You are here[Internet]

[Internet]


"New Baby" - a fun & heartwarming video (from Google) #video

I found this video on YouTube about a soon-to-be first-time dad going through the motions of preparing for well... being a first-time dad.

The Google Search guys have made some really clever videos in the past for their Google Search Stories series, and this one is funny and heartwarming at the same time.

Personally, I would stop at one, but hey, with Google search, anything can happen and plans can change. :)

Enjoy the video.




The Internet To The Rescue

The world watched in shock as Chile was hit by an earthquake 800 times stronger than the one in Haiti -- and it happened even before the sun went up. But while governments around the world scrambled to get moving, social media was already saving lives.

It's amazing what social media can do where traditional media and emergency methods often fall short. While we commend the Chilean people for building strong buildings and having solid disaster control methods in place, we can't help but notice how social media platforms such as Twitter quickly began putting things together again.

Case in point: Sheryl Breuker, who yesterday shared her personal story with Mashable.com. Her sister-in-law was in Santiago, Chile when the earthquake struck, and there was no way of getting in touch with her. Most communication lines were cut. But a vital line to the Internet stayed on, so they began contacting locals via Twitter.

Sure enough, just a couple of hours later, a number of locals found Sheryl's sister-in-law, safe and sound. And I'm pretty sure she wasn't the only missing person that Twitter helped track down.

Similarly, Facebook users around the Pacific rim stayed up late that night, tracking the resulting tsunami threat and relaying information hours before their respective government agencies did. Google also launched their "Chile Earthquake Finder" service, allowing users to choose between "I'm looking for someone" and "I have information about someone."

There wasn't much damage caused by the tsunami, but seeing how coastal communities all over the Pacific rim responded by evacuating quickly and systematically made me feel like a proud father.

Social media's role doesn't stop there -- now that Chile is picking up the pieces, heroes all over the world are sending money, aid, and manpower. And I have little doubt that social media is going to play yet another big role when the next natural disaster rolls around.

And I'm also pretty sure that the conservatives will be sitting in their sofas bitching at their TV's every time they see their heads of state offer aid to Chile. They'll still be saying, "Why help Chile? Chile will never help us back! Stop sending aid!"

Oh, let them be idiots. In the meantime, the rest of us will continue using today's tools to help make the world a little better than yesterday -- as they were meant to.

News In The Google v. Microsoft Saga

While the Google v. Microsoft saga seems likely to stay a one-sided battle for the next few years, it still comes up with some of the most interesting news in cyberspace. I'm not a fan of Microsoft, but I do try not to be biased with their efforts in cleaning their tarnished image. Really, I do. Watch:

The (sorta) GOOD news - Microsoft and Yahoo finally close the deal

It's been several months since the Microsoft-Yahoo merger was suggested, but the two giants ultimately sealed the deal over the weekend. "Microhoo" (not its official name) will start finding ways to chisel away at Google's dominance in search, although it's likely we won't see Bing take over Yahoo search until late 2010.

The OK news - Google trounces Bing in Mashable.com poll

While the merger should heighten competition quite a bit and ultimately improve the search experience for everyone, it's clear that Microsoft and Yahoo have their work cut out from them. In the latest Mashable.com Faceoff poll, Google trounced Bing 78% to 19% (with 3% either way) when users were asked what the best search engine was.

Still, snagging almost one out of every five searchers isn't bad. After all, it's Google we're talking about here.

The BAD news - Google adds a dictionary feature

One of the niftiest Google tools is the "define: ___" feature, where you can get definitions for most terms you've never heard of before. Google very quietly upgraded the feature with its own dictionary. You can go to google.com/dictionary to get definitions for words in 28 languages.

That's another item on Bing's checklist.

The TERRIBLE news -- Bing goes down.

It was only for 30 minutes last weekend. But it was enough to whip up a small storm in the social media scene, with tortured cries permeating Twitter throughout the darkness. Actually, it was just an upgrade gone awry -- the guys at Bing immediately rolled things back, and users were able to use Bing again soon after.

Okay, so maybe I AM just a little biased. But I do know that things are starting to look up with Gates and company, especially with the... ahem... mostly-successful release of Windows 7. (According to another Mashable.com poll, slightly more users prefer Windows 7 over Apple's Snow Leopard OS). Let's hope the trend keeps up -- if only to expect stiffer resistance from Google.

YouTube Debuts 'Lite' Version

Image credit: Adapted image from YouTube's Feather beta signup page

I like YouTube for two different reasons -- one, it helps keep me up-to-date with the latest trends in film and media. (After all, watching videos can sometimes be easier than reading some bad article.) The other reason is, quite simply, it's a fun way to schmooze. I still haven't gotten tired of the "sneezing baby panda" video, for instance.

But YouTube does (or rather, DID -- more on that later) have its pitfalls. In Singapore and the surrounding region, ISP's are pretty slow in offering higher-bandwidth offerings owing to the relatively slim competition. So, yup, we deal with a quite a bit of buffer time and staring at that annoying "loading" wheel indicator.

Thankfully, Google does listen to its users, and has recently launched the beta version of YouTube Feather. This feature of YouTube strips down YouTube pages to the bare essentials -- minus ads, ratings, bells and whistles, and simply presents the video with as little latency and bandwidth-hogging as possible.

This means good news for casual viewers -- you can now spend more time watching and less time groaning while on YouTube. This is particularly important in bandwidth-starved areas of the world, such as Southeast Asia, where there are people who actually still use Dial-up (or broadband with Dial-up speeds).

But is it bad news for content creators? After all, content creators rely on ads and "subscribe" features on their videos to grow their businesses.

Thankfully, content creators don't have to worry -- when YouTube knows the video comes from a content creator, it reverts to the regular YouTube, complete with all its functions (including HD).

When YouTube Feather goes live, it should make it much easier for people to appreciate and enjoy the benefits that YouTube brings to the computing experience. You can activate and use YouTube Feather by clicking this link.


Yeah, it seems not a day passes by without an update from Google. One worth mentioning is probably Google's crusade to create a "new" Internet -- or at least a faster one. Google is still asking for more community feedback and participation in its development of SPDY -- if you haven't heard of it before, it's going to be the next big thing in the Internet. It'll replace HTML one day, already being at least 50% faster in development stages.


Meanwhile, Microsoft is scrambling to deal with report after report after report of the Black Screen of Death plaguing Windows 7 users. Kinda shows you what's up in the Microsoft vs Google wars.

My (Rather Reluctant) Take On Chrome OS

Google released the Linux-based Chrome OS a few days ago, to a largely mixed reception. Many pundits were quick to dismiss it as "unimpressive" and "underwhelming." It this a bad thing? For Google, it doesn't really seem to matter.

The Chrome OS is a revolutionary new operating system that pretty much relies on cloud computing for 99% of its work1. A Chrome OS netbook doesn't have a hard drive -- it only has a non-volatile flash drive that processes data. All your documents, programs, and applications will be based on the cloud -- and this means a slew of pros and cons when compared to the way we currently do things.

Chrome OS Pros:

#1 - No hard drive.
That means you don't have to backup your files -- everything will be stored on secure servers on the cloud. That also means you won't have to worry about viruses and other malware infecting your system.

#2 - Speed, speed, speed.
Chrome OS netbooks can startup at a super-fast 7 seconds, which means you can start working in the amount of time it takes you to turn on the TV. The fastest Windows systems take at least a minute2.

#3 - It's open-source.
That also means it's (... well.. kinda') free.

Chrome OS Cons:

#1 - Needs an Internet connection to survive.
That means when the Net connection conks out (which happens more than you think in this part of the world), you'll be left in the dark.

#2 - No installing of third-party software.
You can't, for instance, install video games. There's enough entertainment on the Internet, you might argue, but this is still a pretty limiting feature for most of us.

Google doesn't seem to mind the mixed feedback -- it would seem that most pundits see Chrome OS as Google's attempt to take over the computing world3. That's actually missing the point -- Google isn't out to beat Windows. At Chrome's infancy, Google is very likely out to start by dominating the Netbook market4, since Chrome OS's features seem more geared towards portable computing than anything else.

The way I see it, as it stands, a Chrome OS netbook would make an OK second computer -- one you could bring on business trips and such. Chrome OS won't officially be out until next year, meaning Google's simply letting the community take a more active part in developing it.

But no matter what Google's intentions are, there's no doubt that Microsoft is on its toes right now. Google Apps has already scored a noticeable dent on Microsoft Office -- will the Windows OS line be next?

1 OK, I just picked that percentage figure out of the air.
2 OK, that's probably not true, but it sure feels like a full minute (sometimes two, even).
3 OK, who doesn't know that yet? Dumbass.
4 OK. OK. They're out to take down Windows. You happy now? Geez.


Technology Improves Social Relationships, Study Says

A new study claims that the Internet and mobile technology actually improves the average individual's social relationships, instead of hampering them as commonly conceived. This is a surprising find, particularly because it's easy to think a kid who spends hours on a PC or fiddling with a mobile phone doesn't have a social life.

The study "Social Isolation and New Technology" was released last week by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. It seems that if you have at least a few friends, and maybe if you stay in touch with your family more than other people, it's likely because of e-mail, Facebook, and mobile technology.

Of course, the news should be taken with a grain of salt -- the findings are likely to be challenged by new studies in the near future. After all, it was only a few months ago when another study found that students who regularly use Facebook and play video games tend to get lower grades than students who spend comparatively more time studying.

If there's anything these studies show, I believe it's actually the limitations of technology. While certain technologies may influence your personality and social responsibilities, it won't control you completely unless you let it. These findings should only underscore the importance of developing responsible individuals through the Internet.

It may be wishful thinking for some. But now that you know how technology doesn't really have a hold over your performance and relationships, can you really sit on your hands and do nothing?

Google And Apple Make Headway In China

Over the weekend, Google and Apple made significant headway in China (or at least, with things related to China). As time goes by it gets easier to wonder whether or not the two industry giants are out to get each other's throats, since their marketing strategies seem to cross on so many paths.

Let's start with Apple. Last weekend, the iPhone finally made it to China, greeted by the usual droves that go where the world's leading smartphone goes. Sales were brisk, but noticeably subdued at the same time -- while hundreds of people braved the cold rain to get their hands on an iPhone, there weren't many sellouts, unlike in Japan and the US.

Should be expected, I guess -- after all, what do you expect from China? Millions of "genuine imitations" of iPhones have been in use in China for months, and the new iPhone -- with a hefty price tag and no Wi-Fi -- isn't really as appealing as it could have been. While I think the iPhone will eventually make up lost ground in the next few months, I also hope Apple learned a thing or two about the Chinese market from the "lukewarm" reception.

Next up, Google. Now Google hasn't really physically ventured onto China like Apple did, but one of their most recent developments -- Google Voice Search in Mandarin Chinese -- make it so they might as well had. Google Voice Search is a smartphone application that lets you recite your search query instead of typing it out, saving lots of time and effort. (Hmmm... this sounds like what Yahoo! had some 2 years ago. I think I need to dig up some info on them and find out how they're faring in this area of search.)

Google Voice Search recognizes an increasing number of English accents, but stepping into Mandarin Chinese territory is a major feat. I mean, think about it -- it's China! China has two times more cellphone subscribers than the US, posing a very tempting market. Mandarin Voice Search is only available on Nokia S60 phones at this point, but if Google does things right, it poses to reap dividends over the next few months.

Will Google Music Be The Last Nail In The Traditional Media Coffin? - #music #internet

Google just recently unveiled the latest addition to their family of life-changing services -- Google Music. Now users can type the name of a song or artist, and Google lets users play the song as many times as they want through Lala.com or iLike.com. The feature hasn't been rolled out in and around Singapore yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Aside from curing brain itches all over the world (you hear a song on the radio, and you can't know who sang it unless you remember the lyrics and Google it), Google Music may also boost music sales in the near future. After all, Google is the world's most visited site -- now looking for music is no longer the chore it used to be.

Much has been said about Google Music over the past several weeks. It's been touted as the "iTunes killer" (yawn) or "Bing destroyer" (double yawn), but it's doubtful Google had either Apple or Microsoft in its sights when it came out with Google Music. If you ask me, they're just doing what they do best -- give relevant search results.

Of course, there isn't a doubt Google Music will get its share of criticism from entities in the music business. Apple fans, for instance, may see it as a challenge to iTunes' superiority over the digital music industry, a dominance Microsoft has for so long tried and failed to dent.

It doesn't feel like that to me. It's likely that the people who'll be searching for (and eventually buying) music on Google Music will be those who have never touched iTunes before, and believe you me, there's a lot of them out there. If Google Music's going to do anything, it's bound to be for the good of civilized society.

Oh, and I'm not worried about traditional music media, by the way. I doubt the radio will ever die* -- it's a part of civilization that, like jeans and t-shirts, will never go out of fashion.


* But if I'm wrong about the radio, please don't point it out. Just pretend like I was right anyway

Netflix Comes To Sony PlayStation 3 - #movies #internet #film

Last week, Netflix announced that their live HD movie streaming feature, back then only available to very happy Xbox 360 users (with the annual $49.99 LIVE subscription, that is), was going to be made available to "another device" soon -- and speculation was rife in the blogosphere. Was it going to be the iPhone? Maybe on Google Android? Perhaps on a new platform Netflix wants to promote?

My own guess was right -- it was going to be released on the Sony PlayStation 3.

Netflix+Sony+Playstation+3+PS3+Chris+Gomez+EngineAlpha+Engine+Alpha

Image credit: Found on ecoustics.com  - Link -

It was a no-brainer for me and many other experts in the industry* -- I think the PS3 actually provides a better platform for Netflix's HD movie streaming offering. Since the PS3 slimmed down, both physically and price-wise, it had rocketed to the top of sales lists mere months ago. Now, with Blu-Ray support and fantastic online support, it looks like the PS3 is going to stay on top for a while.

Some Xbox 360 fans may dislike the idea. After all, Netflix's offering used to be "exclusive" to Xbox. Unfortunately, nothing really stays exclusive forever, at least not in this industry. Eventually Netflix will have to go where the profits lie, otherwise someone else will beat them to it -- worst case, with an even better offering.

PS3 users will definitely be pleased -- Netflix's service will only cost $8.99 a month. Unless something big comes along to challenge Netflix over the next few months, it's likely the PS3 will be spending them gaining even more ground on the Wii.


* Yes. I am an expert in my industry :)

Happy Birthday, Internet | #media #technology #internet

Many people think the Internet is technology's most recent innovation, but it actually began almost 40 years ago. US scientist Leonard Kleinrock had the idea of using an "interface message processor"(IMP) to access a computer from another location back in 1969, and while the first test was rather dismal, it was obviously the beginning of something new.

Back in October 29, 1969, Kleinrock hooked up a computer to the IMP and began to type the word "LOGIN," to be sent to a colleague in Stanford. But after typing the first two letters, the system crashed. So accidentally and aptly, the first word sent over the Internet was "LO" -- and behold!

happy+birthday+internet+xkcd+wrong+on+internet+Chris+Gomez+Engine+Alpha

Image credit: Found on xkcd.com


The Internet has come a long way since that first word was sent over the first connection. Most people think the Internet only started out in the 80's, because that's when its more primitive forms first became commercially available. What do YOU remember about the Internet's early years?

I remember how e-mail changed the way people communicated. Telegrams were all of a sudden obsolete, and people now had an inexpensive way of communicating with their loved ones and colleagues out of town.

Sometime years later came the browser wars, Google, Wikipedia, and the row over music copyrights (and later general file sharing). Whether we liked it or not, the Internet was here to stay.

I think the biggest impact the Internet has made so far comes in the form of -- okay, I'll say it just this once -- social media. All of a sudden, it opened the doors for a tech-savvy underdog US Senator to reach unprecedented numbers of people and raise unprecedented amounts of money, wresting power from an otherwise immovable opposing party.

But for the rest of us, the Internet simply makes life a lot more interesting. Work is almost always more efficient with the Internet, and productivity levels haven't increased this much since the advent of air conditioning.

Many people say that, at 40 years, the Internet is still a teenager. If life truly does begin at 40, let's see what the next 40 has in store for us.