Vid-Biz: HBO, Blockbuster, Lady Gaga

HBO In Discussions For ‘TV Everywhere’ Deals; Eric Kessler, co-president of HBO, said that the programmer is engaged in conversations with a number of different distributors to enable authenticated subscribers to access content from multiple touch points. (Multichannel News)

Blockbuster Dips a Toe in the Mobile Stream; the company released an application that allows users to watch any of the 10,000 titles of its digital catalog on mobile devices. (NY Times Bits Blog)

Lady Gaga First to Hit 1B Video Views; Visible Measures reports that Lady Gaga’s music videos have cumulatively carried her beyond the 1 billion online-views threshold, becoming the first performer to do so. (CNET) Doubles Video Views, Scores with New Ad Formats; the online video network for independent producers generated 85 million video views in February 2010, double the amount from a year ago. (VideoNuze)

Sky Player Extends Connected TV Options; Sky will launch its online TV service on a new range of connected TVs and set-top boxes after striking agreements with Cello and 3 View. (Broadband TV News)

Turner Sports Goes Interactive for NBA game; Turner Sports will offer a package of technologies during an NBA game on Thursday, including Twitter, multi-camera coverage online and a live chat in a move to attract fans watching on TV, the Internet and cellphones. (Reuters)

Freezerburns Heats Up the Frozen Food Industry

[show=freezerburnsshow size=large]The host of Freezerburns, Gregory Ng, has no culinary skills — he’s a creative director for a Raleigh, N.C., marketing agency and a father of three. But that hasn’t stopped the packaged meat enthusiast from creating the web’s most prominent video series focusing on the world of frozen food.

Distributed through Blip, YouTube and other sites, Freezerburns, which comes up second in Google results when you search for “frozen food reviews,” has a solid history of comparing and contrasting the varied occupants of the freezer section at your grocery store. Taking the dual role of food critic and guinea pig, Ng manages to self-produce exceptionally thorough reviews of Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine and other sub-zero meals that also manage to be quite entertaining.

A lot of that is due to Ng himself, whose skills as an on-camera host have only gotten better since he began the show in 2008. He addresses the audience in a familiar and conversational manner, holding the day’s featured food up to the camera like a kid hoping you’ll be as excited as he is by the color and shape of a meatball sub or salisbury steak. Read More about Freezerburns Heats Up the Frozen Food Industry

Purfresh Raises $10M for Cleaner, Longer-Lasting Food & Water

Back in 2004 startup Purfresh — then called Novazone — underwent a complete overhaul and began to refocus its efforts on selling its purification and preservation technology to the food and water industries. While the legacy that then-CEO David White (who was eventually replaced by David Cope – one of our 25 Who Ditched Infotech for Cleantech) put in place is still going strong, the company is still also raising money five years after its Series A round. According to an SEC filing, Purfresh has just raised $10 million from investors including Foundation Capital.
Pufresh makes ozone-based technology for purifying and preserving food and water, and sells things like disinfection systems for sanitizing fruits, crops, water, canned drinks, medicines and personal-care products. Purfresh’s technology can also be used to extend the life of perishable goods that are shipped long distances. Purfresh says its systems can kill more contaminants than chlorine, at a lower cost, with no harmful chemicals, and with no leftover residue (making it a good fit for the organic food market).
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Simon’s Plans for 2010

2009 was a pretty good year for me, as it consisted of some big, positive changes, among them joining the GigaOM team to take over the reigns here at WebWorkerDaily. I’m not planning on making any major new changes in 2010, just a few subtle tweaks that should — hopefully — have a positive impact on my work and productivity.

Fit Out My New Office

Just before the holidays, I moved into a new house. One of the reasons I wanted to leave my last place was that it was small, with no separate office — I ended up working on the kitchen table, which was bad for my back, never mind the separation of my work and home lives. Now I have a spare bedroom, which I will be kitting out as an office space, complete with custom-built workspace and shelving — even a standing desk. Read More about Simon’s Plans for 2010

Smarter Water Biz to Swell to $16.3B by 2020: Report

water-drop-randysonofrobert-flickrMuch of what information technology can do for the power grid, it can also do for water management. With the smart grid buildout, wireless sensor networks, software, and computing will be used to let utilities track energy use and identify problems in the network in close to real-time, delivering a more efficient grid that’s better equipped to handle renewable resources. According to a new report out from Lux Research, better information about water usage could save utilities money, make water management more efficient and provide one of the simplest solutions to the problem of water scarcity, which scientists have warned will be heightened in coming years by climate change and other factors, such as population growth.
As a result, the tide of water infotech is rising fast, and just as the smart grid buildout could be one of the largest creators of wealth in the decade, there are billions to be made in smarter water systems. Lux finds the market for water IT is set to grow to a $16.3 billion in 2020, up from just $530 million today.
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Beyond Salt: Desalination Startup NanOasis Eyes Wider World of Clean Water

nanOasis-logoIf you can efficiently separate tiny molecules of salt from seawater, you probably have the technology to filter out the larger bacteria, protozoan cysts, viruses and other contaminants floating around in much of the world’s freshwater. That’s part of what Richmond, Calif.-based NanOasis hopes will allow the company to not only provide tech for desalination projects in California, but also eventually sell into the market for water filtration systems in developing countries, the startup’s executives told me. “Water is a huge issue,” said NanOasis founder and President Christopher Kennedy. “Desalination is a starting point.” Read More about Beyond Salt: Desalination Startup NanOasis Eyes Wider World of Clean Water

SAIL Venture Partners Ups Water Tech Bet With MicroMedia Filtration Investment

micromedia-filtration-demoMicroMedia Filtration, a developer of advanced water treatment systems, said today that it has closed its first round of funding (no word on how much) from SAIL Venture Partners. The Lake Forest, Calif.-based company was founded in 2003 and is already shipping its treatment systems to municipalities and commercial clients. With its technology in place, MicroMedia plans to use the funding to “significantly expand its growth objectives” by adding to its management team and marketing plans, Ken Stedman, founder and president of MicroMedia, said in a statement.
Stedman didn’t give more details about what those new growth objectives might be, but the company is clear about the value proposition of its wastewater treatment technology. The company says its system operates on 80 percent less power, has as little as half the capital costs and is physically smaller (important for space-constrained real estate developers) than competing technologies. The filtration system is also modular, with individual systems treating between 250,000 and 1 million gallons per day, offering flexibility and the ability for clients to scale up as demand changes. Read More about SAIL Venture Partners Ups Water Tech Bet With MicroMedia Filtration Investment

13″ MacBook Makes It to the Big Leagues, Turns “Pro”


Apple (s aapl) announced a slew of hardware updates today, including a number of upgrades to its notebook lineup.

For me, the most notable among these was the upwards shift of the 13-inch aluminum MacBook into the MacBook Pro category, alongside the 15- and 17-inch models, both of which also got their own feature and hardware improvements. The white, plastic polycarbonate MacBook is looking mighty lonely down at the low end of the scale.

Alongside the name change, the 13-inch MacBook Pro (I’m glad I no longer have to specify “unibody” or anything else to distinguish it from the regular white MacBook anymore) gets an SD card slot, up to 8GB (if you’re partial to a $1,000 upgrade) of memory, a max hard drive size of 500GB (or 256GB SSD), and a backlit keyboard, standard.

Also, making a triumphant return, is FireWire thanks to an FW800 port, as is standard for the Pro line of computers. All this at a new entry-level price point of $1,199, which comes standard with a 2.26GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160GB HDD. Another higher-priced option with a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 250GB HDD goes for $1,499. Read More about 13″ MacBook Makes It to the Big Leagues, Turns “Pro”

Another Reason We Need Energy Efficiency: Water Scarcity

It takes energy to treat and deliver water, and most of the time it takes water to create energy. This connection between water and energy has become clearer in recent months as IBM introduced its Smart Water offering (we know, we know, more “smart” tech), more U.S.-based desalination plants got the green light, and companies pushing water-related sensors, meters, and analytics testified before Congress.

Last week, the World Resources Institute issued a report examining the relationship between the two resources in greater detail, with a focus on the southeastern United States. WRI’s Eliot Metzger, a co-author of the study, told us that the stats they found in the southeast (two out of every three gallons of fresh water are used to produce energy, for example) can’t be extrapolated elsewhere, but provide a foundation for thinking about the role of water in all of the energy efficiency and smart grid talk going on right now.

“A really big part of it is education — people just don’t know that when they turn the faucet on, they’re using energy as well, not just water,” Metzger told us. Could that information be applied to the smart meter dashboards coming our way soon? “Absolutely, and it could really make a difference,” Metzger said. “I don’t know that water utilities are really ready yet for their own version of the smart grid, but if the smart electric grid provides a way for people to realize the connection between the two, that could be something.”
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