Join us at Lunch 2.0, September 12 at Hitachi Data Systems in SJ

If you’re in Silicon Valley, this should be a more manageable and geeky event than last Friday’s big TechCrunch party. Hope to see you there.

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Photo walking with Thomas Hawk

I’m spending the evening with Thomas Hawk learning about the photo world. He’s one of the most talented photographers I’ve seen, so wanted to follow him around as he took photos. Tonight we spent a few hours underneath the Golden Gate bridge. He’ll have some of the photos up later.

He’s the kind of evangelist I hoped I would be: an authority on everything photo. Including all of his competitors like Flickr, Picasa, Smug Mug, Riya, Tabblo, Vizrea, Web Shots, Photo Bucket, FotoLog, and others.

He works for Zooomr (three “o”s), but his regularly posts photos to Flickr and other sites. He knows, for instance, that photographers will get more traffic from Google Images than other image search sites (he tries to get his photos listed on them all).

We started talking about Zooomr, which is developed by a single person (Kristopher Tate)¬†and I asked him why he joined up with Kristopher. The answer: because Kristopher added a feature (trackbacks) in one hour when other photo sharing sites wouldn’t do it after months of begging (they still don’t have trackbacks).

Their latest feature? Photo portal notes. Coming tomorrow. Thomas tells me that feature didn’t exist on any planning board before last Friday (Kristopher thought it up on the way to the TechCrunch party last Friday).

Anyway, Thomas told me that he knows developers at all the photo sharing sites and that they tell him that their main problems are keeping up with the huge increases in traffic (doubling small numbers isn’t that hard to keep up with, but when you double millions of users that’s a HUGE problem to work around).

So, it’s very easy right now for Kristopher to add new features, but he hasn’t hit that scaling wall that’ll keep him busy adding servers and building a team to deal with data centers.

Anyway, thanks Thomas for the great photo walk and an insight into your creative process.

SlingMedia has new wireless competition

I love my Sling Media box. It lets me watch my TV anywhere in the world. So, when Monsoon Multimedia’s Mark Rouchonik, director of IT, called me up and said that I had to see their new HAVA box.

So, I’m sitting here with Mark and Colin Stiles and this thing is very cool.

First, unlike Sling, it doesn’t need to be hooked directly up to your access point via Ethernet. You just need an 802.11g wireless network.

Second, if you’re on your home network the quality is a lot better than my Sling is. A large percentage of the time I’m using Sling I’m just sitting on the couch watching something different than Maryam is watching (hey, sometimes we don’t agree on the shows that we should watch. For instance, I can watch football while she watches old versions of Lost).

Third, it plugs into Microsoft’s Media Center. Which really rocks. Basically it fakes a tuner to Media Center (a large percentage of Media Center machines sold don’t have any tuners, if they have a HAVA box it will extend TV into those machines anywhere in the home that wifi reaches). I’m going to use this on my new Media Center that’ll be in my office upstairs while my satellite TV tuners will be downstairs.

Cost? $249 (there’s a $50 rebate right now until the end of the month). Only available on the Web right now, in retail in US in September, elsewhere around the world like Asia and Europe by the end of the year.

You hook your settop box (TV system) or, really, any video source like a DVD player, into the back. As long as you have an 802.11g network (must be “G”, not just the older “B”) it’ll work fine. You load some software on each client to view the video. Windows only today, but they are working on Macintosh versions. They are also working on mobile versions for Windows Mobile and Symbian (due around September).

Anyway, very cool device. I’m going to get one to compare more fully to my SlingMedia box, but the comparisons I’m seeing here look pretty damn good!