Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Trendnet Compacts Powerline Adapter

Posted by Andrew at 8:50 AM on January 7, 2012

At CES, TRENDnet has launched the world’s smallest 500 Mb/s Powerline adapter with the new TPL-406E model. Look at the picture below to see the difference in size between a standard Powerline adaptor and the new model on the left. When trying to get all the modern gadgets plugged in and networked, this will certainly help where there is limited space or close electrical sockets.

TPL-406E Trendnet Powerline adaptor

“Consumers are looking for solutions to help connect their TVs to the Internet and TRENDnet Powerline products couldn’t be easier-with no complicated CD installation required,” stated Sonny Su, technology director for TRENDnet. “The TPL-406E defines a new category of ultra-compact high performance 500 Mbps Powerline adapters.”

More and more audio-visual equipment needs to be networked. In my living room, I think there are three ethernet devices (TV, satellite decoder and Bluray player) and I use a 100 Mb/s Powerline device to take the network to them. For this kind of equipment, Powerline is much more convenient than trying to setup a wireless bridge.

Available from April at all good retailers, the TPL-406E will be $60 on its own or $100 in a twin pack, TPL-406E2K.

NRTC Offers ViaSat Satellite Broadband

Posted by Andrew at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2012

ViaSat LogoThe National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative has partnered with ViaSat to offer NRTC members faster 12 Mb/s satellite broadband through ViaSat’s WildBlue service. The NRTC represents the telecommunications and information technology interests of around 1500 rural utilities and affiliates in 48 US states.

The new ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite was launched back in October and includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet. Capable of 140 Gb/s, this one single satellite has more capacity that all of the other North American satellites put together.

NRTC’s electric and telephone members were the first distributors of WildBlue service, and they remain committed to ensuring that rural Americans have access to robust broadband,” said Tim Bryan, NRTC CEO.  “The enhanced satellite broadband service will make significant contributions to the communities we serve, so we are very happy to continue our relationship with ViaSat and offer the new service.”

Pricing wasn’t announced, but current WildBlue customers pay between $50 and $80 per month depending on service.  Outside of ViaSat-1′s coverage area, the NRTC will also offer 5 Mb/s broadband service through a range of delivery mechanisms. Based on figures from WildBlue, between 10 and 20 million American households are unable to get broadband through DSL or cable and for them, fast satellite broadband at a reasonable price will be warmly welcomed.

Todd and his team will try to get a demo of the satellite service at next week’s CES.

Klout or Kred? Find Your True Influential Online Score

Posted by J Powers at 9:28 AM on December 22, 2011
Kred Score

Kred Score

If you’re like me, you might have been frustrated with how Klout is scoring your online presence. It seems like score nose-dives for no reason. However, there is a new program on the block in Kred.

What is Kred / Klout?

Just like Klout, Kred is an influence scoring system. It measures how much reach you get on Twitter. If you post, it notes it; if you get re-tweeted, it notes that.

Your Kred can be broken down. On the graphic to this post, you see my global Kred. However, I can choose the drop-down and find out what my Kred is for Social Media, tech, podcasters, and other keywords.

Kred is in beta and only connects to Twitter at this time. It looks like they will be adding LinkedIn and Facebook soon. Klout, on the other hand measures to those three plus Google +, Foursquare, YouTube, and a host of other sites (if you participate on them).

How Kred Measures Score

From the Kred Blog:

Kred gives Influence Points every time there is an exchange that indicates someone inspired another person to take action: replying to them, mentioning them in a post, retweeting their content, or following them or their list.

Kred assigns 10 points for the most common actions like being @replied, retweeted or mentioned in a conversation. More points are given for events that have bigger impact, like having a message retweeted by someone with more than 10,000 followers.

Klout Perks

From time to time, Klout offers perks like gift certificates, gifts, and invitations to closed betas (like when Google Plus was in beta). You can check the Klout perks to find out what you can participate in.

Why Should We Measure Kred / Klout Score?

You might think it’s vein to check your score, but it’s no different than a marketing company checking production on their sales or work. Once you know what your reach is, you can work on improving it. For instance, I have high marks in podcasting, but lower marks in Social Media. I can now focus on building that area.

Kred states it’s the “Nielsons of online”. If people can find your influential in an area, they may just call you up to give you work. For those of us who work for ourselves, getting jobs handed to us sounds like a very delightful thought.

It’s a good idea to see what people recognize you as. If you want to break into a specific field, you want to follow those who are leading. You might even become a leader yourself. Just like a good marketing department follows sales through a third-party company, you can do the same with these two programs.

 

Video’s Streaming Future

Posted by tomwiles at 9:34 PM on November 10, 2011

Many people are likely familiar with the radio/television on-air personality Glenn Beck. His television career included both CNN and the Fox News Channel. On Fox News, Glenn Beck had the most-watched nightly show of any of the cable TV news networks.

Recently, Glenn Beck left Fox News to form his own online streaming television network, GBTV, available at http://www.gbtv.com.

About a month ago, after viewing a few of the free Glenn Beck highlight clips from his two-hour nightly streaming television show, I took the plunge and subscribed.

I am very impressed with the production quality. GBTV, LLC currently has 120 employees. This is a genuine, highly-professional high definition television network that has a spectacular set and world-class production facilities that is just as good if not better than anything that Fox, CNN, etc. are capable of doing. Like any genuine television network, live streaming shows start and end right on time and incorporate a number of regular breaks. GBTV is creating genuine television programming that is broadcast directly to the Internet as opposed to satellite or cable distribution. As such, it removes the filter between the content creators and the end viewers, yet high broadcast standard production values are maintained throughout which lends what GBTV is doing an aura of genuine excitement. Real multi-camera live HD broadcasts can be sent directly to subscribers, thus eliminating the cable/satellite middleman.

There are a variety of subscription plans, including monthly and yearly plans. One can subscribe for $4.95 per month, or $49.95 per year. I subscribed to “GBTV Plus” for $99.95 per year, which includes the 6 camera HD shoot of the daily Glenn Beck Radio Show along with other streaming television programs that are coming onto the streaming service. GBTV is in the process of becoming a full-fledged streaming television network that has ultra high production values along with impressive content. Subscription plans include a 14-day free trial.

GBTV currently can of course be viewed on a computer. Other devices include the Roku, as well as iPad and iPod/iPhone apps. All programs remain available for streaming any time for a period of 30 days before dropping off.

I cut the satellite cord more than a year ago, because I felt I wasn’t getting $100 dollars per month worth of value out of my satellite programming. I am more than willing to pay for good content, but I want it on my terms, on a variety of devices, and on my schedule. GBTV offers a tantalizing glimpse at the future of high production value TV content.

Dear Yahoo!: Just Sell it Already.

Posted by J Powers at 11:32 AM on October 20, 2011
Yahoo!

Yahoo!

Dear Yahoo!:

It’s time. Time to make a decision. Time to stop holding onto the past. Time to realize you were on the top of game in 2000, but now it’s 2011. Time to see that Yahoo! is Yahover.

Can you turn the company around as Jerry Yang talked about during AsiaD in Hong Kong? Anything can happen. But you are not willing to put the money in to do that. Investors are weary and you have no leadership.

If I was your business analyst (and that isn’t even my profession), I would tell you what I tell other companies that choose not to sell:

  1. Change your name
  2. Set a new 2-year business plan
  3. Get a CEO that knows Social Media
  4. Re-build your look and feel
  5. Re-build your clientele

Did I just say “Change your name?” YES! When I hear Yahoo! I think of a company that was on top of their game back in 2000. Eleven years later and I don’t associate Yahoo! with today. I associate Google, Microsoft or Facebook. I even have a better chance of associating AOL  with 2011 over Yahoo!

Even the best business person will buy land just for the land. They’ll strike down the building and create a new epicenter. If the roof leaks and the foundation is shaky; if the building takes more energy to keep going, then rebuilding might take less money than repairing.

I wouldn’t fret, though. You really helped shape the Internet. You should be proud of that. Now it’s time to save what’s left of the company and maybe put together a new venture. I hear Microsoft is putting together a bid, among others. It’s not going to be $31 a share as in 2008, but I would guess it will be comparable.

If you are going to keep it, then find someone that can turn this company around. Get a CEO that knows what’s going on in the new media space. Someone that is active in Social Media. Someone that will bring new blood into the company.

Sincerly:
Someone that doesn’t want to hear about this anymore.

It’s The Content, Stupid

Posted by tomwiles at 8:28 PM on October 6, 2011

Admittedly I’m coming in late to the party. I had all sorts of excuses – I already have a MacBook Pro, as well as the latest generation of iPod Touch. Why would I need an iPod with a giant screen to run mostly the same apps I can already run on my iPod?

After buying an iPad 2, I understand what all the fuss is about. It has also become immediately clear to me why there is a booming iPad market but currently not much of a tablet market. The reason is staring everyone in the face, yet few seem to see it, particularly large tech companies that are struggling to compete in the wrong arena.

The iPad is admittedly an incredibly nice piece of hardware – however, that’s not why it is so successful. The reason for the iPad’s overwhelming appeal and success is very simple – it revolves in large part around being able to run well-written targeted iOS iPad-specific apps that take advantage of the iPad’s screen size and svelte form factor. At about the size of a traditional magazine, it takes the best elements of the multimedia computer and puts them into a highly-readable, touch-interactive color screen that will easily fit into places and situations where even laptop computers don’t work so well.

In short, it’s all about the content and being able to easily consume it anywhere. The content isn’t just about browsing, listening to music or watching videos. The content in large part is the iPad-specific apps themselves, some of which are incredible, such as the 100% free Flipbook RSS reader app.

Amazon has a chance at success with the 7” Kindle Fire, not so much because of the $200 price point, but because Amazon has a lot of ready-made content hanging out in its cloud. Many people pooh-poohed the original Amazon Kindle, only to witness it quickly morph into a success. The Kindle was not and has never been a success because of the Kindle hardware – the plethora of Amazon ebook content is what caused the original Kindle rise to stardom. The availability of the content finally got the ebook ball rolling in a huge way, and the mass market finally realized the incredible convenience and advantage of having a cloud-connected ereader.

Would-be iPad competitors will never effectively compete with hardware alone, no matter how sexy or inexpensive they are able to make it. To borrow part of a phrase from an early 1990’s presidential campaign, we would all do well to paste this sign on our wall:

“It’s the content, stupid.”

Huffington Post Going Strong – 1 bn Page Views, New Hires, Head Spins….

Posted by J Powers at 10:28 AM on October 3, 2011
Huffington Post

Huffington Post

For anyone that wonders why AOL got into bed with Huffington Post, here is your answer. People use the site. At least, that is what HuffPo says and we believe.

Last month, Huffington Post claimed they hit 1 billion page views in the month of August. With as much diversity that the post has, I wouldn’t be surprised. With the growth of the site in the last 30 days, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hit 2 billion a month by early next year.

So how are they doing this right?

Sites with Communities

This seems to become a new trend – divvy up a site into several niche markets. Make the site feel like it caters to what you like. If you cannot group people in one big circle, make little circles and put all the numbers together in the end.

The announcement also talked about the purchase of “Localocracy” – an “online town common where registered voters using real names can weigh in on local issues.” This could bring the HuffPo to your local community. Get news and comment on it.

The HuffPost 50 is another good example. They call it the “Internet Newspaper”. You can get a little bit of everything on this page. You can scan the front page, find the one thing you like, read it, and move on.

Top Name Site Hires

This is how part of the press release reads:

The Huffington Post Media Group announces today the launch of four destination sites: Huff/Post50 (www.huffingtonpost.com/50), HuffPost Gay Voices (www.huffingtonpost.com/gay-voices) and HuffPost Weddings (www.huffingtonpost/weddings). Each offers HuffPost’s unique combination of real-time news and opinion, and passionate communities powered by a leading social news platform.

HuffPost/50 — whose Editor-at-Large is actress, producer and writer Rita Wilson — covers the challenges, complexities and joys facing the boomer generation, now 77 million people strong. It spotlights boomers who fearlessly tackle new challenges in the spirit of reinventing themselves, regardless of age, and encourages boomers to question conventional wisdom about aging. Topics being covered include: longevity, relationships and sex, politics, the intense “sandwich” pressure of simultaneously taking care of aging parents and children, retirement, spirituality and religion, friendship, politics and dying.

Not only did it announce new communities in LGBT and Wedding categories, it also put a staff together that includes comedian Margaret Cho, Heidi Klum, and other celebrities in their respected fields.

Engagement

It’s amazing to see how many people “Like” an article. Whereas a site has a good day with 34 likes on an article, HuffPo good post would see 1000x the traffic. For example – their “Arrested Development is back” post produced 79,000 likes.

Integrating the Facebook Factor really helps. Then again, their social comment section also adds community response, which – in turn – can be posted back to the social networks. I guess the day of the forum is really dead.

So in a nutshell, Huffington Post is a community site. You can go to get your tech fix, political fix, LGBT fix, and more. It  has news, commentary, pictures, video and so much more. Of course, it’s staff of bloggers and reporters is pretty impressive. So 1 billion page views is not surprising. With addtional website acquisitions, the 2 billion view mark a month is very possible.

New Delicious Website Looks Good, Works Different.

Posted by J Powers at 12:47 PM on September 28, 2011
Delicious Toolbar App Broken

Old Delicious Toolbar App - Broken

I use Delicious to put together my show notes. I have the toolbar on my Chrome browser that I select and put in keywords. However, yesterday the toolbar sat on “Loading”. I first thought it was a internet connection problem, but soon found out that the new owners of Delicious have changed the website. But it broke the toolbar in doing so.

It made my show note collection a little harder to do. I ended up putting all my links in Google docs. When I called them up during the show, I didn’t get the pages, but the Google “You are being redirected” message. That meant I had to select each link redirect message.

A little about Delicious

Delicious is a bookmark cloud service. The program was on the chopping block by Yahoo! After public outcry, Yahoo! decided to sell the website. The new owners - Chad Hurley and Steve Chen saved it from extinction. But they also knew that Delicious was on Yahoo!’s list because the service wasn’t making the right amount of revenue. Therefore, it’s time for a change.

I read the GigaOm talking about losing their bookmarks. That was a case where they didn’t update their profile when told Delicious was switching servers. I remember the email on April 27th – it stated that if you didn’t update, your bookmarks will be gone. So no sympathy:

Yahoo! is excited to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, Hurley and Chen have firsthand expertise enabling millions of consumers to share their experiences with the world.Delicious will become part of their new Internet company, AVOS.

To continue using Delicious, you must agree to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks to AVOS. After a transition period and after your bookmarks are transferred, you will be subject to the AVOS terms of service and privacy policy.
Reasons to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks

  • Continue uninterrupted use of Delicious.
  •  Keep your Delicious account and all your bookmarks.
  • Enjoy the same look and feel of Delicious today plus future product innovations.
What happens if you do not transfer your bookmarks
  • Delicious in its current form will be available until approximately July 2011.
  • After that, you will no longer be able to use your existing Delicious account and will not have access to your existing bookmarks or account information.

I do agree with one thing the GigaOM article stated – Delicious might not fully know how people use the service. If they don’t fix the problems quickly, they are going to lose users to StumbleUpon and Reddit. But is it about fixing problems, or educating the users with the new features?

What I Really Like about the Redesign – Stacks

new delicious bookmark tool

new delicious bookmark tool with Stacks

This is actually a really nice addition to Delicious. It lets you have a visual list of your bookmarks, rather than just links. I have options to view in list or grid mode. I can even see in video mode – which my video show can be on the top of the list. If I create a stack for each show, it becomes a new set of show notes with a visual view.

Request – Bring Back the Chrome Extension QUICK

Right now they want you to drag a link to your bookmarks toolbar. Only problem is I don’t have my bookmarks showing (The hotkey to bring up the bookmark bar is “Shift-CTRL B”). I might get used to using it that way, but if there is an easier way for me to catalog my bookmarks, I will.

With a little learning, I think I will really enjoy the new Delicious site. It’s too soon to tell, but it could also become a great reference.

Carol Bartz Out, Where Does Yahoo! Go? Time to Change the Name!

Posted by J Powers at 11:48 AM on September 7, 2011
Yahoo!

Yahoo!

It’s another chapter in the failing Yahoo! book. Yesterday, Carol Bartz – then CEO of Yahoo! got an ceremonious firing from the board. Now, with the dust settling, and Jerry Yang saying the company is still not for sale, where does the now-less diminished company go from here?

Rebuilding Phase – a Name Change, perhaps?

I get told time and again – If you want a fresh start, infuse with a new name. Yahoo! is pretty much a name dragged in the mud. Yahoo! represents the internet from 1999. It’s 2011 – Time to get with the times. Put away the preppy clothes, the teased hair and go with something a little more modern.

A new name could bring confidence back in the company and the customers. A fresh logo that means “The future of computing is here”. Then, of course, you will have to back that statement up…

Fire the Board of Directors? Including Jerry Yang.

Jerry Yang

Jerry Yang says "Yahoo is not for Sale"

Om Malik said it best – Fire the Board. If you’re gonna shake up things, do it right. The board has been flailing since the Microhoo! days. Get a new cast to make decisions and get things done. Om has a great list of who should be on this board.

I am going to take it one step further. Jerry needs to step back even more. The new board has to have free-thinkers with no pressure from Yang. They have to take a major left-turn to keep their businesses satisfied.

Get Back in the Game

During Bartz’ 2 year CEO run, a lot of programs were shut down or sold. Whatever is left should also get some type of a face-lift. Collect the patents and figure out a new plan.

Yahoo might even want to start talks with Facebook. Put a new presence in this social network (since they’ve pretty much destroyed all their social network opportunities). Since they also have a partnership with Microsoft, this might be a really nice fit overall.

Open Up to Everyone

Google does this so well (ok, maybe not with YouTube, but everything else) – Open up to the community. Ask what you want. It worked with Linus Torvolds in creating Linux. Take the information and create something around that.

With items like business email, you cannot do that, but with consumer products like search and home page, open it up and let the consumer feel they have a hand in sculpting.

There has to be 3 items that people are clambering for in the last few years that could be easily integrated. Show the people that you are listening to them.

These are just a few ideas. In thinking of it more, the name change most likely be the best move. After all – if you think Yahoo!, what do you think of? A website that is the future, or a company that represents the past?

Why I HATE Using Craigslist.

Posted by J Powers at 7:25 AM on August 5, 2011
craigslist

craigslist

This last week I wanted to look for a couple people to help with some video work I’m doing. There was a possibility of not getting paid for the video, so I needed to find others that would help for trade of service. I decided to post on Craigslist.

I will preface this by saying I have never had a real positive experience on posting to Craigslist. Their “Rules” make it almost impossible for you to post something that won’t get denied. Unless you are running a garage sale, giving away a TV or looking for a lead singer to their band, the service is just horrible.

What is worse is their customer support. Opening it up to anyone that wants to type on a computer, you might not get support, but yet get belittled by some idiot that doesn’t even represent Craigslist.

Compensation options on Craigslist

Compensation options on Craigslist

So I went to post in the “gigs-crew” area. Now when I post to Craigslist, I like to be very open. You know who I am and what I am doing. I log in, I don’t use anonymous email and put my name in the post. I put the information in the post with all detail.

The next morning, I got email saying the post was rejected.

I went up to the forum to find out why. They said it was not a “Gig” but a Job (because it was recurring). While I can dispute this reason (Dictionary defines “Gig” as “A Job”), I was more upset at the fact they were saying “No Pay posts will get denied”.

What? You have an option on your website that offers no pay but yet if someone uses it, you slap their hands? I even offered a trade of service if they choose so, and they said that wasn’t acceptable.

Trolls on Craigslist Help Forums

What gets even more frustrating is I went up to the forums to find out why my post got rejected. I ended up getting harassed by those people that are not Craigslist help agents. Not only that, but one person had the gall to say this:

Why don’t you pay people and stop being a little worm.

EXCUSE ME!?! When does belittling someone who is trying to get understanding an ok support practice? Why is this person even replying?

It was safe to say that I was really p*ssed off.

Time for Customer Support Changes Craigslist

I am not going to vent on the fact you have a “No Pay” option on the site that is misleading – only to say that if you are going to reject posts for an option you provide, that is misleading. This is about the customer support experience. I think it’s time to get away from a forum support. Having trolls in your support area not conductive to getting good support.

I saw a post underneath mine that not only went into a flame war, it also was a series of titles that had words like S*** and “F*** You” in them.

When is this good customer support? In this day and age, using vernacular like this in any support area is really not accepted.  There was no one saying “I understand and apologize”. They were just throwing words back.

I come for understanding, not to be told I’m a little worm from someone who has no idea who I am or what I do. Yes, it’s a free service, but there should still be a level of professionalism involved. I would never call you a name if you emailed me for support, why do I have to hear it from you?

Maybe someone can approach a company like Get Satisfaction. Get some seed funding to have a more accountable support area. They just a boost in their latest round of funding.

With continued negative experiences, I’ll continue to  stay away from Craigslist. Especially since I was up on the site today and someone posted almost the same thing (anonymously) two days ago, saying there is no pay involved and have not been rejected.

Hypocrites.