lørdag 31. oktober 2009

Video of Arrington-Shukla fight highlights controversy of special offers

TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington and Offerpal Media chief executive Anu Shukla got into a brouhaha over special offers, which are used to monetize social apps on social networks, at the close of the Virtual Goods Summit on Friday.
At the close of a panel where Shukla spoke, Arrington asked how Shukla could defend her business of making offers that were leading the social game industry “into hell.” Shukla responded with a long answer about why Arrington’s commentary was “shit, double shit and bullshit.” You can see Alexa Lee’s video on the whole 10-minute exchange below. I also interviewed Shukla about the issue before the panel.
The debate revolves around whether specials offers are unethical and a bad experience for both users and advertisers. Shukla defended the practice of monetizing games and other social apps through offers, which let users pay with their time, participation and attention, rather than actual money.
Users can play games from the likes of Zynga and Playdom for free. But when they want to buy something in the games, such as a better plow to farm the land in Zynga’s FarmVille game, they have to pay. As an alternative to shelling out cash, they can accept an offer from Offerpal, which gets the user to do something like fill out a survey or subscribe to Netflix.
Arrington alleged these offers are so much trash. The offers are “slimy” and users scam the advertisers by making up answers in surveys or signing up for services they plan to cancel. Arrington said that this means that advertisers like Netflix aren’t getting their money’s worth from the ads, but Facebook and others involved aren’t putting a stop to the practice because they all make money from it.
Shukla contended that those objections are “shit” because most of the offers are high-quality and are filtered. She said, as we wrote earlier, that more than 160 million consumers have participated in Offerpal’s offers over the past two years. The total reach of the whole offer industry is still small, with only 5 percent to 30 percent of all gamers participating in offers.
The vast majority of offers are working out well, because the advertisers keep coming back. Most of the business is on Facebook, though it moved to Open Social-based networks for a time and has now returned to Facebook, thanks to that network’s rapid growth to more than 300 million users.
“We see more users turning to offers as a way to pay,” Shukla said in our interview.
Shukla acknowledged there were some offers in the general industry that were “spoiling the experience.” That’s why Facebook issued new policies in July that put restrictions on the offer business, particularly on offers that had to do with the mobile phone business. Shukla said Offerpal spent a lot of time cleaning out marginal offers and had to take a revenue hit as well. All of the social app companies are taking a hit as a result. Shukla said that was good for the industry, since some offer companies were letting bad offers creep in to gain market share.
“Unfortunately, some of the offers that were considered poor quality actually perform well,” she said. “If we took them out, and our competitors didn’t, they would perform better than us. So I love the fact that Facebook forced everyone to take them out.”
Even so, Shukla struck back hard at Arrington, who promised to expose bad practices. Video and pictures by Alexa Lee.

Week in review: A pop quiz for startups, Google’s free GPS navigation

Here’s our rundown of the week’s tech and business news. First, the most popular stories VentureBeat published in the last seven days:
Start-up studies: A pop quiz — “There’s a classroom exercise that’s a part of the Stanford technology venture program hits its students with each year: If you had five dollars and two hours, what would you do to make as much money as possible?”
Xerox develops a silver ink for wearable or throwaway electronics — “Xerox researchers have invented a kind of ink that can conduct electricity and be used to put electronic circuits on top of plastics, film, and textiles.”
MySpace and Facebook are officially talking. But it probably doesn’t look like this — “So they’re talking, but the conversation between the one-time rivals probably looks nothing like this version between Zuck, MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson and good old Rupert Murdoch.”
Zynga’s Mark Pincus: I got kicked out of some of the best companies in America — “It was really a disaster. The CEO had a breakdown. He was doing weird stuff I won’t even talk about.”
Mark Zuckerberg on how to build hacker culture inside a company — “It’s just better to just launch and have something cool that you can fix over time.”
And here are five more stories we thought were important, thought-provoking, or fun:
Google announces turn-by-turn GPS navigation, for free — “There’s a good chance you’ve driven with someone who’s bought a fancy GPS navigation system for their car that gives them voice directions for each turn as they drive. Now Google says it’s releasing a version of Google Maps that does the same thing, and you won’t have to pay anything for it.”
China’s growing addiction: online farming games — “A new agrarian revolution has occurred in China, but only in the virtual worlds of social games.”
Copenhagen may be a bust, and it’s all the U.S. and E.U.’s fault — “The much-hyped climate talks scheduled for Copenhagen in December may be a failure before they’ve even started, according to United Nations climate change guru, Janos Pasztor.”
whereIstand.com crowdsources its opinion database — “Arianna Huffington feels the Internet has had a positive effect on journalism. How do I know? Because I looked it up at whereIstand.com.”
Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff: ‘Many CEOs are afraid to get too personal’ — “Our mission has always been to change the way the software industry works, so of course we would want to have an impact on the industry’s largest player. Maybe some people don’t take us seriously, but we have a history of attacking much larger competitors.”

Aperto tar $ 537K for WiMax nettverk

WiMax utstyr leverandøren Aperto Networks har hentet inn $ 537.000 i egenkapital, ifølge en filing til SEC. Basert i Milpitas, California, selskapet er støttet av Alliance Ventures, Canaan Partners, GunnAllen Venture Partners, Innovacom, Jafco Ventures, JK & B Capital, Quicksilver Ventures og Tyco Ventures.

N-Gage er død, lenge leve Ovi Store - full av Symbian-spill

Nokia planlegger å stenge N-Gage-plattform. Det hele går ned i september 2010, men publisering av nye spill har stoppet når vi snakker. Den spilling på Nokia-telefoner vil fortsatt under utvikling ...

Entrepreneur Corner Roundup: Bootstrapping lessons and how injuries can teach you about investing

Here’s the latest from VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner:
Sustainability: The ‘must have’ holy grail – While making your product a ‘must have’ to customers is hard, maintaining that status is even harder. Bernard Moon, vice president of Lunsford Group, runs down a few ways to stay on top.
Do you have what it takes to be a founder? – The fortitude of a start-up founder or co-founder is different than that of an early employee or late employee. Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank runs through the characteristics of each to help you judge which is best for you.
10 Lessons in Bootstrapping a Business – Early entrepreneurs face two choices: seek funding early or go it alone. Infusionsoft co-founder Clate Mask opted for bootstrapping and learned some important lessons along the way. He shares them here.
What rehab taught me about making bad investments – An athlete coming back from a sidelining injury faces some of the same concerns a VC does after bad investments. Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge General Partners realized the similarities earlier this year as he rode out his own sports-related injury.
Start-up studies: A pop quiz – If you had five dollars and two hours, what would you do to make as much money as possible? Staford’s Tina Seelig discusses some of the best solutions Stanford students have come up with.

What rehab taught me about making bad investments – An athlete coming back from a
sidelining injury faces some of the same concerns a VC does after bad investments. Jeff
Bussgang of Flybridge General Partners realized the similarities earlier this year as he
rode out his own sports-related injury.
Start-up studies: A pop quiz – If you had five dollars and two hours, what would you do to
make as much money as possible? Staford’s Tina Seelig discusses some of the best solutions
Stanford students have come up with.
http://ping.fm/Qm89Q rehab taught me about making bad investments – An athlete coming back from a
sidelining injury faces some of the same concerns a VC does after bad investments. Jeff
Bussgang of Flybridge General Partners realized the similarities earlier this year as he
rode out his own sports-related injury.
Start-up studies: A pop quiz – If you had five dollars and two hours, what would you do to
make as much money as possible? Staford’s Tina Seelig discusses some of the best solutions
Stanford students have come up with.

Heidi Klum: Queen of Halloween

A ser tilbake på «Project Runway» vert mest vanvittige kostymer

En blodigere Dracula stiger igjen

Mer enn 112 år etter at han først klatret ut av kisten, er verdens mest berømte vampyr tilbake.

fredag 30. oktober 2009

Smartphone Showdown: iPhone 3GS vs Motorola Droid

Hvis sprøytenarkoman skulle bli trodd, er Motorola DROID stykket de motstand av den mobile verden, det endelige etableringen sendt ned etter den store Smartphone på himmelen å kvitte oss med vår byrde. Det ville forberede frokost omgående hver morgen, tuck deg i natten, og kanskje - bare kanskje - banke iPhone ned et hakk eller to. Beginning om en uke før lanseringen (hovedsakelig på grunn av Verizon er utrolig intens markedsføringskampanje) Jeg begynte å få samtaler og tweets fra venner og kolleger spør om Droid. De hadde alltid to spørsmål: det første ville bli noe sånt som "Hva synes du om Droid?", Etterfulgt av "Vil du anbefale det over iPhone? Samme spørsmålene hver .. og .. hver .. tid. Jeg har brukt den Droid som min primære telefonen for et par dager nå, og jeg tror jeg endelig klare til å besvare dem.

Why virtual economies defy the rules of your old college textbooks

Scarcity — it’s the first concept drilled into any beginning economics major. And economics is about the production, distribution and consumption of scarce resources.
But in virtual economies, one could give a farmer unlimited grain and cows. So given that very key difference, if you’re the creator and overlord of a fully-fledged virtual world, how do you go about managing it (economically speaking)?
That was the topic of a talk by Live Gamer chief technology officer Bill Grosso at The Virtual Goods Summit this week. I’ve embedded the audio below. It offered basic insights into how game designers create environments where people are prone to spend more (not unlike how grocery store chains manipulate floor layouts to compel customers to make impulse purchases).
First, consider more of the key differences:
1) In the real world, there are multiplier effects — for example, if the government lowers tax rates, that means there’s not only more money in the hands of taxpayers. Consumers may also go out and spend that extra income, pumping capital into other businesses, which means the economy could grow more than if you just accounted for the initial tax cut.
But in a virtual economy, there are “sources” and “sinks,” Grosso says. In a virtual world, there are constantly new sources of virtual cash, like discovering a virtual treasure chest or the base amount of income you get when you join a game. To maintain a stable economy, game creators have to come up with “sinks” or ways of removing currency from circulation.
2) In virtual worlds, you have absolute control. You can control what people can buy and when they can buy it.
3) You have perfect information. You know about all transactions at all times. This is different from the real world, where economists try and approximate growth and unemployment.
4) Price testing is nearly frictionless. You can bucket test prices for items with different users. (This would be much more costly in the real world. Imagine if Wal-Mart tried to offer one-half of its customers one price and the other half a different price. Or even if they tried to change the price for a week to see what would happen. They’d have to go in and physically relabel everything.) In a virtual economy, you can do it instantaneously and you can randomize it.
And here’s an extra one …. 5) You can dynamically adjust prices based on real-time demand.
So what do you do with all these differences? You may have to artificially create scarcity, Grosso says.

Only release a limited amount of goods, or make them available only at a certain time.
Constantly create new goods that users can aspire to at different levels.
Create “wear and tear” on items so users have to replace them.
To prevent fraud, create “velocity” limits on virtual cash. This means you should allow people to cash out only up to a specific limit or a certain number of times a week.
Consider whether to allow a secondary market for goods, where players can trade amongst themselves. [Audio courtesy of Alexa Lee]
Create ultra-fine metrics. Instead of having an average-revenue-per-user measure, a game designer should know revenue from a specific person or demographic and adjust accordingly.
Look at transactions-per-user as a critical measure of health. E-mail users who aren’t buying or selling frequently. (This may not apply if your strategy is based on a high churn of users, which means that people come in and play for two weeks or so, then leave and are replaced by a new crop of users. In that case, Grosso says you want to maximize their initial cash-in.)
When doing A/B or bucket testing for prices, do them with different price sets on goods, rather than changing the price of an individual item.
Try and increase the number of transactions per user without lowering prices, so users will spend more.

IBM tries to make government IT more open, especially for startups

It has become a cliche that government technology tends to be stodgy and out-of-date — President Barack Obama’s chief technology officer has even complained about the software in the White House. IBM said today that it wants to make things better, with a new software platform called the Government Industry Framework.
Specifically, IBM wants to make it easier for technology from different government agencies to work today, and with applications built by outside companies. The framework includes a lot of IBM’s existing software, such as WebSphere, Rational, Tivoli, Lotus and Information Management, while bringing in new, more open architecture.
The demo video below is based on a real customer story, the Alameda County Social Services Agency (that’s in the San Francisco Bay Area), where IBM allows case workers to pull together all of a person’s data from different departments into a single dashboard.
Drew Clark, director of strategy for IBM’s Venture Capital Group, emphasized the potential this creates for startups who want to build applications for government. It’s now easier for them to access the data and extend the features of IBM’s government software, which could make their tools a much easier sell to a government agency, which is more likely to buy something that works with existing software than something completely different.
“There are two different views of this,” Clark said. “An agency sees it as this transformational play, a developer sees it as a really efficient on-ramp [to sell into these agencies].”
There’s IBM’s view, too, where a broad ecosystem of applications that extend its software would make it a more compelling purchase for government customers. The framework includes tools that fall into five broad categories:

Tax revenue and management
Safety and security
Social services and social security
Integrated urban infrastructure
Municipal transportation and roads

Safety, infrastructure, and transportation may be the areas that provide the most opportunity for new tools from startups, Clark said.
IBM announced a similar smart grid program last month.

5 O'Clock Roundup: Sony fremdeles ikke klarer hopper Google sammenligning annonse toget

Sony postet sitt fjerde tap på rad, men forbrukerelektronikk generelt er å snu seg - Sony tapt $ 289 million siste kvartal, sammenlignet med nesten samme beløp i overskudd i fjor. Selskapet har allerede eliminert 16000 arbeidsplasser og lukket åtte fabrikker, men de dype kutt var ikke nok. Likevel investorer føler de sektorene resultatene generelt gode. Samsung tredoblet sitt overskudd til rekordhøye 3.14 milliarder, mens mye mindre Panasonic rapportert $ 67 millioner i netto fortjeneste. The New York Times sier Samsung utnyttet nye skjermpanelet teknologi og bedre markedsføring for å ta markedsandeler fra Sony og Panasonic. Google lanserer AdWords Sammenligning Annonser - Det ser ut som Google prøver å stjele Svar virksomhet ved å la brukere av søkemotoren kvalifisere seg til realtors og bil selgere midt i en annonse. Google tester for tiden Sammenligningen annonser i noen amerikanske stater med et begrenset sett med boliglån og refinansiering annonsører. Barn tvunget til å elske Bing, synge om det - Microsoft tok over en ungdomsskoleelev i Pennsylvania, og sørget for at elevene synge Jonathan Mann's "Bing går Internett" sangen i videoen nedenfor, som hovedsakelig består av ordene "Bing går Internett . "Internett ikke går faktisk Bing, men de vil finne ut av.

5 belastet i tyverier av kjendis hjem

De har blitt kalt Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch og Bling Ring. Nå kan fem av de seks unge voksne anklaget for burglarizing kjendis hjem bli kjent som "bestilt".

'ER' star Edwards klar til å kjøre

Anthony Edwards er løperen.

Bling Nation får ytterligere $ 20M midler til å betale sine by-cellphone system

Bling Nation, en Palo Alto-basert selskap, har skapt en mobil betalingsløsning som heter Redi Betal som lar telefonen brukerne betale for ting i butikker med sine telefoner. Jeg skrev om Bling Nation i juli, da selskapet landet $ 8M i finansieringen $ fra Lightspeed Venture Partners, Meck og Camp Ventures. I dag, TechCrunch rapporterer Bling Nation har stengt en annen $ 20M runde fra London-baserte Balderton Capital, bringe selskapets samlede støtten til dags dato til $ 33 millioner. Bling er betalingsformidlingen er jeg skeptisk til, fordi det krever detaljister å installere Bling Nation kredittkort maskiner i sine butikker. Enhetene skanne kundenes Bling info av seg telefonen skjermen. Bling tar et kutt på hver transaksjon. Selskapet sier at det går godt i to små test byene i Colorado, sier TechCrunch, fordi selskapet kan lukke avtaler med alle de lokale handelsmennene gjør Bling betaling lokalt allestedsnærværende. Det er fristende å si Bling evne til å lukke avtaler ser ikke ut til skala. Men folk lo på Wal-Mart, også.

Anna Nicole Smith narkotika sak å gå til rettssak

En dommer bestemte fredag at det er sannsynlig årsak til å prøve Anna Nicole Smith's kjæreste, Howard K. Stern, og to leger i en påstått konspirasjon for å gi medikamenter til en kjent stoffmisbruker.

MyYearbook deepens push into virtual cash with toolbar, Target cash cards

A little bit of lunch money can go a long way.
Teen social network MyYearbook reached profitability earlier this year on the back of its virtual currency called Lunch Money. So it’s no surprise that the New Hope, Pennsylvania-based company is aggressively pushing it forward, with a new browser toolbar and partnership with Target for redeemable cash cards.
Launched about a year ago, Lunch Money and virtual goods now bring in about one-third of MyYearbook’s roughly $1 million in monthly revenues, according to CEO Geoff Cook. Started with his two teenage siblings, Cook’s company now has 20 million members.
The company launched a new toolbar this week, that travels with a user across the web (like Google’s version). But in this case, a user can earn virtual cash by performing searches. The toolbar helps MyYearbook understand what its users are interested in and earn revenue from affiliate fees when they buy goods off sites like Amazon.com. MyYearbook is also partnering with Target to sell special VIP cards that are redeemable for virtual currency and other privileges on the site. (The reason MyYearbook is doing this on top of offering memberships directly on the web site is that many of its younger users don’t have credit cards. So they it’s hard for them to buy virtual cash online.)
While other social networks have prioritized user acquisition and growth above monetization, Cook has done the reverse, pushing very aggressive advertising and virtual payments systems. MyYearbook will even pay users virtual cash to watch video advertisements and answer questions about them later.
The company has built special takeover advertising experiences, where Target’s red logo will cover the web site’s background or where users can take photos of their friends’ faces and put them into animations. A Six Flags promotion that let people stick their friends’ faces in a roller coaster animation drove 1 million user actions (e.g. comments, “likes”, e-mails, etc.) That’s in contrast to Facebook’s more discreet engagement and text ads.
“We find the currency powerful at driving user behavior,” Cook said. “We’re constantly working on expanding Lunch Money — coming up with more things people can buy or syncing it with other services in unusual ways.”

Cook says the social networking site’s users overlap pretty heavily with Facebook. But MyYearbook is where you go to meet new people, while Facebook strengthens connections with your existing friends.
The company has about 80 employees and has raised more than $17 million in funding in two venture rounds involving Norwest Venture Partners, US Venture Partners and First Round Capital.
I’ve embedded a few videos about the company for background below:

Dagens foto: Googles Android kledd i sin fineste Halloween

Stående i sin rettmessige plass mellom en smultring og en cupcake, Googles Android gir "dere en Olde salutt fer Halloween. Jeg aner ikke hvorfor det er holder en shopping-bag, men den har en knagg ben! Huzzah. Google er ikke den eneste bedriften feirer. Hvis du tweet BARE '# knep "eller" # treat "på Twitter.com nettsted, vil oversikten bli en hyggelig besøk fra denne fuglen: For altfor entusiastiske kube aper trenger kostyme ideer, her er inspirasjon fra Twitter ansatt Charles Magnuson. Hvis du vet om andre oppstarter gjør dumme og / eller latterlige ting i dag, send dem inn på tips@venturebeat.com og vi vil legge til.

DEMO’s visits to London and Boston show California is great place to launch

I’ve been on the road lately, in a continued effort to find and meet with the best companies around to launch new products at the DEMO conference, and have been developing some cool ideas for DEMO’s next conference in March. I’ll share more about those ideas in future posts.
First, here are a few thoughts, after wrapping up a trip to London this week, and Boston last week.
In each of these places, there are hordes of ambitious, talented entrepreneurs. As I mull whether to keep the conference in California, or to possibly hold it in some other city (or at least alternate locations), the feedback I get suggests there are very compelling reasons companies should launch their product at a conference like DEMO — precisely because it takes place in California. The next DEMO is in Palm Springs, on March 21-23. The DEMO conference draws much of the U.S-based tech media, as well as venture capitalists and corporate development people — all in a single place where companies can both launch and grab time with all of these players at the same time. It’s quick (in a day and age when quick is crucial) and efficient. The almuni companies that have launched there include names like Saleforce.com, TiVo, Palm, ETrade, Adobe’s Acrobat — the list goes on.
On Wednesday, I met about 70 entrepreneurs in London at the Sanderson Hotel, after meeting about 100 people in Boston at Vox. The refrain I heard from these entrepreneurs was the same: It’s fine to launch companies anywhere in the world, but traveling to California, at least for visits, is often unavoidable.
Take, for example, the case of Shazam. Today I visited with the fast-growing company, which lets you hold up your phone to a radio and instantly recognizes the song that is playing — so that you can find it later, buy it or share it with friends.
Shazam is based in London and just became the first ever English company to get funding from Kleiner Perkins, the Silicon Valley venture firm that has helped build big consumer brands, including Google and Amazon. Shazam chief executive Andrew Fisher told me he reached out specifically to Kleiner in order to get the help needed to build such a brand. If you’ve heard the meme about how Silicon Valley has lost its edge, ask Fisher what it’s like to run a music business from London. He can manage, but he lives near Heathrow airport and basically spends half his time in the U.S. doing deals.
He provided other reasons why the U.S. market is crucial if you’re a web company building a consumer brand. Earlier in its life, Shazam focused mostly on striking deals with U.S. mobile phone operators (Verizon, AT&T, etc), because it wanted to get its application on the decks of phones. This need wasn’t enough to force the company to move to the U.S., because Fisher still had to travel throughout the U.S to visit each carrier’s offices; these were spread out enough so that no single U.S.-based office would have served Shazam’s needs (Fisher found it just as easy to fly over from London).
However, the mobile locus of power is now moving away from the operators, and Shazam is striking deals with all kinds of other players. Shazam needs agreements with music labels — to list songs within its database. It’s doing deals with advertisers and partnering with other Web companies (it is not a music store itself and wants to work with existing companies where users have profiles, including Facebook, Myspace and Twitter), and here again, California is a more central base to do this from. More recently, the company is doing deals with major handset manufacturers, in part because Google’s Android operating system has given manufacturers more ways to customize their interface (including highlighting certain applications like Shazam). Again, this is arguably easier to do from California than the UK. So Shazam now has an office in San Mateo, Calif., not far from the San Francisco airport. And it’s expanding staff there: The company is looking to hire a senior level strategic marketing executive.
In the valley, Fisher says, “everyone is an entrepreneur.” Most employees, even if they’re not CEOs, think about a company’s business value. In London, by contrast, fewer people have the same work ethos. So his team been very selective while hiring. Shazam, he says, has a “mini valley culture,” and a high proportion of its workforce are people not originally from the UK.
We’ve also heard through the grapevine that Spotify, another English music company, is in the same boat. Its executives have been visiting the U.S. regularly (to sign deals with labels and strike other partnerships) and is searching for a CEO for a separate U.S. operation it is setting up. Legally, you have to have a U.S.-based organization in order to strike licensing deals for the tracks (Kazaa showed the labels how dangerous it was to deal with companies outside of the U.S.).
Clearly, there’s no doubt you can build a modern Web company anywhere in the world. But if you’re building a global brand, there’s a big chance you’ll need to be in California. And what better stage of a company’s life to be there than at its product launch — when it can get in the same room as all of the main players.
I’ll be talking more about DEMO’s plans over the next few weeks. One idea we’ve been mulling is how to create more focus on specific verticals, such as consumer internet, cleantech, healthcare, mobile, enterprise, software, social media, etc.
Meantime, the next DEMO tour stop will be in San Francisco on Dec 2. Sign up now. This is going to be fun; we’ll have a live jam session.

California anchors Tesla with $28.8M tax break

Tesla Motors, the hyped electric car company, just nabbed another win (in a long line of them since the spring), earning approval for a $28.8 million tax break from California’s Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (a branch of the Treasurer’s office). The change will save them taxes on $320 million worth of equipment.
It’s hard not to view the break as a big thank you note from the state. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always been adamant about Tesla remaining a firmly Californian enterprise. While its competitors like Fisker Automotive turn to China and cheaper industrial states for manufacturing operations (it just announced the takeover of an old GM plant in Delaware), Tesla has been very vocal about setting down roots with a major assembly plant in southern California while locating its headquarters and some manufacturing at the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, Calif. It may not have created that many jobs for Californians yet — but it could, and it is bringing solid investment and the glow of transportation innovation to the region.
If there was any doubt that Tesla would be locating its $365 million Model S plant anywhere else, it’s been dispelled. The car, slated for a 2012 release, is supposed to be the more practical, middle-class answer to the company’s $109,000 luxury roadster. It hasn’t said exactly where the facility will be located (an eagerly-awaited announcement) — though Downey and Long Beach have both been lobbying hard.
Tesla plans to spend roughly $320 million on equipment to outfit this plant once a site is selected, and will save about 9 percent in taxes. The state’s Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority will hold the title to this equipment in order to make this happen.
This sounds all well and good for Tesla, but the state could take some flak for giving the company even more government allowances. The EV-maker has already drawn fire from major media outlets, including Fox News, for taking millions in federal funds (it snagged $465 million in low-interest loans earlier this year) in order to produce cars the majority of the American public can’t afford. This issue is even more contentious in California where the state budget has grown into a hornet’s nest of a problem. It won’t be surprising if critics of the company and the tax break point to deep cuts in school budgets and question whether $47,000 electric cars — which have yet to be built much less road tested — are worth the money.
Tesla could open doors to revolutionary transportation solutions in the future — solutions that could make a major difference in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But in the short-term, when every little bit counts, it’s becoming increasingly hard to justify its government favor.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Sony Ericsson erte publikum med en XPERIA X10 video

Varme opp forventningene for XPERIA X10 kunngjøringen neste tirsdag (3. november), har Sony Ericsson nettopp publisert en teaser video av deres kommende Android uber smarttelefon. Hvis du har bodd på ...

Toyota muscles into EV charging business with solar stations

Toyota, used to being top dog in the advanced transportation business with its hybrid Prius, has pushed into a whole new area of the electric vehicle business: charging stations. Watch out, Better Place! Move over, Coulomb Technologies! Getting a major automotive name in the charging business will change the game — or will it?
Toyota isn’t simply unveiling its own iteration of electric car charging boxes (to be anchored to telephone poles and other roadside infrastructure for easy access, just like Coulomb’s) — its models are solar. Equipped with solar cells, they channel power to high-capacity batteries, which are then used to juice up vehicles’ batteries when they are on the go.
There are two possible responses to this news: 1) Wow, neat! and the requisite 2) How is solar going to generate enough power to rapidly charge vehicle batteries that right now take hours to charge via standard wall sockets?
The answer to that question remains unclear, though a demonstration station was able to supply 100 to 200 volts of electricity. It also showcased a vehicle-mounted battery charger that can convert current from AC to DC to turn 100 to 200 volts into 300 to 400 — which could be ideal for plug-in hybrid batteries.
One can assume that Toyota, with its experience and market savvy earned from the Prius, wouldn’t turn out a bum product. That said, average consumers are only beginning to catch on to the exorbitant material and energy waste that goes into the Prius, almost negating its positive environmental impact. Considering that both Nissan and Showa Shell announced development of similar systems back in August, Toyota might be feeling pressure to keep up, forced to put the cart before the horse.
There is, however, just as much of a chance that Toyota really has something here. Its concept of using mobile and local area networks to transmit users’ payment and authentication information seems solid. The same networks will be used to record charging data and transmit it to data centers so that Toyota can learn more about this consumer behavior.
So should Coulomb Technologies and Better Place, the two scrappier startups (and media darlings) in the EV charging space, be worried? Yes and no. For now, the concept of charging stations is so far away from commercial adoption — there are hardly any electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the road yet — that there’s time to grow, refine their ideas, or find an interested buyer (perhaps a large automotive company). A lucrative exit could still be in the cards.
But they shouldn’t let their defenses down completely. Considering the R&D budgets at the big car makers like Toyota and Nissan, Coulomb and Better Place risk being innovated out of a product, or left to scramble for nonexistent market share. It’s a race to see who can come up with the best, most affordable and feasible roll out plan before electric cars start gaining traction at the end of next year.
How transportation and charging stations will interact with the new electrical grid taking shape in the U.S. will be a topic at VentureBeat’s upcoming GreenBeat conference.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Asian virtual goods market is seven times bigger than U.S.

The virtual goods industry in Asia is generating about $7 billion a year in revenue, about seven times the number in the U.S.
The gulf is so large it is resulting in big valuation differences between Asia and North America. China’s nine largest publicly traded online game companies have a valuation of $52 billion, compared to just $22 billion for the top four North American and European companies, according to Ben Joffe, analyst at +8*, speaking at the Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco today.
The comparison is humbling, considering the hype around the rapid growth of the U.S. market. Virtual goods don’t exist in the real world. They’re digital bits such as weapons or character clothing in games. Game companies have figured out that they can offer consumers free games as an attraction and a sizable percentage of those consumers will pay for virtual goods in small transaction amounts. One of the hottest markets is buying virtual goods to grow crops in farming games, as our story last night showed.
The virtual goods market took off in Asia first because they were a way to monetize online games, which were the only titles that took off in Asia because of retail game piracy. Online games couldn’t be easily copies because users had to authenticate themselves when they logged in. At first, subscriptions ruled, as they do with the biggest online fantasy role playing game, Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. But now the virtual goods market has taken hold.
Asia was the first region where virtual goods topped $1 billion, with much of the action starting around 2005. South Korea’s Nexon was one of the first companies to pioneer the virtual goods business model in its online role-playing games, the most popular of which is MapleStory, which has more than 92 million registered users. In China, Tencent is expected to generate revenues of $1.5 billion to $2 billion from its QQ chat/game service, with most of that money coming from virtual goods revenue. China’s total market could generate over $5 billion in virtual goods revenue in 2009, Joffe said (pictured above).
Japan also has a big virtual goods market. That country’s top three social networks are generating more than $1 billion in revenues, mostly through mobile games and services. In Japanese games, some rare virtual items are worth more than $1,000, due to their scarcity. More commonly, you can buy a rare virtual horse for $60. Korea, meanwhile, is generating about $1 billion in virtual goods revenue.
Since virtual goods is just beginning to catch on with U.S. gamers, the potential revenues from virtual goods is huge here, Joffe said. He guessed that the potential revenues are $3 billion to, gulp, $35 billion in the best case scenario.
The names of the top Asian social networks companies are virtually unknown here. In China, the leaders are Tencent, Renren, Kaixin001, and 51. com. In Korea, it’s Cyworld. In Japan, it’s Mixi, Gree, Nani Suru, and DeNA. Many of those companies are making more money than U.S. social networks such as Facebook. The Asian companies are also moving into the U.S. The No. 7-ranked app developer on Facebook is 6Waves, a Hong Kong company that has created 104 applications.
For the U.S. companies trying to make money in virtual goods, Joffe has a message. “Better hurry,” he said.

Box.net høyner ytterligere $ 7.1M for samarbeidsverktøy

Samarbeid selskapet Box.net har hevet ytterligere $ 7.1 millioner fra sin tidligere investorer, Draper Fisher Jurvetson og amerikanske Venture Partners. PEHub første oppdaget regelverkets innlevering, og konsernsjef Aaron Levie bekreftet nyheten til meg. Den nye penger er et tillegg til Palo Alto, Calif selskapets andre runde, og bringer den samlede støtten til $ 17.6 millioner. Levie sa: Så som du vet, vi er alle om plattformen, og bygge en sterk plattform tar en stor engineering investering. Og så er det noen markedsføring / salg aktiviteter som går rundt det. Men generelt er vi egentlig bare å utvide vår forpliktelse til plattformen bygger vi. At plattformen innebærer å integrere Box grunnleggende tjeneste (som fokuserer på deling og håndtere dokumenter) med en rekke andre elektroniske tjenester, senest Salesforce.com.

Billing Revolution legger PayPal til sin mobile betalingstjenester

Billing Revolution er å legge til flere samarbeidspartnere til sin plattform for enkelt-klikk mobile betalinger, med kun-annonsert integrasjon med PayPal's PayFlow produkt. Ettersom flere og flere nettaktiviteten og handel foregår på mobiltelefoner, Seattle-baserte Billing Revolution vil gi teknologien slår disse transaksjonene. Det er langt fra det eneste mobile fakturering selskap, selvfølgelig, så når det først annonserte sin plattform i fjor, fakturering Revolution vekt på brukervennlighet for forbrukere - Når du har godkjent din identitet ved å klikke en kobling i en tekstmelding, kan du foreta ytterligere kjøp fra telefonen med bare ett klikk. Mer nylig Billing Revolution har vært kunngjorde avtaler å integrere med betalingen plattformer som kjøpmenn allerede bruker på sine nettsteder, for eksempel Authorize.net, så fra virksomheten perspektiv de får alle sine betalinger på ett sted. Det er 45000 kjøpmenn bruker PayFlow, sier selskapet, og fakturering Revolution blir det første selskapet til å ta denne tjenesten til mobilen. Selskapet har forårsaket et ukjent beløp på finansiering fra SK Telecom Ventures.

Yankovic fortsatt «Weird" etter alle disse årene

I 1980-årene, var det lett å avvise trekkspill-toting "Weird Al" Yankovic som en en-vits undring.

Video: Sony Ericsson Rachel tantalizingly ertet

Med Sony Ericsson Rachel (ellers kjent som XPERIA X3 eller, mer nylig, X10) har allerede gjort mange uoffisielle kamper over Interwebs, virker det som Sony Ericssons ned for å vise kortene sine litt tidlig - eller i det minste i ryggen og sider av dem.

BillShrink viser oss at Droid er like dyrt som iPhone 3GS

Ikke fantastiske nyheter, men interessant likevel: Billshrink, et nettsted dedikert til "du sparer penger i forhold til totale eierkostnader i 3GS, den pre, den MyTouch 3G og Droid. De fant at TCO for et ubegrenset rate plan koster $ 3799, det samme som iPhone 3GS. Både før og MyTouch er [...]

Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff: ‘Many CEOs are afraid to get too personal’

Marc Benioff has been the reliably outspoken chief executive of Salesforce.com for 10 years. Salesforce was one of the pioneers of the software-as-a-service business model, where traditional software is replaced by a web-based application that customers pay for via subscription, and he trumpeted the model with ads declaring that software is dead. Now that SaaS and cloud computing are becoming an increasing part of tech business models, Benioff said this spells big trouble for companies like Microsoft — he describes the software giant’s leaders as “trapped in their own psychosis” and says they will “drag their company into the gutter.”
Benioff has a new book out, Behind the Cloud (co-written with Carlye Adler). Billed as “the Salesforce.com playbook,” the book gives Benioff’s perspective on Salesforce’s history, and distills a business lesson from each anecdote. I interviewed Benioff over email about his book, his tips for entrepreneurs, and how Microsoft is “its own worst enemy.”
VentureBeat: In Behind the Cloud, you talk about dreaming up the software-as-a-service model while on sabbatical in Hawaii. Can you say a little more about the concept’s genesis? Were you consciously looking for a startup idea?
Marc Benioff: I was looking for something — and initially didn’t know that it would definitely be a startup. I was intrigued with what was going on with consumer websites such as Amazon.com and I knew the Internet had the potential to change everything for business customers as well. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I started my own software company in high school and went to college to study entrepreneurship. Still, I had reservations about leaving Oracle, where I worked for more than a decade and had so many ties.
Of course what I was thinking about in Hawaii, and later in India, wasn’t just a new technology model, but also a new sales model, and a new integrated philanthropic model. As these ideas evolved, it became clear that they could only be pursued through a startup.
VB: I’m also interested in hearing about the decision to launch with a customer relationship management product. To what extent did your initial ambitions extend beyond CRM? Did SaaS and CRM just seem like a good match to start with?
MB: Yes, CRM was the right place to start, but I did not know that in the beginning. I first considered a human resources service, and even purchased the URL you.com. Human resources proved to have many complexities globally, though, and I wanted to do something that could reach people around the world.
I soon realized that CRM was an application category with revolutionary potential as it was a huge market; every company has some kind of sales force. It was also a category in which there was room for improvement. It was especially burdensome for the customer. It required maintenance and customization that needed months, or even years, to get right. It also required a hefty IT resource commitment, and more money than many companies wanted to spend on this aspect of their businesses. Replacing the traditional client-server model for cloud-delivered service that was simple and inexpensive seemed like a sure thing.
That said, it was always my intention to do more than CRM. I’ve always believed that there was the potential to see every kind of application delivered in the cloud. Of course, now that is exactly what is happening.
VB: Can you tell me more about the importance of “carrying a bag” before starting your own company, i.e., having sales experience? Why do you think this is better than just starting your own company right away, or coming from more of a tech/product background?
MB: In school all I wanted to do was build technology. That’s what I loved. But two of my entrepreneurship professors, Tom O’Malia and Mac Davis, had other ideas for me. They told me that the most successful business executives would be the ones who got real-world experience before starting their own companies. In their opinion, ‘‘real-world experience’’ was a sales position focused on building relationships with customers. They called it ‘‘carrying a bag.’’
Their advice led me to accept a job at Oracle, answering customer service calls that came into the software company’s 800 number. I didn’t want to be an 800-number operator, but taking that job was one of the most pivotal decisions of my life. I discovered that working with customers was much more fun than writing code.
Most of all, I discovered that in order to succeed with a product you must truly get to know your customers and build something for them. You have to give them what they want (not what you think they want). You can’t do that if you are sitting in an office tower writing code seven days a week with no contact with the outside world. Learning how to interact with customers is something that anyone starting any business must master. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to learn the ropes at an established company and then employ your expertise at your own company.
VB: In the book, you talk about the need for CEOs to create a persona, and to openly challenge the big incumbents. With that in mind, to what extent should people take you seriously when you say, “Part of our mission is to end Microsoft“?
MB: Many CEOs are afraid to get too personal or step into the forefront and take risks, but the world’s best CEOs are indistinguishable from the companies they run. I think that CEOs must embrace a role that establishes them as thought leaders — this is what wins invitations to speak at events or be interviewed, which are opportunities to spread messages. This is what I mean by creating a persona; I don’t mean to suggest that CEOs should become someone they are not, or that they should say things they don’t believe.
Our mission has always been to change the way the software industry works, so of course we would want to have an impact on the industry’s largest player. Maybe some people don’t take us seriously, but we have a history of attacking much larger competitors. Perhaps people have found that preposterous at times, but look at what happened: a once-formidable competitor no longer exists [Siebel Systems, which was acquired by Oracle] and we continue to grow while most competitors are retrenching.
In the battle for relevance, Microsoft has been its own worst enemy. Its flagship product, Windows Vista, was one of the biggest failures in technology history. The Zune is more of a punch line than a product. But by far, Microsoft has failed to grasp this significance of cloud computing. They are making baby steps, but they are dragging their heels behind, not leading their customers, which is always a dangerous indicator for a technology company. (See also: IBM in the early ’90s.)
VB: How close do you think SaaS and cloud computing are to achieving their full potential, particularly in the enterprise market? Do you think SaaS will ever be seen as the primary channel for enterprise software, and if so, what needs to happen first?
MB: We are still in the early stages of cloud computing adoption in the enterprise. Applications like sales force automation and CRM were the among the first to move to the cloud. But we still believe there is plenty of room to grow there. Now there are many other areas like expense management, financials and HR that are moving the cloud as well. These are just beginning to scratch the surface.
Cloud platforms are gaining in popularity as well, and enterprises are looking to move their infrastructures and development platforms to the cloud in addition to their cloud platforms. This area is just beginning, but is growing very rapidly. For example, Japan Post, the world’s largest institution in terms of asset holding and Thompson Reuters, the leading financial information company, have standardized on our platform.
Now, we have to continue educating the enterprise market and we have to continue to serve our customers. It’s all about customer success. As they continue to see the benefits of the reduced risks and costs of this model as well as the revolutionary tools that can change the way they run their business and innovate, we will continue to see rapid adoption.
VB: Where do you see the next big opportunities for Salesforce to innovate?
MB: Right now, I am really excited about the huge shift in customer service. We know that customers search the web for answers, or reach out to friends on Facebook and Twitter. But typical client-server call center solutions aren’t aware of those community-generated answers. The Service Cloud 2, our vision for customer service, gives call center agents everything they need to find answers and communicate with customers through every possible channel: phone, email, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand now, in real time.
Companies need to join the conversation and we’re focused on providing innovative ways to do that.

Chaz Bono: jeg elsker å være en mann

Nå som han endelig i kroppen han alltid følte at han hørte på, sa Chaz Bono han nyte noe som tok mange tiår å utføre.

Hopper har prostatakreft

skuespilleren og filmskaperen har blitt diagnostisert med prostatakreft, sier hans manager Sam Maydew fredag.

Motorola innlegg Q3 inntjening, ting ser ganske dystert

Det kom nå sving for Motorola å kunngjøre sine finansielle resultater for 3. kvartal av året. Mens selskapet som helhet ser sunn nok, gitt de tøffe markedsforholdene er den mobile divisjonen fremdeles lagging ...

Instant oversettelse: Jibbigo spansk-engelsk oversetter arbeider i sanntid

Kan du selv tenke deg hvordan det må ha vært å være en tidlig explorer? Som lar deg Spania eller Portugal på noe vaklevorent båt, og kommer i den nye verden. Cool og alle, men utenfor skyte alt i sikte, hvordan kommuniserer du med noen? Hva gjør du peker på solen og si "sol" og forventer at andre fyren til å gjenta "sol"? Det kan ikke være en effektiv måte å lære et språk, særlig når det er, du vet, en svært reell sammenstøt mellom kulturer. Hvis bare de hadde (drum roll, please) noe som Jibbigo Speech Translator English Spanish, som automatisk oversetter fra spansk til engelsk og omvendt.

Virtual varer, penger - vår video av dag én av virtuelle varer Summit

Her er vår video av den første dagen av Virtual Varer Summit i San Francisco. Virtual varer i spill og sosiale programmer har tatt av og inntektene er ventet å treffe $ 1 milliard i 2009. I går, foredragsholderne på "universitetet dag" snakket om det grunnleggende av virtuelle varer og hvordan du best kan integrere dem i spill og sosiale nettverk. Hundrevis av deltakere er ventet å treffe utsolgte arrangementet igjen i dag. Sjekk ut videoen nedenfor, samt lyd av en tale av Bill Gross, sjef techhology offiser på Live Spiller, og vår forhåndsvisning intervju med Norwest Tim Chang.

Start-up studies: A Pop Quiz

Det er et klasserom øvelse som er en del av Stanford Technology Venture programmet treff sine studenter med hvert år: Hvis du hadde fem dollar og to timer, hva ville du gjøre for å tjene like mye penger som mulig? STVP direktør Tina Seelig diskuterer søket, og hvordan vordende gründere reagerte. Hva med deg, EC lesere? Hvordan ville du svare? Lyd av i kommentarfeltet nedenfor.

Haunted houses trives i scary økonomi

De fleste bedrifter ville hate å se sine kunder som kjører ut dørene, men i en forstad strip mall nær Denver, Colorado, de jager kundene unna - med en motorsag.

Bea Arthur blader $ 300K til homofile ungdom

"Golden Girls" star Bea Arthur's sjenerøsitet lever videre.

Beyonce forårsaker kontrovers i Egypt

Sexy divaen Beyonce Knowles strutting henne ting i det konservative Midtøsten?

Apple, AT & T Hit Med Another iPhone MMS Class Action

Det er ikke den første, og jeg antar det ikke kommer til å bli den siste heller. Apple og AT & T står overfor en ny mulige gruppesøksmål fra en iPhone-bruker som påstår at selskapene misrepresented telefonens MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) evner. Clyde Bernard Franklin arkivert klagen (case 1:2009 cv00704) i US District Court for the Southern District of Alabama på vegne av alle Alabama beboere sist onsdag.

Zombie på glamorøs

Ikke bry klaget til Rob Zombie om hvordan Hollywoods ut av originale ideer og holder omforming gamle filmene.

Mor: Singer døde gjør noe hun elsket

De som kjente kanadiske folkemusiker Taylor Mitchell sier hennes lidenskap for håndverket hennes ble matchet av sin affinitet til naturen.

Windows XP drevet ITG xpPhone har touchable custom UI

Vi har vist deg ITG xpPhone før men nå er det skjermbilder av brukergrensesnittet så vi tenkte vi skulle fortelle deg alt om det. Den ITG xpPhone er litt som Nokia N900 - en tablett, men også en telefon ...

IPhone lanseres i Kina i dag, synes å vekke liten interesse (bilder fra Beijing)

Japan ble gal over iPhone når den gjorde sin debut i sommer i fjor, men Kina som et stort asiatiske markedet for Apple ser ut til å reagere forskjellig. IPhone offisielt lansert i Kina i dag, tilbys av China Unicom, en av landets tre store mobiltelefon operatører. Men våre venner over på store kinesiske Portalen 163.com er rapportering [Google machine translation] at ikke altfor mange folk faktisk var kø for å få en, i hvert fall i Beijing.

Epix to launch premium movie channel this weekend (get free passes here)

Epix is launching its premium movie channel this weekend in a bid to go toe-to-toe with HBO. As we noted in an earlier story, the company hopes to outdo HBO with better shows as well as a modern digital viewing experience enabled by the Internet.
Epix is a joint venture of Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM. The channel will premiere on Verizon’s FiOS TV service, a pay-TV service that s delivered over Verizon’s super-fast fiber optic broadband network. There are a couple of million FiOS subscribers across the nation, but more are being added every day as Verizon rolls out the service neighborhood by neighborhood.
The primary appeal of FiOS is fast broadband speeds. But the Epix channel is another. Even if you aren’t a member, you can try it out for 30 days or get a three-day pass by following the instructions below. Emil Rensing, chief digital officer at Epix, said in an interview that right now only FiOS subscribers can get access to shows on Epix’s web site, EpixHD.com.
The primary benefit of doing that is they can see their favorite shows from anyplace they can access the web. Viewers can watch those videos on the web at 720p high-definition resolution. The site currently has about 150 movies available in an on-demand mode. By next year, Rensing said there will be more than 3,000 movies, including lots of new releases from the participating studios. That will be available as part of a service called Megaplex for Epix subscribers.
Epix is trying to round up exclusives to make viewers favor it over other pay TV channels. It also offers extras such as interviews with stars and behind-the-scenes documentaries. It’s a lot like the bonus disc you can get with DVD movies. The site also lets you watch a show with up to five friends. As host of this virtual party, you stay in control over the video playback.
You can expect to see a lot of advertising from Epix, Rensing said, as the company places ads vis social media, fan sites, and old media ads.
The opening weekend line-up includes Madonna Sticky & Sweet: Live from Buenos Aires, Marvel’s blockbuster film Iron Man, and the exclusive comedy special Eddie Izzard: Live From Wembley. It will also have the pay TV premieres of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,  Madea Goes to Jail, Pink Panther 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Cloverfield and The Duchess among many others.
EpixHD.com will let viewers preview the channel and site on a first-come, first-serve basis on weekends during the month of November. Rensing said that in the long run, Epix will have access to more than 15,000 movies from the different studios’ movie libraries.
To get a three-day pass for this weekend, go to http://ping.fm/R5RS9 Also, Epix will give 30-day VIP get codes via Direct Message to the first 200 VentureBeat readers who follow @epixHD on Twitter at http://ping.fm/OeWLl and tweet “@epixhd Experience Epix #venturebeat”

Kinas voksende avhengighet: online oppdrett spill

Sosialt gården spill nå dominerer alle de store kinesiske nettsamfunn - RenRen, Kaixin001, 51.com og QQ massive QZone. Happy Farm, den første og største sosiale gård spillet, overstiger nå 23 millioner daglige aktive brukere. Inkludert QQ Farm's ryktet 100 millioner totalt brukere, kan Kina allerede det største markedet for sosiale gård spillene i verden.

torsdag 29. oktober 2009

Palm Pixi tilbehør begynne sildret inn Best Buy

Lanseringen av Palm Pixi kan likevel være mer enn to uker unna, men de blå Polo brigaden er allerede gettin 'prepped. En av våre tipsters oppdaget denne tredjeparten silikonvesken lurkin "rundt i en ingen altfor skjult sted, selv om det ikke hadde gjort seg hele veien til hyllene ennå. Hvis du klarer å [...]

Facebook vinner $ 711 millioner i erstatning mot "Spam King" Wallace

En føderale domstolen i Nord-California tildelt Facebook $ 711 millioner i erstatning mot Sanford Wallace, som sendte meldinger og lagt wall posts pengeinnsamling brukere for deres e-postadresser. Det er lite trolig Facebook får full juridisk oppgjør som Wallace begjært konkurs i juni. Likevel møter han potensialet i fengsel, som den herskende dommeren anbefalte at Wallace bli anmeldt for kriminell forakt. "Selv om vi ikke forvente å få det store flertallet av prisen håper vi at dette vil fungere som en fortsatt avskrekking mot disse kriminelle,» skrev Sam O'Rourke, som er en del av Facebook juridiske team, i et blogginnlegg. Nedenfor er Facebook opprinnelige klage:

5 O’Clock Roundup: Stem cell handout, Chinese iPhone rollout, Kodak’s near-wipeout

California’s stem cell agency hands out $230M of its $3B fund in grants – Stanford scored big, landing $52 million in grants for research that might cure leukemia, stroke and deadly skin disease epidermolysis bullosa. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and its $3 billion warchest were created by California voters in 2004 via Prop 71, in response to the Bush administration’s ban on embryonic stem-cell research done on cells harvested from human fetuses.
Fun fact: Most of the research funded in this round doesn’t actually involve embryonic stem cells, because not much research in general involves embryonic stem cells. SFGate runs down the long, long list of recipients.
iPhone 3GS will be super-expensive for Chinese buyers – The average amount of a smartphone in China is $350. Apple’s 32 GB iPhone 3G S will go for more than three times that at $1,171. Moreover, the minimum two-year service subscription from China Unicom will cost Chinese buyers $3,120 over two years, more than the $2,600 American buyers pay for the same period.
Will it sell? The Wall Street Journal reports that China has an estimated 710 million mobile-phone subscribers, according to government figures. But the average customer pays less than $15 for monthly service and only 7.5% of the handsets sold in the country last year were smart phones like the iPhone. Analysts told the Journal that China Unicom, which will carry the iPhone exclusively at first, is a less savvy marketer than most wireless carriers.
David Pogue reviews three new smartphones at once — Motorola, BlackBerry and HTC. All three phones that Pogue runs through his non-engineeringly hands — he really is a sort of anti-Mossberg — are comeback attempts by makers whose previous top models didn’t soar. All have Bluetooth plus Wi-Fi, five or six hours of talk time, plus standardized headphone jacks so you have more choice in buying a custom headset for yourself.
Here’s the 100-word version of each review:
“Don’t rush a product to market just because it’s the holiday season. That’s what R.I.M. did last year, and the Storm was a mess. You’d tap one menu item, and a different one would highlight. The Storm 2 fixes all of that.”
“Motorola has built an ingenious, if initially overwhelming, archipelago of social-networking  widgets. the address book fills itself with information and headshots from those online worlds. When someone calls — your brother, say — you see not only his photo, but also his latest status broadcasts from Twitter and Facebook.”
“HTC must have gotten sick of hearing how homely and bulky its first Google Android phone was. The HTC Hero is thin, sleek and a pleasure to hold. Far narrower than the Storm 2 and far thinner than the Motorola Cliq.” (It conspicuously matches iPhone dimensions.)
[Illustration: Stuart Goldenberg/The New York  Times]
Personalized shopping shouldn’t get too person, says Zappos — The New York Times reports on Zappos’ hiring of ChoiceStream, a Cambridge, Massachusetts company that helps e-commerce sites set up customization. The results so far: A 3 percent increase in sales, and customers who are clearly more interactive in their visits, looking at an average 20 percent more pages in the store than before. Zappos’ director of user experience and Web strategy says the company has been careful about not rushing into sending customers lots of mail and giving them too much personal advice while they’re on the site. He wants to avoid “overmarketing” to them, a word that should be in more common use.

Kodak reports fourth straight quarterly loss on sales — The company is a lesson:  The once premier film brand has been left behind by Americans’ faster-than-expected switch to digital cameras and Internet content. “They don’t have a significant recurring revenue base,” one analyst said, “so they’re very transaction-oriented and transactions just aren’t happening as much right now.” Sales fell all around, to a net loss of $111 million compared to last year’s $96 million in profit. Kodak won’t give out the numbers for its new inkjet printer and ink business, but they claim sales more than doubled in the quarter.
Nokia used to be a manufacturer of auto tires and rubber boots. So there’s hope for Kodak yet.
Apple TV 3.0 is out. They fixed the menus — I’ve been surprised at the lack of buzz for Apple TV. Everyone seems to be watching either iTunes, Hulu or BitTorrent. But there’s a new rev of the gadget’s software out. Here’s your cocktail-party briefing: The upgrade is free. A new Apple TV is $229.
The big design change in Apple TV 3.0 software is a new main menu borne of customer feedback: “Recently rented or purchased movies, as well as other content including TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube, are accessible directly from the new main menu,” Apple wrote in a press release. I spend way too much time clicking through my iTunes library while trying to relax with some TV after work. So I grok how these changes will make watching Apple TV more of a joy and less of a brand loyalty test.

GreenBeat Innovation Competition: Calling all killer Smart Grid apps!

On Nov. 18 and 19, VentureBeat will be hosting its inaugural GreenBeat conference, the premier executive summit on the Smart Grid this season. One of its major goals: To spotlight the brilliant technology only now emerging to mold a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid on the global level. And that’s what the GreenBeat 2009’s Innovation Competition, is all about.
Right now, we’re still calling for applications — from startups, big business, research institutions. If you are working on an idea that could disrupt the way we think about the grid today, then we want you in the running. The deadline to submit an application is Nov. 4. There’s still plenty of time.
Participating in the competition will mean exposure in front of an audience of Smart Grid industry leaders spanning venture capitalists, utility executives, other entrepreneurs and the best of the green press — not to mention keynote speakers Al Gore and John Doerr.
VentureBeat will announce the names of the top 10 entries, judged by some the of the grid’s most prominent stakeholders, during the conference on Nov. 19, and on its New York Times-syndicated newsblog. We’re proud to announce that The Mayfield Fund will be our host for the Innovation Competition and a sponsor of GreenBeat 2009. On top of that, DEMO, the leading launch platform for emerging technologies, and sponsor of GreenBeat 2009, will be offering winners of the Innovation Competition the opportunity to launch their products at DEMO in 2010 — a prize valued at $18,500. The products in question will be reviewed at the time of application submission, and must meet all the standard requirements before being “officially invited” to launch at either DEMO Spring or DEMO Fall next year.
“We are excited to partner with VentureBeat on this program helping to facilitate growth in this important category,” says Neal Silverman, executive vice president of DEMO.
In particular, the Innovation Competition is looking for projects, companies and products that will further the primary goals of the Smart Grid:

Lower emissions generated along the electrical supply chain.
Transmit energy consumption data along with power to utilities and their consumers
Drive increased efficiency and conservation of power

It is imperative that the world community begin to revamp and decarbonize their electrical systems if we’re going to have any hope of hitting renewable energy targets and slashing damaging greenhouse gas emissions. It’s equally imperative that we give the most promising entrepreneurs and projects in the space the attention, funding and support they need to gain traction. Become one of these Smart Grid heroes. Apply today.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Blige: "Min ånd reddet meg" fra selvmord

På en vakker høst dag i Yonkers, New York, like nord for New York City, Mary J. Blige gikk på fortauet på South Broadway.

Her er alle de store Android spillene? Svaret er enklere enn vi tror

Jeg var Tweeting med Gartenberg i går kveld om alle de flotte Android spill. Tross alt, det Android Marketplace har så mange gode titler som Civilization Revolution, Canabalt, iShoot og ... oh ... vent ... All spøk til side, årsaken er en slik mangel av flotte spill har å gjøre med noen programmering valg i Android seg selv og det er et problem som kan - og bør - være løst før Droid kommer til markedet i november.

Aurora Feint raises funding from big Japanese mobile portal operator

Aurora Feint, which makes iPhone games more social and easily discovered, has raised a multimillion-dollar round of funding from DeNA, the largest Japanese operator of mobile social networks and mobile virtual goods platforms.
DeNA, which operates mobile portal with 15 million users in Japan, is also using Aurora Feint’s social gaming platform in its newest smartphone in the Japanese market. And Japanese game publisher Hudson Soft will become the first partner for Aurora Feint’s OpenFeint platform in the Japanese market. Hudson’s upcoming Bomberman mobile game will use OpenFeint.
All of this attention represents a key international expansion for Aurora Feint. Japan is one of the most active mobile markets in the world. The OpenFeint platform makes it easy for companies to “socialize” games. It lets gamers view high scores on leadersboards, show off achievements to friends, and purchase related games. Publishers can
use it to cross promote games to a community of customers. That builds customer loyalty and it engages customers for a longer time, attacking the attention deficit disorder that plagues gamers faced with too many app choices.
DeNA will now own a 20 percent stake in Burlingame, Calif.-based Aurora Feint. Peter Relan, chairman of Aurora Feint, (right) said in an interview that DeNA is an ideal partner because of its experience in building social networks for mobile users and its strong partnerships with game companies such as Hudson. About 70 percent of older Japanese teens use DeNA’s Mobage-town portal, which generates $200 million in annual revenue. Masato Shibata, a corporate officer of Hudson, said that his company plans to release several games using OpenFeint.
OpenFeint, which debuted in December, 2008,  has more than 200 games that use its platform in Apple’s AppStore. More than 500 other titles are under development, and the company has 2,500 registered app developers.
Aurora Feint has 19 employees and was founded in 2007. Its rivals include Scoreloop and Ngmoco’s Plus+ platform.

Microgrids: A $2.1B market in the making?

The Smart Grid has officially stolen the cleantech spotlight this week, with the Department of Energy announcing the distribution of $3.4 billion in stimulus grants for utilities championing a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid. And this has set the stage for new, innovative grid ideas to gain some traction. One of the most promising: Microgrids, smaller-scale electrical systems spanning college campuses, municipalities and business parks, where energy is generated, stored and very closely managed on an intensely local level. And today, Pike Research released a report predicting microgrids to be a $2.1 billion market by 2015.
It’s a novel concept with several distinct advantages: Microgrids are more suitable for the integration of renewable energy systems like rooftop solar panels, waste heat generators and fuel cells. On a smaller scale it is easier to track now only how much energy is actually being produced from these sources, but also how it is being used and distributed for more consistent service. Right now, the majority of the 455 megawatts being circulated in microgrids right now is still generated by traditional coal and natural gas operations — but this will probably change rapidly.
Since microgrids operate on their own, without being hooked into one of the larger national grids, there are less likely to be disruptions due to peak demand or excessive power loads. They are easier to repair and easier to automate with demand response or conservation programs. For example, it is much easier to make a difference with smart refrigerators (that only make ice during off-peak hours) on a microgrid, than on a larger scale.
Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, is that microgrids can store enough energy to keep power flowing during blackouts or other disruptions. This makes them ideal for emergency services, hospitals, and of course, the military — which has taken a deep interest in the microgrid concept of late. Microgrids could be an ideal solution for military bases. As such, defense contractor Lockheed Martin has taken some steps in this direction, for example — perhaps as an entree into the broader Smart Grid business. Here’s a rough sketch of what a military-based microgrid might look like:

As the Pike report points out, $2.1 billion out of today’s $40 billion Smart Grid market (projected to be a $210 billion market by 2015), seems like a drop in the bucket. But the real potential could be microgrids’ impact on larger Smart Grid roll outs. Their success could influence utilities to take a more modular approach to Smart Grid initiatives that need to reach millions of customers.
As is, they are taking a one-size fits all approach, focused almost exclusively on installing as many smart meters as possible, and maybe experimenting with home energy monitors and demand response programs if time and money allows. But this strategy could begin to break down as more consumers — residential and commercial alike — choose to integrate solar, wind and fuel cell technology into their energy mix. Accordingly, some major utilities have already caught onto the microgrid trend. Duke Energy, San Diego Gas & Electric and Commonwealth Edison are all taking a closer look at this potential via pilot projects.
Right now, microgrid companies, still finding their footing, have turned to campuses — where research and interested residents could help refine the concept. Right now, existing microgrids are serving 322 megawatts to institutional campuses — predicted to soar as high as 1.2 gigawatts by 2015. If the technology can be proven in these locales, it might have a better shot at residential deployment — with whole neighborhoods operating on the same microgrid.
One of the most promising players to watch in the space is Viridity Energy, provider of a technology platform that allows microgrids to run demand response programs — rerouting and rebalancing power loads to decrease disruptions and maintain grid health while paying consumers for the energy that they conserve. Viridity CEO Audrey Zibelman, formerly COO at PJM Interconnect, one of the largest grid management companies in the world, will be featured at GreenBeat 2009, VentureBeat’s seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Silver Spring finds home on the range with OG&E

Silver Spring Networks, increasingly the provider of IP-based smart metering systems to watch, has gotten another big break, expanding its partnership with both Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) and General Electric Energy to help deploy the utility’s ambitious Positive Energy Smart Grid Program, one of the first of its kind in the region.
OG&E, which plans to roll out the technology to 42,000 homes and businesses in Norman, Okla., says its program will improve the reliability of its electricity delivery, and also help customers lower their electricity bills while maintaining their current standards of living. Silver Spring’s Smart Energy Network will provide the core functionality here, transmitting energy consumption data collected by smart meters to OG&E for real-time monitoring, billing, and blackout prevention.
The news is significant because it demonstrates how the Smart Grid imperative is penetrating the heartland. Paired with the recent handout of $3.4 billion in federal grants to utilities taking up these initiatives, it is clear that the Smart Grid will be a dominant force in the cleantech sector in the next several years.
One of the advantages of Silver Spring’s offering is that it helps utilities detect any sort of service disruption — whether it be a felled tree taking down power lines or overloaded peak demand — and allows them to reroute or rebalance power loads remotely to protect or reestablish service almost immediately. This saves literally millions of dollars a year in emergency maintenance costs, and keeps customers happy.
This isn’t the first time the wireless network provider has worked with OG&E and GE — the three parties collaborated in a 6,600-customer pilot study of the technology in the summer of 2008. But this new expansion in Norman will remain somewhat of a laboratory for the companies. Between 2,000 and 3,000 energy consumers there will be selected to receive real-time energy consumption and pricing information via a dashboard as party of study determining whether simply viewing this data encourages changes in energy use behavior.
Still, the entire project is contingent on the deployment of smart meters in Norman and surrounding areas. OG&E has yet to announce which company or companies will be providing, installing and maintaining this equipment. All of these efforts have of course been buoyed by the $130 million in stimulus grants the utility just received from the U.S. Department of Energy. It still needs to negotiate with the department about exactly how this money will be used, but it hopes to apply it toward a $300 million roll out of Smart Grid capabilities across its entire service area (30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and Arkansas and 775,000 customers) in the next three to five years.
Silver Spring, pegged by many analysts, to be the first Smart Grid startup to go public in the next year, has released a run of good news in the last two months. It recently diversified its business with the acquisition of Greenbox, maker of user-friendly home energy management displays, allowing regular consumers to view energy use and pricing information in real time. And the next day, it announced a partnership with Siemens to make the two companies’ complementary technologies interoperable.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Jessica Simpson's begjær

Når det gjelder å finne rett mann, ønsker Jessica Simpson alt.

Visesangeren dør

Taylor Mitchell, en stigende canadisk visesanger, ble drept av Coyotes i Nova Scotia nasjonalpark.

Droid Eris doc lekkasjer, viser WiFi og 5 megapiksel kamera

Den første telefonen i det som til slutt vil bli en rekke Droid telefonene bare ble en realitet i går morges, og søsken er allerede på slep. Vi vet allerede litt om HTC-laget Droid Eris, for eksempel $ 99 prislapp og at det er trolig bli spec'd nesten identisk til Hero. Vi er suckers for minutt detaljer om, og PhoneArena akkurat avdekket et dokument som bekrefter et par nye.

Energy-generating pavement: An untapped renewable?

From the neat new things department: An emerging startup called Pavegen has just installed squares of energy-generating pavement in London. Usually, when you think of converting kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines and hydroelectric dams spring to mind. But people’s steps — thousands upon thousands of them a day — utilize and channel kinetic energy too.
That’s the idea behind Pavegen’s flagship product, a slab of concrete that harnesses kinetic energy whenever it is stepped on. This energy, created by 5 millimeters of flex in the material, is then either stored by lithium polymer batteries contained within the slabs or transmitted immediately to streetlights and other electronics located close by. The current model, made from stainless steel, recycled car tires and recycled aluminum, also includes a lamp embedded in the pavement that lights up every time a step is converted into energy (using only 5 percent of the energy generated).
In an effort to keep the production of the pavement as green and sustainable as possible, Pavegen is partnering with Ryburn Rubber Limited and Advanced LEDs (which has also invested in the idea) to make sure that its components create as small an environmental impact as possible. Launched in July of this year, the company spun out of a project at Loughborough University. It is actively looking for investors.
The average square of pavement produces about 2.1 watts of electricity per hour. And according to Pavegen, any one square of pavement in a high-foot traffic area can see 50,000 steps a day. Based on this data, only five units of Pavegen pavement can be enough to keep the lights on at a bus stop all night. The company, led by 24-year old founder Laurence Kemball-Cook, says it eventually wants its slabs to power automatic doors, ticket machines, neon signs, and even computers and major appliances.
Pavegen isn’t targeting its product exclusively at municipalities. One of its big ideas is to have stores located on busy sidewalks install them in front of their locations to power their signage or any internal electronics. To encourage this adoption, the company says it will brand its slabs for its commercial customers.
The slabs just installed in East London happen to be green — appropriate as a cleantech solution — but they come in a variety of colors. The company believes the embedded lamp is important to inform passersby of their contribution to the clean energy movement. Kemball-Cook believes this will not only help educated the public about the need for innovative energy solutions, but also make them think more carefully about their energy use.
The startup plans to roll out more Pagevgen units in the United Kingdom in the next year, but it envisions installing them one day in Times Square in New York — think of all the electronic displays it could help power there — and other frequented locations in the U.S. One of the ideas pitched on its web site is to install slabs in subway turnstiles where thousands of people — about 36,000 per hour — walk a day to power station electronics. The patent for this application of the technology is still pending.
VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, on Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Get your discounted early-bird tickets before Oct. 31 at GreenBeat2009.com.

Halvparten av alle Twitter-brukere nå har funksjonen lister aktivert

Omtrent halvparten av alle brukere skal ha Twitter nye lister funksjonen er slått på. Den lar deg opprette grupper av brukere til å følge og ideelt sett bør gjøre området mye seigere for nye brukere (eller mye bråk for folk som allerede følger hundrevis av kontoer). Dessverre har noen av mine forsøk på å følge nye lister brakt intermitterende mislykkes hval, noe som betyr at systemet er over kapasitet og bryte ned. Jeg laget en liste her. Det er ganske enkelt - bare finne den rette Twitter håndtak, deretter på den grå knappen til høyre og bla nedover for å legge dem til noen liste. Hvis du er litt mer eventyrlystne, prøve Listorious for kuratert lister.

TechCrunch editor no-shows yet again. What’s with that?

Tonight’s insidery discussion on The Future of the Embargo was supposed to be a high-powered debate among top local tech journalists, in response to TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington’s gleeful ban of embargos. (Embargos are the publication times that PR people pre-set for stories). Arrington has a controversial opinion that “the embargo is dead,” and has ceased to honor unsolicited embargos at TechCrunch. Send him a press release and he’ll run a story about it now, not tomorrow at 5 a.m. as dictated by the embargo notice atop the document.
Tonight’s panel was spawned by the two conflicting approaches toward embargos — TechCrunch’s stance to officially ignore them, and the more customary stance to abide by them. VentureBeat editor Matt Marshall has openly affirmed his “we’ll take ‘em” policy in support of embargos. Matt couldn’t make it to the panel, because he’s in Europe on business. But Mike actually agreed to go. A lot of us put it on our calendars and turned down other outings for tonight. Then on Monday afternoon, Mike abruptly canceled his appearance in a post to Twitter.
The discussion has turned into a meta-topic among the gossipy reporters who cover the local Internet economy: Why does Arrington agree to do events, then fail to show at them? The Web 2.0 kingmaker was tonight’s big draw, better-known and more sought after than New York Times technology chief Damon Darlin. Most local entrepreneurs couldn’t tell you who Darlin is. But they follow Arrington around like puppies, hoping for coverage.
This isn’t just insidery blogger gossip. The mainstream media follows Arrington around, too, treating him as a thought leader and power broker for the Web 2.0 economy. At right, a Getty Images photo of Big Mike and leading media pundit Jeff Jarvis chatting at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich. By contrast, there’s not a single shot of VentureBeat chief Matt Marshall in Getty Images. Arrington is a celebrity in our circle, not just a reporter.
But TechCrunch’s founder, unfortunately, is getting a rep as Mike No-Show Arrington. The guy commits to events that draw people, many of whom only want to see and meet Mike Arrington. But then he punts. In 2008, he left editor Erick Schonfeld to handle most of the company’s Crunchies awards event. Last month, he refused to come to the stage to give away the top prize at his own TechCrunch50 conference.
This week, he canceled three days before the wonky panel discussion at local bar and nightclub Varnish. The guy has fans, me included, so watching him cancel his appearance on Twitter was frustrating and odd. “I’m pretty sure I’m too sick to attend the event,” he tweeted at fellow participant Mark Glaser from NPR. “Sounds like a big setup.”
I texted Mike to ask why he changed his mind on short notice. “It just felt like the event was going to turn into a witch burning as opposed to a reasonable conversation,” he replied. “This is less about the organizers and more about the audience,” he added — the audience being predominantly journalists and PR people.
In this particular case, I think he underestimates the extent to which a handful of lazy, sloppy, drunk reporters will stand up to that audience to ensure he gets a fair shake. And I think he underestimates his own ability to deal with a roomful of people who, at this point in time, need him far more than he needs them.
Not showing once isn’t a big deal, but with Arrington it’s become a pattern. The next time I see TechCrunch’s founder and editor-in-chief listed on an event, any event anywhere, I’ll have to presume he won’t be there.
[Photo: PicApp/Getty Images]

Gosselin åndelige tur

Jon Gosselin handlinger har brakt ham sammen med rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

Facebook forlate Twitter i støvet, sier Hitwise

Her er en ufattelige statistikken: Facebook.com utgjør 6 prosent av alle amerikanske Internett-besøk, i henhold til Web-forskning firmaet Hitwise. Og det er ikke forlate Twitter i støvet. Hitwise daglig leder for global forskning, skrev Bill Tancer,: Jeg tror dette tallet bekrefter vår opprinnelige hypotesen om Twitter-bås på grunn av en nedgang i nye brukere. Som Facebook fortsetter å vokse, dens bruker-base over Mosaic typer viser at brukeren-basen blir allestedsnærværende. Twitter derimot viste bedre dekning blant typer tidligere i sin vekstfase. Siden Twitter nedgang i juli, antallet over-indeksering har falt betydelig, noe som indikerer at tidlig veksten kan ha vært et resultat av betydelige spor oppførsel frem til denne sommeren. Twitter.com 's trafikken har ikke bare satt på bremsene, men det er begynt å ta en dukkert, ifølge Hitwise data. Nå er det grunn til å utøve en smule skepsis her - web-trafikk er ikke en stor grad av hvorvidt Twitter samlede veksten avtar eller snu. Rundt 80 prosent av brukerne ikke tilgang til Twitter via nettstedet, men i stedet gjennom andre kunder, ifølge TwitStat. Så dette kan bety enten at: A) Twitter vokser fortsatt, men er å se en større andel av sine brukere slå til utenfor klienter, eller b) det er virkelig avtar.

Co-drivere ønsket: MIT, Volkswagen opprette ultimate oversikten assistent

AIDA, the Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, uttales Ja-ja-da, tre stavelser. Dashbord-montert kjører kompis ser ut som en krysning mellom Star Wars ekstra og Kevin Spacey er Gerty personlige ledsager i filmen Moon, strippet ned til et hode-lignende grensesnitt som snakker til deg mens du kjører. AIDA legger mye prosessorkraft og programvare Smarts å gjøre noe som synes enkel: Det optimaliserer du kjører ruten hjem med tre fordeler fremfor å gjøre det selv: Først AIDA får sanntids trafikkinformasjon oppdateringer. Andre, ikke AIDA ikke bli distrahert eller glemsom måten et menneskelig sjåfør eller assistent ville. Tredje, ikke AIDA ikke bare smette unna trafikkorker. Det er smart om oppgavene du må utføre som en driver. Det merker at du er veldig lite gass, og styrer du en bensinstasjon før guide deg til en matbutikk som lar deg komme hjem i tide til å starte middag. Denne typen i bilen assistent har vært langt mer populær enn jeg hadde ventet, fordi jeg hater alltid være planlagt. (Det er derfor jeg er forfatter i stedet for en administrerende direktør.) Jeg er avvikende, men. Navigational assistenter er raske å bli som standard som iPod dokkingstasjon i nye biler. Blant Media Lab mange demo prosjekter synes dette er garantert å komme i den virkelige verden som arbeidende produkt.

Online communities help build customer loyalty

Editor’s note: This post is sponsored by PartnerUp and written by Megan Dorn.
In this day of increasing customer acquisition costs and depleting marketing funds, it feels more prudent than ever for businesses to find new ways to hold on tight to the small business customers they have and turn them into true fans. It’s a well-known adage that happy customers are loyal customers. But with tightened budgets, how do companies go about keeping these small businesses (with tightened budgets of their own) happy?
While there are many ways to drive customer loyalty, listening to your customers is perhaps the most important. It’s the foundation on which companies should base interactions with their customers. By listening to them, you’ll be able to better understand their real needs and wants, and you’ll see where your own strengths and weaknesses are. Listening can also lead to meaningful conversations between you and your customers, which deepens relationships.
Online communities are one of the most efficient ways to listen to your customers. When your company hosts an online community for your small business customers, and you truly have the goal of listening and being a valuable resource for them, something special starts to happen. Your good intentions and efforts will begin to translate into actual business results for your customers, and ultimately for you as well. As you open your ears to their thoughts, concerns and complaints, you gain their respect and confidence, causing you to no longer be simply a vendor who provides a service, but rather an indispensible partner.
Does this translate into customer retention though?
Absolutely. Listening helps you give your customers the products, tools, services, resources, etc., that will enable them to realize tangible business results. And when your customers’ business successes are a direct result of your community, they’re not going to want to turn to anyone else. Not only that, but you’ve gained incredible brand recognition in the process and are “top of mind” for them as they continue to grow their businesses.
Here are a few key points to remember:
1.) YOU must be the one listening and driving the conversation.
2.) The ideas you derive from listening MUST be focused around driving real business results for your customers.
3.) Custom, online communities specific to a business purpose create a long-term loyalty that you don’t always get with broader mainstream social media platforms.
Listening to your customers through a privately-branded online community can build a loyalty that will take you beyond the transactional and into the indispensible.

SpeedBit Video Accelerator fjerner YouTube, iTunes stalling

Ikke du hater det når du prøver å se en YouTube-klipp, og det holder stopper under avspilling? Hva det gjør det er bufring flere video-data til å spille på datamaskinen. Gutta på SpeedBit har en løsning på det: Installer deres gratis SpeedBit Video Accelerator, og det vil gjøre nesten alt bufring stopper forsvinne. Slik fungerer det: YouTube normalt bare betjener en video i en bekk. Det holder overføringshastigheten lav, for å holde YouTubes båndbredde bill. ned. Hva SpeedBit sender er videoen din forespørsel til en server som koteletter opp YouTube eller iTunes-videoer i en haug med kortere klipp, og serverer dem til din PC eller Mac parallelt. SpeedBit drar fordel av raske nettverkstilkoblinger folk flest, i hvert fall i Amerika, har for deres hjem og arbeid datamaskiner. Mens YouTube og iTunes kontrollere maksimal hastighet på sine strømmer til din PC eller Mac, for å holde sine båndbredde kostnadene nede, SpeedBit, stiftet et selskap for ti år siden da oppringt modem var veisperringen til video lykke, griper videostreamingannonser fra disse tjenestene og re-tjener den til datamaskinen på en måte som minimerer avbrudd ser din. Hvor er den delen hvor SpeedBit tjener penger? Det er her: Selskapet selger $ 50 per år premium abonnement som lar deg se YouTube-HD-klipp uten sputtering. Jeg visste jeg kunne stole på dette selskapet å gi meg med en demo video.

Mark Wahlberg venter en jente

Det er like-mulighet familie for Mark Wahlberg, som er ventet sitt fjerde barn med kona Rhea Durham.

Sting spiller det kaldt

Musikeren nye albumet er en hyllest til sin favoritt årstid - vinter.

TomToms iPhone bilmonteringssett ingen workie med iPod touch, første-gen iPhone

Dårlige nyheter, folkens. Hvis du har tenkt å slippe $ 120 på TomToms iPhone bilmonteringssettet og deretter en annen $ 100 på TomToms navigering app for bruk med ditt første generasjons iPhone eller andre generasjons iPod touch, ser det nå ut som du ønsker å kjøre inn i noen kompatibilitetsproblemer. AppleInsider er rapportering "at selv om bilmonteringssettet dokkingstasjonen er kompatibel med alle iPhone-modeller, vil TomTom programmet kun fungerer med iPhone 3GS og iPhone 3G - selv med dokkingstasjonen kobles til en første generasjons iPhone eller iPod touch."

Is Nintendo’s new DSi enough to stave off the iPhone and PSPgo?

Nintendo is introducing a new version of its DSi gaming handheld, as we reported last night. The DSi LL will hit Japan on Nov. 21 and North America and Europe as the DSi XL in the first quarter.
Nintendo introduced its new dual-camera DSi just a year ago in Japan, but the company has to move fast. This handheld is an answer to the threat from the Sony PSPgo and Apple’s iPhone/iPod. But I’m afraid it isn’t enough. It doesn’t really bring Nintendo into the modern age of social apps which can be downloaded onto the fly onto a smartphone-like device. That’s the sector that is seeing a boom now.
Nintendo is sure to talk about more features in the future, but it hasn’t yet spelled out what you can do with this new DSi that you couldn’t really do with the older one. A larger touchscreen doesn’t quite do the job. The Nintendo DSi LL has larger dual screens — 4.2-inch screens compared to the DSi’s 3.25-inch screens. The viewing angle is better. It weighs 314 grams and has a battery life of three hours. It has a small stylus and a longer one. Users can choose between dark brown, red wine and natural white.
For now, this seems like a rush job. It doesn’t address Apple’s biggest advantages: an AppStore with 100,000 apps and lots of free games, downloadable content that you can buy instantly and download over a Wi-Fi connection, and outstanding communications that you can really only get with a phone. I think we can expect Nintendo to chase these features over time, but in the meantime, this new DSi is going to have to do. Perhaps that is why Nintendo hasn’t changed its forecast for DS sales in its current fiscal year. Before, it expected to sell 30 million units in the fiscal year ending March 31, and now it still expects that. Meanwhile, Apple is closing in with nearly 60 million sold in two years. Nintendo is still on top with 110 million sold since 2004, while Sony is somewhere above 50 million sold with the PSP.
It will be interesting to see if the PSPgo can compete with the new DSi as well as the iPhone/iPod Touch. The PSPgo has downloadable content and cheaper mini games available for lower prices. It has a crisp screen and is a gamer’s device, with much more sophisticated games than are available for either the DSi or the Apple devices. But if it is pigeonholed as a hardcore gamer’s device, it’s not going to outsell the others. The game in handhelds now is all about getting to the mass market, and that means these devices are competing with smartphones.

Når faktisk møter fiksjon, tilfeller er vanskeligere å løse

Det sies at livet imiterer kunsten. Men det er det siste du ønsker når du skriver kriminalfortellinger. Du aldri vil se de tingene du skriver om speilet tilbake til deg i det virkelige liv.

What rehab taught me about making bad investments

(Editor’s note: Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. This column originally appeared on his blog Seeing Both Sides.)
For as long as I can remember, I have been an enthusiastic participant in sports.  To be clear, I’m not a great athlete (in fact, I’m the only one of the five Flybridge General Partners that wasn’t a varsity athlete in college). I’m just good enough to participate passionately and aggressively like the prototypical weekend warrior.
During any of my amateur sports efforts — whether competing in mini-triathlons, tackling hard ski runs, or trying to jump the wake while water skiing — I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself and approaching the task fearlessly.
Earlier this year, for reasons that will become clear shortly, I was reflecting on why it is that I am so fearless as a competitor, even as I’ve gotten older.  I came up with two reasons.  First, I’m not afraid of losing or failing and, second, I’m not afraid of getting hurt.
The former is probably because winning has never my ultimate objective, but rather the fun of competing and the enjoyment of achieving some level of mastery. And I’ve probably never been afraid of getting hurt because I’ve never gotten hurt.  I’ve been simply very lucky.  That is, until this spring, when a collision during a Saturday morning pick-up basketball game caused my ACL tendon to rupture.  My luck ran out.
During my recuperation period, one question I contemplated was: When I’m back to full strength, will I return to sports with the same aggression, or will I find I have lost some of my fearlessness?
Ironically, that’s the identical question I struggle with as an investor.  Vinod Khosla once said it takes 7 years and $30 million in losses to train a venture capitalist.  Although I haven’t lost $30 million of my LPs’ and partners’ money in my 7 years as a VC, I have made my share of bad investments.  When I look back on my struggling deals and do my post-mortem with my partnership (something we do during our annual strategy offsite), I point to the mistakes I made and errors I’ll try to correct the next time.
But I think I now appreciate that Vinod’s point is something broader than being a good VC requires learning from failure.  It also requires the fearlessness to pick yourself up after failure and take high risks again and again.
Not losing confidence in your ability to judge good people, good opportunities and good markets is the key to transforming those early failures into more consistent successes going forward. Vinod and other legendary VCs still make their own investment mistakes 20 years later, but they remain fearless in willing to plunge forward to back the next big idea and great entrepreneur.
With this challenging economic environment, VCs are facing more than their share of failure – and there’s more to come.  Let’s hope for our industry’s sake that we VCs all bounce back with the same spring in our step that I intend to once I’m cleared to return to the basketball court.