Google Reader gets an upgrade


Google Reader has gotten a new look, new features, and some new functionality.

The most useful features include folder-based navigation, exanded view, and my favorite - an easier way to share items of interest with friends and family. Any of you intrepid Lifehacker readers give Google Reader a try with the new upgrade, let us know your thoughts in the comments. And hey! Why not view the official Google Reader video while you're at it?

Google Transit adds Seattle, Pittsburgh and more cities


Previously-mentioned Google Transit (which used to only work in Portland, Oregon) has expanded coverage to Seattle, Pittsburgh, Honolulu, Eugene and Tampa.

Compare time and cost of driving to taking public transit from point A to point B in any one of these cities using Google Transit. For example, here's how get from the airport to Waikiki beach in Honolulu via public transit (a trip that will cost you less than driving!). While it's nice to see Google include cities that are not the usual suspects, I'm still dying for San Francisco and New York City support.

Share tix on Facebook via Tixology


Since Facebook opened up to the public, the Facebook-specific apps are coming out of the woodwork, and one of the better ones is Tixology, a good way to hook yourself up with some tickets to your favorite event.

Think of Tixology as a Craigslist for Facebook users; you can post tickets you want and/or have, and then fellow Tixology folks can respond. Unfortunately, only college-based accounts can use Tixology right now, but I expect that to change fairly soon. Any other Facebook apps you'd like to clue us in on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Use Google to ID a site owner

Google Tutor, a blog full of Googley-goodness, has come up with a quick way to identify a site's owner - just snoop on their Adsense ID.

It's pretty easy. All you do is a quick view-source and look for the keyword "client". Sometimes you'll be able to ID the owner by the text attached to this word; if not, you can CTRL-C the numeric code and Google it to see what other sites that particular code belongs to. Of course, this will only work on sites that are using Adsense on their pages, but it's still a pretty useful little hack.

Google Talk open to all


Google just announced that their chat application, Google Talk, is now open for public consumption, having previously been limited to Gmail users.

The new, open Google Talk comes with the same bundle of new features announced on Google Talk's first birthday, like voicemail (see screenshot - delivered via email), file transfer, and music status/trends. I know that the world over loves Google for their search, but I feel like most people are pretty dedicated to their favorite IM app, and if they don't have loyalties, they're already using Adium or Trillian. With that in mind, I'm interested to see what an open Google Talk can do. Your thoughts in the comments.

Facebook is open (Zephoria/apophenia)

Facebook is open  —  Facebook is open.  I've already received friend requests from companies selling their wares by creating a Profile.  I am also faced with more contexts that i can deal with.  (Note: i'm not accepting friendships from folks that i know in the blogosphere until i figure …

Source:   apophenia
Author:   Zephoria

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Why The New .Mac Webmail Is Important (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch)

Why The New .Mac Webmail Is Important  —  Earlier this week Apple announced that a new version of webmail for Mac users is "coming soon."  There was a bit of chatter about this around the blogosphere, with most people concluding that this fresh coat of paint on the inferior .mac product is a bit of a yawn.

Source:   TechCrunch
Author:   Michael Arrington

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Skype Blocking/San Jose U. Story Addendum (Jon Arnold/Jon Arnold's Blog)

Skype Blocking/San Jose U. Story Addendum  —  I haven't been commenting directly on this story, where San Jose State University had been pushing to block on Skype on campus, and by extension, other broadband-based applications stood to be at risk.  On that note, I mentioned …

Source:   Jon Arnold's Blog
Author:   Jon Arnold

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SHIFT: The Web 2.0 Drinking Game (Adam Frucci/SCI FI Tech)

SHIFT: The Web 2.0 Drinking Game  —  Each week Adam Frucci takes a closer look at the latest gadget buzz in his column, Shift.  —  Image by Matt Krueger  —  I'll apologize right now for using "Web 2.0" in the title of this column.  It's a terrible buzzword, but it defines the very sites …

Source:   SCI FI Tech
Author:   Adam Frucci

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How to use your webcam as a motion-detecting security system

Webcam securityWorried about unsavory individuals lurking around your office or home and jacking your computer gear? Have no fear! With the help of your Windows PC, webcam, some free software, and this handy tutorial from Simplehelp, you can set up a reasonably sophisticated DIY security system. The core of the tutorial is Dorgem, an open source utility that captures images from your webcam and can save images based on "storage events," e.g. every 30 seconds or every time it detects motion. Since having photos of your intruder on your computer isn't very useful after the computer is gone, Dorgem has the ability to send the files to an external server via FTP or HTTP, or hand the files off to another program. The tutorial also covers more advanced techniques, like setting up multiple webcams and hiding your webcam from sight.

Google issues major overhaul to Google Reader

Google issues major update to Reader

Google has announced what is quite possibly the largest update to Google Reader since its inception, bringing an entirely new UI, more keyboard shortcuts, new bookmarklets and a whole lotta results from user feedback to the table. Overall, as a Google Reader fan for some time, I am pleasantly surprised by this wholly positive and usable update, but it isn't without a few confusing quirks.

The first and most noticeable update is the radical change to Google Reader's UI, bringing it more in line with the tried and tested UI of many other online readers, but still with much of the Google engineers' unique genius baked in everywhere. Above you can see Reader has adopted the typical folder/grouping system on the left, while headlines can be listed on the right.

You can also chose to list your feeds and headlines in Expanded view (pictured above), flipping through each one with the traditional Reader and Gmail shortcuts of j/k and n/p. One feature I quickly fell in love with in this new UI is the way the List view allows you to page through headlines and expand individual articles within the list of headlines, like so:

Pressing enter expands a headline like this, while pressing it again collapses it back into uniform with the rest of the listed headlines. What's even nicer is that n/p can be used in the list view like this, allowing you scroll through headlines without expanding them, while j/k let you expand each headline in place like I have pictured above - it's your choice, and I thoroughly appreciate this flexibility, as it feels a lot more useful than my reigning champion RSS reader - NetNewsWire (Mac only).

Moving beyond the new UI however, Google has worked in a lot of smaller but welcome changes, such as a 'mark all as read' button, unread counts for folders and feeds, new keyboard shortcuts (including new ones for navigating feeds, tags and folders), an automatically generated HTML page for shared items (in addition to the RSS feed) for a sort of basic blog/linked list, a set of new bookmarklets, a nd much more. However, with all this new goodness, there are still a couple of kinks to iron out, and it's a good thing they're encouraging feedback. For example: with the transition, Reader seems to build a user's set of folders/groups from their tagging structure, but the tagging system still exists for organizing feeds and headlines, in addition to the new foldering scheme for feeds. Pressing g + l to invoke the label selector (though 'labels' are now called 'tags' in the Settings) brings up a list of labels/tags, but selecting one actually choses a folder in the left column. Confused yet? Me too.

Another longstanding gripe still hasn't been resolved with this new update: support for authenticated fe eds. I'm sure the majority of the news outlets and blogospheres aren't picking up authentication like a hot celebrity-inspired fad, but I have a couple feeds for which I (believe it or not) pay for, and I'd love it if they could join the Google Reader party with the rest of my 300+ feeds.

Aside from a few gotchas like this, which I'll chalk up to a beta app taking a huge beta step, I honestly can't say enough good things about this most major of updates. The revamped UI feels zippy, responsive and fundamentally more mature. Their already logical system of keyboard shortcuts has naturally evolved for the new features, and I can sincerely recommend Google Reader as a serious competitor for other online RSS services, and even traditionally more robust desktop apps. For more details on what's new, check out the announcements on the official Google and Google Reader blogs, or dive in yourself.

Microsoft's social network Wallop

microsoft social network wallop
The MySpace competition is huge, and social networking is a giant place in today's online world. It's taken some time, but Microsoft is almost ready to launch their social network. Wallop has been around the Microsoft campus for awhile now, hiding down deep inside the MSN labs. Earlier this year Microsoft has decided to spin Wallop off as its own company, headed by Karl Jacob, the founder, and funded by a couple of VC companies. The difference between Wallop and all of the other social networks out there is that Microsoft's version introduces forms of personal expression into the mix. Developers and Designers can sign up for a special program to design and sell interactive flash widget like modules, like backgrounds, animations, toys, games and mini applications, that Wallop users can buy and add to their sites.

Unfortunately at the moment, Wallop is by invitation only, and I don't have one yet to test it out. So if anyone has a spare....or if anyone has had some experience using Wallop, we would all love to hear about it.

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Google surrenders Orkut data

google orkutIt's been a long time coming, but Google has finally handed over Orkut data to Brazilian authorities. Google is complying by surrendering data on users with the requests that were requested by Brazilian courts.

Brazilian prosecutors are investing illegal activity that might be going on inside of Orkut, Google's social network, and sued Google for the requested information. Google has been fighting the requests because Brazilian prosecutors had requ ested information from Google's Brazilian subsidiary, but Google US owns and runs Orkut from the US. Thus extending the process because all requests had to be sent to the California offices.

Googleholic for September 29th, 2006

In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • Google copyright clarification
  • Google slowish?
  • Google Notebook improvements
  • Google is the local search leader
  • Google Transit trip planner adds more cities
  • Good Charlotte stops by Google
  • Giant bug spotted in Germany on Google Maps
Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

Google copyright clarification
Google talks about respecting content owners and protecting their rights.

Google slowish?
Supposedly Thursday saw some people having issues connecting to Google services. Some updates in the works maybe?

Google Notebook improvements
Google has improved its four month old Notebook service that lets you collect and organize info that you find throughout your searches. This is a tool that I personally should be utilizing more than I do. It cuts down on that long list of bookmarks that seem to accumulate like wild fires.

Google is the local search leader
Over 30% of local searches use Google. While 29% use Yahoo, and 12% search with MSN.

Google Transit trip planner adds more cities
Google has been busy working with cities to get their local transit maps and schedules online. The new cities to join include:
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Tampa, Florida
Good Charlotte stops by Google
For a private little concert on the patio.

Giant bug spotted in Germany on Google Maps
Nathan shows us a bug. Here is the actual map. I don't know what that really is?

The past week in Google News
Make sure to check in for Tuesday's Googleholic Google news report.

If you have any tips, tricks, or anything Google, you can always drop us a line!

Feed reader bonanza - FeedDemon, Google Reader, Bloglines all update

FeedDemon 2.1 betaToday's release of FeedDemon 2.1 beta seemed like a nice little treat. After the release of NewsGator Go! last week, it felt like a really solid one-two punch from NewsGator. Right on!

But then as I'm using the new version of FeedDemon, I find updates notifying me of minor (but pretty wonderful from a usability perspective) updates to Bloglines, and the Google Reader update that David already walked us through. Holy cow! Since we already know what's up with Google Reader, let's go back and have a look at the updates to Bloglines and FeedDemon.

BloglinesBloglines have given a very nice overhaul to the feed list on the left hand side, adding some carefully done Ajaxy goodness, like yellow fades for unread count updates. There is also a subtle notification of the number of new unread items as you obsessively press the R hotkey to refresh your sidebar. Feed list updates occur more often. All in all Bloglines feels snappier than before, although that could just be the excitement of new features talking.

FeedDemon's update is also on the subtle but usable side, including a big security update to prevent malicious code inserted into an RSS feed from being executed. An additional feature has also been announced, which is called Popular Topics. FeedDemon can scour all of your subscriptions to see if there are any common threads linking them together. If so, it presents them in a custom view showing you items that are of enough interest that multiple people are talking about them. Be forewarned, though, you need to be subscribed to a fairly substantial number of feeds for this feature to be of much use. FeedDemon also feels a bit snappier, although no reference to specific performance updates were given in the release notes. If you're a FeedDemon user, I'd suggest getting involved in helping test the latest release. Nick's software is always so polished that even a beta version is very usable.

So what's the deal - everyone picked the same day to release new features? Although with the release of NewsGator Go! and the ability to take my feeds offline in my Pocket PC, I thought I'd finally settled on a platform, I now have more playing around to do with Bloglines (it's just more fun to use now), and Google Reader, the dark horse. The Google Reader update really came out of left field, but I can't wait to explore it since their first take at a feed reader was, well, weird. Looks like they've cleaned up their act.

New-look Google Reader Is Stunning!

google readerGoogle Reader, Google's web-based RSS Aggregator, has had a re-design and I am impressed. It now has a look n' feel very much like Gmail, which I believe is a pointer to this product being prepped for mainstream promotion - and/or merged with Gmail. Probably a bit of both, as a standalone RSS Reader is always going to be needed. You'll recall that the new Yahoo Mail Beta has RSS integrated into its email experience - and the reason for that is quite simply to reach the 250 Million odd people that have a Yahoo Mail account. What better way to make RSS a mainstream experience than to integrate it into the web email platform. So I expect Google to follow suit.

Google Reader List view

You probably know that I am a huge fan of Gmail, so this new Google Reader interface was immediately a pleasure to use. I love that it automatically marks items as 'read' as you scroll. I also like the List view (very much like email), for quick scrolling, and the 'Expanded' view feels much more natural to use now. The 'sharing' functionality is excellent too - a shared clippings blog similar to Bloglines; and ability to share via email.

The new features:

  • Expanded view and list view
  • Simplified sharing functionality
  • Improved read-state management
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Unread counts
  • Mark all as read

I remember trying out Google Reader back in the Web 2.0 Conference last year, when it was launched. I was underwhelmed at that time, but this new design - with its Gmail-like interface, features, and speed to match - is much more impressive. Like Niall Kennedy, I hope they also integrate blog search into the Reader at some point - as well as tie into other Google services. But otherwise, Google has upped the ante in the online RSS Reader space. And also gone a long way towards matching Yahoo's email/RSS integration.

Expanded View

Update: Marshall Kirkpatrick at Techcrunch points out that Google is emphasizing the email tie-in: "Think of Google Reader as your inbox for the web."

Bloglines Does UI Upgrade Too... To Left Pane

bloglinesHot on the heels of the well-received Google Reader re-design, I received a tip tonight (thanks Mike Rundle) that Bloglines has also done a slight re-design. On their blog they note:

"You might have noticed a few fancy little changes we've made to your feed tree on the left pane today. You'll like them even more when you learn what's behind the scenes!

  • We no longer update the entire left pane when the unread or "kept as new" counts change. Now the counts update in place with a fading yellow indicator. The result is a faster, more pleasant way to cruise through your feeds, especially for those quick on the hotkeys.
  • We've decreased the time between automatic updates to your unread counts so you don't have to press the "r" hotkey quite so often."

It also appears to be a different typeface and a slightly 'fancier' look. Some nice ajax touches. This is just on the left navigation pane though - the actual reading pane stays the same. It'd be great if the ajax changes could be applied to the whole screen... maybe they're making the right pane next year's upgrade ;-) (kidding)

Watch Out Google, Vertical Search Is Ramping Up!

Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus.

vertical search

This week at DEMOfall I saw two vertical search applications that made me think that this area is getting mature and ready for prime time. Pluggd and Retrevo launched technologies that are not only good at finding podcasts and consumer electronics (respectively) - these sites categorize and present information in fundamentally new, different and intelligent ways. They do it so well that generic search just can not compete.

In this article we look at the rise of vertical search and how it may end up threatening Google. We profile some of the more innovative and interesting vertical search engines - selected primarily based on how they organize the search results and allow the user to navigate through information. Try them out if you have not done so yet and let us know what you think... is vertical search ready for prime time?

Tradeoffs between generic and vertical search

There are always tradeoffs between generic and specialized applications, particularly in the area of information processing. The generic applications cover a wider spectrum, but specialized applications excel in their niche - because they have an intimate understanding of the semantics of information in their topics. 

In the end, there will always be place for generic search - because it may not be economical to have a vertical search engine for every vertical. However, in major verticals, specialized search engines might take a big bite out of the generic search engines' market share - including Google's advertising pie.

Vertical Search Engine Profiles

Continue reading "Watch Out Google, Vertical Search Is Ramping Up!"

Hackers Take Over Yahoo

Mashable data, tweaked APIs and Krispy Kreme donuts are on the schedule at Hack Day 2006. The conference for web software programmers got underway this morning with a round of developer workshops on the Yahoo campus. Live updates from Sunnyvale, California in Monkey Bites.

RadioTail releases free podcast stats tracking

Podcasting stats and ads company RadioTail is announcing prior to this weekend’s Portable Media Expo in Ontario, California that they are now offering their podcast stat tracking service Ripple for free to any podcaster. The company hopes that podcasters using the free service will sign up to let RadioTail sell or serve ads [...]

Facebook to put viral ads in your news feeds?

MediaWeek is reporting (but see updates below) that Facebook will soon add “sponsored stories” or banner ads to the news feed on users’ front pages. The addition of those feeds in the first place caused a big uproar around privacy concerns. The mere addition of advertisements doesn’t seem like a big deal to [...]

Google Reader steps it up with new version

The Google Reader team unveiled a revamped version of their online feed reader today and no one can say it’s not a real RSS reader anymore. They even took Robert Scoble’s advice and made a demonstration video! Changes include a whole new look and feel, folder navigation, unread item counts and the ability to mark [...]

Why The New .Mac Webmail Is Important

Earlier this week Apple announced that a new version of webmail for Mac users is “coming soon.” There was a bit of chatter about this around the blogosphere, with most people concluding that this fresh coat of paint on the inferior .mac product is a bit of a yawn. Even Om Malik, who’s been complaining [...]

Yahoo's BBAuth Will Allow Better Mashups

Yahoo has released a new product called BBAuth just in time for its open HackDay today and tomorrow. It’s a mechanism for non-Yahoo applications to access Yahoo’s authentication mechanism and user data in a secure manner. Most mashups today do not access personal data because of the security issues (not to mention the fact that [...]

Download of the Day: Windows Live Writer (Windows)


Windows only: Microsoft's blog posting tool Windows Live Writer is new and improved with tag support, Windows Live Gallery, and better support for Blogger Beta, among a host of other enhancements.

I've been using Windows Live Writer on and off with a couple of other blog editors, and this updated version is slick. Tag support is my favorite feature - you can send tags not only to Technorati, but to, Flickr, and there's even an option to input your own custom favorite tag-happy site. Live Writer is a free download, Windows only.

Use your webcam as a security camera


Web site Simplehelp has a tutorial for setting up your own motion-detecting security camera - all you need is a PC, a webcam, and a free, open source program called Dorgem.

Simplehelp's instructions are very detailed, and in the end you should have a security camera that can, for example, take pictures of intruders and upload them to a remote location via FTP (just in case the computer gets stolen). Or maybe you'll just end up with a lot of pictures of your son doing things in front of your computer that you never wanted to know about. Either way (well - not so much the second way), this is pretty cool. Works on Windows 98 and up.

10 Things That Will Make Or Break Your Website (AUBlog)

10 Things That Will Make Or Break Your Website  —  These are the top 10 things I learned from attending the Future of Web Apps Conference 2006 in San Francisco earlier this month.  The summit was hosted by Carson Systems and included speakers like Kevin Rose, Mike Arrington, Mike Davidson, and more.

Source:   AUBlog

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Microsoft to Put Zune Experience in Consumers' Hands on Nov. 14 (Microsoft)

Microsoft to Put Zune Experience in Consumers' Hands on Nov. 14  —  Zune device to retail for $249.99.  —  Microsoft Corp. is putting the social into digital music, starting this holiday.  Today the company announced that the Zune™ digital media player and online service will be available …

Source:   Microsoft

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Windows Live Writer 1.0 beta

Windows Live Writer 1.0 betaMicrosoft has released a new beta version of its unexpected free blogging app, Windows Live Writer. Writer 1.0 beta puts some more polish on the program, as well as a few new features, in particular support for tagging via several services including Technorati and (still no Ultimate Tag Warrior), support for the new Blogger Beta, and improved category handling. It also features faster start-ups and improved style detection for blogs, and about a dozen other little improvements. On top of that, MIcrosoft has added a Writer section to Windows Live Gallery where you can download plugins for the app or submit your own. The selection is sparse just now, but it does have Firefox and IE "Blog This" plugins, an Event plugin (with hCalendar microformat support) and a Flickr plugin. Cool.

Google turns 8

Google turns 8Yesterday was Google's 8th birthday. Hard to believe it's already been 8 years! I remember first using Google, "this weird new search engine," as a freshman in college. It was brand new, and yet somehow it was, from the get-go, way better than Yahoo or anything else that was around at the time. It quickly became - among my group of friends, anyway - the default college student research portal.

The BackRub* web site has some archives of the original Google; fortunately I don't remember it looking like that. (I was going to say, "I don't remember it looking so 1996" - an d then I realized that wouldn't be much of an insult, since the year was, in fact, 1998.) By the time I started using Google in late '98, it had the familiar, simplistic design it still sports today. (Or, at least, something very similar.) There's something to be said for simplicity and consistency.

And now, in 2006? Google is practically poised to take over the world. It's crazy how much can change in less than a decade.

* Trivia: did you know BackRub was the original name of Google?

View Berkeley lectures at Google Video


UC Berkeley has just announced that they are partnering with Google Video to give you free college courses:

The University of California at Berkeley said on Tuesday that it is using Google Video to deliver college courses, including lectures and symposia, free of charge, the first university to have its own featured page on Google Video.

We've blogged about free college courses before here at the Lifehacker HQ, and this is certainly a welcome addition. Courses offered include Information Systems, Chemistry, and a whole lot more.

Declare yourself with MySpace's voter drive


MySpace has started a brand new way to get folks involved in the voting process - the launch of a voter registration drive:

To register, members simply go to and enter a state or ZIP code. After entering the requested information, the site generates a PDF file that can be printed and mailed to state election officials. A Spanish version also is available.

Since there's about eleventy jillion people on MySpace, and at least a few of them are of voting age, this could really be a boost to get the youngun's (and older folks) more of a say in what's going on, politically.

Our approach to content (Official Google Blog)

Our approach to content  —  The Internet has broken down many of the barriers that exist between people and information — effectively democratizing access to human knowledge.  By typing just a few keywords into a computer you can learn about almost any subject.

Source:   Official Google Blog

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Berkeley Releases Content to Google Video (ResearchBuzz)

Berkeley Releases Content to Google Video  —  The University of California, Berkeley has announced that it is making more than 250 hours of educational content free via Google Video.  The collected materials have their own URL at .

Source:   ResearchBuzz

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Jumpcut Joins the Yahoo! Family (Mike/Jumpcut Blog)

Jumpcut Joins the Yahoo! Family  —  Jumpcut is excited to announce today that we are being acquired by Yahoo!  —  We have worked hard to pioneer great online video editing technology that can truly enhance the online video world by enabling anyone to become a creator.

Source:   Jumpcut Blog
Author:   Mike

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Google Notebook gets collaboration, other features

Google Notebook collaborationGoogle Notebook, the Ajaxy bookmarking app I praised when it launched back in May, has taken a cue from Writely and Google Spreadsheets and added collaboration features. Whereas previously sharing was limited to letting others view your Notebook, it is now possible to invite other people to add to and modify your Notebook. This could be ideal for group research projects, trip planning--basically any situation in which several people are all collecting information online for a single purpose.

In addition to collaboration, Google Notebook has a couple other minor new features, including improved drag and drop support, Trash and undo (so when you accidentally delete something, it's not actually gone), and a Notebook gadget for Google Personalized Home. As always, I'm relieved to see Google is still developing this project instead of leaving it to gather dust.

[Via Lifehacker]

Live from DEMOfall: Widgetbox calls to widgetize the Web

Blogged Live from DEMOfall by Alex Iskold

Ed Anuff, founder and CEO of Widgetbox gave a sharp presentation this morning introducing Widgetbox - the online widget marketplace. Widgetbox is the end-to-end solution for both widget developers and widget consumers. The Widgetbox site provides nicely organized directory of widgets with categories for Games, Media,. Blogs and Money Making. You can either browse, search for a widget by name or provider as well as just getting one of the featured or most popular widgets.

But Widgetbox is far from being just a directory, it really helps to make widgets and add meaning to widgets. The developers have access to tools to abstract and parametrize the widgets so that users can customize it. For bloggers, Widgetbox offers a Widget panel. Once this panel is placed into a sidebar of a blog any widget can be added simply via drag and drop. The final feature that I thought was notable is the context-sensitivity built into widget. Widgetbox calls this Tag Awareness, it is basically the ability for widgets to be reconfigured depending on the context of the page. As Ed mentioned in his presentation, we are in the very early days of customizable, Read/Write Web (pun intended) and widgets are going to play a big role in this new web. I tend to agree.

Yahoo! has acquired Jumpcut

The Yahoo! family expanded again today with the acquisition of online video editing service Jumpcut. Here’s the Jumpcut post on the announcement and here’s the Yahoo! Search post. Based in San Francisco and launched just six months ago, Jumput specializes in letting users remix videos already online or edit their own video with [...]

Facebook opens registration to all


Social networking site Facebook has just announced that they are opening their doors to the world at large, having previously limited registration to students and corporations.

Since Facebook is all about joining networks (like a college or work network), new users who don't have a school or company email address can join regional networks. This promises to be a controversial move for Facebook, which came under fire from its users recently for new features that many users felt invaded their privacy.

While this move puts Facebook on a much more direct level of competition with MySpace, the people at Facebook have made a point to reassure its current users that this won't pollute the pristine pool of Facebook:

If you're uncomfortable with regional users being able to see you on Facebook, you can always change your privacy settings to prevent people from finding you in searches and communicating with you.

Though the wording makes regional users sound a little like third-rate citizens, it should play well with Facebook's devoted base, which is built on a certain assumption of privacy and exclusivity.

Facebook came to my university the year after I left school (and my university email address expired), so I've only used Facebook with my girlfriend's account to peruse old acquaintances at the University of Iowa. However, I'm no more sure that I want to join Facebook to network in my region than I am that I want to participate much with MySpace. The network is just too large.

On that note, I'd love to hear what our readers think. MySpace users: Thinking you might switch to Facebook? Facebook users: Upset that your exclusive club will be tainted? Social network haters: Don't care? Considering joining? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments.

Google Calendar adds weather forecasts, more features


Google Calendars has added a few new features, namely weather forecasts and new "fun" public calendars.

In order to add weather information, go to the General tab of the settings, enter your location, and select whether you want your weather measured in Fahrenheit or Celsius. You should now see a little weather icon in the corner of your days that will give you a brief forecast of the day when you hover over it with your mouse. Not bad, but for more forecast details you might want to use Weather Underground's iCal feed instead.

Fun calendars include moon phases and Google holiday logos. To add them, click the plus (+) sign next to Other Calendars, Browse calendars, and add the fun cal of your choosing.

Google Notebook adds collaboration


Google rolled out a couple of new Google Notebook features today, including group notebook editing by invited users.

Set up a notebook on a research subject your group is working on (whether it's "places we want to visit on our Hawaii vacation" or "Notes on constructing a turbo flux capacitor") and invite your friends, family or co-workers to add and edit it. You can also add a notebook to your Google homepage as well. Google Notebook's worked its way into my heart the past few months with the Firefox extension's ease of use; multi-user editing just sweetens the deal.

Facebook Just Launched Open Registrations (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch)

Facebook Just Launched Open Registrations  —  We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this was coming...moments ago Facebook removed the restrictions on registration and anyone can now become a member by joining a geographic network.  —  They've also anticipated backlash from existing users …

Source:   TechCrunch
Author:   Michael Arrington

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About the Google News case in Belgium (Official Google Blog)

About the Google News case in Belgium  —  Posted by Rachel Whetstone, European Director of Communications and Public Affairs  —  You may have read recently about Google being taken to court in Belgium.  Whilst we aren't allowed to comment on the judgment itself, we thought …

Source:   Official Google Blog

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Game|Life Goes for the Podcast

Chris Kohler and friends podcast from Japan, discussing the highs and lows of the Tokyo Game Show. Plus: More TGS pics and game impressions. In Game|Life.

Find Google related images


Google Blogoscoped has merged the magic of Google Sets with Google Images and come up with a image search engine that searches for related images.

For instance, if you search for Playstation, you'll also get results for PC games, XBox, and Super NES. You can also use two terms separated by a comma, i.e., "cats", "dogs".

Hack Attack: Play games on your iPod for FREE


by Adam Pash

Recently Apple announced that you can buy video games for your 5G video iPod for 5 bucks a pop. Cool, right?

But what if you don't own a video iPod? What if you're stuck in the world of pre-video obsolescence? Worse yet, what if you don't have 5 bucks? The new games for sale at the iTunes Store aren't for you, and that's not quite so cool. Luckily, you can still play video games like Texas Hold 'Em, Tetris, and Bejeweled (all of which are for sale at the iTunes Store) on pretty much any iPod with a little bit of virtual elbow grease for free. Here's how.

iPodLinux and Rockbox

Two non-Apple tools allow you to play games on your iPod: iPodLinux and Rockbox, both of which are completely free and open source. I've used and been impressed with both, but today we'll stick to iPodLinux since it's easier to install. I'll describe the process from the perspective of a Windows user, but iPodLinux installers are available for Mac OS X and Linux as well.

Getting games up and running on iPodLinux is a pretty simple 3 step process:

  1. Install iPodLinux
  2. Install some games
  3. Play your games

It's not exactly news that you can play games on an iPod with iPodLinux, but you may not know just how easy the process can be.

Step one: Install iPodLinux on your iPod

NOTE: Though I haven't had any problems using iPodLinux, you could potentially run into a snag that would require you to restore your iPod's firmware, which could mean you lose all of the music currently on your iPod. So do back up your iPod's music and files before proceeding.

First, download the iPodLinux Installer and extract the contents to a folder on your computer. Don't use a temporary folder, since you'll use the installer more than once, and this is where it will backup your current firmware and settings for easy uninstallation if you choose to get rid of iPodLinux.

The iPodLinux wiki currently claims that the installer doesn't work properly if you've upgraded your iPod firmware with the new iTunes 7, but I am running the latest firmware on my 4G iPod and didn't have a problem. Your mileage may vary, but if you do have a problem with your iTunes 7-upgraded iPod, you can always downgrade your firmware with the iPod Updater 2006-06-28 in order to install iPodLinux (since iTunes 7 has been somewhat of a mess, scads of people are downgrading anyway).

If you're ready to give it a try, run the installer. Again, the iPodLinux people make a point of telling you that lots of iPods aren't officially supported, but you'll find that for most purposes (at least for the games we'll be installing), pretty much any iPod should work fine.


Installation is straightforward. Plug in your iPod with disk mode enabled and run the installer, keeping the defaults. You may be told at some point (at least I was) that there's some dependency errors, but just click OK and barrel ahead.

When you get to the boot loader options, you have a choice: You can have your iPod automatically boot to Apple's default firmware (holding the Rewind/Back button during the boot process will load iPodLinux), boot iPodLinux by default (holding Rewind boots Apple firmware), or select the iPodLoader2, which gives you a boot manager interface where you can choose what to load each time you start up your iPod. In most cases, I'd suggest loading the iPod firmware by default, though I'm currently using iPodLoader2 (pictured above) without problems.


When your installation is complete, go to iTunes and eject your iPod. You may have to plug your iPod into the wall outlet to complete the installation, but the next time your iPod starts up you should be able to boot into iPodLinux.

Step two: Load some games

Now that your iPod is dual-booting Linux and the default Apple firmware, it's time to get those games running. Plug your iPod into your computer, boot your iPod into the Apple firmware, and run the iPodLinux installer again. This time the installer will recognize that you've already got iPodLinux installed. Select "Update my existing installation" and hit Next. The installer should take you to a page of packages you can choose to install on your iPod. This is where you can choose your games.


The installer gets a little buggy for me at this point, but you can get around it easily. When the package list finishes downloading, I don't always get the option to go to the next page and view the packages. However, if I hit Back and then Next, I'm taken to the package list. (I'm but one man, so this may or may not happen to you.)

Once you make it to the package installation tree, you can select from a long list of cool games and other modules for your iPod. [1] Select the games and modules you'd like to install, hit next, and wait for the installation to finish.

Step three: Play your games

Once the installer finishes, you can eject your iPod and boot back into iPodLinux. Once the interface is loaded, go to Extras -> Games (just like you would on Apple's firmware) and you should see all of the games you installed. Here's a quick taste of all the games I've been playing on my 4G iPod:

BlueCube (Tetris)


DuckHunt (It's surprisingly playable on an iPod, but chances are the dog will laugh at you more than normal)


iDeal (Deal or No Deal game)


iGem (Bejeweled)


PodPoker (Texas Hold 'Em)


TuxChess (Chess)


Keep in mind that some of these games work and look a little better than others, but all of the games I've mentioned work very well on my 4G iPod. And they're all free.

As I said earlier, iPodLinux isn't the only way to play games on your iPod; in fact, I've had plenty of fun in the past playing Doom with Rockbox (in my experience, it's much easier to set up Doom in Rockbox than iPodLinux). If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can set up a triple-boot of Rockbox, iPodLinux, and the default Apple firmware using iPodLoader2.

Whatever you choose, it's pretty easy to get a bunch of fun games on your iPod for absolutely free. If anyone out there has tried iPodLinux or Rockbox and you want to weigh in, or you've got any questions about this process, direct your iPod-game-lovin' energy to the convenient comment box below.

Finally, if you're looking for more ways to have fun with your iPod, check out my other iPod-focused features.

Adam Pash is an associate editor for Lifehacker who doesn't have a 5G video iPod and wouldn't buy games for it even if he did. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.


[1] The package list is also the place to go to remove troublesome modules. For example, the MPD module has caused iPodLinux to freeze during boot-up for me, but removing it through the installer takes care of this problem. Also, if you try a game you don't like and what to remove it, just come back to the package installation tree and uncheck it. [back up]

Google complies with court, posts ruling on Belgian sites (MarketWatch)

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Source:   MarketWatch

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For One Publisher, the Life of Every Comic Book Starts on the Web (Michel Marriott/New York Times)

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Bleezer: blog anywhere

Bleezer typewriterThis is a cool little tool for you bloggers out there: Bleezer. It's a free, no frills blog editor that is cross platform and handles all the major APIs. For people who work on multiple platforms, the Java app is a godsend; it means one layout, one set of keyboard shortcuts, and that means higher productivity, in my book, anyway. That said, there are downsides. Java GUI means slow on many systems, especially Windows, and there are still utf8 bugs to be worked out, at least on Windows. That said, a unfied interface to all my projects is probably worth a couple of growing pains, especially since the price is right: free. Download it for Mac, Windows or Linux (and I don't se e it shouldn't run on BSDs with lcompat) and decide for yourself.

bleezer edit screen
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