Thursday, October 30, 2008

Seven Websites to find Free Software

Freeware (or free software) has been around for well over a decade.  The authors' reasons vary from 'getting noticed', to getting you to visit their webpage (where there are usually ads), to striking a 'deal' with a larger company to bundle their toolbar.

Trialware differs from Freeware in that it sets a time limit on how long you can use it, while 'Shareware', (which for a long time was on a 'trust basis') now usually disables some features after a specific time period or throws up lots of nag screens to 'ask' you to donate to the author.  (Some are well worth it).

Some Freeware is outright comparable to commercial products, while others are ongoing 'works in progress' by individuals of teams.  Of course, Open Source is still the 'new frontier' and can make an application or API popular withing days.  (Read the licenses?!).

One personal example recently (there have been many posted here in the past), is when I switched from AVG's anti-virus free personal edition to Avast.  The reason? AVG (which is excellent) was integrating itself into my browser which I found 'annoying'.  Over two months with Avast and no complaints.

(Your perception may vary :)

Of course, as I've had a tendency to feature here (a lot), there's also 'beta software'.  Beta software is typically 'for developers only' with a disclaimer not to install it on any mission critical computers OR your main box.  There's a whole world of Beta (next generation) software, that for techs, is well worth maintaining a separate computer for.

If any of the repositories that feature these types of software have a link to the developer's site, it's usually a good idea to wander over as (1) the version may have changed and there are 'usually' more screenshots and (2) you may not agree with the reviewers. (I usually don't). - Perhaps the best known of all the web software sites let's you search by function, operating system, cost and more.  Tens of thousands of titles are on this CNET (now CBS) owned long-time website. - While there's a few 'strange' reviews by users, BetaNews is now releasing security updates, freeware as well as Beta software and is improving with time.  (The site recently ramped up it's Tech News coverage as well). is the relatively new home of the long-time favorite 'Gizmo's list'. A new look and LOTS of free stuff.  This is a 'keeper' if they don't make too many more changes.  Easy-to-navigate and a lot of 'sleepers' are here. (Note: I have also found in the past that my experiences don't always agree with Gizmo's but it's a GREAT spot!).  Shareware and Freeware can both be found here. - Part of the Gawker Media web group, Gina Trapani and crew do a great job sifting out some real winners with full reviews.  The site also offers some full-feature software on occasion 'for a limited time only'.  A GREAT vehicle for 'getting the word out' on a new product. is a HUGE open source project site with thousands of current and past projects.  The interface recently has gone through an upgrade that makes it somewhat easier to navigate.

Codeplex is Microsoft's Open Source repository that recently has seen increased activity.

Google Code is Google's Open Source home to both user and Google's own open source API's, videos, and more.

If you're curious what a few of my favorites are (if you're new to this blog?).  I use CCleaner, Filezilla,, Microsoft Pro Photo Tools, ImgBurn, Twhirl and Google's Picasa on almost a daily basis (to name just a few).

If the above sites don't keep you busy, I'm not sure what will?.

Just one note from your employer....

....wait til the weekend :)


Ubuntu 8.10 is officially here

Right on time, the latest version of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems was made available this morning by Canonical.

Available in both Desktop and Server editions, Ubuntu Version 8.10 includes a variety of improvements, not only to the user interface but 'under the hood' as well.

The latest release includes an integral virtual machine builder, fully-supported Java stack, 3G wireless support, and more.

You can find out more at the Ubuntu flagship website here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windows 7 Preview Video now available from Microsoft

Shortly after the first day of presentations at PDC2008, Microsoft posted a (.wmv format) Windows 7 preview video to the Microsoft Download Center.

The Windows 7 video features Microsoft's Mike Nash, CVP Product Manager, Windows.

The 106MB file can be downloaded here.

Related: The new Microsoft Azure cloud computing website can now be found here.

Update Oct 28 PM: Microsoft's PDC2008 Virtual Pressroom now has numerous online (downloadable) videos, and we are sharing others' coverage, as always, in the 'shared feed' (at right).

US National Weather Service adopts Google Maps

Next to Adsense, the most widespread adoption of a Google API on websites and blogs has been Google Maps.

The US National Weather Service has now adopted the API as the default map product when you do a zip code search from their flagship website,

The highly localized forecasts, rolled out last year, now include not only an embedded Google Map but also a direct KML link for use with Google Earth:

Click to enlarge
Thanks to KT for the 'heads up' on this one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

PDC2008 coverage and who am I?

I returned home late this evening and briefly checked for announcements coming from Microsoft's Developers Conference, PDC2008, which kicked off today.

The anticipated cloud computing initiative now has a name. Microsoft's Azure is the big tech story of the day.

It was covered by in-depth by numerous long-time tech journalists and you can find some great articles and a variety of perspectives here.

The buzz? A little background ....

It's been a long road between myself and Microsoft. As with SEO and web marketing in recent years, it's been a 'quiet relationship'. Beginning with MS-DOS 1.0, several of my own small companies, participation in numerous MSFT programs, beta testing, strong support for the Freedom the Innovate initiative, and, as one of their first 'Authorized OEM System Builders'.

I've been a 'buddy', a 'pal', at times, even an outspoken advocate?

After reading Richard MacManus, Mary-Jo Foley and a few others, I headed over to the PDC2008 website to catch-up on the latest and watch Ray Ozzie's keynote.

I found this:

PDC2008 website SEO and Tech Daily
Update Oct 28 AM : Honestly, I was somewhat humbled to see this modest and relatively new Internet space featured on the PDC front page (even though the 'N' is missing from my last name :)

I'm assuming that the 'original piece' that I posted here last night (that was meant to be humorous) has nothing to do with the fact that the 'mention' is no longer there.  Hopefully, the web designer just needed the space for today's events.

Update: On a related note, RWW and Channel 10 columnist Sarah Perez has set up an excellent PDC2008 'room' on Friendfeed here.

PDC2008 keynote is live today with Ray Ozzie

Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference kicks off today with a keynote speech by Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

The keynote will be webcast live at 8:30 AM PST.

The PDC2008 website is now loaded with information, photos from Flickr, webcasts, and more.

Cloud computing will be taking center stage (but don't be surprised if we see and hear a little more Windows 7 :)

The main website for this year's PDC2008 can be found here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Windows 7 Logo Requirements .... already ?

Is Windows 7 coming sooner than we think?

Over the past 8 months or so, Microsoft has posted more 'preview', 'beta', release candidates and CTP products to the (open to all) Microsoft Download Center than they ever have in the past.

Typically 'betas' were delivered on TechNet or MSDN and/or run by much 'quieter' groups of beta testers.

The most recent addition caught my eye.  

The Windows 7 Software Logo Program for Client was posted late Friday.

Preview version 1.2.  A draft for computer and software vendors to begin getting an idea on what they need to do,  to be able to apply to display the Windows 7 logo on their product.

Perhaps this is being released in concert with the 'beta bits' of Windows 7 to be given out at PDC2008 (which begins Monday Oct 27)?.  Perhaps it's to highlight the latest partnering with Developer Express

Possibly ... to get the Windows 7 'buzz' going early?.

Or maybe, just maybe, Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 out faster than a lot of us think?

I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that Windows 7 is going to be aimed squarely at enterprise users in a manner that will entice them (in a big way) to make the upgrade.  The buzz is here, and will get much bigger this week after the Professional Developers Conference.

The 58K Windows 7 Logo document is a quick download if you're curious, and can be found here.

Be sure and check out the PDC2008 link above during the week, as some announcements and keynotes will be being made live from the conference.  Could there be a surprise in the works ??

Update:  A little more insight on just how fast Windows 7 has been moving along can be found at Stephen Chapman's UX Evangelist blog here

Great Weekend all

Edit - PDC2008 start date 10/27 cba

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Introducing Gmail Mobile 2.0

Gmail for mobile, Version 2.0 for J2ME-supported and BlackBerry phones.

The announcement came both on the Official Google Blog and the Google Mobile Blog a short time ago, introducing Gmail Mobile 2.0.

The primary intention of the new roll-out is to make GMail faster and more reliable.

In addition to speed, the new mobile version of Gmail will include multiple accounts management, multiple drafts, new keyboard shortcuts, and 'basic offline support'.

Here's the video that was posted earlier today by the Gmail team:

Sidenote: For T-Mobile G1 owners. T-Mobile is expected to roll-out the first software update tomorrow. Numerous people (on Friendfeed :) have already received the highly aniticipated G1 Android-powered phone by mail and T-Mobile began selling them in retail stores yesterday.

Update 3 2:25 ET Oct 23

The downturn could be your best friend

Having lived through a 'few' economic cycles, I thought I'd pass along a few things for you guys to think about.  I'm not an expert, but in all honesty, these days, I'm wondering who really is.

There's no denying that the credit mess is effecting a lot of people, perhaps a lot more than many realize, depending on where you are or what you do.  It's also important to realize that because of the 'unique' nature of this downturn, driven almost entirely by greed and fear, that the possibility still exists that it will be short-lived.  Call me an optimist?

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to take advantage of the current scenario and help yourself.

Large companies typically become much more 'customer sensitive' during rough financial times.  It not a perception.  It's a fact.  The last thing anyone wants right now is bad press.  Even top executives become more accessible.

Been wondering whether or not your warranty claim will hold water?  Need a replacement disk?  Have a legitimate dispute?  Looking to lower your expenses?

Now is the time, and you may get a huge surprise.  (In fact, you may only have to push 'zero' once when you call customer service! :)

Call.  (.... and if it doesn't work the first time, call again and get a different person).

Those 'things' you've been hesitant to negotiate and / or address in the past may now bring a surprise.

Insurance (of all kinds).  Credit card rates (or lowering the interest rate on your existing one).  Cell-phone service (some carriers are now 'adjusting' early termination fees).  There are many, many more spaces where companies will be willing to work with you (some long-term),where they wouldn't before.

No prescription coverage ?  It's not just the 'big boxes' that are slashing rates. Small chains, even local pharmacies are doing it as well.

I'm aiming this piece at the many that are just 'riding the line' (or worse).  If it helps ONE, I'll be happy.   
In any case, it never hurts to save money.

Assuming you haven't done it, take a look at your monthly bills.  In my case (without shopping ... just a phonecall), I slashed my car insurance rates.  Many companies are matching other companies' rates.

Important: Screaming and yelling at a customer service person will usually get you absolutely nowhere.  Be pleasant, and if you feel you need to (in many cases you will), ask for a supervisor and explain your situation clearly, and why you think you need a resolution and/or you think you deserve a better price.

Finally .... It never fails.  You're going to see more software giveaways over the next few months than ever.  It happens every time (and the competition among 'the big guys' is HUGE right now).

I'll try to highlight some of those here as they begin to roll-out.

Being a realist and hedging your situation (as much as it's difficult to change people) is a lot better than worrying.  In fact, worrying serves no useful purpose other than to possibly make you ill.

Take a day.  Make a few phone calls.  You may just find yourself crossing that line into 'the black' or going deeper where you can save for college again, and other important things.

This applies to some of our tech 'friends' that are laying off workers as well.  Did you do the math and switch to energy efficient lighting (one example) before you laid off that GREAT employee??  I know of a lot of large companies that are.

Food for thought.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brief: More changes to Gmail today

In an announcement on the Official Gmail Blog a short time ago, Google's Benjamin Grol advised some changes are being made to GMail 'contacts'.

This is important reading for many GMail users as all of your auto-added contacts are about to be moved back to suggested contacts over the next few days.

The GMail team is also seeking your feedback.

The complete post and more information can be found here.

Yahoo! earnings conference call today (Updated)

From the 'interesting moment of the day' dept. ......

Yahoo! will hold their third quarter earnings conference call today at 2 PM Pacific (5 PM Eastern).

The live webcast can be accessed at

With recent stories about upcoming layoffs flying while Yahoo! continues to roll out new products, this could be one of they're most interesting analyst briefs yet.

I suppose the only question remaining is ..... will he be listening ?? :)
Update October 21 PM: Yahoo shares (NASDAQ: YHOO) closed up approx 5 per cent (in after hour trading at 8 PM ET) at $12.70, with earnings somewhat in-line with expectations, and the announcement of upcoming layoffs of 10% of their employees.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported a few moments later, and exceeded expectations of unit sales of iPods and iPhones (falling somewhat short in sales of MACs).  Apple closed up 13.25 per cent from yesterday's 4 PM close tonight at 8 PM (in after-market trading) at $103.61.

Friendfeed adds five new services

(Click to enlarge)

Friendfeed continues to innovate and added 5 more services to the popular lifestreaming product late Monday.

Announced by 'Dan' on the Friendfeed blog, these new additions come on the heels of launching the real-time streaming (beta) to Friendfeed just last week.

The new import options include Facebook (status updates), Joost, Backtype, Twine, and Wakoopa.

You can visit Friendfeed or join here.

Edit Tuesday Oct 21 AM

Population Shift Coming? You Betya

It was almost 13 years ago when I moved my first Internet-based company, (SBC Computer and Components) from the NY suburbs of Long Island to Milford, PA, a small historic village in far Northeastern Pennsylvania.

One of several motivating reasons was the cost of doing business was less than one third of what it was in NY.

Culture shock? ... you bet.  MUCH bigger bottom line.  Absolutely.

So here's a hypothetical scenario for you 'economic trend predictor types'. 

Pennsylvania is ALREADY exploring new gas leases through almost half the state.  The state already has at least one wind farm and a clean coal plant.

In the small cities and even smaller villages near universities, there's a host of young and experienced IT and Internet design talent.

Pennsylvania is being used as an example.
There are numerous other states where the cost of living is dramatically lower than the 'tech power centers'.

If it costs a company 50% less to do business (and they can buy up houses for their employees at fire sale prices), could we see a shift of some operations from the cities?

While I'm sure 'the Valley', Seattle, New York, and Boston will retain their tech status, there's something moving forward, that could be actually demanded by stock holders at some point.

8 or 9 years ago (before gas prices spiked) there was a huge move by people (not just in eastern PA but throughout the country) into the rural suburbs. Urban sprawl was well underway. 

It was controversial in many places as 'green' tracts of land were gobbled up for new homes at an alarming pace.  Cities, towns, villages, and counties banded together quickly to buy up as much green space as they could, as, 'they just kept coming'. 

That trend slowed when the cost of fuel skyrocketed.

We moved our primary residence further west for a number of reasons but mainly because we had gotten used used to the 'quiet' and unique quality of life, and broadband had finally made it's way into most of rural America.  So why not?

No rocket science here.  If the 'downturn' continues, will auto companies (domestic and foreign), tech companies, and other industries begin to eye 'the countryside' when this time, there might be a welcome sign ?

As someone famous recently said ... "You betya".

edited Oct 21 PM cba

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Social Media Rock Stars Break Out In A New Way

A trend that started almost a year ago is now breaking out more noticeably while creating new loyal group of viewers for some high profile tech websites and blogs.

Some well-known names in social media and microblogging circles are being recruited by larger, more established websites and blogs, as regular contributors.

With keen knowledge of their own 'spaces', they're not only bringing new and interesting content to larger audiences, but they're furthering their own personal branding efforts, while bringing the many friendships they have made over the years (electronic and otherwise), as fans and readers to their new 'spaces'.

I first noticed the 'crossover' some time ago when Tamar Weinberg, who had been primarily working with Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Roundtable and other SEO-related projects, began writing at Lifehacker, Mashable, as well as other well-known blogs ..... including several of her own.

About the same time, Ann Smarty, a respected and heavily networked SEO, began writing for Search Engine Journal.

The most obvious ramp-up of this latest chapter came when ReadWriteWeb enlisted the talents of Corvida, Sarah Perez, and Frederic Lardinois.  All established bloggers in their own right, with a strong presence in both the social media and microblogging spaces.

Recently, Mashable began to add to their contributing 'social roster' with articles appearing by Steven Hodson, Leslie Poston, Mark Dykeman, and just this past week, Mike Fruchter.

Sarah Perez (and I have NO IDEA where she finds the time ??) also writes for Microsoft's Channel 10.

It's a win-win for these authors as well as the publications they're now partnered with.

The interesting part is a continuing convergence of so-called Generation X and Generation X perspectives which, to me, is becoming much more important in today's times.

I wish them all continued success as one thing is obvious.  They all love what they do, and do it well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another game changer for Friendfeed !

It's no secret that I was somewhat early on the scene as a user of Friendfeed, and like many others. including Robert Scoble, Louis Gray, Susan Beebe, Mike Fruchter, and Mike Reynolds (and many, many others), I have been a strong advocate of using the tools in the cutting edge web community.  My stream continues to appear, as always, to the lower right on this blog (and others that I write or participate in).

In recent weeks, I have been concerned about newcomers to the service being 'confused on arrival', simply because of the exponential growth of Friendfeed.

Who do I follow?  What room should I join?  Should I block someone?  What is re-share?

Where once there was a small community and literally no learning curve, there is now a lot of new people rapidly discovering what many of us have.

It is the only service of it's kind that gives you complete control with little if any need for moderators.

Over the past week, while on the road exploring my own personal 'next big thing', I spoke with many in the  'social networking' crowd that said straight out, "I haven't had time to learn it yet", confirming my concerns. 

The 'intimidation factor' had arrived, despite the fact that the Friendfeed crew has continuously added numerous new features to separate comment streams, discover others' conversations, and engage new people in a way that very simply, no other community does.

There's an unrivaled sense of community at Friendfeed that, in my opinion, can only be compared to meeting people face to face.  That sentiment was echoed by other existing users in my recent travels as well.

Earlier today, the Friendfeed team, which has already proposed new standards for importing and retrieving RSS feeds and more, added yet another standard dubbed 'long polling'  The timing was GREAT as Friendfeed typically heats up, just after a Presidential debate.

The new feature, described by Casey a short time ago on the Friendfeed blog, addresses a concern expressed by many Friendfeed users .... wearing out their F5 key or, hitting 'refresh' every few minutes, to see the latest comments.

The new live stream, or 'Friendfeed real-time' test is here.

How was it during the debate?  Like it always is when politics come up.  Crazy! ... but interesting and thought provoking.

I've said it before.  It's all about the dialog, as the Internet (and the world's economy) continue to move into unchartered territory. 

Friendfeed makes it easy (sometimes too easy :) to comment, but unlike other services, you can delete a previous comment... should you wake up the next day and think "Maybe I shouldn't have reacted like that". 

I've made more important contacts and people on Friendfeed than any other service since arriving on the Internet scene in it's very early stages on 1995.  Many of those friendships turned to 'true' friendships as well as business relationships.  It just works.

If you haven't already, I urge you to join the conversation.

Log in.  Sign up.

If you're lost or have any questions, simply post them.
My guess is the active Friendfeed community will answer them quickly in a matter of minutes, or now, in real-time ! :)

Kudos to the Friendfeed crew once again. 


PollDaddy is latest Automattic acquisition

Fresh on the heels of acquiring Disqus competitor Intense Debate, the parent company of WordPress, Automattic announced the acquisition of PollDaddy a short time ago.

The announcement came on Matt Mullenweg's blog.

WordPress has been 'moving right along' as the defacto leader in blog platforms and continues to maintain that position.

I've often found it interesting that many Google (and ex-Google) employees still use WordPress instead of Google owned Blogger, which has been innovating to 'some extent' at  (This blog is on the Blogger platform).

A few months ago I began to experiment once again with WordPress for my personal blog (which I expect to reinvigorate sometime in the next two weeks .... finally), and that's when I discovered the reasons why WordPress continues to be favored.  The flexibility, especially for those that want customization in their blogs, is excellent, and there's a tremedous amount of third party plug-in support (as well as hundreds of free and / or inexpensive custom templates).

Earlier today, PollDaddy was automatically enabled on all blogs.  A plug-in for self-hosted or remotely hosted WordPress platform blogs in already available.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

More information on the new feature, acquisition, or PollDaddy just visit Matt's blog, or the PollDaddy blog here.

Second Annual Blog Action Day

Today marks the second annual 'Blog Action Day'.

Blogs, large and small, will be making posts similar to this one around the world throughout the day.

To find out more about Blog Action Day, or make a contribution, simply click on the graphic below.

Together, we can make a difference.

Flock 2.0 launches with latest Mozilla engine

Flock released Version 2.0 Final a short time ago.

The 'social' web browser now uses the latest Mozilla engine (used in Firefox 3.0.3) and continues to integrate  a variety of social networks and micro-blogging platforms.

For some, Flock will be enjoyable and potentially make life 'a little easier'.  The browser consolidates your contacts in a 'people bar' and alleviates the necessity to open separate tabs in Firefox.

Digg, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Pownce, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, Photobucket, Picasa(web), Piczo, Blogsome, Livejournal, Typepad, Wordpress(.com), Xanga, Delicious, Magnolia, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail are all integrated into this version along with the familiar 'media bar' for quick photos and videos, as well direct blogging to various platforms.

It would be nice to see, socialmedian, seesmic, a few others and (are you listening Evan?? :) Friendfeed included as well.

You can check out the latest version of flock here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Re Firefox 3.1 Beta download (Correction!)

Updated October 14 PM :

Well, it appears we're getting a few conficting signals from the Mozilla gang today.

The Beta 1 download noted today at Lifehacker and Venturebeat are, in fact, downloadable as Firefox-branded Beta releases (as of this hour??!!).

Note: Your extensions and add-ons may not work as with any Firefox Beta.
The info below (posted earlier today) is relevant to the nightly builds (which are not necessarily stable and are released for testing by the Mozilla contributing community).

Posted earlier:

Some websites are reporting that Firefox Beta 1 has been released.

Just a quick post before a whole bunch of you hit the Mozilla website....

1) The Minefield test build of the future Firefox 3.1 did go from Beta 1 to Beta 2 today. 
2) It is still very much a Beta, not a Release Candidate, and should be downloaded by beta testers or those who wish to participate using non mission critical computers.
3) True - Some cool new stuff is coming !
4) Your extensions don't work yet.

Some brief facts for those who overdo the 'early adopter thing' (Like I do .....)

PS:  The Mozilla FTP nightly build download site can be found here.

Edited Oct 14 PM

Sorry Google. We're not supporting you.

As anticipated, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of their Adobe Flash competitor this morning.

Silverlight 2 (build 2.0.31005.0) removes the 'Beta' tag and takes the product 'Final'.

A quick preview across a number of Windows based computers provided some interesting results, as well as a few disturbing ones.

Silverlight 2 performed like a rock star using Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2.  Similarly, it rendered Silverlight-based rich media graphics well with Internet Explorer 7.

The turnkey upgrade (if you have a previous version installed) also installs and works well with the increasingly popular Mozilla browser, Firefox 3.

As for Google's new lightweight browser Chrome ... "We're sorry, please see the system requirements". 

(To be fair, the Chrome team is still working on add-in and extension possibilities including Sun's Java, but Flash does render well inside the Chrome browser).

The immediate (and hopefully premature) concern is that we're not headed back to a 1990's style web standards war, which would make the life of a lot of web designers just a brand new compatibility nightmare.

In recent months, Microsoft has made many more of their websites compatible with Firefox and the latest Gecko engine.  Let's hope that trend continues on ALL sides so we don't have casual web users wondering "How come you can see it and I can't??"

Silverlight 2 will be delivered (most-likely later today) directly to Windows users via Microsoft Update.  For those interested in development, a new SDK has been posted to the Microsoft Download Center.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Capital Research quietly gobbling up Yahoo! shares

Capital Research Global Investors has been buying even more stock in Yahoo!, according to a Reuters report on Friday.

Already a significant investor in the company, they have been very vocal in the company's management as pointed out in August by Kara Swisher of AllThingsDigital.

According to the Reuters report, Capital's two investment funds, Capital World Investors and Capital Research "now own 22 per cent of Yahoo! collectively".

While it's hard to speculate on the investment groups' strategy (and the 10K was unavailable as of this post), it's likely that the 'fire sale prices' last week on Yahoo stock (NASDAQ: YHOO) was part of the motivation for the increase.

With tech stock price still somewhat depressed, this is probably one of the many announcements we can expect in the coming weeks as Venture Capital and Private Equity companies begin to take stock (for lack of a better way of putting it :).

Different times YES ... Meltdown less likely

Futures had indicated an up opening on Wall Street this morning after a weekend chock full of announcements by the world's central banks..., that they were prepared to inject cash into their respective banking systems.

A quick snapshot (click to enlarge) shortly after the opening in New York (at 9:41 ET) showed most tech and media stocks were tracking the Dow, while others were breaking away a bit (notably Viacom).  Yahoo, not shown, was lagging the others, up approx 4.5 per cent.

 Update 1:  Markets at mid-day appear to be reacting to what may be a return to some level of liquidity.
It's worth noting the change in Market cap in these companies in just 3 hours! (11:55 ET)

Update 2:

Here the same list at the end of trading today:

Here's hoping things level off a bit and we can all concentrate on continuing to innovate, explore, develop, and create.
Wishing everyone a great week (Stay cool :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Windows 7 at PDC2008

PDC2008, Microsoft's Professional Developer's Conference is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from October 26th-30th.

Among the programs available to attendees will be numerous sessions on existing products, Microsoft's vision for cloud computing, and participants will receive a hard drive with 'pre beta bits' from the next Microsoft Operating System, Windows 7.

There will are 21 unique sessions scheduled, drilling down the new features and changes upcoming in the Windows 7 operating system.

More information (and new links) can be found at the Microsoft PDC2008 website here.

Correction Oct 12 1 AM ET

Thursday, October 9, 2008

OpenOffice 3.0 out of Beta - goes Final

OpenOffice 3.0, the latest version of the free 'alternative' Office suite is out of beta.

OpenOffice, for those that haven't used it previously, is an open source suite of client programs supported by  CollabNet Inc., Sun Microsystems, and other organizations and contributors.

The suite includes Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheet), Impress (presentation software), Draw (graphics, flowcharts and more), and Base (an embedded database).

The main website is still offering version 2 as of this post, however, numerous prominant websites are already showing the new final version and are pointing to various 'official' OpenOffice download mirror ftp sites.

The University of Utah (US) mirror is currently showing Open Office 3.0 for Solaris, Linux, and Windows. The version we downloaded a short time ago no longer has the Beta stamp.

It shouldn't take too long for the software to hit your local mirror, so we suggest you wait a bit! .... to get the localized version for your area.  The mirror sites can be found here.

More to come as we test out this latest version of OpenOffice!

Internet scams proliferate as economy turns

I have been noticing a marked increase in outright scams, in a variety of spaces, and increasing in frequency in recent weeks on the web.

It's pretty obvious that the 'bad guys' are trying to hit as many people as possible while 'they're down'.

While many in the tech arena recognize quite a few of these, I thought it was a good time to re-hash the subject in the event you want to mention it to a relative or a casual web user you might know.  I was literally watching someone this morning (who's very intelligent) almost fall for one of these.  Some of them look pretty good.

Of course, e-mail is still No. 1 for spammers, and there are still a lot of people receiving these e-mails from friends who think they are legit, bypassing spam filters.

There are quasi-scams as well. Those that pass the test of legit business but ride the line of 'ethics', or even misrepresentation.  I've see a slew of these hit the employment and career sites (with the possible exception of LinkedIn ... at least, so far).  Other spaces are being hit as well.

Some obvious stuff.

The Internet really makes it easy to do the research before you waste money and / or your valuable time.  Do the homework. Your social security number is no. 1 - Just don't do it.  There are few, if any, legit organizations that will ask anyone for a social security number.  Confirm who it is. is still very much around if you want to double check an e-mail you received.

Potentially hardest hit are the legitimate charities.  Search them.  Find their website and research before you part with a dime.

The improvements in search can help you to identify a lot of these so-called legitimate offers.

The audience that this blog reaches is probably not 'the target audience' for this piece, but it never hurts.

The old adage ... "If it looks too good ... It probably is".

Yahoo - another day, another employee departs

In my travels across three states the past 2 days, one of the subjects that came up often was Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO). 

I was curious what people thought about the failure of the Microsoft deal, Yahoo's declining market cap, and the recent revived discussion over a Yahoo-AOL deal.

On return today, thanks to a Google Reader share from Rob Diana, I learned that Yahoo's Ian Kennedy was turning his stuff in tomorrow.

There have been a number of high profile (and not so high profile) key departures from Yahoo!, since the Microsoft deal went west and Carl Icahn joined the Yahoo! board.

Perhaps the most visible departure to the Search and SEO crowd was Jeremy Zawodny, recently married, and a long-time Yahoo! employee who left the company several months ago.

Ian Kennedy was one of those employees who consistently monitored the products that he was responsible for.  When our blog had the MyBlogLog widget installed, and inadvertently inserted it with the fly-out in the wrong direction, Ian was right there in the comments suggesting the fix. 

We wish all the best to Ian in his future endeavorsApparently already on board with Nokia.

As Rob noted in his 'share', it'll be interesting to see what role he plays in his new position.

Look. Up in the Sky. It's Google - ite!

There have been a number of public / private space initiatives that have caught the attention (and imagination) of the tech community over the past few months.

SpaceX, after a live (on the Internet) failed launch, quickly recovered their credibility several weeks later by putting Falcon 1 into orbit on September 28th.

Then there's GeoEye (NASDAQ: GEOY), which we first covered in-depth here

Among GeoEye-1's sponsoring partners is Google, who has gained exclusive 'Internet rights' to the ultra high resolution imagery from the satellite.

Yesterday, as reported by Wired Magazine and confirmed by GeoEye, the satellite delivered it's first high resolution image from space.

The image of Kutztown University (about 45 minutes from here ... by land :) in Central Pennsylvania was crystal clear.   The shots displayed by Wired and Gizmodo are nothing less than amazing. (Is that a huddle on the football field??).

Not only is the Internet moving so fast at this stage that it's hard for anyone to keep up with the next 'big thing', but the 'private' interest in space continues to be funded and is moving rapidly as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A couple of SEO aggregators

Last week, when the subject of Google's new blog search came up, I made a comment about a variety of aggregators that I use over on Friendfeed.

A few of you e-mailed, specifically in the area of SEO, so here's a couple as a 'starter kit'.

For a good 'quick take', try SEOmash.  It's fast, simple and will keep you somewhat up-to-date quickly.

The recently reincarnated Alltop SEO page delves deeper, has a few of my absolute favorites, but also crosses over a bit to a few 'gray area' websites as well as PPC and blog promotion.  (The disclaimer being 'Don't believe everything you read ... Things change quickly!').

I'll try and update the blogroll next week with a few more, but I hope this brief post helps some of you interested in Search and Search Engine Optimization.

Sidenote for SEO fans:  SMX East rolls into the Javits Convention Center in NYC tomorrow through Wednesday.  The last time I looked, there were still networking and all-access passes available.  If your thing is SEO, it's worth a stop by the expo at the very least.

Cooliris (formerly PicLens) now offers '3D' style shopping

There aren't too many products that I can remember featuring here four times.

Cooliris (formerly PicLens) may be the first.

It's the user interface that makes it useful, and just fun!

Apparently the team that created the popular Internet Explorer / Firefox add-on, that allows you to search photos and videos in '3D', has found a way to monetize the product (or so it seems).

Version 1.8.3 lets you do in a little 3D shopping at Amazon, Macys, Walmart, Nordstrom, Lands End as well as numerous other online stores.

The (highly addictive :) free program still offers numerous web searches, and the 'discover' feature which allows you to browse through various categories and, in my case, discover new places that you may not elsewhere.

The upgrade is not yet 'announcing itself' to Firefox users.  I had a heads up from the team last week and simply offloaded the old version and loaded the new one.

Ironically, one of the things I like the most is that the search occasionally 'misses' (not unusual for photo searches) and takes me to places I've never been before.  Discovery in a random fashion, which sometimes can be enlightening and / or enjoyable.

So, here's a chance to take a break from your Twitter or Friendfeed addiction and check this latest version out :)

Warning: Allow a little time. You're going to come across some cool stuff and, before you log-on, decide whether or not to hide the credit card.

You can check out the new features or download Cooliris here.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Edit Oct 5 PM

Friday, October 3, 2008

iTunes for Windows goes to version

Apple released an updated version of iTunes 8 for Windows earlier today.

This latest version (available for XP, Vista and 64-bit systems) resolves a problem syncing Genius results to iPods and also addresses an issue where HDTV episodes were being deleted during download.

Other minor fixes are also included in this latest version.

The full download can be found at Apple's website here.

Note: Be sure and check the system requirements on the left side of the download page.  Older systems or those not meeting 'most' of the list will probably experience some problems with iTunes 8.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Google Blog Search launches new look, features

It was back in January that I commented on changes in Google's Blog Search, a story that the readers at Sphinn seemed to like :).

A difficult product to manage (to say the least), Google's Blog Search has been improving and not only providing users with a 'quick take' on the blog world, but as mentioned in January, the product makes makes  it dramatically easier to ferret out those engaging in 'link bait schemes'.

Several new Google initiatives were announced today on the Official Google Blog, including the new features and front page on the Blog Search product.

Also, as pointed to in the past, Google now indexes a lot of blogs literally 'on the fly', moments after being published.  The new Blog Search will most likely take advantage of that facility, as well as it's own 'formula' for listing those blogs that are relevant, to attempt to provide better and faster results.

It is, in fact, a viable competitor to TechMeMe, Gabe Rivera's popular technology technology aggregator  and his other product Memeorandum which covers the world of politics.

There are hundreds of other aggregators out there in unique niches (IE: SEO), as well as all-in-one's such as Thomas Marban's PopUrls (which now includes a second IT page sponsored by Intel).  Inspired by PopUrls, Guy Kawasaki's Alltop is a 'mega-aggregator' that covers a slew of topics and just went through a re-design just last week.

Most recently Duncan Riley launched, a tech aggregator with some unique features.

So what does all of this mean to me, or you?

I've written numerous times that when I do look at TechMeMe, it's AFTER I write a post, so I'm not jaded by what someone else (or 'the crowd') is saying.  

TechMeMe's bot comes around here fairly often.  The two times I literally broke a story here (by accident ?), they became TechMeMe headlines.  Over the past year, we've been listed  approximately 50-60 times in  TechMeMe 'discussion mentions', for which I am thankful.  It's recognition that the blog is 'real' and the content may be interesting to some.

Inquisitr's new 'IQ' has us on Page B.  Good enough.  Duncan Riley is breaking new ground consistently and seems to be having fun doing it.

What's all the fuss about?

In our case, it's not about money, but for many, direct hits and new unique visitors could translate to income.  A TechMeMe headline (especially one that stays around for a while), depending on the topic, could drive as many as 1000 hits to a blog over a short period of time.

Google, once again (and it still remains to be seen how this works out) is just being smart and topical.

With the elections approaching, they also launched a page to help get the vote out.  Politics, it would appear, is where the product will be 'discovered' by many as the US elections approach.  A new voter page was also highlighted on Google's Official Blog today.

Will this new product hurt TechMeMe, PopUrls, or any of the others mentioned about?  My guess is that people will continue to use all of them, as I have, with the 15 or so aggregators that I currently use, particularly when my feed reader is on overload :)

Will this piece end up on any of them?  It's usually a guessing game, but I'll say two (but probably three :) ...


Staff Update: Oct 2 AM