Buzz Out Loud 928: The 404-year-old virgin

Justin Yu is not a virgin, but he plays one on this podcast. And that's just the kind of thing you get when you have a member of the 404 on the podcast. We also evaluate the new nearly-buttonless iPod Shuffle, some online gaming stats, and Google's new ad-targeting system.

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 928

New talking shuffle

iPod touch 2G finally jailbroken with NitroKey

Speaking of hacking…Chinese … Read more

Google map tracks deadly Australia bushfires

Google Australia engineers have created a Flash map to keep track of the deadly bushfires ravaging the southeastern part of the country and help reduce the traffic burden to the official sites coordinating emergency services.

The fires, which have reportedly claimed more than 100 lives, are being tracked in real-time with information provided by the State of Victoria's Country Fire Authority via an RSS feed. The numbers on the map markers indicate the number of fires at that location and the colors represent the current containment status of that site (green represents safe, yellow for controlled, orange for contained, … Read more

Activists call for a mashup-friendly

As President Obama's $825+ billion financial stimulus package works its way through Congress, a number of groups have started to call for increased transparency in the way that data on the proposed spending will be shared with citizens.

Most noteworthy are demands from public-interest groups and academics that the the data be provided in a format conducive to user-generated mashups and remixes.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed through the House Appropriations Committee a couple weeks ago, and it is expected to come up for a full House vote in the coming weeks.

In addition to … Read more

Alphabet Cake Pan spells delicious

Looking at the Alphabet Cake Pan, the first thing I think is that I would be able to bake two (or three, or four...) different cakes in one pan--at the same time. I have often wrestled with the age-old question, which type of cake should I make? Ultimately, as I wait for the whichever cake I chose, I realize I should have made both. Now, with the Alphabet Cake Pan, I can.

The pan measures 14 inches long by 8.5 inches wide and comes with 12 hollow blocks. An imprinted grid on the bottom of the pan serves as … Read more

New Mozilla Ubiquity spec brings mashups to the desktop

Mozilla has put out a road map proposal for the next version of Ubiquity, the company's user interface project that aims to mash up user-controlled shortcuts with information from the Web. Besides the promise of an interface overhaul, the plan's big hope is to integrate Ubiquity with Mozilla's Firefox and Thunderbird products, along with user desktops.

In Firefox's case, Ubiquity integration for everyone (not just testers) could come as soon as version 3.2, due sometime next year. According to the road map specifications, the upgraded Firefox implementation would integrate Ubiquity into the "awesomebar," … Read more

Election a win for multitouch inventor

Election Day freneticism is the norm for the likes of candidates, journalists, poll workers, campaign staffers, and commentators. But this time around, an unlikely tech entrepreneur and his employees entered the fray.

Jeff Han is the man behind CNN's "Magic Wall" multitouch electronic wall map, the one reporter John King has been using all campaign season to illustrate election information and that was the target of a recent Saturday Night Live spoof (embedded at the end of this post). Han's company, New York-based Perceptive Pixel, has also provided its technology to Fox News Channel (Bill Hemmer'… Read more

How do you replicate big-box retailers online? Mashery has an answer

Offline, vendors recognize the importance of moving products as close to the would-be consumer as possible. Retailers, fast food chains, and other vendors therefore build physical locations all over the world, seeking to be physically proximate to potential customers.

Online, we still somehow believe that it's acceptable to build one store (e.g., and expect the world to beat a path to the vendor's door.

Best Buy doesn't think so, and is doing some exceptionally interesting work with San Francisco-based Mashery to effectively replicate and extend the local shopping experience online.

The key to it all is the API (application programming interface), as The New York Times describes, which "lets Web sites make their content easily available to other Web developers, who can import it, display it on their own sites and mash it up with other material."

In Best Buy's case, this means making its product catalog available to the world. No big deal? Consider that this essentially opens up a Best Buy store on every niche Web site on the planet (that chooses to use the Best Buy Remix API, of course). Perhaps I'd like to provide detailed information about scanners that I want to sell. Best Buy's Remix lets me leverage its catalog (along with product reviews and more).

The next phase for Best Buy? Open up its shopping cart, as well, so that each of these corner stores becomes not only a place to browse but also a place to buy Best Buy products, taking a share of the sale in the process. Best Buy everywhere...even more than it could hope to achieve offline.

Best Buy, however, isn't alone in this. Mashery is also working with MTV, which suggests the following services with its API as a starting point:… Read more

Mozilla offers do-it-yourself mashups for all

Mozilla released an experimental browser plug-in Tuesday that aims to connect the Web with language to help users perform common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

Ubiquity, created by Aza Raskin--son of Apple Mac pioneer Jef Raskin--is a command-line interface that enables users to use plain language to manipulate Web tasks, such as mapping, translation, shopping, or retrieving entries from Wikipedia, Yelp, or Twitter.

The free Firefox plug-in enables the creation of "user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs," according to a post on Mozilla's site Tuesday. "In other words, allowing everyone--not just Web developers--to … Read more

Diaroogle helps you find clean public bathrooms

When you've gotta go you've gotta go. Unfortunately, finding a place to do that when you're in New York, one of the largest cities in the world, can be difficult unless you've got some local knowledge.

Human-powered search engine Diaroogle is up to the task. It'll help you find the nearest toilet based off its user-generated database. Like Mizpee, which does the same thing but with a much cuter pretense, it's got user ratings for general cleanliness, the rules of gaining entrance, and occasionally even pictures snapped by users to show how good or … Read more

Coder links Yahoo search, Google App Engine

The goliaths of the Internet are dangling an ever-larger supply of bootstraps for folks who want to try new ideas for the Web.

The first case in point is Google App Engine, an infrastructure that lets people run their Web applications on Google's servers, for free up until certain limits are set. Second is Yahoo's BOSS (build your own search service) that lets people extract Yahoo search results, reorder them, and mix them with other content--also without constraint within certain limits.

On Monday, Yahoo programmer Vik Singh, who has been involved in the BOSS project, released software that … Read more