Saturday, June 6, 2009

This Week On Twitter (and other news from the rest of the Internet) - Week Ending June 6, 2009

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The Big Launches
  • The highly anticipated Palm Pre launched on the Sprint network. If you didn't know about it already, you probably don't care - but just in case: the Palm Pre is a smartphone running a new operating system called WebOS. Notable highlights include a slider design, physical keyboard, multi-touch screen, accelerometer, wireless battery charging, and the ability to run multiple applications at once. Commonly found smartphone features include: camera, GPS, media player, web browser, text messaging, email, and wi-fi. Many consider it to be the strongest potential competitor for Apple's iPhone, while others criticize the small size of buttons on the keyboard, build quality, lack of applications in its app store, and Palm's ability to compete with larger players. I really want one, but I'm going to wait and see how it shakes out - in the meantime, I'm still happy with my (1st generation) iPod Touch and regular cell phone.
  • Microsoft launched Bing, their new re-branded search engine which used to be Live Search. It received some good reviews, but generally isn't considered strong enough for Microsoft to seriously compete against Google (despite their multiple attempts). They received a lot of flack about previews in video search results showing porn even with parental/content filters in place.
Googly News
  • Google launched Google Squared, which shows search results in a structured table format. It's part of Google labs, which means it's not quite ready for prime time. I did a search for "2008 nfl draft" and for Detroit Lions it returned Height of 28px and Weight of 187 lbs. Surprisingly, it appears to be case-sensitive, since a query for "2008 NFL Draft" returns different results.
  • Wave was announced on May 28, and early previewers have been evaluating it since. A new communication framework that is like a hybrid between e-mail, instant messaging, wikis and discussion forums, it offers real-time collaboration. Showing every character as it is typed is a throwback to Unix talk.
  • Early developer preview builds were released for Chrome on Mac and Linux. They said "whatever you do, please DON'T DOWNLOAD THEM!" Of course people still did, including me. I had already installed the open source version of chromium on Linux, but it was still cool.
Entertainment World
On Twitter
Silicon Valley
  • "Condolences are pouring out over the Internet as news spreads that Rajeev Motwani, a Stanford University computer science professor and well-known Silicon Valley angel investor, died unexpectedly at his home Friday. He was 45." (as reported by CNET) Even though I never took one of his classes, I know at least one person who did, and have to mourn the tragic premature loss of a fellow Berkeley alum, computer scientist, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
  • Intel buys embedded software maker Wind River Systems of Alameda, CA. I got one of my first full-time job offers from Wind River after I graduated from Berkeley, over 10 years ago (I joined Infoseek instead).
  • The JavaOne annual conference was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. After Oracle's acquisition of Sun, hopefully that was not the last JavaOne.
San Francisco
  • Lonely Planet offered their San Francisco City Guide iPhone application for free, normally priced at $15.99. It is free for a limited time, due to Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Although it feels more like an e-book than an iPhone app, I really like that it works offline and has a decent map of the city, since I have an iPod Touch instead of an iPhone.
  • San Francisco launched a Twitter account for 311 (@SF311), to handle communication for city repairs, complaints, and services. Activity also picked up for @SF_Emergency after an underground explosion on Polk Street in the Tenderloin district.
Random
  • A few more reviews came out recently for poor man's(/woman's) Macbook Air competitors, the MSI X340 and Asus Aspire Timeline. They look nice, and at half the price of a Macbook Air, are much more affordable. I hope other computer makers enter this space that is between netbooks and traditional ultra-portables. Also, more and more netbooks come out or get announced every week, it seems.
  • I saw a couple web pages about exercising with your cat. I thought they were both completely ridiculous. I was only interested to begin with because I thought they were about getting exercise for your cat, not for yourself. From boingboing.net and sfgate.com.

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