Former MI6 Operative blogging about dispute with MI6 layoff

I haven't read much of this yet, but definately has the potential to be interesting.  A former MI6 Operative is openly blogging about his dispute the MI6 over why exactly he was removed from service.

New Camera Pics with Canon SD700IS

I posted the first pictures taken with my new digital camera, the Canon SD700IS.  These both use the color isolation feature that I am quickly becoming obsessed with, allowing you to lock in a color and turn the rest of the picture black and white.  See the whole album at Flickr.

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WikiMapia - social mapping

This has the potential to be really cool - WikiMapia.org is a social mapping project that asks people to tag places on an interactive version of Google Maps.  You can then travel around the world and view everything the community at large has written descriptive tags about.

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Free Electronic Gaming Monthly subscription

Sign up here for a free magazine subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly if you want one.  Limited time, don't have to complete the registration for the event that they're promoting afterwards.

Trading time itself

There's a company that showed an early alpha of a product today that
allows people to basically sell their place in line at anything you
wait for.  they haven't unveiled much about it, but i assume it
will be via mobile app, and it sounds like it would be something
locations (like sports arenas) would have to opt in to.  Basically
they're claiming that time is an inneficient but valuable market
commodity, and there's no reason not to trade and bid for it.


you won't find much there but i thought the idea might interest some of you (pat)


text facebook to get updates on the fly

You can now text facebook if you desperately  want to find out information in someone's profile, including phone numbers retrieval, post a message, or add a friend.  Go here to activate, then text your various requests (listed on the page) to FBOOK.

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TNT predicts the wrong NBA semi-finals

AS Marc Cuban points out, TNT got the wrong four teams in their semi-finals ad. They of course made the switch, but Mavericks fans can feel like they were true underdogs and gloat in the extra work some graphic designer had to do in the face of his assurance that the Spurs would take the match up.
(The other 3 teams were accurately predicted to reach the semi-finals)


paramount ads blog discussion directly to movie pages

Paramount is embracing the communal discussion around its pending movie releases by adding pages that agregate blog postings and news about their new movies directly on the trailer websites.  See the site for "climate crisis", which comes out in select theaters May 24.

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The Anti Ipod Campaign : "I Don't"

"The time has come to rise up against the iTatorship.  To resist the monotony of white earbuds and reject oppressive forces of cultural conformity.  Now is the time to break free from restrictive formats and a single source for music.  It's time for choice, for freedom, for self expression - and for all independent spirits to satnd up and say "iDon't."  You don't nee to follow.  There is now an alternative."

So speaks the mantra of SanDisk, who is attempting to appeal to our insecurities about conformity by begging us to stand up against the iPod by buying a SanDisk MP3 player.

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Pearl Jam Life Wasted

Pearl Jam is handing out their last music video "Life Wasted" for free, the single to their new album. Nice little freebie that you can take and post anywhere, without the worry of a spanking for the RIAA


Windows Media Player 11

If you want to update your Windows Media Player early (before Vista is released in January next year),  you can grab the beta download.  Expect a cleaner interface, better search, quick views of albums and artists, and more.  It's also integrated with their new URGE music service, an a-la-carte and subscription music service co-sponsored by MTV.

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Free photo management software, free computer software pack, free...

I now have referral buttons on the left bar, a little below the fold (see the section Google Referrals).  A few words on these, and a recomendation to download one or two of them if you don't have them yet:

Google Photo Software - Also known as Picasa, its a great Windows based photo management program, with easy viewing tools, sorts, editing, and more.  Widely considered the best free, and one of the best anywhere, photo management tools.

Google Pack - if you have a new computer, or simply want to get up to speed on the free software out there to make your computer complete (a safer browser (firefox), a video player (google video player), desk bars, tool bars, and more), download this and manage it all via Google.

Firefox - the safe, quick, clean, extensible browser you should be using instead of microsoft internet explorer, no questions asked.

Google AdSense - if you want to advertise on your blog/website, costs you nothing and easy to implement in seconds, with full customization.

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Now free calls anywhere in the US with Skype

If you're familiar with Skype, you probably already knew that pc-to-pc calls were free.  Today they announced, though, that you can call from a PC to a landline or mobile phone, anywhere in the US and Canada, for free.  Pretty good deal if you're worried about cell phone minutes and have a headset for your computer.

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NBA jumps on iTunes (and 24 is there too)

Picture 1-20
I wonder what this says about their experience with Google Video?  Or maybe it just means that to be a serious player in mobile video / downloadable video, you have to partner with iTunes. 
The idea is cool though; you can subscribe to a team, and received shortened versions of the games (20 min. or so) to catch up the next day on only the action you missed.
Oh and 24, in time for the season finale, is Fox's venture into iTunes downloads as well.  This is the kind of show that downloadable episodes were made for, since anyone who misses an episode will do just about anything to see it.
Love both of these things, love on demand media consumption becoming more and more prevelant.
[picture from MicroPersuasion]

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What about Google vs. God?

And where does Google fall vs. God on the Trend Search?



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Which sport is the most popular?

Playing around with the new Google Trends and there are some really interesting things you can learn about people/the world/pop culture/habbits/the list goes on.  See here the graph of searching for the five main sports





If you look at the results via the website, you learn that St. Louis likes baseball more than any other town, but its still only the third most popular sport at this point (according to Google searches, an admittedly narrow reflection).  Austin has the most searches for any one sport all together, and it was Football. Also interesting is that there are more searches in English for Golf than any other sport but Football, and the margin its behind on that is minimal.

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Mark Cuban Fined Big $$ Again

Mark Cuban, media entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was fined $200K for stepping onto the basketball court a few nights ago against the Spurs and writing about the refs on his personal blog.  To date, he's been fined at least $1.2 million dollars by the NBA since taking over ownership, and for every dollar he's been fined he's matched it to a charity (this last fine pending).  Given David Stern's dictatorship attitude, it was forseeable that both of these things would result in a fine, but Mark Cuban usually doesn't care as long as he sticks gets his message out.  It is fairly amazing though that he got fined $100,000 for his blog posting, which has yet to be taken down, just one more expample of the reprecussions of crossing blogging with work.  Would any other owner have been fined this kind of cash for either of these infractions?

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Mashups are good but Frappr goes too far...

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for using API's such as the ones offered by Google for good, especially those using Google Maps and other such useful tools however I discovered a site featured on the Google API page called Frappr.com that goes a little into the realm of dangerous. It essentially takes Google maps and overlays different peoples locations using user inputted data such as your zip code, myspace or other such social networking pages and your email address. You can create groups for you and your friends or coworkers and even put a photo of yourself on the page. Neat concept and all but it was scary enough when all someone needed was your address to get an extraordinarily accurate little satellite map to your house with turn by turn directions. Now all they have to do is go to frappr and look at your picture, decide they like the way you look and bang, they can find you. The internet provides enough ways to have personal information stolen and for stalkers to find new victims without all of us providing a photo, map and email address for the crazies to follow right to our front doors.

Google Trends shows what people are searching for

Google Zeitgeist is a monthly report on the top searches in many categories, as well as overall, top gainers, and more.  Unfortunately, while interesting, the Zeitgeist offered little in terms of comparable information or long term use.  Today Google unveiled Google Trends, a searchable, graphable, tool that allows you to delve into keyword history, comparable search terms, and more.  You can see which geographic areas topped the charts in the search, which languages, and which related stories might have led to the peaks and valleys (similar to Google Finance), via an integrated news snapshot.  See the picture for Red Sox vs. Yankees 2005 summary.

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AIM Pages - AOL's answer to MySpace

AIM Pages Beta Test
AOL released their answer to MySpace, a product called AIM Pages.  Since they already have the largest social network in the world (AIM has a 50% share of use in the chat category), this is a natural extension.  You have direct access to add your "buddies", "profile", and more.  Easy to customize modules pull in photos, bookmarks, the works.  If you want an easy personal page, don't care for MySpace, or are simply looking for the next big thing, check it out.  Not that it's anything special, but it will be so easy for AOL to win over existing users that it will be an instant market contender. 
Your personal URL will be http://aimpages.com/[screenname]

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Tip: Renaming batches of Photos

This works for any files, but since its likely most useful for photos (and why I'm bringing it up), a little known trick for renaming groups of files together was brought up on Yahoo! Tech (now you can rename photos to have a descriptive name, if you accidentally copied them to your computer as DSC100405060, DSC1040506653, etc...):

"In Windows Explorer (or your My Documents folder, or wherever the
files are located), select the files you want to rename. You can do
this by clicking and dragging a box around them, or select them
individually by holding down the Ctrl button and clicking
individual files.Once all the files you want to rename are
highlighted, press F2, or right-click on one of the files and select
Rename. All of your file selections will disappear except for one, but
don't panic: Type in your new name and click Enter. That's it! One file
will be now be named "renametext" and the others will have sequential
numbers in the format of "renametext (1)" and "renametext (2)" and so
on. File extentions like .gif, .jpg, or .doc will all be intact,
so you can rename multiple types of files at once even if the formats
aren't the same."

Colbert Roasts President Bush

If you haven't seen it yet, Stephen Colbert was at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner for a roast of President Bush.  The formal synopsis is "Comedian Stephen Colbert made humorous remarks about various current
events and the relationship between the press and the White House. He
also presented a video of a mock press conference which ended in a
chase scene featuring long-time correspondent Helen Thomas" (Google Video Blog).  You can watch the roast here, and the entire event here.

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ABC puts all of their new shows online for free

This was discussed before, but finally its live: ABC is the first major station to full TV episodes directly on the web for free, within 24 hours of their innitial airing.  Additionally, you can watch up to the entire current season of many of their major shows.  This is a test service, promised to be free until the end of June, so we don't know what the outcome will be.  Still, for now, you can watch full shows with only a few small (no more than a minute) commercial breaks, and fastforward in between segments (sections up until the commercial break you haven't yet watched).  You can't blow the video up full screen, but the content loads right away and looks pretty good for what it is.  Definately an impressive first step for ABC, expected  to be followed by Fox soon.

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tv shows online

out of nowhere comes PeekVid, a site hosting a few hundred tv shows, including all of the boondocks and then older things like the ben stiller show. all epsides stream directly off the website (fresh prince anyone), and can be downloaded in conjunction with KeepVid, a video stripper for online content. no news on who is posting and why they're challenging to make this happen, since its likely to get sued quickly.

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Napster moves to free model

Everybody remember Napster, the music download service with an identity crisis that moved them from a free sharing system to a paid subscription system?  Now they've announced that they're moving to a free model where all songs can be listened to right off the website without cost - up to 5 times.  This way, if you need to hear that cd before you decide to buy, you can give the full tracks a shot all the way through.  There are sharing and linking features also built in, so alert everyone you know of what songs you like.  They're of course hoping that after 5 times of a song that you like you're hooked and you pay for the $0.99 track, or sign up for the $10/$15 (for portable) a month subscription model.

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