- Nokia adds social check-ins to Ovi Maps for Facebook, Twitter and more
- Nokia E7 goes official. Big, beautiful and business-centric
- Nokia C6 and C7 unveiled, coming Q4 this year
- Live from the Nokia World opening keynote
- The @Israel Twitter account now belongs to the country, not a porn site owner.
- Verizon molests Android; ruins its chances at iPhone
- New CBS News iPad app “presented by Amazon Kindle”
- Apple speeds up its device support site with Express Lane
- iPad as tool for accessibility, just ask Glenda Watson Hyatt
- San Francisco mayor to propose open data program be made into law
- Rule your Empire Avenue empire with Empire Monitor.
- Bell Announces Internet TV service: Fibe TV
- Google Editions To Launch In Japan Next Year
- The CBC doesn’t need to end “anonymous” comments, it needs better moderation
- Nokia N8 Video Preview Emerges
- What does Twitter have planned for today? Watch this space.
- The Internet Brings Back the Tangible
- Samsung Epic 4G – Our first look and impressions
- Boxee Box coming to Canada in November, pre-orders start Sept 14
- What Is It With Startups And Starcraft?
Posted: 14 Sep 2010 03:47 AM PDT
At Nokia World today, the Finnish mobile giant announced a new version of Ovi Maps, the built-in mapping software that comes with its Symbian smartphones. Probably its most exciting new feature is a social check-in service called, quite simply, “Check-in”.
The service supports Facebook, Twitter, RenRen (a Chinese service) and StudiVZ (Switzerland) among others. Interestingly, the service lets you store your location without sharing at all, so that you can create a personal location ‘diary’ of places you’ve been. Interestingly, it appears that Foursquare isn’t supported. We’ll get clarity on that though.
In the video below, a Nokia rep takes us through a Facebook Places check-in via Ovi Maps.
Original title and link for this post: Nokia adds social check-ins to Ovi Maps for Facebook, Twitter and more
Posted: 14 Sep 2010 02:29 AM PDT
Another smartphone unveiled at Nokia World today is the Nokia E7, a device solely aimed at business users, providing both a 4-inch touch display that can tilt, a full QWERTY keyboard, an 8 megapixel camera, 720p HD video, 16 GB of onboard storage and will run (as will all new Nokia devices unveiled today) a finely tuned build of the Symbian^3 operating system.
The E7 is the Nokia Communicator reincarnated for 2010, Anssi Vanjoki refers to the device as being “Biiiiiggggggg” (that’s big to you and me), beautiful and is solely designed for business, allowing owners to create and edit documents on the go.
It will ship by Q4 this year, costing 495 Euros.
Original title and link for this post: Nokia E7 goes official. Big, beautiful and business-centric
Posted: 14 Sep 2010 02:10 AM PDT
In the past few moment at Nokia World, Anssi Vanjok, Nokia’s (outgoing) Head of Mobile Solutions has just made the Nokia C6 and C7, bringing a new range of smartphones that are aimed at providing a unified experience along with its flagship smartphone, the Nokia N8.
The Nokia C6 is smaller smartphone than the N8 but is rich in new features. The C6 is touch-enabled and comes with a new display technology known as “ClearBlack Display” or CBD as we will probably refer to it. CBD is said to be “blacker than black” providing users with yet another choice when choosing between Super-LCD, AMOLED and Apple’s Retina Display. The C6 has an 8MP camera, full QWERTY keyboard, supports WebTV and has free Ovi Maps, allowing for navigation whilst on the move.
The C7 is basically a lighter, thinner version of the C6, offering all the same features as the C6 but without the keyboard. They both have a 3.5-inch screen, large internal storage and are crafted from stainless steel.
Both devices will ship in Q4 later this year, we have no extra specifications or pricing yet (Nokia have not released press details as of yet), we will update as soon as we have them.
Original title and link for this post: Nokia C6 and C7 unveiled, coming Q4 this year
Posted: 14 Sep 2010 12:51 AM PDT
Join us as we see what the company has up its sleeve to announce at its biggest press event of the year. It’s been confirmed that we’re going to hear about Symbian, not the company’s newer Meego OS.
Refresh your page regularly as we keep you updated…
8:54am: Very soothing, ambient music playing as we await the start of the event. None this upbeat Apple-esque nonsense for these coolheaded Finns.
9.00am: We’ll be starting a little late, we’re told. People still filtering in at the back, with the stage still empty. The start can’t come soon enough – the music loop playing features a rather disturbing sound like an aeroplane crashing which disturbs the peaceful ambience every few minutes.
9.15am: Still waiting and we’re 15 minutes late now. People still entering but at least they’ve turned the bass down on those ‘aeroplane’ noises. It was scaring people.
9.16am: Niklas Savander, Exec VP, Markets, takes to the stage. A nod of tribute to the outgoing CEO, acknowledgement that the new CEO can’t be here and we’re straight into a video.
9.19am: Savander “Nokia people follow their own path – they see opportunities even when times are tough… we help people grab life’s opportunities.” The event is sold out – 3000 people are here. Biggest fans and harshest critics – they want to hear from all of us.
9.23am: “We are not Google or Apple, we are Nokia. We are unique”. He’s digging at Apple – one device leads to compromise. Nokia will continue to offer a variety of devices. People bought far more Nokia smartphones than their rivals. 260,000 smartphones sold daily.
9.26am: They aim to ship 50 million Symbian^3 devices. 100 operators have signed up to sell the Nokia N8.
9.29am: Savander says Nokia, not Google, leads the mobile navigation market. He’s going over the benefits of Ovi Maps. Now available for 78 countries, 46 languages. By 2013 more than 800 million people will have GPS-enabled devices. Soon, everything online will have a location element. Nokia intends to own this space.
9.33am: Savander ends with three words: “Nokia is back”. Anssi Vanjoki takes to the stage. He’s dismissing critics who dismissing the N8 as “Same old Nokia”. They ignore what’s under the hood. He’s got some passion in his eyes here.
9.38am: Vanjoki: The N8 is an important milestone. Beautifully designed, new hardware but with “The familiarity of the new”. The N8′s preorders have been the biggest response to any of their hardware launches ever. 12MP camera is “non-compromise”. He shows off some photos – the certainly look impressive.
9.42am: He shows off an impressive clip of Tron Legacy in HD, played from the N8 via an HDMI cable. Full screen, great sound. Impressive. We’ll get a chance to take a look later. Vanjokie is giving a great performance considering that he’s already handed his notice in.
9.44am: Introduces the Nokia C6. Compact, 8MP camera, web TV. Ovi Maps now has social location features. Share locations with your friends and keep a record of your locations. Looks like ‘checki-ins’ for your own use. Has CBS – ClearBlackDisplay. Clearer, more vibrant colours, blacker,lower power consumption.
9.47am: Introduces the C7 – built for social networking, 3.5inch display. “one of the best combinations of design and services ever. Supports location sharing to a wide range of social networks.
9.49am: Ovi Maps now features pedestrian features and public transport navigation.
9.50am: The C6 and C7 launch Q4 2010. Promoting the launch via a Facebook competition.
9.53am: He moves onto the Nokia Communicator. Recaps tyhe impact of the “first smartphone”, the Nokia 9000 Communicator. Today we finally see a replacement for the aging E90 – the new E7. “It’s big, but beautiful and all business”.
9.57am: Slide out QWERTY keyboard, angled touchscreen, 3.5″ display. Exchange support. Premium business class device. Read and edit powerpoint slides. Full Ovi services suite. “Best business phone ever”.
9.59am: Symbian is built for multitasking with fast device switching. 25 apps at the same time is not a problem.
10.00am: Vanjokia ends by rounding up the four big handsets: the N8 (al-rounder), C6, C7 (both social networking optimised) and E7 (business). “This is my last Nokia event” (we knew that!). He leaves to a big round of applause.
10:02am: Purnima Kochikar, VP, Forum Nokia & Developer Community, takes to the stage. “We have made a lot of progress this year creating a Nokia ecosystem that developers want to be part of”. Devlopment has been simplified – devs have an improved return on investment with Nokia. “Out goal is to improve the health, wealth and education of our users and bring them joy”. Awww… Examples of how apps are helping people around the world – helping African mothers check for counterfeit drugs.
10:10am: She’s imploring developers to embrace Series 40 as it supports Java – largest worldwide market for apps.
10:11am: Nokia is now offering a touchscreen Java SDK for Series 40. Released today at Forum Nokia. Will bring apps “to the next Billion” users. “Truly exciting” opportunity to break into new markets for apps.
10.16am: Smartphone development: 45 million smartphone userbase plus aiming to ship 50 million more. Developing has never been easier – native and web. Natively via Qt SDK – 70% reduction in lines of code, compatible with all Nokia devices. Developers can also develop via Symbian Web Runtime for web-based development.
10.17am: She moves onto the new Nokia web browser – supports web apps and optimised for touch. huge reach for web apps with Nokia phones.
10.18am: Showing some Morpho – a Japanese app that takes panoramic photos. Impressive shots.
10.20am: Ovi Store now available in 190+ countries, on 120+ Nokia devices, credit card and operator billing.
10.21am: App called Fizwoz was a featured app on Ovi Store for one week. When it launched an X6-compatible version, downloads shot up to exceed the number of iPhone downloads, across 167 countries.
10:23am: Nokia will no longer charge for Java app signing. A couple of small cheers around the room.
10:25am: Mikael Hed of Rovio, (AKA Mr ‘Angry Birds’) is invited onto stage. He gives up a talk about what Angry Birds is all about. He introduces a new bird to the game – the Mighty Eagle – via a cartoon on screen.
10.30am: If you’re stuck in a level you can use an in-app purchase to buy the Mighty Eagle. When deployed, it will autmaticaly clear the level. However, you can only use it once. If you want to use it again you will have to clear the level you originally used it on properly first. This is the beginning of “Games as a service”, Hed says. Angry Birds is coming to al new Symbian 3 devices, starting with the N8.
10:35am: Kochikar wraps up and that’s the opening keynote over!
Original title and link for this post: Live from the Nokia World opening keynote
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 09:59 PM PDT
It seems, according to the New York Times, that @Israel was owned by a gentleman named Israel Meléndez, who owned a pornographic website. Acquiring the account in 2007, Meléndez was unable to use it effectively, as his tweets were answered with a flurry of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks.
Meléndez, a resident of Miami Florida, had been contacted by the Israeli Foreign Ministry with the Ministry’s interest in acquiring the account from Meléndez. In a deal that was said to be “not pro bono”, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs now has control of the account.
The account, at present, seems to be used primarily to pass on information about government affairs, including a Rosh Hashanah greeting from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Original title and link for this post: The @Israel Twitter account now belongs to the country, not a porn site owner.
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 09:31 PM PDT
It’s been a strange couple of weeks in the life of this Android-living Google fanboy. OK, so I’m not really a fanboy, but I’m quite fond of Google products, and especially so when that product is the Android OS. But in the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen actions from Verizon that make me sincerely question Google’s lack of response to them.
Last week, the rumor started circulating that on the newest Verizon device from Samsung, Google was not only not the default search provider but also you couldn’t even change it to be so. While that did raise my eyebrows a bit, I was reminded by someone close to the Google/Verizon situation that Verizon did indeed select Microsoft’s Bing as its search provider of choice some time ago.
Fair enough, I suppose. It doesn’t keep you from going to Google.com in your phone’s browser, nor does it keep you from downloading a widget that will allow you to search on Google directly. I can deal with this.
Today’s news, however, I’m not so sure how to take just yet.
The news is that Verizon is building its own V-Cast Apps store. While we’ve long-ago become accustomed to the Verizon tab within the Android Market, the idea of a completely separate store is something else entirely. As with most major decisions, this could go really well or horribly, painfully wrong.
Verizon says that it will have a stringent policy for application approval. This is a very good thing. It’s something that the Android Market needs, to some extent.
There will be a 70/30 split with developers for profits. Again, this is good. Devs need to make money and it’s another platform on which they’ll be able to.
You’ll be able to bill apps from the store to your Verizon phone bill.
The rest? Well, that’s pretty much all of the possible good things to come out of this announcement.
Fragmentation issues continue, as only devices running 2.2 or higher can use the store.
If you purchase an application from the store on one phone, there is no assurance that it will work on another.
The Really Really Ugly
While I’m perturbed enough by the idea of having more crapware on my phone, what really bothers me is what this likely means, moving forward.
Carriers are already given the choice of pre-loading their own software and disabling some services on Android. It’s part of the license agreement. However, there are certain core items to the devices that simply should be left alone, if only for the ethos of the Android operating system. The Android Market, for better or worse, should be one of those.
While it’s bad enough that you’ll have added software on your phone (and don’t think for a second that Verizon won’t go out of its way to default all purchases to its own portal), what happens when Verizon decides to build its own standardized UI to place on all of its Verizon devices?
In one fell swoop, Android users could very well be the unwilling recipients of over the air “upgrades” to their devices that would bring back the bloated junk that ruined the potential of great phones only 4 or 5 years ago.
But why would Verizon screw over its customers like this? Why would a walled garden be of any use to Verizon?
Apple has had phenominal success with the App Store, and rightly so. There are great applications in there, and they deserve to be purchased. Verizon, in its business interest, wants a piece of that pie. Sadly, Google has not yet (publicly) stood up to tell Verizon when to stop molesting its operating system, so Verizon will continue.
This is, conversely, the very reason that Verizon will not see the iPhone in its lineup. Jobs and company will not stand for it’s “magical” device to have bloated crapware on it, and Verizon won’t open the door to something that it can’t modify to its own tastes.
While there is still the argument of being able to root or jailbreak the devices, that’s a level that the vast majority of “Joe Consumer” users won’t ever touch. It’s not even a valid response to the argument, because it leaves out everyone who isn’t “one of us”.
So there is your future, Verizon iPhone hopefuls. If you want to see exactly why your precious device will never wear a big, red V, just take a look at Android.
For those of you Android users who are lucky enough to run a “vanilla” device, you might want to start reading about rooting so that you can keep your phone running the way it should.
Original title and link for this post: Verizon molests Android; ruins its chances at iPhone
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 08:33 PM PDT
Amazon is certainly taking a double-edged sword approach to the iPad. On the one side, Amazon is making commercials going after the price and reflective screen of the iPad, while on the other side the leader in ebooks has an iPad app and is apparently acting as the primary sponsor of at least one iPad app: the new CBS News iPad app (iTunes link).
The app itself is pretty is pretty standard for a news app, though the video quality is pretty decent. The app is broken down between a “News” and “Shows”, with “News” further broken down into Top News, Videos, Popular News and Galleries, and the “Shows” include the CBS Evening News, The Early Show and Sunday Morning, among others. The app also provides a market watch function from CBS Money Watch as well as a nice AccuWeather integration.
That said, Amazon Kindle is all over the app right now (see the screenshots) – it could of course be a limited time deal, but right now it is seemingly the only advertiser. Obviously, there are thousands of iPad apps, and even if Amazon sponsors a hundred, it really would still only be a fraction, but still, it’s very interesting to track how Amazon is tackling the iPad, from rolling out a new Kindle at a much lower price, to releasing its iPad app, to commercials attacking where it can, to sponsoring the news app of one of the networks.
What side of the sword will Amazon sharpen next?
Original title and link for this post: New CBS News iPad app "presented by Amazon Kindle"
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 05:17 PM PDT
If you’ve ever had to deal with customer support from any sort of company, you’ll know why that experience often weighs heavily into customer reviews. Apple, not being slouches in the CS area but still seeing need for improvement, has done just that.
Express Lane is really 3 sections of support, rolled into one neat package. You can search by Apple product, search your own products (that you’ve registered) or look up cases that you’ve submitted previously.
The process, it seems, streamlines what you would normally have to do in order to find support answers for your devices. Clicking through, the My Products section is really handy and includes all devices you’ve registered along with the respective serial numbers.
Not needing support on anything at the moment, I can’t tell you how effective it is. However, in typical Apple fashion, it’s very sleek and slimmed down to the bare essentials to get you the answers you need. And honestly, when you’re needing customer service, that’s the best thing a company can do.
Original title and link for this post: Apple speeds up its device support site with Express Lane
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 03:51 PM PDT
For anyone who thinks the iPad is just some kind of over-priced, hipster toy, I want you to stop and read this post from my friend Glenda Watson Hyatt:
Since her first post Glenda has written a couple more posts about her thoughts on the iPad and accessibility (Follow up and another) and the post above has just be republished on the Yahoo! Accessibility Blog. What I have learned about Glenda (besides the fact she’s brilliant and funny) is her dogged determination to not let anything stop her in her quest to make the world better and more accessibile for all of us. All of us.
I remember my Dad showing me some of the first devices for quadriplegics help them use computers and communicate (on Apple IIs I might add), and I know if my Dad were alive now he’d be making sure his patients all had iPads. The world of computers has come a long, long way and I’m sure Glenda is going to be out there leading the charge.
I hope that Glenda’s hard work will pay off for others. Maybe even providing iPads to other people who need affordable devices that can do so, so much to help them connect and communicate.
Original title and link for this post: iPad as tool for accessibility, just ask Glenda Watson Hyatt
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 03:35 PM PDT
The program has been lauded by technologists across the country as an example for other city governments to offer open data to their citizens, both for transparency as well as for the foundations of building apps that help the quality of life. Although there are many more data sets that still have not been made public by the city of San Francisco, certainly if it becomes law (it was started by executive order from Newsom) we’d imagine that the push to get more data sets to the public would quicken.
However, according to the San Francisco Chronicle,
Regardless, open data is a key part of making civic apps (whether out altruistic or for-profit motives), and this move by Newsom and the city of San Francisco should be a welcome one to developers across the country.
Original title and link for this post: San Francisco mayor to propose open data program be made into law
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 02:45 PM PDT
Slightly over a month ago we introduced you to (and provided invites) Empire Avenue.
Empire Avenue lets one measure their social media worth in the form of a tremendously fun, and addictive, stockmarket-type game where you allow people to "buy" shares in your future popularity online, and you can do likewise.
Once I ventured into the world of Empire Avenue, I was hooked.
For those of you who are just as fond of buying and selling shares in others, while seeing the same population of individuals do likewise to you, something released today may be to your liking. That is, provided you have an Android phone.
Using Empire Avenue on your phone’s mobile browser is nice, but Empire Monitor (€1.5, $1.92 USD) from Pyxis Technologies France, affords one with a more simplistic way of monitoring your Empire Avenue activity. Note: this is not an app from Empire Avenue, only an app that has been developed for users of the site.
Using the app you can:
It’s a pretty neat app for those who love Empire Avenue and want an easy way to keep up with their Empire Avenue network activity. You can get the app here, or by scannng the code below. Are you an Empire Avenue user? Buy shares in me, ticker symbol: JCRMR, or don’t. It’s your virtual money.
Original title and link for this post: Rule your Empire Avenue empire with Empire Monitor.
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 02:31 PM PDT
Fast on the heels of announcing the purchase of CTV-GlobeMedia last week, Bell Canada has announced the launch of their new Internet TV service called “Fibe TV” (as in fibre TV). Fibe will roll out in select parts of Toronto and Montreal over the next few months after a trial in those cites over the summer.
Fibe joins Telus’ Optik in the Internet TV game (seriously, could we get a product name that isn’t a mis-spelling of a real word?), which I think is only a side note to some much, much bigger issues at hand here.
First off, contrary to what folks outside of Canada might think, this doesn’t mean that Canadians in Vancouver, Winnipeg or Calgary will be able to pit Telus again Bell for their Internet and Internet TV offerings. See Canada is, essentially, divided into “media zones of non-competition”. In Vancouver, home phone is Telus and cable is Shaw. Period. Internet, pretty much the same. Sure in the mobile space we can use any provider, but it’s only been in the last couple years that you could get a local mobile number from any carrier. Even less that we had cell number portability.
So getting Bell Internet or Fibe TV in Western Canada? Yeah that’s not likely to happen, Telus has us all locked in.
Then there is a a little issue of media ownership.
We have a pretty confusing media arrangement here, but there are essentially three big players. Canwest Global (which owns TV, cable, and newspapers) and now BCE (Bell Canada) which now owns the other TV, cable, and media outlets (the newspaper part is only partially owned by BCE). The CBC is the only independent arm, but it also doesn’t own distribution networks. Now Bell owns the media content networks and the platform. Internet TV is very convenient when you also own a chunk of the channels.
Niether Telus nor Shaw own networks, yet. CanWest doesn’t own communications provider, yet. I think Bell’s recent purchase of CTV Globemedia the other media powers are going to be wondering how to leverage their positions best. I suspect there will be more deals (or collaborations) in the very near future.
And I’m not convinced that’s going to be a good thing.
Original title and link for this post: Bell Announces Internet TV service: Fibe TV
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:55 PM PDT
Google will launch its still unseen Google Editions product next year in the Japanese market, Google Japan announced today according to the AFP.
The article points out that Google is moving forward in Japan despite a market that hasn’t really opened up to ebooks yet, and in one where author / publisher commissions, royalties, etc are very complicated.
Yoichi Sato, a strategic partner development manager at Google Japan was quoted by the AFP as saying,
We could be taking this out of context, but those lines don’t sound very confident to us. Google is probably figuring that with the proliferation all things mobile in Japan that sooner or later ebooks will come into vogue, and that the US company must figure that it needs to get in as early as possible, especially as Japanese companies, such as Sony which is already very deep into the ereader market, start to try to corner their home market.
Originally, the rumors were that Google Editions would be launched in the US this past summer, but that did not happen – we’ll just have to wait and see if Google Japan will be able to keep its schedule (which we’d imagine it should).
Original title and link for this post: Google Editions To Launch In Japan Next Year
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:54 PM PDT
There are some rumblings that the CBC (for the non-Canadians it’s our national broadcaster) should end “anonymous” comments on online news stories (see also Techvibes). The first problem with the issue is that the comments aren’t truly “anonymous”, you have to create an account with a username, password, and email. Yes, I know, the emails and names can be fake, but in the truest sense, these aren’t “anonymous” comments. The next issue is the suggestion that the CBC switch to the newspaper model where if a name and address can’t be verified, it isn’t printed. As the CBC article points out, that isn’t really feasible either. The solution, really, is better moderation.
The example in the CBC article surrounds nasty comments directed towards a couple after they were interviewed by the CBC. The couple will now think twice, and still answer no, before doing another interview. And I don’t blame them. I blame the CBC. Yes, there is the whole can of worms surrounding freedom of speech. Being a government-funded organization, they have to watch out for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but freedom of speech does not equal freedom to be a jerk or hateful (as Paul Carr discusses in his TC post).
I know that the CBC already uses outside groups to monitor comments on “sensitive” posts like First Nations and minority issues, but frankly I think they need to step it up. The “sniff” test for basic decorum is pretty easy for people. I don’t think it’s wrong for a CBC staffer to judge a comment abusive, vulgar, distasteful, or just plain wrong and pull it. Let’s use another example: the radio.
If the CBC has a call in segment you can say your name is “Bob” and call from a public phone (if you can find one). That should be fine, right? Now if that person starts going off on the host or being abusive or vulgar, don’t you think it’s permissible for the host to pull the plug on the caller? It doesn’t need to go to committee. They make a basic judgement call and do it.
Comments are no different. You don’t need to make sure the person is “real” or who they say they are, that is an onerous and impossible taks, you just need to hold everyone commenting to a standard of decorum that an “average person” would find acceptable in any other public forum.
Done. Next issue?
Original title and link for this post: The CBC doesn’t need to end “anonymous” comments, it needs better moderation
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:37 PM PDT
With Nokia World starting tomorrow and the device likely to finally get some proper hands-on tests, GSMOnline have managed to get a video of the device up, giving us a full ten-minute preview of the device in the process.
It’s claimed that this is the final Symbian^3 firmware, the operating system that will ship with the N8 but from the video the device still looks a little laggy at times. That said, we will not know what the final builds will hold until official review units are sent out and we get to handle the unit ourselves.
Take a look at the video, is this a device you could see yourself buying over an iPhone or an Android device?
Original title and link for this post: Nokia N8 Video Preview Emerges
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:34 PM PDT
We’ve been invited to a meeting at Twitter headquarters, tomorrow. The invitation is very basic, only saying that we’d need to be there by 3:45 pm.
So, shall we start the betting pool? What does Twitter have up its sleeve for tomorrow’s “event”? What do you hope that they have going on?
Regardless, watch TNW. We’ll let you know the details as soon as we have them!
Original title and link for this post: What does Twitter have planned for today? Watch this space.
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 01:16 PM PDT
Judging from all the excitement about Amazon selling more e-books than hardcovers for the first time you might believe that we are finally closing in on the dreams of the paperless world. iPads, smartphones and cloud storage are allowing users access to their data at the push of a button or tough screen.
Pictures? Digital. Video? Digital. Magazines? Created individually with Flipboard and Paper.li. With the help of Facebook and Zynga, our fantasies about the good old days on the farm are now virtual realities.
A lot of time is spent collecting virtual flair for our Internet corkboards. Xbox Live and Apple's new Game Center reward gamers with badges in icon form for their play. Just when it looks like future generations may have fewer items that end up in yard sales or eBay lots of curiosities, a few companies are taking us back to the world of tangible goods and knickknacks to quench the thirst for rewards we can hold in our hands.
Foursquare has become more than just the second act for Dennis Crowley's vision of Dodgeball, an early geolocation service Crowley developed and sold to Google way back in 2005. As you check in to locations and collect points you earn Foursquare badges. Badges are available for multiple check-ins or unique locations or a certain number of airports, Starbucks shops, or checking in with a crowd. Some badges are rare enough that the Internet community chronicles their discovery and existence. Nerd Merit Badges understands that a badge in an iPhone app isn't the same as one you can put on your laptop or backpack. Have you unlocked the Gym Rat badge on Foursquare? Why not order a physical badge and show off your dedication to Foursquare users and non-users alike?
Media check in service GetGlue has a similar reward-based system. As you decide what books, movies, TV shows, music, people, or things you like you earn different sticker. With a lot of social networking sites this is where it stops – configuring a profile. But GetGlue offers users a second helping: free tangible, real-life stickers. This makes GetGlue more than just a website for sharing and learning about new media, it makes a physical impact on users' worlds by giving them something to show off. And with a new iPad app, GetGlue check-ins can become almost second nature while watching TV and browsing the web.
These kinds of services are adding a unique experience to the online world. As newspapers, magazines and disc-based media go out of fashion something will need to fill the void on our shelves. Libraries of the past were designed to be grand, impressive structures housing works of knowledge that were held in the same esteem. We continue this practice today with book and DVD libraries proudly displayed in our common rooms, studies and man caves. At some point though, while a few books will continue to be printed for collection value and the novelty of physical reading most will only be available in a digital form. Most humans, as creatures of collection, will find this shift difficult.
The music industry, stuck in the past on digital distribution, has actually been leading the way in preserving our need for tangible goods. Vinyl records are being produced again as limited edition and collector's items. As well as having a sound all their own, a large record comes with 12 inches of art on a sleeve that can be just as important as the music. The physical form completes the experience, and the online worlds that provide tangible products to compliment their digital ones maybe possess the secret sauce in making online trends more than fads.
Original title and link for this post: The Internet Brings Back the Tangible
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 12:41 PM PDT
Just a quick look at the latest Galaxy S smartphone from Samsung, available on the Sprint network in the US. The Samsung Epic 4G is…in a word, slick. The slide-out QWERTY plus screaming fast 4G speeds give this phone a leg up on the other offerings on the market right now.
We’ll do a more in-depth review after a few days of use, but for now, here’s a quick look and first impressions:
What are your thoughts? I’m meeting with Sprint on Wednesday. Are there any questions you want answered?
Original title and link for this post: Samsung Epic 4G – Our first look and impressions
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 12:11 PM PDT
If you’ve been thinking about getting an Apple TV or been using Boxee with a computer connected to your TV, there is an alternative on the horizon for you: The Boxee Box. The Boxee Box will let you stream and play HD content from the Web and your local network. Pre-orders start on September 14th (that’s tomorrow folks) for a November delivery. If you’re in the US, you can pre-order through Amazon, here in Canada it will be Best Buy and Future Shop.
The device itself is made by D-Link and comes with a remote that has a QWERTY keyboard on the back. Yes, a keyboard on the back. Hats off to Boxee for launching its device in not only the U.S., but most of the world as well.
The Boxee folks say that their option is a more flexible option than Apple TV and will give people free content to watch, as well as the content they already have.
Being someone who doesn’t do much other than some video-on-demand through the cable company, I do wonder if my wife and I would like to have something that would allow us to cancel our cable subscription.
Hat tip: Vancouver Sun
Original title and link for this post: Boxee Box coming to Canada in November, pre-orders start Sept 14
Posted: 13 Sep 2010 11:43 AM PDT
If you keep a close eye on startup related-news, and if you read The Next Web (there is a good chance that you do), you have probably seen something crop up in the corner of your eye in the last few weeks: Starcraft.
To be more precise, Starcraft 2. Why is a video game taking up so much space in our tech feed? To explain, we have to answer a different question: what is Starcraft? Simply put, it’s a strategy game played at a excruciatingly high level around the world with a rising professional scene.
To explain why it has reared its head into our usually staid, if exciting startup world, we have to go deeper. To start, the game came out recently after an extensive beta period that attracted a huge following of techies, developers, hackers, marketing types, and the other people who fly in the startup orbit. The beta was exclusive, and as our crowd knows how to finagle invites it became a normal topic of conversation: “Oh, you aren’t in the beta yet? You have to get in man…”
Shame works, and I was surprised at how many of my friends on both coasts were putting in serious game hours all summer, bragging about this and that. I suppose it is a nice break from coding.
Second, the skills that make a good Starcraft players are very similar to the skills you need to work for a startup. I’m joking, right? Not really, or I am at least not alone in this line of thinking. A big article was published on early September by tech man Koichi entitled “Why Startups Should Only Hire Good Starcraft Players,” which started something of a firestorm of comments around the internet surrounding how prevalent the game is among technology people.
What were the big ideas? Obsessive improvement, the ability to wear multiple hats, manners, the ability to see the big picture and still work on details, and on and on. The crossovers are wide if you care to look for them.
So popular indeed has the game become that in San Francisco there is a Starcraft tournament being organized for only startup people.
It runs deeper. I’ve had several people after pitching me on their companies via IM ask if I want to play a game or two. It’s almost as if Starcraft 2 is becoming the new “get coffee and get acquainted” exercise to some, an acceptable way to build relationships, especially when distance separates two people.
That last statement is more grandiose sounding than it is, but you get the gist of my idea. So long as Starcraft is a game where fast typing, quick thinking, risk assessment, feinting, and sheer competition are key, it will remain popular among the startup community. Every group has an activity, and aside from drinking it seems that Starcraft and startups are becoming best buddies.
Do you need to play it? Of course not. However, if you do you will be in good standing among your peers. Gaming is no longer geek, but is not yet chic. Then again, the startup world is neither of those itself, so it is hardly a sin. GL HF.
Oh, and if you want an ass-kicking, add me on Facebook and then friend me on Starcraft 2.
Original title and link for this post: What Is It With Startups And Starcraft?
|You are subscribed to email updates from The Next Web |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|
19 new stories on The Next Web today Part 1
19 new stories on The Next Web today Part 1
19 new stories on The Next Web today Part 1
Tags: 19 new stories on The Next Web today, 19 new stories on The Next Web today watch online, full 19 new stories on The Next Web today video, 19 new stories on The Next Web today download, 19 new stories on The Next Web today torrent, free 19 new stories on The Next Web today, 19 new stories on The Next Web today megavideo, 19 new stories on The Next Web today full, 19 new stories on The Next Web today eng sub