Only Google can make bad news look so good and be so interactive. Know of Google Labs? Well, you should! Google’s public data explorer enables anyone to get amazing statistical data analysis for many US economic indicators. Case in point – the above picture shows our debt spiraling out of control! Shockingly amazing. Google’s web based interface allows you to get economic data on all 50 states and manipulate it in terms of “Debt” – “Revenue” – “Expenditures” or “Cash Security Holding.” I promise, it’ll be a depressingly fun time!
All the talk has been on Google & Apple as of late, in terms of cloud based audio/video/storage but no one told Amazon that. Today, Amazon unveiled their “Cloud Drive” and “Cloud Player”:
“…Amazon Cloud Drive is your hard drive in the cloud. Store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon’s secure servers. All you need is a web browser to upload, download, and access your files from any computer…”
Details: You open a “Cloud” account with Amazon (Free) and get 5GB for storage to start with, that’s about 1000 songs worth of storage. From there, you can put music, movies, docs or anything else your little heart desires and access it from any computer with web access or you can use Amazon’s Cloud Player (Android) for streaming music to your smart phone. (No mention of video streaming)
Do you buy your music from Amazon? Even better, as Amazon will give you 20GB for free when you buy a full album from their music store! Any music bought through Amazon’s Music Store will be stored automatically in your Cloud Drive, for a secure backup. Did you hear that Apple and Google? You guys better be cooking something good!
Conclusion: Amazon allows anyone to store multiple media types (music/movies/docs/etc) in a private/secure cloud locker for free (5GB limit) and then you can access that data from any web connected computer or stream music from your locker with Amazon’s Android based music app. Want extra storage space – drop some cash and you’re in business. Amazon for the win! Google and Apple, you’ve been put on notice…
Have Time Warner Cable/internet? Illegally download movies/music/etc? You might want to read this. A U.S. District Court judge in Washington has ordered Time Warner to promptly hand over ISP records from 250 customers, whom are “Supposedly” downloading illegal copies of media. Time Warner has stated, as have other ISP’s, that searching, tracking and identifying customers that are possibly illegally downloading content is both “Expensive” and “Time Consuming.”
This is the same argument several ISP’s have made across the United States and the rest of the world. Not only is it unfair to ask ISP’s to front the cost of such investigations but it is also unjust to hand over private records of customers that are not even involved in such illegal file sharing. Essentially, someone with a wifi router unlocked can be charged with illegally file sharing, even though someone else could be piggybacking on their open network – tons of people have open networks across the world.
In my mind, this accounts to illegal search and seizure!
Path is an App and Web based social network or ecosystem, that has one thing in mind: Be social but not too social. “I’m brushing my teeth” or “A bird just flew into my window” – great but no one cares…..except your good friends and they might not care either. Path’s 50 friends limit makes sharing photos and comments more personal – more detailed and less diluted. Its straight forward interface and limited social media options enable your close ring of friends to really see a detailed view of each other’s lives.
In contrast: Facebook’s issue is that it’s too social, it’s too vast and massive, that we kind of get lost and the relationships you had with your personal friends degrades. Sure, you can limit your friends and your personal settings but you still get those damn requests from people wanting to be buddy buddy.
The new social is to be less social! The social media bubble is now starting to implode - except for twitter, which just rocks! People want less noise, less clutter and a more refined, more personal social experience – kind of like when you go out with your friends. When you’re at a bar, you aren’t talking to hundreds of people, your talking to the circle of friends you came with – Path is this social solution. Have a look:
You’ve heard the rumors – you’ve seen the signs and now you’re reading the rumors and signs about Apple’s MobileMe overhaul. Chatter is pointing towards an April launch of the new MobileMe service, with price ranging from free to $20 a year – fine by me either way. So what do we get for free or $20/Yr? Well, you get the regular goodies like contact, calendar, mail, find my iphone, gallery and iDisk but talk is pointing to a sort of music locker. Yea, locker but not like your high school locker, which was filled with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit pictures – this one is for backing up your music library and then…..streaming it to your iOS devices.
Supposedly, Warner Music is already on board and Apple is leveraging that agreement against other labels – what Apple does best – to get everyone on board by the April launch. Apple has the means (North Carolina Data Center) and the content (iTunes) and the technology (Lala.com) – now it’s just a matter of talking the content creators into joining the club.
P.s. If you sign up to MobileMe free 60 Day Trial now – it will grandfather you into the new service or you can cancel if you don’t like it
When design and function get together – everything is possible. Located Just north of Thessaloniki, Greece - Henning Larsen has designed a hybrid office building/solar panel factory that is almost 100% self sufficient - solar of course! Built for Kilkis (an industrial city), the 100,000 square meter factory is the pinnacle of straight forward design, meeting the needs of the local communities and also the energy thirst of a growing economy.
“…The construction materials and coloring selected to mitigate energy loss also improve the building’s aesthetic appeal. Unlike some factories that are dull and mechanized, the solar panel production and administrative areas are bright and welcoming thanks to a series of large daylights that let in plenty of natural lighting…”
While solar technology is still advancing and improving at a startling rate, it seems almost ridiculous that more Mediterranean countries aren’t implementing a wider policy on factory energy use – giving large tax breaks or subsidies to companies willing to invest in energy saving solar power solutions. With long hot summers and plenty of scorching sunlight, a solar solution is essentially, a low cost sustanable energy source. Read the whole article over at inhabitiat – click here.
Looks like Mozilla is set to release the next big update to its open source browser (FireFox 4) to the world on March 22, 2011. Damon Sicore, Mozilla’s senior engineering director said:
Firefox 4 RC1 has received a very warm welcome; it’s time to make a decision to ship. As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final. At the conclusion of our regular 11:30AM triage session on Wednesday, March 16th, release drivers will decide whether to ship RC1 as Firefox 4.
What can we expect from FireFox 4? Well, I’ve been begging for speed, as both Safari and especially Chrome, are ridiculously faster in rendering web content. UI changes have been added: smart tab placement, app specific tabs and an expose-esque tab organizer – sounds good. Also, the addition of WebGL “built in” promises graphics acceleration and makes Mozilla’s FireFox a truly modern browser – so speed will be built in – now let’s have a look.
As I’ve written in a previous article, it seems like there is a bad mixture of false information and lack of information concerning Japan’s nuclear crisis. For those wanting a fresh and in-depth look at the history, engineering, involvement, science and security of nuclear power plants, look no further than MIT’s Nuclear Science & Engineering Department. Their blog has some of the most in depth coverage of the situation in Japan and the best part is that it’s coming from scientists, not beat reporters looking for a story – or in the case of some of the coverage, looking for a story that’s worse than reality. I highly recommend the source link below and please pass it along, as it’s important to not only wish the people of Japan the best but to also understand what is happening.
Want to see the birth of a great cartoonist and possibly, even the next Gary Larson – look no further than TheOatmeal.com. Matt Inman, creator of TheOatmeal.com, has the subtle character vagueness and sharp simple humor that made Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” pure magic. Matt’s determination and ability to quickly create stunning comics reflecting current web/world events, makes TheOatmeal.com a refreashing daily read. Click on after the break, to see the full Angry Birds comic.
Japan: With so much happening so quickly, it seems that news agencies and their sources are having trouble getting facts right or mis-interpreting what is said.This is partly under-standable, as chaos has spread after the massive earthquake that rocked the region and the devastating tsunami that followed. Michael Graham Richard, over at treehugger.com has put together an incredable chart to clearify the situation at Fukushima 1, as of March 16th, 2011.
Obviously, the situation at the nuclear facility is in consist flux and there are updates by the hour but I thought this a great resource for people wanting to get caught up to where we are now. Simply click on the chart above for a larger view or visit treehugger.com for more detailed info – the article is not to be missed.
“God it was a magical, magical time. I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”
Well you do sound like an old man and you should really think before opening your mouth and being the puppet for record companies. Mr. Jovi, meet me at camera three…….(turns head)…… We aren’t going to spend $20 bucks a CD, to get two good song and 15 crappy ones. We aren’t going to buy insultingly over priced media, so you can live in a mansion. Technology has forced the industry you were a part of to evolve, you guys dragged your feet and now your paying the price for ignorance – as we once did, when we bought your over priced tapes/CDs years ago because there wasn’t a better purchase model.
Steve Jobs and Apple, along with many other innovating companies (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc) brought the experience of buying music back into our hands – so we could spend more time listening to the music we love: where we want, when we want and for the price we want – something you and your industry had kept from us. If you think the experience of buying, listening and enjoying music is a static time frame from the 80′s - you need to stop making music.
Remember the infancy of global piracy – where applications like Napster reigned supreme and everyone and their grandmother were hot swapping music like it was going out of style? A lot of time has passed, a lot of prosecutions and a hell of a lot of domains seized and the only thing that’s changed is the method of piracy. Big content creators are dropping the hammer left and right – not asking why but demanding: STOP!
Enter the: Social Science Research Council and their recently released report on global piracy ”Media Piracy Project.” This is hands down, one of the best and most fair reports concerning global piracy, from a source not connected to content creators. The Goal: Simply to examine and understand piracy in emerging markets, such as India, Russia, Mexico and many others.
Not surprisingly, pricing of media content was at the core of piracy, especially true when mixed with low income and the absolute spread of very inexpensive digital equipment. Simply, you have populations of people with the ability to play digital content but without the means to pay for it, as it’s priced beyond their means. For example: If a music album costs the equivalent of $15 in India but the average working person makes far less than the average American, the actual cost of that same album is multiple times higher.
Cracking Down: In many of the mentioned developing nations, actual enforcement for media piracy is non-existant. This can be attributed to many factors: Lack of piracy laws, lack of police enforcement, actual government involvement of piracy and lack of actual legal copies of movies, music or software because of distribution issues.
End Game: So what is the solution? Where can content creators and consumers meet? In my opinion, piracy will end when demand for media is quenched by realistic and fair policies – on both sides. The developing world has a massive thirst for all sorts of media but they can not be expected to purchase content priced outside their means.
Google, working with their mapping/imagery partners, are creating informative but highly shocking multimedia pictures of Japan’s most devastated areas. Above/below are slider images (before/after) high resolution shots of some of the damage incurred turning the 8.8 richter earthquake and subsequent tsunami, that hit Japan’s Eastern Coast on March 11, 2011.
“We’re working to provide this data directly to response organizations on the ground to aid their efforts. We hope this new updated satellite imagery is valuable for them as well as everyone else following this situation to help illustrate the extent of the damage.”
A massive earthquake, measuring 8.9 on the richter scale, rocked Eastern Japan Friday, leaving some areas devastated and generating a 23 foot tsunami, which inundated whole communities. Japan’s knowledge and awareness plans for earthquakes resulted in a relatively low amount of building damage (when compared to the size of the quake) but it was the massive tsunami that took coastal towns and its inhabitants, completely off guard.
Many of Japan’s nuclear power plants, especially in the North, have been shut down over safety concerns and the same has been done for many plants belonging to Honda, Sony, Toyota, as well as other heavy industries. The United States has even flown in an emergency supply of reactor coolant, for the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The country, has literally been brought to a stand still and international organizations are already planning and delivering aid for many of the hardest hit areas.
What better way to celebrate SXSW, than by downloading IE9? Ok, so most people would rather drink, dance and be merry, at this years South By South-West conference, in Austin – Texas but Microsoft isn’t letting all this partying go to waste! They have announced that on March 14th, Internet Explorer will be released and will be made available for download – so, for all those waiting – now is your chance.
The update to Microsoft’s flagship browser, couldn’t come soon enough, as it has bleed market share to Firefox, Chrome and Safari but maybe Microsoft will get the last laugh, as the March 14th release date will beat the release of Firefox 4. Additionally, at todays CanSecWest hacking conference, Apple’s Safari browser got completely pwnaged – in 5 seconds!
One bad note for Window’s XP users – you’re out of luck as IE9 will not be supported, which is very weird, especially as XP is still the dominant Windows OS. Oh well, this is your chance to jump to Win7 – it’s worth it.
Whenever people talk about the domanance of Netflix, I always asked this question: “What is preventing content creators from offering the content from the source?” Or more simply put: What is preventing Warner Brothers from streaming or renting their movies from the WB website? Why have Netflix at all in the equation? Sure, I understand the advantage of having someone else build the infustructure, find the right business model, do the hard work and then just copy it – but what is taking so long?
Well, enter Facebook! WarnerBros and Facebook have teamed up to offer Batman: The Dark Knight as VOD, straight from your favorite social media site. So how does this little partnership work? Well, movies are rented with Facebook credits and in this case, Batman costs 30 FB credits or $3, for a 48 hour rental window. Essentially, this is a very similar model to Apple or Amazon and the lot of companies that offer VOD - and while WB state that this is a trial or test project, Facebook might just turn into the biggest video site on the net (500+ million users).
Yet, the question remains: Why not just get it from the source? Let’s just see if Mr. Zuck can take over movies as well. Click here to check out FB’s Batman page and see the full press release after the break.
Seems like this is the week of in app ads – First, Twitter further incorporates its featured or promoted tweets (Dick Bar) and now it looks like Skype is joining in all the fun:
“Today we announce something new – the launch of advertising in Skype, which will appear in the Home tab in Skype starting this week.”
From what we know so far, it looks as though these ads will only be for the desktop client and not for mobile apps, which is somewhat a good move – one Twitter should learn from. Second, Ads will appear in the US, UK and Germany and will initially focused in those markets only – so get ready for your dose of Visa ads, G8 countries. Most importantly, Skype has stated that their ad platform will not be intrusive to the customer’s use of the service – i.e. there won’t be ridiculous pop-up ads, half way through your business call or flashy trailers for Universal Picture’s new movie, while you’re talking to grandma…..or say they say. Want the whole press release – click here.
And then there were two! WD has forked over some serious cash and stock, in a deal that hands them control of Hitachi GST – axing yet another competitor off the list. The $4.3 Billion deal, essentially combines the two companies, with WD holding on to branding and HQ, while personel from Hitachi GST head on over for a never ending sleep over. No idea how long Hitachi’s Deskstar, XL and desktop line of HD’s will stay on the market but you can bet serious cash, Seagate isn’t too happy. Want all the press release goodness – click here.
Source: “They Live” Tumblr.com
I know, it’s hard to believe that there’s someone out there more crazy than Charlie Sheen right now but there is. Libya’s more stubborn version of Hosni Mubarak – that’s right: Frank Stalone! No, I’m talking about Muammar Gaddafi, who is also know as, Mr. I Can’t Take A Hint. This 10 term military dictator has ruthlessly cracked down on wide-spread protests and uprisings, all across Libya – at times bombing and firing upon his own people. Physical control is just not enough for Gaddafi, who has implemented intense throttling on Libya’s internet traffic – essentially bringing the whole web to a grinding halt inside the country. The same techniques were tried in Egypt, to curtail communication and the use of social media for organizing resistance – we all know how that ended. It’s time for more of the world, including large international companies like Google, to come to the aid of these freedom fighters. UN, come on! US, come on!