Polaroid no longer does Polaroids

Is this bumming anyone else out?

Polaroid no longer does Polaroids: ”

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Well doesn’t OutKast look silly now. The brand synonymous with instant film is killing off the Polaroid film format and attempting to reinvent the brand so it ‘lives on for the next 30 to 40 years.’ In the short term that means closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands, cutting 450 jobs, and breaking the hearts of hipster-photographers the world over. Obviously the concept of Polaroids was never going to be much more than a niche in the age of digital photos, and the Polaroid / Zink Digital Instant Mobile Photo Printer is filling the instant development void left behind, but it’s still sad to see a format with so much history and fond memories die, especially since Polaroid spends the majority of its time these days slapping its de-valued logo onto rubbish commodity electronics.

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(Via Engadget.)

Rock On!

I spent hours yesterday playing Rock Band with a group of friends. What an amazing experience. I wrote about it on Fanista here. At the risk of repeating myself, I was struck by how the behavior that the game encourages is the antithesis of most game experiences. In my limited time playing games, I have found that the most popular variety is the first person shooter. It’s a solitary experience where the goal is to kill things with guns. Sure there are pretty graphics, fancy explosions and scary monsters but most games seem to boil down to killing things with guns. Enter Rock Band. In this game, you and a group of friends get to start a band and live the dream by working hard to become a rock star. I had a room of five people – three guys and two gals, musicians and non-musicians in there 20s or 40s all playing this game together… for hours. I really don’t think I have experienced anything like this before. It was so social, challenging, rewarding, exhausting and we didn’t kill anything.

Hats off to Eran Egozy and Alex Rigopulos – the co-founders of Harmonix. And to Brad Feld, my fraternity brother who had the good sense to help them raise money back in the 90s. (Eran is also in my Fraternity but did not live in the house at the same time.)

They have created an game that lets non-musicians experience what it is like to be musician and live in the world of rock. Well done!

Listen to PodCast From Your Phone

Finally something useful to do in LA Traffic!!!

(from TechCrunch Article – http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/11/12/listen-to-podcasts-on-any-phone/

Reposted without permission)


Podlinez is a dead simple service that launched a few days ago. Go to the site and search for a podcast. If it’s already there, you can look up a dedicated phone number for that podcast. If the podcast is not included, anyone can add it and a dedicated phone line is associated with the podcast. To listen to the most recent episode of TalkCrunch, for example, just dial +1 (831) 480-3920 and listen. I assume the company will ad advertising to the site and to recordings at some point to generate revenue.


Fonpods, which is currently a TechCrunch sponsor, launched at DEMO in September 2006. It is similar to Podlinez, but has a single phone number for accessing all podcasts, +1 (712) 432-3030. Users can call that phone number (no registration required) and listen to pre-selected content in a number of categories. Registered users can also subscribe to podcasts and access that specific content if they call in from a phone that they’ve registered with the service. Fonpods also has detailed information about each podcast (TalkCrunch information page is here, for example). These podcasts can be added to a user listening list with a single click.

Even though Podlinez and Fonpods are similar services, they are both useful for different things. Podlinez, with it’s dedicated phone number for each podcast, is a good way to “subscribe” to a single podcast and listen whenever new episodes are released. It requires no registration and has zero setup time. Just call the number and listen. Fonpods requires registration and basic setup to subscribe to favorite podcasts, but is a good solution for people who listen to a wide variety of podcasts and want access from a phone.

BabelChat – Why hasn’t someone done this?

Why hasn’t anyone created a chat client that translates between languages? All of the technology to do this exist *right now*. We have translating software on the web (e.g. AltaVista’s BabelFish, and Google’s Language Tools). We have any number of chat clients that support plug-ins (e.g. trillian, jabber). I’m surprised that all chat clients don’t come with translate setting that will translate between two languages on the fly. It seems so obvious and beneficial.

Update 02-12-2006

This entry was posted on LazyWeb today (thanks Jim). I’m looking forward to comments.

I had fun discussing this post with Brad Rubenstein on his blog Odd Quanta.

Update 02-20-2006

I’m please to report that the Trillian plug-in suggested by jacob harvey has been very useful. I tried it out on a native spanish speaker who speaks english. At first he spoke to me in english but then switched to spanish. We had a good 30 minute chat with the translators help. I’m looking forward to using the translator with his mom – who does not speak english. Thanks to Jacob for pointing me in the direction of the translator.

Update 02-28-2006
A commentor suggested another translator at http://www.mecamessenger.com/translations.jsp

Entertainment in the Singularity

I think entertainment is going to get very interesting.

Ray Kurzweil predicts that we will have nanobots in our brain connected to the internet that will allow us to be submerged in virtual reality worlds. For your Star Trek NG fans out there, this would allow us to create holodeck type entertainment scenarios.

Here is the added twist – while you are going through your entertainment scenarios, an AI can be tracking your responses and modulating the experience of the characters around you appropriately.

Let’s say you are recreating the scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when the detective Eddie Valiant goes in the club in toon town where Jessica Rabbit performs.

In this holodeck scenario, you would be the Eddie Valiant character. Depending on what emotions you are feeling – the gorilla doorman might pick you up – or not. Depends on how scared you are. In fact, he could pick you up and growl at your for just the right amount of time to get the desired reaction. If you are over 18, the experience you have with Jessica Rabbit might be very different than if you are a child. The important point here is that the framework for the entertainment will be the same, but your interaction with the characters will be tailor to your demographics, pyschographics and real-time reactions – in a way that is not yet possible. I think this will allow for a level of emotional depth and a richness of experience that we currently only get from time to time when our mood and the movie we are watching sync up. I for one am looking forward to it.

Kurzweil does it again

Sometimes, I find Ray Kurzweil’s predictions disturbingly accurate.
The Age of Spiritual Machines states that by the close of this decade (2010) that computers will be completed embedded in our clothing.
When I read this 1999, I was rather skeptical.

Checkout Eleksen. They make “Smart Fabric” – Conducative, washable fabric for integrating computing devices into your clothing. And they aren’t some fringe company. They are partnering with major companies like Logitech, Innovative Sports, O’Neill, and Spyder.