Is Yahoo becoming a social services giant?

As usual, there’s tons of great stuff over at Micropersuasion (is that the laziest post intro ever?), including this long, descriptive post about Yahoo’s new 360 mega-social networking service.

Apparently, 360 will combo blogs, profiles, photos, and more into one uber-service, which goes public March 29th. Related item: as part of yesterday’s Remaindered Links feed, Jason Kottke tossed out this bone regarding some recent Yahoo! aquisition rumors:

Looks like Yahoo! has created its own version of Livejournal (blogs + social networking)…Flickr will fit into this nicely. ; )

Going up iRiver

A gadget coincidence: Recently, I’ve been searching for a portable media player to replace the Toshiba SD-P1400 portable DVD/CD player I gave to my wife for Christmas. The Toshiba never worked- either the audio would cut out or the video would- and after a test run spent lugging it around in its case nearly the size of my laptop bag, it became clear quite quickly that it wasn’t the product for us.

To replace the Toshiba, we’ve abadoned the hope of more portable video for under $500 (this has been tempting though) and instead have refocused our search towards a portable MP3 player with tons of space. Our strong aversion to the cult of Apple and a desire not to pay a premium price for a massively over-hyped product meant that even from the beginning, the iPod has never been our leading choice.

After a relatively fruitless search (there is a big low-end market), this revelatory post led me to the H-series MP3 players made by iRiver.

The price is right, the feature set is impressive, the battery life is excellent, and…well, what more do you need? Usually, all that’s left is a deal-clincher: that extra feature or selling point that turns you from shopper into buyer.

After checking out iRiver’s H-Series, I think we’ve finally come to our decision: the iRiver H320, an MP3/WMA player with a 20GB hardrive, onboard FM tuner, voice recorder, image browser, and much more.

And our deal-clincher? It came from this post on Instapundit, which I noticed just a few minutes after narrowing the field down to the H-320. An emailer tells Glenn:

A few weeks ago you mentioned the iRiver H320 as an alternative to the iPod. This was new to me, but I investigated and now own two! It has a first-class screen, excellent sound, good form-factor, and even plays videos made from ripped DVDs. Another bonus–I don’t have to support the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field.

I am finding the ability to play many codecs very valuable, especially OGG Vorbis, which seems superior for spoken word material. For music, I generally use WMA.

Hmm…the fact that the product is outstanding by itself almost makes the ripped DVDs claim too good to be true. But let’s assume for a second that for less than $300, I can get a media player with tons of space, long battery life, wide format coverage, FM tuner, image browser, and voice recorder…that plays my ripped DVDs?

What is Apple’s answer to that? A Rolling Stones-branded Mini Mac?

NY Post keeps highly unpopular IntelliTXT service afloat

AdJab’s Tom Biro (subject of an NL Interview last week) is reporting that the New York Post is the latest publisher to adopt the highly unpopular “contextual” adversiting service IntelliTXT.

In its extremely questionable push to mix advertising and editorial content, IntelliTXT links certain keywords in an article with related advertising that displays in a when you hover over the link (see the image at left for an ironic example of the IntelliTXT link).

The IntelliTXT service has come under serious scrutiny within the blogosphere in the past (see Tom’s AdJab post for some great links), and the service suffered a major blow last year when Forbes.com dropped it. Now that it’s back, some interesting questions have resurfaced:

1) Does the general public care as much about contextual advertising as bloggers? (My guess on this one is yes- but it just takes them a bit longer to become aware of it.)

2) Can ad advertising model like IntelliTXT survive despite an avalanche of negative feedback? (My guess on this one is a big no.)

Kottke is blogging full-time “for blogging’s sake”

Jason Kottke, one of the web’s earliest and still most influental bloggers, announced today (on his own site, of course) that he’s quit his job and is now blogging full-time. Not for a professional site, mind you, or a niche site- but rather, his own personal, any-topic-goes weblog. It’s a pretty bold and exciting move that should have the community buzzing for a few days.

Always out there with unconvential ideas, Kottke is foregoing any kind of advertising-supported or subscription-based model and instead opting to ask his readers for voluntary donations.

Because Kottke is a much-loved and widely-read blogger, I predict that his voluntary donation model will work quite well, especially at the outset. But as community-minded and utopian as the idea is, I’m not sure how well it would work for much of the long tail. I’ll have more thoughts on this later on as I think it over.

I donated $35 to the cause, in part because I’ve been reading his site for about four years or so, and also because I hope that a move like this by a long-time “spokesperson” for weblogging will help to stir ongoing discussion around the issue of financially-sustainable blogging.