Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jeff Bezos, A Blonde, And A Book Walk Into a Bar (Part I)

TechCrunch Jeff Bezos, A Blonde, And A Book Walk Into a Bar (Part I)

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While I find technology and innovation in technology to be intellectually fascinating and fun to read about, in my personal life, I am what product managers disdainfully refer to as “The Last Adopter.” I’ve spent the last 9 years living in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco as an outlier so extreme, I still yearn for the return of The Pony Express because I love hand-written letters almost as much as I love ponies.

I am not a journalist, a professional writer, or even a blogger. So: if you’re looking for breaking news you can impress your boss with, let me save you some time. Set this aside, read every other article on this site, and return to this when you’ve just finished your fifth coffee, find yourself staring into space, and absentmindedly wonder what the Kardashians are up to today. This is not hard-hitting journalism folks.

A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest at the Sun Valley Resort during the annual Allen & Company Media / Tech boondoggle. 99% of the guests – ranging from moguls, to dogs of moguls, to reporters spying on moguls and dogs of moguls – were there for the conference. I was there for the weather, the pool and the outdoor skating rink.

My morning vacation routine does not usually include standing in line behind Harvey Weinstein and Tom Freston at Starbucks while Rupert Murdoch whizzes by the window on a golf cart. It was morbidly fascinating. And I quickly figured out that chatting with amazingly brilliant tech and media icons is actually very easy, provided you’re someone like me that has no idea what most of these “icons” actually look like.

I started up conversations with pretty much anyone I ran into, as if they were just Joe Bob from down the street. And I find that as a na├»ve-looking blonde, famous men tend to naturally assume I’m kind of a dope in that “Aw, how cute! She doesn’t realize I’m Master of the Universe” kind of way and will usually grant me the pleasure of a conversation.

Wednesday night I snuck into the hotel-bar-turned-MOGULS ONLY lounge to 1) have a drink and 2) share light bar colloqui with some famous dudes. To virtually guarantee success, I brought something I knew would be a conversation starter. No, not my boobs. I carried an enormous bright blue hardcover book that I planned to open and actually read.

Nothing communicates “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE!” more brazenly than marching into a crowd that potentially contains every great tech innovator in Silicon Valley, disinterestedly looking around, making a face like you just smelled dog poo, heaving an audible sigh and finally, plopping down to animatedly read an old-fashioned book.

And what do you know? Not 20 minutes passed by before a lovely gentleman – who it later turns out was sitting with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – leaned over to ask what I was reading. We had a nice chat about my book (“The New Republic,” by Lionel Shriver) and he recommended I try “The Age of Miracles”. I tell him that the next time I visit the town bookstore, I’ll be sure to look for it. Immediately this kind man (who I’m sure is also terribly important) gets a twinkle in his eye before shouting to his table mates “Jeff! Guys! You have to meet this girl!”

Jeff Bezos is drawn to my enormous hardcover book like an area 51 fanatic to an alien. “So, is that really a book? Because you know, the color of the book matches your scarf.”

There is laughter all around as I reply sheepishly that yes, it is a book and no, I did not plan on wearing a matching scarf.

He replies, “So you know, I bet you could read that book on a Kindle”.

I say something absurd about how I’m not a big tech person and how I didn’t know that I could find a kindle that matched my scarf.

“Well, maybe not, but you could get a cover for it. And Kindles are really easy to use. Maybe you just need a tutorial? Do you have a Kindle”

“You know, I think I might?” I said, “I feel like someone gave me a Kindle as a gift last year, but it’s probably just sitting in the box somewhere. I don’t know that I even opened it.”

At this point, all fellows at the table are trying to stifle raucous laughter. The original gentleman I was speaking with says, “Ask her where she got the book Jeff!”

So naturally, he asks and I tell him all about the great little bookstore in town, and how the people there are so nice and helpful, and if he wants a book, he really should go.

“What about Amazon?” he said, without any disclosure, “If you ordered the book on Amazon, it could be here tomorrow.”

I thought about this for a second, then said “that’s true, but…at the bookstore in town, they have a cafe connected to it so you can buy your book and get a coffee at the same time. Now if I order a book on Amazon, it doesn’t come with a cup of coffee, does it?”

Not only is everyone now guffawing at Jeff Bezos failing to sell The EMPIRE HE INVENTED, they are also looking at me like “this girl is either dumber than a box of rocks or lives under a rock, because is this really happening?”

Jeff however, remains undeterred, perhaps hoping that flattery will land him a new customer. “You know, there’s a commercial out there that reminds me of you.”

“Oh?”

“It’s this woman, and she’s reading a book. I don’t know if it matches her scarf – but she’s beautiful and charming and charismatic.”

I chime in hopefully, “a kind hearted Midwesterner on vacation?”

“Yes! But the thing is…she’s reading this big hard cover book and it makes her TERRIBLY unhip”

“Sounds about right.”

As the crowd laughs again at my cluelessness, I bid them farewell to head back to my room. Walking down the dimly lit resort pathways, I realized the following:

1. The bar quesadillas looked really good.

2. Jeff Bezos called me charming, charismatic and “terribly unhip”

3. Not one of the men at that table (Jeff Bezos included) was kind or gentlemanly enough to pipe in and say “Hey honey – before you totally embarrass yourself further, the guy you’re talking to founded Amazon and that’s why we’re laughing at you!”

4. Not one of the men at that table (Jeff Bezos included) knew I had a secret of my own…to be revealed next weekend in Part II.

Editor’s Note: As she confirms above, Susanna Burke has absolutely nothing to do with technology — Other than the fact that she may (or even may not) have met Jeff Bezos at a bar.

Image via Stuart McClymont




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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vizio Sells Out Co-Star Stream Player In Under 12 Hours

TechCrunch Vizio Sells Out Co-Star Stream Player In Under 12 Hours

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Vizio quietly posted that it sold out the Vizio Co-Star Stream Player pre-order in the first 12 hours that it was available.

The Co-Star, a cent shy of $100, uses Google TV and turns “any HDTV into the ultimate smart TV,” merging live TV and streaming entertainment, with apps and full-screen Web browsing.

You can watch a commercial for the Co-Star Stream Player, complete with the world’s most annoying soundtrack, here:



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The Humble Music Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

The Humble Music Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

The Humble
Music Bundle

Support six amazing musicians. Pay what you want for the Humble Music Bundle and receive six digital albums from the Internet's finest songsmiths. Christopher Tin, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, MC Frontalot, and Hitoshi Sakimoto have assembled their best cuts for your listening pleasure. And if you pay more than the average price, you'll also receive OK Go's Twelve Remixes of Four Songs!

Back vital non-profits. You choose exactly how much of your purchase goes to support the musicians, as well as the Child's Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, two non-profit organziations doing great work in the world. And if you like this deal, a tip to Humble Bundle would be greatly appreciated!

Download instantly, DRM-free. Once you complete your purchase, you will receive a link to your unique download page. You can download the tracks from any browser, any time, and play the MP3 or FLAC files from any audio program or device of your choosing.

How much is this bundle worth to people? Let's take a quick look:

$71,385.17Total payments:
9,034Purchases #:
$7.90Average purchase:
$6.99Average Windows:
$9.36Average Mac:
$11.88Average Linux:
real-time updating by PubNub
Total Payments by Platform


Please complete your humble purchase below and instantly get your Humble Music Bundle:

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Honeyhoney - Angel of Death (Official Music Video)

Check out this video on YouTube:

Loving this band!!!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

OS X Mountain Lion Is Launching Tomorrow: Read Before Upgrading By Zig Baird

http://geekbeat.tv/os-x-mountain-lion-is-launching-tomorrow/

OS X Mountain Lion Is Launching Tomorrow: Read Before Upgrading

In a repeat performance from last year, Apple announced during its 3rd Quarter financial report that the new operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, which includes over 200 new features, will launch tomorrow, July 25. It will be available only as a download from the App Store for a reduced price of $19.99 compared to Lion’s price of $29.99. Another bonus is that since you are buying from the App Store, you only need to purchase one copy which you can install on all the Macs in your household.

While we’re covering some new features here, one of the main questions to ask is: Will your current Mac support Mountain Lion?

Last year, upon the release of Lion, PowerPC machines and Macs with single-core Intel processors were excluded from the Lion upgrade. Mountain Lion’s requirements are a bit more stringent as there are even a few 64-bit processors that are left out of the loop. Basic Requirements Basic requirements for Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion are as follows: OS X v.10.6.8 or later (Lion or the latest version of Snow Leopard) 2GB of memory 8GB of available space 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better Ability to boot into OS X 64-bit kernel Internet connection required to download and install OS X 10.8 SUPPORTED Models iMac (Mid 2007 or newer) MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer) MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer) Xserve (Early 2009) MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer) Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer) Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer) UNSUPPORTED Models Models that run an Intel GMA 950 or x3100 integrated graphics card Models that utilize ATI Radeon X1600 Any MacBook models released prior to 2008 Any Mac Mini models released prior to 2007 Any iMac models released prior to 2007 2008 (Original) MacBook Air If you bought a new Mac after June 11 from Apple or an authorized Apple retailer, you can visit http://www.apple.com/osx/uptodate/ to complete an Up-To-Date request to upgrade to Mountain Lion at no additional charge.

Some of Mountain Lion’s New Features Will Only be Available on Certain Macs AirPlay Mirroring AirPlay Mirroring is a new feature that allows your Mac to stream its screen wirelessly to an Apple TV so you can share movies, TV shows, pictures, web pages, etc… with family and friends. AirPlay audio can also send your music and audio podcasts to AirPlay-enabled speakers. AirPlay will only be available on the following models: iMac (mid-2011 or newer) Mac mini (mid-2011 or newer) MacBook Air (mid-2011 or newer) MacBook Pro (early 2011 or newer) Power Nap Power Nap is a new feature which allows the Mac to update itself as well as perform backups while it is sleeping. Power Nap is touted to be silent and power-efficient due to the fact that it is only available on laptops that contain solid state drives. Due to this requirement, Power Nap will only run on: MacBook Air (2nd gen or greater) MacBook Pro with Retina Display Not Sure What Mac You Have? If you’re not sure what type of Mac you have, you can easily tell by doing the following: In the upper left corner of your Mac, click the Apple button. Select “About This Mac” Click the “More Info” button and you should see your Mac type and date identifier in a screen similar to this: Make Sure Your Mac is Ready If you’re jumping in on the early adopter bandwagon as I am, you will want to take some steps to insure your Mac is ready for Mountain Lion.

Last year, we covered a checklist to insure Macs were ready for the upgrade from Snow Leopard to Lion. You can check out the detailed post here, or read through the summary below: Run verify permissions and fix disk before applying any updates To do this: 1. Open Disk Utility (standard with most versions of OS X located in Applications > Utilities) 2. Click Repair Disk Permissions 3. Once completed click Repair Disk Update your Operating System Insure you meet the minimum requirements for Mountain Lion stated above. Run all updates to insure your apps are able to run on Mountain Lion. Check File Storage OS X Mountain Lion requires 8GB of free space. Of course, it’s always wise to insure you have at least double the amount of space available. Disable FileVault FileVault encrypts your hard drive to protect your data. You may or may not be using depending on your settings. If you are upgrading from Snow Leopard, FileVault was upgraded from version 1 to version 2 so you should disable FileVault before you upgrade. Even if you currently run Lion, you might not have previously disabled FileVault which means you might be on the old version. Either way, it’s advisable to disable it before upgrading to Mountain Lion. Backup Your Data After you have made the above changes/fixes/updates, BACKUP your data! Either use Apple’s Time Machine or another backup solution. Stay tuned to Geek Beat for a review of the new OS X Mountain Lion, its new features, and the move to integrate iOS and the OS X.

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DJ Shadow becomes first artist to get paid by BitTorrent

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends DJ Shadow becomes first artist to get paid by BitTorrent

Musicians and music industry executives often complain about the money they miss out on when people download music for free.

DJ Shadow now has a new twist on that story: The turntablist launched a cooperation with BitTorrent Inc. Tuesday that gets him some revenue every time someone downloads a free torrent of his tracks — as long as the downloader also installs the bundled software, that is.

BitTorrent will offer a bundle of three MP3s from DJ Shadow’s upcoming album, Hidden Transmissions from the MPC Era (1992-1996) for download. The package will also include digital artwork, as well as some bundled software that will generate revenue for both the company and the artist.

BitTorrent’s executive director of marketing, Matt Mason didn’t want to go into the details of the revenue-sharing agreement during a phone conversation Monday, and said that this was very much an experiment that would be tweaked as things unfold. “It’s definitely a fair deal,” added DJ Shadow’s manager Michael Fiebach, whose company Fame House LLC has partnered with BitTorrent in the past. The bundled software will include media players like the RealPlayer, but differ from location to location.

BitTorrent has been partnering with indie musicians and filmmakers for some time to distribute authorized content bundles through its popular uTorrent client. However, this is the first time that the company has struck a revenue sharing agreement with one of those artists. “It’s a really important moment in the history of content distribution,” said Mason.

That sentiment was echoed by Fiebach, who told me that he doesn’t see BitTorrent as a piracy tool. “That’s the wrong way to look at it,” he argued, adding that the technology itself couldn’t be blamed if people use it to pirate content. Instead, it’s a way to get to an audience of millions, he said, adding: “(Shadow) and I just see this as a great opportunity to make history.”

Of course, there have been attempts to monetize file sharing in the past: Vodo.net offers free downloads of feature films like The Yes Men Fix The World, asking for voluntary donations in the past. Before that, LimeWire briefly tried to establish a kind of Adwords for P2P that would have included a revenue sharing component for artists, but those plans were scrapped as the music industry’s lawsuit against the company unfolded.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Burns Supper | Columbus Food Adventures

I am so attending this next year… Who's with me? Fresh haggis?! That can't be beat :-)

Burns Supper

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This is the second year that I have been to the Burns Supper at Barley’s Smokehouse, where the Burns Supper is a well established and obviously much loved tradition. This was the 10th dinner that they have held and it is one of my favorite food events. There is such a wonderfully warm and fun atmosphere and the owners obviously really enjoy putting on the event. I also love haggis. A Burns supper celebrates the birthday of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland, the scottish equivalent of Shakespeare and writer of Auld Lang Syne and many, many famous poems. This year would have been his 250th birthday, although the actual date is January 25th. 

You arrive at Barley’s and mingle in the bar, possibly enjoying some of their fine micro brewed ales. The bagpipers enter and haggis is processed through the restaurant. The Burns dinner guests join the procession and follow through the restaurant cheered on my the restaurant patrons, to a special event room at the back (it is a great venue). Proceedings commence with the Address to a haggis and the spearing of the haggis…. and the eating and joking begins. Much of Burns’s poetry is very bawdy and you know that any event where the guests are shouting out ‘cock up your beaver‘ (it refers to a hat) and ‘fornicator‘ is a) not the for the faint hearted and b) going to be a riot. You sit at long communal tables and it is very convivial. 

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Chef and Brewmaster and the haggis

              Dinner starts with the Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

There is a speech in tribute to Burns, this year with a political theme and we learned about the links between Burns, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and the American Revolution. The rest of the evening comprises of more eating, drinking, the tapping of the firkin, whisky toasts (with some whisky education) and poetry reading. Anyone is welcome to stand and read a poem from the Burns supper veterans, who bring books of Burns poetry they have been practiced to the uninitiated Burns supper virgins, which included one of my brave friends.

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The master of ceremonies

Heather gamely reads the fornicator

Heather gamely reads the fornicator

The menu: 

Haggis with Neaps and Tatties
Tayside Tang (composed orange and grapefruit salad)
with Scotch Egg
Cock-a-Leekie Soup
Phyllo Wrapped Salmon with Spinach Filling
Honey and Whiskey Cake
with MacLenny’s Scottish Highland Liqueur
Three Single Malt Scotches for toasting
Tapping of this year’s Robert Burns Scottish Export Ale

The haggis was flown in from Oregon and is made to a traditional scottish recipe, but without the lungs which are not allowed by the USDA. Haggis is served with neeps (mashed turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes). Did I mention that I love haggis? Luckily there are usually a few people who don’t like it, so I was happy to help clean a couple of plates. 

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The home made scotch egg was excellent. A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg encased in sausage meat, with a deep fried bread crumb crust. It is most often eaten in England as a cold picnic food. Here it is served warm and I could happily have scoffed a few more. The Tayside tang was the only thing I didn’t like. The cock-a-leekie soup  was very tasty and the main course which differs every year (last year I think it was venison sausage) was delicious.  

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Whisky and honey cake (very fragrant with lots of orange zest) accompanied by MacLenny’s special Highland Liqueur, a home made version of Drambuie. The cake was especially good dipped in the liqueur. 

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The three scotches that we toasted with were Glenrothes private reserve (Speyside) which was my favorite of the three, Auchentoshan Three Wood (Lowland) and Glenmorangie 10 year (Highland). The meal was also accompanied by the annual Robert Burns Scottish Export Ale which Barley’s only make once a year. Our beer came from a special Firkin where it has been maturing and so was a little different to the beer that you get on tap in the bar which is filtered. It was dark, malty and fragrant but I am having trouble remembering the details of all of the special malts that were used. 

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Brewmaster Scott pours some of his finest

There is much heckling and hilarity. The evening concludes with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne and the guests stumble happily into the night. 


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Check out The Open Championship 2012

Check out this application on the App Store:

Cover Art

The Open Championship 2012

The R&A

Category: Sports

Updated: Jul 16, 2012

14 Ratings

iOS Applications
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Copyright © 2012 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

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Infographic: TSA – Grope & Pillage from floorgem blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PayPal buys credit card scanner Card.io

GigaOM — Tech News, Analysis and Trends PayPal buys credit card scanner Card.io

PayPal liked Card.io so much, it not only used the startup to help it capture credit card images for its PayPal Here product, it is now buying the San Francisco startup. The team will join PayPal’s global product team in San Jose, where it will help PayPal build out its digital wallet.

Developers will still get access to Card.io’s video swipe technology, but it’s unclear if that will always be the case. Card.io’s technology allows developers to capture credit card data by having users scan their cards with a smartphone camera. PayPal Here, PayPal’s small business product and Square rival, offered the scanning service to merchants, giving them another way to take credit card payments without the use of a card-reading dongle.

“While working with them, we were simply blown away by the creativity and drive of their employees. They are a passionate and independent team that likes solving large, complex problems and we wanted them to join our team,” said Hill Ferguson, PayPal’s Vice President of Global Product in a blog post.

In January, Card.io launched its own payment app, allowing consumers to receive payments. The purchase price wasn’t announced but this makes a lot of sense for PayPal. The company is putting more emphasis on its digital wallet as it ramps up its efforts in-store and on mobile. Having a technology like Card.io allows PayPal to not only facilitate more payments but also potentially help with other visual scanning uses such verifying identification cards. It also keeps Card.io out of the hands of Square or other competitors, who may have looked at acquiring the startup at some point.

Card.io has raised $1 million from Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal, Jeff Clavier and Charles Hudson of SoftTech VC, Manu Kumar of K9 Ventures, Alok Bhanot, the former VP of Risk Technology at PayPal, and Omar Hamoui, the former CEO and founder of AdMob. In addition to PayPal, Uber, LevelUp, Lemon and other companies were deploying Card.io’s technology.

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