Archive for July, 2005

XM Satellite Radio Meets Napster For Online Service

27 Jul 2005

The two companies said late on Tuesday they would launch an online service that enables XM’s 4.4 million subscribers to buy music they hear on the paid XM radio service. The two plan to jointly launch “XM + Napster,” in the fourth quarter of 2005 in conjunction with the availability of new XM/MP3 players that let users bookmark songs they hear while listening to the radio for future purchases online.

More from [Yahoo!News] :

“After the MP3 player is connected to a personal computer, the service will match the marked XM titles with songs in Napster’s catalog so that they can be purchased.

Subscribers can also use the XM + Napster service to organize playlists using other songs from personal libraries and transfer these unique playlists to the XM players.

Currently XM’s MyFi portable radio sells for about $299.

Those XM subscribers without the new MP3 devices, can also tag songs for purchase online through XM Radio Online, a Web-based service.”

There’s just one thing I’m wondering about. Who on Google’s Earth would ever consider buying songs if you already have a paid radio service? Shouldn’t it be your right to have an mp3-version of the songs you listen to if you pay for the service that delivers it?

If I compare this to tv, that would mean you would offer people to buy the episode of the sitcom they’ve just seen, I think. Now, if you were to offer them a nice box with a booklet and some extra features that would make sense. Reality’s different. In this case you would just be offered to buy an mpeg version or the quicktime version of what was broadcasted. You would also have the ability to ‘bookmark’ shows you’re interested in, so they can offer you related products or the list of bookmarked files afterwards.

See, if I’m paying for a digital radio service I expect to be able to record what I’ve paid for. People have a VCR, DVD-burners, … nobody would actually buy the mpeg version of the film they just watched. Because those who are interested in mpegs already know how to get it. For free. That’s how internet works. I don’t promote it, it’s not legal, but that’s how things go.

As for the music… If I was to buy anything, it’d be a nice box with a booklet. Not just a file. Especially not when I’ve already paid a subscription fee. That is my humble opinion.


Things You Can Do With RSS

27 Jul 2005

Tim Yang’s Wiki posts a list of things you can do with RSS. Basically, you can perform any task with RSS that requires search or information retrieval from a server. Automatically and repeatedly. Tim uses this list to convince people to start using an RSS feed reader. Because there’s more to RSS than just weblog syndication and news aggregation. 38 reasons, listed below.

I just couldn’t resist quoting the 38th item : ‘Ditch Your Girlfriend‘ : 

  • Get your girlfriend to download an RSS reader, get her to subscribe to your very special feed only for her. Post some items you would normally write to her via email. Do this for a couple of weeks, then drop the bad news. Expect the subscription circluation to drop off at this point.

I’ll list up the items, you can read and edit the content to them over at [the Wiki].

  1. News syndication
  2. Aggregate your feeds
  3. Display news on your website
  4. Display news on your mobile device
  5. Collect all your email in RSS
  6. Get RSS content through your email
  7. Track Fedex packages
  8. Get stock updates
  9. Get the weather reports
  10. What people are saying about you, your company, your products
  11. Music, radio shows, TV clips
  12. Stay updated on someone’s schedule
  13. Get cinema schedule updates
  14. Read your favourite comics
  15. What other people are surfing
  16. Automatically backup your weblog posts
  17. Get software updates
  18. Get the latest bittorrent files and p***
  19. Shopping deals at and others
  20. What your friends and family would like for Christmas
  21. Be notified of traffic conditions
  22. Be notified of updates in police and fire department logs
  23. Web metrics
  24. Virus and security alerts
  25. Events and happenings in your city
  26. Gaming statistics
  27. Search for jobs
  28. Easing government bureaucracy
  29. Create your own news aggregator page
  30. Keep track of your notes
  31. Find recent photos taken near you
  32. Build maps
  33. Make Tag Clouds
  34. All those sites without RSS
  35. Become a comment blogger
  36. Patent Searching
  37. Keep your acquaintances updated with your latest contact details
  38. Ditch Your Girlfriend

Blogsitting Roundup

24 Jul 2005

It’s been quiet the last few days, but only on this blog. I’ve been blogging abroad at Nathan’s BlogNewsChannel, and more specific for InsideGoogle and InsideMicrosoft. The headlines of four days of investigative reporting, in a nutshell.

Over at InsideMicrosoft :

Microsoft’s 9% Sales Gain Helps Boost Profit by 37%
Tech Stocks Hurt by Microsoft, Google
About Windows Vista
Microsoft and FrontBridge to Strengthen Exchange Together
IE 7 Beta Release for July 27?
The Big Secret : MSN Virtual Earth

Over at InsideGoogle :

Google Announces Record Revenues For 2nd Quarter Fiscal 2005
Google-Sites Revenues increases 115%
Google Goes Latin, and aims for the world
IntelliSeek Upgrades BlogPulse
Using Orkut to Sell Drugs
R|Mail Passes 2000 Subs
Xiaxue’s Blog Got Hacked
The Organic SEO Wiki
How To Launch Your Music Career Through eBay
Use Google Maps to Escape Fines
The Growing Pay-Per-Click Speculation Market
Google Seeks to Stop Microsoft From Suing New Hire
China Internet Users Grow 18 pct To Hit 103 million
Tech Stocks Hurt by Microsoft, Google
GoogleMaps with Hybrid View
Publishers and Google Discuss Library Scanning Project
Google and Apple Twice As Popular As Microsoft
AOL Releases Final Version of AOL Explorer
Next Major Release of Firefox Delayed

This should give you some things to read ;)

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The Coolest Keyboard Ever, Signed Art.Lebedev

22 Jul 2005

Every key of the Optimus keyboard is stand-alone display showing exactly what it is controlling at this very moment. The Enter key is big in size and nearly square in form. The additional block of keys on the left is meant for switching between programs or modes. You can set up the control keys for a game, and the keyboard will change it’s lay-out when you start to game. Way too cool to overlook !

Art.Lebedev.Studio presents the Optimus Keyboard :


Check it out at [Art.Lebedev.Studio]

Hat tip : [Jelle]


How To Get To Google’s Moon

22 Jul 2005

Everybody’s talking about Google Moon. So. I’m going to do that too. First thing that came up in my mind was : great. Now Mars. And the rest of the universe ! Here’s a cute screencap from SERoundtable. In my RSS reader, they were first.



“Google has annouced today “In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we’ve added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor.” The images are courtesy of NASA according to Google, and the particular area covers the exact spots astronauts made their landings in 1969. The area covered on Google Moon is not exactly large but their are zoom capabilities and all points of the Apollo missions are uniquely highlighted so you can trace the exact spots. Google has indicated that they are only displaying what NASA has given them.”

So, the To here – From here part… does it include public transportation info ? Or is it VIP access only? Any schedule of the upcoming rocket-expeditions ? :)

On a side-note :

[Google Job Opportunities] reports Google is hiring folks :

“Google is interviewing candidates for engineering positions at our lunar hosting and research center, opening late in the spring of 2007. This unique opportunity is available only to highly-qualified individuals who are willing to relocate for an extended period of time, are in top physical condition and are capable of surviving with limited access to such modern conveniences as soy low-fat lattes, The Sopranos and a steady supply of oxygen.”

Visit [GoogleMoon] and [GoogleMoon FAQ] via [SERoundtable]


R|Mail Passes 2000 Subs

22 Jul 2005

The R|Mail service helps you spread your news fast to your readers. All they have to do is sign up, and they’ll be informed via e-mail about the latest new posts on your blog. Of course you can also use R|Mail yourself to subscribe to any RSS-feed you want, and then you’ll be up-to-date yourself, receiving the freshest updates of your favorite blogs.

Since it started, April 24th ‘05, R|Mail has always been on the move. A little slow at first, but certainly progressing. This morning, the counter hit 2000 subs, and by now, it’s already 2065. So there must be a high degree of comfort and an attractive, playful use that convinced all those people to sign up for so many feeds.

R|Mail feeds the smtp of over 2000 users with posts from over 1000 blogs. On june 20th there were 1000 users. Nice pattern of growth.
But I think it can do more. And faster.


R|Mail isn’t THE way to inform your readers, but it gives your readers the opportunity to stay in touch on a more personal basis. I’ll give you some good reasons why I use R|Mail, because I think that’s the best way to convince you.

  • Internauts check their e-mail first, then the RSS-readers.
    so if you’re in the inbox with your latest news, they read you first.
  • e-Mail still is more personal. It’s 1-to-1 communication with the highest possible degree of interest from your readers. There’s no other way to get closer unless you have personal information and send out the news manually.
  • ‘RSS over SMTP’ just sounds way to cool not to offer it.
  • It’s an ‘extra’ tool that just gives your readers the choice on how to receive your info.
  • If you’re an occasional poster, people will like it a lot they didn’t had to check your blog a gazillion times before anything new appeared.
  • R|Mail scans your RSS feed once every hour so people who have their mail client open (Outlook, Notes,…) will receive multiple posts a day; if you post your news in sessions this is a good solution without overdoing it. Once an hour. That’s acceptable.

Making R|Mail available to your readers is pretty simple.

Randy has made R|Mail multilingual, so there’s ISO language support on request.

Subscribing yourself to any RSS feed to get the posts in your mailbox ? Yeah sure ! [Go Here]

The First post ever about R|Mail by Randy on the KBCafe Blog [Here]

On another note, also RSS-related, Randy has posted a comparison of all the RSS-readers he’s been using from the very start up until now.
Well, probably not all of them. But 15 for sure.

It’s pretty convenient to have this info. Made it very easy for me to chose ‘the reader’. I’m goin for Juice.


Clusty Advanced Blog Search Beta

20 Jul 2005

Gary Price from SearchEngineWatch points out a very handy blog meta search engine that has a lot more to offer than you might suspect at first use. Here’s some things you didn’t know about Clusty that’ll point out to you exactly how useful it is.


From [SearchEngineWatch] :

“Of course, Clusty’s well-known dynamic clustering is also part of their blog search tool. In some cases, the dynamic clustering can help you get you to a quality answer more quickly by providing what Clusty’s owner, Vivisimo, calls a selective ignorance. Plus, I’ve found that clustering can also be used as a knowledge discovery. In other words, helping the searcher quickly spot trends, names, etc. that would take hours and hours to do manually.

Another feature I like about Clusty Blog Search is that it allows me to see which database or databases the results are coming from. You’ll find the database name listed next to each url. It makes searching even more interesting for people who enjoy comparing results. Items available in multiple databases are grouped together.

Finally, here are a few other features you might find useful.

+ Directly above the dynamically generated clusters on the left side of the page, note the “cluster by” pull-down menu. If you select, “URL” you can quickly see where the results are coming from. Interesting and possibly another way of spotting blogs of possible interest.

+ At the top of results pages you’ll see a link labeled “Details.” Clicking this link allows you to find out how many results are coming from each engine. I do my best to see at least the first 100 from each engine.

+ Next to each title on a results page you’ll notice a few icons. Click the “venn diagram (three circles) icon” and you’ll see what cluster(s) contain the item. Items can be in more than one cluster. If you click the magnifying glass icon, you’ll open a live version of the result embedded directly into the results page. A real timesaver!

Using Clusty to search the blogosphere offers an easy way to quickly see results from most of the well-known databases while also allowing you to benefit of dynamic clustering. Worth a look!”

Clusty Blog Search is hardly tapping a bunch of unknown engines.
Several well-known blog engines serve as a source for the queries :

  • Blogdigger
  • Daypop
  • Feedster
  • Technorati
  • Blogpulse
  • IceRocket

Start using Clusty and search [here]

Read Gary’s entry on the [SearchEngineWatch] blog.


TiVo Adds Interactive Ads

20 Jul 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) – TiVo Inc. on Monday introduced a feature that lets television viewers send personal information directly to advertisers when they see certain commercials, a move designed to open up TiVo’s technology to more markets.

More from [Yahoo!News] :

“The move underscores advertising’s importance to the future of TiVo, which comes only a few years after its introduction sent a chill through the ad sector with technology that let TV watchers skip over ads.”

“TiVo will now give advertisers direct access to viewers who are interested in their wares. The digital video recorder (DVR) maker said the upgrade lets some 1 million of its Series 2 stand-alone subscribers instantly respond to specially encoded advertising.”

TiVo says TV advertisers, facing dwindling TV audiences, are anxious for new ways to reach TV watchers and insist that viewers enjoy special ads.

Analyst April Horace of Hoefer & Arnett said that while the new system may pique the interest of other advertisers, there are lingering questions about how much bang-for-the-buck exists in making the more expensive long-form ads.

“It is a business model in a state of flux,” said Horace, who rates TiVo shares at “sell.” “They still have to prove to advertisers that there is better return on investment in that kind of long-form advertising. Who is to say that money isn’t better spent on ads on the Internet?”

Sterling said that for a typical long-form commercial on TiVo’s service, between 5 percent and 15 percent of users choose to view the ad. While that number may seem small, it’s big enough for TiVo to guarantee hundreds of thousands of viewers for ads that may be bypassed on network TV or radio.


Thoughts from [TechDirt]

“Somehow, this seems even less likely to get usage.

First, you have to convince people who are fast forwarding through a commercials that it’s interesting enough to not just zip through it.

Second, the ad has to be interesting enough to get people to want to “find out more” immediately, rather than just being satisfied from the info they get in the ad.

Third, the users have to understand that they can click through on the ad for more info (and then proactively do so).

Finally, the users have to be willing to send their personal data to some advertising firm in order to get on some advertising mailing list, while still hoping the data isn’t misused.

It seems like the type of thing that advertisers would love — but did anyone from TiVo stop to consider whether or not anyone would actually use such a feature?”

Also on [Engadget]