Monthly Archives: January 2008

Chris Nuttall

Audible Amazon is looking more like Apple every day in the audio department.

It now has an iPod (its Kindle electronic book plays MP3s), iTunes (its MP3 beta service), downloadable video to rent or buy (Unbox) and now podcasts and audiobooks ( it just bought Audible for $300m). 

MySpace has confirmed that Josh Berman, COO, will leave the social networking site to take on a ‘senior role’ at Slingshot Labs, a new venture backed by News Corp, whose mission will be to incubate internet startups. Rumours of the move had been circulating since last week when Chris DeWolfe, the MySpace founder, told the New York Times about the incubator.

MySpace also said it would brief reporters next week on details of its bid to open up to outside developers. The FT revealed in June that MySpace that the popular social networking site hoped to take a page from Facebook, its smaller rival, by launching its own equivalent of the Facebook Platform. In November, MySpace announced that it had joined forces with Google on OpenSocial, an open alternative to Facebook’s platform.  

Paul Taylor

Palm Desert, California: Exactly one year ago at the DEMO 2007 technology conference, Adobe showcased Adobe AIR (then code-named ‘Apollo.’)

While many software developers have been focused in recent years on ways to move desktop applications onto the Web, Adobe Air makes it possible to move internet applications to the desktop. 

Chris Nuttall

Xtranormal_2 Palm Desert, California: Online video creation, distribution and analytics are becoming more sophisticated as the industry matures. A number of companies focused on video are launching products here at DEMO 08. The highlights:

Xtranormal, based in Montreal, Canada, introduced "movie-making in a box". It can turn an IM-like chat into a movie, attaching the text to a 3D avatar and using emoticon-type animation icons in the text to add movements. It’s an intuitive interface that should be easy enough for children to construct school projects and adults to make their own chat shows, business presentations or animated blogs. Users can add their own mugshots to the avatar to make it more realistic and their animation can take place in a range of sets. Xtranormal will likely sell additional packs of props and sets. The finished result can easily be published to a blog or social networking site. Xtranormal plans to launch in April. 

Maija Palmer

Bill Gates faced a fairly benign crowd at the Institute of Directors in  London on Wednesday morning where he made  his last UK speech  before his retirement.

But it was not without a few moments of controversy.  

Paul Taylor

Demo_08 The Demo technology conference underway in Desert Springs, California always throws up a few standout start-ups – along with lots of ‘me-toos.’ Among the standouts this time around were a couple of communications start-ups with practical and interesting products and services that have the potential to disrupt.

My favourite was Toktumi (pronounced talk-to-me), whose product (also called Toktumi) provides small and home office businesses with a full-functioned PC-based office phone system at really low cost. Toktumi – described by one of my colleagues here as ‘Skype for grown-ups” – is actually a hosted PBX (private branch exchange) service running on the company’s servers in San Francisco. 

Chris Nuttall

Blistlogolg Palm Desert, California: One of the themes of DEMO 08 is new web services that allow ordinary users to create content in forms usually left to the professionals.
Blist, Flypaper and Sprout showed how anyone could easily create databases, Flash presentations and widgets respectively.

Kevin Merritt, Blist chief executive, said mainstream users until now have tried to wedge all their data into an Excel spreadsheet. Blist in its list view looks like an Excel spreadsheet, with some columns you might not expect. Its impressively simple interface allows users to drag in columns such as star ratings, document links and pictures. Long lists can be included in single cells and icons can be inserted from drop-down boxes. There is the standard database record view and also a calendar view to show when tasks are due. Filters can be created just by dragging the relevant columns into a box and defining the criteria for them. 

Richard Waters

Jerry_yang  If you’re an investor in Yahoo! you’re probably starting to wonder just when all the upheaval will end. Consider these comments from some of its executives in the years since the dotcom bubble burst:

2003: "We changed the whole sales team. We started all over again." (Former CEO Terry Semel) 

Chris Nuttall

Demo_08_3 Palm Desert, California: Here at DEMO 08, we have two days of product launches by 77 companies unveiling new web tools and services, hardware, software and the latest in consumer electronics.

Products like the Roomba vacuum cleaner and Pleo the robot dinosaur were introduced at DEMO and the room here is packed with media and venture capitalists watching six-minute demos of the next big ideas. 

Chris Nuttall

Radeon_3870_2 Graphics chipmakers are fond of making a case these days that their graphics processing units (GPUs) are becoming as important or more so than the central processing units (CPUs) of the PC microprocessor makers.

As bigger displays in high-definition dazzle consumers, most of the horsepower that drives them comes from the GPU.