Monday, January 31, 2005

Google Video launches: misnamed and not up to par

Information Today published my Newsbreak on Google Video today. The product is unusual for a Google announcement: it's immature, and it's misnamed.

See the article at:


It’s surprising to test a product named “Video” only to find that there’s no video to consume. It seems that every page of hits yields the statement “Video is currently not available.” In response to the question “Can I play the videos that Google Video finds?” the Google Video FAQ states, “Not yet, but stay tuned ...”


One could even argue that Google has misnamed its new product. Google Video offers a way to search television content, and it offers a way to search local TV listings. But there is a lot more to video than television; one wonders why they didn’t name the product Google TV. Yahoo!, for its part, launched its own video product last week—a tool to search the Web for actual, playable video clips. Perhaps Google was influenced by its rival’s impending announcement. Or perhaps Google plans to expand beyond television, given that Google Images searches freely available images on the Web.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Boogie Bob, my doppleganger?!?

Recently while at Panera's (place that sells bread, soup, and sandwiches and offers free Wi-Fi) I encountered this fellow. Note the Sony Picturebook laptop. Looking closely, you can see the antenna of a Sierra Wireless card -- in other words he's got the exact same highly-portable Internet setup I had for almost two years.

It turns out this fella is none other than "Boogie Bob" Baldori. He has a colorful history: his band, the Woolies, had a pop hit called "Who Do You Love?" in the sixties. Now he's a rocker and a lawyer. See:

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Headless Mac a "cube-shaped computer"?!

Tech columnist Hiawatha Bray writes in today's Boston Globe:

In San Francisco, at the annual Macworld trade show, Jobs showed off the Mac Mini, a cube-shaped computer priced at $499, and a new $99 version of the red-hot iPod portable music player.
Either Hiawatha didn't physically attend the keynote at Macworld where Steve Jobs introduced the device, or he's forgotten his basic geometry. Quoth Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: cube
Pronunciation: kyüb
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin cubus, from Greek kybos die, cube
1 a : the regular solid of six equal square sides -- see VOLUME table

This tiny new Mac is in no way a "cube" -- its size and shape more resemble a paperback book:

As it happens Steve Jobs famously was associated with a cube-shaped computer, the Next workstation, introduced circa 1990:

It was cool to break out of the tower paradigm in the early 90s and have a cube-shaped computer on your desk. But memo to Hiawatha: the Mac Mini is shaped not like a cube; it's shaped like an Ipod.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Amazing what's on the Net: want the script of "Casablanca"?

For some reason a line from Casablanca was bugging me. Victor Laszlo and Ilsa walk into Rick's. Ilsa asks for a table near Sam, and Victor asks the proprietor for a table away from the evil German major. Rick responds with a pithy line about the complicated geography their request entails. But I can't remember Rick's exact riposte.

So I Google it. And early on the hit list, I find a full-text copy of the script for Casablanca.

No one is more excited than me about Google's ambitious plans to scan millions of library volumes for full-text presentation on the Web. This is just a tiny example of how cool it will be to find the most obscure things in print, without having to physically visit Cambridge or Ann Arbor.