Realmac Software has announced a plan to revert to a single version of its Clear to-do list app for both iPhone and iPad, dropping the separate Clear+ universal app it launched last fall. As part of the transition, the developer will make the app free on the App Store for two different 24-hour periods in the coming weeks to let users who purchased Clear+ switch back to the original app.
If you purchased the original iPhone-only version of Clear, the good news is you don’t have to do anything. After Realmac add iPad support to the app in the near future, you can just update to the new version.
Clear+ users will want to sign up on Realmac’s website so that they can get notified when the Clear app goes free for a day. That way they can get a license for the original Clear app without having to pay a second time.
The process is a bit confusing, but it’s the best solution that Realmac could think of to go back to a single version without alienating users that bought Clear+ last fall.
Realmac’s original plan for its universal iOS 7 upgrade last year was to release it as a separate app for users to buy and discontinue the iPhone-only version. However, customer backlash prompted the developer to bring back an iPhone-only app and rebrand the universal version as Clear+.
Headline credit: Mert Toker / Shutterstock
See the original post here: To-do list app Clear for iOS to consolidate into a single universal version
In the mid-90s, it was all about a/s/l. Then a decade later, Facebook conquered the web, becoming the dominant identity provider on the web. Mark Zuckerberg himself once said that having two identities for yourself was a lack of integrity.
But perhaps the pendulum swung a little too far. Not only did Zuckerberg recently concede on his original point, apps centered on ephemerality and anonymity are now the rage.
It’s an app that lets you share thoughts with friends without revealing who you are. It’s like a riff on Frank Warren’s PostSecret project and it shares similarities with Sequoia-backed Whisper, but what makes Secret stand out is that you’re communicating primarily with friends.
So even though you don’t know who is saying what, you have a higher level of curiosity or empathy because they’re likely to be people you know.
“Secret feels like a masquerade ball,” said co-founder David Mark Byttow, who was the lead on Square Wallet before starting the company. “You know who’s on the guest list, but you don’t know who is saying what.”
He said that the point was to share things you wouldn’t otherwise attach to your name. The kinds of things people share on Secret are a little bit more vulnerable, insecure, emotional, sad, goofy or angry than what you might see on Facebook or Instagram, where people are trying to groom images of picture-perfect lives.
When you think about it, yes, it is kind of absurd that people would need a mobile app to be more vulnerable or self-aware with their friends. But Byttow says that Secret creates a very different space for sharing feelings or thoughts than currently exists through other social networks.
“This isn’t necessarily about sharing secrets. It’s about sharing secretly,” Byttow said. “People feel a sense of belonging or validation when we’re all feeling the same things. I hear people’s internal dialogues and they resonate with me.”
A secret can spread to a friends of a friend or a stranger if they attract ‘likes.’ In the app, I’ll see half of the updates come from friends or friends of friends, while others have arrived from Colombia, New York or Wisconsin if one of my friends has liked them.
Byttow and his co-founder Chrys Bader-Wechseler say that the community is surprisingly non-trollish.
“People give each other advice and there’s this camaraderie,” Bader-Wechseler said. “It touches on this fundamental basic human need to relate to others or help them. And you don’t need to have identity to get that fulfillment.”
Each secret is also its own unit. You can’t see a record or history of secrets from any single user, to keep user privacy safe. The company explains more of its privacy safeguards here. Contacts are hashed, so no raw phone numbers or personal details are sent to Secret to match friends to different friends. Metadata for each secret is also stored without referencing any single user.
The company has raised $1.4 million from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan through their Initialized Capital vehicle, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners, SV Angel and Fuel Capital.
See the rest here: Anonymity’s Moment: Secret Is Like Facebook For What You’re Really Thinking
Valve engineer Ben Krasnow wanted to bake the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but he didn’t want to keep making batches and batches with small variations. So he built the Cookie Perfection Machine:
Krasnow loads up ingredients into the machine, which in turn dispenses exact amounts of each as specified by his computer. Unfortunately, he still has to mix a single cookie’s worth of dough every time, but that’s a small price to pay in the quest for the perfect cookie.
Image Credit: Kasey Albano
A little over six months ago, TechStars-backed Wander launched a photo-sharing app called Days, which asked you to think of photo-sharing in a totally different light. Instead of sharing a single photo in real-time, Days compiled a number of photos (none of which were edited or filtered or beautified) into one photo-package, meant to be shared the next day.
Today, Days v2 arrives with a number of new features and design changes to make the asynchronous photo-sharing service even better.
When Days originally launched in May, founder Jeremy Fisher wanted the experience to be more immersive than an Instagram-style sharing app.
Instead of doctoring up a single photo that ends up in a long stream of random moments from random people, Days was meant to give users a window into the real everyday lives of their friends and family.
Turns out, Days isn’t just about sharing with the ones you love, as users are growing increasingly interested in seeing the Days of total strangers. That said, Days v2 adds a Discover tab that helps you find people outside your usual social graph, along with hashtag search and clickable @mentions.
Days also now has a view count, letting users see how many of their followers have interacted with their content.
But what about people who have yet to download Days? According to Fisher, the onboarding process was a real deterrent to people who wanted to use the app the moment they heard about it. Because of this, Days has revamped the on-boarding process to allow for optional signup.
The update also brings an important change to Days’ Gif feature. Originally, Days strung together photos that were taken within ten seconds of each other to create a cute little gif. Now, users can remove individual frames from GIFs, just in case there happens to be one bad photo in a string of awesome ones.
Fisher is keeping mum about active users currently on the platform.
Days Version 2 is available now in the App Store for free.
Continue reading here: Days Asynchronous Photo Diary Launches Version 2.0 With Easier Discovery And Sign-Up
Netflix has informed TechCrunch that it is indeed testing a $6.99 single-stream plan to new users as part of a test. The option appears to some new users after selecting the streaming option as a free trial.
Unfortunately for those of you excited for a dollar-off discount on a standard definition stream, a Netflix spokesperson also told us that not all users may see the option and that it may never offer it generally.
The plan was first noted by Adweek this morning and we confirmed it as an option when we began signing up for the $7.99 streaming-only plan with a 30-day trial.
Offering a standard-def stream to one device might as well be called ‘the smartphone plan’, as that’s what it seems most suited to. Though many smartphone screens are above HD resolution, the smaller real-estate means that it can be difficult to discern a standard-def stream from a high-definition one.
Netflix analyzes a junk ton of data about user viewing habits including locations, devices and times of day that people view stuff. If that information was telling them that people view Netflix a lot on smartphones while traveling, then a single stream in SD rather than HD might actually make a lot of sense for a certain subset of users. Of course, a buck off is a nice ‘sale price,’ and if people get utility out of it they might feel inclined to expand the plan further down the road.
Image Credit: Taro the Shiba Inu/Flickr CC
Len Kendall is the founder of CentUp. Prior to starting a company he worked in PR where he helped put out fires and manage digital communications. He will probably regret this post sometime in the future when he screws up and doesn’t follow his own advice.
Two separate billion dollar companies have faced fire drills in the last three months. Most recently, Target was a victim of a data breach that potentially exposed millions of customer credit cards to international thieves. This past fall, Tesla had a small series of car fires that could have jeopardized the confidence of the booming electric vehicle industry.
At first glance, one might assume that Target’s Gregg Steinhafel wrote the better note given its emotional language and focus on customers, but I’m of the opinion that ultimately Tesla’s Elon Musk wrote the vastly superior message. Here’s why.
The headline of a letter is meant to grab the reader’s attention. These are the words that will get tweeted, rewritten in news headlines, and help inform an audience of the upcoming dialogue.
“A Message from CEO Gregg Steinhafel about Target’s Payment Card Issues” shines a spotlight on the CEO first, and the problem second. Tesla’s simple title points out the problem, and that’s it.
Not only does Target’s title deprioritize the core issue, but it also includes an impossible to ignore headshot of the CEO in the body. Target’s headline misdirects focus, and it’s written in a way that casts Steinhafel as a normally unapproachable person.
“A message from…” creates a feeling that Mr. Steinhafel is an Oz-like figure who is gracing us with his presence. Musk wasn’t making a special appearance on his company’s blog, he simply created a post like anyone else who contributes to the feed.
Tesla’s issue was a matter of safety, and potentially life or death. It’s likely that Musk was advised to offer more details because they were the actual manufacturers of the equipment, while in the Target case, they were just users of a flawed POS system.
That said, Target’s CEO did not include a single number in the letter other than the 10 percent discount offered to guests affected by the issue. Perhaps Musk was more technical than he needed to be, but that kind of transparency reassures his tech-savvy consumers that he has the problem under control.
If Musk understands the nuances of the problem, he is equipped to fix it. Target’s letter does not provide any indication that the CEO understands the problem, and by leaving out any data, it implies readers won’t either. Tesla’s note doesn’t bleed emotion; it just leans on brutal transparency.
Target’s Steinhafel says the word, “we” 15 times. In fact, the word “we” comprises 5 pecent of the words in his letter. Musk didn’t use it a single time.
Target’s overuse of “we” is likely intended to make customers feel involved and to show that all of Target is working on fixing the problem. However, in reality, it shows the tactic projects defensiveness and an unintentional distribution of responsibility. If the CEO is going to speak to the public and apologize for an issue, it’s far more meaningful that it comes from “I” and not “we.”
Target’s letter looks like it was written by a PR team and approved by the CEO. Tesla’s letter looks like it was written by the CEO, and reviewed by the PR team.
Both companies had a very serious problem on their hands that warranted the CEO getting involved from a communication perspective. But seriousness of a problem should not lead to turning off the heart-and-soul of the brand.
Tesla is a tech company that touts its engineering and scientific strength. Its marketing material is highly technical on purpose and The Model S post was written in a clinical style that mirrors their typical voice.
Target’s brand is all about accessibility to anything and anyone. Employees tend to show a great amount of personal passion for helping you in-store, yet their CEO’s letter does not reflect that same connection.
Financial fraud is not a time to be funny or clever, but this letter was a formulaic piece that could have been used for almost any company and “written” by any chief executive. Not a single part of the note revealed what Gregg Steinhael personally would be doing to help solve your problem – and that’s off-brand.
Electrical vehicle fires are a huge opportunity for traditional (gas) engine manufacturers to jump in and reclaim buyers who might be wavering between an EV and a standard car. Musk authoritatively and quantitatively defended his company by stating a series of simple facts and ending with: “…there should be absolutely zero doubt that it is safer to power a car with a battery than a large tank of highly flammable liquid.”
He’s right, and the data can prove it. When it comes to Target, consumers have hundreds of other choices. Whether it’s Walgreens, Walmart or CostCo, they all use similar (if not exactly the same) point-of-sale terminals.
Without naming names, Steinhael could have pointed out the obvious fact that consumers were no more at risk at Target than they were at any other retail store that accepts credit cards. It’s not about mudslinging; it’s about destroying the false perception that shopping elsewhere (or online) is somehow a better alternative.
In their respective industries, both Target and Tesla are my favorite companies. This dissection of a single executive communication isn’t meant to disparage or celebrate either corporation or individual, it’s simply an exercise to show how powerful even a single word can be when coming from a globally recognized source.
Steve Jobs was notorious for analyzing every piece of marketing that represented his brand because he realized just how much long-term value it carried for his company. Neither Target, nor Tesla will forever be able to maintain their customers solely based on the product they provide – they need their fans to continue to believe in what the company stands for.
Musk reinforced with his letter that Tesla is smarter than any manufacturer, reporter, or expert out there. Some may call it arrogant; Tesla customers see it as a reason to maintain their loyalty. Target had the opportunity to reinforce its mission of “expecting more” with its CEO’s letter, but instead customers received a message that was as generic as could be.
Being a CEO is an incredibly difficult job. I get very stressed, and my company only has three employees. Steinhafel and Musk’s decisions affect millions of people, and they both have endless stakeholders (and lawyers) telling them what to do.
This article adds me to that long list. My hope is that Gregg looks to Elon as someone who stands firm in his belief for offering a superior product, and that Elon looks to Gregg as someone who goes beyond what’s expected to make customers happy, even if he’s not the primary cause of a problem.
A few other notable examples of CEOs handling a crisis:
Read this article: Tesla vs. Target: Which CEO wrote the better transparency letter?
It always seems like the flagship phones get the most attention, but what about a device that doesn’t even bother trying to claim that title? Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside has been saying for months that one of the company’s priorities was to improve the experience of using a low-cost smartphone, and the end result of drive was the cheapo Moto G.
So how did Motorola do? Well, as long as you set your expectations appropriately before taking the plunge, you’ll find a lot to love here. The lack of LTE is a bummer for you North American types, but the Snapdragon 400 chipset nestled inside keeps things moving along at a respectable pace and the battery will run for days and days on a single charge. Purists may not be too keen on the sorts of oversaturated screens that Motorola seems so fond of but hey, you can’t with ‘em all.
Long time listeners of the Droidcast will know that it’s very rare for me and Darrell to see eye to eye on, well, anything, but we came together just this once to give the Moto G a pair of Flys.
Original post: Fly Or Die: Motorola Moto G
In many cases, when a developer-focused company launches an app, it’s done as a proof-of-concept: “Hey, look what you could do with our technology!” In this case, however, co-founder Jeff Boudier said this was built to address an honest-to-goodness consumer need, using a lot of the video technology that Stupeflix had already built.
“Even the biggest oversharers will only share 10 percent of their photos,” he said. “The rest will die in the camera roll. We want to fix that.”
So with Replay, you can bring your photos and videos together in a single video. If you do it right, it’s like a slideshow, but flashier and more fun. The concept is similar to the Animoto mobile app, which has the company says been downloaded more than 1 million times, and which it’s still working to simplify.
I haven’t tried Animoto on my iPhone, but Replay is certainly easy-to-use — you just choose the items you want to include, and the app opens a single menu where you can choose a filter, choose music, and rearrange the order of the photos and videos. When I tried Replay, I only had five photos on my camera roll (and two of them were of receipts), so the resulting video wasn’t worth sharing (trust me), but the results in the “featured” section of the app are pretty impressive.
“Our vision has always been to make it easy and quick for them to express themselves through video,” Boudier added. “This is really the accomplishment of our vision.”
Replay is currently available for iOS. Boudier said he’s planning to release an Android version in the second or third quarter of next year — for now, he said he’s focused “on exploiting 100 percent of the capacity of the iPhone.”
Marketing personalization startup Sailthru is announcing that it has raised $20 million in Series C funding.
Less than a year has passed since the company raised its $19 million Series B, and founder and CEO Neil Capel said Sailthru still had “money in the bank”. However, he said that he was excited about working with Scale Venture Partners, which led the new round (previous Scale investments include ExactTarget, Ominture, HubSpot, and Vitrue).
In addition, Capel said that raising now means that Sailthru won’t have to worry about funding next year, so it can focus entirely on growth, including international growth.
Sailthru is probably best known as an email marketing company, but Capel said it’s much broader than that — he described it as a “customer engagement” company that’s “personalizing every single touch point,” whether it’s a website, a mobile app, offline, or, yes, an email. He also contrasted Sailthru’s approach with “big data” companies (Sailthru describes itself as “smart data”) — at the end of the day, he said those companies are still dividing users into different demographic segments, rather than offering true personalization.
“We’re essentially real-time, we’re able to personalize every single event,” he said. “As opposed to everyone else who says they’re real-time, and the consumer sits in this bucket.”
This is a concept that many businesses are still catching up with, Capel added — for example, if you sign up for a website newsletter (including, I believe, TechCrunch’s) you get the same headlines as everyone else, while publications should really be tailoring those headlines to what they know about your interests.
The company says its revenue for 2013 is double what it was last year, and its customers include Mashable, Rent the Runway, Acumen Brands, and Khan Academy.
Scale partner Rob Theis is joining Sailthru’s board of directors. Previous backers including Benchmark, RRE, DFJ Gotham, AOL Ventures, and Occam Partners also participated. (By the way, you may have noticed AOL Ventures on that list. TechCrunch of course, is owned by AOL. In addition, Capel is a partner at Bowery Capital, a new fund that’s backed by AOL and shares office space with the TechCrunch New York team.)
The rest is here: Sailthru Raises $20M Round To Personalize Email Marketing And More
It’s not every day you get to see a machine designed to mint money. KnCMiner is a Stockholm-based hardware company that has single-handedly changed the face of Bitcoin mining. Their products sell out almost instantly – the $5,000 Jupiter is already gone – and, amazingly, the company actually ships. In a world of charlatans, broken promises, and outright lies, it’s refreshing to find a company like this one.
I spoke with Alexander Lawn, the public face of KnCMiner, on his way through New York. He brought one of his rigs for my perusal and I can report that it looks great, works, and is a real, shipping product. Alex joined the company after critiquing it online in Bitcoin forums, an interesting way to get noticed. He has worked with the team, including Andreas Kennemar and Marcus Erlandsson.
The hardware itself is highly specialized. Because each ASIC board needs a massive heatsink and fan, most of the metal case is open to allow the free flow of air. A small control board runs to IO and the rest of the cables are power – one power supply per board. It’s like looking at some sort of strange lifeform dedicated to breaking down a very specific amino acid. This rig can mine at 550 gigahashes per second. For comparison, the average graphics card miner tops out at about 100 MH/s.
When these machines boot up, the market notices. This is the second edition of the Jupiter miner and the hardware already moved markets… and is already discontinued. Owners will be able to easily upgrade their hardware over time and update the ASICs as necessary. Where is KnCMiner heading next? Neptune. Their latest miner is the fastest in the world to date and sold $8 million in orders in a single day. Pre-order pricing is $12,995 and the company plans on selling a mere 2,400 units.
The Jupiter is truly bespoke hardware. The chips are designed in Stockholm and the entire system was built in Sweden. They are as rare as Fabergé eggs at this point and the demand is only increasing. Lawn described one encounter with a Russian customer who called up asking if he could bring a bag full of cash to buy a miner. Alex calmly explained that there was a waiting list and that they were sold out. The Russian grunted and said: “I’ll bring more cash.”
Read more from the original source: Hands On With The KnCMiner Jupiter, The Massive BTC Mining Rig That Can Move Markets