What I need from CES:

Technology, gadgets, new media, … have always interested me a lot, and so I follow up a bit on CES. With RSS in from some good gadget related blogs like engadget, gizmodo that update on an hour-to-hour basis that’s not too difficult. Also Scobleizer and Jaffe Juice give interesting opinions on CES. It’s actually one out of 3 tradeshows that I want to attend one day, the other 2 being E3 and Showest.

So without having been there in Las Vegas, I’ve seen some good stuff that fit my needs pretty well. First of all it made me even more look forward to Vista, but especially to the Media Center version of it which was shown during the Bill Gates keynote at the beginning of CES. . That combined with the new Toshiba Gigabeat and services like Vongo, yummie. It was actually Russell Beattie’s blog where I heard first about the Vongo, hope they go international soon. And ofcourse I would need the biggest plasma around to go with that and that would be the 103 inch Matsusita (hoping that it’s HD).

And then there’s also Samsung, they are really getting up to speed the last years on technology, see for yourself: Samsung booth at CES, Samsung product announcements. Only the new “imagine the possibilities” brand campaign of Samsung is a bit dissapointing, not really anything new in there.

Birthday in April, bring it on.

Beta Stuff

The last 2 to 3 weeks I’ve been testing some beta online web applications & sites that I discovered recently. I haven’t done testing yet, and not all of them are ready to go… hence why they call them beta ofcourse. For some of those betas you will need an invite, but just type in your email address and most of the time you get almost instant access.

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: This new service from Amazon let’s people do really simple tasks, but extraordinary difficult for computers. An example would be to check photographs if there’s a car on it or so. This they call a HIT – Human Intelligence Task. Not really what I see my self doing, but I can imagine people will start doing this to make money.
  • Digg: Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do. Still need to figure out what real advantage is, don’t see it yet.
  • Newsvine Inc.: Newsvine is fun (after sign up) you get access to a news website that combines news from the wire (AP) with stories that Newsvine users have been writing, or even just links that people have ‘seeded’ to Newsvine to point to good, related stories. You can easily create your own column that will feed the news. Maybe an even better integration to already existing blogs would be cool, but still looks really good.
  • Opinmind: The Opinmind search engine, searches blogs by your keyword on opinions. The query results in a 2 colom results page, with positive blogposts at the left side, negative at the right side of the page. There’s also an overall Sentimeter to give the total score based on the posts. Nice.
  • Protopage: This Protopage is one (of many) new services that offer to possibility to create a personnalised homepage, but this one almost only with RSS feeds. I prefer my Live.com.
  • Previewseek: The slogan from Previewseek is “the world’s most advanced search engine”. Not sure if they are, but there is some nice stuff to it. One of the best parts is that it actually gives a direct answer to every query you make, which is something Microsoft is trying to do with their search engine: provide answers instead of just search results. Previewseek is doing a good job at that.
  • Retrievr: Retrievr is an experimental service which lets you search and explore in a selection of Flickr images by drawing a rough sketch. Although the actual search on the sketches I made were not really giving good results, it is very useful if you’re looking for an image that uses a specific color. Most professional image databases like they use in creative agencies also offer tools like that to look for that perfect image to use in an advertising. So keep up the good work, hope you really recognise my sketch one day (and yes, I’ll learn how to draw in the meanwhile)

Human Clock

I just discovered this website. As an actual clock it’s not so useful, but the idea of showing a new photo every minute, showing the actual time is pretty nice. Ofcourse you’ll close it after a minute or 3 but I will at least from time to time return to see what photo they’ve came up with now. Thanks to Bob DuCharme’s weblog that pointed this out to me. Make sure you also take a look at this blog as it gives you some other cool stuff on the next whole new web… the web 2.0 2.0 :-)

AJAX Translator

This AJAX translator is a good proof of the point made on the technology focus of Web 2.0 and not the user focus. Is this translator better than let’s say Altavista’s Babel Fish? No, the translation for full sentences is still crap, and it even doesn’t offer the same amount of languages to choose from. So what’s the advantage of AJAX here, why bother? Let’s focus on offering real value and not so much technology underneath.

Sony Bravia

Sony Bravia

Don’t you just love the Sony Bravia commercial? Well I do. It has been on my ‘scratch path’ for quite a few days to write about, but it’s the appearance of the Bravia blog that finally got me to do it. First we had the official Bravia website that was mentioned in the tv commercial, and although there was some nice stuff to it (like the screensaver) it was nothing special compared to some of the things that are done online these days. I really had hoped for more as the tv commercial is so complete: the idea, the imagery, the music, … and yet the website is basic. The new blog adds just what was missing. Find more great advertising on Jaffe’s ‘Year End Juices’ (thanks to i-Wisdom for pointing that out). And yes, Joseph’s own creation: the Nike’s Tiger Woods Spot is cool too. If you haven’t seen that yet, make sure you check it out.

Web 2.0

I just failed miserably on the web 2.0 quiz, basically showing I have no clue what the new web is about. What the heck, it reminds me of an interesting post of Dion Hincliffe on web 2.0, namely the 10 issues facing web 2.0 today. Really worth reading. In short:

  1. Excessive hype: it’s not the solution to every software problem so stop proclaiming this
  2. Lack of simple definition: look it up on Wikipedia if you want
  3. Aging poster children: loads of startup are being released, but not one has yet made a difference like say Google (and they exist already for 7 years)
  4. Needing a permaconnection: most applications require fast, stable and always-on connections
  5. Ajax as the official web 2.0 experience: trying to use it for a hammer in every solution will cause everyone a lot of difficulty
  6. Excessive attention on the technology: people care about the given value, not how that value has been created underneath
  7. Really bad adherents: don’t call yourself of what you do web 2.0, just do it
  8. Blogging instead of doing: too much discussion about it and not enough action
  9. Not facing hard thruths: some aspects of the web 2.0 business models aren’t so postive
  10. Adopting the lightweight creation model: how will large, centrally controlled organisations (think Microsoft) try to deliver nimble, lightweight software in frequent releases at a faster speed than their current software cycle

Apple

Finding iPodFor the creatives amongst us – and Apple lovers, here’s your chance to win an iPod. Create your own Steve Jobs movieposter and post it on Mike Davidson’s blog. You only have about 4 days left so do it quick. Mac users by the way are a bit worried about the new Intel partnership. Not only will the next Mac’s be ‘Intel Inside’ or ‘Leap ahead’ (the new slogan) but the big question is whether Mac’s will come out with the small Intel stickers on them like we know from PC’s. Typical opinion: “I would not accept a sticker on my machine” and right they are, I wouldn’t want to have stickers on my iBook either (my wife’s actually) nor on my PC – where I have to remove them ofcourse. It’s probably not a good enough reason to switch to PC (as they are cluttered with stickers) but some people do switch, or even switch back to PC’s… and yes, also there I couldn’t agree more. How nice the iBook (and others might be), Mac’s are still way too expense compared to PC’s. Russell Beattie (Yahoo) is somebody who switched back and his story + comments is a fun read.

iKid

We have an old Apple iBook G3 Blue Clamshell stored with some other digital devices we don’t use anymore. I always found this a pitty, but things get old and it’s not like you can make a lot of money of it when you try to sell those. So there it was… and yet, just at the time we had almost forgotten about this iBook, my oldest son (who’s only 3,5 years old) gets a kids game on a cd-rom playable on PC (no way he’s going to use my laptop) and on Mac OS 9.

There you go, old iBook back on the table, 3 minute explanation and off he goes… And yes it’s amazing how fast these kids pickup these things, literally 3 minutes of showing how you work the mouse and my son is on it like he’s been doing this for years. He’s already better using computers than my mam (although she ain’t the most difficult person to beat :-)). Man, I’m still amazed…

‘Cross The Breeze Alerts

Playing around a bit more today with my blog and added a new feature. My 3 readers (héhé) can now signup to the MSN Alerts for ‘Cross The Breeze. And I will know in an instant whether it works or not as this post should be the first one delivered to me by such Alerts. And ofcourse as always, you are all more welcome to comment as I’m very curious about your opinion about all of this.