We’re all familiar with the pain of having to share photos with people. I’m not talking about the staff party album on Facebook, I’m talking about moments that matter – the family holidays, the weddings, big days like those. And this remains an ongoing issue. We can share Dropbox folders all we like. Everything still has to be downloaded and the interface does not suit viewing, especially on tablets. We can ask friends and family to sign up to a private Flickr group, but that’s still another hurdle. Lots of photo and file sharing services are rubbish and many people remain afraid of Facebook’s now quite public nature. Now, a new startup out of Berlin has come up with something it calls the ‘Dropbox for photos’ where you can privately exchange photos in a group: 7moments.
With 7moments the default is private photo sharing and the design – mixed with functionality – of the site is really its USP.
This is a really nice experience in a photo sharing web site. Everyone who has access can download the photos and it’s much easier to use than a Flickr group (where everyone has to have a Yahoo name, then join Flickr etc etc – this is just one click).
The private nature works very well. It certainly feels different when someone presses ‘Love’ on a photo which only two people have access to.
It’s biggest competitor os ZangZing which we wrote about here – however, you can easily breach privacy on ZangZing by importing someone’s private album of Facebook Photos into the app. On 7 moments you can only import your own.
You can add pictures, download them and add people to sets of photos. You can zoom in and rotate photos and horizontal photo scrolling makes it an ideal Web app for iPad. Photos can be imported from Facebook or drag and dropped from the desktop of Mac or PC and from within iPhoto.
Although running as a private beta right now it’s easy to pick up an invite.
Business model? It looks like they could ultimately charge for this in a freemium style, such as having a free service but charging for a wedding skin for an album or perhaps filters or ‘era themes’ like the 1950s etc.
Started in June, this startup team consists of Stefan Kellner, CEO, David Linner, CTO and “@Kosmar” – CPO and UX, Chief of Product. Incidentally Kosmar is one of the most famous UX designers out there, having come up with the original Web 2.0 mind cloud in 2005.
The latest entry into calculating cloud computing costs of the public providers is from Cloudsizer, with more than a dozen different cloud providers covered. It is simple and easy to use, and you can start out with a free trial of its “express” service immediately, and upgrade to a paid “pro” account for AU$300 for three months.
Cloud pricing comparisons can be tricky: things change, and they change quite often and without much notice. So just because you went to a particular Web site and got one quote today doesn’t mean that the vendor won’t adjust things tomorrow and render all your research obsolete. Amazon is fond of actually reducing its prices quite frequently as it buys new and cheaper equipment, for example.
This complexity has brought with it a new class of products that attempt to predict your consumption of cloud resources and there are various tools that are now around that help you compare these costs. Cloudsizer is just the latest in this market space. What is appealing about them is that they have such a wide net to compare prices: most of the ones below look at Amazon and one or two others. With Cloudsizer, you can look at particular packages of VMs and get into making adjustments on the overall RAM and storage for each one. Here is a graph showing you, based on some assumptions for eight to ten VMs, of some popular providers (GoGrid is way more expensive, based on our assumptions):
Other costing calculators that we have covered in the past include:
- Zenoss offers a variety of cloud monitoring and costing products. We last wrote about them here.
- Uptime Software has its Uptime Cloud (which we last wrote about here)that will show you the current costs of all your running instances, as well as make recommendations for how to save money by changing your cloud configuration. Right now it just works with Amazon but more services are planned.
- Cloud Cruiser is another tool that is available for both private and public cloud environments.
- vKernel provides a free capacity planning tool called Capacity View. The tool is Windows-only and connects to your vCenter or ESX server and quickly gives you a lay of your virtual landscape. While much of this information is available through various VMware consoles and displays, it is nice to have everything consolidated into a single dashboard. We last wrote about them here.
Apple has released a newÂ iPad 2Â commercial on its website and YouTube channel.
The commercial dubbedÂ â€œLearnâ€Â highlights how the iPad can be used to learn new things like a new language, etc. The ad showcases iPad apps -Â TED, Chinagram, iBooks, Â Skeleton Systems Pro II,Â Star Walk, a chess application (we couldn’t figure out which one),Â GarageBand, Math BoardÂ etc.
The voice-over in the commercial tells us:
Are you curious about new ideas? Do you want to learn a new language, or just a new word? Maybe you want to know more about anatomy or astronomy? You could master something new or uncover a hidden talent. Thereâ€™s never been a better time to learn.
Let us know what you think about the new iPad commercial in the comments.
[viaÂ YouTube (Apple)]
Whatâ€™s the News: While mice are a major tool for biomedical research, theyâ€™re not always useful for testing the toxicity of pharmaceutical drugs because their livers donâ€™t react to drugs the same way that human livers do. But in a new study, published in the journal PNAS, scientists at MIT have gotten around this issue by implanting mice with miniature, humanized livers. Researchers may be able to use the artificial organs to help create drugs for diseases like hepatitis C, which mice donâ€™t normally contract, and improve the development of other drugs. “In the near term, we envision using these mice alongside existing toxicology models to help make the drug development pipeline safer and more efficient,” said MIT biomedical engineer Alice Chen (via LiveScience).
How the Heck:
- The MIT team first developed tissue scaffolds that are the same size, shape, and texture of contact lenses. In the scaffolds, the researchers combined human liver cells (hepatocytes), which quickly lose their function after being removed from the body, with other mouse and human cells for nutrients and support.
- After the researchers implanted the scaffolds into the miceâ€™s abdominal cavities, it took the artificial livers about a week to fully integrate into the animals. The researchers did not remove the miceâ€™s existing livers. The scaffold gel is able to partially protect the foreign cells from the miceâ€™s immune systems, giving researchers weeks to test drugs on the humanized livers.
- The team tested the artificial livers by injecting the rodents with the compounds coumarin and debrisoquine, which mice and humans break down differently. The mice produced the same metabolitesâ€”breakdown productsâ€”that humans do.
Whatâ€™s the Context:
- Scientists created â€œchimericâ€ livers last year by repairing damaged livers in mice with human liver cells. An issue with this method is that it takes months for the chimeric livers to form.
- Additionally, this technique requires that the mice have weakened immune systems, so that their bodies donâ€™t immediately reject the human cells; this limits the use of the chimeric livers in studying certain diseases, according to an article from MIT.
The Future Holds: The researchers are now studying how the artificial livers respond to other drugs whose human metabolites are known. They are also working on developing humanized livers that are even smaller.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Rama
Couple of days back, Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is gearing up to launch a thinner and lighter iPhone 5 with an improved 8-megapixel came in the third quarter.
They have updated the report to provide some details about the sixth generation iPhone that will be released in 2012.
People briefed on Apple’s plans said the company is planning a major iPhone revamp then, with one person saying the company has been experimenting with features such as a new way of charging the phone.
It will be interesting to see if Apple will bring wireless charging feature to iOS devices, which was first seen in Palm Pre. With features such as PC Free and Wi-Fi Syncing introduced in iOS 5, the wireless charging feature would make the iOS device a cable free device.
WSJ also reports that Apple is indeed working on a less expensive iPhone, which will feature an edge-to-edge screen.
Apple has also been working on a less-expensive phone with new features such as an edge-to-edge screen, according to this person.
Weâ€™ve heard several rumors and speculations that have indicated that Apple is working on a smaller and cheaper version of the iPhone, which is dubbed iPhone nano. However, according to one of the analyst, instead of releasing a smaller and cheaper iPhone nano, Apple will offer iPhone 3GS for free with a two-year contract when iPhone 5 is launched.
What do you think about the possibility of wireless charging feature in iPhone 6? Let us know in the comments.
VMware has acquired social communications platform Socialcast. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Socialcast, which raised nearly $10 million in funding, combines a corporate activity stream that ties into CRM and ERP systems with social bookmarking, Outlook and SharePoint integrations, mobile (iPhone and Blackberry) and desktop (Air) apps, and analytics. Co-workers can share knowledge and updates in a semi-private setting. The company, which has over 7000 customers, offers both hosted and behind-the-firewall options.
We’ve pasted the release below.
VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced the acquisition of Socialcast, a leading provider of social collaboration solutions for the enterprise. Socialcast enables modern business communication by uniting people, information and enterprise applications within collaborative communities. Delivered as a hosted service, private cloud implementation, or via an on-premise solution, Socialcast is used by some of the world’s largest enterprises including Avaya, Humana, Nokia, Philips Electronics, SAS and VMware. Terms of the acquisition were not announced.
Socialcast joins the recent acquisitions of SlideRocket™ and Zimbra™, along with the introduction of VMware Horizon App Manager™, in helping advance VMware’s vision for a modern end-user computing model. VMware’s vision is to transform the traditional PC desktop by equipping today’s mobile workforce with secure access to applications and data from any location and any device, while driving increased productivity through modern collaboration and communication models.
These new collaboration models promise to better support modern work streams, that are increasingly more iterative and interconnected, as information is assembled and coordinated among virtual teams that cut across organizations.
“The post-PC era will be defined by a new way to work that is increasingly social, real-time and collaborative,” said Brian Byun, vice president and general manager, Cloud Applications, VMware. “For enterprise collaboration to improve business outcomes it can’t just be a feature in a single application. Organizations need a new social collaboration fabric across the applications people already work with. Socialcast combines real-time activity streams that are contextually integrated within existing enterprise systems. This is the new way to work.”
“The future of work will be focused on people-centric collaboration, bringing diverse groups of employees together to accelerate business performance,” said Timothy Young, founder and CEO, Socialcast. “We’ve seen Socialcast transform the way that people work at some of the world’s largest companies, and we’re excited to bring the benefits of social computing to VMware’s more than 250,000 customers.”
A New Way to Work in the Cloud
More than ever, enterprises are dealing with two fundamental client computing pain points — providing secure access to an increasingly mobile workforce; and managing the burgeoning diversity of data, applications and devices needed to run their business. These challenges result from the transformative nature of cloud computing and the coming post-PC era.
In this environment, a new way to work will be required. The growing VMware End-User Computing portfolio seeks to free end users and IT organizations from more than two decades of complex, device-centric computing and deliver a more user-centric, consumer cloud experience for the enterprise. This approach to personal computing will enable organizations to leverage public cloud resources while extending existing security models and providing access to applications and data from any device, where and when a user needs it.
Establishing a new end-user computing model is a fundamental component of the VMware vision for IT as a Service — the transformation of IT to a more business-centric approach, focusing on outcomes such as operational efficiency, self service, competitiveness and rapid response. This means IT will shift from producing IT services to optimizing production and consumption of those services in ways consistent with business requirements. This will change the role of IT from a cost center to a center of strategic value.
What’s the News: A modified antibody can make its way into the brain and target the development of Alzheimer’s-inducing plaques, researchers reported today in two animal studies in Science Translational Medicine. The blood-brain barrier usually keeps drugs and other compounds from entering the brain in large enough quantities to be effective, but these studies show a way to trick the body’s own defenses into letting the drug in, demonstrating that this obstacle to treating Alzheimer’s could potentially be overcome.
How the Heck:
- Antibodies—immune proteins that attack disease-causers like viruses and bacteria—are far too big to fit through the blood-brain barrier under normal circumstances. But because of the brain’s need for iron, one protein is routinely ferried across the barrier: transferrin, which binds to iron in the blood.
- So, the researchers added a molecular structure to the antibody that essentially fooled receptors in the blood-brain barrier into treating the antibody as though it were transferrin, picking it up from the bloodstream and releasing it on the other side, into the brain. Ten times as much of the modified antibody made it past the barrier, compared to a version of the antibody without the add-on.
- The researchers tailored the antibody to bind to BACE1, an enzyme that contributes to the formation of Alzheimer’s-triggering plaques. The antibody successfully bound to BACE1, interfering with the formation of the plaques.
- The antibody reduced amyloid-beta levels in the brain by about 20% in some animal types and about 50% in others, the researchers found.
What’s the Context:
- Amyloid-beta plaques are thought “to precede and somehow trigger the neurodegeneration and loss of synapses that causes Alzheimer’s,” wrote neurologist and Alzheimer’s expert Steven Paul in a commentary published alongside the studies. Drugs that inhibitÂ BACE1, then, should stop or slow progression of the disease by disrupting formation of these plaques.
- Three years ago, tests of an Alzheimer’s vaccine found that it successfully removed the plaques after they’d formed but did not lessen patients’ dementia. This was likely because the plaques had already done their damage by sparking neurodegeneration; removing them after the fact didn’t reverse their effects.
- There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and even slowing its progression has proven difficult. Current treatments largely focus on managing symptoms.
- If it proves successful, this new approach could also be used toÂ treat other neurological disorders with tailored antibodies.
Not So Fast:
- As with the earlier vaccine, this treatment wouldn’t help people whose disease is already advanced, since removing the plaques after they’ve formed is unlikely to show much benefit.
- Much remains to be seen before this approach is ready for the clinic. Researchers must develop a human version of the antibody (our transferrin receptors are different from mice’s).
- Since the treatment wouldÂ be most beneficial early on, before many plaques has developed, patients would have to take the drug for a long time, meaning its long-term safety must be rigorously tested.
- Jasvinder K. Atwal et al. “A Therapeutic Antibody Targeting BACE1 InhibitsÂ Amyloid-ÃŸÂ Production in Vivo.” Science Translational Medicine, May 25, 2011.Â DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002254
- Y. Joy Yu et al. “Boosting Brain Uptake of a Therapeutic Antibody byÂ Reducing Its Affinity for a Transcytosis Target.” Science Translational Medicine, May 25, 2011. DOI:Â 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002230
Image: PET scan of the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient / National Institute on Aging