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Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Jersey Mayor Turns To Twitter During Snow Storm

Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker used his twitter account (@corybooker) during this years “Snowpocalypse,” to let his constituents know of the city's progress in road clearing and to thank those who were pitching in to help others through the storm. Booker helped deliver supplies and shovel walkways in order to keep his city moving and it's not the first time... last year he came to the aid of an elderly man when the 65 year old's daughter tweeted his plight during a New Year's Eve blizzard. Talk about having your finger on the pulse of your community! Thanks Mayor Booker, you are an inspiration.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Man Facing Charges For Reading Wife's E-mail

A Michigan man is charged with felony computer misuse charges after using the family computer to view his wife's gmail account in order to verify her affair with another man. 

According to the Globe and Mail "Privacy law writer Frederick Lane tells the Detroit Free Press the law typically is used to prosecute identity theft and stealing trade secrets. He says he questions if a wife can expect privacy on a computer she shares with her husband."

Leon Walker who faces trial on the charge February 7th calls the case  a “miscarriage of justice.” 

It will certainly be interesting to see how the law interprets this one...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Old School Media Takes Note Of Podcast King Leo Laporte

“It’s not as if I had a plan for all this,” Leo Laporte tells the New York Times. “It just kind of happened. It was almost as if we had this audience that was waiting for the medium to come along.” 

Leo's TWIT podcasting empire has been successful in luring away well known tech broadcasters from giants like c|net and racks up combined downloads in the millions per month. The network is said to be bringing in an estimated $4 to $5 million this year in revenues and charges about 3 times the ad rates of traditional broadcasting. This is likely due to the fact that hitting the mark with podcasting is like a riffle shot vs. traditional broadcastings shotgun approach.

If you are new to the concept of podcasting read the NYTimes article. I also suggest that you check out the Podcast section of iTunes, there are some 150,000 regular shows on all topics imaginable from amateur broadcasters and mainstream networks alike.  

My iPad is constantly updated with the latest geeky stuff from:

This Week In Tech (TWIT) with Leo Laporte and guests
Net@Nite With Leo Laporte and Amber MacArthur
Tech News Today Video with Tom Merrit
CBC Radio's The Bottom Line with David Sazuki
CBC Spark Lite

commandN with Amber MacArthur
GeekBeat.TV with Cali Lewis

TekZilla with Veronica Belmont and Patrick Norton
No Agenda With Adam Curry (The Pod Father) and John C. Dvorak
Scam School with Brian Brushwood
TEDtalks video some of the best from the TED conferences

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Day At The Movies

I have a couple of videos to share with you on this Christmas Eve, don't worry they are totally geek related. Firstly, I am probably the last guy on the planet to see Tron Legacy but I intend to rectify that over the holidays... I might even see it twice just to make up some geek cred! Along that theme however comes this great Vimeo video of the Tron Legacy themed skateboard half-pipe created by ENESS a group of Interactive designers from Australia.

Tron Legacy Premiere - A Light Session from ENESS on Vimeo.

Additionally for those of you who are expecting Microsoft's Kinect to adorn your household, take a look at the following YouTube video. It seems a group at MIT decided to hack Kinect and create a Minority Report style GUI which is very impressive... I believe Steven Spielberg himself would be impressed!

Enjoy, and have a safe and happy holiday season with lots of gadgets under the tree.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's In A Number?

MATT RICHTEL in the NYTimes Bits Blog points out that the amount of time spent using web based email services is on the decline for everyone but the 55 and older crowd. The data collected by comScore Media Metrix should, in my opinion, come as little surprise to anyone with a pulse. The proliferation of social media sites as a means of communicating has drastically reduced the amount of general chatter that once occupied our in boxes. Many people have chosen to fulfill their need to reach out and touch their "friends" via Facebook status updates and wall posts. I believe that this form of communication is much more of a fishing expedition; if I have 200 friends on Facebook and I post that I'm feeling happy today, or sad, I'm more likely to engage someone in a conversation. Instant messaging, texts, twitter or Facebook posts make for instant gratification, and the generations that are growing up today are less likely to want to engage in lengthy email exchanges. The move to mobile has also had a significant impact on our email habits, and while the numbers are interesting to look at there's little to be surprised by here... unless you are a web based email service who's not had social on your radar, then you're probably too late anyway.

As for the big split between the under 55's and the over 55's, these are mostly the folks who didn't have PC's in their everyday lives until they were pushing 30 and probably didn't have to embrace them until even later in life. It's not that surprising.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Goodies From Google!

Google to the rescue once again. This Google fan boy applauds the fact that Google is serving up some more great stuff with word from the Official Google Blog that a new notification is being delivered with your search results. 

"We've added new notifications to the results page to warn you when sites may have been compromised, spammed or defaced. We use a variety of automated tools to detect common signs of hacking as quickly as possible, and if we detect any of these we add a new notice right beneath the result title line, “This site may be compromised.” In addition to protecting users, these notices will also help webmasters more quickly discover when someone is abusing their sites. You can learn more in our Help Center article and our webmaster blog post."

The results will look something like this:

Thanks Google!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Facebook Releases Code Prematurely, Takes Site Offline

For about 30 Minutes the worlds largest social network was offline after releasing code to the public that was not quite ready for prime time. The Facebook blog described the situation as such: "For a brief period of time, some internal prototypes were made public to a number of people externally. As a result, we took the site down for a few minutes. It's back up, and we apologise for the inconvenience."'s Sam Gustin says "They're not pleased that they had to shut the website down for 30 minutes," "But it comes with the territory when you have a culture of iterative innovation, they say," he said. "Sometimes code gets pushed out before it's ready."  

All of us in the software biz can feel their pain, it's especially difficult when you have the number of users that Facebook has, one can only imagine the financial loss that being offline for 30 minutes brings for a behemoth like Facebook. 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Solstice And Lunar Eclipse Tuesday

North Americans will have the best seats in the house on Tuesday as the winter solstice and a total lunar eclipse colide for the first time in 456 years, the last time being in AD 1554.

The arrival of the winter solstice cannot be seen, but is described as the instant when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, resulting in the shortest day of the year as well as the longest night of the year. The summer solstice happens in June when the reverse is true.

This year the winter solstice begins on Tuesday evening at 6:38 p.m. ET, which is 8:08 p.m. NT, 7:38 p.m. AT, 5:38 p.m. CT, 4:38 p.m. MT, and 3:38 p.m. PT.

NASA predicts that at 1:33 a.m. ET on Tuesday, "Earth's shadow will appear as a dark red bite at the edge of the lunar disk." After aboun an hour, the "bite" will  grow to cover the entire moon. This stage, known as "totality," will probably start at 2:41 a.m. ET and last 72 minutes.

NASA suggests the best time to view the event, will be at 3:17a.m. ET, "when the moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red."

I might be a little groggy at work on Wednesday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blogger Not Playing Nice

I am having great difficulty getting posts out of any length. If you are a regular reader you will have noticed yesterdays post was cut mid sentence. It seems as though Blogger is having fits over the past day or so... I'll touch base with support and hopefully get back on track soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have iPad, Will Travel... Awkwardly

So it seems that some men are envious of the iPad but are not willing to purchase one because of the difficulty transporting it. I actually lug mine around, in the official Apple case, like a note pad, in my hand and held against my hip but then again I am not very concerned that the device will be recognized by would be thieves. I also don't typically carry too much else into the office and my parking is just steps away from our building.

It seems that in larger cities guys are both more leery of displaying the device openly and more fashion conscious. The New York Times discusses....

Note: This post seems to have been partially lost, I'll come back to it once I locate the link to the NYT story.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crime Too, It Seems, Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

This morning I read in this Technically Incorrect post of Norwegian author Anne B. Ragde who publicly  spoke out about the amount of money she has estimated to have lost due to piracy of her e-books, apparently about $72,500. "I cannot stand the thought of someone stealing something. I look at Norwegian musicians who have to do live concerts. We have nothing to live on other than the physical product."

She then goes on to say that she buys knock off hand bags because the originals are too expensive. Say what?

Further, her son Jo has outed her for having some 1,800 pirated songs on her iPod! To which she originally admitted, then blamed Jo, and now is promising to delete the pirated music... I'm not about to stand on any soapbox and preach the virtues of good versus evil, but I do think we all need to step back and seriously consider what our values are, and then be true to them, and to ourselves. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Year That Was - YouTube Style

The YouTube team has counted the clicks and tallied the views an as of the end of November 2010 this is what the world was tuned into:

Globally, as of November 2010, the most-watched YouTube videos (excluding major label music videos) were:
  1. BED INTRUDER SONG!!! (now on iTunes)
  2. TIK TOK KESHA Parody: Glitter Puke - Key of Awe$ome #13
  3. Greyson Chance Singing Paparazzi
  4. Annoying Orange Wazzup
  5. Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
  6. Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10
  7. OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine version
  9. Jimmy Surprises Bieber Fan
  10. Ken Block's Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome
Justin Bieber took 4 of the top ten major music label video views while Eminem, Shakira, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga comprised the rest of the list. I refuse to link to Justiin Beiber, just sayin! 

The most-searched for queries on YouTube during the year:

January - haiti
February - luge
March - eclipse trailer
April - ipad
May - eminem not afraid
June - shakira waka waka
July - double rainbow
August - bed intruder

Can't wait to see the top 10 sporting clips!
September - halo reach
October - whip my hair
November - firework

Friday, December 10, 2010

Global Reactions to Leaked Documents - WikiLeaks Saga Continues

The reactions to the recently leaked U.S. Government cables by WikiLeaks are wide and varied, depending on who you talk to. As one would imagine it's been more than just water cooler talk at the office. The Guardian has compiled a list of global reactions and quotes in the wake of the political storm that has brewed and it ranges from "grossly irresponsible" to calling Julian Assange a "hero".

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls the incident "psychological warfare."

Libian leader Muammar Gaddafi praised WikiLeaks for exposing US "hypocrisy."

While China's Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing hoped the emergence of the cables would not affect relations with Washington.

In Assange's homeland of Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the publication of the cables is illegal, and Assange's actions are "grossly irresponsible" but on the other hand former Prime Minister Paul Rudd said "Mr Assange is not himself responsible for the unauthorised release of 250,000 documents from the US diplomatic communications network. "The Americans are responsible for that,".

Oh how interesting this has all become...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twitter A-buzz With The Arrest Of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

Fired up my Twitter account this morning and every other tweet is about the arrest of Julian Assange in London. Here is the Associated Press story:

LONDON (AP) - Police say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested on a Swedish warrant.
Assange was arrested at 9:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) Tuesday and was due to appear at Westminster Magistrate's Court later in the day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Low Tech Low Cost Solution To Digital TV

According to this NY Times article, rabbit ears are making a come back! If you are too young to know what rabbit ears are then this might not make a lot of sense to you. Think about an antenna with two adjustable prongs protruding from the top of a base that, "back in the day" would sit on top of your television set and bring in two or three channels. Incredible as it might sound, this is how we consumed our Saturday morning cartoons and Hockey Night in Canada when I was growing up.

Of course today your television won't provide a stable resting place for the old rabbit ears but the primitive antennas are apparently still able to haul in digital TV signals and if you are willing to put up with the flakiness of the device you can save yourself a cable bill. While I've not tried it, I understand that subscribing to Internet service only via a cable provider will also provide a number of "free" channels if you connect the coaxial cable to your HDTV. Oddly enough the channels appear to be different than those offered via subscription, my guess is that they are otherwise filtered out by the provider with your normal subscription though this is only an assumption.

In these tough economic times, the cable providers might wish to take notice and price their services reasonably for the average consumer. Just a thought.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Is The Effort To Hide The Truth More Damaging Than The Truth Itself?

Until now I've not had much to say about the recent round of WikiLeaks vs. the U.S. gov't. This time around the documents being shared are causing a bit of a diplomatic uproar as damning information regarding U.S. diplomat's impressions of foreign leaders have surfaced. It seems as though the American government is feeling the heat over this leak a great deal more than the mostly military leaks that previously hit the site. In the last round WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was publicly criticized and then a character assassination attempted with allegations of a sexual assault linked to him.

In this round the site has been hit by a DDOS attack, then it's temporary host Amazon pulled the plug, and it's domain name service has just given it the boot. All of this and a world wide warrant being placed on Assange by Interpol. It seems as though the powers that be are more willing to silence the detractors than to fess up. No one should be fooled into thinking that due diligence is not conducted by all nations, in the form of intelligence gathering, and that assessments of personal characters is not routine. Perhaps however the U.S. might wish to secure it's documents, instruct and or teach it's diplomats to be, well, diplomatic in their assessments on paper.  While I do not wish to downplay those contents, the act of attempting to silence WikiLeaks and the lengths at which it is going to do so is more damning, at least in my eyes, than the documents themselves. I am sure that there are skeletons in everyone's closet but the U.S. government is going about this the wrong way. Then again perhaps there is more than one government worried about who's closet will be searched next...

Just my 2 cents worth.

p.s. WikiLeaks is still available online, at least for now, at 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Naughty Or Nice?

If you've been naughty this year it's time to kick the nice into high gear and make a real push to the big day as the Jolly Ole Elf is a mere few weeks away. This year as has been a recent tradition, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, will track Santa's progress via it's web site. December 1st marked the kick-off of this year’s countdown at Kids of all ages can play holiday-themed games and get updates from the North Pole as Santa prepares for his big sleigh ride.

Here is a review of his journey last year, courtesy of YouTube.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tweets Hit The Big Screen At Piccadilly Circus

Coca-Cola is spreading Christmas cheer via twitter users and a huge screen located at the busy London thorough fare at Piccadilly Circus. Twitter users who follow @cokezone can direct  their tweet to @cokezone and have it displayed on the screen for commuters to enjoy. We'll assume that because of the open nature of the tweets that there will be some form of moderation.

If you don't happen to drive through Piccadilly Circus the tweets can be viewed live on the brand’s engagement site,, via a webcam set up to film the sign.  

Zoe Howorth, market activation director, Coca-Cola GB, said: "The Piccadilly sign provides Coca-Cola with a unique interactive platform and we're delighted that consumers can use it to spread their Christmas messages this year.
This activation puts our fans at the heart of the activity, allowing them to engage and communicate with people everywhere." 

p.s. If you'd like to run your own twitter to screen campaign check out (my employer).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forget Location... Now There Is Persistent Location!

If Xtify has it's way check-ins will be a thing of the past, before they even became mainstream... Xtify is ushering in the era of “persistent location,” one in which the user’s location is passively used to deliver relevant information. According to GigaOm's Ryan Kim "Xtify is on the cutting edge along with Placecast and others using geo-fences, a digitally drawn radius around a place, to create a landscape in which our movements trigger offers, coupons and messages from companies we have relationships with."

Xtify CEO Josh Rochlin says “There is going to be growing comfort with passively-derived location that will be an asset to consumers, but brands will need to figure out how to take advantage of location without becoming a nuisance,” he said. “Brands will have to decide what is the proper cadence to message users.”

It all sounds a bit like Minority Report-ish to me, and that's not necessarily a bad thing (at least from this geek's perspective). The promise of these  technologies are that they are opt-in and provide fully anonymized user data with no emails or cell phone numbers stored, and that is much more comforting to the average non technical user who's big concern to date with location based services is privacy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

British Police Seek Powers To Close .uk Web Domains

The BBC is reporting that The Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has tabled a plan asking for the right to shut down .uk domains if law enforcement agencies deem them to be engaged in criminal activities. The troubling part of the plan is that the officials seem to be seeking the power to shut down sites prior to any convictions.  "If you are going to do this, then fine, but it needs judicial oversight," said barrister and IT lawyer David Harris.

"In a world of online retailing, the ability for a police officer to seize any business, whether that is blocking a domain or seizing the servers - pre-conviction or certainly pre-warrant - would be a dramatic change in the relationship between the police and the internet community," said Nick Lockett, a lawyer at DLL specialising in computer law.

My worry is that such a law be used to silence political movements or opposing views in an effort to control the flow of information. Opening this door could have very serious and lasting consequences.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Darth Vader The Face Of Android In Japan

In a move that only the Japanese would dare, NTT the countries largest teleco has chosen to make Darth Vader the face for their flagship Samsung Galaxy S Android powered smart phone. This sort of goes against the whole Google "Do no evil" motto... though some might find turning to the dark side cool I suppose, and let's face it we all kinda dig Darth Vader anyway. Perhaps they are trying to work the "galaxy far, far, away..." angle? Whatever it is I'm a bit drawn to the ad, so perhaps it's working!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Edible QR Codes

I have been singing the praises of QR codes since I purchased my Android phone a couple of years back. Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I have business cards that I carry with simply a QR code printed on them along side my blog logo. You need not look far to find one emblazoned on this page...

It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone that I am totally jealous of the folks who thought up and attended the following:

This is one of the best examples of geeky fun that I've viewed in a very long time. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't Trust An Angry Bird (May be considered NSFW by some)

I am hooked on Angry Birds. There, I said it... but so too are millions of others so I am not alone. Apparently some people are so hooked that they feel it necessary to make videos and mashups. Here is my favorite. (Warning language may be offensive to some.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Face Masks For Soldiers?

When I think of soldiers with full face masks I think Stormtroopers and countless other faceless fighters from movie lore. A recent study however suggests that adding a face guard to modern soldiers standard helmets could substantially reduce the shock wave affect of nearby blasts and thus reduce the number of traumatic brain injuries.

A study by MIT researches suggest that face protection is critical. “The face shield contributes a lot to deflecting energy from the blast wave and not letting it directly touch the soft tissue,” says lead researcher Raúl Radovitzky. “We’re not saying this is the best design for a face shield, but we’re saying we need to cover the face.”

Speaking about today's technology “These helmets weren’t designed to stop a pressure wave; they were designed to stop bullets,” says Albert King, director of the Bioengineering Center at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Just like a football helmet wasn’t designed to stop a concussion, but to stop skull fracture.”

Seems like natural progression, however I can see concerns being raised over cooling and peripheral vision, as advanced as we are becoming with our weaponry I don't know that we are necessarily keeping pace with the protection of our boots on the ground, though I'm not well informed enough to really weigh in here. In any case the more of this type of research that we conduct the better our troops are apt to be moving forward, though it would be nice if we lived in a world where none of this were necessary.

Source: Wired

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trimming The Fat On Social

A new social network, like we haven't heard that before, has emerged that aims to trim your friends list to a mere 50 people. Imagine!

Path is the brainchild of former Facebook executive Dave Morin and is "a photo-centric social hub that limits the number of friends you can have to 50."

The number is in fact based on an Oxford University Professor's research. Professor Robin Dunbar suggests that 150 is the maximum number of social connections that the human brain can sustain and that 50 is roughly the outer limit for our personal networks.

The average Facebook user has 130 connections but very active users, with very fragile egos, can have an average of 1,000 "friends".

"Facebook set out to be a social network of the real world full of friends and acquaintances together," said Mr Morin.

"Facebook is about society and I think the need we are seeing at Path is that people still want to share more and share more openly with the people they trust the most and that is why we put this 50 limit on the service."

Path's vice president of business development Matt Van Horn says "Networks have grown to become too large in scale and that means people start sharing with people they might not trust or truly know. That influences their sharing behaviour and changes entirely what they are willing to post and share online"

Check out the BBC article, Path seems to have a lot of heavy weight investors and former Facebook players. The beauty is it seems to be centered around mobile as opposed to a website that supports mobile. iPhone is supported now and the company plans to release android and Blackberry versions soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Free Wi-Fi On The Horizon?

A few weeks ago I made a couple of hour journey for a shopping trip out of Province. During my shopping I found myself in a Costco wondering the aisles in search of Christmas gifts when I happened upon a display for the flip video minoHD priced at $99.00 Canadian. Double take ensued and I whipped out my smartphone and waited patiently as my cell provider pulled down the website... $207.00 Canadian... sold!

I didn't really need the camera, I owned a flip Ultra and my Canon S5-IS takes wonderful video, not HD but very good non the less. My point, I would not have made this purchase had I not known that the manufacturer's site was selling this very product for more than twice the price of the camera within my very grasp.

To that end, here is an interesting article in the Globe and Mail regarding retailers and their thoughts on Wi-Fi.

Love the minoHD by the way. It's smaller, lighter, and has a built in rechargeable battery. I carry it with me all the time and the output is really quite good. I mean for $99.00 I just couldn't walk past!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

As Expected...

Facebook as expected announced "Facebook Messages" yesterday, a service meant to consolidate all of your online communications into one place and provide you with a more social communication platform. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and Cheif Executive Officer, says he got the idea after talking to high school students a few years ago. Claims are that young people have e-mail accounts but don't use them very often and while I'll buy that, having two teens myself, I don't see business rushing to Facebook to host their corporate e-mail, nor do I trust Facebook with my serious communications. Sure I use the site, as do a reported 499,999,999 others, but let's face it, Facebook has a less than stellar reputation with keeping our data personal and I don't see this as an e-mail killer as stated by some analysts.
“They just made it so much more compelling to center my communications on Facebook rather than anywhere else,” said Charlene Li, an analyst with the Altimeter Group. “Google, Microsoft, Yahoo should all be worried.”
Really Ms. Li? You truly believe that we all want to dump Gmail in favor of a site that now will let us send our most important communications and play Farmville... btw, I'm glad I didn't invest in all of the 'great' ideas had by high school students. But then again, I'm no Mark Zuckerberg and time will tell whether Facebook Messages compels us to waste more time on his site and push Facebook's user base to greater heights.

Read more about the launch at

Monday, November 15, 2010

Facebook To Announce Gmail Rival?

Facebook is hosting a "special event" today in San Francisco, and much of the speculation is pointing to an e-mail service to compete with Google's Gmail. The two companies have been at odds lately with Google banning Facebook from importing G-mail users contact lists after Facebook refused to allow the export of it's user's friends and contacts.

According to TechCrunch Facebook's new project codenamed "Project Titan" is being called the "Gmail killer".

With so little regard for personal data Facebook will not be my choice of web based mail providers, Gmail is quite simply the best. That said, with half a billion users Facebook is bound to get the less technical amongst them to drink the kool-ade and jump on board. 

Source: BBC

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lunch On Wheels Fueled By Tweets

There was a time when mobile caterers rolled up to a spot and wailed on the horn to bring out the customers, now they tweet their whereabouts and let the cash box fill up. Wired has compiled a few of the more notable "Tweetcarts" like the original @kogibbq. I love to see businesses use technology in new ways to rack up sales... now if only these mobile businesses would start using community-based digital signage  :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

RockMelt, The Browser With Social In Mind

Okay, so I've stepped into line for the RockMelt Beta Test which formally opened yesterday. I'm not quite sure what to expect, I've already got 5 browsers installed on pc. So why do I need RockMelt? Well, for one thing I'm a software tester now and I'd better see how it plays with our service, though I'm almost certain that's not what RockMelt is all about. Seems as if this browser is mostly focused on being Social, which also intrigues me, and as such it is getting a fair amount of press this morning. I'll give it a go as soon as I get my e-mail invite and let you know what I think but in the mean while check out this promo video:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wearable Video Cameras The Next Consumer Must Have?

A few years back I purchased a Flip Ultra video cam, and recently upgraded to a Flip Mino HD (G.N. you and the girls can keep the Ultra :)). I'm loving the Mino even more than I did the Ultra as it is smaller, lighter, and has a rechargeable battery built in, all with the same ease of use I grew accustomed to. It seems as though the next hot item in mobile video cams might be the wearable kind, enabling us to go about our business and capture our moments with out much thought involved. I do after all have to think about reaching for my Flip cam and aim it at the objects of my interest. 

The New York Times has an interesting article called "When a Camcorder Becomes a Life Partner" by Anne Eisenberg. The article describes two intriguing products, the more intrusive but better recording quality GoPro HD Hero 960 ($179.99 US) and the Looxcie ($199 US), which loops over the ear and is reminiscent of a hands free Bluetooth phone headset.

The GoPro features:

High-Definition video at 1,280 x 960 pixels and 30 frames a second. This device is a small cube less than two inches high and can be mounted into a waterproof case which combinedweigh less than six ounces. The lens can capture photos or video at 170-degree angle, and the camera mounts to a headband or plastic plates that can attach it to flat or curved surfaces.

The Looxcie:

Loops over the ear and is built into a Bluetooth headset that streams digital images wirelessly to your Android phone using a free Looxcie app. From there, the the video clips can go directly to e-mail. This is the less obvious of the two cameras but also only captures video at 15 frames per second and 480 x 320 pixels.

In either case, expect to see these and similar devices showing up at sporting events and school plays in your neighbourhoods soon.    

Friday, November 5, 2010

Burma Cut Off From Internet By DDOS Attack

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that started in late October have succeeded to cut off Burma from access to the internet only days ahead of the first national election in 20 years. This on top of foreign journalists and observers being denied entry into the country and you can make a compelling case for an inside job.

The BBC says in it's report:
It will raise suspicions that Burma's military authorities could be trying to restrict the flow of information over the election period.
The ruling generals say the polls will mark a transition to democratic civilian rule.
But as the BBC's Sue Lloyd-Roberts reports from Burma, many believe the election is a sham designed to cement the military's grip on power.
This truly illustrates the fear that these regimes have over their inability to control the flow of information within their borders and beyond, in an information age. I think it also shows the power of the citizen journalist and while they may have stemmed the flow, I'm pretty sure that this bandaid solution is little more than a finger in the dike and that they may have slowed the flow of information but it has not been stopped completely. Regardless, the international community will be watching and I hope will act accordingly. The biggest problem is that the people of Burma will no doubt be denied their voice in the mean while.

Source: BBC

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Facebook Places Signs Big Retailers To Offer Deals

When social giant Facebook announced it's move into location based services it had to cause some nerves to fray at Gowolla and Foursquare, the two biggest players in the arena until Facebook joined the game. Now Facebook has partnered with 22 major brands likes Gap, H&M, Starbucks, McDonalds and the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. In fact Gap plans to run a campaign in which the first 10,000 Gap customers to sign in at their local store will receive a free pair of jeans. This is the type of game changer that will draw attention to location based services in a market that is teetering on being ready to enjoy it's benefits and dispel the detractors. It will be interesting to see if the smaller innovators are able to grow as the result of their superior technologies or if the elephant in the room will simply plow forward using it's mass and momentum. I've resisted Facebook's Places opting to stay with Foursquare, but local business is slow to embrace the technology in this small (physical) community and I fear Facebook will gain more attention simply because it is a more recognizable brand that shop keepers are much more familiar with.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Arrington Fires Back At Calacanis

In a post this morning titled "At My Wit's End: Jason Calacanis Threatens To Sue Us" Michael Arrington, who recently sound his blog TechCrunch to AOL, fires his salvo across the Calacanis bow after being served legal documents from Calicanis' legal representation. In a he said / she said style post Arrington lays down his account of the rocky relationship with Calicanis and the gloves have appeared to come off. 
Calacanis has spent most of the last year saying some of the most ridiculous things about me and about TechCrunch, and I’ve stayed completely silent. Mostly because I knew he just wanted attention, but also because I assumed he’d eventually calm down and move on to doing more productive things. Also, somehow, I still consider him a friend. Now, though, the whole story has to get out. 
In the legal document presented in Arrington's post Calacanis is seeking:
1. For compensatory damages in a sum according to proof at trial, together with interest thereon at the legal nite;
2. For exemplary and punative damages where permitted by law;
3. For attornerys fees and costs of suit.
4. For such other relief as may be deemed proper and necessary by the Court.
I've been listening to Arrington and Calacanis for a while on podcast such as TWIT, and they both seem like characters who speak their minds, I can imagine their friendship/partnership must have been similar to a mixture of gas and naphtha... very volatile and extremely flamible. 

Check out the Arrington post, and wait for it... Calacanis is sure to have his rebuttal.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

My favorite non-holiday! Here's a great costume from mormolyke's photostream

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From Pack Mule To Automated Killing Machine - Can You Say Skynet?

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman claims that the .50-caliber M2 machine gun it mounted on it's CaMEL, Carry-all Mechanized Equipment Landrover, for the Association of the U.S. Army’s Washington conference was for impact only. "Quite frankly, a weapon on a robot brings people into the booth" says Jon Aderson.

The company has sold 60 CaMEL units to the Isreali military, which traditionally carry up to 1200 pounds of equipment at up to 7 miles per hour. The US military also is said to be interested in the device, which version of the device is not really clear... Anderson calls the gun mounted one on display at the conference a "new application".

I love robots but I believe this breaks at least one of Asimov's three laws of robotics! 

Read More

Monday, October 25, 2010

Alberta Gov't To Craigslist, Get Rid Of Erotic Ads!

In September Craigslist shut down it's prostitution ads in the U.S. when it received complaints from the attorneys general of 17 states. The ads have persisted outside of the U.S. however and on Friday Alberta's Justice Minister and Solicitor General sent a letter to Craigslist requesting the removal of erotic ads appearing in this country following suit of 3 other Canadian Provinces. 

"Alberta has and will continue focusing on investigating and prosecuting any allegations of human trafficking whenever the evidence warrants,"  Alberta Justice spokesperson Jody Korchinski said.

"However, the ministers also recognize that advocacy and awareness … does also play an important role, which is why they decided to lend their support to their colleagues which have raised this issue in past weeks."

Read more:

Friday, October 22, 2010

$250 million Venture Capital Fund Established For Investment In Social Web

Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers along with Facebook, Amazon, and Zynga, are establishing a $250 million fund (the sFund) to aid the development of a new generation of social web offerings. 

"There's going to be an opportunity over the next five years or so to pick any industry and rethink it in a social way," said Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. "We think that every industry is going to be fundamentally re-thought and designed around people."
With KPCB putting up most of the money, the others are offering assistance in various ways. Amazon will provide it's web services platform for one year to selected companies and Facebook providing access to it's platform team and beta APIs.
The big focus of the fund will be social start-ups from all industries but no money will be provided to direct competitors of Facebook, Amazon, or Zynga (so there's the hook!).
"Think of it as a quarter-billion-dollar party. The third great wave of the internet is mobile and social together. It's going to be tectonic," said KPCB partner John Doerr.
Source: BBC