Archive for June, 2011

New Technology Turns Windows Into Solar Panels

June 27th, 2011 06:42 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “A start-up in Northern California is working on creating ‘solar windows’ that could act as solar panels at the same time as blocking sunlight from entering office buildings to reduce their energy needs.”

Source: New Technology Turns Windows Into Solar Panels

Google NFC Partner ViVOtech Raises $24M From Motorola, DFJ, Citigroup And Others

June 27th, 2011 06:21 admin View Comments

the near field communication (NFC) software and systems company, has raised $24 million in Series C funding from Singapore’s EDBI, SingTel Innov8, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Alloy Ventures, Citi Ventures (the venture arm of Citigroup), Draper Fisher Jurveston, DFJ Gotham, First Data Corporation, Miven Ventures, Motorola Mobility, Nokia Growth Partners and NCR. This brings ViVOtech’s total funding to $80 million.

Founded in 2001, ViVOtech’s develops payment software, NFC smart posters, contactless readers/writers, and over the air card provisioning, promotion, and transaction management infrastructure software. ViVOtech has installed more than 800,000 NFC systems in 35 countries.

The company says that new funds will be used for further international expansion of ViVOtech’s NFC software and systems in Asia and other markets.

ViVOTech’s technology is frequently licensed by other companies and merchants to enable mobile payments. The company got a pretty big boost recently when Google used ViVOtech’s technology for their recentt NFC push, Google Wallet.

For merchants that want to accept Google Wallet payments, ViVOtech is providing NFC point of sale readers. In addition, ViVOtech has worked with Google, merchants and POS software vendors to provide integration between NFC POS readers and current POS software.

ViVOtech has also reportedly been looking at an IPO in 2012. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the company has 80 percent of the U.S. market for NFC readers, and the company sales are in “double-digit millions.”

Source: Google NFC Partner ViVOtech Raises $24M From Motorola, DFJ, Citigroup And Others

Wikipedia Adds “WikiLove” For Newbie Editors

June 27th, 2011 06:53 admin View Comments


mikejuk writes “Wikipedia has a cunning plan to make wikipedians nicer to each other — its all about WikiLove. They can click on the Love button to make each other feel good about contributing anything from an article to an edit. The idea is that this will encourage newbie editors to stay and contribute rather than slink away into the rest of the web because their contributions get deleted and derided. Perhaps all we need for world peace is a big enough love button.”

Source: Wikipedia Adds “WikiLove” For Newbie Editors

Announcing Ozma: Extending Scala With Oz Concurrency

June 27th, 2011 06:40 admin View Comments


setori88 writes “Programming for concurrency makes sense in developing for both large scales (cloud computing) and small (multicore CPUs). Some languages were designed for concurrency and distribution; One of those languages is Oz, which provides advanced primitives regarding concurrency and distribution. Oz is mostly declarative, a paradigm that encompasses functional and logic programming. Despite its innovative features and expressiveness, Oz never made it into the wide developer community; one reason is its unusual syntax.” Read on to learn about an effort to bring Oz’s concurrency features to more programmers.

Source: Announcing Ozma: Extending Scala With Oz Concurrency

DVRs, Cable Boxes Top List of Home Energy Hogs

June 27th, 2011 06:18 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes “Elisabeth Rosenthal writes that cable setup boxes and DVRs have become the single largest electricity drain in many American homes, causing an increase of over $10/month for a home with many devices, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator. The set-top boxes are energy hogs mostly because their drives, tuners and other components are running full tilt, 24 hours a day, even when not in active use. ‘People in the energy efficiency community worry a lot about these boxes, since they will make it more difficult to lower home energy use,’ says John Wilson, a former member of the California Energy Commission. ‘Companies say it can’t be done or it’s too expensive. But in my experience, neither one is true. It can be done, and it often doesn’t cost much, if anything.’ The perpetually ‘powered on’ state is largely a function of design and programming choices made by electronics companies and cable and Internet providers, which are related to the way cable networks function in the United States. Similar devices in some European countries can automatically go into standby mode when not in use, cutting power drawn by half and go into an optional ‘deep sleep,’ which can reduce energy consumption by about 95 percent (PDF) compared with when the machine is active. Although the EPA has established Energy Star standards for set-top boxes and has plans to tighten them significantly by 2013, cable providers and box manufacturers like Cisco Systems, Samsung and Motorola currently do not feel consumer pressure to improve box efficiency.”

Source: DVRs, Cable Boxes Top List of Home Energy Hogs

Tasty! Meredith Launches, Acquires EatingWell Media Group

June 27th, 2011 06:42 admin View Comments

Publisher Meredith is expanding its food media business with the launch of, a site that pairs – you guessed it – recipes with digital coupons and the acquisition of EatingWell, a multichannel brand focused on – you guessed it – healthy eating. Terms of the EatingWell purchase were not disclosed.

To learn why launching and buying EatingWell Media Group makes sense for Meredith, look no further than this statement from chairman and CEO Steve Lacy:

“Meredith already produces great food content across our brands, and food is our top advertising category. In acquiring EatingWell and launching, we’ve added two anchor brands to serve the 75 million American women we engage every month, and the marketers that want to reach them.”

In other words, more eyeballs to sell to their top advertisers, across multiple channels.

The company’s portfolio includes a bi-monthly magazine, a mobile app and website featuring healthy recipes, food and shopping tips, articles, blogs and nutrition advice, a series of cook books and a content licensing and custom marketing program providing diet and nutrition articles, how-to cook information, recipes and meal plans to over 75 clients.

Currently, more than 60 percent of EatingWell’s revenues are said to come from digital sources, licensing and custom marketing.

EatingWell CEO Thomas Witschi is joining the Meredith National Media Group as EVP and President, Women’s Lifestyle, with responsibility for Meredith’s More, Fitness, EatingWell and Diabetic Living brands.

As for the website and associated mobile apps will feature more than 20,000 trusted recipes, digital coupons, how-to videos, recipes from cook books and partners as well as an online shopping list. There’s also going to be a quarterly magazine.

Brands like Betty Crocker, Campbell’s and Kellogg’s are among the marketing content partners participating in the launch of

Source: Tasty! Meredith Launches, Acquires EatingWell Media Group

LivingSocial Expands Daily Deals Empire; Buys Ensogo, GoNabit And DealKeren

June 27th, 2011 06:21 admin View Comments

Looks like LivingSocial is employing the same strategy for international expansion as its rival Groupon: by acquiring local daily deal sites to serve as a foundation for discount distribution on a global scale.

According to DailySocial, the company has moved to purchase DealKeren (operational in Indonesia), its parent company Ensogo (which offers daily deals in Thailand and the Philippines) as well as GoNabit (which operates in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait).

LivingSocial hasn’t (yet) formally announced the acquisitions, but the report is corroborated by news site CPI Financial (although the article, which you can find using Google News, is unavailable at this moment).

Clearly, the fresh logos confirm the purchases of Ensogo and DealKeren (but not GoNabit).

We have no knowledge of the terms of the deals, but we’ll update as soon as we learn more.

Also read:

LivingSocial Financials Exposed: $2.9B Valuation, $50M In Revenue Per Month

LivingSocial Pulls A Groupon … And $200 Million Off The Table

Source: LivingSocial Expands Daily Deals Empire; Buys Ensogo, GoNabit And DealKeren

Nailing the Cause of Recent Linux Power Issues

June 27th, 2011 06:36 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “For the Linux kernel power regressions that were found a few months ago, and hit in Ubuntu 11.04, Phoronix has found the regression that’s still present in the Linux 3.0 kernel. The power regression is caused by a change in ASPM, the Active-State Power Management, for PCI Express support.”

Source: Nailing the Cause of Recent Linux Power Issues

Why Programming Languages?

June 27th, 2011 06:44 admin View Comments

A short essay by Tom Van Cutsem, Why Programming Languages?:

When I present my research work on programming languages, people often ask me “why do you need a new programming language to solve this problem? Why not just implement it as a library?” Or, I get asked “why didn’t you implement it as an extension to {some existing language}?” In this essay I try to make explicit some of the goals and motivations behind language design.

Van Cutsem is the author of AmbientTalk, which has been discussed obliquely on LtU a few months ago.

Source: Why Programming Languages?

Startups Don’t Die, They Commit Suicide

June 27th, 2011 06:56 admin View Comments

Justin Kan is the founder of and Socialcam. You can follow him on Twitter here and read his blog here.

Startups die in many ways, but in the past couple of years I’ve noticed that the most common cause of death is what I call “Startup Suicide”, a phenomenon in which a startup’s founders and its management kill the company while it’s still very much breathing.

Long before startups get to the point of delinquent electricity bills or serious payroll cuts, they implode. The people in them give up and move on to do other things, or they realize that startups are hard and can cause a massive amount of mental and physical exhaustion — or the founders get jobs at other companies, go back to school, or simply move out of the valley and disappear.

I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: while building and iterating on (long before launching Socialcam), there were many times I came to the brink of packing it up and moving on from the company that bears my name. Shameful? Perhaps, but I know the same thoughts have occurred at times to my co-founders, who are still with the company to this day. The reasons? Take your pick: we need more traction, we need hockey-stick growth, we need more revenue, we need more buzz, we argue about management issues, we have diverging interests. In the past five years I have personally experienced all the startup failure cliches that exist.

But, every time the “suicide” specter reared its head, I turned away and stayed the course. And every time, I would be vindicated. Arguments were worked out, problems solved, revenue generated, traction gained, buzz created. So I’ve struggled on, and every day we’ve continued to win the most important battle for any company: existence. Even more, we’ve been able to grow all the metrics that matter: users, revenue, and team.

When startups commit suicide, often the root problem can be traced back to a lack of product traction — it’s rare to find people willingly quitting companies with exploding metrics. But one thing that many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that patience and iteration are critical in achieving product market fit. Overnight successes might happen fast, but they never actually happen overnight. Facebook lagged Myspace for a couple years before being crowned the top social network. Groupon had to iterate through being ThePoint. If the teams had given up after a single failure (or even many failures), they would never have created the massive companies that capture the public eye today.

My favorite example of persistence is Airbnb. I first met the founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, after SXSW 2008, where they had bumped into my co-founder, Michael Seibel. They had launched their site as a marketplace for temporary housing rentals during conferences twice already by that point: once for a design conference in SF, and then again at SXSW in Austin.

These were guys with very little knowledge of the tech industry, two designers who had a programmer working with them part time. Michael was advising them, and every couple of weeks they would come by the office to talk with him (while the rest of us alternated between watching casually, mildly annoyed that Mike wasn’t working, and actually trying to provide helpful advice). The one thing I remember vividly was the time when they first demoed their payment flow to us. It was built on top of Amazon payments, and was quite frankly atrocious and we told them as much (I think it required multiple redundant fields).

That summer, they launched a third time for the Democratic National Convention and achieved some traffic, which promptly went away soon after the conference was over. By fall, almost anyone could have justified throwing in the towel. They had tried to make the product work multiple times, had accumulated tens of thousands in personal credit card debt, and were literally printing cereal boxes to try to make money. Even their lead (and only) engineer had moved back to Boston. As a casual observer from the outside, they appeared isolated and discouraged.

But they didn’t give up. They kept at it. At the end of the year, they were accepted into YC, and immediately started trying to generate revenue and hit profitability. Two years later, Airbnb has a great product, a huge userbase, great revenue and is the the toast of the town in Silicon Valley. They are even a contender for the most valuable YC company created to date.

Persistence isn’t just key — it is everything. Getting in the ring is hard, but staying in the ring is even harder, especially when you feel beaten down, tired and alone. Successful entrepreneurs will readily tell you about the good times, their secrets to success, and even their mistakes (with a ready helping of how they overcame them), but they will rarely mention the times they were ready to throw in the towel and do something else. The truth is that everyone has those moments, and the guys you read about on the cover of Fortune were the ones that didn’t quit at them.

I can’t promise you will succeed if you stick with your startup. What I can promise is that if you give up, you won’t possibly succeed.

Source: Startups Don’t Die, They Commit Suicide