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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.

Continue Reading…

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.)

YouTube Gets Mobile

Dave Zatz —  June 18, 2007 — 4 Comments

Without any fanfare, Google quietly launched YouTube Mobile. The web page is slimmed down for your portable, and video selections are streamed 3GP. Interesting to see YouTube move beyond Flash as their sole video format. (H.264 coming to AppleTV.)

So far, I haven’t had very good luck with the mobile offering… On a Treo 700p, clicking a YouTube vid brought up a blank web page. On a 700w, Windows Media Player launched with an error. Brian Lam over on Gizmodo had better luck on a 755 and Helio Ocean (above). Continue Reading…

Perhaps Blu-ray isn’t having such a bad week after all… Blockbuster has decided to exclusively stock Blu-ray in the majority of their brick & mortar stores. (HD DVD is available for rental online and at select stores.) Blockbuster made the decision based on Blu-ray accounting for 70% of next-gen DVD rentals in a 250 store pilot. Seems premature to choose just one format this early in the game. Which makes me wonder what kind of back-room deal might have been struck.

Blu-ray is Rottin’

Dave Zatz —  June 17, 2007 — 3 Comments

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Seems like those in the HD DVD camp are having a good month.

First, Sony has started collecting contact info from folks displeased with the quality of (the now discontinued) The Fifth Element on Blu-ray. When the title is remastered next month, Sony will broker a trade.

Next, over the last few weeks a couple of people have reported Blu-ray disc rot (above) on (some unplayable) copies of The Prestige. While this is probably an isolated incident of a bad batch of discs, it’s a bit disconcerting.

But look on the bright side, Blu-ray owners – no rootkit. ;)