RossCode Weekly #014

posted on 2005-08-22 at 01:01:05 by Joel Ross

Welcome to RossCode Weekly! It's been a busy week. Lots of news. I'm not sure if that means there actually was a lot of news, or if I just wasn't as picky this week. I am going to try to include more technical news - things that aren't exactly big news stories (I'll still cover those though), but the things that everyone is talking about. Not this week, but probably next week. So with that intro, let's get into the content.

The google rumor mill is heating up again this week. First, there's rumors that Google will be offering an iTunes clone. I know - that's been rumor for a long time now, but the new rumor is that not only will it be an iTunes clone, but that it'll hook into the iTunes music store, and not a "gTunes" store.

More Google rumors. WiFi for everyone! Could Google be building a country-wide wireless network that'll be free for everyone? Well, free is relative, right? Let me start again. Could Google be building a country-wide wireless network that'll be ad-supported for everyone? It's an interesting concept. I think I'd still stick with my cable modem. I'm not sure how the ads would be delivered, but I'm not a big fan of ads in the first place. Plus, I want my firewall. Now, give me a wireless router that can connect get it's external IP address from another wireless access point, and you may have a chance to get me to switch.

I haven't used blogger since my early days of blogging, but Google's apparently done some research about it's users. And they've worked with Microsoft to get this done. Anyway, you can now post directly to blogger from Microsoft Word. I remember working for a client who used a publishing program that exported content to Word. From there, we had to allow them to copy that into their CMS system. The hardest part of the whole operation was stripping out all of the malformed HTML that Word produced. I feel for you, Google!

Ok, I don't feel for you as much after this. Google has plans to sell off more than 14,000,000 shares of stock, which at current market value would raise about $4,000,000,000. Maybe that's all to pay to fix malformed Word HTML, but somehow I think there'll be a little left over. Maybe enough to buy Skype?

Speaking of VoIP, rumors are flying that Yahoo will be offering a solution (dedicated, not the messenger integration one they have now) in the next couple of weeks. It'll be interesting to see what the offering is and what the incentive to move away from Skype will be.

More Yahoo now. They've enhanced local search to include what other users have recommended (as well as what you recommend - but seriously, if you recommend it, would you really be searching for it?). It's also got maps, events, and RSS feeds. is in the process of buying Blinkx. Blinkx is a video search company. I'm curious why this is a good buy for I know they do a lot, but I didn't think they were (or wanted to be) a player in the search business. By the way, are there any other competitors with Google's video search besides Blinkx?

In response to Jason Calacanis' request, Feedster introduced the Feedster 500. It's basically a popularity contest among the "A-listers" crossed with a publicity stunt by Feedster. Everyone on the list gets a Feedster icon they can add to their blog stating how important they are. Sense some cynicism here? You should. The whole list mentality is old, and I'm not saying that because I'm not on them (man, how long would that list have to be for me to be on it?!). I'm saying that because I don't care who is on the list. If someone is interesting to me, I don't care if they're ranked 24 or 24,000,000. I'll subscribe, plain and simple. has added recommendations. If you have 10 links added to a tag, then they'll start making recommendations. I'm late into the whole social bookmarking game, but I've been adding links recently. Now, I'll be able to go back and find more content, because I don't have enough information overload already!

One more thing from You can now easily add recent links to your site using a simple Javascript include. I'll be adding one to this blog shortly - when I have the time. This is pretty cool, and if you want control over what's shown, or how it's shown, you can get that too.

A virus hit this week, and the first one it targeted seemed to be the main stream media organizations. Interesting choice. Jason Salas has a theory that it was done by a podcaster or blogger, but I'm leaning another way. I think it was done intentionally to garner negative press about Microsoft. Most of the time, by the time the MSM gets around to reporting a virus, it's followed up by "and Microsoft has a patch to get rid of it." But by targeting them first, they'll report it before there's a fix.

So a virus was thrown at Microsoft this week, as well as a reported vulnerability with IE and DirectX controls that isn't yet patched. But what did Microsoft do that was good this week?? How about being able to develop for their search toolbar? Or, better yet, do no development and get weather right in the toolbar? Yeah, that'll work!

Or, how about this? According to one recent study, IE usage has increased and Firefox usage has decreased over the past month. Not much, but a little bit. Maybe the release of the IE 7 beta? No. There's not enough MSDN subscribers to fix the numbers. Maybe it's the latest security issues with Firefox. Yeah, that's probably it.

Ok. Those last two Microsoft items were pretty tame. But they did announce the much anticipated pricing of the Xbox 360 - $399. Yes, I know there's a cheaper option, but without a hard drive, it just doesn't seem right. Plus, the wireless controller and backward compatibility are key features which aren't included with the $299 version. Either way, I'll probably still wait until it comes down to a semi-reasonable price to get one anyway.

And that's a wrap! Next week will come to you from California!

Categories: RossCode Weekly