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Saturday, June 9, 2007

SpaceTime beta .9 - 3D web browser

SpaceTime is a new 3D web browser with some interesting visual appeal. The browser displays web pages in "3D visual stacks" that look like pages floating above one another in space, it's very pretty but my attempt to give the beta a try was less than impressive. Despite having slightly better than the recommended minimum hardware profile on the machine that I installed TimeSpace on, the program brought the PC to a crawl. I can see merits in features like the 3D e-bay search reported on the SpaceTime website but you'd better have plenty of horses under the hood to take advantage of this browser. I think I'll stick with Firefox for now.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bob Marley making music history

As I type this, Bob Marley is Jammin' in my speakers! The 30th anniversary of the release of Bob's Exodus album, written and recorded in 1977 while in exile after an assassination attempt, is being celebrated with the re-release of the album. Here is the music history part... you can purchase the re-release as a DVD/CD set, Vinyl, or CD, a book is also available, but the first 4000 fans to join the "Bob Marley Passport Fan Club" at will receive the re-released album (plus a few extras) on a USB thumb drive! The cost of the fan club membership is $44.99 (US) per year but it also entitles you to a number of fan club extras. At that cost, even if you only joined to get one of the thumb drives it would definitely be worth it in my opinion.

YouTube player updated

YouTube has quietly released a new upgraded player that has been popping up around the blogesphere. The player includes a Mac OS X or Vista like ribbon bar that appears after the video is complete, this bar offers up similar videos that YouTube suggests you might want to check out. If you view YouTube videos on sites other than YouTube, you will enjoy this feature. It's slick and performs well.

Yet another search engine

Jason Calacanis of Weblogs, inc. and later Netscape fame has launched the Alpha version of Mahalo (Hawaiin for "thank you") billed as the worlds first human powered search engine. The Mahalo site reports that each search result is handcrafted by their "Guides". The advantage to human recommended results is that they are free of spam and the big bonus in my opinion is the addition of warnings to the search results. The guides have included a warning symbol next to search results to identify pages that are full of pop-ups, contain flash animation, take a long time to load, are really ugly, automatically load music, etc.. Also their is a symbol representing a Guide's Choice which indicates that the human who reviewed the site was particularly fond of this site.

I like the idea and I am sure it will be a hit if the Internet is patient enough, as the results are sparse at the moment, of course they are in alpha release and hey the web is a huge space! Fear not, if your Mahalo query does not return the link you are looking for they kindly forward your request to Google at the moment. I'll keep an eye on Mahalo but think I'll stick with Google, at least in the short term.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wine bottles going high tech

I enjoy a nice glass of wine from time to time, and my purchases generally range from $15 to $35 a bottle. I'm not in the same league as the real collectors who will think nothing of dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single bottle, and I tend to consume my purchases as opposed to putting them in the cellar! So it has never occurred to me that wines might be the target of counterfeiters much like fine art, but apparently this is enough of a problem to warrant the vintners to turn to tech companies for help. As this Globe and Mail article describes, the industry is experimenting with RFID chips in corks and anti-counterfeiting techniques for the labels similar to those used in currency. Some big players such as Eastman Kodak Co. are developing technologies to assist the wine makers.

By the way, here is my wine recommendation. Enjoy!

Podshow hacked!

I, like many podshow subscribers, received a boastful e-mail message yesterday saying " got HACKED by yeknom!". You can follow this thread (language warning) on Adam Curry's blog,, to see that the response was not as heated as one might expect considering the number of Podshow users out there. Unlike many, I only received one e-mail but some reported upward of 16 messages. Just goes to show that big money doesn't guarantee bullet proof systems, if anything it just makes you a big target. I'll wait to see how much more span I'm going to get at this e-mail address, bummer!

p.s. I guess today is the wild kingdom version of the blog! yeknom is monkey in reverse...

Leopards lured by ringtones

According to this CNN/Reuters story, forest guards in India are employing new methods to trap leopards who wander too close to villages. The resourceful guards are placing cell phones in cages and playing ringtones of cows mooing, goats bleating, and roosters crowing to lure the animals into their trap. So far 5 leopards have been caught and reintroduced to the wild, safely away from humans. The method is being heralded for its safety to the animals involved as the previous method involved live bait and covered pits that obviously put the bait at risk and the leopards in jeopardy from the fall. The question is, are the leopards fooled by the ringtone or are they just annoyed by the cellphone interrupting their meal?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Street View is addictive, in a voyeuristic way!

Google has recently unveiled it's Street View feature for Google maps. The application takes maps to the next level, well... street level. It is impressive technology, developed by Immersive Media, that enables you to explore relatively good quality panoramic photos. The idea is not new, I've virtually visited the inside of the Louvre on a couple of occasions since 1997 or so, but what makes this impressive is the fact that the camera was mounted on a VW Beetle capturing images as it traveled the streets. At the moment there are 5 cities that you can view in this mode; New York, San Francisco, Miami, Denver and Las Vegas. Now the race is on to spot the first topless sunbather or burning building... I spotted a motor cycle cop issuing a ticket in San Francisco! Unveils Ask3D today announced the launch of it's newly redesigned and re-engineered search engine, dubbed Ask3D. The look and feel is very web 2.0 with 3 different result frames. One frame is dedicated to multimedia results which can be viewed directly from the results page. The interface is slick and allowes for a number of user customizations such as skins. Whether or not the redesign will take a bite out of google's search engine share is yet to be seen but it does look pretty!

Black hole

According to the Globe and Mail, 90 Dalhousie University students in Halifax, N.S. have been disciplined for cheating. The students gained access to answers to a series of on-line assignments hosted by a protected website which is part of the online courseware created through Blackboard Learning Systems software. The university was tipped off by two fellow students. The thing that amazes me is the magnitude of the cheating... while I'm sure first year Chemistry is a popular course choice for anyone in sciences, I'd still like to know how many students take the course in a semester?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Star Wars geeks rejoice!

Star Wars fans can now celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars by mashing up some of their favourite clips into their own production. George Lucas and company have released to the public over 300 clips from the movie franchise and have provided the site Star Wars Mashups to allow users to showcase their finished products. The site is moderated to ensure that you don't take too much liberty with the clips but also has a "most popular" feature to allow your best efforts to rise to the top. If you've ever dreamed about being part of the Star Wars production team... here is your chance to showcase your talents.

Star Wars Movies at!

Need help choosing a font?

Here's a very cool website if you are struggling to decide which font to choose for your PowerPoint presentation, report, brochure, or web site/blog. Typetester is a well designed and very handy tool which enables you to choose up to 3 fonts and various attributes to compare side by side. Use the sample text or paste your own into the site and view the results. They provide great typography resources and a very handy "get css" tool that lets web developers capture the style sheet of the column they like best. I'm bookmaking the site right now!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Crackberry generation

Are we all becoming addicted to technology? This CBC article asks "Are cellphones and the internet rewiring our brains?". I know that I, for one, have multiple e-mail accounts for different purposes and at least a few of them are checked obsessively! This is an interesting read...