Saturday, June 23, 2007

Preview CSS in IE 6 and Firefox simultaneously with CSSVista


Windows XP only: Freeware app CSSVista offers side-by-side live previews of CSS (cascading style sheets) code in Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox simultaneously.

CSSVista is a three-paned editor—one window is a CSS editor, one window the IE 6 preview, and the third is the Firefox preview. Although Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 ages ago, boatloads of users are stuck with IE 6. Unfortunately, the rendering engine for IE 6 is an odd bird requiring lots of special attention from developers—especially when it comes to creating cross-browser compatible websites.

CSSVista requires the .NET 2.0 runtime and, despite the name, is a free download for Windows XP only.

CSSVista [Site Vista]


ChipIn Empowers Micropayments On Facebook

chipin.pngChipIn, a free widget based service that enables users to collect money has launched a Facebook application that brings micropayments to Facebook.

ChipIn on Facebook supports existing Facebook events or can be used separately with ChipIn created events. Creation of new “ChipIn’s” is simple, the ChipIn Widget can be customized using photos from a users Facebook account and each ChipIn can also be promoted directly to Facebook friends.

We covered Lending Club, the exclusive Facebook P2P lending service on June 20; ChipIn is at the other end of the spectrum targeting micropayments, yet together they demonstrate the continuing growth of finance on Facebook. There is any number of new Facebook applications being launched daily, and whilst many provide a wow factor and are useful, not that many to date have a real world financial use. It’s not too farfetched to imagine ChipIn being used as a political or charity fundraising tool on Facebook in the near future. chipin1.png


Apple passes Amazon to become the #3 US music retailer

Things must seem pretty rosy in Cupertino -- just a week before the mega-hyped launch of you-know-what, market research group NPD's quarterly survey shows Apple has passed Amazon to become the third biggest music retailer in the US. This isn't the biggest of surprises, since Steve himself predicted that the iTunes Store would overtake Amazon at the Showtime event back in September, but the leap to #3 is a little unexpected, since Apple also outpaced Target last quarter. iTunes is now rocking a 10% market share, just behind Wal-Mart at 16% and Best Buy at 14%, and while we don't expect to see it pass those two giants anytime soon, we'd bet that uptick in DRM-free sales has got the iTMS crew at Apple licking their chops.



Friday, June 22, 2007

Linux-powered VoIP uber-phone does WiFi video conferencing

We're not sayin' we'd put one of these bad boys in our living room or anything, but adorning the board room table with a four-line VoIP phone that sports a built-in 3.5-inch LCD, webcam, and Zach Morris-style handset wouldn't be a half bad use of resources. The SysMaster Tornado M20 uber-phone does a lot more than hold down IP calls, as it also manages to handle video conferencing, IPTV, video- / audio-on-demand, internet radio, voicemail, email / chat / news, and local weather information. This conglomerate even touts a dual-core processor, 32MB of RAM, and 32MB of flash memory, and the integrated Ethernet jack, WiFi, RCA audio outs, and Linux-powered UI are all welcome additions. Of course, we've no idea if you can rig up Tetris on this thing and use the 4, 8, and 6 keys to control your pieces, but it'll only cost you $260 and a tick of your time to find out.




System X: Ross Lovegrove's modular fluorescent lighting

It's been a long time coming, but someone has finally developed a fluorescent lighting array that isn't completely hideous -- just somewhat hideous. Shakespearian actor (see photo) Ross Lovegrove's diabolically named System X (designed for Japanese manufacturer Yamagiwa) allows for all sorts of interesting and "artistic" combinations of the X-shaped bulbs, permitting large, linked arrangements, or simple, singular set ups... or circles. Truly a minor development in the de-uglifying of offices everywhere.



Perry Ellis gives away cheapo USB flash drive

You would think that Perry Ellis, a "respectable" department store clothing maker, could afford something half-way decent to hand out to its customers -- but you would be wrong. Like many designer products, after you get through the ornate packaging and custom plastic box, it's just cheap junk from China. In this case, that cheap junk happens to be a 64MB (that's right, megabyte) USB flash drive. Of course, you'll be thanking Perry when you've got a place to store one big Photoshop file. [Thanks, kristofer]

Read More... Visual Stock Photo Search is a stock photo search portal based on visual search technology. provides natural and intuitive interactive search for stock photography providing buyers with a browsing experience based on both visual content and keywords. The key to the visual search capabilities is the portal’s color and image search engines, powered by CogniSign Intelligent Image Recognition Technology.

In laymen’s terms, offers three types of interrelated search options. Tradition search delivers photos based on tagged keywords and is much the same as others in the stock photography market. Where gets interesting is in color and image search. allows color search matching, for example if a stock photograph was needed that matched a brochure or web site in terms of colors, users are able to refine the photo search to those colors by utilizing a color chart or by inserting the exact hexadecimal color into a box. Image search provides similar photos based on a user uploaded image or via a drag and drop of images found in an initial search. competes with other visual search sites including Riya, Pixsy and PicSearch. Xcavator isn’t necessarily better than any of their competitors, but different. The color and related search capabilities don’t have the same level of user enjoyment as Riya’s search features do, yet’s features feel more practical and are definitely more finely targeted at niche stock photo search. recently signed a deal with iStockphoto that delivers 1.8 Million images from 38,000 contributors into the search database. The site comes out of Beta on July 2. xcavator1.jpg

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.


iChat display sharing removed from Leopard?

The first Leopard iChat demo video from Macworld Expo in January Apple shows a feature called “display sharing:” Narrator: Screen Sharing lets you remotely observe and control your buddy's display from the other room or another time zone. Initiate a screen sharing session and iChat immediately kicks off an audio chat so that you can talk through simultaneous control of a single Mac desktop. Create Web sites together, make travel plans or review that big presentation. iChat with display sharing opens a whole new world of collaboration possibilities. Curiously display sharing is not mentioned in the Leopard demo video (Apple, YouTube) of iChat from WWDC 2007. The new demo mentions "iChat Theater" but not a peep about "iChat display sharing."...


"I have 250,000 users, now what?"

"I have 250,000 users, now what?" — Craig Ulliott is a web developer in Philadelphia, PA, USA. 3 weeks ago, he built the Where I've Been Facebook application, which lets you create a map for your profile page showing visitors where you've traveled. Cool experiment, right?

Source: Inside Facebook Author: Justin Smith Link:…


Thursday, June 21, 2007

killer video search engine (ClipBlast)

I’ve been looking for a great video search engine that includes all the videos that I’ve done. I’ve been to Dabble, Blinkx, YouTube, MeeVee, Truveo, and others. None have all my videos with the latest videos represented. Dabble is pretty close, actually, but Clipblast really blew them all away. Visit Clipblast and search on my last name, or on a topic you know I’ve covered like “Google Reader” to find the videos I’ve done of the Google Reader team. It’s really great.

I just learned about it from Gary Baker, Founder/CEO who is sitting next to me (I put a short video of him up on my Kyte channel, although that was a bit choppy because the Wifi sucks here).

Anyway, here’s the highlights.

1. Their engine has been spidering the video world for 3.5 years. 2. Three million professionally-done video clips with five million additional of user generated clips. 3. The current interface on Clipblast went live in April.

They also crawl engines like YouTube and MySpace and Daily Motion. Blip, Veoh, Brightcove, etc. are all crawled for their latest video.

Stuff they are strong on, according to Gary:

1. News video from local, national, international sources. 2. Video podcasting and video blogging 3. Newspapers that are putting video out, like New York Times and Los Angeles Times. 4. Commercials.

“Our ultimate goal is to get viewers and more views to the video.”

I’ll try it out more, but on a few minutes first look it really is great. What do you think?

Personally this is one I was happy to see before Mike Arrington and the TechCrunch crew. I have a feeling Mike will write about this pretty soon.


Congrats to Jerry Yang

Jerry Yang is taking over as CEO of Yahoo, a move that I think is brilliant. I first met Jerry back in 95 or 96 in Silicon Alley and he was clearly a bright guy. 12 years later, having run Yahoo with multiple management teams, it seems only fitting that he run the show. What this move shows is that--like Facebook, Apple, and Google--the founders are often times the best folks to run the business. Wall Street and investors are too caught up in the "professional CEO" who knows how to "talk to Wall Street" and get deals done. The fact is our business is about one thing: product. That's it. Product wins... nothing else. Google has better product than Yahoo, Yahoo has better product than Microsoft. The peeking order is based on product on the internet because switching costs are zero. Users go to the best product... it is that simple. Really. Example: Google search is clearly the best, Yahoo's is second best. After that you can pick and choose the next three players (MSN, Ask, AOL) since their products are not any better than the first two. Jerry should rebuild the management team to focus on product and forget about hitting numbers for a year or two. The focus has to be on making better products than Google--not an easy task. If you build great product everything else falls into place. Go get 'em Jerry!!!


Green big shots in Cannes

Big Shot in Cannes Cannes. The Côte d'Azur. And it is. Very azure. But, Yahoo! (aka Big Purple) is in Cannes this week to turn it from azur to vert. Right. Because, of course, Yahoo! has embraced a major global re-thinking of all matters ecological (purple is the new green, after all). We created a very intriguing little contest aimed at the advertising community in eight countries, with the grand prize being a trip this week's Cannes Advertising Festival for three winners.

What kind of contest, you might ask? Well, it's called Big Shot in Cannes and you can learn more about it (and see the work) here. Since the advertising industry has been abuzz about user generated content, we thought we'd challenge the best minds in our business to create a great piece of communications, on the ecological/green subject of their choice, and do it like a consumer would. No big budgets, no fancy production teams, no boondoggles in exotic locations, and no high-priced celebrity talent.

We got an amazing 165 entries from 10 countries (right, two more than could legally enter) and, with much difficulty, narrowed this list down to 33. Because we generated more than 100,000 viewings of the submitted videos (thanks to JumpCut for putting this together for us), we used viewer feedback plus our own very idiosyncratic perspective to narrow the list for our final judging.

We then sent the final 33 to our 11 top creative judges and, lo and behold, three winners emerged: one from the US, one from Spain, and one from India. We had strong runners up from Australia, France, and Italy too. Check them all out here. Amazing stuff.

Our finalists, Kristin Cahill (USA), Diego Duprat (Spain), and Pranav Harihar Sharma (India) all arrived in Cannes over the last few days. Given that two of them had long and tiring flights, we got them to their hotel room and let them nap. Then plenty of free time to wander around the Palais des Festivals, meet up with friends in the biz, and get ready for their introduction to polite society on Thursday afternoon at the Advertising Community Together (ACT) Pavilion when they'll receive their very own Yahoo! Big Idea Chair. BTW: ACT has an annual traveling exhibition of "socially responsible" advertising from around the world, and Yahoo! has been a proud sponsor since 2006.

That's all the news from La Croisette for today. Somehow I feel virtuous and ready to hug some trees even though we are consuming energy like there's no tomorrow (somebody turn off that TV!). But it's nice to see all the big shots going green in Cannes.

Jerry Shereshewsky
Ambassador Plenipotentiary to Madison Ave.


My time with the Geezeo founders... it's a pretty sweet service

Geezeo Yesterday I had the chance to meet the founders of Geezeo, Peter Glyman and Shawn Ward. Based in Red Sox (Boston) land, their tagline is, "Keep the Geez in your pocket." The first thing I picked up on is how passionate and excited they are about their product. This is such an important piece of the success of an idea. So many of the companies who contact me write a basic overview. You need to get up in my face and tell me what your service is, why it's better than the rest and how you are going to kick ass. The Geez'rs did this.

Along with Wesabe, Geezeo was part of a piece in the Wall Street Journal last week. Geezeo wants to be considered an "Online Quicken Alternative" and the product offers a lot of new and innovative options past what Quicken or Money do.

For example, Shawn noted that a large percentage of Americans still have their money in savings accounts making sub-1% in interest. When you sign on to Geezeo, they will make recommendations on how to improve your savings by moving to accounts offering 4-5x more. This can amount to thousands of extra dollars a year. Also, the system will offer you suggestions on reducing your credit card debt by looking at using lower interest rate credit cards.

Their target is the 18-34 age bracket and they have ambassadors for their product at major university campuses around the U.S. I suggested to them that they might look at offering seminars on dealing with credit and how to effectively use student loans. I know when I got to college I was hit with 100 credit card offers and wound up with a large amount of debt quickly. Their seminars will provide two benefits: helping students and getting more subs for Geezeo.

So what is Geezeo? Basically it's a "smart" way of managing your money. I say smart because the system learns as it goes. You aggregate all of your bank account and credit information into the system, and it will smart-tag it as it goes along. You can also tag your items as well and then the system learns from your tagging to apply to other users in the future. Geezeo will also offer suggestions on other accounts that you might want to use to either make more or spend less. This is how they generate revenue by affiliate subs with the banking providers. Check out here, here and here for a more detailed product overview.

My immediate reaction when they said, "Yea, Allen you just give us all of your logins and we take it from there" is about security. With hundreds of startups out there, what faith should I have that either of the following won't happen: a. they will just wipe my accounts clean since they have access or b. that their security model will allow a hacker in to accomplish a. Check out their security overview page for some geez speak on how they protect your money.

We spent 45 minutes discussing security and I feel more comfortable now. I asked them to put together a video overview of the security they are using but basically its secure. They are using CashEdge which powers most of the online banks for authentication and they don't store any of your login information after you create your account. They also compared it to storing quicken files on your laptop and your laptop is stolen which would be worse than if someone was able to hack into Geezeo.

There are also mobile components to Geezeo. While I am not a mobile banker, by the looks of the Citibank ads all over NYC, there is a growing percentage that are mobile bankers. And the young'ns are using it more than ever. They also provide support via a MeeboMe widget.

I think the Geez'rs are smart by going after the college and university demographic. Students typically suck at managing their money and overspending on a daily basis. By using Geezeo they might be able to do a better job which could result in extra pocket money for the bars and clubs. Best of luck to Geezeo, if you have tried the service, please post your thoughts in the comments.


Picture of Google Phone from LG - Coming this Month

Unlike the previous image, this is no Photoshop version of Google Phone - it's real picture released by LG. The Google phone will be released around the iPhone launch but in Europe, not North America.

Dubbed LG-KU580, this CDMA phone provides one click access to GMail, Google Maps (the LG official says Google Earth?) and Google Web search. The design looks similar to LG "chocolate phone."

Google Phone

This will be released in Europe this week with a price tag of somewhere between $300 and $400. Also included is a a 2-megapixel camera, an MP3 player and Bluetooth.

Google's applications have been embedded into cell phones before but this is the first time its big three features - search, e-mail and mapping - have all been incorporated into one.

Full story at Korea Times [via, via]


Virtual Goods: the next big business model

This guest post is written by Susan Wu, a Principal with Charles River Ventures, where she focuses on digital media, software, and infrastructure. Susan is coproducing the Virtual Goods Summit this Friday at Stanford University - most of the companies mentioned below will be presenting.

img_susan2.jpgPeople spend over $1.5 billion on virtual items every year. Pets, coins, avatars, and bling: these virtual objects are nothing more than a series of digital 1s and 0s stored on a remote database somewhere in the ether. What could possibly possess people to spend real, hard earned cash on 'objects' that have no tangible substance?

The virtual worlds space has received tremendous press attention in the last year, fueled in no small part by Wild West stories of fortune and anarchy in worlds like Second Life and the plight of the Chinese gold farmer in World of Warcraft. But people aren't paying attention to the bigger story. While people preoccupy themselves with mocking the absurdities of some of these virtual worlds, the reality is that there are many businesses out there making meaningful amounts of money in virtual goods:

  • Tencent is one of the largest Internet portals in China with over 250 million active user accounts. They generated $100 million+ in Q1 of 2007 and over 65% of their revenue comes from virtual goods.
  • Habbo Hotel has over 75 million registered avatars in 29 countries and 90% of their $60 million+ yearly revenue comes from virtual goods.
  • Gaia Online does over 50,000 person to person auctions and 1 million message board posts a day- making them the 3rd largest auction site and the 2nd largest message board on the Internet. Their average user consumes 1200 page views a month. They employ 3 people whose sole job it is to open snail mail envelopes full of cash that people send in for virtual goods.
  • There's a commonly held misperception that virtual goods are only for online gamers. Both Dogster and HotorNot are succeeding with a hybrid ad/virtual goods business model. Currently, over 40% of HotorNot's revenue comes from virtual goods.
  • Major mainstream brands are now buying advertising in the form of virtual goods in social networks. Gaians can now purchase and pimp their virtual Scion xBs. Coca Cola and Tencent partnered to allow Tencent's users to trade codes taken from real Coke cans for virtual objects in the Tencent network. Wangyou, a Chinese based social network, has also been extremely aggressive in experimenting with branded virtual goods.