Friday, March 24, 2006

Survive and Advance

My Texas Longhorns are still dancing in the NCAA Tournament, thanks to an unbelievable buzzer-beating three pointer to win their game against West Virginia. The shot was made by senior Kenton Paulino, who has been basically a role player during his career. Therein lies the beauty of "March Madness"; anyone can hit the shot and be the hero on any given night. Texas plays tomorrow against LSU. Should be a good one.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Skype Challenger

I've seen a million (or so it seems) supposed "Skype killers" and, so far, none of them have even been Skype competitors. Om Malik has posted about a new version of Yahoo Instant Messenger. If the things he's saying it's going to be, and there's no reason to believe it won't, are true then Skype will finally have some competition. Om touches on something that only a handful of companies, unfortunatley not including Skype at the moment, are poised to do: blur the lines of communications formats or platforms. The next generation of comm apps have to be able to aggregate communications between you and your friends/family regardless of whether it was text-based (email, chat) or voice (VoIP), real-time or incremental.

Imagine this scenario:
1. You send an IM to a buddy. He/she responds and you start a conversation.
2. You decide to do a voice chat to save your hands from typing.
3. An hour after the conversation ends, you remember to tell your friend "one last thing" and send him/her and email reminder.

Now imagine an application that can save those three communication streams as one. Maybe you give it a subject, for instance "Trip Planning with Victoria". Now you can go back at any time and re-read or re-listen to the various part of the conversation in their different formats. Now imagine you can "tag" these conversations with multiple key words to serve as search or organization criteria later. Assuming OM's correct in his assesment, Yahoo is at least moving in this direction by allowing the user to send an IM, email or voice from a single app. The next logical step is to index and search (assuming people will allow it considering the privacy ramifications). Google seems like the other company that could move there very quickly. They already index your GMail emails and GTalk text chats. The only thing for them to do is index the audio chats.

Of course, there are serious technology requirements to archive all audio chats. I believe this is only a temporary concern as storage prices continue to plummet. Ad revenues could also be used to offset the increasing costs of such a service. Of course, this is all conjecture on my part, but I suspect we'll see it happen soon and for the better of all of us.

Monday, March 20, 2006

RIAA Don't Get To Randomly Hunt Through Computers

In a move that might signal the beginning of the end of the RIAA cartel's scare tactics operation, an Oregon woman was given the right by a judge to hire her own "expert" to determine whether or not she has committed the crimes accused her by the RIAA. The judge even ordered that the cartel has to foot her bill. If you haven't followed the story of the RIAA and it's fear-based initiatives, you can read up on them at the site linked below. Story via

RIAA Don't Get To Randomly Hunt Through Computers: "racking up wins against the RIAA... keep em coming..."

(Via digg.)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

March Madness

I've said it before, probably on this very blog, that this is my second favorite time of the year (behind the start of football season, of course).  The NCAA Men's basketball tournament reminds me each year of why I love sports, and, more specifically, college athletics.  Each year some tiny team from some tiny college in some tiny town shocks the sports world and pulls off an upset of a highly ranked team.  This year has not dissapointed, with several upsets taking place in the first two rounds of the tournament.  My Texas Longhorns, a two seed, have earned their way into the "Sweet 16" by virtue of their two wins against Penn and North Carolina State.  Unfortunately, if they win their next game they will probably have to face Duke, which pasted them earlier in the year.  Regardless of how they do the rest of the way, this is one of the best times  of the year to be a sports fan.  I just hope the rest of the tournament will be as good as this first weekend has been.