Google Buys Jaiku

Tuesday, 9 October 2007, 9:42 am
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Google acquires JaikuGreat news for Jyri and Petteri and the Jaiku team – Google has just bought the company.

This is so well deserved – the Jaikus have been working so hard and have created a superior product.

Google already owns Dodgeball – but Jaiku has so many additional cool features. I presume this means a native Jaiku client on the GPhone?

And you can continue to follow me on Jaiku at chieftwit.jaiku.com.

Emerging From The Hall Of Justice?

Monday, 8 October 2007, 10:32 pm
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Virgin America_s Virgin Americans.jpgKevin and Alex are featured in a new series of online ads for Virgin America.

As bloggers.

Other actual bloggers appearing in the ad are Xeni Jardin, Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing and Pete Rojas of Engadget. I hope they’re getting a bunch of money for it. Or at least free tickets.

Windows Live Writer Wrocks

Sunday, 7 October 2007, 9:56 pm
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Made with MarsEdit I usually use Daniel Jalkut’s MarsEdit on the Mac to edit my posts here. It’s a sweet little program that works with Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, and most other blogging platforms. It allows offline editing, and greatly simplifies posting images from Flickr and so forth. I used Ecto for this for years – it’s still around and works on Windows and Mac – but MarsEdit 2 is my tool of choice on the Mac.

A number of friends have been raving to me about the free Windows Live Writer (WLW), though, so I decided to try it this evening. Wow!

For all the things Microsoft has done wrong (cough Vista cough), Windows Live Writer really is done right. It’s designed for Microsoft’s own blogging platforms, of course, but it also supports WordPress, Blogger, and the usual suspects.

Sample Map

WLW gives you a live preview based on the actual blog style sheets – impressive – supports embedding of pictures, video, maps, and more, and best of all supports plug-ins so other blogger/programmers can extend it (with Flickr support, for example).

The picture embedding interface is an example of how rich this program is. It doesn’t just upload an image and insert the relevant HTML, it has built-in picture editing tools, too. You can add a drop shadow or photo frame, resize, rotate, and adjust contrast. Or add special effects like sepia toning, watermarks, and more. All without leaving WLW.

There are some negatives. WLW embeds a lot of HTML into posts, which means they’re harder to read if you edit them with WordPress’s own editor. And some of the layout defaults aren’t great (notice the left justified “Sample Map” above). But considering this is only beta 3 there aren’t many rough edges.

I’ve always been really impressed by the Windows Live tools – these guys may be doing the best programming at Microsoft. At least there’s some consolation for those of you stuck working in Windows, and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Daniel doesn’t add some of these features to Mars Edit, too, which will make Mac folks a little less envious.

New Tech Guy Stations

Sunday, 7 October 2007, 8:47 am
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We're #1!The radio show is doing quite well. Not only did we sell out all advertising in 2007, we’ve consistently added new markets thanks to Kurt Kretzschmar and his great team at Premiere radio networks.

With the addition of the following stations we’ll be in 35 markets and on XM satellite.

WPEK-AM 880 (Asheville, NC)
DMA #36/Greenville, NC
Airtime: LIVE Saturday 2p-5p ET
*Starting Saturday, October 6th, 2007

KIPA-AM 620 (Kailua-Kona, HI)

DMA #72/Honolulu, HI
Airtime: LIVE Saturday & Sunday 8a-11a HT
*Starting Saturday, October 20th, 2007

KKEE-AM 1230 (Astoria, OR)

DMA #23/Portland, OR
Airtime: LIVE Saturday 11a-2p PT
*Starting Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

WCBX-AM 900 (Martinsville, VA)
DMA #68/Roanoke, VA
Airtime: LIVE Saturday 1a-2p ET
*Sarting Saturday January 12th, 2008

Thanks to the general managers and program directors at these stations for picking up The Tech Guy!

MacWorld Expo

Sunday, 7 October 2007, 6:51 am
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MacWorld Expo is coming up January 15-18 and we’re planning to do several shows from the convention hall including MacBreak Weekly and TWiT. Save the date.

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CES is the week before and I’m happy to say I will be skipping that monster of a show for the third year in a row. I was thinking of doing the radio show from there until I found out that for the first time CES would not be open on the weekend. Just as well. It’s an almost impossible conference to cover on-site (and I’ll be getting back from a family trip to Egypt the day before anyway).

RIM Throws A Curve

Saturday, 6 October 2007, 5:29 pm
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3AE21776-4340-4E94-AE80-AE0ABDF7C0BC.jpgI’ve been setting up my new Blackberry Curve 8320 and it provides a striking contrast to the iPhone, both positive and negative.

The 8320 is a lot more complicated and harder to setup, but then it’s much more functional. It supports third-party applications but so far I’ve only felt a need for two, Bee Jive – a multi-client IM program, and Google maps, both recommended by Dan Hendricks.

It comes with a nice range of programs including a password vault, very capable voice dialing, it’s own mapping program designed for use with a third-party GPS unit, and a Breakout game. There’s an ok browser that’s not as good as Safari and a media player also not as good as the iPod but with limited storage you’re not going to be using this as a music player. Blackberry is a phone first, email and messaging device second, and media player/browser a distant third.

It doesn’t have a touch interface but the pearl trackball works nearly as well with Google Maps, and the physical keyboard is lightyears easier to use, and more accurate, than the on-screen keyboard. I do greatly miss the classic Blackberry thumbwheel. The pearl just feels cheesy and seems less practical even though it does give you a broader range of motion. The two-megapixel camera is not much better than the iPhone’s although it does seem to offer better white balance and optics. It’s too slow to use for anything but the occasional snapshot.

Sample Blackberry 8320 photo

Of most interest in the 8230 is Wi-Fi support. The phone comes out of the box with integrated VOiP (!) and will use the Wi-Fi for calls in lieu of the T-Mobile network when it’s available. This is exactly the kind of thing AT&T must most have dreaded on the iPhone, but T-Mobile encourages it. Talk about different world views.

The 8320 out-of-the-box experience is nothing near as slick as the iPhone’s. If I hadn’t had a lot of experience with Blackberries I’d be lost. It’s pretty obviously intended for an IT department to set up. As it is I’m having trouble configuring email. T-Mobile doesn’t seem to know I have a Blackberry and hasn’t sent the needed software down. Beside the usual Blackberry corporate support, the phone also works with Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and other POP systems. It appears to poll these systems periodically for mail.

Chester Plays ChessBottom line: The 8320 is a complicated device and there’s a steep learning curve. It’s not as beautiful as the iPhone, or as functional as a browser and media player, but it’s many times more useful for email and messaging. I’ve always loved Blackberries, and the 8320 is the most elegant Blackberry yet.

Not Dead Yet

Thursday, 4 October 2007, 6:15 pm
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Holy CowPeople seem to have misinterpreted my “dead cow” analogy and are assuming that I bricked my iPhone. Nope. I have both the original iPhone, upgraded to 1.1.1, and the unlocked iPhone still and forever at 1.0.2. I’m donating the latter to The Lab for further experimentation. I’ll keep the locked phone around so I can continue to cover the platform, which was the reason I bought it in the first place.

It’s not for myself that I am whining, or even others I know whose phone were bricked. My point is that it’s punitive for Apple to intentionally damage unlocked iPhones, and I believe that’s wrong.

To those who say we can’t know Apple’s intention, I’d respond that it would have been a simple bit of coding to checksum the modem firmware and refuse to update if it had been modified. In fact, that would have been a prudent precaution no matter what. By choosing not to do so Apple is making its intent clear, and absent any statement to the contrary from Cupertino I’m going to continue to think Apple wishes unlockers ill, no matter what Fake Steve Jobs says.

To prove I still have a working iPhone, here are two pictures from my hotel window in Vancouver. One with the iPhone and one with the Nokia N95. You tell me which you prefer.

Nokia N95

Nokia

iPhone

Apple

Oh, and incidentally on the Nokia and the unlocked iPhone uploading these images in full quality to Flickr takes one click using third party apps (ShoZu on the N95 and Send Picture on the iPhone). On the locked iPhone I had to dock to my Mac, import the photo into iPhoto, export it, and then upload to Flickr. That’s one of the reasons I want to be able add third-party apps to my mobile phones.

Now I’m going to run to the Fatburger next door and have a veggie burger. No more dead cows for me. Good night.

The Race Begins

Thursday, 4 October 2007, 7:51 am
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sputnik.jpgSputnik was launched on this day 50 years ago, beginning the space race.

And there’s a more personal anniversary for me. It was on this day, three years ago, that I created my first podcast: an RSS feed of episodes of my radio show.

You can read my post about it here. We’ve come a long way in three years!

Zunes Now Support Podcasts

Wednesday, 3 October 2007, 9:25 pm
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Zune.net | Home - Welcome to the Social.jpgMicrosoft has launched its new Zunes and lo and behold they support podcasts! And there will be a firmware update to the old Zunes which will presumably add podcasts to the menu there too.

It’s about time! I’ve never been happier to have been proven wrong. (Just in case you’re keeping score I thought the word “podcast” would never appear on a Microsoft product.)

Three More Days To Book Your Hotel For Blog World

Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 7:13 pm
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Join Me at Blog World ExpoBlog World is coming up in Las Vegas November 8-9. I’m told I’m giving a talk on “The Cult of the Blog” Friday at 10:15a and many fellow TWiTs including Alex Lindsay and Scott Bourne will also be presenting.

If you were planning on attending, hurry up and book your hotel. The Blog World hotel discounts expire Friday. See you there!

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