Saturday, April 07, 2007

Nokia N95 - upload directly to Flickr


Drobo - "storage robot"

One of the most awesome products I've seen in a while. From the user's perspective, it solves many of the practical hassles of using RAID. And furthermore, being able to boot from USB means you can build an entire new computer and not have to reinstall the OS and all your programs and settings again, which for me usually takes a whole day, plus the rest of the week to get it back to where I left off. link to demo video


Friday, April 06, 2007

Ads to Turn Casual Gaming into Major Revenue Stream

(from MarketingVox) Ads are changing the casual gaming world drastically, with in-game advertising for casual downloadable games producing a 200-500 percent revenue increase compared with ad-free "try and buy" games. Research firm Yankee Group estimates in-game ad revenues will reach $732 million by 2010, and the primary demographic audience, women over 30, holds 80 percent of decision-making buying power in the U.S. - making advertising in the medium all the more lucrative, according to Next-Gen guest writers Ran Cohen, director of emerging media at Eyeblaster, and Chris Houtzer, director of new media for games at RealNetworks. Ads can be integrated by adding logos into the game, but the real future is video ads, which can be integrated between levels of a game. RealNetworks and Eyeblaster are working together to create a video ad system. Video ads are presented every 10 minutes of play during natural breaks in the game. If a user decides to buy the game, the ads are immediately disabled.


"What You See Is What You Get" concept phone

Individualization_small.jpg Individualization2_small.jpg

Yanko Design publishes news of another wonderful concept phone, designed by Pei-Hua Huang, an Industrial Design graduate student of NC State University. The see-through concept phone makes picture taking more intuitive.

"What You See Is What You Get" is Huang's latest concept project. The purpose of this project is to look for farther possibilities of future cell phones. With the 50mm equivalent camera module, this cell phone no long depends on the screen while taking pictures. By using the transparent frame as viewfinder, "What You See Is What You Get."

[via Mobile Magazine]


New Zealand peeps imitate plants to do solar on the cheap

Obviously, scientists didn't exactly originate the idea of harvesting energy from the sun when they started slapping together solar cells -- plants have been up on this whole photosynthesis mojo for a good long while. Now some researchers at Massey University in New Zealand have developed a range of synthetic dyes from organic compounds that closely mimic the light harvesting that goes on in nature. Other scientists have been pursuing similar solar techniques, but there's a major difficulty in getting the dyes to pass the energy on for actual use. After 10 years of research, the Massey scientists claim to have "the most efficient porphyrin dye in the world." Benefits of the dyes over traditional silicon-based solar panels include the ability to operate in low light, 10x cheaper production, and flexible application -- starting with canvassing roofs, walls and windows, but eventually moving on to wearable items that can charge your electronics stash. A working prototype for "real applications" should be ready in a couple years.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Solar power breakthrough at Massey

By MERVYN DYKES - Manawatu Standard Thursday, 5 April 2007

photo: MURRAY WILSON/Manawatu Standard

COLOUR THEIR FUTURE GREEN: Wayne Campbell, left, and Ashton Partridge with a tiny demonstration solar panel filled with synthetic dye. Not only is it environmentally friendly and capable of being made in New Zealand, but it costs a fraction of the price of silicon cells.

New solar cells developed by Massey University don't need direct sunlight to operate and use a patented range of dyes that can be impregnated in roofs, window glass and eventually even clothing to produce power. This means teenagers could one day be wearing jackets that will recharge their equivalents of cellphones, iPods and other battery- driven devices. The breakthrough is a development of the university's Nanomaterials Research Centre and has attracted world-wide interest already - particularly from Australia and Japan. Researchers at the centre have developed a range of synthetic dyes from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature, where light-harvesting pigments are used by plants for photosynthesis. "This is a proof-of-concept cell," said researcher Wayne Campbell, pointing to a desktop demonstration model. "Within two to three years we will have developed a prototype for real applications. "The technology could be sold off already, but it would be a shame to get rid of it now." The key to everything is the ability of the synthetic dyes to pass on the energy that reaches them - something that mere coloured water could not do. "We now have the most efficient porphyrin dye in the world," said the centre's director, Ashton Partridge. "It is the most efficient ever made. While others are doing related work, in this aspect we are the world leaders." The development of the dyes has taken about 10 years and was accomplished with funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand for fundamental work and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology in the later stages. Now the team is seeking extra funding to go commercial. "This particular technology does not require the large infrastructure required for silicon chips and the like," said Professor Partridge. It lends itself to being taken up by local and New Zealand industries. Other dyes being tested in the cells are based on haemoglobin, the compound that gives blood its colour. Dr Campbell said that unlike silicone-based solar cells, the dye- based cells are still able to operate in low-light conditions, making them ideal for cloudy climates. They are also more environmentally friendly because they are made from titanium dioxide - an abundant and non-toxic, white mineral available from New Zealand's black sand. Titanium dioxide is used already in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints and cosmetics. "The refining of silicon, although a very abundant mineral, is energy- hungry and very expensive," he said. Professor Partridge said the next step was to take the dyes and incorporate them in roofing materials, tinted window glass and wall panels where they could generate electricity for home owners. The aim was to develop a solar cell that could convert as much sunlight as possible to electricity. "The energy that reaches Earth from sunlight in one hour is more than that used by all human activities in one year."


Marketing in Second Life

from The Bivings Report by Todd Zeigler Wagner James Au of GigaOM has a fascinating look at why, despite the endless hype, marketing in Second Life hasn’t proven to be effective yet. This is a good companion piece to a link I posted yesterday that provides some practical reasons to be skeptical of Second Life’s marketing potential (put me in the big time skeptic category). Regardless of your personal feelings about Second Life, I think Au’s criticism of the execution of Second Life marketing efforts thusfar is illuminating: To play in Second Life, corporations must first come to a humbling realization: in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative. Car companies are trying to compete with college kids who turn a virtual automotive showroom into a 24/7 hiphop dance party, and create lovingly designed muscle cars that fly, and auction off for $2000 in real dollars at charity auctions. Faced with such talented competition, smart marketers should concede defeat, and hire these college kids and housewives to create concept designs and prototypes that re-imagine their brands merged to existing SL-based brands which have already proved themselves in a world of infinite possibility. Or as the Komjuniti study suggests, they can keep building sterile shopping malls, and continue wondering why Residents prefer nude dance parties, giant frogs singing alt-folk rock, and samurai deathmatches– and often, all three at the same time. I think the same thesis applies to MySpace or Youtube or any of the new so called “social” marketing channels. Bringing an old mindset to a new medium doesn’t accomplish anything. Your only chance of having real and sustained success is if the mindset shifts as well.


NYC Tech Meetup mints some contenders (excerpt from NYC Tech Meetup mints some contenders by: Oliver Ryan) If Picture Dots is Web 2.0 tech whimsy at its most satisfying, FlickrCash could prove a real business. Founder Dr. Augustine Fou set out to build a more powerful search engine for the vast photo-sharing site and soon had created an AJAX-powered, multi-parameter search capable of returning easily-scanned, screen filling mosaics of thumbnails. For those that would use Flickr — with its millions of photographs (more than Getty Images or Corbis) — as a commercial source for photos, this power searching was great.

But the bigger problem was the lack of a legit purchasing mechanism. So, on top of his search engine, Fou has built what amounts to a peer-to-peer shopping cart. We’ve seen content mashups before, but this may well be the first pure e-commerce mashup: FlickrCash doesn’t host the photos or own them, it simply facilitates their retrieval and purchase. Way meta. Several in the audience raised the legitimate concern that Fou was forging a highly symbiotic relationship with Flickr-owner Yahoo (YHOO) without some form of commercial agreement. (Please to recall MySpace slapping cease-and-desist orders on various would-be “affiliates,” not to mention the recent Alexaholic scuffle.) Fou acknowledged the risk, but seemed undeterred. It’ll be interesting to see how Yahoo responds.

video transcript available at


Marketing in Second Life doesn’t work… here is why!

Written by Wagner James Au (GigaOM) Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at 4:30 PM PT

Last week, the Hamburg-based research firm Komjuniti published the first extensive survey of Resident attitudes toward real world marketing in Second Life. It’s been a long time in coming: a British branding agency established a forward operating base in SL back in early 2004 (and for their efforts, were greeted by throngs of sign-waving protesters threatening to boycott their island.)Coke in SL

In succeeding years, a miniature dot com boom has attracted a slew of big name companies and established brands, from MTV and Coke, to Dell, American Apparel, Coldwell Banker, among many more. Up until now, few have asked hard questions about what these companies were gaining for all that effort and cash (other than any publicity hit from the announcement.)

The early results from Komjuniti, as it turns out, are not encouraging: 72% of their 200 respondents [PDF file] said they were disappointed with real world company activities in Second Life; just over 40% considered these efforts a one-off not likely to last.

As bleak as these numbers may seem, it’s worth noting that they aren’t actually too far off from reactions to traditional Internet advertising. For example, four years after Net-based advertising had reached full fury, Yankelovich Parterns conducted a 2004 study and found that 60% of consumers had a significantly more negative opinion of marketing and advertising on the Web now than a few years previous, while 65% described themselves as feeling constantly bombarded by ads online. So in a relatively similar space of time, advertisers and brand promoters in Second Life have managed to annoy their potential customers only slightly more then their established brethren.

More worrying, however, are another pair of numbers: while 41% of respondents in the Yankelovich study said that Internet advertising had at least some relevance to them, a mere 7% of respondents in the Komjuniti study say that the SL-based promotion would have a positive impact on their future buying behavior.

Why has the failure been so thorough? Not necessarily for a lack of desire, because the Komjuniti participants also report “they would like to be able to interact more with the brands represented” in SL; metaverse versions of established hotels and retail brands garner the most positive reaction. These two points offer a sliver of hope to the metaverse marketer. As to the underwhelming results thus far, I can suggest three factors not covered in Komjuniti’s analysis.

Teleporting is to SL Advertising What the Channel Clicker is to TV Ads

The standard means of travel in SL is point-to-point teleportation, near-instantaneous transit from one x,y,z location to another. (Though it gets more press, Superman-esque flying is mostly used in short, localized bursts to get around obstacles.) P2P teleporting renders billboards and most other location-based advertising useless, and in any case, most SL marketers buy and develop on private virtual islands, where they can fully control the branding experience.

Due to server architecture, however, these islands are only accessible by teleportation, making it the ultimate opt-in experience. Giving marketers the unique challenge of getting Residents to voluntary dive into their ad, and stay long enough for any kind of meaningful brand immersion. So it’s not all that surprising marketers are largely floundering in Second Life: it’s like trying to create ads in a 3D Tivo.

Death by Green Dots (or lack thereof)

Residents navigate the world through a dynamic map; in it, every avatar in-world is represented by a green dot, and this feature has become a quick way for getting a visual read on where other Residents are in the world, and what they’re doing. In various locales and islands, green dots congregate in large numbers, and users’ immediate inference is, if lots of people are going to these places, something interesting must be going on there.

Any noticeable clump of green dots attracts more dots, and as those grow, more follow– a feedback loop colloquially known as “the green dot effect”. Second Life’s most successful entrepreneurs (who’ve proven far more agile and inventive then most of their real world counterparts) sustain this flurry of dots by holding constant events, giveaways, and games, and even go so far to pay Residents to visit. Amazingly, corporate marketers have been slow to replicate these homegrown strategies. (Surely several interns can host regular activities at their company’s SL site? Has to beat photocopying and bagel runs.)

A Failure of Imagination

To play in Second Life, corporations must first come to a humbling realization: in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative. Car companies are trying to compete with college kids who turn a virtualHomegrown car dealership automotive showroom into a 24/7 hiphop dance party, and create lovingly designed muscle cars that fly, and auction off for $2000 in real dollars at charity auctions.

Fashion companies have it even harder. A thriving homegrown industry of avatar clothing design (free of production costs and overseas mass production) already exists, largely ruled by housewives with astounding talent and copious amounts of time, and since the designers are popular personalities in Second Life (whose avatars become their brand), they enjoy– and frankly deserve– the home team advantage. Homegrown SL fashion

Faced with such talented competition, smart marketers should concede defeat, and hire these college kids and housewives to create concept designs and prototypes that re-imagine their brands merged to existing SL-based brands which have already proved themselves in a world of infinite possibility. Or as the Komjuniti study suggests, they can keep building sterile shopping malls, and continue wondering why Residents prefer nude dance parties, giant frogs singing alt-folk rock, and samurai deathmatches– and often, all three at the same time.


5 toothpicks and a drop of water

There are five toothpicks broken in the middle but not snapped, the two halves remain attached. the wood fibres in this attached section have been compressed due to the bending action. As the wood absorbs the small amount of water, the fibres start to expand. Very hot water should enable this to happen more quickly. Use a hot spoon to add the water.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Philips Lumileds announces Luxeon Rebel

Philips Lumileds has recently unveiled the fact that its Luxeon Rebel power LED is available. Featuring a foot print area that is more than three quarters smaller than other surface mount power LEDs (3mm x 4.5mm), the Luxeon Rebel power LED offers light output and efficacy performance that makes it the undisputed leader in lumens/mm2, lumens/Watt and lumens/dollar categories. The Luxeon Rebel also holds the distinction of being the first power LED to offer a guaranteed minimum performance as it was engineered for operation between 305 and 1,000mA. (source: DigiTimes)
Philips Lumileds announces Luxeon Rebel


FlickrCash at NY Tech Meetup April 3, 2007


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Panasonic's HDC-SD3 and HDC-DX3 bring the H.264

Posted Apr 3rd 2007 7:46AM by Thomas Ricker (Engadget) Filed under: Digital Cameras, HDTV

You know that pair of Panasonic 3CCD AVCHD camcorders recently announced for the US? Yeah, the HDC-SD1 and HDC-DX1. Well, you might want to give a tug on your wallet reins cowboy 'cause Panny just announced their HDC-SD3 and HDC-DX3 (pictured) HD camcorders. Besides bringing new desktop software to the show, these 1080i (1920 x 1080 now achieved without any tricks) recorders are fully H.264 capable for superior image quality. Like the pair before them, the SD3 and DX3 are feature identical except for the fact that the SD3 records to SDHC cards (4GB card in the box) while the DX3 records to 8-cm DVDs. Expect both cams to pop in Japan on April 25th: the HDC-SD3 should go for ¥150,000 ($1,269) while the HDC-DX3 will demand a tad less at ¥140,000 or about $1,185 by the time they arrive in the US after a few month lag.


Radio Shack Sued For Throwing Away Customer Information

from TechDirt by Mike We've had plenty of stories about companies and gov't agencies losing laptops or hard drives potentially revealing a a ton of private info, but apparently Radio Shack decided to go a more low tech route in exposing customer private info. The amusingly named Witty Nickname writes in to let us know that the Texas Attorney General has sued Radio Shack after it discovered that a store was simply throwing out paper records that included customer names, social security numbers and credit cards. All you had to do was walk by and pull some of the paperwork out of the company's trash bins and you could have all you needed for identity theft or credit card fraud. Of course, this raises another question: why was Radio Shack recording SSNs and credit cards in the first place?


Compete Knows How Much Time You Waste on YouTube

by Nick Gonzalez,

competelogo.pngAll web analytics track your activity somewhere along pipeline connecting your computer to a website’s server. Comscore tracks traffic trends on computers of 2 million users. Hitwise catches traffic at the ISP level and matches it up with demographic data they collected. Compete, Quantcast, and Alexa differ from these other web metrics companies by tracking traffic on the computers of users who installed their tool bars. Each of these services gauge critical marketing metrics such as unique visitors and page views.

However, some people argue that the page view is no longer a proper measure of a website’s heft. New web page design principles such as Flash and AJAX are making constant page requests obsolete. One of the most extreme examples of this phenomenon is Justin.TV where you can log on and never refresh the page. This is great news for web users, but it’s sowing confusion among advertisers over how to peg a site’s true advertising appeal.

competevelocity.pngComscore, who’s currently looking to go public, has been evolving their metrics to keep up with the changes. They recently announced their “visit” metric after facing some heat by BusinessWeek over ranking MySpace above Yahoo’s in monthly page views last November. The visit metric was meant to gauge user engagement by counting the number of unique requests for a site at least a half hour from the last request. All those pesky MySpace page requests would be lumped into one visit, giving a fairer idea of how often each unique user was engaging with a website each month. It had the result they wanted, bumping Yahoo back on top.

Compete also has a visit metric. But today they also launched a new metric called “attention,” which argue see as a better measure of user engagement. Attention is the total amount of time U.S. users spend on a website as a percentage of total time spent on the Internet by all U.S. users. It’s analogous to Alexa’s reach metric, which tracks the number of visitors to a site as a percentage of total internet users. Compete’s attention metric is like airtime, whereas Alexa’s reach is more like audience size.

According to Compete, we spend about 1% of our internet time on YouTube. Compete also tracks the change in attention over time, called velocity, unique visitors per month, site visits, page views per visit, and average stay.


Monday, April 02, 2007

New Zooomr to permit photo sales--once debugged

By Stephen Shankland – March 19, 2007, 1:08 PM PDT The Zooomr photo-sharing site plans major changes, including the ability to let members sell their photos, but the upgrade process has been rocky. (Credit: Zooomr) Photo-sharing sites have added features such as tagging, commentary, ranking and printing. But adding the ability to sell photos injects a little profit motive in the business as well. It also puts the site in more direct competition with stock-photo sales sites such as Getty Images subsidiary iStockphoto. Zooomr will keep 10 percent of revenue from photo sales, the company said on its blog, letting users keep 90 percent. For comparison, iStockphoto keeps 80 percent, unless users sign an exclusivity agreement under which the company keeps 60 percent. Getty also acquired journalism-oriented Scoopt this month, a site that splits revenue 50-50. Zooomr went offline Tuesday for the overhaul to the Mark III version of the site. Users couldn't upload new images, though blog photos hosted on the site were still available. The upgrade was scheduled to be complete Thursday, but on Sunday, Zooomr rolled back to the earlier interface while debugging the new one. "To keep everyone happy and continually uploading images, we've opted to put Zooomr Release Two back up temporarily for a few days while we get all of these Mark III bugs worked out of our system," site programmer Kristopher Tate said in a blog posting Sunday. New search abilities also hampered the upgrade. The new version will let users search for images based on their colors, but even with five servers working flat-out, processing images for the search preparations took longer than expected, Tate said. Zooomr today specializes in photo sharing augmented with support for multiple languages and geotagging, which maps the locations where photos were taken. The new Zooomr version also lifts file-size and quantity limits, the company said on its blog. And it will be endowed with a programming interface, allowing more sophisticated or automated interactions with the site.


Brand Map in SecondLife

Did you know the above brands were in Second Life? Other than a handful of brands that have graced the page sof NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc - most have gone unnoticed, and continue to go unnoticed because most brands aren’t harnessing the virtual worlds strategically. A virtual world campaign is more than just ‘build’ - it’s also: position, market, be contextually relevant, easy to find, etc. (source: