It’s been weeks since the Ice Bucket challenge went viral and became mainstream, but it’s still showing no signs of slowing down with more and more celebrities as well as thousands of common folks gleefully dunking themselves in frigid water to raise awareness about ALS.
Now, Sapan Diwakar from Switzerland has created a nifty website which catalogues all celebrity Ice Bucket Challenge videos. The website already has almost three hundred videos featuring a wide spectrum of well-known personalities including presidents, tech innovators, sport stars, athletes, and Hollywood and Bollywood stars. You can scroll through the list, search for your favourite celebrity, or filter by tags. The website is responsive and works well in various form factors. There’s also an accompanying Android app for those wanting their dose of Ice Bucket Challenge videos on the go. However, the app is simply a repackaged version of the website and doesn’t offer any additional functionality.
The Ice Bucket challenge was initiated to raise awareness about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Over the past month, it has managed to raise over eighty million dollars towards fighting ALS. This is massive considering that only $2.6 million was donated last year between July 29 and August 26. Right now donations are averaging $9 million per day. If you haven’t already, head over to alsa.org to learn more about ALS and contribute.
Amazon has announced the launch of the Instant Video app for Xbox 360 that gives customers access to movies and TV episodes on their console. Xbox Live Gold members who also are subscribed to the Amazon Prime service can now access over 17,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon. If you don’t have the Amazon Prime subscription, you can purchase any streaming video content and watch it on your Xbox 360 console.
Download the Amazon Instant Video application from the Apps section of the Xbox dashboard. Once in the Amazon Instant Video application, sign in using your Amazon credentials and instantly watch the videos you want. While you can shop the Amazon Instant Video store from the web on a PC, Mac or tablet, you can’t do that from the console! Bummer, yes. Buying and renting movies directly on your Xbox 360 is not currently supported, although, anything you buy or rent will appear in Your Video Library on your Xbox 360.
The app includes a new Watchlist feature, similar to Netflix Queue, that lets you manage your queue and purchased content in a playlist from your computer. The app is Kinect-enabled, and you can use gesture or voice commands for the navigation through the app. Amazon’s WhisperSync feature that makes reading on Kindle devices and mobile/desktop apps seamless finds a neat, similar use in the app. You can start a video on one device and continue it from the same point on a second device like a Kindle Fire.
Xbox has become the center of entertainment offerings from Microsoft (Farewell Zune?). Microsoft has been building content partnerships progressively bringing the HBO Go app and Xfinity On Demand app to Xbox 360. The brand also enjoys a favorable buzz in the industry, unlike the often-messed up Windows Live or Zune, and the unification of entertainment options under the Xbox umbrella might just give Microsoft the right impetus for the next generation of Windows and Windows Phone.
Today’s Americas Got Talent in San Francisco was getting a tad boring, that it till a contestant named "Granny G" came in. She got a intro and was cute at it. And then she walked in for the audition on her walker and said that she wanted to "spread a message". Well, that definitely gets the boring senses up.
However, once the music hit, she probably sang the best rap song which definitely had a message. Kudos to the 80 year old Granny G who has a sense of music and also is young at heart.
Catch up a video of Granny G from the America’s Got Talent auditions in San Francisco today below.
ABC Nightline recently got the privilege to visit the Foxconn factory in China where Apple products are manufacture to create a report on the working conditions there. In the recent few weeks, Foxconn has been receiving a lot of bad publicity about poor working conditions for factory workers there.
Apple recently gave permissions to ABC Nightline show to investigate the working conditions at Foxconn. In this exclusive investigation ABC Nightline takes users around the factory and gives them an inside view.
Users can view the entire episode of ABC Nightline’s investigation; Nightline 2/21: Apple’s Chinese Factories: Exclusive. An exclusive look inside Apple’s factory in China by visiting this link. The video is almost 18 minutes in length.
There is also a YouTube link for the above video which you can check out in the video embedded below.
Many of your Facebook friends might be updating their status with videos or uploading new videos to their profiles everyday. However, there is no easy way to download the videos that your friends upload on Facebook to your PC.
Well, don’t worry. There is an easy and simple way to download Facebook videos too to your PC or Mac. Just follow the steps below to download a Facebook Video to your PC or Mac.
Step 1: Firstly, you will have to get the link of the Facebook Video. To do that, just right click on the name of the video and copy the link address. The menu items might be different for different browsers, but you have to click on the option which says “Copy Link Address” in all of them as shown above.
Step 2: Once you have copied the link, go to the website http://www.downfacebook.com/ and paste the video URL in the textbox provided and click on the “Download Video” button. Please note that Facebook has updated their URL and it looks something like http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=115607558525777 now and it should work on the Down Facebook website.
Step 3: Once you click on the button you might be prompted with a Java alert box as shown above, just click the “Run” button on the alert and you will see a link to download the video.
Step 4: To download the Facebook Video to your PC, Mac or Linux machine, just right click on the “Download Video in MP4″ link and select the “Save Linked Content As” from the options. That’s it, you can now save the downloaded Facebook Video on your PC and watch it whenever you want.
Heeeeeeere’s some fun news for you! YouTube’s Official Blog announced yesterday the official Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson channel. For those of you who may be to young, or have lived under a rock all your life, Johnny Carson was considered the king of late night TV. For 30 years his show dominated late night TV. His show was the platform that launched the careers of many of today’s stars. Most any late night host today will tell you of Johnny’s influence on their personal style.
The new YouTube channel plans to add new Carson clips each week. They are also taking requests from subscribers to their channel. When you go to the channel, make sure you take a look at Howie Mandell’s picks. He has hand picked some of his favorite videos to share with the community. He also shares some of his own personal memories of the show.
The timing of this announcement by YouTube is interesting, because Fox News also reported yesterday, in an article entitled “YouTube Joins Wal-Mart in Streaming Video“, that YouTube is in the final planning stages to offer a paid movie streaming service. According to the article, YouTube hopes to capitalize on the Android market’s success and offer it’s streaming video service hopefully before the end of the year. This seem like a natural transition for them and they certainly have the brand recognition to pull it off. Now one can only hope that this doesn’t negatively affect the YouTube service that so many of us already enjoy.
I love to have access to online video on as many devices as I can. I use the Netflix and Hulu apps on my iPad on a regular basis. So, when I heard that my favorite media center company was working on an iPad app, I got really excited. Now, Boxee has made that app a reality.
Boxee, the company behind the Boxee Box and very popular Boxee Software, has released their official iPad app. The app includes all of the great social features of Boxee, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr integration. It also comes with the ability to watch bookmarked videos on your iPad.
The new two features are what makes this app worth picking up. The first is the ability to stream media from your PC or Mac to your iPad. That means media that is saved on your hard drive, not media that is on the internet. You will need to be on the same Wi-FI network as the machine with the media.
The final feature that should get Boxee Box owners excited is the ability to Air Play to your Boxee Box. That’s right, Boxee has taken the ability to share content from your iPad to another device and given it to their own little media powerhouse.
Overall, this is a nice little update to the Boxee ecosystem. I do wish that it came equipped with the great suite of Boxee Apps, however. I don’t know if it was a licensing thing that kept those away, or if it was simply Boxee’s unwillingness to canibalize on their other offerings. Maybe apps will come in a future update. We will have to wait and see.
Apple on thursday updated the developer portal, uploading about 110 session videos, which were taken during its annual developer conference, WWDC 2011. Apple unveiled Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 during the event which are set to be released in this July and Fall respectively. Apple also introduced iCloud, its cloud based online data synchronization service along with other stuff during the event.
Apple has broken down sessions into these six categories:
Apple Platforms Kickoff
Graphics, Media, and Games
Internet and Web
The videos are available in both HD and SD formats for the Mac, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone or Apple TV. They can be downloaded from here. You will need a registered developer account and you will be able to download it(for free) in iTunes after logging in with your developer account. These videos would be really helpful to those developers who were not able to make it to the conference or those who missed some important sessions due to scheduling conflicts. Given the conference was sold out in 10 hours, there would be many developers who were waiting for this.
Apple reminds developers that all the material in the sessions remains under Apple’s confidential information NDA.
Reminder: The content presented within the session videos and slides is Apple Confidential Information and is subject to the Registered Apple Developer Agreement.
I have always advocated the use of royalty free codecs (first Ogg-Theora and then WebM) for the HTML5 <video> tag. The WebM movement has been slowly but surely gaining momentum since its inception. We have already seen almost all the the major desktop browser vendors (Google, Opera Software, Mozilla and Microsoft*) adopt Google’s open source and royalty free media format. Desktop media players like Winamp are beginning to embrace WebM. And, perhaps most crucially, chip makers like Intel are working to add WebM support at the hardware level.
One of the biggest challenges for WebM is the intellectual properties issue. It’s no secret that the patent system is seriously messed up. Some of the patents granted to the members of MPEG LA, the consortium that owns the patent pool for H.264, are so broad and ambiguous that it’s almost impossible to develop a media codec without violating them. Nevertheless, Google has maintained that WebM doesn’t infringe any existing patents, and is a clean and reliable royalty free alternative to H.264. A couple of months back, MPEG LA, the entity that stands to loose the most from the success of WebM, called upon its members to submit patents essential to the VP8 video codec specification, presumably in preparation of a patent infringement lawsuit..
With the threat of legal action looming, all the companies involved and interested in the growth of WebM have formed a cross-license initiative. It’s essentially a consortium that will freely share all patents related to WebM on a royalty free basis. Google was already working closely with Xiph (maintainers of the Ogg audio format) and Matroska (maintainers of the Matroska video container). Additionally, CCL includes the likes of AMD, LG, Mozilla, Opera Software, Samsung, and Texas instruments. The hope is that with the backing of these corporations, WebM will be able to tackle any legal challenge that it might have to face in the future.
*Internet Explorer 9 can play WebM videos provided that the required codecs have already been installed.
The Blackberry PlayBook; a 7 inch tablet from RIM will be out soon. The tablet was featured at the CTIA 2011 and I got a good chance to play around with the tablet.
I must say that I was pretty impressed with the tablet and definitely look forward to it’s release next week. The interface is fluid and smooth. I addition to that, the tablet is a multi-tasking powerhouse with live widgets that will continue to play in the back while you launch other applications.
For example, if you are playing a video and switch to another app, you can still view a live feed of it in the apps panel. The same goes for games, emails, and practically every app.
To know more about the feature take a look at the Blackberry PlayBook hands-on video I shot at CTIA 2011. Click here or here if you can’t watch the videos.