The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, November 25, 2002

USB Pen Drives that Slice and Dice

What Can You Squeeze Into a USB Pen Drive?

"By far the most popular innovation fuses the standard USB pen drive with MP3 playback functionality. No bigger than a standard pen drive PenPower Technology's WeWa MP3 Player is a USB storage device that you can store a PowerPoint presentation to and it can also play back music stored on the drive. WeWa has a tiny LCD display for browsing tracks, an audio input jack, and a rechargeable battery.

You can even use the device for voice recording; a built-in digital recorder stores up to ten hours of spoken word recording. The WeWa is scheduled to ship early next year with the 128MB model selling for about $100....

A company called ClipDrive has put a biometric fingerprint reader on a USB flash memory drive.

Called ClipDrive Biometric, this storage device can either be used to lock data on the drive itself or can be used with accompanying software as a key to lock up data on your desktop. A model with 16MB of storage is scheduled to begin shipping in December priced at $40....

For creatures of habit, Optimal Access has a USB pen drive application, not hardware, that lets you save your desktop configuration, including shortcuts, documents, and bookmarks, and transfer it from PC to PC on a pen drive." [PC World]

I want one that can house and serve my blog, but it has to have GPS embedded in it so that I can find it when I inevitably lose it.

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Taking Blogs Local?

iTown

"The itown.com town directory now gives you a way to create your own content on the web. Download the itown Radio software, install it, and in minutes you will be blogging (publishing on the web) your life and town!

Then, when you purchase itown Radio, just send us your serial number and what town in the directory that you want your weblog (or "blog" for short) listed, and we will add you to that town directory where folks from both your neighborhood and all around the world can find you." [via John Robb's Radio Weblog]

I wonder if Jeff Jarvis has seen this. We were just talking about local blogs and what type of entity would be willing to host personal pages within a community.

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Demanding Video

Video on Demand Is Finally Taking Hold

"After years of failed promises, unripe business plans and half-baked technology, the cable industry is finally beginning to deliver reliable and economical video-on-demand services.

Want to watch an episode of "Sex and the City" from last month? Punch a few buttons and sit back as the program begins when you want it to. Phone ringing? Hit pause on the remote, and the program will freeze. Miss a line? Press rewind. Bored? Choose from hundreds of other films, series and specials none of which requires you to record it ahead of time.

Video on demand reached a significant milestone recently, when Time Warner Cable announced that by the end of the year the service would be available throughout the company's biggest market, New York City, where it has 1.2 million subscribers.

Besides Time Warner Cable, owned by AOL Time Warner, other big companies now offering video on demand around the nation include Comcast and Cablevision. The Yankee Group, a technology research firm, estimates that by the end of this year about seven million homes around the nation will have access to video on demand, up from only about three million at the end of 2001.

Despite the omnipotence that the label implies, video on demand does not allow users to watch any program or movie under the sun. No database is yet infinite. But in New York City, for instance, Time Warner Cable plans to have 1,300 hours of programming available at any one time the equivalent of almost two months of TV watching." [New York Times]

This is another form of The Heavenly Jukebox, where the middleman is cut out of the process, the product never ships in a box, and the sale goes directly to the consumer. In this case, the middlemen are video rental/distribution channels like BlockBuster, Best Buy, and libraries. There is no mechanism here for a library to circulate a video over the Time Warner network (in part because there is no way for a library to logistically circulate a digital video file at this point in time).

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