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1 September 2009

Today’s Tabbloid

WEB NEWS Reviews: Chrome, Facebook, Firefox, Gmail, Internet Explorer, Opera,
Safari, linux
A Major Milestone: Opera 10 is
Tags: Opera 10, web browser
Here [Mashable]
SEP 01, 2009 03:51A.M.

Opera is a browser that perhaps doesn’t have a huge market share, but it
always brings innovation to the table, and is often the leader in many
segments, even with fierce competition from Chrome, Safari, Firefox,
and (now) Internet Explorer. Now, it’s released one of the biggest – at WEB NEWS
least by number – milestones in its history: version 10.
What Happened To Adobe Air
The new version comes right on time (it was due September 1st), and
we’ve covered alpha, beta and RC versions, so there’s no huge surprises
Today? No One Seems To
here. Perhaps the biggest question is: will this milestone change anything
as far as Opera’s worldwide reception goes? It hasn’t happened so far
Know. [TechCrunch]
with earlier versions, but perhaps the big 10 at the end accounts for SEP 01, 2009 03:22A.M.
something. In any case, we’ll be monitoring Opera’s market share closely
in the following months.

As far as features go, the biggest new addition is Opera Turbo, which
makes browsing fast even when you’re on a slow internet connection.
Other novelties are a fresh appearance, enhanced speed (especially on
resource intensive sites such as Gmail or Facebook), an improved Opera
Mail, auto updating (very important for improving the overall security of
the browser), a personalized Speed Dial feature, and resizable, We were plagued all day today at the TechCrunch offices with a faulty
thumbnail tabs. Yammer Air app. Updates weren’t working or were seriously delayed,
and most of us just moved over to the web version to get reliable service.
You can download versions for Windows, Mac and Linux from the We rely heavily on Yammer to communicate asynchronously across our
official Opera site. very distributed team (three continents). I didn’t realize how heavily
until today when the service wasn’t working properly.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

I assumed the problem was Yammer, and emailed for support, but they
threw their hands up. We narrowed down the problem - it was affecting
only those of us on Macs with the Leopard operating system (not the
brand new Snow Leopard, which would make more sense). Other people
were discovering the same thing and Tweeting about it.

Adobe was responding promptly to inbound messages to their Twitter
account, but didn’t seem to know what the problem was, either. And,
oddly, Robin Wauters, who’s on a Vista machine, complained of issues as

We’ve heard scattered reports of Tweetdeck and other Air Apps having
issues today as well. Anyone else out there notice any problems today?
Adobe says they didn’t push any updates to Air today, and nothing
changed on our machines. It’s a mystery.

In the meantime, we all downloaded Gabble, a native OSX Yammer
client, and everything is smooth sailing again.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications,
Delivered Daily.

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San WEB NEWS
Beta-in-a-Box: Prefinery Brings
More Services for Pre-Launch
Startups [Read Write Web]
SEP 01, 2009 03:18A.M.

Much like competitor

LaunchSet, startup support system Prefinery offers beta management
software, allowing time-pressed entrepreneurs to buy rather than build
these critical systems without reinventing the wheel.

A company rep contacted us to tout the service’s “feature set that lets
entrepreneurs and technologists focus on building a great product,
especially, as we all know, because these kinds of capabilities are always
a last-minute thing, and messily handled.”


“But to be very clear, and it is very important to convey this,” the rep
said, “a startup’s first touchpoints with users are incredibly important -
these are your alpha users, your biggest fans and evangelists, and your
superusers-to-be, and also, press, analysts, investors, etc. - all incredibly
high-value people. The stakes are high, and you want to use a kick-butt
system for all of these initial touches.”

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Currently, Prefinery can be used to create a splash page for the product,
generate flexible signup forms, create event-based automatic email
messages, manage a queue of beta testers, generate invite codes, and
export the list of leads to CRM systems.

To see the front end in action, check out the below screenshots from
Swingly and Badgr.

The company has also based its roadmap on the concept of perpetual
beta - that, no matter the label of the product version, companies will
always be testing and improving sites, apps, and metrics.

Moreover, once the project reaches scale, Prefinery imagines it will
become “a broker of the beta ecosystem, between companies/products
and prospective users and superusers - and think about the kind of data
they’ll have.” Not to put too fine a point on it, it sounds as though the
Also, take a peek under the hood at what startup teams will see: company realizes the wealth of user information gleaned from the
average social profile and plans to sell anonymized user data to brands.

So, does Prefintery earn a scout badge for creating a sustainable business
plan based on users’ a/s/ls in perpetual beta? Or is it a case of The Man
squeezing millions of undeserved ducats from social graphs he does not
own? Vote below, and let us know how you really feel in the comments.
If you were a startup, would you use Prefinery - or a similar service, such
as Launchset - to manage your beta testing phase(s)?

Do You Think Prefinery Is A Good Idea For A Startup?(polling)


Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

of sites that stand to benefit from relieved traffic pressure from Twitter.

What do you think — is Twitter’s explosive growth in danger of clogging
the tubes? Will the new facility help solve Twitter’s historic downtime

Reviews: Twitter

Tags: NTT America, Silicon Valley, twitter, web hosting

Twitter’s Massive Growth
Spawns Second Web Hosting
Facility [Mashable]
SEP 01, 2009 02:34A.M.

Global telecommunications giant NTT Communications Corporation
released a rather dry press release earlier about its NTT America Skype Sale Reported to be
subsidiary adding a second data center in the Silicon Valley region of
California. What the press release doesn’t explicitly mention is that the Announced Tomorrow [Read
expansion has everything to do with Twitter, reports Data Center
Knowledge. Write Web]
SEP 01, 2009 02:29A.M.
Through a managed hosting agreement, NTT America handles the heavy
lifting for Twitter’s infrastructure. Back in June, the COO of NTT
America was quoted as saying “traffic generated by Twitter is getting so
big, it’s basically eating up a lot of our data center network resources,
especially the segment where Twitter is hosted.” Around that time,
critical infrastructure upgrades had to be postponed when Twitter
became a vital tool during the Iran elections.

Online telephony service Skype will be sold by eBay to a group of private
The new facility in Santa Clara, CA is decked out with redundant power
investors, possibly including Netscape founder Marc Andreessen’s new
supplies and water cooling systems, advanced climate controls and a
venture capital group, and the deal will be announced on Tuesday
direct pipeline to NTT America’s Tier 1 backbone. The increased
according to a report by a team of reporters from the New York Times.
reliability afforded to Twitter by the additional facility probably won’t be
able to help thwart incidents like the Denial of Service attacks that led to
EBay faces legal challenges from Skype’s founders that the company said
the service’s downtime recently, but is sure to help balance network
earlier this summer could mean the end of Skype as we know it. From an
traffic generated not only by the microblogging service but by other web
innovation perspective, we’re always excited when such an interesting
sites co-located at NTT America’s facilities. The Silicon Valley is
company breaks free from a slow-moving monolith that acquired it.
obviously a hot corridor for internet traffic and there should be a number

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Sponsor WEB NEWS

Skype Sale To Investor Group
Skype’s founders were rumored to be interested in buying the company
back themselves, but the Times reports that they were unable to raise Led By Andreessen Horowitz
enough money to satisfy eBay.
Confirmed [TechCrunch]
If the Times report is accurate it will be very interesting to see who runs SEP 01, 2009 02:17A.M.
the new Skype and what kinds of changes are made to the service. With
$600 million in reported annual revenue and nearly twice as many users
as Facebook, Skype’s international network of P2P software installs
powering multimedia communication, file-sharing, chat and status still
has boundless potential to do interesting things.

Update: PaidContent’s coverage points out that TechCrunch broke this
story three days ago.


The NY Times is now confirming our report last week the sale of Skype to
an investor group led by Andreessen Horowitz is imminent. The deal will
be announced Tuesday, says Brad Stone and Claire Cain Miller, citing
unnamed sources (perhaps people that…read our post last week).

As we reported, Index Ventures is also participating in the acquisition.
And the unnamed private equity firm is apparently Silver Lake Partners,
who is likely supplying the bulk of the capital needed to pay the $2
billion price tag.

eBay announced earlier this year that they would be spinning off the
company in an initial public offering in 2010. These announcements are
often made to generate acquisition offers from potential suitors.

The Andreeseen Horowitz fund can make single commitments of up to
$50 million.

It isn’t clear if current Skype CEO Josh Silverman would continue to lead
the company after any acquisition. Sources we’ve spoken with have said
he is generally well thought of both within Skype/eBay as well as the
possible investors.

More from our post last week:

Skype, under Silverman, grew revenue to $551 million last
year, and eBay has said it expects the company to top $1
billion in revenue in 2011.

Presumably, the investor group, if successful in acquiring
Skype, would run it privately and eventually prepare it for an
initial public offering.

Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, were also
reportedly in talks with several private equity firms earlier
this year to make a bid for the company.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Recent news that Skype is now in litigation with a company WEB NEWS
controlled by those founders over key Skype technology only
complicates the picture further. Skype’s Troubled History With
eBay acquired Skype in 2005 for $4.1 billion, although about Ebay, in Links
$1 billion of that, an earnout, was never paid.
Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology SEP 01, 2009 01:56A.M.
companies, people, and investors
Skype’s four year run under Ebay has been beset with troubles, and
TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San finally that is about to come to an end, as it gets sold to an investor
Francisco group. The history of the marriage and pending divorce, in links
(ascending chronological order):
—eBay Acquires Skype For $2.6 Billion In Cash, Stock
—EBay-Skype: PowerPoint Pitch
—EBay-Skype: Thinking It Through
—Ebay-Skype: Mixed Reaction Puts It Mildly

—Skype Counters AOL, Cable With Free Outgoing Calls Through ‘06
—Skype-Kazaa Founders Working On Online Video Distribution Project
—Zennstrom Steps Down As Skype CEO; eBay Still Paying: Will Take
$1.43B Charge in Q3
—eBay Revenues up 30 Percent in Q3; Excluding Skype Writedown, Net
Income Up Big
—eBay’s Whitman To Retire; Donahoe As Leading Candidate
—eBay’s New CEO: Skype Could Be Sold If Synergies Fail
—If eBay Did It: Possible Skype Buyers And Probabilities
—eBay Goes To Court To Hang On To Fabric Of Skype
—Skype Founders Might Buy Back Firm From eBay
—eBay Planning IPO For Skype In 2010
—The $3 Billion Question: Analysts Divided Over Skype’s Valuation
—eBay CEO Donahoe: We’re Still Open To A Sale Of Skype
—Skype Co-Founders Are Launching Venture Fund, Looking To Raise
$266 Million
—Earnings: EBay Says It’s Making Progress On Skype ‘Separation’;
Skype Revenue Up 25 Percent
—eBay’s New Plan To Get Around Skype Litigation

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009


Skype About to Be Sold to Your Cyborg Eye Will Talk to
Investor Group, Including You [Read Write Web]
SEP 01, 2009 01:30A.M.
Andreessen’s New Firm: Report
SEP 01, 2009 01:33A.M.

Skype is finally about to be sold by Ebay to an investor group, which
includes Andreessen Horowitz, the new VC firm headed by Marc
Andreessen, reports NYT, citing sources. The deal will be announced
tomorrow, it says. The possible buyout was first reported by Techcrunch
on Friday last week. The investor group also is said to include Index
Ventures, the VC firm that was an early investor in Skype the startup way
Just as many of us are getting used to augmented reality applications for
back then, and PE firm Silver Lake Partners. Ebay has been looking for
cellphones and digital cameras, Babak Amir Parviz and his University of
about $2 billion as the price for the company that’s making about $600
Washington students are taking it one step further. The group is working
million a year in revenues. That’s compared to the $3.1 billion buyout of
on a human machine interface where LEDs are embedded into contact
the company by Ebay back in 2005; since then Ebay has written down
lenses in order to display information to the wearer. You heard right, in a
$900 million of the deal value after it realized the supposed synergies
few years your cyborg eye will talk to you. In an article with the IEEE
weren’t going to work out as planned. Andreessen is on the board of
Spectrum, Parviz relays the challenges of custom-building semi-
Ebay. With this deal, this is his first major investment since the new fund
transparent circuitry into a polymer lens roughly 1.2 millimeters in
was announced last month.

This comes after Ebay announced plans in April to spin off Skype in a
planned IPO. But legal issues over Skype’s underlying technology, which
is still under control of Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis via Joltid, their
Jersey, England-based company (more on that here). The two tried to
Says Parviz, “We’re starting with a simple product, a contact lens with a
put together an investor group to buy Skype, but have not been
single light source, and we aim to work up to more sophisticated lenses
successful in meeting the price requirements, the NYT story says. It is
that can superimpose computer-generated high-resolution color
this litigation that led to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) walking away from a
graphics on a user’s real field of vision.”
deal last month, the story adds.

Not clear: if the Skype founder are involved with the winning investor
group, or if they have agreed to any concessions in the pending legal


• The $3 Billion Question: Analysts Divided Over Skype’s Valuation

• Skype Founders Might Buy Back Firm From eBay

• eBay Planning IPO For Skype In 2010

For now, Parviz mentions that single pixel visual cues for gamers and the
hearing impaired are already quite possible with the lens prototypes. The
group has also experimented with non-invasive biomonitoring including
checking glucose levels for diabetics.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Some of the obvious challenges of building an augmented reality contact WEB NEWS
lens include:
1. The Need for Custom Parts: Regular circuitry and LEDs are BREAKING: eBay to Announce
incompatible with regular contact lenses. Every piece of this project must
be fabricated from scratch. Deal to Sell Skype [Mashable]
SEP 01, 2009 01:22A.M.
2. Physical Constraints: The group must attempt to fit transistors,
radio chips, antennas, diffusion resistors, LEDs and photodetectors onto
a miniscule polymer disc. Additionally, the team is required to control
lens position and light intensity relative to the pupil. And finally, because
the lens is so close to the corneal surface, the group must project images
away from the cornea using either micro-lenses or lasers.
3. User Safety: In addition to protecting the eye against chemicals,
heat and toxins, the lens components must be semi-transparent in order
for the wearer to view their surroundings.

“We already see a future in which the humble contact lens becomes a real
platform, like the iPhone is today, with lots of developers contributing
their ideas and inventions. As far as we’re concerned, the possibilities
extend as far as the eye can see.” And you thought the iPhone SDK was a
tough nut to crack.
The fate of eBay-owned Skype has been in question for months now.
Back in April, it looked as if eBay was going to spin-off the VoIP service
For Parviz’s complete seven page article, check out the IEEE Spectrum’s
as a publicly traded company. Now we’ve learned that Skype will be sold
Biomedical page.
to private investors.

According to the New York Times, eBay will announce a deal tomorrow
that will send the popular Internet telephone service to an investment
group. It seems as if the group includes the newly formed Andreessen
Horowitz venture capital firm, co-founded by Netscape’s founder Marc
Andreessen. The deal terms are not yet disclosed.

This deal comes during a very public battle between eBay and the
founders of Skype, who are threatening to cut off one of the key peer-to-
peer technologies that power Skype and have expressed interest in
rebuying their company. It’s even possible they are also part of the sale –
we just don’t know yet.

We’ll bring you more information as it develops.

Reviews: Skype

Tags: ebay, Skype

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

WEB NEWS leaderboard. But it all focuses around the market for words on Twitter.
You could make a great deal of virtual cash buying a trending topic on
Pretweeting: Twitter Gets a Twitter before it trends, or you could lose a bunch if a word drops off the
Prediction Market [Mashable]
SEP 01, 2009 12:43A.M. Pretweeting is an interesting experiment, and in fact could help
businesses or individuals predict the next big Twitter trend, or even the
next big cultural phenomenon. There are a lot of useful applications of
prediction markets. We think the same model is transferrable to Twitter.

It’s a ton of fun. This could become popular very fast.

Reviews: Mashable, Twitter

Tags: prediction, prediction market, Pretweeting, twitter

Think you know what the next hot

Twitter trend will be? Now you can put your money where your mouth is.

Prediction markets have been a growing trend in recent year. It is
essentially a stock market for future events and decisions. For example,
people can buy or sell against a specific occurrence – like whether or not
the Democrats will lose seats in the 2010 election. With thousands of
people buying and selling on that occurrence, you can come up with a
prediction that essentially utilized the crowdsourcing of open markets. WEB NEWS

Now the prediction market has come to Twitter with PreTweeting, a new Netflix Had Me At “We’re
website that lets you buy specific words being used on Twitter and gives
you $10,000 in virtual currency to do it. Sorry” [TechCrunch“We’re
Pretweeting is very straightforward in design. You can buy 50, 100, 500, Sorry”]
or 1000 “slots,” with each slot equaling one word. Words rise and fall in SEP 01, 2009 12:29A.M.
price based on the market value, with $10 = being mentioned in 1% of all
recent tweets. The top word for sale is currently “the”, which is going for
about $228 as of this post. Mashable, on the other hand, is going for a
measly $0.23 at the moment (though it’s been at $0.45 in the past).

I do my fair share of complaining about poor service. And if you follow
me on Twitter, you might say that I do more than my fair share. Here’s
And really, that’s about it. You can chat with other pretweeters (using the my issue: It’s not so much that your service sucks, it’s that you refuse to
#pretweeting hashtag), perform research on words, and check out the be held accountable for it sucking, and rarely, if ever, do anything about
it. I’m looking at you, Comcast and AT&T. That’s why it’s so perplexingly

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

wonderful when a company does the right thing, like Netflix. time. If they don’t or the quality of my movies is poor, they apologize.
That’s all I want. The refund is just icing on the cake. Too many other
Tonight, Netflix emailed a large number of its subscribers to apologize companies not only give you no icing, and no cake, but they steal your
for a Xbox Live streaming outage that occurred yesterday. They’re cake, punch you in the face, and then blame you for the whole ordeal.
offering to refund 2% of users’ monthly bills back to them, if they simply
click on the link that was emailed. It’s not a lot of money, but what’s But when it comes time to renew my plans with those companies, guess
remarkable is that Netflix did this for most of us completely which one I’m going to stick with? Netflix. Companies often seem
unprompted. curious how other companies get “fanboys” — this is how.

Now, I’m sure someone somewhere complained, but rather than either [photo: TriStar Pictures]
arguing with that person or just quietly giving them some sort of
discount, it looks like Netflix just emailed everyone that could have Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology
possibly seen this hiccup in service, and offered a refund — including companies, people, and investors
users who didn’t suffer through it at all.
TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San
Refunding 2% of a monthly bill to all of these users will probably add up Francisco
to a decent sized chunk of change (assuming a large portion of users click
on the link), but the positive reaction they’re getting for the move on
places like Twitter (and yes, this blog), has got to be worth more than
whatever they’re paying. In a time of poor tech customer care, Netflix is
the sterling example of how do it the right way.

Last month, we covered a Netflix internal presentation on how the
company is run. It is simply an awesome guide that not nearly enough
companies are anywhere close to following. It’s baffling how Netflix
could be doing things so right, while there are so many companies out
there doing things so wrong. It’d be one thing if Netflix wasn’t successful,
but it’s extremely successful.

I’ve had basically no service from AT&T for large portions of my day in
various parts of San Francisco for two months now. Do you think I’ll ever
see a dime back from them? And before I just recently quit Comcast, my
service would go out almost everyday without fail. Did I get an email
apology and a refund? Nope. Maybe if I bitched loud enough for long
enough, I could get something back from those two companies, but the
point is that maybe I shouldn’t have to.

Netflix emails me from time to time to see about my movie streaming
quality, and also to see if movies I’ve rented through the mail appear on

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009


BeamME Pro Update Hits the
App Store [TechCrunch]
SEP 01, 2009 12:10A.M.

BeamME Pro, an iPhone application that makes it easy to exchange
socially-networked information and build real-time intelligence on every
new contact you make, has released a major update on the App Store.
BeamMe Pro uses some of Apple’s new API’s to make contact sharing
easier on the iPhone. BeamMe Pro, which doesn’t require user
registration other then the download on the App Store, seamlessly
formats your contact information.

Some of the key features in this release of beamMe Pro include contact
mapping that enables you to track where you met people by viewing
them on a map, a complete history of people you sent your contact info
too, and a default Address Book integration. This feature is key because
beamMe Pro will syncs seamlessly with your computer and other apps
like Salesforce or Highrise without adding new software or complex

The new version also includes Twitter integration that lets you gain
followers automatically as you meet new people while keeping your
contact information secure. And you can send your contact info to
anyone on any device, whether or not they have beamMe Pro or even a
smartphone. Additionally, there is a “Fun Zone” on the app where you
can keep track of your networking stats, compare yourself against other
professionals and complete challenges to help you raise your score and
level within beamMe Pro.

What makes beamMe Pro so attractive compared to other contact
sharing applications is that beamME Pro doesn’t have any ads, and has
priority support for paying users.

BeamMe Pro is available for $1.99 in the App Store today.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications,
Delivered Daily.

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

WEB NEWS - 82% said Wi-Fi would help solve this problem

In-Flight Wi-Fi: 76 Percent of Airlines would be smart to be getting Wi-Fi on their flights, and fast. Not
only is it high in demand, but you can charge for it and turn it into an
People Will Change Airlines to additional revenue stream. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Have It [Mashable] Reviews: Mashable
SEP 01, 2009 12:02A.M.
Tags: internet, wi-fi

Wi-Fi: probably every reader of Mashable has used it, most of us way too
much. Most of the time you can grab it on-the-go or on your mobile
phone. But for years there’s one place where you couldn’t access it: in
the sky.

That is, until recently. A wave of airlines, including Virgin America,
Another Popular Developer
Delta, United, and Southwest Airlines, have added options for wireless
Internet access on their planes in the last few years. Apparently,
Lays The Smack Down On
consumers are noticing, and are looking for more.
Apple’s App Store [TechCrunch]
AUG 31, 2009 11:37P.M.
According to Wakefield Research and the Wi-Fi Alliance, 76% of
frequent fliers would change their airline to have Wi-Fi. 55% would
change their flight by a full day to have it. And another 71% of fliers
would rather have Wi-Fi access over meal service.

All of this is according to a poll conducted by the two organizations of
480 frequent fliers, so the true numbers may vary a bit. However, on
almost every metric that the Wi-Fi Alliance polled regular travelers on,
Wi-Fi was clearly a major decision factor in choosing airlines. Here are
some more numbers:

- 94% agree with the statement that in-flight Wi-Fi is “the
best thing airlines have done” in the last three years.

- 50% of business travelers take red-eye flights so they are
“reachable” during business hours.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Another day, another story of Apple’s ridiculous App Store approval
policies gone awry. Joe Stump, the former lead architect for Digg who is
well known in the developer community, has posted an entirely NSFW
rant to his blog that condemns Apple for preventing a key update to his
application from going live for over six weeks. Stump’s language is quite
colorful so I’m not going to quote it extensively, but be sure to read his
full blog post.

In the post, Stump outlines a problem that he had with Chess Wars, the
Facebook Connect-enabled chess game that came out in July. After
catching a show-stopping bug soon after the initial release, his company
Blunder Move promptly issued an update. Soon thereafter they noticed
another bug, which they quickly released a fix for. Unfortunately, this
second update has sat in App Store purgatory for many weeks now, and
Apple has gone silent on when it will be approved.

Stump also describes his efforts to get his friends inside Apple to help his
cause, going on to say that they’ve been able to do basically nothing other
than tell him to contact Apple’s unhelpful team of app reviewers. Even
once the update is approved, the app will have to endure the 1-star
reviews it has received without any way to reverse them. Here’s how
Stump closes out the blog post:

To our users affected by this, I’m truly sorry. There’s
absolutely nothing I can do about your horrible user
experience and, as a developer who loves his users, nothing
pains me more.

To Apple, please kindly extend the world class customer
service I’m so accustomed to as an Apple fanboy to your

Other notable developers to have criticized the App Store’s policies
include Panic co-founder Steven Frank, and Joe Hewitt, who is charged
with building the enormously popular Facebook iPhone app.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009


Cartoon: Annotating the World
[Read Write Web]
AUG 31, 2009 11:00P.M.

This past week’s buzz phrase (so much so that it was a trending topic on More Noise to Signal.
Twitter) was “augmented reality” (or AR), which is what you get when
you mix your perception of the world around you with computer- Discuss
generated information. While still in its infancy, the technology holds the
promise that you might one day be able to point your iPhone’s camera at
a Starbucks and see a little notice pop up that says, “There’s a Starbucks


Okay, there’s more to it than that. The “power of the crowd” (cue
thunderbolts) could turn AR into something genuinely transformative. WEB NEWS
Already, apps promise to show us Flickr photos and other social media
related to places we’re looking at. It shouldn’t be long before nearly every The Almost Hopeless Challenge
square inch of our cities is thoroughly annotated: “Great scones, Wi-Fi
only so-so.” “Threw up here after a bar crawl.” “Lost my virginity on the Of Web Security [TechCrunch]
14th floor.” AUG 31, 2009 10:53P.M.

There will be an awkward interim phase when we’ll have to get used to
the word “First!” popping up every time we look at something. But that
should pass, and soon we’ll reach the new exciting future long dreamed
of by our ancestors, when we’ll finally be able to discover the name of any
piece of Ikea furniture just by staring at it. (“Spugnubb! I should have

Then again, we live in a world of climate change, poverty, the pandemic
flu, peak oil, collapsing ocean eco-systems, Glenn Beck, and an
impending sequel to Twilight. Maybe the next killer app will be
diminished reality.

Today we are trusting the web with our most personal and important
data, from private photos and social graphs to finances and key work
documents. Our hesitation to share such information has dropped over
the years as our trust in our favorite services grows. Yet all the while, the

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

web is actually growing less secure, as sites are left open to new attacks WEB NEWS
that can spread easily and leave users totally unaware when they’ve been
compromised. Looking back on the history of the web, classic security TechCrunch50 Partners Step Up
protection involved patching servers to assure latest versions were
running, monitoring advisories from vendors, and maintaining some with $1 million In Advertising
level of filtering and firewall to keep basic attacks out. Simple moves on
the part of an admin or developer could protect sites from 99% of For Launching Startups
automated scripts. But a few years ago, a new security can-of-worms was
opened, as new exploits that took advantage of simple oversights within [TechCrunch]
web applications were being used to steal large amounts of user data. AUG 31, 2009 10:44P.M.

TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San

In July we said we would be giving away substantial amounts of
advertising to promote the new startups and products launching at
TechCrunch50 on September 14-15.

Today I’m pleased to announce that four of our key partners will be
giving an aggregate of $1 million in advertising to TechCrunch50
companies. Facebook, Google (Youtube), Microsoft (Bing) and MySpace
are all participating with substantial donations. We expect more partners
to join shortly.

One of the cooler additional ideas was proposed by the Bing team. They’ll
make tshirts that say “Bing Loves [company/logo]” and Bing staff will
wear these tshirts, each one promoting a different TechCrunch50
startup, to various events and conferences they’ll attend throughout the
year. They promise that the team will be familiar with the
startup/product they’re promoting on their tshirts and be ready to talk
about it when people ask. Crazy idea right? I love it.

YouTube is offering in-video advertising, and MySpace and Facebook
will give substantial advertising credits on their ad platforms. So there
are lots of ways TechCrunch50 companies will get exposure even after
the event is over.

Thanks to MySpace, Bing, YouTube and Facebook for helping these
young startups get just a little more much-needed exposure.

Mad Men Image: New York Times

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new WEB NEWS
How Meeting the Walrus
TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San
Francisco Landed a YouTube Video an
Emmy [Mashable]
AUG 31, 2009 10:38P.M.

How did an interview recorded 40 years ago win a 2009 Emmy? We
have a long gestation time, YouTube, and peace to thank, reports the

In 1969, then 14-year-old Jerry Levitan made his way to John Lennon’s
hotel room in Toronto, elbowed a long line of press out of the way and
somehow convinced the famous Beatle to give him a 40-minute
interview. The conversation made its way from reel-to-reel tape to an
animated short almost 4 decades later and was posted to YouTube in

Created with director and animator Josh Raskin and illustrator James
Braithwaite, the 5-minute animation was originally developed to be
included on DVD with Mr. Levitan’s book, I Met the Walrus: How One
Day With John Lennon Changed My Life Forever. Since being posted to
YouTube the short won Best Animation at the Manhattan Short Film
Festival and was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award.

This year, I Met the Walrus went up against an “All My Children” video
podcast, the New York Times Style Magazine screen tests and other
notable nominations to win the “New Approaches – Daytime” award at
the 36th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

The animated short features audio footage from the interview as its
soundtrack, with Lennon imparting messages about peace being in the

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

hands of the people even in a time of war. Its visual style is wonderfully Last week the world was speechless when we learned that Phillip Garrido
playful, intelligently cartoonish and stylistically appropriate to the had allegedly kidnapped an 11-year old girl in 1991 and held her captive
subject, being almost reminiscent of some of Lennon’s own illustrative for 18 years. The details of the case are quite monstrous, but we were
work from his published works. even more disturbed when we learned that Garrido maintained a bizarre
blog titled Voices Revealed.
Check out the video below and let us know what you think. Is the film
and its attendant story about an unlikely meeting between a teenager You also may remember a Google Maps image of Garrido’s address
and the then biggest star in the world worth its accolades? Do you think I circulating around the web. The overhead view of 1554 Walnut Ave is
Met the Walrus succeeds, as Jerry Levitan hoped, “something that I chilling enough, but a Boing Boing commenter discovered something
thought John would love”? even more eerie. Zoom in to street view and follow the old dirty van out
of the driveway onto Walnut Avenue and down Bown Lane. Notice
I Met the Walrus anything strange? Yep that van appears to be tailing the Google street
view vehicle.

Of course this is all speculative in nature. We don’t know who’s driving
Image courtesy of Roy Kerwood the van, and we certainly don’t know if the person in question was
intentionally tailing the Google vehicle, but it’s incredibly eerie all the
Reviews: YouTube same.

Tags: animation, Emmys, john lennon, the beatles, youtube We did a screencast of the van following the Google vehicle and
embedded it below. Pretty creepy, right?

Reviews: Google, Google Maps

Tags: google street view, phillip garrido


Did Kidnapper Tail a Google
Street View Vehicle? [Mashable]
AUG 31, 2009 10:12P.M.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

WEB NEWS Financing
A Look At fbFund’s First Product Management
Legal Issues
Summer As An Incubator Early Stage Hiring (HR)
Why Startups Fail (Strategy)
Program [TechCrunch] Gaming
AUG 31, 2009 10:11P.M. Monetization

Early Stage Web Product Management by Dan Olsen

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new

Over the last twelve weeks, 24 startups have been working out of
TechCrunch50 Conference 2009: September 14-15, 2009, San
Facebook’s old headquarters in downtown Palo Alto as part of fbFund
REV, Facebook’s startup incubator program that’s jointly run with Accel
Partners and Founders Fund. During that time the startups have
receieved mentorship from some of Silicon Valley’s elite, as well as help
from Facebook engineers. Tomorrow, they’ll be presenting at the
program’s Demo Day (we’ll have full coverage beginning tomorrow
afternoon). In light of the close of this session, we’ve compiled a number
of the mentor presentations given thoughout the summer, and sat down
with fbFund team member Dave McClure, who outlined what made the
program unique.

McClure says that REV is a “social incubator” — an idea that is helped by
the fact that all of the startups enrolled somehow take advantage of
Facebook, the world’s largest social network. But McClure also says that
the structure of the incubator, from the way classes are held to the actual
layout of the building, is designed to ensure that the startups involved
maintain interaction with each other. Startups have been working in
wide, open rooms with white boards and no cubicles, and the program
invited mentors to speak to all of the startups around three times per
week. The fact that the startups get office hours and help from Facebook
employees can also help give them a leg up on the competition.

Of course, fbFund has been around for some time now — it was
announced back in September 2007, and has since seen a number of
graduating classes. But past winners in fbFund were given no-strings-
attached cash grants, while the new model, obviously inspired by
incubators like Y Combinator invites the finalists to participate in a
mentorship program while fbFund takes a small stake in the startups.

Here’s a list of talks that were given over the summer, as well as
embedded videos of a few of the sessions.

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

search results, SPEAR ranks and produces a list of experts and content.
According to the duo, their method is more resistant to spammers for the
following reasons:

1. Mutual reinforcement of user expertise and
document quality: A user’s expertise in a particular topic
depends on the quality of the documents she or he has found,
and the quality of documents in turn depends on the
expertise of the users who have found them.
2. Discoverers vs. followers: Expert users should be
discoverers - they tend to be faster than others to identify
new and high quality documents...SPEAR gives more credit
to users the earlier they find high quality documents.


Finding Better Friends:
Delicious and SPEAR [Read
After analyzing more than 500,000 Delicious users and 2 million shared
Write Web] bookmarks, the solution produced a set of trustworthy users. No
AUG 31, 2009 10:00P.M. spammers were found in the top 200 recommendations.

While there are obvious uses for SPEAR in shopping and friend
recommendation engines, says Noll, “The SPEAR algorithm itself is not
restricted to the online world. We imagine to use SPEAR, for example,
for estimating the expertise of researchers by analyzing scientific
publications. Such publications - whether available as online versions or
printed out on paper - provide all the information we need.”

Between self-aggrandizing FriendFeeds, bottom-feeding link baiters, and
Expertise may have an algorithm across all industries. Be first and be
perpetual Twitter spammers, finding cool online friends can be
fascinating. For more more information on SPEAR visit Michael G.
challenging. Michael G. Noll and Ching-man Au Yeung created the
Noll’s site.
SPEAR (SPamming-resistant Expertise Analysis and Ranking) algorithm
in the hopes of separating the social media wheat from the chaff. This
morning the two postgraduate students offered their findings to the
Delicious in a blog post. The project was first evaluated using data sets
collected from the popular bookmarking community.


Noll and Yeung presented SPEAR in a paper entitled, Telling Experts
from Spammers: Expertise Ranking in Folksonomies at July’s SIGR
Conference. The solution is based on the information retrieval algorithm
HITS (Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search), an algorithm best known for
powering Google and Yahoo web page rankings. Rather than producing

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

WEB NEWS worked out overnight as Disney and Marvel prepared for Monday’s early
announcement, and they have three or four months to work out the fine
Google Tests Videos In Search points. During the pitch to analysts, CFO Tom Staggs said: “We believe
in the creative team at Marvel and don’t see any reason to upset the
Ads [] apple cart. They have done a good job, and I think they have got a good
AUG 31, 2009 09:40P.M. pipeline in place, and we expect that they will continue to do a good job
operating as they have.”
In a bid to win over entertainment advertising dollars, Google (NSDQ:
GOOG) is testing out videos in paid search ads. AdAge’s Michael —How long will Perlmutter stay? Perlmutter owns nearly 37 percent
Learmonth reports that Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) has purchased of the company. He’s supposed to come along to “broadly” oversee
the specialized ads to push its ‘Need for Speed’ video game, while film Marvel. But, unlike Steve Jobs, who became a major shareholder and
studio Miramax has used them to promote ‘Extract.’ (In the ‘Extract’ picked up a Disney board seat when Pixar was acquired, Perlmutter
case, a plus symbol shows up below the standard text ad, which readers won’t be joining the board. No one from Marvel gets a seat in the deal.
can click on to see a trailer. See screenshot to the left). Disney wanted Jobs the strategist and icon; Perlmutter, who flies below
the radar as much as possible, is known more for business skills. He got
Searchviews actually reported on the new ad format earlier this summer, lots of love from Disney CEO Bob Iger and CFO Tom Staggs in interviews
noting that it would be most useful for brand advertising, as opposed to and today’s analysts call but whether he’ll have any real power on the
generating site traffic. Google gets paid if a user watches a clip for more other side of the deal is as much a mystery as X-Men V. I give it a year
than 10 seconds or clicks on the link. from the deal close before he veers into consultant status unless he’s tied
to a longer earn out. On his stock alone, Perlmutter stands to make more
It’s the latest sign that Google is moving away from only offering than $1.4 billion—$500,000 in cash. Even without the deal, the 25
standard search text ads to advertisers. In June, the company began percent jump in Marvel’s stock price following the news helped him close
testing a format that allowed product sellers to include an image in their Monday at nearly $1.4 billion on paper.
text ads (Advertisers also only pay when someone buys a product from
their site, instead of when someone clicks on an ad). Learmonth writes —What about the creative side? There’s no single John Lasseter
that entertainment companies are not big search advertisers, so there equivalent at Marvel but Disney needs to keep Marvel Studios’ Kevin
may be a sizable revenue opportunity here for Google. Feige and Marvel Publishing EIC Joe Quesada happy. Pixar’s Lasseter
met with some of the top creatives before the deal, Iger said, adding,
Related “The group got pretty excited very fast. I almost felt like saying, okay,
guys, you have got to slow down a little bit.” Iger, who knows what it’s
• Google Tests New Ad Format Aimed At Product Sellers like to be on the wrong side of a badly handled acquisition, said the right
things during the call: “We don’t pretend to be more expert at this than
they do ... one of the things that was really attractive to us about this
acquisition is the fact that this is not just about buying great characters
WEB NEWS and great stories and a brand. This is about buying people who know this
brand and these characters and these stories really well and know how to
Marvel-ous Future For Disney? really create great value from that—and we are going to rely on them
thoroughly in this process.”
AUG 31, 2009 09:35P.M. —Will Disney play well with others? It has to. For one, Marvel,
which had limited movie financing resources, has licensing or
In the works for roughly three months, the Disney (NYSE: DIS) deal to distribution deals with roughly every major studio. The deal would make
acquire Marvel Entertainment (NYSE: MVL) has analysts fretting about Disney instant partners with Viacom (NYSE: VIA) through Paramount
premiums—and comics fans freaking about a future of Captain America (movie distribution) and Nickelodeon, Sony (NYSE: SNE) (Spider-Man
Meets Tinkerbell. We’re likely months away from a close or from movies), NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) through Universal Studios (theme
anything that might affect the Marvel roster but why put off speculating park licensing). It’s already in business with News Corp (NYSE: NWS).
about what the deal really means ... through the Hulu JV; Twentieth Century Fox has rights to X-Men,
Fantastic Four, Daredevil. Lionsgate has a direct-to-DVD deal; Time
—Does Marvel have autonomy? Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter will Warner (NYSE: TWX) through Turner’s Cartoon Network and so on.
report to Iger. How much after that is written into the fine print could be (Ben Fritz has done a solid job pulling together the details on these and
in the merger agreement, which hasn’t been filed with the SEC yet, but more. ) But Disney also wants to play well. In some cases, it will
people at both companies familiar with the thinking say a lot is riding on make a lot more money from licensing than it would taking the
trust—as in “it would be crazy” (a phrase I heard often) for Iger and same activity in house. Look for a blended approach to licensing.
Disney to do anything that would muck up the creative integrity of a
company they’re paying $4 billion to get. The broader deal was still being —Are there any savings?: Disney isn’t making a cost-savings play

Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

here. Marvel only has around 300 employees; the bulk of its talent is
freelance. The most immediate savings will be dropping the trappings of
a public company—regulatory costs, board costs and the like. After that,
the biggest chance at savings will come as movie distribution moves to

—How does Bob Iger fare? It’s not just PR—even Nikki Finke thinks
Bob looks bold (although she says he’s paying too much). If integrating
Marvel goes as well as Pixar, Iger’s in good shape. This wasn’t a deal
Disney or Iger had to do but it’s one of the only deals that could tackle
the gender gap issue with boys, especially teen boys, and it brings that
huge character list with potential beyond the usual suspects. Staggs says
Disney will gain financially from day one although the acquisition is
expected to dilute earnings per share until fiscal 2012. It’s really about a
long-term payoff for Disney—and its CEO.

The AR view in Discover Anywhere’s app is just one of three, map and
• Interview: Disney CFO Tom Staggs: ‘Chance To Take Marvel To list views are also available for all data sets.
New Level’
“In my mind, AR is a feature rather than a product,” Janes told us. “It’s
• Spider-Man Meets Mickey Mouse: Disney Buying Marvel For $4 something that we think would be useful for our customers. For example,
Billion In Stock, Cash I was in Atlanta a few weeks ago and walked out of the Metropolitan
Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) downtown. Even knowing
that the MARTA existed would have been useful then - but when we got
out it would be great to be able to orient yourself toward landmarks. It’s
WEB NEWS the ‘oh yeah, there it is’ experience.”

N. American Subway, Light Rail That makes sense. The integration of an Augmented Reality view with

Augmented Reality App Ready more traditional lists and maps seems likely to make orienting yourself
all the easier.

& Waiting for iPhone 3.1 [Read IPhone 3Gs owners will be able to make up their own minds on the finer

Write Web] points of Augmented Reality User Experience as soon as the next, AR
supporting, OS is rolled out. We had expected that to occur as early as
AUG 31, 2009 09:08P.M. next month, but now it’s looking like the wait may be a little bit longer.


Discover Anywhere Mobile, a

Toronto-based mobile travel guide publishing startup, announced today
that it has completed an iPhone app with Augmented Reality (AR) views
of subway, light rail, train and airport data for 33 cities throughout North
America. That app will be made available as soon as the next version of
the iPhone Operating System is launched to the public.

Discover Anywhere’s implementation of AR looks well-suited to the
needs of users, but we asked company President David Janes why users
would need an AR view at all. Why wouldn’t a list of nearby transit stops
and a map be enough. Janes offered an interesting explanation of
Augmented Reality’s value.


Today’s Tabbloid PERSONAL NEWS FOR 1 September 2009

WEB NEWS Reviews: Chrome, Google

BROWSER WARS: Google Tags: Browsers, Google, google chrome, IE6 must die, internet explorer,
microsoft, sony
Chrome to Come Standard With
Sony Computers [Mashable]
AUG 31, 2009 09:01P.M.

Google is stepping up its efforts to increase awareness, and ultimately
market share, of its Chrome web browser with a new Sony partnership.
Under the deal, Chrome will come pre-installed on Sony’s Vaio line of
computers according to the Financial Times.

It marks Chrome’s first distribution deal with a hardware vendor, and
though Sony’s own share of the computer market isn’t itself big enough
to launch Google’s browser into the stratosphere, it’s still an important
milestone on Chrome’s road map.

The financial specifics of the deal weren’t disclosed, and a Google
spokesperson called the Sony partnership merely “experimental.” Still,
it’s clear the search giant is starting to come out swinging against
Microsoft’s continuing hold on the browser market along with Mozilla’s

There’s a sense of frustration at Google about Chrome’s relatively
lackluster adoption at about 2.6% of the global browser market. Chrome
product management director Brian Rakowski expresses astonishment
that despite how much internet users rely on browsers, telling FT that
“it’s absolutely a problem that people don’t know what a browser is, or
how to evaluate one” (the company even poked fun at this in a video
earlier this year).

The Sony Vaios with Chrome on board have already begun to go on sale.
Google indicated it’s already in talks with other computer manufacturers
to boost distribution through similar deals.

Check out Chrome and 13 other browsing options in our recent 14
Alternative Browsers That Are Not IE6 feature and let us know in the
comments: do you think distribution deals are the key to wider Chrome
adoption? Do you have thoughts on why it seems browser awareness is
suspiciously low?