Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yahoo Launches My Web 2.0 Beta

The newest product from Yahoo called My Web 2.0 Beta is an interesting one indeed; it describes itself as Social Search Engine, something like meets Yahoo search, it allows you to save your favorite search results so that you can easily find them later, and also share them with other people.

You can tag your search results like so that it’s easy to navigate through your big search history, and also easy for other people to pass by your favorite pages.
And you can use this service to navigate through other people favorite sites, and keep up with the popular sites at any time.

Also this service promises to deliver more relevant search results based on your personal habits and relations in the social network, using the new method titled MyRank which is Yahoo’s new secret in the fight for more relevancy.

I’m surprised Google hasn’t done that earlier, since all the innovation comes from Google nowadays, and the social interaction in the web has been around for a while, and certainly it caught the attention of all great players in the market.

This new service is in closed-beta phase, only for a limited number of users; luckily I have access and will certainly experiment with it for a while, see how good it is or if the results will really improve, but I doubt that it’ll replace as a social bookmarking solution, as already has a huge community and a wonderful very simple Interface, in addition to tens of 3rd part tools that made it much more practical.

Here’s a quick Getting Started Guide, and you can read the FAQ for more detailed info, and finally here’s a blog dedicated for My Web 2.0.

Here’s more coverage:
My Web 2.0: Social Search from Jeremy Zawodny's blog.
Yahoo Blends Personal & Social Search with MyWeb 2.0 from Search Engine Watch Blog.
Search, with a little help from your friends from Yahoo Search blog.
Yahoo Social Search, Act II from Many-to-Many Blog.
John Battele interesting take on this new service.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New iTunes supports Podcasting

The promised new version of iTunes 4.9 is out, and it supports Podcasting in a wonderful way, it’s a must download for all iPod owners.

Here’s some of the available web coverage:

iTunes Podcasting: Wow! From Russell Beattie.
Some Initial Thoughts from Dons Blog. (must read)
New iTunes hints at coming cell phone support from Cnet

I’ll update it as more coverage is available, stay tuned.

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Google Earth

Google released Google Earth yesterday. Very cool 3D view of the world.

Key features of Google Earth include:
• Free software download available at
• 3D buildings in major cities across the United States
• 3D terrain showing mountains, valleys, and canyons around the world
• Integrated Google Local search to find local information such as
hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and transportation
• Fast, dynamic navigation
• Video playback of driving directions
• Tilt, rotate, and activate 3D terrain and buildings for a different
perspective on a location
• Easy creation and sharing of annotations among users

Google is releasing new products like crazy; it’s getting real hard to keep up with all the updates they introduce, I wonder how much they can persist with that enthusiasm.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Google to launch Online Video Playback

John Battelle confirmed that Google will launch today an online in-browser video playback feature; this means that you’ll be able to playback video files from Google natively in the browser without the need for external video Player, like Winamp or Windows Media Player.

This feature will be based on the open-source VLC media player, which is rumored to be available to the open source community as part of their Google code project.

This will go nicely along other services like video search and video upload, according to John the service will be used first to allow users to easily playback freely available video files uploaded by other users, and later it will be used to playback video purchased from Google via the upcoming Google Payment System.

What is the importance of this new feature?
These are my early thoughts:

-This represents yet another assault from Google on a Microsoft’s product, this time it’s Windows Media Player, another battle in the Media War, the most important war in the next decade, forget Operating systems or web search, Media is where the real money lies.

-Confirms my earlier predictions here and there about Google Plan to move all applications from Computer-based to Web-based, in advance for its WebOS or its Unified Interface for all your needs.

-Another step in Google’s direction to depend on the open-source community to further develop its products, and in my opinion it’s one of the wisest choices Google has made recently, as open-source community proved many times how far they can take a product (Firefox) and how much features they can add to a product for free.

This is only the beginning, no one can predict where this product will go and how will it be used in the future, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Being Alive

Mira was wondering in her last post "I'm alive or am I alive" what it means to be alive for real, I worte a comment on her blog that was very long, she suggested that I post it as a trackback so here it is:

Being alive for real can be done first by finding your true beliefs, embrace them, live by them, and work very hard under them in the course of evolution, in the hope to add something valuble to the world, and in case you couldn't, at least you've tried.

I don't mean that you should only work for your beliefs, no I mean work whatever you like the most without it being against your beliefs.

But your work must be productive and in the course of evolution, meaningless work can't make you satisfied only happy for a short period of time.
Lots of people spend their life following just happiness, only to discover at the end that it was only instant and lasted for a short time, and that they've been living a lie running after an emotion.

Happiness is only an emotion, even a cheap one forms and fades very quickly, and it's wrong to depend on it in your life or work, becasue it'll never make you satisfied.
The true happiness in life is not what makes you happy, but what makes you satisfied with yourself to the fullest, and not regret your actions and life.

Only that way, you'll feel satisfied and content with your life, or in another word you'll be actually LIVING.

You must not be satisfied with the generic choice, the one 95% of the people follows: study, work, make lots of money, get married have children, buy expensive stuff and property then die.
You'll have to find your own life even if it was against your Environment, family, friends.

Everyone has a unique life and interests, and it's utterly wrong to be a passive and follow your society and surroundings, you'll be insulting your intelligence that has been giving to you for a reason.

Before you think of how to live and survive, you must first choose your life, consciously and courageously, before you reach a point where you'll regret your whole life.

RSS turning point

You may be surprised to read that, as RSS had been there for years, but yesterday marks a great day in the history of RSS and the Internet as a whole, it’s the day Microsoft acknowledged RSS and announced widespread support to RSS.

It includes:
1- Full RSS Support in upcoming Internet Explorer 7.
2- RSS Support in its upcoming OS Longhorn.
3- Adding new Extensions to RSS to support listing among other things.

The announcement came from Dean Hachomovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer team, and took place yesterday in Gnomedex 2005 technology conference in the US city of Seattle.

According to him, Microsoft has decided that subscribing via RSS, will become the third leg of its information-access triangle, Browsing – Searching – RSS Subscribing.

I felt that Microsoft had a thing for RSS from the day they announced XML file formats for upcoming Office, I knew that they had yet unknown uses for RSS.

A few years later expect that RSS will no longer be just a way to subscribe to Blogs or Podcasts, it’ll be an integrated part of user experience from browsing to Email to Document creation and even co-editing, it’ll be more of a way to handle and present information on a global scale with things we can never yet imagine.

Microsoft is THE Mass-Market company, and it’s the only company that can take RSS to the masses, RSS supporters and enthusiasts can rest now as Microsoft is more than capable of taking RSS to the next level.

You can check out these links for more coverage:
Steve Rubel: The Day RSS Turned Pro.
Dave Winer has linked to various stories in his blog Scripting News.
Also Robert Scoble has gathered many useful links on blog reactions on RSS news

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Blogger now offers free Image Upload

At last, Blogger came to its senses and did the thing that should’ve been done from the beginning.

Blogger now offers native image upload for free blogs up to 300MB, now you can include images in your posts. Just click the new picture icon and it will allow you to upload an image from your computer, for detailed instructions look here.

No more wrestling with Hello, or linking from Flickr.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Unplanned break from blogging

It wasn’t my intention to take a break from blogging, but I was a bit bored and couldn’t come up with subjects to post about, sometimes they were few and the other times there were a lot of stuff to post about so it was hard to choose from them, eventually I decided to give up for a while especially since there were other distractions (GTA: San Andreas) to keep me occupied for a while.

I appreciated this break; it made me concentrate on other things that I’ve been ignoring for a while, and also fueled my creativity and got me interested again in blogging, after I started to lose Interest recently.

Now I’m back with a passion, and decided to take blogging to the next level, so I intend to increase my rate of blogging, hopefully I’ll do couple of blogs per day maybe more, and I’ll Link to interesting reads and stories that I stumble upon.

I spend a lot of daily time browsing and discovering new things and usually I pass by very interesting reads and stuff, so I thought it’s better to share them with my dear visitors than keep them to myself.

I’ll get started in just a few days, stay tuned, and sorry for the lack of updates.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Busy… Playing GTA: San Andreas

Well… It’s been a long time since I last posted, obviously I’ve been busy, but this time it’s not work or studying this time it’s because of this game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”.

If you’re not familiar with this game, it’s one of the best selling and most famous games of all time, not only because of how good this game is, also because it’s accused with generating violent behavior among younglings, and was blamed for a number of shootout incidents in the US.

This game has very high production values, nearly the best in the games Industry, for example the charcacters voices were done by famous Actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Ice T.
At last it has been released for the PC after 8 months from being released on PS2; its graphics looks very outdated but the games is fun and addictive as hell, no matter how many hours I play, I can’t get enough of this game and keep going back for more, I’m spending all my free time on this game, I rarely go online now and my RSS reader is crammed with 100+ unread updates.

Well that’s it for now, I’m sure the addiction will wear off in the next couple of days, but for now I can’t help myself.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Technorati Tags Script

Celebrating the new Technorati Public Beta and to ease the work accosiated with adding tags, I wrote a tagging script in Javascript, I think it’s in good shape now after a few days worth of tests, just open this page then right click on this link and choose “Add to favorites” for IE users and “Bookmark this link” for Firefox users, then whenever you need to add tags to your post click on the Bookmark and type your tags separated by space (for two words tags you need to group them with +) click OK then it will generate the source code, just copy the code to your post and you’re good to go.

If you encounter any Bugs or have any comment, criticism, or anything else, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an E-mail.

If you feel a bit alien about tagging then read on.

Tags have a rather broad meaning and multiple uses; I will not talk about them here because they’re not the focus of this post, now I’m in the process of writing a long detailed article about Tagging in general, but I’m busy with various things and it’s progressing slowly, check back from time to time.

What are Technorati Tags?
Technorati Tags are simply words that define the subjects tackled by a certain blog post; with tags people can categorize their posts so that other people can find them more easily.

So when somebody is interested in iPod stuff, they keep a watchlist of iPod tag so that they can read any blog that talk about iPods.

For blog Authors Tags are very effective tools in promoting their blogs, since I started using Technorati Tags 1.5 months ago my blog’s traffic had increased by a great deal.

The traffic I get from Technorati Tags account for nearly 30% of my blog’s traffic, and that’s a huge percentage considering the neglectable work of adding Tags.

I urge all my fellow bloggers to tag their posts since its advantage is worth the effort.

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New Technorati Public Beta is live

Technorati has announced a public beta of an updated Technorati, the new design in beta phase is intended to be accessible to more people, specifically beginners and novices in blogging, the new interface now is friendlier and contains more stuff.

I’m a huge tagging supporter, so what I like most about the new design is the improved integration of tags in the search, and the ability to receive RSS feeds of certain Tags, now you can easily keep up with all the posts about a certain topic.

Also a significant improvement is the new Watchlist capabilities which allow users to read their updates on one page without the need for third-party RSS reader.

Go experiment with the new design and don’t forget to send your feedback to the awesome guys responsible

Celebrating this event, I’ve written a tagging script, you can find it on this page (blogger messed up when I linked it in here).
check the next post for details.

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

PS3 will run Linux, and maybe other OSes

During a recent interview with Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutagari, he said that the PS3 (PlayStation 3) will not come with a pre-installed Hard Drive and it has to be purchased separately; the reason for this move according to him is that “no matter how much capacity we put in it, it won't be enough”.

But the exciting news is that the PS3’s HDD could come preinstalled with Linux OS, and he also said that the PS3 will be able to run other Operating Systems such as Windows or Mac OS X if the publishers want them to do so.

Also users could benefit from the Cell famous capability of running multiple OSes (Virtualization) in turning the PS3 Game machine into a Supercomputer capable of running the most demanding applications outside the realm of games.

Running Linux on PS3 mean that its architecture will be completely open, and programmers will be able to do anything with it.

I can’t even imagine how the enthusiastic community is going to benefit from this opportunity, but upon its release the PS3 will be the hottest gadget ever.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

MS Toolbar Offers Tabbed Browsing in IE

Looks like Microsoft couldn’t wait for IE7, so they introduced tabbed browsing to the current version of IE via their new version of the Search Toolbar (thanks Mark Jen for the heads up).

If you’re an IE user you should really download this toolbar (8MB) and get a taste of what you were missing, personally I’m staying with Firefox which offered tabbed browsing since forever and it’s above all secure.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Google is now the most valuable media company

Reported by Cnet yesterday that Google reached a current stock market capitalization of more than $80 billion, and it is now worth more than any other media company in the whole world including the Giant Time Warner Company.

This is a result from Google going IPO 10 months ago, in which its shares raised from 85$ to $293 apparently due to its popularity.

Even with Googles excellent performance and no threatening competition, the company is overvalued and one negative incident could lead to a huge collapse in shares prices.

Is Google just another Internet Bubble waiting to burst? Or is it really an extraordinary successful company? Personally I wish for the latter, because I think the market can’t handle another big collapse.

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Is Apple working on a Grand conspiracy against Microsoft?

Usually that type of conspiracy theories comes from me, but this time Jason Calacanis beats me to it, he thinks that Apple is gonna make their OS free, or at least a free light version of the OS.

“Clearly that’s the next big move for Apple. Make the OS free, convert 2-10% of the desktops out there to Mac and make it back on value added services like iTunes, software, and .Mac storage/email. Plus, when folks get addicted to the OS they will crave the slick hardware and the experience of going to the Apple store.”

I don’t think such thing may happen in the near future, but Apple could surprise us as it did with its latest move and to think of it, it could accomplish many important things to Apple:

-Redeem its biggest mistake, not licensing its OS and leaving Microsoft to dominate the market.

-The biggest hit to Microsoft in the history (it’s a good reason on its own).

-Destroy Microsoft dominance of the user-friendly Operating Systems.

-And eventually forcing Microsoft to offer a light version of its OS for free and thus losing one of its most profitable businesses.

-Gaining a huge Entrance into living Room Computers, which is undoubtly the future of computing.

And then people will use Apple products more often to accompany their Media Systems like iTunes, iPods, Video capable iPods later, and whatever Apple chooses to release.

Apple could even open its DRM (Digital Rights Management) to others so that they can use it in addition to Microsoft Solution and not letting Microsoft dominate the market, and many more benefits and opportunities that may arise later.

What will really happen? We should wait and see.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Steve Jobs Keynote and the aftermath

As some of you know today is the Worldwide Developer Conference, WWDC2005 and also it’s the date for the historical keynote of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, why historical? Because it follows the rumors of the biggest change in Apple’s recent history, embracing Intel’s CPUs and dumping IBM’s.

The keynote has been covered by many sources MacNN, Engadget, TUAW, check them out for kenote details.

Not to repeat the former links ,I’ll try to mention the most important points in the keynote:

-Apple literally dominates the digital music business:
End of last quarter 16 million iPods sold.
76% market share of all MP3 players.
430M songs sold and downloaded.
82 percent iTunes market share in the month of May

-Apple this week says it will deliver the 2,000,000 copy of Mac OS X Tiger. In under 6 weeks since it’s released.

-Apple will start the transition to Intel starting mid 2006 till the end of 2007, here the official Press Release

-The reason for the transition is that PowerPC isn’t enough and Intel delivers much better performance per watt.

-Mac OS X is cross-platform by design, and for the last 5 years every release of Mac OS X has been built for both Intel and PowerPC-based Macs, and during the keynote Apple was showing Mac OS X Tiger running on Intel System.

Dave Winer says he has some bits of juicy info the others don't have:

1. Apple is not going into the software business; their operating system will not run on other hardware, like IBM, HP, and Dell.

2. While Windows is not explicitly supported, they won't do anything to prevent Windows from running on their hardware.

This bit of info if turned out to be right is quite impressive; it will allow us to have Windows in addition to Mac OS X on any Mac Computer, and if they sell Macs with high end specs, there will be no reason for me (or anyone else) to buy PC anymore.

There’s a lot more viewpoints and predictions, but it’s getting late now, I’ll continue tomorrow.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Cleaning my virtual world

It’s been quite some time (4 months) since I last cleaned my system, today I didn’t have much work to do and my system’s state was completely unbearable, so I decided to dedicate this day to the feared horrible task of cleaning all my system and it contained of the following tasks:

-Cleaning my inbox and deleting old and useless E-mails: It was the longest most boring task ever, but I managed to shorten the number of E-mails from 600+ to an amazing 145, so it was certainly worth the effort.

-Uninstalling unnecessary and old Programs and Games: my 160GB Hard disk was nearly full, so I had to get rid of some of the old games and I managed to free about 20 GB.

-Cleaning and archiving my Bookmarks (Favorites for IE users): Due to my horrible memory I got used to the habit of adding all the interesting sites to my Bookmarks list, and although I always made sure to categorize them in the suitable folders, some 100 sites were left in the main directory without classification, so today I went through all of them, deleting the unnecessary ones and categorizing the important, and thus spending a long time Online.

-Cleaning my desktop and other folders: This morning you could barley see the wallpaper from all the scattered downloads, folders, and shortcuts, so it was very necessary that I delete some of them and categorize the rest.

I haven’t finished this task yet but it got me very bored and decided to take some time off, check what’s up online and write this post.

The initial result from the cleaning is amazing and very satisfactory, and it made me regret that I didn’t perform it earlier, now everything is clear, organized, neat and now I can find everything more easily, overall it made me feel very happy, and increased my productivity.

I’ll make sure to do this maintenance every week from now on, to keep things from piling up.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Lifecycle of Bloggers

The Lifecycle of Bloggers as experienced by an ace blogger.

Good thing I’m still at the beginning, the later stages don’t seem very pleasant.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Apple to switch from IBM to Intel

Now it’s official, after more than a decade from using IBM’s CPUs in its computers, Apple plans to cancel its long-time partnership with IBM in favor of Intel CPUs, the move will first affect lower-end computers like Mac mini in mid 2006 and then higher-end ones like Power Mac in mid 2007.

The reason for the recent move is yet unknown, maybe because IBM can’t provide decent volumes of PowerPC or maybe because they’re too expensive in comparison to Intel CPUs, probably Steve Jobs will reveal the reason during his keynote speech expected Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

After this change there will be no difference whatsoever between Apple Computers and usual PCs, same Platform (CPU+MB), same RAM, same Graphics Cards, same everything.

Why would anybody pay extra money for a Mac after this? When he can get a PC with the same specs many times cheaper, Apple needs to lower the prices for its Computers or offer other advantages to keep up with the competition and distinguish its computers from the lot.

Steve Jobs assured earlier that Mac OS X since it’s built upon open-source FreeBSD could easily work on Intel Platforms.

At least I hope that with this move we will be able to run Mac OS X on normal PCs, that would be simply AWESOME!!!

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Friday, June 03, 2005

First Mac mini, now Intel Mini

When Apple announced its innovative Mac mini and with the entire buzz that it generated at that time, I expected that other PC manufacturers will follow suit and join the ‘mini’ fever.

At Computex Taipei 2005 AOpen a maker of computer components in cooperation with Intel announced its new PC barebone which design looks very similar to Apple’s Mac mini, with a noticeable difference in putting the switch button in the front side while Apple Mac mini has it on the back side.

This mini PC will be based on Pentium M processors and Intel 915GM chipset with integrated DirectX 9.0 graphics core, and it will features audio, Ethernet, FireWire and USB 2.0 ports same as Mac mini, But due to the expensive parts used in this Cube mini it may be priced higher than Mac mini which costs $499.

By the time of its release we will likely see different versions from different system builders because AOpen intend to sell the Cube mini as a barebone which will let system builders or end-users to configure it according to their needs, certainly better that the limitations imposed on Mac mini with only 2 versions.

Although this mini PC is very similar to Mac mini, it will not pose a great threat to its market, because the majority of Mac mini buyers is PC owners who want to get their hands on affordable Mac, the battle between them will be on the Media Center (Living Room) market, which IMHO Mac mini is the winner because of its Software that simply destroys any PC Software on that level, as no Windows can challenge Mac OS X in security, ease of use or sexiness, Mac OS X is simply too sexy to be resisted, and the multimedia iLife suite offers amazing experience superior to any similar PC Software.

Personally I would go for a Mac mini for a second computer and not trade it for any similar PC, but that’s me.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

XML Documents for Microsoft Office 12

Microsoft officially announced new open XML Office File Formats for its next Office Suite 12, it will replaces the old binary format as the new default format but will continue full support for the old format including the distribution of a free downloadable "converter" that allows users of older Office versions to work with the new formats.

But what of the benefits? I’m not sure yet what Microsoft has in mind as innovative uses for the new format but certain things come to mind like the easy integration of various files and the ability to access data from various documents without opening individual files, and hopefully we can view documents as RSS feeds.

More details will be out soon, so we’ll have to wait.

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