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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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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Your virtual identity with OpenID

Many useful sites on the web have a concept of identity. You log in with your username, do something for a while and then logout. Whether it is checking your email, writing a blog entry, or purchasing a book, you tell the site who you are at some point. Maintaining identities across multiple websites is difficult. You register at each site, choosing a different username and password. It is tedious and many sites ask for information that you have already provided elsewhere. What if someone has already taken the username you want? Most people end up choosing a username they don’t like, or simply leaving the site without registering.
OpenID is a new way to identify yourself all over the web. With your own personal OpenID you can login to any OpenID-enabled site (there are over 1,000 of them and that number is growing everyday you can find a list here) and identify yourself as you.
It’s one username and one password for all of the sites that you go to. It means no more registration screens on the sites you go to. Most importantly, OpenID is open; its a protocol that has been developed by a diverse community interested in solving the identity problem once-and-for-all. You can use it at any website that is OpenID enabled as if I already had an account. It blurs the lines of where you you have an account, and the question you ask changes from “Do I have an account?” to “Is the site OpenID enabled?
Read more about Open ID at Wikipedia, at or visit I Want My Open ID.

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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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