Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No More Answers

Google is shutting down Google Answers.

Adieu to Google Answers

Remember the buzz around iNet when this service was born? We encouraged all of the Surfers to utilize their skills and sign up as a side project (I registered too), but not a single one of us was accepted.

Is this the first Google product to be retired?

(I mean actually retired, rather than never graduating from the lab or being banished from the front page.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Deja Vu (and Internet too)

Saw Deja Vu on Friday. Eagerly anticipated after the teaser trailer due to my well known time travel fascination, but went in skeptical based on the big budget blockbuster vibe and a feeling that the full trailer gave it all away. (Both trailers are here.)

My thought process during and after went something like this:

-Loved the movie while I was watching it, but thought the ending was lame, too Hollywood, and obviously a rewrite.

-Started to deconstruct the time travel in my head and felt it started to fall apart and not make any sense.

-Picked apart the time travel a little bit further and suddenly realized the underlying story and plotting was absolutely brilliant (including the ending, but excluding the laser pointer), and especially impressive given the big budgetness of it.

-Probably the best non-indie time travel flick since 12 Monkeys and BTTF, and even holds it's own against Primer and Donnie Darko.

The other tangential thought I kept having during the movie was this:

How the heck did Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives end up as part of the same government agency? Wikipedia to the rescue.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Slippery Ships On Air

This is a more scientific article than usual, but it does have implications for energy conservation and global commerce.

"YOSHIAKI KODAMA is weaving a magic carpet large enough to carry a ship. Conjured up from thin air at the flick of a switch, this slippery blanket will help transport a fully laden tanker or container ship across the ocean at higher speed, and using far less fuel, than ever before."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Choices = Headaches

I read this blog frequently, and I liked this particular article.

The fellow runs a software shop, but they get other aspects such as UI, marketing, etc. Maybe a little like 37 Signals.

The article discusses the many choices in turning off a computer using Windows Vista.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My New Movie

I'm Gonna Kill You Saturday Night is a short film I shot in September. It's a dark comedy described as follows:
"When Jimbo and Stu, two stoner roommates, receive a threatening card in the mail all hell breaks loose as the clock ticks down to Saturday Night."

Check out the website and trailer, linked above. You can get to the trailer quickly by mousing over and clicking on the remote.

We're having a premier in Hollywood on December 5th in the evening (time TBA) so please keep that free - you are all invited!

Yes, shameless plug. BTW, my director designed the website as well -- pretty slick, huh?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Features: "A Collection of Hacks"

Great article about the creator of Firefox's next project -- untangling the loose alliance of applications and hacks that hold the web/desktop interface together to create a more unified system.

Thought this was appropo and similar to Google's approach of making what they have work together better.


The answer, he and his programming partner, Joe Hewitt, decided, resided in the gap between the desktop and the Web. “Right now, people want to shuffle around content,” he says, “but the world’s fused together by a collection of hacks.” Something that should be simple, say, getting photos from a digital camera onto the Web, is a Sisyphean task for most people. “Step back and ask, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’” Ross says.

The problem, according to Ross, is there’s no simple, cohesive tool to help people store and share their creations online. Currently, the steps involved depend on the medium. If you want to upload photos, for example, you have to dump your images into one folder, then transfer them to an image-sharing site such as Flickr. The process for moving videos to YouTube or a similar site is completely different. If you want to make a personal Web page within an online community, you have to join a social network, say, MySpace or Friendster. If you intend to rant about politics or movies, you launch a blog and link up to it from your other pages. The mess of the Web, in other words, leaves you trapped in one big tangle of actions, service ­providers, and applications.

Ross’s answer is named Parakey. As he describes it, from a user’s point of view, Parakey is “a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Features, not products

Wake up call over at Google? Though a little saddened that the quick surprise releases of new cool things will slow down or stop for now, I do agree that some fine tuning and improving of their core will be very welcome.

Interesting how it somewhat mirrors the old Surfboard strategy too. At first it was more sites, more categories, more sections. But later it turned to more automation, tighter Zuma integration, better usability.

Google Puts Lid on New Products

In another sign of Google Inc.'s growth from start-up to corporate behemoth, the company's top executives said Thursday that they had begun telling engineers to stop launching so many new services and instead focus on making existing ones work together better.

The initiative's primary goal is to make Google products easier to use, especially by packaging disparate products. For example, said Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Google plans to combine its spreadsheet, calendar and word-processing programs into one suite of Web-based applications.

The company does not plan to tell engineers to halt all new products, Google said, nor does it plan to kill little-used services.

Rather, the effort is more focused on future development. After launching the initiative this summer, Schmidt said, Google canceled several services in development — which he would not describe — and instructed their creators to instead make them features in other products.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Networking and LinkedIn

Newest episode of Venture Voice is an interview with the founder of LinkedIn. I found most interesting the discussion on what I feel is the biggest problem to the legitimacy of LinkedIn: Mediocre workers with glowing testimonials bringing down the value of a referral by mis-using the networking concept.

It goes into some interesting ideas on how they plan to handle it in the future and how they intend for it to be handled today if people utilize the tool properly.

(If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, this part starts around the 33 minute mark).

Venture Voice #40: Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

Monday, November 06, 2006

Simple Organizing: Scrybe

G. and I were just talking about organizer type applications the other day.

I came across this one, which seems like it's in closed beta currently.

They're doing a cool marketing campaign, where they're using YouTube to do different product demonstrations before they launch it to the public.

I like the PaperSync towards the end.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Time Machine Video

Found a great (though somewhat cheesy)time machine documentary on google video.

The theory is that time travel into the past on very small particles is now feasible. If we could encode information onto said particles, then we could technically send information into the past, but only so far back as the "time machine" has been invented.

Thus, when it is finally created, it may suddenly be flooded with messages from the future. This scientist's theory is that Einstein was correct about black holes - but that laser light itself is actually much more effective at twisting space/time.

Thought Jake of All Trades might really appreciate this. The video is 45 minutes.

Time Machine