The Saturday Evening Post has a prominent spot in the history of American magazines. It’s where artist Norman Rockwell made a name for himself, and it has published classic American authors like Edgar Allan Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But if you had no idea that it was still around, you’re not alone — the magazine’s technology director Steve Harman said that many people “are surprised we’re still publishing.”
Yes, it is still putting out a magazine every two months, with a circulation of about 350,000. Subscribers are mostly in their 50s, but The Post is trying to reach younger readers and adapt to the digital world, as recounted in a couple of stories earlier this year. Now it’s taking the next step in that direction with the release of its iPad and iPhone app, which was built by digital publishing company Yudu.
“Lately, there’s been a lot of commitment convert the post into a 21st century media company,” Harman said.
He added that this isn’t The Post’s first move onto tablets and e-readers. It’s already available on the Nook and in Google Play — he said that wasn’t a conscious strategy, but rather a response to overtures from Barnes & Noble and Google. The Post knew it was important to get onto Apple devices too, but it needed to find the right partner to make it happen.
The app itself includes digitized versions of The Post’s issues going back to November/December 2012 — you can enter your existing subscription information, buy a subscription, or purchase individual issues for $3.99 each. The issues themselves are a pretty straightforward PDFs of The Post’s print publication, without additional interactivity or media. Harman said that if Wired represents the cutting edge of what a magazine can do on the iPad, “we’re at the opposite end of the spectrum.”
He doesn’t want to stay that way for long, however — he said The Post chose to work with Yudu because of the promise of adding videos and interactivity. One unique opportunity: The Post already tries to highlight aspects of its long history in the magazine, but the digital versions (which don’t have limited space) provide an opportunity to do that much more of that.
The Post’s broader challenge is trying to court a younger audience without making it seem like it doesn’t value its existing, older readers. I could see that in the May/June table of contents — putting actor Alan Alda‘s face on the cover probably won’t persuade many folks younger than 40 to buy the issue, but there are also stories on Star Trek, Mad Men, and the speed of WiFi in America. And Harman said the magazine’s digital strategy is particularly important for reaching a broader audience. That strategy covers tablet, smartphone, and e-reader editions, and it also includes The Post’s website, which is supposed to be overhauled next month.
Basho Co-Founder Antony Falco has raised $3 million for Orchestrate.io, a database API similar to Twilio in its capability to ease the complexity of adding features to mobile and web applications. True Ventures led this initial round joined by Frontline Ventures and Resonant Venture Partners.
Falco, who left Basho a few months ago, said Orchestrate.io solves the problems that developers face when building feature-rich applications. Often it means adding multiple databases for geo-spatial, time series or any number of other features.
The database problem has been ongoing. It in part stems from the limits of scale with relational databases. Over the years, companies like Amazon and Google reached their own ceilings and were forced to develop new kinds of databases for high-volume queries. The result is a lot of time spent babysitting databases so the applications run well.
Orchestrate.io acts as a service on a service, abstracting the database layer. Twilio successfully simplified the way developers accessed services, such as SMS and voice. Falco sees a service that also allows developers to add features by pulling the data through an API . “The comparison with Twilio and Sendgrid is not around the problem we solve but the pattern,” Falco said in an email interview. “We are taking a complex and burdensome task — running lots of databases — and putting it behind an API that programmers can use to more quickly build apps. Twilio and Sendgrid both do a similar thing, vastly simplifying the complex, for telecom and email infrastructure, respectively.
Orchestrate.io uses in-memory technology for its service. “Memory — storing indexes and hot data in memory — will be critical to performance,” Falco said. “There are three tiers – the active data and indexes in memory, disk storage for durability and data less often accessed, and as data ages and becomes inactive, a cheaper tier of fault-tolerant storage. The more we serve reads out of the memory, the better our performance will be and, without a lot of latency, users will be able to execute relatively rich queries that might require three or four queries, made sequentially, to separate databases.”
Orchestrate.io is using open source databases to build the service. “We aren’t going to build databases,” Falco said. “The databases themselves can change; we are not tied to any one database. Riak (a Basho service) is of course ideal for this use case — for forming part of the foundation of this service. But other than that, we aren’t really tied to any one thing.”
The company will use multiple data centers for its service to help get the data as close as possible to the application and the user. That makes sense considering the potential performance issues that may come when a large enough group of users are using a service that is just in one place.
For example, an application may be installed in Amazon Web Services East region, and there might be a large number of users in London. Orchestrate will have a large enough data center footprint across different providers to accommodate users no matter their locations.
The interesting story for me is about the future of the database. The real gold is in the data, but it is like a pool of oil without a way to access it. Databases access the data, organize and make it available for query. It’s inefficient. And that’s just when a developer is dealing with one database. Add a few as the features build out and the developer faces a Rube Goldberg system. It’s about getting the work done, not herding cats in a data center.
Editor’s note: Kakul Srivastava is CEO and co-founder of Tomfoolery, Inc. She was General Manager for Flickr from 2004 – 2009 and helped the product grow from 37,000 users to over 60 million. Simon Batistoni is VP of Platform and co-founder of Tomfoolery, Inc. He joined Flickr in 2006 as the engineering lead for internationalization.
People can’t help but look at the Tumblr acquisition through a lens colored by the many examples of large, public (and often screwed-up) tech acquisitions by Yahoo and others — Marissa even refers to it in her blog post announcing the deal.
As leaders who helped to guide the Flickr team in its early history at Yahoo!, we had front-row seats as Flickr was (sometimes painfully) integrated with the larger Yahoo! organization. Despite this pain, we believe that Flickr has come a long way as part of Yahoo!, and yesterday’s announcement of a major redesign and refocus is a testament to the continued excellence of the core Flickr team.
Kakul, a product/business professional, joined Flickr just as the ink dried on the acquisition deal. She represented Flickr’s needs through painful acquisition-integration check-ins and figured out how (and if) any of Flickr’s roadmap needed to change based on Yahoo!’s larger corporate needs. Simon, a hacker/engineer, was responsible for creating the translation technology and internationalization infrastructure that allowed Flickr to begin serving customers in Yahoo!’s overseas markets.
- Yahoo! is on an upswing — at least in hype — and hope is rampant.
- The advertising powerhouse has acquired fast-growing sites featuring rich-media content and extremely passionate communities.
- There are ardent reassurances that independent growth will be nurtured.
- Both products are missing “e”s in their names.
So as former Flickr employees, here is some practical advice from us to our friends at Tumblr, humbly shared:Don’t pretend it’s not happening or that it doesn’t matter.
Regardless of who’s involved, acquisitions always make communities nervous, if only because they represent significant change. For some people, an acquisition can feel almost like a betrayal, and some Tumblr community members will be looking for any reason to justify their distrust of the situation.
The more honest you can be about the direction you’re taking and the reasons behind it, the better. Give your members a means to easily communicate back to you — the Flickr Forum, while sometimes contentious, has always been a great bellwether of how the community feels, as well as an opportunity for the team to explain and (hopefully) reassure.
Open discussions can be exhausting to manage, but they’re often more rewarding (and instill more confidence in your community) than pronouncements with no outlet for feedback. Avoid reassuring platitudes that gloss over the issues – if putting ads on the Dashboard will allow you to reach a goal of tripling annual revenue, it’s better to say so plainly. Honesty is appreciated by most communities, even if the truth is unpleasant.Don’t forget you’re awesome.
Merging your company culture with another is a bit like combining a Trifle and a Tiramisu into a single dessert, layer by layer — hard work, probably messy, and it might taste a bit weird for a while. Losing focus on how you all work together can make the difficult moments seem worse than they really are.
Don’t forget that your culture isn’t just important to you — it’s important to Yahoo! too. Over the years, Flickr had many opportunities to influence the wider culture at Yahoo! including:
- Innovative approaches to database sharding, website localization and geographic data handling which were adopted by other teams, and informed company-wide initiatives.
- A highly productive team culture focussed around continuous deployment, which influenced a general trend towards faster development of many Yahoo! products.
- Faceball, one of many ongoing experiments in office clowning, which became something of an official Yahoo! “sport,” and was even played live onstage by senior company management.
Tumblr can set new precedents on how to join and influence Yahoo!’s culture and management. Equally importantly, a truly strong product is usually the result of the strong, connected team behind it. When acquisitions wither on the vine, it’s often a symptom of that team having dispersed over time, taking too much knowledge and culture with them.
However, the magic that really binds a team is larger than any one individual and can persist through multiple “generations” of people, provided everybody feels ownership of it. Ensure that new team members understand the value of the culture you’ve built, and the history that led you from being an experimental blog engine to a 400-million-user powerhouse.
At Flickr, we had several traditions to aid in ensuring that history and culture were passed along. When veteran members left the team, they were asked to provide a “last lecture,” summarizing the most important things they knew, and the lessons they’d learned at Flickr. Equally, new employees spent time with managers from each department during their first week on the job, learning more about how the team operated, the product philosophy, and the engineering infrastructure that made it all work. Every new Flickr team member was also encouraged to spend a day answering member help questions, which allowed everyone to understand how to communicate with the community, and the common problems they had with using the product.
Finally, the importance of goofing around was also underscored by regular bouts of spontaneous dancing, foam-dart wars and liberal posting of lolcats on the walls.Plan for the Bear Hug.
Yahoo is a friendly place — and everyone will want to greet the new neighbors. Everyone will want to figure how they can work better with you. Everyone will have ideas about what Tumblr can do to support their property. By and large, these meetings come from a genuine desire to be a better partner, but they can take time and focus away from your core mission and slow the whole team down. Sometimes too much of this “love” can be overwhelming, and at times it definitely led the Flickr team to handle the overtures less than gracefully. In some cases, this led to relationship management headaches for years.
Allocate a “first point of contact” to triage the ideas and opportunities that come your way. Filtering in this way will allow you to seize the best opportunities and execute well on them, without draining your resources trying to handle too much. And remember that, while the occasional approach will be from someone furthering an agenda of their own, most folks are trying to help both Yahoo! and Tumblr get better. Even if their approach is clumsy, they mean well.Think bigger.
Tumblr has promised to continue executing on its own roadmap, and right now that’s essential. But Yahoo! wants 1+1 to equal 5 (or even 15), not just 2. Back when Flickr was acquired, it seemed everyone was thinking about what the “Flickrization of Yahoo” might mean — except for the team at Flickr. We just wanted to keep Flickr as “Flickrized” as we could. In our case, we missed out on some promising avenues for product improvement and growth.
Don’t forget to leverage what Yahoo! can really add to your business. Whether it’s 24-hour datacenter support, the world’s largest Hadoop cluster, international legal expertise or better Tumblr schwag, you now have access to the resources of a large company that wants you to succeed. Relying on these resources whenever you can will free you up to focus on the things — your core team and your product — that you’re truly the experts on.Know how deep the rabbit hole goes.
For both parties to really benefit from the acquisition, Tumblr will need to embrace certain Yahoo! technologies and infrastructure, but sometimes a successful integration can be much more complex than it initially seems. Will it require that you host Tumblr in Yahoo! datacenters? Perhaps you’ll also need to start using Yahoo! IDs or introduce new features to comply with foreign laws? When large, complex “sub-problems” crop up halfway through a project, the knock-on effects can cost months of time to address.
Make sure you’re always asking questions and scoping out the entire landscape – a large company like Yahoo! has some intrinsic challenges and approaches that will be unfamiliar, and you need to be ready to embrace and work through them. Being a part of Yahoo! will subtly change a few things about how you do business.
- You’re a bigger target for hackers hoping to get access to Yahoo! data, or to “punish” Yahoo! for a mistake that might have nothing to do with you.
- You’re a bigger target for opportunists like patent trolls looking for a quick payout from an “Internet giant”
- Yahoo! is a multinational company with offices in many countries — the legal landscape in which you operate will likely change as a result.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people for a “gut check” even if you feel like you’re asking a silly question. It’s better to spend 20 minutes before you start ensuring that your security measures are adequate, or you’re legally compliant, versus having to significantly rework a project after you thought it was finished.Parting Words.
We are still passionate advocates of Flickr, we use Yahoo! Mail, and run our company blog on Tumblr. We are thrilled about these marriages and can’t wait for you all to show us how well it can be done.
You can play the game, titled Say The Same Thing, with one of your friends or with a randomly chosen player. (If you sign up now, you can also participate in a temporary promotion where people are randomly selected to play with a band member.) Each player types in a word, then you see what the other player said, and you use that as prompt for another word. As the game’s title implies, you win when each of you enters the same word.
It helps if you understand the other player’s interests. For example, I was playing with Graphicly‘s Micah Baldwin — after several rounds, I entered “Perry White,” he entered “Smallville,” and we won by both entering “Lana Lang.”
I also got a chance to play the game with OK Go’s lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash. (Like how I just dropped that in casually?) I don’t want to give away exactly what happens in the video, but I will say that we totally nailed it.
This isn’t just an app that OK Go stuck its name on, either — Kulash said it was programmed by the band’s guitarist Andy Ross. Apparently band members play a live version of the game together, so eventually they decided to turn it into an app:
At some point we realized, hey, there’s no reason why we need to just put out songs. We can put out everything we want — we make videos, we make shows, why not make apps. … We’ve always been interested in tech as a sort of canvas. We try to make art for the world we live in, and this is where we live now. We live on Skype, we live on our laptops and on our phones.
Traditional recordings of music live in this space really well. Like, we’re making an album right now that will be finished sometime this summer, and we’ll probably put it out in the fall or maybe in the winter, and it’s great to listen to on your phone, it’s great to listen to on your laptop, but there’s all these other things that your laptop and your phone can do that musicians 30 years ago couldn’t imagine and artists 30 years ago couldn’t imagine. I think working in these spaces has always been exciting to us, and we’re just lucky that we have a programmer in our band, because it means that we can test things out like this.
Producteev's Social Task Manager Now Free And Enterprise-Ready As It Preps For Full Jive Integration Later This Year
In November, Jive Software acquired Bay Area cloud-based, collaborative task manager, Producteev, to boost its social business platform. Going forward, as Alex wrote at the time, Salesforce.com and Jive will increasingly butt heads as they compete for mindshare in the enterprise. With Producteev’s multi-platform task-management system, which allows users to create tasks from emails and collaborate around projects in teams, Jive acquired a service that was already beginning to compete with Asana and Salesforce.com’s Do.com.
Producteev has been quiet since the acquisition, but that changed today, with the announcement that the startup is launching a revamped version of its social task management platform. The biggest change, founder Ilan Abehassera tells us, is that the new Producteev targets larger companies (naturally, given its acquirer) and is entirely free. Yes, this means that companies of any size will be able to use Producteev for free — no strings attached.
The founder tells us that, in spite of the “By Jive” addendum to the company name, Producteev continues to operate as a startup and remains a standalone offering inside Jive’s product ecosystem. The team is still working on integrating the task management platform into Jive’s products, which it hopes to have completed by the end of the year. It’s not clear yet how pricing will change (if at all) once the integration is complete.
When asked “why free?” the founder said that he believes “tasks are the most basic, fundamental part of getting work done” and, as such, are “the way into the enterprise.” For that reason, and for ease-of-adoption sake, Abehassera takes the “fewer barriers, the better” approach, as going free offers Producteev users (and beyond) a more frictionless pipe into Jive.
The platform has been free to individuals up to this point, but this move is clearly something that the company has wanted to do for some time, and now that it’s under the Jive umbrella, it has the latitude to do so, especially with integration coming this year. As of now, there are no Jive products that I’m aware of that are available for free (forever), so the likelihood that its social collaboration module comes without a price? Not high.
The changes evident in the “revamped” Producteev are notable, and the team has been working on the new version of the platform for the last 11+ months. The result, the founder says, is that Producteev has pretty much been rebuilt from scratch. Firstly, that means Producteev added a lot of scalable tech on the backend to allow for new users coming over from Jive’s other products — with more to come once the products are integrated.
The new backend is also relevant considering that, since its inception, Producteev has really been focused on startups and small teams. But its newest iteration sees it re-tooled for larger companies and allows them to more effectively break up teams into smaller groups (and collaborate within those groups).
Jive is currently working on a new task-management module/dashboard to integrate into its enterprise social networking platform, and as of now, its collaboration and task-management capabilities leave plenty to be desired. Producteev’s new features help shore up that gap and fit into the new social (and social collaboration) image it’s trying to sell to its clients and compete with the likes of bigs like IBM (and Salesforce.com).
In addition, the new design, which includes its apps for the web, iPhone, Android and Mac, introduces the notion of “Networks,” allowing users to collaborate with their entire company — something that wasn’t possible in previous versions. Producteev has also added Dropbox integration so that users can quickly attach Dropbox files to tasks and activity feeds on projects, which enable users to see updates on projects in real time.
Users can also now assign tasks to multiple teammates, tag tasks for easier filtering later on, follow individual tasks and take advantage of one-click filtering.
All in all, Producteev is starting to look more like a quality, enterprise-grade social task-management system. Granted, it’s still not all the way there, as the platform isn’t something you’d use if you’re working on heavy-duty industrial design projects — completing the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, for example. But for most other uses, this is a welcome upgrade for Producteev. And now that it’s free, it wouldn’t be that surprising to see this take off in the same way Yammer did before Microsoft got a hold of it — at least until those integrations hit the pavement.
Wall Street apparently wanted something more revolutionary out of the Xbox One that launched today, as Microsoft’s stock is down 0.66 percent. In turn, investors on news of a potential spin off, pushed Sony shares up 9 percent, coincidentally just after Microsoft announced its answer to the Sony Playstation.
Microsoft’s debut of the Xbox One today touted features including live TV, Skype group video chat, split-screen multi-tasking, voice command, social recommendations, a more sensitive Kinect, and stronger hardware for next-generation graphics. A deep partnership with Electronic Arts, Steven Spielberg’s involvement in a Halo TV series for Xbox, and exclusive early access to downloadable content for the new Call Of Duty game were all announced as well. Still, there wasn’t one thing that left people saying “PlayStation is screwed.”
The complexities of integrating with live TV and the lack of an obvious killer feature contributed to $MSFT staying flat on the day, closing down 0.66 percent, or $0.23, to $34.85. AMD, maker of the bits inside the Xbox One, also ended slightly down today, closing at 4.02, down 1.95% on the day. Both Microsoft and AMD are on an upward swing, most notable since the beginning of May when the invite for today’s announcement went out.
At the same time, Sony’s stock rose 9.25 percent, or $1.94, to reach $22.91. According to Nikkei, Sony is considering spinning off its entertainment division — a part of the company oddly left out of CEO Kazuo Hirai One Sony initiative.
But Sony wasn’t quiet on the eve of the new Xbox reveal, either. The company tried to hijack gamers’ attention to updates on Twitter and Facebook this morning with ads touting the June 10th reveal of its new PlayStation console at E3. PS4 ads told viewers they could “See It First” by RSVPing to watch Sony’s event, and offered a teaser video hosted on both Sony’s site and YouTube.
Some of what Sony has in store for the PlayStation 4 was debuted at an event in February, but details were scarce. The corporation will need a hit, though, as Sony has been hemorrhaging money with a $5.74 billion loss in its 2012 fiscal year.
The real duel will go down at E3 where both Sony and Microsoft will spill more of the beans on their new consoles. Xbox One’s incremental updates could certainly be outshined if Sony can unveil some significant advancements, not just lifeless game demos and endless specs.
[Image Credit: Spill]
PopExpert Online Video Education Marketplace Raises $2M In Seed Funding From Learn Capital And Others
As edtech startups continue to challenge the current state of higher education, and various niche startups focus on educating people through digital means, yet another company is getting a boost when it comes to helping people learn.
PopExpert, a learning marketplace that lets students connect with experts in one-on-one video chats, has just raised a $2 million seed round led by Learn Capital, with participation by Jeff Skoll, Ken Howery, Michael Chasen, and Expansion VC.
The site’s premise is simple: users can sign in and search for what they want to learn. Right now there are experts in multiple fields across the spectrum of “life, work, and play,” including meditation, nutrition, relationships, productivity, career mentoring, language and music.
Once you log in, you can search for something like “yoga” and see a list of experts, validated with credentials and tagged with a price per session. From there, just choose your expert, schedule the session, and get ready to learn. PopExpert even facilitates payments, so the entire process can be completed in one place.
According to the company, one-to-one learning is “vastly superior” to any other method.
“We are focused on areas that relate more to EQ development than IQ development, for example meditation vs. Excel training and personalized style vs. photography techniques,” explained founder Ingrid Sanders. “These areas of EQ development are particularly suited to personalized interaction with an expert, and a one-to-one interaction is by far the most efficient way to experience them.”
For now, the service is only available by invitation, but there are already more than 1,000 experts using the service to teach and make some money. PopExpert recruits these experts after doing their own mini head-hunt, looking through reviews, online sources, and books to find the best possible teachers for the platform.
PopExpert generates revenue by taking a small service fee from every transaction.
Welcome to a brand new episode of Cribs, the TechCrunch TV series that goes straight into the heart of the action at the tech industry’s hottest companies to see what it’s really like for the people who work there.
For this edition we headed out on the road to the New York City headquarters of Fab, the super-popular e-commerce site that has quickly grown over the past couple years to be one of the web’s key shopping destinations (and one of the industry’s hottest companies from a valuation perspective.)
Fab is known for selling all types of products ranging from art to jewelry to furniture, with the key commonality being great design, so our hopes were pretty high when entering into the company’s Manhattan headquarters. As you’ll see in the video above, our tour did not disappoint, and Fab co-founder and chief creative officer Bradford Shane Shellhammer was the perfect person to show us how gorgeous design and high fashion doesn’t have to be intimidating — it can actually be really fun.
Ditto, a startup that helps users virtually try on different pairs of eyeglasses, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fight a big threat — the company says it’s being sued by 1-800-CONTACTS and another company called Lennon Imaging Technology.
Ditto’s technology allows users to create webcam recordings of their faces, which they then use to see how different designer glasses will look with their facial shape and size. Both Lennon Imaging and 1-800-CONTACTS are claiming that this technology infringes their own patents. But Ditto’s campaign describes them as “patent troll” lawsuits — Lennon is a non-practicing company, meaning that it doesn’t have a product or service of its own, and Ditto co-founder and CEO Kate Endress said 1-800-CONTACTS (which is owned by WellPoint) didn’t purchase the patent in question until after the company’s CEO visited the Ditto website.
1-800-CONTACTS did not respond when I emailed for comment. However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published its own blog post in support of Ditto saying that 1-800-CONTACTS has “a long record of using the courts to bully its competitors.” That prompted a complaint from the company’s lawyer saying that 1-800-CONTACTS is not a patent troll. The EFF writes:
Sure, the company is not a classic patent troll — a shell company that does nothing but buy patents and sue—but it’s little better. Patent trolls generally want to use the club of litigation to extort licensing fees. But all indications are that 1-800-CONTACTS isn’t interested in a license from Ditto. Rather, it wants to destroy the competition.
Indeed, Endress said she’s in a tough spot, where “we cannot afford to win” — in other words, the company doesn’t have enough money to defend itself in court, and even though Ditto has raised venture funding, the threat of litigation scares off any additional investment. The company has already had to lay off three engineers, Endress said.
That’s why the company has turned to Indiegogo to fund its legal efforts. (Endress said the money will only go towards legal costs.) So far, it has raised about $5,700 of its $30,000 goal. However, the campaign page states that Ditto is looking at $30,000 to $100,000 in legal fees over the next three to six months (and potentially much more afterwards), so I’m guessing Ditto could use a lot more help if possible.
Update: A 1-800-CONTACTS spokesperson just sent me the following statement:
1-800 CONTACTS has a history putting the consumer first by promoting competition. In fact, 1-800 CONTACTS spent years working in concert with consumer advocacy groups to support the passage of the Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act. This legislation was passed by Congress and gives all Americans the right to their contact lens prescription so they can choose where to purchase contact lenses. 1-800 CONTACTS also compelled the largest contact lens manufacturers to sell to Internet retailers. Both efforts were successful and led to a more open and competitive market that has benefitted numerous online competitors and ultimately, millions of consumers.
As a leading vision retailer, 1-800 CONTACTS recognized the need to improve the online purchasing options for eyeglasses and began developing an enhanced virtual try on system that would vastly improve the consumer experience. As part of our due diligence when developing our virtual try on technology, we investigated the existing rights in this space, as is standard practice. The granted patent that 1-800 CONTACTS purchased in 2012 entitled “Interactive try-on platform for eyeglasses” was filed in 2001 and granted in 2006. Like most other companies operating a business that depends on technology, 1-800 CONTACTS purchased this patent for a reason – the patent covered what the business was doing so the patent either needed to be licensed or purchased. Ditto could have licensed or purchased the same patent, but chose to ignore it and launched their website with an infringing virtual try on feature anyway.
1-800 CONTACTS began working on our virtual try on system for Glasses.com long before Ditto was formed as a company. Glasses.com had a working demonstration of its more robust 3D virtual try on system running in 2011 – before Ditto launched its website in April 2012. Members of the 1-800 CONTACTS team visited Ditto’s website to try the virtual try on technology when it launched. Viewing competing products that are on the market is not unusual, and is in fact a responsible business practice.
1-800 CONTACTS has offered to discuss an amicable resolution to the lawsuit through licensing or other options, but instead of responding to our offer, Ditto has spent time and energy engaging in online discussions and issuing an inaccurate and misleading press release.
Ditto has found its strongest supporter in the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who has been quoted multiple times in blog articles and in Ditto’s press release. What Ditto and the EFF failed to disclose is that three members of the advisory board at the Electronic Frontier Foundation all work for Durie Tangri – the same law firm representing Ditto in this case. It is disappointing that the EFF concealed this inherent bias from the public, instead holding itself out as an impartial observer.
1-800 CONTACTS will launch our virtual try on technology next month, providing an enhanced consumer shopping experience. Our approach has taken longer to bring to market, as we developed a revolutionary virtual try on system customized for the iPad. We were honored to present our ground-breaking technology at TED in February, where we also demonstrated the app 1,650 times on 100 iPads.
- Ships with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
- 2560 x 1600 13.3-inch at 227 PPI
- 128GB SSD
- 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 Processor
- MSRP: $1,499
- Portability combined with high-quality display
- Super speedy sleep and resume
- Good battery life
- Just two USB ports
- Non-upgradeable RAM
If I could only have one MacBook (which is usually the case for your average laptop-buyer), this is the one I’d pick without hesitation. Fewer issues than its 15-inch cousin, which pioneered the Retina line, combined with a much lighter design with a smaller desktop footprint for a display that can still give you crazy amounts of screen real estate all add up to a sure-fire winner.The Most Flexible Mac
I’ve owned a lot of Macs. To find myself so ready to claim any single one a clear “winner” seems crazy, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display is it. The smaller Retina notebook has proven itself through trial by fire and continues to be the Mac I pick for nearly every situation.
For example it’s my constant companion at every travel event I ever go to. The 15-inch is just a hair too heavy and unwieldy, but the 13-inch Retina hits the sweet spot. It slides easily into any bag, takes up an amount of desk space that’s better for your peripherals and for those seated around you, and yet can stil provide you with one of the best screens in the business.
True Retina-quality graphics isn’t the reason to own this notebook. Apple’s “Best for Retina display” radial button in the Displays settings menu is something you can go ahead and forget about right now; instead, select “scaled” and crank that sucker up to the “More Space” maximum. But if that’s not enough, go grab DisplayMode from the Mac App Store and enjoy up to 2560 x 1280 resolution, which is beyond that supported by Apple’s official settings. My eyes suffer after 2048 x 1280, so that’s where I keep it, but even there you get so much screen real estate it feels positively sinful. If you’re used to a Cinema display or two at home, there’s nothing else that compares.
The hardware is up to Apple expectations, and while I’ve experienced case creak on the 15-inch version (a widely reported issue), I’ve never had a problem with the 13 inch’s fit and finish. It feels as sturdy as a laptop can (with the possible exception of Google’s leaden Chromebook Pixel) and it withstands rough treatment with gusto, as a busy blogger can attest.
In terms of Geekbench, the base Core i5 13-inch, which is the version I’m reviewing here, consistently scores between 6,000 and 7,000. That’s not a chart-topping number, but the machine hardly stutters, even under fairly demanding conditions. I thought I’d miss the dedicated graphics card or upgraded RAM from my 15-inch model, but I don’t, at least not for anything short of using Final Cut Pro X.
Another nice win for the 13-inch is battery life. The Pro can stretch itself to around seven and a half hours if I need it to, but even with my incredibly sloppy, multi-app setup with tons of things going on in the background and about a thousand Chrome tabs open, it seems to average around five.Who is it for? Designers
Yes. The one complaint that designers might have with the Retina MacBook Pro is that its screen is still glossy and that the color rendering and contrast are a little exaggerated to make photos pop. But if you need a device for running Photoshop or Illustrator, the Retina scratches that itch, even with the minimum specs at the $1,499 level.
Plus, you can always power up to three external displays via Thunderbolt and HDMI out, but I’d only recommend doing this if you’re very cold and also enjoy the sound of a fan operating at maximum power. Still, in a pinch the Retina Pro becomes a solid companion for a 27-inch Cinema Display, giving designers even more flexibility.Founders
Yes. John pointed out that entrepreneurs love MacBook Airs in his review of the Dell XPS Developer’s Edition, but that’s actually outmoded. If you’re a modern entrepreneur, and keeping a close watch on your company’s design and suitability for the future of HiDPI devices and displays, you’ll want the 13-inch Retina. It’s still light enough to carry with you everywhere, plus you can pile on the open applications thanks to the screen real estate benefits I mentioned above.
The 13-inch Retina is pretty much exactly like the successful entrepreneur: flexible where it needs to be, rigid when it doesn’t; equally comfortable doing their thing in the boardroom or working out of the small local coffee shop; equipped with enough endurance to keep producing through the day.Programmers
Yes. Programmers love Macs, and this is a Mac that’s easy to fall in love with. You want to run Xcode next to the iOS Simulator and still have room to keep a team chat window open? You can do that with the 13-inch Retina Pro, so long as you’re okay with squinting. You can build websites and watch them output and tweak on the fly without squishing anything inordinately. If there’s a development flaw on the Pro, it’s not an apparent one.Bottom Line
MG said this laptop was near perfect back when he reviewed it at launch, and it’s pretty hard to disagree. There are support threads filled with growing pains and other issues experienced by the inaugural 15-inch Retina Pro, but Apple seems to have worked out any kinks with this one, and the added portability is a big benefit besides. It’s still a pricey beast, but the use value to cost ratio is through the roof regardless.
Gaming has evolved from single-player to head-to-head to massively multiplayer, but it’s also retreated from public arcades to isolated homes. Today’s launch of the Xbox One makes the whole console experience social, not just the gaming itself. You’ll still be battling other humans, but how you communicate with them and choose what to play is about to change.
Think back 20 years ago, before home gaming devices became the powerhouses they are today. You’d go to an arcade, and the way you’d discover what was fun and popular was looking for which game cabinet drew the rowdiest crowds. I remember discovering Street Fighter 2 in a hotel arcade while on vacation. I couldn’t even see the machine, as it was surrounded by older boys swearing like sailors at every Haduken and thousand-hand-slap.
I knew I wanted to play that game. And when I finally got my turn to get beaten mercilessly as the mob swelled around me, it didn’t feel like I was doing anything nerdy. I was partaking in a new culture, a new community.
That’s the promise of the new Xbox One’s trending section. It surfaces games, apps, video on demand, and other media popular with your friends and the whole Xbox user base. Gamers won’t have to go searching for reviews to see what’s the hot new first-person shooter. The wisdom of the crowd will clue you into what game has captured the zeitgeist, even if you’re playing alone in your basement. Microsoft also hopes to turn word-of-mouth recommendations into an algorithm that shows you what to play next. Because the suggestions come from friends, you might trust them enough to buy a new sports game like NBA Live ’14, listen to a classic album, watch Firefly, or try out a fresh app like Hulu.
Microsoft is also bringing these custom recommendations somewhere that was never really social: television. Live TV can be piped into your living room through the Xbox One; its TV guide features a trending section too. While we’ve gotten used to intelligent suggestions for video-on-demand thanks to data crunchers like Netflix, Xbox one could show you what sports match or awards show your friends and the whole world are watching right now.
Microsoft will have to figure out who your real friends are, possibly through social network integrations, and how to use other factors like geography to massage the trending picks. There will also be privacy design challenges to face, as not everyone wants to share what they do with their controller. But if Xbox One Trending succeeds, it could make games and television viral in a whole new way.
Snap back to the arcade, and 10-year old me is learning all the naughty four-letter words. Each time someone sees their health bar go red, they let out a stream of angry obscenities while onlookers let loose cuss-modified cheers for the victor. But it wasn’t just the sounds. You can hear kids swear at each other all day on Xbox 360 Live. It was the look of anguish in a defeated combatant’s face, the relieved body language of the winner whose reward was one more game and “a new challenger!”
Xbox One’s new Skype group video chat feature means you can play face to face with friends around the world. It’s infinitely more vivid than the audio and text chat capabilities of the Xbox 360. Smile at each other after a successful dungeon raid, or dance around as you brag about your touchdown in Madden. Skype for Xbox goes beyond games so you can watch TV, use apps, and more while having a conversation. Social doesn’t even need to be banished to a second screen. Xbox One “Snap Mode” lets you use voice commands to open video chat in a slide-out, overlaid window on the edge of your TV.
Skype for Xbox takes video chat and puts it in your comfiest chair. Rather than hunching over your laptop, leaning back on your couch could inspire long conversations over your console. You might – *gasp* – even pause your game to chat full screen with your little brother back home. Or it could usher in a new era of simultaneously consumed content, where you having distributed viewing parties for sports and movies rather than cramming your friends in the same room.
Xbox One also comes equipped with automatic, background matchmaking that lets you watch TV or play another game while you wait for a new opponent with a gaming DVR so you can record and share videos of your greatest triumphs or most gruesome game-overs. More people posting those videos to Facebook and Twitter could push serious console gaming ever further into the mainstream.
Of course, some gamers might not want social invading their safe space. Some may use it as a safe space to turn off their good graces, be a bit more primal, and just relax. Pings from friends wanting to Skype chat might be an interruption. Fighting alongside or against other people is all the social interaction they want. But the occasional eye-to-eye encounter could make gaming more fulfilling. If you’ve ever stayed up late playing only to feel a bit empty afterwards, you see the hole a more social Xbox could fill.
Gaming has become a bigger industry than movies. Mobile phones and social networks are bringing games to a wider audience than ever. Yet there’s still a stigma that it’s the realm of unwashed shut-ins and anti-social misfits. The Xbox One and the next generation of social consoles could change that, so even if you play games alone, you’re not a loner anymore.
“It’s absurd for Congress to vilify businesses like Apple for wanting to minimize their tax code just like every other American rightly does,” tweeted uber-Libertarian Senator Rand Paul, lashing out at his Senate colleagues for ‘dragging’ Apple CEO Tim Cook in to defend his company’s tax policies.
On the eve of Cook’s much-hyped testimony, a Senate investigation released a scathing report, accusing Apple of cooking the books and engaging in shady tax-dodging practices, to avoid repatriating $102 billion in offshore cash to avoid a 35 percent U.S. tax rate.
“Instead of doing the right thing we drag businessmen and women in here to berate them for trying to maximize their profits for shareholders,” Rand continued in another tweet.
“The ability to pay taxes of less than 2 percent on all of Apple’s offshore income gives the company a powerful financial incentive to engage in convoluted tax planning to avoid paying U.S. taxes,” notes the report from Senators Carl Levin and John McCain of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (for a more detailed explanation for how Apple dodges billions in taxes, see our previous post)
Paul was rightly furious for the tone of the accusations, which blamed Apple for skirting its obligation to the U.S. government. “This is a vendetta against American companies for trying to maximize profit,” he said. ”I want to see one company come before here and tell us that they’re goal is different from Apple’s, that their goal is to maximize their tax burden.”
Noting that thousands (if not millions) of U.S. citizens hold Apple stock directly or through pensions, Paul argued, “When we want to punish Mr. Apple. who are we punishing, we’re punishing ourselves.” Indeed, Apple would be hosing the everyday shareholders if it didn’t maximize its profit through some very convoluted offshore tax strategies.
However, Paul’s transparent theatrics fell short on his solutions, which included a passing mention to a “repatriation holiday.” Back in 2004, the U.S. government gave a juicy tax repatriation holiday to incentivize bringing foreign holdings back to the homeland. Yet, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, that money didn’t go into research and development. Indeed, many of the companies cut jobs, instead funneling their new domestic coffers into providing dividends to its shareholders.
Now, Paul and others could argue that lower taxes, overall, would stimulate investment in innovation, but he shouldn’t be so glib to the very real implications to a tax repatriation holiday.
The actual testimony has been far more diplomatic than the report, which lavished Apple with kudos. “I. Love. Apple…I harassed my husband until he converted to a MacBook,” gushed Senator Claire McCaskill.
Former presidential candidate and Senator John McCain, for his part, joked, “What I really wanted to ask was why the hell I have to keep updating the apps on my phone.”
Cook, himself, briefly lobbied for two solutions: a simpler, reduced U.S. tax code and a “single digit” repatriation tax. While such a tax solution is up for debate, the most compelling statement was made by Senator Rob Portman to Tim Cook, “you don’t need more tax lawyers, you need more innovators.”
The Xbox One was just unveiled at Microsoft’s Redmond campus and, true to multiple reports that circulated before the official reveal, the new console will indeed come with a Kinect.
And what a Kinect it is! The rumors of a vastly improved Kinect sensor array were right on the money — this next-generation model is capable of tracking motions as minute as wrist rotations, and Microsoft’s Marc Whitten said the new Kinect would even be able to read users’ heartbeats when they’re exercising or when players shift their weight. The new Kinect’s main camera is capable of recording 1080P RGB video at 30 frames per second (for a bit of perspective, the original model could only capture VGA video). Perhaps most importantly, the Xbox One will be capable of chewing on all the data the newfangled Kinect (no one has dropped an official name for the thing yet) captures at a rate of about 2GB of per second, which is probably partially why the onstage demos looked so brisk.
We got a brief glimpse of the new Kinect in action when Microsoft SVP Yusuf Mehdi called out commands and used minute hand gestures to manipulate content on the Xbox One — commands like “Xbox on” and “go to video” allow for near-instantaneous switching between running applications, and the Kinect is apparently also able to differentiate between users based on their voices.
In short, it’s a massive, massive upgrade compared to the venerable original model, which often exhibited issues with basic limb and motion tracking. Granted, demos we saw today were carefully staged, but the Kinect reacted to Mehdi’s commands and inputs without a hint of technical hesitation — if the new Kinect works in the living room as well as it did onstage, Microsoft may really have something here. And frankly, that’s saying something considering Microsoft managed to move 10 million of the original camera/sensor arrays between November 2010 and March 2011.
The New Xbox One Live Features Add Advanced Social Gaming Features That Could Lead To True MMORPG Experiences
While we don’t have all of the details on the new Xbox Live features announced at today’s Xbox One launch, it’s clear that Microsoft is going all-in when it comes to social and multiplayer gaming. First, they are upping the number of dedicated servers for online play from 15,000 to 300,000 and nearly all of your content and game data will be store in the cloud.
The service will also allow you to take in-game video and photos and share them over social media services. This is similar to Sony’s PS4 solution and is definitely a method allow users to create valuable and viral homemade content while still maintaining control of distribution. As games become more social and more cinematic, this will be an important differentiator and is essentially free advertising for game makers.
Finally, the new service adds asynchronous matchmaking, which means you can be searching for potential teammates (or enemies) while watching TV or playing another game. This increases the stickiness of multiplayer titles by nudging you back into the game when a worth opponent appears. Microsoft has also added “bigger matches with more players” and, most important, “living and persistent worlds.” This sounds to me like a direct attack on MMORPGs like World Of Warcraft and could make the Xbox a formidable force in the popular professional gaming subculture, a niche no console maker has yet cracked.
We should see further information about the Xbox One at E3 this summer.
Xbox One Instant Switching Turns The Console Into A Voice-Powered Set Top Box With Live TV Integration
Now leading the pack in gaming consoles, Microsoft’s future growth lies outside the gaming sphere. We’ll surely see tons of games at E3 in a few weeks, but at the big reveal of the Xbox One, the company chose to focus on non-gaming features, such as media streaming and Skype conversations.
But what makes streaming and entertainment a true upgrade on the Xbox One, which already has access to almost all streaming platforms? Instant Switching. It allows you to switch between inputs, games, menus, Internet Explorer, and almost anything else almost instantly. And what’s more, it lets you layer the power of Microsoft partnerships and information across live TV.
The Xbox responds to the voice; saying “Xbox On” turns on the console to the homescreen. The UI is familiar, and lets you see what you were doing last, along with trending content from friends, and other panels like games, TV, etc. But then you say “Xbox watch TV,” and live TV pops on. “Xbox show Guide,” and the guide pops up letting you see what’s available on Live TV. “Xbox watch ESPN,” and bloop, ESPN is on. Instant Switching at its best.
And here’s where it gets interesting:
“Xbox show Fantasy,” and instantly, along the right side of the screen showing a Knicks vs. Celtics game you’ll see a run-down on your fantasy league, letting you access further information and even make alterations in real time, right alongside the game itself.
The company also announced a new partnership with NFL that will offer exclusive content and access to Fantasy leagues in Snapmode in real-time.
This is thanks to a feature called Snapmode, which will offer new interactive experiences for Live TV. This includes social, applications, and more.
Because Xbox is now tapping into your live TV, it offers a more targeted and complete entertainment UI, with favorites showing all of your favorite content in a single destination.
And it’s all powered by your voice, should you like. What’s that? Is that the voice of Microsoft telling the hundreds of thousands of Xbox 360 owners out there, who proudly revel in their ownership of what’s considered the most popular gaming console out there, that they should maybe think about upgrading?
Of course, Microsoft wouldn’t upgrade software without hardware (which you can read more about here), and that includes the addition of a Blu-ray player.
Alongside announcing the Xbox One, Microsoft also announced a partnership with 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg to develop a live action TV show about Halo. They didn’t go into much detail, but how much you want to bet there’s some awesome Snapmode features and Xbox SmartGlass features?
Microsoft’s Don Mattrick pulled back the curtain on the Xbox One at a live event at the company’s Redmond campus, and it wasn’t long at all before the talk turned to software. One application in particular has been the subject of speculation for months, and SVP Yusuf Mehdi confirmed that Skype (which, if you recall, Microsoft acquired for $8.5 billion nearly two years ago) is part of the Xbox One experience.
As you might imagine, the Xbox One Skype application allows users to participate in group video chats with their fellow users using the Kinect camera — so there are opportunities for a natural type of ongoing conversation, one that won’t require you to chat for 30 minutes and then disconnect. This could be an “always on” situation.
You can answer a call by saying “Xbox, answer call” and then the video screen slides in from the right. Since the Xbox One aims to be your all-in-one “Home Entertainment System,” Skype is going to play a huge role in the overall experience. The demonstration showed a group Skype conversation happening while watching a video, with video quieting down a bit once the call is connected.
Microsoft has always talked about being the hub of the living room, and it seems like the newly announced Xbox One is the device that brings its vision to reality. The game-changer with this Skype integration is that you can watch a television show or play a game while carrying on a conversation. This has been attempted, mostly as a “second screen experience,” but to make this a seamless reality is a huge step forward for Microsoft. Until now, you were constrained to the functionality of a particular game supporting voice chat, but this gives you a more personal experience no matter what you’re doing on your Xbox.
Microsoft has revealed its new Xbox, the successor to the Xbox 360. It’s a next-generation console, with plenty of power under the hood, but it’s also clearly about consolidating your digital entertainment and operate as much more of a lifestyle device.
“Where all of your entertainment comes alive in one place,” is how Microsoft’s Don Mattrick put it on stage during his introduction. The entire event was prefaced with a description of the various types of non-game media that’s becoming popular with online streaming set-top boxes and mobile devices. “To continue to lead, we must provide compelling answers to new questions,” Mattrick said.
“Design and build an all-in-one system to light up a new generation of games, TV and entertainment,” in a way that’s “simple, instant and complete” is how he characterized the mission for the new device.Voice Control
Kinect is part of the package, and it’s a voice controlled experience from power on throughout the entire process. Your voice cues the Xbox to your user profile and sets up all your custom options. Then, you can dictate activities to Xbox One, sort of like how many imagined Apple would do their own Apple TV with Siri.
Changing between activities is as easy as telling the Xbox One exactly what you want it to be doing. It’s remarkably quick, quicker even than the process of changing channels on my at-home cable box hardware. But voice control isn’t the only trick, there’s also gesture recognition tech for controlling the system with your hands.Snap Mode
There’s a “Snap Mode” feature, too, which looks like the Microsoft Windows 8 experience, in that it allows you to run two activities simultaneously. So you can watch a movie and then also browse the Internet at the same time, for example, to look up elements of that film. You can even use Skype, newly introduced to Xbox with the Xbox One, and have that running in Snap Mode too.
The Snap Mode feature does something that has until now mostly been reserved for computers and for mobile and tablet devices: provides a second-screen experience that runs right alongside things like live TV. Adding basically a HUD layer to live TV might be the Xbox One’s biggest appeal for content providers who are looking for additional ways to engage audiences losing interest in traditional ads.Tech Details
The Xbox One has 8GB of RAM, along with a Blu-ray drive, as well as a native 64-bit architecture, a 500GB onboard hard drive, HDMI in and out (including passthrough capabilities for use with your existing home theatre setup), 802.11n Wi-Fi as well as an 8-core CPU and USB 3.0 connectivity. That’s mostly in line with what we’ve heard from previous rumors, but it’s still quite impressive.
The big advantage of the Xbox One is its architecture, however, according to Microsoft’s Marc Whitten. He said essentially it’s like they’ve combined three operating systems in one to deliver the seamless transition between games, applications, and live entertainment. The Xbox architecture combines with Windows, via a third OS that handles fast switching between multi-tasking apps.Kinect And Controller
The Kinect has been updated to capture 1080p video, as well as detect many more points on the body for more accurate recognition. It’s also better at recognizing voice input and gestures, and it can even read your heartbeat while you’re excercising.
The new controller looks like the one you know an dlove but has an integrated battery compartment (more like the PS Dual-Shock in terms of creating a slim profile on the back), as well as Wi-Fi Direct and a high precision D-Pad. The new trigger design is supposed to be much more powerful as well.DVR, Cloud Game Saves And Library
New cloud-based features require that the Xbox One’s Live service has 15,000 servers backing it up, and offers a number of features like back up of your media content, games and game saves to the cloud for easy portability. There’s also a DVR function to record game play, and also share save states.
This is likely why the Xbox was said to require a constant Internet connection; it sounds like a lot of the functionality is based in the cloud. Microsoft has said that it doesn’t require the console to be “always on,” specifying that it will be designed to allow you to continue to watch Blu-rays, live TV and even play games should your connection drop.The One To Watch
When Sony unveiled their PlayStation 4, one of my complaints was that it focused too much on games and not enough on becoming more than just a console. Microsoft has taken the exact opposite approach, fielding a device that seems like it would be equally at home in either a hardcore gamer’s, or a non-player’s living room. That should help them deal with a changing gaming industry.
The Xbox One is launching globally “later this year,” but Microsoft didn’t get any more specific or provide an idea of price.
Microsoft is about to unveil the next Xbox home gaming console, and they’re broadcasting the entire event live for all to watch. There will be thrills! Spills! Chills! And maybe some actual hardware, unlike at Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal. Check it out above, or if you’re in an environment where you can’t listen in, or just prefer glorious words written by Greg Kumparak over these newfangled moving pictures, check out our live blog.
Virtual private networking is a great way to accomplish a number of things, including making sure that your secrets stay your own, protecting against malware attacks, and getting around the geoblocking of audio and video content from networks, labels and basically anyone who wants to restrict your sweet, sweet access. It’s understandable, then, that as computing increasingly goes mobile, VPN would get more popular on mobile, too.
Hotspot Shield, a free VPN from leading provider AnchorFree, has just announced that it has crossed 10 million total downloads on Android and iOS, with a growth rate of around 1.5 million new downloads per month. Hotspot Shield is a top productivity app on iOS, and on Android, it has already grown faster than its iOS counterpart in the Android ecosystem since its launch last year, and now around two-thirds of new users come from Android.
The growth has come on strong very recently, with the app seeing its active user base double between now and the beginning of 2013. The company says it has managed to prevent 28.6 billion malware threats since its debut, and has also saved over 102 million MB of data via its compression algorithms. For paranoid and thrifty travellers, it’s a way to both add an extra layer of security at open public Wi-Fi hotspots like those you’ll often find in airports, and conserve data on tight roaming plans, too.
What’s extra funny about the growth is that there’s a huge elephant in the room and AnchoFree is barely talking about it. In a release announcing the news, they offered this choice tidbit:
Hotspot Shield is also used by travelers to access US content while abroad.
Just that line, on its own, amid a sea of text emphasizing the data savings and security benefits of VPN. Which is probably because it’s unlikely content providers like thinking too much about the other, extremely useful benefit of VPNs: namely allowing you to sidestep geographic restrictions.
If you want Spotify and you live in a country where it isn’t available yet, for instance, you could use a VPN to make it appear as though you’re based in the U.S., no matter where you actually are. Using it if you’re a U.S. citizen travelling abroad rides the fair side of the line, but that’s not how most are employing that particular tech. Beyond U.S. borders, there’s a strong and pervasive appetite for U.S. film and video content, the likes of which you can find on Hulu, for example, but not once you exit U.S. territories.
AnchorFree isn’t playing up that angle, but I’ll bet it’s responsible for driving a fair amount of those 10 million downloads. So as long as some content is restricted in terms of where you can watch, it’s likely growth isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.
It’s Xbox day! Almost exactly 8 years after the announcement of the Xbox 360, Microsoft is back with another one.
We’re live on the ground at Microsoft’s Xbox campus in Redmond, where the company is about to show its next-generation console for the very first time. We’ll be bringing you the news as it breaks with our up-to-the-second liveblog. Join us, won’t you?
The event is scheduled to start at 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern), but be sure to tune in a bit early — lets say… 9:30 am? Connectivity allowing, we’ll be bringing you photos and commentary fresh from the scene..