Welcome back to RafeNeedleman.com

BOL-logo On Monday, May 17, 2010, I'll be starting as the daily co-host of CNET's Buzz Out Loud podcast (Live every weekday at 10:30 am Pacific) with Molly Wood and producer Jason Howell, now that Tom Merritt is leaving the show to go to TWiT. I guess I'd better start updating this personal blog again.

There are my other projects:


Reporters' Roundtable
, a weekly podcast on a single tech topic each time, with people I like talking with. This is my pet solo project.

CNET to the Rescue, a blog (and as of this week, a podcast) to help tech consumers get the most out of their gear.


Webware
, which I started in 2006 and still occasionally contribute to.


Rafe's Radar
, where almost all of my CNET stuff shows up.

And finally, Pro PR Tips, my blog (and book!) for PR people. Nothing but love, PR folks.

Follow me on Twitter: @Rafe

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Visit me at CNET

Alpha
I haven’t blogged much here lately because I have been covering new startups and technologies a lot for the CNET Alpha Blog. The latest three companies I’ve covered are MusicIP (music discovery), ScanR (document management for cellphones), and Mozes (tag the world with SMS codes). You can see these and more at this link: Rafe’s Alpha Blog posts. I write there daily. Check it out if you are so inclined. And send me pitches for companies to cover!

PC Forum startups

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I saw a bunch of cool startups at PC Forum. My fave was SpotRunner. Just a brilliant business idea: Resell leftover TV advertising spots to local small businesses. 

I had to reverse my initial opinion on Bitty Browser. I went from perplexed to "this has potential."

Most eagerly-awaited launch: the photo search service Riya. I saw this company at Demo, too. See video. Still waiting to get my hands on the beta!

All my writeups are on the CNET Alpha Blog. There is complete coverage on CNET News.com.

Peerflix for books

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If you like the peer-to-peer DVD trading system that Peerflix has set up (which I covered in a column, Building the Cashless Economy), and want to see if the model can apply to other types of goods, check out Bookins, the P2P exchange system for books. Just like Peerflix, Bookins lets consumer extract value from goods that are no longer wanted.

Personally, I think trading DVDs is a better bet: DVDs are much cheaper and faster to ship; there is a smaller universe of titles; and, as my wife says, handling somebody’s used DVD isn’t as "icky" as a used book can be.  Plus, Bookins charges $3.99 per trade, vs. Peerflix’s $0.99.

On the plus side, Bookins’ $3.99 charge does include postage, which prints on the shipping label (cool). And since this bar-coded postage is tracked by the Postal Service, users don’t have to tell the system when they mail a book; as soon as it hits the post office, Bookins knows.

So now we have Peerflix, a DVD-to-DVD trading system, and Bookins, a book-to-book trading system. It begs the question: Why can’t we exchange DVDs for books? Or books for PlayStation games? Or games for pots and pans? And how far can trading systems go before they have to adopt some universally-accepted medium for value exchange? Oh, wait, we already have that. It’s called money.