Category: Web, Tech & Design

Google Chrome Grows Up A Bit More

Google ChromeI’ve been a loyal user of Google’s Chrome browser ever since the first day of its release, when I tried it and wrote about it here over a year ago. It just worked for me, it’s a very light, simple and fast browser; and the move from Firefox to it felt as sweet as my move from the bulkier Mozilla browser to Firefox a few years earlier, in a sense that they’re both very good browsers, but one is just lighter and faster.

It quickly became my default browser on all Windows machines I used, and luckily enough a pre-release developer version of it was released for Linux just around the time I was making my official switch to using Linux as my main OS earlier this year.

On Linux, over the past months, I’ve been using both Google Chrome and Chromium (the open source version of it), switching between the two depending on which is more stable at that specific point in time.

Last night, another important milestone was reached in the life of Chrome; the official beta versions were released for both Mac and Linux machines; and extensions were officially released for all versions of the browser.

I know a lot of people who were holding back from moving to Chrome because it didn’t have extensions, and this should get them re-considering now. As for people who were waiting for a stable release on Mac or Linux, then this is it, although I have to say I’ve been happy with the latest builds of the pre-release version for quite a while now.

Developing extensions for Chrome is quite easy too, so people who are even a bit tech savvy, and know some html and javascript, should be able to play around with creating some little extensions of their own.

So, if you’re not already a Chrome user, you might as well go ahead and try it out now, it’s still as light and fast, and is now also more mature as a product.

Tunisie Telecom To Launch BlackBerry In Tunisia At Last

Tunisie Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent and Research In Motion (RIM) have announced that Blackberry will finally be launched in Tunisia.

At launch, Tunisie Telecom will be offering its customers the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, BlackBerry Pearl 8120, BlackBerry Curve 8320, BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphones, as well as service on BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.

According to the company, based on its distribution agreement with RIM, Alcatel-Lucent will take advantage of its strong local presence in the region to provide Tunisie Telecom the end-to-end implementation, launch and on-going support for delivering the solution to the market.

According to Tunisie Telecom’s site, the unlimited email and navigation plan is at 60 Dinars per month, which sounds pretty good. No details were provided on the site for how the devices themselves are priced.

More details about the available plans and prices are available here: Tunisie Telecom BlackBerry Solutions.

[Via: Trading Markets]

Enough With The ‘Online Advertising Is A Failure’ Talk

Between yesterday and today, I’ve read at least 3 posts/articles that talk about how online advertising is a failure, one of them on TechCrunch yesterday by a guest writer (Eric Clemons), one on the Economist, and another on MediaPost’s online video insider.

The latter focuses only on online video advertising, and it’s quite an interesting read, that raises some clearly valid points that are worth considering by anyone making a foray into online video advertising. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that online video advertising is dying as the writer has done; I think that it’s just still maturing, and needs a bit more time for it to fit in perfectly into the whole online advertising puzzle and get to where everyone wants it to be.

Anyway the first two articles I read just feel like they’re a blast from the past, it’s as if they were pulled out of the archives from back in 2001 after the dot com bubble burst and a bunch of online companies went down in flames.

In fact, it’s as if some people are blaming the woes some online companies are going through now because of the bad economic situation on the fact that online advertising is a failed model. As if everyone is doing perfectly ok, and it’s just internet companies that are having problems.

It strikes me how many people still don’t get it.
You’d think that by now, after all these years, more people would have seen the light and recognized that online advertising, when done right, is the most effective, most targeted, and most measurable form of advertising there ever was.

I mean, no matter how skeptic you are of online advertising, you can’t argue with the power of being able to target an ad at a specific person who perfectly fits the profile of your potential customer, and who is actually interested in what you have to offer, and then measure exactly how effective your campaign was and how much you made out of it.

It’s true that not everyone can rely on online advertising 100% as a revenue model to sustain their business, but that doesn’t make it any less important or effective as a model; all it means is that every internet business has to have its own combination of ways to generate revenue as part of their business model, which holds true for any type of business, not just online ones.

In the end of the day, if a bunch of restaurants fail and shut down, it doesn’t mean the model of selling food to people doesn’t work, it just means that those restaurants did something wrong: either choosing the wrong location, not marketing well, choosing the wrong type of food to serve, providing bad food or bad service or whatever other reason.

Google Chrome, Google’s New Open Source Browser Has Landed

Google ChromeThe buzz in the online world these past 24 hours or so have all been around Google’s new open source web browser, under the name of Google Chrome.

There have been rumors about a Google browser for ages now, with people suspecting it will be called GBrowser, or simply Google Browser; but those rumors never materialized until yesterday when Google “accidentally” let slip some comics presenting the new browser; and then followed up with a blog post, announcing a beta would be released today.

I went through the comic book talking about the product’s details and I think it is a great way to present the product and I recommend that anyone interested check it out here.

The beta was officially released some minutes ago, and I got to download it and play around with it a bit, and I have to say I’m really impressed and loving it up to now.

It has a very clean and simplistic interface, maximizing the browsing area; and it is really fast.

Google Chrome screenshot

The browser uses the WebKit rendering engine, the V8 JavaScript Virtual Machine, an optimized approach to tabs, a homepage presenting most visited websites, and a number of security and privacy options; in addition to other interesting features.

I think this is a really promising product from Google; and I can’t wait to see where they take it, and what it will do for web apps.

StartUpArabia, Everything About Arab Startups

StartUpArabia

Recently, I’ve been very busy working on a project that I’m very passionate about and that I personally view as an important community project really.

Today, I think it’s gotten to a stage where I can launch it for everyone to check out and have access to.

The project is StartUpArabia, a weblog dedicated to new Arab technology startups and services, profiling and reviewing them, providing interesting market news and information, and sharing tips and advice for the entrepreneurs behind them.

In addition to covering these new startups, existing services and companies that are making interesting new changes and big steps in the Arab world will be mentioned and discussed.

The idea and goal behind this project for me is to give a push to Arab entrepreneurs and the startups they’ve started by shedding the light on them and introducing them to a wider audience, and providing them with information that could come in very handy for them.

Another goal is to help promote a whole Arab startup culture that brings entrepreneurs, to-be-entrepreneurs and people who are interested in startups from the Arab region together, creating a better buzz, opening more doors, and really making the Arab world a new hub for creative ideas and projects.

Something my friend Isam Bayazidi said when he took the blog for a beta spin, and which I think portrays one of the main reasons behind me launching this project in the first place is that, and I’m paraphrasing here: It’s easier to hear and know about a newly launched one-man startup in San Francisco than an Arab startup that has been working hard for the two past years.

That is so true, we have many talented people who come up with very cool ideas and projects, some of them work on them and launch them from their own bedrooms or garages, some of them have a company behind them to support them a bit more, and they all do some really great work, but many people don’t even hear about them in the first place, they don’t get the chance nor the support to keep their projects going, and they end up by shutting them down. StartUpArabia aims to change all that.

I know the project sounds very ambitious, but believe me that’s only the beginning of what I have in mind and where I want to take this, and it’s all very possible. Up to now, I’ve had some very positive and encouraging feedback from the people I shared the project with.

Please do take the time to pass by StartUpArabia and take a little tour, I’ve already put up a dozen or so interesting posts for you to read. If you have any ideas, thoughts, suggestions or anything at all, please do not hesitate to share them with me, they are more than welcome and will be greatly appreciated.

If you have any startups you’d like me to write about, please do share, so that we can spread the love even more and get more people covered and promoted.

Yahoo Launches Video On Flickr

Yahoo rolled out video sharing on Flickr this week. They’re trying to position Flickr Video not as another video-sharing site and YouTube rival, but as a useful addition to Flickr’s core business: a web platform for adding and sharing photos.

Flickr will make video available in eight languages: English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese.

Users can upload up to 90 seconds of footage, with a maximum size of 150 MB, from any recording device. They can organize and share videos the same way they handle photos, using tags, geotags, sets, and privacy settings.

Videos can be uploaded to photo streams, alongside photos, and embedded on third-party Web sites.

Personally, I’m not really happy about this bit of news, I think Flickr should have stayed for photos only. I don’t think photos and videos really belong together, even if they try to present videos as “long photos”.
And obviously, I’m not the only person who feels that way, as I’ve already been invited to a number of Flickr groups opposing the addition of video.

Suzuki Crosscage Hydrogen Powered Motorcycle

Suzuki announced its Crosscage motorcycle concept at Tokyo Motor Show last November, and have recently announced that they’re putting it into production.

But, other than it’s really cool design, what’s most important about this bike is that it is going to be hydrogen powered, read extra clean for the environment.

The bike developed in conjuction with British Intelligent Energy is powered by a lightweight air-cooled fuel-cell system and a high-performance secondary lithium-ion battery.

What can I say but awesome design and bravo for the use of clean energy to run this beauty. I hope every other manufacturer follows suit.

Suzuki Crossgate

[Via: Tuvie]

April 1st: The Annual Day Without Google

AltSearchEngines posted yesterday asking people to try, for one day, one of the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines; it can be one search engine, they can be several, the idea is just to give them a try, a chance, and see what life would be like without Google Search.

Day without Google

I think it should be a very interesting experiment to stay off from Google Search for a day, and try out other alternative search engines instead. It should show us what other options we have out there, how advanced and reliable they are, and how dependent we are on Google.

Personally, I’m going to try and use Clusty mainly today, and maybe some other engines if I need to search even more, but will be keeping away from Google Search.

Samsung G800 Photo Phone In Tunisia

Samsung G800Tunisia is one of the countries with the highest mobile penetration in the region at 78% in 2007 and expected to reach as high as 108% by 2010.

But not only do most Tunisians have mobile phones, they also have the mobile phone craze, following every new model, keeping up with all the new features and little cool additions.

Obviously, one of the areas, most mobile phone makers are making strides in and focusing on, are the photo capabilities of their mobile phones, or should we call them photo phones now.

One such case is the Samsung G800 which was recently released in Tunisia, and which focuses on its strong point as a photo phone. This phone comes with a 5 Mega pixel camera, a 1/3.2-inch CMOS-matrix with x3 optical zoom, a Xenon flash, facial recognition, wide dynamic range technology and the possibilities to take different formats of photos.

The phone also supports video recording and montage and comes with blog capabilities that will enable direct video blogging.

The TFT display utilized by the G800 comes with the resolution of 240×320-pixels, measures 2.4 inches from corner to corner, and shows up to 262 K colors.

Another important feature in new mobile phones and that exists on this phone as well is an audio player that supports the most common formats: AAC, AAC+, eAAC, MP3 and WMA. Files can be uploaded onto the handset both directly over Bluetooth and through the synch application or Windows Media Player.
Another related feature is the integrated FM radio tuner.

The phone is a slider, with the dimensions 103x51x17mm, and weighing around 134 grams.

Overall, it sounds like a pretty nice offering from Samsung that could come in very handy for people who want a good phone and a good camera rolled into one; especially enticing for photo and video bloggers.

uTest – Software Testing Community – Get Paid To Find Bugs

uTestuTest, a global marketplace for software application testing, as they define themselves, is now open for business.

The startup takes a crowd-sourcing approach to testing software bugs coupled with a Pay Per Bug business model; Anyone can sign up to test software and make some cash along the way.

On the other hand uTest’s customers gain access to a large, diverse and global community of software testing individuals, who will help with their QA testing over uTest’s secure testing platform, which provides a hosted infrastructure to manage complete software QA cycles and projects.

Software application testers who are part of the uTest professional testers community will be able to test applications in a completely flexible work environment, earn significant additional income and improve technical expertise.
uTest estimates that its testers will be able to rake in anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month, depending on tester-expertise and bug pricing.

I personally think this is a really cool idea and very interesting approach to QA testing, that could help a lot of companies who don’t have internal QA departments and want to tap into the expertise of the crowd for more extensive quality assurance.
It’s also really interesting for the people who will best testing because they’ll be earning money, accumulating experience and building up their public profiles.

[Via: TechCrunch