Toshiba Mobile Viewer

Looks very slick…

Toshiba has just released a consumer multimedia handheld device at the CeBIT 2004 show.

The Toshiba Mobile Viewer is a multimedia player featuring a 3.5-inch LCD display, and a 1.8-inch 20-GB hard disk drive for up to 80 hours of video storage. The Mobile Viewer also converts into a still picture and video recorder, with an optional one megapixel cam module (higher resolution modules to be made available later).

Toshiba has also designed the Mobile Viewer to be able to dock into an audio-video cradle connected to stereo sound speakers, transforming it into a full-featured entertainment unit.[GearBits]

Plug and Play Home Theater?

We can certainly hope this comes soon…

There is hope in the video-HDTV world where a new encrypted format has just been adopted called HDMI. With this computer like connection, you can link HDTV video components together with one nifty cable. The idea is brilliant – you keep digital video signals in the digital domain all the way until they get to your digital video display device (plasma, projector, LCD etc…) The problem is practically every video monitor, receiver and AV preamp are not HDMI compatible. In a year or two this will be less of a problem but for now, you really have to work to make your video system connect digitally. The reward is a fantastically beautiful picture thanks to not having to degrade or mangle your video in conversions from digital to analog and back to digital again.

While home theater in a box (HTIB) is a popular concept at the entry level of home theater there is still a lot more connections and programming needed to have your system make you truly happy. In coming years, higher end AV companies will likely adopt the general idea of HTIB for their components with the kind of ease of use you find today with an iMac. Between now and then, consider the idea that your AV system is only as good as its installation, programming and calibration. While it can cost you fractionally more, the idea of hiring a respected local dealer or CEDIA custom installer is often an excellent idea to make your home theater jump through hoops in ways mere mortals simply can not. [AudioRevolution]


Broadband Reports says rumors are circulating that Microsoft could buy AOL. The New York Post claims Time Warner execs have met privately with Microsoft about a possible purchase of the black-sheep of the Time Warner family. Time Warner lawyers are also analyzing any possible antitrust violations such a merger would cause, the Post claims. A Microsoft investment in Time Warner Cable is also being considered, the paper says.

A deal might combine AOL’s 24 million subscribers with the 9 million at Microsoft’s MSN.

What’s their broadband strategy? How about licensed broadband wireless – from Nextel or Sprint. [Daily Wireless]

BenQ’s Treo 600 killer

Live from the CeBIT trade show floor, a (blurry) photo of the P50 Pocket PC Phone, BenQ’s Treo 600 killer which has a large LCD screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera and a mini-keyboard. [Engadget]

Ridiculously Easy Group Forming

Tantek Celik is a software development lead at Microsoft Corp. Joi Ito founded Neoteny, a venture capital firm focused on personal communication technologies. Pete Kaminski iniated the Social Software Alliance and serves as CTO for SocialText. Sam Ruby is a 21-year veteran of IBM and works as an open-source software consultant. And Adam Weinroth founded Easyjournal.

The SXSW Interactive panelists explored how to quickly form groups and teams using social software tools. The panel also discussed what happens when team members are allowed to quickly and easily contribute content to various projects. What follows is a partial discussion of the panel. [Fast Company Now]

Google Launches Local Search

This looks sweet – I did a search for free wifi in my neighborhood.

Today, Google officially launched Google Local, a search feature designed to make local searches easier. Users can type in a search term followed by a city name or go to and perform the search there. Last week, Yahoo launched a local search feature through its Yahoo Maps application, allowing users to drill down locally to restaurants and other local destinations. While not available right now, Google has plans to offer local advertising on the new service. CNET reports. [MarketingWonk]

Back in business

So I think the kinks are just about worked out and tests have been nuked. I was having some issues with MT but after some tweaks of the permissions we are all good. No idea why the files got off-center but all is good now. Posting will now resume!

UI Wars: Sony loves Symbian – grits teeth

Launching two new high-end phones this week, Sony Ericsson’s CEO, Katsumi Ihara, gave a pointed reminded to Symbian that its commitment had better not waver.

“There are two important factors for Sony Ericsson with the Symbian OS,” Ihara said, ComputerWire reports. “It should be open to anybody. Not perceived as proprietary to a single manufacturer. [It also depends on] UIQ being developed within Symbian. As long as those two conditions are met, Symbian will remain our open platform of choice.”

Back when Symbian couldn’t decide to be in or out of the UI business, but really thought it should be out, a buyer was discreetly sought for the Ronneby lab. Discussions to create a joint-venture with Motorola reached quite an advanced stage. But David Levin, Symbian’s second CEO, thought it would be in Symbian’s strategic interest to continue to offering UIQ; he decided instead to keep it, but give the lab some independence.

Ihara’s nudge is a reminder of how important this decision turned out to be. The disgruntled shareholders who assembled in London this week for Psion’s EGM base their opposition on the belief that Symbian is worth more as a vendor-neutral joint venture backed by the largest handset manufacturers. With Motorola having pulled out last year, the “neutral” proposition now very much depends on Sony Ericsson. It has a hit phone with the P900, and where there’s volume and an open platform, there should be developers.

Why can’t Sony Ericsson simply up its stake? Despite two illustrious parents, the company has been severely constricted for cash. In Ericsson’s case, it’s can’t pay; in Sony’s case, it’s won’t pay. The UIQ team gave Sony Ericsson more reasons to be cheerful at Cannes, announcing a one-handed UIQ user interface that will compete for developers with Series 60. But with resources tight, Sony Ericsson has a reason to be reluctant to pour money into a venture which will be perceived to be owned by Nokia. Why should it do the heavy lifting for the Finns? [The Register]

The Sound of a Paradigm Shift

Maybe we add our finished song in a DRM (Digital Rights Management) format to our label’s syndication feed of what’s new — the pay-subscription service we run to which only college radio stations can subscribe. Why do they subscribe and why do we need a “label?”? Maybe “tastemaker” weblogs or other types of sites will appear. Maybe a label is simply somebody who recommends songs and forms a reputation or even “a brand”? for their services. Really, the distribution and marketing is wide open. On “Grey Tuesday” it was a volunteer effort; not everyone is going to want to host files and increase their bandwidth bills for the benefit of “the music.”? Will labels pay for weblog distribution? Can Google Ads serve as effective advertising for new music, or will something else take their place? iTunes, while a pleasure to use, is very difficult to browse. Perhaps Apple could be convinced to open their framework to allow something beyond iTunes links and operate more on the Amazon referral and API model. The direction this will take is completely up in the air. [halfass]

Thanks to A VC for the link…

‘HP Music’ goes live, Apple offers iTunes for HP

I don’t know about you, but this feels pretty damn corporate and cold too me… not like it should be… fun! I realize the service is Apple’s but the HP site certainly stays well within the corporate standard. You’d think this would be a case where you might want to bend the rules a bit…

HP yesterday launched a website for HP Music, its forthcoming music download service based on iTunes… [MacNN]

Study: Spam Filters Often Lose E-Mails

AP – As spam-fighting tools become increasingly aggressive, e-mail recipients risk losing newsletters and promotions they’ve requested. [Yahoo! News – Technology – Spam]

A new study attempts to quantify missed bulk mailings. Return Path, a company that monitors e-mail performance for online marketers, found that nearly 19 percent of e-mail sent by its customers never reached the inboxes of intended recipients.

The figure, for the last half of 2003, is up 3.7 percentage points from the same period in 2002.

In some cases, the messages weren’t delivered at all; in other cases, messages wound up in spam folders that are rarely checked. Though technical glitches can also cause mail to disappear, Return Path blames most of the deletions on spam filters.