rufous + techcrunch   618

How Facebook’s React Native Will Change Mobile Apps | TechCrunch
Now that Facebook has open-sourced the React Native code base, it’s free and available to all, so we can expect both its code and its ideas to seep into other tools and development platforms. The same thing happened with React Native’s predecessor, React.js, a framework for building web-based user interfaces. While being a popular framework in and of itself, the ideas and concepts from React.js have also exerted a strong influence on other frameworks.
mobile  react_native  techcrunch 
june 2016 by rufous
SkySafe lands $3 million led by Andreessen to disable badly behaving drones | TechCrunch
Dixon suggests SkySafe will ensure that drones don’t go rogue, largely via radio waves, which it uses to override a drone’s remote and take control of the aircraft. Perhaps so. What SkySafe is building certainly sounds less menacing than some of the other options to emerge recently, including an anti-drone laser and an anti-drone rifle. Unfortunately, for competitive reasons, the six-person company isn’t willing to dive much more deeply into how its tech works, as we learned when we talked yesterday with cofounder and CEO Grant Jordan. Our chat has been edited for length.
drones  techcrunch 
april 2016 by rufous
Leaked Documents Show How Yelp Thinks It’s Getting Screwed By Google | TechCrunch
The source tells me these screenshots and study are what’s being passed around internally at Yelp to demonstrate that Google’s tactics are unfair. Yelp recently joined a formal complaint about the leniency of an EU antitrust settlement with Google, the New York Times reported today, and my source says these documents helped inspired this action.

European Commissioner For Competition Joaquín Almunia

In early 2013, Google won a breezy settlement with the FTC in the U.S. over similar antitrust concerns, which disappointed critics because its practice of directing traffic to its own services like Google+ were deemed legal. Yelp and other complainants don’t want Google to get off so easy in Europe.
yelp  google  techcrunch 
april 2016 by rufous
Why Your Favorite Snapchat Apps No Longer Work | TechCrunch
Snapchat never provided developers with official access to its APIs, but as the large number of third-party applications makes clear, reverse engineering access to the APIs was not too difficult. If anything, the company seemed to have been shrugging its shoulders at the existence of its growing third-party ecosystem, instead focusing on the development of its bottom-line impacting initiatives, like the launch of new features including Snapchat Stories, Our Story and Discover, for example.
snapchat  reverse_engineering  api  techcrunch 
march 2016 by rufous
2005 Zuckerberg Didn’t Want To Take Over The World | TechCrunch
The Huffington Post has come across this fascinating five-minute interview of Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s Palo Alto office in June 2005. The clip is apparently part of a longer 40-minute-interview from a documentary about millennials shot by Ray Hafner and Derek Franzese.  That interview has never been shown in full, and if I were Hafner and Franzese I’d be figuring out a way to do that stat, especially post-The Social Network.

Zuckerberg’s initial vision, “an online directory for colleges” seems remarkably short-sighted in light of the fact that Facebook users comprise now 11% of the world’s population and 35% of the world’s online population. In retrospect Zuckerberg may have wanted to put the fratty red beer cup down (Fun fact: He had just turned 21, also that’s co-founder Dustin Moskovitz doing a keg stand).
interview  mark_zuckerberg  facebook  techcrunch  2005 
march 2016 by rufous
Google Chrome For Android Will Soon Support Interactions With Bluetooth Beacons | TechCrunch
Google announced today that it has begun to support physical beacons in its Chrome browser for Android.

The feature, which has been tested in the iOS app since last summer, is heading to Chrome 49 for Android soon. It enables users to opt in to interact with and receive content from nearby Bluetooth-enabled beacons in public places like shops, sports stadiums, schools, etc.
ibeacon  techcrunch  chrome  ble  android 
february 2016 by rufous
Foursquare Gets $45M And A New CEO To Build Out Enterprise Business | TechCrunch
Now, the last of the cool standalone Web 2.0 companies has a new hit revenue stream in its business and enterprise location services and it’s looking to capitalize on that with some restructuring and new funding.

Foursquare has raised $45 million in equity financing. The Series E round is led by Union Square Ventures, with Morgan Stanley and previous investors including DFJ Growth, A16z and Spark Capital participating.

In addition, co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley is moving to an executive chairman position and Jeff Glueck has been appointed the company’s new CEO. Glueck had been serving as COO and overseeing the enterprise businesses that have become the majority revenue stream for Foursquare.

He pointed to deals that Foursquare has signed with companies like Apple, Twitter and Pinterest to use its location data. These, Crowley says, have contributed to Foursquare’s biggest revenue year.

Freshly minted CEO Glueck says that the “maturing” revenue lines are growing at ‘triple digit rates’. More specifically, its media businesses like Pinpoint — digital targeting with location info for businesses and ads — are 170 percent over 2014 revenue. Combined, the enterprise side of Foursquare, which includes its Places API customers and its newer Place Insights business, has seen 160 percent growth, says Glueck, though no hard revenue numbers are forthcoming.

Glueck stressed the importance and uniqueness of Place Insights: “It’s the world’s largest opt-in foot traffic panel, with no check-ins required.”

Place Insights has grown out of Foursquare’s new location system — called Pilgrim — which is able to place users at locations with confidence even if they don’t check in. This allows Foursquare to provide serendipitous recommendations to users of its consumer apps, but it also provides a wealth of foot traffic information that can be offered to the enterprise.
foursquare  dennis_crowley  techcrunch  location 
january 2016 by rufous
Clinkle Implodes As Employees Quit In Protest Of CEO | TechCrunch
Seven employees quit the frequently mocked payment rewards startup Clinkle simultaneously today due to frustration with its 24-year-old CEO Lucas Duplan, according to multiple sources close to the company. Duplan, pictured above, is said to have withheld information from employees about acquisition talks with Apple that the team hoped would result in a sale. He’s believed to have quietly dug for more buyout offers in hopes of improving his financial status because he holds an outsized amount of equity in the startup.

As suspicions of a hidden Apple offer swirled, Duplan fired the company’s CFO and VP of engineering, which is said to have been the last straw for quite a few employees. Duplan has tasked the remaining team with stopping development of Clinkle’s debit card product to pivot the company into a business to business API for payment rewards.

This is only the latest bad news after years of ridicule for its massive $30 million funding round despite lacking a publicly available product, and highly critical reports of Duplan’s leadership through repeated layoffs at Clinkle.

Clinkle’s goal was to offer a mobile wallet for wireless transactions, including Venmo-style, peer-to-peer payments, and paying merchants over ultrasound frequencies. The differentiator for users was that they could win rewards, including free purchases for using Clinkle. Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell wrote an in-depth history of Clinkle’s first few years that includes several anonymous employees’ criticisms of the young CEO.

Founded at Stanford in 2011 by Duplan when he was just 19, Clinkle amassed a team of smart, driven students at the college despite refusing to show many a working prototype. Duplan’s co-founders Frank Li and Jason Riggs have both since parted ways with Clinkle.

Yet suddenly, the startup was the talk of the town when it managed to raise $25 million in seed funding in June 2013 from top investors including Peter Thiel, Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Benioff, Jim Bryer, Accel Ventures and Index Partners.

But rather than a traditional-priced seed round for equity, sources say Duplan structured the financing as convertible debt. One outcome of that was that Clinkle didn’t need to allow an investor on its board of directors, limiting oversight and keeping Duplan in firm control. The round was raised in small amounts from a large number of investors, which also kept anyone from dedicating more time to guiding Clinkle. Duplan secured another $5 million a few months later bringing Clinkle to over $30 million in funding.
techcrunch  clinkle  rewards  gifting 
january 2016 by rufous
Why Increased Efficiency Will Make Us Miserable | TechCrunch
Because convenience apps aren’t going away anytime soon, I suggest balancing them out with apps and services that enable micro-interactions. Rather than working from home, use Workfrom to find the closest spot with good Wi-Fi, abundant outlets and tasty food. Sign up for a membership with WeWork or another co-working space.

Download Treatings to find people in your city with similar professional interests or ambitions. Join interest communities through Meetup. Check out FindGravy to discover events that fit your schedule and your mood. Host or join a SupperClub. Connect with local dog owners on Meet My Dog — or borrow one using Walkzee!
convenience  uber  services  techcrunch 
december 2015 by rufous
The Second Coming Of Deep Linking | TechCrunch
For developers and users, mobile deep linking has been a fantastically anticlimactic technology. Deep linking has existed since iOS 2.0, a time when fewer than 1 in 10 of us had a smartphone and Facebook had around 80 million users.

Over the last seven years, many companies have riffed on the theme of deep linking. They have branded it, marketing their offerings with the lofty promise of making the mobile-app ecosystem function like the web.

Nowadays, every major tech player is fighting to accumulate a stockpile of mobile deep links, as demonstrated by the enormous amount of attention that Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have been paying to deep linking this year.

Recently, a new type of deep linking has appeared. Contextual deep-linking technology offers deep links that can pass data to an app through install, in addition to supporting the legacy deep-linking method.

This data is used by the app to show the user relevant information when they open the app for the first time (below). This makes deep links useful for users who didn’t have the app, as well as those who already did. Now, deep links work for newly acquired users, not just existing users, driving growth and re-engagement.
deeplinks  techcrunch  onboarding 
november 2015 by rufous
Rap Genius Drops Co-Founder Following Elliot Rodger Manifesto Annotations | TechCrunch
Yesterday, Moghadam responded to the Gawker article with an apology, saying “I was fascinated by the fact that a text was associated with such a heartbreaking crime, especially since Elliot is talking about my neighborhood growing up. I got carried away with making the annotations and making any comment about his sister was in horrible taste, thankfully the rap genius community edits out my poor judgement, I am very sorry for writing it.” He’d also previously said that a brain tumor removed in October of last year was responsible for some his more objectionable behavior.

While the official line is that Moghadam resigned, it is likely that he was asked to leave by the company following his actions over the weekend. Re/code is reporting definitively that he was fired. Lehman’s own comments in his blog post seem to confirm this, as he states in his closing paragraph that he “cannot let” Moghadam “compromise the Rap Genius mission.” Former CTO and co-founder Lehman is taking over the CEO role, and fellow co-founder Ilan
Zechory will stay on to help run the company.
rapgenius  techcrunch 
november 2015 by rufous
Zendesk Buys Live Chat Provider Zopim For Up To $29.8M As It Files For $150M IPO | TechCrunch
Zendesk doesn’t disclose the financial details of the Zopim acquisition in its press release, but it does in its SEC filing. According to the S-1, the Zopim deal is worth up to $29.8 million.

The first part of that is the upfront payment of $15.9 million, with $5 million in cash and $10.9 million in common stock, with $1.1 million of the cash and $2.4 million of the common stock consideration “held back between 12 and 18 months as partial security for standard indemnification obligations and which is payable in the future under terms specified in the stock purchase agreement.” The second part is an additional earn-out of up to $13.9 million in cash and equity “over two and three years, respectively, to Zopim employees in connection with their continued employment.”

Prior to today, Zopim had raised less than $400,000 since being founded back in 2008. (In comparison, Zendesk has raised some $85.5 million with investors including Christoph Janz, Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Matrix Partners, Redpoint Ventures, GGV Capital, Goldman Sachs, Index Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.)

The IPO filing notes that Zendesk, which has 40,000 businesses as customers, made $72 million in revenues in 2013, growing 88% over 2012. It also posted net losses of $24.4 million and $22.6 million, in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
zopim  zendesk  customer_support  acquisitions  techcrunch 
october 2015 by rufous
Hailo Launches API For E-Hailing On The Same Day As Uber | TechCrunch
Not to be left behind in the growing feud between Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and others, Hailo has launched a public API for its taxi hailing service, on the very same day Uber announced its own. The startup, which launched in 2011 in London but has since expanded to various cities across the UK, London and Canada, originally dealt in standard taxis vs. Uber’s black car focus, but has since also moved into black car, SUV and sedan transportation.

The publicly accessible API follows an initial launch integration with third-party transit planning app Citymapper last month. The Citymapper integration worked similarly to how Uber now offers an in-app link to its own services in Google Maps, but didn’t require actually leaving the app to work. Uber’s new API means that it now can and does offer this kind of instant car booking in various third-party apps, too.

Hailo’s public API isn’t surprising, since the Citymapper venture was likely a test all along with an end goal of launching something public if it worked out.
techcrunch  hailo  api 
september 2015 by rufous
Netflix Kills Off Its Public API, Takes A Few Applications Down With It | TechCrunch
It’s a bummer, but perhaps for the best.. at least until Netflix is willing to put the time into making an API that isn’t terrible.

Their API would often change without much notice, its documentation was weak at best, and they offered up two entirely separate APIs, neither of which really ever had a full feature set. Want to help people find a sci-fi movie from 1985? Easy. Want to provide a button that’ll consistently open the Netflix app and start playing that movie? Good luck with that.
techcrunch  netflix  api 
september 2015 by rufous
Clawbacks and Startups Don’t Mix | TechCrunch
In the world of non-unionized, at-will employment, shareholders and managers can terminate employment when they see fit, even at times when a significant payout looms. Sure, once a cliff is reached with respect to vesting of shares, an employee will accrue equity that is rightfully theirs. In some cases, there could be sensitive company intelligence that only the founders, executive management, and board members are aware of, such as a potential acquisition, merger, or details around a public offering. With that information, management could, hypothetically, have an incentive to look over the ledger and ponder a re-splitting the pie.

If the story from Zynga is true, and if equity “clawbacks” and attempts to reclaim shares (against threats of termination) are used as tactics to manage option pools and optimize for a policy of “one less share,” the repercussions from this could spread. It could be the line in the sand. Should any early-stage employee truly put their trust in an equity agreement or option grant issued by their new employer? Who will back them up when legal fees may be too daunting? Will management seek to retain talent with promises of equity instead of just hiring and firing the right people, in the best interest of the company?
stock_options  techcrunch  startups  zynga  corruption  vesting  clawbacks 
september 2015 by rufous
Dropbox: the first dead decacorn | Thoughts from Alex Danco
Breaking news! The stock market is crashing! Everybody panic! Unicorns are going to die!!!    Ok, so maybe we’re overreacting a little.
dropbox  slack  storage  techcrunch 
august 2015 by rufous
Automatic Launches Its SDK, Turning The Car Into An App Platform | TechCrunch
Automatic, a startup whose sensor-and-software combo has been described as “Fitbit for your car,” is today rolling out a software development kit and new hardware that turn your car into a platform for apps.

The company has partnered with more than 20 third-party app developers for the first wave of applications pulling information from its adapter, which has been updated to accommodate streaming real-time data from a car’s computer and sensors to apps running on your phone.

The apps draw relevant data from a car’s computer via the OBD port, letting you do things like feed the exact mileage from a particular drive into Concur to expense a work trip or to a consumer-centric app like Unmooch to split the cost of fuel with friends. There are also apps for those looking to get peak performance from their cars, offering up stats on engine output and lap times.

Drivers for on-demand services like Uber, Lyft, and Postmates will be happy to hear that SherpaShare is one of the first apps to makes it into Automatic’s App Gallery, which points to corresponding apps on iOS and Android’s respective app stores. The app is designed to help drivers determine their actual income taking fuel costs and time spent waiting around into account. Estimating those things with the app on your smartphone was a boon before, but now with data from Automatic, drivers will have exact numbers on the fuel burning while waiting for another fare.
techcrunch  cars  odb  apps 
june 2015 by rufous
To Clean Up Your Startup’s B.S., Bring Sales Into The Leadership Team | TechCrunch
A lot of product management is like being in a big, dark closet: Everyone’s agreeing with each other, in the office, satisfying themselves internally … and then six months later they pop out with a product. (And by product I mean a full product, not a feature release, though both of these should equally benefit from reps’ input.) Valuable time will sometimes be spent on features that should never have been developed in the first place — and that sales reps could have shot down immediately.

Having a salesperson in the room means bringing in a bullshit meter. The sales rep is the one who is going to say, “I know you’re excited that this product was built on/with such-and-such, but so what? That’s not going to excite my customers. How is this differentiated from everything else out there?” They’ll ask the hard questions.

Instead of intellectually obsessing over the ideas, sales reps are the ones who ask, “Yeah, but what am I actually selling?”

Without sales in the room, you’re also missing out on a great opportunity to get instant customer feedback. Sales can also help convene customer boards with prospects who aren’t sold yet to answer the question “what would make you change your mind about buying this product today”.
sales  product_management  techcrunch 
june 2015 by rufous
How Pixar Solves Problems From The Inside Out | TechCrunch
For Inside Out, Lin and the photography department used extensive camera capture techniques. The scenes are set up virtually, blocked in by a process called Layout — also in their wheelhouse — and then animated. The camera’s movements through the scene are then shot just like a live action film, following the ‘actors’ as they move through the scene.

Both handheld and ‘gear box’ rigs were used to get the camera movements just right, depending on the act of the movie and whether we are inside or outside Riley’s head. It’s a solution that’s both technology heavy — and very aware of the value of a human touch.
pixar  cinematography  techcrunch 
april 2015 by rufous
Bitcoin 2.0: Unleash The Sidechains | TechCrunch
So. We’ve got Bitcoin and its blockchain; and we’ve got scores if not hundreds of other blockchains, powering various altcoins and Namecoin and (soon) Ethereum et al. But blockchains, like social networks, benefit from a network effect. The most popular becomes the most resilient, the most powerful, the most valuable; and Bitcoin’s blockchain is, by far, the big dog today. These two facts have provoked a certain amount of anti-altcoin vitriol.

On the other hand, other blockchains are where most of the interesting innovation is happening. Namecoin as a DNS replacement; Ethereum as a generic platform for any kind of blockchain technology; hopefully some kind of blockchain replacement for X.509 certificates; SolarCoin for solar power; Dogecoin for those of us who love absurdism for its own sake; etc etc etc. The Bitcoin blockchain, despite/because of the megawatts of power poured into it, has grown sluggish and slow to change, a victim of its own success, which impedes the pace of innovation…

…or so I thought, until I met with Austin Hill and Adam Back. Hill is the former founder and CEO of Zero-Knowledge Systems, a multi-million-dollar startup that was a good 15-20 years ahead of its time; Back is the inventor of the Hashcash algorithm which powers Bitcoin. They have considerable credibility, in other words — and they’re building a stealth “Blockchain 2.0″ startup, based in part on the notion of “sidechains.”

Sidechains are new blockchains which are backed by Bitcoins, via Bitcoin contracts, just as dollars and pounds used to be backed by cold hard gold. You could in principle have thousands of sidechains “pegged” to Bitcoin, all with different characteristics and purposes … and all of them taking advantage of the scarcity and resilience guaranteed by the main Bitcoin blockchain, which in turn could iterate to implement experimental sidechain features once they have been tried and tested.
bitcoin  sidechains  blockchain  techcrunch 
april 2015 by rufous
Google Says Website Encryption Will Now Influence Search Rankings
Google will begin using website encryption, or HTTPS, as a ranking signal – a move which should prompt website developers who have dragged their heels on increased security measures, or who debated whether their website was “important” enough to require encryption, to make a change. Initially, HTTPS will only be a lightweight signal, affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, says Google.

That means that the new signal won’t carry as much weight as other factors, including the quality of the content, the search giant noted, as Google means to give webmasters time to make the switch to HTTPS.

Over time, however, encryption’s effect on search ranking make strengthen, as the company places more importance on website security.

Google also promises to publish a series of best practices around TLS (HTTPS, is also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) so website developers can better understand what they need to do in order to implement the technology and what mistakes they should avoid. These tips will include things like what certificate type is needed, how to use relative URLs for resources on the same secure domain, best practices around allowing for site indexing, and more.
ssl  search  google  ranking_signals  seo  techcrunch 
april 2015 by rufous
Google Makes “Mobile-Friendliness” A Ranking Signal Worldwide, Boosts Indexed Apps In Search Results | TechCrunch
The changes follow a number of previous efforts Google has made to improve its search results for mobile users. In 2013, for example, it rolled out ranking changes that would affect sites that were misconfigured for smartphone users, including those frustrating situations where a specific URL would redirect all smartphone users to the website’s mobile homepage instead of their preferred destination. This was common among news sites, in particular, as users would often click a link to read a certain story and would end up landing on the site’s main webpage, the story nowhere to be found.

Last summer, meanwhile, Google began flagging sites that wouldn’t display on mobile devices due to the technology they used – like those built with Adobe Flash, which meant they wouldn’t display on iOS devices or Android 4.1 and higher.

And in November, Google began adding a “mobile-friendly” label to its search results accessed on mobile devices to indicate they would display well on your smartphone’s small screen, after first testing “warning labels” earlier in the year. It noted at the time it was also testing the use of the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.
seo  search  mobile  techcrunch  ranking_signals 
april 2015 by rufous
Why The Kleiner Perkins-Social+Capital Deal Fell Apart | TechCrunch
Kleiner Perkins was founded in 1972 with a storied history of highly successful investments (though, not so much during its stint investing in clean technology). Doerr joined in 1980 and had led investments in some of the most successful companies in technology. The idea of bringing in a new team to essentially rebuild the firm, after a series of snafus involving one of its founders, Tom Perkins, and the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Ellen Pao, was not something that they found appealing.

At the very least, the idea doesn’t sound that radical. S23P has had success recently, and has fresh blood. The firm invested in Box, which went public last year, and Yammer, which was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billon. In addition, S23P invested in Slack, a hot enterprise collaboration startup that was recently valued at $1.12 billion.

Kleiner Perkins, meanwhile, has tried to find its way into more modern investments like Snapchat, Instacart, Houzz and also Slack. But the firm has found itself making its way into the rounds at late stages. It has missed the early stages of many major popular consumer apps — including Twitter, for example. Kleiner Perkins only invested in the company in a much later round.
john_doerr  vc  techcrunch 
april 2015 by rufous
These Activists Are Plotting To End Internet Censorship In China | TechCrunch
“I hope we put ourselves out of business,” said Charlie Smith, the pseudonymous head of Great Fire. And he was serious. After all this Chinese Internet monitoring watchdog is no ordinary case.

Started in 2011 by three anonymous individuals tired of China’s approach to the internet, it initially tracked the effects of the country’s censorship system on websites. Over time, it has risen to become perhaps the most trusted authority on the subject.

The Great Fire site itself is censorship database. Visitors to input a URL to determine if the website is blocked in China. It is available in English and Chinese, and periodically tests its collection of over 100,000 URLs to produce a history of the availability/restriction for each one. A hugely useful resource in its own right, GreatFire has come to mean a lot more than just checks. These days, the three founders document new instances of internet restrictions and foul play in China via the organization’s blog and @greatfirechina Twitter account.
china  censorship  techcrunch 
april 2015 by rufous
Andreessen Horowitz-Backed Leap Buses Are Hitting San Francisco’s Streets This Week | TechCrunch
Transit startup Leap is finally launching in San Francisco with completely overhauled buses and a route from the Marina to the downtown area.

The startup, which is trying to rethink mass transit, is competing with a host of other shared transit companies from Y Combinator-backed Chariot to ride-pooling startup Loup and, of course, Uber and Lyft.

Leap, however, is aimed at regular commuters who are doing a predictable route every day and may not want to jump for the price points of on-demand services like UberPool and Lyft Line. Tickets cost $6 individually or $5 in packs of 20. If you use commuter benefits, you can get the cost down to $4 a ride, according to co-founder Kyle Kirchhoff.

The buses circulate every 10 to 15 minutes and take about 25 minutes to go from one end of the line on Lombard Street to the other end in the Downtown area. The service runs during peak commute hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The key differentiator from other bus startups like Chariot is how Leap has rethought the entire internal experience of the bus. They bought old NABI buses and refurbished them with plush interior seating, Wi-Fi, USB ports and bar stools for working on laptops. They run on natural gas.
transport  transit  san_francisco  the_valley  buses  techcrunch  jitneys 
march 2015 by rufous
Microsoft Is Acquiring Calendar App Sunrise For North Of $100 Million | TechCrunch
Software giant Microsoft is in the process of trying to reinvent itself, and part of that reinvention evidently involves acquiring startups that have created products that compete with its own. The latest acquisition is calendar app maker Sunrise, which Microsoft shelled out at least $100 million for according to our sources.

Sunrise has a suite of calendar products for mobile and desktop users that connects with and consolidates calendars from different providers. It’s available on the iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and on the Mac App Store, as well as offering a web client.

Users can access their calendars from Google, iCloud, and Microsoft Exchange, as well as connecting to a wide range of other third-party apps. That cross-device and cross-platform support has helped it gain significant traction among users.
microsoft  calendars  techcrunch 
february 2015 by rufous
Semantic Analysis Of Startup L. Jackson Points To Dustin Curtis | TechCrunch
With over 26k followers, Twitter persona Startup L. Jackson is a shining star in Silicon Valley’s Twitter constellation. He (she?) often tweets out pithy commentary on investor inside information, tech culture and funny startup minutiae.

Since it started tweeting in August 2011, many in the tech community have tried to guess the infamous parody account’s real identity, but up until now there have been scant clues as to whom it might be. But today, thanks to Planetary developer Joshua Gross, we’ve seen one of strongest, most obsessive investigative efforts yet.
samuel_l_jackson  dustin_curtis  techcrunch 
january 2015 by rufous
Our Reaction To Your Reactions To the Twitter Confidential Documents Post | TechCrunch
But we are going to publish some of the other information that is relevant to Twitter’s business, particularly product notes and financial projections. Many users say this is “stolen” information and therefore shouldn’t be published. We disagree.

We publish confidential information almost every day on TechCrunch. This is stuff that is also “stolen,” usually leaked by an employee or someone else close to the company, and the company is very much opposed to its publication. In the past we’ve received comments that this is unethical. And it certainly was unethical, or at least illegal or tortious, for the person who gave us the information and violated confidentiality and/or nondisclosure agreements. But on our end, it’s simply news.

If you disagree with that, ok. But then you also have to disagree with the entire history of the news industry. “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising,” is something Lord Northcliffe, a newspaper magnate, supposedly said. I agree wholeheartedly.
twitter  leaks  michael_arrington  journalism  news  techcrunch 
december 2014 by rufous
The Ethics Of Publishing Hacked Information | Uncrunched
In this case, the press is actually focusing on the really embarrassing stuff, the private emails that show drama between actors, directors, studio execs, etc.

Still, I don’t think there’s much of an ethical or legal question here (other than the distribution of the movies, which is a clear copyright issue). The data is out there and it’s going to be talked about. No matter how many threatening letters Sony sends.

And I see little or no public outrage over any of it.
leaks  techcrunch  journalism  ethics  michael_arrington  sony 
december 2014 by rufous
Mesosphere Announces First Data Center OS And $36M In Funding | TechCrunch
Besides the funding though, the bigger news was the announcement of their first data center operating system (DCOS). This is a new kind of operating system that operates on the scale of the entire data center, which means instead of controlling a single machine, the operating system sits on top of the data center and enables administrators to treat all of the resources in the data center as a single, virtual entity. This allows for much simpler management and lets administrators spin servers and software up and down as needs require much more quickly than with current methods.

The virtual machine allowed you to make the best use of your resources on a single machine, but Mesosphere wants to take that concept a step further and allow you to apply that same principle to the entire data center. Because today’s applications tend to work across multiple servers, no matter how many ways you break down a single machine’s resources, it’s just not going to suffice anymore.

By applying this virtual machine concept across the entire data center, you create a single pool of resources that you can manipulate any way that you like and this could be a powerful capability for system administrators. What’s more, this ability to virtualize the entire data center dramatically speeds up the time it takes to spin up server clusters from days or weeks to hours or even minutes, depending on how large the cluster is you are trying to create.
data_centres  os  techcrunch  apache 
december 2014 by rufous
Apple Patents An iPhone Drop Protection Mechanism That Changes Device Angle In Freefall | TechCrunch
Apple has a new patent granted by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider), which describes a system that can actually re-orient an iPhone during freefall, changing the angle of its eventual impact with the ground after first determining how best to shift it to make sure the fall does as little damage as possible. The patent also includes descriptions of other more advanced and fantastic scenarios, including ejection devices for cables, and even retractable air foils to control the angle of descent, like those Elon Musk is testing for his reusable rockets at Space X, but built into an iPhone.

The actual meat of the patent has far more realistic goals, and uses existing tech to control the angle of a fall – the iPhone’s internal vibration motor. It’s still not super likely we’ll see these incorporated into new devices, as the tech described is a variation of the vibration motors contained in models that launched before the iPhone 6. The 6 and 6 Plus contain a different kind of tech to notify you via haptic feedback when a notification arrives.

It also would require that a phone’s various sensors, including the accelerometer, GPS, gyroscopes, as well as ones not yet introduced, including an ultrasonic emitter, be used in concert to determine the phone’s trajectory, spin and angle of descent in real-time, in order to tell the vibration motor how to spin correctly to shift the phone’s centre of gravity. In some ways, it’s quite literally rocket science, and seems like a huge allocation of resources to put into making phone falls slightly less destructive.
apple  iphone  patents  techcrunch 
december 2014 by rufous
The Grid Raises $4.6M For Its Intelligent Website Builder | TechCrunch
The team behind The Grid is developing a website builder that uses artificial intelligence to automatically create new sites based on the content you provide. The company ran one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a software product earlier this year, but the team also went out to raise a larger fundraising round.

As the company today announced, The Grid has raised $4.2 million in a Series A round led by Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures. Other investors include former President of Disney Interactive John Pleasants, former Facebook VP of Product and Engineering Greg Badros and the founder of Elegant Themes Nick Roach, who also led in The Grid’s $3.1 million seed round.
webdesign  techcrunch 
december 2014 by rufous Turns Web Pages Into Spreadsheets For Getting Out The Data That Matters Most | TechCrunch
The effort follows a long history of using services to scrape data from websites. Yahoo! Pipes was designed as a system to connect different websites and the associated data. Dapper was a service that scraped data from web pages and then provided ways to build context. Today, services such as IFTTT and Zapier use data connectors to connect apps. With IFTTT, for example, a feed from a website can be connected to SMS so updates can be delivered as a text message.
startups  techcrunch 
november 2014 by rufous
Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: “Get Rid Of Dropbox,” Avoid Facebook And Google | TechCrunch
His first answer called for a reform of government policies. Some people take the position that they “don’t have anything to hide,” but he argued that when you say that, “You’re inverting the model of responsibility for how rights work”:

When you say, ‘I have nothing to hide,’ you’re saying, ‘I don’t care about this right.’ You’re saying, ‘I don’t have this right, because I’ve got to the point where I have to justify it.’ The way rights work is, the government has to justify its intrusion into your rights.

He added that on an individual level, people should seek out encrypted tools and stop using services that are “hostile to privacy.” For one thing, he said you should “get rid of Dropbox,” because it doesn’t support encryption, and you should consider alternatives like SpiderOak. (Snowden made similar comments over the summer, with Dropbox responding that protecting users’ information is “a top priority.”)
edward_snowden  security  privacy  techcrunch  dropbox  spideroak 
october 2014 by rufous
Communicate Acquires Y Combinator Startup Auctomatic, Unveils New Business Strategy | TechCrunch, a public company in Vancouver, Canada, is announcing the acquisition of Y Combinator startup Auctomatic this morning for $5 million in cash and stock. The company is also changing its name to Live Current Media, Inc.

Communicate/Live Current is in the domain name business – their primary assets are 800 high value domains (,, etc.) that generate a variety of advertising and affiliate fee revenues. The company’s market cap is just shy of $60 million. That stock price has increased by around 250% in the last year.

Some of those domain names are quite valuable. The company declined to sell for $6 million earlier this year, for example. About 40 of the company’s 800 domain names are “very high quality” CEO Geoffrey Hampson told me in an interview last week.
domaining  collisons  techcrunch 
september 2014 by rufous
Using The iPhone 6 And 6 Plus On A Real Disneyland Trip
Matthew Panzarino reviews the iPhones 6:

Last week I decided to test the most secretive, hotly anticipated smartphones on earth in a place where there was no danger of them being recognized or damaged or both: Disneyland.

Both my wife and I are Disneyphiles of sorts, and visit a dozen times a year or more. I have an appreciation for it because my daughter loves to go, but also because of how carefully the place is planned, constructed and run. Disneyland is the Apple of theme parks. What better place to test the new models?

I’ve had a ton of experience using phones to navigate, communicate and photograph in the park. It’s tens of thousands of people packed into the same square mile, all using devices to do the exact same thing you are. The network is crushed, it’s bright and hot and you’re juggling kids and strollers and other vacationers. It’s an ideal real-world test for smartphone batteries, screens, usability and cameras.

What a great conceit for a review. Panzarino’s is probably my favorite iPhone 6 review so far. I’m really impressed by the digital image stabilization on his video footage shot with the iPhone 6 (on Big Thunder Mountain — a good test). Maybe I’m just kidding myself, but I don’t think the optical image stabilization in the 6 Plus makes that much of a difference.

via:daringfireball  iphone6  iphone  review  disneyland  walt_disney  techcrunch 
september 2014 by rufous
London’s Mayor Misses Window To Spend £50M On Startup Building | TechCrunch
London’s Mayor has missed an opportunity to spend a £50 million fund set aside by the UK government to create a public building dedicated to both technology startups, events and public education around technology.

The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed an earlier report that the large sum of money it had allocated to City Hall to create a building which would serve tech startups and local people would now go back into general government spending.

A spokesman told us: “Given that a permanent solution for the roundabout will be technically difficult and some way off that money has gone back to general expenditure. It is normal practice for any money that hasn’t been spent to return to the Treasury to help reduce the deficit.”
london  techcrunch  boris_johnson 
july 2014 by rufous
Tapstream Is Making Mobile Ads Smarter With “Deferred Deep Links,” A Way To Point Users To App Landing Pages After They Install | TechCrunch
Mobile consumers today are becoming used to ads that redirect them to the App Store to install applications when tapped, but a new product from marketing analytics company Tapstream will now take things a step further. The company is today introducing something it calls “Deferred Deep Links,” which will effectively create landing pages inside mobile apps, which advertisers can wait to redirect users to until after the app is installed.

This is a change from how most deep linking schemes work today.

For those unfamiliar with the term, deep linking refers to a way to interconnect parts of mobile applications so they work more like pages on the web. That is, it offers a way for app developers to “link” to a particular section within an app. It’s something I’ve personally been interested in for years, while observing more of our “web surfing” activity transitioning over into what have been fairly isolated native applications.

There are a number of ways deep linking can be implemented at present, but unlike on the worldwide web, there are no standards surrounding the practice. Currently, companies like URX, Quixey (AppURL), Cellogic (, Appsfire, and recent Yahoo acquisition SPARQ, have been developing technologies and tools that have made deep linking possible.
mobile  deeplinks  techcrunch 
july 2014 by rufous
Goodnight, Swoopo: The Pay-Per-Bid Auction Site Is Dead | TechCrunch
When I first wrote about Swoopo back in 2008 I found it abhorrent. It was, in short, a form of gambling masquerading as an auction site. You paid for bids – the more bids you bought the better the chance that you’d be able to pay a reduced price for a certain item. The real money came from the suckers who ran up the price. All those previous bids, at $1, were junked in the process.

They called it entertainment shopping. Now, however, I call it dead.

There were "ways" to bid without being taken in for much...I "won" the three things I wanted at Swoopo: Asus Netbook for $150...16" HP Laptop for $200...9.7" Kindle DX for $150...All within six months in 2010, so I can't complain too much.... Problem with Swoopo was that everyone knew there were people bidding that were employed by Swoopo to make bid, so in that sense, it was a con.....
techcrunch  swoopo  scams  auction 
july 2014 by rufous
Penny auction site MadBid secures £4m funding from Atomico Ventures | TechCrunch
MadBid, a fast growing “pay-to-bid” auction site has secured £4 million in a Series A funding from Atomico Ventures. Launched in 2008, MadBid is one of a number of pay-to-bid auction sites which have appeared in the last couple of years, with Swoopo among them. CEO Juha Koski says the Atomico investment will be spent on technology and expanding in Europe. Mattias Ljungman of Atomico has joined the board.

MadBid is claiming 1 million users since launch and says customers are attracted by brand products with the possibility of saving of 80% on the RRP of an item. That drives people to bid of course and so the site makes its money off the customers who are not successful, not unlike a casino.

In fact some gambling experts such as Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University, have called “penny auctions” similar to lotteries and called for similar regulation. However The Gambling Commission has not ruled on the matter and Koski insists that penny auctions are a “game of skill”. MadBid says in its defense that many penny auction sites are registered abroad in countries such as Malta and do not deliver on what they promise.

How does it work? The sites auction new items, often for a fraction of their retail price, and bidders pay up to £1.50 for each bid. Unlike eBay, where you can bid for free, users have to pay between 40 pence and £1.50 to place a bid. Bids automatically rise by 1p at a time, and some people make repeated bids. The last person to bid gets the item, for however much it is worth after what can be hours of monitoring.

That model is a license to print money.
auction  penny_auctions  gambling  niklas_zennström  techcrunch 
july 2014 by rufous
MIT And Dropbox Alums Launch Inbox, A Next-Generation Email Platform | TechCrunch
Google made waves with the announcement of a new “Gmail API” at its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month, which offers developers who build email applications new tools to access messages, threads, labels and other parts of the Gmail inbox without requiring full inbox access. The idea is to reduce the reliance on older protocols, like IMAP, when apps don’t have to work as an email client, but are rather focusing on a specific feature set – like snoozing messages, or only sending emails on behalf of an end user, for example.

Similarly, the idea with Inbox is to offer an upgrade of sorts from the “archaic protocols and formats” that developers would otherwise have to learn today in order to work with email. However, it supports a wider range of developers, from those who only need a simple feature to those who want to build full-fledged email clients for end users.

“I actually wrote my thesis at MIT on email tools, and discovered how difficult it was to add features to email apps,” explains Grinich of how Inbox came to be. “One big issue was the underlying plumbing – IMAP, MIME, character encodings, etc. – which is what Inbox fixes for developers.”
imap  email  api  gmail  techcrunch 
july 2014 by rufous
Oxygen Accelerator Names The Nine Startups Starting Its London-Based Bootcamp Today | TechCrunch
ThinkGlue – has developed “a semantic engine for video and audio analysis
Lowdown – mobile app to help people prepare for meetings by providing up to date info about the people and businesses they are about to meet
CherryBird – platform for students to discover and lease property
Boxload – platform offering self-storage by the box, with “flexible contracts, collection and delivery options, and online management”
Project Perfect Shoe – mobile shopping app to help users find “the perfect items of clothing”
Sedicii – patented authentication tech tackling the password problem by eliminating the need to transmit a password or store a password on a server to authenticate a user
Dialective – web tool for creating, embedding and sharing diagrams
Fliplet – app builder platform that lets users “create a professional-looking app without needing technical or design skills”
CarbonMetrix — digital tool that assesses the “carbon legislation risk in a company’s supply chain and accumulated in an investment portfolio”
startups  techcrunch 
june 2014 by rufous
The Problem With Android’s New “Kid Mode” | TechCrunch
The problem with Apple’s controls to date has led some users to implement some creative solutions. For example, when I previously called out Apple’s need for a “kid mode,” commenters railed that I hadn’t considered “Guided Access” as an option. For those unfamiliar, Guided Access is akin to a kiosk mode, which limits the device to running a single app and lets you disable select areas of the screen. While you can hack this into a one-off solution for an app, to pretend it’s a kid mode is quite a stretch. Children capable of using an iPad on their own — which is generally possible before they’re even out of diapers — want to move from app to app, and Guided Access requires a parent’s constant attention as kids’ short attention spans waver. After all, if you’re planning to sit with the child the entire time they’re using the tablet, you hardly need a parental control solution — because that’s you. Parental controls are meant to stand in for the parent when they’re not nearby.

Apple, relying on its position as the tablet market leader, has forced others like Amazon with its Kindle Fire to compete on feature set, including parental controls. With its “Kindle FreeTime” option, Amazon has been the one to beat in terms of smarter restrictions, with options for profiles, content whitelists, and even daily time limits. Now Google is upping the game yet again, with fine-grain controls in the core Android operating system.

How Android’s Restricted Profiles Work
kiosk  android  ipad  techcrunch 
june 2014 by rufous
Amazon To Launch Subscription-Based Billing And Recurring Payments Service | TechCrunch
Amazon is introducing a new payments service today, which the company hopes will soon be adopted by startup companies and others offering subscription-based or recurring payments, according to a report from Reuters out this morning, and Amazon now confirms. The service will allow these businesses to tap into Amazon’s over 240 million monthly active users who currently store their credit card information on, then pay for things ranging from music subscriptions to monthly phone bills.

The report indicated that the service has already been in testing with a number of startup companies over the last few months, including mobile phone company Ting, owned by Tucows. And is another early tester. However, the feature will be offered toward any mobile or web company using this kind of payment option to generate revenue, Amazon tells TechCrunch.

The move would put Amazon in closer competition with eBay’s PayPal as well as companies like Braintree, Google Wallet or Stripe, all of which offer subscription billing and recurring payments services to their own customers. It’s also a notable step for Amazon in terms of taking better advantage of the consumer data it has on file to establish a new revenue stream – Amazon will charge a fee on each transaction that comes through the service, like most of its competitors.
amazon  payments  techcrunch 
june 2014 by rufous
Threadless Gets Into The Greeting Card Game With Strategic Partnership And Investment In Open Me | TechCrunch
For more than a decade, Threadless has been the place to go to get interesting T-shirts and other apparel, all of which have been submitted and vetted by its own community. Now you’ll be able to find and send those designs on greeting cards, thanks to a strategic partnership with a new player in the space called Open Me.

As a next-generation greeting card company, Open Me provides an interesting take on the category: While incumbents have over the years created their own editorial designs to place on cards, Open Me hopes to adopt the Threadless model of crowdsourcing its content. That is, the company will accept user-submitted designs and have its community vote on new ones to be added to its inventory.
threadless  cards  techcrunch 
may 2014 by rufous
With IPO Hopes Fading, Square And Box Face Reality Of Commodity Products | TechCrunch
Yet, the cruel vagaries of startups are such that those laws of physics can change in mere moments. Square, a favorite with the press with its charismatic founder, Jack Dorsey, seemed to have everything it needed to conquer and crush the physical retail point-of-sale market, an industry that has called out for innovation for years without much progress. Box, the poster child (in a literal sense) of the power of a 20-year-old founder to transform the enterprise into a cloud- and mobile-enabled world, was flying high as one of the top valued startups in America.

Yet, both companies have now delayed their IPOs – perhaps indefinitely – and analysts are seriously questioning the ability of either company to get their roadshows back on track.

This isn’t the kind of bubbly they were hoping to pop.

It is the ultimate of Zero-World Problems: what do you do when your billion-dollar company is hemorrhaging cash, yet can’t be sold, can’t go public, and can’t raise funding? For founders facing the Series A crunch, such questions may seem irrelevant, perhaps even a tad obnoxious. Yet, in the tale of Square and Box lies a grave message for all of us about the ability of certain founders to defy gravity, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of the difficulty of building startups targeting commodity technology markets.

These high expenses and low revenues lead to obviously high burn rates. Square is believed to have lost more than $100 million in 2013, and Box lost almost $160 million last year, as well. Such rapid evaporation of cash truly limits the options for the founders of these companies, since it puts a very large ticking time bomb around their necks, weakening their negotiating position with potential acquirers.

A second iron law of startups might be that the higher the valuation of a startup, the fewer options it has for financing and exits. If a startup has only raised a seed round, there are an immense number of options the company can choose, such as a talent acquisition, a strategic investment, a partnership, a bootstrapped approach, a full Series A round, or maybe a controlled shutdown. But once a company has raised mezzanine capital and is valued in the billions, its options are essentially to go public or find a very interested buyer with deep pockets. There are few other options on this side of the startup pipeline.
square  ipo  box  techcrunch  enterprise  startups  business  vc  funding  finance  commodification 
may 2014 by rufous
GitHub Open Sources Its Atom Text Editor | TechCrunch
Earlier this year, GitHub launched a private beta of its easily expandable Atom text editor. At the time, it open-sourced 80 of the editor’s libraries and packages, but the editor itself remained closed source. Today, after 10 weeks in public beta, it is making all of the editor available under the MIT open source license, including all of the packages and libraries that make allow it to support different programming languages. This includes Atom’s package manager for installing third-party expansions to the editor and Atom Shell, a Chromium-based desktop application framework.
atom  techcrunch  text_editors 
may 2014 by rufous
VC Fred Wilson: By 2020 Apple Won’t Be A Top-3 Tech Company, Google And Facebook Will | TechCrunch
Fred Wilson of New York’s Union Square Ventures, one of the top tech investors around, believes that by 2020, the biggest tech company in the world — Apple — will cease to be the most important, and won’t even be in the top three.

Speaking at today’s TC Disrupt conference in NYC, he predicted that the top three tech companies, instead, will be Google, Facebook “and one that we’ve never heard of.”

Why? Apple, he believes, is “too rooted to hardware,” with not enough tied into the cloud, and that will make it too much of a challenge for it to evolve going forward.

“I think hardware is increasingly becoming a commodity,” he said. “Their stuff in the cloud is largely not good. I don’t think they think about data and the cloud.”

Twitter, meanwhile, he thinks will be “four, five, six, seven… but I’m not sure it will be number-two [or three].”
predictions  techcrunch  apple 
may 2014 by rufous
How I Killed A Startup In 4 Hours (And Why I Don’t Regret It) | TechCrunch
Juan describes himself as a “world class minimal DJ,” so he presumably understands that creative work has value and that seizing it and republishing it in another format for your own enrichment is wrong. To test that theory, I submitted a request for an issue comprising one article from Rolling Stone and two from Wired. My card was successfully charged.

Reader, I confess, I went a bit ballistic via email. Asked why his website was facilitating copyright infringement for commercial gain, Juan went quiet, then promptly took the entire site down. Needless to say, no refund has yet appeared on my card. And I never got a receipt for the transaction.

There’s a rather sad mea culpa on’s website now. But, as I say, I don’t regret what I did — i.e. scaring its founders into yanking the product.

The indifference — and occasional contempt — with which Silicon Valley treats content businesses is laughable and offensive. For all their talk of “changing the world” and focus on crafting cute interfaces, I can’t think of a single technology company in history that has made much of a lasting cultural contribution.
copyright  techcrunch 
may 2014 by rufous
Snapchat Adds Ephemeral Text Chat And Video Calls | TechCrunch
But there is a new button as well at the bottom of the screen. Whenever it turns blue, it means that he or she is currently in the chat screen, reading your messages. If you hit the button, you will start a call. If the other person hits the button too, you will see both ends of the calls at the same time.
snapchat  techcrunch  messaging 
may 2014 by rufous
YC-Backed Gbatteries Launches BatteryBox, A 50Whr Backup Battery For MacBooks & Other Gadgets | TechCrunch
Over the years, users of portable consumer electronics have just come to accept that battery life gets worse over time. But it doesn’t have to: Gbatteries, which is in the current batch of Y Combinator companies, has come up with a new technology called BatteryOS that provides better performance without battery-life degradation.

The first example of this technology is BatteryBox, a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack that carries enough power — 50 Whr — to run a MacBook Air for 12 hours, a MacBook Pro for six hours, or to charge eight iPhones.

About the size of the typical MacBook power adaptor and weighing less than 9 ounces, BatteryBox packs a punch. In addition to a MagSafe2 cord for charging current-generation MacBooks and MacBook Airs, it also has a port to connect any other devices that charge via USB.
batteries  macbook  techcrunch  from instapaper
march 2014 by rufous
After WhatsApp: An Insider’s View On What’s Next In Messaging | TechCrunch
Messaging is a complex topic. It’s also one of the most misunderstood sectors in tech today. What’s the difference between WhatsApp and GChat? Why not just use SMS? Why did Facebook need to buy another messaging app just three years after it had bought Beluga? At the same time, however, messaging promises to be one of the highest-stakes battles in mobile, similar to what search was to the web or what productivity software was to the PC.

Apps such as MSN, Facebook Messenger, and Skype have added mobile access over the years, but their desktop legacies live on: The “offline” setting is always a looming option. With WhatsApp, Kik or even SMS, on the other hand, the messaging communities are tied to the phones. By default, then, there is no such thing as offline – there’s only online, all the time.

We chose to base Kik accounts on usernames, so you don’t have to hand out your phone number. As a result, we’re now seeing people share their Kik usernames to facilitate connections across a variety of services, including social apps, gaming apps and fitness apps.

The companies behind some of these other apps have seen all this activity and tried to build their own messaging right into the product. Take, for instance, Instagram Direct or Twitter’s Direct Messages. So far, those moves haven’t really worked out. People don’t want a messenger for each app they use – they want one messenger for all the apps they use.
messaging  mobile  whatsapp  techcrunch  sms  kik  rim  blackberry  platforms 
march 2014 by rufous
DigitalOcean Raises $37.2M From Andreessen Horowitz To Take On AWS | TechCrunch
Cloud hosting company DigitalOcean raised a Series A round of $37.2 million at a $153 million valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz. Previous investors IA Ventures and CrunchFund also participated, but Andreessen Horowitz is by far the largest investor — Peter Levine will join the board. Previously, the company had raised $3.2 million.

“We’re the 9th largest infrastructure provider worldwide and it’s such a capital intensive industry,” DigitalOcean co-founder and CEO Ben Uretsky told me in a phone interview. “Our users can buy a slice of a physical machine for a short period of time for a fraction of a penny. Securing this capital is very important to make sure that we stay ahead of our customers’ demand.”

DigitalOcean provides scalable virtual private servers with a few key features to differentiate itself from its competitors. First, it’s cheap. For $5 a month, you can run your virtual server (droplet) with 512MB of RAM, 20GB of SSD storage and 1TB of bandwidth — and you are billed per hour. It’s great to run a small app and experiment. When asked whether the company will be able to maintain these prices, Uretsky’s answer was straightforward. “We have no intention of changing our prices,” he said.

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t run more serious services. Creating a droplet takes 55 seconds and you can resize it in a single click — there are many different droplet sizes. You can run multiple droplets. The company has multiple data center locations in New York, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Singapore. It promises 99.99 percent uptime. In other words, DigitalOcean is all about providing low-level access to its users thanks to its virtual private server infrastructure. But you won’t have to manage and upgrade dedicated servers in a collocation center.
hosting  digital_ocean  techcrunch  vps 
march 2014 by rufous
Paul Graham Steps Back At YC, But Don’t Expect Him To Launch A Startup | TechCrunch
With more free time on his hands, the logical assumption would be that Graham would use all the proprietary knowledge and data gained from his unique position at the center of Startup Hub U.S.A. to start his own business. Calacanis then asked him pointedly whether he had plans to work on his own startup in the future, and Graham gave a response that should be noteworthy for anyone thinking about taking the plunge into the world of entrepreneurship and technology startups.

“No, no. Never,” Graham said emphatically. “Building a startup hurts.”
paul_graham  entrepreneurship  startups  y-combinator  techcrunch 
february 2014 by rufous
iBeacons Used To Deliver Location-Based Access To iOS Newsstand Publications | TechCrunch
The tech is very handy in a number of scenarios, as in a coffee shop for instance, where the establishment could subscribe and enable access to full magazines to patrons who come in. It’s made even more convenient with the addition of iBeacons on iOS, as the whole digital handshake can happen automatically, providing the user with the best possible and most frictionless experience. Another possible use is in modernizing the doctor’s office, offering up publications in the waiting room that are more useful and more current than five-year old issues of Good Housekeeping.

The benefit is supposedly two-fold for a digital magazine publisher: they can sell subscriptions to businesses and locations, which then expose that publication to their customers, some of whom come away from the specific spot wanting to subscribe to the pub themselves. It can also give venues like concert halls and stadiums a way to provide patrons with in-house pubs, as an added value thing to help bring them in the door.

It’s a clever way to make Newsstand titles more discoverable, in settings where people are likely to engage with publications more deeply than they might otherwise.
magazines  ibeacon  techcrunch 
february 2014 by rufous
Facebook’s Plot To Conquer Mobile: Shatter Itself Into Pieces | TechCrunch
Swiss Army knives don’t cut it on mobile. Packing in too many features creates apps that seem bloated and slow. Perhaps more than any company, Facebook has struggled to adapt its busy website to the small screen. But through a talk with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its Messenger team in November, a strategy to make the social network feel lean across devices came into focus. Facebook plans to conquer mobile one app at a time.

And today on Facebook’s Q4 2014 earnings call, Zuckerberg confirmed the company is focused on building separate apps that let people share different types of content with different size audiences, rather than sharing to all friends through the News Feed.

All of these center around a new insight Zuckerberg outlined on today’s earnings call: People don’t just want to share with all their friends at once. They want to share different types of content with audiences of a variety of sizes. That means sharing status updates and photos, but also links, games, parties, and more with a loved one, a small cluster of friends, a big group of acquaintances, or the general public.

Facebook has tried and failed to get us to build friend lists that could stimulate “microsharing”, but the catalyst may be offering whole different apps for different sharing communities. If the strategy works, it could defend Facebook from single-purpose mobile competitors trying to bring it down with a ’death by a thousand cuts’.
apps  mobile  social  facebook  unbundling  techcrunch  circles  sharing 
february 2014 by rufous
Leo Laporte tries to explain that there is no such thing as a "free Wi-Fi access point" | TechCrunch
Listen as Jennifer tries to explain how she used to get free Wi-Fi from the Linksys and now she can’t. Leo Laporte is nice enough not to call her a moron and instead explains, in great detail, why she is a moron.
leo_laporte  wifi  techcrunch 
december 2013 by rufous
Meet Leo, The Lightweight New Way To Send Self-Destructing Messages | TechCrunch
People act and share differently when they know that a photo or video will live forever, the thinking goes. One need only look at Instagram and the all-too-perfectly filtered photos that appear there to know what Whitt is talking about. The impetus behind Leo, then, is to be able to share what you’re doing without having to worry too much about what happens to it.

In this new world, though, photos, text, and video are all disposable. And that will (hopefully) make users want to share more.
messaging  techcrunch  snapchat 
december 2013 by rufous
Wildfire Is Huge: First Stats In Years Reveal Social Marketer’s 300 Employees, 13K Customers | TechCrunch
Through the hard-fought battle to represent the world’s brands, social marketing platform Wildfire has stayed quiet. But today, it revealed to TechCrunch that it has 13,000 paying customers, more than any company in the space, and has grown from 7 to 300 employees since the start of 2010, making it as big as industry giant Buddy Media. It’s now ranked in the top 1% on the Glass Door chart of best places to work, and we estimate its 2011 revenues were between $35 and $45 million.
branding  techcrunch 
december 2013 by rufous
Let It Full-Bleed | TechCrunch
During my tech blogging days, people used to ask me why I would always use images from films in my posts — even when the content seemingly had little to do with the visual. The answer is pretty simple: those images create an immediate bond with the reader, even if they don’t realize it.

I feel the need. The need, for you to read.

Maybe I was writing about a fairly obtuse tweak Google was implementing to increase the speed of a product. To some people, that’s interesting. To others, nothing could be less interesting. But to most people, they weren’t sure if they should care, and as such, few read such stories. So that’s where you have to get creative. Hook them with a headline, and keep them with an image they can relate to — say, something from Top Gun vaguely related to what was being talked about in the post: speed. Boom.
blogging  techcrunch 
december 2013 by rufous
Rumor: Snapchat Also Turned Down Billions Upon Billions from Google
After Snapchat turned down $3bn (cash) from Facebook, Google supposedly offered the same and was also refused. Lots of interesting dynamics at play here: the scale you can grow to in a matter of months on mobile, the fact you can get to 100m users without having to raise so much capital that the founder gives up control, and of course the underlying land grab for mobile social. But it's difficult to think of a product that's harder to add advertising to.
snapchat  techcrunch 
december 2013 by rufous
Why Apple Bought $578M Worth Of Sapphire In Advance | TechCrunch
The hardness of sapphire will make it resistance to ‘flaw initiation’ (aka starting to scratch) and its ‘toughness’ is how it resists fracture once a flaw has begun (cracking altogether). This strength doesn’t come without a bit of cost, Hall notes. “The density of Gorilla Glass is 2.54 g/cm3 while sapphire is 3.98 g/cm3. Given equal-sized pieces, Gorilla Glass will always be lighter.”

Hall says that there are questions about the methods of producing large amounts of thin sapphire that is not cost-prohibitive. Which may be why Apple is building a new facility which GT Advanced will inhabit, with its own machinery and processes. GT has been developing a method for making sapphire sheets thinner than a human hair, which are then laminated on top of glass material to protect it — a more cost-effective solution than a pure sapphire sheet.
sapphire  glass  apple  manufacturing  techcrunch 
november 2013 by rufous
With 2.5M Downloads, Activity Tracking App Moves Launches Its Software Alternative To Fitness Wearables On Android | TechCrunch
“The M7 confirms our vision. Mobile phone manufacturers are clearly starting to recognize the opportunity in smartphone-based activity tracking,” he explained. “The great thing is that M7 helps minimize battery consumption, which has been the biggest limiting factor. But it lacks cycling recognition and is available only for top model, iPhone 5s, so we can’t fully rely on it.”
moves  m7  techcrunch 
november 2013 by rufous
Tesla Snags Apple VP Of Mac Hardware To Lead New Vehicle Development | TechCrunch
Apple VP of Product Design Doug Field is leaving the company for Tesla according to a press release from the automaker today. Field will head programs that will drive the development of new vehicles for the electric car maker. The hire was first spotted by CNBC.

“Doug has demonstrated the leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products, including what are widely considered the best computers in the world,” said Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO in a statement issued today. “Tesla’s future depends on engineers who can create the most innovative, technologically advanced vehicles in the world. Doug’s experience in both consumer electronics and traditional automotive makes him an important addition to our leadership team.”
tesla  apple  cars  hardware  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
Box Of Awesome Is Like A Free Birchbox For Kids Stuffed Full Of Games, Books, Music, And More | TechCrunch
Alongside Collins, who is funding the startup via his private equity vehicle OMAC Investments, Box Of Awesome is co-founded by Nic Mitham, a virtual worlds marketing consultant.

Prior to Box Of Awesome, Collins has founded and sold three companies: Jolt Online Gaming (acquired by GameStop), DemonWare (acquired by Activision Blizzard), and mobile messaging company Phorest (acquired by MBO).
dylan_collins  toys  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
“Clash Of Clans” Maker Supercell Sells A 51%, $1.53B Stake To SoftBank and GungHo Online | TechCrunch
One of its lead investors once told me that he’d never seen growth like it, among all of the companies it has ever done business with, ever. That resulted in the company raising a $130 million round at a $770 million valuation in April of this year. At the time, we were able to get some figures on Supercell’s performance: in the first quarter of this year, it made $179 million and netted $104 million of that after expenses and Apple’s 30% cut. In 2012, Supercell grossed $100 million. In April 2013, Supercell was making $2.4 million a day on 8.5 million daily active users. Considering that Supercell has now nearly quadrupled its valuation in the last seven months, those other metrics are likely to have kept growing.

Update: Below is the blog post from Supercell on the deal that we earlier managed to get before it was posted on the site. The photo above of Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, and Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, is from that post.

The investment comes at a key moment in the world of social and mobile gaming. is reportedly gearing up for an IPO, and all eyes are on troubled Zynga and its upcoming quarterly earnings as an indication of whether the public markets are really the best home for fast-growing gaming companies.
supercell  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
Twitter Solves The Follow-Back Tango, Enables Direct Messages From All Your Followers | TechCrunch
Twitter has pushed out a feature update that is extremely useful for journalists like myself, and anyone else who hopes to use Twitter to communicate both publicly and privately. The social network now lets you receive Direct Messages from any of your followers, regardless of whether you follow them or not.

This eliminates the age-old hassle of receiving @-replies that ask you to follow-back so that someone can DM you some information or a message of questionable value. Sometimes, it even seems like users treat this as a DM honey-pot – i.e., flaunt some potentially useful information in hopes of scoring a permanent follower in return. Now, you’ll be able to receive DMs from anyone who follows you, so long as you go into your Twitter account’s main settings page and check the box that allows it.
twitter  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
The Precise Art Of Mobile Push Notifications | TechCrunch
I may sound like a broken record when I consistently reference this phrase in my weekly column: “mobile is the only under-hyped thing in tech.” Yet, it is hard to argue with, and if we agree to agree, then within a mobile context, almost everything we can do with our phones and apps is under-hyped, as well. Take mobile push notifications, for example. As entrepreneur Ariel Seidman writes, “it’s hard to over-hype the power of mobile push notifications. For the first time in human history, you can tap almost two billion people on the shoulder.”
push  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
The End Of The Library | TechCrunch
Also, while the economics of e-books at a library should theoretically be better (since there is no more physical product, and any replacements or new copies are just a download away), they’re actually far worse:

Take the example of J.K. Rowling’s pseudonymous book, Cuckoo’s Calling. For the physical book, libraries would pay $14.40 from book distributor Baker & Taylor — close to the consumer price of $15.49 from Barnes & Noble and of $15.19 from Amazon. But even though the ebook will cost consumers $6.50 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, libraries would pay $78 (through library ebook distributors Overdrive and 3M) for the same thing. Somehow the “e” in ebooks changes the pricing game, and drastically. How else does one explain libraries paying a $0.79 to $1.09 difference for a physical book to paying a difference of $71.50 just because it’s the electronic version? It’s not like being digital makes a difference for when and how they can lend it out.

And so, with these things in mind, it’s hard not to imagine a future where the majority of libraries cease to exist — at least as we currently know them. Not only are they being rendered obsolete in a digital world, the economics make even less sense. One can easily envision libraries making their way to the forefront of any budget cut discussions.
libraries  mg_siegler  e-books  books  techcrunch 
october 2013 by rufous
It’s Over For Paid Apps, With A Few Exceptions | TechCrunch
In the following categories, the firm found that at least half, if not more of the top ten apps are currently paid: Productivity, Medical, Business, Healthcare & Fitness, Navigation, Catalogs, Lifestyle, Photo & Video, Travel, and Weather. In some cases, paid apps also use in-app purchases to drive up revenue even further.
appstore  paid_apps  techcrunch  markets 
october 2013 by rufous
“That's The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Heard Of.” - TechCrunch
As time passed, the argument against Twitter morphed slightly. It was no longer “the dumbest thing” that “no one would ever use”, it became “the dumbest thing” that “no one would ever use outside of the tech bubble“.
Then came the downtime. The dark days. Twitter nearly fulfilled the fate that so many had laid out for it because it was simply unusable a not insignificant amount of any given day. And yet somehow, it emerged. And then it really started to gain steam.
Of course then the knock on Twitter shifted again. Now it was the service that was “never going to make any money“. The valuations being thrown around were just ludicrous, you see. Twitter was a house of cards. Bubble!
techcrunch  ipo  startups  mg_siegler 
september 2013 by rufous
Both Apple And EA Deny Money Exchanged To Keep Plants Vs. Zombies 2 Off Android - TechCrunch
That’s not to say that there isn’t some effort by Apple to make sure that its platform is the most welcoming for marquee titles. Apple has a long history of working with publishers that it sees as doing good or high-profile work to promote their apps via large banners and editorial recommendations on the App Store. And I’m sure that the App Store division is doing its best to make sure that the top apps and games land on iOS first, if not only. If you want to call offers of promotion and praise in the App Store incentive to hold off releasing for Android, that’s fine. But it’s still not cash, and it’s not clear if that happened in this case, regardless.
ea  apple  appstore  ios_games  exclusivity  techcrunch 
september 2013 by rufous
Developer Finds It Takes Just Under 4K Downloads To Break Top 10 Paid iOS Apps, Over 7K To Rank Fifth And Up | TechCrunch
This echoes a study released by app research firm Distimo back in June, which found that a paid app needs over 4,000 downloads per day to reach the top 10 spot for Apple’s paid iPhone list. Apple has been known to change its App Store ranking algorithms, so that could be what’s behind the small discrepancy between Readdle’s experience and Distimo’s findings, but it’s also well worth noting that Zhadanov believes things like ratings and feedback might also affect the threshold at which an app breaks into the top 10.
techcrunch  appstore 
september 2013 by rufous
Google Analytics To End Support For IE8 By Year’s End | TechCrunch
The Google Analytics team says it made the decision because it wants to be able to “accelerate the pace at which we can innovate new product features” and to “facilitate adoption of newer web technologies in the design of the Google Analytics product.” It’s worth noting that Analytics will continue to measure traffic from IE8.
ie8  techcrunch 
september 2013 by rufous
The iPhone 5S-Class | TechCrunch
The Mercedes S-Class was the first passenger car to introduce airbags to Europe. It popularized anti-lock braking, electronic stability systems and impact crumple zones. It continues to promote new technology with things like infrared night vision and self-driving systems. As the top-end car in Mercedes’ lineup it has the margins and luxury audience to be an ambassador for the brand and for the new technology that wouldn’t be available in low-end models or to other manufacturers for some time.

The iPhone 5S is Apple’s Mercedes S-Class. It features technologies that spell out the future of both Apple and other companies like Samsung that take many of their cues from the iPhone.

iPhones have always been ambassadors for technologies that then made their way out to the general market. Not necessarily always firsts, but executing well and proving their desirability. And, with their ubiquity, making them must-have watermarks for other manufacturers. Retina-quality screens, capacitive touch, no physical keyboards, a great camera — the list of technology or technical concepts that have ‘trickled down’ from the iPhone to the rest of the market goes on.

It seems likely at this point that this will be Apple’s strategy going forward. No longer will it pioneer technology only to see competitors take advantage of how cheap and ‘reasonable’ Apple made it seem. It is now Apple to funnel that tech into a device that is just good enough to appeal to millions of new customers, many of which will never need to drive a high-end luxury vehicle. To stretch the analogy a bit, the iPhone 5C is Apple’s ‘C-Class’, a Mercedes for the masses.

The fingerprint sensor is ‘boiling the frog’ in a similar way. Yes, it’s starting out as a way to unlock your device and pay for things ‘in-network’ to Apple. But the ability to expand that once you’ve built familiarity with it cannot be understated.
mercedes  iphone  hardware  apple  techcrunch  luxury 
september 2013 by rufous
The Board Of The Borg | TechCrunch
I’ve been thinking about Microsoft a lot lately. Maybe it’s the awful Surface product. Maybe it’s the fiasco that is Windows 8. Maybe it’s the complete and utter lack of interest in Windows Phone. Bing. Maybe it’s the collapsing state of the PC industry. We’re watching a once giant balloon deflate before our very eyes. And while it can be hard to perceive such deflation at first, we’re getting to that point now.

Right now, Microsoft feels a lot like Nokia a few years ago. Or RIM shortly thereafter. On paper, the numbers still look good. The company is still on top and financially healthy. And yet, it sure feels like they’re nearing the cliff that Nokia and RIM eventually hit. It’s like the Ernest Hemingway quote about how you go bankrupt: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

I know I’ll be called crazy by many for taking this stance. The same thing happened with Nokia. Yet many others will agree, saying all of this is obvious. But if it’s so obvious to some of us, why can’t Microsoft do anything about it? Is it just the innovator’s dilemma in action? It sure seems like Microsoft is trying to take some gambles. But in each case, it seems like they’re either taking the wrong ones — or worse, the right ones far too late.
mg_siegler  microsoft  ballmer  board  techcrunch  heaves  $MSFT 
august 2013 by rufous
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