Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Next Step for Google

Click to enlarge Keri hitting Henro
These past two days have been pretty busy for me, and school hasn't even started yet! Above, you can see a picture I took when we were blowing up balloons for Gone to Texas (introductory event for the fish). It's so nice to be back in Austin though; I miss being around so much activity and so many hot chicks (I forgot how freaking many there were around here). I missed a lot of news though, so I'd better get right to it. Google has released a combination of its services for personal domains in a beta package called Google Apps featuring mail, a calendar, a page creator, and Google Talk functionality. It's not a bad idea, and ZDNet believes that their next move will now be to release a web-based version of Microsoft Money to help people manage their personal finances for free from where ever they may be. The article makes it sound more like it would be targeted at businesses for a price, but I"m sure that they also have normal people in the back of their minds as well. Here's the thing though, I really don't see companies trusting Google with this kind of financial information, even small ones. With the possibility of data mining and the fact that Google effectively has control over your company's personal information, I'm not sure that their big name would be enough to buy them credibility. Then there's the challenge of a complex software infrastructure. It's an interesting though, but I'm not sure if a full web-based office suite is what Google is really after right now. I see them trying to flesh out their core services more, namely Google News and Google Video.

If you're puzzled as to why Apple is so secretive about new products and features then you'll appreciate this article explaining the facts behind how they're trying to avoid biting their tongue and working the press. I think part of the reason Apple is revered more by the public than Microsoft is because they've figured out the tricks behind making journalists talk them up and forget about any shortcomings that may come up with newer gadgets. Speaking of which, they may be releasing a couple of new products in just a couple of weeks in Paris, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for that. Phillips has starting showing off a prototype of an electronic ink display that they expect to release next year that will actually be able to display e-paper on a screen bigger than the size of the device itself with a pull-out screen. I would totally carry one of those around rather than my books if it was in color and just a little bigger with easy scrolling, all of which seem to be very likely possibilities in the near future. The blue laser diodes necessary in Blu-ray and HD-DVD disc readers are currently being produced in low yield, which means that tensions between the competing formats likely won't resume for several months. Once again, it amazes me how horribly planned out these next-generation DVD formats were planned out. Oh, and the PS3 has been downgraded again, though the 10% clockspeed decrease in the GPU shouldn't be noticeable. Still, it doesn't make the delayed release look any better. Vista's pricing was leaked on Amazon.com and its release date was also seen as being January 30. The pricing structure is still as stupid as always, and I wish that they would get smart and just keep it simple. You'd think that they'd try to learn from everyone else's successes! In fact, I'm not even going to bother going into the risky changes they've recently made in the Vista codebase. Lastly, AOL has re-opened its online media store to the public at-large rather than just its normal subscribers, but I somehow don't think that very many people will care. Is this supposed to help AOL pull itself out of the gutter? A music store that's too little too late?

Apparently, there's a movie being made called The Queen based on how Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth II decided to handle the PR on the death of Princess Diana, and a poster has now been released for it (just a closeup on the main actress's face). I think I need to see a trailer to understand what's so gripping about this story. And doesn't the title seem a bit misleading? It isn't a biopic, after all. Everything else I have for you today is in the form of video. You can see the new Internet trailer for the next Jean Claude van Damme movie, Til Death over here, but it's rather weird and tells you very little about what the movie actually centers on. That's probably a good thing though so that you don't go into the movie already knowing half the plot like most trailers seem to reveal these days. We also have an Internet-only trailer for Feast (yes, it does still exist), and it looks pretty good. Why are they delaying this movie so much? I hope that it does actually come out by the end of September, though I'm guessing that it may only be in limited release. Lastly, Yahoo Movies picked up a few exclusive clips from The Wicker Man, though for some reason Nicholas Cage reminds me of his character in Matchstick Men when I watch them.

Since tomorrow starts off my fall semester, this week's Tuesday Twosome is only appropriate:

Goodbye summer...

1. Did you go on vacation? If so, where? If not, where do you wish you had gone?
Nope, though I would still like to go to London.

2. How many times did you swim in a pool? How many times did you go to a beach or lake?
At least 7 or 8 times I'd say, but no beaches or lakes!

3. What are the two best things about summer? Explain:
Being able to enjoy your free time more at ease and scantily clad chicks (sorry, I'm only human)

4. What are the two worst things about summer? Explain:
The ridiculous heat and sweating so much.

5. Recall the two best memories you are going to remember about this past summer (2006):
Dancing salsa beside a pool in the moonlight and singing karaoke really badly.

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