Friday, April 06, 2007

Joost is Nifty

I'm back in Houston for the weekend, though I definitely miss Austin now. Still, it'll be nice to see my brother and sister-in-law tomorrow night; I'm sure they have an awesome BBQ planned. Anyway, I mentioned a service called Joost a couple of weeks ago that intended to bring TV to the PC in the way many of us have been drooling for: on demand, easy-to-use, and free. I signed up for the beta and I got in (I'm sure everyone did, no big whoop). I was pessimistic because I saw a bad review on Digg, but didn't want to read it before I looked into the program myself, and now I can't find that review. Anyway, I really like it. A lot of people seem to be trashing it, but I'm not sure why since it's still just in beta. So the service has a number of channels (the only ones you're likely to recognize are National Geographic, MTV, and Comedy Central), and you can just browse through them by name or by a channel catalog that has them listed by genre. What's strange is that not everything on the channel catalog is on the channel listing, which is confusing. Also, I'm not convinced that the way they choose to show the programs for a channel is the most efficient way (it's an expandable, vertical list). So it's really not as intuitive as one would hope, right now. However, I think it's still a promising interface in a lot of ways. I love the transparency, the auto-hiding, the ability to navigate shows and channels on the fly from the control panel at the bottom, the way you can turn it off ("suspend") and open it again to right where you left of, and when you don't choose a show to play next it'll be smart and show you what it thinks you'd like. However, a playlist would be more helpful. And they need more programming. I know, now I sound like I hate it, but I honestly think it has a lot of promise. It was a fairly consistent stream, it was nice quality, and I found myself being entertaining by totally random shows. It's fun, it really is. I think it can really go places, it just needs more mainstream support and a UI cleanup, which will happen right now during beta. I love the concept, and I love what they've done with it. They're starting something new here (yes, I don't count Democracy, it's really only useful for video podcasts and relies a lot on you setting stuff up right), and in a big way. I look forward to it improving in the months to come, and eventually going public.

Google has launched a couple of things. One is a free 411 service that's completely automated. I'm not sure how they're paying for it, but in any case, I never use 411. Searching online is a lot quicker and easier. The other thing they released was "My" Google Maps, where you can add markers and lines and stuff to Google Maps and save them, as in if you wanted to draw out directions or a route or something. This is similar to Quikmaps, but much less buggy and much easier to share since it's from Google itself rather than being a Google hack. I'm sure it'll become very useful for tourism and history classes and such.

I love finding out about quirky geek products, so I had to plug this list of fun Easter goodies. The only thing I had seen before was the Nabaztag bunny during an episode of, which I thought was overpriced then and I still do. My favorite is definitely the killer bunny slippers. They should really include the Holy Grenade of Antioch with your purchase, though.

I like mentioning hard drive horror stories as I find them in hopes that my readers become more educated over time and become part of that minority of people that keep progressive backups of their data. It's like saving your money: it's almost a necessity, but it seems like no one does it. Anyway, the story is at the Consumerist and is about a Mac user whose corrupted hard drive wasn't able to be restored by Apple, but they wouldn't give him back his hard drive as part of their policy, so he couldn't even try himself to recover the lost data. PC users shouldn't count themselves fortunate though because recovering the data on your own still is dumb luck a lot of times.

Here's a one-liner: if you use Firefox then you may want to try out FullerScreen to see more of your browser.

All I have for you guys in movie news are trailers. George Lucas is promising us a teaser trailer for Indiana Jones 4 by this Thanksgiving Day Weekend, which seems like it so far away (because it is). I'm sure it'll give us virtually nothing from the movie, too, but Indiana Jones is so awesome that any news is exciting news on that front.

Yahoo Movies has the absolute final trailer for Spider-man 3, which has one new scene, at most. Again, I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst from this movie. The hokey lines in the trailer just take away from the charm that made me fall in love with the series when I was a kid, so I hope that the trailer is not indicative of the quality of the movie. Yahoo Movies also has a trailer for Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween, and I'm personally curious to see what he comes up with the backstory for Jason. If anyone is in a position to remake a horror classic, it's probably Rob Zombie.

Lastly, I thought I'd mention the trailer for Good Luck Chuck because it's the most ill-conceived plot I've heard in a long time. Its only saving grace is having Her Hotness, Jessica Alba, co-starring. Get this: Chuck is a guy with whom women sleep with to have good luck in finding a husband, and now that he's fallen in love he can't have sex with her lest she fall for another man. [sarcasm] Yeah, this story is totally sensible, and it's real humorous. Let's give them an Academy Award here. [/sarcasm] The movie Shallow Hal comes ti mind, because I just hated the premise so much, and then I saw it and hated it more.

Now for Friday's Feast:

When you travel, which mode of transportation do you prefer?

Flying. Driving is stressful, a bus is uncomfortable and long, and there aren't any trains around here.

Have you ever met a blogging friend in person?

Someone who I first met only through blogging? Nope.

When was the last time you were really, really tired?

Today, when I got into Houston. The drive felt so long; I'm not looking forward to having to do it again in less than two days, but I am looking forward to seeing a certain someone on Sunday.

Main Course
If you could have dinner with any one fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be?

Probably Jules from Pulp Fiction. He was so just so entertaining!

Fill in the blank: One day, I hope to see _______________.

I know it's corny, but "my dreams come true." Isn't that what we all hope for? I have a lot of aspirations, and I definitely do want to follow through on them.


rthprog said...

hey dude.... um.. can you invite me to joost? I really want to try it out!!!!

rthprog said...

my email is

Russell said...

if you also have an invite, could you send me one?

Thank you so much in advance. I've been dying to try this app.

Frederic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frederic said...

Hi there, could you please send me an invite?
I would like to find out more about Joost!

Thanks in advance,