the Blog

Google to take baby steps toward social networking

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 05:49 PM

We’ve been waiting for the alleged “Google Me” project to surface for a while now. Supposedly it was going to be Google’s Facebook killer, a social networking site that took on Zuckerbergia.

This despite The Goog’s not so stellar track record of launching Big New Products like Google Wave and Google Buzz (maybe the problem was how much those names sounded like laundry detergents?).

But Google Me never seems to get here. Like killer bees and the widespread adoption of the metric system, it’s always about to arrive.

Now Google’s Eric Schmidt says social networking on Google will be subtle and incremental. You’ll be able to pull in stuff from Twitter or Flickr, find out when someone saw your YouTube video. And play Farmville. Always with the Farmville. We’ll never escape Farmville.

Comments | Filed Under: google  facebook  twitter  flickr  social media  Web Culture  games  

What all the hipster cyborgs are wearing this year

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 11:23 AM

Tech Crunch tells us about a new wearable video camera that goes on sale today. The Looxcie (pronounced Look See) mounts to your ear and positions a camera right at eye level. From there it can film up to 4 hours of video as you go about your day. Your narcissistic oversharing day. The device is equipped with Bluetooth that can send the video to an app in your Android phone (other platforms coming soon!). From there you can upload videos to YouTube of yourself walking around because the world is so desperate to see those, you diva. $199, available on Amazon. World ending.

Comments | Filed Under: Gadgets  Web Culture  sadness  

Google engineer fired for snooping

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 11:12 AM

Google has fired engineer David Barksdale for accessing private information from users’ Google Voice, Gmail, and instant messaging accounts. The users were apparently teenagers. Barksdale was working as a site reliability engineer or SRE at the company’s Kirkland, Washington facility. SREs have access to some of the company users’ most private information. Barksdale was evidently bragging to an online group he belonged to about being able to do this kind of thing. He evidently took pride in his hacking skills. Gawker broke the story.
And it seems this isn’t the first time it’s happened, either.

Comments | Filed Under: google  privacy  

Walmart gets into wireless business

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 05:34 PM

Walmart will begin offering their own branded wireless service (partnered through T-Mobile) starting next Monday. The retailer already offers cell plans through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. This will add a service option for a plan under its own name.

You’ll have to pay for the phone, but they’re relatively cheaper - you can get a Nokia for $35. And it’ll cost $45 each month for unlimited calling and texting. But data is insanely expensive. $40 for 1gb, which compares to AT&T’s $25 for 2gb or T-Mobile’s own $30 for unlimited. The data can be shared among multiple phones in the same family but still that’s a ton of cash.

Comments | Filed Under: walmart  phones  mobile  business  

Weezer tries to go viral by lending themselves to people who have

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/14/10 03:06 PM

The rock band Weezer has a new album out and they’re approaching promotion of it in a kind of different way. They’ve made themselves available to various YouTube celebrities and appear in a slew of videos made by those people. The videos are featured on YouTube’s home page today. The idea is that the band gets exposure to all the video artists’ audience, the video artists get new eyeballs from the band’s loyal followers, and YouTube gets some innovative videos for their home page that people will want to go watch.


Weezer did something similar a couple years ago, pulling various YouTube stars (often from unintentionally funny videos like “Chocolate Rain”) to appear in a video for their song “Pork and Beans”).

Comments | Filed Under: weezer  music  Entertainment  Social media  Web Culture  

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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