Author Archive

iSlsk brings filesharing to the iPhone and iPod touch

iSlsk brings filesharing to the iPhone and iPod touchSoulseek, which was creted by former Napster programmer Nir Arbel and visibly resembles early versions of Napster, is not one of the most popular filesharing apps. It doesn’t have the mainstream appeal of Kazaa or Limewire, nor does it garner the press attention of BitTorrent. And that’s all probably fine with its users, who tend to gravitate toward more independent musical fare. But Soulseek has done something the others haven’t — made the jump to the iPhone.

Developer Errrick created iSlsk, a new filesharing client for jailbroken iPhones that works with the Soulseek network, by basing it on open source versions of the client for the Mac. “I saw all the capabilities this little gadget had and then thought ‘why didn’t someone already do something like this?'” he told TorrentFreak.

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Jobsnote highlights: Macbook Air, iTunes movie rentals, Apple TV redux

Probably the most anticipated announcement that Apple CEO Steve Jobs made at the annual Macworld expo this morning was that of the MacBook Air: a 13.3″, LED backlit notebook computer that pushes the concept of “thin” to its boundaries. But the one that Jobs spent the most time on, and seemed the most excited about, was the announcement of the iTunes Movie Rentals store in conjunction with the revamp of his maybe-no-longer-a-hobby-project Apple TV.

iTunes movie rentals and Apple TV 2

We all knew iTunes Movie Rentals were coming, all that was left for Jobs to announce were the details.

Movie rentals on iTunes

The iTunes Movie Rental store launches today in the US (later this year for the rest of the world), with rentals costing $3.99 for new releases, and $2.99 for library titles. Renters have 30 days to begin watching a movie, and then 24 hours to finish watching it once they do. Every major studio is on board, and Apple’s rental store launches with over 100 titles (1000 promised by the end of February), with new releases appearing 30 days following DVD release (which perhaps indicates some hesitation on the part of studios to embrace a new format — no surprise there).

At first glance, Netflix would appear to have a leg up on Apple. Unlimited streaming for a little as $8.99 per month is probably a better deal for most consumers than $4 per movie strapped to a 24 hour viewing window. But where Apple’s system shines is in its convergence with other devices. Whereas Netflix can only stream to Windows PCs, Apple can stream or download rented movies to both the Mac and PC, as well as to any current generation iPod, the iPhone, and the Apple TV.

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Microsoft IPTV finally gaining traction

Microsoft IPTVSince the mid-90s when they launched a 24-hour cable news network and purchased WebTV, Microsoft has been trying to figure out how to marry television with the Internet (see our full history from July). Now, a decade later, they may finally be gaining some traction.

BusinessWeek reports this morning that though only about 500,000 homes get TV service over the Internet from phone companies using Microsoft software, the company’s IPTV efforts appear to be gathering significant steam. AT&T’s U-Verse IPTV service has grown from 51,000 to 126,000 customers over the last quarter and should be available to 8 million homes by year’s end. Swisscom has signed up 50,000 customers for its Microsoft-powered service (about 1.6% of the Swiss TV market). British Telecom, meanwhile, has designs to sign up 2-3 million IPTV customers within the next 5 years, on the back of Microsoft solutions.

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Study: P2P downloading leads to more CD sales

Michael Geist points to a recent study conducted in Canada in part by Industry Canada (a federal agency) about music purchasing habits that includes some potentially bad news for the recording industry. According to the results of the The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study For Industry Canada study, which surveyed over 2,000 Canadians, there is a positive correlation between file downloading over P2P networks and legit purchases of music on compact discs. This might come as a surprise to industry executives who have long complained that peer-to-peer file sharing is immensely damaging to CD sales.

According to the study’s authors, there is “a strong positive relationship between P2P file sharing and CD purchasing. That is, among Canadians actually engaged in it, P2P file sharing increases CD purchases.” The study estimated that there is an increase of 0.44 CD purchases per year for every 12 P2P downloads. When viewed as a whole, the study found no positive or negative effect on CD purchasing from P2P filesharing in Canada.

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Old technology creates meaningful connections

Thursday evening, as my friend and I drove to the theater to see an opening night 12am screening of “The Simpson’s Movie,” we were forced into an unusual technological corner.

Usually, all the music in my buddy’s car is supplied via his iPod — on which resides an overwhelming list of thousands of songs. But with his iPod somewhat broken (at least, it only supplies sound to the left channel), we opted to dig out his old Sony minidisc player for our traveling music.

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Report: paid video download is a 'dead end'

This post was originally published on Read/WriteWeb on May 15th, 2007.

Joost vs Amazon Unbox

A new study from Forrester Research predicts that online video download services will see sales peak this year, as consumers move other sources of online video. Read/WriteWeb recently reported that CBS is increasingly releasing content for free or via ad-supported mediums such as, Joost. Further, consumers are confronted with a growing number of video-on-demand options from their cable or satellite providers and Internet services.

Though sales of television and film downloads via services like iTunes and Amazon Unbox will nearly triple this year, according to the report, it is unlikely that such services will see much growth in 2008 and beyond unless the market shifts dramatically.

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CBS' new online video strategy: court web 2.0

This post was originally published on Read/WriteWeb on May 14th, 2007.

CBS logoLast May CBS launched Innertube, an online video site that would allow the network’s viewers to watch popular television shows like “CSI” and “Survivor” online for free, as well as bonus content and original mini shows. The site, which was ad supported and used RealPlayer, was ill-conceived from the start since it was put to head-to-head with arguably more attractive offers from CBS (99-cent commercial free downloads of Survivor, and free, sans-commercials on-demand content for Comcast cable subscribers). Eventually CBS also offered content for download on iTunes and clips via YouTube, leaving Innertube in the dust.

But now, CBS has decided that forcing users to come to them just doesn’t work, reports the Wall Street Journal. Beginning this month CBS will start to distribute their popular content over ten different online destinations, including AOL and Joost [Ed. see our Joost review], as part of a new initiative called the CBS Interactive Audience Network. The company is also reportedly working on deals with web 2.0 sites like Facebook, — which recently announced it was adding video, and Slide to distribute their video content over social networks.

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