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This isn’t quite within the realm of what I’d normally cover on ZNF, but it’s probably relevant to anybody who’s reading this site. Yesterday I had time to kill on a train from Trenton, NJ to New York’s Penn Station. Given that: blogging takes up so much time primarily because of the reading involved (jkOnTheRun agrees), Google recently launched Google Gears, and I have no mobile broadband connection, I decided it was the right time to try out the new offline Google Reader feature. Here’s how it went:

Step 1
Download Google Gears and restart browser.

Step 2
Click the new offline button on the Google Reader home page to transfer the latest 2,000 items in my RSS subscriptions from the Web to my desktop. (The file download was remarkably quick.)

Step 3
Unplug and hit the train with new offline reading material.

Continue Reading…

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I’ve drooled over Final Cut Pro for years, but unfortunately in this lifetime I don’t have enough hours to learn the software, much less use it on a regular basis. So, I’m thrilled with the fact that there are now a bunch of Web apps that make video editing exceedingly quick and easy. YouTube is of course the latest to offer such a tool with its addition of Adobe’s Remixer app. I tried it out and was initially all set to sing YouTube’s praises. Unfortunately, the published version of my first remixed video looked nothing like the very-promising preview. The basic editing cuts worked, but the transitions I’d added in were gone.

Wondering how other people had fared, I decided to check out the comments on YouTube’s blog post about its site updates. Ouch. There are a bunch of very unhappy people out there. A few people mentioned having trouble with the editing features (audio problems, text rendering issues, problems with graphics, etc.), but far more people wrote to say they are having trouble with other parts of the site that worked fine before. That plus the fact that YouTube has added a “Videos Being Watched Now” section to its front page that seems to highlight ass shots and outright porn, makes me wonder what YouTube was thinking. Continue Reading…

Word on the street is that Joost is on the lookout for hardware partners. Because we just don’t have enough media extenders. ;) Of course, Joost does has several things going for them – tons of buzz, funding, and content partners. Although Joost’s unique interface may not translate so well to a couch-based experience. And as Brad Linder over at PVRWire wonders:

the whole selling point of Joost was that it made the experience of watching internet video a bit more like watching TV. If you’re actually, you know, watching TV on it, does Joost bring anything to the table?

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A while back I had a chance to talk with Vipin Jain, CEO of Retrevo. Retrevo is a vertical search engine for consumer electronics that I first saw back at DEMOfall ’06. I loved the idea, particularly because of the search engine’s ability to bring up product manuals for CE devices I bought in the 1990s. However, I wasn’t convinced that it could be terribly successful, given how well Google has cornered the search market.

In talking with Jain, however, I found out about a new category that Retrevo has tagged on to its search results in addition to the already-present “manufacturer info,” “reviews & articles,” and “forums and blogs.” The new category is “daily deals” and I found it quite handy a couple of weeks ago when buying a GPS system for my husband’s birthday gift. (His birthday is now past, so no secrets being revealed here.)

I’d done my research on which product to buy (the TomTom ONE) and I started searching for the best price. At first I thought I’d go with Amazon because I still had my Amazon Prime trial membership running and I could get free 2-day shipping. But then thankfully I remembered to check out Retrevo. A Retrevo daily deal saved me more than $70 on the total price. And there were no rebates to deal with, only a simple coupon code.

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democracy.jpgNo, not democracy the concept. Democracy the open-source video aggregator and player. While I do actually like the original name, the developers will be rebranding their next iteration as Miro. Anyhow, CNET has posted a 2 minute video overview worth checking out. (Quicker and cleaner than an install.)