Meet Uptake: The biggest travel site you’ve never heard of

Uptake’s CEO Yen Lee likes to kid that he runs “the largest travel search company that no one’s heard of.” But the five-year-old company is making its first push for public recognition with a new Facebook app for getting travel tips from your friends.

UpTake Helps You Plan Your Next Trip

logoWhen planning a vacation, it’s hard to find good information on the web.  UpTake, now out of private beta, tries to help with that process by assessing keywords and returning user comments from across the web to help you find great travel destinations based on your preferences.

UpTake aggregates information from Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Yahoo Travel.  The website crawls these sites (along with other travel niche sites) and returns user generated travel spot reviews for spots throughout the United States. UpTake provides information on hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, and suggestions for things to do.

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Fictionwise speaks out- eReader is safe

One of the cool things about having a highly visible forum like jkOnTheRun to speak my concerns about different topics is that sometimes we get responses from those involved in the topic.  This happened today because I recently voiced my concerns that the Fictionwise purchase of eReader might spell disaster for eReader customers like me.  Steve Pendergast, one of the founders of Fictionwise, recently posted a comment to my concerns that is so significant it must be bumped up to the front page:


I’m Steve Pendergrast, one of the founders of Fictionwise.

Just to set the record straight, we are absolutely *not* going to shut down the ereader format or the ereader web site.

The eReader format and web site are both extremelyimportant to our strategy going forward. We love the easy, flexible DRMmethod, and we won’t change it or make it incompatible with pastpurchases.

Fictionwise has a long history of going out of our way to protectour customer’s investment in their purchases. By owning the eReaderformat, nobody can ever take that format away from us. Every other DRMformat we support is owned by a competitor of ours who could pull itaway from us at any time. When you think about it that way, I think yousee how important the eReader format is to Fictionwise after thisacquisition, and how it would be inconceivable for us to throw thataway.

What we do plan is to port the eReader software to a much widerrange of devices, giving everyone who has ever bought an eReader ebook,or who will buy one in the future, as many choices as possible on howthey read their books.

Hope this puts your more at ease!

-Steve P.

That you did, Steve, and I appreciate your reaching out to our readers with the facts.  I hope the merger of eReader goes well for you guys and I will continuing to patronize the eReader store.

What Does a WGA Strike Mean For New Media?

The clock is ticking on a potential strike by the Writers Guild of America. With the Oct. 31 deadline date looming on the not-so-distant horizon, Hollywood producers are scrambling to finalize projects and television is readying itself for the second coming of reality TV. New media, meanwhile, stands in waiting. What would a writers strike mean for online video?

It’s an especially interesting question as some online video sites are subsidiaries of big studios, like NBCU’s (GE) DotComedy, Fox’s (NWS) MySpaceTV, and AOL Time Warner’s (TWX) Super Deluxe. In the event of a strike, would writers for these sites risk their future guild membership by continuing to write? On the flip side, will independent video networks like Revision3 and Next New Networks move in to scoop up unemployed talent?
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No Need for stinking fixed lines

Bells may have the monoply over FTTH, but they have something to worry about in the interim: people who are letting go of their fixed lines in favor of cell phones exclusively. Research conducted on behalf of Nokia shows that nearly 45 million people in US, UK, Germany, and South Korea have switched exclusively to mobile handsets for all or most of their voice calls. Fixed-to-Mobile Substitution (FMS) is the hot new trend, and is only going to gain momentum. Analysts say nearly one third of U.S. wireless customers won’t have residential landline phone service by 2008. It makes sense as more people get fed up with paying two phone bills–when they’re using their cell phone almost exclusively. Sprint In Home Connection Terminal (SX5T by Telular).jpgFor instance, I came across this little gizmo from Telular and Sprint. Telular’s Phonecell terminal links all of the home’s phone jacks to the Sprint PCS network, so customers can use existing home phone devices (cordless phones, fax machines, TiVo boxes) just as before. They can also bundle the terminal in the same package with their mobile phones, and benefit from the cost savings and convenience of one phone bill. There is even a GSM version of the product. (The Phonecell has Telular’s patented RJ-11 interface that emulates the local phone company, providing dial tone and services such as Caller ID, Call Waiting and Call Hold. The new product includes GPSOne positioning technology for E-911 Phase 2 compliance.) I saw similar devices in India, which were simple fixed CDMA home phones.