Urchin Gobbled by Google

Don’t you like the sound of that headline? Anyway, we use the Urchin web stats on our servers all the time. It’s parent, Web Analytics just got bought by Google… I’m not sure if this is good news or not. Any opinions? Here’s the story: http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/003904.html And the press release: http://www.urchin.com/company/news/03282005.html

Skype Me! NYTimes & the New Phone Net

Free phone service over the Net is not new, but the improvements in quality are apparently not only making it more popular, but more intimate as well.

In a piece in tomorrow’s New York Times, Internet free speech evangelist and Grateful Dead lyricist, John Perry Barlow is quoted as saying about the free Skype Internet phone service, “The combination of anonymity and intimacy creates a special kind of environment.”

I was even more amazed to learn that “Skype says that it has over 2.8 million users in the United States and 30.6 million worldwide and that it is adding users at a rate of 155,000 a day. Skype’s biggest competitor, Vonage, a paid VoIP service, has about 550,000 customers.”

Am I delusional or is the Internet hotter than ever? Oh yea, here’s the link to the NY Times article.

Sony Playstation Portable, More that a Game Machine

I don’t write much about games, but it looks like the soon to be released Sony Playstation Portable is worth noticing beyond it’s gaming capabilities. Among other things, it looks to be a pretty awesome video player too. This is, in part, enabled by a new storage medium called UMD or Universal Media Discs. These baby’s hold 1.8 gigabytes!

And, it won’t be long before we’ll have portable devices holding much more. For example, IBM’s got a postage stamp-sized hard drive due out within two years that is said to hold about 500 times that much. Soon, your cell phone will have way more memory than any of today’s iPods.

Here’s WebProNews.com’s “Sony Gearing Up for PSP Launch” which includes links to other relevant reviews & PSP news.

Flash movie: A Creative View of Our Media Future

Clearly the medium of Flash movies is evolving in fascinating ways. Here’s an insightful work of visual fiction that is at the same time a provocative commentary on high-tech trends in publishing (including spins on the New York Times, Google and Amazon) while also providing a thought-provoking kind of entertainment… dare I say “edutainment”? All of this creativity is promoted, I presume, purely by viral (word-of-mouth on the Net) marketing (like this). Check out “[Connected] Google and the Media’s Possible Future: 2014” and enjoy!

Excellent Web Site Templates

TemplateMonster.com has the best web site templates that I’ve seen online. Well done. Both HTML and Flash versions. A great resource, design short cut. I’m impressed.

Finally, a Directory of Local Search Directories

I love good aggregations of content. As mentioned recently, yellow page style directories are becoming increasingly important for businesses that wish to target local searches, in other words, geographically-targeted searches to find a business of a particular type in your area. Now there’s something called the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) and they’ve published an online directory of local search engines. Useful stuff if you need that kind of thing. Here’s the link to the directory of localized directories. Enjoy.

DropLoad: a Free, User-Friendly File Transfer Service

Credit my son, Andrew, for this tip: DropLoad.com let’s you upload up to a 100MB file and then auto-sends download instructions to the person to whom you want to send the file, and then auto-deletes it from the server in seven days. It was immediately useful to me in the delivery of a large file to a client. Saved me the usual hassles. Hopefully, it will help you too. Oh yea, and it’s absolutely FREE. A grand Hazzah (salutation) to the creative folks who provide this free service.

La Madame du Paid Search + Tip

Here’s a great resource for real online advertisers. Catherine Seda not only wrote the book (literally) on pay-per-click advertising, but she has written tons articles.

Her most recent for Entrepreneur magazine is on the merits of local search, which if you haven’t heard, is the ideal way to go for those of us who tend to do business only with locals–even on the web– including all those tire stores and other retailers who must market to customers who can literally show up at their door. Click here to read more about how “geographic-targeting get your online message to customers right around the corner.”

Branded Blog Reader Software

Blogs and podcasts (see my earlier posts if necessary) would be nothing without aggregator software. In the case of blogs, these applications and sites (I use Bloglines) are also known as RSS Readers. These applications enable you to “subscribe” to a particular blog or podcast; and, thus, to quickly scan a summary without having to troll the sites from which they originate. On the podcast side of things, it’s the integration with RSS that enables the audio files to be relatively-automatically uploaded to one’s MP3 player (iPod).

Now that marketers are facing the music that web browsers (the people) are increasingly embracing the popularity of blogs, the forward-thinking amongst them are branding their own RSS Readers for the user’s convenience and for the additional impressions that branded RSS Readers can deliver to the marketer’s brand. Companies like Newsgator and Consenda are providing the software.

Thus, Pamela Parker’s ClickZ column, “The Great RSS Reader Bandwagon.”

Apple Back in the Spotlight

As a mac man and an Apple stockholder, it should be clear that I’m a fan of one of the most innovative companies in the history of technology. So, of course, I’m pleased to see Apple back in the spotlight as evidenced by the current cover story in Fortune magazine, How Big Can Apple Get?