2007: Record breaking M&A year

2007: Record breaking M&A year

One more quarter to go, and already 2007 has become a record breaking year for M&A deals - a total of $3.9 trillion, catching up with last year’s (2006) record total. WSJ has a very nice interactive graphic of the M&A activity.


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Irisize your pictures

irisize logVirtual Iris is a Santa Monica, California based company that is making pictures more interactive - and exciting.

ImageInteractive controls can be added to any picture so that viewers can zoom in and out of pictures, create 3D effects using a sequence of pictures, or create a compact gallery with a clever popup mouseover.

The Ajax/ Javascript website has Lightbox type features (Lightbox is a popular Javascript used to overlay images on web pages).

At the Virtual Iris website, pictures can be “Irisized” by uploading the images and going through a sequence of steps to place controls on the picture such as zoom, etc. Finally the picture can be “output”, which generates a snippet of code that the user can place on their blog, website or social networking site, such as Myspace.

The Irisize product can be useful for ecommerce merchants who want to maximize the number of product pictures they can show on a page, while providing a higher level of detail for each picture.

We could not get the zoom controls to work when we embedded the picture into our website, but we were able to get a pointer to the picture on the Irisize website. Click on the picture on the left to see the interactive photo with controls.

Virtual Iris is expected to present at the VentureNet Conference in Costa Mesa, on October 5th, 2007.

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Online video site Joost launches

Joost-1Joost, the streaming video site that has been getting a lot of buzz lately, officially launched today. The date came later than expected (earlier we reported the site would launch in June), but the previously invite-only Joost beta 1.0 is now open to the public.

Prior to today’s release into the wild, the site already had a sizable user base (over one million private sign ups), making it less likely to see a quick hockey stick movement in registered user numbers — although, in Web 2.0, we know anything can happen.

From presentation to functionality to content, Joost simulates a real television viewing experience. Unlike YouTube’s small viewing windows and search engine-esque layout, Joost defaults to a full screen viewing mode from within which users can access video controls and browse video “channels.” The company has made a few high-profile content deals: Joost secured a contract with Viacom in February to give the site access to shows from MTV, BET and Comedy Central. Other networks the company has licensing deals with are CBS, CNN, Major League Baseball and the NHL. However, while the quality of Joost’s content is above average, the quantity leaves something to be desired. After all, all of these licensing deals combined would only be the equivalent of having a TV with just 7 channels on it. While shows from these networks don’t make up all of the content found on Joost, the site doesn’t come close to having a library nearly as deep as YouTube’s. Joost needs to leverage their current momentum to solidify more broadcast agreements.

Joost’s founders are Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, previous creators of Kazaa and Skype, who received a portion of the $2.6 billion eBay-Skype acquisition that they used to fund development of the internet TV site. Joost runs on peer-to-peer technology (P2PTV) provided by the same company that developed Skypes’.

800Px-Joost 03-Blog Otf Myj


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