Archives: August 2008

Blogger Goes Friendly with "Follow" Feature

Recently, Google’s free Blogging platform, Blogger (aka Blogspot.com), introduced a new feature where blog owners can easily see who are reading their blogs as well as display which blogs they are reading. Although, there are third-party applications who can do this – Yahoo’s MyBloglog for instance, Blogger’s Following feature is easily activated through your Blogger’s Dashboard. Read more

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Report: Vivendi Games Mobile Sale in the Works

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MocoNews is reporting that Vivendi Games Mobile, Vivendi’s cell phone gaming unit that became part of Activision after the merger, is now up for sale according to several anonymous sources.

The report said that Vivendi has previously described the mobile gaming division as part of its “non-strategic business units,” which is corporate speak for “we’re trying to get rid of it.” Interestingly, the company is also reportedly looking to unload Sierra Online, which the article described as providing casual games for the PC and Xbox Live Marketplace. (That’s 100% accurate, today, but anyone with a feel for the history of the personal computer will remember that Sierra Online was responsible for much more than that over the past 29 years.)

The article named two potential Indian gaming buyers, but then said that it turned out both rumors were false, and there’s no official confirmation coming from Vivendi at this point.

Mobile Content Tools Market to Top $8 Billion: Report

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A new MediaPost article said that mobile content providers—including game developers, broadcasters, video production companies, music publishers, content aggregators, and wireless carriers—are expected to spend more than $8 billion on the tools needed to create, edit, manage, and load various forms of content onto mobile devices by the end of this year, according to new market research from The INSIGHT Research Corp.

Plenty of sophisticated, narrowly-focused technology is necessary to target content for cell phones. A prime example of this is Adobe Device Central, which is Adobe’s set of Web development tools that sizes up pages for use on dozens of known cell phone platforms, and even lets you preview content in simulated sunlight, in dark rooms, and on phones with different resolution screens and operating systems.

The study said that many of todays tools are device-specific like that one (although we’re giving the Adobe example, not the study). The report said that the market will soon shift from “discrete systems focusing on delivery of specific content using rudimentary content management integration to full-blown systems that are centered on reusable content suitable for multi-channel delivery.”

WP Reporters Streaming Live Mobile Video

Comet_Technologies.jpgThe Washington Post has begun streaming live video via mobile phones to the newspaper’s site, according to Beet.tv. The first example was from Ed O’Keefe, who reported live from the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The Post is using Comet Technologies for mobile video streaming.

The report said that there’s been plenty of experimentation with bloggers and mainstream media streaming live using cell phones in recent days. “We’ve been following the use of Qik, Flixwagon and Kyte. This is the first time we’ve seen Comet,” the report said. You don’t get the best quality this way, obviously, but some phones are capable of streaming video at least somewhat comparable to the Flip Ultra and other Web video camcorders.

WebRidesTV Goes (MSN) Mobile

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WebRidesTV has begun distributing content on MSN Video and MSN Mobile, including videos of auto performance tests and analysis, industry news, a how-to service, new and used vehicle reviews, driving tips, auto products and accessories, car show and shop tour access, and lifestyle events, MediaPost reports. WebRidesTV plans to update the portals every 48 hours with new content.

In fact, the service offers several original online video series: “The Super Lap Challenge”, “The Shoot Out”, “Profiled” and “Auto Show Blitz,” all of which will be available online at MSN Video as well as on MSN Mobile and MSN Mobile Latino, which are Microsoft’s English and Spanish language mobile device online platforms, according to the report.

Comcast to Limit Transfers to 250GB/Month

Customer_Service_Clipart.jpgThis is about the desktop, not cell phones, but it’s important: Comcast has confirmed that all residential customers will be subject to a 250 gigabyte per month data limit starting October 1, PC Magazine reports.

250GB is plenty of bandwidth for most users, although anyone who has decided to give streaming movie rentals a try (a la the iTunes Store or Netflix Watch it Now) could run into that wall relatively quickly. Nonetheless, this follows a move by carriers over the past year to add 5GB/month limits to their cellular data network plans, after initially marketing them misleadingly as “unlimited.”

Industry groups plan to fight Comcast’s decision. “Though the proposed cap is relatively high, it will increasingly ensnare more users as technology continues its natural progression,” S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, said in a statement. “If Comcast has oversold their network to the point of creating congestion problems, then well-disclosed caps for Internet use are a better short-term solution than Comcast’s current practice of illegally blocking Internet traffic.”

Read more

Yahoo Smashes The Mash

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Yahoo is shutting down its little-used social-networking service, Yahoo Mash, after only a year in business, CNET News reports. Yahoo community manager Matt Warburton sent an e-mail to Mashers that read, “Thank you for trying out our Mash Beta service. We hope you had fun with it. Please note that we will shut down Mash on September 29, 2008. As a result, your current profile on Mash will no longer be available.”

As the report said, Yahoo Mash didn’t really offer much new. The chief difference was that instead of inviting friends to join, you created profiles for friends, and then invited them to come and fix them. That’s not really how they had phrased it, but that’s the essence of what Yahoo Mash offered.

Yahoo spent the last few years introducing a dizzying array of community-based services like Mash, 360, My Yahoo, and more. Many were technically adept and well designed, but numerous services were redundant with each other, and it seemed like the company wasn’t sure if it was competing with itself or what businesses it wanted to be in. (Hence that whole “Microsoft takeover bid” thing.)

Amazon: No New Kindle This Year

Amazon_Kindle_Times.jpgIf you were hoping for a new version of the Amazon Kindle last year, time to ignore all those rumors. At least, that’s the word from Craig Berman, Amazon’s chief spokesman, according to the New York Times.

“Don’t believe everything you read,” Mr. Berman said in the article. “There’s a lot of rumor and speculation about the Kindle. One thing I can tell you for sure is that there will be no new version of the Kindle this year. A new version is possible sometime next year at the earliest.”

He also didn’t go any further in explaining exactly what a Kindle 2.0 would entail. That’s reasonable, since certain other companies tend to be tight-lipped about their future products, but we suppose it was worth a shot to ask.

Stunning Revelation: Teens Don’t Like Mobile Ads

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ComScore’s latest research reveals that while U.S. kids ages 12-17 are cell phone-savvy, they are not particularly receptive to mobile ads, according to MediaPost. Plus, it turns out that the relative simplicity of their phones, and the fact that nearly 70% of teens need their parents to pay the bill and approve buying extras, makes them poor campaign targets, the report said.

“Over 68% of teens are on a plan where another family member is responsible for the bill,” comScore marketing analyst Jen Wu said in the article. “So while they may want to download games and ringtones, or send picture messages, they often need to ask for permission first.”

Plus, they understand the dangers of the wide-open Internet and are apt to recognize messages from unwanted parties. “Teens have been trained so well by their parents to be wary about online ads, spam and people asking for their info on the PC,” Wu continued. “So that may be contributing to why they seem less receptive to mobile advertising than one would expect. Texting is a short, easy form of communication for them, but it would be disjointed for them to get an ad while they’re texting back and forth with their friends.”

(Image credit: Clipart.com)

LinkedIn Groups Get More Useful

Business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn is introducing several enhancements to its site in the coming months. Among these new features an enhancements are Group Discussions, Group Home Page, enhanced roster, and digest emails. Read more