Friday, August 28, 2009

Tweetmeme launches V2 - Embraces JS-Kit ECHO

There's simply no disputing that Tweetmeme has been one of the fastest growing services to make use of the Twitter API.

It's safe the say the small company redefined 'retweeting', a vehicle that many Twitter users use to direct attention to a specific earlier 'Tweet'.

The Tweetmeme 'button' can now be seen on literally thousands of blogs. 

Twitter didn't miss the buzz either and announced the beginning of their own retweet project a couple of weeks ago.

A few hours ago, Tweetmeme launched 'V2' (or Version 2) announcing on the Tweetmeme blog: "today’s release really is a complete revamp of the site that encompasses a total rewrite of our scoring system, filtering engine and a whole raft of user interface enhancements and tweaks" .

The blog post also noted that Tweetmeme is now working with JS-Kit's ECHO commenting system with the intent of  "recommending and distributing Echo as the preferred solution to track the distributed conversation on blogs".

While Disqus, Backtype and combinations of other existing services already provide similar functionality, the intent here apparently is to send the traffic back to blogs, many of which have lost page views to their own RSS feeds, feed readers, and other open distribution methods.

Will more blogs continue to add the Tweetmeme button at today's (or a faster) pace?


Will a marriage with JS-Kit's ECHO work?  The jury is probably still out on this although it's certainly a thought provoking development.

One thing we know for sure.  With Friendfeed's recent sale to Facebook, a lot of developers will be looking at Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others for ways to monetize existing products with a heavy buzz ... and ....   there will continue to be some heavy competition.

Stay tuned :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Countdown to Disqus Version 3 (Updated)

 It's no secret that I've been high on Disqus since it's introduction.

Thousands of blogs have implemented links to Twitter and Facebook over the past year and Disqus has been leveraging both services (plus Friendfeed) for some time.

Apparently the crew at Disqus has been working on a brand new version ... (Did someone say real-time??)

...  A link to the video (embedded below) was posted to the Disqus Facebook page earlier today.

Coming next week .....

DISQUS V3 from Giannii on Vimeo.

Update Aug 25, 2009 - Disqus V3 was turned on this morning.  Details can be found at the Disqus blog here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Microsoft announces ZuneHD Pre-Orders

The ZuneHD

Microsoft's latest Zune MP3 player has a sleek new look and feel and this morning Microsoft announced that pre-orders for the new ZuneHD will begin today.

Onboard is a an OLED touch screen, built-in HD Radio player, WiFi connectivity, a web browser and more. 
The ZuneHD interfaces with the new version 4.0 PC software and has a newly-expanded online ZuneHD social networking community.

Microsoft's new ZuneHD will initially come in Black and Silver and a choice of 16 or 32 MB of memory.  5 colors are expected to be added in September prior to the retail roll-out on September 15th.

The 16 MB ZuneHD is launching with a suggested retail price of $219.99 and the 32 GB version at $289.99 (US).  Pre-orders are being taken at the Microsoft (online) Store and several retail outlets.

The press release from Microsoft can be found here.
Updated for content 7 PM Aug 13

Update 2 - 8/14 8 PM : Numerous hands-on reviews are in and are mostly positive (making one think that Microsoft had even more than Windows 7 and Bing in their back pocket ??!!  ... Check out this piece at Gizmodo earlier today.  

Monday, August 10, 2009

Facebook's best move yet - Friendfeed.

There's simply no disputing that Facebook's footprint is now everywhere.  The boomer generation is now there. Their kids (and grandkids?!) are there. In some cases, even Grandma and Grandpa!

On the heels of a (VERY) successful launch of Facebook Connect, which appeared on blogs and websites everywhere within weeks, (as well as implementation by large social sites such as DIGG .......

 .... the news came earlier today that Facebook is acquiring Friendfeed, or as Bret Taylor put it .... in classic Friendfeed style ...."Friendfeed accepted Facebook's Friend Request".

Most people never really got to know Friendfeed.  To some, the latest look and feel made it easier to use.

The true magic of Friendfeed and the very high level of innovation, on an ongoing basis, was never realized by many of those discovering the service.  There were so many features (many of them not readily visible) that people simply didn't know how to use or leverage them, or simply didn't have time to figure it out.

Many asked, on a regular basis, why we (yes, I'll include myself) were so loyal to Friendfeed.  Why we continued to post about it.  Why we urged people to try it.

The answer is simple.  You could make Friendfeed just about anything you wanted it to be.  The user was in complete control.  The uptime was extraordinary and there were NO LIMITS as I recently blogged.

Bret's post tells the story.  We don't know yet what will become of Friendfeed.  Certainly, it has changed A LOT since the launch.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting a purchase price of just under 50 million (US) dollars in cash and stock making it one of the largest acquisitions between two privately held companies in a long time.

The bottom line here is NOT the money although I think looking for a payout for hard work in a rocky economy instead of chasing a way to monetize (at the right price) makes perfect sense.

The important thing here is for the Venture Capital people to be watching.  The banks, even more importantly, that have all but cut off innovation by stopping lending to small businesses.   

It can be done.

I'm looking forward with anxious anticipation to the next chapter (and not yet combining the two on the right :).

Very sincere congratulations to the entire Friendfeed team.  This says a lot more than just a brilliant start-up being acquired.  For many, it restores hope in their own start-ups, and hopefully will be recognized by many as an example they can look to.

From a personal standpoint, I've said it before.  Some of my best contacts in the past 2 years were, in fact, made on Friendfeed.  I am personally grateful to you guys.

As I was just about to take a week or two of from blogging, there was simply no way I wasn't going to write this piece.  It's just exciting.

One thing we now know for sure .....

The real-time web is here .... in a big way ....

...... and it's probably just the beginning.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Namoroka - The Next Firefox

Firefox 3.6 pre-alpha has been on the Mozilla servers for some time going through early testing by the community.

Today, Mozilla removed the 'pre' from their next browser and the latest alpha now has a project name ....

Welcome to 'Namoroka'.

System requirements, release notes, new features, schedules and download links for Namoroka (Note: This is an ALPHA release and is intended for testers and developers) can now be found all on one page here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Microsoft - More Windows 7

Over the past 2 months, Microsoft has launched a barrage of information to the public on their upcoming operating system, Windows 7.

Finding the information hasn't been too difficult as they've also done a pretty decent job linking up the variety new websites and blogs, including the most recent (If you haven't seen this, it's a very cool rendering of what Silverlight 3 can do).

Yesterday, another list of new resources was posted to the Windows Team Blog here by Microsoft's Yochay Kiriaty.  A host of tools and resources supporting the RTM (Release to Manufacturing).

The Windows 7 website that still hasn't seen much press (or internal links) and does a great job augmenting the Springboard Series on Technet, is the recently-launched which can be found here ..... Lots of familiar Microsoft faces and more.

For those that haven't tried the RC or weren't able to download the RTM from MSDN or TechNet yesterday (see below), you can get an inside look at Windows 7 with this easy-to-navigate Microsoft website.  Note: The videos are powered by Silverlight which can be downloaded here.

If you weren't able to downloads the RTM yesterday, visit Brandon LeBlanc's updated post to the Windows Team Blog here.  (IE: There's probably a reason).

A few reminders.  Free Downloads of the Windows 7 Release Candidate will terminate on August 20 I recommend downloading a 'spare' if you can find your original DVD and/or don't qualify for the RTM. The RC will be fully functional until March 2010 (and you may decide to install it later).  Keys are still available as well. The shortest path to the RC is here.  If you don't save this post (or print it), just remember It doesn't get any easier.

Microsoft positively has a hit with this latest operating system and the recently released pricing makes it the most affordable in the company's history.

The Windows Team Blog remains the best source of breaking developments and can be subscribed to in RSS, or viewed here. You can follow the team updates on Twitter here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Google Chrome - It's a brand new beta (Update 3)

 A short time ago, Googler Glen Murphy introduced the latest beta of Google's Chrome browser on the Google Chrome Blog.

Chrome Version Beta adds a variety of enhancements and features including some implimentation of HTML 5, support for the just-out Chrome themes, optimization of the Omnibox as well as an up to 30% improvement in overall speed.

There are currently three versions of Google Chrome. The stable edition, the beta edition (for testers) and the 'dev' channel (for developers).

You need to be on the beta channel for this one (Although in some cases, you can simply overwrite your current version with a fresh download).

There was also a strange anomaly in other versions of Chrome which made the browser incompatible with Google owned Blogger.

I'm happy to say, this post was written with Chrome (IE: It works but still needs a 'little' tuning :).

The Google Chrome blog post with lots more information can be found here.

Update: The Chrome Beta piece has also now been crossposted to the Official Google Blog here.

Update 2: (Aug 7, 2009) The Chrome Dev Channel Browser has now been updated as well.  Details on version can be found here.

Update 3: (Aug 18, 2009) All three versions of Chrome are now carrying 4.0 version designations with improved compatibility and more.

Microsoft Office Domains - Not Free Anymore

When Microsoft introduced Office Live on the web as a beta product in 2006, one of the things they did to entice users into trying it was to let you register a domain name for free .... with free renewals.

Considering the cost these days of securing a domain, it really wasn't that big a deal, but it did make it easier and more inviting to test out the product.  In many cases, as the web designer portion improved, many landed their primary websites there.

In the event you didn't get the memo, the renewals aren't free anymore.

Beginning October 1, those who 'accepted' a free domain for Microsoft's Office Live (most were registered through Melbourne IT with a One Microsoft Way admin address) will be charged a $14.95 (US) renewal fee as they begin to expire.

I'm sure there are many who don't check their associated e-mails anymore (or often) so this is simply a heads up that if you did register a domain name through Microsoft that you absolutely LOVE, you may want to head on over to this page to check out the upcoming changes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Fix is In - Firefox moves to Version 3.5.2

The latest version of Firefox 3.5 (Version 3.5.2) has just started reaching users here in the US via automatic upgrade.

While the browser continued to grow it's market share last month, there were numerous reports (mostly from those using earlier Mac's) concerning stability of the newer, faster generation Mozilla browser.

Late yesterday, Mozilla released Firefox Version 3.5.2 addressing many stability as well as security issues.

If you haven't been upgraded yet, Firefox users can simply tap 'Help' at the top of the browser, then 'Check for Updates'. Most users (than haven't gone back to 3.0.12) should see an automatic upgrade soon.

The multiple language and various platform download page for new installs can be found here ..... and the latest release notes here.

A new, easier to navigate add-on gallery (sortable by version) is also now online here (with lots of updated and new extensions).

Update 1: 4 PM ET Aug 4 - The older version of Firefox that some people went back to and/or are still using has also been upgraded to version 3.0.13.  A post is now up on the Mozilla blog here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can Google challenge Microsoft Office?

Google is on the offensive. Target: Microsoft.

Less than a week after Microsoft's deal to become Yahoo's organic search provider, not long after introducing their much-improved search product Bing, and creating a seemingly viable competitor in search, Google is firing back at one of Microsoft's most profitable businesses .... Microsoft Office.

This is not the first time. Ads for Google Apps (obviously targeting Microsoft) have been proliferating the Internet for several weeks.

Google is doing the billboard thing (Yes, billboards!), examples of which an be found on a new 'Google Apps, Share the Word' page here.

The new ad campaign is also encouraging commercial customers of Google Apps to share their stories.

The question remains ... will more users embrace 'cloud computing'?

Google's offerings are almost entirely online. The advantage being that you don't have to download patches and updates to your PC or Mac. On the flip side, there's still a long way to go before many users will trust putting a majority of their documents and/or sensitive documents online.

Microsoft currently offers both options, although they haven't been as aggressive in pushing their online product recently. Microsoft Office Live has been improving over time and many applications directly 'talk' to Microsoft Office client products, making syncing easier.

Both companies offer a free version of their online products as well.

Early conclusions?

Just as Google managed to force to US Telcos to 'open' some of the brand new US mobile spectrum by bidding actively in the FCC auctions (and lobbying heavily for open space), Google could push Microsoft's margins down on Office without even making a substantial dent in the user base.

Windows 7 is already seeing price pressure and adjusting accordingly.

Is this a violation of the Google 'do no evil' mantra?

It's not.

It's called business. It's good for the consumer .. and both companies need to stay keenly aware of the future, while continuing to innovate and diversify in order to maintain their leadership positions.

The Going Google post to the Official Google Blog can now be found here.