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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Farecast flight price prediction service expands to over 55 cities

Farecast, a company that looks to predict flight pricing (on history, market conditions, what else..?), has expanded to over 55 cities in the US.  If you live in a major city in the US, and you're interested in the forecast for whether airline ticket prices are expected to go up or down, take a look at Farecast.  Remember that it's in the early stages, and can probably only be taken lightly at this point.

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Zooomr allows pictures embedded in each other

Ken Griffey Jr.

Zooomr, a social photo sharing service in the image of Flickr, aims to take it all one step further. Among the biggest features are that photos can be geotagged for display on a map next to the image, and additional photos can be embedded within the original. Now when you roll over Ken Griffey Jr., you can see various stages of the swing; or you could check out this picture of Mt. Davidson, where you roll over to see a historical perspective of the view.

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ESPN 360 - a great service that you might never have

Though it's been around a while, most people never heard of
ESPN360 until the World Cup, where all of the games were live broadcasted for
free directly on the service.  ESPN 360 (an on demand sports content and
highlight broadband site) has existed, though, for a while, with unfortunately
little use.  The problem?  They require broadband providers, such as
Comcast or TimeWarner, to purchase the service for their users. 
Unfortunately, the people they want to purchase the service have little
incentive to do so; there isn't much competition in the broadband arena,
because there aren't too many options where anyone lives for high-speed
internet.  Because of that, a small service like ESPN 360 will never be
important enough to tip the inelastic market and cause providers to feel they
need to pay the money to win over some customers.  Instead, the service
has relatively little roll out, and customers don't get the benefit of what
could be a great service.  If this was packaged into a premium insider service,
something that ESPN charges customers directly for, there might see some
serious roll out.


New Sony MP3 player S2 Sports Walkman all about working out

Sony's new mp3 player the S2 Sports Walkman coming out in mid September is fully stocked with tools to aid your work out - it counts your calorie burning, acts as a pedometer, and a stopwatch to time your trip.  It also allows you to set music playlists for different paces of workout, and then it intelligently selects which songs to play by how hard you're working out.  The last function leaves me confused - if you shake the player three times, it will turn on or off; how does running exactly effect this?

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Geotag Flickr photos easily with google maps loc.alize.this bookmarklet

Localize Bookmarklet

My brother pointed me to a firefox extension that does this, but here's one for all browsers: loc.alize.this is a tool embeds a google map directly into your flickr page on a photo, enabling you to search for and click on a map spot; then it geotags your photo with latitude and longitude for display on maps. 

For the next step, when I figure out how to load geotagged photos on google earth and google maps for full display, i'll lay it all out.

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Pictures from Backpacking in the Seven Devils Mountains, Idaho, Summer 2006

I have posted pictures from my backpacking trip to the Seven Devils Mountains on Flickr.  The crowning achievement of the trip was climbing He-Devil Mountain, at 9400 ft; though not the highest point, it's the farthest distance from its base in the US, since it rises out of Hells Canyon, directly adjacent.  Across the 8 of us on the trip, almost 2500 pictures were taken, so this set will likely grow over time, but it's starting with 150 assorted shots.

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Off to backpacking the Seven Devils Mountains in Idaho

I'm off to backpacking the Seven Devils mountain range in Idaho, so there won't be any postings for a while. No cell phones, no computers, only 10,000 foot peaks and glacier lakes for the next week!

Check it out on Google Maps

see you all soon,

2006 Wildwood Beach Ultimate Frisbee Tournament videos

Google finally started to put live the videos we took of the "Swedish Mankini Team" in action at the 2006 Wildwood Beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament.  Search for kskobac at Google Video, to see everything thats available.  If you download the video and play it with Google Video Player, it will be higher quality.


AOL to give 5 GB of video for free

aol xdrive free 5GB of storage space
In the same week that AOL announces it's going to give the AOL services to the broadband masses for free (dial-up will still be a paid service), they announced that anyone with an AIM account can get a free 5 GB web space account on Xdrive.  This is way ahead of box.net and other services, who provide only 1 GB of free service, and challenges Google (the rumored Gdrive) to bring to the table something of the same.  The big question will be file size limits, since that currently limits box.net's use in even transfering large powerpoint documents from the office to home.  On the other hand, if i can upload a zip of 200 pictures and give my friends permission to download it, all for free, uncompressed, that is something market changing.  What's known so far:
  • 5 Gigabytes (GB) secure online storage at no cost
  • No charges for uploads or downloads
  • Ability to store any type of file, including photos, music, video, and documents
  • Drag and drop interface between online storage and hard drive
  • Access to files through any Web-connected PC or mobile device
  • Permission-based file and folder sharing
  • Online collaboration via shared files
  • Scheduled automatic backups
  • Automatic upload of e-mail attachments from providers including AOL Mail, AIM Mail, or any non-AOL POP3 or IMAP-compatible mail providers
  • Full-resolution photo storage
  • Easy access to AOL Pictures for professional prints and photo gifts
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2006 Wildwood Beach Ultimate Frisbee Tournament pictures up

The pictures from our 2006 Wildwood Beach Ultimate Frisbee Tournament are up on Flickr.  Videos are on their way as soon as Google approves my account!

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Riya getting a makeover, almost ready to search the visual web


Riya, the facial recognition photo site that i've spoken about several times, is in the process of turning itself from a specialized photo storage site into a full visual search engine that intends to be able to take an image and look for all similarities throughout the web.  The founders are slowly rolling out the new Riya by scalling back what information is shown on your personal pages right away and simplifiyin the homepage to look entirely like a search engine.  Now with a very Googlle-esque simplicity, they expect to bring to the table "search by color", "search by cameraphone", "search by similar image", and "search by sketch."

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