Thursday, June 28, 2007

MIT TechTV - YouTube Like Portal for Science and Tech Videos

MIT School of Engineering have launched a video sharing website called "MIT Tech TV" for showcasing lecture recordings, student presentations and other video content particularly about science, engineering and technology.


While the MIT TechTV videos can be viewed by anyone on the web, only members with an email address - students, faculty, MIT staff or even the alumni - can upload videos on the MIT TechTV portal.

MIT TechTV website, which looks the same as Blip.TV with a new skin, has no connection with the TechTV channel (now G4TV).

This is MIT's second attempt to share knowledge with the outside world. Earlier, MIT had launched the very popular MIT OpenCourseware project to make the course materials used in the teaching of virtually all of MIT's courses available on the Web, free of charge.  [MIT Tech TV] [OpenCourseware]


Get the feel of Photoshop in GIMP with GIMPshop


Windows/Linux/Mac: Open-source app GIMPshop is a modified version of GIMP designed to give the feel of Photoshop.

GIMPshop modifies the menu structure to closely match Photoshop's, adjusts the program's terminology to match Adobe's, and, in the Windows version, uses a plugin called 'Deweirdifier' to combine the application's numerous windows in a similar manner to the MDI system used by most Windows graphics packages.
As any Photoshopper will attest, GIMP is generally not as easy to work with as Photoshop out of the box. The premise behind GIMPshop is that Photoshop users will be able to dive right into GIMP while facing only a minimal learning curve. GIMPshop is a free download for Windows, Linux, and Mac.


TWISTER: goggle-free 3D rotating panoramic display

In a device eerily akin to teleportation machines seen in major motion pictures (seriously, check it after the break), the Telexistence Wide-angle Immersive STEReoscope aims to "immerse viewers in a 3D video environment" sans those pesky goggles. Developed by a team at the University of Toyko, TWISTER is being hailed as the "world's first full-color 360-degree 3D display that does not require viewers to wear special glasses," and it's finally coming together after a decade of work. Within the cylindrical, rotating device, you'll find some 50,000 LEDs that give off the illusion of a three-dimensional object without any ocular aids. Moreover, the team is already looking into the possibility of adding 3D videophone technology to spruce up video telephony, but we'd be totally content with a couple rounds of Halo in this thing.

[Via PinkTentacle]

Continue reading TWISTER: goggle-free 3D rotating panoramic display


FreshBooks Launches Open API

Online invoicing service FreshBooks has launched an open API.

Freshbooks sees the new API allowing application designers, businesses, services companies, and users to integrate FreshBooks’ billing platform into a new category of products, features, and solutions for enhancing and streamlining productivity, workflow, sales, CRM, project management, and invoicing.

Possible uses of the API including adding to existing products to extend functionality, including timers, project planners, and desktop widgets. Sites with an existing sales infrastructure can use the API to add a billing component.

There are a lot of possibilities here and Freshbooks really has nothing to lose by offering an open API service. The API is an open invitation to innovation and should keep Freshbooks in could stead against competition including BillMyClients and Blinksale.

Previous Freshbooks coverage on TechCrunch coverage here.


HotorNot Founder James Hong Talks About Past, Future

Read this excellent post by James Hong, co-founder of the nearly seven year-old startup HotorNot. He talks about the history of the startup, and touches on where it might be going in the future.

A lot of this I wrote about last month after interviewing Hong, but there’s lot of additional information that people will find fascinating. The company naver raised venture capital, and was throwing off a signficiant amount of cash early on. As free dating competitors emerged, however, the popularity of the site declined. They responded by going free as well (killing a $500,000/month revenue stream), and traffic has doubled to around 20 million daily page views.

HotorNot is now looking more like a a traditional startup - they’ve converted to a C corporation and are giving stock options to employees. That suggests a sale or venture financing might be coming up in the near future. Of course, the amount of fun that Hong and cofounder Jim Young are having.

My favorite stat about HotorNot: Up to ten marriages per day can be tracked to couples who originally met at the site.


Earthmine's photo-truck totally tries to one-up Google, Microsoft

Street level mapping services like Google's Street View and Microsoft's Live Local have gotten a lot of attention lately, but while the notion of pervasive map-linked photography is pretty impressive, the actual execution leaves something to be desired -- the images are occasionally of low quality, have stitching errors, and there are some lingering privacy concerns. A new company called Earthmine is out to solve all those problems, though, by providing high-quality, survey-accurate panoramic photography -- and has a truck or two with cameras towering tall to prove it. Unlike Google's video system, Earthmine plans to use laser range finders and high dynamic range still cameras mounted higher than usual to provide perspective-accurate images that preserve detail and resolution -- but automatically blur out faces and other identifying information, like license plates. Earthmine is planning on selling the service to businesses and governmental agencies, but a consumer version should launch at the end of the summer. We think they should watch out though, we hear the Street View and Live Local drivers have crazy road rage; we really wouldn't want to see anybody from Earthmine get caught up in some kind of weird, street level photography turf war. [Thanks, eggman]


A Beautiful Photo from our friends at LuckyOliver

purchased for use on blogs. This is an example of a 400x400 px image.

search for LuckyOliver images through the PictureSandbox interface - when you find an image you like, click the blue arrow to go to the LuckyOliver page

or go directly to to search and buy there.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Full Screen Web Photo Browsing With PicLens

piclens.jpgFirefox plugin PicLens from Cooliris provides full screen immersive picture browsing of Flickr and other web sites that support Media RSS.

To use PicLens, a user clicks a small translucent icon that appears atop the image of interest once the plugin is installed. The PicLens slideshow interface appears and the user can move from one photo to the next or press play and enjoy the show. A user can intuitively browse images within search results, photo albums, and Media RSS enabled websites.

Support is currently provided for Flickr, Facebook, Friendster, Picasa Web Album and image search results from Google and Yahoo. Site owners can add support to any site with photos by including Media RSS support.

The best way to describe PicLens is that it’s a like the slideshow feature in Picasa or a similar photo viewing tool, but applied to web pages. The full screen rendering does require a decent internet speed when displaying large photographs, but visually the results are stunning. This Firefox plugin is going to find a lot of fans very, very quickly.

piclens11.jpg (thanks to Ouriel Ohayon for the tip)


Slapvid: Peer to Peer Video in Your Browser

slapvidlogo.pngVideo on the web is a killer app, but it’s also a bandwidth hog. Forbes estimated that content distribution networks like Akami or Limelight can charge distributors around a cent per minute, while larger distributors can get deals at around a half or tenth of a cent. Last year it was estimated that Youtube was spending over $1 million a month to stream more than 100 million videos a day. In response, video distributors looking to give higher quality video on the cheap are pushing the burden of bandwidth to users through peer to peer networking. So far this has widely focused around larger desktop players (Veoh, Joost, Babelgum). Video player startup Slapvid wants to do peer to peer in your browser.

Slapvid runs as a Java applet coupled with a Flash video player. Unfortunately this means users have to authorize the 300Kb applet to run the first time, but that still requires less initiative on the users behalf than a full blown browser plugin. The applet runs in the background, managing the delivery of video chunks to be displayed in the player.

slapvidplayer.pngWhen you first start a video, the player connects directly to their central video server to download enough of the beginning of the video as a buffer while the peer to peer kicks in. During this request, their server also sends you back a list of 3 to 5 peers playing the same video. The applet then seeks out peers further along in the video, getting sent bits of the video in 64KB chunks. If you don’t hear back from the peers, the video just streams from the central server.

To demonstrate the peering technology, they’ve developed their own flash player that shows the top Youtube videos in 5 minutes. The player mashes together short clips of each video. You can see the whole video by clicking the hand. However, because of bandwidth concerns on their central server, the peering technology is only turned on for a small sample of users. All other users will just see videos streamed from Youtube. To guarantee you get the peering applet, you can apply for one of 100 beta accounts for Techcrunch readers. You can see the video player after the jump.

Slapvid is a Y Combinator startup from 4 Carnegie Mellon grads.



Samsung's 64GB SSDs: ready to roll

For all the 64GB SSDs announced, only one manufacturer has the skillz to bring them to market: Samsung. Starting today, Sammy is mass producing the world's first 64GB, 1.8-inch SSD. Right, the ideal size for UMPCs and super slim ultra-portables. No word on price but it's not like you'll find these up for retail anyway. We expect 'em to go OEM-only baby as $1,000 (at least) premiums inside your latest VAIO, Latitude, Lifebook, and Sammy's own Q40 and Q1 Ultra machines to name a few. Apple too, if there's any life to that ultra-portable rumor.



Fujitsu's 12.1-inch T8140 tablet with SSD: 3.3-pounds, 11.3-hours

So you liked the looks of Fujitsu's tiny T4220 12.1-inch convertible tablet, right? Only that 3 hours off battery was a deal breaker. No worries, meet the smaller, lighter, and more efficient Lifebook T8140. We're talking an Intel 1.06GHz U7500 Core 2 Duo ULV processor and 32GB SSD (yes, Solid State Disk) packed into a chassis measuring 1.3-inches / 3.3-pounds and capable of operating at up to 11.3 hours off long-haul battery. Hell, it'll even go 7.2-hours off standard battery if weight is your biggest concern, sissy. All that and still packing a 12.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 resolution. Toss in Vista for suits and 1GB DDR2 memory and you're looking at ¥265,000 (about $2,650) when these pop in Japan sometime late July. [Via Impress]


Stalker remotely controls family cellphones, even when they're off

To use a TV news cliche, it's like a horror movie come true: three families from Fircrest in Washington State are being harassed by a unknown individual, who somehow has the power to turn cellphones on, send messages, and change ringtones. Over the last few months, the families have had calls that threaten death and violence against them, calls that tell the people what they're doing at that time, and calls that originate from the cellphones of other members of the family. In one case, the stalker changed the ringtone of a phone to say "answer your phone." According to one James M. Atkinson, an apparent expert in these matters who used to provide the CIA with advice in counterintelligence, the technical profficiency to pull off this level of stalking isn't that high: if the FBI can do it, why not some anti-social kid, right?



Mitsubishi's laser TV coming to CES

Frank DeMartin, vice president for marketing and product development at Mitsubishi, casually mentioned in a recent NY Times article that the company will be showing off its large-screen laser TVs at the next CES (in January, put it in your calendar!). As we mentioned in 2006, the new tri-laser projectors are said to have higher picture quality and a larger range of color than LCD or plasma screens, making them a bit of a threat to the status quo -- although currently it looks like the TVs will be promoted to the "premium" end of the market, thus waylaying any direct competition (save for the videophile crowd). Then again, since we'll all be getting these under the tree this year anyway, we're not sure what the big deal is.




NEC develops 8MP CMOS sensor for cameraphones

While LG's ambitious plans didn't exactly pan out in 2005, the idea of upping those megapixels in mainstream cameraphones sure is getting a lot of attention today. Shortly after Kodak announced its plan to unveil a five-megapixel iteration for future phones, NEC is hitting back with a development of its own. Apparently, the company is already shipping samples of a "system chip capable of processing cameraphone images at resolutions of up to eight-megapixels," which even includes "image stabilization circuitry as an option." Best of all, the CE131 sample device is priced at just ¥4,000 ($33), and hopefully that cost will diminish even further as mass production goes forward in October. [Warning: Read link requires subscription]




Corian Z. Island: taking kitchens to the year 3000

Corian is known for producing all types of wacky materials for your countertop, but the company has dashed straight into the 23rd century with its new "Z" kitchen island (and assorted accessories). The Zaha Hadid designed centerpiece boasts LED touch panels embedded in the table's surface, a mounted Mac for multimedia functions, and three very bizarre looking aroma "devices" which protrude from the island, and can be tweaked to produce various scents. The unit also controls a wall of abstract lighting fixtures, allowing you to alter their color and intensity. Basically, it's the perfect thing to own if James T. Kirk stops by wants you to heat up his coffee and make the room smell like rose petals. [Via chipchick]


Convert Images, Documents to Adobe PDF via EMail Attachments

convert document to pdf KoolWire is a new and wonderful email based file conversion service to help you convert your Microsoft Word (.doc), Powerpoint (.ppt), Excel Spreadsheets (.xls) or even pictures into Adobe PDF documents.

Just compose a new email message, attach document(s) that have to be converted into PDF and send the email to The PDF file(s) should arrive in your inbox the next moment.


The big advantage is that Koolwire PDF converter requires no software installation and, unlike Google Docs or PDFOnline, you don't have to upload documents to any webserver in order to print them as PDF - just send them across as email attachments. PDF creation couldn't be simpler.

Best of all, you can attach multiple documents / images to the same email message and Koolwire will batch convert them into PDF. Don't think any free PDF writer software offers such a convenient option to create multiple PDFs in one go. | Developer Blog | PDF Presentation


Save time with an upload manager

Photographs selling their pictures on Micro Stock websites always have to cope with a cumbersome task: tagging their pictures and uplaoding them. The easier way si to use softwares like Photoshop to tag pictures and an ftp manager to upload them. But it still remains the boring part of the job. Creation is fun administration is not. Moreover moderation is sometimes erratic and a good picture that would sell might get rejected and the tagging and uploading time might just be a waste of time.

One software can rationalize those operations:prostock master. It manages very easily tagging and uploading on major microstock sites (8 of them so far). And because it uses Java it is Multi platform.

I wonder what will be the consequences if this kind of software get massively used. The market might be reshaped. Anyway this high growth market might still surprise us in many ways…


McDonald’s, Virgin Mobile, Part of Sweeps Scam, AG Warns

Jun 26, 2007 6:05 AM, PROMO Xtra, By Patricia Odell

The Nebraska Attorney General last week warned consumers about a fraudulent sweepstakes that appears to be sponsored by major companies including Virgin Mobile USA and McDonald’s.

AG Jon Bruning called the mailing “a new type of sweepstakes fraud that lists false sponsorships to deceive consumers into participating.”

In addition to McDonald’s and Virgin Mobile, the notices, which state that consumers have won tens of thousands of dollars, also appeared to be sponsored by Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, Sears, Budget Rent-A-Car and Gap, the AG said.

However, an inquiry by the AG’s consumer protection division found that these businesses were not involved in the promotion, Bruning said.

The letter tells consumers that they must pay a “clearance fee” to receive the prize because the award money is bonded. A check from one of the “sponsors” is enclosed in the letter to cover the costs of the clearance fee. The consumer is instructed to deposit the check and send the money back to the sweepstakes organizers.

“The check is fraudulent, and consumers lose the money they send,” Bruning said in a statement.

One “sponsor” learned that checks for up to $4,720 were being written from one of its bank accounts and immediately closed it, Bruning said.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “Nebraskans work too hard for their money to lose it in a scam. Being skeptical and researching an opportunity is the best way to avoid falling victim.”


Monday, June 25, 2007

Intel's Core 2 Duo E6750 revealed, benchmarked

Intel's taken the wraps off of one of the four E6x50-series Core 2 Duo processors it first announced earlier this year, which are primarily notable for their new 1333 MHz front-side buses. The one getting all the attention at the moment is the next to top-end E6750, which clocks in at 2.66 GHz and is set to run $183 when it lands July 22nd. Coinciding with Intel's loosening of secrecy, the folks at The Tech Report got their hands on the processor to put it through their usual range of tests finding, not surprisingly, that the processor does indeed offer some modest performance gains over the previous E6700. The real gains, however, seem to be reserved for those willing to go the overclocking route, with Tech Report finding that they were able to push the processor all the way to 3.64GHz, making it the fastest dual-core processor they've seen to date. Read - DailyTech, "Intel Unveils Core 2 Duo E6750 Performance" Read - Tech Report review


front page of AOL Search for "cards"


Xerox Enters Search Market

xerox.jpgXerox announced its entry into the search market this week with FactSpotter, document search software that is claimed to go beyond conventional keyword search.

FactSpotter is text mining software that combines a linguistic engine that allows users to make queries in everyday language. FactSpotter looks for the keywords contained in a query along with the context those words have.

According to Xerox, FactSpotter is capable of combing through almost any document regardless of the language, location, format or type; take advantage of the way humans think, speak and ask questions; and discriminate the results highlighting just a handful of relevant answers instead of returning thousands of unrelated responses.

Frédérique Segond, manager of parsing and semantics research at XRCE said that the tool is more accurate because it delves into documents, extracting the concepts and the relationships among them. “By understanding the context, it returns the right information to the searcher, and it even highlights the exact location of the answer within the document”.

Whilst it sounds appealing, FactSpotter will not be coming to a browser near anyone, anytime shortly. Xerox plans to launch FactSpotter next year as part of the paid Xerox Litigation Service platform and has no plans for a wider or public release. Here’s betting that a Steve Jobs character comes along and steals the concept and turns into the next Google; history often does repeat itself.


Instant Messaging: Google Talk adds Group Chat


Previously mentioned Google Talk Gadget has integrated a new Group Chat feature for your Google Talk contacts.

To use Group Chat, just start a conversation with a contact, then click the drop-down on the right of the chat window and select Group Chat. From there you can add as many contacts as you want. Granted, the idea of Group Chat is far from innovative (a lot of GTalk users have wanted this for sometime), but it's nice to finally see it rolling out. Group chat is currently only available with the Google Talk Gadget. Thanks Mike!


Google Apps: Add live Google data to Google Spreadsheets


The Webware weblog highlights 5 things you didn't know about Google Docs and Spreadsheets, most notably that you can insert live lookups in Google Spreadsheets via Google search and Google Finance.

Using two special formulas, users can create cells that will update constantly with data or information gleaned from Web searches or Google's finance service. This works for things such as stock symbols, sports statistics, or any other piece of information you want to source and keep up to date automatically

For example, you can insert the current price of Google stock in a spreadsheet by entering =GoogleFinance("GOOG"; "price"), or check out the number of internet users in Paraguay with =GoogleLookup("Paraguay"; "internet users"). Very cool.


Broadband Subscribers, 300 million strong

At the end of first quarter 2007, the total number of broadband subscribers was close to 300 million, and according to folks at Point Topic, we are way past that number by now. Thanks to strong growth in Eastern Europe and China, the broadband subscriber base is growing at much faster clip that most imagined.

Chart of international broadband subscriptions as of first quarter 2007Romania for instance has over million subscribers. Smaller countries like Slovenia and Lithuania are only getting started and we should expect to see the add more zip to the growth rate in EU. US remains #1 in terms of total subscribers, but China is nipping on its heels. France is the fifth largest broadband country in terms of subscribers, ahead of South Korea.


Making Real Money from Virtual Goods

vgsummit.jpg The latest revenue model for online communities doesn't exist—literally. Several companies are already making quite a lot of actual money, not through advertising or subscriptions, but by selling items that are really just images on a screen. That's the main theme of the Virtual Goods Summit, a conference held at Stanford last week, the brainchild of Google's Charles Hudson and my friend Susan Wu, a VC at Charles River Ventures.

While the term evokes gold coins and magic items bought and sold in MMORPGs, conference attendance by social networks like Dogster and Hot or Not suggests how pervasive the concept has become. Virtual goods can also be gifts you send to friends on your network (as in Facebook), and it's an already growing income stream. Consider some highlights from the conference:

  • Three Rings' CEO Daniel James on Puzzle Pirates, a casual MMO: "We do about $350,000 a month in revenue, of which $250,000 is virtual currency sales."

  • Craig Sherman of teen hangout Gaia Online : "Virtual economy, we have about 50,000 completed auctions every day. Plus 12 virtual stores that are like an Amazon space, 6,000 items sold."

  • Dan Kelly from virtual currency exchange site Sparter, on the total value of the industry: "It's easily a billion dollar [secondary] market. Consumers have told us these things have value, the industry now is trying to reconcile that with their business model."

The question is why they have value, and Robert Scoble began the moderating of one Virtual Goods panel by noting a real Swiss watch that sells for $20,000—roughly $19,500 more than meaningful functionality and quality would ever require. With Hot or Not, users can buy each other virtual flowers, and according to CEO James Hong, intention drives the willingness to pay more: "We sell more expensive flowers to people that have a relationship."

Kudos to Mark Wallace and the staff of Virtual World News for taking such copious notes to the conference's many panels—read more here, here, here, and here. Be sure to also read the conference presentation– first in the West, I believe– on the phenomenal success of QQ , China's largest IM/games/social network, where you can buy virtual penguins as pets (54 million sold so far), with a virtual currency that's so popular, the Chinese government is worried it'll destabilize the official one.


Nokia N95 + RC plane = unlimited DIY aerial photography

now, this is what I call community involvement!  and viral!

If you've found yourself tempted by other interesting DIY aerial photography rigs, but spent all your dough on the Nokia N95 instead, you may still be able to make a lifelong (or momentary) dream come true. A pioneering lad over at the N95 Blog has suggested that nearly unlimited high-resolution aerial photography can be yours if you're willing to strap your precious handset to an RC plane and get savvy with Pict'Earth software. The application allows users to create a theoretical Google Earth of their own if the existing imagery isn't up to snuff with their personal standards. Still, we'd have to mull this one over mighty hard before attaching such a valuable communicator to a potential death bed, but feel free to let us know how things go if you can muster the courage.

[Via AllAboutSymbian]




ZAP announces mysterious high-performance electric car

ZAP (which stands for Zero Air Pollution) announced another new entry to its electric car stable, an as-yet-unnamed sedan that will apparently sell for $30,000. The California based company claims their new model will reach a top speed of 100 mph, and will have a 100-mile range between charges. But here's where this story gets really interesting: ZAP announced a different model back in January which still hasn't seen the light of day, and AutoblogGreen questions whether the company has been using press releases as a method of increasing their stock price for short term cash-flow. Competitors like Tesla have prototypes on the road, but no such luck with ZAP, which certainly raises a number of questions, and definitely gets you thinking about the word vaporware. Read -- ZAP press release Read -- AutoblogGreen's take on ZAP


New details about the iPhone

Remember the winning Engadget commercial, "The Long Arm of Steve Jobs"? We posted it after the break, but finding someone who's spent some serious time with a pre-launch iPhone and getting them to talk is basically a lot like that. Still, we managed to smuggle out some freshly leaked details from a very trusted inside source who's been fooling around with a unit. Here's what they had to say:
  • The keyboard was simply described as "disappointing". Keyboarding with two thumbs often registers multiple key presses (two or three at a time) resulting in a lot of mistakes. The best way to type is with a single finger (as shown in most of Apple's demos), but two thumbs is supposedly very difficult. After trying it for a number of days our source gave up using their thumbs.
  • The text auto-correction only works well for simple words, but doesn't work for proper names. We can only assume this bit will get better with time as Apple fills out its predictive text dictionary.
  • "It won't replace a BlackBerry. It's not good for text input. It's just not a business product."
  • The touchscreen was said to, in general, require somewhat hard presses to register input, and needs some getting used to.
  • In addition to its dock, the iPhone comes packaged with a polishing cloth (the thing's supposedly a fingerprint magnet, no surprise) and the usual smallish power adapter.
  • The Bluetooth headset will debut in the $120 range, and will come with its own dock for charging both the phone and the headset. The headset will feature a miniature magnetic charging interface á la MagSafe.
Click on for more impressions on the headset, browser, YouTube, and more.

Continue reading New details about the iPhone


Fiber optic tablecloth: the new candlelit dinner

We highly doubt LumiGram's Luminous Fiber Optic Tablecloth was designed with power outages in mind, but why hook up a boring string of lamps or fiddle with half melted candles when you can plug this bad boy into the generator? The cloth, which has fiber optics woven throughout, cotton borders, and a Europlug mains adapter, proves most useful when the lights are dimmed, and should prove quite the centerpiece at your next get-together. The illuminating device is available in a trio of sizes, comes in a variety of color schemes, and will cost you a very unappetizing €949 ($1,270) for the privilege. [Via LuxuryLaunches]


Vision Robotics' harvesting machines edge closer to the farm

In just eight short months, the automated harvesting machines at Vision Robotics have apparently come quite a ways. Currently, funding is flowing in from growers' associations who are "very nervous about the availability and cost of labor in the near future," which has allowed the company to move forward in developing a pair of robots to pluck fruit from trees or vines. The duo would work in succession as the first robotic "scout" would scan the area and construct a 3D map with the location of each item that needs captured; the "harvester" would follow behind and pick the fruits that its eagle-eyed teammate mapped out. The firm has reportedly reached the build phase on the complex machines, and while a prototype or two should be ready to rock by next year, we're unlikely to see these go mainstream before the next decade. [Via Wired]



Write a Text Blog with Pen, Paper and a Digital Camera

Dislike typing on the computer keyboard or the tiny cell phone ? You can still write a beautiful text blog - just get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil to jot down your blog posts.

These are called handwritten blogs - the paper note with your text is scanned using a digital camera or a scanner and posted on the web as a regular photograph. Even PostSecret is an handwritten blog.

handwritten blogs

There an entire Flickr group devoted to the community of handwritten bloggers. It would help if you have a good handwriting style but sorry, no Google Juice for you as search engine bots can't read your handwritten blog posts. Very creative.

More examples at and


Incoming Links on YouTube Expose Hundreds of FTP Passwords

youtube videos with ftp passwords

As these screenshots show, some incoming links on YouTube videos are found to contain username/passwords of FTP servers that could allow anyone to login into these servers.

If Google doesn't fix this immediately, it could possibly become a big security issue for FTP sites whose credentials are now available in Google cache.

Earlier these YouTube links had revealed clicks on Adsense Gadgets ads. The latest issue was discovered by Rohan Pinto of

To ensure that your FTP servers are not in the YouTube database, run the following query: "clicks from ftp" your_server_name

youtube ftp server password


Run Windows Vista, Office 2007 Together Without Installation

Too lazy to install the new Office 2007 or Windows Vista on your machine ? Worried that the new software might break existing stuff on your computer or may not work at all ? Here's something for you - Windows Vista cum Office 2007 inside Windows XP.

Microsoft today released a free combo VHD edition of Windows Vista and Office 2007 Professional which includes Publisher, Excel, Outlook, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, and Word.

You can download this all-in-one package from Microsoft Download Center and run it on your Windows XP computer without making any modifications by using the free Microsoft Virtual PC software.

office 2007 vista on xp

Start the Virtual PC software and just open the Windows Vista cum Office 2007 image - the software will run independent of your existing XP SP2 setup and will not alter or install anything on the computer.

Excited ? There's a small catch - though the Office 2007 / Vista image file is free, it is a bit bulky (~2 GB to be exact) and requires addition 10 GB of free hard drive space for running smoothly inside the Virtual PC software.

If you think your Broadband connection can take the load, get the Office 2007 cum Vista installer from (file available in VHD image format).


The Facebook Problem

Brad Feld has a post up where he talks about The Facebook Problem. Brad sees an emerging problem for those who are developing apps for Facebook and says:

It seems like Facebook could easily turn on CPM based ads on all of the Facebook apps pages and do a revenue share with the application developer. Suddenly, the application developer would get paid for the massive new page views they are getting (as would Facebook), and Facebook would create a real incentive for the publishers to stay with their apps and grow them.

In the absence of this, Facebook is going to need to address the “value to the apps developer” quickly, before some of the larger apps vaporize due to the developer saying “I’m not willing to keep paying for servers and bandwidth.” I can think of a couple of other approaches here, including Facebook building an in-the-cloud infrastructure for their developers that they make available to one’s that reach a certain level of popularity. But - the straight “we’ll make more money and share it with you” seems the most logical approach to me.

I see a different Facebook problem. Invite overload and application noise. I cannot keep track of all the invites I am getting, both the standard invites and the application invites. And what's worse, I can't keep track of all the applications that all of my friends are using.

We all know I am not the Facebook generation. So maybe I am just not capable of dealing with this level of social networking. But I bet that many of the members of the Facebook generation are secretly wishing for the old Facebook where it was more about them and their friends and less about being a social operating system.

The comments to Brad's post have a few such examples. Since there are a bunch of members of the Facebook generation who read this blog, please tell me what you think.


Thieves take off with $50,000 worth of cellphones

The anecdotal evidence for a spike in electronics robberies is piling up, with the latest high profile robbery netting the thieves $50,000 worth of cellphones from a T-Mobile store. Three armed men walked into the store in Fort Bend County in Texas on Thursday, and demanded the "good phones" from the store's safe and the tapes from the CCTV. Staff were tied up, and the thieves deposited the phones into black plastic bags and walked out. Unfortunately for the robbers, T-Mobile keeps a good track of its inventory, and can identify any of the phones if they turn up on the network (meaning that the $50,000 sticker value is much lower on the black market). Crime doesn't pay, especially when your stolen goods can be tracked. [Via textually]



Visa Taps Aspiring Filmmakers for “Life Takes” Campaign

Augustine: never before has there been such interest in and acceptance of good consumer-generated media

Visa has extended its "Life Takes" campaign since ads broke during the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy

Visa USA is sponsoring an international competition for amateur filmmakers as part of its effort to extend its "Life Takes Visa" brand campaign, launched a year ago, into new consumer channels.

Visa is working with the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) for the "Life Takes" Invitational contest that will give the winner an audience with ad execs and a $10,000 prize. Since Visa will have rights to all the films entered, it could use them in future advertising or promotions, but has not announced plans to do so.

The two will invite 30 filmmaking teams to create a short film that shows their interpretation of Visa's tag line, "Life Takes." Each team gets a $500 Visa gift card for expenses.

Filmmakers have 48 hours to create a seven-minute film or video from start to finish—casting, writing, producing, directing, editing, adding music, and getting equipment.

A panel of Visa execs and advertising and entertainment professionals will judge the entries in September. The three top films will be showcased at an awards event in San Francisco. Second prize is $5,000; third prize is $2,500. Media agency OMD handles the invitational contest for Visa

48HFP has been promoting the competition this month at its 2007 tour stops in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. The international tour began in March and runs through August, traveling to 55 cities, where teams spend one weekend making a film from start to finish.

48HFP is expecting more than 1,500 48 Hour film teams to make films during the 2007 tour. The grand-prize winner will also receive a $7,500 gift card, courtesy of Visa.

Susanne Lyons, chief marketing officer Visa USA, said the credit card company was eager to see how these talented individuals interpret the campaign and "reinforce the various ways that Visa empowers consumers to do what they want to do, need to do and never thought possible."

Visa launched "Life Takes Visa" in February 2006, its first new tag line in 20 years (Promo Xtra, Feb. 8, 2006) . TBWA/Chiat/Day handles the advertising.

Since the launch, the "Life Takes" campaign has been featured in a "live art" billboard execution in New York City, in popular video games and the latest refresh of Hasbro's iconic The Game of Life.