AOL Testing Facial Recognition Image Organizer for Your Photos

I haven't read anything else about this, but AOL has a prototype of a facial recognition image organizer available for download at their beta site, AOL Greenhouse. It has a fairly poor interface, so once you start to tag your photos going back and viewing them is, say, not even close to as easy as with Picasa. Still, it does identify faces in pictures pretty well, groups similar faces, and is fairly intelligent in tagging people once you've begun training it. In early testing, it seems to be more accurate than Riya, but isn't even as usable as Riya's web interface.

The problem with this, of course, and the problem with Riya, Flickr, Picasa, etc, is that they all have their good and their bad, but none of them are as strong as I want them to be. Picasa is necessary for managing a full collection of photos on your desktop, but Picasa Web Albums is limited in storage and usability, so I need to have Flickr on the web. Flickr is a step behind in web functions, though, and could definitely benefit from the addition of some AI such as facial recognition.

So now I have photos in Picasa, in AOL Image Organizer, on Flickr, on Riya, on Picasa Web Albums, and a few scattered on things like Zooomer. What I really want is the ability to share information from site to site - share geotagging, facial tagging, descriptions, etc, and important/sync the data across the storage / community sites. It simply takes too much work to manage a large collection of pictures at this point, and no one property is strong enough to handle all of my wants.

So is anyone else writing about AOL Image Organizer? Is anything out there going to tackle these problems?


Watch The Office for free online

Some friends pointed me to free episodes of the first 3 seasons of The Office (the American version):

Season 1: http://blog.coolz0r.com/2006/12/24/the-office-us-season-1/
Season 2: http://blog.coolz0r.com/2006/12/26/the-office-us-season-2/
Season 3: http://blog.coolz0r.com/2006/12/23/the-office-us-version/

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

UPDATE: If these links don't work anymore, you can check out tvparadise or openhulu (or better, Hulu, when it launches publicly).


Google makes 20 cents per search

From the BusinessWeek article "Why Yahoo's Panama Won't Be Enough" (pointed out by Greg Lindin)

Using data on total search queries, released by comScore, Caris Co. analyst Tim Boyd estimates that Yahoo made on average between 10 cents and 11 cents per search in 2006, bringing in a total of $1.61 billion for the first nine months of the year.

Google, meanwhile, makes between 19 cents and 21 cents per search. As a result, it made an estimated $4.99 billion during the same period.

It's amazing the Google is twice as efficient at making money off search advertising than anyone else. Better targeting, better advertising model, it makes paid search that much more valuable to the user and therefore allows them to cash in at twice the rate. Keep in mind they also own half the search market.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The Implicit Web

Fred Wilson (A_VC) Is writing about the "implicit web", where everything we do on the web is tracked and we have access to all of our historical information to improve our future actions. You can read his article here or see the section below, but I'll say this for why the concept is significant to me. A lot of the Web 2.0 world revolves around social communities and information sharing. Something like 30Boxes is great as a social calendar, Digg is great, Del.icio.us is great, but since I'm basically the only person I know using most of these things, and I don't tap in often to the community at large, I'm not generating a great deal of benefit from them. Fred Wilson's concept of the explicit web generates benefit from the actions I take myself, and can generate value from. It's about aggregating information that it takes in when I listen to music in ten different ways, look at pictures on ten different sides, read news in millions of places, and utilizes my information pool overall to enhance my experiences. This would be a huge benefit to someone who utilizes the web heavily but doesn't do it in a large communal sense.

Fred Wilson: "the explicit web is all about the value that will accrue to an
Internet user when their every action is tracked, recorded, and used to
provide value back to that user. There is also a second order play when
that clickstream activity is shared with the user's permission with
everyone else.

My favorite example, which I used in that original myware post, is
last.fm. I give last.fm the permission to capture all my iTunes
listens. I publish that data on my blog (left sidebar) and the data is
also published on my last.fm profile page.
I can go back and look at the what I listened to most last week, month,
year, etc. But more importantly, I can use the data about what I am
listening to currently to surface new recommendations via musical
neighbors. And because I share all that data with the entire network,
my listens inform others in their search for new music."

Technorati Tags: ,


A Google Video Wired NextFest Infrared X-ray story

So almost 3 months ago I posted a few videos I took from the Wired NextFest in New York City. In that time, it received somewhere around 75 views, over the entire duration.

Randomly I looked at my Google Video stats and noticed that in the last few days, almost 73,000 people have watched the Infrared X-ray video I posted from Wired! I didn't really believe it, but then checking on the page shows that there's not only views, but over 50 ratings and 10 comments, discussing the legitimacy of the video, potential harms of the machine, etc.

I took a look over at Technorati to see how was linking to the video, and 18 sites now have links to it. It looks like first someone at Spoozer Magazine picked it up, and then someone at Ubergizmo posted on it, which has over 1,100 blogs repeatedly linking to it and therefore suggests strong readership.

All in all, I'm surprised and impressed at how quickly a viral video can spread in two days, from 75 to 73,000 people.

Social Music etc - Last.FM , Rhapsody , Digg , Del.icio.us

Is anyone using Last.fm or any other social music service? Do you use Rhapsody or Yottamusic? For that matter is anyone using Digg or Del.icio.us?

I just started using last.fm... it's currently keeping track of everything I listen to on windows media player or iTunes, and building out a music profile for me that it can make recommendations against. Unfortunately it doesn't always work in catching the music, including if I replay an album that I've already seen it catch. Is this a fluke?

Are there other social oriented sites that I'm not using that I should give a shot?

Matisyahu at the Hammerstein Ballroom 12/19/2006

On Tuesday night I went with a few people to see Matisyahu play at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. It was his third and final show in the city, and the 5th night of Channukah. For those of you not familiar with him, Matisyahu is a Chassidic Orthodox Reggae rapper. He sings in authentic Reggae style, but lyrically ties in with Judaism and spirituality.
Put simply, the show was incredible. From a talent standpoint, Matisyahu is extremely impressive - he sings, raps, does beat box, dances, the works. From an entertainment standpoint, too, he owned the crowd - walking out into the crowd, climbing up into the high levels, bringing out guest stars (including Israeli rappers and well known Reggae singers) and mixing up his style.

More significant to me though was how he managed to embrace the crowd and the significance of playing during the holiday. He spoke of singing the same words that King David spoke thousands of years before, spoke about voyage to Jerusalem, and called out for people to hold their candles high when he saw anyone who had snuck in a Menorah pull it out and light it.
To end the night, Matisyahu brought out his mother and her sing the prayers, as well as light a giant Menorah for the 5th night of Channukah. In a moving feat, the entire crowd seemed to with her, focused on the candles. It was an amazing cultural phenomenon and display of Jewish life that seems rare in such a setting, and I was extremely proud to be a part of it.

Here are some videos from the night that I found on YouTube (thank you to everyone who posted them):
Singing "Indestructible" at the beginning of the concert

Doing a beat box solo (starts around 1:25 in the video)

Speaking of King David


Free 1GB SD Card

From Gizmodo, for anyone who uses SD cards in their digital camera, here's a free 1 GB card if you can wait for a rebate:


"Get a Kingston SD 1GB memory card for $50 from Buy.com, use Google Checkout to save $20 off the purchase, and then there's a $30 mail-in rebate that's good for purchases made between now and December 23. Grand total: $0.00. Kingston 1GB Secure Digital Card (SD) - SD/1GBKR"

Technorati Tags: , , ,


ESPN Sports Conspiracy Theory Rumors

So in a dinner with ESPN last night I got to hear a few great sports conspiracy theories, some new some old, that I thought I'd share:

The common one: Michael Jordan had a forced retirement from the NBA for two years because he was caught betting on basketball, and rather than face a public suspension, he "retired" for the proper amount of time

The uncommon one: Cal Ripken Jr was close to breaking his streak, when he came home one night to find his Wife sleeping with his Gardener. He beat up the Gardener and was brought to jail. Rather than risk him missing the start of the game, the Orioles claimed there was a power shortage at the stadium and delayed the game until he could arrive. Insiders say there's enough energy reserve at the Orioles stadium that they could practically light a city.

The rare one: Phil Mickelson had a few kids with affairs out of wedlock. SI got the exclusive on the story, and was set to break it. Ford, who Phil Mickelson represents as the spokesperson for a car line, called and threatened that if they broke the story Ford would never spend another dime with SI. Since then, the story has never been confirmed or aired.

Facebook Yahoo purchase offer leaked

The Facebook valuation that Yahoo put together when apparently making a purchase offer of over $1 Billion were leaked... you can see their financial projections here:

JibJab 2006 Year in Review

JibJab has their 2006 year in review video out:

Firefox 3.0 Alpha 1 (Codename Gran Paradiso) Available

Just a quick note...Firefox 3 Alpha 1 (Codename Gran Paradiso) is now available for download...as a matter of fact this posting was written using it. Not too many changes that the average user will notice however many of them are detailed here and here. You can download here if you want to. As usual, many of your extensions will not work with the new version however many still will including the gmail and yahoo mail notifiers, ie tab and the outlook and phoenity themes. Hope you all give it a shot and remember, this is not a final version by any means and is not intended for public use so use at your own risk!


AOL Giving Away Free Movies on 12/2/06


Supposedly AOL is giving away 30 free movie downloads this coming Saturday (so far I don't see anything about the promotion on the site), as a pre-holiday celebration. After 6 a.m. EST on Saturday everyone will get one free movie download, which usually goes for $10 - $20 dollars. Among the options will be National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Spiderman 2.

Update: This promotion is mostly worthless - it doesn't seem like you download the movies using Firefox or IE7. This seems pretty rediculous considering Windows already rolled out IE7 in automatic update, meaning plenty of people won't be able to get the free movie without downgrading their browser. Unless I'm missing something, that's a cheap move by AOL to drum up publicity without delivering much.


Seven Devils Idaho Fire Watch Tower

Originally uploaded by kskobac.
This is a set of pictures that I took in black and white when we found an abandoned fire watch tower for forest rangers in the seven devils, idaho, mountain range
I meant to put these up a long time ago...


Statue at the Philadelphia Art Museum

11.2006.philadelphia.marathon. 013

A picture I took outside the Philadelphia Art Museum when Pat was getting ready to run the Philadelphia Marathon. You can see the rest of the pictures from the day here:



arrested development free on msn !!

How did this slip past? MSN is streaming Arrested Development episodes for free online. Is this going to be a trend, where television content is bought up by major portal players to win over viewership? If so, that's likely to mean a lot of great content on demand for free.
Also, how do you know where to go anymor efor something like this? MSN.com? Live.com? What is their brand?


Sacha Baron Cohen (not Ali G) interviewed by Jon Stewart

Maybe I just missed this, but here's a video of Sacha Baron Cohen being interviewed by Jon Stewart, in an interview where we actually speaks as himself and not as one of his characters:


30 Boxes Interactive Calendar: Blog Postings, Pictures, and Videos

I've added to the blog a very cool feature built by 30 Boxes, a shared online calendar, called Boxed. The application lets you specify feeds, in my case my blog, my Flickr photos, and my Google Videos, and it mashes them up on a slick calendar that displays screen shots of the content the day it was posted. Here you can see the calendar, and on the lower right of my sidebar you can launch it as well via site overlay. Check it out.


Microsoft Live Local maps adds 3-D World

Virtual Seattle In Windows Live Local

Virtual San Francisco In Windows Live Local

Screenshots of Microsoft's Live Local Virtual Earth.  It requires IE 6 or newer, and a download, but the views are worth it.  Note: they intend to sell billboard advertising fresh in the new 3-D world (for example a billboard ontop of a building could now have new advertising on it).

Buy A Billboard In Virtual Seattle

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


If you need to know right away, Facebook alerts via IM

This is only for the Facebook addicts, but I know there are a lot of you out there.  AOL has put out a plug-in for their newest AIM IM application, Triton, that allows you to receive alerts of new Facebook activity directly via IM as soon as something happens:
  • Someone writes on your Wall
  • Someone sends you a message
  • A friend updates their profile
  • Someone writes on a friend's Wall
Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

powered by performancing firefox


All NHL games for free on Google Video

In a partnership with Google, the NHL is offering all of this year's hockey games, as well as classic games from the past, for free in their entirity, to be watched on Google Video or downloaded to your computer.  This would be a really cool offering if it were the NBA, but unfortunately it's hockey.  Still, you have to the NHL credit for embracing the medium, and offering their fans something valuable and different (now lets see the NBA follow by removing the fees from their game downloads...how many people are paying for those things? The quality isn't good enough for that, but I'd watch highlights of games every night).

Technorati Tags: , , ,


30 Highest NBA Salaries for 2006 - 2007 Season

Which of these NBA player is being the most grossly overpaid in the '06 - '07 season? I say Webber over Houston, since Webber letting everyone score at will is worse than Houston sitting at home watching TV. Also remember Grant and Finley are being paid by previous teams, after being waived last year via the Allen Houston rule:

1. Kevin Garnett Minnesota Timberwolves $21,000,000
2. Chris Webber Philadelphia 76ers $20,718,750
2. Allan Houston * Retired $20,718,750
4. Michael Finley ** San Antonio Spurs $20,154,625
5. Shaquille O'Neal Miami Heat $20,000,000
6. Allen Iverson Philadelphia 76ers $18,281,250
7. Jason Kidd New Jersey Nets $18,084,000
7. Jermaine O'Neal Indiana Pacers $18,084,000
9. Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers $17,718,750
10. Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs $17,429,671
11. Brian Grant *** Boston Celtics $17,370,625
12. Stephon Marbury New York Knicks $17,275,781
13. Grant Hill Orlando Magic $16,901,500
13. Jalen Rose New York Knicks $16,901,500
13. Tracy McGrady Houston Rockets $16,901,500
16. Eddie Jones Memphis Grizzlies $15,680,000
17. Antawn Jamison Washington Wizards $15,101,626
17. Vince Carter New Jersey Nets $15,101,626
17. Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks $15,101,626
17. Paul Pierce Boston Celtics $15,101,626
21. Baron Davis Golden State Warriors $15,070,000
21. Shawn Marion Phoenix Suns $15,070,000
21. Steve Francis New York Knicks $15,070,000
24. Ray Allen Seattle SuperSonics $14,611,570
25. Elton Brand Los Angeles Clippers $14,248,000
26. Larry Hughes Cleveland Cavaliers $13,363,012
26. Michael Redd Milwaukee Bucks $13,260,000
28. Joe Johnson Atlanta Hawks $12,744,190
29. Mike Bibby Sacramento Kings $12,500,000
30. Lamar Odom Los Angeles Lakers $12,489,000

Technorati Tags: , ,


No more Colbert or Daily Show on YouTube

If you haven't noticed this y ourself, YouTube has complied with an order to pull all clips of The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and South Park from their service. Presumably the demand comes from Viacom, who clearly doesn't understand how helpful the Comedy Central clips have been to generating popularity around their porduct.

*** UPDATE: The Comedy Central clips are up; this was apparently a negotiation move by Viacom to fairly gain some revenue from the content being on YouTube.


My top downloaded videos

You now see 37 videos on Google Video if you search for kskobac.
Today's report shows the most watched and downloaded videos as:

The top video, Ben Kweller live at Webster Hall in New York, is odd because it has 111 downloads to only 32 page views; I wonder if this is because of it being embedded in my website, as well as others, and incorrectly tracking?

The Irish spice girls tap dance video is doing really well also - over 2400 views and 30 downloads.

The rest of the videos are from the summer's Wildwood Ultimate Frisbee tournament. We have the crazy chubby bunny competition that has been downloaded ten times....

And several great frisbee plays, including Bruce running over someone on the sidelines, a great defensive play, and some good catches.

k. b. skobac readership statistics

Here's a quick look at the readership statistics for my website, for the week of 10.10 - 10.26.

From the chart above I found that:
- 69% of my traffic is organic (from search engines), but those people read only 1.36 pages at a time, so they likely leave after they get what they were searching for.
- 24% of my readership is from referral links and they read just a little more, at 1.4 pages per visit
- 7% of my readership comes directly to my site, and they stay for almost 2.5 pages at a time, reading much more content on average.

The raw numbers:
- 41 people a day on average
- 58 page views a day on average
- 284 visits total
- 409 page views total

FullTorrent - a new torrent search aggregator engine in the block

share your files at box.net

This looks like a great new torrent search aggregator. FullTorrent has a simple interface, and a few tests bring up good results from several of the premier torrent sites.

By the way, I served that image on the fly with Box.net Lite, a simple one-two-three tool to upload an image and get a code for pasting into blog postings or webpages. 1 GB of free storage for all of your files.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hear George Bush read your speech

This could be mildly ammusing if you're bored at work: Attach phrases together and hear President Bush read the speech. Unfortunately there's not categorization of terms and there isn't enough flexibility to make a truly funny one, but then again look how successfull the YouTube remake of him singing Sunday Bloody Sunday was.


Google trys to protect its copyright and avoid becoming xerox

Google issued a statement yesterday that walks through the ways you should use the term "google" in relation to the engine.  Why are they doing this? Intent to protect copyright is an important issue now online, where people are utilizing websites like Google as part of what they do on their own, blurring the lines between the two.  In order to keep "Google" from becoming open domain, the company has to defend its usage, or they cannot help it at all becoming a word like "xerox", which will mean to copy, regardless of if you are using a Xerox machine or otherwise.  Since "google" was redefined in the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries this year...

Usage: 'Google' as noun referring to, well, us.
Example: "I just love Google, they're soooo cute and cuddly and adorable and awesome!"
Our lawyers say: Good. Very, very good. There's no question here that you're referring to Google Inc. as a company. Use it widely, and hey, tell a friend.

Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information on, um, Google.
Example: "I googled him on the well-known website Google.com and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Well, we're happy at least that it's clear you mean searching on Google.com. As our friends at Merriam-Webster note, to "Google" means "to use the Google search engine to find information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web."

Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.
Example: "I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only "Google" on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to "search" on Yahoo or any other search engine.


Coca-cola decides to embrace the diet coke and mentos thing

Remember this?

Coke is finally embracing it, with a new viral marketing campaign pushing the creative minds to utilize the explosive effect for something artistic...

Technorati Tags: , , ,


Visa and Mastercard cut off AllofMP3.com

Visa and Mastercard have restricted their cardholders from making purchases on AllofMP3.com, the russian music website that's selling single song mp3's for as low as 10 cents a track (and now moving to a free model). Are there other examples of credit card companies taking proactive measures to bar their cardholders from using their cards to make purchases that might ultimately be deemed illegal, though the outcome is not ambiguous and undecided at that point? It's either socially responsible or risk averting, but nonetheless an interesting decision.


Capturing the Ben Kweller Concert

10.2006.newyork.benkweller. 085
Friday night I made it out to Webster Hall in New York City for the Ben Kweller concert - great show. You get the sense that after being on the road for a while, playing for the home crowd is an incredible high for him. It showed, and the crowd ate it up. I posted a set of photos of Ben Kweller and the opener, Sam Roberts Band. I also loaded some videos of Ben Kweller from solo acoustic performances and his first encore.

. You can also read about the concert over at the A VC blog, where Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures talks about the show, and social communities (the human factor). I actually went to see the show half because Ben Kweller is Tali's cousin, and half because of Fred's article on Ben Kweller's gutsy performance last time he came to New York City.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,


Endy Chavez at least temporarily saved the day


This was a rediculous catch by Endy Chavez last night in the Mets - Cardinals game 7 of the mlb eastern conference finals playoffs.


Random Postal Fact

I never knew that if a mailbox gets less than 25 pieces of mail per day, it's candidate for removal (we're talking the giant blue ones on the street corner). Thousands of the 42,000 mailboxes have been removed in the past few years. The Postal Service issues a public notice, and it stays only if there's public protest to the iconic removal.

Technorati Tags: , ,


Yahoo has a Time Capsule

Yahoo! has a Time Capsule that users can submit electronic content to for the next 29 days, at which point it will be archived in the Smithsonian Institute until 2020, Yahoo's 25th anniversary.  In conjunction with this, Yahoo will date $100K to charity that is voted upon.


Internet Explorer 7 to ship tomorrow (IE7...maybe)

Though not totally confirmed, we are all expected to receive Internet Explorer 7 via automatic update to Windows tomorrow.  This makes a lot of underground things officially standard, simply because of Windows / Internet Explorer market share:
1. Tabbed browsing comes to the masses
2. Integrated RSS reader on everyone's desktop
The second of these is big - will the general public start embracing RSS, enough to make it completely mainstream?  It looks like IE7 will be beat Firefox 2.0 to market.  Firefox 2.0 has its own huge improvements, but will they be enough to continue growth against IE?  Tabbed browsing was alone probably one of the biggest reasons people downloaded Firefox (at least those outside of the tech-heavy group); without this unique feature, I'm not sure the larger public will continue to embrace Firefox unless it has another killer feature.

powered by performancing firefox

Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion

After 3 days of heavy speculation, Google has formalized the purchase of $1.65 billion in stock. Google maintains almost 60% share of voice in search, and now they control almost 60% of the video market as well.
If you want to listen in on the press conference announcing the purchase, you can do so here. It's actually pretty interesting; you can listen in on the major investment banks asking various market related questions, such as why they made the purchase in stock (tax breaks) and how they will utilize YouTube in the short term and present. YouTube will stay as a seperate brand from Google video, but improvements will come on both ends.

- Online press conference: http://investor.google.com/webcast.html.
- Replay of the call will be available until midnight Monday, October 16 at 888-203-1112
Confirmation code for the replay is 2260624.

There are a lot of questions about the safety of this purchase from Google's perspective. Google has a search deal with MySpace, but that's a direct competitor to YouTube; will this create friction? Will MySpace block posting of YouTube videos from their pages and curb YouTube's traffic? Will Fox corp. then back out of their content deals and sue YouTube for copyright infringement of hosted content? There could be a major fued here, or there could be a renesance in the online video world.


New James Bond Casino Royale Trailer

This may be a new Casino Royale trailer, or it may be a Sony marketing ploy, with heavy emphasis on tech and close ups of Sony laptops. Either way...

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Is anyone using BlueDot?

Blue Dot Logo

I'm guessing no, but is anyone using BlueDot instead of del.icio.us for social bookmarking? Seems to have potential, easy tagging and imports a photo of every page you save.
My del.icio.us page.

Movie: 300

300 (2007) Poster The trailer for the movie "300" is intense.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Switching from Bloglines to Google Reader


I'm switching from Bloglines to Google Reader for a period of time, to see if it helps in reading way too many RSS feeds.  Why do I think it will help?  There are so many ways to burn through the hoard of information that pours in every day:
  • River of news view that shows headlines in a list for quick viewing
  • Integration with google personalized start page for quick reading of new articles
  • interesting 'next' feature that lets you use a bookmark on your browser to fly to the 'next' article by loading that website directly in your browser
It also offers one click sharing of posts in a public blog clippings  page, article tagging, and alerts of new blog postings by only revealing feeds that have been updated since you last read.  So we'll see how this goes.  Anyone using an RSS reader that they love?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,


Fox shows for free on MySpace

Rupert Merdock's master plan of spinning together his media properties is starting to take shape.  Free on-demand streaming video of some of this fall's top Fox TV shows are being hosted on a special MySpace page under the "Full Throttle" title.  Prison Break and a bunch of other shows I don't know anything about.


Google gadgets for your blog or webpage

Google's second announcement of the day - if you're using Google desktop or Google Personalized start page, you're familiar with Google Gadgets, mini-applications that you can load through each to check the weather, stock reports, rss feeds, and more. Now you can add those same gadgets onto your own website or blog, so that the functionality is available to all who visit. Here's an example - a CBS Sportsline Scores gadget that lets people check live scores for all in-season sports.

Google has a new search engine

Google has rolled out an experimental new search engine, Searchmash. It is unbranded, and Google is implementing technology that they have yet to role out in their standard search engine. Right now you can see ajax that allows you to move results around, and a mix of link/image search results. Watch for more to be rolled out here, and if it becomes popular enough, possibly even rolled out into Google itself.
Technorati Tags: , , , ,


Ethical questions raised from the advent of the internet

Jason Calcanis (founder of Weblogs, and the man who relaunched Netscape as a Digg) is posing ethical questions that arise in the age of the internet. Here's an interesting question he poses: Now that it's so easy to read newspapers via pocket pc's, computers, blackberry's, cell phones, and anything else high speed, do we have an obligation to stop reading print copies for the sake of nature preservation? Jason estimates that in 15 years he's read 5,475 newspapers, and wonders how many trees did that come from, how much fuel was used to produce everything. So the question is, "is it wrong to subscribe to the print edition of New York Times if I have high-speed web access all day long?"


Free education online

Here's a great article revealing a large amount of free educational resources provided on the web from universities around the country. Free content such as lectures from the University of Washington on Greek Mythology, American Revolution, and Heroic Fantasy.

Also the University of Berkeley California has created an entire catalog of lectures directly on Google Video. everything from Physics to Journalism to Biology is available directly on Google Video.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,


Every episode of The Simpsons free online

This can't last long, but someone is streaming every episode from the first 18 seasons of The Simpsons for free online. You have to wade through hoards of ads, but on the up-side, you can watch any episode you want without dropping a dime.

Also, if you're looking for some Jon Stewart clips, here' s a collection of interviews etc that he did NOT on the the Daily Show itself.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,


Free cup of coffee on Yahoo

This is relatively insignificant, but if you're dying for a free cup of coffee, on Friday Yahoo will be buying you one from Dunkin Donuts if you set your homepage to Yahoo.com that day.

I moved into Manhattan this weekend, and will be without Cable/Internet for a while, so posts will be limited. You can walk around my neighborhood here.

Google Videos are going strong - 2263 views and 25 downloads.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


Preview the entire first episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on AOL

AOL is offering a free preview of Studio 60 on Sunset Strip - the entire first epside - for one week leading up to the series premiere Monday, September 18th. I haven't decided if I want to watch it ahead of time, but if you do, it's here.


More apple rumors - video ipod finally here?

Loving the rumors based on 'investigation'
- Apple announced their updated iMacs early last week, to possibly pave the way for bigger, more interesting announcements at tomorrow's press conference
- There were no iPod ads in this weekend's circulars, which rarely happens
- there is a picture floating around of a banner set up early at the conference room
There's almost 100% certainty that a video download service will be launched tomorrow, but will a true video iPod be joining it?

Tracking the Facebook buzz

The above chart displays the amount of blog postings about "facebook" over the last 90 days (this is a dynamic chart, so if you are reading this months from now, it will look different). Take a look at how many people posted in the first few days about the new "news feeds" feature that displays a river of news about your friends - up to 1600 a day! This is a perfect example of tracking buzz online. Hopefully the heads of facebook are paying attention to this too, reading everyone's feedback, and responding to them to create a discussion about their new features. You can probably tie every spike on this graph back to a feature role out, and it shows the level of interest people in the community have about them, good or bad. Personally I like the ne features, and I hope everyone doesn't turn them off. But privacy options are there now, and hopefully the community works with Facebook to get everything to a level they're comfortable with, and doesn't just disband and find another social site to use.


ClaimID to manage your identity

It's pretty common these days for anyone who wants to know something about you to use Google paint a picture of who you are.  Getting a job sometimes can come down to what comes up in a web search, regardless of your resume.  Given its importance, services such as claimID are now giving you ways to "claim" the sources that you want to represent you.  Ultimately all it does is let you aggregate which sources you'd like on the web to reflect you, pull them into one place as a picture of you, and then use the collective of links to optimize in search engines so that claimID is the highest ranking source revealed when someone searches for you.
Check out my profile here.  My claimID is now 7th ranking for "skobac" and 6th for "kevin skobac" on Google.  On Yahoo it's 8th for "skobac" and 3rd for "kevin skobac."

Simpsons season premiere on MySpace

The season premiere of Simpsons is being previewed on MySpace - the first seven minutes.  It also includes a behind the scenes look at the drawing of the show.

Technorati Tags: ,

Google Video and crazy butterfly phenomenom in idaho

Did I ever draw attention this? When I was in Idaho backpacking the Seven Devils Mountains this summer, there was some etremely bizarre butterfly phenomenom that caused thousands upon thousands of identical looking orange and black butterflies to surround the mountains. It's hard to describe how everywhere you looked there were these butterflies swarming, but this video from the top of he-devil mountain might help. We were at a slight indent in a mountain peak here, which presumably caused a wind tunnel effect that forced all of the butterflies into a path right over us. The video quality is bad but if you look closely you can see thousands of butterflies swarming around and shooting overhead. We have no idea what was going on!

Also a note about Google Video. Search for 'kskobac' and you'll get my growing video collection, which right now includes videos from Wildwood Ultimate Frisbee Tournament 2006, Idaho, and Ireland. So far I have over 1400 views and 17 downloads (if you download video using Google Video Player, it looks clearer, and you can frame-by-frame viewing).

Family Guy and Studio 60 on Sunset Strip season premier

The new TV season is rolling around - the season premiere of Family Guy is Sunday Sept 10, 9PM on Fox; i'm also anxiously awaiting Aaron Sorkin's new show - Studio 60 on Sunset Strip - featuring Matthew Perry in his return to TV after Friends. Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night was easily one of the best shows to never make it on TV, so hopefully this one fairs better.


Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) joins Apple's Board of Directors

IT makes sense, considering both companies have to see Microsoft as by far and away their biggest threat and competitor; Google CEO Eric Schmidt is now on Apple's Board of Directors, which in itself is worth intense speculation for what this now extremely synergistic cooperative can bring to market.


Amazon beats Apple to the punch with movie downloads

Amazon unleashed Unbox today, their movie download service. As with iTunes, you can also buy tv episodes for $1.99, but through Amazon you have the option to download movies for rent or purchase. There's no burning to DVD for playback, but there is for back-up, and you can move the file to a portable video player. Additionally, you can download video in both DVD quality and lesser for when such quality (and file size) isn't necessary. The playback starts quickly after download innitiation, and finishes while you watch.
The most important part of Amazon's Unbox offering is that it beats Apple to the punch. It's widely believe that Tuesday September 12th Apple will unvail their movie download service, with perhaps a revolutionary new video-centric iPod. Whether this is true or not, Apple is still the most mainstream name to come to the table with this type of offering (though there are several competitors, including Vongo), and that is its best chance at building some market share in the face of a scary competitor.


Facebook remixed with News Feed

Anyone who uses Facebook noticed yesterday that sweeping changes were made to your pages, adding news feeds to your intro screen and min-feeds to your personal page. Largely the reaction has been negative, with petitions and groups against the news feeds popping up in and around facebook. The group "Students Against Facebook News Feed" is said to be reaching 100,000 members within a day.
Personally, I think that the new features are compelling, and worth paying more attention to. Facebook was always leading this way - moving towards being able to tell a story about your friends. When you add contacts now you have the option of describing where they fit in your life, to see everyone on a timeline; in my experience that's been somewhat underused (including by myself). The news feeds, though, bring the story to live without any work - showing comments, pictures, and connections in a whole new way. The format should be cleaner, less invasive on the several pages, more concise, but it's worth the time and energy to figure out - it makes facebook something much more than the hundreds of other social networks out there. There privacy concerns are inflated because you have no more information now than you had before, but rather it is displayed instead of requiring you to click on every friend. You still have no access to people outside of your network.
If you have a problem with the site, voice your feedback, and make sure to read the Facebook Blog to keep up on their vision.
My facebook profile, which includes a feed of this blog.


Rare Bill Watterson Comics (the author of Calvin and Hobbes)

A great collection of rare Bill Watterson art, usually accompanying articles about Calvin and Hobbes, but also a few political comics and commentary.


Google buys photo recognition software for Picassa

I skipped over this when it first happened, but since it effects my love affair with Riya, I want to come back to it. Google purchased a company called Neven Vision, a company which focuses on "automatically extracting information from a photo...it could be as simple as detecting whether or not a photo contains a person, or, one day, as complex as recognizing people, places, and objects." Basically this means that the great things about Riya - facial recognition in particular - could be rolled out into Picasa relatively soon. The big peave with photo applications is that they don't share information; I tag photos on Flickr and I let Riya do it for me, but Picasa falls by the wayside, though its a powerful and capable desktop photo organization tool. If it gains the ability to intelligently tag, and Google improves on its Picasa direct to web albums, this could be a really strong offering that ultimately trumps Flickr. At least for me, I like having photos on both my home computer and the web, and if Picasa's the only option to share information between those two platforms, it does it well, and it assists me in tagging, that becomes very convincing.

Preview Fall TV on Yahoo

If you're interested in watching trailers and behind the scenes clips for the upcoming fall TV lineups, Yahoo has a slick little interface laying it all out, including previews of shows like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Matthew Perry's return to TV, and previews for shows on the new CW.


Flickr finally rolls out its own geotagging and mapping

Flickr has finally brought to the table t heir own geotagging and mapping features, keeping you from having to install firefox extensions or use applets.  Now in the flickr organizer you can easily drag photos right onto a map and it will receive geotagged coordinates for display on a map.  You can drop as many photos at once as you want, but the search features on the map are currently limited.  It will find your house address, but won't understand many geographic hot spots, like "citizens bank baseball field, philadelphia".  Once  photos are displayed, you can flip through albums directly on the map, and choose to view the flickr population's nearby photos as well.  This is a great feature that I hope flickr expands on quickly.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


The numbers on YouTube

It's reported that YouTube users view over 100 million videos per day, causing the site to spend over $1 million each month in bandwith costs alone.  Given these costs, its easy to see why there's some question as to how web 2.0 companies are going to make enough money to support themselves in the give all content for free market.  YouTube is just now started to grab sponsorship programs and build out content channels for paid sponsors, which will help to take it above the google banners its is likely only skimming the surface of its financial needs with.

Technorati Tags: ,

Skobac, Bosnia and Herzegovina (a town i never knew existed)

Apparently there is a small town in Bosnia Herzegovina actually named Skobac, with a population around 7000 people (in the general geographic area). This was discovered when my father was searching for pictures i'd posted online, but since i've done that before as well i'm suprised I never noticed! Until now I thought the name only existed for the few members of my family, as it was modified from a longer polish name years ago.

Technorati Tags: ,

25 Things to know before buying a digital camera

Here is a great list of tips to think about when you set out to buy your next digital camera.

technorati tags:, ,

New iPod Rumors (touch screen)


Gizmodo is reporting that insiders from Apple have confirmed that a new iPod will be rolled out in November, including a touch screen.  The pictures above are mocks, but if a touch screen is an attempt to get rid of the touch wheel for a bigger viewing screen, then this could be close to a possible design.  Since Microsoft's Zune, the iPod competitor, is rolling out before the holidays, a completely revamped iPod that changes the game (full video options, more interactive options maybe) seems like a good idea for Apple.

technorati tags:, , , ,

RadiusIM is a web IM tool that shows you who's in your area

RadiusIM is a web based IM client that allows you to log in to AOL AIM, Yahoo, MSN Messenger, and Google Talk directly on a website for IM'ing when you don't have the option to use the regular service.  The service takes it one step farther, though, and shows a visual map of everyone that uses the RadiusIM brand IM geotagged on a Google Map.  This social feature allows you to chat with see people around you and chat with them directly, a spin on social networking.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , ,