Monday, September 20, 2010

9 new stories on The Next Web today

9 new stories on The Next Web today

Link to The Next Web

London Mayor “Bashes heads together” over Tube mobile signal deal

Posted: 20 Sep 2010 04:10 AM PDT

It looks like the long-mooted dream of being able to send email, browse the web or even just make a phone call on the London Underground may be a step closer.

The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has “Personally intervened” to ensure that a mobile signal is available across the Tube network in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The Mayor has reportedly “Taken it upon himself to ‘bash heads together in the mobile phone industry’” in order to force moble operators Vodafone, O2, 3, T-Mobile and Orange (the latter two brands now merged as Everything Everywhere) to cover the cost of the installation of a system that would bring a mobile signal to every tube carriage across the network.

Although a mobile network for the Tube has been investigated before, it has previously been dismissed as too expensive. This latest plan, which the Sunday Telegraph says will be formally announced soon, complements a plan to cover the city in wi-fi in time for the Olympics.Image by Annie Mole, Source: The Sunday Telegraph

Lily Allen “To Sue Apple”

Posted: 20 Sep 2010 03:45 AM PDT

UK songstress Lily Allen is set to sue Apple as a result of the singer’s laptop being hacked and the computing giant offering no help in tracking down the attacker.

According to The Sun, the only way the pregnant musician can obtain information on how the laptop was compromised is by taking legal action, so she filed a lawsuit against Apple in the London High Court last week.

It is thought that Allen initially approached Apple for assistance, when this was refused a lawsuit was was filed.

At the time of writing the backstory is a little vague and The Sun’s article a little sensationalist. The lawsuit is probably more of a means to an end, a way of getting to the bottom of the hack, not an attack on Apple.

Interestingly, the first result on Google search for “Lily Allen Apple” brings up a case study on Lily Allen’s collaboration with Future Cut Productions, where they used Logic Pro to help create Allen’s albums and also tour live with the singer:

Image Credit

Amazon To Launch Takeover Of Lovefilm?

Posted: 20 Sep 2010 01:51 AM PDT

Amazon, the worlds largest online retailer, is said to be in talks with movie rental company Lovefilm with the view to takeover the firm.

Amazon already owns a 42% stake in Lovefilm. The US retailer made a large cash investment as a result of a partnership with Lovefilm after the UK company acquired Amazon’s european DVD rental business in February 2008.

The Sunday Times reported news of the deal but did not cite any sources, neither Lovefilm or Amazon were able to be reached to comment on the deal.

The deal could see Amazon bolster its media arm, offering both rental DVD’s, consolidating retail purchases and also looking to build a movie streaming service that could rival the likes of Netflix in the US.

More on this as it develops.Reuters, Image Credit

Kodak’s newest all-in-one lets you print directly from social media sites

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 04:52 PM PDT

First thing’s first – the Kodak ESP9250 is a great printer. I’ve been playing with it for the better part of four days now and I’ve really had no complaints.

Print quality is superb, both on standard and photo paper, colors are rich, printing is fast and it easily hooks up over WiFi. As far as the printer is concerned, it would be a winner even by itself.

But what really sets the 9250 apart is its software bundle. Yes, I’m serious.

While I’m not generally a fan of loading an entire suite of software for a peripheral device (I’ll let Windows 7 load only what’s necessary to make it work), the Kodak AiO Home Center is worth its weight in install space.

But let’s backtrack, just a bit. We’ll get to the social media features in a moment.


The 9250 is an all-in-one print/copy/fax/scan machine. After taking it out of the box, it requires about five minutes to set up and connect to your wireless network. Of course, you can also choose to connect it via USB or Ethernet, but who can be bothered by cables?

As you’re setting it up, you’ll likely notice that the 9250 comes with a full-capacity color as well as a black ink cartridge. Note that I said full-capacity. No “starter” cartridges on this one. This is one area where Kodak is stressing its price to value ratio. The refill cartridges, for color, should only run you around $17 and the black cartridge will be a bit less at around $10. Quite a bargain in today’s inkjet market, where it’s sometimes easier to just throw away your printer and buy a new one.

It does, of course, have a full-color 2.4″ display on the front of the machine, where you can print photos directly from SD, MS, Duo or a CF card. It can also read directly from a USB drive plugged into the front. Kodak also has a pretty cool application for your iPhone or iPod Touch that will allow you to print directly from your device, or send to your Pulse digital photo frame.

Overall, build quality on the 9250 seems spot on. It’s solid, if a bit heavy, and all functions are intuitive. The only issue that I had with it was setting up my wireless password, which would have been easier had I paid attention to doing it on the color screen rather than using the telephone keypad. Oops!


The AiO Home Center is the brain of the 9250. While there are a number of functions that you can do directly from the device itself, the Home Center opens up a wealth of other abilities. As you might expect, you can select photos from your computer, retouch them and even crop them in the software. What you might not expect, however, is where else you can print from.

As you’ll notice, in the red box, you have a variety of social media sources where you can log in and pull your images directly into the Home Center. What’s great about this is that you still have all of the same editing and cropping abilities with these images as you do with your native ones. It really is a seamless transition between the two.

I logged in with my Flickr credentials and pulled off a few photographs that I’ve taken over the years. There were some that I had always wished that I had physical copies of, but never took the time to download or order them. The 9250 (well, OK, so I had to play with it to tell you about it) made it really easy to access those images and get great prints from them.

The rest of the Home Center software is pretty much as you would expect. There are options for printing, scanning, some tips and a project center and you have a phone book/contacts screen for the fax function of the device.

The Images

Print quality on the 9250 is exemplary. I printed a variety of projects, including color and black and white, across both regular and photo paper. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how sharp and clear the black text was printed on regular paper. My experience, in the past, has been that inkjet printers do a mediocre job with text, at best. The 9250 was not only surprisingly good, it set a new standard for what I’ve seen as far as clean, clear text from an inkjet.

Using the included photo paper, black and white prints tended to be a bit toward the green side right after printing. However, given around 30 minutes to rest, these too cleaned out nicely and produced really exemplary results.

Scanning with the 9250 was equally as impressive, and duplex scanning or printing were both very easy with a built-in duplexing capability.

Final Thoughts

On my desk, I have a Canon printer that I paid about $50 for at a big-box store. For my everyday needs, it does a passable job. However, cartridges don’t last long and run about $30 to replace for color, and another $20 for black. Suffice it to say, it won’t take long to equal the $199 price of the 9250. Photo quality on my Canon is passable, at best, but nowhere near what I’d call “good”.

If you’re in the market for a quality printer for your home office or even your dorm, the Kodak ESP9250 is a great deal. MSRP for the device sits at $249, but you can find them online through major retailers for $199.

Again, as we talked about the the review for the Pulse photo frame, Kodak really seems to understand that it takes something extra to catch the attention of our generation. The 9250′s ability to print directly from social media sources is that something extra, and this printer will never ask you to find its cow.

Compared : Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 02:58 PM PDT

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.  Possibly the first, true, competitor to the iPad.  The Galaxy Tab, unveiled September 2 and profiled here, will reportedly be available for purchase through Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, at an as of yet unknown, price.

The Apple iPad, in comparison, will cost one $499, $599 or $699, depending on if you purchase the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB model, respectively.  An additonal $130 is added if you want a 3G equipped model with available no-contract data plans for 3G service using AT&T’s wireless network priced at $15 for 250MB of data or $30 for 2GB of data.

So how do the two compare?  Here’s a nice breakdown of the devices from Skatter Tech, click here for the enlarged version.

After reviewing, do you think the Galaxy Tab is a true competitor to the iPad?  Why/why not?  If you have neither device, which will you choose, if any, when the Galaxy Tab is released?

Firefox Home for iPhone update goes multilingual and more.

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 01:21 PM PDT

Firefox Home for iPhone,  chronicled in detail by @BradTNW, here, has received some nice updates to an already immensely useful app.

Essentially Firefox Home for iPhone saves history, passwords, tabs and favorites from one’s Firefox web browser and makes all of the aforementioned items conveniently available on your iPhone or iPod touch. The app works by pushing your browsing information to the cloud, synching them with your iPhone or iPod touch, making for a seamless browsing experience on the go.  It’s a free app, and a must have for any Firefox user with an iPhone and/or iPod touch.

Firefox Home has just updated its app, making it easier to use for those that don’t speak English, I know, I know, who would’ve thought English wasn’t a universal language? In particular, version 1.0.2 has added the following features:

  • Available in 15 different languages, English, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish
  • Ability to type in the site's URL into the Search Bar or search for an unknown term
  • For advanced users running their own Firefox Sync server, you can now set up Firefox Home to connect to your custom server.

Pretty nice updates.  Here are some shots of the new search feature in action:

Home screen:

Search screen (pretty cool site by the way):

Search result opens page using Safari:

Are you a Firefox Home user?  Get the app here, or update it if you have it.  What would you still like to see added to the app, if anything?

Skyfire browser for Android passes 2 million downloads

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 12:50 PM PDT

If you’re like most Android users, one of the first things that you’ve downloaded was the Skyfire browser. For months before Android 2.2 came out and made our devices Flash-capable, Skyfire was bringing that content to the forefront.

Apparently, according to Skyfire, the browser is so popular that it has just surpassed its 2 millionth download from the Android Market.

If you’ve not tried out Skyfire, now is a great time to give it a download. The newest version works on a load of devices such as the Droid X, Droid 2, Evo 4G and even Samsung Galaxy phones.

Beyond the obvious, though, Skyfire has a few other features that will interest you. It uses a cloud-computing frame that can reduce your data consumption, has a tabbed browsing format and the new SkyBar will give you toolbar access to great content.

Congrats to the Skyfire team. Here’s to 2 million more.

Via: Daily Mobile

5 trends that will shape the next few years of social media

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 10:00 AM PDT

The past few years have seen some spectacular changes in the technology that embeds itself in our daily lives. The perfect storm of social media, smart phones and location awareness is only beginning to take full effect. We've gazed into crystal ball and considered how we think these technologies will combine to become such an established fabric of our lives that in the next few years what we've written here won't be considered amazing at all.

Identity will become embedded in your devices

Your social media identities (Twitter username, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, Digg profile, etc.) will be entered as part of setting up your devices and propagated into all applications. Apps will then be able to access social network functionality through APIs and be able to use embedded identity without need for entering credentials.

You'll no longer have to enter your Twitter or Facebook credentials to access Twitter and Facebook functionality on mobile phone apps, they will seamlessly access your profile in the same way that a "mailto:" link opens an already configured email client on your desktop. The recently rumoured Facebook phone is an example how this approach could be applied.

The sign of success for a major social media platform will become whether device manufacturers and browsers include its identity as part of their configuration settings.

Online sharing will become embedded into your media life

As soon as social identity is embedded into our day-to-day devices, social sharing will become an integral part of the way we enjoy media on our regular tv's, dvd players and music players.

Media servers and the like will fade into history as our living room tv's, PVRs and hi-fis will be internet enabled and allow us to share likes, links and personal commentary. Remote controls will include "like" buttons which autopost to your Facebook page. Music players will sync preferences to Facebook and / or Ping.

Location will become embedded into all activities

It all began with Flickr showing photos on a map view using EXIF data. Over time, geo-tagging photos grew in popularity and some digital cameras now include positioning chips to embed geo-tags in all photos.

In the online world, Foursquare and Gowalla have slowly carved out a market for the location check-in market and the recent launch of Facebook Places brings this to a mainstream audience. Twitter has allowed location meta-data for some time and introduced it into the client in March.

The "holy grail" for location aware functions will be pre-emptive use of location to alert the user to things or people nearby that may be of interest. Users won't have to check-in to a place to see if their friends are nearby, their device will just alert them. The potential commercial tie-ins are obvious – vouchers and discounts in Foursquare are really just the tip of the ice-berg.

Smart devices and web apps will automatically check-in and post updates

One thing that frustrates me about Gowalla is that I need to open it up and check-in every time I'm somewhere of interest. I would like to pre-approve some places – my favourite restaurant, my local cinema, my local pub, etc. – and have the app automagically check-in on my behalf.

Interestingly, the much derided Facebook Beacon was perhaps the first mainstream application of this type of functionality. Facebook got the privacy and permissions model all wrong and probably delayed further development of the idea by some years. I don't want everything I buy on Amazon advertised to my friends as a matter of course, but I might be happy with an option – available for each order – that enables this, especially if my Twitter identity is already embedded into my browser.

The coming onslaught of identity aware devices, empowered by embeddable RFID tags, will allow this type of technology to spread much wider than just your mobile phone. Smart handbags, for example, could enable auto-checkins and send coupons to your phone as you enter your favourite store.

A few examples of ideas in this space: Facebook Beacon, Blippy (credit card transactions), RunKeeper (exercise information).

Social networking will revolutionise the way large organisations collaborate

Earlier this week a client said to me "If we knew what it is that we knew, we could make this company double as productive." Large organisations have always struggled to share knowledge across multiple teams, divisions and geographies.

Social media inspired design patterns applied to existing enterprise software and/or intranets opens up opportunities for collaboration on an unprecedented scale. Employees in large organisations will finally be able to find colleagues with knowledge or experience they could benefit from. Collaboration will no longer mean simply sharing documents and version control, but the ability to find colleagues by shared interest and collaborate seamlessly in a multi-channel environment.

At the moment, current examples include disruptive innovators like SocialText, Yammer, Podio and SocialWok. In time, the established intranet software vendors will begin to include social functionality as part and parcel of their offering. It also seems likely that vendors of HR software, which already contains much profile related data, will be looking to expand into this space.

Bringing it all together

It's about ongoing convergence (tvs becoming social media devices, corporate intranets becoming private social networks etc.) enabled by embedded identity and enhanced by location awareness.

The meta trends – convergence pushing towards ubiquity of a given set of technology – has been the natural order of events for years. Applied to the current crop of cutting edge web and mobile technologies, it looks like the next few years are going to be quite exciting.Image credit

Video: Inside Seedcamp 2010

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 05:26 AM PDT

Following our interviews with the winning startups, we meet Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni to hear her thoughts about how this year’s London programme has gone and the competition’s plans for the future. Then we talk to one of last year’s winners to hear how he’s got on since.

Video: Seedcamp 2010 – words with the winners

Posted: 19 Sep 2010 04:51 AM PDT

The 12 winners of Europe’s biggest startup competition, Seedcamp, were announced in London at the UCL on Friday. Each winner will get an investment of €50,000 (£41,800) in return for a stake of up to 10% of their company and will now move to London for a three to four month incubation program.

This year’s Seedcamp, now in it’s third year, was bigger than ever with 900 applicants from all over Europe and even further afield in Tel Aviv and South Africa who battled it out in a localized mini Seedcamp with the chance to make it to London for the week long investor showdown just gone.

2010 winners: “the world’s first car finance comparison website”
Editd: “We forecast trends accurately, quickly and visually”
Nuji: “Social shopping platform allowing mobile interaction”
Trebax: “Pairing brands with games and other media for advertising”
Garmz: “Platform for upcoming fashion designers”
Wordy: “Web application for professional copy-editing”
GIS Cloud: “World’s first freemium geographic information system”
Ineze: “Finds best-matching products using structured decision engine”
Profitero: “Sales analytics monitoring competitors’ information”
Sparkeo: “Enables businesses to makes sales of expert video”
Uberblic: “Data integration service for web and enterprise data”
Albia: “Delivers a range of software for business solutions

Interviews with some of this year’s winners:Garmz and Nadim Saad from

Alexander Wheldon of Trebax Innovations, followed by Dean and Vincent of Nuji.

Dino Ravnic and Marco Santic of Omnisdata (the people behind GIS CLoud) followed by Alex Sevastianov of Albia.

Gil Rozenborg of Ineze, followed by Frederich Aknin of Sparkeo (apologies to Sparkeo for the incorrect spelling of their name in the video).

This post be will be updated with more videos of interviews with the winners.

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