Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween everyone!


Carter USM – Music from the merry archives


Once in a blue moon I like to go over my album collection (my real, physical album collection) and pick out the music I haven’t had an opportunity to listen to in ages. I’ve been slacking on digitizing all my music, and at the moment I’m waiting to be able to get myself a new mp3 player, so I have somewhat of an excuse.

One of the most prominent bands in my collection is Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine. The band, which split up in 1998, remain one of my favorite bands to date, and there’s no time like the present to dig up some Youtube discoveries and share them with you. And please – disregard the fake boy band in the video. Jim Bob and fruitbat are a little… different looking.

You can listen to some more Carter at their last.fm artist page.

Leopard is coming. Look Busy.




Lironcast Podcast Redux?


I’m thinking of (finally) reinstating my podcast. What do you think? Would you guys still be interested in hearing my jibber-jabber, do any of you still listen to podcasts at all? If so, which?

To customer service hell (and not back yet), the “Morange” way


Filed (again) under the “I was just looking away for a second” department

A few months ago, when I purchased my Nokia 7373, I installed Morange, a mobile social network, on my phone. The software was very poor, and I abandoned it early on. Last month, however, I realized that I had not yet canceled my account with them. On the 24th of September, I emailed them in order to have my account removed.

While this may sound like a simple request, Morange seem to not get it. In the beginning, they tried to explain that I didn’t really need to have my account removed, then they “banned” my account, however it was still fully operational. At present they are continuing to try and explain that I don’t really need to have my account removed. They have been giving me the run-around for almost a full month and I’m fed up. Enough! I will feed you to the sharks blogosphere!

The following email transcript details my conversations with them from that point until this morning, the 19th of October (almost a month!).

Hello Morange team,

I’d like to have my account (username: liron) promptly removed.

Thank you,
Liron

Dear Moranger:

If you dont want to keep using Morange,please delete all email account and IMs account on Morange ,then remove Morange application from your phone.
We will keep your Morange ID till you wanna use Morange again.

Morange support team

Hello Morange support,

I would like to have my Morange ID removed entirely, and not kept.
Please remove it.

Thanks,
Liron

Read the rest of this entry »

A first look at Boomloop – Die Eventschleuder


I know, I know. At this point my blog is looking like the weekly beta report (and “Web 2.0″ is a category now), but I’ve been so amazed by some of the recent social services breaking into the ’sphere that I feel compelled to share. That’s what social services are all about, aren’t they?

Along with Aka-Aki (which I will eventually write about, as soon as I manage to really punch through it’s features), Boomloop has been quoted by blognation to be one of Germany’s most anticipated Web 2.0 sites. Translated into people-talk (and not investor talk), that means that Boomloop is one of Germany’s top websites to generate an insane amount of buzz. Their closed beta only had a handful of people until Monday morning, when invitations went out, the floodgates opened and the German blogosphere poured in. Gotta love ‘em. Early adopters, they are.

So, what is Boomloop?
Boomloop is, as it self-proclaims, a website for “people who like to get out of the house” (loose translation). The website is centered around it’s events feature, which is fairly simplified and easy to understand (unlike some of the more robust event schedulers out there). Boomloop seems to be aiming for the loose, social aspect of “let’s get together and go to this/that show/party”. Another bit which sets Boomloop apart from other online event schedulers is it’s microblogging-based social network which is rather well executed (and well integrated with the events). Early adopters may find this feature of Boomloop eerily similar to Pownce (as opposed to Twitter).

boomloop-Profil f�on

The form and function of browsing/adding is pretty straightforward – events are sorted by date by default (although that’s a little wonky at the moment) and can be filtered via search (not currently working), type of event and timeframe. Boomloop’s suggestion engine highlights events and happenings that may interest you according to your profile tags and location, by displaying these events in your profile “radar”.

Events in Deutschland

Boomloop is promising a somef enticing features coming in the near future, such as mobile integration via sms and Flickr inetgration (no word, however, on the integration of google maps). One of the things that makes Boomloop an exciting prospect of a service is that it offers the German-speaking web a viable alternative to social networking via microblogging. Another German microblogging service, Frazr, isn’t nearly as advanced as Boomloop in terms of features, lacks Boomloop’s eye for design and doesn’t integrate a feature which brings a network together socially (such as in Boomloop’s case, events).

boomloop - die Eventschleuder

Boomloop kicked off to a great start, however it has it’s fair share of usability issues which need to be addressed, such as enabling users to share an event with another member from the event description, and allowing users to edit an even after they’ve posted it. Ramy mentioned that the latter issue will be taken care of post-haste, I hope some usability improvements, such as the aforementioned event invitations, will be considered as well, and perhaps some extra event features such as private events. What I like about Boomloop is that right from the start, it’s obvious that the creators have taken time and consideration and put much thought into the service as a web application. I’m excited to wait see what they’re planning next – my favorite web-based services are those which help me interact with my surroundings and connect people and places, especially if they’re creative and fun.

Oh yeah, and the English version is coming out very soon, apparently.

If you’d like to follow Boomloop’s progress, you can check their blog (German) or join their Facebook group. For another review, check out this Blognation post. If you’ve got a mobile phone with a high resolution, check out my Boomloop mobile wallpaper.

Friendfeed is Minifeeds for the Masses


I’ve been participating in the closed beta of Friendfeed for a few days, a service which aggregates RSS feeds from the most popular social services on the web and groups them into an activity timeline (or “minifeed”) for you which your friends can keep track of.

This doesn’t sound like anything new because it isn’t – you might be familiar with mini-feeds from the Facebook newsfeed. Friendfeed, in comparison, aims to provide a global feed which lets you know what your friends are up to around the web, instead of limiting it’s notifications to a single service. You subscribe to another Friendfeed user’s feed by “following” them (similar to Twitter), and your friend’s web activities (which he or she have chosen to share) will appear in your timeline. In essence, you could say that Friendfeed is a combination between Facebook’s Mini-feeds and Twitter. Friendfeed does something both services don’t, though, and lets you leave a comment to your friend’s feed entries in context. You can also subscribe to your global friend feed via RSS.

FriendFeed Blog: FriendFeed's First Week Firefox

The service also allows you to add “Imaginary Friends” to your feed. This feature allows you to follow RSS feeds of friends who are not members of Friendfeed. This last bit sounds a little “off” to me, and reminds me of the privacy issues and controversy surrounding Rapleaf.

The social services Friendfeed allows you to aggregate from is currently very limited; it is bound to grow, but at present, only 23 social services are in their library (some of which are American-only, such as Netflix and Yelp), not including one non-fixed entry for your blog’s RSS feed. This is somewhat understandable; Friendfeed is more than an RSS Feed-reader and aims to integrate with the social services it’s pulling data from by allowing you to interact with the content.

There are actually a few services out there already (like Jaiku and Streamy which allow you to aggregate your feeds into one interface. The beauty of Friendfeed is that it concentrates on delivering these activity streams alone – and not anything else – without extra features or bells and whistles.

Friendfeed looks promising, I’m excited to see what else the developers have up their sleeves towards the official release (a few months from now). I’d say they’d be ready for prime time once they add a few handfuls of additional social services to their library (including some European services) and get a graphic designer to prettify their site (it’s painfully bare bones right now).

Oh yeah, and the bugs. Need to squash them bugs.

Has anyone been participating in the beta? What do you think of Friendfeed?
Leave a comment here if you’d like me to send you an invitation to the closed beta, and feel free to add me to your watchlist.

MTV to launch “MTV Israel” online


via Orli

Israelis are an audible bunch. Music has been a part of Jewish culture for centuries, making and hearing music continues to play a major role in Israeli society today. Israeli music today is extremely well-based and developed, ranging from pop to rock, hip hop to classical, and everything in between.

For this reason (and the Israeli “do-it-yourself” culture, among others), Israeli national media has a few well-established television channels and radio stations devoted mostly, if not entirely, to Israeli music. For companies like MTV, this is a difficult market to enter, as local MTV channels around the globe aim to broadcast local music. Many different companies from all corners of the market have entered Israel in the past, only to face too much local competition and eventually pull out of the country altogether (the best example for this is Starbucks pulling out of Israel with it’s tail between it’s legs).

Coffee aside (bring it back later, please), it looks like MTV have found a smart way to compete in the Israeli market, by foregoing television altogether and launching their Israeli music channel online. The new website (currently in closed beta) makes use of internet broadcasting technology by Israeli company TVinci. From the screencast below, it’s easy to gather that we’re to expect one of the best channel-specific online offerings on the web, which includes social networking and other features. It’s hard to not compare this internet-based concept to Joost, however this is the first time we see such a launch from a major television channel.

Time will tell if MTV Israel will manage to compete with the likes of Music 24 (Israel’s leading music channel), chances are, they will complete each other quite nicely. Watch the below video to judge for yourself – watch ’till the end to catch a glimpse of Robbie Williams dressed as Angelica Huston.

MTV Israel is in closed beta. You can sign up on their website for an invitation to the service.

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