SkyNet is launching a chat service called Google Talk. As with many other SkyNet services, it debuts as a beta. Although the site just went live, the service was working earlier today. Google Talk is Jabber compatible (based on the XMPP standard), which means that many clients will connect to it without modification (iChat, Trillian, Gaim, etc.).
I’ve been wondering in what direction the future of chat was going; this looks like it could be the next step.
The Superbowl premier of Napster’s “Napster to go” service raises some interesting technophilosophical questions. The Napster to go service offered at $14.95 is an expanded version of the $9.95 PC only version, if you want to take the songs “to go” on select portable MP3 players. While I think the 50% price increase to allow portability is a bit excessive, the concept of the service is very intriguing to me. Is media ownership an antiquated phenomenon or because I’m a bit more rational than other net minds who decry everything that isn’t bleeding edge as hopelessly outdated, is ownership so ingrained into the American psyche that services such as Napster to go will never dominate the marketplace? Owning a song certainly doesn’t carry the same cultural attachments that owning a car or a house does, but there is still a strong attachment to the philosophy behind ownership of any kind.
There are two ideas people need to accept for a music service like this to work: 1.) Physical ownership isn’t important, use ownership is what matters 2.) Renting, given certain parameters, is better than owning. The second idea is less of a problem than the first. Many people are very content leasing cars one after another and most people rent movies instead of buying everything they want to see. However, renting music is different in some important regards. Music is something that you want to enjoy over and over again, most likely more times than you want to watch a movie (unless it’s Episode V or The Matrix), and any particular song isn’t going to change over time (i.e. if you like it enough to buy now, you’ll probably like it in ten years and it isn’t going to get any different), unlike a car which gets old and doesn’t have the same features as new models. So, while Napster to go is a terrific investment for any given month, its value as a service decreases somewhat when you string many months together.
A friend pointed me to the DVD Rewinder. This product is a definite must-have for the tech savvy:
Too many DVDs, and CDs and not enough time to rewind? Are your DVDs running a bit too slow? The DVD rewinder is the perfect solution! This novelty rewinder comes with the exclusive Centriptal Velocity Spindle providing the world’s fastest DVD rewind!
Anything with a “Centriptal Velocity Spindle” has to be amazing. Oh, and “Centriptal” must be way cooler than centripetal.
It also features a disc cleaner.
This is the official “I don’t feel like posting anything but I will because I think it’s needed and I’m going to make it 3 categories at that” post.
In other news, I bought a Sony CLIÉ PEG-TH55 over the weekend and saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban tonight. The PDA rocks (see right for self-portrait taken with it) a little more than Potter; having just undergone a 24-hour emergency re-read, the changes to the plot (much more extensive than in the previous movies [1 2]) were kind of annoying. The main characters were pretty static in this movie, although new characters Professor Lupin, Professor Trelawney, and Sirius Black were portrayed well. Considering the later books are much longer (and more complex), I wonder how much massaging their plots will undergo. Something tells me I might be disappointed in 2005 and 2007 (although at least the credited cast appears to remain unchanged for Goblet of Fire). Please don’t misunderstand; I enjoyed it. I guess I just had high expectations that weren’t quite satisfied (I call this the “Matrix Reloaded” effect).
Looks like the California State Senate followed through on their previously reported efforts to limit Gmail, overwhelmingly approving (24-8) a heavily amended SB 1822:
The bill by Democratic state Sen. Liz Figueroa would require Gmail to work only in real-time and would bar the service from producing records.
The bill also would bar Gmail from collecting personal information from e-mails and giving any information to third parties.
Considering the bill in its original form would have severly restricted Gmail, the approved bill is not that bad. I’m glad not everyone is an idiot…
I saw this mentioned on Slashdot and checked for myself. Gmail now appears to offer 1 TB (1000000 MB) instead of 1 GB (1000 MB):
Some say this is in response to a recent announcement by Lycos, but most likely it’s just a decimal point error. Regardless, I can now boast that I have a terabyte email account…
If binary prefixes confuse you, check out this entry over at Wikipedia.
Update (noackjr @ 01:44 am 06/09/2004): Looks like it was just a goof; it now says 1000 MB again…
I came across this comprehensive preview of Gmail on ExtremeTech. I personally found the conversation view and labels to be the biggest innovations of Gmail. It’s hard to go back to using a service that doesn’t offer them. Some of us (me) will also appreciate the keyboard shortcuts. The price for all these great features? Completely unobtrusive text-based ads. There are a few down sides, the biggest of which (in my opinion) is the lack of virus scanning. In the end ExtremeTech gave Gmail an 8 out of 10. Here’s a comparison of Gmail to Yahoo! Mail and MSN Hotmail.
We’re over 1000 hits thanks to our loyal readership…
Trinity: I’m in.
Having connections is great. My connection of the week is Steve Wilbur. Steve is the first person I know to get a Gmail account. He showed it to me on Friday before we went to Jazz Fest. It looked solid and I was very impressed with the conversation view.
Here’s a sneak peek of the Gmail interface. The conversation view looks rather interesting, although details are a bit vague.
In other news, the hubbub continues. Despite this, Google is inviting subscribers of its Blogger weblog service to beta test Gmail, so it appears SkyNet is overcoming human opposition. Resistance is futile.
Google really seems serious about this, as they’re even letting the Mac folks come out and play…