Embed.ly and ParrotFish

Thanks to a post by @lewiszhang, I discovered a couple great products from Embed.ly. First off, they have a Chrome plugin that adds in-line previews for links from hundreds of sources in your Twitter stream. Second, they have a WordPress plugin that will change a simple URL in your post body into an embedded preview, as below. Great stuff!


Brightkite Checking Out of Check-in Game

The application that introduced myself and many others to geo-location apps is bowing out of the game. At the Brightkite Blog the team has announced that they will be removing the check-in, posting, and stream functionality to be vanishing from the site. Brightkite will be reorienting itself as a free text messaging service.

I can’t say I blame them for the move. They have long ago been overshadowed by Foursquare and Gowalla in the location-sharing space, and they are switching things up to become relevant again. I’m not sure that text messaging is going to work, though. Personally, I’ve been using Google Voice for all of my text messaging for quite a while now. Facebook is on the verge of releasing a newly focused messaging system, and already enjoys a healthy install base on mobile phones.

I hope the best for the Brightkite team. I just don’t think text messaging is going to get them there.


Macbook Browses for 2 Hours Longer Without Flash

I’m not a big fan of this anti-Flash movement. I think it has been sensationalized because everyone in the media loves a good battle. Now that Steve Jobs has come out punching, it’s the cool thing to bash. Don’t get me wrong, I think Flash is over-used, and is certainly more resource intensive than it should be… but the “battle” is blown out of proportion.

What I do like, however, is statistics. And this is a pretty damning one.

While benchmarking the new 2010 Macbook Air, Ars Technica found that web browsing without the Flash plugin installed resulted in 2 more hours of battery life. That’s a big deal. It’s the numerous Flash web banners that load on websites, sucking up your valuable CPU cycles and burning through your battery. As I was reading the Ars Technica story, I noticed two animated banners running. My only goal is to read static text, not watch a video or listen to audio.

Uninstalling Flash isn’t the solution, at least not until alternatives like HTML5 have put the nail in the coffin. A great thing you can do, however, is install a browser plugin that will keep Flash elements from loading until you need them. Flashblock (for Chrome, for Firefox) and ClickToFlash (for Safari) should help you get those 2 extra hours out of your battery.

via Engadget

Miso: Social TV

Tonight I came across Miso, which is basically Foursquare for TV shows. When you’re watching a show or movie, you “check in” and the show gets added to your profile. You can see what your friends are watching, and conversations can be built off of the check-ins. You also gain badges based on your viewing behavior.

I’ve been musing Boxee to watch TV for the past few months. When I listen to music in Boxee, it logs that data to my Last.fm account. (So does my iPhone, home computer, and work computer.) I’ve had this account for years, and it does a pretty fantastic job of recommending new music to me based on a huge dataset.

I hope that Miso can build a recommendation engine as well. I’d also love to see Boxee integrate Miso as well, so that I can check-in to a show from within the app.

Just a couple things on my wish list. Be sure to check out Miso. Read more at MobileBehavior.

Google Wave Dev Halted

So one of the big tech news stories today is that Google has ceased any future development of Wave, and will be shutting the service down entirely sometime near the end of the year.

The response I’ve seen the most is “duh” or “about time,” citing how few people used, or even understood how to use, the system. Personally, I always figured it was more of a test-bed for Google to develop tools and features that would find their way into other products like Docs, Gmail, Voice, and so on. I never expected it to gain a healthy base of users beyond developers and tech geeks who wanted to see a hint of the latest and greatest coming from the Google campus.

Apparently my conception of Wave was pretty different from that of whoever writes the checks at Google, since they’re shutting it down. They did say that existing Wave technologies will find their way into other products, but it will not continue to serve as an incubator for future technologies.

You can read the official announcement at the Official Google Blog and see plenty of 140 character opinions with the #googlewave Twitter tag.