Imagine If Aaron Swartz Had Lived

aaronycAaron Swartz’ death a year ago was absolutely a tragedy.  The grand jury indictment conceded Aaron had legitimate access to JSTOR through Harvard’s Center for Ethics.  Even though the alleged hacking occurred at MIT, how could he “steal” documents that were free?  If Aaron had no prior criminal record, why did a plea bargain require prison time?  Questions like these are now moot.  Aaron Swartz is gone.  Gone, but not forgotten. Continue reading

2013 In Review For Y Combinator

ycuniverseY Combinator Universe published more than a hundred blog posts in 2013.   Topics covered everything from relationship apps for couples to in-memory relational databases.  I wrote about fashion startups and wearable devices.  The acquisition of a dozen companies were mentioned.  And Demo Day for two new batches were detailed, YC W13 and YC S13.  Here’s a few highlights from 2013. Continue reading

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