Although we saw the Lincoln MKS at its debut at the 2007 Los Angeles auto show, and again at the 2008 Detroit show, we got our first chance to get up close and personal with the navigation system during the 2008 New York auto show. Lincoln's new, big luxury cruiser not only includes Ford Sync, the system that lets you voice command your phone and MP3 player, it also has Sirius Travel Link, which gives useful information such as traffic, gas prices, weather, and movie listings.
Today, Sharpcast is launching the public beta of its new file synchronization product, SugarSync (download it from Download.com). Like other sync tools (FolderShare [recently updated] and BeInSync), it performs the useful service of automatically keeping the data on one PC the same as on another. This is a great service for people who use more than one PC -- a laptop and a desktop, for example. It can also be used as a crude workgroup file system (see Groove). I got a tour of the product recently from Sharpcast CEO Gibu Thomas and took some time to experiment with … Read more
Dropbox is a promising new tool for online storage, file sync, and sharing. The cross-platform system plug-in gives you a shared drop box where you can dump files and access them from multiple computers just like you would on the home machine. It also keeps track of any changes to the files, which can be rolled back to previous versions that have been archived on the service's cloud storage.
I gave it a brief spin this afternoon on one computer and it works as advertised. I had no problem dumping a bunch of files, then accessing them through the Web interface. The photo album feature has been especially well implemented, as the system will automatically group together a folder of photos and categorize them into albums using the metadata. There are other nice touches too, such as visual notifiers to let you know when a file is syncing up with the server, as well as Growl system messages on the Mac version to let you know when a change is made to your drop box.
If you're away from your home machine you can still access all your files through the Web interface. There's also a file uploader that lets you add files up to 25MB if you want to save a file from a guest computer without having to install any software.
The service is in private beta with plans to open up later this year. We've got a little less than 100 invites to give away to Webware readers. Just sign up and enter "Webware" as the invite code. (Update: Invites are now gone. We're working on getting some more). Beta accounts offer up 5GB of storage with no limitations on how many computers you can have linked up. When the service opens up later this year, the free accounts will be limited at 1GB, so get 'em while they're hot. Another screen of the interface after the break.
[found on Digg]
Google Calendar is probably one of the most successful Web-based calendar tools to hit the Web 2.0 scene. It has a very clean, easy-to-use interface, Gmail integration, the capability to share calendars with others, SMS notification reminders, and--like other Web-based calendars--immediate accessibility regardless of what computer you're using (as long as you have net access). But perhaps the most useful aspect of Google Calendar is that you can carry it with you on your mobile device, as long as you know how.
There are basically two ways to access or sync Google Calendar with your phone. The first … Read more
One problem almost all laptop users have experienced is not having the "latest version." I'm not talking about a particular piece of software, a driver update, or even the laptop itself. I'm talking about that moment when you're on the road or at a conference and you smack yourself in the head because you forgot to get the "latest version" of that important file off your desktop PC. From there, it's a scramble to call your co-worker, roommate, or significant other to find a way to get the latest version to you.… Read more
LAS VEGAS--If the jabs from venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki weren't enough, Steve Ballmer took a bunch of no-holds-barred queries from the audience at Mix '08.
He was asked whether, given Apple's iPhone announcement, Microsoft was trying to get Silverlight on the Apple phone.
"Silverlight for the iPhone is, of course, interesting," he said. "I can't say there's been extensive discussion with Guy's old boss."
He also said it was unclear whether Apple's business model, which takes 30 percent of iPhone application revenue, would allow for royalty-free distribution of Silverlight. (Apple … Read more
Mac users are often left standing with the short straw when it comes to the kinds of smartphones they can sync with OS X. If you believe the hype, it almost seems as if Apple's own iPhone is the only way to go. Well, it's not. Plenty of other phones can be synced properly with iCal, Entourage, and even Apple's own Address Book, with the help of third-party software. In this tip segment, I'll focus on the BlackBerry.
Apple is finally getting ready for the iPhone to mean business.
In its first eight months, the iPhone has been mostly a consumer phenomenon in the U.S. Apple has pitched the device by showing off its iPod capabilities, or how to search the Web for restaurant reservations and car prices, or update your status on Facebook. But next week Apple plans to show off some "exciting new enterprise" features for the iPhone, which will presumably make it easier for those of us who can't push the CIO around to use our iPhones as tools for work.… Read more
In a conversation with Martin Thall, the General Manager of Microsoft's Automotive Business Unit, he laid out a vision for the future of infotainment systems in cars, which included connected services supported by in-car advertising. Mr. Thall suggested that five years from now, car infotainment systems will be networked and provide the latest information on local services and traffic, as just two examples. This sort of car system should offer daily relevance, so that you could have it give you the best way home from work each day. Or, you could use local search to find a particular item … Read more
When you are contemplating starting a new software company you want to look at where money gets spent now and where it's going to be spent in the future. That's why startups these days are building their applications on utilities like Amazon S3 (which despite last week's outage, I still believe in) and attempting to monetize Facebook (I am not a big believer in this one though I get the idea.) And while neither of these things may be right, they are better bets than building your infrastructure on dying platforms or betting on outdated technologies.
One product that I use daily is SpanningSync, a simple sync utility that connects iCal and Google calendar. One of the guys there (Charlie is his name, but I couldn't find his title or role) has a very logical and eye-opening take on why they went the way they did.… Read more