The Facebook environment on iOS for iPhone has been bumped upward once again with the Messenger app grabbing an update with a whole new user interface. If you’re the type of person who loves to message back and forth with friend via Facebook and have never tried the stand-alone app for iOS, now’s a better
Monthly Archives: September 2012
Editor’s note: Brenden Mulligan is an entrepreneur who created Onesheet, TipList, ArtistData, MorningPics, and PhotoPile. He’s a mentor for 500 Startups and several startups. You can find him on Twitter at @mulligan.
I recently returned from a trip where I embedded myself in a few Asian cities and worked as if I were home. The goal was to explore how technology has enabled legitimate work / travel. The first stop was Hong Kong, where I spent August 30 – September 4 meeting entrepreneurs and working.
sfcrazy writes “There’s some great news for CyanogenMod fans. The CM team has decided to drop ROM manager, which was the de facto standard of getting CyanogenMod updates.”
Instead, the CM team is building its own updating method, explained (with screenshots) at Android Police.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
You might say Dave Zatz just had a happy accident. While he was hunting for the as yet unofficial Logitech Harmony Touch in Best Buy, he discovered the Slingbox 350 and 500 — two more living room gadgets that have yet to receive an official introduction. The placeshifting hubs both look to be major improvements over the aging Slingbox Pro HD and Solo, making 1080p streaming available as long as the connection is up to snuff. Those who spring for the 500 should also get long overdue support for WiFi without having to use a wireless bridge, although they may miss the Pro HD’s ATSC tuner. Outside of the networking, Sling Media is making expansion its upsell angle: the 500 supports USB media sharing and HDMI, while the 350 has to make do with whatever can pipe through its component and composite jacks. Zatz was unfortunately foiled in an attempt to buy one of the new Slingboxes and couldn’t get final pricing, but Best Buy’s suggestion to try again around mid-October hints that we won’t have long to wait for a much-needed upgrade to our remote TV viewing.
theodp writes “Blogger Floopsy complains that he would love to RTFM, but can’t do so if no one will WTFM. ‘You spend hours, days, months, perhaps years refining your masterpiece,’ Floopsy laments to creators of otherwise excellent programming language, framework, and projects. ‘It is an expression of your life’s work, heart and soul. Why, then, would you shortchange yourself by providing poor or no documentation for the rest of us?’ One problem with new program languages, a wise CS instructor of mine noted in the early look-Ma-no-documentation days of C++, is that their creators are not typically professional writers and shy away from the effort it takes to produce even less-than-satisfactory manuals. But without these early efforts, he explained, the language or technology may never gain enough traction for the Big Dogs like O’Reilly to come in and write the professional-caliber books that are necessary for truly widespread adoption. So, how important is quality documentation to you as a creator or potential user of new technologies? And how useful do you find the documentation that tech giants like Google (Go), Twitter (Bootstrap), Facebook (iOS 6 Facebook Integration), Microsoft (Windows Store apps), and Apple (Create Apps for IOS 6) produce to promote their nascent technologies? Is it useful on its own, or do you have to turn to other ‘store-bought’ documentation to really understand how to get things done?”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
It’s time to get your MacBook Pro action on with a modified tablet design from Modbook Pro, announced today once again in a 13.3-inch iteration for release on October 3rd. The folks at Modbook have a strange situation on their hands, one where they’re somehow or another able to side-step the lock-out that exists around
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any new blood refreshing Logitech’s line of universal remotes, but after indications of new devices on the way in an earnings call earlier this year tipster Andrew spotted this brand new Harmony Touch on store shelves. Arriving at Best Buy unheralded by any official announcement or specs so far, the box shots and list of features show the ability to control 15 different devices and (of course) that center mounted touchscreen. There’s no mention of it on the Logitech site either, however one leaked blog post we spotted referred to this device and a Harmony Plus.
As our friends at Tech of the Hub note, the Touch clearly draws a lot of its heritage from the Harmony One and 1100 touchscreen remotes although to have ditched the dedicated Activity button for “one touch” control. The touchscreen itself supports both taps and swipes as well as up to 50 customizable channel icons, and the box lists both online setup and on-remote customization as features. According to Andrew it’s rocking a price tag of $ 249 — $ 50 above the current price of the Harmony One but $ 100 shy of the RF-equipped Harmony 900 — hopefully we’ll find out soon if what Logitech has added this time around makes it worth the wait.
Update: Another one of our readers, Zachary also saw it at Best Buy and bought one, check out a few out of the box pics in the gallery below, and drop any questions about its capabilities in the comments. He’s digging it so far, saying that the touchscreen is responsive and it found icons for his area quickly, with options to change background, LCD brightness and screen timeout. There does not appear to be any RF support however, so it’s IR control only.
Editor’s note: Editor’s note: Mike Hirshland is the founder of Resolute.VC, a seed-stage venture capital firm. Prior to Resolute, he was a General Partner with Polaris Venture Partners where he led the creation of Dogpatch Labs as well as Polaris’s investments in companies including Automattic (WordPress), Quantcast, KISSmetrics and Q1 Labs (IBM). Follow him on his Resolute.VC blog and Twitter.
Back in the “old days” (as in 5 or 10 years ago) the very definition of a seed investment was investing before any product had been built or prototyped. Since then, the ability to build a startup on far less capital has made seed investing less risky. But, oddly, it seems that seed investors have become more risk averse.
Google announced on Friday that it will be doing some “spring cleaning” of some of its services. The list includes AdSense for Feeds, Classic Plus, Spreadsheet Gadgets, Places for Android, and +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools. The company also plans to merge its Picasa photo service with Google Drive, which means you’ll have 5GB for
An Iranian official says Tehran plans to create its own search engine and e-mail service to replace Google and its Gmail e-mail service, even as it weights lifting a ban on Gmail enacted in response to an anti-Islam film.
Can’t get more random than this, folks: in this week’s edition of IRL, we have Darren recommending a vacuum cleaner, Dan Cooper continuing his search for a backup phone charger and Jon Fingas putting the Galaxy S III to the test against his beloved HTC One X.
An anonymous reader writes with this story from Wired: “When the African Robotics Network announced their $ 10 robot design challenge this summer, co-founder Ken Goldberg was careful not to share too many expectations, lest he influence contestants’ designs. But he never imagined one of the winning entries would prominently feature a pair of Spanish lollipops. The challenge, hosted by AFRON co-founders Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, emphasized inexpensive designs to help bring robotics education to African classrooms.” Winners include “the lollipop-laden Suckerbot and traditional (roaming) category first prize winner Kilobot, a Harvard-spawned three-legged, vibrating, swarming robot.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
If you didn’t get enough in mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we’ve opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This past week, Dan Hesse shared his turnaround vision for Sprint, Jim Allchin revealed where T-Mobile stumbled and AT&T welcomed a new GoPhone. Not to stop there, we discovered two updated launchers that’ve piled on inspiration from Jelly Bean. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore the “best of the rest” for this week of September 24th, 2012.
Razer has made a habit of catching us off guard — breaking the mold as an accessory manufacturer by building laptops, prototype game handhelds and controller-toting tablets. Their Blade laptop cut through our expectations as well, featuring a beautiful aluminum shell and one of the thinnest profiles of any gaming rig on the market. It had some serious flaws, though: it was underpowered, had minor build issues and simply fell short in the audio department. Its maker, apparently, wasn’t deterred: mere months after the original Blade’s own debut, Razer is now introducing a successor.
Most of the changes are internal: this model swaps out the original’s Sandy Bridge CPU and last-generation NVIDIA graphics for a newly announced 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-3632QM processor and a Kepler-based GeForce GTX 660M GPU. It caught our interest — Razer had previously insisted its first laptop wasn’t built just for power, but for a premium experience. Now, the firm seems to be focusing on both (now that’s a premium experience we can get behind). So, is this upgrade enough to make up for the OG version’s shortcomings? Read on to find out.
Gallery: Razer Blade review (late 2012)
PSP Comic Store, we hardly knew ye. No really, we hardly knew ye — which is probably why Sony is warning PSP owners that its comic book portal is shutting down after October 30th. Come Hallowe’en, we’ll lose the option to download the necessary app or buy additional titles. Any currently owned comics will be available to download again until mid-January, but readers will be on their own to preserve existing libraries after that. Outside of Japan, that creates significant problems for literary PlayStation fans: while PS Vita owners in Sony’s home country will get a Manga store and reader in October, there’s no equivalent crutch for other countries (or any PSP owners) at this stage. The console maker is non-committal and says there’s nothing it can discuss “at the moment,” which to us is a hint that we shouldn’t plan our reading hours around a PSP or PS Vita in the near future.
Filed under: Gaming
Consumer and enterprise. Software and hardware. Infrastructure operations and user experience. Products and services. No matter the focus, innovation in technology, and especially around Silicon Valley, has ebbed and flowed across these areas. Some new companies focus on building solutions for the enterprise, and perhaps nowadays its too easy to take the consumer route. The purpose of this week’s column is to shed a bit of light on a growing class of new startups that are not selling directly to big companies or individuals generally, but focusing on software and infrastructure developers specifically.
Selling into enterprise — going B2B — has been an attractive route for myriad reasons. There are barriers to entry in technological development, it takes real venture investment and time to build these products, and established sales channels and newer marketing avenues make the pursuit of these markets tantalizing. With the enterprise comes a promise of scale, size, and predictability, often in the form of pay-per-seat pricing models, built-in distribution, and lock-in.
The Nook’s $ 20 price drop is more than the whim of a few major retailers — it’s Barnes & Noble’s new MSRP. Following Walmart and Target’s recent discounts, the company’s own website is now listing the glowing e-reader at its new $ 119 price. The reduction is almost assuredly in preparation for Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, as B&N’s announcement makes a point of bragging about the Simple Touch with Glowlight’s included AC adapter and aversion to built-in ads. See the punchy press release for yourself after the break.
In many ways, graphene is one of technology’s sickest jokes. The tantalizing promise of cheap to produce, efficient to run materials, that could turn the next page in gadget history has always remained frustratingly out of reach. Now, a new process for creating semiconductors grown on graphene could see the super material commercialized in the next five years. Developed at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the patented process “bombs” graphene with gallium, which forms droplets, and naturally arranges itself to match graphene’s famous hexagonal pattern. Then, arsenic is added to the mix, which enters the droplets and crystallizes at the bottom, creating a stalk. After a few minutes of this process the droplets are raised by the desired height. The new process also does away with the need for a (relatively) thick substrate to grow the nanowire on, making it cheaper, more flexible and transparent. The inventors state that this could be used in flexible and efficient solar cells and light emitting diodes. We say forward the revolution.
bhagwad writes “In the US, telecom carriers are trying their best to hold on to depleting voice revenues. Over in India, the telecom minister urged carriers to stop charging for voice calls and derive all their revenues only from data plans. Is this kind of model sustainable, where voice becomes an outmoded and free technology, and carriers turn entirely into dumb pipes which have no control over what passes over them? This is a step forward and hopefully will make Internet service more like a utility.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Editor’s note: Andy Rachleff is President and CEO of Wealthfront, an SEC-registered online financial advisor. He serves as a member of the board of trustees and vice chairman of the endowment investment committee for University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on technology entrepreneurship. Prior to Wealthfront, Andy co-founded and was general partner of Benchmark Capital.
Everywhere I go in Silicon Valley I hear people discussing their angel investments. The conversations remind me of fish stories. People love recounting the one time they caught a big fish, not the many futile hours they spent waiting for a bite.
B&N has dropped the price of the Nook Simple Touch With GlowLight to $ 119 to match the Kindle Paperwhite (with “special offers”). No sales figures have come out of either camp, but it makes sense for B&N to head Amazon off at the pass, especially since the Paperwhite is shipping on October 1 and could put a dent in Nook sales.
alphadogg writes “The website for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) now tells visitors it will not honor their browsers’ do-not-track requests as a form of protest against the technology pushed by privacy groups and parts of the U.S. government. The tech-focused think tank on Friday implemented a new website feature that detects whether visitors have do-not-track features enabled in their browsers and tells them their request has been denied. ‘Do Not Track is a detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet,’ Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the ITIF wrote in a blog post. ‘Advertising revenue supports most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
For the past two weeks Inhabitat has been reporting live from the Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid, where 18 student teams from around the world have been competing for the title of the world’s most efficient solar-powered prefab house. As usual, suspense was running high in the final days of the competition, and we’re excited to announce that Team Rhône-Alpes’ Canopea House has been named this year’s winner! The beautiful modular house took top honors in the architecture and sustainability categories, and it features a 10.7 kW photovoltaic array on the roof that produces more than enough energy to power the home.
Some of the other standouts at the Solar Decathlon Europe include Germany’s ECOLAR House, which features a flexible, modular design that can expand or shrink to accommodate the needs of its owners. It came as no surprise that the German team was tops in the engineering category, and the team incorporated hemp insulation in the floors, walls and ceiling to prevent thermal loss. Team Andalucia’s Patio 2.12 House, which consists of four separate prefabricated modules built around an interior courtyard, scored high marks for energy efficiency and innovation. And although Italy’s MED in Italy House might not look like much on the outside, step inside and you’ll enter a different world altogether. The highly efficient home features a central courtyard and a rooftop photovoltaic array that generates about 9.33 kWh of energy per year — roughly double what it needs. Team Rome also added wall layers that can be filled with heavy materials to provide high thermal mass once the home is installed.
Simon Cowell is on the hunt for the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. According to The Sun, the former American Idol and current X Factor judge is teaming up with Black Eyed Peas rapper Will.i.am to find the next hot tech entrepreneur.
Details are sparse on when the show will debut and the exact format, but if the tech-focused show is anything like X Factor, it sounds like would be entrepreneurs will be pitching their ideas to an all-star panel of judges. It also appears that the show will be based in the UK.
Game startups have long struggled to find funding (especially in Europe) because of a tension between being perceived to be hit-driven (like movies) while actually needing to be funded like technology companies. However this year, crowdfunding has changed much about how we think of games and their fans, and hopefully will help us find a better way.
Amazon’s shiny new Kindle Paperwhite will start trickling out of the company’s myriad warehouses in short order, but it seems e-reading rival Barnes & Noble won’t let Amazon set foot in the illuminated e-reader market unanswered.
To that end, BN has announced that it has cut the price of its conceptually-similar Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight from $ 139 to $ 119 — the same price as Amazon’s ad-supported Paperwhite model.
Apple has been under some extreme fire lately with their new Maps app on iOS 6. A lot of users have been reporting that the new maps are inaccurate and extremely buggy, especially the new 3D flyover feature where melting architecture was the bane on user experience. Apple CEO Tim Cook has brought up the
CNET went to China to learn more about how iPhones are made, and what happens when they get tossed. Here are the detailed illustrations that accompanied our stories, mapping key iPhone life cycle cities in China, details of how the device is made, and suggestions for environmentally sound disposal. [Read more]
When you run as many services as Google does, every once in a while you’re going to have to do some pruning. Evidently Mountain View’s got the secateurs out, having just announced the next batch of its projects that will be
getting axed wound down. For the chop are: AdSense for Feeds, Classic Plus, Spreadsheet Gadgets, Places for Android, and +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools. Other services are being merged into existing properties to prevent overlap, such as Google Storage for Picasa and Drive — which are now consolidated — and Insights for Search is now part of Google Trends. Naturally, the search giant claims this is all about streamlining, and improving other core products. If the retired service involves a paid subscription, or legacy data, then you’ll need to check the specifics on the official blog to find out how this will affect you, which fortunately for you, is just a tap of the source link away.
[Image Credit: Shutterstock]
It’s a powerful thing, this Internet of ours. The greatest tool for the distribution of knowledge, the administration of compassion, and development of conversation ever created. And the events of this week have shown how it can be a platform for tolerance and understanding, for love and peace.
Particularly touching was the story of a man who, with the assistance of friends and the Internet, was able to confront a tormentor with his misdeeds, bringing the young troll to heel and redeeming a child who surely knew not what he did. An example for the ages of gentleness and cooler minds prevailing over humanity’s companion and adversary, hate.
Yes, isn’t it pretty to think so?
An anonymous reader writes “In 2008, Sherrie Walters, now 42 years old, discovered that she had rapidly spreading basal cell cancer in her ear. The disease is a type of skin cancer. The doctors pursued an aggressive treatment to combat the destructive disease, removing her ear, part of her skull, and her left ear canal. Though Walters was left without an ear, she was still able to hear with the help of a special hearing aid. A few months ago, doctors from the renowned Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore decided to try a new procedure on Walters. Using cartilage from her rib, the doctors stitched a new ear to match her right one. Then their creation was implanted under the skin of her forearm, where the ear grew for months. …Doctors attached the ear and blood vessels surgically. Another surgery, conducted this week, gave the ear shape and detail. Dr. Patrick Byrne, a revered plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says that after the swelling goes down and the ear heals, Walters will have an ear that both looks and functions normally.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Thanks to the rise of in-classroom technology, the focus in education tends to be on student engagement and how to improve learning. It becomes easy to forget the importance of great teachers. Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses (and the rest) need to remember that technology doesn’t have to put teachers in jeopardy; it can help them lead the education evolution, even if their traditional role in the classroom becomes obsolete.
Today, in spite of the significance and potential long-term value of the job they do every day, teachers (especially in K-12 and public education) tend to be underpaid. In May, we wrote about a few platforms that are looking to change that — to empower the world’s under-salaried educators. TeachersPayTeachers, a platform that enables teachers to buy, sell, and share their original content and lesson plans, hit a big milestone this week which is sure to catch the attention of educators around the country: It minted its first millionaire.
If you thought filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was the final chapter in LightSquared‘s wireless network saga, you’d be wrong. Hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone is back at the FCC‘s doorstep with yet another proposal, which he hopes might snatch the maligned network from the jaws of GPS interference-related troubles. Two filings placed with the commission apparently outline plans to use its broadband network in a way that it believes won’t interfere with GPS signals, along with the 5MHz of spectrum that are known not to cause any issues. Along with the proposed changes, LightSquared is reportedly set to ask for more time to have exclusive rights to propose a reorganization plan. If granted, this could finally mean some progress for the beleaguered project, but with investors worried that money being spent on this could be better-placed back in their pockets, Falcone will have everything crossed, while the FCC deliberates the situation.
Apple had a bad situation on their hands when it became apparent over the past week that their new non-Google “Maps” app appeared to fall short of expectations, but Tim Cook took this situation today and flipped it on its head entirely. It’s not that Cook apologized for the situation – the situation being that
linjaaho writes “A group of Finnish mathematics researchers, teachers and students write an upper secondary mathematics textbook in a three-day booksprint. The event started on Friday 28th September at 9:00 (GMT+3) and the book will be (hopefully) ready on Sunday evening. The book is written in Finnish. The result — LaTeX source code and the PDF — is published with open CC-BY-license. As far as the authors know, this is the first time a course textbook is written in three-day hackathon. The hackathon approach has been used earlier mainly for coding open source software and writing manuals for open source software. The progress can be followed by visiting the repository at GitHub or the project Facebook page.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
There’s about to be a brand new smart TV in your living room with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, wireless streaming abilities, and no more than a $ 50 price tag, all of this in a tiny dongle: FAVI’s Streaming Stick. This little device comes in white or in black – though it wont matter as it’ll
Editor’s note: Alex Cornell is co-founder and creative director at Firespotter Labs, makers of ÜberConference, NoshList, Nosh, and Jotly. Firespotter is backed by Andressen Horowitz and Google Ventures. Follow him on his website and on Twitter.
I’ve always found it interesting when the non-creatives in a company estimate how long it will take the creative team to accomplish something. What’s often baked into their scheduling assumption is that the creatives will deliver results at a predictable and regular rate. They expect that 10 hours of creative work will produce 10 hours worth of pretty pictures; as predictable as a banker crunching numbers.
A lovely bit of news mixed with a bit of a downer for the first owners of the iPhone 5 has come down today from the NYPost where they’ve got an inside track on deals between Apple and Sony/ATV for streaming music rights. It appears that though Apple had been working on a competitor for
A brand new PlayStation 3 updated hardware release has been advertised (after a reveal earlier this year) with just about as strange a 15-second commercial as you’re ever going to see. This ad spot has the gaming console rotating in space with a couple of specification updates, first of all – no big deal. Then
If you’re an avid Minecraft fan and just can’t get enough of the sandbox-style game, we hope you’re not planning to upgrade to Windows 8. The creator and developer of Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson, has stated that he won’t be bringing Minecraft to the Windows 8 platform because of Microsoft locking down the new OS.
Last year Italy’s official statistics bureau, ISTAT, produced a report on the state of the internet in Italy. It found that in world terms, Italy was below average in terms of Internet usage. The European average is 73% usage by population, but Italians were hovering around the 63% mark. But official statistics can be cruel and out of date – and it’s clear now to any observer on the ground that whatever is happening in the home market, Italian tech startups aren’t just shooting for their own country but for yours as well. Evidence of this emerged when Facebook bought Italy-based Glancee, this year – this was the location based mobile story of the year. And there have been other undercurrents. The Italian Startup Scene Facebook Group which now has over 8,300 members, up from less than 3,000 last year – is still growing. Clearly many of the old attitudes are changing fast, and are probably out of date as we speak. For instance, the TechCrunch Italy CrunchUp event in Rome this last week was originally supposed to be a simple meetup. But it’s a sign that Italy’s startup eco-system has exploded in the last 18 months or so that we ended up having to find a venue for over 1,000 people who wanted to come. Italy has clearly changed since I scratched around a tiny Italian-only event in 2008.
Check those calendars. It’s September 29th, which means, for those who follow the world of e-readers, that we’re two days from Kindle Paperwhite day. According to Target and Walmart, it also means that Barnes & Noble’s own illuminated e-reader, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, is getting a $ 20 price cut, down to $ 119. That price puts the reader on par with the entry-level Paperwhite (no 3G, with ads). Let the battle of the front lit e-readers commence!