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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Joost - A TV Revolution?

The Swedish Danish connection Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, co-founders of Skype and KaZaA make their 3rd attempt to reface the Internet. This time they aim to revolutionize the way we watch TV with an application called Joost. It's intended to provide the best of both the Internet and TV worlds.
I have the pleasure of testing out the new product (previously named “The Venice Project”) and my first experience was like that: I downloaded and installed it - started it and within a few seconds I was watching television. It took me one hour (or two - or three?) before I remembered that I am a beta tester and that I'm supposed to test the application which is a big compliment to Joost. So I began clicking and exploring the application. It is very straight forward. Joost is first of all an TV application and behaves very much like common Media-Center-Software. It starts in full screen but you can adjust your settings. It is very simple and all controllers behave (more or less - its still in beta) like I expect them to do. Currently, there’s enough content to watch, however there’s not nearly enough content to do a search and actually get meaningful results. The amount of content will grow when Joost goes out of beta invite-only mode, and some big fishes (might) jump in (the folks behind Joost have already made corresponding announcements). Joost has integrated chat and widgets and is designed to allow software developers to create their own plug-ins eventually. The service is free and supported by one minute of targeted advertisements per hour.
My first conclusion: Joost seems not to be a real application revolution but it is really addictive. It seems that groundbreaking innovation has to be simple (like that). I like to watch "TV on demand" via Joost and believe that it has the potential to revolutionize the way we watch TV. For the time being I'm hooked.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Nimbuzz eliminates the high roaming tariffs operators are charging

Nimbuzz launched its voice enabled mobile and PC clients, designed to support more than 500 mobile phone models and Windows XP/2000 for the PC client.
Nimbuzz is free to download. No monthly charges. No credits needed.
Nimbuzz users just pay the lowest local rate to their mobile operator. The mobile service is available in 35 countries.
With Nimbuzz you can make international calls from your mobile to other mobile phones at the cheapest local rate. The only condition is that both phones have the Nimbuzz software installed. Nimbuzz eliminates the high roaming tariffs operators are charging!
The Catch: To use Nimbuzz on a mobile device you need a mobile data connection like GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, EVDO or Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a flat-rate data plan there may be costs associated with using this connection. Nimbuzz works everywhere a data connection is available. Nimbuzz Voice depends on the availability of local Nimbuzz access numbers that are already available in over 35 countries.
The product is full of additional features: free (Group) Text messaging and the ability to place Group Calls on the fly with up to 5 buddies (either Nimbuzz, GTalk or MSN Live Messenger). Mobile connected parties pay local cost, PC connected parties pay nothing. “This release is a major step towards our next goal: connecting all major VoIP- communities on the Internet with the mobile for Chat, Voice and various Messaging services”, stated Evert Jaap Lugt (CEO). “Nimbuzz is now testing the Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ and Skype connectivity, wait and see”.
This was seized 4 u at Nimbuzz
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

The §1 free online image editor

We are flooded with all kinds of web applications. There are quite a few online photo editors out there but I was not exactly enthusiastic about any of them. Picnic is the first solution that convinces me.
Picnik isn’t Photoshop by far, or close to most other image editing and manipulation programs out there. It doesn’t include freehand tools like brushes, cloning, or fills. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to simply enhance the decency of already taken photos, not totally give them an extensive make-over. However for being strictly online, being entirely generated by Flash, being flexible enough to obtain images from literally anywhere, and above all, being free, it unquestionably earns my vote as being the best values for a near instantaneous, presentable, online photo editor.
You can do the basic resizes and tweaks that most other free image editors have; however, Picnik also comes with some nifty special effects, and can be used with a whole plethora of community photo sharing sites, i.e., Flickr, Imageshack, Photobucket, etc.
For a browser-based image editor, Picnik does a fine job.
Just visit Picnic and give it a spin.
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Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Amazon Spacecraft (Your space tourist carrier?)

The development vehicle Goddard on the back of a lorry
The Goddard launch took place in Texas in November 2006
The billionaire founder of has released the first images of the launch of a private spacecraft that could bring space travel to the masses.
A video of the cone-shaped Goddard vehicle shows it climbing to about 85m (285ft) before returning back to Earth. The test launch took place in November 2006 in a remote part of Texas, but details have only now been released. The images mark the first time Jeff Bezos has broken his silence on the work of his space company, Blue Origin. Writing on the company's website, Mr Bezos said: "We're working, patiently and step-by-step, to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go; and so that we humans can better continue exploring the Solar System."
Mr Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the intention of developing a vertical take-off and landing vehicle, called New Shepard, able to take passengers to the edge of space. No timescale for commercial trips has been announced but documents released by the US Federal Aviation Administration suggest they could start as early as 2010.
My only job at the launch was to open the champagne
The footage shot on 13 November 2006 from a site about 200km (120 miles) east of El Paso in Texas shows the first craft to launch under the New Shepard programme. Called Goddard, the retro-looking development vehicle is shown standing on four legs before blasting off in a cloud of smoke from thrusters on its base. The vehicle continues to ascend for approximately 10 seconds, reaching a height of nearly 300ft (90m). It then starts to descend before making a controlled landing back on its feet approximately 25 seconds after take-off.
The launch, described by Mr Bezos as "both useful and fun", was watched by friends, family and a team of engineers. "My only job at the launch was to open the champagne," said Mr Bezos.

Mr Bezos now hopes to recruit a team of engineers to the New Shepard programme to develop the design and increase the altitude and duration of flights.
Artist's impression of Genesis 1 in space
Inflatable modules could one day form the basis of a space hotel
In particular, he is looking for "experienced propulsion engineers" and people with "experience on large, modern vehicles such as Delta IV or Atlas V".
Blue Origin is one of several private companies vying to open up space to the public. US-based Space Adventures has already taken four space tourists to the International Space Station, while in September 2006, Sir Richard Branson unveiled a mock-up of a rocket powered vehicle that will carry six passengers and two pilots to an altitude of about 140km (85 miles). His Virgin Galactic design is based on SpaceShipOne, the craft designed by Scaled Composites that won the Ansari X-Prize in 2005. The first passengers could take off in 2009.
Other entrepreneurs jostling for their place in space include hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow who launched Genesis 1, an experimental inflatable spacecraft, in July 2006. Mr Bigelow hopes the water-melon shaped craft could form the basis of a future space hotel.
This was seized 4 u at BBC
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