Google Set To Increase GMail Storage Limit

Google Set To Increase GMail Storage LimitWith punters lapping up the free email storage offered by Google’s GMail service, the company has pledged to accelerate the rate at which it adds storage space.

Google gave the world of free e-mail services an almighty kick up the jacksi back in April 2004 when it began offering 1GB of free storage for its Gmail service.
Continue reading Google Set To Increase GMail Storage Limit

GMail: Pay For Increased Storage: UPDATED

Google have quietly (as ever) introduced a pay for extra storage facility on GMail.

GMail: Pay For Increased Storage

I’ve come close to stop using Gmail over the last 6 months or so, after having heavily used it on a daily basis for over two years. It’s has all of my emails for my numerous accounts going through it.
Continue reading GMail: Pay For Increased Storage: UPDATED

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo Users

Palm has unveiled a new beta app for Palm Treo users letting them back up their data over the air to Palm’s secure servers, without the need to connect to a desktop computer.

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo UsersThe Palm Backup Beta service can be downloaded from here and lets users back up data from the core handset applications; Contacts, Calendar, Memos, Tasks, Blazer (web browser) bookmarks, quick dials and the call log.

Once the app is downloaded on to the Treo (a 300k .prc file), users are prompted to open a new account with Palm, and select their resident country (only the US and Canada were listed as being currently available, so – sssscch! – we lied and still managed to set up an account with no problem).

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo UsersAn activation letter is sent to your email account, but you can start the back up on your Treo straight away (but you must activate your Palm account within 7 days otherwise your account will be closed).

The first screen asks you how often you want to schedule your Treo back ups (daily/weekly/monthly or manual) and at what time of the day or night.

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo UsersA back up of your data will then be saved to Palm’s secure server as scheduled – so long as there is wireless data coverage available (if it fails to find a connection, it will try again at the next scheduled time).

Palm warns that if your Treo is stuffed full of data, the initial back up might take quite a while – something we discovered with the process taking something like 20 minutes over GPRS – but then we have over nine years worth of contacts, calendar and memo data filling up our much-used Treo 650. Subsequent backs up should be quicker.

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo Users
Note that with all that data flying about, you’ll need a generous data allowance with your mobile service provider otherwise you might face hefty bandwidth bills.

With its obvious benefit to business users, this new backup service reflects Palm’s determination to start clawing back sales from high flying competitors like Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

Palm Releases Backup Program For Treo UsersPalm Backup Beta service currently supports Palm Treo 700p, Treo 680 and Treo 650 and there’s no news yet about release date or pricing.

Palm Backup Beta service

Domesday Book Goes Online

domesday Book Goes OnlineToday, a rather old book from the late 11th century England (1086 to be precise) will be brought online to be searched. The Domesday Book, is the earliest surviving survey and valuation of the King, his senior supporters, the land they owned and their resources.

If you’d wanted to look through it previously, you had to drag yourself over to the National Archive in a rather calm building in Kew West London, or cough up a couple of thousand pounds to get them on CD.

By going to the Domesday Web site, you can search and get an idea if there’s anything in The Book about your chosen subject. If you want to see a scan of the page, you, me and anyone in the World will be able to pay £3.50 per page to see it.

Those not wanting to pay for the documents can head over to Kew where they can be printed out for nothing.

domesday Book Goes OnlineYou might think that there’s a little difficulty in using it, as many of the surnames used by people and names of areas have changed substantially over the last thousand-odd years. Luckily they thought of that one. Simply enter the modern name in the Place Name box, if you’re a boffin with knowledge of ye-olde world, you enter the old name in the Other keywords box.

We don’t want to cast a shadow over this notable event, but we wonder if it’s right that UK residents, who already fund the National Archives through their taxes, should pay the same amount to access the info as those from abroad.

domesday Book Goes OnlineThere’s a couple of theories as to why it’s called the Domesday or Doomsday Book (depending on your preferenece) – Biblical Day of Judgement or when some bloke called Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Neither of them particularly jolly.

Those long in the tooth will remember the BBC launch the BBC Domesday Project, to put the book on the 12-inch laserdisc. Sadly, these days, this project is remembered as an example of information lost to an old format that cannot be retrieved.

Get going and research your family or local area at the National Archive Web site at domesday Book

Background on the Domesday Book

Ourmedia Launches Free Community Site For Podcasters And Vloggers

Ourmedia Launches Community Site For Podcasters And VloggersSee our interview with co-founder of OurMedia, JD Lasica

OurMedia is a new community site providing online media creators a place where they can publish their content and share it with others, for free.

That last bit is important. Free. Nowt. Zip. Nada.

Anyone who creates digital media – whether it be podcasts, video blogs, photos, whatever – will soon learn that there’s no such thing as ‘free’ web space when you’re looking for a place to host those large media files.

Either you have to put up with a web page plastered with adverts or you’ll be lumbered with punitive restrictions on your bandwidth allowance.

Once you’ve got your latest artistic meisterwork online, the next problem is letting people know about it – unless you’ve got a degree in marketing or a hefty advertising budget, your video may get less hits than the Wurzels.

But – oh the cruel irony! – if by chance your work does become the hit’o’the web, you’ll be busting through your bandwidth allowance like an over-excited steam train and face having your page pulled by your web host – or be lumbered with wallet-draining excess fees.

And here’s where the self-styled “grassroots media organisation” OurMedia come in.

Using their service, video bloggers can log into the site, use the ‘upload’ tool to transfer their 50 meg video onto their server and waheey! – the file is now hosted online, complete with its own Creative Commons license – and with no bandwidth or file size restrictions.

Ourmedia Launches Community Site For Podcasters And VloggersBecause it’s a community site, multimedia files can now potentially be seen and shared by thousands of people, with film makers and video buffs able to link to each other’s work, pool resources and share tips.

So what’s the catch? Well, none really, so long as you’re the sharing, caring kind.

Supported by free storage space from the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library backed by the entrepreneur Brewster Kahle, ourmedia’s mission statement explains that they are a “free, not-for-profit effort to create a global home for grassroots media”.

Their mission is to provide a “resource to bring homemade video, audio, music, photos, text and public domain works into an easy-to-access network” with the site acting as a “clearinghouse” to allow others to “search for video or music, download it, and reuse or remix it, with proper attribution. All legally.”

After the huge success of text blogging, pundits are predicting that video blogging (vlogging) could be one of the Next Big Things to hit the web, with a new audience tuning into alternative on-demand services, like a sort of alternative TiVo online. The idea must be good, their servers appear a little slow

Interview With JD Lasica, Co-Founder,

During our preparation of our news piece on the launch of OurMedia today, we had a quick chat with JD Lasica, that we thought you might like to see. It gives a glimpse of the future for Ourmedia.

Ourmedia Launches Community Site For Podcasters And Vloggers DL: Is the site entirely bankrolled by Brewster Kahle (The Internet Archive) or are there plans to raise revenue through advertising/affiliate programs etc?

JD Lasica: The Internet Archive is providing free storage and bandwidth, and that won’t change. We’re also getting subsidized hosting from Bryght (a Drupal site), and Marc Canter’s Broadband Mechanics has kicked in some dough to pay for some programmers in New Delhi to get us across the finish line. Other than that, it’s been an entirely open source effort.

We plan to meet soon with some foundations. An infusion of grant monies would go a long way toward taking us to the next level. We have a very long road map of features and improvements we’re planning.

Marc and I are still discussing revenue models. We won’t clutter up the site with banner ads. But we are open to the prospect of corporate sponsors in addition to foundation underwriters. It certainly seems that the kinds of digital creativity we’re helping to enable would attract a wide swath of companies involved with helping consumers create personal media.

DL: Sadly, I imagine that scammers, spammers, porn merchants and ne’er do wells will be attracted to this venture like a moth to a flame. What measures have you in place to keep these undesirables at bay – or will the site remain a free-for-all with no censorship (past legal necessities)?

JD Lasica: It won’t be a free for all. We have a good-sized team of moderators around the world (including Britain) who will be watching everything that’s published on the site. The two big rules are: no porn and no copyrighted material (unless it falls within the scope of what we Yanks call fair use).

We won’t be the censorship police, so we expect a wide range of media that won’t be to everyone’s tastes. For those who violate our site rules, we’ll be relying on our team of volunteer moderators to shut them down, much as Wikipedia does.

DL: What measures have you taken in case of copyright disputes?

JD Lasica: Our site rules spell out the steps a copyright owner should take if he or she believes their copyright has been infringed. We respect U.S. copyright laws, so you won’t see Metallica mp3s winding up here — unless Lars himself uploads them.

DL: Is there a long term plan as such, or are you going to ‘go with flow’ and see where the venture takes you?

JD Lasica: We have a long road map of immediate features, functionalities and fixes that need addressing, and a longer-term plan for versions 2 and 3, which will incorporate more social networking functions, ratings, improved search, and so on.

DL: You mention that you will be getting involved with P2P – are there any other technologies up your sleeve?

JD Lasica: We’ll be looking at BitTorrent right away. I’m attaching a press release about some of the other things we’re doing.

One interesting item that will be rolling out soon: We’ll be working with Jon Udell and Doug Kaye to devise a standard for what we’re calling a media clipping service. Users will be able to cite a particular portion of a video or audio clip (a 2-minute dialogue that falls in the middle) rather than just point to the entire clip.

Here’s our version 2 roadmap as of this moment:

DL: Thanks for sparing us time when you must be busy.

JD Lasica is co-founder of, author of “Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation” (May 2005) and Senior editor of the Online Journalism Review.

He also writes the following blogs:

Video/TV Search Beta Launched By Google And Yahoo!

Google VideoGoogle has added another product to its long list of extended beta services. Google Video is a TV video-search service that searches the closed captioning content of television programs – from major American TV content providers including PBS, the NBA, Fox News, and C-SPAN, among others – to return still photos and a text excerpt at the point where the search phrase was spoken.

Google Video also; displays a preview page of up to five still video images and five short text segments from the closed captioning of each programme; lists when a particular programme will next be aired in a given area (US only); and allows for searches within a particular show.

Transcripts are available, but not video clips. This service is another milestone as it broadens the company’s strategy of expanding search to information on and off the Web, and it takes it into a market where more advanced services have been available for years.

“What Google did for the Web, Google Video aims to do for television,” said Larry Page, Google co-founder. “This preview release demonstrates how searching television can work today. Users can search the content of TV programmes for anything, see relevant thumbnails, and discover where and when to watch matching television programmes. We are working with content owners to improve this service by providing additional enhancements such as playback.”

Not to be outdone, US-based rival Yahoo! has also launched a video search link on its home page. The Yahoo! service searches and returns actual video clips for playback, but does not offer transcripts. Google and Yahoo!’s video searches are interesting launches, but they do not match those of video search services currently available on the Web. Examples include and SpeechBot from Hewlett-Packard, which uses speech-recognition in its search, and ShadowTV, which offers a paid business service. Nevertheless, when a leading search engine company enters a new market, we all know something big is going to happen.

Google Video

BBC Creative Archive: Pilot to Start in 2005

More details of the BBC’s Creative Archive were revealed at an Royal Television Society, London Centre meeting last night when Paula Le Dieu gave a presentation on the project’s background and recent developments. Following this, an hour-long discussion, chaired by Digital Lifestyles’s own Simon Perry, explored further details [MP3 recording ~14Mb].

Paula is co-director of the Creative Archive (CA), a project to make BBC archived audio and video media available to the UK public so that they can download it and make creative works based upon it.

The BBC is taking this extraordinary step as they believe it will help them give more value to the licence fee payers – one of their core values.

Paula told us that one of the inspirations for the move was the BBC Micro. Released in 1982, the BBC Micro was an open hardware and software platform that ignited public interest and in no small way contributed to the UK’s hugely popular computing and games scenes. Indeed, by encouraging owners to use the BBC Micro platform in whatever way they wished, it helped many people take their first steps into the digital age and helped shape the industry as it stands today. A game of Elite, anyone?

Since then, we’ve seen the rapid growth of the Internet, and this has encouraged users to share content around the world – and the more material that people share, the more there is for them to draw inspiration from.

The BBC, slow on the uptake, came to the realisation that opening up their archive would allow them to present significant value to their public – enabling them to listen, watch, download, share and use materials in any way they wish, under an non-restrictive licence.

The remit of the Creative Archive has changed since the BBC’s previous Director General, Greg Dyke, left – Mark Thompson, the new DG, is completely behind the project and wants to include full programmes from the BBC’s huge media library. Give that some of the material that may be released has not seen the light of day since broadcast, it’s an exciting opportunity to give new life to content that has been sitting on shelves gathering dust for years. The BBC’s archive contains some 1.5 million items of television, equating to 600,000 hours of television – or put another way, 68 years of consecutive viewing. In addition to this is 500,000 audio recordings.

Obviously, that’s a lot of bandwidth – and the more popular the Creative Archive becomes, the more expensive it will be to distribute it. Consequently, the BBC is looking at peer-to-peer (P2P) methods of distribution, so that the public become not just their creative partners, but distribution partners also. The Corporation is also looking to the public for help in metatagging the content, after all people need to find what they need and know what they are looking for. Users of the content will be invited to tag content, and communities of interest will be sought out for their expertise on particular subjects. Paula gave an example of the Archaeological Society, who have already, of their own volition,  tagged and catalogued all of the BBC’s archaeological output before the Creative Archive was even announced. Layers of metadata will be encouraged, so that content will be searchable in many different ways – for example, actors present, type of canned laughter – even types of shoes worn in a scene, and each layer will be open to peer review.

We feel this layering of metadata is of huge importance, an idea we have been putting to media owners for a long time. We feel the addition of descriptive metadata will be added to time-coded media with or without the owner blessing – it enables the viewing public to add their knowledge and experience, without limit of depth. It’s very encouraging to find that the BBC is to include this in CA.

New ways of using and accessing material require new licences. The Creative Archive team have looked at a number of alternative licences, and intent to distribute the content under terms based on the well-established Creative Commons (CC) Licence. Key requirements of content users will be that they properly credit the source and creators of the original materials, and that the new work they have produced inherits the same CC licence. All derivative works have to be non-commercial in nature – but of course a new licence can be sought for commercial use if required.

One aspect of the licence that needs work is a requirement that content is not distributed out of the UK. It is far from clear as to how this would be enforceable – web sites can be accessed from around the world, and one file downloaded from a P2P network may be assembled in blocks from a dozen countries. Any clip of interest to anyone will certainly be distributed worldwide within seconds of it becoming available. The provision has been built in because the UK licence fee is paying for the project, but it shows that the BBC is trying to tackle the new distribution problems that the digital age brings.

Because of content licensing within the BBC and the source of much of the materials in the archive, the Creative Archive’s material will be started off with natural history content – music clearance and artist’s rights will have to be tackled later before the rest of the archive is put online.

Andrew Chowns of the Producers Rights Agency raised the question of derogatory  treatment of works from the CA. Depending on the content within the CA this could become a problem. Nothing spreads faster than a Friday afternoon joke video clip, and the Creative Archive will no doubt contain many items that regulars to b3ta and similar sites might find too tempting not to load into Premier and misuse. Again, this is an aspect that they will need to work on.

To enable the public to use the content, it will not be distributed with a digital rights management scheme and will be available in a number of formats, probably two proprietary and one open. Le Dieu described DRM as an envelope with a transparent window that only allowed you to see part of the content, without getting access to it.

She also stressed that the Creative Archive is not just about the BBC – they want other content providers and broadcasters to get involved, and want to share what they have learned, and have still to learn, with them. The whole project is very much a learning exercise for the Corporation – scary and exciting in equal measures.

The Creative Archive know that they have a lot of areas that need to be explored and developed and are looking for ways to involve the public in the project. Although there is no fixed start date, a 18-month to two year pilot will begin in 2005. It will not be restricted in the number of people who can access it, only in the amount of material that will be available.

The CA will not be producing a software platform or editing tools as they feel there are already plenty of free and cheap solutions out there. They may however produce an environment for the public to showcase works they have produced using CA content, much like those around Video Nation and One Minute Movies.

The Creative Archive is certainly an exciting project – an experiment in alternative licensing, another legal application for P2P networks and a chance for the UK public to get their hands on some fascinating and important archive materials. As a vehicle for learning about content distribution and consumption in the digital age, we can’t think of a better example.

MP3 recording of the Creative Archive Q&A ~14Mb
BBC Creative Archive
Royal Television Society – London Centre
Producers Rights Agency UPDATE: James Governor’s write up