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Week in Links – the future today

One of the big events of last week was Y Cominator‘s Demo Day where 30+ companies showed of their technology in hopes for securing additional funding. Last week’s Demo Day was so big it took 2 days, if you couldn’t be there TechCrunch gives a run down of a few of the presenters.

  • If you have Gmail, then you might want to check out Rapportive‘s browser plug-in. While viewing your email it’ll provide a sidebar full of the contact’s profile including various social services and CrunchBase. At the bottom of the sidebar is an area to add personal notes for the contact. It’s a simple addition but could be priceless once you start using it. For more see TechCrunch’s write up.
  • As a UX lead finding out how users are interacting with a design is invaluable. There are a number of new solutions out there providing inexpensive remote testing options. But eye tracking has required use of specialty equipment. Even though we have one where I work it’s a huge hassle and the whole process makes for a very artificial environment. GazeHawk‘s offering may change all that as it uses standard webcams. Additionally, offer a service to use their network of participants to test your work. For more see TechCrunch’s write up.
  • There was even stuff for the couch potato in all of us, Teevox showed off their iPhone app. It’s a remote control for watching Hulu and Netflix videos on your PC. The app’s UI is simple and straight forward and even better is there is nothing to install on your PC in order for it to work. I encountered a few crashes on my 3G, but that seems like standard behavior with iOS4, so I can’t fault them on that. Fore more see TechCrunch’s write up.

The merger of TV and PC is getting closer everyday. Working in the industry it’s all to clear where things are going so it was interesting to read TechCrunch’s somewhat harsh editorial on the full-on assault being staged against the cable companies. In the TechCrunch editorial they get the gist right but fails to keep in mind that not everyone is as technically inclined as the TechCrunch audience. With that in mind cable TV’s convenience, flexibility and overall simplicity (despite the poor UI of their set-top boxes) will keep it alive for years. They followed up the editorial with some put things into perspective for anyone outside the industry.

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Ok, this one’s title alone made me laugh last week, Twitter’s not stupid – you just have boring friends. Andrew succinctly states for those that think “Twitter is inane, pointless, time-wasting or just narcissistic bleating only means either a) the people you’ve chosen to follow are the wrong ones; or b) you’re expecting something from Twitter it’s not offering: passive entertainment.” Still, Twitter isn’t for everyone.

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The patent war continues. With the Oracle’s suit against Google people hypothesized that it was the patent war to end all patent wars…well last week Microsoft’s co-founder, Paul Allen (via Interval Licensing) launched his own patent lawsuit. The list of patent violators named in his company’s lawsuit covers just about every major web player out there sans Microsoft and Amazon, as noted in FastCompany’s coverage. On first blush the patents in dispute seem horribly vague and undeserved as Amazon’s “one-click” patent.

Other news that doesn’t include Google being sued for patent violations include their addition of Google Voice into Gmail.  Though I’ve read that due to high demand there has been some issues with Voice, but I’m sure that will be address shortly. In the meantime, enjoy Google’s little promo video.

Yahoo! launches an experimental search engine with a knowledge of history. Seems like an interesting concept, was a little awkward to understand the search results so I’d like to see where they go with this one.

Speaking of too little, too late, MySpace is finally getting on the Facebook bandwagon with their new Facebook status syncing feature.  Even though this is only the first version, it’s kind of funny that it only goes from MySpace to Facebook, which would require you to actually go to MySpace in the first place. Ironically, I went to MySpace for the first time in over 18 months in order to watch this video promoting their new profile editor. It features Steven Slater, JetBlue flight attendant that went off in a rage on a customer. It’s actually entertaining, smart and even makes a self deprecating reference to being dominated by the FB.

Had enough, if not Mashable has a Weekend Recap: 15 Stories You May Have Missed. Lastly and completely random is a list of 24 things you might be saying wrong.

The Growing Numbers and Effect of Twitter

Twitter's logoTwitter has exploded over the past year.  Earlier this year there was talk about membership growing some 400+ percent over 12 months.  More recently it’s been calculated at over 1300 percent (via Mashable).  Shaq is no longer the lone celebrity and Jimmy Fallon has integrated Twitter into his new late night show ultimately introducing millions of viewers to the service.  Soon Oprah just joined the twiterverse on her show with Ashton Kutcher, whom just hit a million followers.  Along with Twitter’s numbers exploding so has power/influence of a Tweet.

Here’s a quick list of some of the

  • January 15th, 2009 – a plane crash landed in to the Hudson River.  Before the news networks or other media outlet could get images, Janis Krums‘s was sending out a photo of the floating plane via Twitter.  From there it spread like a virus till his photo was viewed thousands of times.  Soon the story of his twet was almost as big as the crash itself (WSJ).
  • Twitter’s community is a way for bands to connect with their fans.  With the Internet providing a way to distribute the music, Twitter is providing the marketing platform and a way to connect with fans.  Amanda Palmer explains how she uses Twitter as her primary way to market her music, sets up places to stay on her tours and stay connected with her fans. (link cred: @trent_reznor)
  • A few weeks back Mac Heist was offering their latest bundle of applications.  Part of their promo was that additional applications would be made available based on how many bundles they sold.  They also offered an additional app if you tweeted their message.  I had at least 6 friends and a number of others I follow take them up on their tweet deal.  I was interested in one of the apps, but it was one that was locked until they reached their final milestone.   Again it was a tweet that informed me that the milestone was reached.
  • Even classic literature is getting the Twitter touch, Homer’s The Odyssey

Links:
@JKrums
Janis Krums’s photo
Amanda Palmer’s email
@Trent_Reznor
@MacHeist
Homer’s The Odyssey