Posts Tagged ‘East Coast’

Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms

November 10th, 2012 11:38 admin View Comments


SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News: “The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation’s largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called ‘Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,’ NYC’s Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city’s resilience to climate change and sea level rise. ‘Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,’ Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News’ Richard Engel. ‘That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.’ Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves.”

Source: Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms

How CoreSite Survived Sandy

November 7th, 2012 11:34 admin View Comments


Nerval’s Lobster writes “When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, the combination of high winds, rain, and storm surges wreaked havoc on homes and businesses alike. With a data center on the Avenue of the Americas, CoreSite Realty escaped the worst the storm had to offer. But was it coincidence or careful planning? Slashdot sat down for an interview with Billie Haggard, CoreSite’s senior vice president of data centers. He’s responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, facilities staffing and uptime, reliability and energy efficiency of CoreSite’s data centers. He described what it took to weather the worst weather to hit New York City in decades.”

Source: How CoreSite Survived Sandy

Hurricane Sandy Nears East Coast

October 29th, 2012 10:08 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Scientists have been following and projecting Sandy’s path with all the tools at their disposal: ocean buoys, radar and satellite imagery, and computer modeling. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also gathers information from special reconnaissance aircraft, which fly over hurricanes and can drop instruments into them to measure wind speeds, air pressure, temperature, and altitude. The latest data gathered on Hurricane Sandy point to an unprecedented and mighty tempest, scientists say. A couple of our East Coast offices are closed today and people have been told to work from home. Please share your storm stories, and updates while you still have internet access.

Source: Hurricane Sandy Nears East Coast

Let the Campaign Edit Wars Begin

August 13th, 2012 08:35 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes writes “Megan Garber writes that in high school, Paul Ryan’s classmates voted him as his class’s ‘biggest brown noser,’ a juicy tidbit that is a source of delight for his political opponents but considered an irrelevant piece of youthful trivia to his supporters. ‘But it’s also a tension that will play out, repeatedly, in the most comprehensive narrative we have about Paul Ryan as a person and a politician and a policy-maker: his Wikipedia page,’ writes Garber. Late Friday night, just as news of the Ryan choice leaked in the political press — the first substantial edit to that page removed the ‘brown noser’ mention which had been on the page since June 16. The Wikipedia deletion has given rise to a whole discussion of whether the mention is a partisan attack, whether ‘brown noser’ is a pejorative, and whether an old high school opinion survey is notable or relevant. As of this writing, ‘brown noser’ stands as does a maybe-mitigating piece of Ryan-as-high-schooler trivia: that he was also voted prom king. But that equilibrium could change, again, in an instant. ‘Today is the glory day for the Paul Ryan Wikipedia page,’ writes Garber. ‘Yesterday, it saw just 10 [edits]. Today, however — early on a Saturday morning, East Coast time — it’s already received hundreds of revisions. And the official news of the Ryan selection, of course, is just over an hour old.’ Now Ryan’s page is ready to host debates about biographical details and their epistemological relevance. ‘Like so many before it, will be a place of debate and dissent and derision. But it will also be a place where people can come together to discuss information and policy and the intersection between the two — a town square for the digital age.’”

Source: Let the Campaign Edit Wars Begin

U.S. East Coast a Hotspot of Sea-Level Rise

June 26th, 2012 06:36 admin View Comments


Harperdog writes “Nature just published this study of sea-level rise (SLR) and how global warming does not force SLR to rise everywhere at the same rate. Interesting stuff about what, exactly, contributes to this uneven rise, and how the East Coast of the US, which used to have a relatively low sea level, is now a hotspot in that sea level there is rising faster than elsewhere.”

Source: U.S. East Coast a Hotspot of Sea-Level Rise

The Future of Social Is Video: Interview With Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel

May 1st, 2012 05:45 admin View Comments

Socialcam is being called the “Instagram for Video” app. With this phrase comes the idea that, like seemingly every startup nowadays, the goal is to build an awesome and thriving community, pump up the product to the level of ultimate coolness and then cash in by selling to a bigger social company that may or may not have a working business model. That’s one way to look at it.

After one conversation with Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel, it seems like the future of social video isn’t in selling your company to Facebook – it’s in the niche communities that populate this tiny app. They are the true owners of this bustling social video community. 

Spun off from and launched little more than a year ago, Socialcam is a social video app that gives users a ridiculously easy way to shoot a video, upload it to the app’s niche-focused community and then share it to other social sites if they’d like. As of today, Socialcam has surpassed Viddy as the #1 photo and video app in the Apple App Store. Instagram has since been bumped to #3.

It also grabbed additional funding from some “A-Listers” like Yuri Milner of Startfund and Tim Draper of Draper and Associates, making for a total of nearly 40-some-odd investors. Like the app itself, it’s nice to look at. But that’s not where Siebel’s head was today, when we talked.

Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel sees the potential mainstreamification of social videos as a way not only to share one’s life story, but also to create community around the moving image. Interestingly, however, Siebel ended up as the CEO of Socialcam not through his love of telling stories or the image. Rather, he saw it as an opportunity that he just couldn’t pass up. He studied political science at Yale University and thought he would end up in DC. That’s not quite what happened, however.

From Politics in DC to the All-Video World of

In 2007, Siebel cofounded with his friend Justin Kan, Emmett Shear and Kyle Vogt. allowed anyone to broadcast video online through “channels.” The original channel just included Justin broadcasting his life 24/7. But Siebel did not start out with a particular passion or interest in the tech world, or the video world. 

“I think basically it was a level of stubbornness,” says Siebel. “I got into startups because of Justin. I wanted to do politics with my life but was convinced that I needed to do it in a very particular way, which included working on a campaign when I was young, having a family, a mortgage and other such basic experiences.”

After working for a year in DC as the finance director for Kweisi Mfume’s U.S. Senate campaign, eventually moving up to the position of Finance Director, Justin approached Siebel.

“Justin gave me the opportunity to work and be a cofounder of, and even though I thought it was crazy, I also thought to myself ‘when would I have another opportunity to start a business with my best friend?’” 

Siebel grew up in Brooklyn, and describes himself as a guy who’s always been comfortable around computers. 

“My dad was a programmer,” he says. “And I was excited about that world, but it seemed so far away.”

After he joined teams with Justin Kan, he left his East Coast digs for San Francisco, and jumped right into the video world.

“It was a rough road, I gotta tell you,” he says. “Everyone was a Deputy Downer for video companies, and we were a video company. We had to work really hard to survive. But during the process, I really started to fall in love with video.”

For Siebel, half the passion came from what he describes as a chip on his shoulder, a response to the people who said he wasn’t going to make video work. The other half of it came from a desire to get more people to use video to share their life and experiences.

Why Live Video Didn’t Make Sense, But an All-Video App Did

Siebel recounts a story about getting interviewed by reporters in massive vans.

“It was hilarious because we were filming them live using our 25-pound video equipment, and they were standing up on their vans trying to film us live,” he recounts, jokingly.  

Much like its image-oriented cousin Instagram, Socialcam gives users the opportunity to add a variety of filters to the video itself. A short, “au natural” video can suddenly become newsy, “classic,” “casual,” or like an MTV music video. Music accompanies these videos too, if the user so wishes to add it – get some “street” music into the video, or perhaps some “happy”-sounding tunes or just plain tropical breezy. Socialcam gives users the opportunity to transform their otherwise possibly boring moments into mini productions, starring their friends and family, or maybe just a plain old fire hydrant.

When Socialcam launched in April 2011, it was immediately available on both iPhone and Android. There was no iPhone-exclusivity like Instagram. And there was also more than a focus on the filters themselves.

“Socialcam users are using more than just filters – it’s the filters, themes and soundtracks all together,” says Siebel. “Why? I think it goes back to the core vision of the company. We want to make video creation mainstream.”

To take video into the space that photography currently occupies, however, is not an easy task. 

“How many people do you know who have taken a photo class? A videography class?” asks Siebel. “Photography is a much more widely distributed skill, and it’s something that everyday people feel more comfortable with. We want to take video outside of the black box, breaking down that barrier between the professional and the everyday person, and we want to provide people with simple tools to do that.”

And according to Siebel, this will happen with the rise of the smartphone – because anyone with a smartphone has a video camera.

“Instagram didn’t have to popularize photo-taking,” Siebel says. “They were able to take the fact that people loved photos, and help them take even more photos. So for us, we’re kind of doing double duty – we want to make you feel comfortable taking a video and being in a video, while also making sure it’s fun and easy, and something you can be proud of.”

Socialcam does not put a limit on the length of a video. According to Siebel, this would actually hinder the amount of videos published. The shorter you make the video, the longer a user has to think about how to say what they want in a specific period of time. If the video is good and the sound quality is high, chances are people will stick around and watch it.

Communication Gone Visual: The Moving Image Is Moving Forward

Socialcam is host to a huge variety of videos, from aspiring rap stars to sweet violin-playing musicians who mix their music with the tunes offered. And there’s always a bit of toilet humor and inspirational talks to go alongside those more creative endeavors. 

“We have a hugely diverse userbase,” says Siebel. “Socialcam is a global network. We’ve got this amazing community of deaf kids in France who use Socialcam. They use it like a phone call – they use video to communicate with one another. I love to see that this stuff can just happen.” 

Aside from the popular trending types of videos and the niche communities on Socialcam, there are four categories that Siebel sees growing the fastest. The first one is family. 

“Young parents take videos of their kids, and then send them to the grandparents who consume them,” he says. “One of the most basic use cases is videos of my kids.”

The second most popular use case is community – people use Socialcam to interact with each other within the community. The third is “what we like to call informally ‘Jackass,’ or stuff my friends are doing that’s stupid or funny,” Siebel says. “Before you would tell a story, and now you just take a video of your friend doing that.” 

The last biggest use case is a category that Siebel refers to as “traditional.” It includes the type of Timeline-esque life events that you would expect, including graduation, Christmas and other holidays, birthdays, special events, vacations and weekend trips. 

“I think that in the next two years, we’re going to take a huge bite out of the number of people who take videos once a week,” Siebel says. “When you’re going back through the content you’ve taken, there will be a lot more videos, and it will be easier to browse and remember.” 

Source: The Future of Social Is Video: Interview With Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel

Ultralight Startups Think Big, Keep It Simple, Move Fast

April 18th, 2012 04:00 admin View Comments

shutterstock_porsche.jpgWhat’s the secret to startup success? According to Jason Baptiste, CEO of Onswipe and author of the new book, “The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Startup Without Clout or Capital”, it’s all about thinking big, keeping it simple and shipping quickly.

In quintessential entrepreneurial fashion, Onswipe was born when Baptiste and cofounder Andres Barreto couldn’t find a solution to a problem they were each independently experiencing. They started “with an idea and the belief that something big would come of it.” But no money. Within six months they had raised $6 million in two rounds of VC funding, and had 15 employees. (They’re now up to a staff of 30.)

Market shifts were the impetus for creating Onswipe, a multimillion-dollar business which works with publishers to format website content on tablet platforms. The founders actually dub it “Angry Birds for content.” Baptiste and Barreto noted “large shifts of behavior away from pay-per-click and towards pay-per-swipe,” and the rising popularity of tablets, before launching their business.

From the beginning, Baptiste says, they made a “conscious decision to build a large business.” But they created a formula Baptiste now recommends for all startups: “Keep it [your idea] simple; build it [a prototype] simple; and be ready to ship in 30 to 60 days.” And it helps if your idea can be “supported by advertising,” he adds.

ultralight_book.jpgThough so many successful tech startups are born in Silicon Valley, Baptiste admits his biggest mistake was almost “locating on the wrong coast. We would have tanked if we started on the West Coast,” he says, “and we almost did. We were lucky our first round of money was raised on the East Coast.” His advice to media or digital startups is to locate where the advertisers are – in New York City.

The other action that was “crucial” to their success was applying (and getting accepted) to TechStars NYC, a highly ranked startup incubator and accelerator. Onswipe had already raised $1 million before it joined TechStars, but being there helped the company to “do more faster,” Baptiste says. The question became, “How fast can we accelerate? How much can we grow in three months?”

The answer? Really fast – in three months the company raised another $5 million in funding.

Baptiste wrote “The Ultralight Startup” because he believes “entrepreneurship is leading the 21st century renaissance, changing the world and the way we think about work.” Being an entrepreneur, he writes in his book, “has become not only a respected career path but a necessary one” in this post-recessionary economy.

But what exactly is an ultralight startup?

As defined by Baptiste, it’s about “creating a startup from scratch — with little upfront capital, little experience, or few connections in your industry.” It’s “like a Porsche,” he says. “It’s lightweight and doesn’t seem like much. But when you get into a certain gear, you have to accelerate. You have to do everything possible to get to the next gear. You can’t be afraid to accelerate.”

And now is the ideal time to hit the gas. “The good news,” Baptiste writes, “is that the barriers to becoming an entrepreneur are lower than ever before. The Internet has made it possible for anyone to connect with influencers, experts and potential customers around the world.” But first, he warns, you need to “stop listening to the MBAs and any other naysayers. It’s time to free your mind.”

Baptiste realizes Onswipe’s success was a bit out of the ordinary. The company enjoyed a “perfect storm of market, product and people,” he says, referring to his team and timing.

What’s next for Baptiste and Onswipe? In addition to writing another book, Baptiste predicts Onswipe’s “next evolution will be hundreds of percentages greater.”

If you want to craft your own ultralight startup, Baptiste offers a three-step plan:

  1. Set out to make it big.
  2. See the opportunity, go with your gut and triple down.
  3. Keep on shipping.

Source: Ultralight Startups Think Big, Keep It Simple, Move Fast

New Frog Species Found In NYC

March 15th, 2012 03:49 admin View Comments


interval1066 writes “Ars Technica reports that a paper by biologists Catherine E. Newmana, Jeremy A. Feinbergb, Leslie J. Risslerc, Joanna Burgerb, and H. Bradley Shaffer, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (abstract of paywalled article)), describes a new subspecies of leopard frog has been found living exclusively in New York City. The researchers describe in the paper that the new frog has a distinctive croak, quite different from the two existing species of leopard frogs on the East Coast. The new frog is also stand-offish and tends to impotently honk its horn when stuck in traffic.”

Source: New Frog Species Found In NYC

Why Didn’t the Internet Take Off In 1983?

March 1st, 2012 03:29 admin View Comments

The Internet

jfruh writes An amazing pair of videos from the AT&T archives tout a service called Viewtron that brought much of what we expect from the modern Internet to customers’ homes in 1983. Online news, banking services, restaurant reviews, shopping, e-mail — all were available on your TV set, controlled by a wireless infrared keyboard. The system had 15,000 customers in cities on the U.S. east coast, but was shut down after $50 million was spent on it. But why did it flop? Was the world just not ready for it?”

Source: Why Didn’t the Internet Take Off In 1983?

Predicting Life 100 Years From Now

January 16th, 2012 01:24 admin View Comments


New submitter Simon321 writes “BBC News has an interesting article about the top predictions for life 100 years from now. The highlights include extensive farming of the ocean, wiring all sorts of computers to our brains, space elevators, and the break-up of the United States. ‘There are some indications already that California wants to split off and such pressures tend to build over time. It is hard to see this waiting until the end of the century. Maybe an East Coast cluster will want to break off too. Pressures come from the enormous differences in wealth generation capability, and people not wanting to fund others if they can avoid it.’”

Source: Predicting Life 100 Years From Now