Lost Has Taken Over My Life, ABC.com Rocks!

I’m a little late to the party, I just started watching Lost on ABC.com. I know it’s 4 seasons in but I haven’t seen a single episode of the show before a few days ago. I just finished watching the second episode of season 2 and it is great, anyone who hasn’t checked out the show needs to, right now.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. ABC has it figured out, they have successfully figured out how to win online (with one little catch). ABC has realized that their most popular show, Lost, needs to be available online just like all of their other shows, but not only is it online but it’s also in HD, and it looks AMAZING.

The only way that I would have been able to watch Lost and realized that it was such a good show is for me to either find it online (which I did) or get the show through Netflix, I wasn’t actually going to get it through Netflix though because I wasn’t going to waste a day or so with a DVD that I wasn’t sure whether or not I was actually going to like (I don’t usually like shows like Lost). But ABC figured it out, they have every episode of Lost on their website for anyone to view, in HD!

If it wasn’t for ABC making this show available online I never would have seen it, and because it’s in HD I can hook my computer up to my HDTV and it will look gorgeous. The catch that I mentioned earlier isn’t that big of a deal anyway, but ABC, and I’m talking to you now, I DON’T WANT TO CLICK A BUTTON AFTER THE AD RUNS, JUST PLAY THE SHOW.

None of the other networks get it, this is another revenue stream that can easily be monetized. I should be able to watch any TV show that has ever aired EVER, for free online, but for some reason the content owners don’t think that making money online is a good idea. Please content creators make sure that your work can be viewed whenever we want, look to ABC they have it figured out.

ABC.com Full Episode Player

Local News Websites Could Destroy “Traditional” Local News Sources

A few days ago I was having a conversation with my girlfriend and we were talking about how weird it is that the internet has the power to basically destroy all types of business, such as magazines, newspapers, television providers (cable and satellite), telephone companies, television stations, the Postal Service, radio, etc.

We were discussing how no other medium in history has been able to do this, television couldn’t kill radio, radio couldn’t kill newspapers, etc. But, the internet could kill all of these.

What’s odd though is that our conversation somehow morphed into the idea of making a news website for the city we live in. We live in a small city of 30,000 people but there are many other smaller towns neighboring us where a few writers and a few podcasters could get a considerable amount of those peoples eyeballs.

Right now there are only three ways of getting news in this city, the newspaper that seems to be printing more and more Associated Press articles lately, the local NBC affiliate which can only be viewed by watching it when it broadcasts, 6:00pm and 11:00pm or recording it to watch later, and the local radio stations which seem to be getting all of their news from one of the other two sources.

But the strange thing is that a single website with podcasts and written news on the website could destroy at least two of these three (when it comes to news at least). The advertising could easily be done by either billboards or even ads on the newspaper/NBC affiliate.

What I think would really get people is incredibly different approach to the news, not only would you be watching the news but you could be engaged in the news by leaving comments on the website, maybe on an audio podcast you could call in and leave a voicemail with differing opinions. Podcasting and blogging could change local news like no one had ever thought.

This idea of taking a small number of people and a few thousand dollars and turning it into a business that could rival the traditional news sources has been a dream of mine for a couple of years now, I think that we will finally see it in the next year or so in many of the cities across the country. Not only because the technology has become easy enough for the average Joe to do it but also because podcasting is becoming much more mainstream.

I can’t wait for it, I’d love to be able to just go to a website (that has a decent design) and be able to easily view/listen/read the news whenever I want, and commenting on the news through voicemail and comment forms would be nice to.

Just as an aside I was going to write a few paragraphs on how easy it would be to monetize but I’m sure you could figure it out, you approach a few local businesses, you tell them that you have X number of people listening/viewing/reading the content on a regular basis and you KNOW that they live in this area could easily monetize the whole business.

FlyTunes Launches Today

FlyTunes, which I first found out about during CES, is supposed to be debuting today. The service allows you to listen to internet radio with your iPhone or iPod Touch.

FlyTunes is just a web application that can be accessed through mobile Safari, but has some great features, you can customize stations on your PC or Mac and then login and listen to them on your iPhone.

One more interesting tid bit is that it can queue up to a half hour of music to listen to if you happen to be leaving an EDGE or Wifi covered area, and all of this is free.


“Add to Home Screen”

As soon as I found out that firmware 1.1.3 was available I downloaded it through iTunes and began to play around with it. Quickly I realized that the best part of the update was the new maps features but just a day or so after that I really started playing with the new “add to home screen” feature of Safari.

I’ve already added 11 apps to my home screen and they are:

•    Google Reader
•    Twitter
•    Weather Underground
•    iGas
•    iPhone Cinema Listings
•    Bejewled
•    Solitaire
•    Frenzic
•    Castle Feud
•    Tic Tac Toe
•    Amazon

This feature is really growing to be one of my favorites on the iPhone. But, I was
wondering what web apps my readers have added to their iPhones home screens.

I’ve tried searching for new and interesting apps in Apple’s web app directory but there are just too many apps for me to go through.

So I ask, what cool apps are on your home screen now?

Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about the apps.

Find High Quality Album Art, Fast

Lately I’ve been backing up my DVDs (I’ve been dieing for some good quality content to watch on my AppleTV). One of the biggest problems backing up DVDs is trying to find “album art” for the videos.

Albumart.org lets you quickly search for album artwork for your CDs or DVDs.

Using it is incredibly easy, all you do is type in the name of the movie or the name of band/CD you would like to get album artwork for, choose whether or not it is a CD or DVD, and click on search.

Than you are giving a bunch of nice pictures of album art.


TryPhone Allows Yout To Try Phones Before You Buy, From Within Your Browser

One of the major problems with buying a cell phone is that you usually don’t really know what the interface on the phone looks like and you have no idea how the menus work and so on.

A new website has come into beta that lets you try out the interface of a cell phone before you buy it. TryPhone let’s you see how different buttons navigate through the user interface. The phone selection is a little limited  only offering 4 models to try out, and not all of the functions are available but I’m sure it will get much more advanced as time goes on.

Handsets available to try:

BlackBerry Pearl
Verizon Juke
Sprint Muziq

The website also offers user reviews of the cell phones and the ability to buy the phone through different vendors (most likely TryPhone will be payed for referring customers).

Remember this is a beta and occasionally you may see some problems with the phone navigation but all in all it gives you a much better understanding of how the phone will work when you actually get it home.

I’m interested to see how this website goes in the coming months but I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t try to push the website out a little bit earlier to get some of those holiday shoppers using the site.


DecentURL, for Decent Sized URLs

So I’ve written about HugeURL which helps you make some pretty long URLs and everyone knows about TinyURL which helps you take a big URL and make it smaller. But, what if you have a really small URL, a really Large URL, or maybe even a really ugly URL that you want to make decent, well, here comes DecentURL.

DecentURL doesn’t really change the size of the URL (although it most likely will), its main purpose is to make URLs that are a little bit more readable.

The example given by the website is this:

turn this http://youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ
into this http://decenturl.com/youtube/medieval-help-desk

As you can see from the DecentURL the website is “youtube” and the title of the page is “medieval help desk,” pretty nice, huh.

DecentURL will even let you put in a custom title for the page so that you have a little bit more flexibility with the URL that you get.

DecentURL is pretty darn cool and I actually think that it could be handy for times when you need to tell someone a URL over the phone or in similar situations.

Make a Small URL Large

A problem that many users of the internet have is that when sending people URLs often times they are just too darn small. Who the heck wants to deal with tiny URLs when you can have BIG POWERFUL URLs?

So here is the answer…

Wouldn’t you rather have a big URL like that? I know I would.

So why don’t you show your friends that you really dig deep into the internet by sending them HugeURLs.

By the way the HugeURL for this page is:


Flash Version of Portal

Portal is a great game that comes with the much anticipated Orange Box. The game is a pretty inventive one where you use a gun to create portals on the walls, ceilings, and floors and then pass through one portal to get to another.

Well a flash version of Portal has just been released and I think I finally found a game that will kill my addiction to Desktop Tower Defense (yes, I do still play it). The game is not exactly the same, this one is only 2D but it still is really fun.

Go ahead and try it out though, it will most likely easily kill an hour or two.

Portal The Flash Version

Google Adds Presentation App to Google Docs

Google today announced that there will be an addition of a presentation app to the Google Docs suite. This is what everyone has been waiting for, the last piece of the puzzle, now if they would just improve it and add some features it would be a real competitor. At its current feature set it can’t compete with Microsoft office but for those who don’t need all of those features it is a great option.

Here is a paragraph from the Official Google Blog talking about some of the features of the collaborative features in the presentation app:

“Starting today, presentations — whether imported from existing files or created using the new slide editor — are listed alongside documents and spreadsheets in the Google Docs document list. They can be edited, shared, and published using the familiar Google Docs interface, with several collaborators working on a slide deck simultaneously, in real time. When it’s time to present, participants can simply click a link to follow along as the presenter takes the audience through the slideshow. Participants are connected through Google Talk and can chat about the presentation as they’re watching. Not wanting anyone to feel left out, we’ve made the presentation feature available in 25 languages; Google Apps customers can also access it as part of Google Docs.”

Here is a video presenting the new presentation app.

Photoshop Express Screenshot

John Nack writing on an Adobe blog posted a screenshot of the upcoming Photoshop Express web app.

“Today the crowd at Photoshop World got a quick preview of Photoshop Express, a new application currently in development at Adobe. First hinted at by Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen some six months ago, Photoshop Express isn’t meant to duplicate/replace Photoshop CS3 or Photoshop Elements. Rather, it’s a new member of the Photoshop family that’s meant to make Adobe imaging technology immediately accessible way to large numbers of people.”

He then compares Photoshop Express to Premiere Express saying:

“aims to offer a similarly easy, approachable experience for image editing.”

I’m excited for Photoshop Express, I don’t need to do a lot of photo editing but when I do it isn’t very complicated and this would be a great application for just that.