new addition to its bench - the Apple Video iPod. The Colorado Rockies and few other ball clubs have adopted the use of the Video iPod to watch prepare for baseball games by dissecting player swings and pitcher mechanics.
According to a report by CNN.com, Brian Jones the Rockies assistant video coordinator came up with the idea and had this to say:
"It wasn't like we invented the wheel. We're using Apple's technology as best we can. We figured if you can watch music videos by rock 'n' roll and by country, why can't you watch at-bats by San Francisco and pitches by Jason Schmidt?"
As a former baseball player who used to have my at bats video taped to become more mechanically sound, I think this is an excellent usage of new technology. It could help a player be better prepared and sometimes thats all you need to have an edge. As Brian Jones stated, watching game tape is really not a new concept but it is a new handheld usage that makes it unique.
Taking a page out of the book of Steve Jobs, Motorola will open a retail store in its hometown of Chicago along the magnificent mile of Michigan Avenue. The new store called
Apple Store Destination Q and is supposed to open soon (June 8, 2006) in the former home of the Terra Museum. The objective of creation of the store is to become:
"...a real-life manifestation of the Motorola brand."
"Motorola experts will guide guests with hands-on demonstrations of Moto music, video, email on-the-go, IM and Internet all via the Motorola Q ... guests will immerse themselves in all that is Motorola and its latest “whoa” product."
We all know that Apple has a near cult following and has been successful with the Apple Store. I do not consider Motorola to have that same type of fan base. So I wonder it will be able to generate a similar following with the creation of its own store.
Apple lost a court appeal yesterday (May 26, 2006) which upheld the protection of the rights of bloggers to not have to disclose their sources. The decision puts bloggers into the same class as traditional journalists and further blurs the lines between bloggers and mainstream media journalists.
I think this is an extremely important victory for bloggers. I am happy to see bloggers protected. If bloggers are protected like traditional media it makes me wonder, do bloggers:
These are all things that concern me since I do not want the grassroots style of blogging to have to conform to traditional media standards. Of course the blogosphere is rejoicing the ruling for blogger rights. For a few perspectives from the blogosphere check out the views of Dave Winer, Doc Searls and Mike from Techdirt. Finally, for a related First Amendment ruling check out this previous item on Somewhat Frank.
Nike and Apple have teamed up to announce a new line of products called Nike+iPod. The Nike+ shoes will incorporate a small compartment inside the insole to place a oval fitness sensor. The sensor will communicate with an iPod nano to collects and displays time, distance, calories burned on the screen of your iPod while the iPod headphones relay the audible version of the workout details.
I do not think Apple could go wrong marrying the world's leading athletic shoe company. Nike also seems to be set up to benefit from the widespread use of the iPod in helping to further promote its products and services with its own Nike section on the Apple web site.
I do not know if I will ever use the new sports kit since I would have to buy the latest Nike+ Zoom Moire shoes in order to be compatible, not to mention my running lately has been limited to only when I am chased. However I applaud Nike and Apple at the effort and innovation. Previously, on Somewhat Frank I reviewed the Adidas 1 shoe with the computer to adjust the comfort level based on its surroundings and I stated:
"I would love to see the ability to upload music and podcasts directly to your shoes from your iPod or other device. The shoes could then transmit streaming music to a set of wireless headphones. This would provide a user the ability to have both hands free while running or working out. I really don't think this is too far off. The shoe player would need to be done correctly in terms of music compatibility with existing players and music libraries so that users can share and play music from whatever service they already use, rather than creating yet another segmented music service with its own rules."
This move by Nike and Apple appears to be a step in the right direction to making my dreams come true. For other perspectives check out techmeme.