jkOnTheRun Fourth Annual Geek Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts_2Deck the halls with gadgets for gee-eeks, fa la la la la, la la la la.  It’s that time again and what better way to find that perfect gift for the geek in your life than this Fourth Annual Geek Holiday Gift Guide.  Wow, that’s the fourth year for our special gift guide!  That’s 28 years old in dog years.  We’ve scoured the geek world on your behalf and present these gift ideas to make your holiday shopping easier.

1.  WiFi Detector Shirt.  Your geek is always trying to get online and that elusive WiFi signal is always driving him/her crazy!  Not any longer with this T-shirt that has a WiFi signal detector built right in.  $29.99.


2.  Ultimate Hoodie.  Whatever gadgets your geek needs to carry this Hoodie from ScottEvest will carry them in style.  Featuring 11 hidden pockets, a Personal Area Network and magnetic pocket closures, the Ultimate Hoodie has got your geek covered.  $69.99.


3.  T.One USB MicroDrive.  Your geek needs some way to hide protect those illegally legally downloaded music and video files and there is no better way than with one of these T.One USB sticks with a real MicroDrive inside.  There are two capacities, 5 GB and 12 GB and these T.Ones are small enough to fit on a keychain.  $44.99 – $109.99.


4.  Stainless Steel Wallet.  What would be cooler than giving your geek a new wallet from Coach or one of those other goofy makers?  Why giving them this Stainless Steel Wallet of course.  Each of these wallets is woven from ribbons of stainless steel yet has the texture of silk.  Available in 3 distinctively geeky styles.  $19.99 – $79.99.


5.  Metallic Video Watch with OLED screen.  If you know your geek well then you know that when you say the phrase "OLED" their eyes light up with that special glow.  The 128×128 resolution OLED screen on this video watch will keep your geek’s eyes all alight every time they wear it.  A special geeky bonus adds to the allure as there are buttons all over the watch.  $99.99.


6.  Komen Microfiber Laptop Tote– That female geek of yours needs something stylish to carry her laptop in and this Laptop Tote from Komen is just the ticket.  Your geek will really appreciate your thoughtfulness when you point out that 10% of the purchase price is donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  $114.99.


7.  Collapsible Chopsticks.  What better impression can your geek make on his/her friends when he/she pulls these collapsible chopsticks out of a pocket in that favorite Asian bistro.  Made of white ash and stainless steel there are no higher tech chopsticks anywhere.  $24.99.


8.  Caffeine Molecule Travel Mug.  Your geek subsists on coffee so this stainless steel Travel Mug that is emblazoned with the caffeine molecule will be an instant hit.  They’re going to drink too much caffeine anyway so at least keep it stylish and practical.  $12.99.


9.  3 Port Car Outlet with USB.  One thing for certain about a geek’s automobile, there are never enough outlets to handle all that geek gadgety goodness.  This 3 Port Car Outlet Expansion not only adds 3 power outlets but throws in a USB port for running those smaller gadgets.  $19.99.


10. The Cubes- Cubicle Playsets.  What could be more fun than working in a cube than also playing with them?  That’s what your geek will spend hundreds of enjoyable hours doing with these Cubicle Playsets.  There are ten playsets to choose from including our favorite the IT Department cube.  Your geek is always the boss in these cubes.  $2.99 – $12.99.



So this is our Fourth Annual jkOnTheRun Holiday Gift Guide and we are sure you will find just the right geeky gift for that special one in your life.

Atom.com to Be New Comedy Central Hub

AtomFilms is getting a makeover as the Comedy Central hub for original online comedy, building both a vertical portal and “a regular presence on TV.” The decade-old video site will finally find its home within MTV Networks, which acquired it and the rest of Atom Entertainment for $200 million over a year ago.

“People go to ComedyCentral.com looking for Colbert,” AtomFilms General Manager Scott Roesch told NewTeeVee at his San Francisco office on Thursday. He thinks that’s why the network’s original content didn’t attract much of an audience. Now, while The Colbert Report and other MTVN shows like The Daily Show and South Park are getting their own content hubs, original content will also get its own vertical.

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Vid-Biz: Netflix, AT&T, Next New

Lower Prices Boost Netflix Earnings; online movie rental provider dropped prices by $1 and blew past Q3 expectations while adding 286,000 subs; company also said it’s exploring direct download opportunities with DVD and game console makers. (LA Times; Reuters)

AT&T IPTV Subscriptions Growing; company’s embattled U-verse service now has 126,000 subscribers. (PaidContent)

Next New Networks Announces Distribution Partners; niche video content creator signs a host of deals with companies including YouTube, TiVo, Blip.tv, Joost and Veoh. NNN also launched the new show Ultra Kawaii devoted to the cutest pets on the planet. (MediaWeek; Ultra Kawaii)

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Skype Cracked?

Can Skype be reverse engineered? That has been the $2.6 billion dollar question Skype watchers often ask themselves. Alec Saunders points to this blog post by Charlie Paglee that claims that a bunch of chinese engineers have done exactly that – cracked Skype.

The hacked clients cannot act as super nodes, the said blog notes, quoting the CEO of the unnamed Chinese company. In other words, the said clients could ride the Skype network without doing any heavy lifting of their own. Virus has mutated, and the parasite has a parasite.

It is hard to vouch for the authenticity of this claim; though if they can reverse engineer stuff like Blackberry, router software and what not, this is not that outrageous a claim. We have contacted Skype PR seeking comment. That said, if the crack is true, then it could have some detrimental impact on the Skype and eBay.

Update: Skype has sent this statement, “Skype is aware of the claim made by a small group of Chinese engineers that they have reverse engineered Skype software. We have no evidence to suggest that this is true. Even if it was possible to do this, the software code would lack the feature set and reliability of Skype which is enjoyed by over 100m users today. Moreover, no amount of reverse engineering would threaten Skype’s cryptographic security or integrity.”

Charge This!

The Plastic Trap, a documentary and the long story in The New York Times has prompted me to write this piece, which has nothing to do with broadband, technology, but about our modern lives. The Times story deals with rising credit card debt, and how the modern day loan sharks, aka banks, are squeezing the consumers by tacking on stupifying interest rates and penalties for late payments. The situation reminds me of the heroin dealers, who get you addicted and then well… you know the rest.
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Motorola fesses upto v710 problems

motorolav710.jpgMotorola’s V710 problems, as noted by Russell, and a whole scores of others are pretty real and are causing the company major headaches. The company fessed up to this in its conference call. Moto said that the alignment of the camera module is
off center causing a recall and replacement of the phones in the channel. An
announcement of this issue should come through in the next few days, Legg Mason analyst Timm Bechter says, and points out that the company has a history of botching up products. Verizon is pissed to say the least and is looking else where, and chances are it could be looking at Nokia. “As has often been the case for Motorola, designing appealing products has been its strongpoint, while delivering those products on time and without problems has been more of an issue. We remind investors of a similar issue with one of the triplets last season, where the antenna blocked a portion of the camera’s view, and of the Motorola T720, which never made it through full testing with Verizon Wireless due to late delivery and was instead launched below Verizon’s traditionally stringent testing procedures, with many problems.” I am hearing that Motorola Razor might be delayed because of quality issues. Timm doesn’t point out that the Moto UI just simply sucks! I wonder what Albert Lin of American Technology Research have to say about this?

Web 1.0 seeks redemption in Web 2.0

For past 24 hours, the web has been abuzz with words about Web 2.0. Jeff has been blogging up a storm, and so has Sean Bonner. So perhaps I would not repeat what they have to say. I will, however give you my impressions of what’s going on, the color and the general atmosphere of this conference. Since morning I have had a chance to catch up with a lot of people I knew through RSS.

Still going through the program list, chats, and all the big thinking stuff, I get a feeling that Web 2.0 is more of a comeback fight for the web 1.0 folks. Its about second chances for folks like Kim Polese, Chris Alden, Joe Kraus, and scores of others are coming our of self imposed hiding, announcing their new projects. Venture capitalists, who had been feeling the ire of the limited partners are back, scouting for their next big deal. Blogging, for some is one way to go. (Bloom anyone?) Others are looking at wireless and VoIP. Still, they are looking. Even yesterday’s villians, Mary Meekers and the posse are back into the sunshine as well. Marc Andressen, the man who hasn’t done a lick for the Mozilla Foundation is chatting about broswer wars. (As Bill O would say, shut up!) After nearly five years of gray skies, you see sun breaking through. Perhaps it was apt, that the fog, that normally envelopes San Francisco lifted today.

The conference has a certain buzz, a sense of optimism. I am not sure, how lasting it can be. The quintessential skeptic in me worries about VoIP being the new dot-con. I fret about single digit growth rates, and I lose sleep over Silicon Valley’s collective ignorance about user experience, wireless and other such esoteric things, that make cracking the consumer code impossible to those on the left coast. (I agree with Nick, small is they way to go!) Still, it is nice to see the smiles on so many faces. Even a crummudgeon like me, can deal with that.