Posts Tagged ‘George’

George Albercook Teaches Kids About Space with High-Altitude Balloons (Video)

September 13th, 2012 09:25 admin View Comments


George Albercook says he got carried away talking with some third and fourth graders about space and asked them, “Would you like to go?” Except, of course, he couldn’t send them beyond the atmosphere in person, so as a consolation he worked with them to send up a balloon that could carry experiments high enough that the sky is black 24 hours a day and the Earth’s curvature is easy to see. This interview with George was at the 2012 Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire. Click on the link just below, if you’d like to read the transcript.

Source: George Albercook Teaches Kids About Space with High-Altitude Balloons (Video)

Open Compute Project Driving Open-Source Hardware Development

July 17th, 2012 07:23 admin View Comments


The Open Compute Project was launched by Facebook early last year to facilitate collaborative development of highly-efficient computing infrastructure. They wanted to make datacenters cheaper and less energy-intensive to operate. Since then, many industry heavyweights have joined up, and the effects of the project are becoming evident in how companies buy hardware. “Instead of the traditional scenario in which the company’s buying decisions are determined by what the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) such as Dell, HP, and IBM are offering, open sourcing hardware give companies the ability to buy the exact hardware they want. Businesses are increasingly more curious about open source, and many of them are already deploying open source tools and the cloud, [Dell's Joseph George said]. They are increasingly looking at open source software as viable alternatives to commercial options. This level of exploration is moving to the infrastructure layer. ‘Driving standards is what open source is about,’ George added. With specifications at hand, it is possible to manufacture server and storage components that deliver consistent results regardless of who’s in charge of production.

Source: Open Compute Project Driving Open-Source Hardware Development

Lonesome George Is Dead At 100

June 25th, 2012 06:14 admin View Comments


New submitter camperdave writes “Lonesome George, the last remaining tortoise of his kind and a conservation icon, died on Sunday of unknown causes, the Galapagos National Park said. He was thought to be about 100 years old.”

Source: Lonesome George Is Dead At 100

Dell Designing Developer Oriented Laptop

May 9th, 2012 05:55 admin View Comments


jones_supa writes “Barton George, director of marketing for Dell’s Web vertical reveals information about ‘Project Sputnik’, a laptop tailored for developer needs in web companies. ‘We want to find ways to make the developer experience as powerful and simple as possible. And what better way to do that than beginning with a laptop that is both highly mobile and extremely stylish, running the 12.04 LTS release of Ubuntu Linux’, George ponders and, gives a quick list of packages that the default installation could include. The machine will base on the XPS13, assessing a couple of its main hardware deficiencies along the way.” According to the article, this is a “…6 month project to investigate an Ubuntu laptop. If successful, we have big plans for the effort.” It’s unclear how closely they are working with upstream, but there’s mention of Canonical as a commercial partner so this may mean Dell is working to ensure some of their hardware Just Works ™ with Ubuntu. The software side is so far just a customized install with developer tools preinstalled. Ars remains skeptical about Dell’s strategy for GNU/Linux support, which may be warranted given their track record.

Source: Dell Designing Developer Oriented Laptop

JOBS Act Fallout: Making Crowdfunding Work WITHOUT Selling Stock

April 4th, 2012 04:00 admin View Comments

JOBSact.jpegOn April 5, President Obama will sign the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Among other things, the new law will allow privately held startups with a fundraising goal of $1 million or less to sell unregistered stock to the public through approved crowdfunding sites. And that means startups seeking money from the public will now be able to offer investors a cash return, not just a promotional gimme, a token service or a hearty “Thanks a lot!” in exchange for their largesse.

How can companies giving away T-shirts compete with that? With a perfect pitch and cool perks. Like a phone call from a celebrity – it worked for George “Dr. Funkenstein” Clinton!

The JOBS Act makes selling stock easier, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s a smart move for every startup. Fortunately, selling stock still isn’t necessarily required to land large sums of cash. Double Fine Productions, a San Francisco gamemaker, raised a record $3.3 million for a new game and documentary through crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Contributors were given a copy of the game, the film and other gifts. People who gave over $10,000 got to have lunch with the game’s designer.

Double Fine founder Tim Schafer told the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d think about selling shares down the road but notes that giving up equity in return for just $1 million doesn’t make sense for Double Fine. “We raised three times that giving away lunches and T-shirts.”

But the law will doubtless bring an increase in the number of businesses looking to sell stock online. And that means stiffer competition for any company hoping to raise money online the old-fashioned way, by offering contributors cool perks. So how can your startup stand out at a crowded crowdfunding site?

We asked Slava Rubin, CEO and cofounder of four-year-old IndieGoGo, the largest crowdfunding site by number of campaigns:

Perfect your pitch. Your pitch should be engaging – and nothing engages like video. Rubin says it’s essential to any funding campaign. Companies with a video pitch raise 114% more money than those without. “It can be video of anything but you want it to be personal and engaging. Not just you selling aggressively or begging for money. That absolutely does not work.”

Set a hard deadline. Short campaigns work better than long ones. Rubin says successful campaigns typically reach their funding target around day 36 of a 47-day campaign. “Be aggressive with your deadline and keep the ball rolling. If a deadline is too long there’s a lull that’s detrimental to your campaign.”

Start fast. Nobody funds a company if nobody else is funding it, which means your campaign will stand a better chance if you get early contributions from friends and family. “We know you need to get 30 to 40 percent of your funding from your inner circle,” Rubin says. “That includes friends, family and all your social network connections.” Once you get that, strangers are more willing to jump on board. “Also, it helps you get on our homepage and in our blog or newsletter, which raises your exposure even more.” Rubin says campaigns get, on average, 20% of funding from complete strangers, 30 percent from friends and family and 40 to 50% from their first-degree network.

Stay busy. You can’t simply post your fundraising campaign and walk away. You must update regularly to keep the narrative fresh. Rubin says fundraisers who update every five days or less raise four times more money than those who update every 20 days or more. “And ‘update’ means saying something like, ‘We have a new perk today. Or, ‘Thank you John, Jan and Billy for contributing.’ Or, ‘Hey, we just found a new designer for our new product.’ You also really have to leverage you social media networks on email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.”

Offer cool perks. Rubin says 90% of the IndieGoGo campaigns that hit their target offer gifts and perks – and the more creative they are, the better. “We’ve seen everything from a personal phone call from funk legend George Clinton, who was raising money on the site to refurbish his recording studio, to a personal thank you etched on an antique Seltzer bottle, from a Seattle-based startup that delivers seltzer water in antique bottles.”

Better perks for bigger donors. Rubin recommends offering different perks for different levels of contribution. Say, one for donations of $25 or less, one for donations up to $100 and one for donations over $100 “You also want an aspirational perk for really high contributions of like $5,000 or $15,000. We actually see these four-digit contributions a number of times a day and for aspirational perks we’ve seen like a private show of a band at your house or a private dinner catered for you.”

Find strength in numbers. Rubin says startups with four or more people on the team raise 70% more money than those with just one person.

Set a realistic goal. Not realistic as in low. Realistic as in reasonable. Rubin says funders viewing your pitch must see that it’s doable. “It means people can feel they can trust what you’re setting out to do can be accomplished. So don’t raise $3 million for a short film and don’t raise $20 to build a new mall.”

Source: JOBS Act Fallout: Making Crowdfunding Work WITHOUT Selling Stock

Forensic Experts Say Screams Were Not Zimmerman’s

April 1st, 2012 04:16 admin View Comments


Hugh Pickens writes “As the Trayvon Martin controversy splinters into a debate about self-defense, a central question remains: Who was heard crying for help on a 911 call in the moments before the teen was shot? Now the Orlando Sentinel reports that Tom Owen, a leading expert in the field of forensic voice identification sought to answer that question by analyzing the recordings. His result: It was not George Zimmerman who called for help. Owen, forensic consultant for Owen Forensic Services LLC and chair emeritus for the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to rule out Zimmerman. Another expert contacted by the Sentinel, utilizing different techniques, came to the same conclusion. Owen used software called Easy Voice Biometrics to compare Zimmerman’s voice to the 911 call screams. ‘I took all of the screams and put those together, and cut out everything else,’ says Owen. The software compared that audio to Zimmerman’s voice and returned a 48 percent match. Owen says to reach a positive match with audio of this quality, he’d expect higher than 90 percent. Owen cannot confirm the voice as Trayvon’s, because he didn’t have a sample of the teen’s voice to compare however ‘you can say with reasonable scientific certainty that it’s not Zimmerman.’”

Source: Forensic Experts Say Screams Were Not Zimmerman’s

George “geohot” Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana

March 15th, 2012 03:42 admin View Comments


n1ywb writes “Goerge ‘geohot’ Hotz, famous for being the first to jailbreak and iPhone and for his spat with Sony over PS3 jailbreaking, was busted for possession of a small amount of marijuana at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas on his way to SXSW. The shakedown goes like this: drug dogs are run around vehicles; when they signal, DHS searches the car and finds the contraband; DHS then turns evidence and suspects over to the local sheriff. Willie Nelson, actor Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network), and Snoop Dogg have all gotten in trouble at the same checkpoint under similar circumstances.”

Source: George “geohot” Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana

On Facebook, What You Give is What You Get

February 29th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

FB-Karma.jpgIt’s your best friend from 5th grade’s birthday, and you almost missed it because you were stalking your 7th grade best friend on Facebook. The time is now 9pm, in your time zone. In a moment of freedom, you return to and notice the tiny birthday notifications in the upper-righthand corner. Is it too late to wish your 5th grade best friend a happy Facebook birthday? You race over to his page and try to say something witty. “Happy birthday bro-dude!” you write, crouched over your keyboard. You were on Facebook this morning but were way too busy trying to just catch up on the newsfeed-filtered news of the day and forgot to pay attention to birthdays. And now, you just feel sad.

In our information-overload culture that lives as excited, exclamation-point riddled posts on Facebook and dies as wish-I-hadn’t-said-that status updates that you later delete when, hopefully, no one is watching (but who knows who is watching, really), it is easy to miss the moments that actually matter, truly mean something.

So now to the point of my story: There’s an app for that, and it attempts to address some of the “too-many-friends” syndrome that some Facebook users know quite well.

Launched yesterday, TapJoy‘s Karma for iPhone app connects with your Facebook account and attempts to identify and highlight your most meaningful connections and their important moments. These milestones/moments include birthdays, new jobs, important events (moving day, birthday, art shows on my Karma app screen), other celebrations (engagements) and “tough days” (a friend’s dog died, a cat died, a fellow journalist died). The app implies that important events call for spontaneous gifts.

“We wanted to be able to connect to friends in those moments,” CEO Ben Linden tells Co.Design. “So this is an in-the-moment gift service.” To that point, he adds: “We grew tired of missing important moments like a baby or a graduation,”

For people who mix various communities on Facebook, this means that there’s an impulsive moment available anytime, anywhere, to buy gifts for your Facebook friends. There is a nice variety of potential gifts to give, including Vosges chocolate, whisky stones, a morse code necklace or handmade gourmet candies. If you don’t like the gift, you can exchange it for something else in the Karma app store.

Gift-Giving As A Quick Fix

Today, the beloved Leap Day, happens to be my Facebook friend David Ford‘s birthday. David is a Kansas City-based artist who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years ago. I explored the inner workings of his mind through a studio visit. (I also reviewed one of his shows for the magazine Art Papers.) In his work, David discusses his love/hate kinda relationship with this country, evidenced through the passionate, at times fervent brush strokes that slide across his paintings. His work juxtaposes classic American symbols with faux luxury moments to paint a provocative, oft-times paradoxical view of the American cultural landscape.


Your Face Here, 2008 (courtesy of

Karma app suggests Whisky Stones (™) as one of the gifts I could send to David on his Leap Day birthday. To do this, all I have to do is click through and select the gift and David as the recipient. Karma sends a text, email or Facebook message to him so that he will get it and open the (virtual) gift immediately. Then I have to ask David where he wants the (real) gift shipped. Instantaneous delivery! Karma achieved, momentarily!

David-Ford-Karma-Birthday.jpgThe Karma app is a good idea, don’t get me wrong. I am not dissing it. Apps like this make f-commerce a.k.a. the mallification of Facebook seem like real possibility moving forward.

But there is one caveat: The act of gift-giving through this means provides a temporary fix, not long-lasting satisfaction. The Karma app creators understand.

“We found ourselves relegated to a Facebook post or making a note to buy them a card at CVS and then we’d forget,” Linden said in an interview. “We’d feel really terrible about that.”

What this app also does is contribute to the strange cultural phenomenon of over-friending, which has essentially cluttered news feeds and caused bizarre overlap amongst Facebook users’ normally neatly segmented lives. It’s like the Seinfeld “Independent George/Worlds Collide” episode. It’s yet another reason Facebook birthdays are so weird. Not even Facebook lists can help truly manage the menagerie of friends one has. At the end of the day, sometimes defriending is the best option.

So what of the Karma app for iPhone? Yes, I implore you to try it, see how it feels. Tell me a story about it in the comments section. Like Facebook, it’s pretty good at identifying users you interact with often and are thus deemed important to you. Of course, it cannot read into the intricacies of human relationships. That’s something you’ll have to do offline.

Images courtesy of and Shutterstock.

Source: On Facebook, What You Give is What You Get

The Coming Opportunity of BYOD

December 28th, 2011 12:00 admin View Comments

A few weeks ago, RWW Channels Editor David Strom posted Why BYOD Isn’t a Trend. He skewers the notion that BYOD is new, notes that IT leaders have dealt with user-purchased tech for generations, and declares the “consumerization of IT” a new name for an old trend.

Strom’s take away: BYOD has been around since the ’80s, and the only change is that it is now writ large, thanks to low-cost smartphones, tablets, and Internet-enabled access to corporate data. But he asks the wrong question and misses a much more important point, about how rapid the influx of tablets is changing enterprise IT. Don’t ask if BYOD is a trend. Ask what IT leaders are doing about BYOD.

Study after study shows that IT organizations are not ready and not reacting to this exponential growth. Many have done little more than providing basic connectivity for their tablet users.

And that means more than just devices themselves. It means SaaS; the cloud; mobility; social networking; new app delivery and support models; and all the inherent opportunities, rewards, and risks (security, privacy, and so on) that come with these. IT organizations that adopt a posture of simply accepting devices into the workplace, and fail to proactively evolve processes and platforms to optimize productivity and minimize risk, are ceding competitive advantage.

George (@GeorgeDWatt) is VP of Strategy for the Cloud Computing organization at CA Technologies. Prior to his current role, George founded CA Technologies Engineering Services team, which is responsible for protecting the company’s intellectual property, managing the consolidated source code repository, and providing automation and development tools.

If we look back to the ’80s, when PCs first appeared, there were far fewer people bringing their own technology to work. Users didn’t expect their employers or vendors to support their new gadget. They typically worked disconnected and alone. The impact of the new device was largely limited to that person’s work life. And the focus of those bringing technology to work was often the technology itself. Today’s tablets are also more powerful and pervasive.

Increasingly, requests for IT support of new technologies are more often stated in terms of business value today. It is no longer the case that users want their preferred technology to be supported because they like it better. There is typically a compelling business case accompanying the request, something people controlling budgets understand. They are seeking to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction, increase market share in their core business, reduce expenses, and achieve other tangible business objectives.

In the 1980′s, when IT said “no,” the answer was “no.” You couldn’t exactly sneak a PC into the office, as you can a tablet or smartphone. And connecting to the network and corporate data assets was impossible without IT support. Today, it’s easy.

Now “No” is not an option. That is a new trend. But how IT says “yes” is the crucial decision factor; and the policy, platforms, and practices IT puts into place are the critical success factors. When faced with the ask, we need to work with our business partners (again, consumers, partners, as well as employees) to understand their needs, and help them develop solutions that increase business value and productivity, while protecting corporate assets. The proliferation of devices in the enterprise might make it appear that we are making progress, but there remains much to be done.

So, yes, Mr. Strom, BYOD is not a new trend. And you’re right for pointing out that many in the industry are touting the wrong thing. What is new is the scope of BYOD and everything it brings with it–including the need for some IT leaders to treat the new consumer technologies as more than just candy for employees. Those who recognize the business value they can extract from this consumer movement will be those who leave the competition behind.

Source: The Coming Opportunity of BYOD

Should Social Media Affect Your Creditworthiness?

December 15th, 2011 12:07 admin View Comments


theodp writes “Betabeat’s Adrianne Jeffries takes a look at the questionable young science of using social media to evaluate creditworthiness. As banks start nosing around Facebook and Twitter, Jeffries explains, the wrong friends might just sink your credit. ‘Let’s take a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Future,’ she suggests. ‘The year is 2016, and George Bailey, a former banker, now a part-time consultant, is looking for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for a co-op in the super-hot neighborhood of Bedford Falls (BeFa). He has never missed a loan payment and has zero credit card debt. He submits his information to the online-only, but halfway through the application process, the website asks for his Facebook login. Then his Twitter. Then LinkedIn. The cartoon loan officer avatar begins to frown as the algorithm discovers Mr. Bailey’s taxi-driving buddy Ernie was once turned down by PotterBank for a loan; then it starts browsing his daughter Zuzu’s photo album, ‘Saturday Nite!’ And what was this tweet from a few years back: “FML, about to jump off a goddamn bridge”?’ So, could George piggyback his way to a better credit score by adding Larry and Sergey to his Google+ Circles?”

Source: Should Social Media Affect Your Creditworthiness?