2014/12/19

Northeast Wisconsin Crowdfunders?

So last night Shane and I decided we'd like to incorporate a crowdfunding component in a startup that we help create during Startup Weekend Green Bay, February 6 - 8, 2014.

It will be challenging to create, launch and get off to a good start with a crowdfunding campaign during just one weekend. What we probably really need is two or three people on the startup team who have done one or more campaigns on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or another crowdfunding platform.

If you've done a crowdfunding campaign and live in northeast Wisconsin, which includes Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Neenah, Sheboygan, Sturgeon Bay and all the other cities, towns and rural areas of the 18 counties of the New North, please contact Bob Waldron -- bwaldron [att] gmail {dott} com. Or if you live outside northeast Wisconsin but have done a crowdfunding campaign and want to participate in Startup Weekend Green Bay 2015, contact me.

One of the challenges for getting a crowdfunding campaign launched in such a short time will be getting all the information submitted, approved and posted online. I haven't done a Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign, and I haven't researched how quickly a campaign can get put live on the different crowdfunding platforms. It might even be that all the platforms require a few days to churn through their application and approval process.

If the application, approval and posting process for a campaign takes several days on all the available crowdfunding platforms, we may try building a crowdfunding component into the startup website for built during Startup Weekend.

Bottom line is that we'd love to connect with interested entrepreneurial people in Wisconsin or in the Upper Peninsula who have done a Kickstarter campaign or some other type of crowdfunding campaign. Even if you can't participate in Startup Weekend Green Bay in person, we'd love to talk with you.

And if you're interested in Startup Weekend Green Bay 2015 but haven't registered yet, please register for SWGB today and get the Early Bird Discount!!!

(If you haven't done a Kickstarter or similar crowdfunding campaign but know someone who has, please suggest to them that they contact Bob Waldron -- bwaldron [att] gmail {dott} com.)

2014/12/12

Out of Hibernation -- New Beginnings


So my last post on this blog was over a year ago. Today, like the groundhog Phil, I'm finally coming out of hibernation and working on New Beginnings for the myDigitechnician blog. Well, Phil won't actually be working on the blog.

The most recent mD post prior to this one was done on 03 Dec 2013, one of my weekly NEW NET posts (Northeast Wisconsin Network for Entrepreneurism and Technology). In earlier days on this blog, I often wrote non-NEW NET posts. In the last couple years, however, the posts here were mainly weekly posts with aggregated and curated recent entrepreneurial and tech news excerpts, with occasional personal comments about one of the news items.

For the foreseeable future, posts on this blog will be something other than weekly NEW NET posts. Not sure yet what that 'something other' will be.

The primary reason for the lack of posts on this blog for the past year was that I moved to northern California (Arcata, in Humboldt County) to work as project manager for a small California startup. That meant no NEW NET meetings for me. Weekly posting of tech and entrepreneurial news was dropped due to the long hours involved with my new job and due to my efforts to identify and help connect the TIME community (tech, innovation, maker, entrepreneur) in Arcata and Humboldt County.

As part of my efforts to connect the Humboldt TIME community, I worked with several other people to launch biweekly meetings of microcontroller enthusiasts, the Humboldt MCU Community. To help connect the Humboldt MCU Community (MCU is acronym for micro controller unit), I launched a new blog. The first post on the blog was http://humboldtmcu.blogspot.com/2014/05/humboldt-microcontrollers-community.html, posted on 19 May 2014, and it was the first of 100 daily posts on the blog. It was challenging, but fun, to have a new post published every day for 100 days. Two other people wrote a few blog posts, Ed Smith and Nick Appelmans, and that was very helpful and much appreciated. I tried to talk others into writing posts for the blog, but I haven't yet figured out how to effectively build a team of regular blog post authors. Figuring out how to build a strong team of people to write blog posts is something I plan to work on.

The last post (so far) for the Humboldt MCU Community, http://humboldtmcu.blogspot.com/2014/08/ardusat-update-201415-high-school.html, was published on 28 August 2014. After I met my initial goal of 100 daily posts, the frequency of the posts decreased for several reasons. The posts ended in August primarily because I was no longer participating in the biweekly meetings of the Humboldt MCU community since I was no longer living in Arcata, CA. Instead I was living in Appleton, WI, again and working for the startup remotely from Wisconsin. Not participating regularly with the MCU Wizards of Humboldt, like Ed, Nick, Eric, Gordon and John, meant that I had much less incentive to write MCU blog posts and much less inspiration for topics to write about. Since I returned to Appleton, I haven't yet identifed and connected a core group of Fox Valley or New North MCU enthusiasts. I have done a few things to help identify some of the MCU ninjas in this area, and hope to continue expanding this effort to the point where I know at least 20 MCU hackers in the 18 counties of northeast Wisconsin, because I know they're out there. (Can you hear me???)

I'm still doing remote work for the California startup, but am starting to look for a new full-time (paying) job. If you want to hire a good chemical engineer or community advocate (evangelist), or if you know of an opportunity that would be a good fit with my skills and experience, contact me at bwaldron[att]gmail{dott}com! 

If the CA startup brings me back to Arcata full-time, I'll likely resume blogging for the Humboldt MCU community. If I get a different full-time job that has blog-able topics, I may write blog posts related to my new job.

So that summarizes Bob's Blogging for the past year. There's no clear plan yet for my blogging in the next year, but my guess is that on this blog or another, I'll publish quite a few posts. Good writing practice, if nothing else...

2013/12/03

NEW NET Weekly List for 03 Dec 2013

Here's the draft NEW NET list for the 03 December 2013 meeting at Tom's Drive In on Westhill Boulevard next to Woodman's. After the NEW NET meeting from 7 - 9 PM, I'll update this post with any additions and insightful comments from the meeting...

NEW NET Weekly List For 03 Dec 2013

RHW
  1. Reverse-Engineering a Genius (Has a Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?) http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/11/vermeer-secret-tool-mirrors-lenses David Hockney and others have speculated—controversially—that a camera obscura could have helped the Dutch painter Vermeer achieve his photo-realistic effects in the 1600s. But no one understood exactly how such a device might actually have been used to paint masterpieces. An inventor in Texas—the subject of a new documentary by the magicians Penn & Teller—may have solved the riddle. … [Tim] Jenison, now 58, is the founder of NewTek, where he has made a fortune inventing hardware and software for video production and post-production. He is a nonstop tinkerer in the rest of his life as well: building giant model airplanes and battle robots, and learning to fly helicopters. Curious, careful, soft-spoken, and comfortably schlumpy, he comes across more as a neighborhood professor you might see at Home Depot than as a guy who owns his own jet. … He did a computer analysis of a high-resolution scan of a Vermeer interior, and discovered “an exponential relationship in the light on the white wall.” The brightness of any surface becomes exponentially less bright the farther it is from a light source—but the unaided human eye doesn’t register that. According to Jenison, the painting he digitally deconstructed shows just such a diminution from light to dark. … One day, in the bathtub, Jenison had a eureka moment: a mirror. If the lens focused its image onto a small, angled mirror, and the mirror was placed just between the painter’s eye and the canvas, by glancing back and forth he could copy that bit of image until the color and tone precisely matched the reflected bit of reality. … [Jenison spent the next five years building an accurate replica of Vermeer’s studio, and using only knowledge, materials, and techniques of the time, built an optical device and painted a detailed replica of a Vermeer painting.] … The crux of the resistance to the idea that Vermeer invented and used an optical device, beyond technical and historiographic issues, is that it diminishes our sense of Vermeer’s genius. But great artists in every age use clever new tools and technologies. You could give all the digital contraptions Alfonso Cuarón used on Gravity to a hack director and he’d make a crappy movie.

LNW
  1. Windows 7 market share still growing despite newer operating systems  http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-windows-7-microsoft-growth-20131202,0,6885838.story  More proof that nobody really WANTS Windows 8.
  2. "Vishera" End Of The Line for AMD FX CPUs  http://www.techpowerup.com/195355/vishera-end-of-the-line-for-amd-fx-cpus-roadmap.html  Finally, an end to throwing good money after bad?
  3. Next Windows release reportedly codenamed 'Threshold,' set to further unify Microsoft operating systems  http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/02/microsoft-threshold/  Further proof that microsoft just doesn't get it and has crossed the important line between eating your own dogfood, and drinking the koolaid.
  4. Google’s frightening patent: collect data and interact with others automatically on your behalf  http://www.ghacks.net/2013/12/01/googles-frightening-patent-collect-data-interact-others-automatically-behalf/  Speaking of crossing the line, join me in a disapproving scowl towards goog.

RJW

  1. Intel Makes Another Acquisition: Hacker League, A Platform For Hackathons, Is Now A Part Of Mashery  [The Intel acquisition of Hacker League is another indication of the democratization of technology. If other large tech companies significantly expand their support for tech events, that should help significantly expand and connect the tech and entrepreneurial communities. Helping manage that process sounds like a perfect job fit for me - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/03/hacker-league-mashery-intel/  “Intel's...buying Hacker League, a popular platform for managing hackathons, which will be incorporated with the API management company Mashery...the idea behind the acquisition is to augment the developer outreach work that it already does on a daily basis. “We acquired the assets of Hacker League to take a product that makes hackathons great so that we could do more things to support developers,” he said...Adding Hacker League will mean that Mashery (and Intel) will be significantly ramping up their events for developers. Mashery is involved in some 80 hackathons annually, while Hacker League has powered some 460 events worldwide since October 2011...”
  2. Thinkspace Pioneers hunt for the next teenage Mark Zuckerberg  [one unique value of a teenager accelerator is that teenagers are likely to have a different perspective on what other teenagers like and their ‘creative’ thinking process has not yet been as constricted as 20 and 30 year olds - ed.]  http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/29/thinkspace-pioneers-startups-mark-zuckerberg  “...Pioneers, the new off-shoot project from coding non-profit Thinkspace, is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurial app developers – a hand-picked bunch of talented teenagers given access to like minds, venture capitalists and mentoring backers...Launching today, Thinkspace Pioneers will be opened up to applicants aged 13-18 with projects spanning apps, games and websites – anything that shows promise in the digital space...”
  3. Akamai Buys DDoS Prevention Specialist Prolexic For $370M  [sort of amazing to realize that large companies are vulnerable to DDoS and other web-security attacks, that web security companies are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and that there are still lots of opportunties for innovation in web basic back-office services like this - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/02/akamai-buys-ddos-prevention-specialist-prolexic-for-370m-to-ramp-up-security-offerings/  “...Akamai, the specialist in optimising web site performance and content distribution, is making a big acquisition to beef up its security offerings: it is buying Prolexic, a U.S.-based provider of cloud-based security solutions for protecting data centers and enterprise IP applications from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Akamai will be paying approximately $370 million for Prolexic...What this acquisition will give Akamai is a solution that is more centered towards enterprise business - specifically to help protect data centers and enterprise IP applications...we intend to combine Akamai's leading security and performance platform with Prolexic's highly-regarded DDoS mitigation solutions...”
  4. Microsoft Should Be Worried About Google’s Chromebooks  [at some point, the availability of free wireless connectivity, the technical capability of Chromebooks, and the laptop computing needs of ‘the masses’ will probably hit the point where a Chromebook type of laptop is what 50+% of consumers buy for non-work computing - ed.]  http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/01/microsoft-should-be-worried-about-googles-chromebooks/  “...Microsoft ramped up its FUD machine and  launched the next phase of its...anti-Google Scroogled campaign...the company is targeting Chromebooks, Google's cheap ChromeOS-based, web-centric laptops. Why is Microsoft worried about Chromebooks? Because it can see the writing on the wall. For many mainstream users, the operating system they use is slowly becoming irrelevant, and even though Chromebooks are not right for everyone, they are slowly becoming a real alternative in the low-end laptop market...Microsoft wants you to believe that you can't do anything with a Chromebook when you're offline. That's just plain wrong at this point. Sure, Chromebooks make more sense in an always-on environment (which is where most people use them), but nobody is stopping you from playing Angry Birds while you're offline...while Microsoft specifically calls out Angry Birds as the kind of thing you can't do on a Chromebook, Google would be more than happy if you downloaded it from its Chrome Web Store and played it offline...”
  5. Sentient code: A look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm  [We likely won’t know for at least several years, and maybe longer, whether Wolfram’s new computing paradigm will become widely used, stay a niche product or die in obscurity, but it’s certainly an interesting concept - ed.]  http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/29/sentient-code-an-inside-look-at-stephen-wolframs-utterly-new-insanely-ambitious-computational-paradigm/  “...In 1988 he released the first version of Mathematica, a platform for technical computation, and in 2009, he released the Wolfram Alpha search engine, a computational knowledge engine. His new project, he says, is a perfect marriage. “Mathematica is this perfect precise computation engine, and WolframAlpha is general information about the world,” Wolfram told me. “Now we can combine the two.”...Included in the new project is natural language programming...Also included is a new definition of literally anything in your application — from code to images to results to inputs — as being usable and malleable as a symbolic expression. There’s a whole new level of automation and a completely divergent approach to building a programming language, away from the small, agile core with functionality pushed out to libraries and modules and toward a massive holistic thing which treats data and code as one…There’s no good elevator pitch for the language, and even though it’s not entirely released yet, there are 11,000 pages of documentation already...”
  6. Work–Bench announces $10 million fund to back enterprise startups  [An interesting twist on startup accelerators. I’ll have to check with the local RR Donnelley facility to find out if they’re involved in this or interested in promoting the local startup community - ed.]  http://pando.com/2013/12/03/work-bench-announces-10-million-fund-to-back-enterprise-startups/  “Work–Bench opened its doors in June as New York’s first “post accelerator,” a program designed to help later stage enterprise startups — ones with funding, a product, and early traction — connect with large corporate customers. Now it has $10 million to back enterprise companies of its own...The program, backed by the 149-year-old printing business RR Donnelley, started with its office space: the 32,000-square-foot Union Square office has a seven-year lease. RR Donelley is in this for the long haul...”
  7. Connected car device Truvolo tracks vehicle speed, location, miles per gallon  [At some point, a device like Truvolo will hit a usefulness/cost point where it will become a must-have item - ed.]  http://pando.com/2013/12/02/connected-car-device-truvolo-tracks-vehicle-speed-location-miles-per-gallon-and-other-fun-facts/  “Sandhya Jaideep and Jaideep Jain, a hubbie-wife duo, got nervous when their 15-year-old son started learning how to drive. They looked into the market for tools to monitor their son’s driving, but didn’t find anything for the layperson. At the time, Jain worked at semiconductor chip technology company Cymer running data products. Jaideep worked at communications startup ChooChee running development. They had backgrounds in predictive analytics and app development respectively...Jaideep and Jain developed a device and a phone app for the average driver. No need to be a car expert to understand this information. Truvolo takes the loads of confusing data and interprets it into a beautiful, easy to read app...”
  8. Fun Innovation Undergoes Serious Development — 3D Printing Fusion  [This product design article is a good illustration of how 3D printing can seriously speed up a product development cycle, plus the Fusion sounds cool - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/02/fun-innovation-undergoes-serious-development-3d-printing-fusion/  “...The modern ‘high-tech’ equivalent to the glow stick could be Fusion by Shockatoo, a music-centric computer for the wrist, combining a built-in accelerometer, microphone, microprocessor and Bluetooth 4.0...The smartband creates animated light displays by sensing both the beat of the music and the user’s motion. When paired with a smart-phone using Bluetooth, users can select and download hundreds of interactive light patterns, play music tracks to fit their mood or create their own, and connect with friends by letting users sync to each other. Shockatoo, Inc. is an innovative producer of wearable technology targeted at the consumer market. The company wanted to develop a flexible, translucent plastic prototype for their crowdfunding project that would house the wearable electronic device...The product development team needed to find a cost-effective iteration process that would allow for multiple design changes and material customisation with a quick-turnaround. The Shockatoo team used FATHOM’s 3D printing expertise...FATHOM manufactured 3D printed parts for two design cycles in less than two weeks. The first cycle helped dial in the product design and also determine which custom blended materials created the required feel and translucency. Finished parts were achieved in the second cycle and were expedited to Las Vegas for Shockatoo’s promotional video. The final prototype captured the flex, finish and light transmission that Shockatoo had envisioned for their new product line...”
  9. Stratasys ‘Think It – Print It’ Education Series  [It’s great to see the Big 2 US 3D printing companies get involved with community outreach and education about 3D printing - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/01/stratasys-think-print-education-series/  “...education will play a key role in getting the next generation to adopt 3D printing technology to their lives. Already we are seeing competition in the education front...with Stratasys’ MakerBot working with America Makes and 3D Systems partnering with Teach Design for a UK-based education initiative. In the same vein, Stratasys has introduced 3D Printing 101 – ‘Think it, Print it’ video series to give both educators and students ideas on how to use 3D Printing for scientific and artistic projects. Take a look at the 1st episode here to hear the outlines of the series...”
  10. GE Invents 3D Printing Holiday  [This is an excellent move by GE and will contribute towards the improving legitimacy of the emerging technology of 3D printing - ed.]  http://3dprintingindustry.com/2013/12/03/ge-invents-3d-printing-holiday-featuring-anti-nsa-commentary/  “GE has come to embrace the potential of additive manufacturing and crowd sourcing: previously hosting a design competition for 3D printed jet engine brackets as well as using AM to produce its LEAP engine fuel nozzles...they’ve even invented a 3D printing holiday. Tomorrow, December 3rd, the megacorp is kicking off 3D Printing Day, an event in which 3D printed stocking stuffers will be released to the public. Developed by 12 world figures teamed up with professional designers, a series of CAD files will be made open source, giving you plenty of time to print them as gifts for the holidays. The objects are meant to be practical and aesthetically pleasing, demonstrating the potential for 3D printing presents during the holiday season...”

*****

2013/11/26

NEW NET Weekly List for 26 Nov 2013

Here's the draft NEW NET list for this week's meeting at Tom's Drive In on Westhill Boulevard next to Woodman's. After the NEW NET meeting from 7 - 9 PM, I'll update this post with any additions and insightful comments from the meeting.

NEW NET Weekly List For 26 Nov 2013


RHW
  1. The only thing of note that happened within the last week was the Doctor Who Fiftieth Anniversary special. It set records, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-doctor-who-50th-anniversary-special-sets-ratings-tumblr-records-20131125,0,570659.story#axzz2lnKoHKuH … It set an official Guinness record for most simulcasts ever, http://www.adweek.com/news/television/doctor-who-50th-anniversary-special-breaks-records-154125 … It was a well orchestrated plan to take over the world, http://gigaom.com/2013/11/26/doctor-whos-50th-anniversary-broke-ratings-records-by-enlisting-the-internet/ … It made, and will continue to make, the BBC lots of money, http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/doctor-who-50th-anniversary-episode-2853858 … You can play the Google doodle Doctor Who game, http://www.google.com/doodles/doctor-whos-50th-anniversary … Wired explained it all, http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/11/doctor-who-50th-anniversary/ … And on, and on, and on, https://news.google.com/news?ncl=dE1HAP_gelpG9YMUiYFDzXzBHBmKM&q=doctor+who+50th+anniversary


LNW
  1. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/25/young-adult-readers-prefer-printed-ebooks  there are those who would find it difficult to believe they're reading at all..


RJW

  1. id Software founder John Carmack resigns  [the end of an era - ed.]  http://www.polyghttp://trailgenius.com/on.com/2013/11/22/5134500/id-software-founder-john-carmack-resigns  “John Carmack, co-founder and technical director at id Software, has left the company to focus his full-time attention on his role as chief technical officer at Oculus VR...John's work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete...”
  2. File hosting site MediaFire takes on Dropbox with 50GB free  [one rule of thumb is that a technical innovation should be 10X better than the incumbent competitor; MediaFire Desktop gives 25X more storage, but time will tell if other aspects of it are significantly better than Dropbox - ed.]  http://thenextweb.com/apps/2013/11/21/file-hosting-site-mediafire-takes-dropbox-app-gives-50gb-free-cloud-storage/  “File hosting service MediaFire has launched a Dropbox-like application for OS X and Windows today, MediaFire Desktop, which lets users upload files directly from their desktops to the cloud, and share them with others. The public beta of MediaFire Desktop has the same type of file syncing features found in Dropbox — but with up to 50GB of free cloud storage, it is obviously out to take on the incumbent in this space. Comparatively, Dropbox starts you off with 2GB of free space...”
  3. That 60W-equivalent LED: What you don’t know, and what no one will tell you  [this is the first time I’ve heard about this potential performance shortcoming of the larger LED bulbs, so you might want to research it a bit more if you’re going to buy some, but new technology often has unanticipated negative consequences, a la http://www.amazon.com/What-Technology-Wants-Kevin-Kelly/dp/0143120174/  - ed.]  http://www.edn.com/electronics-blogs/led-insights/4423570/That-60W-equivalent-LED--What-you-don-t-know--and-what-no-one-will-tell-you-  “...folks assumed that anywhere you had the 40W or 60W incandescent, you could screw in the CFL. This is not at all the case for a 40 or 60 watt-equivalent. Within an LED bulb the internal generation and distribution of heat is such that it “desperately” needs access to cool surrounding air...totally unlike incandescent and substantially unlike a CFL, reliability and life expectancy go down hill sharply as soon as you install  it anywhere that air is restricted. Guess what? A large percentage of places for LED best value is in those place where access is difficult and air is restricted...”
  4. WD Black 2 Dual laptop drive has a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD inside  [Will this type of dual or hybrid computer drive become a defacto standard in the next couple years? - ed.]  http://reviews.cnet.com/laptop-hard-drives/wd-black-2-dual/4505-9997_7-35832702.html  “...The WD Black 2 Dual Drive is the first of its type to have two internal drives -- a 128 SSD and a 1TB HDD -- inside one single 2.5-inch, 9mm-thick standard laptop drive. This means on the outside it still looks just like a regular laptop hard drive and will fit anyplace a regular hard drive of its standard is used...”
  5. DIY and Save: A Scientist's Guide to Making Your Own Lab Equipment  [this could end up being extensively utilized by schools in low per capita income countries - ed.]  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131118102245.htm  “...His new book...is a step-by-step DIY guide for making lab equipment. The essential tools are a 3D printer, open-source software and free digital designs. "It's a guidebook for new faculty members setting up labs," he said. "With it, they can cut the cost by a factor of 10, or even 100 for research-grade equipment. Even in the classroom, we can do a $15,000 educational lab for $500."...Pearce, an associate professor at Michigan Technological University, began printing out lab equipment in earnest after a seminal moment, when he priced a lab jack at $1,000. "All it does is move things up and down," he said. Using a printer and open-source software, his team made a utilitarian replica for about five dollars...”
  6. Symantec Aims to Defeat Stealthy Malware by Sanitizing Files  [Although Symantec antimalware can be annoying or downright unreasonable, their new approach to neutralizing a class of malware by creating a safe copy of certain types of incoming files seems like a useful antimalware tool, although only time will tell whether the tool is effective or merely antimalware bloat - ed.]  “......”  http://www.eweek.com/security/symantec-aims-to-defeat-stealthy-malware-by-sanitizing-files.html  “The new "Disarm" feature in Symantec's messaging security software sanitizes common file formats, stripping away scripts and anything that could be malware...the company's email gateway software will clone any Microsoft Office or Adobe PDF file—two formats commonly used by attackers to deliver malicious code—creating a copy that has been cleansed of any potential scripts and malware...”
  7. Two-Seat Electric Octodecacopter Completes Early Flight Tests  [It will be interesting to see how many years it takes to have commercial electric copters for sale - ed]  http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/11/e-volo-vc200/  “...A German company has developed...a scaled-up version of the electric quadcopters...but this version will carry two people and could fly for up to an hour. E-volo’s new model has made “multiple flights lasting several minutes”...including flights to 22 meters (limited by flying indoors). The VC200 uses carbon fiber and 18 separate motors and propellers powered by multiple batteries for redundancy...”
  8. Using Trekker, Google's edge in the next mapping war  [Maps is one of the areas where significant online innovation is still occuring for consumers  - ed.] http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/22/5132754/the-holy-trail-using-trekker-googles-edge-in-the-next-mapping-war  “...Trekker, the powerful if awkward device...recently concluded its first year as one of the technological engines of Google’s six-year-old Street View program. "The Trekker is a mobile image-capture platform," Fiock says. "We took some of the same technology from the Street View cam and made it portable — ultra portable...”
  9. 3D Systems and Motorola Partner on Project Ara Modular Phone [3D printing will get a nice publicity and usefulness boost if 3D Systems can develop a smartphone production process using 3D printing - ed.]  http://www.3dsystems.com/press-releases/3d-systems-and-motorola-partner-modular-custom-smartphone  “3D Systems...entered into a...development agreement with Motorola Mobility...to create a continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfilment system in support of Motorola’s Project Ara. Project Ara aims to develop highly-custom, modular smartphones...3D Systems plans to substantially expand its multi-material printing capabilities including conductive and functional materials. The company also plans to combine additive and subtractive manufacturing methods, and deliver an integrated high-speed production platform...”
  10. 16 secrets of Google Drive  [One of my goals is to write a series of ebooks about Google services, and I’m always interested in learning about more effective ways to use those services - ed]  http://www.macworld.com/article/2065613/16-secrets-of-google-drive.html  “Google Drive—formerly Google Docs—has come quite a way in nearly a decade of existence...I rounded up a few tips to help you get even more out of this online productivity platform...1. Search by person...2. Search Google Docs and Gmail...3. Sync, work on documents with your Mac or PC...4. Save to Drive while browsing the Web...5. Keep the conversation within your document...6. Get social with your documents...7. Tap into apps...8. Obligatory keyboard shortcuts...9. Who needs a new tab? Use the research pane...10. Work in over 60 languages...11. Customize Google Forms...12. Easy table of contents...13. Script your Google Drive, Gmail, and Forms...14. Edit master slides for presentations...15. Bridge the productivity gap with Quickoffice for iOS and Android...16. Edit documents, presentations, and drawings offline...”
  11. Taiwanese iPhone maker Foxconn to build plant in the US, citing manufacturing 'renaissance'  [It will be interesting to see if this move by Foxconn is an exception or if a large number of companies from other countries will establish manufacturing facilities in the US - ed.]  http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/22/5133428/taiwanese-iphone-maker-foxconn-to-build-plant-in-the-us-robots  “American companies usually go to Asia to do their manufacturing, but this time it's the other way around. Foxconn, the Taipei-based electronics manufacturer that builds Apple's iPhone, is planning to invest $40 million to build robots in Pennsylvania. Foxconn will spend $30 million over the next two years building a high-tech manufacturing facility in Harrisburg, PA, as well as $10 million on research at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University...”
  12. The Google Wallet debit card proves the world isn’t ready for mobile payments  [This move by Google will be worthwhile if it gets a significant number of new users for their consumer buying services because that’s an advantage Apple and Amazon have over Google - ed.]  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/21/the-google-wallet-card-proves-the-world-isnt-ready-for-mobile-payments/  “It began with an early, hopeful promise — that one day, very soon, you could commonly start paying for goods and services with a tap of your phone. Not with an app on your phone, mind you, but with a reader at the cash register that would instantly and wirelessly complete your transaction. That future, sadly, hasn't yet materialized...Google has unveiled a debit card for its Wallet app, and while the thing itself is pretty much what you'd expect, the move is surprising. Google was one of the earliest proponents of NFC, or the technology underpinning the tap-to-transact dream. Even when NFC failed to take off, other alternatives sprung up. Square Wallet is a pretty elegant way of handling mobile payments (you just give your name at the register and go). Yet apparently enough people still prefer paying by card that Google thinks it's a worthwhile audience to go after...”
  13. Google rebuilds Android camera programming for better photos  [this article highlights the opportunity for improvement and innovation in many of today’s hardware products that have a significant amount of functional performance affected or determinede by software, rather than just by hardware changes - ed]  http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57613613-94/click-google-rebuilds-android-camera-base-for-better-photos/  “Want a better camera on your Android device? Google does, too...the company has overhauled the mobile OS's plumbing. Google has built deep into Android support for two higher-end photography features -- raw image formats and burst mode -- and could expose those features so that programmers could tap into them...Google already uses burst mode on the Nexus 5 smartphone's HDR+ mode, capturing multiple photos in rapid succession and merging them into a single high-dynamic range photo. Hardware still matters a lot for a smartphone's photographic capabilities. But a better software foundation could mean Google's mobile OS becomes more competitive, especially if programmers choose to tap into the full data that Android makes available...”
  14. Okay, Google, you officially beat Siri  [This is one of the more informative ‘Google is better than Siri’ articles that I’ve seen; it also highlights one of Google’s competitive advantages -- “their cloud services are evolving much faster than those of its competitors” - ed]  http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/24/google-siri/  “Over a year and a half ago I was beyond excited with Siri and the possibilities Apple could explore with it...Unfortunately though, that was the only moment of bliss in my relationship with Siri...One night in New York I was packing for a trip to Brazil and asked Siri  what the weather was like in São Paulo. To my dismay she replied, “Here’s the weather for Brasilia, Brazil...Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is 500 miles away from São Paulo...I decided to try the new Google conversational search with the same question. “OK Google, what’s the weather like in São Paulo?” — and I see the words being interpreted by Google as I say them...An instant later, I hear back: “Here’s the weather forecast for São Paulo, Brazil, for Sunday night.” Oh, wait, do you know that I am traveling on the morning flight and getting there at night? Also impressive, Google used a web service to correct what it had understood initially from my question to something that made complete sense. Siri usually apologizes for not getting what I said. “OK Google, how do I get to Avenida Paulista?” And I was given driving directions from the GRU airport to Avenida Paulista...”

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