The Best iPod Case

Some of you might know that I recently purchased an iPod. I look after my gear, period. I believe in cases for everything. It should look as good today as it did 12 months ago, or close to it. It can be done if you get the right accessories! One thing that there is a lot of for the iPod – accessories… and how. But I found by far the best case you could ever want for your iPod.

When I took possession of my iPod I got a fairly inexpensive silicon sleeve for it. Just until I found what I wanted, because the one you get with it is crap. There was nothing in the shops at the time being straight after Christmas. The silicon sleeve was and is okay. But there are a few things against it.

  • Have to remove the cover to dock the iPod
  • Absolutely minimal to zero impact protection
  • Zero screen protection

A permanent solution was required. It had to be functional and yet provide great protection. I plan on lugging it to work each day and I do have children, anyone that has kids knows where I am coming from.
I was in the Apple store today looking a few options for cases and a dock. I saw one case that looked good but the price caused me to think twice, $45.00 AU is a lot to pay for a case. So I went away and thought about it. I went back later in the day and I am very pleased I did. The iSnug case is the holy grail of iPod cases by a long way, for me anyway.

iPod Video Case by iSnugThis is a complete package and the cost is well worth it even cheap. I purchased the “iPod Video Case” which includes:

  • “Bullet-Proof” Shield
  • All leather iPod Case
  • Travel Case
  • Lanyard
  • Micro-Fibre Cleaning cloth

All of these items work together to provide total coverage for your iPod. The whole front of the iPod is covered with the bullet-proof shield. Clear and dead easy to apply, use the cleaning cloth to smooth out the application, worked a treat. Second the leather case can be used on it’s own. It has a belt loop and an anchor point for the lanyard. The only thing exposed is the wheel and the screen. But remember the shield has that covered as well. Now the absolute knock-out. The travel case has a recessed space for the iPod, leather case and all. Plus a cut out for your headphone lead. On the flipped lid there is a compartment for accessories, bonus.

So basically, it is a case in a case with a cover. You can use them separately or combined for travel or throwing in your bag for work. Knowing that the whole lot is protected. Base what you use on where you are and what you are doing. Very, very cool. Also great is the fact that the bullet-proof cover does not impede placing the iPod in a  Universal Dock.

On the negative side I can only think of two. One is the fact that being leather it is a bit more bulky than otherwise. But hey it is leather! The second is the fact that the cut out for the phones does not suit right-angled plugs. I bought a nice pair of after market phones for my previous mp3 player that cut out most ambient noise. But some handy work with a razor blade should fix that problem and it is not that bad in the first place so I might not bother. A third might be that it is black, for the white lovers out there. But my iPod is black and so are my headphones, so suits me.

I would highly recommend iSnug cases for your iPod. These same cases are available for the Nano series and your accessories, plus lots of other great products from the Handstands Company. That is if you are as fussy as I am about keeping your stuff in good nick. the $45 bucks (AU) was a steal. One last point, I am pretty sure that the “bullet-proof” cover won’t stop a bullet…

Handstands iPod Accessories Screenshot

This is a glowing review, that is because this product is the best I have seen and I am very impressed. I have not been payed or recieved goods to write this review.

Sneak Preview of Trillian 4

Trillian Astra LogoCerulean Studios have released a preview of Trillian Astra. This is the most that has been heard from the Trillian developers in a while and the largest release of information about the new messenger to date.

There is a nice flash movie preview to start. But the real gold is in the Trillian Sneak Peek Preview details. Here there are details covering the various new developments with the messenger client. The information is extensive and on face value we could have a killer application on our hands for messaging if they deliver half of what is promised.

The preview covers:

Notable items within these categories are many; if you are wanting the whole story they cover the lot over at the preview.

One of the great features that has been added is that your contact list is now managed by a server. Think the same way that Skype manages your contacts. Your contact list is downloaded every time you start Trillian. No more adding contacts every time you reinstall or rebuild your machine. This is part of a more socially based messaging client.

Trillian 4 will have better management of identities. You get your own Trillian web page. Your various identities and web pages that are associated with you are listed here. Create another blog then add the url. Get another messaging identity add it here as well. A virtual business card. Trillian Astra is becoming more than a messenger it is a central place for communication management. Your Trillian web page also gives people the ability to message you without having to use a client. Very nice. It also appears that your Trillian Web presence will incorporate widgets as well. Flickr and others are mentioned. Your status will also be shown here and updated in real time.

For all the developers out there, the Trillian protocols will be open. As is the case with the current client.

There are some new message window features that look very cool. What about image sharing with a drag and drop interface? Hand writing support for tablet PC’s. Viewing smaller versions of a contacts widgets in the chat window. RSS delivered straight to your IM client. Wow, the features are extensive and I can not wait for it to be released.

There are many more features and explanations than I have mentioned. Head over to the preview and check it out for yourself, it looks awesome. No point me repeating what they have said. These are just a few things that struck me as cool.

This is the announcement of the release of the Alpha version. However, before everyone goes off and searches for the download there is not one. It is invite only and they are looking for people to join in the testing. But the alpha is not yet fully featured, there is no support for audio or video as yet and they have warned that it will crash and be unreliable. However if this does not deter you then head over to the blog and express an interest. I can not see any other way to contact them.

As far as the final release, I think we are a long way off that. Current build is 21. They are hoping to add builds every 2-3 weeks. This is Alpha, see what I mean? It has taken the good part of 12 months to get this far. No dates mentioned but based on current performance definitely next year at the earliest and then it would not surprise me if it was mid 2007. Then if it is as good as they say I do not mind waiting.

Screenshot

 

Hell is for Sale

Moniker.com auctioned red hot domain names on Friday but apparently hell is not quite as hot as we thought.

First registered in 1995 by Kenneth Aronson the website hell.com has been used as a private destination for their work and is described as:

” “private parallel web” not accessible with a Web browser.”

Aronson first tried to sell hell.com in 2000 with a starting bid of $8M. Friday saw the minimum bid at $1M. It failed to reach the reserve and did not sell. The domain is now part of a “silent” auction. It appears that hell is quiet as well.

The big asking price was in typical of other hot domains that did sell:

  • cameras.com $1.5M
  • sexeducation.com $120,000
  • babies.net $26,000

It just goes to show you that some domains are hot and others are not and how hot you might think they are is not necessarily what the market says.The auction also saw some of the newer .mobi domains sell at good prices if you had the forethought to buy them when first offered:

  • flowers.mobi $200,000
  • fun.mobi $100,000

Not a bad investments if you bought them for the usual under $20 bucks price tag!

So while hell is not quite so hot other domains seem to be increasing in price and value. The interest in revenue that can be generated by advertising on the web seems to be the driving force. As far as hell.com goes, maybe people are afraid they will generate bad karma by using it. I am not sure why it did not sell; I too thought hell would be hot.

Google Acquires YouTube

YouTube LogoThis is hot off the press, I am listening to the conference call press release as I write this. It was announced today that Google has indeed acquired YouTube.

It has been reported that once finalised YouTube will retain it’s unique brand identity. YouTube willGoogle Logo continue to be based in San Bruno, CA, and all YouTube employees will remain with the company. There is a lot of talk in the conference call press release about the advertising potential of YouTube and the reach of the YouTube brand.

Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google:

“The YouTube team has built an exciting and powerful media platform that complements Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,”

and

“Our companies share similar values; we both always put our users first and are committed to innovating to improve their experience. Together, we are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers.”

Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-Founder of YouTube:

“Our community has played a vital role in changing the way that people consume media, creating a new clip culture. By joining forces with Google, we can benefit from its global reach and technology leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our users and to create new opportunities for our partners…”

This was a stock deal and the final number of Google shares that will be distributed is yet to be finalised.

“The number of Google shares to be issued in the transaction will be determined based on the 30-day average closing price two trading days prior to the completion of the acquisition.”

Also announced are new relationships with big brands like SONY, Universal and CBS along with existing deals with the likes of Warner. The aim is that these partners will be to track their content with digital fingerprinting and taging. We have been advised to expect keyword and content searches within one month. As to how these partners will be involved with YouTube was not disclosed. I also thought it ironic considering Universal’s opinion of YouTube.

“…Universal Music Group has taken a rather dim view of YouTube’s activities. CEO Doug Morris has painted YouTube and MySpace with the copyright-infringer brush, saying that they “owe us millions of dollars” for infringement.”

Perhaps they are going to make it up to them, a sweetener perhaps?

Integration of powerful searching within YouTube is touted as one of the benefits of a relationship of YouTube and Google. This was repeated numerous times in the press release conference call and it appears that it will be one of the priorities in the development of YouTube.

Google’s response as to why they have acquired YouTube when they already have video: Google video is doing very well and maintains good partnerships, volume and content that will be enhanced with YouTube. Added was the fact that YouTube offered a more social community that was being done in a way that was unique and open to further development. This hints that it may come to pas that YouTube content will be available on Google Video. The attraction of the social aspect of YouTube is one that certainly appeals to Google as they have executed social networking quite poorly in the past.

In the last twenty four hours the two parties have formed a long list of potential integrated changes, these ideas were not made public. However, advertising systems and the expertise that Google will bring to the deal in this regard was mentioned repeatedly. Google’s advertising platform would create a new model for content delivery and that video offered an excellent opportunity for advertisers. It was clarified that much experimentation is required in regards to advertising strategies and making YouTube a profitable business. Don’t look now but this clearly states that we can expect the advertising to be far more aggressive on YouTube with this acquisition that previously. But will Google do it right? Time will tell.

When asked where is the bulk of profit was expected to come from after the deal has been finalised: No comment.

When asked what the expected revenue share or outlook as to partners benefiting from the deal: No comment.

When asked as to the valuation of the deal: No comment.

Copyright came up only once during the press conference. It was asked what influence copyright had on the acquisition for Google. The stock standard answer was regurgitated from both parties. That they respect the rights holders rights and they will focus on it with the added resources that Google brings, working with content owners to protect their work. Nothing further. They also “protected” both Google video and YouTube under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The act is a large document but they are referring to the section that protects them as hosts of user submitted material. That means that the business or host of the material is not liable but the infringer of copyright is, that is the person that put it there. This response seems to suggest that the status quo will remain and that content will not be torn down. Having said that, if it was taken down I doubt that there would be much left.

It is reported by Google that the deal will close within this fourth quarter as all approvals have been meet and there is nothing preventing the deal going through.

YouTube has long said that it is not up for sale and that they are not in talks, when questioned about this they responded by saying that they wanted YouTube to remain independent and develop it to be better for users in the way that they wanted. Google they believe and the structure of this deal will enable them to “…sharpen focus”, and the combined experience and resources of Google would give them what they needed to accomplish this goal.

When asked about the integration of Google with YouTube they responded very strongly that the brand “YouTube” would remain as it was a known brand that brought with it power and strength. It was this that added value to the community, users, and advertisers, said Google. I suggest you to add to that advertising potential and with it money.

In closing I was taken by the phrase referring to the deal that this was:

“…next step in the evolution of the Internet.”

It might be Google’s next step and at this time both parties are quite excited about the potential. But with the rather large stick that Google wields, I would suggest that YouTube has changed forever in ways that only time will tell. according to the press release, expect something within the next month. But it might not all be good.