Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Internet Devices

Around August, I bought an iPod Touch. After returning it several times because of the new model, I began to use it. Ok, so I didn’t just use it. I USED it. Everyday, every class, all the time. When I was bored during class, there was always a nice portal into the internet waiting for me in my pocket. No matter where I was at my school, I could check my email, IM my friends, and post updates to Twitter. To this day I still use my iPod touch continuously, checking email and the like.

But what does a Internet Device really need? I use my iPod way more for its browsing capabilities rather than its music player. There was a survey that showed that most iPhone users used the browser much more often than the actual phone. That leads me to conclude:

1) A Good Internet Device Doesn’t Need a Bunch of Extra Stuff.

Now this doesn’t mean that it can’t be a combination of things. I’d rather have a iPod Touch than carry around a Internet Tablet and a iPod. I’m just saying that it doesn’t need to have a lot of extra stuff. Many people would be fine with just having something with a web browser.

Another thing I’ve noticed about my iPod Touch is the fact that I don’t use it to its full capacity. I hardly play games, watch videos, and the like, which is what Apple is trying to promote the iTouch as, a gaming platform. (“The Funnest iPod Ever.”) Not only does this further the fact that you don’t need a bunch of extra stuff, it also shows that:

2) A Good Internet Device doesn’t need to cost a lot

I reach this point because it doesn’t take a lot to have a touch screen device that simply has a browser on it with a wifi chip. Meaning that it shouldn’t cost a lot.

Not only would a low cost Internet Device be very easy to make/use, it would also kickstart more people using the mobile internet. If a $100 device allowed you access to your RSS Feeds, Email, Contacts, and more anywhere there is a Wifi hotspot, I think a lot of people would be willing to buy it over the iPhone. Especially people that bought/want to buy the iPhone for its Mobile Web capabilities, but hardly ever use the phone.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Many Devices - The Wrong One

So right now, I am stuck between using primarily my computer and my new iPod Touch for a lot of my tasks. Things like Email and using Google Reader just seem a lot nicer while using the iPod Touch. But then I spend a lot of time going into Safari, opening up Google Reader, finding the entry, or typing the email, that I begin to realize that "This would be a lot faster if I just used the damn computer."

One of the things that is very addicting about Apple's iPod is a very simple to use interface, that almost makes you want to use it for things that would be a lot easier to do on the regular, nice big sized monitor. I think I'm drawn to the Apple Interface more because there isn't anything in the way. There isn't a crud load of ads and white space. Everything is taken up to the very last pixels, which makes me like it a lot better.

Because you now have these fast internet connections and big browsers, websites try to take up that real estate using ads, or worse they forget about it and leave a lot of white space.

What I would like is for websites to be more put together. I'd like websites to use my entire browser for stuff that I want. Maybe make the fonts bigger, maybe not have all those side graphics, but take up that real-estate on my 1680x1080 widescreen. I'm loading your website and wasting my time to view what you are putting out, at least make it worth my while. I hate sites that the entire site is a fixed box in the center and each side will just be filled with the background color, the content being the same size.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chapter 1 : Laconica Servers

You have all seen Twitter, and some of you, maybe even most of you are using Twitter. You have a lot of followers, you tweet a lot, you might even have it hooked up to your phone? But what happens when it goes down? What happens when you want to switch to another Twitter-Like service? What is a Laconica Server?

Laconica Servers
A Laconica server is open-source Twitter Server that interacts with other Laconica Servers. Each small community, that can be based around a single topic, has its own members and public feed. When you want to follow your friend on another community, you are able to because the servers are 'federated' and can talk to each other. Don't get it? Maybe this will help...

How a Laconica Server works.

So, for the most part, it is the same core functionality as Twitter. You can send messages up to 140 characters, you can send @replies, and you can follow people. (Private/Direct Messages are not supported yet) The API for all of the function Twitter offers is built in. XMPP for use with Jabber and Google Talk is built in. For the most part it is the same experience, and now with both Spaz and Twhirl supporting Laconica Servers, plus the added benefit of SMS built-in, I don't see any reasons not to use it.

So what are the benefits?

Because the entire project is open source, that means that things like 'Track' are completely available to users. 3rd Parties can expand on the Laconica servers and make features that a particular community wants. Also, these servers thrive on being able to have smaller groups of people to create more interesting conversation. In my 3-4 weeks of using the TwitArmy Laconica server (army.twit.tv), I can follow the Public Timeline instead having to filter things and use the home feed. Not only does this create more interesting discussion, but servers don't go down due to a high amount of viewers.

So what does this mean for the future?

While currently this is currently not the most used technology, it can mean big things in the future. Being able to expand on a growing community of people micro-blogging about what they are interested about can mean that you can, using track, instantly follow conversations that you are interested about. No matter what server you are on, you can connect with people from other communities. It means that we can break down the walls of Twitter and hopefully other micro-blogging services to make something even greater than it is. Its like email on steroids!

So, I hope that after reading this paragraph, you now know more than you did 5 minutes ago. I really do hope that this technology can expand into a giant web of communities all having great conversations about the world we live in. Because (from the Discovery Commerical) "The World is just awesome!"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Im Back!!!

I'm back all. I just got back from a long summer and am ready to get blogging agian. If you still subscribe to me and are interested in the blog, good for you! This year we are going to hit up subjects like the iPod Touch and applications, Google Chrome, that was released this Tuesday, and so much more. I got some cool new toys for blogging (Firefox Ubiquity), and that fasted browser ever(Chrome). So hop on board for another wild adventure as we go into the 2008-2009 Edition of "Student's Guide to Tech'

Friday, July 18, 2008

Google: The Next Social Search Engine?

Sorry I haven't posted for a little. My mind has been pre-occupied by a project I am working on. But more on that in a future date.

Techcrunch recently released a video of the closed beta Google Social Search. This incorporates likes, buries, and comments all into your search results. You can view both your likes/dislikes, and everyone's 'edits'.

I think that if something like this goes live to the world, it will introduce a large amount of people to a new way of using the Internet. Not a lot of people use social platforms that are really helpful when you are trying to find the most credible websites. I especially think it is a good idea because you don't necessarily have to look at everyone's edits. If you'd like to just use the feature on your own searches, its perfectly usable that way.

Social Searching really helps to rank websites in order of where you really go. Its really easy to glance at the websites most people visit, and find most helpful with social search, and you can always ignore them and simply look at the regular search results you would find.

Thats All! I hope to be doing the podcast some more in the next 1-2 weeks when Falko returns from his trip to Germany. Then he will probably join me weekly on Skype!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gmail + GDocs = Virus Protection?

So.. I was just wandering through my Google Mail account where I found I had a few new email's in my spam box. I decided to take a peak at them considering I knew not to open attachments and not to download anything. I found a nice email that said 'You can get 5,000$ a week by doing nothing'! Knowing this was a complete joke, I read on. It was a bunch of B.S. of how there was no experience needed at all to make tons of money. At the bottom it read, to find out more ... wait for it... 'Open this HTML File!' I knew immediately that the HTML file somehow was intending to harm my computer. But .. still being curious, I opened it inside of Google Documents. Of course, all it said was:

To view FULL DETAILS please click on Information Bar and Allow Blocked Content in your browser. Thank you.

Well, that was the gag. But the part that I loved as that by using a website that went in and actually read the letter for me, and converted it into plain text, I was completely immune to any hidden viruses it had inside of the documents. Its like a second computer that simply reads the file! It doesn't execute anything to try to make it work, it doesn't download extra things to give the .html file some added functionality. I think sometimes we just need something that does a certain functionality without trying to compromise to get something to work.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Youtube User Data being handed over to Viacom

So, I welcome all of you here to the beginning of the end. Please take a seat and enjoy our journey into one of the very invasive privacy concerns circling around the Internet. I speak of none other than the current court case going between Viacom and Google. Possibly ran by one of the most moronic judges of all time Louis L. Stanton. Recently there has been a court order by Judge Stanton forcing Google to hand over YouTube User Data containing usernames and Videos those users have watched.

Appalling? Yes.

In an article written by Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, it was pointed out in the title that the "Judge Protects YouTube’s Source Code, Throws Users To The Wolves". Viacom was also asking for the YouTube source code. For some reason, Viacom needed this information to, as written in an article at CNet, "proving Viacom's claim against Google that YouTube is a hotbed of pirated video content, the sources said."

One of the points I find interesting that in order to prove the YouTube is a "hotbed of pirated video content", Viacom needed to see the source code of YouTube. From my point of view, the source code has nothing to do with the type of videos users post on YouTube.

Now, I do have to mention that all of this information is to be used solely for the purpose of proving YouTube's mass amount of pirated content. So any fear of you being sued by Viacom for looking at that MTV music video can be put at ease.

"Whoever wins this case and whatever issues come up, this will go to a court of appeals. It will be a powerful precedent."

- DeLong