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Who will win TechCrunch 40?

Part of the fun of the next two days will be seeing who’ll win the $50,000 at TechCrunch 40, which starts in a few hours here in San Francisco.

I’ve asked a few of my friends and the early hype goes to Cubic Telecom, a company from Ireland headed by Pat Phelan. Several of my friends say that they are the ones to watch — their demo is on Tuesday (makes international calling, and traveling with a cell phone overseas, better than before, my friends say). Formerly known as “Roam4free.”

The problem is no one who has seen all these companies’ new offerings is talking (the companies are under strict embargoes not to show anyone their stuff outside of NDA land), so we’ve gotta do some triangulation to figure out who’ll be the best (which also makes this, at best, an educated guess at what will win).

Why try to pick a winner before you know? Well, that gives you some context. You go check out the company that’s getting the early hype from your friends (they usually are right, by the way) then you compare everyone else to that company. If you find a company that’s better than that one you have a story.

So, how about it — which company is better than Cubic Telecom?

Oh, and I love that the early favorite doesn’t come from Silicon Valley. I bet if Cubic Telecom wins Ireland’s best tech blogger, Tom Raftery, will have a big party.

From TechCrunch’s backyard: new BlogTalkRadio launches

I’ve given up trying to compete with Mike Arrington. Instead I learned it’s easier just to hang out in his house and interview companies. Seriously. Here’s an interview I did there with BlogTalkRadio’s CEO, Alan Levy.

They just launched a bunch of new features and he tells me the inside scoop.

What’s funny is that Dave Winer called me in the middle of this interview (he had no idea I was doing it). That added some levity because Dave Winer worked with BlogTalkRadio to build TwitterGram.

[podtech content= &totalTime=1658000&breadcrumb=7f9bf01b62614a7c87e2864d6232fad0]

TechCrunch 40 list…

Paul Boutin is a journalist I’ve been following for some time. He’s very credible. Got this list of the TechCrunch 40 finalists by looking at the banners hanging around the Palace Hotel. I’ve visited all their sites, but many aren’t up yet. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see who will win the $50,000.

It’s interesting that the best news is flowing over on Twitter. It’s far faster than TechMeme, which doesn’t have anything yet about TechCrunch 40.

Two days of Milan — his first Twittergram story — BlogTalk Radio

Milan's first Twittergram

I just uploaded the best of my photos from the past couple of days.

You might have missed it, but when he was first born I recorded a Twittergram that announced his birth to the world. This photo tells the story and has a link to Milan’s first Twittergram. I used a cell phone to call the Twittergram service and when I hung up the phone the Twittergram and recording was sent instantly to my Twitter account. I’ve demoed this on stage several times and each time someone comes up to me afterward and says “that’s amazing.”

Twittergram is a service hosted by BlogTalk Radio and invented by Dave Winer. I have a video with BlogTalk’s CEO coming later tonight because they are shipping a bunch of new features tomorrow at TechCrunch 40. Come back shortly after 9 p.m. tonight.

I’ve had so many people tell me how touched they were by hearing Milan cry. Even family members who never would have gotten to hear his first cry have said how neat that is. I’ve listened to it a dozen times and I find it one of my favorite pieces of media that I’ve created. Something about the first cry that just gets your attention. It’s different than any cry that’s come since.

All you do is set up your account with your cell phone number. Then you call the TwitterGram number and it records up to 30 seconds of audio and puts the audio on Twitter — literally instantly. It’s great for sending audio to your friends on Twitter, or getting a short recording up on the Internet as an MP3 file.

Another service that does something similar is Except Jott doesn’t send the audio to Twitter. It sends the audio to India, where it’s transcribed to text, and then sent back to Twitter (or your blog, or your email, among other places). I wonder how they would have transcribed this? Waaaaaa. Waaaaaaa. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Waaaaaaa. :-)