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Roundup -- Facebook's notes, Box.net, and other news

Facebook continues to loosen up its once-rigid ways, and is now even letting its users blog -- Well, not quite. It is letting them add "notes," the preferred term, to their profile page, including text, photos, tags, and comments -- something Liz over at GigaOm got an early look at. Members can also pull in the content from other blogs, too.

You can tag the notes with another user's name, so the notes are delivered to them too. Notes can be posted by mobile phone. Techcrunch notes you are unable to embed videos, though, or to write in javascript for other programming needs

Amazon is about to get unveil video download store -- See details here and here.

Storage company Box.Net raises $1.5M -- The Berkeley online file storage service, which signaled in May it was ready to raise cash, has already raised $1.5 million in a first round of funding, according to a regulatory filing. It was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson. We wrote about Box.net's immigration to Silicon Valley here.

Don't be fooled into buying a .mobi url for your mobile users -- Techdirt suggests it is somewhat of a scam. (Update: see link in comments for response.)

Palm will unveil the latest version of its Treo smart phone next month -- Palm, the Silicon Valley smart-phone manufacturer, said last month the new version will operate Vodafone's high-speed third generation (3G) network and be powered by Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system.

Why are the terms of the Google book deal with the University of California secret? -- UC is backed in part by taxpayers, but Jeff Ubois (of Berkeley) notes the terms of the Google deal were arrived at with no public input:

The University of California䴜s secret agreement with Google for book digitization promises to improve access to parts of its library collections, but the contractual restrictions UC has accepted may enrich Google䴜s shareholders at public expense...
(Via Dave Winer)

In other news:

--San Jose's wireless phone chip-maker GCT Semiconductor takes $5 million, much of it from Japanese phone carrier, DoCoMo. IT serves new 3G networks, such as cellular/WiFi convergence.

--SiBeam, of Sunnyvale, a developer of high-speed wireless communication platforms, has raised $21 million in a second round of funding. Foundation Capital led the deal, and was joined by exisiting backers New Enterprise Associates and U.S. Venture Partners.

--Matisse Networks, a Mountain View provider of "optical burst switching" technology, has raised $7.5 million of a $17.13 million second round, according to PE Week, citing a regulatory filing. Backers include Menlo Ventures, Walden International and Woodside Fund.

--Software company Salesforce has acquired San Francisco's Kieden, a start-up that lets Salesforce users track their Google AdWords campaigns.

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In response to the link above that refers to the Techdirt article about the .mobi domain, readers should take a look at the dotMobi blog, where we correct some inacurracies in this article:


Also, in the interest of keeping the discussion fair and balanced, we have a section on our blog to address some common misconceptions about the .mobi domain:


Ronan Cremin on August 23, 2006 2:16 AM
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dotmobi's response is more of the same from them. They take Carlo's words and twist them around to create a strawman, but don't do much to answer the essential point: why does anyone actually *need* a .mobi address?

The folks there always claim that the reason is content doesn't look good on a mobile phone.

That doesn't explain what good .mobi is. You can make content look good on a mobile phone, and you can pretty easily set the content to display better by device based on the user-agent. This way no one has to wonder if a site has a mobile address or not.

There's simply no reason to pay extra (on an ongoing basis) for this.

Also, over time, the ability for mobile devices to take existing web content and display it nicely in a mobile environment has only improved (greatly!). Do the folks at dotmobi really believe it won't improve even more?

As for their point about the W3C's support, that's name dropping, but doesn't answer the essential question of whether having a separate internet for mobile content is a dangerous trend (a point on which Tim Berners-Lee agrees with us, if you want name dropping).

As for the heart of the claim concerning the "money grab" aspect of the premium names, you can judge for yourself. The company claims that it's holding back these names so as to avoid an "inequitable" solution. According to them, inequitable is "first come, first serve." Equitable is "highest bidder."

Perhaps they mean well, but it's hard to see that as anything but a money grab.

Our real issue with dotmobi has mainly been their continued efforts to make it sound like you *need* to buy a domain from them to do mobile content, or that their domain will somehow rescue or save mobile content. Nothing can be further from the truth. The company has not demonstrated what value they provide.

Anyway, for Carlo's own response to Neil's post, plus (oooh bonus!) added problems with dotmobi's new "emulator" effort, check out his writeup over at MobHappy:


Mike Masnick on August 24, 2006 12:25 AM
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At this point in the game ICANN is doing a disservice to net users by ignoring serious issues and allowing distructive business to ruin the DNS and domain name space. Domainers and other abusive "land-grabbers" are making the Internet a far more annoying place to be on.

Has ICANN ever reprimanded a registrar? Not that I can think of. The absolute waste that is .mobi is just an example of ICANN ignoring real problems.

That said, I still have faith that ICANN might be able to turn around.

David Ulevitch on August 24, 2006 12:46 AM
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