I hate platform wars

Hulu Plus on Roku.I hate them. Hate them hate them hate them. News broke this week that Hulu would be launching on Roku streaming devices, as well as TiVo premiere. It’s only Hulu Plus, for now, but the whole world is crying out against AppleTV as a result.

I think they’re right, too. AppleTV doesn’t have nearly enough options to merit spending money on. It’s a gamble right now, and unless you’re confident in your cracking skills and have a lot of your own video to stream, AppleTV just doesn’t make sense. EXCEPT…

That it’s the best looking software out there and the growth potential is huge. Unfortunately, Apple could pull together the support for launch, mostly because networks didn’t want to go down to $.99 rentals (but most networks show for free online – seriously, just give me free streaming already). Apple launched, thinking success would change some opinions, but with the market the way it is, there might not be massive support behind Apple, which means we get to watch the streaming marketplace splinter, just like Blu-ray/HD-DVD, and hope that whoever we picked wins out in the end. I realize this is kinda the point of capitalism, but I want to make my choice based on how good the product is, not who managed to buddy up with the owner of Hulu over the weekend.


The Photoshop photobomb tool from College Humor

If you’ve ever seen a Photoshop tutorial video, you know the program can often look a lot like magic. Well, this video offers you a different kind of magic. The magic that allows you to photobomb your friends and family with ease. If you don’t know, photobombing is the practice of ruining a photo by appearing in the background, typically doing something distracting. As you can guess, that often means something crude, so this video isn’t quite safe for work, unless, like me, you work from home.


Official Google Voice app might already be approved

Google Voice logo.It’s been more than a year since Apple pulled the original Google Voice app from the App Store, claiming that the product “duplicated existing functionality.” Some third-party GV apps have since made their way to the App Store, thanks in part to Apple’s decision to release app guidelines to the public. If TechCrunch is right, it sounds like the official Google Voice app may already be approved, marking the triumphant return of one of the most anticipated applications to the iPhone.

Here’s what TC had to say:

The App Store review office at 1 Infinite Loop has officially frozen over: we’ve gotten word that the official Google Voice application is on its way to the iPhone in the next few weeks. In fact, we’ve heard from a source close to Google that it’s already been approved — Google just needs to revamp the application to work with the iPhone 4 and iOS’s multitasking capabilities. If you’re a Google Voice user and you’re on an iPhone, this is great news.

No word from Google, but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time.


Instapaper is officially a startup


Marco Arment, the CTO at Tumblr, has been working a personal project for a while that you might know about. I’ve been using Instapaper on and off for a couple months, but I never seem to remember why I go on streaks of abstinence. The service is the best method I’ve found for storing links and reading them across multiple devices.

Arment is officially taking Instapaper from a personal hobby to a startup. Arment has 800,000 users registered to his service, with 200,000 regular users. Arment is self-financing the startup by himself.

“It’s all self-funded so far and has been for the first six months of the service. My only costs are my time, server fees and paying the contractor for some Web work.”

As for the future of the product, Arment is looking at developing an HTML5 version that could be supported across all mobile platforms into the future.


U.S. Netflix subscribers may get a streaming-only plan

Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings speaks during the launch of streaming internet subscription service for movies and TV shows to TVs and computers in Canada at a news conference in Toronto September 22, 2010. The Canadian introduction marks the first availability of the Netflix service outside of the United States.  REUTERS/ Mike Cassese  (CANADA - Tags: MEDIA BUSINESS)

Netflix has been going through a bit of a rough patch with regards to PR. First there were the actors, paid to look excited about the service’s Canadian launch, and then Reed Hastings made an “awkward joke” when asked if he thought there would be an American backlash about the lower subscription prices.

How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It’s something we’ll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.

Hastings did do something a little out of character the other day when he hinted at a streaming-only option for US customers in a recent blog post.