Archive for February, 2009

ZumoDrive in public beta and on the iPhone and

February 26, 2009

ZumoDrive is not just another cloud storage service a la Dropbox or MobileMe. Rather than using the cloud as a backup of the data on your hard disk, ZumoDrive merges the cloud and your disk to give you a lot more room than you’ve been used to.

For example, you can have 10Gb in the cloud, but only take up a few hundred Mb on your laptop – or now iPhone. Performance is very good so they you barely notice the fact that are not running applications locally. There are some IO intensive apps that I don’t think are suitable.

For instance, this frees you to buy a (solid state) small 60Gb disk on your laptop but have three times that available. ZumoDrive syncs the data it expects you to need intelligently, so that you can survive without a network. However, in this day and age that is quickly becoming less and less necessary.

The iPhone app is cutely named Supersize Me. Its proposal is similar: whether you access a network over wifi, 3G or some 2.5G variant, you get to massively increase your storage space by streaming it from the network. I am writing this 3000 feet in the air on the iPhone WordPress app on the way to Copenhagen and Supersize Me works just fine in flight mode too.

In fact, this is not as revolutionary as it sounds. Plenty of apps do this already but they are limited to a single purpose. For instance, my Last.FM app streams music to my iPhone, just as my beloved Sonos system does to three different sets if speakers spread across my house. There is no difference in performance between me listening at home to Coldplay streaming from my local NAS or streaming from a Last.FM server somewhere in the cloud. What is cute about ZumoDrive is that it works with files for any app: music, photos, spreadsheets, presentations, word processing documents – you name it.

ZumoDrive was only available with an invite code until today when their public beta started. At the same time, the app is available on the iTunes app store for free — before it goes up to $5.

Pricing plans have also just gone down from where they were in the private beta. You can get 25Gb for $7 a month, 10Gb for $3 and 1Gb for free. I think this is not at all bad, and Zumo is going to get a lot of users in a pretty short time. This has got to be a default choice subscription for MacBook Air owners.

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How to move from print to online

February 12, 2009

Techcrunch informs us that Google has recently a Finnish paper mill and intends to build out a data centre there instead.

Maybe that’s something Yellow Pages companies around the world should look at too? Can’t imagine the business case is going to be quite as dramatic just yet…

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Zcapes is live

February 11, 2009

It looks like the first phase of the Zcapes go live has started. You can check out m.zcapes.com (in your mobile browser but your desktop would work too) and start reading some of the content and widgets that are already there. You’ll have to wait another week or so before you can create your own Zcapes, but that’s not so far away.

When I first wrote about Zcapes, I was in I love the idea that context is a new long tail and the use of different plug-and-play meta-data and functional services and bots to define it. Since then I have talked to a couple of people who are also trying to get at the basic building blocks — the genotype — of what makes an online experience interesting and who are trying to find how to capture these basic elements into a consistent whole. Zcapes looks like a fun way of playing around with some of these ideas.
There you’ll see a range of services and bots, e.g. messages, poll, twitter search, flickr search, RSS feed, RSVP, tagging & location. Although you can’t create any yet, and the widgets are reasonably limited, you can browse some zcapes through their tags. One to follow.

Google Latitude puts you on the map

February 4, 2009

Google Latitude allows you to see you and your friends on Google maps on a phone or on a computer. Friends can be found by browsing Gmail contacts and introduced via SMS on a phone, or just used directly with some common Google services, like iGoogle on a regular computer. It’s currently ‘available soon for iPhone and Android’ — i.e. I can’t test it yet. For those of you that have, let me know your experiences.

You get good control over with regards to your location privacy — just like on an IM service, you can choose to be invisible.

This is now going to give social networks like Loopt and Gypsii a run for their money by commoditising one of their unique selling points.

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