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Archive for October, 2007

Wish I could take credit, but I can’t. Lovely work done by Student Hacks (Thanks, Audrey!)

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What happens if I click on that creepy barcode on the left?

Will I be entered to win a 6 day, 7 night stay at the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu? (Yay!)

Or get a terrible worm that will suck the life out of my hard drive? (NOOOOOO!)

Or… or… or… will LonelyGirl15 come to my birthday party? (Huh? Sicko.)

All excellent guesses, but no… the whozimajiggie on the side there is actually a Augme datamatrix barcode containing an encoded URL of this website, which can be displayed on MySpace, Facebook, t-shirts, posters, you name it. (And, btw, clicking on it will do you no good.)

Come again?

Maybe I should start over…

Augme is a Florida-based company looking to get ahead of the curve on mobile barcoding technology. While most Japanese phones already have barcode readers (and most owners actually use them), such technology is still seen as a unnecessary novelty in European and US markets… at least for now. Augme wagers that because Nokia has begun installing barcode readers in many of their higher end models (N95, N93, N93i or E90), the trend is primed to spread.

Don’t have a Nokia? (Yea, me neither.) You can download barcode-reading software on an affiliated Augme page.

So, the all-important question arises: Why would I want to do this?

Well, for starters… as an aspiring band, you could have your customized barcode link to a downloadable MP3… for a hopeful model or actress it could lead directly to your portfolio. Users also have the option to create a profile within Augme itself (with or without direct contact info) that can be easily encoded.

Augme’s revenue model is reliant upon an online store selling t-shirts emblazoned with your barcode(s).

If the market for mobile barcode readers takes off, Augme is definitely in a great spot– far ahead of the curve. However, if the turtle-like uptake of the technology outside of Asia is any indication of the trend’s stickiness potential, this could quickly become a rocky business path.

The site is super easy to navigate (it took me five minutes–tops–to register and create the customized barcode shown above), and the idea is boldly forward-thinking, so I certainly wish them well.

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I was excited to receive an email last night letting me know that a limited number of Chumbys were available for purchase, and I should pony up and get one.

You say: Chumby whaaa?

I say: A Chumby can best be described as a device that looks like an alarm clock and behaves like a laptop. Chumby displays your custom widget loop on its 3.5″ color LCD screen, all the while decked out in some slick leather casing.

Awesome, right? Well, almost.

I was all set to blog about the Chumby as a neat new tool to carry forth the message of the web outside, until I learned…

IT NEEDS TO BE CONTINUALLY PLUGGED IN.

*sigh* We still purchased one to play with in the office, but man… so close to so cool. I understand the rationale (a battery can’t power an LCD–even a teeny one–for very long), it’s just really hard for me to get excited about something with a cord.

Being tethered is so 1985.

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Burn Free, as Free as the Source Flows…

The tagline for Freedom Toaster reads like a bad rally sign from the 70s, but the awesomeness of the technology makes up for it. Okay, almost.

So, Jayne, what’s a Freedom Toaster… and, more importantly, should I want one?

Glad you asked. A Freedom Toaster is like a candy machine– except instead of doling out Skittles and Snickers, it dispenses digital products (e.g. popular Linux versions, music downloads, ebooks, free Windows apps)… and yes, you should want one.

The idea for the Freedom Toaster grew from the discrepancy between the huge number of computer-savvy citizens of South Africa and the scarcity of reliable internet connections; therefore, access to open source software (Linux, in particular) is greatly stunted.

Freedom Toasters are currently up and running in a variety of public spaces in South Africa, and –in a notable demonstration of practicing what they preach– instructions for building your own Freedom Toaster are available on the company’s home site.

[via Springwise]

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“Treat your cell phone like a mouse…”

“Treat your cell phone like a remote control…”

The Web Outside feeds off similes such as these like a llama gobbles alfalfa. As I’ve put forth on our About page, people are beginning to expect the same immediacy, accessibility, and customization in their real lives as they experience on the web. And what better tool to make this happen– wherever, whenever– than the cell phone?

Well, now it appears that we have a new (and unknowing) conceptual backer: Steve Ballmer.

Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft (for those of us who haven’t been keeping score), gave the keynote speech at Tuesday’s CTIA Trade Show. His core statement (“core” from where I’m sitting, at least): “In a sense we have to think about the phone as almost a universal remote control for your life.”

At the risk of patting this blog on the back… touché, Steve.

[via CNet]

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