News, views and what I choose to dos



Kindle 2: $359 and out this month

Category : Journalism, Technology · No Comments · by Feb 9th, 2009

As predicted yesterday, Amazon has just announced the second version of its Kindle e-book in New York this morning. You can read the official announcement here.

It will cost $359 – still very expensive – and will be available from 24 February. If you are based in the United States, you can pre-order one now. I just have.

This is the catchline being pushed by Amazon: “Thinner, faster, crisper, with longer battery life”. Here’s the corporate launch video. More actual details below.

The Kindle 2.0 out tomorrow?

Category : Journalism, Technology · No Comments · by Feb 8th, 2009

One thing I’ve always disliked about US tech journalism is the willingness to get drawn into corporate hype to the extent that even the possible news of a new product is deemed worthy of news articles.

But that said, it does look as though tomorrow in New York, Amazon will announce a new version of its ebook reader, the Kindle. And, I have to say, I am looking forward to it for the simple reason that the Kindle is what will finally break the ebook barrier to mainstream use and that will bring with it a fantastic revolution in book and information consumption.

A press conference is being held at the Morgan Library and Museum (although I haven’t been able to find an official press announcement of it), and in the past week pictures of a new Kindle have leaked out onto the Net (which is hardly surprising as to do such a big launch of a new product, the images would have had to have gone through at least one PR agency and have a wide distribution internally). I’ve grabbed the pictures and posted them below.

According to online reports, the expected launch date is 24 February.

Update: And yes it did launch. Read my post here for a full rundown.

Inspiring video and the Internet

Category : Internet, Technology · (1) Comment · by Jan 17th, 2009

Michael Smolens is the platinum guide for the revolution that is going on right now with video over the Internet. As the CEO of DotSub – a company which enables people to simply and easily transcribe and translate film online – he is on the cutting edge.

Which is why it is such a pleasure to talk to him: because he always has some video project or program on his mind that he tells you about, incredulous that you haven’t heard of it yet. So when Michael called me yesterday to tell me he’d be in Los Angeles in early February and did I fancy meeting up, I was delighted to hear about another extraordinary and inspiring use of film the likes of which make me want to pick up my camera right now and get filming.

I checked it out online this morning and then also dug out some other recommendations he had made to me and then it occurred to me, buzzing with hope and energy, that it might not be a bad idea to share this knowledge with whoever reads my blog.

So here is a quick guide to the most inspiring films and movements around at the moment. Why be medicated with nonsense television when you can be uplifted and inspired with Net marvels?

Hey, ho, Delhi here we go

Category : ICANN, Technology · (3) Comments · by Feb 6th, 2008

I’m writing this in that neverworld of an airport waiting for a slightly delayed plane.

And, of course, as it always is, that airport is Heathrow. I hate Heathrow. I’ve always hated Heathrow. Even as a kid, I remember the sensation of life ebbing away from you as you sit in uncomfortable chairs next to grumpy people, eat dreadful food and get annoyed with snooty staff. It’s Heathrow, it’s British Airways, it’s delayed, and I’m flying economy, seat 49J, which means no sleep, cramped legs, and an incredibly frustrating effort trying to do work on my laptop for the next nine hours.

Still, I’m on my way to the ICANN meeting in Delhi which should prove to be the usual mix of fun, exhaustion, confusion and interesting events. Plus I’ve never been to India before. What’s happening at the ICANN meeting? Well, plenty. Discussions on front-running, on domain tasting, on new gTLDs and IDNs. And the JPA. And the translation programme – which I have been working very hard on and should really help ICANN become an international organisation. And, you know, all the other sorts of issues that underpin the future evolution of the Internet and which I now concern myself with every day.

I have to say though that I felt an itch as a journalist to get stuck into the US elections yesterday. Shame I wasn’t in the country for Super Tuesday. Ah well, new gTLDs and IDNs are going to have a bigger impact on the world than the next US president. And I mean that too.

Can someone please get to the ebook reader before Apple

Category : Internet, Journalism, Sex.com, Technology · No Comments · by Nov 22nd, 2007

Amazon's KindleI’m quite excited about the fact that Amazon has brought out a new ebook reader that it calls the Kindle. I haven’t seen one in the real world but I am assuming with the effort they’ve put behind it that the screen technology is what it claims to be – easy to read without straining your eyes.

I believe ebooks are the inevitable future. It’s just another step along the digital revolution. But – and what a but – have you seen the state of the “Kindle”? It looks like a prototype. A prototype designed by 18-year-old students back in the 1980s. Here is good technology and big demand with crappy design – i.e. the perfect opportunity for Apple.

The participative web – follow my Web2.0 ramblings at the OECD meeting

Category : Internet, Journalism, Technology · (1) Comment · by Oct 3rd, 2007

For those interested in Internet things – and in this case the sexy side of the Internet, Facebook and all that stuff – there is an interesting conference due to start in two hours in Ottawa, Canada.

I know because I’m here and I’m on of two official bloggers. See can see the full agenda here, and the front page to the blog, which I will be updating all day can be found here.

The conference is basically bringing together experts from across the world to discuss what these latest Web2.0 technologies – which the OECD has placed under the banner “the participative web” – mean, what impact they will, what we should do and not do about the societal, business and political changes they invoke and so on. The reason why this is important is because the OECD is one of the full bodies in the world that the world’s most powerful governments listen to.

So check it out. Reply to my blog posts – if they’re pertinent I’ll read em out in the meeting.

Amazon.com now selling my book

Category : Internet, Journalism, Sex.com, Technology · (7) Comments · by Jul 3rd, 2007

This has to be good – I note that Amazon.com is now selling my book – Sex.com.

Unfortunately there is still a four to six-week delivery date on it, which leads me to conclude that my publishers have yet to strike a deal with a US publisher. I also note on a quick perusal of the Net that the Sydney Morning Herald and ran a whole extract in its edition today – Chapter 3, I believe. And I’m pleased to see that Techworld – where I was news ed – ran an extract last week. Alot has happened since I’ve been away.

I’ve also got a lovely review on Amazon.com. Although this doesn’t appeared to have helped my ranking much – it’s still way down at book no 186,461. Anyway, the review:

So much for Google translation

Category : Internet, Journalism, Technology · (2) Comments · by Jun 4th, 2007

Three weeks ago, I added a translation module to this blog as an experiment with automated translation software.

The technology worked although thanks to some readers of different nationalities, it quickly became clear that the translations were not great – and in some cases barely comprehensible. Part of the reason is that I write in a very chatty fashion in English, complete with slang, odd sentence construction and often an idiosyncratic style. There’s no way a computer can accurately translate that sort of material. And it would seem that Google has decided not to bother at all.

Click on any of the flags on the right-hand column and I have just noticed you are informed that Google considers that your action “looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application” and that you may want to run a virus checker on your computer. There is no manual override. Google simply refuses to translate the page. So much for Google translation. I’m shifting to a different one that hopefully will be able to do the most basic job or telling a click on a website to a virus.

And people wonder why we shouldn’t get too caught up with Google software.

Decide the Sex.com tagline – but fast

Category : Internet, Journalism, Sex.com, Technology · (13) Comments · by Apr 3rd, 2007

The tagline for my book on the Sex.com saga has to be with the publishers on Thursday i.e. in two days.

We – meaning me and the publisher – are still undecided so here is your chance to have some fun and help me out. There are a list below of the sort of variations we came up with a few months ago – they are also on the poll on the right. So, please, vote but also please offer your suggestions and variations. And do so quick. A signed book and a beer to whoever nails it…

.xxx top-level domain back on the agenda

Category : Domain names, ICANN, Internet, Journalism, Technology · (1) Comment · by Jan 7th, 2007

Well, Stuart Lawley won’t take no for any answer and .xxx has popped up on the ICANN agenda again, this time with such extraordinary controls and safeguards that it makes you wonder whether the business case is still there.

Contrary to common belief, the .xxx domain was never ruled out. In fact, because it had been officially approved by the ICANN Board before the US government, among others, went ballistic, the official line has always been that the contract drawn up wasn’t right.

And so ICM Registry has gone away and come back with yet more changes and yet more wording and concessions in a bid to get .xxx through. There is a lot in there and the wording is pretty uncompromising.