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Comments

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How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

curtwoodward Re:What is it with curtwoodward? (66 comments)

Headline came from the submitter, which was me. It's also the headline on the main article linked, which I also wrote, so I'm your source of nefarious clickbait for the day. I'm really sorry if the headline brought up traumatic associations with 9/11 for you. Clearly I was not anticipating that, and wasn't intending it. In general I try not to go over the top with headlines, promise! But their function is to make a (hopefully) nuanced, detailed article enticing in as few words as possible. And I actually do agree that war metaphors are used too often in the business, sports, and political press. Guess I should remind myself of that next time. :)

about 5 months ago
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How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

curtwoodward Re:What is it with curtwoodward? (66 comments)

Suppose I can take a crack at this one! I not only posted this article, I am its author. (I'm using the singular because I can't tell which is the second main-page posting in the past few days that touches this topic). **TL;DR I'm great! Nothing's "with me," how are you tho you seem mad :(** While I can't quibble with the way you felt the article was constructed or intended - your experience is authentically yours and I respect that - I certainly don't agree with the analysis that this rental-car startup piece was highly biased and driven by an agenda that seeks to make government into an evil, illegitimate actor. The narrative of the piece roughly flows this way: One rental car startup broke the rules, and got shut down. They decided to run and fight. Another startup doing something similar decided to play by the rules and get the proper approvals. These two companies are part of a trendy sector, which has seen a lot of this battling with local regulators. But now, as they grow up, some of them appear to be playing nice and acting as reasoned, pragmatic businesses rather than striking the libertarian hero pose. The Uber mention therein is mostly a side note. This article doesn't really have much to do with Uber specifically.

about 5 months ago
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Lawsuit Could Expose Whether Top VC Firms Are Actually Good Investments

curtwoodward Original Link Fixed (Sorry) (90 comments)

Hi all, author and submitter here. Sorry about the link problems - it's all my fault. I edited the headline to make Sequoia possessive, to avoid confusion with another fund. To be OCD about it, I also added the 'S' to the URL. Which means a ton of you bonked the 404 page when you went to read the article. Never edit before coffee. So I have changed it back. This one works again: http://www.xconomy.com/national/2013/03/27/kleiner-sequoia-fund-returns-could-be-exposed-in-ca-lawsuit/?single_page=true Thanks to the other commenters who found the temporarily working link, which is no longer live. That'll teach me.

about a year ago
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A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

curtwoodward Re:Just another cautionary tale (164 comments)

Well, there are a couple little strings - at least in the government's opinion! It filed paperwork letting the bankruptcy judge know that, because of the federal financing, the government will have a say of some sort in who gets to buy the facilities it underwrote. That's generally thought to be code for "we will have more to say if a Chinese firm submits the winning bid." More here: http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters.com/Bankruptcy/News/2012/11_-_November/U_S__says_A123_sale_requires_its_consent/

about a year and a half ago
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A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

curtwoodward Re:What exactly were the "technical problems"? (164 comments)

I was basing this on the court filings of A123 itself, and there wasn't detail about what the problems actually were. There may be more out there on the public record about what exactly the defects were. But A123 just said there were some problems with the "prismatic" batteries that could lead to problems. Sorry I couldn't get more precise.

about a year and a half ago
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A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

curtwoodward Re:Just another cautionary tale (164 comments)

The $250M was not a loan guarantee, it actually was a matching grant - for each dollar the company spent on certain qualifying expenses, the feds would match a dollar. A123 eventually drew about $130M of the nearly $250M that was authorized. Press release: http://ir.a123systems.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=403090 The money was free in that sense, but came with strings - the factory that A123 built with help of that federal money means the U.S. government retains an interest and gets a say in what happens to the assets in bankruptcy.

about a year and a half ago
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A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

curtwoodward Re:Michigan (164 comments)

Yeah, they're actually in the "auction" part of the bankruptcy today. JCI is the opening bidder - the "stalking horse" as it's colorfully named. Unsure when the other bids etc will be made public, but there is a hearing scheduled in court on Dec. 11.

about a year and a half ago
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A Twisted Clean-Tech Tale: How A123 Wound Up In Bankruptcy

curtwoodward Re:Rhetorical? (164 comments)

That's professional writin' right there. I got a degree and everything.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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How Four People from Pittsburgh Built the Internet's Coolest T-Shirt Store

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about two weeks ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Cotton Bureau is probably the coolest place in the world to buy a T-shirt. But it also probably shouldn't exist. The whole thing started as the side project of another side project for a small group of co-workers who were sick of doing contract Web development. A year later, the dev agency is gone and T-shirt sales are paying the bills for four people. Why does it work? A mix of crowdfunding, curation, and an open-ended platform for creativity that's been stitched together to make a very 21st Century company."
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The Woz Sold His Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch on eBay Because It Sucked

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 2 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Apple co-founder and legendary nerd Steve Wozniak is a huge gadget enthusiast, often appearing in lines with mere mortals to purchase new Apple products. So you can bet he's tried out most of the smartwatches on the market today. The worst one? By far, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which The Woz says he sold on eBay after half a day's use. "It was so worthless and did so little that was convenient,” Wozniak said at an appearance in Milwaukee. “You had to hold it up to your ear and stuff.” So maybe the watch sucked, but just imagine being the one who bought Woz's used Gear---do you think they know?"
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Calm Down: Aereo's Supreme Court Smackdown Does Not Mean Chaos for the Cloud

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 2 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Aereo's just-so copyright workaround got crushed this week by the U.S. Supreme Court, which said the company was basically a present-day knockoff of the old "community antenna" cable TV system. But some media outlets (and the enterprising lawyers they interviewed) went much further, sowing all kinds of F.U.D. about how this case could screw up other popular cloud-computing services. Don't listen to the trolls---the Supremes were very clear that their ruling only applied to Aereo's livestream and things that look just like it. iCloud, Dropbox and friends are fine."
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Don't Want Google In Your House? Here Are A Few Home-Tech Startups to Watch

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 2 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Google bought Nest. Then Nest bought Dropcam. Then Nest opened up its platform to tech partners, including ... Google. This may not creep everyone out, but for those who don't like the idea of Google's all-seeing eye owning their smart-home devices, there are some small, independent companies developing alternatives. Maybe they'll survive long enough to get acquired by a company that doesn't make 90 percent of its money from advertising---right?"
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MA Governor Wants Non-Compete Agreements Outlawed. Will it Matter?

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 4 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Entrepreneurs in Massachusetts say the state's legal enforcement of non-competition agreements hurts innovation — if you're going to get sued by Big Company X, you're probably not going to leave for a startup in the same industry. But those contracts have powerful supporters, including EMC, which is by far the state's largest tech company. Gov. Deval Patrick is finally picking a side in the debate by introducing his own bill to outlaw non-competes and adopt trade-secrets protections instead. Just one catch: he's a lame duck, and will be out of office in January."
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Settlement details you're not supposed to see from Boston U's patent lawsuits

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 5 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "In January, Boston University settled lawsuits against two dozen big technology companies for allegedly using its patented blue LED technology without permission. But apparently, the school's lawyers were a little too forthcoming for everyone's tastes — they recently asked a federal judge to delete a court filing that spelled out all of the companies who settled. Luckily, we still had the unredacted version, which shows that Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Motorola and many more are on the list, even if they don't want you to know it."
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How Airports Became Ground Zero in the Battle for Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 5 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Even in libertarian-infused Silicon Valley, playing nice with the government can be a smart move. That's the attitude at RelayRides, a peer-to-peer car rental service that plans to expand at airports by getting permission first. On the other side is FlightCar, a competitor that would rather fight the power in court. The next couple of years should tell us which approach is smarter."
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A New Frontier for the Sharing Economy, Hiding in 170M New York Cab Rides

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 5 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Wanna share a cab? Despite all of the powerful communications devices in millions of pockets and purses, that's still the quickest way to split a fare in a big city. Researchers at MIT's Sensable City Lab say the system's overdue for an upgrade. They mapped all of the taxi rides in New York City in 2011, more than 170 million trips made by more than 13,500 cabs. By comparing the GPS coordinates of the pickup and drop-off locations with the timestamps of those rides, they figured it's possible to reduce cab miles by 40 percent if just a fraction of cab passengers were willing to add a few minutes to their trip and double up with someone else. You can play with the data yourself at HubCab."
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How the Carriers Tried, and Failed, to Build WhatsApp Competitors

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 5 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "One day after Facebook announced it was dropping up to $19 billion on WhatsApp, wireless carriers were busy trumpeting their own plans to build Internet-based communication apps. There's just one problem with that me-too chorus: Network operators have already tried to build their own "over the top" messaging apps, and those efforts haven't really gone anywhere. Just ask the guy who ran T-Mobile's Bobsled, the only serious attempt by a U.S. carrier to build a competing app. It gained about 3 million active users, but was quietly sold last year."
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Merlin's Magic: The Inside Story of the First, Best Mobile Game

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 6 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Long before Steve Jobs kicked off the modern mobile gaming revolution with the iPhone, a Harvard astrophysicist got kids obsessed with chasing electronic lights and sounds with their fingers. Bob Doyle was the inventor behind Merlin, and built the early versions with his wife and brother-in-law. As the more sophisticated cousin of raw memory game Simon, Merlin offered games like blackjack, tic-tac-toe, and even an early music program. Doyle, now 77, got 5 percent royalties on each sale, money that paid for the rest of his projects over the years."
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What Was Behind the Sudden Spike in Indonesian Internet Attacks?

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 7 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "In the second quarter of 2013, Internet traffic-routing specialists at Akamai noticed something unusual: The amount of attack traffic originating from Indonesian IP addresses had jumped significantly, making that country the world's top source of attack traffic. But three months later, it dropped off just as quick, putting Indonesia back at No. 2 behind usual leader China. Akamai doesn't offer any speculation why this might have happened, but it's interesting to note that Indonesian attacks target the WWW and SSL ports far more than malicious traffic routed from other countries."
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Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft & More Settle Patent Lawsuits with Boston

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 7 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Boston University hadn't been very aggressive with intellectual property lawsuits in the past. But that changed in 2012, when the school began suing the biggest names in consumer tech, alleging infringement of a patent on blue LEDs — a patent that, no coincidence, is set to expire at the end of 2014. As of today, about 25 big tech names have now settled the lawsuits, using "defensive" patent firm RPX. A dozen or so more defendants are probably headed that way. And BU is no longer a quiet patent holder."
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Inside Tony Hsieh's quiet plan to bankroll hardware startups

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 7 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Tony Hsieh made a fortune turning Zappos into a customer service-obsessed online shoe store. But as an investor, his newest obsession is ... robots? Welcome to the hardware boom, where startups making connected gadgets, smart vehicles, and drones are catching investors' eyes. A combination of cheaper components and crowdfunded pre-orders are behind the surge. But as the woman running Hsieh's hardware investments can tell you, getting those grand plans actually built overseas is the hard part."
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Tesla Would be Proud: Wireless Charging for Electric Cars Gets Closer to Reality

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 9 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "For some reason, we're still plugging in electric-powered devices like a bunch of savages. But technology developed at MIT could soon make that a thing of the past, at least for hybrid cars. A small Boston-area company, WiTricity, is a key part of Toyota's growing experiment with wireless charging tech---something the world's largest car maker says it will start seriously testing in the U.S., Japan and Europe next year. The system works by converting AC to a higher frequency and voltage and sending it to a receiver that resonates at the same frequency, making it possible to transfer the power safely via magnetic field. Intel and Foxconn are also investors, and you might see them license the tech soon as well."
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Is a Patent Battle Brewing Over the "Copenhagen Wheel" Next-Gen Electric Bike?

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 9 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Nearly four years after the concept was introduced, MIT spinout Superpedestrian has started selling its $700 "Copenhagen wheel" kits that promise to turn any old bike into an electric-powered, smartphone-connected dynamo, simply by swapping out the back wheel. But they're not alone: a competing startup called FlyKly has already raised $700,000 worth of pre-orders for a similar device. Superpedestrian, which holds exclusive license to the MIT patents covering the Copenhagen wheel, clearly thinks there's some foul play going on. "Their founder actually dropped by our lab at MIT a year and a half ago, saying he wants to collaborate, and spent quite some time with the Copenhagen wheel team. We’ll leave it at that,” Superpedestrian founder Assaf Biderman said."
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Report: Indonesia Now Top IP Source for Security Attacks

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 10 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "China has long been the top source of IP addresses used in security attacks, as monitored by Internet traffic firm Akamai's "State of the Internet" report. But earlier this year, malicious hackers found a new favorite country: Indonesia. Attacks originating from Indonesian IP addresses topped the list in the second quarter, representing 38 percent of all global attacks seen by Akamai, which handles about a third of Web traffic. Akamai also says that reports of DDoS attacks on its customers are growing very quickly, with a more than 50 percent rise in one quarter. The question now is whether that jump in DDoS activity is tied to periodic global unrest, or is the beginning of a new trend."
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Google X Display Boss: Smartphones, Tablets, Apps are "Mind-Numbing"

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about 10 months ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Stop drooling over that new iPhone. Put away the fancy tablet. Because the real hardcore nerds find that stuff "boring" and "mind-numbing," says Mary Lou Jepsen, head of the display division at secretive R&D lab Google X. At MIT's EmTech conference, Jepsen said the next generation of "moonshot" tech is much more exciting and interesting. That includes Google X projects like the driverless car and Project Loon, a stratospheric balloon-based wireless network. Oh, and Google Glass. When you work on that kind of stuff all day, the rest of the tech world "Gets depressing. It was so exciting three years ago.""
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How Did Newspapers Blow It? Not Enough Engineers, NYT Publisher Says

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about a year ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "You'd have a hard time picking just one way the traditional news business stumbled into the Internet era. But America's most important newspaper publisher says one mistake sticks out. In a recent discussion at Harvard, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. of the New York Times said newspapers really messed up by not having enough engineers on hand "building the tools that we’re now using." Instead, the the news business faces a world where outsiders like Facebook and Twitter control the technology that is distributing their work."
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Uber sued again over tip-skimming allegations, case could go national

curtwoodward curtwoodward writes  |  about a year ago

curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Uber has just raised a monster investment round that valued the company at some $3.5 billion. And it looks like some of that cash will have to be earmarked for more legal expenses. The startup, which offers an easy-to-use mobile app for hailing "black car" sedans and other rides, is being sued in federal court over allegations that it's illegally skimming the tips paid to drivers. The lawsuit also claims that Uber is misclassifying its drivers as contractors, rather than employees. The upshot: If the federal judge certifies this as a national class action, Uber could be facing millions of dollars in potential damages. Oh, and the lawyer behind it? She's made a career out of suing companies for exactly these kind of violations."

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