Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

28 Sep 2010 10:54


Tech: Kindle for the Web: Amazon figures out how to turn e-books into embeds

  • Hey, it’s like Hulu! This impressive little embed right here brings the joy of reading to a blog near you, and works as a great form of advertising. Amazon has proven time and time again that while they sell the Kindle, they’re really platform-agnostic. They just want readerssource

15 Aug 2010 23:11


Tech: Embracing the future: A quick note on our YouTube embeds

  • As you may or may not know, YouTube’s embeds have traditionally used Flash. It’s a big, clunky beast that isn’t really made for the future. It’s not particularly sleek. But, fortunately, Google has a plan for all that. A few weeks ago, they launched these new YouTube embeds that can automatically adapt to the browser, whether it supports HTML5 or Flash. Plus, it’s an iFrame format (and way cleaner than the old style), so, it loads independently of the page. We’re trying them out for now. Please let us know what you think. source

30 May 2010 15:52


Music, Tech: RIP An obituary to the best online music service ever

  • It was the first truly social music service. While Lala took a little while to get its footing, when it finally did, it was nothing short of magical. With Apple’s purchase of the service back in December, we knew this day was coming, but May 31st will still be a sad day for a lot of music fans like us. Here are some reasons we’ll miss Lala but will remain hopeful about its future as part of iTunes.

A quick history of Lala

  • 2006 Lala launches as an easy way to trade CDs, similar to Netflix in some ways.
  • 2007 Lala adds a free, on-demand way of listening to music. It doesn’t work at all.
  • 2008 The company finally nails its most popular form, a 10¢ cloud music model.
  • 2009 The company runs out of cash and sells itself to Apple for around $20 million.
  • 2010 Apple shuts down the site, possibly to launch a similar iTunes version. NO! *sob*

What Lala had that nobody else did

  • Simple, cheap options With songs available for a mere ten cents a piece and completely free to listen to once, it created a low barrier of entry that encouraged new listening habits.
  • Easy sharing You could put a Lala embed on your site and share music with other people, legally and free; a number of sites took advantage of this model, from the AV Club to Pitchfork.
  • Cloud-based freedom You could put your entire library on the site and listen anywhere. Sadly, Lala never got a chance to do what would’ve really made it a big hit – put it on the iPhone.

Why Lala got away with it

  • We said, ‘consumers shouldn’t have to worry about where their files are, they should be able to play their music.’ It’s actually a huge benefit for the labels, because once Lala knows the music that you listen to, it makes perfect sense to say, ‘hey, Wilco has a new album coming out.’
  • Lala CEO Bill Nguyen • About the benefits of the cloud music service to record companies. They were able to sell the model to them on the idea that they could provide information that might encourage future purchases. One thing that Nguyen noted is that when people were billed by the service, they bought one out of every five songs, most of which they found through discovery. On Lala, people weren’t simply listening to their collections. They were trying to find new songs. The model worked for eMusic already, but they broadened it.  source

So, what’s next, anyway?

  • Well, it could be the next iTunes. Or not. With the service’s recent acquisition by Apple, it’s entirely possible that they’ll take this model and completely make it theirs. Or they might ditch certain parts of it and focus exclusively on the cloud service. Lala was out of money by the end, so they couldn’t see the idea through. But Apple, as you might know, has a ton of money and clout to pull this idea off. Or they could stick with their walled garden approach. We’ll see.

Let’s remember how great it was, guys.

  • Post on Twitter about how much you’ll miss the little music locker that could, and we’ll reflect it here. Might as well, right? The tags #riplala or “” will work just fine. source

07 May 2010 10:49


U.S.: How much oil is currently leaking in the Gulf of Mexico, anyway?

  • use this really cool embed to find out all you need to know about the oil leak, just add numbers source

04 Dec 2009 23:22


Tech: UPDATE: Apple and Lala now getting married to each other

  • First a rumor, now a done deal. We posted about this two hours ago, and now it’s actually real. Apple, which has the pretty killer iPhone along with a music service which feels a little dated in the wake of services like Spotify and Lala, is ready to take on one of those startups. Lala’s cloud-based approach makes a ton of sense considering the iPhone app that the service has reportedly been working on for months. Lala’s super-embeddable approach (which we use) and Web-based interface also feel infinitely simpler compared to iTunes’ walled garden interface. We can’t wait. source