While Defense Distributed, the Thingiverse for gun parts, has been working on a 3D-printed lower receiver for the AR-15 for some time now, they’ve finally announced that they’ve completed a real 3D-printed handgun called the Liberator. Made entirely out of 3D-printed ABS with the exclusion of a single nail used as the firing pin, it looks to be the fruition of DefDist’s mission to open source the gun-making process.
Forbes has an actual hands-on and has said that the founder, Cody Wilson, will release the open source plans on his site. It fires handgun rounds and can be modified to shoot different calibers.
They have also added a piece of steel so that the gun will be detectable by metal detectors, ensuring it complies with the Undetectable Firearms Act.
It’s hard to say how usable or how reliable this firearm will be, especially when ABS quality is iffy when it comes to various types of printers. However, with a good printer, good plastic, and a little luck this thing may not explode in your hand.
We’ll have more information as it emerges, but until then, get ready for some interesting discussions about gun rights this weekend.
View original post here: Defense Distributed Claims To Have Produced The First Fully 3D-Printable Pistol
According to a tweet from Facebook’s Mike Matas this morning, the company’s new social home screen project has gained itself a hot collaborator. Matas says that developer and designer Loren Brichter is ‘helping out’ his team at Facebook.
As the creator of the much-loved Tweetie for Mac, Brichter was snapped up by Twitter and worked for a while to integrate his apps with the service, where they eventually became Twitter for Mac and iPhone. Brichter has gained notoriety for his unique and clever user interface work on both Tweetie and later his word game Letterpress.
Now it looks like he’ll be working on bringing some of his design expertise to Facebook, perhaps in a capacity as a consultant helping to refine its user interface or on the Facebook Home project.
Really excited to have @lorenb helping my team out at Facebook.
— Mike Matas (@mike_matas) April 16, 2013
As to why Brichter might be helping the team out; the early feedback on Facebook Home has been fairly mixed, with a lot of negative reviews on Google Play for the standalone app. The complaints of many center around the interface and the way that it subsumes the home screen, obscuring information like battery and signal strength. Perhaps Facebook knows it needs some help to balance the needs of ‘home screen’ lovers and Facebook lovers.
We’ve reached out to Facebook and Brichter for more information.
Note: For the purposes of this piece, I’d initially assumed that Matas was working with the Facebook Home team, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If he’s working on a separate project within the company then Brichter could have been brought on for that instead. The piece has been amended to reflect that.
NewsCred, a company that licenses content from publications like The New York Times and The Economist to use in brand marketing campaigns, announced that it has raised $15 million in new funding.
The company was founded by Shafqat Islam, Iraj Islam, and Asif Rahman in 2008, and it has shifted focus a number of times, from a credibility rating score for publishers, to a “Ning for newspapers,” to a content licensing service. Licensing is actually still a big piece of the NewsCred business, but instead of selling that content to other publications, the company sells it to brands like Pepsi, Toyota, and Johnson & Johnson for use in their advertising campaigns.
NewsCred says that it works with more than 2,500 news sources, using technology and an editorial team to choose the right articles, images, and videos, for each advertiser, then distributing them via the web, email, and social networks. For example, NewsCred helped power the Pepsi Now campaign, in which the Pepsi website was taken over by a pop culture-centric news board. NewsCred says that one month after the campaign launched, traffic to Pepsi.com increased 2.4x.
CEO Shafqat Islam said NewsCred’s content marketing business has exploded in the past year.
“At the beginning of 2012, there were zero brand customers who were buying content from us,” he said. “And if you fast forward to now, 60 percent of our customers big fortune 500 corporate or consumer brands.”
There’s been some discussion and controversy recently (sparked in large part by a controversial piece of sponsored content from the Church of Scientology in The Atlantic) about how the lines between online advertising and content can start to blur. Islam acknowledged that that’s a big concern for its publishing partners — for example, he said that signing The Times as “a feather in our cap”, but in order to make the deal work, there were a number of limitations on what content NewsCred could use and where it could use it.
Overall, Islam said that NewsCred operates in “less of a gray area” because it’s not pushing marketing campaigns or advertorials onto its publisher sites. Instead, it’s taking content that was being created anyway and making it available to advertisers.
The new round was led by Mayfield Fund, with participation by new investor Greycroft Partners
and existing investors FirstMark Capital and IA Ventures.
Continue reading here: NewsCred Raises $15M To Build Marketing Campaigns From High Quality Content
Rdio says the new design is supposed to make navigation even easier. Here’s how it looks:
The long press feature meanwhile gives you more options when interacting with your music. Hold your finger down on any piece of music and you’ll get a menu that lets you share, sync, add to playlist/Collection, or play the song later. It’s a simple change but a nice touch as more and more people get used to relying on the touch screen rather than physical buttons when trying to manipulate content on their mobile devices.
The app also now sports badges in the lower right of any album art. They indicate which music you’ve added to your Collection (green) or synced to your mobile device (orange). Again, a small change, but a nice one that provides more context without you having to do anything.
Rdio says this release is “the first in a series of updates” that the company will be rolling out this year. The goal is apparently to “make the Rdio experience more social and seamless no matter how you’re listening to music.”
The full Rdio version 2.1 for iOS changelog is as follows:
Image credit: Mantis Wong
On any given day, beneath the hype cycle of startups threatening to launch, then getting their VCs to blog/tweet about their launch threats, then pre-launching, then fueling PR/hype about their pre-launches, then putting up a special access code on select blogs, then their official launches,* some darker aspects surface.
Sometimes it’s one startup stealing another’s idea, sometimes it’s a VC bullying a founder to get in on a deal, and sometimes it’s the blatant abuse of power by some of our industry’s most visible “heroes.” Or yesterday, a founder threatening our writers.
Other times an executive is fired, yet the tech press covers it as them “leaving the company” or “stepping down.” Or a startup fails and sells itself for scraps to its old CEO friend who takes pity, and Twitter is filled with congratulations. Yet, tech blogs — yeah even us — turn a blind eye.
It’s dangerous how embedded we are in what we cover. These founders, these VCs, these employees being laid off, are some of our closest friends and sources. Our community is so tight-knit that you could be writing about a CEO getting fired at 2 p.m. and then sitting next to her at a demo day at 4 p.m. Or you have to ask her to speak at your event. Or she is literally your investor.
These entanglements have made my ilk squeamish about any forms of coverage that might reference the darker side of business, or anything that skirts the “personal” line. Neither ATD nor TechCrunch referred to a documented harassment incident at Stanford when covering Keith Rabois leaving Square for alleged harassment. While it would have totally made sense to do so from a background perspective, neither publication did it.
We as an ecosystem need a watchdog with enough independence and daring to call it as it is. Right now the closest thing we’ve got to anyone who writes from a relatively outsider perspective is Dan Lyons, and the biggest problem there is that he’s unnecessarily mean-spirited. This watchdog would need to be a savvy, ballsy type of person, and all of their posts would need to transcend mere gossip.
The new Valleywag would also need to be organized such that there would be no quota for articles per day, as forced, low-signal posts killed the site last time around. Some days nerds just aren’t that juicy — but that doesn’t mean you should make stuff up, be spiteful or make Julia Allison famous again.
Tech news is largely driven by what’s working and what isn’t, what has traction and what doesn’t, what is making money, and what isn’t — So when a piece of information is surprising in any of those ways, it’s relevant news, even if it’s iffy or personal. Scamville was a form of that: If so much Zynga revenue depended on scams, then Zynga’s success was at risk. The same with the Airbnb apartment-trashing story, which major tech blogs resisted covering for a month until Mike did.
Our libertarian-leaning community doesn’t necessarily care who is getting naughty with whom in the privacy of their homes. But they do care when personal greed and corruption undermine the fair play that our aspiring meritocracy, um, aspires to.
TechCrunch, and other sites, shouldn’t be averse to exposing the seedy personalities behind the game or covering a few interesting Jack Dorsey outfit choices, but we often fail to because it is not our primary function: We flourish when we write pieces on corporate intrigue and M&A rumors, but there seems to be some unspoken rule that we stay away from the personal stuff. “If I wanted to read US Weekly, I’d read US Weekly,” our comments sections cry out when we fly too close to the gossip sun.
We often fall short of the messy truth because sometimes it is just too messy to be a pure “industry” story, and because we’re entrepreneur-friendly at our core. But the flaws, foibles, silliness and mistakes we humans make as we navigate the tech business are learning experiences, and shouldn’t be shoved under the blog rug.
*To the person who tweeted this apt characterization earlier today, please contact me so I can credit you.
Image via Thomas Hawk