Daily Archives: January 30, 2008

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. Read more

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. Read more

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.  Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more