Technology Yard Sale

There were so many interesting but diverse news items in my reader this morning, my overtaxed brain could not come up with a viable context linking them together in a meaningful chain. So I decided to have a little yard sale here in the Studio, offering items as divergent as waffle irons, cigar boxes, drill presses, baby food grinders and exercise equipment.

The first and most exciting news blurb I saw was the announcement of the GPS on steroids, Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 Have you seen this? If I was Tom Tom, Garmin or Navigon, I would be shaking with Halloween fear. The free app (yes, I said FREE), offers the power of Google maps combined with turn-by-turn voice navigation and an overlay of your route over Google street view goodness. You can search in plain english and by voice, get traffic data, search for businesses along your route, and access a car dock mode, with bigger, simpler graffics for distance viewing. All I can say is “wow” about this little find. For workers who are perpetually on the go and live by their GPS, this new Google offering makes a very compelling case for Android over iPhone. Check out the details provided by Michael Arrington at Techcrunch here.

Google Maps Navigation

Next up is this cool little trick offered by Adam Pash over at Lifehacker – export your Facebook events to your Google calendar! I just love one-stop shopping, particularly when it comes to my calendar. Input it once and find it in a single, unified location. Simple, one-time set up and you are good to go to any Facebook event with a simple glance at GCal.

This one in from Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo: go get your shiny new Chrome OS now! While not yet a final version, there is still plenty to play with here, including the GNOME 2.24 desktop environment, Google Chrome 4.0.223 browser, Picasa 2.7 photo manager, OpenOffice.org 3.0 office suite, GIMP 2.6 image editor, Flash Player 10,0 plug-in and other little treats for all of your tricks. Free, Free, Free.

Final goodie for your plastic pumpkin: Brizzly, the slick Web-based Twitter client discussed in prior Studio posts, has now incorporated Facebook into its snazzy interface.  Click a little icon and switch seamlessly from your Twitter stream to your Facebook stream. It also offers filters for “home” and “recent”, so you can keep tabs on your live feed or stuff that you recently liked or commented on. Hit the jump here for M.G. Siegler’s take on the new feature. Send me an email at the comments link above if you want a Brizzly invite.

Whew! Holy Mixing Metaphors, Batman! My yard sale turned into a trick or treating adventure! Hope you enjoy the blurbs here as much as I enjoy those little tiny Milky Way bars!!!

21st Century Legal Scholarship

ScholarI wanted to share with Studio readers an interesting article from David Kopel over at the Volokh Conspiracy on the issue of Legal Scholarship in the Digital Age. Kopel opines that legal blogging is creating a “Golden Age” in legal scholarship, permitting lawyers to wax academic and non-lawyers to access all of this brilliance in an easy-to-digest format. Kopel provides many good examples of how blogging is enhancing the legal profession, with particular emphasis on academia and reporting, and I definitely recommend you hit the jump if you wonder why you should consider blogging as an outlet for your intellect.

Once again, electronic media serves as the engine to drive innovation. Don’t let the train pass you by.

Google Social Search – Making Sense of Your Connections

GoogleTo conclude my holy trinity trio of Google posts today, thought I would mention that Google, like the rest of us, is getting into the social with Google Social Search. Social Search will highlight content on a search topic culled from your on-line social network of friends and connections, thus yielding results that may have greater relevance to you than the entries on the average, generic results page.  Social search results will show on your results page under a heading identifying them as “results from people in your social circle …”  Google determines your social circle by reviewing the connections linked from your Google profile. Obviously, the content shown here must be searchable by Google, and information behind walled gardens or locked gates won’t show. Nonetheless, it certainly simplifies your effort to search public results from your network, obviating the need to run separate searches amongst Twitter and Facebook friends or across blogs. You spend time creating and building your network, why not target that network to secure even more trustworthy answers to your queries?

Social Search is an experiment at this time, available from Google Labs.

Google Voice Lets You Have Cake & Eat It Too

Google VoiceGoogle Voice, that controversial darling of the VoIP world is making more headlines these days as the hot potato tossed around between ATT, Apple and the FCC than as the innovative telephone / messaging service that it is. I reviewed Voice a while back in the Studio and stand by my thumbs up conclusion. The only material downside I saw to the service back then was the pain associated with getting up close and personal with a brand new phone number – your old number generally was not portable into Voice at that time.

Techcrunch reports that you can now partially port your old number into Google Voice and obtain some (but not all) of Voice’s bells and whistles. Essentially, you can activate the feature and move your voice mail away from your old number and into Voice. So, for those diehard contacts who refuse to switch over to your new Google Voice number and insist on calling your old number, messages at the old number will appear in your Voice inbox. The voicemails are automatically transcribed and you can apply custom messages to callers at that number. At the least, you can consolidate your messaging in one Google Voice location.

One small step for Google, one large step for Cloud walkers everywhere.

Add-ons and Extensions for Wave? There's An App Store For That

WaveMoving right along here, people, at warp speed, Google Wave is destined to get its own app store. Zee at The Next Web reports on the scuttlebut from the recent Google Technology User Group conference in London. App stores are all the rage these days, with Apple’s iPhone / iPod Touch store leading the charge. Now we are seeing similar venues for web-based applications, such as oneforty for Twitter. Sounds exciting? Consider a Wave marketplace that stocks applications for use within Wave as well as applications that run on the desktop, in the browser or across hardware platforms. Developers encouraged to use Wave’s API with the promise of a return via an app store are more likely to devote their best efforts towards creatively employing tech to Wave’s ends.

 Applications and tools are beginning to look more and more like Erector sets of old: if you are bored with the same old, just buy the add-on to re-ignite and personlize your experience to your specific need.

Add-ons and Extensions for Wave? There’s An App Store For That

WaveMoving right along here, people, at warp speed, Google Wave is destined to get its own app store. Zee at The Next Web reports on the scuttlebut from the recent Google Technology User Group conference in London. App stores are all the rage these days, with Apple’s iPhone / iPod Touch store leading the charge. Now we are seeing similar venues for web-based applications, such as oneforty for Twitter. Sounds exciting? Consider a Wave marketplace that stocks applications for use within Wave as well as applications that run on the desktop, in the browser or across hardware platforms. Developers encouraged to use Wave’s API with the promise of a return via an app store are more likely to devote their best efforts towards creatively employing tech to Wave’s ends.

 Applications and tools are beginning to look more and more like Erector sets of old: if you are bored with the same old, just buy the add-on to re-ignite and personlize your experience to your specific need.

Go Postal, And Mobile, At the Same Time

Now you know the modern web movement has achieved stranglehold status when the venerable U.S. Post Office goes on-line and mobile. Many of the same services available on the usps.com website are now accessible via mobile devices. Features include track and confirm, post office locator and zip code lookup. Right now, the features come in the form of a mobile web version but keep on the lookout for more specific applications for smartphones that take advantage of the phone’s GPS functionality.

Hat tip to Resource Shelf.

Tracking Business & Financial Information, The Modern Way

TrackedExciting news for business voyeurs: a new startup has just launched a service with access to a sizeable structured database of all things (public) financial. It is called Tracked and allows you to search for all sorts of business-related information on people and companies.  Data includes company financial statements, compensation data, insider trading by executives, overiews and news items for people and businesses, etc. You can set up lists to watch for information about particular people, companies or industries. In other words, your own, customized Wall Street Journal.

Profiles are organized, much like LinkedIn, but the depth of financial information is far greater. Techcrunch likens the new service to a cross between LinkedIn and Yahoo Finance. If only it could include the real-time aspects of Skygrid, Tracked could easily become “must see TV” for the financially-interested.

Hat tip to Techcrunch.

Primary Legal Materials, FREE & On-Line. It's About Time

Carl Malamud at O’Reilly Radar reports on Law.Gov, “America’s Open Source Operating System”. As st forth in the opening paragraph:

Public.Resource.Org is very pleased to announce that we’re going to be working with a distinguished group of colleagues from across the country to create a solid business plan, technical specs, and enabling legislation for the federal government to create Law.Gov. We envision Law.Gov as a distributed, open source, authenticated registry and repository of all primary legal materials in the United States. More details on the effort are available on our Law.Gov page.

Primary legal materials include case law and statutes.

For years, easy access to these materials has been tied up in paid gateways tended by private publishing houses. This has NEVER made sense to me. Why can’t we have a system offering superior access to this free content? The powers behind Law.Gov apparently agree and are working towards that end.  Let the money makers focus on their secondary materials and expert commentary. Case law and statutory law accessible and on-line are necessary components of an open government, a result we all should embrace.

Primary Legal Materials, FREE & On-Line. It’s About Time

Carl Malamud at O’Reilly Radar reports on Law.Gov, “America’s Open Source Operating System”. As st forth in the opening paragraph:

Public.Resource.Org is very pleased to announce that we’re going to be working with a distinguished group of colleagues from across the country to create a solid business plan, technical specs, and enabling legislation for the federal government to create Law.Gov. We envision Law.Gov as a distributed, open source, authenticated registry and repository of all primary legal materials in the United States. More details on the effort are available on our Law.Gov page.

Primary legal materials include case law and statutes.

For years, easy access to these materials has been tied up in paid gateways tended by private publishing houses. This has NEVER made sense to me. Why can’t we have a system offering superior access to this free content? The powers behind Law.Gov apparently agree and are working towards that end.  Let the money makers focus on their secondary materials and expert commentary. Case law and statutory law accessible and on-line are necessary components of an open government, a result we all should embrace.