Roundup: AjaxWindows, Lemonade, MobiBucks, “racetrack” memory and more

Summary:
*AjaxWindows offers operating system in the browser
*IBM researcher says “racetrack memory” could unseat flash
*Noise reducing headset Jawbone wins backing from Sequoia
*Lemonade, latest company to offer online kiosks
*Adobe previews Photoshop Express
*MobiBucks, the latest start-up targeting mobile payments
*Scouta, offers personalized video and podcast recommendations

ajaxwindows.jpgAjaxWindows offers operating system in the browserMichael Robertson, creator of the SIPphone and the Gizmo Project, has unveiled something called ajaxWindows, which lets you do all your computing straight from your browser. It’s essentially a virtual PC, used from any browser on any Web-connected computer. He blogs about it here. His site has been pummeled with traffic, however, so we couldn’t sign up. He points to an online demo and video, which were also hard to reach this morning.

Basically, browsers are finally getting sophisticated, because of the inclusion of things like AJAX technology, which store more information. So AjaxWindows makes the browser work as both the operating system and engine for all your needed applications, Robertson says. AjaxWindows directs you to other online services for many of your needs, for example Gmail for storing email, documents and other file types. For example music files, it connects you with a MP3tunes locker. AjaxWindows automatically creates an MP3tunes account and guides you through the Gmail set up if you don’t have an account already. Similarly, it lets you handle bookmarks, contacts, wallpaper and other stuff. Now, much of this was already possible, of course, before AjaxWindows came along. You can use browsers to access most of these services anyway. We haven’t tried AjaxWindows yet, so we’re not certain how revolutionary this is. But if he can make it easier for the average user to get by without needing desktop files, the project may do well.

IBM researcher says “racetrack memory” could unseat flash — IBM researcher Stuart Parkin’s is working on a new form of memory, called “racetrack,” that may allow electronic devices to potentially hold 10 to 100 times more data in the same amount of space. People are looking for alternatives, because flash memory is slow at story data (NYT has story ).

Jawbone, the headset which shuts out background noise, gets backing from Sequoia — We last wrote about the expensive high-tech headset, when it raised $5 million from Khosla Ventures. Techcrunch says it has raised money from Sequoia capital. Here’s a good video showing how Jawbone works.

lemonade.jpgLemonade, lets users a way to make money from online kiosks — The South Norwalk, Conn. company lets people display ads for goods in widgets on their profile pages on Facebook or MySpace, and then lets them make money when people click on the goods and buy them. Lemonade, featured in the New York Times, lets users choose the goods from a catalog of 250 online retailers, including Zappos.com, iTunes and Walmart.com. However, the idea is not new. Companies like Buy.com’s Garage Sale, and Zlio (see our coverage), already do something similar. With Lemonade, the retailers pay commissions of 5 percent to 15 percent of the sale price. Lemonade will keep 20 percent of the commissions on behalf of people who create online kiosks, and pay users the rest of the money.

Warner Bros opens a Studio 2.0Details here.

Private equity firms are worse than mafia, when it comes to lack of transparency, says union boss in UK — Story here.

Adobe previews Photoshop Express — This is still secretive, but Adobe is apparently about to offer an online version of Adobe’s image editing software Photoshop. This is analogous to the move earlier this year, when Adobe offered Premiere Express, a free, Flash-based online video editor for creating mash-ups and remixes. More about the latest here. And here’s a screenshot of the app in action, which apparently shows how to adjust an image just by rolling over the different versions shown at the top, previewing the results & then clicking the desired degree of modification.

mobibucks-image.jpgMobiBucks, the latest start-up targeting mobile paymentsMobibucks, which launched in April, says it has signed up 115 retailers and 2,000 users in a program that lets people make payments by keying in their cell phone number and a PIN at a store register. The company is now looking for a VC round. Its selling point: MobiBucks charges 15 cents per transaction, about half the usual fee for a debit transaction. The Mountain View, Calf. company was founded last year by Jorge Fernandes, who earlier founded ViVoTech, a Santa Clara, Calif. company that makes devices to conduct credit and debit transactions. With PayPal, Google, Visa and Mastercard all moving into mobile e-commerce, along with other start-ups already active, this company is a long-shot — but then most start-ups are (Mercury News story here).

Scouta, offers personalized video and podcast recommendationsScouta is an Australian company offering a recommendation service based on what you bookmark in a “My Scouta” account, or what you listen to on iTunes, using the Scouta Agent.