Pebble Still The Only Smartwatch That Works With iPhone, Now Priced To Move

Pebble-smartwatch-best-buy-retail-boxI bought a Pebble smartwatch today at Best Buy.  Special holiday pricing ($119), a $30 instant coupon for anybody with a .edu email address, and extended return policy all influenced the purchase.  I had also been waiting for more apps and watchfaces.  Here’s my first impression of Pebble having finally bought the smartwatch. Continue reading

Khosla Ventures Joins YC VC Program As Investor And Advisor

Y CombinatorKhosla Ventures has joined Y Combinator’s YC VC Program, reports Silicon Valley Business Journal.  This new involvement by Khosla Ventures replaces Yuri Milner in YC VC.  I mentioned Vinod Khosla this past November (Soylent Is A Nutritious Meal-Replacement Shake Mix And Experiment In Food Engineering By Startups).  The addition of Khosla Ventures as an advisor offers some refreshing implications for YC startups. Continue reading

SpaceBase Is Spatial Database Software And In-Memory Data Grid For MMORPG Games And Many Other Real-World Uses

spacebaseSpaceBase, by Parallel Universe, is real-time spatial database server software for applications that require very low latencies or very frequent updates.  Geometric structuring of data has many practical uses.  Massively multiplayer online games (MMORPG), military simulations, c4i systems, certain graphing scenarios, and dynamic moving object location services all rely on solutions like SpaceBase.  Understanding spatial data stores requires a brief explanation of their differences from common relational databases in concept and application.  Parallel Universe is on my Quora post of YC S12′s best startups.  SpaceBase could eventually be a standard used alongside development ecosystems like Unity3d. Continue reading

Swiftype Is Modern Site Search For Websites That Works In WordPress

swiftypeSwiftype is a new simple search engine for your website.  Features of Swiftype include easy integration, detailed , and custom result ranking.  There’s also a WordPress plugin.  Rarely these days do you read about a new search engine company.  Swiftype is worth writing about because its a fresh alternative in a market that hasn’t changed much in the last decade. Continue reading

Games People Play: Heyzap, Humble Bundle, And Kamcord Provide Discovery, Monetization, and Sharing

osmosWinning as an independent game developer requires more than graphics, mechanics, and a soundtrack.  Hit games mean big rewards, though.  OMGPOP was acquired in 2012 for at least $180 million dollars.  Just one game, Draw Something, is largely to credit for that company’s success.  Draw Something went viral in less than two months, gaining more than 35 million downloads and 10 million daily active users.  Promotion fuels those kinds of achievements.  Monetization enables earning some coin on the journey.  Heyzap, Humble Bundle, and Kamcord make solutions for game discovery, monetization, and sharing. Continue reading

Airbnb vs. New York: Lobby Group Funded By Airbnb Supports Airbnb, Lawmakers Express Concern

airbnbDo Airbnb hosts in New York have an expectation of privacy when violating state law out in the open on the Internet?  That’s a central issue in Airbnb’s legal struggle against the New York Attorney General.  The Internet Association, a lobby group funded by Airbnb, filed a brief today supporting Airbnb.  Having read through all its legal papers, I remain convinced the company will be required to provide details about hosts.  This is my third post in the saga of Airbnb vs. New York.  My first post focused on the basis of the attorney general’s request.  The second entry involved complaints by neighbors and property managers.  This post includes a two-page letter written by New York State Senator Liz Krueger. Continue reading

Airware Makes Complete Flight Control Systems For Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Commercial Drones In U.S. By 2015

airwareAirware provides a complete platform for commercial unmanned aerial systems, commonly known as drones.  Regulation of commercial drones into U.S. airspace by 2015 is required through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 signed into law this past February.  The initial economic benefit of commercial drones has been estimated at more than $13 billion dollars.  With every drone requiring integrated flight control systems, Airware is clear for take-off as the possible standard in an exciting new market. Continue reading

Codecademy Is Free Interactive Computer Programming Lessons For HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, & Ruby

codecademyCodecademy is user-contributed tutorials for HTML/CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and Ruby.  There’s a gallery of specific projects, including Build a Cash Register and A Night at the Movies.  Despite some issues, Codecademy has legitimate potential.  Zach Sims, Codecademy co-founder, was recently interviewed by Stephen Colbert on ‘Colbert Report’ (embedded below). Continue reading

Soylent Is A Nutritious Meal-Replacement Shake Mix And Experiment In Food Engineering By Startups

soylentSoylent is a dry powder shake mix designed as a meal-replacement drink.  The mix contains “an assortment of… vitamins deemed medically necessary for a person to live.”  Soylent, a product of Rosa Labs, started as a Crowdhoster campaign that resulted in over $1.5 million pre-orders.  The meal-replacement drink also just raised a $1.5 million seed round.  Rather than the recipe, Soylent’s real value may be the experience gained in building a food engineering startup. Continue reading

New York Building Supervisors Warn Tenants: Airbnb Is Not Welcome Here. [Airbnb Lawsuit Filings Attached]

airbnbNew York property managers don’t want their buildings in online listings of cheap nightly rentals.  Building supervisors have begun formally warning residents against listing their apartment on short-term rental services like Airbnb.  Property managers are also asking tenants to report neighbors they suspect are using such services.  Airbnb’s Fight Against New York And Protecting The Forgotten Rights of Neighbors was my previous post about the company’s ongoing controversy in New York.  Provided by journalist Nancy Scola, embedded at the bottom of this post are Airbnb’s filings in its suit against the New York Attorney General. Continue reading