Downloads Features

Cool Tools – PicLens


This a very simple plugin for Safari that makes full screen slideshows from folders on Flickr and most of the other major photo sites. Nicely implemented and a great use of screen space.


DirecTV Dish Network Downloads Features Satellite Radio Satellite Television Video

Ditching Cable has launched!!

In the last few months, I’ve become more and more disgruntled with my cable service. The cost is high and I simply don’t watch enough television to justify the price. The video quality is poor and the DVR makes me not want to watch television. The selection of video on demand and movies on the “movie” channels are so poor that we also subscribe to Netflix to supplement our entertainment “needs.”

I looked hard at our television viewing habits and realized that most of the tv programming we watch is freely available over the air. There are some exceptions but by and large our “regularly scheduled programming” comes from the big networks. The value proposition is just not there.


While we do receive HD signals from our provider and that provider is increasing the amount of HD channels on the network, by and large, HD content comes from the major networks. Standard definition, or SD content is so compressed, legitimate download sources are starting to look better.

Crappy picture, lack of selection and high costs leave me with two options.

  1. I could sit and complain about it.
  2. Or, I could ditch cable.

Given all that, we decided to ditch cable and launch this blog to tell you about it.


If you’d like to know more about my little experiment, head on over to Ditching Cable, where I’ll be showing folks how easy it is to get rid of your cable subscription. It’s a little raw right now, but I’ll be spending some of my time fixing it up in the next few weeks.

Downloads Links Video YouTube

Links for Tuesday, October 17, 2006

PopSugar gets $5mm in funding from Sequoia
Blog network for “young, hip women” got a nice kitty from the folks at Sequoia. It looks like PopSugar’s main site has been growing a fair clip on their main blog (see graphic) and are doing a bit more than just blogging with a little bit of social networking thrown in. With women marrying and having kids later in life, this is a strong demographic that is under-served on the net.

UndoTV launches…kinda

Looks like Chris Pirillo and Leo Laporte are getting the band back together for one more show…or an online revival of the TechTV gang of old. The site also looks to be a hub for getting other folks involved uploading their own reviews and tech related content. Looks interesting, although, this could just be a channel on YouTube, so I’ll be curious to see how they differentiate the product.

Apple Downloads iTunes Links Video

Links for Wednesday, September 27, 2006

gv_berkeley-logo.jpgBerkeley and Google Video team up
Not content to get your lectures via podcast? Now you can watch your prof’s give lectures on Google (as well as talks, symposiums and more). I wonder what this does to attendance?
[via eContent

Two thumbs down for Amazon Unbox
Wow… so I never did my review of the service (actually, I never downloaded a movie), but this review pretty much seal’s the deal. Old time computer smarty pants Peter Lewis gave Amazon’s Unbox service a pretty scathing review in Fortune magazine. His 5 hour download experience alone makes you want to run to bit torrent. I wonder if their update has helped?
[via Paul Stamatiou]

iTunes sharing skills
Playlist magazine has some good tips on managing the sharing aspects of iTunes.

iTunes updated to 7.01
Fixes a whole bunch of stuff. Go get it.

Apple Downloads iPod iTunes Media Servers and Streamers

Apple’s Showtime event

dsc_1067.jpgWhile Showtime lacked a few expected items, overall, this was a nice big present to current iPod owners and a cue that Apple has nothing to worry about from their competitors.

iTunes 7

Includes two of the most requested features automatic cover downloads and gapless playback. New cover browse mode (no secret of why they added automatic cover download, eh?) From a quick test, it seems to have better playback of video (thank god).

I just installed it on my box at home and while it did take over an hour to analyze my music catalog for gapless playback (it’s over 100Gb), it seems to have picked out most of the tracks that I would expect to be gapless(certain Beatles albums, live performances, opera). A nice touch is that those changes carry over to the iPod, which I haven’t tested.

The interface is cleaned up a lot on iTunes and includes iPod status, Coverflow views and a personal favorite, View Options that are dependent on the media type (Podcast, Video, Songs). This is super helpful in creating smart playlists.

Movie and Game Downloads

The newest bits of content on the iTunes Store (as it is know called) are movie and game downloads. All videos are 640×480(or less depending on aspect ratio) and will play on 5th Generation iPod. Movies are available in both widescreen and 4×3. A little sparse with the first set of movies as they are starting with movies from Buena Vista and Disney. Other studios are on their way and if you remember, the television store started with only ABC. Currently, there are only 75 movies on the service.

Games are a very interesting suprise as most people don’t think of Apple as being much of a games company, but my feeling is that this is aimed squarely at further differentiating the iPod from others. One fun bit here is that you can play games while listening to music on the iPod.

New iPod(s)

Ok, so not really a new iPod, but I think that Engadget named it 5.5G. It has a brighter screen and longer battery life. The 30Gb version went to Weight Watchers and is sporting a slightly slimmer look and an 80Gb model was added because they could.

Nano – 2, 4, and 8gb models that look like the old Mini shrank down to a more portable size. God I hate those colors…
Shuffle – 1Gb model with some shrinkage – looks like a matchbook.

The lack of widescreen iPod will be disappointing to many (including me), but I have to say, Apple is making a tidy profit on the current iPod and a new widescreen iPod would surely cost them more to make. Personally, I’m stoked my current 5G iPod got a new lease on life.


Steve said that this was a code name (iTV is pronounced “EyeTV“), so don’t expect it to ship with this name. This is a wireless device that will play video, audio and pictures from iTunes. It’s got HDMI and component video as it’s only video outs, so you can make your own HD assumptions here. It will launch in 2007, presumably with the real 6G iPod.

Overall, while their wasn’t a new iPod, current customers are probably pretty happy with the new features of iTunes and their current 5G iPods.

Watch the SteveNote

Downloads Guba Links YouTube

Wednesday Links

Page views are obsolete
Some good analysis as to why page views aren’t the best measurement anymore due to Ajax, RSS and Widgets. Interesting read, but no real suggestions for alternatives.

YouTube directors ready for post production
These kids today and their “unedited” and “uncut” videos. They grow up so fast, treasure every moment.

Guba thinks money grows on trees
Last week they offered $.99 rentals and yesterday they announced an affiliate program. At $.25 for a new member, this program can’t last long.

Downloads Xbox

Tuesday Links

Behind the scenes at Technorati
How Technorati works.

Battlestar Galactica available on Xbox Live
The first full length episode available on Xbox Live. A hint of things to come?’s Beginner info
Want to learn WordPress? Here’s a good resource including some videos for starting up a WordPress blog.

AOL Music DownloadsYet another Plays for Sure clone, but this one includes some XM Radio channels in the mix.

Downloads Video

AOL Video: Want to buy a video? Watch an ad first

You gotta be kidding me…. If you watch a preview of a movie that you would like to buy, AOL makes you sit through an ad. Great user experience.


What are we selling here? A movie download or Citibank Visa?

This is one of the reasons going to the movies sucks. It’s the only place I see video ads.

I’m not even gonna link to them.

(Not to mention, when I view this on my Mac, they totally get me to the video popup and then finally tell me that the DRM isn’t “available” on my Mac.)

Apple Downloads iPod Links

Thursday Links

Apple’s having a bad week…

Apple settles with Creative for $100mm
I’ve got no real opinion on this other than, it sucks for Apple to lose a UI/Look and Feel case twice, once for each side. Oy. Of course, I’d take Apple’s market share minus $100 million in cash any day.

Apple recalls 1.8 million laptop batteries
2nd largest battery recall in history. Sometimes lesser market share isn’t such a bad thing. God, I hope Sony is paying for all this. Apple Recall Page

AOL to offer pay video downloads
No big shocks here, but this space is getting crowded. Movie downloads will be priced between the now standard $10 and $20 marks. I think I need to do a roundup of these services real soon now.

Don’t Download This Song
Weird Al encourages file sharing with sarcasm. Ok, I know he’s done, but sometimes, you gotta love Weird Al.

Downloads Social Media Sony Video

Sony acquires video sharing site Grouper for $65mm

Here’s a link and comment roundup regarding the purchase.

Sony is acquiring Grouper Networks in web-video bid – WSJ
“YouTube Inc., which had about 16 million unique visitors last month compared with 542,000 for Grouper, according to comScore Media Metrix, a research company. Grouper says comScore doesn’t measure its traffic accurately and claims its numbers were about eight million last month.”

Grouper sells for $65 million – TechCrunch
“the $65 million valuation on Grouper suggests a YouTube valuation of around $2 billion.”

Sony Pictures Buys Grouper – PaidContent
“valuation is not really based on traffic…what it does have is a solid management and technical team…and user tools”

It will be interesting to see what happens to Grouper as a result of this acquisition. Sony may actually be ahead of Apple in the NIH (not invented here) syndrome. Of course, this acquisition is from Sony Pictures, not electronics, which may or may not make increase the chances of a successful merger and integration.

Downloads Portable Entertainment Video

Amazon Unbox Video launched?

Methinks someone pushed the wrong button at Amazon.


Here are some pix, click for bigger images.




More in my Flickr stream.

It looks like the video will work on some portable players, will contain DRM, Mac users need not apply, and you will be able to rent as well as buy.

Check it out

DirecTV Downloads Links Satellite Television Social Media

Wednesday Links

Duran Duran to perform live on Second Life?
Wow, washed up rockers can live forever in their Second Life. This is huge!

DirecTV ships HD DVR
Might be time to start looking at DirecTV again. Have I mentioned how the Comcast DVR is Sucktastic? [via Engadget]

Life Explained
Now here is a video sharing site I can use. VideoJug shows you how to do stuff like tie a windsor knot, unblock your toilet, and of course how to make a Knickerbocker Glory, whatever the hell that means. Great site if you can get past those wacky British accents. [via PVRWire]

Downloads HDTV Links Social Media Xbox

Monday links

New York Times compares Canon’s H10 to Sony’s HC3
HD camera smack-down! It’s pretty amazing how quickly these cameras dropped in price.

User created games on Xbox 360
Looks like MS made it a lot easier to create games for the Xbox. This really opens up 3rd party development for the Xbox to almost anyone who develops games.

Peter Moore on the Long Tail of Gaming
Xbox head honcho talks about rationale for opening up the Xbox.

Fox to sell video download on MySpace
Between this and the Google deal, I think this whole MySpace thing might make Rupert Murdoch some money after all.

Downloads Geek Fun Links Microsoft PDAs Portable Entertainment

Monday Links

Microsoft Photosynth demo
Wow… I never say wow about Microsoft products (unless it’s wow, that’s lame or wow, have you heard of usability?). But this is a very cool 3d photo visualization tool. [via Addicted to Digital Media]

Jeff’s Quick Guide to TV on the Net
Get your fix here. Comprehensive guide to repurposed television shows on the net. [via PVRBlog]

Newton takes down Samsung UMPC
No love lost for the Newton, but a brand new piece of tech taken down by the old school handheld… gotta love it. [via Engadget]

Downloads Geek Fun Links

Moguls of New Media – WSJ

chadvader.jpgWSJ has a great profile of video and audio social media moguls. No surprises here, but Chad Vader sure was fun.

While I’m pretty familiar with the world of user created content, I hadn’t ventured into the world of user created games. Fancy Pants Adventure on AddictingGames is the rightful successor to the Super Mario side-scrolling crown. With simple, yet effective graphics and terrific physics (now those are two words I’ve never put together), it adds up to a truly addictive game.

Show me the money – well, this is the WSJ and nothing is more exciting than a hobby that pays. Apparently their pals over at have made over $30k for their Mentos-meets-Diet-Coke-meets-Bellagio video brilliance and their partnership with Revver.

forbidden.jpgTrashiest link – clearly Forbidden’s MySpace page takes that dubious distinction, with her not-work-safe mega ad for both her and her new line of jeans. This also serves as a good example of the kinds of ways that people are building businesses off of social media.

Great article and a great way to waste a Saturday afternoon.


Tags: video, social media

Apple Downloads Home Entertainment Portable Entertainment

Monday links

Mergers, wikis and movies, oh my!

AMD buys ATI
Are any TLA companies starting with “A” safe from this insanity?

SocialText goes open source and JotSpot goes 2.0
Two wikis enter, one wiki leaves. Will the open source wonder take down its more usable, more expensive foe?

Amazon to offer movie downloads
Jobs better get their service out soon before everyone else does.