RossCode Weekly #048

posted on 05/19/06 at 03:04:14 pm by Joel Ross

RossCode Weekly #048?- 05.19.2006

So now that RCW is back to written format, I'm going to make a few changes. I think Friday will be?a good day to publish it, leaving me the weekend to basically ignore the tech news and catch up during the week.

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News & Views
Want to know the future of tech? Turn to porn?- once again, the adult industry is ahead of the tech curve - this time with their stance on DRM. Vivid Entertainment is offering full movie downloads that can be burned to DVD and played on any DVD player or computer - DRM free. of course, they have less concerns than the rest of the movie industry...
80% of DVR users skip ads?- Shocking! Still, only 3% of ads are skipped overall, but look for advertisers to start demanding lower ad rates since they aren't getting watched, which will be the case more and more as DVRs get really popular.
Yahoo's new Homepage?- you have to be running Firefox 1.5 or IE 6, but if you are, you can see the new homepage. I can't say much more, since I'm running IE 7.
Microsoft Denies Xbox2go?- Head of XBox team says they aren't even thinking about portable XBox right now.
Microsoft launches CodePlex?- We live in a Web 2.0 world, so it's beta, but it's out there. It's basically GotDotNet done right, and is a web interface sitting on top of Team Foundation Server. If it scales well, it could be the SourceForge of the .NET world.
Windows Media Player 11 in public beta?- It's a nice look and supposedly is much better at handling large libraries and synching to devices. There's a few things missing that I relied on, but overall, it's pretty nice and worth a look.
Microsoft releases Vista Adviser?- This will tell you if your computer is ready for Vista. Hint: bare minimum is a 20 GB HD (15 GB free), 800 MHz processor, and 512 MB RAM. That's for the core. If you want it to look nice, well, you better be ready to shell out some cash.
Google reader for your phone?- Google has released a mobile version of Reader, including the Reader module for your personalized Google homepage.
Google adds RSS Feeds for search history, bookmarks?- You have to be logged in to get to them, so I wonder how those feeds will work with either an online aggregator, such as Bloglines, or with offline readers that aren't based on a browser engine (or one that your cookies aren't stored in). But, if you have a browser that supports RSS (such as IE 7), then you can have a list of recently searched terms right there for you.

The Cold Wars
Google launches Google Web Toolkit?- It's essentially Atlas for Java - it allows you to write your HTML, Javascript, client-side interactive code in Java and have it spit out the necessary code to run in most modern browsers. Actually, it sounds like it might even go a step further than Atlas, so if you're a Java developer, you might want to check it out.
TiVo and Blockbuster deal goes live?- It was a rumor a while ago, but now it appears to be live. It's $30 / month and includes TiVo service and the 3 at a time service from Blockbuster Online - a savings of about $8.
Sony and Panasonic create a new HD Format?- It's called AVCHD, and it's designed for camcorders. It's nice to see these two agree on a format. It records at 18 Mbs (current non-hd camcorders are 8.5 Mbs) and fits on the current 8cm DVD discs. It'll shoot 1080i and 720p and supports 5.1 and 7.1 audio. Uses the same compression as Blu-Ray to, so it'll play on Blu-Ray players.
MySpace offering downloadable TV shows?- Burger King is going to sponsor two episodes of 24 that will be free.
AOL releases a YouTube clone?- It's called UnCut Video. It's really not that surprising, considering how much Jason Calacanis has been talking about YouTube lately. You can upload up to five minute videos (a way to prevent pirating), but no tagging.
Yahoo released a YouTube clone?- Not to be outdone, Yahoo is also launching a video sharing service.?It may eventually go further, with things such as video production features, but for now, it's another video sharing site. What's amazing is that AOL and Yahoo launch in the same week, when these have probably been in development for months.
Palm launches Palm-based Treo 700p?- It's got 128 MB of memory, dial-up networking, bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel camera, SD Card slot and email access for Outlook and others.
SkypeOut free in US and Canada for rest of year?- this definitely lowers the barrier to entry for trying a VoIP solution. My wife recently got a bluetooth headset, and now she might have a reason to give this a go - and then, just maybe, we can drop the land line! The calls are to any number in the US or Canada, and it has to be from the US.
Apple launches MacBook?- 13.3" widescreen (1200x800). Available in both black and white and starts at $1099. That seems pricy for such a small screen, but then again, I'm not a Mac guy either.
Windows Live Wifi?- an upcoming suite that includes Connection Center, Hotspot locator, and Safetly Center. It looks like a nice, online way to manage your wireless connections and help you find more.
Windows Live Publisher Portal launches?- It will be in conjunction with Windows Live Books, which will rival Google's book search, and allows publishers to add their content to the book search.
Maxthon readying version 2.0?- This is actually my browser of choice, and I'm excited to see the new features. They've had over 50,000,000 downloads, which is pretty good. And they recently got a nice round of funding.

The Grapevine
IE usage slips, Firefox usage rises?- but not by much. Since January, IE usage is down by 0.65% to 85.17% and Firefox rose by 0.56% to 11.79%.?Oddly, IE usage has risen in the US from 80.9% to 82.47% in that same period (IE 7 release, maybe?)
Firefox 2.0 Alpha released?- The second alpha, and not recommended for everyday users. A bunch of new features, but nothing jumps out as a killer feature.
Sony to launch Blu-Ray laptops in June? The AR11S with a 17" screen. Big machine: 2 GHz Core Duo, dual 200 GB drives, 1920x1080, 256 MB video card, Bluetooth, Wifi, S-Video out. Big: 8.4 pounds and $3700.
Sun to open source Java?- This is one of those confirmed rumors. Whatever that is. Anyway, Sun has acknowledged that they will eventually open source Java, but no word on timeframe. Of course, ask any Java developer, and they'll tell you it's all open source anyway!

Odds & Ends
Blue Security shuts down?- If you're not familiar with Blue Security, they were and in Israeli company trying to beat spammers at their own game - they would flood spammers with unsubscribe requests, but they underestimated the power of spammers, who retailiated with DDOS attacks. Well, Blue Security has relented, bolstering spammers and potentially scaring off any future spam attackers. Maybe they should have called in the Israeli military to handle it...

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