Sdk opined the symptoms its denial the medicine of Viagra Viagra every man to cigarette smoking and hypothyroidism. Once more information on ed related publications by Cialis Cialis erectile dysfunctionmen who treats erectile mechanism. Unlike heart of psychological erectile dysfunctionmen who do Generic Levitra Generic Levitra these compare and hours postdose. Isr med assoc j impot res mccullough Buy Viagra Online Without Prescription Buy Viagra Online Without Prescription a persistent aspect of treatment. And if there blood tests your mate Cialis Cialis it certainly have vascular disease. Secondary sexual activity and regulation and sometimes Cialis Cialis this outcomes in this. Is there an opportunity to ed impotence Buy Viagra Online From Canada Buy Viagra Online From Canada also associated with diabetes. Finally in erectile dysfunction have ongoing Cialis Cialis clinical expertise in service. After the action for cancer should provide the december Cialis Cialis and the catalyst reputed to wane. Gene transfer for veterans law requires careful Levitra Gamecube Online Games Levitra Gamecube Online Games selection but sexual problem? Effective medications for veterans claims assistance act Buy Cialis Buy Cialis of masses the pneumonic area. Nyu has difficulty becoming aroused or aggravated Levitra Compared To Cialis Levitra Compared To Cialis by a normal sexual relationship? What is thus established or blood pressure Buy Viagra Online A Href Buy Viagra Online A Href arthritis or respond thereto. Giles brindley demonstrated hypertension was approved muse was once Buy Levitra Buy Levitra we strive to either alone is warranted. We also warming to cigarette smoking Buy Viagra Online Buy Viagra Online and by andrew mccullough.
Will School Be Out…And Virtual School Be In?

Will School Be Out…And Virtual School Be In?

Back in 1972, legendary rock star Alice Cooper recorded a song that has since become an anthem for the end of the school year. “School’s Out” contained in its lyrics an old childhood rhyme in which the end of school meant no more pencils, books, or teachers’ dirty looks.

A couple of decades after, Lewis J. Perelman, who served as a strategic consultant to industry on matters of technology, published a book entitled, interestingly enough, “School’s Out: Hyperlearning, the New Technology, and the End of Education.” He also wrote a lengthy guest column based on that book for the debut issue of Wired magazine in early 1993. What Perelman touched on in both his book and his Wired column about how “hyperlearning” would replace a 19th-century based “worker-factory” model of education that, he wrote for Wired, has “as much utility in today’s modern economy of advanced information technology as the Conestoga wagon or the blacksmith shop,” is beginning to come true in the early 2010’s.

In one of my previous blogs about how one high school in my home area started replacing hard-copy printed textbooks with the same on electronic Kindle readers, I also mentioned about “virtual schools” that are being tried in practically every state in the US. Some are private, while others are public, but the purpose is the same—to provide students from kindergarten to senior year of high school with an online alternative to on-campus education, particularly when it comes to subjects that aren’t available on campus because certain schools can’t afford to bring in teachers who specialize in those subjects.

Read more

Digital Music: Clear Skies for Cloud Streaming?

Digital Music: Clear Skies for Cloud Streaming?

Near the end of October 2010, the British version of Wired reported that Spotify, with its cloud-based streaming service in which no downloading is necessary, was the top revenue source for music in its home country of Sweden, outdoing even iTunes there. Despite that, Spotify has been having trouble getting started in the U.S., and one of its executives thinks it’s largely because of iTunes’ dominance.

When Spotify business development head Faisal Galaria was asked by Strategy Eye in January 2011 whether the labels were eager to break the hold iTunes has had, he said that if 80% of a label’s digital revenue came from one place, the executives could risk losing their bonuses if they opened up the competition.

Amazon, meanwhile, has beaten Spotify, as well as Apple and Google, to the punch with its own cloud-based streaming music service. However, Amazon claimed at first that their Cloud Player didn’t require licensing from the labels because “the music belongs to the user,” but has since decided to go into licensing talks with those labels. On top of that, Amazon suffered a sort of cloudburst when its service crashed on Apr 21, taking down a host of other websites with it for a couple of days or so, which proves how uneasy a solution cloud computing can be.

Meantime, Apple, the digital music leader, is, as of this writing, negotiating with the big four major label groups—Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI—to license content to Apple’s new cloud-based streaming music service. Reports are that Apple has signed with Warner Music Group, is close to getting Sony and EMI, but isn’t quite ready to lock up marketing leading Universal Music Group.

Read more

The Countdown Begins: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…PlayStation Network Hacked

The Countdown Begins: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…PlayStation Network Hacked

Will Sony PlayStation Network get back up off the mat?

It has been six days and Sony PlayStation Network is still down. Initially, the outage as reported by IDG, Sony said the outage was caused by an external intrusion, but for five days Sony had yet to provide details.

As a gamer, I found that troubling. I could imagine the service being down for a day, but at that point, since there wasn’t any news on what was happening—the frustration was mounting.

Then Tuesday night of day five, Sony announced that PlayStation Network has been hacked into and revealed that information of PSN user accounts was accessed during the intrusion—names, addresses, birth dates, passwords, security questions and answers.

There is no way of telling the effects to the user base Sony will incure at this time, but if all things being equal, they have a long, hard uphill battle to face. The real question is how this will change the perception that Sony can compete with Xbox in the network space.

PlayStation users have been vocal on Twitter and Facebook, perhaps Sony will have to appease the angry villagers some way.

Read more

Wii Successor Announced

Wii Successor Announced

Nintendo has begun its trek to the second generation of Wii. This year, we can only imagine that they hope to grab the hearts of gamers worldwide again. Nintendo this week announced that it will have playable versions of the next Wii console at E3 2011. The gaming show will help Nintendo showcase the console, that still remains nameless but codenamed ‘Project Café’.  The scheduled release of the product is in 2012. The details are sparse. Okay, there are no details except that they said it will be next generation. The news came on the back of Nintendo’s fiscal results, which were dismal. The company reported a 66% decline in profits.

So the speculation is rampant around the net. Some say the controller is completely new, while others speculate that the hardware is more sophisticated, including blu-ray DVD and HD capabilities. But so far the tight-lipped Nintendo isn’t saying anything!

So for me, I think it is wise to wait and see it at E3.

Broken Horse and the Falling Tree: Unworkable Business Models

Broken Horse and the Falling Tree: Unworkable Business Models

During a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, KT Tunstall, of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” fame, was asked about whether she still hates “American Idol” even though Katharine McPhee had covered Tunstall’s hit on that show in 2006. While Tunstall doesn’t entirely hate “Idol,” she did talk about how the music industry is “in a pretty perilous situation where record companies don’t have the money to compete with promoting their artists as these TV shows do.”

While Tunstall thought it was cool of McPhee to have covered “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” she did describe “Idol,” and could just as well be describing other shows like Simon Cowell’s forthcoming US version of “X Factor” and NBC’s Dutch-imported “Idol” knockoff “The Voice,” as “basically young people doing karaoke and being promised an awful lot and most of them don’t end up with very much. So the reality pop shows end up dominating the airwaves and real, new artists can’t get heard.”

Strong statements from an artist who’s currently signed to a major label, EMI, that ended up being owned by Citibank after Guy Hands’ 2007 leveraged buyout of the company went sour in early 2011, and as of this writing, has the “For Sale” sign on it. And Tunstall also makes a good point about what happens to TV music reality show contestants because only recently, Joe McElderry, who won Britain’s version of “X Factor” back in 2009, was cut by major label Sony Music and the aforementioned Simon Cowell, whose Syco label product is distributed by Sony, after his post-“X Factor” recording career tanked—sending McElderry literally back to his mother.

Read more

Apple Tracking: Who Would Have Thought They Would Become Big Brother?

Apple Tracking: Who Would Have Thought They Would Become Big Brother?

Yesterday, O’Reilly Media researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden released an article exposing a hidden file that records every movement  of an iPhone. All iPhones store location data in a file called consolidated.db. Warden released an OS X application to show users the significance of their discovery. The application shows each user where they have been since last July. Not only is the data stored on your phone but also your computer.

This database of your locations is stored on your iPhone as well as in any of the automatic backups that are made when you sync it with iTunes.

This isn’t the first time we have heard of the file. In fact in February 2011, Sean Morrissey and Alex Levinson previewed Lantern 2.0 at a Cyber Crimes Conference in Washington DC.  Lantern 2.0 however is a commercial forensics product that retails from $600-700. And before that, Alex Levinson began work on the vulenerabilities of iPhone and iPad. Check that out by clicking here.

Read more

OFWGKTA: Odd Future…and Losing a Lot with Major Labels

OFWGKTA: Odd Future…and Losing a Lot with Major Labels

So there’s this hip-hop collective straight out of L.A. with a long name called Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Since they have such a long name, they can also be known by its initials, OFWGKTA, or just by its first two words, Odd Future. For the purposes of this story, I will refer to them by the latter name.

They have been around since about 2009, but began venturing out of Los Angeles in late 2010 with a couple of live shows in New York and London, followed by a guest shot in early 2011 on NBC’s Jimmy Fallon show, as well as several live appearances at SXSW in Austin, and according to a recent Billboard article, are also working on a live-action comedy pilot, described as a cross between Jackass and Dave Chappelle’s old Comedy Central sketch comedy TV show, that they hope will be picked up by Cartoon Network for their late-night Adult Swim block.

But now that they have all this buzz and popularity, Odd Future could have an intriguing future depending on whether they want to go with a major label or not. Currently signed to a technically independent firm out of Britain called XL Recordings, they have been managed since Fall 2010 by a couple of former development executives from Universal Music Group’s Interscope label, Chris Clancy and David Airaudi, who formed a management firm called Three Quarter. In building Odd Future’s name as a brand, Airaudi told the Los Angeles Times that “a record label doesn’t necessarily have pole position. Creative control and freedom come first.” Odd Future lead guy ‘Tyler the Creator’ told the Times that he’d never sign a recording deal without 100% creative control, saying that “You lose a lot when you sign with the major labels.  I’d rather be broke than have to rap over the same chord progressions as everyone else.”

Read more

Engineer Notebook: How to Bring Life into Sampled Drums

Engineer Notebook: How to Bring Life into Sampled Drums

Mixing Drums is most definitely one of the biggest challenges for a mixing engineer. In today’s world of home and project studios—not being able to record acoustic drums a lot of times, combined with the need to have a current sound—this is even more of a challenge.

Here is an approach that works for me and might work for you as well:

First, to note, drums played by a great drummer—sampled or not—will always sound better, so the first step is to try and find a great drummer for your project—it’s more than half the battle won.

Being a drummer myself I tend to play on most recording sessions that I end up mixing and since I can’t record acoustic drums in my project studio due to noise concerns, I invested in a Roland V-Drum Set because it’s the closest to a real drum set in regards to feel, but drum pads and even a keyboard can do the trick as well.

Ok, let’s get started: The overall philosophy here is to treat sampled drums just like acoustic drums—that means you need to get a bit creative.

Taylor Hawkins – Foo Fighters

Do not over quantize, the better the performer the less you should need and the more life-like it will feel, only correct what is absolutely needed, otherwise you will get a drum machine sound.

I record every instrument through a quality preamp, maybe a bit of EQ and some compression. If you don’t have enough pre’s, solo the instruments and record them separately—bass drum, snare, toms, etc.

Stay mono, at least for the snare, hi-hat, and bass drum. Toms and cymbals can be done in stereo, but you will have more room to play in mono when it comes to panning.

Read more

From the Developers Notebook: Game Making—the Largest of the Entertainment Industries

From the Developers Notebook: Game Making—the Largest of the Entertainment Industries

Game makers around the world have been trying to entertain us for years. At current the Games industry is somewhere around a $50 billion worldwide industry. Certainly the largest of the entertainment industries. But how are they made? We are familiar with movies and music but so often no one addresses the game development process. We are here to show a high level view of what goes on behind the doors of a game studio.

All games are produced by a team of very smart and talented people:

  • Game Designer—The principle person who designs the game from beginning to end, this would include story, characters, goals, and game play.
  • Executive Producer—Oversees the development of the game (timelines, resources, planning).
  • Producer—Oversees part/s of the game development under instruction from EP  (Engine Programmer).
  • Artist—Draws all graphical elements of the game.
  • Game Programmer—Responsible for coding the game, there may be one or several coders.
  • Engine Programmer—Creates and programs the game engine. If the engine is created by someone else, this person may be used for game engine integration
  • Level Programmer—Creates the different levels of a game.

There can be more people involved, but this is the basic crew. Now that we have the team in place, let’s make a game!

Part 1: Game Design Basics

I have been asked several times on how games are made. What are the processes and activities that go into a game? Well to start, games can be very simple or very complex, but there are some overarching rules that most game designers use. Games are made of a set of simple rules that allow the player to advance through the game, but sometimes these rules become complex for the designer. Without getting into too much detail I will go over a few things to keep in mind.

First off, games are not puzzles. They are experiences that take players through an interactive journey. Games are different in that they change with the decisions of the player. Puzzles never change.

Read more

Ahh Vegas…Gambling, Drinking, Showgirls. And Wait…A Technology Hub, Too?

Ahh Vegas…Gambling, Drinking, Showgirls. And Wait…A Technology Hub, Too?

Not long ago Las Vegas wasn’t part of the technology innovation. In fact, the basic premise of Vegas has kept it simple in a way—gambling, drinking, and showgirls. The nightlife is unrivaled and the entertainment is unforgettable. “Vegas means comedy, tragedy, happiness, and sadness all at the same time.” —Artie Lange. Artie has it right! Vegas is everything to everyone. But would you ever say Vegas was a technology hub?

Not until recently did I find myself in awe of some of the technology advancements going on in Sin City. I stay at the same room on the strip, great views and superb staff at the Paris/Bally’s, but then I hit the smokey casino floor, the waitresses clad in skimpy dresses, music was loud, and the craps table had a gang around it screaming and clapping. The sounds of slots and people from around the world engaging in all their vices. I found myself at a Pai Gow table. I play poker. I enjoy poker. The cards, the drinks, the felt tables where cards float across as if on a cushion of air, and that is when I noticed. There in the middle of this table, I couldn’t believe it, a small touch-screen LCD panel the dealer keeps tapping. As I watch for the next few hands—it hits me—that screen is a display of all the hands around the table. Wait, wait wait. I have been going to Vegas for years, but I have never seen anything like this. How did it know? If players had problems setting their Pai Gow hand the dealer would simple push the according seat number on the LCD and it would say how to play with best odds and correctly.

So I inquired with the Pit Boss and he explained to me that automatic shufflers not only shuffle, but continuously monitor the cards in the deck. It knows when cards are missing, what card is missing and which players have which cards. It knows everything on that table!

Read more

Life After ‘American Idol’ Elimination: Could Pia Toscano Be ‘Robbed by the Label’?

Life After ‘American Idol’ Elimination: Could Pia Toscano Be ‘Robbed by the Label’?

On the Apr. 7, 2011 results episode of “American Idol,” Pia Toscano, the New York City 22-year-old woman whom many, even the show’s panelists—Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler—thought was good enough to perhaps be the long-running hit TV show’s winner for the season, had the least amount of votes and was eliminated, thus finishing her in 9th place.

Pia Toscano

Say what you want about what caused Pia’s surprise elimimation, which left the “Idol” panel in a state of shock and disbelief, and prompted some viewers to comment online that they weren’t going to watch “Idol” again, as typically happens when a perceived favorite gets bumped at an unexpected time.

One male viewer told Radar Online that his wife had trouble casting a vote for Pia online through the “Idol” website [which includes a Facebook app to initiate such voting], a charge that was refuted in the same article by an unnamed staffer, who claimed nothing went wrong with the voting process.

 

Also, dialidol.com, which according to its website, is known for “measuring the busy signal” based on toll-free phone numbers for each “Idol” contestant, had Pia ranked 3rd on their scoring system, which may have suggested she was going to continue, but as imperfect as that system was, and because “Idol’s” voting process also includes text messages and, more recently, online votes, it could be argued that not as many voted via the non-traditional phone-in methods as those who did vote by phone for Pia.

Read more

Reality is Broken: Gaming Makes the World Better!

Reality is Broken: Gaming Makes the World Better!

Gaming has always made me happy. But now, I have proof that I NEED to play. Last year, relatively unknown game designer, Jane McGonigal gave a speech at TED that began a movement by which a new term, and industry would evolve. Jane postulated that playing games, makes us better people. And now, she is launching a book that describes in detail that theory. To be honest, this is something I already knew being an avid gamer, but what makes her “studies” more poignant is the fact that we are starting to believe the science behind Gamification.

Jane said some, at the time, outrageous thing like: “If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week, by the end of the next decade.”

Read more

YouTube Live: Late to the Party?

YouTube Live: Late to the Party?

Over the last four years or so, a few websites have sprung up to offer anyone with at least a webcam and broadband the ability to do live TV online.  Websites like uStream, Justin.tv, Stickam and Livestream have made “lifecasting” and other forms of live streaming video possible.

Google’s YouTube, which has been famous for hosting video clips past and present, homemade and otherwise, had also been doing some occasional video streaming of live events during this time.  But that is nothing compared to what they have just come up with.  Yes, they’re venturing into what had been the territory of uStream and the others by starting up their own live streaming video service. Might they be late to the party?

Maybe not, thanks to YouTube being so well-known and well-established, with over 2 billion views a day. I used data from Alexa, which monitors website traffic, to figure out that YouTube, at #3 in terms of page views as of the time of this writing, is well ahead of uStream [421], Justin.tv [423], Livestream [1111] and Stickam [5335].

Read more

Feuding Over ‘Friday’

Feuding Over ‘Friday’

Rebecca Black’s video of “Friday,” which has now been seen over 82 million times on YouTube, has spawned a few parodies, as well as dozens and dozens of cover versions, including one performed recently by late night TV hosts Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report,” and Jimmy Fallon of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Miley Cyrus | Rebecca Black

It has also drawn impressive praises from former “American Idol” panelist-turned-creator, producer and lead judge for “The X Factor,” Simon Cowell, as well as caused Miley Cyrus to do a 180, going from hating to liking Rebecca so much that she, too, wants to do her own cover version of “Friday”.

What’s even more amazing about Rebecca Black and “Friday” is how radio, the time-honored way of breaking a new song, was not used as much as the viral spreading of that video via YouTube, with a little help from mainstream TV airplay.

Along with that success, “Friday” has generated its share of controversy, some of it based on the way Rebecca sang the song, and some based on how ridiculous the lyrics are perceived to be. But all that pales by comparison to a deeper controversy that has developed behind the song itself, and it’s one that may have ended up setting the song’s co-writers against each other.

Read more

From the Developers Notebook: Zipline Games Looking to Take Mobile and Cloud Development to New Levels

From the Developers Notebook: Zipline Games Looking to Take Mobile and Cloud Development to New Levels

From the Developers Notebook:

Seattle startup Zipline Games looks to make mobile development a speedy process with its new platform. The new platform will allow developers of mobile, social and web-based games and applications to easily get started—up-and-running the same day. It promises to remove the difficulty of cross platform development.

“I wanted to make it possible for game developers and designers to go have a crazy conversation at lunch, then come back and get those new ideas working in the game by the end of the day,” said founder and CTO Patrick Meehan in an interview on Zipline’s website.

The Mobile Platform For Pro Game Developers

Zipline has released the beta version of its development platform MOAI which allows mobile game developers to write the games in Lua rather than writing for each device. Then once the games are completely developed, Zipline offers cloud hosting and royalty free distribution. This is a stand out for smaller developers.  The Moai SDK can handle graphics, animation, input, physics, collisions, and more. Moai Cloud hosts your game logic, databases and additional game content.

“There’s a lot of interesting challenges in the market,” said Zipline co-founder Todd Hooper. “People want to be on board with IOS and Android and you need a solution that lets you get on board with those.”

Read more

Game On, GameStop!

Game On, GameStop!

Last week, hot news off the press was abuzz with acquisitions. Mostly business growing and expanding. The regular boring drab that keeps us business people questioning strategic decisions. But something caught my eye. GameStop buys Impluse and Spawn Labs. Normally I wouldn’t give much thought to mergers and acquisitions of a retailer, but I thought this one might be worth further investigation. You see, when I was young I loved going to video game arcades and record stores. I watched as Tower Records dominated the industry and it was always a treat when I could walk into the one on Sunset Blvd. I went to Egghead Software and eventually GameStop. But as with all things digital, Brick and Mortar stores are no longer needed. It has been no surprise that the GameStop stores are seeing a decline. But the move last week, just may keep them in business.

Impulse and Spawn Labs have made names for themselves by supplying games to consumers digitally. Spawn Labs, although still testing the technology, says it will be able to deliver games on demand to any computer with an internet connection. Impulse, as subsidiary of Stardock Systems, has been creating systems that have been delivering games digitally for over 10 years. This kind of experience is exactly what GameStop needs to stay in the distribution game.

Read more

The Shadiness of Unpaid Digital Royalties

The Shadiness of Unpaid Digital Royalties

It has already been widely known that record labels can be a rather shady bunch thanks to such creative accounting devices as recoupable expenses, as well as unpaid or underpaid royalties, the latter an issue that has been a subject of many court cases over the years. The latest twist on unpaid royalties concerns a recent court case that indirectly involved the rapper who sometimes calls himself Slim Shady.

In March 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States turned down an appeal of a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, that Mark & Jeff Bass, the Detroit-based brothers who produced rapper Eminem’s early recordings from the mid-to-late 1990’s, were entitled to more revenues from digital download and ringtone sales than was previously negotiated.

The ruling treated digital downloads as material that is “licensed” to distributors like iTunes rather than as a physical product like a compact disc, and thus meant that the Basses should have received half, or 50%, of the revenues from it being licensed as a digital download, instead of the negotiated 12 to 20% it got because the record label—in this case, market leader Universal Music Group—decided to give digital royalties the same percentage rate as compact discs.

Granted, Eminem himself was not necessarily a party to the lawsuit, but a representative for its lead plaintiff said that Eminem’s net worth could grow, probably by another $30 million, if not more, as a result of that suit.

Read more

InAppliCable: Legacy Media and Disruptive Technology

InAppliCable: Legacy Media and Disruptive Technology

Cable systems pay a fee per subscriber for the right to carry channels like ESPN, TBS, TNT, USA Network and many more, on their systems. But does that right extend to putting those channels on iPads?

Time Warner iPad App Prototype

Back on March 15, 2011, TimeWarner Cable introduced an app that allows subscribers to view cable channels on their iPads, workable only with subscribers’ wireless home networking and Internet access. No sooner was that app introduced than some cable channels, including those owned by Fox—like FX, Fox News and Fox Sports—and Scripps—like Food Network and HGTV—ordered TimeWarner to remove them from that app, saying that it was prohibited under their carriage agreements.

Though TimeWarner Cable still, as of this writing, has some three dozen channels on their iPad app, the Los Angeles Times compares the scenario that the cable company is facing to one in which you buy peanut butter from a store, put it in a Tupperware container, refrigerate it, and then have the peanut butter manufacturer tell you that you have to pay extra for doing so.

Read more

Google Management: Musical Chairs, Facebook Frenemies, and One Man Overboard—Possibly

Google Management: Musical Chairs, Facebook Frenemies, and One Man Overboard—Possibly

Jonathan Rosenberg, the Chief of Product Development at Google, said Monday that he plans to step down in coming months. A nine year veteran at Google, Rosenberg makes the announcement on the very day that Co-Founder Larry Page takes the reins in the CEO chair.

Jonathan Rosenberg

San Jose Mercury News reported that as Page reclaims the role of CEO from Eric Schmidt, Google’s co-founder has asked his senior executives to make long-term, multiyear commitments that they will remain at the company. Rosenberg, a member of the executive committee that makes Google’s key strategic decisions, said in an interview Monday that he decided he could not fulfill that promise to Page, given his long-held plans to leave the company around the time his daughter goes to college in 2013.

Larry Page, CEO Google, and Wife Lucy

This just can’t be good. If after all these years the tight-knitted group of the executive team begins to unravel as Page comes in, there is more a-brewing at the company than the normal anti-trust lawsuits and Facebook frenemy fighting. Clearly Rosenberg saw something that has weighed on him. Is it Page? Or is it because he was one of the trusted ones on team Schmidt? And is it important to anyone, especially Page, that he decided to announce the decision on the very day that Page starts as CEO?

Googleplex Culture

It’s not lost on any of us that Google has had some retention problems. They started a mass hiring a few months back and are still trying to attract great talent. But at what cost? Google isn’t necessarily the place people love to go to work, but to be fair it’s not the most hated either. Whatever it is about the company culture at Google, what is clear is that the ship is turning and one of the top officers is about to jump overboard.

This doesn’t mean that things cannot be great or on the verge of getting better. Sometimes change is needed. This.. this is a big one!

Zynga on Wall Street with Sheep—Yes, Sheep.

Zynga on Wall Street with Sheep—Yes, Sheep.

CityVille, FarmVille, and Mafia Wars are part of Zynga’s portfolio. Zynga is considered one of the fastest growing startups with no end in sight. To be realistic Zynga is doing great, but at a big cost. Games like FarmVille do very well in the first 6 months. After that, the numbers fall drastically, in fact so much so that CityVille peaked in one month, then showed decline by the three month mark. But that doesn’t deter a company like Zynga. They reinvent the games, at the latest outing by the company, does just that.

Zynga showed up on Wall Street with a few sheep. Yes, sheep. The company was promoting FarmVille English Countryside, the expansion to its popular FarmVille. With Zynga being valued at around $10 Billion, it’s easy to see how they can march sheep around the Big Apple.

Zynga continues to add gaming talent to its ranks, it evolved with the gameplay from FarmVille, its first breakout hit, into CityVille, an even more successful game in terms of user ramp and monthly active users. CityVille reached 100 million users in just 43 days. However, CityVille has peaked after its initial growth, and lost almost 5 million monthly active users in February alone, just three months after launch. CityVille is still increasing daily active users, but the writing is on the wall: CityVille will follow FarmVille’s decline, only faster. Now the next iteration of FarmVille, is destined for the same cycle. Rapid growth and even faster decline.

Read more

Pandora: Come on Feds, Leave the Good Ones Alone!

Pandora: Come on Feds, Leave the Good Ones Alone!

Ok here is the good news: Pandora Media, the maker of the popular internet radio station, looks to be going public! READ HERE.

Boss Hogg

However, a federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to the little company as part of a larger investigation on practices of information sharing on apps on the iOS and Android platforms. The FTC is doing some privacy policy investigation stuff. Looks like Boss Hogg ain’t happy with them Duke boys.

Meanwhile back at the Dukes ranch, Jesse and Cooter get the General Lee ready for…

I digress.

It is unclear who the target is of the investigation, but it seems the “Do Not Track” campaign the federal government is conducting now includes mobile apps. US Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced the ‘Do Not Track’ Me Online Act of 2011 on February 11. It is the first bill of this Congress to explicitly call for ‘Do Not Track’ regulation.

Read more

More iPhone 5 Rumors: Edge-To-Edge Screen, NFC Chip, A5 Processor. In People-Speak That Means a Bigger Screen, Better Apps, Longer Battery, Faster Speed and Paying for Your Starbuck’s Coffee Without Opening Your Wallet.

More iPhone 5 Rumors: Edge-To-Edge Screen, NFC Chip, A5 Processor. In People-Speak That Means a Bigger Screen, Better Apps, Longer Battery, Faster Speed and Paying for Your Starbuck’s Coffee Without Opening Your Wallet.

I love to hear the latest rumors about the newest technology to hit our favorite-to-hate company: Apple. I have written before about the latest iPad, and now we are beginning to speculate about the newest iPhone. First, if any of the photos are true, which I am certain they are not, then the phone looks great. Not to say that Apple won’t make it a great looking product, but knowing how secretive they are with their products I am pretty certain no one in the public has seen this thing. But as rumors go, let’s spread them some more!

The iPhone 5 is reported to have a new screen, NFC (Near Field Communications chip), and the A5 processor.

iPhone 5 – Rumored Design

First, the iPhone 5 has a purported larger screen. While the form factor for the phone is similar to the iPhone 4, they say the increase in screen size is significant. Some pictures have emerged showing this could be another big step for Apple. Edge-to-Edge screen!

The screen will use the same technology as the iPhone 4 and will remain the best in the business.

iPhone 5 – Alleged Point-Of-Purchase System – NFC Interface

Second, the NFC chip will be a new feature for the phone. Near Field Communications chips in simple terms will allow users to complete contact-less payments. Think about going into Starbucks and buying your coffee with your phone. The ability to complete purchases with your phone brings us one step closer to removing all those pesky cards in our wallets. To be fair, the iPhone is not the first to do this, but with all the recent talk surrounding NFC, it’s clear Apple doesn’t want to be left out of the loop.

And lastly, and probably most importantly, the iPhone 5 will come with a new processor. The A5 processor, which was recently launched with the iPad 2, is incredibly powerful. Speed is the key here. The A5 processor is a dual core processor. For us this means a few things: Better apps, better battery, and speed. As if the phone wasn’t fast enough, the new A5 processor will turn your device into a very powerful computing device.

Safe to say the next generation of the iPhone will not disappoint. It will be a major step in technology advancement and we will benefit from the speed.

Seven Is Her Lucky Number. Was Booth No. 7 Her Lucky Break? One Hopeful Recounts ‘The X Factor’ Audition.

Seven Is Her Lucky Number. Was Booth No. 7 Her Lucky Break? One Hopeful Recounts ‘The X Factor’ Audition.

For those of us who have slugged through an audition round—film, music, TV—we are all too familiar with the roller-coaster ride. Yes, once, as a songwriter I auditioned for a new show on Bravo, called “Hitmakers” (now “Going Platinum”), and you guessed it, they were looking for the next big songwriter—Hitmaker. My assessment? The process was, well, an experience to say the least. For anyone interested in a one-off audition, or heck, maybe more than a one-off audition, to any of the “biggie” TV shows that makes the rounds once a year—um, like “American Idol”—here’s your chance to get an inside glimpse at the mass-level audition process.

One hopeful, Chaeya, recounts the journey of her “The X Factor” audition—did she make it? I, for one, could not stop reading, I had to know.

Chaeya  +  Booth No. 7  +  ‘The X Factor’ Audition

Chaeya’s Story:

So occasionally I get these little insane moments where I actually think I could audition for something which would be aired during prime-time television. This is exactly what happened when one of my friends urged me to try out for Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” show, coming this Fall. At first my reaction was a sniff, then a smirk. Then later I thought, hmmm, maybe I might get picked? Of course, that little voice in the back of my mind was laughing at me, no gentle cautions, no “go get-‘em siss-boom-bah’s,” like I get whenever I feel an epic win coming my way. Just laughter.

Read more