Friday, June 30, 2006

Who needs Second Life when you can build your own stuff right here on Earth?

This is the question posed by Brian Burnham author and reviewer for where he writes a weekly feature on free software for the Mac, Freeloader Friday.

With Google Earth and SketchUp (free from Google) anyone can add your model to the world - turning it into a 3D overlay in Google Earch.

As a sometime frustrated resident of Second Life, it's difficult for me to disagree.

Google Checks-out

Google is all set to debut its online payment system. "Google Checkout" will be a payment option at many of its partner merchants allowing shoppers to pay via Google Checkout.

"The new offering, referred to in news and analyst reports as GBuy or Google Wallet, promises online sellers an easy way to add a checkout to their sites and can be used in addition to other options such as PayPal or a merchant's own pay system.

Google said Checkout stores names, shipping and credit card information and eliminates the need for consumers to resubmit that data with each purchase. Google is responsible for processing the credit card payments and keeping data safe."

Google hopes it can convert a higher percentage of shoppers into buyers by showing its shopping cart icon next to its search results. It's a neat way of leveraging its user base, search prowess and will also boost its ad revenues.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Future of Podcasting

Wired has a good article on "Podcasting after iTunes" where they discuss the good, bad and ugly about podcasting, including issues about advertising, subscribership etc.

It's a good read for wanna-be podcasters. The article also has many good links to podcasts.

Emerging Media in the News

The Morning Edition on NPR had a good report on the Viral Video phenomenon created by YouTube and how it's affecting broadcast television. You can read or hear the report on

Here are some interesting tid-bits:
"Like most Silicon Valley success stories, YouTube started in a garage. Founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley got frustrated when they were trying to share video with friends on the Internet and found the process too complicated.

They officially launched YouTube in December 2005. So far, they've raised more than $11 million in venture capital. The site is so popular that about 60,000 videos are uploaded to it each day. Fifty million videos are posted on the site at any given time."

Also check a report NPR did on "Video Game Designers Target(ing) World Peace." Food for thought for all emerging media students.

Anatomy Of A Scene (Superman Returns)

The NYTimes has a good interactive presentation of the breakdown of a scene from "Superman Returns." There are comments by the director Bryan Singer, storyboards and a video clip. It's a good example for those interested in film/video, animation and special effects.

While you are at it, check-out the trailer for "Spiderman 3".

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Do you accept GBucks?

According to Reuters, Google is all set to announce an online payment service called Gbuy. It will be a direct competitor to Paypal (from ebay).

It will be interesting to see if the Google name will entice enough users to switch services and also to see how many new users will jump on this bandwagon due to existing Gmail accounts and familiarity with the Google brand name.

Are we too lazy to change the look of our blogs?

Well, this guy seems to thing so. Read the article, then go checkout the links to find a template you like. It's time to give your blog a makover.
The Salesrep

An inter-galactic door-to-door salesrep meets his match in a nerdy earthling.
Toaster Express

A new take on the classic flying toaster.

NBC to run fall TV promos on YouTube

"NBC will use the YouTube video-sharing site to promote its fall television lineup in a strategic partnership that further underscores the Internet's growing role in generating buzz around traditional media shows." Read the full article.

Further proof of the growing potential of video and social networking on the Internet.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Don't get mad, get even

The NYTimes had a pretty interesting article on how consumers are using the power of the web to make their woes heard by big corporations with bad customer service.

After a Comcast repairman fell asleep, at a customer's house--on the job, the irate customer captured it on video and posted the incident on Snakes on a blog and on YouTube. Well, that did the trick. Comcast fired the technician and sent a "team" of experts to fix the problem.

This example only goes to show you how important blogs and vlogs have become in making our voices heard in this new web (2.0) space.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More Web 2.0 in action

Today I watched the movie "My Date with Drew" on TV, because I had some time to kill and also because I was intrigued with the story of a guy (Brian Herzlinger) successfully documenting his efforts of getting a date with Drew Barrymore and then releasing the movie about it.

The movie was really cheesy but I appreciated the effort, considering he bought a camera at Circuit City with the intention of returning it in 30 days to get his money back, because he couldn't afford to pay for it.

Then I ran into this video while surfing the net. It's a spoof ad for a fake Apple product called iBox, posted on YouTube via TechBlog. This is all the more proof that if you are creative enough and are willing to put in some effort you can produce some really cool stuff and post it for everyone on the world to see. And chances are you'll get noticed.

Now, if I could only be as creative...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Blending Social Networking and Blogging

Sixapart (the company who brought us MovableType, TypePad and Live Journal) has a new blogging service called Vox (in testing) which blends Social Networking and Blogging. MacMike calls it "MySpace for grownups, with lots of easy-to-use video and audio uploading tools."

The concept looks interesting at first glance. We'll have to wait and see how well it works when they open to the public, later this year. Till then, it's Blogger for me... Or maybe WordPress, who knows... There are too many choices and chances are, once we are committed to an account and get comfortable, it takes too much effort to move to a new service so we stay on for ever.

Like my MyYahoo page which I've had as my start-up page ever since they launched (maybe 8-10 years ago) and customized exactly like the way I want it to be so I am hesitant to move to another aggregator, learn their setup and customize the look.

That's how they get us those buggers, by making us bond with our online creations ;-)


This is not high-tech or Emerting Media but I think its pretty cool. PocketMod is a way to create an 8 panel mini-booklet from an 8.5 x 11 print-out, a cool low-tech PDA for when your gadgets don't work. Check out an example here or make your own PocketMod here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Wikipedia goes under protection

Wikipedia, the Web's third-most-popular news and information source has started to protect and semi-protect some entries to guard agains vandalism. They had been considering it for a while and finaly decided to implement it after repeated attacks on many entries.

This is a sad thing but is understandable because of the current state of affairs in the world where there are so many differing opinions and views about every topic. One man's truth is another lie and many-a-times the facts go out the window.

So, Wikipedia which has been the, Open Source, openly editable encyclopedia had to protect some entries that vandals repeatedly targeted. We'll have to wait and see how tight the controls are going to be.

Read the NYTimes article about it here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Convert Windows EXE to Mac & Linux

Here's another Open Source innovation (Alky) that connverts Windows executables to Mac & Linux binaries. It's still in development but the possibilities are exciting.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Is that a Penguin in your pocket?

In another boost for the Open Source software movement, Motorola, Samsung, and Vodafone have just announced that they are jointly developing a Linux based OS for their cell phones. This is an attempt to counter the dominance of Microsoft & Symbian who have dominated the market with their operating systems.

"The alliance will focus on the development of a common specification that will open the operating system to more independent developers, a move that could jump-start the disappointing mobile data market."

I think this is a good move as it will allow more developers to develop new and unique applications that push the capabilities of these cell phone without having to worry about working within the framework setup by big bullies like M$.

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Power to the people - Internet-powered politics

Here's a good example of the Living Web where 15 year olds can make a difference. The NYTimes has an article about Ava Lowery a 15-year-old from rural Alabama, whose homemade video was shown at the Daily Kos's convention on jumbo television screens. Her video is available on YouTube.

Experts are of the opinion that the upcoming November elections and the 2008 Presidential elections will show us the real power of the people who will express their views through blogs, podcasts and vlogs (video blogs).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Skype Me

This is not really new, but ebay just "re-announced" that they are going to add "Skype Me" buttons on some of their listings, allowing buyers and sellers to talk to each other with just a click (provided you have a Skype account ;-) which is now an ebay company).

This is another example of Web 2.0 in action. Giving more power and instant gratification to end-users.

Web Two Point Oh!

The April 3rd, 2006 issue of Newsweek has a very good article on the next stage of the Internet titled "The New Wisdom of The Web" it's a must read for anyone who's interested in emerging media and Web 2.0.

Another good article on "Who's Building the Next Web."

More comments to come soon.

Hollywood of the Southwest

Recently, A Bunch of Short Guys had a weekend gathering at Collin County Community College in Plano; and today's Dallas Morning News has an article (Toon Town) related to it about the animation scene in Dallas, mentioning DNA, Reel FX and Janimation.

They have also mentioned the Art Institute of Dallas and CCCC's Applied Graphic Design Technology Department as good sources of talent for the animation and gaming industries.

It's about time ATEC make a name for itself too!

Maybe a website showcasing student work would be a good start (Hint to Betsy & Dr. Linehan).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fact or Fiction?

And now a new trend in the publishing world. Product placements in books. Following in the footsteps of film, television and magazines, marketers are now promoting product placements in books and novels.

Read the NYTimes article here.

What's that buzzing sound?

Teens have come up with an ingeneous way to keep their cell phones on in classrooms without their "elders" being able to detect the phones ring.

They have turned the tables on us by using high frequency ring tones that many adults cannot hear. This technology "was the offshoot of an invention called the Mosquito, developed last year by a Welsh security company to annoy teenagers and gratify adults, not the other way around."

Read the NYTimes article here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Vlogging, as a medium

Here's a good article from CNET about Video Blogs: Video bloggers ready to incite 'media revolution'

They have some good numbers on video blogging and some info on the upcoming Vloggercon conference in San Francisco,

Keep it in Sync!

For those who use multiple computers at home, work and school etc. (I personally use 4) Google has a new tool, actually a Firefox extension, that will keep all your bookmarks in sync. the only requirements are that you use Firefox (IE & Safari users are out of luck) and that you have a Google/Gmail account.

You can get the plugin here and read a review here.

Attention Economy

A recent Information Week article (June 5, 2006) by Thomas Claburn talks about Eyeball Economics and how the evolving trend seems to be paying consumers to consume content.

He talks about Social Bookmarking sites paying contributors for adding links, cell phone companies paying customers to view ads on the phone, a similar strategy is being adopted by some websites, and search engines sharing ad-click revenues with users or giving them gifts for using their site. There are also sites that will get permission from web users to track their surfing habits and pay them for the information.

This is definitely a trend worth watching because we are at a point where we spend most of our waking time connected to one network or another via phone, internet etc. and there are companies who value information regarding what we do, and are willing to pay for the information. This is not a new idea; market research companies have been invisibly collecting this information for a very long time, but the new twist is paying the consumer directly for watching their habits.

The issue does raise privacy concerns, and it will be interesting to see how it is resolved.

Some of the links from the article: promotes peoples rights to any records reflecting what they pay attention to. online radio station where people pay to hear music, by giving attention to ads. basically Google with prizes. social bookmarking site that pays to share bookmarks.
RawSugar another social bookmarking site that pays.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yahoo touches up photo-sharing service

Yahoo has added Flickr like features to its photo sharing service.

This is a good thing; since they acquired Flickr it was bound to happen sooner or later. Now they have similar tagging features for users to tag their photo for easy searching and categorizing.

But, will they ever merge the two services, we'll just have to wait and watch.

Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 Tidbits

For those of you who are interested in links to other cool new technologies and happenings on the internet, check-out my links.

I have started collecting and tagging things of interest on since I may not have time to blog about all the items I find interesting. It's a good way of tagging things online.

Update: Forgot to mention, is now part of Yahoo.

Try it for yourself.

Do we still need Microsoft Office?

Google just made an announcement that it will start a service that will allow users to create and share spreadsheets online.

See following news articles:
Google tests Web-based spreadsheet to organize data
Google to unveil spreadsheet program
Google Takes Aim at Excel

This is just a recent addition to a slew of other announcement of similar services by BaseCamp, ThinkFree and Writely (which was acquired by Google earlier this year). Although these services are not as full featured as MS Office, they do have everything necessary for most users.

With such office productivity services available to free online, do we still need Microsoft Office? -- No!

Update: Don't forget SUN's free OpenOffice.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What comes after 9999

This is not really not related to my other postings, but I was curious and I thought I would share...

Today I took the 10000 th. photo with my Nikon 5700 digital camera. I was aware that I was approaching the number and curious to see what happens when the number goes past 9999, since the camera only allows 8 character file names e.g. DSCN9999.

Well, it skipped 10000 and went from 9999 to 0001.

So the 10000 th. photo is actually the 100001 st. (if that makes any sense). Mystery solved! There were no big fireworks or balloon drops, just a simple number change, and for those of you who were curious what the picture was, both 9999 & 0001 were pictures of my mom and aunt. It wasn't intentional, it just worked out that way and I think it's fitting.

That's all folks, just a bit of weekend trivia.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Web Video Content On The Rise

Recent reports indicate that web users are posting more video online. The major video websites have all seen a rise in traffic. Broadband internet connection, cheaper video and digital cameras as well as video phones are all contributing to this growth.

The following article indicates YouTube to be the most visited video website with almost 43% of traffic.

We could argue, most of the content is just junk, but there may be some real gems hidden in the pile if one is willing to sift through it. Fortunately, most of these video websites have good search, filtering and ranking features that allow us to find interesting content.

So go check them out at:
Yahoo Video
Google Video


As a follow-up to the previous entry, I am trying to better define what this blog is all about. If it has not been clear what I am trying to achieve via these postings, well, here's a brief explanation.

For the past few years, I have been observing some new trends emerging in content creation and distribution, and also new and innovative ways of merging two or more technologies to create a new services and products.

Examples of Content Creation and Distribution: Flickr, YouTube, Google Video, iStockPhoto etc.
Examples of merging technologies: Zillow, ThinkFree Online etc.

What I hope to do through this blog is to, both, document these emerging technologies and to start a discussion regarding the future direction of the medium.

I think there is trememdous potential in content creation in the future due to the proliferation of digital still and video cameras, easy to use computer software such as iPhoto and iMovie, high-speed internet connection for sending and receiving content, and easily available distribution channels online (and offline such as iPods).

We are at the begining of the next big thing and I am just trying to see the big picture and learn from other peoples experiences. So, that's in a nutshell of what I'm trying to do.

I am open for your comments, advice, criticism etc.

"e"nough already!

For all those who are saying, enough with the "e" thang, let me say, I completely agree and I'm sorry for using "e" in eMerging Media; it is completely unoriginal and shows lack of imagination.

But in my defence, it does serve dual purpose. First there is "Emerging" media that is of interest to me and second, I am also interested in the Electronic i.e. "e" merging of two different kinds of media that I see going on these days, especially on the internet.

Yahoo launches video service!

Yahoo has launched Yahoo Video, a YouTube and Google Video competitor. Content creators will have an easy way to upload videos and create their own video blog channel on Yahoo Video.

Unfortunately, there is no integration with Flickr as the following article discusses. Read more details here.

Personal Avatars...

This may be of interest to all Second Life (and other world) residents. Check out this article on "Personal Avatars: The Future of the 3D Internet?"

Virtual objects for a virtual earth

Here's a good article about putting 3D objects into Google Earth using SketchUp.

Pretty soon we'll all start building online representations of real (and imagined) spaces to place on Google Earth. I think we are just barely scratching the surface at the moment and I'm sure the uses (and misuses) of this technology will continue to grow in the future.