The Life Media Dashboard: Is It Here Yet?


There is a really interesting meme going on at the moment and it’s captured in Michael Arrington’s blog post heading: Friendfeed, The Centralized Me, and Data Portability. It relates to the tug we all have for some order to the chaotic mix of services we flit between as we try to keep up with what is happening around us. Loic Le Meur sums this up well.

I envy the ordered world of someone who only checks their email once or twice a day and reads the newspaper over a cup of coffee –  but I also totally could not do that — I need my fix of news to be coming in from disparate sources hours and sometimes days before it hits the press, I need to know what my key influencers, colleagues and friends are doing as they do it.

What I don’t need is to have to log into a whole heap of sites in order to get this constant fix.

One day I’ll have One Life Media Dashboard for my web interactions.

The question at present is whether I put all my trust into a site like FriendFeed to provide me with that dashboard. From what I know is coming downtrack I’d say that FriendFeed is headed the right way, but there are other sites that do a far better job of bringing all my feeds (used in the broadest sense possible) together. More on that once I can release info 🙂

Will Data Portability become redundant as a result of these sites popping up?

I doubt it. They are removing a problem (aggregating my feeds) and DP will serve to make this a more seamless proposition for the aggregators. DP will also remove the big leap of faith and trust we currently need to “put all our eggs in the one basket” with a FriendFeed type service as our single Life Media Dashboard.

[Mindmap courtesy of Brian Solis]

Bored: Customize Your Keys

Introducing the customizable keyboard from Ergodex.


Is it just another cool gadget or the ultimate resolution to the repetitive strain injuries that plague programmers, gamers, writers and other keyboard tappers?

It works with any program and has 25 buttons that stick to the Tray in any configuration. Label buttons, slide in artwork or customize a key on the fly in-game.

[via Gagdgettastic]

Mobile GPS as standard – privacy versus safety

Your choice – lose your loved one or your privacy.

South Korea is looking into equipping new mobile phones with a chip that will allow users to be located via satellite-based positioning technology.

The argument being put forward in a bill before their National Assembly is that this move will assist in reducing kidnapping and other increasingly violent crimes against women and children.

I know there is the slippery slope argument of benevolent versus big brother government and in no other region of the world is this better illustrated – South Korea doing this versus North Korea ….shudder.

However, where we have the technology to eradicate location-based crimes this, to me, far outweighs privacy issues.

DNA tracking would be optimal – this is not that far off.

[via China View]

Robots: Life-Size versus Life-Like


I  showed my 10 & 11 year old sons the Today show clip of Ross Dawson stroking his Pleo and thought this is my answer to their continuous requests for a pet. They were both instantly besotted with this ultra cute, life-like baby dinosaur. Compared to the plastic coldness of the Sony Aibo, the Pleo exudes cuddliness. Out of the box, its big blue eyes form an emotional tie in a nanosecond.

But what I hadn’t factored in was my 10 year old’s deep connection with anything and everything Star Wars-related. He took one look at the life-size reproduction of C-3PO and was instantly torn: life-size versus life-like.


The human connection will win out in the end. A cold-hearted fibreglass replica is neat, but it has no chance against a cute pet… that doesn’t need toilet training.

MySpace Developer Kickoff in Sydney


[Disc: I’m advising MySpace’s parent company, Fox Interactive Media]

I’m really excited to let Metarand readers know about the MySpace Developer Platform Kickoff event that I’m hosting on the 9th April in Sydney.

I’ll be sending out a bunch of invites over the next day or two, so if you’d like to come along and you haven’t heard from me by cob Friday please send me an email – metarand at gmail dot com.

Expect a fun evening at a great venue in Surry Hills and an opportunity to hear more from and meet members of the MySpace dev team, together with good victuals, music and wifi (laptops encouraged). I also see this as an excellent opportunity to catalyse the Australian social media community and foster a new era in collaboration and innovation.

Let’s put Australia on the social media map in a BIG way!!!

You can find out more about this and other events MySpace will be running in Australia and in New Zealand here. If you are not able to make it along, you’ll be able to hook into a live feed – check out the Aussie Developers Profile page on MySpace for more details closer to the event.


Songkick’s Ass


Concert listings site and Y Combinator grad, Songkick has launched what has got to be one of the coolest applications of buzz monitoring to date.

It’s called Battle of the Bands and Michael Arrington at TechCrunch does a great job of explaining how it works:

It’s a sort of Alexa or Compete comparison engine, but instead of comparing websites it compares bands and artists. They track any band that has 50 or more followers on MySpace – about 1 million bands currently. They then scour the Amazon sales rank for their music, mentions in 1,500 popular music blogs, total MySpace friends and plays, and other stats to determine the overall excitement for a band at any given time.

Type in one or more bands and see how they compare over time.


It would be interesting to see how the metrics are affected by factoring in P2P traffic and players like Last.FM [Good call Jason Schwartz].

To me it falls into the same broad genre as Buzzlogic, which tracks key influencers around brands, Adonomics, which tracks and compares the popularity of social media apps and Yahoo Buzz (see Richard McManus’s post on this service): – it’s all about the buzz.

Where it will get really interesting is tracking the ripples and identifying who the key influencers are relative to any given band or combination of bands – are these the new DJs of Web 2.0?

Virtual founder seeks Second Life

Philip Rosedale is stepping down as CEO of Linden Lab. Faced with the classic founders dilemma of continuing to evangelise and innovate versus running a business, the man behind Second Life has elected to find a replacement. This is often one of the hardest decisions for a founding CEO to make, and hats off to Philip for doing so in a considered way. Reading between the lines in this piece it is clear that he was supported in his decision by his board.

It is an interesting transition phase for the company, what with the CTO having moved on only a few months back. One can only hope they find someone of the right calibre to get the business firing again.

Monitoring Division spins out to Silicon Valley

No relation to Joy Division, the 80’s rock group, Monitoring Division is a new company focused on radically reducing noise on optical fibre and giving telcos a wavelength bandwidth increase. It resulted from cross fertilisation between scientists from different disciplines – always great to see.

A spin out from the Melbourne lab of  NICTA, Australia’s ICT Centre of Excellence, the company is based in Silicon Valley. With funding from NICTA’s internal fund and Melbourne based early stage VC, Starfish Ventures, the company has signed a licence agreement with Optium.

This is NICTA’s fourth spin out company – it’s great to see the pipeline working and good luck to the team!

Entrepreneurs in Residence infuse Energy into National Labs

When I first joined Australia’s leading ICT Centre of Excellence, NICTA, and took charge of putting in place a tech transfer process and building a pipeline of commercial activity, I immediately recognized the need to infuse an entrepreneurial culture into the organization.

Borrowing from my experience as an early stage venture capitalist, I set up what was then a unique Entrepreneurs in Residence Program and we had an initial EiR from mid 2005.

After a very well received roadshow in Silicon Valley in March 2006 we brought on board a further two EiRs into a well structured 12 month program. The Selection Committee included three VC firm partners in the program. These VCs acted as sounding boards for the EiRs as they converged on the project they would lead to spin out.

I won’t go into details on the entire process, but will say that it produced excellent results including spin outs which were funded by some of the VC partners in the program.

I’m now pleased to be able to point to a major boost in Entrepreneurs in Residence within research labs courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Kleiner Perkins and Foundation Capital will place EiRs into the National Renewable Energy Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab. In addition, ARCH Venture Partners will place an EiR into the Sandia National Lab.

You can read more about the program here.

In my view, EVERY research lab should partner with such a program. It not only acts as a major catalyst for creating the right entrepreneurial culture, but done right can have a major impact both in terms of accelerating time to market and in getting the DNA of a successful start up right from the get go.