Archives: February 2008

Mozes Makes Cinequest Film Festival More Interactive

The Cinequest Film Festival has hooked up with mobile marketing firm Mozes to let attendees rate films and vote for their favorites via mobile phone. According to Mobile Marketer, folks who attend the screenings of any of the festival’s 250 films can make their reactions known by sending a text with the film’s Mozes-assigned keyword.

Film fans can also use the service to keep up on schedule changes, participate in polls and get other info on the films.

The 12-day festival is held in San Jose and features independent films.

Mediabistro Course

Social Media Metrics

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Make Free Conference Calls With Rondee

rondeeGoogle’s 2007 acquisition of GrandCentral guarantees that the free phone space will continue to grow, adding features that were once impossible for frugal individuals to enjoy.

Newcomer Rondee (a play on ‘rendezvous’) is taking the expense and equipment out of conference calling. Read more

Toshiba Unveils a Robot of a Phone

From the “this looks really cool but would I actually want one” files comes the new Transformer phone from Toshiba.

Transformer.jpgYes, it does indeed “transform” from a typical flip phone into a robot sort of thing – complete with arms, legs and special wallpaper designed to look like a robot face, according to Cellular-news.

Unfortunately for gadget freaks, it will only be available in Japan through mobile operator Softbank, which missed the opportunity to give the transforming phone a fitting moniker and saddled it with “SoftBank 815T PB.”

iPhone SDK Not So Open?

They say that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is. It’s starting to look like that’s the case with the software development kit Apple will unveil for the iPhone and iPod touch on March 6.

Rumors are floating around that the company is putting some serious limitations on what developers can actually do with the software. iLounge cites several sources familiar with the SDK who spilled the details on the condition of anonymity.

The limitations reportedly include that all third-party apps must use the iTunes store for distribution, which is something that we’ve heard before, and that the developers won’t be able to have their apps directly interface with “Dock Connector-based accessories connected to the iPhone or iPod touch – a decision that we are told could cripple development of new accessories,” iLounge reports.

The most restrictive of the rumored limitations iLounge reported on is that Apple will have final say over which SDK-based applications can be published for its devices and make only those approved apps available.

Social Media is Great for Rumors

I made a mistake. Honestly, I make mistakes all the time but when you make the mistake in your blog it is public and occasionally can be pretty devastating. Luckily this one wasn’t devastating but I definitely got to see the beginning of a potential disaster. On Wednesday evening I received an email from another blogger/journalist notifying me of a post they wrote. Apparently they had found a Facebook page pertaining to film. I checked out the page and also noticed a link for music.

The pages appeared as though Facebook was preparing to launch both a music and film service. Being the overly-eager blogger that I am, I posted an article proclaiming that “Facebook Music and Movies Goes Live!” Aside from the questionable grammar of the headline, I had jumped the gun and suddenly both my article and the other article were posted on Techmeme.

The reality was that Facebook was simply encouraging musicians and filmmakers to use their pages service. While I honestly think this was a cop-out on their end, it was a necessary political move. They want to ensure that this isn’t viewed as an attack against iLike, one of the most popular applications currently on Facebook. Soon enough Mashable jumped on the bandwagon and the rumor snowball had begun.

I learned two lessons from this. First, do a little more homework prior to rewording another article. Second, social media can instantly reward anybody with a catchy headline. While the reward may be short-lived, rumors can instantly snowball and can be reposted for Google to devour within a moment’s notice. Next thing you know, somebody is searching for “Facebook Music” and some unknown blogger (or myself) has proclaimed that Facebook music is launching.

This is the fault with social media and perhaps with computers in general. While people can create content and software systems can process them there is no determination of truth by the systems and it is up to the reader to determine them. Perhaps this is the fault with news in general because even trusted sources can get a story wrong. The next day it will end up as a correction but let’s be honest, who actually reads the corrections?

Do you think there is a problem with the system? Is it the reader’s job to determine what information is right and what is wrong when they are constantly consuming content? Have you made a similar mistake?

Update
Apparently the rumor that began with us found its way into PC World.

Priceline Unveils Mobile Booking Service

Priceline.com has brought some its services to the mobile world. Travelers can now use their Web-enabled handsets to search hotel inventories, pricing and availability in real-time; book rooms; check flight status and see what Zagat-recommended restaurants and attractions are located near their destination.

Mobile users can access the service either through the main priceline.com page, which will route them to a mobile version, or through the new www.priceline.mobi mobile-only site.

The mobile service also offers downloadable goodies like ringtones and wallpapers from the new series of “Negotiator” TV ads starring longtime Priceline spokesman William Shatner.

Wizzard Mobilizes Extreme Sports Podcasts

Podcasting network Wizzard Media has forged a distribution/syndication deal with Media Rights of America (MRA), which lets Wizzard take its extreme sports video podcasts mobile. Podcast content includes footage of motocross freestyle, skating, snowboarding and powerboat racing events.

Under the arrangement, Wizzard can offer its hosted extreme sports content for subscription and individual download purchase through more than 40 distributors. This makes the podcasts available to some 300 million mobile users in about 30 countries. Users will also be able to buy related mobile products including video clips, wallpaper, ringtones, ringbacks, animated GIFs, themes and games.

Dagruk Makes Caller ID More Amusing

dagruk.png

KillerStartups has a profile of Dagruk.com, a newcomer that deals in humorous images for cell phone contacts. According to the article, the company says a “dagruk” is a “purposeful display of ridiculously funny pictures of family and friends.”

The free service divvies its images into TV, movies, funny men, funny women and “I have no idea” to make it a little easier for you to find just the right photo to show up on caller ID when the boss phones.

Dagruk works on most major US carriers and can be accessed directly from the phone or via the Internet on a PC.

Image credit: KillerStartups.com

The MyBlogLog Newsfeed Goes Live

Today, MyBlogLog pushed out the new version of their site which includes a personalized newsfeed made up of all of your contact’s activities across the web. This is a similar service to what is being provided by FriendFeed and Facebook. The key difference from Facebook’s newsfeed is that Facebook hasn’t completely opened up their newsfeed yet although it is rumored to be opening soon.

I logged in and after checking it out, I have to admin that it’s pretty useful. The best part is that I’ve already added a number of my contacts directly through MyBlogLog. I have a feeling that this functionality is going to become ubiquitous across other social sites in the near future. Look for sites like MySpace, YouTube or any other social site to try and pull-in your contacts as well.

This new service brings up yet again the issue of data portability. As other services begin to try to pull in data from external sites, the issue is going to be over who owns the data. Ultimately, individuals want to be the owners of data and in the end what really ends up being the true value is the media being provided and how it is delivered to the end user. If your site has engaging content and presents it in a unique way, there will be intrinsic value.

Unless one company can effectively own our relationships (as Facebook is attempting to do), there will ultimately be much less value in owning user data since it will be the user, not the company that owns it. Enough of my rant, what do you think of the new MyBlogLog service?

Mybloglog Newsfeed Screenshot

Mobile Firefox for Linux, Windows Mobile By Year-end

Computerworld reports that alternative browser outfit Mozilla is having some “informal talks with mobile operators” about the planned mobile version of its Firefox browser.

Much as it did with the desktop Firefox browser, “Mozilla’s mission is to break open a closed market,” the article quotes Mozilla VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer as saying.

firefox.jpg

The article points out that some carriers don’t like the idea of a free mobile browser because it upsets their walled gardens and can impact their revenue streams. Others, however, may well take advantage of the open source nature of Mozilla and make contributions to the mobile version of Firefox.

Mozilla expects to have the mobile browser available for embedded Linux and Windows Mobile devices by the end of the year.