Is Google plotting to encroach upon Facebook's comfy territory? Well, it seems it's launched a sort of social-networking task force: Open-standards guru Will Norris announced on his blog Tuesday that he'll be starting a new job at Google on February 1, joining a few other prominent social-networking thinkers who have also recently made the jump to Mountain View.
"I'm happy to announce today that I've accepted a job at Google, working on the newly formed Social Web team," Norris wrote on his blog. "I will be joining fellow new hires Joseph Smarr … Read more
AOL announced Monday that it spent $36.5 million to acquire StudioNow, a start-up that builds technology for online video creation and distribution.
Seed.com identifies areas of media coverage that AOL deems to be of interest and then assigns freelance journalists and photographers to the task. The StudioNow acquisition will make it easier for video content to be worked into the mix.
In a somewhat related announcement, AOL has hired former … Read more
Business and government officials on Friday cut the ribbon on a solar array in Arizona that uses giant parabolic dishes to generate electricity from the sun.
Solar plant developer Tessera Solar installed 60 solar collectors, called the SunCatcher from Stirling Energy Systems, in Peoria, Ariz. Each dish is rated at 25 kilowatts and the entire facility will have a capacity of 1.5-megawatts of generation.
Utilities installing large-scale solar power generation are typically using arrays of flat photovoltaic panels or concentrating solar power systems, where mirrors or reflective troughs create heat to make electricity.
The Stirling Energy Systems technology also … Read more
The Women's Audio Mission is a San Francisco based, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in music production and recording arts. WAM provides hands-on training, experience, career counseling and job placement for women and girls.
I spoke with WAM's founder and executive director, Terri Winston, by phone earlier this week. Before she started WAM seven years ago, she was a college professor and developed the recording arts degree program at City College of San Francisco. Ms. Winston is also an electrical engineer, musician, recording engineer, and record producer.
Steve Guttenberg: Is it fair to describe WAM as a school?
Terri Winston: Yes, but it's small and it doesn't look like a school; more like a studio. The classes are small, with between seven and fifteen students. WAM has 350 to 400 students a year, and we try to funnel them into two- and four-year programs.
SG: Can local musicians and bands record at WAM?
TW: Yes, we offer no- and low-cost recording services for independent artists. We did a band called Built For the Sea that was on Live 105, and we're currently working on other projects.
SG: I truly admire WAM's goals, but recording studios are closing left and right. It's not a growth industry; why train a new generation of engineers? More and more bands are recording themselves, aren't they? … Read more
The Internet is rife with malicious people and software, and protecting yourself is no easy feat. Fortunately there's A-squared Free + Online Armor Personal Firewall Bundle, a comprehensive suite of utilities that goes a long way toward keeping your computer secure.
Upon installation, the program takes users through a Safety Check Wizard that scans the user's computer for any existing threats. The application's interface is sleek and intuitive, with a menu that gives users access to its major features. Users can view programs that are running, programs that run automatically on start-up, any installed keylogging programs, and more. … Read more
Marko Calasan, a 9-year-old from Macedonia, is more than just a kid who's into computers.
At age 6, he got his first systems administrator credential from Microsoft and, last month, he became perhaps the youngest Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.
"I must say that from the technological point of view, Marko is definitely a wonder child," said Matej Potokar, the general manager of Microsoft Slovenia. Potokar said in an e-mail interview that he first heard about Marko two years ago and was eager to get the chance to meet the young prodigy.
"When we were informed that … Read more
Everybody likes contributing an opinion, especially in subjects on which we consider ourselves experts. Rank'em (located at gorankem.com), now in beta testing, uses this human urge as the basis for a crowdsourced song recommendation engine.
This obviously wouldn't work without some structure--asking users to pick their 10 favorite songs at random, for instance, would be too scattershot and yield useless results. So Rank'em has users select particular artists, then asks them to choose between 5 and 20 songs and rank them in order. Users must also rate their level of enthusiasm--or "fanstanding" as the … Read more
Fans of Apple's Mac Dashboard may want to try Kludget Engine, which promises to replicate the Dashboard experience on Windows machines. It'd be great to touch a button and see a variety of useful widgets fly onto the screen. But, like many attempts to bring Apple style to the Windows world, it's better in theory than in practice.
That isn't to say that Kludget Engine is bad. It looks much like Dashboard, and it's actually designed to run Apple widgets. So, we hurried over to Apple's Web site and downloaded some widgets. And they … Read more
Google.org demonstrated a new platform on Thursday that, if implemented in conjunction with a proposed United Nations program, could provide a significant tool to combat climate change.
Its new "high-performance satellite imagery-processing engine" can process terabytes of information on thousands of Google servers while giving access to the results online.
The platform, which was demonstrated on Thursday at the International Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, would allow anyone using the tool to monitor whether or not trees were being chopped down in a given forest. It analyzes satellite images to show forest changes over a given time … Read more