Archive for November 7th, 2011

For some, going to the polls and voting in-person is near impossible, and even using mail-in paper ballots can prove difficult. But the state of Oregon has a solution: Pair an iPad with a wireless printer, and use this system to help cast ballots.

Voters in five Oregon counties will get to vote using the iPad …




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The Occupy Wall Street movement and class warfare politics we are experiencing is no less abhorrent than racism. We should call this behavior a more proper name, “Wealthism.” Just as racists believe in superiority by division and discrimination, “Wealthists” seek superiority by division and discrimination of wealth creators. There is just one problem; the so called villains being demonized are the very people that enhance and save lives.
Basic economics teaches that wealth is created by the actions of man in altering and adding value to scarce raw materials and resources…

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With each passing day there’s some new headline in the financial press about an ailing European government facing “austerity”, “severe cuts”, and maybe default due to a mismatch between incoming revenues and outgoing liabilities. What’s not explained is why this is so problematic.
It’s not, and it isn’t in the least. Though a great deal of commentary up to this point has noted that European countries have created unsustainable welfare states, the simple explanation for the present is that with the private European individuals who prop up the State…

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Three years ago this week, Barack Obama won the presidency on a campaign of hope and change. But when it comes to reigning in Wall Street (among other issues) President Obama hasn’t delivered the kind of change many Americans wanted. From the brink of failure when Obama was sworn in, the securities industry has come [...]

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European politicians are running out of time. After more than a year of failing to sufficiently handle the the Greek sovereign debt problem, the crisis is spreading to Italy in a meaningful way. Italy’s cost of borrowing rose to its highest rate today - with two-year yields rising to over 6% — since the country [...]

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Consumer services getting to their first million users often takes a bit of magic and fresh off their big financing at a $4bn valuation the guys at Dropbox have been describing what they did (from Techcrunch):

Dropbox released a video on Digg during its private beta launch.

In that video [they] team layered “easter eggs… aimed at the Digg audience” into the otherwise mainstream presentation. The splash of creativity worked. Within 24-hours Dropbox “had 75,000 people signup for the wait-list.” They were expecting 15,000, tops.

Not wanting to risk testing a buggy product on all 75,000, Dropbox carefully screened who could kick around early versions by extending invites through “a Gmail style closed beta.”  Their strategy paid off. Just seven months after public launch Dropbox hit 1-million users. Roughly a year later they counted 10 million.

‘How are you going to get to your first hundred thousand or million users?’ is a question I (and I imagine most other investors) ask just about every consumer oriented startup.  It’s an important but challenging question.  Important because if those users don’t come the company probably won’t be worth anything.  Challenging because it often takes a bit of magic and it is hard to know whether magic is going to work.  The Dropbox example above illustrates this neatly – their strategy to get to a million users was to release a video on Digg with lots of Easter Eggs and have it go viral – easy to say but challenging to execute on and impossible to know whether it will work.



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It would be great if Apple’s Photo Stream — which pushes any new pictures you take to all of your devices, immediately — also worked for videos. But as video files are so big, this is unlikely to happen soon.

But fear not, handsome reader, for the answer is at hand. Video Stream for iCloud does …




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1905: Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres-Quevedo uses a radio remote controller to operate a boat more than a mile away in the Bilbao estuary. The crowd is amazed.

Guglielmo Marconi’s famous wireless demonstration at London’s Toynbee Hall in 1896 used a fixed telegraph-key transmitter to ring a bell attached to a receiver that a colleague carried around …




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Let’s banish the budget fictions of left and right.
The supercommittee - the 12 members of Congress charged with devising a plan to close mammoth deficits - cannot succeed without public support for its proposals. And public opinion won’t come along if it embraces fairy tales.
The conservatives’ fiction is: We can reduce deficits and cut taxes by eliminating “wasteful spending.”
The liberals’ fiction is: We can subdue deficits and raise social spending by taxing “the rich” and shrinking the bloated Pentagon.
You will notice one similarity. Both suggest…

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