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Millionaire Matchmaker Meets (her) Match…

Millionaire Matchmaker Meets (her) Match…

By Kathleen Blackwell

Move over Pattie Stanger, there is a new matchmaker in town. Scratch that…a new “matchmaking group” in town. Last Wednesday night I attended one *badass* meetup event: Tech Cofounder Dating LA. Organized by Aaron Abram and sponsored at BLANKSPACES LA, the evening was the first “dating kind” on the burgeoning L.A. startup scene—and much like a first date, too, all sorts of tech people were in attendance looking for their better half…their cofounder. A Wiki-moment in the making, file-stamped “Cofounder Matchmaking,” Wednesday, November 9, 2011 marked the official launch of Tech Cofounder Dating LA.

Organizer Aaron Abram says he founded this concept based on a “selfish need to find a cofounder who actually wanted to build a tech company rather than just talk about building a company.”

Yes, like many of us who have run up against the “douchebagery” types—the “I’ve got a million startup ideas” person (yet, never seem to actually start anything)—Tech Cofounder Dating LA was actually founded on the premise that somewhere in our land of silicone in the Silicon Beach, there does exist…doers.

Aaron saw a problem in the market based upon his own need and wanted to fill that void by creating a viable solution, his meetup group. He quickly determined that there were a slew of people seeking their “better business half,” for as quickly as he posted the event on meetup.com, they were over-capacity and had people on the wait list chomping at the rope to get in—as if this was their “only hope” for a true business hookup.

I discovered Tech Cofounder Dating LA through a Google search, as I, too, was looking for that proverbial “significant other, left-brain business development strategist” to round out my creative energy and the moment I stumbled upon this meetup—I signed right up! I couldn’t help but hope my new business partner in crime was right around the corner. And guess what? The über-sweet news is the Tech Cofounder Dating LA event was every bit as cheeky-geeky cool as I imagined it would be because the people who showed up were there with a serious intent to make a connection—yes…doer!

In his opening remarks, Aaron said to “think of this group like your Y-Combinator.” The format was warm and welcoming, as if a large group of friends were sitting around a campfire…lots of camaraderie.  Everyone was mingling (and snacking on the trendiest cupcakes in town sponsored by BIGMANBAKES—serving up fresh, moist, mini cupcakes in assorted flavors like “old school,” “red velvet cake,” and “black & white”—delish!), then moved into what I would classify as an open mic session for entrepreneurs whereby everybody had an opportunity to introduce themselves “on the mic,” and explain their business model and/or startup, along with their “dating” needs, i.e. “I’m looking for a full-time CTO or business person to backup our frontend development on a major social networking platform that we have investor interest on.”

I was duly impressed with the array of entrepreneurs present, from tech to business savvy, veterans to new-bees, all with the intent on building awesome technology companies here in Silicon Beach, Los Angeles.

What were a few general themes that popped up in the open mic sessions? Well, 1) the word “content” was used frequently, 2) there were what seemed to be a handful of “groupon-esque” related businesses attempting to isolate and dominate a niche, as well as 3) crowdsourcing in a niche, like crowdsourcing around the concept of getting a tattoo, or in one humorous moment, “crowdsourcing a boob job—boobfunder.com,” (which in Hollywood, well, almost seems natural nowadays, plus aligning the concept in support of breast cancer), 4) there were a few location-based travel ventures, and 5) in several instances many presenters were marketing the fact that their startups empowered people by giving individuals a new economic opportunity.

"BORAT"

"GREGG"

What were the most unique pick-up lines? I’ll highlight two: 1) “Hi, my name is Gregg and I look like Borat.” (Insert crowd laugh here, because Gregg did look like Borat.) And for the record, (one of) Gregg’s businesses is boobfunder.com. So, now you can put a face to the concept—meet Gregg Martin! And, 2) “Hi, my name is Tracy, and I’ve been a licensed nerd for 30 years.” (Insert intrigue here. Tracy definitely led the room in all around experience—a former executive at toy-giant Mattell—with a cutting-edge vision for whether a consumer-based product would actually work. Tracy also claimed to be a “professional naysayer”—which is a great quality in business.)

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Stopping Online Piracy: 5 Internet Injustices of #SOPA Bill

Stopping Online Piracy: 5 Internet Injustices of #SOPA Bill

Democratic Congressmember, Zoe Lofgren, represents a constituency in central California that includes parts of San Jose and the Silicon Valley. In late October 2011, after some of her colleagues in the US House of Representatives, led by Congressmember and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith of Texas, introduced a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act [SOPA], Ms. Lofgren declared her opposition to the proposals as “the end of the Internet as we know it.”

SOPA, sometimes known as E-PARASITE [Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation], is the House’s equivalent of the Senate’s PROTECT-IP [Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property] bill, in that both are meant to put a stop to websites that carry content that infringes on copyrights, combined with Senate Bill 978, which would criminalize online streaming even of people who sing others’ songs on YouTube. Whatever kind of anti-online piracy legislation gets passed, there is the thinking that it could do more harm than whatever good may come of it. How so? Let us count some of the ways:

1. No due process.

Under the proposals, any copyright holder can get a court order to shut down a website that posts any infringing material without giving the accused website an opportunity to challenge such a shutdown in court. On top of that, the owner of such a website could even be denied Internet access…again, without due process.

2.  Guilt by association.

Prof. Mark Lemley of Stanford told the public radio program “Marketplace” that if you so much as put up a link to a website that carries the infringed copyright material, you’ll end up just as guilty of “facilitating infringement” as the website that infringes copyright. Even Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube could be all but put out of business as a result.

3.  What constitutes a ‘copyright infringement’?

David Sohn of the Center for Democracy & Technology commented that under SOPA, “a central issue is that the bill’s definitions of bad websites are vague and broad.” So much so that the Future of Music Coalition commented that even legitimate sites, both within and outside of the US, could be held for violations of SOPA, thus making the Internet “too wide for comfort.” On top of that, copyright owners, by filing a court order against an infringing website, don’t have to go to court and explain their actions, which adds to there being no opportunity at justice for the accused.

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Crowdfunding Is Totally Punk Rock! 7 Crowdfunding Musical Sights Reveiwed.

Crowdfunding Is Totally Punk Rock! 7 Crowdfunding Musical Sights Reveiwed.

So you’re a struggling musician, and you’re looking for a way to raise money toward recording an album or going on tour. In recent years, some of these struggling musicians, and even a few well-known acts, have turned to “crowdfunding” as a way of raising such money—yes, crowdfunding is totally punk rock. While crowdfunding is as grassroots as you can get when trying to raise money from friends, fans and contacts, it can also be troubling if the response isn’t so good.

Yet that hasn’t stopped what has become a crowded house of websites dedicated to crowdfunding from springing up online. Some of those sites have been used to raise money for music-related projects. Here are a few of them in review, beginning with what is perhaps the more popular crowdfunding site for music:

1. Kickstarter.com

Many musical acts, as well as many other creative types, have used Kickstarter to raise money. A fundraising goal is set, as well as a time limit to reach that goal. If the goal is met before the time runs out, the project is funded; if it’s not met in time, no money changes hands.

Over the past summer, female musicians like Julia Nunes, whose videos have been on YouTube since 2006, and Nataly Dawn, of the duo Pomplamoose, have each used Kickstarter to raise more than 5x their intended goals to fund the recording of their albums. Even the husband/wife team of author Neil Gaiman and musician Amanda Palmer—the latter very well-known both as a solo musician and as one-half of the cabaret-punk duo Dresden Dolls—used Kickstarter to raise over $100,000—also 5x their goal—for a West Coast mini-tour set to begin on Halloween 2011 in Los Angeles.

Kickstarter is free to participate, but says that it charges fees for certain services.

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10 Tips to Get Real Fans (Not Friends) to Shows

10 Tips to Get Real Fans (Not Friends) to Shows

Guest post by Madalyn Sklar (music biz coach. blogger. social media maven. fearless GoGirls leader.)

I was recently contacted by Tracy Petrucci of ListenLocalSD.com, a blog for the San Diego music community. She asked me to write about a simple yet commonly asked question, “How do I get real fans to come to local shows and not just my friends?”

Here is what I came up with…

How do I get real fans to come to local shows and not just my friends?

I get asked this question all the time. The answer is simply get out and hustle. Just because you’re playing a show, it doesn’t mean the venue will pack itself. There are many things you can do both online and offline to attract fans.

Here are 10 tips that will help:

1. Update your website calendar. There is nothing worse than a bunch of outdated gigs listed on your site. It’s a turn off and will give the impression that you are not out playing shows. As soon as you book a show, go update your website.

2. Shoot an email blast to your mailing list. You have a mailing list, right? Use it! This is your most valuable tool in your arsenal, yet I find so many bands are under-utilizing it. You can easily manage your list and send out messages through ReverbNation or Fanbridge. Be sure to collect email addresses at your shows and from all your websites.

3. Set up a Facebook Event. Invite your local fans and friends. Don’t waste your time inviting people from all over the world. They aren’t coming! Make a friends list – log into Facebook >> Account >> Edit Friends >> Create a List. Go through your friends and add the local peeps to a list and call it Local Fans. Every time you make a new friend/fan in your local area, add them to this list and watch it grow! You’ll set this up once, add people to it as you become friends, then every time you create a FB Event you’ll invite people from this list.

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Wider Wifi—”White Space”

Wider Wifi—”White Space”

Previously, I wrote about how a neighborhood in Houston, Texas was experimenting with wireless broadband [a.k.a. wifi] that used unlicensed “white spaces” between TV channels. Now, it looks like this idea, based on what the Federal Communications Commission authorized back in September 2010, has bred a standard that will increase its availability.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, who sanctioned the “wireless local area network” standard known numerically as 802.11, has given a number to this new “wireless regional area network” idea…802.22. According to IEEE’s press release, the “Wireless Regional Area Networks” that can be spawned from this new standard can cover a radius of up to 62 miles [100 km], based on flat terrain, and can deliver speeds of up to 22 mbps, which, by itself, would rival most existing available broadband services, wired or wireless.

But just because a new wireless broadband standard can provide speeds equal to much of what’s available now doesn’t quite mean it will. A more realistic scenario that could occur if twelve users are on any one unoccupied “white space” channel would have speeds at just 1.5 mbps for downloading, and 384k for uploading, on a par with DSL systems.

Even so, rural areas of the US, as well as in many underdeveloped parts of the world, are reported to be the most likely of areas to gain this new wireless broadband technology once it takes hold by 2013 or so, because those areas don’t have as much Internet access, but are certain to have plenty of white spaces due to less over-the-air digital TV channels. Larger cities, which have more TV channels on air, are less likely to have “white spaces,” though “channel bonding” [more than one empty TV channel] can increase the available bandwidth.

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Followups: Rebecca Black and Rupert Murdoch on the Fame Clock

Followups: Rebecca Black and Rupert Murdoch on the Fame Clock

A couple of subjects from some of my past blogs have been getting some press lately. The first has been doing some new things, while the second has gotten into some deep trouble.

Let’s start with Rebecca Black, whom I’ve written about twice already in light of her instant success from, as well as the controversies behind, her song “Friday.” Lately, it seems like Black’s fame clock hasn’t quite run out yet. First, she did a quickie cameo appearance in the video of Katy Perry’s hit “Last Friday Night.”

Play Youtube VideoKaty Perry: Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)


Now, just as this is being written, Black is about to release a followup to “Friday,” entitled “My Moment,” which she will put up first on YouTube and iTunes, to be followed in August 2011 by a 5-song EP, which she will release herself rather than through a label, so at least she and her mom are already learning to hang on to those master recordings.

Just a few words of advice to Ms. Black, from a layperson’s perspective…just make sure you put together a grassroots tour that would benefit you financially. Options would range from a “mall tour,” like everyone from Tiffany to Selena Gomez has done over the years, with a corporate sponsor to back it; to maybe playing some small auditoriums. I was going to suggest “house concerts,” but I think you’re a bit too popular for those.

While Rebecca Black is getting more time added to her fame clock, Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate whom I wrote about last month for his plans to innovate digital education, is loosing the fame clock. Maybe you’ve known by now that Murdoch had to shut down one of his newspapers in London after charges circulated that the paper’s staff had hacked cellphones of everyone from victims of murder and 9/11/01 terrorism to celebrities and government officials.

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What’s the Problem With the Economy? ‘The Truth’ In Less Than Two Minutes Fifteen Seconds.

What’s the Problem With the Economy? ‘The Truth’ In Less Than Two Minutes Fifteen Seconds.

Whenever a complex issue like the economy can be summed up in a matter of seconds, or in this case a matter of minutes, regardless of viewpoint—it’s worth a  post.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich delivers “the big picture in less than two minutes fifteen seconds.”

  • Economy doubles since 1980, but wages flat

1. Since 1980, the American economy has doubled in size. But adjusting for inflation, most people’s wages have barely increased.

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Does The ‘TV Everywhere’ (Almost, But Not Quite) Business Model Violate Antitrust Laws?

Does The ‘TV Everywhere’ (Almost, But Not Quite) Business Model Violate Antitrust Laws?

During a video advertising summit meeting held in New York during the first week of June 2011, representatives from Comcast/NBC, TimeWarner’s Turner, and Disney’s ESPN, predicted that TV “everywhere” was imminent, and that by 2013, three-fourths of TV content would be available online and on mobile devices.

The representatives are already aware of the impact that Netflix is making, but they also think that broadband caps could be what would hold it back, to say nothing of trying to clear the rights for much of that content.

Since Comcast is both an owner of cable-phone-broadband systems, as well as a content provider through its ownership of NBC, USA, Syfy, MSNBC, CNBC, Versus, Golf Channel, Weather Channel, Bravo, Oxygen and a few other channels, it can be argued that the idea of “TV everywhere” advocated by Comcast, among others, could clash with their own idea of capping their subscribers’ use of broadband.

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Touche To The Douche TechCrunch—From The Silicon To The Silicone

Touche To The Douche TechCrunch—From The Silicon To The Silicone

A TechCrunch article today announced a new Silicon Valley douchebag: “There’s a new douchebag in town. We’ve written several times about how easy it is now to start a company in the Valley, and this new gold seeker isn’t the biz dev guy. He’s the knock-off wunderkind.”

Funny—just yesterday while attending an AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers) lunch at The House Of Blues in Hollywood, I sat next to a native Angelino in the independent music publishing business and yes, I proceeded to chat his ear off—that’s what I do best—great conversation ensued, including that of “the douchebag.” We were there for a panel called “Show Me More Money” (reviewing royalty statements, questioning PRO’s, conducting royalty audits, etc.), which I suppose is oddly appropriate for a quick-blip commentary on “douchebagery,” plus nary I waste a face-to-face opportunity to meet and greet industry people—relationships are king. Although, make no mistake, yesterday’s AIMP panel was the bomb—brilliant minds in the fields of finance and litigation, including the creator of (David) Bowie Bonds, coming together on a serious subject. I merely found the panel title, “Show Me More Money,” somewhat humorous against the douchebag backdrop of this post.

Anyway, during our conversation when I found out my ‘new best friend’ was born and raised in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills to be precise, I asked him how he felt about all of the transplants, i.e. non-natives, who manage to follow the yellow brick road, making their way to a place where dreams come true and only the tough survive—welcome to Hollywood. On the whole, he said that he loved the influx of new people into the L.A. scene, but very keenly noted that yes, there was a Hollywood Douchebag, often a transplant, and it wasn’t pretty.

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Class…Get Your iPads Out…Pencils May Not Be Necessary

Class…Get Your iPads Out…Pencils May Not Be Necessary

It’s not enough that Kindles are being introduced in schools to replace printed textbooks. Now there are some schools that are, on are planning on, going deeper than Kindles, with iPads in the classroom.

In South St. Paul, Minnesota, over $600,000 will be spent during the next 3 years to purchase iPads for 600 of the city’s 3200 students, plus 280 more for staff and school district board members. South St. Paul superintendent Dave Webb told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his town is one that “cares about students and wants the best technology available for them.”

By joining other school districts from several states in purchasing these iPads, South St. Paul is spending $538 for each one. Not bad, considering that’s about how much an iPad2 might cost.

In the Charleston, SC area, students at two elementary schools will be getting iPads after a test run involving several classrooms at one of the schools was considered a success. Teacher Amy Winsted of Drayton Hall Elementary told WCSC-TV 5 in Charleston that iPad usage has “made a huge difference in learning. The kids’ test grades have gotten much better.”

Plans are for iPads, like Kindles, to be used in place of printed texts, with the eventual goal of making sure every student in the Charleston County School District gets an iPad.

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SF MusicTech Summit—Music. People. Tech.

SF MusicTech Summit—Music. People. Tech.

On Monday, May 9, visionaries and high-tech players from all parts of the music technology spectrum will meet in San Francisco for the SF MusicTech Summit to “talk shop” on the evolving music industry ecosystem—converging culture and commerce and bringing together the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians, and organizations in a proactive dealmaking environment.

The range of guest speakers, panelists, and attendees include founders and representatives from leading music-tech companies like Slacker, SoundExchange, Pandora, Topspin Media, Live Nation, and MOG, to tech and business press like TechCrunch, Bloomberg / Businessweek Magazine, and Billboard Magazine, to musicians like Lead Singer of Incubus, Brandon Boyd, and Incubus Guitarist, Mike Einziger, to VC groups like Walden Venture Capital, and organizations like GoGirls Music —”Cuz Chicks Rock!” says their Fearless Leader and Founder of Social Networks for Business, Madaln Sklar.

One of my favorite, new music-tech businesses in attendance is StageIt—a platform that brings together artists and fans, akin to a modern-day fireside chat. StageIt was founded by Evan Lowenstein of Evan and Jaron—the Pop/Rock, Top 40 hit-making duo who topped the charts in 2000 while signed with Columbia Records with their self-titled album Evan and Jaron—the StageIt concept is ripe and ready to blow-open living room doors across the globe by providing a platform for artists to “interact with your fans LIVE at anytime and from anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you have millions of fans or just a few, you now have an online stage where you can showcase your talents to the world and make money!”

“StageIt isn’t about broadcasting concerts online. It’s about sharing the amazing moments that happen in between. Did a friend drop by to jam? StageIt. Got a new tune you’re working on? StageIt. Getting ready to go on stage? StageIt. The front row seat is the most expensive in the house, but the place everyone wants to be is backstage. We made it so easy for you to finally give your fans a row seat to your ‘backstage’ experiences.”

How cool is that? What’s even cooler? Alongside an artist’s live performance onscreen is a tip jar, merchandise store, and chat window—clever, classy, brilliant, and 100% on par with the future.

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Cap the Net…Spoil the Competition? Super Wi-Fi, Broadband Co-Op’s, and Mesh Networks? And Could Google Become the New Word for ‘Internet Service Provider’?

Cap the Net…Spoil the Competition? Super Wi-Fi, Broadband Co-Op’s, and Mesh Networks? And Could Google Become the New Word for ‘Internet Service Provider’?

So AT&T is about to join Comcast and a few others by imposing limits on how much wired broadband subscribers can download per month. While 150-250 gigabytes a month isn’t as extreme as smaller caps in other parts of the world, never mind the caps imposed on many wireless broadband subscribers, it renders the idea of unlimited broadband service all but irrelevant here in the U.S. And that’s on top of the fact that U.S. broadband customers pay more for slower broadband than most other industrialized nations.

These same companies also provide cable TV service that isn’t subject to the imposition of limits on how much a subscriber can watch.

When another cable concern, Time Warner, which hasn’t imposed any downloading limits as of yet, is said to have made, from its revenues, 30 times what it spent on providing broadband service to its customers, then on the surface it could be suggested that the caps that service providers are imposing on Internet downloads is a money grab.

True, AT&T suggested that only 2% of its subscribers will be affected by the caps, and the average consumer downloads 18 gigabytes a month. But when everything from cloud computing and storage to Netflix is either already happening or in the process of happening online, that means more gigabytes to download, and more people at risk of breaking the cap and having to pay more, if not get their service cut off.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Geocaching: A SmartPhone Adventure

Geocaching: A SmartPhone Adventure

As much as I love being indoors playing on some computing device, there are times when I want to be out playing in the sun. I am fortunate that I live in Southern California. I spend weekends exploring the many things to do from Ventura to San Diego. But something caught my eye recently. Geocaching.

What is this thing might you ask? Let me tell you.

Geocaching Hide-and-Seek Container

Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, or other navigational techniques, to hunt hide-and-seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches,” anywhere in the world. Simply: It’s a treasure hunting game that requires some sort of GPS. Think pirate maps where “X” marks the spot, but then add technology.

Geocaching is more similar to the 150-year-old game letterboxing, which uses clues and references to landmarks embed into stories. Geocaching was conceived shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from GPS on May 1, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon.

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Textbooks Go Kindle, Grades Increase

Textbooks Go Kindle, Grades Increase

When the school term started in August 2010, Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Florida USA, embarked on a new approach to that old scholastic standby known as the textbook.

You remember textbooks? They were those big, clunky, printed things you had to lug around from class to class 5 or 6 times each day, and you weren’t supposed to write on, or otherwise mess, with them. Then, when the day was done, you either had to store the books in a locker and hope no one broke in and stole them. Or, perhaps, you took one or more of those books home with you if you had to do some homework.

But the new approach that Clearwater High took was one that was never tried before, at least not on-campus, and that was giving each student an e-reader; specifically, a Kindle. This “Kindle-ization” at Clearwater High not only made it easier on the students as far as carrying books around, but it also made it easier on the school itself because of the savings in costs versus buying hard-copy textbooks.

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Social Media to the Rescue: Helps with Network Congestion

Social Media to the Rescue: Helps with Network Congestion

The state of the mobile network during and after Japan’s earthquake was in shambles. The emergency services and local authorities used what was left of the badly damaged network. But fear not my little social media peeps; during such emergencies, it seems Twitter, Facebook, and in Japan’s case Mixi all remained untouched by the natural disaster.

Ok kids, let’s explore what happens and how social networks are the best source of communication during major catastrophes.

  1. The primary objective of any network provider during an emergency is to immediately limit the cell phone (voice) usage on the network. It needs to be maintained for emergency purposes only. Having everyone on the network is usually not a good thing in normal circumstances, but especially in emergency situations. And the gut reaction, we all have them, is to make a phone call to hear the voice of a friend or loved one.
  2. The second objective of the network provider is that it needs to control its sms (text) service. As with all techie nations Japan uses text as a viable form of communication, not just to find which bar the friends are headed to. But communication with all circles in their lives.

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Shaken Up! The iShake App Measures Earthquake Damage—A Valuable Emergency Tool.

Shaken Up! The iShake App Measures Earthquake Damage—A Valuable Emergency Tool.

As seen in Japan, earthquakes are monsters. The latest info and technology has been aimed at prediction and awareness. However, the latest in earthquake technology has turned to the community at large. The iShake Project developed by University of California, Berkeley Civil Engineering is using the smartphone network to help emergency responders locate the most heavily damaged areas during an earthquake through its user base. The new “social media,” and I hesitate to label it that, application uses the accelerometer to collect ground motion intensity and runs in the background of your smartphone. When an earthquake hits, it sends a report to emergency services to assess the most damaged areas so that they are able to respond accordingly.

This turns every phone with the app into an effective earthquake measuring device. The data gleaned from the application is a valuable source of information, not only for emergency responders, but for us John Q. Public. The application allows us to see the damaged areas as well through its iShake map. We then can avoid areas of heavy damage and allow the responders to get in. Through iShake people will be able to make use of their own smartphones and participate in an effective and valuable process to inform emergency responders in the event of an earthquake.

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Is Video Webcasting Of Sports Teams Workable?

Is Video Webcasting Of Sports Teams Workable?

Recently, Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek reported that YouTube was in negotiations with the NBA and NHL, and that an executive with YouTube’s owners, Google, is also negotiating with other pro sports leagues worldwide.

Since YouTube is, of course, owned by Google, and they have lots of money, they are the ones who seem to be in position to go after the big leagues.  But what about the smaller leagues?

Many minor pro leagues, such as in baseball, hockey and indoor football, don’t televise their games as often as the big ones do, simply because the money’s not there from the cable or local-TV content providers to pay for the rights to show the games live. Some of those minor-league teams do broadcast their games in sound only, either by buying time on a local radio station [because radio stations can’t afford to buy the rights to air the games on their own, like they used to], or by webcasting on the Internet, using a provider like Audio Sports Online or even uStream. In the case of the latter, a few teams will use single-camera video.

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SXSW 2011 ‘The Power of the International Geek Community’ and Sound-Bites with Tim O’Reilly

SXSW 2011 ‘The Power of the International Geek Community’ and Sound-Bites with Tim O’Reilly

I’m at the Austin Convention Center as SXSW “Day 1″ is officially underway. Parking was almost a nightmare, but I narrowly escaped the loop-around by finding an open lot on 7th & Trinity, phew. On the way in, I spotted one of Chris Sacca’s latest ventures—Uber Cab. I had seen him tweet that Uber was making its debut in the Austin market during SXSW.

While awaiting keynote speakers, or interview rather, with the amazing Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) by Jason Calacanis in Ballroom D on Level 4, everybody is friendly and opening up conversations centered around technology and living. For example, the two guys next to me are talking about the latest trends in education-based technology, Bill Gates, and The Food Network.

The opening remarks from the SXSW camp centered around “The power of the international geek community,” and indeed, that is the feeling of the day and perhaps the week here as the SXSW Interactive, Film & Music Conference rolls on. As well, SXSW has set up relief efforts for Japan, hoping to raise $10,000 this week. To donate, please visit SXSW4Japan. Yes, the power of the international geek community is alive.

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