Archive for January, 2011

Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities

January 31st, 2011 01:12 admin View Comments

Mozy Founder Josh Coates launches Instructure today. He’s hoping to disrupt the entrenched player in the University LMS space, Blackboard, and take a big part of it’s $377 million or so in revenue.

In 2007 EMC acquired Mozy, an online backup solution, for $76 million. Coates stayed for another year, then left.

Since then he’s been helping Nepalese refugees integrate into American society, and he’s a big WWII buff. He purchased and restored a M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer. You can see the restoration process here (he keeps it in his garage). And here’s a video of his wife blowing the crap out of the side of a gravel pit.

I like how Coates rolls. The guy has a fully operational M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer in his garage.

When he’s not blowing things up or helping other people, he teaches a venture startup coarse at Brigham Young University. And that’s where two of his students came up with the idea of making a better Blackboard. If you’ve been in college in the U.S. since around 2000, you’ll know all about Blackboard.

Last year the company raised around $1.5 million, nearly half from Coates himself, and got to work. They now have 20 employees and working with twenty six educational institutions, some of which have left Blackboard entirely.

Instructive is offering their Canvas LMS product as a hosted SaaS solution. Universities can also download an unsupported open source version of the product, or install a for-fee version with support.

Here’s a commercial the team created for the product, based on the Apple “1984″ commercial. That flamethrower is also his. Watch to the very end to really see it in action.

Source: Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities

Review: Dell Streak 7

January 31st, 2011 01:09 admin View Comments

Here we go again: another impressive 7-inch Android tablet with a Gorilla Glass screen, 4G networking, and a suave interface. But is this thing more of the same or something new.

The tried-and-true 7-inch tablet is, by now, old hat. In fact, little about the Dell Streak 7 is new except the clear emphasis on media playback and T-Mobile’s 4G wireless. On the aggregate, I’d say that this is a strong showing for Dell but does just enough to stand out from the current tablet crowd.

Read the rest of this entry »

Source: Review: Dell Streak 7

Android Passes Symbian As Most-Shipped Mobile Platform

January 31st, 2011 01:08 admin View Comments


nk497 writes “Symbian is no longer the most-shipped mobile platform, with Android finally knocking Nokia’s OS out of the number one position. Manufacturers shipped 32.9 million Android devices in Q4 of last year, compared to 31 million Symbian devices, according to Canalys. That gives Google a 33% share of the global mobile market, over 31% for Nokia’s Symbian. ‘It’s gone from nowhere to number one in the space of two years, which is pretty impressive,’ Canalys analyst Pete Cunningham said, predicting Android would double its growth rate this year.”

Source: Android Passes Symbian As Most-Shipped Mobile Platform

Former eHarmony Head Greg Waldorf Joins Accel As CEO-In-Residence

January 31st, 2011 01:34 admin View Comments

Accel Partners is announcing today the addition of former eHarmony head CEO Greg Waldorf as CEO-in-residence. Waldof spent eleven years at eHarmony and five as CEO before leaving the company a couple of weeks ago and landing at Accel as of today.

While at eHarmony, Waldorf oversaw an online dating business that raked in more than $1 billion in revenue. Under his helm the company expanded into over 15 countries worldwide. Waldorf has previously worked with Accel on the board of real estate startup Trulia.

Waldorf told us over the phone that he’s most excited about the companies with freemium business models given his background in paid services like dating. He’s also interested in spending some time in Accel’s New York and London offices as so many interesting things are happening internationally with regards to entreprenuership.

As Accel CEO-in-residence, Waldorf will be succeeding LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and former Googler Singh Cassidy who went on to found Polyvore. When asked what his number one piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs is Waldorf said “pick your partners wisely.”

Accel recently launched its New York branch, joining its offices in Silicon Valley, New York, London, Bangalore, New Delhi, Shanghai and Beijing.

The VC firm has has also had some recent notable exits, including that of to Amazon for $540 Million, Admob to Google for $750 Million and Playfish to Electronic Arts for $300 million.

Image via Wikipedia

Source: Former eHarmony Head Greg Waldorf Joins Accel As CEO-In-Residence

Egypt Goes Dark As Last ISP Pulls Plug

January 31st, 2011 01:20 admin View Comments


CWmike writes “Egypt is now off the grid. Four days after the Egyptian government ordered Internet service providers to disconnect from the Internet, the country’s last working Internet company has abruptly vanished from cyberspace. Noor Group, a small service provider that hosted Internet connections for the country’s stock exchange and other businesses, became completely unreachable at around 10:46 p.m. Cairo time (Eastern European Time), according to Earl Zmijewski, general manager with Internet monitoring company Renesys. ‘It looks like they’re completely lights-out now,’ he told IDG News’ Robert McMillan. Thought to handle only about 8 percent of the country’s Internet connections, Noor had served as a critical lifeline to Egypt since the government had ordered service cut early Friday morning. Nobody is sure how Noor was able to keep operating, even as larger ISPs such as Vodafone and Telecom Egypt voluntarily cut their Egyptian networks off from the rest of the world.” To help with this, engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow have rolled out a “speak-to-tweet” service, which lets people dial in to an international phone number, leave a voice mail, and have the audio file made available online via an automated Twitter update.

Source: Egypt Goes Dark As Last ISP Pulls Plug

CameraWallpaper: Jailbreak App Will Allow Users To Replace Wallpaper With Live Feed From iPhone’s Camera

January 31st, 2011 01:16 admin View Comments


When we published a post about a jailbreak tweak called DeepEnd, which gives the iPhone homescreen a cool 3D-like effect by moving the iPhone’s wallpaper based on its orientation, tonywongfish, one of our readers commented that the tweak would have more impressive if the wallpaper could be a live feed from iPhone’s camera rather than a static wallpaper.

It looks like jailbreak app developer with the handle limneomaster liked the idea.

limneomaster has revealed plans to release a new jailbreak app called CameraWallpaper that will allow users to replace the static wallpaper with live feed from iPhone’s camera.

Users can also take photos instantly (without the need to launch the Camera app) and set the photo as wallpaper via Activator enabled menu. iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4G user will also be able to switch between front and rear cameras. iPhone 4 users will also be able to enable the torch from the menu.

You can checkout the video of the app in action to get an idea:

It needs to be seen how the jailbreak tweak affects iPhone’s battery life etc.

The developer hasn’t provided an ETA on when it will be released or how much it will cost or if it will be available for free. As always, we’ll let you know as soon as it is available on the Cydia App Store.

What do you think about the new teak? Let us know if you will install it in the comments section below.

Source: CameraWallpaper: Jailbreak App Will Allow Users To Replace Wallpaper With Live Feed From iPhone’s Camera

Geek Culture Will Never Die…or Be Popular

January 31st, 2011 01:36 admin View Comments


adeelarshad82 writes “Last year CNN wrote an interesting article on how geek culture is now a big part of pop culture, while Patton Oswalt gave his own opinion on how he thinks pop culture has outright co-opted and diluted it. These articles gave birth to a completely different view, which is that geek culture can never truly be part of pop culture. The movies and t-shirts might sell, and everybody might use Facebook, but there will still be a small percentage that loves comics, imports video games, and can build their own computers. In other words, true geeks are much different from the stereotypes we learn about in the movies. The geek culture is not just playing D&D or watching V for Vendetta but also having a bookshelf full of D20 system manuals as well as reading all the Alan Moore material one can find. The fact of the matter is that while geek culture is far from dead, it’s not exactly a part of the pop culture either. So, no matter hard media outlets try to make the concept catch on, no matter how many studios try to capitalize on the cultural waves of comic book movies and best-selling video games, there is no such thing as pop culture geekdom.”

Source: Geek Culture Will Never Die…or Be Popular

Chile’s Disastrous 2010 Earthquake Didn’t Dissipate the Seismic Stress

January 31st, 2011 01:16 admin View Comments

Chile’s earthquake woes seem to know no end. Geologists are now saying that Chile’s deadly 2010 quake may have actually increased the risk of another destructive one.

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck last February relieved seismic stress in some areas–such as southern Santiago–but not in an area dubbed the “Darwin gap,” which lies on the coastal area near Concepcion, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

To see if the 2010 quake might have helped release pent-up stress in the Darwin gap, scientists modeled how it might have affected the gap by analyzing tsunami readings gathered by gauges in the water and land observations taken by satellite, GPS and the human eye…. The investigators found the earthquake ruptured only part of the Darwin gap. An area of stored energy remains unbroken there, and the 2010 earthquake might have actually stressed it further…. [Said study coauthor Stefano Lorito]: “A new magnitude 7 to 8 earthquake might be expected in that region.” [OurAmazingPlanet]

It’s called the “Darwin gap” because a similar earthquake in the region was witnessed by Charles Darwin in 1835. The zone of un-relieved stress derives from the movement of tectonic plates:

They found that a continental plate beneath the Pacific Ocean was sliding under the South American mainland at a rate of about 6.8 cms (2.7 inches) a year, so that a total of almost 12 meters (39 ft 4.4 in) of stresses had built up since 1835. [Reuters]

But the process of pinpointing and predicting a future earthquake isn’t as easy as measuring stress–it’s a complicated process. Says Lorito:

“It’s impossible to predict exactly when a new quake might happen.” [Reuters]

So while geologists aren’t sure exactly when or where the next earthquake will strike, they do know that another big one is likely. And that knowledge, however lacking, may just save lives as Chile prepares its buildings and citizens for another rumble.

Image: flickr /martingarri

Source: Chile’s Disastrous 2010 Earthquake Didn’t Dissipate the Seismic Stress

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Confirms White iPhone 4 Delay Due To Issue With Paint; Launch Imminent

January 31st, 2011 01:14 admin View Comments


We’re hearing rumors that Apple may launch the white iPhone 4 very soon, which it had delayed until Spring 2011.

We had recently reported that an unknown Japanese company has developed a new paint material that will allow Apple to finally release the long-awaited white iPhone 4.

It looks like the news might be accurate as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak confirmed that the delay in launching the white iPhone 4 was due to the issue with the paint, which allowed light to leak in and affected camera performance. He observed the issue first hand as he managed to get his hands on a white iPhone 4 from China.

Wozniak who made an appearance on the Engadget show last night also confirmed that the issue is resolved and Apple will release the white iPhone 4 very soon.

VentureBeat reports:

In a conversation with Joshua Topolsky, editor of the AOL-owned tech blog Engadget, on the site’s eponymous online-video show today, Wozniak said that he ordered the white iPhone parts from a teenager online who somehow received them from Foxconn, who manufacturers the iPhone. When he tried to take a picture with the device’s flash, he said the photo looked as if it was taken through cellophane, confirming earlier rumors that the white case caused light leakage when the flash was used.

Additionally, Wozniak said that his white iPhone 4 parts caused issues with its proximity sensor (although I think he’s actually referring to its ambient light sensor, which could see similar light leakage issues to the camera). He then confirmed that Apple has resolved the problems with the white iPhone 4, and that we’ll be seeing them soon. We recently reported that the fabled device has started appearing on AT&T and Best Buy computers.

Unfortunately, it has taken so much time to launch the white iPhone 4 that most users who were waiting for it have already bought the black model.

Do you think Apple will launch the white iPhone 4 or save it for the next generation iPhone?

[Engadget via VentureBeat]

Source: Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Confirms White iPhone 4 Delay Due To Issue With Paint; Launch Imminent

A Mineral You’ve Never Heard of Could Create Next-Gen Electronics

January 31st, 2011 01:04 admin View Comments

When experts talk about discarding today’s silicon-based computer chips and building next-generation electronics out of new materials, they’re usually talking about graphene, and for good reason–the one-atom-thick layers of carbon can behave like semiconductors and have already been used in experimental transistors. But researchers from a Swiss lab think they have a material that can trump both silicon and graphene. World, meet molybdenite.

The researchers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) note that the mineral looks similar to mica, and has a layered molecular structure that allows it to sheer off easily into thin sheets.

Molybdenite, the researchers said, is abundant in nature and is currently used in steel alloys and in lubricants, but it has not previously been studied for use in electronics. “It’s a two-dimensional material, very thin and easy to use in nanotechnology. It has real potential in the fabrication of very small transistors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and solar cells,” said EPFL Professor Andras Kis, adding that molybdenite (MoS2) is far more compact than silicon, while still allowing electrons to circulate freely. [PC Pro]

It’s also a very effective semiconductor, and the paper, published in Nature Nanotechnology, argues that it can be used to construct tiny and energy efficient electronic chips. The researchers say that the experimental transistors they made with molybdenite consumed 100,000 times less energy when in standby state than today’s silicon transistors.

A molybdenite transistor owes its efficiency to the material’s “band gap.”

A semi-conductor with a “gap” must be used to turn a transistor on and off, and molybdenite’s 1.8 electron-volt gap is ideal for this purpose. In solid-state physics, band theory is a way of representing the energy of electrons in a given material. In semi-conductors, electron-free spaces exist between these bands, the so-called “band gaps.” If the gap is not too small or too large, certain electrons can hop across the gap. It thus offers a greater level of control over the electrical behavior of the material, which can be turned on and off easily. [press release]

That band gap gives molybdenite an advantage over graphene, which doesn’t have one. While researchers have found ways to work around that problem in graphene, the molybdenite proponents say their material could spare chip-makers the hassle.

Images: Wikimedia Commons, Nature Nanotechnology

Source: A Mineral You’ve Never Heard of Could Create Next-Gen Electronics