and Boxee

OK, I can admit when I’m wrong. And boy do I stand corrected on Hulu’s rise to greatness. Though I’m not much of a Hulu fan, it seems to really be getting some traffic. This was a huge tactical win for NBC Universal, which owns part of Hulu (along with News Corporation)

As the great media war continues to rage, CBS isn’t just sitting on the sidelines. In their takeover last year of the tech site CNET, it snagged the URL and has finally starting adding some serious content. A refresh earlier this month has also taken the site past the mere “promo clip” launch phase - into full-length programming; (movies and prime-time TV shows) that come from a slew of major partners like Sony (and their wealth of great premium content), MGM, PBS, and even CBS-owned Showtime.

Here’s the kicker -’s launch phase barely offered video. (It was basically previews, cast profiles, interviews, and discussions)—yet it had 16.5 million viewers per month even then.

Look for their numbers to start climbing steadily over the course of 2009.

Boxee on the other hand, gathers video from all over the Web (Hulu, YouTube,, and many others including your very own feeds) and puts it in a very neat and easy-to-use interface that can be accessed on your PC or on the TV in the living room. This creates something like a programming guide for Internet video, such that you don’t have to surf around to different video sites—all your favorite Web video is right in front of you. One of my favorite features of Boxee is how it accesses and organizes the video, images, and music that I have on my local hardware AND out on the interwebs - putting it all in one place - my TV.

The current version of Boxee runs on Intel-based Macs, Apple TV, and Linux machines (it works particularly easily on Ubuntu distributions). A Windows version should be ready soon, Boxee says. (

All in all you can expect 2009 to bring us some pretty incredible changes in how you “watch”. ( (

Every music video you’ve ever loved, ever. (And a pretty cool API to boot!) ‘Nuff said. (


Loopt and Tweetie

Since the demise of Dodgeball, location-based mobile networking is something that at least a dozen start-ups, not to mention big Valley projects like Yahoo’s OneConnect and Fire Eagle, have tried to master. Nobody’s been able to make it work, perfectly, but they’re going to keep trying. And 2009 is the year you will get really “into” location based networking. Two examples that seem to have gotten us closer to the future are the iPhone’s Loopt andTweetie.

So how do they work? Basically the apps let you stalk, well, maybe not stalk, ok, fine, stalk your pals when you’re needing a buddy fix. Loopt alerts you when your friends are nearby, but shows you their pics, reviews, and favorite hangouts right on your mobile device. Tweetie lets you search for people tweeting near your current location, all so you can meet up wherever, whenever. (Loopt), (Tweetie)

You probably know by know how big of a fan I am of the current wave of social music. You probably also know how hard I took the recent collapse/neutered relaunch of Muxtape. My pasture anew? Whle Muxtape allowed you to upload your mp3s and share it with others, Blip.FM takes it much further. In Blip.FM you can add favorite DJs and as they add music to their playlist it will show up on your Blip homepage. You basically then navigate your homepage as a playlist (made up of as many or as few DJ’s as you’d like).

I’m not the first to make this comparison, but also acts like a “Twitter for music.” Your scrolling playlist is an ongoing list of the DJ’s you follow and their song choices. These are called Blips. You can listen to the “blipped” songs as they come up, or skip up and down the list to songs you like. If you like a particular user (called DJs here), you can give them “props” for the songs they play, or you can choose to “follow” that DJ. After you have found a decent number of DJs to follow, you can switch to a mode where you see only that group’s blips.

If you think of a song you want to blip, you just search for it, make your selection from the search results, write a little comment about it, hit send, and then your blip is added to the stream of other blips. The site then shows you the other members who have also blipped that artist. It’s surprisingly engaging and fun, especially if you find good DJs to follow, or if your own real-world friends sign up and participate. (



This one is near and dear to me. The Qik app (which I currently run on my Nokia n95 and iphone) records LIVE video on your mobile and broadcasts it live to your Qik profile (or where ever else you embedded your channel). Qik’s platform lets you can easily stream and share live video from your mobile phone camera. When visiting the site, it’s easy to find live video streams being shot by Qik members from around the world. This is great for family stuff, like wife’s mom in Salt Lake City watching her baby grandsons in Connecticut in real time, for example.

After you are finished streaming your video live over Qik, and, if you have already set your account up to do so, Qik sends the video to YouTube, your blog, or to your page on Facebook. You also get access to the video files (I happen to love this download feature) letting you pull down each video so you can store it on your own hardware.

Unlike many video solutions, using Qik does not require any fancy hardware to work properly. 2009 will be the year many more video enthusiasts and life bloggers flock to live streaming like this because of how simple and straight-forward Qik makes it. (


Blackberry Application Storefront

The facts: The iPhone app store is wildly successful. RIM is launching sexier-looking more entertainment-oriented smartphones. People love their Crackberry’s.

RIM is planning on taking a page from the iPhone playbook by opening up a store for independently developed BlackBerry apps, called the BlackBerry Application Storefront. Nuff said. (BlackBerry Storefront Signup)

With 5 million users worldwide and growing, might be a name you’ll hear a lot more of this year. The self-proclaimed “social inter-networking” site operates on the premise that many of us now belong to several social networking sites and that it’s a hassle to log into and post to each one separately. lets you log in once, then view (and post to) any of a long list of social networking sites that you sync the service up with—all from one place. You can see the posts, status changes, and so on, of your friends on multiple social networks, and simultaneously send new messages or updates to all of those sites (similar to You can also automatically log into, and instant message using MSN from within—cool. (


All your links, files, bookmarks, and media in one place. It’s about damn time. (

OK, fine. 11 gamechangers. My extra pick for gamechanger in 2009 is a big idea from a guy by the name of Jason Satler. From the site: “In this up and down economy I’m outsourcing my wardrobe (namely shirts) to corporate america and you! I’m going to wear a different shirt for 365 days straight in 2009, take multiple pictures throughout my day and blog about it. Days are sold at “face value” so January 1 is $1 and December 31 is $365.”

Would you make yourself into ad space? In an age when there’s no telling what they’ll come up with next, I’m not afraid to tell you: “I wish I’d thought of that”. (