Rafe reports back on some of his favorite products from the Demo conference. Plus we cover a few more options for backing up your data.
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Rafe's Demo picks
Always Innovating's Touch Book (story): Yes, it's just another Netbook. But the removable keyboard and touch-screen interface make it an attractive product, and its ARM CPU and custom Linux build earn it geek points. Might be a little too expensive to be an impulse purchase for home users, but it does improve the breed.Daniel really liked eFormic's CO2Code (story) initiative to create a database of carbon emissions for consumer products, all indexed off the products' UPC codes. Once you know how much carbon your purchases are spewing into the atmosphere, you can buy the appropriate offsets on the site. We'd like to see this service tied into a home-based UPC scanner, or perhaps into grocery stores' loyalty programs. Skout (story; podcast) makes a clever location-aware dating service. But there's a twist: The company is also creating software for kiosks in bars (in the real world, these are called "jukeboxes") that are aware of the Skout users nearby. This expands the local dating pools. But if you're using one of the kiosks and want to chat up a mobile user, you have to pay for the privilege--a flat rate at the moment, but we don't see why connections shouldn't be market priced. Given what this service is about, why mess around? I really like the article discovery service Ensembli (story). As I wrote, it does not appear to be a comprehensive or reliable enough for professional use, but it's the simplest way I've seen to expose users to custom content. Although I have reservations about the current state of the product, Avaak's Vue (story) camera system is clever, reasonably priced, potentially very useful, and based on genuine technology (a low-power radio mesh network). And the demo did its job. A number of people here told me they were looking forward to buying the system as soon as they could. Asurion (story) showed a contact manager for Android mobile phones. Not just a phonebook, it's an app that pulls together all your contact information from all your social networks. The Palm Pre is supposed to have a very similar feature. We liked it there, and we like it here. Although I was initially skeptical of it, I also really liked Silverstone Solutions (story; podcast), a new kidney transplant matching service that tracks more than just one-to-one matches. It could save lives. What's not to like? Unfortunately, we have to give the Demo booby prize toBluBuzz. It's location-based marketing using Bluetooth, which is, I believe, a nonstarter (how many mobile users leave their Bluetooth radios on and open to incoming file transfers?). It also requires users install an app. And, sadly, the demo didn't work and it appears one of the presenters forgot his lines. Kind of a double-whammy there, but I will try to learn more about this one to see if there's value hidden under the demo. Exmarks - formerly Foxmarks. Comments I feel Rafe's pain re all the MacBook fails. When I finally switched to a Mac and bought a unibody MacBook, it shipped with a badly flickering display. That was bad enough. But I took it to the Genius Bar and they said because I bought it online and not in store, I had to arrange for the online team to collect and replace it, and nothing could be done in the Apple store itself. Wound now wide open, salt pouring in.
Everyone who said, "Don't get a Mac, Nate. It's overpriced but average-performing stuff that just looks pretty," which even came from our PC editors who reviewed it favourably, wouldn't let it rest after that. After all those arguments about how Macs are great investments, and mine shipped with complimentary epic fail.
The new one's awesome, though. Would never take it back.
Nate** Just heard on episode 150 about the listener wanting to use a smart folder with live sync. This should be easily done with an automator script that deletes the contents of a folder and copies everything from the smart folder into that folder just before the sync happens. If the user is familiar enough with OS X to use a smart folder then automator wouldn’t be too much trouble either. Feel free to forward to the listener if they would like to contact me. Regards, Daniel D Fraley ** As a fellow Jungle Disk user I think you left out a couple key features that played a part in my buying decision. For $20 you get an unlimited license to the software allowing you to install it on as many computers as you want (as opposed to Mozy/Carbonite's per computer licencing). Also, it'll allow you to back up anything your computer can see, even network shared drives. I have a NAS that I needed backed up but didn't have any convenient way to do so. Now, I can back it up seamlessly via Jungle Disk from my desktop. Neither Mozy nor Carbonite will allow you to do this since it would be a way to bypass their per-computer pricing. Love the show, -- Chris from Rochester NY ** gsimmonsonca February 27, 2009 11:19 AM PST Hey guys... Just a comment about JungleDisk vs Carbonite... To me, the big advantage of jungledisk is that it is not just a backup program, it gives you drive letter access to the unlimited storage of S3, making it like a USB stick in the cloud. Plus you can run it in portable mode, and used on any OS. * Dear Tom and Rafe, In Episode 150 you spend some time talking about what backup solutions you use and if Amazon s3 is worth the extra money. 3 months ago i also looked for an online backup since i thought that time machine to an external drive just is not enough. On lifehacker.com i found Backblaze.com, a US-based online backup service for windows and mac that offers unlimited storage for 5 dollars a month or 50 per year per computer. Converting it to euros it costs me about the price of a large beer in a nice bar in my home town vienna. The program runs in the background just like dropbox and is very low on resource usage and only backs up files that change. I never encountered any down time and one does not have to bother with it once it is installed. even if the connection is interrupted during backup it just picks up where it left next time its connected, and it has a throttle that lets you set how much of your bandwidth should be used. I am not an employee of the company and I did not get paid for this e-mail. I just think it offers the best value for the buck in all the online back up systems and maybe you want to mention it in one of your next episodes. Love the show greetings from Austria Christoph Business student ** Next Episode: Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org forums.cnet.com 877-600-CNET