The Seattle International Film Festival awarded Barbara Schroeder’s cautionary internet tale talhotblond with the Grand Jury Prize in its documentary competition last Sunday.
The true crime tale, which made its world premiere at Seatlle, narrates the bizarre murder of a young man in upstate New York — and a direct result of an ongoing false performance and hookwink of an assumed online identity.
The strange events leasding to homicide unfold after Tom, a 47-year-old ex-Marine, meets whom he is duped into believing is a “tall hot blonde” 18-year-old girl in an online forum of gaming site Pogo.com. His handle is “marinesniper.” A cyber-strange and obsessive steamy online affair begins…
Qualcomm’s linear mobile Flo TV service will expand from 68 to 84 markets this coming week, following the digital transition; the service is keen on grabbing 100 market by year end, reaching several large markets including Boston and Miami. Flo has purchased big swaths of soon-to-be freed up spectrum in markets like San Francisco, Boston and Houston. The service, offered through AT&T and Verizon, delivers about 20 national broadcast and cable programming services, costing consumers about $15/month in extra fees.
The next step for FloTV will be to launch new products such as a DVR-like recording feature and social networking component and to work on reducing the cost of tuner chips for phone manufacturers.
You’ll need to buy a phone that can receive FloTV, but when you do, you’ll get broadcast television beamed right to your phone.
A fascinaing economic application lately developed on the internets: the concept and practice of microlending, that is: extending very small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries who have no access to traditional credit.
San Francisco-based Kiva.org has been facilitating bets on small business peeps in more than 185 countries since 2005. The site just announced it is opening up its services to benefit cash strapped idea people right here on the home front. Loans can be placed in increments as small as $25, usually extended for a period from 6-12 months.
A nifty tool: the site lets you track the progress of the venture you’re funding through the site’s social networking features. Kiva will send updates to your email, Facebook page or mobile account. The Kiva World app allows you to track loans across entire regions.
The site has been a huge success in developing countries, attracting $75 billion in loans to date with a repayment rate of 98.35%, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Flannery. (Eyeball his blog here.)
A gamble for both lender and lendee, indeed, dealing with hard-to-track people in other countries, and having to payback the loan plus a vig of 98.35%! Still, in these times, why not take that roll of the dice?
Facebook’s vanity URL launch is at 12:01 ET tomorrow or 9:01 PT tonight. The change will replace cumbersome geeky URL codes with place names that follow the facebook.com address; the place to stake your claim is facebook.com/username. It is admonished that users will want to choose their handles carefully because they will be difficult to undue. “Think of it as a cyber tattoo,” says a nameless Facebook employee. Generic names like “baseball” aren’t being allowed. Also, given the increasing importance of Facebook as a marketing vehicle and search engine trigger, marketers and owners of trademarked names are going to want to reserve their names with the site as soon as possible.
Facebook is taking steps to protect against speculators who try to claim names that don’t belong to them. Only users with FB “Pages” with more than 1,000 fans as of May 31 can reserve their vanity URL tomorrow to prevent millions of upstart pages from sprouting up overnight. Facebook is also allowing trademark owners to register their names here as a preventative measure. Legal firm Day Pitney LLP recommends taking this action immediately for your most important trademarks.
Prediction: MyFace, the inevitable merger of Facebook and MySpace. There’s already the new facesearch, so why not?
Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone 3G S at its annual developer’s conference, slated for release with the new iPhone 3.0 OS on June 19 — timed almost exactly two years after the release of the first iPhone model when early adopters’ contracts expire.
The phone is likely to spawn a new generation of mobile video and photo applications thanks to faster processing speeds, longer battery life, easy-to-use video recording software and a real 3 megapixel camera. The autofocus camera automatically adjusts focus, exposure and contrast. You can record high-quality video clips and edit them right on the iPhone 3G S by simply trimming the start and stop points. You can also send photos and video by email or MMS and post them directly to YouTube or Apple’s $99/year MobileMe subscription service with a single tap. READ MORE
The early reviews were out for the Palm Pre before its street date of June 6 and the word was hot -– the multitouch, keyboard toting, app-downloading smartphone hopes to give the iPhone a run for its click and it may very well do just that.
David Pougue of the NYTimes ”leaked” praise of its graceful design and the easy functionality of its Web OS. The device’s ability to run multiple applications becomes apparent when you shrink all the open apps into the mini “cards” you can jump back and forth from. READ MORE
Star Trek fan? Michael Hemmingson’s latest book, Star Trek: A Post-structural Critique of the Original Series, is now out in print and e-book formats.
It is the first published look at the new Star Trek movie as well.
Order from Amazon.com or directly from the publisher, Borgo Press.
Mobipocket e-book here.