Archive for July, 2007

Google gets half of what it seeks for wireless auction

Now what will Google do?

googleThe Federal Communications Commission voted today to approve rules governing an auction of 700MHz wireless spectrum that could alter the U.S. wireless industry’s competitive landscape. The commission voted to give consumers more choice and freedom with their cell phones and wireless devices. The “open access” provision will allow customers to use whatever phone and software they want on one-third of the network to be auctioned.

Now that the rules are finalized, possible bidders in the auction include Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, and maybe a new player, Google.

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eMusic to partner with AT&T mobile

eMusic to partner with AT&T mobileThe New York Times reports that eMusic has signed a deal with AT&T to sell ‘over-the-air’ music downloads to the telco’s millions of mobile phone users. eMusic is the second largest provider of paid-for music downloads (iTunes is number one) and specializes in selling tracks from independent record labels, DRM-free. The company also pioneered a subscription-based service where users pay a monthly fee which entitles them to a certain number of downloads, which they then get to keep, even if they cancel their subscription.

Under the deal, AT&T mobile customers will be able to purchase tracks as a bundle, starting at $7.49 for five tracks, which is significantly more expensive than the regular version of eMusic’s service, whereby users get 30 tracks for a monthly fee of $9.99. The increase in price is being justified based on the additional cost of sending tracks directly to a user’s mobile phone, as apposed to “side-loading” via a PC.

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CBS, Nielsen betting on gaming's future

cbs video gamesThese days nearly anything can be turned into compelling television, depending on your point of view. The Food Network makes cake-baking downright suspenseful.

But never before, at least in the United States, has a major (non-cable) television network broadcasted a video game tournament as a sporting event. CBS, home of The Masters and March Madness, did so this past Sunday when it aired edited play from the World Series of Video Games tournament, which was recorded last month in Louisville, Ky.

Coincidentally, Nielsen Media Research, the TV ratings folks, launched last week Nielsen GamePlay Metrics, the first service of its kind to electronically track video game console usage and games played on PCs.

Something is going on here.

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Poll: Email addiction — where do you check your email?

I don’t have a “crackberry” problem, as I don’t own a Blackberry. But I do check my email from bed, sometimes in the middle of the night — and I’m not alone. According to a survey carried out by AOL, email “addiction” is on the rise, with 40% of respondents admitting to checking their email while in bed. 53% say they check when in the bathroom; 37% are checking email while they drive; and 12% admit to checking email in church. Perhaps, more alarmingly, 15% of those surveyed, proclaimed themselves as email addicts.

Overall, mobile email usage has doubled since 2004.

Sound familiar? Just out of curiosity, we’d like to know if you’ve checked your email in one of these places? 🙂

Report: 57% of U.S. adult Internet users watch video online

Pew InternetAccording to a study carried out by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 57% of U.S. adults online have used the Internet to watch video, with 19% doing so on any typical day. And, perhaps predictably, the percentage increases as we move further down the age range.

More interestingly, over half of those that had accessed online video said that they share links to the videos they find with others — evidence of the viral opportunities offered by Internet TV — with young adults being the most active sharers of online video. Two in three (67%) video viewers ages 18-29 send others links to videos they find online, compared with just half of video viewers ages 30 and older.

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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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Weekly wrapup, 23 – 27 July 2007

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Top digital lifestyle news

Joost co-founder, Niklas Zennström, revealed that the Internet TV service now has one million Beta testers, and is on track to fully launch by the end of the year. Speaking at a Skype press event, Zennström also acknowledged the challenge of scaling the peer-to-peer video platform, and stressed that the company’s main priority was ease-of-use.

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Xbox 360 news from Comic-Con 2007

Xbox 360 HD DVD PlayerTo coincide with the start of Comic-Con 2007 yesterday, Microsoft announced that it will lower the price of the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player to $179 on August 1st, a drop of $20. Additionally, anyone who purchases a player before September 30th will receive five free HD DVD movies. The company also unveiled new exclusive content for the Xbox Live Marketplace:

Xbox LIVE will offer “300” on demand in HD starting Aug. 14, and is working with Warner Bros. at Comic-Con on a Bringing It Home campaign featuring “300” and other Warner Bros. properties. In advance of the street date for the “Heroes: Season 1” HD DVD boxed set, Xbox LIVE members will be able to download for free the show’s pilot episode in high definition for a limited time.

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Video of the week: "Ask A Ninja"

ask a ninjaI have to write a positive review about the video podcast “Ask A Ninja“, or I will be attacked, maybe killed by a silent sword-wielding Ninja. My family will never be safe. Even the dogs will be threatened.

It’s a good thing I love “Ask A Ninja”.

“Ask A Ninja” is the clever award-winning (YouTube’s best series of 2006) creation of two Los Angeles improvisational comedians, Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine. Sarine is the man in the Ninja mask and assassin attire who karate-chops his way through an email-a-show question from viewers on subjects such as Ninja training, Ninja skills, Ninja love, how to kill a ninja, Ninja recipes, and non-ninja subjects like podcasting, Net Neutrality, Pop!Tech, and reviews of the movies “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” and “Blades of Glory.”

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Sony and Sky to deliver video-on-demand to PSP

Sony and Sky to deliver video-on-demand to PSPSony Europe and News Corp-owned Sky have announced the formation of a Joint Venture company which will deliver video-on-demand content to PlayStation Portable (PSP) owners in the UK and Ireland.

Focusing exclusively on delivering video content to the PSP, the Joint Venture will initially provide a wealth of video and film content to the more than 2.3 million PSP owners in the UK and Ireland. The two companies are already in discussions with entertainment content providers across Europe to facilitate future introduction of the service to European PSP owners.

The new venture follows a recently announced partnership between BT and Sony which will see the two companies bring voice calls, video conferencing, and IM functionality to PSP users across Europe.

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