* You are viewing the archive for November, 2006

Wal-Mart Releasing Movie Downloads Versus TiVo Adding Commercials

TivologoWalmartlogo Both Wal-Mart and TiVo had some big news today in the area of trying to commercialize the latest advances in digital media. Wal-Mart released its movie download service with a twist: you have to buy the DVD. But for a few bucks extra, you get a download too. TiVo decided to sell advertising space at the end of recorded programs and track how many people watch them. So the question of the day is:

Which of these new services is more likely to succeed (or fail)?

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Search 2.0: Customize & Refine Your Results Easily

SearchmashlogoA9logoLast week I pointed out that the easiest way for Google to improve search would be to allow one query to bring up separated results by regular sites, blogs, news, photos, and/or video. I mentioned that the big three for me would be regular search results, blog posts, and news. I’d be able to get pertinent, organized results in one third the time. Why not put in my search query once and get the top 10 results from each category on the same page?

Well, it turns out Google does do some of that through its experimental site SearchMash.com. Though, personally, I’m even more impressed with Amazon’s A9.com, which offers more customizations for even better search results. Here’s how they compare:

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The Rise (or Fall?) of In-Text Advertising: Is It News…or Is It an Ad?

IntextadsThe latest trend in online advertising (you know, that thing that feeds all these websites with otherwise free information) is in-text ads. If you see a word on a website with a double underline (supposedly the “double” part makes it so you won’t confuse it with a link), click on it and chances are an ad window will appear (see picture).

This embedded advertising has been online for a while even if only a few dozen larger sites have used it (such as IGN.com and ScienceDaily.com). But that’s all changing now with mainstream journalistic sites trying it out (such as Fox News and Popular Mechanics), which is already causing some controversy. The tradition in the print medium was to keep editorial content separate from ads, and many were hoping the tradition would hold true online.

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Wii Workout Poll Results: Americans vs. Non-Americans

Wii2This is part 3 of what I’ve decided to call the “Will Workout Series.” Part 1 was discussing how the new Nintendo Wii is causing aching backs and sore shoulders (among other things) across America. Part 2 was a poll to determine if it was just Americans or if others are experiencing this phenomenon. And part 3… The results of the poll!

The poll is still open for anyone interested, but the results I’ll analyze and discuss here are from the first 300 votes. To recap, the question was “If you own a Nintendo Wii, how much of a workout is it for you?” Here are the results (followed by commentary below):

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Poll: If you have a Wii, is it a workout?

Wii_2So the buzz around the blogosphere is that Americans are lazy because they have made mention of aching backs and sore shoulders after playing games on the new Nintendo Wii. The Wall Street Journal article I mentioned earlier gave many examples of Americans getting more than they bargained for while playing Wii games.

While the notion that Americans are lazy could be true, I thought I’d make a poll and ask. Sure, it’s a highly imperfect way to gather information on the lazy state of America, but so is reading one article about a few Americans… But never mind all that, let’s have some fun and see what we get!

Question: If you own a Nintendo Wii, how much of a workout is it for you?

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A Wii Workout: When Videogames Hurt

Wii_1The Wall Street Journal (subscription not needed) has an interesting article out today describing the aches and pains of Wii players. For those who might have been hibernating this Fall, the Wii is the latest gaming console from Nintendo that was released just two days after Sony’s PlayStation 3.

The Wii does not try to compete on a technical level (i.e. game graphics, etc.). Instead, Nintendo is hoping to convert non-gamers with “intuitive game play.” The controller it comes with is a wireless, motion-sensitive wand-like device that gamers wave around in the air perhaps as a sword, gun, steering wheel, tennis racket, or whatever a particular game calls for. But apparently, this type of game play amounts to some fairly intense exertion. Reports are coming in of aching backs, sore shoulders, and something now called “Wii elbow.”

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The Easiest Way for Google to Improve Search

Googleblogsearchlogo_1The tech blogosphere is excited by the findings of Andy Boyd. He has a screen shot of a Google search that shows the search results giving up space for a separate section of blog results (see picture below). Among others, Techcrunch and Google Blogoscoped have their own take on what this means and where it could go.

Here’s my question: Why hasn’t Google done this already? And not only for blog searches but perhaps even for news, pictures, and/or video. The big three, for me at least, would be regular search results, blog posts, and news. I’d say that over half of my searches I do three times. Why not put in my search query once and get the top 10 results from each category on the same page?

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Review of Carbonite: Online PC Backup Made Easy

Carbonite is an automated online backup service that is in the business of pleasing anyone who needs a computer backed up but who hates remembering to do it (that would be most of us). I’ve been giving the service a trial run for the last few days via the company’s two week free trial. Though there may be a couple of features I’d like to see implemented, the company’s mantra of “Backup. Simple.” definitely holds true.

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