Adobe Systems on Monday released Lightroom 2.5 and the Camera Raw 5.5 Photoshop plug-in, software updates that add support for two high-profile Nikon SLRs, Olympus' ambitious but expensive E-P1 compact camera, and in a minor surprise, the Panasonic's GF1 competitor to the E-P1.
The downloads are available at Adobe's Web site.
Dealing with the raw formats from higher-end cameras gives photographers more flexibility and quality than … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The world of Web 2.0 has been criticized for being too much about the nifty ideas and not enough about raking in the dough. So there were likely more than a few sets of ears in the audience on Monday at TechCrunch50 that perked up at the start of the third batch of start-ups presenting: "New Advertising & Monetization Platforms."
The judges included such Silicon Valley marquee names as Google executive Marissa Mayer, industry veteran Marc Andreessen, Sequoia Capital's Roelof Botha, YCombinator founder and investor Paul Graham, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who sold his company to Amazon this summer.
The first company to present was 5to1, an advertising technology company that tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of filling up remnant advertising inventory that can't be filled up by premium or direct sales--and which often ends up getting filled by ads that are cheap and irrelevant. 5to1's model lets site owners and publishers fill up their ad inventory as though it's a music playlist.
"What we're talking about here is total control by the publisher," founder and CEO James Heckman said. "No ad is going to show up that you don't like." (He described typical remnant ads as "the dancing fat bellies and the punch-the-monkey ads.")
But some judges were lukewarm on 5to1.
"I think it's a really slick interface but I would just be worried," Tony Hsieh said. "It just seems like a lot of work to have to go through and decide which ads (to run)...my question is how does it scale as a publisher grows."
The next start-up was another advertising platform, DataXu. The focus of DataXu's product is a data dashboard where publishers can buy ads through ad exchanges like Google's and Yahoo's with a highly refined algorithm that promises to show the right ads to the right people at the right time--for example, that news- and sports-related ads get more reception in the morning--and then tracks the success of an ad campaign with all sorts of analytics.
President and CEO Mike Baker called DataXu's offering "rocket science," adding that the underlying technology was actually used by NASA for a Mars mission plan. "What we're doing is actually using machine-learning techniques to take vast amounts of data with a small positive-action subset, which is very consistent with the Internet advertising problem: there are very few clicks and even fewer actions," Baker said, while declining to provide any real trade secrets. "We're applying on top of that the concept of control systems."
Up next was something much more consumer-focused, and that left the audience pretty impressed: SeatGeek, which forecasts concert and sports ticket prices, much like airline price applications like Microsoft's Bing Travel do. Co-founders Jack Groetzinger and Russ D'Souza explained that sometimes ticket prices can drop unexpectedly at the last minute--and sometimes they don't.
The secondary ticket market is around $15 billion, Groetzinger said.
SeatGeek pulls in ticket prices from secondary sellers such as StubHub or Craigslist and then forecasts where they might go based on an algorithm. "We have a system that every day crawls the Internet and pulls in thousands of actual ticket sales," Groetzinger explained. "We're also pulling in other external factors that we know to drive ticket prices." For a baseball game, for example, it can come down to the weather, the starting pitcher, and whether there are popular concerts in town. "Right now we're testing at about 75 to 80 percent accuracy, and that's going up every day as our system learns."
SeatGeek, which says it's already profitable… Read more
With its new HTC Hero, Sprint is about to join the Google Android community. But how do its new offerings stack up against the handsets and services of T-Mobile? If you're looking to purchase an Android phone, which carrier is better?
Phones Sprint: The HTC Hero will be the first Android phone from Sprint, but rumors suggest that Sprint will also launch a Samsung Android phone later this year. And since Sprint also carries LG phones in its lineup, it could also be a destination for LG's new Android phone.
T-Mobile: Currently, T-Mobile remains the only U.S. … Read more
Dupehunter Professional provides users with a simple tool for finding and erasing bulky duplicate files. With a simple layout, users of all levels will clear up computer space/
We ignored the mostly uninformative Help file because the program's interface was strengthened by a five-part wizard that walked us through every step of the dupe-hunting process. With the wizard we were able to quickly select folders for scanning and algorithms to search by, though we used the default option because the custom algorithm options required a higher level of computer expertise. The program whipped through our files in a few … Read more
Photo Stamp Remover offers an admirable service to users, but falls short of meeting all its claims. While the program is simple to learn and operate, its results left us wanting more.
The program's interface required a trip to the Help file, though any roadblocks seemed obvious after a few seconds of experimentation. The program features a bare minimum of commands, which should keep users of all skill levels focused. While learning the program came after some minimal effort, its results left us disappointed. The primary job of selecting an area or watermark to convert was a simple click-and-drag … Read more
Novell on Monday introduced MonoTouch 1.0, a development framework for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch that uses Microsoft's .Net with C# and other programming languages.
The MonoTouch framework, available on paid-subscription only, requires Apple's own software development kit and runs solely on Macintosh hardware.
"The vast majority of Windows-centric developers, ISVs, and IT organizations have chosen the C# language and .Net for development," said Miguel de Icaza, Mono project founder and Developer Platform vice president at Novell, in a statement.
"As such, we have seen tremendous demand for tools to build .Net-based iPhone … Read more
The retirement of the 1GB Shuffle wasn't the only thing that flew under the radar amid all the Apple-created chaos Wednesday: the company also rather quietly lowered the price of the OS 3.1 software update for iPod Touch owners.
Those who follow MP3 Insider know that I railed against the $10 price tag and refused to purchase the refresh. Unfortunately, I was forced to back down while trying to test the new Rhapsody app, which requires OS 3.1. Imagine my surprise when the price at check-out was a mere $4.95--still not ideal (that would be free), … Read more
With the recent releases of iPhone OS 3.1, Mac OS X 10.6.1 update, and all the new iPod models, one Apple product has flown somewhat under the radar with its new features and enhancements. MobileMe provides a wealth of services for subscribers ranging from Web page publishing to iPhone syncing.… Read more
The iTunes App Store is glutted with to-do lists and time managers, but many are so simple, they're ineffective. Appigo's Todo is the highest cost of its cohort, but is also more complete than the budget offerings. Unlike other to-do lists, you can have Todo assign a due date and priority ranking; it will winningly associate tasks with mobile numbers and Web sites. You can further synchronize your lists with your pro Remember the Milk account and with Toodledo, both Web-based task organizers. Thanks to Apple's push notification, Todo has taken the extra leap and let loose … Read more