new web technologies
- Decoding The Future Of Money With PayPal’s David Marcus
- You Can Download SteamOS, The Indie Game Platform, On December 13
- Google+ Sign-In Changes Could Appeal To More Developers
- 5 Unique And Innovative Online Shopping Sites
- R2-D2? Dalek? Actually It’s A Pre-Cog Robocop
Decoding The Future Of Money With PayPal’s David Marcus
We’ve just wrapped our latest ReadWriteMix event with Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf—and I'm very pleased that we can already announce our next event, featuring PayPal president David Marcus. We'll sit down on January 21 to talk about the future of money.
I first met David a few years ago when he was an entrepreneur running Zong, a mobile-payments startup. After years covering payments and watching mobile products flop, I was a skeptic—but he won me over with keen insights on how mobile usage was changing (not to mention a product that actually worked).
PayPal saw something in Marcus, too, and bought Zong in 2011. He became president in 2012, after Scott Thompson left to run Yahoo—oops!—and swiftly became the most dynamic leader the eBay-owned payments company had seen in a decade. He bought other startups, bringing more entrepreneurs like himself into the company. The most recent deal, the high-profile $800 million acquisition of Braintree, may become final by the time we sit down.
More importantly, he’s slimmed down PayPal’s confusing array of retail-payments offerings to focus on its mobile app, which promises to be the way you pay your restaurant tab, your delivery orders, and your in-store purchase. And he scored Uber as a customer, finally making PayPal a player in the key business of powering payments in other apps. (The Braintree deal will also boost PayPal’s prospects here.)
One thing I particularly admire about Marcus is the way he jumps on Twitter to resolve customers’ problems. That's a friendly face that merchants and consumers didn't see for years, to the detriment of PayPal's reputation. By cutting down on abrupt account freezes and resolving fraud more quickly, he's hoping to persuade people that PayPal has changed its ways.
He's also making waves with his predictions for 2014. Here’s one I find particularly interesting: Bitcoin, Marcus says, will struggle to become accepted as a currency in the mainstream. Instead, it will be a “store of value”—a form of digital gold, in other words, which is attractive to people who live in economies with unstable currencies, but whose value fluctuates too much for ordinary consumers and merchants to use for daily transactions.
So there's a lot to talk about. Please join us on January 21, 2014, as ReadWriteMix returns to Say Space. We’re making tickets available now, but we expect them to go fast—so reserve your seat today.
We’re planning our ReadWriteMix If you'd like to propose a speaker, please get in touch with me.
Sign up on Eventbrite for ReadWriteMix, an evening of drinks and conversation at Say Space in San Francisco, hosted by ReadWrite editor-in-chief Owen Thomas.
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 19:30:00 -0800
Author: Owen Thomas :: Category: ReadWrite Mix
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You Can Download SteamOS, The Indie Game Platform, On December 13
Valve, the online software distribution company, is shipping 300 prototype Steam Machines to beta testers on Friday. The lucky few hundred will receive both Steam's hardware and SteamOS, its Linux-based software for video games, for testing, as the company pushes to establish an open-source gaming platform.
SteamOS will be publicly available to individuals and hardware manufacturers when the prototype hardware ships, but the company suggests that unless you’re a game developer aiming to learn how it works, you should hold off on trying it out until later in 2014.
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 14:40:58 -0800
Author: ReadWrite Editors :: Category: now
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Google+ Sign-In Changes Could Appeal To More Developers
It appears Google is making some concessions for developers who are not keen on forcing their users to have a Google+ account to use their apps.
Google+ Sign-In now supports all Google account types, including Google Apps users and those without a Google+ profile. This seems incongruent with recent updates to Google services that force users to have a Google+ profile on the company’s so-called social network in order to interact with the service. When YouTube restricted video comments to only those with Google+ accounts, the community was not happy.
Though it appears Google is making some effort to appease developers, especially those building enterprise applications that would not previously support Google+ login. According to the company, it will be easy to upgrade from Open ID v2 or OAuth 2.0 Login.
Google+ Sign-In also supports over-the-air installs, interactive posts that let users share posts or messages to promote the app or service, and cross-device sign-in. It is fully compatible with the OpenID standard.
In addition to a broader login update, Google is also introducing incremental auth, a less-invasive way of asking users to accept app permissions. For example, if your app allows users to save pictures to Google Drive, you can ask for only basic information when a consumer downloads the application and request photo-access permissions when they are ready to start saving and sharing images.
Incremental auth will be especially helpful for deterring users that hesitate giving up broader permissions up front. The company recommends developers only ask for basic permissions at first to "reduce friction and increase app engagement."
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 13:52:00 -0800
Author: Selena Larson :: Category: Google+
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5 Unique And Innovative Online Shopping Sites
ReadWriteShop is an occasional series about the intersection of technology and commerce.
Online shopping is oftentimes incredibly cut-and-dry. In the same way that online retail has given us the ability to shop with the speed of simply checking things off of a list, it has also made the experience itself dull and mundane.
If you're looking to inject some charm into e-commerce, take a peek at these five websites that emphasize innovation, quality, and community participation. Have fun, and shop unique.
BetaBrand digs deeply into the hilarious minds of its consumers to get the precise advertising they (and their buyers) want to see. The apparel brand's "Model Citizen" feature challenges consumers to model the clothing in the zaniest, most creative way possible. The "fan fueled fashion machine" acquires hundreds of wacky community photos that provide the perfect buzz to attract more purchases.
Along with its usual array of clothing options for men and women (like a wide selection of hoodies and trousers), BetaBrand also has a crowdfunding option that encourages user-submitted apparel design. Members of the BetaBrand community will vote on their favorite design, and then crowdfund the prototype to turn it into a product for purchase. By the people, for the people!
The Grommet operates like many of its curatorial e-commerce peers, albeit with a twist. This "product launch platform" seeks out the best, most innovative, yet undiscovered products and companies and brings them to light on their site.
Products supported by the Grommet adhere to certain specific standards, including solving problems in new ways, preserving handcrafts, creating jobs, fostering green practices, building a social enterprise, creating in the USA, and inventing new technology. Indeed, being endorsed by the Grommet makes the product itself a "Grommet," defined as a product "with a purpose invented by people with stories."
Located in the Los Angeles area, this aromatic truck combines the best features of your favorite food truck and the florist. Loyal fans and interested customers can locate the whereabouts of the roving Flower Truck by seeking out its Twitter page. Other product stations on wheels include Boston's The Fashion Truck and Detroit's TMR Rolling Record Store. What product-selling truck would you like to see next?
This curatorial site provides oh-so-many fancy things. Members of online-shopping-meets-pin-board Fancy are able to curate their own boards with products on the site that they love, whether beer glasses, sneakers or nifty TARDIS-themed clocks.
The beautifully-shot images of the most enviable items online are pulled from across the web onto Fancy, where users can then feature them on their personal wall. Fancy one-ups the community and voyeuristic aspect of similar pin-board sites by making it simple to purchase those aspirational goods right then and there.
Online apparel retailer Bow and Drape is for the fashionista seeking the ultimate customized look. Using this site, members can take from various types of apparel, like white button-ups, skirts, blazers, and dresses, and dabble in making their own creation with aspects like length, pattern, sleeves, color, and applique. The site's own seamstresses whip up your personalized mock-up and send it your way. Similar site Shoes of Prey are for those looking for their feet to stand out from every other Ugg and Chuck Taylor on the street.
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 11:55:00 -0800
Author: Stephanie Chan :: Category: Shop
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R2-D2? Dalek? Actually It’s A Pre-Cog Robocop
Look out all you mall cops, there’s a new patrol officer in Silicon Valley—one that rolls along on three wheels and uses sensors and social media to help fight crime.
Robotics company Knightscope recently took the wraps off the beta prototype of its K5 robot. Built on a Segway personal transport, the dome-topped unit collects data as it happens, assesses if there is a problem based on set parameters, and reports any inconsistencies to officials.
This crimefighter is about as threatening as R2-D2 and a bit less intimidating than the Daleks in Doctor Who. The K5 carries no weapons, but it decked out with a GPS locator, laser-assisted 3D mapping, 360-degree HD video, thermal imaging camera, night vision camera, optical character recognition, behavioral analysis, audio recording, proximity sensors, and biological, chemical and radiation detection.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Knightscope CEO Bill Li noted that the units could be used in schools, malls, neighborhood watches, and special events. The robot could, for example, run license plates while rolling through a parking lot or identify passersby through facial recognition.
90 TB Per Machine Per Year
Each K5 unit gathers approximately 90 terabytes of information per machine per year. That data is cross referenced with local ordinances, government rules, and business information and then compared with crowdsourced social data information. If something doesn't seem right, the robot sends an alert to the appropriate authorities.
Knightscope claims it's taken precautions to guard against errors of robotic judgment and privacy violations. A K5 unit won't actually take any action itself; it's more of a roving sensor that sends its collected information back to security or law-enforcement officials, who then have to choose whether a given situation requires a response. This also provides an important feedback loop for the K5’s predictive analytics software.
Li said his goal is to show that the K5 robot can cut crime by half in a specific area. The company is offering the K5 as a pay-by-the project service. Prices start at $1,000 a month, which translates to $6.25 an hour. Currently, a dozen customers have signed up for test runs in 2014.
While 300 pounds is not easy to pushover, one can’t help thinking that the K5 could be tricked or at least outrun like our favorite mall cop, Paul Blart.
Photo courtesy of Knightscope
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 09:57:21 -0800
Author: Michael Singer :: Category: robot
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