Today David pointed my attention on an article appeared this morning (well, for italians it’s last night :P ) on the AppleInsider about new ideas (patents) about electronic media distribution kiosks.
It’s not a new idea: some appeared even 10 years ago and nowadays internet kiosks with an USB port are quite common (not counting other kind of kiosks, like info points, picture printers, etc)

Briefly (go and read the full article, if you like), it’s a patent proposal addressing common problems of kiosks, applied on the media distribution (iTunes based).
I won’t go into the details of the patent (they have great ideas for sure), but it seems there’s too much effort for very little coming out of that. Let me explain…

First, kiosks never made it in the real world (if you need internet, you bring your netbook, BlackBerry ;-) or wathever it’s your mobile device), second if you planned to take a plane, it sounds quite unusual to put a movie on your player the minute before flying (hey, you planned that! It’s not a bus or the subway: get your media ready player while you’re filling your 24-hour bag :-D )

Second I don’t see why you need to access iTunes, but not to your mail. The opposite may be true: you access the (paying) airport WiFi for your mail and… “hey, what about this new song in iTunes”

So my mind kind of wanders and think: why pay thousands for a patent on kiosks, when you just need to re-program a common hot spot to get the thing done.

Project fonTunes

FonTunes Logo
copyright Mindsuburbian 2009 ;-)

  • Get a Fonera 2 for making hotspots
  • Connect an HD to the Fonera 2
  • Hack/reprogram the Fonera 2 for adding/editing functionalities
  • Write a new app with the developer kit that downloads movies and songs to the HD
  • Set up an authentication method so that you can encrypt the connection on the fly (for passwords and credit card info)
  • Let the non-paying users go only to “fonTunes” for free
  • Let the paying users go both to “fonTunes” and the internet

Steve, if you read this: I may sell my idea for the price of a couple of patents :-D

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I would like to add an update on my previous post about the shame on Ning.

Ning yesterday announced they are close to release Ning Apps: that is an interface to OpenSocial Apps for the hard to please Ning network-owners.

That is a very nice idea, which is exactly in line on what they announced when they disabled REST APIs in favour of OpenSocial.

Unfortunately, even if this is a great piece of news, I have to admit that, after a brief check they did not very much for the developer him/herself! :(

  • They made it possible to install OpenSocial pre-made apps like a charm
  • There is a new documentation page with a comprehensive and detailed example stack
  • Now there’s even a Ning specific method, to call general Ning variables (readonly)

Yes, they’re making a nice job implementing more OpenSocial features as possible, but well no, there is still no way to access all the Ning data (i.e. profiles data, custom answers) or any way to edit them.

The only “write” funcions are:

  • Write profile activities
  • Send a message to another member
  • Saving app-restricted persistent data

Something like a relief for Ning developers, but not that much after all.
You might be very enthusiastic if you’re getting all this for free, but I bet the paying network-owners are not that impressed after all :-P

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