Geekspin Blog

Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

There certainly seems to be a lot of excitement around the “Dave Winer River of news”, what he is done is actually pretty interesting, sure this is just a rehash of an RSS feed but it IS a very easy to use way of reading news, its lightweight and quick loading.

The most common anti-arguments are: (followed by my short followups)

1) Its been done before? Sure, but Dave has a way to strip things down to the bare minimum and its a case of simplicity through minimalism. River puts newest categories first which is surprisingly not a common feature and well its Dave Winer and he’s buzz worthy and gives things weird names, so there!

2) Why not just use RSS? Its a pain to research and install the software for your mobile.

3) Why not just read news on your PC? Well from a South African perspective, most people don’t have on not too mention don’t have Internet access, but a phone with a Wap-type browser and a 3G/GPRS connection is commonplace and convenient for most and the sub 80 Kb pages means 12 plus headlines at R2.00 a MB

Some other interesting things coming out of the river is the legality of republishing another’s feed is illegal or not? The argument is that if you provide full public feeds that it shouldn’t be a problem. Others argue that you are removing valuable advertising revenue for those sites.

Thoughts?

UPDATE: In case you dont understand what a River of News is, its basically a simple technique to display a conventional RSS feed in a cellphone friendly, zero setup format. Example: http://nytimesriver.com/

FAUX PAS: Hmm I just realised that the older generation wap browsers wont be able to deal with pages exceeding +- 30 KB, but those with Blackberry’s, 6 and N series Nokias and other higher level phones won’t have a problem. What is the solution? Maybe some paging?

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Every night a strange thing happens all over the world, people get home after work, slip into a an alternate persona and go off to do their own thing, things like heading over to their multistory mansions for a bit of DIY or gardening, dancing with people they have never met before, talking to people they may or may not have ever met before, engage in a bit of shopping or selling, visit a local “adult” club or fly a chopper they designed themselves to some corner of the world they have never been in. The most amazing thing? They never have to leave the comfort of their armchair at home.

This is the wonder of Second life, one of a number of virtual worlds where you can choose to be who you want to be and do what you want to do with no social restrictions. Indeed it has many traits of a real world, there are mountains, oceans, trees, houses and a real economy. Folks often have “second” careers with fairly lucrative careers in creating virtual assets such as clothing, jewellery, buildings etc.

We are talking real money here, converted to virtual dollars. In the case of Second Life this site forecasts a expenditure of between $50 million to $100 million Linden (the name of the currency) this year. At the time of writing this the Second Life site reports $424,913 US spent in the last 24 hours between the quarter of a million active users.

Are we reaching a new internet frontier, is this the first step to a Gibson-esque future?

Still not convinced? What if I told you that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a substantial investment in Linden and that Amazon have been exploring a Second Life presence?

Other notable happenings are the recent setup of Podshow Island where you can go and visit the apartment of your favorite show and interact with the podcasters on a different level, also host to interesting events like virtual weddings. Dawn & Drew have setup a virtual farm and there fans have bought up the land all around it, Cali Lewis from Geekbrief TV also has a lot of great interaction with her audience in the second life.

The opportunity’s are literally endless!

Keep an eye on this space, and give it a try – a basic account is free – but beware the time monster!


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In case you have missed it, I know I have, Shel Israel, influential co-author of Naked Conversations and Rick Segal, Canadian VC and blogger are planning a whirlwind world tour and has earmarked South Africa as a stop. They are here somewhere around the 3rd of September though they still seem indecided on which city to visit, Cape Town or JHB? Here is my vote for Cape Town!

I have been looking at goowy a little and I must say that I reckon that it can come in pretty handy if you have the bandwidth to spare.

So, what is goowy exactly? Primarily it is one of the new generation of so-called webtops and it tries to encapsulate everything you need to have a virtual desk away from your real desk. The main difference with goowy is that it as all flash driven and gives it a somewhat different feel to the various AJAX-based solutions on the market already today.

Goowy 1

Here are some of its handy integrated features:

1) A full featured email client. This mail client is really impressive and contains 90% of the capability of a desktop mail client. You can configure external pop accounts (only one at the moment) on top of the username@goowy.com account you recieve.

2) Nicely featured Instant Messaging client int the Meebo style, i.e. you can configure MSN Messenger, Yahoo and ICQ and AOL IM accounts if you have ones.

3) Contact Management. Pretty good, a handy feature is the import facility that will allow you to import up to 1000 contacts from various sources including: Yahoo! Mail, Gmail or from csv.

4) File storage supported by Box.com. This has a very nice interface that allows you to create folders, upload and manage files, tag them, and it even involves handy little features such as an image preview mode.

5) Calendaring. I has a good calendar that allows you to set up a detailed schedule. A little disappointing that there are no export options AFAIK.

6) Minis, these are similar to the widgets as per protopage.com and include RSS feeds, weather, quotes, stocks, to-do lists etc. A nice bonus is the inclusion of a media player to handle the streaming of enclosures in podcasts and videoblogs.

7) Games when you are a little bored.

Goowy 2

All in all I like what goowy offers it seems to be something that can come in quite handy when you don’t have the convenience of your own computer at hand and the 1 Gig of free storage is definitely handy. I like the way flash has been used to make it feel slick and efficient, the design has some similarities to current Mac software as easily witnessed by the bouncing icons on the toolbars, and the alert sounds they play when a new email arrives is nice and not intrusive, although there is no easy-to-use mute button from what I could see.

I am not sure what the goowy business model will be, as there aren’t any moneymaking activities evident at the moment, but I can easily imagine a premium rated service that will include things like additional web storage capacity and the ability to tie in more POP accounts etc.

Give Goowy a spin, I recommend it!


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This time with a 2MP camera (by the way the “after” looks a little shorter because I cropped it badly and I don’t feel like fixing it 🙂 )

scanR test


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Mark Cuban has in interesting post where is citing a a testimony by Craig Moffet stating that the US internet infrastructure is simply inefficient for the demand that will be placed on it in the next couple of years.

As we are entering the domain of REAL broadband applications like Internet TV and downloadable movies as the PC is slowly becoming an integral part of the home, it seems inevitable that the speed demand is going to move from the business and into the home, current over hyped technologies like WiMax will just be totally inefficient and copper/fibre technologies will reach their limits at around 20mbps. New technologies will need to be developed but they always carry prohibitive costs. Moffat states that he believes TV over Internet is not going to replace traditional broadcasting in this decade.

What is more worrying from a South African perspective is that we are still stuck on a measily 1mbps connections and firing it up to its full potential is the domain of the rich and famous.

We need to move to catch up or I for see a technological dark ages in our dear South Africa.


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While trawling the web like I always do I found this interesting service called MyStickies. Think of it as sticky notes for the web, you can quite literally drag on a little scrap of virtual paper, and make notes and comments to your hearts content. Once you have an account these notes become persistent and will appear again on your next visit (provided you are logged in via the browser extension). I like the idea a lot, but what seems even groovier is what lies in the future of the site:

MyStickies currently is planning ……. sharing tags’ notes and individual notes with friends, rich text notes (bold, italics, and links) and some form of public notes.

Wow! Public Notes! Now there’s a cool application, proper read/write web don’t you think? Keep an eye on these guys.


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