Will tomorrow’s groundbreaking gadget solve world hunger while destroying art and prompting teens to fornicate like bunnies? No, no, and yes.
The ever-savvy web comic, XKCD, hit another one out of the park with this handy checklist for all future anti-tech hysteria.
For references, here are links to every single one of the items
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Fuz Design’s EverDock lets you dock all kinds of devices, and it looks good while doing it. The Kickstarter project, which wraps up on Thursday, has an attractive aluminum design that matches Apple’s aesthetics.
The dock will come in single and double versions and is fitted for Lightning, 30-pin dock and micro-USB connectors. It includes silicone protectors if you’re using your device bare, or you can take the pads off if you have a case.
The sample we were sent didn’t include the customized micro-USB cable, so I wasn’t able to get a perfect fit for a Moto X, but it worked fine with an iPhone 5s, iPhone 4s and iPad 2.
Unfortunately, threading the cables underneath the dock wasn’t a perfect fit on the dual-device model, as the slot for the front device is slightly off-center. It was possible to make it work with some fussing, but if I wasn’t careful, the cable would either stick out and keep the dock from lying flat or the connector would poke up and keep the device from sitting flush with the dock. The single-device version shouldn’t have this problem, as the cable slot is centered with the docking port.
The EverDock’s micro-suction pads served to keep it in place without making it difficult to move. I did a quick test of sticking the dock to a surface and holding it upside-down in the air, and it managed to keep its grip and hold two iPhones in place.
The dock comes in silver, space gray and gold, so it’s best-matched for iPhones and iPads. Backers who pledge at least $49 will receive the single-device version, while a $69 pledge will include the Everdock Duo as a reward. The two models will retail for $69 and $89, respectively, once they go on sale.
➤ EverDock [Kickstarter]
Getting a book published used to require something called “an agent” who talked to a “publishing house” who, in turn, hired a “printer” to make a “hardback” or “paperback” version of your words. Tablo.io is just another in the long line of startups aimed at relegating those things to the deep, dark past.
Tablo is an Australian company founded by Ash Davies and Andrew McIntosh, two design hackers who wanted to grab a piece of the epub pie. Their product has been funded to the tune of $20,000 by Australian accelerator Angelcube.
There are two publishing methods: you can cut and paste your chapters one at a time into the WYSIWYG interface or simply upload iBooks-compatible epub files. The system then makes them available in your web browser or, for an extra fee, in the Amazon and iBooks bookstores. The company saw $12,000 in revenue in its first month after launch and they have 150 authors from 30 countries signed up for the service.
“Creating a book with Tablo is like creating a blog post with WordPress. You can create your book in the cloud with full control over your design, media and content,” said Davies. “You can preview your books in the browser, collaborate with editors or friends and publish to bookstores with a single click.”
The service also lets you embed books onto websites and you can read them on any mobile browser.
“Publishing my own eBook sucked – it took me months to wrestle with book conversions, file formats and publishing contracts,” said Davies. “As a blogger I was so used to being able to type something and click publish, but nothing like this existed in the eBook world.”
The company is ramping up its U.S. presence and is looking for local funding. Because both of the creators are designers, the whole thing has a simple, WordPress-esque feel to it, similar to sites like pressbooks.com, allowing bloggers and other online media ninjas to build books without all the old-fashioned clutter of “book stores” and “editors.”
With Tablo, you can create beautiful eBooks in the cloud and publish to major bookstores with a single click. Tablo is the fastest, easiest way to create and publish an eBook. We’re doing for eBooks what WordPress did for online publishing. In our first month we’ve seen 500 books created from authors in more than 40 countries, revenue of over $10,000 and some incredible feedback. Tablo is the future of self-publishing.
London-based startup Dattch is a dating app with a difference. I don’t mean the fact that it’s exclusively for lesbians, bisexual and/or bi-curious women — though that certainly makes it stand out from the ranks of straight dating apps. What really sets it apart is its mostly female team who set out to design a dating app specifically for gay women.
Dattch is currently one of 17 startups in the Wayra London incubator cohort, and has just closed a £100,000/$160,000 angel/small seed round, with three angel investors — including Yannick Pons and Andy Phillips. That investment bolsters the €40,000 invested by Wayra as part of its incubator program, where Dattch will remain until January.
Being a dating app specifically designed for gay women may not sound too remarkable — but in fact the gay female dating scene is spectacularly badly served, says founder and CEO Robyn Exton. “Every single dating product that’s been produced for gay women is horrific,” she tells TechCrunch. ”The biggest problem [with rivals' products] is they don’t have any consideration of how these women are different.”
Other apps apparently targeting lesbians and bisexual females typically reskin a gay male offering and slap a femme-friendly name on it (Bender to Brenda, for instance. Or GaydarGirls). ”There’s no consideration of how a female user might differ,” she argues.
Exton points out that lazy reskins of gay male platforms have resulted in lesbian dating apps that ask incongruous questions like ‘how much body hair do you have?’ — because they’re just reusing the same gay male templates. Not exactly tailor made for a female target audience then.
Add to that, another big problem is fake profiles — created by (straight) men who are pretending to be female so they can pitch for a threesome with their ‘boyfriend.’ Or angling to ‘convert’ lesbians. Which makes the whole online dating game a tedious minefield for gay women who have to spend time figuring out who’s fake and who’s for real before they can start thinking about whom they fancy.
“It doesn’t happen super often, but the fact that it does happen means you don’t trust the messages that come through,” she adds. “It’s just a really bad experience all in all.”
Exton, who has prior experience in the online dating space, including building a (straight) dating product, decided there had to be a better way to serve a community of users who absolutely have an appetite to meet each other, but probably don’t have the same appetites as gay men (especially when it comes to body hair). And certainly don’t want to waste time weeding out straight men. And so Dattch was born.
“The actual trigger for me doing Dattch was hanging out with some of my girl mates, and a friend had broken up with her girlfriend and we were like ‘come on, you’re just going to have to sign up to a site’ and she was really reticent to do it because they are and were all utterly shit,” says Exton.
The business opportunity she saw for Dattch was to take the exact opposite approach to cynical reskins, and build something that reflects what gay women actually want from a dating app. “Nobody was thinking about a female user, and actually how do women behave? What kind of triggers are they looking for?” she tells TechCrunch.
So what are gay women looking for? Firstly, lots and lots of photos. “The key behaviours that we saw and that we’re now focusing on is that they like to browse for hours. They will look at every single photo, every single image, and it’s not just what you look like; women want to know the small things about you. But not in an awkward text description — they want to be able to absorb this content,” says Exton.
Not just photos of potential dates, then, but photos of where you live, what you wear, things you like, places you want to go. “Women will be just as interested to see what your living room looks like, and what your favourite drink is,” she says. “What we’ve done now is to allow people to import these images that show who you are, rather than describing it. So it gives all the content for women to browse through.”
“Women want to look at tonnes and tonnes of profiles, and then decide who they want to talk to,” she adds.
Dattch is taking its design inspiration from female-friendly image curation site Pinterest. ”Our profiles are these Pinterest-style boards that just give you tumbling images… It’s the idea that girls are creating these mood boards of themselves — so you look at it and you can take on board a lot of information, quite quickly, about the kind of person this person is.”
The app’s other focus is on enabling its users to chat with each other via a text-based messaging feature. But even there the photos come into play — providing context and conversation starter topics for users.
“Women want to chat a lot but they’re also not very good at starting the conversation — which I think is also symptomatic of the kind of profiles that exist. So when you’re on a platform like Grindr it’s fairly clear why you’re talking to each other. You don’t really need to have the softer entry stuff — it’s like ‘hey, what’s up. Wanna meet?’. It’s literally that kind of platform. But with girls they are actually looking to have a conversation,” says Exton.
“The idea [with Dattch] was to start allowing people to pull in [contextual photo-based] content and then it’s easier to start a conversation. And you actually get a gist of who someone is and what you can start talking to them about.”
Another Grindr factor that Exton argues doesn’t apply well to the gay female scene is proximity-based social networking. “In private beta we were showing you the closest user to you. And that’s basically not relevant for women. It’s like 1 percent of the time women are going to meet up within 30 minutes. Like gay guys often will. For women you’re probably looking at about a week before someone goes on a date, so seeing the closest person to you doesn’t add to that experience.
“Now you just see generally women in your area… It doesn’t have to be that closest person. Then you’ll be able to customise it — in two builds from now — where you’ll be able to pick the distance you want to see people within, and then you’ll probably be able to pick an age range.”
On the fake profiles issue, weeding out the men has been, and continues to be, a key priority for Dattch. Initially it was via a manual “profile validation” process that relied on cross-referencing with users’ Facebook profiles. It has since incorporated Facebook Connect to make the process easier, but it is also erring on the cautious side, as it tries to establish a trusted platform for female users, so it is also currently doing phone calls to verify gender (which sounds like a delicate balancing act, between building that user trust and being off-putting).
It won’t be making calls forever, though. “Our first few thousand users are critical so it’s really important to us that we make this work — we can work out a way that will scale it once we’ve got it cracked. But the next version gets closer to automating it. Facebook Connect automates it for us but for the people who don’t want to use Facebook we’re working out how to automate it,” says Exton.
Dattch ran in private beta for six months from last December, capped at 1,000 users. It’s since opened up as a public beta, targeting London initially and launching a redesigned app earlier this month (in which it’s still ironing out a few bugs). User numbers now are in the “thousands” — with the aim being to grow to tens or hundreds of thousands by year’s end. ”In the U.K. Grindr has 180,000 users in London so eventually we want to [reach] that many users in London as well,” says Exton.
For now, although anyone in the U.K. can download Dattch, it’s targeting the majority of its user acquisition efforts on London, with some small marketing efforts planned for a few other U.K. cities this year (namely Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow). Launching in the U.S. is on the cards for next year, where it will opt for a geofenced city-by-city rollout. Australia is also on its roadmap. After that Exton believes there’s also potential to enter China, where she argues that because there isn’t the same LGBT infrastructure — in terms of gay bars — “apps become really relevant.”
Discussing the angel round Dattch has just closed, Exton says that targeting a less well-served market has sometimes counted against it in conversations with investors. “It’s not been the simplest to raise for a lesbian app,” she says. “Some people have been quite uncomfortable with what we do.
“No one has done this before, no one has created an app for this market, so I think it’s a new market so possibly there’s a bit more caution around it,” she adds.
Girard-Perregaux, to those not familiar with watch lore, is a watchmaker founded in 1791 and that now produces handmade, manufacture pieces in the mid- to high-level range. I’ve been a longtime fan of the brand – they usually come up with designs that are timeless and more classic than, say, Concord, and less fuddy-duddy than IWC and other traditional makers. The watch we’re looking at today, the Chrono Hawk, is G-P’s lower-end addition to their catalog (if “lower end” and G-P can ever appear in the same sentence.)
First, let’s be clear: the Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk is expensive. It’s $13,800 expensive. Which makes it one of the pricier watches I’ve reviewed during my semi-regular Weekend Watch reviews, and it is, to be clear, a luxury item. Why is it so expensive? Well, it is completely made in a single factory in Switzerland to exacting standards and the time, effort, and research that go into a piece like this are akin to the efforts put into a nicer luxury car. You’re paying for a few things here. You’re paying for solid materials and a nice band, to be sure, but you’re also paying the salary of men and women who are manufacturing watches by hand at a clip of a few dozen per day. At that rate you won’t be getting any bargains.
So what is the Chrono Hawk? It is an automatic chronograph (basically a stopwatch) with two registers – a running seconds at 3 o’clock and a 30 minute counter at 9 o’clock (called the bi-compax layout) and a central seconds hand. It has a 48 hour power reserve and 44mm in diameter – quite bold for a simpler chronograph. It is very evocative of older, 1970s era chronographs where two registers and a date window were in vogue. Watch blog Hodinkee notes that the case shape comes from the Laureato, a long-time staple in the G-P line.
The tooling and design are a delight. The soft leather bands melds into the case seamlessly and the clasp is easily resized by pulling out a pair of pins under the buckle. It curves over the wrist for comfort and has a rear see-through back so you can see the handmade movement. The buttons and crown have small rubber highlights that make them easier to push and the buttons protect – and are protected by – the crown. The piece is a harmonious whole, which is an important distinction in this type of chrono.
I especially like the face. The Guilloché dial features a futuristic-looking hexagonal pattern (that is actually shaped like part of the movement) that is not too messy to render the hands illegible. It is an interesting nod to modernity, to be sure, as G-P has usually used a square engraving on its sportier watches, a change that I think is welcome.
To me a manufactured – meaning “manufactured by a single company” – chronograph like this one is tough to hate. It has just enough features – called complications – to be worth at least some of the purchase price, but at $14,000 you’d better be in love with this piece before you plunk down the credit card. I love watches that are eminently usable and the Chrono-Hawk fits the bill. It’s readable at almost any angle, is dripping with lume for night-time reading, and it kept prefect time for the weeks I wore it. I don’t like the lack of a third elapsed hours register and the chronograph is a bit short since it records only thirty minutes total – enough to time baking some cookies, but probably not a cake.
Thus the appreciation of this watch is a matter of personal taste. It also comes in black but the tan strap and champagne face look excellent together and the case is large without being overbearing. It is one of the nicer watches I’ve seen in a while and it’s a nice addition to the G-P line. Sadly, given the price, I can probably never convince myself to pick one up but, as Ferris Bueller said, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
Read the original here: Weekend Watch Review: Grappling The Girard-Perregaux Chrono Hawk
Salesforce.com has pulled together several of its platforms to create what it calls the Performance Edition. The new service will combine the company’s Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Salesforce Platform with Data.com, Work.com and its new identity service. Other services that are part of the package include its web-chat platform for connecting customers with customer service help and a knowledge engine for accessing articles and information.
Salesforce has shown signs that it would be integrating its various services. In July, the company launched “Sales Performance Accelerator,” which combined the Sales Cloud with Data.com and Work.com.
By adding identity service and a sandbox, the company can now offer a way to connect apps through a single authentication platform. The sandbox in turn serves as a service for testing apps before putting them into production.
Salesforce has historically treated its different services as independent entities. But with the build-out of its developer platform, the pieces are tying together. The only missing piece is Chatter, its news feed. But Chatter is getting integrated across all the platforms so it is likely just integrated in the overall offering.
Company executives have also emphasized the build-out of its platform for developers to create single-purpose apps that they call micro-instances. With the new Performance Edition, it is conceivable that developers can start to use the identity platform to create a linked network of apps built on the Salesforce platform.
Single-purpose apps have become popular with developers. Users want lightweight services that play specific roles. For example, Any.DO is a simple and cleverly designed app for getting tasks completed. Siasto plans to take a similar focus with its mobile strategy.
Salesforce is making its play to control more of the stack, with identity being the key to controlling more services, either their own or from third-party providers.
Okta serves as a major competitor in the identity race. It has advantages in terms of its established place in the cloud market and its relationship with Workday, which has helped it get some major enterprise deals.
February 7, 2004, NYSE:CRM
Salesforce is an enterprise cloud computing company that provides business software on a subscription basis. The company is best known for its on-demand Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. Salesforce was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, and went public in June 2004. Salesforce has been a pioneer in developing enterprise platforms through its innovative AppExchange directory of on-demand applications, and its Force.com “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) API for extending Salesforce.
Adobe has just announced the first noteworthy update to its Creative Cloud offering since its debut of the CC series. Headlining this release is Edge Reflow, which now lets users create entire sites — instead of just single page responsive designs.
In addition, Edge Code, Adobe’s early-beta text editor for HTML and CSS, is now integrated directly with Edge Inspect (previously Shadow) and Kuler (that color scheme generator).
Here’s a look at the new features in Edge Reflow:
Adobe cheerfully explained the expanded features:
Who designs single page sites? Websites today are so complex that even the simplest ones usually have 5-10 pages! Since launching Reflow back in February, many of you have been asking for the ability to create multi-page responsive comps. So, we thought, “Hey! That’s a pretty good idea!”
Finally, aside from bug fixes in Edge Animate — which targets Internet Explorer 11 issues — the last noteworthy change is new support for third-party plugins in PhoneGap Build.
As you’ve likely heard, Adobe killed off its famous Creative Suite back in May of this year. Of course, the apps aren’t gone, but some have rejected the company’s new subscription model.
Put simply, Adobe needs to prove that these updates are worth the new monthly fee. If you’re interested in the company’s experimental Edge family of Web-focused apps, you have a reason to be happy today.
The Ubuntu Edge is an audacious attempt to crowdsource the next smartphone advancement. Canonical, the company behind the Edge and Ubuntu itself is seeking an exorbitant $32 million to make it happen, and gave itself only a month to raise those funds. Now, Bloomberg LP has come forward as its first major corporate backer, with a lump $80,000 contribution in exchange for 100 Ubuntu Edge devices and enterprise workshops and technical support.
Bloomberg is the first backer at the “Enterprise 100″ campaign backer level, and that’s good news for the Ubuntu Edge, and would smash the initial targets of most hardware crowdfunding campaigns out there on its own, but the Ubuntu Edge isn’t just another crowdfunding campaign. That $32 million goal is looking mighty distant, having added only $1 million or thereabouts in the past week of its campaign, as noted by The Verge. A single $80,000 injection definitely helps things, but it doesn’t put the project on pace to reach $32 million by the end of the month, even if Bloomberg or other corporate backers were to plug $80,000 into the project daily on top of the current pace.
In fact, even being generous and projecting that Canonical manages to nab an even $10 million by this evening (unlikely), that gives it two weeks to raise an additional $24 million, which works out to $1.7 million per day. That’s a lot, and given that it earned $1 million in the past week altogether, not a very realistic expectation.
Bloomberg says in a statement that it’s excited about Canonical’s vision of converged computing with the Edge in particular. ”Ubuntu’s goal to offer a single-device solution for enterprise convergence and mobility is an exciting prospect and one that complements our vision for open development on the mobile platform,” says Bloomberg LP’s Head of Web Architecture Justin Erenkrantz in an official release detailing the news, noting that cross-platform, seamless performance is a chief goal of Bloomberg’s in terms of what it provides for its clients.
Canonical better have some considerable Hail Mary plays up its sleeve if it hopes to make that goal, and LastPass Premium bundled subscriptions and Bloomberg support, nice as they both are, just aren’t going to cut it. We’ll have to see if Canonical’s ambitious vision in this case ends up being an utter daydream, or if there’s some kind of buzzer-beating offensive play left in place to get funding back on track.
We’ve come a long way since our launch in 2004. We now have over 500 staff in more than 30 countries, and offices in London, Boston, Taipei, Montreal, Shanghai, São Paulo and the Isle of Man. Driven by founder Mark Shuttleworth’s original vision to create software platforms that compete with the best but are free to use, share and develop, we’re growing every year.