Roku’s Amazon VOD in Beta. YouTube Next?

We knew Amazon Video on Demand was headed to Roku‘s media streamer ($99) early this year. And now, via their forums, we have word that the service has entered private beta. I had hoped Amazon VOD functionality was hidden within the recent 1.5 software update, however it’s rolled into a more significant 2.0 upgrade. Which … Read more

Tech On TV & What We’re Watching

While catching up on Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and inspired by Engadget’s periodic Screen Grabs column, a few bits of tech caught my eye last night. Season 2 is just getting started (in the US, anyway), and the first thing that struck me is the opening sequence resembling the (former?) Zune desktop software … Read more

Will Your TiVo Tweet?

TiVo programmer Ryan Rose has hacked his washing machine to send text message notifications over Twitter when his clothes are done. He did this for a practical reason, to prevent forgetting about his laundry which might sit in the damp washer and mildew. You can follow the washing machine’s activity on Twitter (412 people, including myself, already do) to be instantly informed when Mr. Rose’s laundry is done. Why would you want to? More on that later… Here’s video of “PiMPY” in action:

I’m a big fan of Activity Streams such as Twitter and FriendFeed. Once current user contributions across all the social web sites are freely distributed, with an emphasis on privacy, a new web era will arrive. My vision originates from Professor David Gelernter‘s “Life Streams” as defined in his 1993 book Mirror Worlds: The Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox – How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean.

Apparently I am not alone in my opinion that Activity Streams are the next big thing. Some of the most influential people in social media (MySpace, Google, Plaxo, Comcast, Nokia just to name a few) recently attended a DiSo meeting to discuss the future of how their user’s activity will be published. (Ian Kennedy, formerly of Yahoo and now head of Nokia’s Ovi service, kindly recorded the DiSo meeting using his phone.) One of the points discussed during the event was that activity streams are not just generated by people but that machines, like PiMPY, can also broadcast what they’re doing. Mr. Rose’s place of employment is noteworthy, and it got me thinking about the possibilities of machines with their own activity streams – particularly TiVo.

Read moreWill Your TiVo Tweet?

A Sneak-Peek Pic from FrameChannel

Sneak-peek screenshot of new FrameChannel UI due in February

Chances are reasonably high that you’ve never heard of FrameChannel. Wireless photo frames are still new in consumer adoption terms, and the idea of a content provider for these frames is a bit counter-intuitive. (Aren’t you just supposed to put your own pics on them?) Nonetheless, FrameChannel is expanding rapidly. At CES, FrameChannel was represented in about twenty different booths, and over the holiday season, ten different companies sold digital frames with access to FrameChannel content. Since its founding two years ago, parent company FrameMedia has inked deals with 30-40 providers including Reuters, Getty Images,, WeatherBug, and at least one financial news aggregator. Want RSS feeds of your own photos from one the many online photo sites? You can get that with FrameChannel too.

FrameMedia has a good head start in what promises to be an interesting new media space. Think of a customized online portal, and then picture it on a frame in your living room. Microsoft’s interested, and has its own beta FrameIt service (more on that later). There’s also reason for other large aggregators like Yahoo and Google to get in on the game. But, for right now, FrameChannel appears to be ahead of everyone. And FrameMedia has a plan for it to stay that way.

In talking to COO and co-founder Jon Feingold last week, the key to FrameChannel’s future success is both distribution and the ability to deliver content intelligently. For example, if you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook, or there’s a live game happening with one of your favorite sports teams, FrameMedia’s goal is to have FrameChannel deliver that data when it’s important to you, i.e. in the moment, but probably not so much in a week, or two, or three. FrameMedia is also laser focused on integrating with as many photo sharing sites and social networks as possible. The company wants to make sure you can access your content no matter where it’s stored, in addition to the best of everything else on the Web.

Read moreA Sneak-Peek Pic from FrameChannel

ZNF ‘Round The Web

Leaving comments across the blogosphere… Which HD video Web service is the best? Still shots seem kind of irrelevant when talking video. But another good measure might be to test different source HD formats and see how these sites do reencoding them. Upload limits are also an important consideration. But possibly most important, to me … Read more

ZNF ‘Round The Web

Leaving comments across the blogosphere… Reach Your Broadband Cap With Comcast Backup Service I’m still waiting for a way to track my data usage from their cable modem. Whatever software utility they’re working on doesn’t account for my Xbox, TiVo Amazon, and Netflix Roku VOD. However, I can’t bash Comcast too much… 250GB/month looks absolutely … Read more

Tech in Style

I’ve been known to succumb to my girly side before – see ultra pink Flip Ultra case – and lately I’ve noticed more and more opportunities to girl up my gadgets. At CES, the the most stylish booth by far was the one for Golla Bags. Housed deep in the South Hall, the Golla stand … Read more

Evolution of the Verizon Hub

Tech specs are still fuzzy, but what we do know is that this is a POTS-based cordless phone system with a touchscreen for Internet access and integration with Verizon wireless phone services. It’s meant to act as a digital photo frame, note board, family calendar, and widget station all at once.