Archive for day September 11th, 2011

Apple seeds OS X Lion 10.7.2 beta build 11C55 with iCloud to developers

Apple has seeded OS X Lion 10.7.2 build 11C55 to developers today, and it is the first OS X Lion 10.7.2 build to include iCloud for Mac built-in. Previously, developers had to download a separate iCloud for Mac package.

OS X Lion Software Update 10.7.2 is an update to OS X Lion 10.7 and includes support for iCloud beta. Please refer to the seed note for more details and installation instructions. (Mac Developer Program membership is required)

OS X Lion 10.7.2 includes the ability for users to easily enable iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find my Mac on their computers. The software release will most likely ship alongside iCloud sometime this fall. Apple’s iCloud service is seemingly almost ready to launch with both Apple and carriers (for the iOS 5 integration) already being trained on the matter.

Let us know if you find anything; Thanks Nicholas!

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Jake Smith

September 11th


Amazon Considering a "Netflix for Books" [Amazon]

Would you pay a fee to access a library of written content? A Netflix for the book-reading world? Amazon is apparently banking you might, as it was reported tonight by the WSJ that the online retailer was considering that option. More »

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Jack Loftus

September 11th


The Completely Capable, Decidedly Deadly Women of World War 2 [Photography]

In World War 2's European theater, women were often as brutal a soldier as their better-known male counterparts, if not more. This was especially so in the war-torn Soviet Union, Poland and within the notorious German S.S. More »

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Jack Loftus

September 11th


OMG/JK: Amazon Tablets, Carol Bartz, And Friendship Bracelets

And we're here for a new episode of OMG JK. I'm Jason Kincaid.

And I'm MG Siegler.

The first thing we're gonna talk about is a big scoop that we had, you had, that I had last week. It's the Amazon Kindle tablet, so there have been rumors about this thing for a while, but I actually saw it and I used it for a while, for like an hour, so I know basically everything about it. I don't know all the shift details inside it because...

So, why don't I lob some of the rumors at you. We'll talk about which ones are true. Sure.

All right. So, first off, how big it is? There has been a speculation that it's 10.1 or seven inches.

Yeah. So, it's seven inches. It's the same size as the BlackBerry Playbook that was out there right now. So...

I don't think anyone would want to draw a comparison.

No, I don't think. I think that they hate that. And every time I say that probably, but yes. So, it's small. It's much longer than the iPad. Any other. There has a talk about the tenant's version as well. People said they were going to come out concurrently. From what I heared or from what I was told, the ten inch version is delayed a bit.

It's going to be Q1 if they do it at all. But it's all riding on the success of the seven inch one at first. Okay and the other rumor is that this is going to be powered by Android, but it's not gonna.


It's a fork of Android.

Yes, it's definitely powered by Android and, but the UI and everything looks nothing like any Android you've ever seen. From my understanding this was built on top of, I think it's Android 2.1, it's something before Android 2.2.

Which is so...

Yeah, it's old.
But it doesn't even - you can't tell, because the UI is totally different so like it's hard to know if it would be faster if it running on 2 3 or something like that.

Well the importance of the version number has more to do with third party applications.

Yes, right.

So the power of these, of these splinter Android platforms is that they'll still run all these Android apps, it won't have access to the Android market Right.

But Obviously, this is going to introduce Amazon's own app store.

Yes, and this, that's key.

You and I have talked about this before and that's so keyed to everything and this all makes sense now and of course, you know, there's a lot of speculation. We thought this might be happening and this really brings it together because they have their own app source. So now, they can be in control of like which apps are in there, so they could say, like, "Well,we can't accept this app because it requires 2.3 or something like that and we don't actually have the underlying architecture to run this." So, they should have a nice seamless, a seamless market where all the apps in there actually run on the device itself.

Well, I mean, to be fair actually, on Android Market if you try accessing market from an older device it will only show you applications that your phone can run.

Oh, so that's good, too.


Of course, sometimes they're buggy as hell.


But hey, go Android. Anyway, so, let's talk a little bit more about the experience because it looks visually very different, right?

Yes, it looks like, if you've used, and of course you have, iTunes Carousel, you know, the Carousel view.

Cover flow, right?

Cover flow, yeah, yeah. I call it a carousel. I think that's how they're referring to it actually internally.

I'm sure, I'm sure you know every exact, like little term for every Apple.

Yes, it's the cover flow view where basically you can swipe through, and it's not just, it's your books, it's your apps, it's your movies.They even have like a text document as they have on the Kindle right now. I saw the nice little note from Jeff Bezos, you know, saying welcome to the Kindle, you know this is our latest version, or whatever, so that's like in there in PDF form or whatever.

But, yes, so you can do that, and you can also underneath there they have a little tray Greg Kumparak, our colleague, actually did a great job mocking this up. They have a little tray where you can hold your favorite apps or your favorite, you know, book or whatever. And those always stay in one place.

Sort of like a dock basically.

Yeah, it's a dock, yeah.

Ok, so, given the fact that it's got the Kindle name which is synonymous with reading at this point, is the screen - is the pixel density - this is something I can't read on an iPad, because my eyes get distracted by the pixels - maybe I've got superhuman vision or something, which is an impossibility.

Did you try reading text on this?

Yeah, I read a few things, I read the basis, there was a few books on there that I got to skim through quickly, I would say, you know, I don't know, I didn't get the specs exactly of what the screen resolution was, but I'd say it's on par with the iPad, the current iPad, or...


I would say it's about the same. It's the same in terms of a pixel density I think.


You know, it may be a little bit better because it's a smaller screen.

But it didn't look like, say the retina display on the iPhone?

No, it's definitely not a retina display. I would say, yeah. Because it's a smaller screen I wouldn't be surprised if it's a little better than the current iPad screen and the current bigger Android tablets out there but, you know, it's not great. And the other key point of that is that it's back-lit, it's not E-Ink and all.

So you know Amazon has had this whole campaign for a long time to say, you know, "Oh, you can read this on the beach and you can't do that with the iPad." Which is totally true. But now it'll be the same thing with this Kindle tablet, right?

But, there are other forms of media that you can consume on this. So Amazon is going to build, my understanding is that they're going to have a video store, which they have, they have their video store, they have their music store, their cloud player stuff. So yes, all of that will be built in and the one really nice thing that I heard - I'm not 100% sure this is true, but this is what I believe to be true, is that when you buy this Kindle tablet, which is going to be $250 by the way and we'll cover that in a second.

Yeah, so that's like probably the key thing.

You also get a subscription to Amazon Amazon Prime, which is normally a $79 a year thing, which also gives you access to their movie streaming service.


And as well as, you know, free shipping and stuff like that.

It gives you access to the movies that are not prime time blockbusters, you know, it's not the best.

It's somewhat comparable to Netflix I think.


I think they have a lot of similar overlap in content. But, yeah. I mean its still, it's a good deal, especially if this thing is going to be $250, which of course is half the price of the low-end iPad and I really do think - obviously this competes directly with Nook with what Barnes and Noble has built also on top of Android.

The Nook Color, sorry. But, I really do think this thing is going to be a hit if for no other reason Then Amazon will be promoting it on their home page. It'll be a $250 tablet. It runs Android apps. They're going to ship it probably, you know, with Angry Birds and you know to just be like the all-in-one thing if you don't want to buy an iPad, kind of.

I think it'll be a very interesting experiment.

I can't wait to see what Google makes.

Because I mean, I still have the theory that you know, people love the iPad because it's the computer for people who get a little...


...who don't like computers so much, they get a little confused by...


Which is understandable because computers can be confusing.


And this Amazon tablet, I'm curious to see if people are really looking for an alternative way to watch movies and even to read books...

That's a good point.

I mean, I'd much rather read on an e-ink display.


So it's sort of like, which need are they filling? So I've written this before, I wrote this before I actually saw the device itself, but I actually don't think that this will have any negative impact on the iPad itself. I think that this really does go after the people who are maybe Android users right now haven't found that good Android tablet, and this is like kind of a cheap alternative to be able to get one and you can run your apps on it that you already have.

You know, it's kind of an interesting play in that market.

Well, no, I don't know if you can run the apps here.

Sorry, you can't run the actual apps that you actually have. Though, I bet there will be a way to do that. Kind of hack into it. But you can download the same apps.

As far as productivity apps, I know that a lot of people who like browsing the web Does this have a browser built in?

Yes, it has a browser built in. As far as I can tell, it's the same one that comes pretty standard. It's a web kit-based one from Android. It has tabs and everything. They look pretty nice.

What about, say, email for example?

Email is one thing I didn't see. I would assume there are some email apps in the Amazon App Store that you could download to be able to use. I would be surprised if they didn't launch or didn't come with one, I just didn't see one on there. This wasn't a production model yet. So it's possible that they'll add other things.

Well I do think the $250 price point is definitely the best thing this has going for it, because if they can get it lower than - I mean looking at the Palm tablet, that HP has on sale - the TouchPad - it flew off the shelves at $100.

Well, yeah.

I mean, 250 is obviously a lot higher than that but it's still...

It's a good price.

It's, exactly.

It's a good price and it's also, I just think that it's - It's gonna be positioned well. It's coming in at the holiday season. A lot of people are gonna want tablets.


And it's just like, you know it's an obvious thing to go out there and buy. And it will be right in your face when you're browsing on Definitely On

Definitely OK, so let's talk about the second topic. We're going to talk about Windows 8. I know you've had some strong criticism as far as what Microsoft is doing.

Yes what Microsoft is doing, or what they appear to be doing - so this is all, I think, going to be unveiled next week at their build conference. We unfortunaltely disrupt that, unfortunately, but none of us will be there, so we won't be able to see it, I guess, in person. But it's going to be unveiled, supposedly, next week at their conference.

And what they've been showing off - the Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, has been doing these posts on the Windows blog, kind of showing off little bits here and there about what their idea is. And it seems like their idea is really a split model, where you have the old school Windows users who are happy and placated by this kind of old system that's still in place, and we'll be familiar with them.

At the same time, they're trying to also embrace the new style, and they're using their Metro UI, which is on Windows phone. Right.

And so it's like there's these two distinct things, but they're all in one operating system. And you'll supposedly be able to switch between them. I'm a little skeptical on how well that will work. It sounds like a recipe for disaster. Although, Microsoft has a lot riding on this thing.


And I suppose it can work sort of like the way in OS 10, you have full screen apps, right? So maybe...

Yeah, you could.
Yes. So they're going to have to work with developers, and I'm sure they are right now, I'm sure they have been for a few months already, in order to create apps that can work in this Metro style and in this other style. Like the regular style. So yeah, I think that that's a good way to think about it.

I think it's still going to be a hard sell. like trying to do both at the same time. Why don't you just do one or the other?

I think that the fact that you can run both I think the goal is that the Metro style is going to appeal to those people who want the easier-to-use computer that isn't like the Windows of yore. And they risk giving the switching option because it'll sort of, it'll relax, make people less freaked out about giving up what they know all ready.

I guess, but it's such a cop out, you know.

No, no. I actually think this is one of the reasons why the Mac took off so quickly over the last few years. When it changed to the x86 processor, the fact that you could boot into boot camp.

Yeah, how many people do know actually how to do that?

Exactly, that's the point.

I know, they don't do it. Big selling point, right?

But it's a nice safety net.

I totally agree with that, it's a nice safety net.

So the goal might be, push everyone to Metro for the next couple year, and then if they have to they can fall back on that, but the goal is that they won't have to. That's my guess.

And that's not a bad guess. I think the funniest thing about all this, though, I don't know if you saw any of the screen shots of Windows explore what it looks like.

Only a couple.

It's almost comical how bad it looks. It looks like a total disaster. Like, you take what Windows looks like now, Windows 7, you know, some people don't like the UI, you know, it's a certain style that some people don't like. But it's, you know, I would say it's overall pretty clean. This thing looks like a nightmare!


It's like an analytical thing. They tried to put up the numbers of 8% click here, 12% click here so let's make this button this big. And let's make this button this big.

And they're trying to take all those menu options that are historically buried...

Buried, yeah. the right click menu...

And now
they're in this ribbon the interface, which, to be fair, you can hide the ribbon and it can be up, but when it's down, it just looks like a smorgasbord of bad button design. So, I guess the argument is over whether you're worried that people are going to get confused by the fact that there are so many buttons, or whether they be more confused they can't find the button they want, right?

So which is worse? I mean.

I've seen some screenshots and they definitely do look kind of cluttered.

I don't think there's any way justify the way that it looks. I don't care what you have to do, just get those damn buttons off that screen. It looks so, so bad right now. And the other thing we should talk about here is the different device strategies. That's what this is really all about. It's not so much that they want this Metro UI for, like a desktop PC, they obviously want it for tablets, so they're going to try and do a Windows 8 for everything.

Windows 8 runs a PC but it also runs on tablets.

Which is smart.

It's smart. But again, does one operating system that rules them all. Does that work? Does that scale? It's like Well, isn't Apple trying to do the exact same thing?

Well, Apple has OS10 and then they have iOS. They're distinct things, and you know they're.

The lion is definitely, I mean they're converging.

They're converging, I think, slowly over time. Microsoft is trying to accelerate that obviously and squeeze it all into one.

Well, I mean, given the fact that you can switch between the two. I don't know if they're...

I would say this.
I think that Apple's stance on this is more or less that they realize...they think at least that everything is eventually going to move towards mobile, whether it's the iPhone or the iPad, you know. I'll lump that into that. Everything will move towards these iOS devices. And slowly over time...I know people don't want to hear this, but slowly over time, you know, the OS 10 devices, the traditional PCs, will just continue to go down in value.

I mean, they're already being outsold by far by the IOS devices.


I think Microsoft's stance is that the PC is alive and well. It's just, you know, a different part of this whole environment. And so they want it to do everything. Whereas Apple is kind of pushing towards iOS. I think Microsoft is still trying to, you know, hold on to what their stronghold is.

Well, I still think there are certain...there is a market for computer users who don't want the simple touch base...

Of course, of course there is and so, this will dwindle over time.

We'll see.

Alright so let's talk about the final topic for today.


Carol Bartz is no longer the CEO of Yahoo.

No longer the fucking CEO of Yahoo.

No longer the fucking CEO. Carol and I, we should connect over our ability to drop the f-bomb.

See, so yes. This is another thing that people have expected for awhile. Though, it was surprising the way that it happened and the timing of it because it was like a random, you know. It seemed like a random day, a random time to do it, and especially the board had given her, you know, their full backing and kinda said like no, we're gonna stick with her and see how this, this plays out.

Obviously things haven't been going well.


I mean we actually reported several months ago that Yahoo was quietly looking for someone to replace her.

Yes. And they of course denied it and, you know, they've which meant, you know, nothing.

So I can't say it came as a huge surprise. Bartz was brought in to turn the company around. And in her defence, she was brought in to cure a company that was in really bad shape. I don't know if it's really, I mean a lot of people have left since then, but I don't think she buried in the hole too much.

deeper? They just haven't done anything.

Yes, that's one thing. They haven't done anything because her strategy it seemed like, and you know, to some effect I guess it worked a little bit 'cause, you know, while their numbers are still bad. She probably helped stem the tide or cut off the losses a little bit. Because her idea was basically to cut off things, you know.


Instead of release new things.

It's basically And they outsourced search, which is.

Yeah, they outsourced search. They did all kinds of things to just try and get them back into the black and make them a a profitable company.


That hasn't worked, but they probably did slow down the loss a little bit by doing that. But, at the same time, you can't do that and, like, expect, you know, all the public to rally behind you, I mean.

Right. Well, it killed off everything. I think the key issue here is, I can't remember, I was trying really hard to think of the last time Yahoo launched a product that I was like, "Oh that's really neat or I'd use this on a daily basis."


And I couldn't do that, and I think that's really the issue here. They've done some stuff, I mean, when they had the search deal with Microsoft, their whole point was that well, now they don't have to do the heavy lifting as far as the search options.


And then they can build on top of it. And they actually had an event a few months ago where they showed off something that was very similar to Google Instant. As far as helping you surface information as you type it in. And it was kinda cool, but it wasn't like, "Oh, I don't want to use Google anymore.

I really want to use this day-to-day." And there's...there hasn't been like a new...a new product launch wouldn't even have to necessarily have the Yahoo name involved. Just something. It just hasn't happened.

And they also, you know, for a long time they were actually very early on in the mobile search space and they, you know, especially like in Asia and other markets.


And they just totally screwed the pooch there. I mean, they could have really taken and run with that and not worried so much about what Google was doing when it already looked like it was very clear that they were going to take over the search...the broader PC, you know, desktop search market. They could have done some cool stuff in mobile and they tried to do a little bit of things, but I think they were way to slow innovating there.

Right, and I still...I think my favorite example... I don't know if favorite is the right word for this. So about a year ago, Yahoo had this event down in their campus and it was supposed to be like a roadmap, a look to the future. And I remember sitting there and I was just sort of like my eyes were almost gonna glaze over just because they kept talking about Yahoo's server infrastructure and these vague ways that their various...

What's really funny is that I think we didn't go to the same meeting and I think I was at the same meeting two years ago. It was the exact same thing.

And I remember sitting there and I was like, wait are they watching anything interesting? And I think their most tangible improvements had to do with Yahoo mail.


Which is nice, but it's not, I mean none of these things have, they really need either a really interesting acquisition that'll change their social strategy or something that's gonna [xx].

They bought, you know, one company I liked, IntoNow which basically you know is kind like Shazam for TV shows and movies. And you know, it was like okay, well what are they going to do with that? So far, they haven't done much. The team is still working on it, but you know, they haven't like integrated it, greatly into Yahoo, yes.

So I don't know. They tried to buy Foursquare; obviously, that didn't happen; they got rejected.

And I think they're in talks with Hulu at this point.

Yup, they're in talks with Hulu, so who knows what, whats actually gonna happen.

Yeah, so I don't want to do too much Bart[sp] hashing because I mean really she had a tough challenge and I don't think she really got it. [xx], but I don't Yeah, you know, we have a little bit of a soft spot I think in our hearts from her Disrupt appearance a year and a half ago.

It was, for those who don't remember, we were looking at if I send a video clip or something.

Yeah. Maybe we can put it in here.

She said, "Eff you, Mike Arrington."

Yeah. It was front of dozens of people, yeah. We're a small company, you know.

I can't believe I just said "Eff you." Someone's going to give me a hard time about that.

But her...I loved her, the way that this all went down. How she resign...or she was fired over the phone, which is such a dick move by Yahoo' s board.


And then she basically sent an email to all of Yahoo's employees, you know, saying she was fired that way. And she sent it from her iPad, which is awesome.

And now she came out today and I think there was an interview with Fortune...


...where she's basically bashing all the other board members, and I believe she's still on Yahoo's board...

Oh, it's good fun.

...and there may have been a clause in her contract...

that might have negated her ten million dollar severance package, which is just awesome. But yeah.

Well, she's definitely got guts.

Yes. All right, so I think that does it for this episode of OMG/JK. Make sure to tune in next week and check out the subscription using the link in iTunes below.

Thank you.

Check out this clip.

The iPod came out four years later. Four years later. Three years after that is the first time his market cap grew at all. Seven years. I've been at this company fifteen...sixteen months.


And so I'm supposed to have an iPad, an iPod, an i...I mean, come on. You know, you don't - you are involved in a very tiny company.

Very tiny, yeah. You got a point there.

And it probably takes a long time to even convince yourself what the hell to do. I bet the...

So I don't want to hear any crap.

You're just getting on a roll here. Yeah.

I don't want to hear any crap about something magical that the fine people of Yahoo are supposed to do in this short time. So fuck off! And that one I meant.

I show 4:42.

Lunchtime! We're way over, OK?

We're way over.

We’re back for a new episode of OMG/JK, featuring your hosts reunited at TCHQ as we prepare for TechCrunch Disrupt SF.

This week, we talk about Amazon’s upcoming secret tablet (which MG recently tried out), and how it might or might not take on the iPad. We also discuss the complexity of the Windows 8 UI and its growing number of buttons. And we take a look at the recent firing of Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

Oh, and yes — I am wearing an orange thread friendship bracelet. Consider it a preview of an upcoming episode of TC Cribs (I forgot to take it off).

Here are some recent posts relevant to this week’s episode:

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Jason Kincaid

September 11th


And The 2011 TechCrunch Disrupt SF Hackathon Winners Are …

Disrupt Hackathon SF 2011

Over 700 hackers signed up and over 400 stayed the night in order to come up with over 130 hacks at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon SF. Fueled by Doritos and RedBull among other things, many ambitious developers coded at the SF Design Center Concourse Exhibition Center until 10:00 am this morning, taking to the stage bleary-eyed  at 11:00 am in order to present their accomplishments in 60 second spurts.

The top six Hackathon teams chosen by our select panel of judges will have the opportunity to present at TechCrunch Disrupt on Wednesday. In addition there were a plethora of sponsored prizes given away, from TechCrunch Disrupt API sponsors Ford, Mashery, DOAT, and Eventbrite and others. Most notably, CrowdStar and Sibblingz teamed up to each offer $250K in funding for exceptional attempts at creating mobile social games.

Salesforce’s VP of Open Cloud Standards Kevin Marks, Google’s Rohit Khare, Betfair’s Vice President of Mobile Engineering Raj Vemulapalli, OneTrueFan founder Eric Marcoullier and’s Director of Engineering, Mobile and Platforms Vishal Shah mulled over the merits of everyone’s 24 hour efforts and came up with the six most worthy.

The official winners below (you can check out our staff picks here).

FlickMunk — A “Hipmunk for movies,” the FlickMunk app helps you rate and track movies.

Gainify — Gainify is a plugin that lets you turn any Shopify store into a daily deals site.

Weather Checker — Google Calendar plugin that allows you to check the weather of a planned event in advance.

ECCube — A HTML5 3D color matching game.

Ex-Rated — A system that allows users to rate their exes.

U4Them — A way to connect people who need help with healthcare payments with people who have the ability to donate cash.

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Alexia Tsotsis

September 11th


Shoebox-Encased Mario Arduino Game More Fun Than Anything Nintendo’s Done In 12 Months [Video]

Poor, fledgling Nintendo. When tinkerers are creating better gaming experiences than you are using nothing but a shoebox, paper cut-outs, some magnets and an Arduino, you know things aren't going well. More »

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Jack Loftus

September 11th


Hackathon Highlights: Staff Favorites From The Disrupt SF Hackathon


It’s been nearly 24 hours since the start of the Hackathon and the hax0rs have hax3d. We’ve seen 130 projects pitched in just 60 seconds each, all created in under 24 hours.

While all of the projects were wonderful (really — this was perhaps our best Hackathon yet), some of them really struck the right key with the TechCrunch writers in the audience. In no particular order (and with no indication as to who might walk away a winner), some of the staff favorites:

ClubReport – Gives you a live audio stream of clubs around the city, helping you figure out which one you want to hop to.

Justabout – An for business. Easy, 30-second websites for businesses, primarily meant to group their social network accounts together in one easy to find place.

Weather Checker – A mashup of Weather Underground and Google Calendar. Automatically scans your calendar for upcoming events, and alerts you if the weather forecast for those days has turned for the worse.

SportBot: Monitors and analyzes tweets about sporting events, and generates a live blog-esque text summary of the event based off popular tweets.

Ex-Rated: Lets you rate your exes and peruse the ratings of potential suitors.

Let’s Drink Tonight: Punch in your cell phone, answer a few questions, and it’ll alert you when others nearby are looking for strangers to drink with

@shopr – matches buyers and sellers on Twitter. It’s sort of like a Craigslist for Twitter. Basically, @shopr uses Gnip to mine the Twitter firehose for people selling things and looking to buy items. Lets you create group-managed photo albums on the fly.

Packmule - Another easy-to-use group photo sharing tool.

Where Is Waldy? - “Wheres Waldo” for real photos. Automatically picks a face in a photo and tasks the user with finding it.

PassMyWill: “Your Will For Online Assets”. Distributes your social networks passwords to your trusted loved ones after you die. Whether or not you’re dead is determined by social network activity, followed by a Dead Man’s Switch e-mail.

Diskly: Direct feedback to the DJ at a real-world venue. Searches your iPod library for songs similar to the one currently playing at the venue, and lets you suggest those to the DJ.

Sergeant Shame: You create tasks for yourself, then give Sergeant Shame access to post on your Facebook wall. Fail to finish your task (determined by whether or not you’ve checked into your task the pre-set number of times)? Sergeant Shame calls you out in public. – A service that lets you follow along with slide presentations right on your phone.

Karpool: “The easiest way to organize carpools with your friends.” Sign in with your number, add your riders, and start a trip. Karpool will show your rider’s current locations, and whether or not they’re ready to leave. Uh oh — you’re almost out of milk! Text “add milk” to a provided phone number, and milk will arrive the next day. UK only as it relies on Tesco’s API.

Facefuse: Uses iOS 5′s face detection system in combination with’s facial recognition API. Once a face is detected, it returns a Wiki-esque publicly editable page corresponding to that person.

AirCart: Grocery store self-checkout through your phone, rather than the standard dedicated checkout stand. Scan an item’s UPC to add it to your “AirCart”. – Billed as “AirBnB for humans,” Thirsty lets you hire folks for short periods of time. Sellers announce what they can do in one day (Wax a car? Clean 3 rooms worth of carpet?) and their daily rate.

BuddyCall: Reminds you to call a contact (like your mom) regularly by automatically starting the call and ringing all parties on a pre-determined schedule (say, every sunday).

Music Combat: A real-time, player-vs-player music battle. Each player site reads music, playing the notes on the nearest instrument. Their mobile device detects which notes they’re playing. The better you do, the more damage you do to your opponent.

Zom-Beat Defense: Zombie defense game. Move with the arrow keys, aim with the mouse. Waves of zombies are generated based on the beat of the music.

SocialBee: Finds people in areas that you’re traveling to that your friends may be able to introduce you to. Going to Paris? SocialBee scans your social networks for friends who have contacts in Paris, and generates an introduction request.

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Greg Kumparak

September 11th


Disney’s Fearless BASE Jumping Robot Is Acrophobia Sufferers-Approved [Robots]

I don't mind heights, but you won't see my sky diving—or BASE jumping, for that matter. This little Disney-financed BASE jumping robot was seemingly made just for me. More »

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Jack Loftus

September 11th


Jonathan S. Geller

September 11th


@shopr Connects Buyers And Sellers On Twitter


Not a day goes by that I don’t see one of the Twitter users I follow Tweet a request for an item, such as last-minute tickets; or post about a newly available item, such as an apartment for rent. As Twitter has become the de-facto broadcast network, part of the content being shared revolves around buying and selling items via users’ social graph. @Shopr, which was developed at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon over the past 24 hours, is launching as a service that matches buyers and sellers on Twitter. It’s sort of like a Craigslist for Twitter.

Basically, @shopr uses Gnip to mine the Twitter firehose for people selling things and looking to buy items. The service’s founders tell me that in their initial research currently around 7,000 Tweets per hour relate to commerce and people looking to buy and sell items (over 5,000 selling-related Tweets are sent every hour).

Buyers can search on @shopr’s site, by specifying the item desired and their location. @shopr will match buyers with the appropriate Twitter users who have Tweeted about the item to sell. Buyers can also Tweet @ShoprBuy with what they want and where they want it and the service till Tweet back when they find the desired item. @shopr will also allow user to see pics of the item as well.

If you’re a seller and you Tweet about posting an item, @shopr will surface posts in their search engine so long as they make it clear what they’re selling and where they’re selling it. Sellers can also tweet @ShoprSell with what they’re selling, location and an asking price, and @shopr will match this with a request from a buyer.

And for an idea which was only born 24-hours ago, @shopr’s team has convinced a number of local retailers to participate in their selling service. A local San Francisco REI is listing several of their bikes, tents and backpacks (from the REI brand) with atShopr. San Francisco bookstore Dog Eared Books hast listed some of their inventory, Lost Weekend Video will be posting niche-genre movies and memorabilia, music store Aquarius Records are also putting some of their records on sale via the service.

@shopr says that currently the most desired items posted on Twitter included bikes, books, apartments, tickets. What makes the service unique is that it allows sellers and buyers to expand beyond your Twitter social graph—which could be very useful for both buyers and local merchants and brands.

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Leena Rao

September 11th

September 2011
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