Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Secure external hard drive from RadTech

Radtechimpactenclosure_2
Via Powerpage.org:

RadTech has released a new and unique hard drive enclosure: the Impact Hard Disk Drive Enclosure w/64-bit Encryption.

The Impact enclosure looks like any other HDD until you notice a funny looking FireWire 400 port on the backplane. That’s where you connect the Impact’s unique 64-bit hardware key. When it’s plugged in, you can access that hard drive as expected. When the key isn’t present, the drive simply won’t mount.

The Enova X-Wall engine provides real-time, hardware-based encryption and decryption. X-Wall shuttles encrypted data as fast as a standard enclosure. Unlike easily circumvented and platform dependent software-based encryption, Impact enclosures strong encrypt (DES) every bit and byte on the hard drive. The included Secure Token is a physical key which must be present to read from, or write to the drive. Without the secure key, the drive and its data are rendered useless and unreadable – 2 keys are included with each enclosure.

Filed under: Apple Computer

Searching for a new SearchFox

Searchfoxlogo
I was heart-broken when SearchFox closed down last month. I’ve been searching in vain for a new "intelligent" RSS reader. So far I’ve signed up for Findory, Attensa and Personal Bee. None of them seem to be as good as SearchFox was. Does anyone have any better suggestions to cope with RSS information overload?

Also, if you are UK-based, developing a product in in this space and looking for seed funding, send me an email (techbytes at mac dot com).

Filed under: Software, Technology, Venture Capital

Amazon drops the DVD ball

Amazonlist
Take a peek at my wait list to the left- the ratio of "Short Wait" far outstrips the "Now" availability. I’ve been using Amazon.co.uk’s DVD rental service for the past 4 months, and frankly, it sucks. The "Short Wait" doesn’t really mean anything at all…

The service itself is fine and the pricepoint fits my DVD watching style- but DVD availability is absolutely awful. I waited 2 months for the 1st DVD of Battlestar Galactica. I finally bought it from the iTunes store because it was taking so long. As a result, I’m switching to Blockbuster’s service for a few weeks, we’ll see how that goes.

Amazon is a great brand, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors with such a poor service. The DVD rental isn’t available in the USA- I wonder if this is a sort of "public beta".

Filed under: Other

FON- the next Spanish success story?

Logofon
I’m really glad to see the FON funding story all over the web. It looks like FON could be the next Spanish Technology success story. Having worked in early stage companies and early stage venture capital in Spain, people are continually amazed that there are good companies coming out of Spain. They are few and far between, but when Spanish start ups are good, they are *very* good.

I think it’s telling that the funding sources were non-Spanish, however. I’ve recently been helping Spanish entrepreneurs find funding here in London because of the scarcity of seed and early stage funding in sunny Spain.

Even though FON only has 3,000 users and is pre-revenue, Martin Varsavsky’s track record goes a long way towards successfully raising $21 million at that stage of development.

And Martin, if you hit this one out of the park, I hope you’ll set up a seed/early stage fund to back the next generation of Spanish sucess stories…

Filed under: Technology, Venture Capital

Coldplay Video Album- Innovating around the edges [Updated]

Screenshot_1
Apple has posted the Coldplay concert from Austin City Limits as a Video Album on iTunes. Price for the concert? $9.99

I think this type of content is what’s really compelling about the video pod. If you were to buy the live album, it would cost $9.99 anyway- and as a plus you get the video footage as well. This is a product that would have never attracted me as a physical product, i.e. buying a Coldplay DVD of this concert. However, as iPod content, it really grabs me. It plays on the iPod the same whether you watch the videos or just listen to it- it all depends on which menu you select.

This type of new product innovation is what’s going to drive video pod sales and cement the iPod and iTunes (iContent?) as the defacto place to get your entertaiment.

My  only gripe is watching the concert on my iMac is less than spectacular. Apple should offer a higer-res version- afterall, those 100GB ipods are just around the corner…

[Update]

I realized there’s one small issue with enjoying my Coldplay concert- I have to listen to it through my iMac’s speakers, not through my stereo via Airport Express. A quick search through Apple’s support pages revealed:

If you’re listening to music on remote speakers via AirTunes, and you then play a movie (.mov, .mp4, .m4v) or MIDI file in iTunes, the audio will play through your computer’s speaker’s instead of through the remote speakers.

Pretty lame. Even more so considering Front Row’s potential. Hopefully this will be sorted out soon. In the meantime, Airfoil provides a work around.

Filed under: iPod

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