YouTube Meets Formspring With Video Q&A Site VYou


This post is by Alexia Tsotsis from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Founded by Steve Spurgat and Chuck Reina, the New York-based and newly launched VYou is a combination of Formspring, YouTube and Twitter (“Formspring + video + crack.” is a popular description amongst its beta users). The core function of VYou is to enable a video conversation, allowing you to send and receive messages with friends and experts at your own pace. You can also follow users and create, store and share pre-recorded video responses accordingly.

Similar to what Seesmic was originally attempting to do back in the day and like a peppy Howcast or eHow, VYou’s asynchronous chat format was designed for multiple use cases, We could do a deal with a dating site (an obvious use case), but then we become ‘that dating application.’ We could focus on celebrities, but then we may lose experts and general users,” Spurgat explains.

Like Q&A giant Quora, Spurgat and Reina have been working on site development for a year and wisely targeted the beta towards influential users and brands including pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman,  investor and advisor Rex Sorgatz, BNTER founder Lauren Leto, writer Will Leitch, Gawker TV guy Richard Blakely and wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk.

Aside from attracting talent, it’s addictive as all hell; The moment I signed up, after I recorded a “Waiting” video and “No Response” video, Spurgat asked me the question of the hour “Does Yahoo Mail lower your credit card score?” (har har). Because sense of humor and other body language cues often do not come across in writing, video is an ideal platform for Q&A, especially when answers are time limited (there’s a helpful/condescending little bar across the bottom of the site that tells you when you’ve gone on for too long while recording a video).

After being fenced in by 140 characters or the often dry annals of Quora or Formspring, it was great to have the information surplus of sights and sounds at my disposal when interacting with a human online. And I actually feel closer to Spurgat after having video answered his Yahoo Mail question, even if he was pulling my leg.

Riding on the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the OldSpice campaign, it’s inevitable that brief, personalized video responses would immensely appeal to companies and brands seeking to interact with users — right out of the gate VYou’s first brand partnership is with lifestyle website Flavorpill, where Flavorpill editors will interview celebrities through the service and post their VYou-powered “Interactive Video Interview Program” on the Flavorwire blog.

VYou is currently angel funded and is looking to improve its search function as well as expand access to multiple platforms, including mobile and through an API. Says CEO Spurgat,Our only guidance will be to show the market that this is a utility, with a wide range of applications.”

Applications which include preventing me from getting any more work done, for tonight at least.


20 Halloween Scares to Put Fear Into Every Twitter Fan


This post is by Louis Gray from louisgray.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




20. The company is moving beyond telling you how to use the word “Tweet”, and will trademark the @ symbol as well. Also, blue birds.

19. The #NewNewTwitter is going to be 3D.

18. Strains on the company’s infrastructure thanks to a spike in users will lead the company to cut tweet lengths by half, to 70 characters.

17. By 2012, only the company’s official clients can be used to update Twitter. Existing clients, such as Seesmic and TweetDeck, will be asked to migrate instead to Plurk and Identica.

16. The company’s three founders, Ev, Biz and Jack, all have four or fewer letters in their first name. The new CEO is named Dick. This is the primary reason character limits make sense to these folks. Even their communications guy is named Sean, and goes by @SG. Thus, if you have a name like Demetrius or Annabelle, you should never expect to get a job at Twitter. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even have an account.

15. Due to the popularity of retweeting, and the understanding that not everybody reads every tweet, Twitter will set up parallel domains called retwitter.com and reretwitter.com that syndicate the Twitter firehose, only delayed a few hours, so you can relive the past as if it were in real-time.

14. In 2011, you may see the fail whale in the Twitter office more than Ev Williams.

13. Due to office constraints resulting from rapid hiring, the company will settle on an agreement with Google and Facebook to rent out some of their empty cubes. The move is also a side bet, knowing half the employees won’t have to relocate when the eventual buyout comes anyway.

12. Twitter is going to become so ubiquitous that your mom and all her sisters are going to join. That is seriously going to be annoying.

11. Twitter Lists are going to expand to include as many as 5,000 people. But that still won’t be enough for Robert Scoble @scobleizer, who will hit the limit on day two and swear he spent 100 hours perfecting each one.

10. Twitter is going to acquire the country Eritrea, solely to request a top level domain of .er, and shorten its domain to twitt.er.

9. The FBI is reading your tweets. They’re the only ones who ever click on your links.

8. Automated tweets from all those programs your friends use to say when they are watching TV, where their location is, what high score they got on whatever game, and if they signed up to start using some app will soon outnumber actual tweets pushed by hand.

7. Twitter’s @Anywhere platform will be followed by a companion program called @Anytime. The combination means you can never sign off from Twitter. Even when you sleep.

6. As Chris Messina, who pioneered Hashtags, is now at Google, the company will make a move to prevent Twitter from using them, claiming intellectual property. This will surprise many, who had expected more of an “Open Web” move from Google. The removal of hashtags will make the world’s trending topics actually readable again.

5. Derived from the company’s HackWeek, Twitter will launch a World News aggregation site that uses tweets as the source, and takes target at both Google News and Yahoo! News.

4. This guy Nick Selvaggio, who has the handle @direct, actually sees all your direct messages.

3. After being lambasted for a male-centric blue version of the site, Twitter delivers a pink version with cutesy writing “for the ladies”.

2. The guy who was in “Dude Where’s My Car” has hundreds times more users than you do. No wait. That one’s true.

1. Search.twitter.com will never ever ever work the way you expect it to. Ever.

LeWeb ’10 Program Revealed — With A Whole Lot Of TechCrunch


This post is by MG Siegler from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




About a month ago, we noted that LeWeb would be getting a bit more TechCrunch flavor this year. For the seventh iteration of the popular tech conference based in Paris, France, organizers Geraldine and Loic Le Meur decided to make their startup competition a bit more like a mini-TechCrunch Disrupt. That is, of the 16 startups launching, 3 will get time on the big stage to present in front of everyone and a winner will be chosen. And that won’t be the only TechCrunch influence felt.

As you can see on the just-released program for LeWeb ’10, TechCrunch names are all over the agenda. A group of us are slated to interview some of the big names in tech on stage during the two-day conference, which takes place on December 8 and 9 this year. And there seem to be a range of other interesting talks and panels as well.

A taste of the highlights:

  • Leaders from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Mozilla, Foursquare, WordPress, EA, MySpace, UStream, Evernote, Microsoft, PayPal, Nokia, RIM, and more on stage.
  • You can learn about how to get your company acquired (with people from Microsoft and Twitter).
  • You can learn about how to create a top mobile game (with the CEO behind the company responsible for Angry Birds).
  • You can hear about innovation in other parts of the world, such as Japan (with the CEO of DeNA).
  • You can hear about where the media is heading (with people from CNN and Techmeme).
  • A partner at DST will talk about investing hundreds of millions in Zynga and Facebook.
  • You can learn about the building of a solar pane plane.
  • Howard Lindzon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Leo Laporte, Dave McClure, Yossi Vardi, Dave Morin, and more will all be on hand for talks.

And, of course, the Disrupt-like startup competition finals with be hosted by our own Michael Arrington and August Capital partner David Hornik.

For a longer intro, be sure to check out Loic and Geraldine’s full rundown in the video below. And if you’re interested in attending, use this link for a 200 euro discount for TechCrunch readers. Hopefully we’ll see some of you in Paris in a few weeks.


Launch of Newspaper Extinction Timeline for every country in the world


This post is by Ross Dawson from Trends in the Living Networks


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Back in August I predicted that newspapers in their current form will be irrelevant in Australia in 2022. That received significant international attention including from The Australian, The Guardian, Editor & Publisher (which called me the ‘Wizard of Aussie’) and many others.

Part of the point I wanted to make was that this date is different for every country. As such I have created a Newspaper Extinction Timeline that maps out the wide diversity in how quickly we can expect newspapers to remain significant around the world. First out is USA in 2017, followed by UK and Iceland in 2019 and Canada and Norway in 2020. In many countries newspapers will survive the year 2040.

The Australian has again covered this in a story title Deadline for newspapers as digital publications rise. There may be some more coverage in coming days.

Newspaper_Timeline_front.gif
Click on image to download full framework

The second page of the framework explains both the global and national drivers leading to the wide disparity in how quickly newspapers will move on, and provides some notes to the framework.

Newspaper_Timeline_back.gif
Click on image to download full framework

[UPDATE:] Here are some of the many reactions to the Newspaper Extinction Timeline with a few comments.

[UPDATE 2:] Here are Further explanations and answers to 6 questions on the Newspaper Extinction Timeline after one million views.

Below are the factors:

FACTORS DRIVING THE PACE OF NEWSPAPER EXTINCTION
GLOBAL
Increased cost performance of mobile phones
Increased cost performance of tablets/ e-readers
Development of high performance digital paper
Changes in newsprint and print production costs
Uptake of digital news monetization mechanisms
Trends in advertising spend and allocation
Development of open platforms

NATIONAL

Technology uptake
Fixed bandwidth availability and costs
Mobile bandwidth availability and costs
Smartphone and e-reader penetration

Economic development
Economic growth rate
Wealth inequality
Urban/ regional wealth disparity

Industry structure
Financial position of leading newspapers
Balance of advertising and print sales revenue
Newspaper distribution structures

Demographics
Age structure, birth rates, and immigration
Degree of urbanization
Increase in literacy

Government
Degree of regulation
Government financial support for media
Censorship and obstruction

Consumer behaviors
Media channel preferences
Willingness to pay for news
Relative interest in local and global news

If You’re Not in Pain, You’re Not in an Emerging Market


This post is by Sarah Lacy from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




JAKARTA–It was only a few days ago I was sitting in a wheelchair getting a blood transfusion.

It was Friday night in Singapore, and I was at Clarke Quay– a pseudo-outdoor mall of clubs. It’s like a smaller scale version of the Las Vegas strip frequented by Singaporean college kids, goofy Western expats and hot Asian girls, mind-bogglingly shimmied into too-tight dresses.

Everything in Clarke Quay — and Singapore for that matter– is highly competitive, and the clubs rotate in and out of business. So to stay popular, it’s important to have a gimmick. There was Highlands, the scotch bar, where the waitresses wore short kilts and the chandeliers had antlers. There was Lunar, where the gimmick was simply being “cold”– indeed that can be a novelty in Singapore’s sweltering heat and humidity. Then there was the Pump Room where a large cross-dresser belted out tunes, in between the thumping techno music.

But I was at the most over-the-top, a bar called Clinic. You sit in a wheelchair, and you get your drink in the form of an IV– with a name like the blood transfusion–delivered by a young nurse. Want a shot? It comes in an oversized plastic syringe. It felt a little wrong. I mean, I’ve seen enough of Asia to know people could have used those medical supplies for more than partying. But there I was nonetheless, doing wheelies and sucking on an IV.

It was the essence of Singapore: An Asian themepark developed for Asians who want a Western lifestyle and Westerners who want an Asian lifestyle– but can’t quite commit to either. A true sign you’re in Singapore? I didn’t have to use a single squat toilet– even in the dodgier areas of the city. In Asia, the toilets don’t lie.

Singapore times how long it takes to get through its immigration line, obsessively trying to get it under 11 minutes. I breezed through on arrival and departure. “I’m here because of the airport,” said KF Lai, founder and CEO of BuzzCity, an ad network that monetizes the throng of mobile users in Singapore’s chaotic neighboring nations. Compare that to Jakarta. I arrived Saturday and despite being on one of the only arriving flights at that time, I stood in the immigration line for about 45 minutes.

It’s not that Jakarta doesn’t have its Western bubbles. But they’re smaller and colliding with the city’s larger reality much more frequently. The walk in between the comfortable apartment I’m borrowing in Jakarta and the cavernous, Western shopping mall, the Grand Indonesian, took me through a sprawling slum and along streets so jammed with traffic, I almost got clipped by a motorbike a few times. My first day in town, walking through the slum– getting deeper and deeper as I kept taking wrong turns– I stuck out like a sore thumb. A big, tall, pale-white American woman who only knows about three words in Bahasa. One of those was “pulsa,” which means “credit.” I was wandering this neighborhood seeking a top-up on my pre-paid SIM card– something that is ironically easier to do in the slum here than in that opulent mall.

This is the disconnect of Southeast Asia right now: There is enough of a middle class that Western companies want to be here, and Web companies in particular want to make sure they don’t miss out like they did in China. But a place like Jakarta is still a Wild West. A neighborhood like the one I wandered through is so far from the consumer reality in the US that it’s hard to imagine the opportunity is as big as it is for Western companies. Trying to do business in Indonesia, particularly in the Web space, is about vacillating between the fear that it will take another ten years to build a $1 billion Web business (ala India) and the fear that it’ll take off overnight without you (ala China.)

Progress on this kind of scale is just messy and putting a comfort bandaid on it only hides the issues and the opportunities. Almost every day in Jakarta there’s a protest in front of the city’s Soviet-esque Welcome statue, that people get plenty of time to look at because the roundabout is always clogged with traffic. It’s the realistic underbelly of a country surging headlong into democracy and capitalism: Democracy means people dissent and capitalism means everyone who can afford a car wants a car. In my opinion, parts of Jakarta can put on a better face than India– where there’s been so much rapid urbanization the big cities are an out-of-control infrastructure mess. But plenty of Jakarta is scary and unpredictable, plagued with poverty and corruption.

It’s this disconnect that Singapore is hoping to bridge, a sort of economic and cultural translator for the West. And on paper– and in a few industries that I’ll detail in my next post– that makes sense. Singapore is, after all, just a short flight from India, China, most of Southeast Asia. And because it is 40% made up of immigrants, you can find a lot of local market expertise on the tiny island. But is Singapore really that much closer to the market? Physically yes, but don’t kid yourself: If you’re this comfortable, you’re not experiencing an emerging market and you’re not going to understand your customers. You aren’t going to understand how the five-tower pricy apartment building I’m staying in sold out in a flash, how the Grand Indonesian was packed with affluence-seekers on a Sunday afternoon and yet how so many people on the walk in between still live like it’s 100 years ago. If that’s what you want to understand in Asia, Singapore might as well be on the moon.

Sure, Singapore is growing at an economically drool-worthy 18% a year but that’s not because of an exploding middle class climbing the prosperity ladder. Lai and others tell me between 50% and 70% of the economy is in providing comfort for the region’s wealthy, whether it’s five-star hotels, expensive expat penthouses, or the real cash king– financial services for offshore money. Singapore is like a summer camp for the region’s rich, and that’s mostly who you’ll find there.

There’s just no hack around the pain of building a consumer business in emerging markets. Living in Singapore won’t teach you the market, any more than living in an expat enclave in Jakarta will. Without experiencing the pain and frustration of everyday life, you can’t understand this new customer. Like the old West, it’s exactly that unstructured inefficiency that creates so many opportunities. By the time problems like local talent, infrastructure are all figured out, you’ve got China– a place where local companies have grabbed most of the opportunities.


Twitter Issues New Guidelines for the Tweet Trademark


This post is by Audrey Watters from ReadWriteWeb


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




twitter_logo_october2010.jpgLate last week, Twitter updated its blog to call attention to the fact that along with the updates to “New Twitter,” that the service has updated the look of many of its logos, buttons, and widgets. But that “new look” seems to point to certain legal ramifications for others that may utilize Twitter’s name and trademarked terms in their own services. Apparently, using the Twitter name to manipulate folks into “get rich quick” schemes is forbidden. Bummer.

But in what seems to follow on a rather unfortunate series of events for Twitter’s developer ecosystem, the announcement may not bode well for startups that have thus far associated themselves – in name and in logo – with Twitter and its Tweets.

Sponsor

How to Tweet (and Refer to Tweets) without Consulting Your Lawyer

The list of guidelines is designed, according to Twitter, “to help you use our marks without having to worry about negotiating an agreement with us or talking to our lawyers.” So here’s what you can do, according to Twitter, without having to call in legal counsel. How companies like Twitterific, with its iconic blue bird, will need to respond, remains to be seen.

Apparently we’re not supposed to use screenshots of people’s Tweets without their permission (but here’s a link to my boyfriend’s recent Tweet where he totally checked in via Foursquare without my permission. I am definitely going to sue.)

Twitter wants to retain control of its mark on merchandise, which is understandable, as far as the “Twitter” logo goes. But it goes one step father, saying that “if mentioning ‘Tweet,’ you include a direct reference to Twitter (for instance, ‘Tweet with Twitter’) or display the Twitter marks with the mention of ‘Tweet.'”

Impact on Developers?

The new guidelines also say that using Tweet in the name of an application is only acceptable if the app is designed to be used exclusively with Twitter, something that, as Techcrunch’s MG Siegler notes, doesn’t bode too well for Tweetdeck. Twitpic, and other services that start with Tw- or Twit- are, however, “generally okay with us.”

And the T on “Tweet,” just so you know, should always be capitalized – because Tweeting is Important, much like the googling and facebooking we all undertake.

Since it’s original posting on Friday afternoon, Siegler’s post has been updated multiple times with clarifications from Twitter, suggesting that the initial guidelines may not have been penned with the utmost precision — small consolation for developers who are working within the Twitter legal and linguistic ecosystem.

Discuss


20 Halloween Scares to Put Fear Into Every Google Fan


This post is by Louis Gray from louisgray.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




20. The development teams behind Google Reader and Blogger are unified following a reorg, under a new project called “Google Breeder”.

19. The Google New project accidentally gets uploaded to the wrong set of servers and overwrites Google News with internal company project updates.

18. Twitter becomes so successful that long-form writing is considered anything which is between 135 and 140 characters. As a result, Google runs out of interesting things to index.

17. Google’s goats get an agent, defect to Zynga to promote Farmville.

16. Google’s book indexing project fizzles as its realized nobody actually reads any more.

15. Due to an impasse with broadcast networks and cable’s fear of Google’s growing impact, Google TV traction stalls as only commercials are available.

14. With the founders of Wave, YouTube, AdMob all leaving or changing roles in the last weeks, leaders of all project teams within Google dust off their resumes and post them as shared Google docs with high-priced executive recruiters.

13. Aggressive legalities determine that Google has to take another photo of your home on StreetView if you don’t like the current one.

12. Somebody actually asks a question to Larry Page or Sergey Brin about the future of Google Knol or Google Base in a public forum.

11. The code base between Google’s new robot cars is mixed with the Android code base, making our phones autonomous beings that call and leave messages with text to speech to anyone in our address book whenever they want.

10. Google Buzz is discontinued after unfavorable press coverage. The Lively team is persuaded to come back, and is given the keys to “social”.

9. Eric Schmidt loses a bet to Carol Bartz, is forced to buy Yahoo!. The new company is called Yahoogle. It passes anti-trust scrutiny somehow.

8. Yahoo! is determined to own the patents to Pay Per Click following their acquisition of Overture, Google forced to remove PPC from their offerings.

7. AJAX is the new Flash.

6. Jimmy Hoffa is found buried in Google’s famous ball pit.

5. Microsoft cracks the code behind Google’s search algorithm. Using SEO, Bing results flood Google’s index for all terms.

4. An overzealous team of programmers looking for career advances takes Eric Schmidt’s off the cuff remarks seriously, embarks on setting up programs to help people move and change their names at age 18.

3. Paul Buchheit is determined to own the intellectual property and trademarks to Gmail and its underlying code. Thus, Gmail and its users become property of Facebook.

2. Apple’s suit against HTC is successful, freezing the development and deployment of Android for all partners.

1. It is revealed that the same 50 people click on 99% of AdSense ads, and most of them are marketers just demoing the product to potential clients.

Google’s Real Problem – GTD?


This post is by Om Malik from GigaOM


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Google has made it a habit of making news for the wrong reasons! Days after it reported a blockbuster quarter, the company’s chief executive made some childish remarks about privacy.

And, in past week or so, the company saw three well-known executives leave the company. First it was Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, who decided it was time to hang up his CEO spurs. (Hurley is staying on as a special adviser.) Then came news that AdMob co-founder Omar Hamoui was leaving. Then, over the weekend, news spread that Lars Rasmussen, who was one of the co-creators of Google Maps and Google Wave, is leaving.

Rasmussen is trading Google for Facebook. He apparently likes the new gig so much he would give up Sydney and move to the San Francisco Bay Area. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Rasmussen said:

It feels to me that Facebook may be a sort of once-in-a-decade type of company. The energy there is just amazing, whereas it can be very challenging to be working in a company the size of Google. (SMH)

According to some estimates, one in five Facebook employees have ties back to Google, including COO Sheryl Sandberg and CTO Bret Taylor. Google has over 23,331 employees according to company’s recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Facebook has about 2,000 employees.

Rasmussen explained in his interview that getting things done (GTD) was a big problem at Google, and shutting down his project, Google Wave, a year after it was made available as a beta is a sign it was becoming difficult to get things done at the search giant.

We were not quite the success that Google was hoping for, and trying to persuade them not to pull the plug and ultimately failing was obviously a little stressful. It takes a while for something new and different to find its footing and I think Google was just not patient. (SMH)

He’s not alone. Many former members of AdMob have privately expressed frustration at their inability to get things done at Google. Others who have quit the search giant have expressed similar sentiments. Sometimes, money and perks aren’t enough to retain talent. If today it’s Facebook, then tomorrow it will be yet another hot startup that will keep fishing in Google’s talent pool and find eager biters.

I don’t think rivals (including upstarts) have the ability to stop Google’s financial steamroller. It will continue to be a dominant force in search and online advertising for years to come. But if it doesn’t reign in its talent problem, the company will have a long-term crisis on its hands. It was exodus of talent and inability to get things done that has brought giants of the past — Yahoo for example — to their knees.

For the longest time, Google has been the beacon for the smartest and most talented people in the world, especially from an engineering perspective. If these super-smart people start getting frustrated by their inability to get anything done, they’re going to follow Rasmussen to somewhere they can find a more receptive and nurturing environment.

In the end, that’s the single biggest problem for Google.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d) about Google:



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As LimeWire Shuts Its Doors, Other P2P Clients See a Surge in Usage


This post is by Audrey Watters from ReadWriteWeb


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




limewire_logo.jpgLess than a week since LimeWire was ordered to shut down its operations, almost all other major file-sharing applications are reporting a massive increase in downloads, arguably from those displaced LimeWire users.

A New York district judge last Tuesday issued a cease-and-desist order, demanding that LimeWire immediately close its doors. And while LimeWire has said it has plans to institute a redesigned service, based on legal and licensed music subscriptions, it seems like many of the site’s users may have gone elsewhere for their torrents, rather than waiting for a revised version of what was once the most popular file-sharing app.

Sponsor

TorrentFreak reports that it has spoken with a number of developers from P2P services, all of whom have seen a “huge boost in download numbers following Tuesday’s verdict.” No developers were willing to go on the record and give TorrentFreak the raw data – for fear, no doubt, of incurring the same wrath of the courts that LimeWire has received.

The exception is BearShare. Much like LimeWire, BearShare was once a Gnutella-based application. But in May 2006, BearShare was ordered to pay $30 million in settlement with the RIAA. Following that decision, BearShare altered its offerings via the Gnutella framework, limiting file-sharing. And its current iteration is, as the site proclaims “100% legal.”

Despite these restrictions, BearShare has seen a 780% increase in US downloads since Tuesday. And it reports its daily US downloads went up from 8000 to 62,400. The company does not say, however, whether or not these new sers are actually paying for their downloads. (That is, I believe, what the RIAA believes will save all those poor suffering record labels.)

Even though the LimeWire alternatives have seen an influx of traffic over the past week, the fallout from last week’s decision – and the still-to-come decision regarding the dollar figure attached to the judgement – remains to be seen as to how it will impact file-sharing services and users.

bearshare-spike.png

Discuss


Zuckerberg Vs. D’Angelo, ‘Before They Were Stars’ And ‘Where Are They Now?’


This post is by Alexia Tsotsis from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




“The playlist ran out on my computer, and I thought, ‘You know, there’s really no reason why my computer shouldn’t just know what I want to learn next,” he explains. “So that’s what we made.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard Crimson interview, 2004

Above is the Team page for Synapse, the Pandora-like music recommendation plugin Mark Zuckerberg and former Facebook engineer and Quora founder Adam D’Angelo built in 2002, while they were in high school together. You can access the entire site through the Web Archive hereAol, Microsoft and WinAmp all expressed interest in buying the WinAmp program and Zuckerberg and D’Angelo reportedly received up offers of up to 2 million dollars, which they famously turned down.

Items in the above image presented without commentary: The fact that high school student D’Angelo is described as being “hung like a horse.” The consistent references to “Programmer Gods” woven throughout the site. The fact that the Synapse slogan is “My brain is better than yours.” The Coolio reference. Whatever “If you hit it and that thing feels deeper, say his name” means (shudder).

Hey, we’ve all written strange things on the Internet, and most of us would have lived our lives differently had we known they would one day be searchable (or in this case, Wayback Machine-able). However, what is most interesting about this Team page is the fact that D’Angelo’s Quora and Zuckerberg’s Facebook are now in direct competition over their respective Q&A products.

And there seems to be some contention over just how friendly this competition is: Facebook’s Director of Product Blake Ross is the subject of an entire thread on Quora called “The Oct 2010 Blake Ross Quoragate Farrago” where there is much speculation over exactly why he was unable to login to Quora and why his account there was deleted in early October.

There’s also lot of talk on Quora AND Facebook Questions about a possible dispute between Facebook and Quora, with one thread accusing Facebook of blocking Quora users from gaining access to Questions over the summer.

Ross tells TechCrunch that this is not the case and that, “We don’t feel animosity toward Quora. It’s a terrific product. I worked closely with all of the founders in the past. I wish the media would stop trying to turn Silicon Valley into TMZ.”

Ross also tells TechCrunch that whatever happened with his Quora account has “been resolved.” Yet he still doesn’t know what exactly happened to his account. Busy Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently asked his first Facebook Question, hasn’t been active on Quora since January 2009.

No matter what Quora or Facebook Questions thread you subscribe to, the reality is that Facebook Questions, if rolled out to all users and executed correctly, could kill Quora. The Facebook Questions beta currently has one million users, while the Quora site has around 155K (very passionate) users.

Facebook wins the numbers game by default, but many hold that Quora retains a better user experience in terms of quality of answers and a strong community — So it remains to be seen which former Synapse co-founder will ultimately be “the king of the spreadsheets,” at least in the Q&A space.


This Week in SMB Tech: PayPal X, Google Boost and Basecamp Pricing


This post is by John Paul Titlow from ReadWriteWeb


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




paypal_x_logo.gif
Keeping up with every RSS feed item and tweet is hard enough for anybody, let alone someone trying to run a business. That’s why at the end of every week, ReadWriteBiz rounds up the week’s most important tech news and insights for small and medium-sized businesses.

We heard quite a bit of news coming out of the PayPal X Innovate 2010 Developers Conference, which had a heavy focus on the future of mobile payments. PayPal X is a new initiative that opens up PayPal’s platform to developers, enabling them to build new tools and applications on top of it.

Sponsor

The event included a number of announcements that should be of interest to the small business community, including new PayPal X integrations with Zoho, Outright, Freshbooks and a number of other Web tools for SMBs.

Project management and collaboration app Wrike pushed out an update this week that makes it more akin to social networking sites, with real-time update streams and a redesigned interface. GigaOm’s WebWorkerDaily had a thorough review of the new Wrike UI.

Also on the collaboration app front, here on ReadWriteBiz we discussed a recent change in the pricing of Basecamp, which saw the cheapest subscription option dropped from its sign-up page, at least for the time being. 37signals founder Jason Fried chimed in in our comments to clarify the changes, and the discussion has continued in a thread over on Hacker News.

Another item that generated a lot of discussion here on ReadWriteBiz was Wednesday’s story about a survey showing that businesses waste nearly five hours per week scheduling meetings, a problem that can be alleviated through the use of online scheduling apps like Doodle, Tungle and SkedgeMe.

As has been increasingly common lately, Google made a few announcements this week that should be of interest to small and medium-sized businesses. On Tuesday, the Google Docs team announced that Google Spreadsheets will soon include a tool for creating charts, taking that product another step toward being able to seriously compete with Microsoft’s venerable Office suite.

Perhaps a bit more significant was the previous day’s unveiling of Boost, a new advertising program from Google that uses artificial intelligence to recommend keywords and bids to businesses advertising across Google’s search and Maps products. The program is only available in San Francisco, Houston and Chicago for now, but may well be expanded to other locales if things go well.

Discuss


NSFW: Yep, Montblanc Killed my MacBook Pro Today


This post is by Paul Carr from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Last Wednesday, I got my hands on a new Meisterstück Le Grand Traveller pen. I haven’t touched my MacBook Pro since. It’s twelve months old. RIP.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Before my opening paragraph gets you all worked up, consider what I’m saying here. I’m saying that my TechCrunch options just cashed out and I’ve just used some of the money to buy an awesome new pen. And it’s beautiful. And I want to write a post all about how awesome and beautiful it is.

No – wait – I’ve just looked back at that lede, and you’re right. I am saying more than that. I’m saying that my new pen is so perfect in every way that my purchasing it spells the inevitable end of my MacBook. What’s more, I genuinely and unironically believe that the awesomeness of my pen is such that its halo effect will render your MacBook – and those of everyone you hold dear – useless as well.

But, still, hear me out.

In the next few hundred words I’ll explain all of the myriad reasons why my new Meisterstück Le Grand Traveller – a snip at just shy of $800 (inc tax and ink) – is superior in every way to my $1200 Mac Book Pro. And when you’ve finished reading, I’m confident that you too will want to trade in your clunky old laptop for this masterpiece of German manufacturing. If you don’t, I’ll eat my power cable. After all, I don’t need it any more.

I mean, seriously, did I mention how amazing my freaking pen is?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “but the Meisterstück has been around since 1924 and it hasn’t killed the MacBook yet”. That’s true, but until this week I hadn’t bought one. Now that I have, and now that I’ve written this post about it, surely we can all agree that it’s only a matter of time before the streets are filled with the smell of burning aluminum and glass while former bloggers look on, describing the scenes in their diaries using shiny black fountain pens.

But I’m getting ahead of myself: let’s make a side by side comparison…

My MacBook Pro is 14.35 wide and weighs 5.6lbs. The Meisterstück Le Grand? How about 4.2 inches long and less than a pound in weight. Unbelievable. Of course much of that size difference is down to the lack of a hard drive or battery or any electronic parts in the Meisterstück, but that just adds to its awesomeness. Also, when my MacBook gets warm it sounds like a jetplane taking off – my Meisterstück? It’s literally silent, even when it’s operating at full speed. No one believes me when I tell them that, but it’s true.

And how about battery life? My MacBook manages a decent 3-4 hours on a full charge, but compare that to the Meisterstück: I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket for five days – using it constantly – and I haven’t had to plug it in once. Montblanc are killing it with this pen!

But there’s more! When you get your Meisterstück and remove the cap, you will find exactly zero keys inside. My MacBook has 78! In the Meisterstück all of those have been replaced with a single nib, capable of producing not just letters and numbers but also signs, shapes and runes. For a writer like me, that’s gold! (Note: the nib is actually gold) To be honest, I feel a bit silly having carried around all those keys for so long – the truth is, there are at least 10% that I haven’t ever used. I mean what’s the “^” even for?

Ok, so that’s hardware: how about applications? Of course, this is where the MacBook should have the edge: after all, with my MacBook I’m able to listen to music, write and send documents and use social media tools like Twitter. Surely my Meisterstück can’t compete with all that?

You wanna bet?

Here I am, not just listening to music, but ACTUALLY PLAYING IT….

Twitter? No problem!

And how about writing and mailing documents, or publishing blog posts? Well, ok, I admit that’s a little slower with the Meisterstück. I started writing this column shortly after MG published his anthology of love poems to his new MacBook Air, and it would definitely have been funnier if I’d been able to publish sooner – but first I had to write it longhand….

…..then mail it to AOL to be transcribed….

….the wait for it to be published. But, as any MacBook Air user will tell you, sometimes you have to take a few technological steps backward in order to make a giant leap forward.

And those leaps just go on and on: my Meisterstück has a pocket clip, a removable cap and a brass insert capable of holding two ink cartridges (along with the six spares kept in the leather carry pouch). I called Apple a few hours ago and asked if ANY ONE of these features was on their roadmap for the MacBook. They hung up on me, but I think we all know the answer! Yeah – Rest In Pieces, MacBook!

With my purchase of a Moleskine notebook three years ago, I put the wheels in motion to kill my MacBook. This week, by purchasing an awesome pen, I kicked off my final assault. There will be no survivors.

Now if you’ll excuse us, my pen and I are heading to Hawaii for a few days of “couple time” away from all you lameos and your tired old “crap books”. Try not to be too jealous when you see my pen gliding through the x-ray machine without me having to remove it from its case!

See you in the future, suckers!


20 Halloween Scares to Put Fear Into Every Apple Fan


This post is by Louis Gray from louisgray.com


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




20. Wowed by IE 9 for Windows, and to tick off shared rival Google, Apple abandons Safari in exchange for promised browser development by Microsoft.

19. Apple products deemed security risk to carry on planes by TSA, must be placed with checked baggage for all flights.

18. Apple abandons USB and 802.11 and forges their own standards body, reporting to themselves.

17. Apple actually acquires Facebook for $40 billion. Mark Zuckerberg said to ascend to CEO position by 2012.

16. John Gruber of Daring Fireball is to be added to the company’s board of directors.

15. MobileMe to be replaced by a new messaging system built on Apple’s social network, Ping, accessible only through iTunes.

14. Riding a wave of over-confidence, thanks to the recent string of successes, Steve Jobs reintroduces the G4 Cube, the Dalmatian and Tutti Frutti iMacs, and yes, the hockey puck mouse.

13. During a company board meeting, Al Gore asserts that he did, indeed, invent the Internet. The other board members, swayed by his amazing charisma, agree Apple will backpay Gore royalties for each machine, dating back to the early 1990s, which had Web connectivity.

12. International trade strife between China and the United States flares up, and Apple’s subcontractors discontinue making new iPhones, Macs, iPads, and more. Suicides actually increase.

11. After so many MacBook Air owners realize their hinges break shortly after their warranty expires, a class-action suit bankrupts the company.

10. HP bundles next generation Palm devices with every desktop, laptop and server sold. Palm becomes new mobile standard.

9. Windows Phone 7 is Really Really Really Good. No wait, Really.

8. Apple retail store insulation found to contain asbestos. Even worse, Steve Jobs demanded it be included.

7. Adobe copyrights the word Flash and extends the word to contain all Flash drives. A settlement mandates all flash drives come preinstalled with Flash.

6. With the introduction of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, Outlook becomes the standard Mac client and Apple Mail is retired.

5. Entertainment industry colludes to deny Apple access to music and films on iTunes store. Only Disney/Pixar and indy offerings left.

4. Tim Cook leaves Apple to take the CEO position at Dell.

3. SCO rolls back to life, and somehow obtains an injunction against Apple’s Mac OS X, due to its UNIX underpinnings, stopping all Mac sales.

2. AT&T announces contract to extend iPhone network exclusivity through the end of the decade.

1. News breaks that Steve Jobs actually perished during liver surgery in Tennessee in 2009. What you have seen in the last year-plus has been a zombie.

OMG/JK: Attack Of The Anthropomorphized Smartphones!


This post is by Jason Kincaid from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s finally happened. MG’s love for all things Apple has manifested itself in physical form, and he now wears an iPhone to work every day. The doctors say we should try to make him feel like this is normal, so I’ve taken to donning a matching Android handset. Clashes are frequent — the hallway leading to TC HQ literally isn’t big enough for both of us, and the rest of the team is tasked with making sure we don’t push each other’s buttons.

Or maybe it’s just time for a special Halloween edition of OMG/JK.

This week’s topics include the forthcoming Verizon iPhone, which seems to finally be more than just an Apple fanboy’s pipe dream. And who could forget the infamous white iPhone — the chink in Apple’s armor that keeps reminding the public that Steve Jobs is not quite omnipotent. We also discuss the company formerly known as UberCab, which is facing a new foe: the City of San Francisco.

And don’t miss the thrilling struggle as I attempt to say the word “anthropomorphized” on air. Will I succeed? You’ll have to watch til the episode’s haunting conclusion to find out.

Here are some articles related to this week’s topics:

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