Wave at your new computer. Technology from PointGrab might soon be there to watch you. The Israeli company, which builds gesture-recognition technology, says it's in talks with many vendors bringing out Windows 8 laptops this year.
Currently, PointGrab technology is deeply embedded in a few TV sets from one manufacturer. PointGrab executives begged me not to name the vendor, but there's only one company shipping gesture-controlled TVs so it's not hard to figure it out.
In the living room environment, the technology makes a lot of sense. Instead of having to poke at buttons to control your … Read more
I'm a paying user of the Sparrow OS X application. I love it. I find it provides both a simple view to my GMail accounts, and a very fast interface to blast though messages. Google's GMail Web app gives me more features and better searching, and Thunderbird and Postbox are better for bulk operations, but for … Read more
Groupiter is perhaps the simplest workflow product I have ever seen. It's brilliant, instantly understandable, and looks (based on the demo I saw at a 500 Startups event) highly usable.
I am not yet convinced it is a long-term business, but the product concept is spot-on.
Here's what it does: When you save a file in Dropbox, Groupiter pops up and asks you to enter a comment about the file. Other people you're sharing with can see the comments attached to versions of the files. That's it.
Groupiter CEO Chris Dyball says that since we now … Read more
"What are the odds," Highlight CEO Paul Davison asks, "that you'll have a connection with some random person sitting next to you in a coffee shop?"
He says that he's done the math and knows the answer: "The odds are pretty good." Especially with his app.
Highlight, which had its big coming-out party at SxSW this year, is all about helping people make connections based on common interests, activities, or social proximity. Pegged as the big deal app of SxSW before the show kicked off, it ended up not having … Read more
The gig marketplace Zaarly has launched a clever extension to its business: Zaarly Anywhere. This new service lets users who see a project on a Web site or blog quickly post a request for proposal to the Zaarly user base to get that project done for themselves.
For example, if you see a construction project on Ikea Hackers that you'd like to see also in your own home, but you lack the time or wherewithal do do it yourself, now you can click a Zaarly button on the post about the project to Zaarly's community. Or if you … Read more
It's too late to save Delicious, the social platform that Yahoo acquired in 2005 and sold in 2010. But please don't make the same mistake and allow Yahoo to slough off these other strong properties that Yahoo has had for years. They mean more to users, and could mean much more to Yahoo itself, than might be obvious at first glance.
1. Flickr Talk about owning a market and then letting it evaporate. Flickr was at one time the premier photo storage and sharing site among engaged photo buffs. It had features no other photo … Read more
A little more than a year ago, we did a Roundtable episode on aerial drones and UAVs. The discussion mostly focused on how remote-controlled and robotic vehicles were getting bigger, more capable, and more scary. Since then, a funny thing happened. The drone revolution downsized. Today we're talking about cheap and small drones. Today, perhaps, a collection of a hundred $1,000 drones can be just as capable -- and just as scary -- as a $100,000 drone.
It's not all Skynet doom-and-gloom, though. Small robotic flying vehicles can be used to save lives, keep repressive governments … Read more
It's not that we're running out of mobile bandwidth. It's just that it's poorly distributed.
If you're in your home next to a Wi-Fi router, you might have a clean signal and access to a 12-megabit connection. Meanwhile, someone outside your door could have a smartphone that's struggling to hold onto a slow connection to a cellular tower a mile away. But mesh networking might make things better for everyone.
Mesh networks let devices share their connections with other users. If one user has a clean network connection and another nearby user does not, the second user can piggyback on the first's, automatically. If there's a collection of many people, their machines can all cooperate to make connections -- to each other and to the global Internet. In advanced mesh networks, connections and data can hop among devices, creating ad hoc bucket-brigade paths for communication.
The concept of mesh networking is not new. Many military systems rely on mesh networking, since forces in the field cannot rely on communications infrastructures. Utilities also use mesh networks for collecting data from equipment, like smart meters.
On this Reporters' Roundtable, I interview two innovators in mesh networking. They're both trying to bring this liberating (they say) and bandwidth-saving (ditto) technology to the masses.
Zite, for example, was acquired by CNN, otherwise who knows where it'd be. And then there's the heavy-hitter, Flipboard: can $60 million in funding make this business work? If not, it's overpriced for acquisition.
But there is one professional content aggregator that is not just a great product, but a nice business, born of cooperation between rivals. It's also possibly the only way … Read more
Facebook knows who you are, who your friends are, what you like, and where you live. And still the ads suck. Google, on the other hand, gives you ads based only on what you're searching on, and its ads rock.
Can Google's ad performance be brought to Facebook and other social sites? Jeffrey Davitz is trying to do that with his startup, Solariat. The idea, he says, "is to take the Google model of responding to intention and place it in the context of social networks."
Davitz confirms that Facebook can help an advertiser find very … Read more