×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Sparse's Story Illustrates the Potholes Faced By Hardware Start-Ups

waderoush Re:One year (103 comments)

Author of TFA here. Actually the guys behind Sparse are bootstrapping the company with their own money and "sweat equity" and one modest SBA loan. I don't think Colin Owen was whining at all. In addition to telling the story of a scrappy company with a cool product, I wanted to frame Owen's experiences in a way that might help tamp down some of the recent hype around hardware startups. They are still *a lot* harder to build than software startups.

about 6 months ago
top

Siri's Creator Challenges Texting-While-Driving Study

waderoush Re:one more distraction while driving (262 comments)

My understanding is that Adam was one of the key people developing the AI behind Siri -- the contextual awareness stuff that makes Siri pretty good at figuring out what you want and relating your request to available resources. Sorry to snap at you earlier, sometimes Slashdot makes one surly.

about a year and a half ago
top

Siri's Creator Challenges Texting-While-Driving Study

waderoush Re:one more distraction while driving (262 comments)

Do your homework, please. Adam Cheyer was one of the lead investigators at SRI on the CALO project before the contextual-search technology was married with voice-to-text and text-to-voice technology and spun out as Siri.

about a year and a half ago
top

Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?

waderoush Microwave mea culpa (278 comments)

Author of TFA here. So many people have mentioned the microwave that I had to respond. Yes, I still have a microwave! It's built into the kitchen and it belongs to my landlord, so I wasn't about to rip it out for the "after" photo. I should have made that clear in the original text, which has now been updated.

Thanks, (almost) everyone, for engaging seriously with the premise of the article. Of course it's anecdotal, of course I was writing about my own experiences. This is a given when you're writing a personal essay. But my guess -- and it seems to be correct, from a lot of the comments -- was that a lot of other people have also noticed that they're able to get along with fewer gadgets, especially since the new wave of touchscreen mobile gadgets are basically the Swiss army knives of electronics. Others haven't had this experience, and that's fine. My real point was that it's possible to get the same stuff done today with fewer tools.

Sorry if my preference for Apple products put off a bunch of readers, but the theme would hold up even if I were an Android or Windows customer.

about a year and a half ago
top

Turning SF's Bay Bridge Into a Giant LED Display

waderoush Re:Speaking as a professional Lighting Designer (99 comments)

Author of TFA here. Perhaps "debugging" was a dangerous word to use (clearly it has set off a lot of Slashdot readers). What Villareal is doing, mostly, is comparing the patterns and algorithms he developed on his simulator with the actual look of these patterns on the bridge, and tuning for what looks best. That was the part that couldn't be done until the lights were installed.

about 2 years ago
top

Google's Second Brain: How the Knowledge Graph Changes Search

waderoush Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (76 comments)

Sorry but I think you're wrong about this. The search engineers at Google are allowed, even encouraged, to come up with innovations that might break other parts of Google, including its main revenue engine, AdWords. See pages 4-5 of the article.

about 2 years ago
top

Google's Second Brain: How the Knowledge Graph Changes Search

waderoush Re:didn't this used to exist years ago? (76 comments)

Author here. Yes, from 2009-2011 or so they had a Google Labs project called Google Squared that presented results in tabular form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Squared). I asked Shashi Thakur about this and he said they killed it because it wasn't deep enough to be useful. He told me there were actually pockets of structured, graph-like data popping up all over Google (in verticals like travel search and product search) but every team was doing it differently and it became clear the "the pockets were not coinciding." That's why they decided to take a top-down (or maybe you'd call it bottoms-up) approach and just buy Metaweb.

about 2 years ago
top

The Lytro Camera: Impressive Technology and Some Big Drawbacks

waderoush Re:Of two minds? (220 comments)

Author here, from Xconomy. I changed the headline to make it shorter and catchier, that's all. I'm not of two minds. I was impressed by the technology, but I said that Lytro needs to make some changes such as enlarging the screen before the value of the device will be completely obvious to consumers.

more than 2 years ago
top

RockMelt — Right Browser, Wrong Platform?

waderoush Re:I'm using it now and liking it (48 comments)

I'm glad you're enjoying RockMelt and I agree with your plaudits and criticisms. But dude. Why does it make me a moron to want more continuity between desktop UIs and mobile UIs? My point was that it seems like a bit of a shame to take $10 million and hire 30 engineers and put them to work for two years on really cool browser that *only works on the desktop,* when I'm trying to spend less time on my desktop, not more.

about 4 years ago
top

Skyhook Wireless Sues Google Over Anti-Competitive Practices

waderoush For another take on this story... (228 comments)

Check out Xconomy's coverage: Skyhook, Fighting for Its Life in Suit Against Google, Cries Foul: “Call in the Referees and Review the Tape” http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2010/09/16/skyhook-fighting-for-its-life-in-suit-against-google-cries-foul-%E2%80%9Ccall-in-the-referees-and-review-the-tape%E2%80%9D/ What's really at stake is who gets control of the anonymized consumer-level data generated each time a mobile device performs a location lookup. In a world of hyper-targeted advertising, this data could be worth billions, which is more than enough reason for Google to see Skyhook as a threat.

more than 4 years ago
top

Flawed iTunes Stands Out Among Apple's Products

waderoush Re:Article with lots of cruft and no substance (390 comments)

Hellfire, thanks for this great comment. Of the 350+ comments in this stream right now yours is the one that best points out the weaknesses in my original article. Here's how I would respond. Yes, I am aware that I was stretching the definition of "cruft." As about twenty programmers have pointed out to me today, Neal Stephenson was using the term to refer to code, not to features....and specifically to operating system code, not application code. Fine. I'm not talking about the code inside iTunes, because I've never seen it. I'm using "cruft" every so slightly metaphorically, and I don't think it's overstretching the concept to say that software can be crufty -- especially when it accumulates as many miscellaneous, unconnected functions as iTunes has. The point's been well made elsewhere in this thread, but I just don't see why the same program that plays my MP3s should also be in charge of activating my cell phone. The question isn't whether iTunes crashes -- it doesn't. But this is only one measure of good software. Bottom line: Apple is in the same position as Volkswagen in 1998. When they came out with the New Beetle in 1998, it made all their other models look intolerably boxy and dull and everyone just wanted a New Beetle. iPhone / iPad / iOS are breakthrough products from a UX perspective, and they make iTunes feel intolerably complicated and ugly by comparison. That complexlity and ugliness are the product of years of feature creep -- what I called cruft. Whatever the terminology -- can you seriously argue that this is the program Apple would build if they were setting out to create a modern set of media management and device syncing applications?

more than 4 years ago
top

Flawed iTunes Stands Out Among Apple's Products

waderoush Re:Redesign and rebranding (390 comments)

Thanks nine-times. You've captured the point of my article exactly -- What's this sound equalizer doing in my social network? It's just seems clear that if Apple were starting over with its software for selling and managing media and syncing its mobile devices, it would never do it this way. At some point they'll have to start fresh.

more than 4 years ago
top

Flawed iTunes Stands Out Among Apple's Products

waderoush Re:To abuse the old standby, (390 comments)

iTunes is a bucket of spit...I just find it remarkable that Apple has created such a monstrosity that it central to their ongoing strategy. They've created real duds before, but iTunes is... just a mess.

Thank you. This was exactly the point I was trying to make in TOA. It's been nice to hear today that so many people agree with me. (It's also nice to hear that iTunes works great for some people. Wish I were one of them.)

more than 4 years ago
top

The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans

waderoush Re:Decoupling of product and user (945 comments)

Thank you. I'm the author of the Xconomy article referenced in the original post, and your comment offers a nice answer to my original question. Which was, basically: How does Apple get away with being so closed -- with hording information -- when, for so many of its customers, the essence of computing is *sharing* information? I think the "cloaking device" you speak of is a real and deliberate strategy on Apple's part, and it seems to pay off most of the time. As someone remarked today somewhere in the blogosphere (I can't recall where), Apple can dominate a conversation without saying anything. But I think this strategy also misfires some of the time. It leaves the company seeming inhuman. I can't help thinking that if another company came along that made devices that just work the way Apple's do and that fade into the background the way you describe, while being less monolithic and cloistered and more transparent and accessible and conversational as an organization, it could steal away Apple's customers fairly quickly.

more than 4 years ago
top

New Developments In NPG/Wikipedia Lawsuit Threat

waderoush This isn't a Robin Hood story (345 comments)

Defenders of the Wikimedia Foundation say the images are in the public domain (even though they aren't under UK law) and applaud Coetzee as if he were some kind of Robin Hood. Unfortunately, it's a case of the poor stealing from the poor. If all museum images were simply appropriated by file-sharers under the rationale that they *should* be in the public domain, pretty soon there wouldn't be any museum willing to pay for the digitization of important works, and we'd all be worse off. See the rest of my argument here: http://www.xconomy.com/national/2009/07/17/art-isnt-free-the-tragedy-of-the-wikimedia-commons/

more than 5 years ago
top

Behind the "My Location" Errors In Google Maps

waderoush Re:Can't find My Location (78 comments)

Dalroth: The new My Location feature only works when you're visiting Google Maps using Firefox 3.5+ or Google Chrome 2.0+ (or any browser equipped with Google Gears).

more than 5 years ago
top

How To See In 3D On Your iPhone

waderoush Yes, these images are for parallel viewing (94 comments)

I'm the author of the original article. Several commenters here have pointed out that the tutorial that I originally cited in the article was about cross-eye stereo viewing (in which the right image is intended for the left eye, and the left image is intended for the right eye), whereas these 19th-century stereographs are designed for parallel viewing (in which the left image is the for the left eye, etc.). That's absolutely correct -- my mistake. I've revised the article to link to a different tutorial, on parallel free-viewing. I've never actually tried cross-eye viewing, which sounds a lot harder. If you try to cross-eye free-view these images, they will indeed look inverted or flat. But once you get the trick of parallel free-viewing, the images should pop out at you, especially the best ones like the Brooklyn Bridge pictures at the beginning of the photoset.

more than 5 years ago
top

Explosion At ThePlanet Datacenter Drops 9,000 Servers

waderoush Jumping Ship (431 comments)

Xconomy was one of the sites hosted at "H1," as The Planet calls it. After waiting all day Sunday to see whether we'd be back up on Monday, we decided to move the site back over to Media Temple, our previous hosting provider, at least temporarily. (Ironically, one of the reasons we left Media Temple in the first place was that they couldn't handle the traffic when our flying car stories got slashdotted.) We published a post about our experience with the outage this morning.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

top

The Future of Work, Plus or Minus E-mail

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 5 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "To corrupt the old Churchill quote, e-mail is the worst form of communications, except for all the others; it's one of the only pervasive, non-proprietary standards for communicating across organizational boundaries. But that doesn’t mean we’re stuck forever with our overloaded Gmail and Outlook inboxes. For the first time in a couple of decades, it’s possible to imagine workplaces where teams coordinate their work not primarily over e-mail, but instead using alternatives like task management systems (e.g., Asana), file sharing systems (Box), advanced calendar systems (Tempo), or Facebook-style social feeds (Yammer). A deep-dive article in Xconomy today looks at such attempts to redefine the atomic unit of work, and at startups like Handle that aim to make old-fashioned e-mail more productive and pleasurable. Big, successful companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google have stopped depending on e-mail alone to get things done, argues Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook co-founder who now helps to lead Asana. ‘The secret sauce of why these organizations do so well and grow so quickly,’ he says, is that ‘they have figured out the way groups should organize.’"
Link to Original Source
top

If Tesla Made Bike Lights, They'd Look Like This; The Story of Sparse

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 6 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Hardware is Silicon Valley’s new religion. Bits and atoms aren’t so different after all, the creed goes; just as the cost and complexity of starting a software company has drastically declined over the last decade, it’s now becoming much cheaper and easier to start companies that make physical things. But talk to almost any real hardware company, and you’ll discover that the promised land is still some distance away. Sparse, a San Francisco product design startup, learned that the hard way. The company raised $66,000 on Kickstarter for its uber-cool theft-proof bicycle lights, but it took more than a year to deliver the first units to backers, thanks to a string of unforeseen manufacturing and supply-chain snafus. ‘We had all the t’s crossed and all the i’s dotted and still there was a big daily surprise,’ says industrial designer Colin Owen, Sparse’s co-founder and CEO. Today Sparse is shipping and profitable, with a vision to ‘change the face of mobility’ for urban cyclists, but its story illustrates just how high the bar still is for aspiring hardware entrepreneurs. Says Owen: ‘I wish there was more of a handbook for these things, but the biggest hiccups were very localized and unpredictable.’"
Link to Original Source
top

The Next Big Startup Hub Is: Sacramento?

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 6 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Don’t laugh. As the cost of housing spirals out of control on the San Francisco peninsula, neighboring metro regions like Sacramento are beginning to look more attractive to startup founders who prefer a Northern California lifestyle but haven’t worked in the Silicon Valley gold mines long enough to become 1-percenters. Today Xconomy presents Part 1 of a two-part look at innovation in the Sacramento-Davis corridor and efforts to make the region more welcoming to high-tech entrepreneurs. In Sacramento’s favor, there’s a talented workforce fueled by a top-20 university (UC Davis), space for expansion, proximity to the ski mountains at Tahoe, and a far lower cost of living — the average house in Sacramento is selling for $237,000, compared to $909,000 in San Francisco. The downsides include a shortage of local investment dollars and a lower density of startups, meaning there’s less opportunity for serendipitous collaboration. But locals say recent efforts to boost the local high-tech economy are working. ‘I really feel like we are in a renaissance area,’ says Eric Ullrich, co-founder of Hacker Lab, a Midtown Sacramento co-working space."
Link to Original Source
top

Five Places Where the Silicon Valley Bubble Could Pop

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 7 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "If Silicon Valley is in a bubble — which it is – how will it finally burst? Where is the bubble’s membrane being stretched so thin that it’s in danger of tearing open and letting the real world rush in? This commentary from Xconomy picks five real places around the San Francisco Bay Area embodying tensions, imbalances, injustices, or dangers that could escalate into a show-stopping crisis for the technology economy. One is Bank of America’s former headquarters in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District; another is an elementary school in Oakland that happens to sit on the Hayward Fault. ‘If we can identify the fractures that threaten to destroy the innovation machine, we might be able to patch them up and keep the system going for a while longer — and maybe even point it in a smarter direction,’ the piece argues."
Link to Original Source
top

Minerva CEO Details His High-Tech Plan to Disrupt Universities

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 7 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "In April 2012, former Snapfish CEO Ben Nelson provoked both praise and skepticism by announcing that he’d raised $25 million from venture firm Benchmark to start the Minerva Project, a new kind of university where students will live together but all class seminars will take place over a Google Hangouts-style video conferencing system. Two years later, there are answers – or the beginnings of answers – to many of the questions observers have raised about the project, on everything from the way the seminars will be organized to how much tuition the San Francisco-based university will charge and how it's gaining accreditation. And in an interview published today, Nelson share more details about how Minerva plans to use technology to improve teaching quality. ‘If a student wants football and Greek life and not doing any work for class, they have every single Ivy League university to choose from,’ Nelson says. ‘That is not what we provide. Similarly, there are faculty who want to do research and get in front of a lecture hall and regurgitate the same lecture they’ve been giving for 20 years. We have a different model,’ based on extensive faculty review of video recordings of the seminars, to make sure students are picking up key concepts. Last month Minerva admitted 45 students to its founding class, and in September it expects to welcome 19 of them to its Nob Hill residence hall."
Link to Original Source
top

One Laptop Per Child Project Has Achieved Its Goals, CEO Says

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 8 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "A blog post at OLPC News last week went viral with the claim that the nine-year-old One Laptop Per Child project, the effort founded by MIT Media Lab Founder to distribute inexpensive laptops to millions of children in poor nations, is dead. Media outlets quickly controverted the assertion, but the response from the OLPC Association itself was brief, saying that its mission is ‘far from over’ and citing ongoing projects to distribute laptops in Central America. In a more lengthy Q&A this week, OLPC chairman and CEO Rodrigo Arboleda says the organization has achieved many of its goals, including demonstrating the value of the ‘Constructionist’ 1:1 learning philosophy originally espoused by Negroponte. With 2.5 million laptops distributed so far, the OLPC vision is ‘on track to being fully realized,’ Arboleda says. He sees ‘commercial greed’ and a ‘status-quo mentality’ within ministries of education and teachers’ unions as the main hurdles holding back faster progress."
Link to Original Source
top

Enough Whining. San Francisco is the new Renaissance Florence.

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 8 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Despite legitimate concerns over sky-high rents, Ellis Act evictions, Google Bus traffic, and the like, the San Francisco Bay Area is perhaps the most prosperous, comfortable, enlightened, stimulating, and generative place to live in Western history. For satisfying parallels, you'd have to look to a place like Florence and a time like the Renaissance, argues an Xconomy essay entitled From Cosimo to Cosmos: The Medici Effect in Culture and Technology. Today's coder-kings are working to reinvent economic structures in much the same way Renaissance painters, poets, architects, and scientists were trying to extend the framework they'd inherited from classical Greece and Rome. And in the role of the Medici family, long Florence's most powerful rulers and art patrons, we have people like Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, and Seth MacFarlane. Wait, what — Seth MacFarlane? Yes, the reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos starring Neil deGrasse Tyson (itself a tribute to the rise of science) wouldn't have happened without the involvement of a California media mogul. It's true that Silicon Valley can feel like Dante's Inferno if you're stuck in traffic on 101, or working 70-hour weeks as a code monkey at a doomed startup. But 'It would be unthinking, and ungrateful, to overlook the surplus we’re reaping from the tech boom,' the essay argues."
Link to Original Source
top

How Ingress Is Augmenting Reality for Google

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 9 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Niantic Labs, a startup inside Google, released its augmented-reality game Ingress to the public in December. What game creator John Hanke wasn't expecting was how much it would influence players' offline lives. Linda Besh, who was recently named one of the game's top five players in the world, credits Ingress with changing her life. The Detroit resident quit her job as a financial analyst after the game helped her uncover her desire to lead and build communities. 'I had it in me to be a leader, but I felt I didn’t have the pedigree...With Ingress, I didn’t need anyone’s approval, so I was able to break out,' says Besh, who's known inside the game world as Portalyst. As Niantic prepares to release the first iOS version of Ingress later this year, efforts to augment reality through location-based games are ramping up."
Link to Original Source
top

Hockney's iPad: A Painter Tries to Change the Way We See

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 10 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "At age 76, British painter David Hockney is still exploring new ways to capture the world as our eyes really see it. He's suspicious of photography and its constraints — 'it’s all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops, for a split second,' he has said. And yet he's an avid early adopter of newer technologies such as iPad sketching software and high-definition video, if they'll help him explode old notions about the business of reducing three dimensions to two. Hockney 'chooses to work in video and in digital media, rather than just watercolor or acrylic, because those tools are better for forcing the viewer to think about the problems of depth and point of view,' argues this review of the just-completed show 'David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition' in San Francisco."
Link to Original Source
top

Actually, It's Google That's Eating the World

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about 10 months ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "An Xconomy column today suggests that Google is getting too big. When the company was younger, most of its acquisitions related to its core businesses of search, advertising, network infrastructure, and communications. More recently, it’s been colonizing areas with a less obvious connection to search, such as travel, social networking, productivity, logistics, energy, robotics, and — with the acquisition this week of Nest Labs — home sensor networks and automation. A Google acquisition can obviously mean a big payoff for startup founders and their investors, but as the company grows by accretion it may actually be slowing innovation in Silicon Valley (since teams inside the Googleplex, with its endless fountain of AdWords revenue, can stop worrying about making money or meeting market needs). And by infiltrating so many corners of consumers’ lives — and collecting personal and behavioral data as it goes — it’s becoming an all-encompassing presence, and making itself ever more attractive as a target for marketers, data thieves, and government snoops. ‘Any sufficiently advanced search, communications, and sensing infrastructure is indistinguishable from Big Brother,’ the column argues."
Link to Original Source
top

A Little Startup Called Diffbot Could Be the Next Google

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "If you’re a human searching the Web for the answer to a homework assignment, a health problem, or a trivia question, you need help sifting through billions of pages for the most relevant and reliable one. That’s the problem Google solved back in 1998 with Page Rank, laying the groundwork for a search, advertising, and mobile empire. But today, the challenges involved in organizing the world’s information and making it useful (to quote from Google’s own mission statement) are very different. A growing percentage of Web traffic isn’t from humans at all — it’s from automated agents that only care about specific parts of Web pages. Think of Instapaper, which provides simplified views of news articles, or Siri, which can check the weather or find open tables at a restaurant. To do their jobs, these bots need to understand the inner structure of Web pages. And that’s what Diffbot is helping with. The seven-man startup in Palo Alto, CA, uses computer vision and machine learning to recognize and classify the components of Web pages. Developers at hundreds of companies, from Digg to Onswipe to Pinterest, are tapping Diffbot’s four existing APIs to grab and repurpose specific data from news articles, images, product pages, and home pages (APIs for 16 more page types are in the works). At the same time, Diffbot is building its own global index of structured Web data. Once it's complete, it could become the substrate for a new economy of what CEO Mike Tung calls 'mini-AIs' that create new knowledge from old knowledge. 'Once we have all 20 [page types], we will essentially be able to cover the gamut, and convert most of the Web into a database structure,' Tung says."
Link to Original Source
top

One-Armed UBR-1 Points the Way to Cheaper Robots

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "One of the problems that kept PR2, a two-armed humanoid robot developed by Menlo Park, CA-based Willow Garage, from succeeding commercially was its $400,000 price tag. But as it turned out, only a handful of the 40 or so universities that own PR2s ever developed applications that use both arms. That’s one of the reasons why UBR-1, a mobile manipulator robot from Willow Garage spinoff Unbounded Robotics, has only one arm. And that, along with many other engineering decisions and technology improvements, will allow the startup to sell its robot for just $35,000 (it's designed for materials-handling tasks in places like warehouses, elder care facilities, and supermarkets). ‘With robots, feature creep is so much more present than in some other fields,’ says Unbounded co-founder and CEO Melonee Wise. ‘There is always this desire to make a Swiss Army knife. But you have to make compromises, and those compromises directly impact the capabilities as well as the cost of the robot.’ One roboticist told Unbounded: ‘Your robot is so inexpensive that if I needed to have a second arm, I’d just buy a second robot.’"
Link to Original Source
top

The Problem with Bitcoin

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "In a critique of Bitcoin, innovation journalism scholar David Nordfors argues that the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency is a commodity, rather than a true currency, and that the wild, speculation-driven fluctuations in Bitcoin's value against government-backed currencies make it useless as a practical means of exchange. 'Bitcoin might be a robust technology. But the Bitcoin market is crazy,' writes Nordfors, who compares the run-up in Bitcoin's value to the Dutch tulip mania of the 1600s. 'Let’s treat Bitcoin as what it is—an impressive technology, a financial experiment, a social phenomenon, but hardly the basis for a new digital economy.'"
Link to Original Source
top

Anki Is Not a Toy Company. It Has iRobot, Others In Its Sights

waderoush waderoush writes  |  1 year,12 days

waderoush (1271548) writes "Anki gained instant fame as the robot-car company that launched at Apple’s WWDC in June. Its iPhone-controlled racing game hit Apple stores in October, and the company is hoping it will be a holiday hit. But while Anki Drive offers offers a novel physical/virtual entertainment experience for kids and their gadget-loving parents, being a toy company ‘is not our vision,’ says co-founder and CEO Boris Sofman in this combined company profile and product review from Xconomy. Anki Drive is planned as the first in a series of new consumer-robotics products that are intensively AI-driven, as compared to the mechanically sophisticated but relatively instinctual or behavioral robots exemplified by iRobot’s Roomba (which is probably the most successful consumer robot to date). The common characteristics of Anki’s coming products, in Sofman’s mind: ‘Relatively simple and elegant hardware; incredibly complicated software; and Web and wireless connectivity to be able to continually expand the experience over time.’"
Link to Original Source
top

Are Cable Subscribers Subsidizing Internet-Only TV Viewers?

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "'Dear Cable TV Subscriber: I don’t think I’ve ever told you how grateful I am,' Xconomy editor Wade Roush writes in a tongue-in-cheek commentary this week. 'I haven’t paid a cent for cable television since 2009. Yet I have on-demand access via the Internet to a growing cornucopia of great shows like Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad, at reasonable à la carte prices. And it’s all because you continue to pay exorbitant and ever-increasing monthly fees for your premium cable bundle (around $80 per month, on average). After all, your money goes straight to the studios and networks that produce and distribute all the expensive first-run programming that I’m perfectly happy to watch later at heavily discounted prices. So in effect, you’re subsidizing my own footloose, freeloading, cord-cutting TV habits. I don’t know how to thank you!'"
Link to Original Source
top

A Teletherapy Startup Removes Barriers to Mental Health Care

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Is the digital age sending the old therapist’s couch the way of the reference librarian, the CD, and the travel agent? Could be: several recent studies have found that therapy via the Internet is just as effective as face-to-face treatment. But it's taken online therapy startup Breakthrough about four years to convince venture investors and insurance companies that online therapy can remove many of the road blocks to mental health care, including the high cost, the social stigma, and the difficulty of access. So far, Breakthrough has partnered with 100 licensed psychiatrists and psychologists in Texas, California, Virginia, and Maryland; every provider on the site has a profile and a welcome video that allows potential clients to evaluate them before they even talk online. 'Now we have greater research supporting telemedicine, and people are more comfortable digitally,' says co-founder and CEO Mark Goldenson. 'I think the market is ready for it.'"
Link to Original Source
top

How Entrepreneurs Overturned California's Retroactive Tax on Startup Founders

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Startup founders in California can breathe a little easier today — they won't be getting bills from the state for up to $120 million in back taxes. On Friday California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting the state from levying retroactive taxes on founders and other small-business investors who took advantage of a tax break invalidated last year by a state appeals court. California Business Defense, a coalition of entrepreneurs, spent most of 2013 trying to reverse the California Franchise Tax Board's interpretation of the court ruling, under which it planned to hit Californians with new tax bills on the sale of small-business stock going back to 2008 (a story that Slashdot picked up on January 24). Two bills on the matter reached Governor Brown's desk in September, one fully restoring the investment incentive through 2016, the other partially restoring it. Brown signed AB1412, the bill granting full relief. 'For a bunch of political greenhorns operating in an environment where political partisanship is at an all-time high, we did all right,' writes Brian Overstreet, one of the co-founders of California Business Defense. 'But it should never have been this hard.'"
Link to Original Source
top

What Is Quora? 7 Answers from Adam D'Angelo & Marc Bodnick

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "As with Twitter, itâ(TM)s always been a little difficult to define what Quora is and is not. But three years after the public launch of the Mountain View, CA-based question-and-answer site, itâ(TM)s starting to get easier. Itâ(TM)s a place to share knowledge, says co-founder and CEO Adam Dâ(TM)Angelo â" meaning first-hand experiences and advice that would otherwise stay locked inside peopleâ(TM)s heads. Itâ(TM)s growing at 300 percent per year, which means all engineering efforts are focused on scaling. But itâ(TM)s not consensus-based or anonymous, like Wikipedia. Itâ(TM)s not a platform, like Facebook. Itâ(TM)s not just for asking and answering questions (the service is taking on an important blogging and PR function). And itâ(TM)s not a business â" not yet, anyway. In an in-depth interview, Dâ(TM)Angelo and the startupâ(TM)s community head, Marc Bodnick, explain what they think Quora is best at and where they see the company going over the next year."
Link to Original Source
top

Heavybit: Grad School for Startups Building a Software Supply Chain

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Companies like Stripe, Meteor, and Kodowa have joined Heavybit Industries, a new accelerator in San Francisco that focuses exclusively on startups building tools for software developers. It's a booming area, but one where startups face special problems, says Heavybit founder James Lindenbaum. 'We are about to witness an unbelievable explosion in the number of companies doing this kind of thing and how much value they are providing to the world,' says Lindenbaum, who previously co-founded application platform provider Heroku. But 'a lot of things are not figured out yet. Customers haven’t figured what they want to pay for, or how much. Going to market is hard. Even this bifurcation between the people who are using the tools — developers — and the people who pay for them — companies — is really tricky to navigate.' Hence Heavybit's 9-month curriculum, which focuses on issues like designing for, and marketing to, developers. Says Lindenbaum: 'We think of it as grad school to Y Combinator's undergrad.'"
Link to Original Source
top

How to Live Longer, Without Help from Google

waderoush waderoush writes  |  about a year ago

waderoush (1271548) writes "Google’s plan to combat aging and age-related illness through a new company called Calico, unveiled this week, has sparked massive, mostly worshipful media coverage. But the idea has many of the hallmarks of what scholar Evgeny Morozov has called ‘technological solutionism’---the idea that there’s no problem so large that it can’t be solved with enough data and processors. Perhaps, given enough time, Google-style thinking can 'Solve Death,' as Time put it this week. But the danger of the media's fixation on such moon-shot projects is that it will draw attention away from simpler things that can be done to improve life expectancy right now, like improving access to prenatal care, battling hospital-based infections, and reducing gun violence. This Xconomy commentary details those three ideas and seven others."
Link to Original Source

Journals

waderoush has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?