Month: May 2009

Hulu Desktop and convergence

Hulu Desktop

I’ve been considering getting a Tivo for a while now because I’m a big fan of time shifting TV and radio and have enjoyed podcasting as a way to time shift my favorite radio shows so why not TV with Tivo? I’m glad I waited because I can now watch all of my fav PBS shows online in their entirety: PBS Video.

Now it seems that Hulu , the site sponsored by commercial TV entities has a desktop application that turns a computer into a TV set.

This is the kind of convergence those who want to time shift video content are looking for although because it’s a commercial-supported site no doubt it will get scummed up with the same kind of crud on commercial TV soon. Still, it’s interesting to sit on the sidelines and watch this stuff. I’d love to fast forward ten years to see what’s up with it.

Ars Technical reviews Hulu Desktop: Hands-on: much to like in Hulu Desktop.

Google Wave

Google Wave is a new collaborative communication tool for the web and because it incorporates so many existing tools (chat, email, threaded discussion, and more) it’s rather hard to describe.

This is the keynote at the Google I/O conference and a development version of Wave is shown and discussed. The keynote is at least an hour but it’s worth watching, even in sections. About a third of the way through they take a Wave thread and embed it into a blog, then update it in real time from both Wave clients and the blog itself and the updates happen across the system. The possibilities for new types of collaboration are huge with this and while the screens may look cluttered, I recommend just focusing on the technology which I think you’ll find impressive.

The playback technology alone is amazing: I can see the entire history of a collaborative document played back, edit by edit. Wow.

Tim O’Reilly discusses Google Wave here: Google Wave: What Might Email Look Like If It Were Invented Today?.

[via David Clark]



The Huntington Gardens, Pasadena, California. While most of the tourists were in the magnificent rose garden, my mother and I snuck into the small and out of the way herb garden where there were some nice poppies. Some of them looked suspiciously like opium and were oozing some kind of sap. No, I didn’t test it out although I was tempted.

Poppy, top view


Small Asian poppy, top view



New Yorker Cover Art, Painted With an iPhone

New Yorker Cover Art, Painted With an iPhone

The cover of the issue of The New Yorker hitting the stands now was done by Jorge Colombo with the Brushes application on his iPhone. I don’t have it yet but will no doubt save it in my New Yorker cover collection.

It “made it easy for me to sketch without having to carry all my pens and brushes and notepads with me, and I like the fact that I am drawing with a set of tools that anybody can have easily in their pocket,” he said. There is one other advantage of the phone, too: no one notices he is drawing. Mr. Colombo said he stood on 42nd Street for about an hour with no interruptions.

Here’s a note at The New Yorker about this as well as a time lapse video of Jorge doing the drawing: Cover Story: Finger Painting.



New York City. A view of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry. I blew this shot last Christmas but on second thought I like it well enough to post now. If you can time the ferry ride for the season, you can catch the Manhattan skyline as the sun goes down and then catch the lights on the return.

The Race to Provide Wi-Fi at 30,000 Feet

The Race to Provide Wi-Fi at 30,000 Feet

So far, said Joe Brancatelli, publisher of the business travel Web site, “there is zero proof” that a significant number of passengers are willing to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi service on domestic routes. (The Aircell service depends on land-based cellular towers and cannot be used on overseas flights.)

Well, I’d use it if it were available on flights I take. It’s about $10 for flights under three hours and $13 for flights over three hours. I’d certainly use it on longer flights and the cost would not be an obstacle on shorter flights, just the hassle of setting up the laptop in coach if that’s where I was would be the issue.

Social Networks Eclipse E-Mail

Drilling Down: Social Networks Eclipse E-Mail

Alongside the explosive growth of online video over the last six years, time spent on social networks surpassed that for e-mail for the first time in February, signaling a paradigm shift in consumer engagement with the Internet.

I’m not sure what this means but it can’t be all good. Time will separate the wheat from the chaff on social networking, it’s a bit too early to make pronouncements.

The future of WIRED Magazine

For Wired, a Revival Lacks Ads

The magazine was started in 1993 to herald the digital revolution, and, caught up in dot-com frenzy, Condé Nast bought it in 1998 (though, perhaps missing the point, the company neglected to buy the Web site for another eight years). Mr. Anderson, who took over in 2001, expanded Wired’s coverage from fringe technology to daily-life technology.

I’ve been getting the magazine since its founding and this year I’m letting it go. WIRED has turned into a collection of self-absorbed stories about a culture that seems like an odd hybrid of Wall Street excess with MIT Media lab geekness interlaced with ads for cars and watches that cost more than my house.

I liked the spirit of the original magazine and even though I had a hard time reading it (it was like reading a color blindness test at times) it made some sense. Anderson may be a guru but that doesn’t make a magazine. End of an era (for me).

[via Gary Sharp]