Friday, September 25, 2009

Bionic Eye - An Augmented Reality iPhone App

Bionic Eye is a new iPhone 3GS application to visualize Points of Interest (POI) located in your nearby environment in the US, thanks to a unique Augmented Reality functionality using the iPhone camera. It is similar to the Layar Mobile Augmented Reality Browser which have been released for Android phones earlier.

Bionic Eye's POI databases include restaurants, WiFi hotspots, subway stations (New York Subway, Washington Metro, Chicago L Rapid Transit), etc. Over 100.000 POI are already included in this application.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Netflix Everywhere: Sorry Cable, You're History

Wired: Netflix Everywhere: Sorry Cable, You're History

Today, nearly 3 million users access Netflix's instant streaming service, watching an estimated 5 million movies and TV shows every week on their PCs or living room sets. They get it through Roku Digital Video Player, which was successfully launched in May 2008. (The Roku now also offers more than 45,000 movies and TV shows on demand through and, since August, live and archived Major League Baseball games.) They get it through their Xbox 360s—Microsoft added Netflix to its Xbox Live service last fall. They get it through LG and Samsung Blu-ray players. They get it through their TiVos and new flatscreen TVs. By the end of 2009, nearly 10 million Netflix-equipped gadgets will be hanging on walls and sitting in entertainment centers. And Hastings says this is just the beginning: "It's possible that within a few years, nearly all Internet-connected consumer electronics devices will include Netflix."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Layar Mobile Augmented Reality Browser

Layar is a free application on your mobile phone which shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of reality through the camera of your mobile phone.

Layar is available for the T-Mobile G1, HTC Magic and other Android phones in all Android Markets. It comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy in the Netherlands.

How do you use Layar?

By holding the phone in front of you like a camera, information is displayed on top of the camera display view.

For all points of interest which are displayed on the screen, information is shown at the bottom of the screen.

What do you see in the screen?

On top of the camera image (displaying reality) Layar adds content layers. Layers are the equivalent of webpages in normal browsers. Just like there are thousands of websites there will be thousands of layers. One can easily switch between layers by selecting another via the menu button, pressing the logobar or by swiping your finger across the screen.

The Layar Content Catalog includes the following categories:
  • Real estate
  • Health care
  • Transportation
  • Tourism: Places to stay
  • Tourism / Tours / Guides
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Games
  • Weather
  • Retail
  • University / Schools
  • Local search & Directory service
  • Social networks & communities
What does it take to make a layer

A layer consists of three parts: The layer definition, the list of POIs (Points of Interest) and each individual POI.

The layer definitions are created on the Layar Provisioning website and stored in the Layar database. The web interface will allow developers to set all the attributes that make the look & feel of the layer. It will also allow the developer to manage the publishing process of a layer. Once published, the end-user will be able to view the new layer in the Layer Gallery inside the app.

In summary, a layer developer needs to create a layer definition via the Layer Provisioning Website and expose a web service (REST) that can be called by the Layar Server using the Layar API and optionally expose (made-for-mobile) web pages for further action on each POI.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wireline and Mobile Broadband Penetration and Traffic Study

In Q1 2009, the US market exceeded $10B in quarterly mobile data service revenues for the first time. The subscription penetration in the US is well past 90% and the mobile data usage is on the rise. While the rate of new subscriptions has slowed, the pace of innovation is going very strong. It is quite apparent that the mobile industry is going through a significant transition from voice to data, from making calls to getting lost in applications and from voice communications to multimedia communications. Helped by the ever expanding wireless broadband networks, and release of hit devices every quarter, and consumer’s insatiable appetite for information and content has brought us to the surge of a data tsunami that will shake the industry to its core.

In 2009, the global yearly mobile data traffic will reach a new milestone – 1 Exabyte(EB) or 1 Million Terabytes (TB). By 2016-17, the global yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 1 Zettabyte (ZB) or 1000 Exabytes. By 2014, in the US alone, the total yearly mobile data traffic is likely to exceed 40 EB. How do you go about managing such growth in a profitable manner when the cost of supporting such traffic will increase exponentially despite the move to 4G? Will the move to LTE offer some respite?

The new report Managing Growth and Profits in the Yottabyte Era discusses the analysis done by Chetan Sharma Consulting on the growth of mobile data traffic in the US market and how the ecosystem can apply some strategies to manage growth and profits. We built detailed models to estimate the rise of mobile data network traffic and discuss some solutions to handle such growth in this paper.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Youtube 3D Video Player

YouTube introduced a stereoscopic player for watching videos in 3D. If you play a 3D video a drop-down menu will show options for red/cyan and amber/blue 3D glasses and some options that don't require glasses. Here's a brief overview video.

To enable the 3D player, you need to add the following tag to one of your videos: yt3d:enable=true. Peter Bradshaw, a Google employee, has more information about this experimental feature:

I'm the developer working on the stereoscopic player as a 20% project. It's currently very early, hence the silly bugs like swapping the eyes for the anaglyph modes. A fix for this is in the works.

The current tags are provisional and may change or expand. They are:

yt3d:enable=true Enables the view mode.
yt3d:aspect=3:4 Sets the aspect of the encoded video.
yt3d:swap=true Swaps the left and right sources. You may need to add this to videos when the player with fixed anaglyph modes ships.

You can try the new feature by searching for yt3d:enable=true.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Self Destructing E-Mail with Vanish Firefox Plugin

Computing and communicating through the Web makes it virtually impossible to leave the past behind. College Facebook posts or pictures can resurface during a job interview; a lost or stolen laptop can expose personal photos or messages; or a legal investigation can subpoena the entire contents of a home or work computer, uncovering incriminating or just embarrassing details from the past.

Vanish is a research system designed to give users control over the lifetime of personal data stored on the web or in the cloud. Specifically, all copies of Vanish encrypted data — even archived or cached copies — will become permanently unreadable at a specific time, without any action on the part of the user or any third party or centralized service.

For example, using the Firefox Vanish plugin, a user can create an email, a Google Doc document, a Facebook message, or a blog comment — specifying that the document or message should "vanish" in 8 hours. Before that 8-hour timeout expires, anyone who has access to the data can read it; however after that timer expires, nobody can read that web content — not the user, not Google, not Facebook, not a hacker who breaks into the cloud service, and not even someone who obtains a warrant for that data. That data — regardless of where stored or archived prior to the timeout — simply self-destructs and becomes permanently unreadable.

The technical paper, which will appear at the 18th USENIX Security Symposium in August, describes the concepts behind Vanish in detail. Briefly, as mentioned above, the user never knows the encryption key. This means that there is no risk of the user exposing that key at some point in the future, perhaps through coercion, court order, or compromise. So what is done with the key?

Vanish leverages an unusual storage media in a novel way: namely, global-scale peer-to-peer networks. Vanish creates a secret key to encrypt a user's data item (such as an email), breaks the key into many pieces and then sprinkles the pieces across the P2P network. As machines constantly join and leave the P2P network, the pieces of the key gradually disappear. By the time the hacker or someone with a subpoena actually tries to obtain access to the message, the pieces of the key will have permanently disappeared.

The Vanish prototype uses the Vuze Bittorrent Distributed Hash Table as the underlying P2P network. It supports data timeouts of 8--9 hours by default, though longer timeouts are possible.

Friday, July 17, 2009

BlockBuster OnDemand Streaming on Samsung HDTV and Blu-ray Players

Blockbuster OnDemand challenges Netflix and Amazon's Instant HD Video on Demand service.

Blockbuster OnDemand is coming to a long list of Samsung TV and home theater products. The online pay-per-view streaming service will be added to Samsung's online-enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and Blu-ray home theater systems via future software updates. As part of the deal, Blockbuster will also sell some of the Samsung products in its video rental stores.

The service, due to launch in September or October in the United States, is similar to Blockbuster's existing pacts with TV maker Vizio and digital video recorder maker TiVo Inc, which was announced in March.

According to Samsung, the Blockbuster OnDemand feature will be added to "Samsung LCD and Plasma HDTVs Series 650 and above, and Samsung LED HDTVs Series 7000 and above," as well as "select 2009 Samsung Blu-ray players and home theater systems."

Most probably these top HDTV and Blu-ray players will play Blockbuster HD movies:
Finally TV's will partially take over the role of the desktop monitors to be our window to the broadband internet. How will Netflix and Amazon keep up in this competition?

Do you like these Samsung devices or do you prefer the excellent and Vizio 32" 1080p LCD HDTV (VOJ320F1A) at a low price of ~$500?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

So today, Google has announced a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's their attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year Google will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. Google is designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. Google is completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and Google is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies.

This is the age of Web as the Platform. As Eric Schmidt said in his Google I/O keynote it is just the beginning for the new computing model enabled by cloud computing, the open web and mobile devices. Viva la Web 3.0!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Webware 100 - The Coolest Web Apps 2009

Below you'll find 100 Web apps in 11 categories voted to be the best of the best by CNET Webware readers and users of the apps themselves. Each category lists the top 10 applications:

Audio & Music
  • Amazon MP3
  • Grooveshark
  • iTunes
  • Jamendo
  • JamLegend
  • Lala
  • Nexus Radio
  • Pandora
  • Project Playlist
  • Diigo
  • Firefox
  • Flock
  • Google Chrome
  • iGoogle
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Maxthon
  • Opera
  • Safari
  • XMarks
  • Amazon
  • Craigslist
  • Elance
  • Etsy
  • Eventbrite
  • PayPal
  • Woot
  • Zillow
  • ZipRealty
  • ZocDoc
  • Digsby
  • Dimdim
  • Gmail
  • Pidgin
  • Postbox
  • RingCentral
  • Skype
  • Windows Live Hotmail
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Yahoo Messenger
Infrastructure & Storage
  • Adobe Air
  • BitTorrent
  • Carbonite
  • DropBox
  • Dropio
  • Facebook Connect
  • Mozy
  • OpenID
  • Windows Live SkyDrive
  • YouSendIt
Location-based services
Photo & Video
  • FreshBooks
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Docs
  • Intuit QuickBase
  • LogMeIn
  • Microsoft Office Live Small Business
  • Microsoft Office Live Workspace
  • Mint
  • Remember the Milk
  • Zoho
Search & Reference
  • eHow
  • Google
  • Live Search
  • Scour
  • WikiHow
  • Wikipedia
  • Yahoo
Social & Publishing
  • Bebo
  • Drupal
  • Facebook
  • Gaia Online
  • Hi5
  • Meebo
  • MySpace
  • StarDoll
  • Twitter
  • (with Wordpress platform)
Editors' Choice

Monday, June 29, 2009

Google Voice - One Phone Number To Rule Them All

Google Voice is a new service from Google currently available free of charge by invitation only.

Google Voice offers one Google Number for all your calls and SMS. The service includes Google Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts, free calls, conference calling, and more. Google Voice is in fact a convergent telco 2.0 type service that executives of telecommunications companies can worry about. Is it Google's answer to Skype?

A Google Phone Number is like a regular phone number except it is not tied to a phone or location. It's tied to you. When somebody calls you they just call your Google Number and they don't have to decide to call you at home, work or on your cell. And with a Google Number you choose where it rings. It can ring all your phones at one or different phones based on who's calling... When you change jobs, move homes or switch your phone service your Google Number stays the same.

Google Voice is based on the GrandCentral who has been acquired by Google in 2007.

Google Voice features include:

One number for all your calls and SMS
  • Call screening - Announce and screen callers
  • Listen in - Listen before taking a call
  • Block calls - Keep unwanted callers at bay
  • SMS - Send, receive, and store SMS
  • Place calls - Call US numbers for free
  • Taking calls - Answer on any of your phones
  • Phone routing - Phones ring based on who calls
  • Forwarding phones - Add phones and decide which ring
Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts
  • Voicemail transcripts - Read what your voicemail says
  • Listen to voicemail - Check online or from your phone
  • Notifications - Receive voicemails via email or SMS
  • Personalize greeting - Vary greetings by caller
  • Share voicemail - Forward or download voicemails
More cool things you can do with Google Voice
  • Conference calling - Join people into a single call
  • Call record - Record calls and store them online
  • Call switch - Switch phones during a call
  • Mobile site - View your inbox from your mobile
  • GOOG-411 - Check directory assistance
  • Manage groups - Set preferences by group

Sign up for your Google Number and get a Google Voice invite here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Augmented Reality Games on Phones

Augmented Reality is going to be coming to your Android phone or iPhone 3GS very shortly. All it takes is a decent processor, a camera, a compass and a GPS. These features enable fun games and useful geo-oriented applications.

The Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech investigating the design and implementation of augmented- and mixed-reality experiences. Their new AR game is called ARhrrrr.

ARhrrrr is an augmented reality shooter for mobile camera-phones. The phone provides a window into a 3D town overrun with zombies. Point the camera at our special game map to mix virtual and real world content. Civilians are trapped in the town, and must escape before the zombies eat them! From your vantage point in a helicopter overhead, you must shoot the zombies to clear the path for the civilians to get out. You can also use Skittles as tangible inputs to the game, placing one on the board and shooting it to trigger an explosion.

This fast-action first-person augmented reality, where the camera controls and movement that would typically require a mouse and keyboard are handled directly by simply moving the device. Advanced tracking technology allows the player to quickly zoom in and out and view the world at steep angles, making this a highly interactive and engaging game.

ARhrrr! was designed for the Nvidia Tegra but similar games and applications will become widely available for the iPhone 3GS and Android phones soon. The virtual world and real world are merging into the Metaverse.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HOME Movie Views Tops 1M on YouTube

HOME - the Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand has been released on June 5th 2009 World Environment Day. For the first time ever, a film has been released on the same day in over 50 countries and on every format: movie theaters, TV, DVD and Internet.

The full Project HOME movie is available on YouTube in HD (1280×720 mp4 @ 2000 kbit/s) for free. It has reached one million views in 9 days. The network traffic to deliver the full 93 minutes of HOME HD is in the magnitude of a petabyte!

The plan was to show HOME Project on YouTube until 14th June but the date has been apparently extended. The download counter is close to 1.2 millions and counting. Thank you Yann Arthus-Bertrand, PPR and YouTube!

HOME on the iPhone

It is now possible to find out the latest news on the planet, calculate your carbon footprint or watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film thanks on the iPhone thanks to a free application available on the Apple Store website.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Siri Virtual Personal Assistant iPhone App

Siri is a Virtual Personal Assistant - a new way to interact with the Internet on your mobile phone. Like a real assistant, Siri helps you get things done. You interact with Siri by just saying, in your own words, what you want to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, and get reservations for Saturday night. You can discover things to do over the weekend, get tickets to the movies, or call a cab when you’re out on the town. You don't have to search through a bunch of web pages, following links and hunting down facts. Siri does all the work giving you the information you need at your fingertips.

Years in the making, Siri is born out of SRI's CALO Project, the largest Artificial Intelligence project in U.S. history. (CALO stands for Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes). Made possible by a $150 million DARPA investment, the CALO Project included 25 research organizations and institutions and spanned 5 years. Siri is bringing the benefits of this technology to the public, in the first mainstream consumer application of a virtual personal assistant.

Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) represent the next generation interaction paradigm for the Internet. In today's paradigm, we follow links on portals, feeds, and search results. With a VPA, we interact by having a conversation. We tell the assistant what we want to do, in our own words, and it applies multiple services and information sources to help accomplish our task. If the assistant does not understand completely, it asks for clarification. If it cannot find a solution from available sources, it offers alternatives. Like a real assistant, a VPA is personal: it uses information about the individual's preferences and history of interaction to help solve their specific tasks, and it gets better with experience.

Siri will launch later this summer so you’ll be able to download the Siri iPhone app later this summer.

Further Reading

Thursday, June 4, 2009

HOME project - Free HD Earth Movie on YouTube

HOME - a Film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (to be released on June 5th)

The French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand is well known for Earth from Above, a stunning collection of photographs that affords its viewers a window into the world's workings. He has wandered the globe to gather this collection of more than 200 uniformly striking photographs. His new project is a unique movie HOME. In his own words:

"We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth's climate.

The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being.

For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film.

HOME has been made for you: share it! And act for the planet."

More than a movie, HOME will be a major event all over the globe: for the first time ever, a film will be released on the same day in over 50 countries and on every format: movie theaters, TV, DVD and Internet.

HOME project is available on YouTube in HD for free. Home is also available on DVD, Blu-ray formats and as a companion book - Home: A Hymn to the Planet and Humanity.

The free release of the first HD movie is another milestone for broadband internet innovations.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave Reinvents E-mail, Instant Messaging and More

E-mail predates the inception of the Internet, and was in fact a crucial tool in creating the Internet. Yet, it is the most common form of communications on the Internet. What would email look like if we set out to invent it today?

Google plans to reinvent hosted communications. Google Wave which has been unveiled today is a new model for communication and collaboration on the web.

Google Wave was developed by the Sydney-based Google team that created Google Maps, used by millions of people worldwide. Led by Lars and Jens Rasmussen and operating as a remote start-up within Google, under the codename "Walkabout", the Aussie team focused on improving the way communication and collaboration works for users on the web. They developed Google Wave, equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

What is a wave?
  • A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.
  • A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.
  • A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.
Open Communications Platform

The Google Wave API is an open platform allowing developers to extend the functionality of Google Wave itself, or extend other applications with waves. The Google Wave Federation Protocol enables sharing waves between wave providers. Check out the introduction on the Google Wave Developer Blog for more details.

It's time to reinvent communications!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Web Hooks and the Programmable World of Tomorrow

"I guess that Web Hooks are now officially the Next Big Thing." - Tim Bray

What are Web Hooks and why are they the "lightning bolts of cloud computing"? Web APIs and mashups have been popular in the world of Web 2.0. In fact at the time of my last post on the Top 10 APIs for Web Mashups in 2007 there were ~500 APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb. Today the number of APIs listed are more than 1.300 and mashups has passed the milestone of 4.000!

Web hooks are user-defined callbacks over HTTP. They’re intended to, in a sense, “jailbreak” our web applications to become more extensible, customizable, and ultimately more useful. Conceptually, web applications only have a request-based “input” mechanism: web APIs. They lack an event-based output mechanism, and this is the role of web hooks. People talk about Unix pipes for the web, but they forget: pipes are based on standard input and standard output. Feeds are not a sufficient form of output for this, which is partly why Yahoo Pipes was not the game changer some people expected. Instead, we need adoption of a simple, real-time, event-driven mechanism, and web hooks seem to be the answer. Web hooks are bringing a new level of event-based programming to the web.

Jeff Lindsay ( ) at Google talking about Web Hooks. Slides here.

His talk introduces the concept of web hooks: simple HTTP callbacks with huge implications. This model allows web services to be customized by the user and tightly integrated with each other unlike anything before. Chock-full of demos and real world examples, this talk also shares an under-appreciated vision of the web that most of the experts have missed: a vision of user-generated functionality and the *real* programmable web.

Who is using web hooks today?

A rapidly expanding list of some of the companies or projects which provide Web hooks in their applications.
  • DevjaVu
  • BitBucket
  • GitHub
  • Shopify
  • SurveyGizmo
  • Versionshelf
  • PayPal (Instant Payment Notification)
  • Jott (Links)
  • PBwiki
  • Google Code
  • PubSubHubbub
The concept of webhooks is another innovation milestone on our way to the world of Web 3.0.

Eric Schmidt @ Google I/O 2009: It's Time

In his Google I/O keynote Eric Schmidt said that it is just the beginning for the new computing model enabled by cloud computing, the open web and mobile devices. As the CEO of Google he has defined Web 3.0 in 2007. Now it is time for make it happen!

"It is the beginning of the real win of cloud computing, of the real win of applications, of the real win of the Internet which is changing the computing paradigm ... so it just works. And it works no matter what device you're using, no matter what operating system you're using... That is the promise of our new web computing model."

Google I/O is a developer gathering focused on pushing the boundaries of web applications using Google and open web technologies. Google engineers and web development leaders will lead you through two days full of in-depth breakout sessions on the latest technologies, and informal Q&A at Fireside Chats. The sessions include topics about AJAX and Data APIs, Clients, Google Web ToolKit (GWT), App Engine, Enterprise, Mobile and Social applications.

Interesting Google I/O sessions:
There is great innovation happening at Google! Check out the Google Code Channel on YouTube for more insight.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rovio Wi-Fi Home Security Robot

Ever wanted to be in two places at once? Now you can.

WowWee Rovio Wi-Fi Enabled WebCam Robot is a groundbreaking new Wi-Fi enabled mobile webcam that lets you view and interact with its environment through streaming video and audio, wherever you are! It is a new challenger of the remote control Spykee bot that you have seen on my blog earlier.

The Rovio has an impressive list of features that makes it useful as a home security robot, telepresence device or a just for fun toy gadget:
  • Easily remote control from any web-enabled device: PC or Mac, cell phone, smartphone, PDA or even your video game console.

  • Head-mounted moveable camera and wide range of vision

  • Indoor GPS

  • MPEG4 video

  • Self-docking capabilities for auto recharge

  • Built-in LED headlight

  • Wi-Fi connectivity (802.11b and 802.11g)
The Internet of Things is happening as innovations like remote control wifi robots are becoming connected devices. Roveo is a pioneer and it could probably be improved but it shows the possibilities and is fun to play with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Why is the Internet Disruptive? What Industries will it Disrupt Next?

Fred Wilson has given a recent Marketing Talk@Google Mountain View. He is a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures. Here's how the talk was described in the email that was sent around Google announcing it:

Fred will be talking about "disruptive industries". Media/entertainment has taken the brunt of the disruptive force of the internet and internet technology but that’s just the start. What industries are next? Energy, education, consumer finance, and health care all seem ripe. What are those industries going to look like in 20 years, 40 years, 60 years?

So what industries are next to be disrupted by the Internet innovations after media? Fred argues that any business that is End To End Digital is a good candidate. He suggests the following list:
  • Consumer Finance
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Health Care?
  • Government?

The Disruption Talk is also available on Fred's blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Amazing SSD and Hard Drive Deals on Amazon

The first terabyte hard drive had been introduced 2 years ago. Nowadays you can buy 1 TB hard drives for less than $100. Great capacity at an affordable price!

2009 will be the year when Solid State Drives (SSDs) will become mainstream by offering faster disk performance and greater durability than traditional hard drives. Since they use NAND flash memory instead of spinning platters for storage, there's no waiting for disks to spin up, and there are no moving parts to worry about breaking down.

Amazon offers great deals (up to 64% discount) on traditional hard drives and SSD storage. Have a look at these selected bestsellers of Western Digital Hard Drives and Intel SSDs:
These are the top hard drives and SSD for now. Can they keep up with the huge storage requirements of HD video content?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

PlanetInAction Ships 3D Ship Simulator Using Google Earth Plugin

Thanks to the ever increasing detail in Google Earth it has now become feasible to write high quality applications and games for the Google Earth API. hosts such virtual environments where the world is your playground. Their first installment is "Ships" - a 3D ship simulator which will take you past the World's incredible scenery at a leisurely pace. All you need to play Ships is a browser and the Google Earth plugin. Many more exciting applications will be added soon.

"Ships" is a case study / Technology show piece that demonstrates what can be achieved with Google Earth. While map data has a tremendous value for practical purposes, it can also be used as a backdrop for a range of games. Google Earth proves extremely capable to handle many overlays with alpha transparencies which enables developers to create intricate and graphically rich instruments. Proof of that can be seen in the Compass/rudder instrument which consists of 5 layers of bitmaps.

When you start "Ships" you will be looking at this screen. By default you are in control of a closed river barge located at "Waal haven Noord" in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. This location is chosen because Rotterdam is one of worlds largest ports and is shown in great detail in Google Earth. You are looking out across the "Nieuwe Maas" river towards the city of Rotterdam. On the horizon you can see the "Euro mast" tower. From this vantage point you can see some of the other ships you can sail on in "Ships" and yes, the Airship Hindenburg is also part of your fleet.

Check out the gallery for more screenshots or click here to play ships now.

Ships was developed by Dinther Product Design. They have other innovative project such as Virtual Windows. It will turn your monitor into a true window onto a 3D world. Head tracking and special screen management will one day make for the next generation of simulator equipment. Have a look at this video on YouTube.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha Launch Webcast

Watch a live webcast of the Wolfram|Alpha system being brought online for the first time today on Friday, May 15, beginning at 7pm CST.

Check out my earlier post for an overview on Wolfram|Alpha or this new introduction screencast by Stephen Wolfram.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Best of the Web 2009 - 13th Annual Webby Award Winners

Webby Winners truly represent the best of the Web. With nearly 70 categories, Website entries make up the majority of Webby Awards Winners, Nominees and Honorees. Some are beautiful to look at and interact with. Others are a testament to usability and functionality. And a handful excel across the board. To be selected among the best is an incredible achievement worthy of praise.

Webby Award Winner Websites in 2009 by category:
Congratulations! Check out the full list of 2009 Webby Award Winners, People's Voice Winners and Nominees on

Monday, May 11, 2009

Web Trend Map 4 by Information Architects

The 2009 Web Trend Map is the fourth edition of this awesome annual publication by Information Architects. Web Trend Map 4 visualizes the 333 leading web domains and the 111 most influential Internet people on the Tokio Metro map.

Domains are carefully selected by the iA research team. Each domain is evaluated based on traffic, revenue, age and the company that owns it and is assigned to an individual station on the map.

The soon to be published 2009 version of Web Trend Map 4 includes the following lines:
  • Application
  • Publishing
  • Opinion
  • News
  • Identity
  • Creativity
  • Money
  • Broadcasting
  • Knowledge
  • Advertisement
  • Sharing
  • Entertainment
  • Filter
The map also includes Web Trend Ranking with the Top 50 most influential domains:
  1. Google
  2. Yahoo
  3. MSN
  4. Apple
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Amazon
  7. YouTube
  8. Facebook
  9. Twitter
  10. The Pirate Bay
  11. The New York Times
  12. Firefox
  13. Adobe
  14. Digg
  15. Reddit
  16. eBay
  17. LinkedIn
  18. Flickr
  19. craigslist
  20. deviantART
  21. WordPress
  22. The Huffington Post
  23. Drudge Report
  24. The Daily Show
  25. CNN
  26. The Guardian
  27. The Washington Post
  28. TechCrunch
  29. The Wall Street Journal
  30. TED
  31. vimeo
  32. FriendFeed
  33. hulu
  34. PayPal
  35. StumbleUpon
  36. Blogger
  37. Bloomberg
  38. Dailymotion
  39. MySpace
  40. O'Reilly
  42. Delicious
  43. Drupal
  44. Ask
  45. Blizzard
  46. CNET
  47. Skype
  48. Fotolog
  49. mixi
The final beta version of the map is available as a PNG image on flickr.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amazon Launch Kindle DX 9.7" Wireless Reading Device

Today is the launch of the Kindle DX, the large 9.7" screen addition to the Kindle family.

This is the customer letter by Jeff Bezos:

Dear Customers,

A strange thing happened on the way to the paperless society. We humans created more paper than ever before. Computer printers (and their evil companion, the ink-toner cartridge) have proliferated, and most of us routinely print out and lug around loads of personal and professional documents. Why? It's not that buying printers or changing ink-toner cartridges is fun. It's because reading on paper is better than reading on traditional computer displays. Printing has been worth the hassle.

Kindle starts to change that. People who see Kindle's display for the first time do a double-take. It looks and reads like real paper. People who swore they would never read books on computers are reading books on Kindle in numbers far greater than we ever expected. And they're now starting to ask: If I can carry my whole library around on my Kindle, how about I carry all my personal and professional documents there too?

We're excited to announce Kindle DX, the large screen addition to the Kindle family.

Kindle DX's display is two and a half times the size of the Kindle display. The display is large enough that you can read PDF files natively without scrolling, panning, or zooming, and without re-flowing, which destroys the original structure of the document. Text and images are amazingly sharp, and you can carry all your personal and professional documents with you in one slender package.

Kindle DX is also terrific for reading books, magazines, and newspapers. The Kindle Store has more than 275,000 books to choose from, including 107 of 112 New York Times bestsellers. Thin as a magazine, Kindle DX holds up to 3,500 books. The larger screen size especially benefits highly formatted books like cookbooks, computer books, and textbooks.

Kindle DX is wireless so you can think of a book and start reading it in under a minute. Email personal documents to your Kindle DX, and they too will be delivered wirelessly. Our vision is every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds. Inching a bit closer to a paperless society sounds good too.

We hope you enjoy this new addition to the Kindle family.

Jeff Bezos

P.S. To have Kindle DX shipped the day it becomes available, preorder today to reserve your place in line. The Kindle DX page has a side-by-side comparison with Kindle so you can choose the right one for you.

Some additional details from Wired Gadget Lab:

Among the new feature are an auto-rotating screen, technology iPhone users will be familiar with, and a native PDF reader, finally adding support in that ubiquitous digital format.

The device measures one-third of an inch thick. Its 9.7-inch screen offers 1200 x 824 pixels at 150 dpi, and 16 levels of gray (like the Kindle 2). The screen is held within a plastic housing that measures 10.4″ tall by 7.2″ wide; the unit weighs about 1 pound 3 ounces. Like the two earlier Kindles, the Kindle DX has wireless download capabilities via the Sprint EVDO network.

It contains about 3.3GB of usable memory for storing books, and can display or play a wide variety of text and document formats — including, significantly, at least three open formats: PDF, MP3 and TXT.

Shipping this summer, the Kindle DX costs $489 and is available for pre-order from

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

EON ICUBE - Amazing 3D Immersive Technology

EON Reality, Inc. has amazing immersive solutions such as the ICUBE, a revolutionary PC based multi-sided immersive environment in which participants are completely surrounded by virtual imagery and 3D sound.

The EON ICUBE consists of 3, 4 or 6 walls according to the users requirements, and that can be setup in any configuration. Thanks to the rear-projection of the images and the flawless image continuity in the corners, the illusion of a complete sense of presence in the virtual environment is created. On top of that, the system is fully compatible with tracking and input devices. It is built on PC technology whereby several PCs are synchronized together to generate simultaneous images in stereo (stereoscopic visualization) on multiple walls seamlessly.

Using a series of infrared emitters, high-end projectors, and stereoscopic active lightweight shutter glasses and position trackers, the result is complete immersion of the user in a virtual world where objects float in space with high quality graphics. Electro magnetic 6DOF trackers are implemented to monitor the user's position and orientation and are used to calculate a stereoscopic perspective view while allowing the user to freely move into and around the objects floating in space. The stereoscopic visualization is supported by an integrated audio surround system. Peripheral devices such as force feedback devices, and gesture gloves are optionally integrated into the system.

Innovative solutions such as large immersive displays, 3D and holographic displays, tele immersion systems, and mobile 3D stereoscopic and augmented reality systems can be the next step in user interfaces and the web.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Minoru 3D Webcam - The First 3D Web Camera

Minoru is the Worlds first 3D webcam. Your friends and family can now see you in 3D over your favourite messaging program like Windows Live Messenger, Skype, AOL instant messenger, OoVoo and many others. Minoru can also take 3D photos or even shoot 3D videos for YouTube or other video sharing sites. Minoru = Reality (at least in Japanese)!

The red and cyan anaglyph image produced by Minoru can be viewed by anybody who is wearing commonly available red and cyan 3D glasses (five pairs included with Minoru). It is not HD quality for 3D HDTVs but it is fun nevertheless. Minoru can also be used as a standard 2D webcam for anyone who doesnt have the 3D glasses at hand.

Minoru 3D Webcam is available on for $89.95.

Another innovative step for the coming 3D Web.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gigapixel Photography on the Rise

What is a gigapixel image?

A gigapixel image is a digital image composed of more than one billion pixels. It contains more than 150 times the detail captured by a typical 6-megapixel consumer camera. One way of visualizing the size of a four gigapixel image is to consider a photograph of a regulation football pitch (soccer in USA) which is 90m x 45m. A four gigapixel top-down photograph of the entire field at 1mm per pixel would cover the entire area of the football pitch!

How does it work?

Gigapixel images are created by tiling a large number of photographs, or scanning a large film negative (8" x 10"). Gigapixel images are displayed on-line using streaming technology which breaks the image into small tiles and loads them as you look. This allows you instantly view high-resolution images that are over several gigabytes in size. There are beautiful gigapixel photography online at GigaPan and

What are the applications of gigapixel imagery?

Gigapixel photographs are ideal for tourism, real-estate, architecture, medical imaging, archiving, and documenting special events. High-resolution images create the impression of "being there" by immersing the viewer within the scene. The extreme level of detail captured in a gigapixel image allows artifacts to be accurately preserved for future generations.

Can you print a gigapixel image?

Yes, gigapixel images can be printed. At a size of over 20ft (6m), a gigapixel print retains jaw-dropping detail even when viewed a few inches away.

The largest digital photographs

The largest digital image at the moment is a 17 gigapixel photograph from Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. It is claimed by Gerard B. Maynard.
  • Dimensions: 214,414 pixels X 80,571 pixels
  • Size: 96.5 GB
  • Pixels: 17,275,550,394

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Google O3D Plugin Brings 3D To Browsers

O3D is an open-source web API for creating rich, interactive 3D applications in the browser. O3D allows you to create rich 3D web applications using JavaScript. O3D is a much needed effort to enable innovative 3D applications in the web browsers. Virtual worlds and games such as WoW and Second Life could use O3D instead of native clients.

Vangelis Kokkevis and Gregg Tavares will discuss O3D on the upcoming Google I/O conference in May 2009. This session will primarily cover best practices for getting 2D and 3D content into O3D. They will also explore the API's advanced features, primarily through demos and coding examples to keep the session fun.

Download O3D for Mac or Windows and test it for yourself. Nice job, Google!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Amazon Instant HD Video on Demand Streaming Movies and TV Shows

2009 is the year of HD Video on the internet. (AMZN) has launched "Instant HD", a high-definition video version of its on-demand service, offering consumers the ability to rent movies and purchase television episodes shown in HD.

Amazon will add more than 500 HD TV shows and movies to its Amazon Video On Demand service. Titles are from major networks and studios like Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Showtime Networks, with new-release movie titles including "Twilight" and "Frost/Nixon" and TV shows such as "The Tudors", "Saviors" and "Smallville".

Customers can use Panasonic Viera CAST-enabled HDTVs, the Roku Digital Video Player, certain types of TiVo and the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link device to order and watch HD movies for $3.99 to $4.99 each. Television episodes are available for purchase at $2.99 each.

Customers also can buy the content to watch on their personal computers or download it for later viewing offline. Finally the promise of on demand HD video streaming has come true.