Monday, July 13, 2009

Tech News of the Week - Ending July 11, 2009

Tech News of the Week(+) July 1-11, 2009

Google Chrome OS
Google announced plans to create their own operating system, called Google Chrome OS. In a previous blog post, I listed my Thoughts on Google's Chrome OS.

Cyber Attacks
North Korea was the suspected source of cyber attacks on web sites in the U.S. and South Korea. Targets included government, stock exchange, and news media sites. In a separate unrelated incident, Twitter was flooded with fake accounts posting with the tag "#gorillapenis". Nothing particularly new with these activities, really. If you run a site, not only do you have to worry about keeping it up as much as possible, but about securing data and filtering out spam.

Facebook Adding More Privacy Control Options
Finally! This is a welcome change for me, I would really prefer posting messages to select groups of people instead of blasting everything to a wide audience - that's what this blog is for! The ability to make posts totally public will be a welcome feature for me too, since a number of people I know are (still) not of Facebook (yet).

Apple App Store Turns One
Wow, I can't believe it's only been one year! Apple really took it to Microsoft, Nokia, RIM, and Google. Of course it's the entire cohesive ecosystem with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iTunes that contributed to its success. Nevertheless, a store that has amassed a collection over
50,000 apps and over a billion downloads is nothing to sneeze at.

Device Announcements/Rumors
  • Dell is rumored to be developing a mobile device based on Android OS to compete against the iPod Touch. I'm really interested to see whether it will offer 3g data connectivity.
  • There is speculation that the next model of the iPod Touch will feature a video camera, like the iPhone. Personally I'm all for it. As an iPod Touch user, having matching capabilities of the iPhone (minus the actual phone) is at the top of my tech wishlist.
  • Last month, the HTC Hero was the latest Android phone to be announced. Engadget posted photos of it side-by-side with the myTouch 3G, which was officially announced just prior. Both of them use service on carrier T-Mobile.
  • Sony enters the Netbook market with the Vaio W. They are a latecomer to the Netbook party, joining a now-long list of computer makers who compete at the small and cheap range of laptops. It comes with typical specs, with the only differentiating factor (in my mind) being an HD-resolution screen (1366 x 768). As of now, Dell and HP are the only other manufacturers who offer that level of resolution over the common 1024 x 600 screen.

VideoLAN released version 1.0 of VLC, an excellent free media player. The version number is a complete misnomer, though, as VLC has been around for years and has had numerous previous releases. I haven't put it through its paces yet, but on initial usage it sure feels smooth, polished, and stable. It's always been known for having good support for various media formats.

Exit Strategy / Liquidation Events
  • LogMeIn went IPO, rising %28 in its first day of trading over the initial offering price of $16 a share. The company, who makes software to enable remote access to computers, raised $107 million with the share priced at the top of the expected range. It was one of the very few Internet / software companies to go IPO this year.
  • The bidding war for Data Domain, a data storage management company, finally ended with EMC winning with a higher offer over NetApp. It's nice to have a sign of life in this bad economy.

What Went Wrong With Joost and Joost’s Last Hope describe the company's fall. Technically, Joost is not dead. However, such a big shift in direction plus layoffs and the departure of its CEO form a really big disappointment. Definitely a cautionary tale for aspiring startups.

Useful Sites/Apps
  • Mozilla launched a useful catalog for software developers: the Open Web Tools Directory. Right now it's just a simple list, but there is obvious potential for the directory to get filled out and made more useful. I would love to see some discussion forums, where people can post questions and requests for information/recommendations. I can imagine developers posting reviews, and voting on which tools they prefer. It could really save me a lot of time from Googling around to find available tools and researching to decide which one to use.
  • Google launched, a site for finding volunteering activities. I know it just launched, but it would be really nice to have finer grained filtering by location, date, and type of activity - also the ability to sort by date and distance.
  • Have no idea what people are using a hashtag for on Twitter,or why a term is a trending topic? Try What the Hashtag and What the Trend.

Fun Sites/Apps
  • highlights funny postings in Craigslist's "free" posting section. Hey, I have plenty of junk to get rid of, there must be something funny for me to post a free listing for...
  • The Lying Down Game: "A group for all those who enjoy the sport of lying down in random public places to confuse people". I think this is totally hilarious! It's such a simple concept, but there are thousands of various creative and unexpected/unpredictable deviations.

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