Media Web

My experience with Facebook Beacon

I just read Mark Zuckerberg’s post where he’s basically apologizing for mistakes made in the launch of Beacon. I just want to share my personal experience with Beacon.

Yesterday, I was looking for a coffee shop to go study for my Business Strategy course. I did a quick search for “coffee” in “Santa Cruz, CA” at and was presented with a list of nearby cafés ranked by users. I went to the (relatively) new Bad Ass Coffee downtown, and had an amazing Double Cappuccino (with Half & Half). Looking back at Yelp, I saw mediocre ratings of the Bad Ass coffee, so I registered at Yelp and wrote my own review.

Later, I went to Facebook for something completely unrelated. Here’s what I saw:


Amazing! Impressive! I really like it! What happened? When did Facebook and Yelp talk? I don’t get it! But I like it!

Now, I’m sure Beacon has created all sorts of problems for people, but so far, for me, it’s been nothing short of awesome.

We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it.

from: Zuckerberg: Thoughts on Beacon | The Facebook Blog

Found Media Mobile

Sprint XOHM Will Soft Launch “In A Few Days”

I spent a lot of time searching for a mobile broadband card that I could get without a contract (I found Millenicom, a Sprint reseller charging $50/mo). Anyway, the reason I wanted a card without the normal 2 year contract is because of the upcoming XOHM service from Sprint. This will be a nationwide WiMax network… and it’s set to launch in early 2008. Just read the below article at Techmeme, and it looks like XOHM is coming sooner than we thought. Seems like a perfect network for the Google Phones.

Sprint Nextel will soft launch its XOHM WiMax network in the next few days according to Bin Shen, VP of Product Management and Partnership Development. Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore will all go live at soft launch, and though Shen did not discuss what devices would be available, a number of data cards have been tested on the network. XOHM will officially launch in the second quarter of 2008 as will several laptops with WiMax embedded in them. Later in the year a number of special purpose devices will launch, as will dual-mode CDMA / WiMax handsets.

from: Sprint XOHM Will Soft Launch “In A Few Days” (Phone Scoop)


A Smarter Shuffle for iTunes

Apple has the digital music industry in a stronghold, but how can they innovate to keep us happy?

Listening to my iPhone on shuffle on my walking commute this morning, I got to thinking about how Apple’s over-marketed shuffle feature could actually live up to the hype.

Here’s the idea: Think Pandora, but better, and with your own music. What I mean is Pandora’s system for suggesting music, but more automated and without having to give a thumbs up / thumbs down explicitly. A key concept is that a playlist’s total quality is not just in terms of the quality of each individual track, but also the order in which the tracks are arranged. So, if you hate listening to indie rock right after ‘gangsta’ rap, your media player could learn this and prevent you from such discomfort.

How it would work: You listen to your iPod/iTunes on shuffle like normal, skipping songs when you feel like it. iTunes keeps track of how long into a song you skip it, and records this data in the track’s metadata along with the ID of the previous track. iTunes would also keep this metadata in its index.

So, when you first hit shuffle, iTunes picks a random song. Then, if you skip that song quickly, the next track will be dissimilar from the previous track. If however, you listen through the whole thing, iTunes will pick a similar track, based on whether that song was played through in a similar succession before.

Track selection would probably be best if it relied on multiple criteria, including, for example, tags. The ability to assign tags to your music is something I’ve wanted for some time, but that’s a topic for another discussion. Still, tags would help a track selection system to better calculate similarities between genres.

There’s a lot of tweaking that would have to be done, but I think the introduction of a smarter shuffle would help Apple maintain their lead in the digital music market.


SkypeOut Toll Free is Free

Yeah, okay, OLD news… but I was just on the phone with Apple iPhone Support, and I couldn’t use a landline. Apparently, dialing US Toll-Free numbers with Skype via SkypeOut is free(!). I don’t know if you need SkypeOut credit to make the call, but probably not. And it was pretty good quality too (the woman I talked to apparently got my email address right). Oh and I used my favorite bluetooth headset, the Plantronics 510 Voyager, which makes using Skype really comfortable.

Anyway, so until I get a working iPhone, my SkypeIn number is (831) 331 4416