TechCrunch TV recently made the trek to Las Vegas, where we had the chance to check out the burgeoning startup community that’s taking shape there thanks in large part to a $350 million initiative called the “Downtown Project.”
When many people think of Vegas, they think of the casino- and tourist-filled area known as the Strip. But the Downtown Project, which is headed up by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih, is focused on bringing new life to what’s also known as “old Vegas,” an urban area that’s rich with history (it used to be the playground for the likes of the Rat Pack) but is now ripe for revitalization.
The startup scene that’s growing in Downtown Vegas is the kind of thing that’s best understood by seeing it, so we took a walk through the area with Zach Ware, who is one of the most prominent characters in the core group of people working around the clock to make the Downtown Project happen. Ware’s without a doubt one of the most well-versed on the whole situation, so it was a pleasure for him to take us through the streets of old Vegas and talk about how the area has changed recently and the vision for its future.
And since Ware is also one of the co-founders of Work In Progress, a project that’s bringing a host of new coworking spaces to the Downtown Vegas area, we ended our stroll at one of those construction sites. You can see all of that in the video embedded above.
View original post here: A Walk Through Downtown Las Vegas, Where A New Generation Of Startups Is Taking Root [TCTV]
As the race – and it’s basically a race – to release as many 3D-printed gun parts as possible heats up, it’s never been harder for me to come down on the side of the “Freedom To Tinker” crowd. Last weekend Defense Distributed, a group dedicated to releasing plans for a 3D printed gun, posted a video and description of their 3D-printed AR-15 thirty-round magazine. The video, which is, unnecessarily, full of snarky vitriol, shows that, on some level, the 3D printed gun isn’t very far off. It also shows that the call for 3D printer legislation could soon overpower the call for freedom.
The problem with childish displays of firepower coupled with “How’s that national conversation going?” is that it proves that the folks who are doing this tinkering are less than responsible. They feel that this is a freedom of speech issue rather than a gun control issue. It’s abundantly clear that the lads at Defense Distributed are enjoying their newfound notoriety and, like a boy band on their first tour, they’re ready to trash some hotel rooms. The resulting shenanigans have convinced Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) to call for the banning of undectable 3-D printed high-capacity magazines. He updated his website yesterday, writing:
The law would “make it illegal to manufacture, own, transport, buy, or sell any firearm or magazine that is homemade and not detectable by metal detector and/or does not present an accurate image when put through an x-ray machine.” It is a noble if quixotic goal.
Politics, as we’ve learned, is woefully unprepared to handle major technological advancement. While Israel means well, his ability to keep an 3D model off of Google is laughable at best and dangerous at worst. As a gun control proponent, I know that now, more than ever, we need sane and effective controls on weapons in our country. As a believer in the unfettered growth of technology, on the other hand, I will defend Defense Distributed to the death while hating their crass methodology. Israel’s efforts only serve to give the DD kids a frisson of the martyr while avoiding the real problem of non-3D printed guns that are far more prolific and far easier to obtain.
The danger in legislating 3D printers is that it is on one hand impossible and on the other hand potentially damaging to a nascent industry. We have no idea what these printers will be able to do in the future and the best a home 3D printer can do, really, is punch out something like this handsome Nokia case. That will soon change. Again and again I equate this technology to the way dot matrix printers eventually begat the desktop publishing features available to even the rankest of amateurs today. However, a printed page can never be used to kill someone.
To use a 3D printer is to understand the current limitations of the platform and the potential inherent in the technology. It is a wonderful feeling to watch a Makerbot churn out a little plastic figurine and I want my kids to understand this fascinating technology from the very start. The potential damage that could be wrought by 3D-printing legislation could, potentially, destroy the industry but I doubt it. In fact, I’d say it would do the opposite. Technological advances usually route around damage and, in this case, legislation is damage.
But DD is going to keep at their project and benighted congress members will keep thinking they can, quite literally, nip this problem in the bud and they will be wrong. Whatever comes next for 3D printing, I doubt it will be very pleasing to those who are more worried about defending free inquiry
Original post: Like It Or Not, 3D Printing Will Probably Be Legislated
Microsoft is set to step up its Windows Phone marketing campaign, building on its existing marketing featuring Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z and Jessica Alba, and tapping into The Hobbit franchise following a deal with Warner Bros.
Marketing reports that Microsoft has partnered with Wunderman to create new digital, press and outdoor materials, featuring Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) and other characters from first film of trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson.
Warner Bros. has agreed to license the use of the characters in the UK, US, France and Germany — perhaps the most popular markets for devices running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 operating system.
Microsoft is building on “The smartphone reinvented around you” theme for its Windows Phone 8 platform, debuting TV adverts that show how different celebrities personalise and use different features on their Windows Phone devices. With The Hobbit licensing deal signed, Microsoft and its agency partner will no doubt focus on the diminutive Hobbit heroes and the grey wizard to send the same message.
At BUILD, Microsoft promised an advertising deluge in support of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Surface. The company has already pushed its ‘Click in’ Surface ads, as well as the first wave of Windows Phone spots, which hit last week.
The Hobbit hits theaters on December 13, expect to see billboards, bus stops and lots of digital ads in the weeks leading up to its release.
Twitter has scored a nice get for its legal team with the addition of former Google VP and Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong. Wong joins the team as legal director today, which already sports several ex-Googlers of its own, including Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray, who formerly worked with Wong.
Wong was in charge of handling the censorship (or not) of user-generated content on YouTube and other products while at Google. A 2008 NYT article describe’s Wong’s role:
Google has given Nicole Wong a central role in the company’s decision-making process about what controversial user-generated content goes down or stays up on YouTube and other applications owned by Google, including Blogger, the blog site; Picasa, the photo-sharing site; and Orkut, the social networking site. Wong and her colleagues also oversee Google’s search engine: they decide what controversial material does and doesn’t appear on the local search engines that Google maintains in many countries in the world, as well as on Google.com. As a result, Wong and her colleagues arguably have more influence over the contours of online expression than anyone else on the planet.
Wong served as Google’s Deputy GC for nearly 8 years from 2004-2011.
— nicolewong (@nicolewong) November 12, 2012
As Twitter has grown, it has taken on a reputation as a platform for communication during emergencies like Hurricane Sandy. But it has also ended up being a platform for discussions around political events like the Arab Spring uprising. As it becomes a larger pulpit and driver of discussion, governments and agencies will no doubt begin to exert more pressure on the company to censor itself or its users. Wong’s expertise in this arena will no doubt come in handy. Twitter currently lists requests user information and takedowns on its site and partners with Chilling Effects to expose C&D notices sent to Twitter.
Other ex-Googler’s at Twitter include CEO Dick Costolo, General Counsel Alex Macgillivray, Editorial Director Karen Wickre — who joined up last year after 9 years at Google — and Tina Huang, an engineer who worked on the new Twitter mobile site.
Previous to Google and Twitter, Wong was an associate at Steinhart & Falconer and a partner at Perkins Coie, LLP. We’ve reached out to Twitter for more information about Wong’s position and will update this post when we know more.
Image Credit: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images
Among life’s many challenges, there’s a terrible problem affecting literally hundreds of millions of people around the globe: when we’re watching television and feel the need to go grab a beer from the fridge, the TV doesn’t automatically know that we’re no longer paying attention to whatever’s playing – a Rihanna music video for example.
That basically means we have to go through the trouble of not only looking for the remote control, but also picking it up and pressing the ‘pause’ button. If that isn’t gruesome enough, we have to repeat that same action when we return, beverage in hand.
This calls for human intervention, and what better use of technological innovation can you imagine? Again, this isn’t an issue for a few hundreds of people, we’re talking scores of couch potatoes, worldwide, that have had to endure this hardship for many, many years.
Santa Clara, California-based Predict Gaze may have finally come up with a solution, after what must have been decades of research.
After watching the video below, I’m certain professional investors from around the globe will be lining up to be able to back this company, and banks will no doubt instantly start competing to become the lead underwriter for Predict Gaze’s inevitable NASDAQ IPO.
Another Silicon Valley hit is in the works, ladies and gentlemen.
In all seriousness, it’s pretty cool technology developed by a tech startup that’s literally working out of a garage in California – but seriously, do we really need this?
Image credit: AFP / Getty Images