Saturday, June 14, 2014

drag2share: How Three 20-Somethings Built Elite Daily, A Site With 40 Million Readers, With $60,000


Elite Daily Office

Elite Daily, a news website with 55 employees and 40 million monthly uniques, just raised a $1.5 million convertible note (a type of debt) from Greycroft, Vast Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, SocialStarts, and angel investors.

The funding is the first outside capital the startup has ever raised. Three founders, who are all younger than 30, built a media property that rivals traffic of sites such as Upworthy, Wall Street Journal and even Business Insider in just two years on a bootstrapped budget.

While undergrads at Pace University, David Arabov, 23, and Jonathan Francis, 28, pooled together $60,000 with another friend, Gerard Adams. None of them had media or technology experience, but they had a lofty ambition to create The Huffington Post for millennials.

"We were supposed to go to law school, we took the LSATS and everything," CEO David Arabov told Business Insider in an interview. "But we didn't think traditional media had done a great job of creating content online, and newer publications were pretty niche."


Aussie Defender Makes An Incredible Save As A Ball Nearly Passes The Goal-Line


After years of allowing goals that never actually crossed the line, FIFA finally decided to add goal-line technology to the 2014 World Cup and in the fourth game, it was put to great use. 

In the second half of the Chile-Australia game, Aussie Alex Wilkenson cleared the ball of the goal just in time when a Chilean player was able to get it by the goalie:

australia goal line technology

The ball came so close though, that a quick look could have called this a goal. The refs were able to use the new goal-line technology however, to prove that Wilkenson made an incredible save. Pretty cool:

goal line technology


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Today, Bitcoin's Doomsday Scenario Arrived


There is only way to hack the entire Bitcoin network, which has continued to hum along in the face of numerous Bitcoin business failures.

It involves a series of group of Bitcoin miners taking control of 51% of the Bitcoin's processing power, thus giving them the power to confirm transactions that don't exist. Miners are simply computers that unscramble the encrypted series of numbers attached to every Bitcoin transaction. There is profit in numbers, and many miners have formed large pools to extract the maximum amount of profit for their work. 

As a completely unregulated global currency made out of computer code, the only thing that has prevented the 51% threshold from being reached has been a form of mutually assured destruction: As soon as the 51% figure is reached, the price of Bitcoin will tank, leaving the digital junta little time to make much of a profit.

Today, mining pool GHash's share of the Bitcoin network ticked 51%:

51% bitcoin

Prices briefly sank 2% as word spread that the 51% level had been achieved. The crisis was momentarily resolved after a member of GHash agreed to remove some of its resources from the pool.

But there is now debate raging in Bitcoin world about what to do next. One commentator who wished to remain anonymous told BI, "This is not Bitcoin anymore, it's centralized GHashcoin....They are killing what is a big part of Bitcoins value."

Two Cornell computer scientists posted a note to HackingDistributed confirming that, indeed, this is a doomsday scenario:

Is this really Armageddon? Yes, it is. GHash is in a position to exercise complete control over which transactions appear on the blockchain and which miners! reap mi ning rewards. They could keep 100% of the mining profits to themselves if they so chose. Bitcoin is currently an expensive distributed database under the control of a single entity, albeit one whose maintenance requires constantly burning energy -- worst of all worlds. 

Jeff Garzik, one of Bitcoin's core developers, was slightly more sanguine, Tweeting that the total share of processing power owned mattered less than the leadership at the top of that share.

The two Cornell researchers, Ittay Eyal, and Emin Gün Sirer, propose creating a "hard fork" on the Bitcoin network, a set-aside part of Bitcoin's transaction ledger that would sacrifice some  Bitcoin attributes in the name of preventing another similar attack. Others have proposed creating a peer-to-peer network of mining nodes which, instead of being able to access the entire blockchain, only target specified branches. 

There is a third way, the Eyal and Sirer say, which seems to describe the current situation:

...We can carry on as if nothing of importance happened. GHash will be on their best behavior for the next few weeks, and Bitcoin will limp along. What will bring the actual demise of Bitcoin is the subject of a future blog post, but this is by no means the end.

But it doesn't look good. 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Firefox OS apps run like native apps on Android


The beauty of apps written for Firefox OS is that they're basically just web apps -- they're built primarily on Java Script and HTML5. That means if you can run the app on Mozilla's mobile operating system, you can run them in its browser too. In fact, if you install Firefox 29 on Android, you can run so-called Open Web Apps (OWA) on your Google-powered phone. Not only that, but they're not confined to the browser. Apps installed from the Firefox OS Marketplace are treated just like native apps. They get their own icon in the launcher and home screen, can be uninstalled from the menu and run without the usual browser UI clutter (such as an address bar or back button). Of course, the performance probably won't match truly native apps, and most won't abide by Android's interface conventions. Still, there are some developers who might enjoy the idea of building an app once and running it across all platforms.

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Via: Android Community

Source: Mozilla


New littleBits modules make the Synth Kit more powerful and versatile


Click 'em together, make some noise. Littlebits are like Lego for music nerds (like us). That's fun and all, but currently, once you've built your mini-modular synth creation, there isn't really much else you can do with it. That won't be the case for much longer though, as three new modules are coming along to spice things up.

We are raising the ceiling of complexity of what you can do with littleBits, adding wireless control, programmability, and now audio control to allow you to make sophisticated electronics in a fraction of the time and cost, allowing for whole new experiences. -- Ayah Bdeir (Founder, littleBits)

A new MIDI block lets you hook into music making software like Ableton or Logic, while the CV block means you can connect your littleBits to older/analog gear. If you just want to play with sound, a USB I/O module will let you pipe the littleBits' audio directly into your PC. No word on price, but expect to see them come to market in time for the (now noisier) holidays.

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Source: littleBits


Architects Turned A Tiny 425-Square-Foot Loft Into A Dream Home


Untitled 1

New York City is chock-full of laughably small, awkwardly shaped apartments. Which is why it takes a good imagination to not only make them livable, but actually desirable.

The designers at Specht Harpman Architects recently worked wonders on a 425-square-foot loft on the Upper West Side.

The space, at the top of a six-story brownstone, has 25 feet of vertical space and even access to a rooftop  giving them plenty to work with.

Check out the photos below to see the new micro-loft.

This was the space before. It was run down, with exposed brick walls and dated paint.Manhattan Micro Loft

For such a small space, it didn't have much room for storage.Manhattan Micro Loft The architects' solution was to create multi-level “living platforms" in order to squeeze everything in, but still make it feel open.Manhattan Micro Loft One of their goals was to create a flowing interior "that dissolves the notion of distinct 'rooms.'"Manhattan Micro Loft A cantilevered bed on steel beams floats over the main living space on the third floor.Manhattan Micro Loft And the tiny bathroom is tucked beneath the stairs.Manhattan Micro Loft Which now have a ton of storage space. They feature built-in drawers and shelves, similar to Japanese kaidan dansu.  Manhattan Micro LoftThe roof garden at the top allows light to radiate throughout the apartment. Manhattan Micro Loft Pretty impressive. It's hard to tell that this was still the same apartment.Manhattan Micro Loft Compare it again to the new space:Micro Loft Rendering

Job well done. 

SEE ALSO: The 10 Most Expensive Homes For Sale In New York City

SEE ALSO: Business Insider is on Pinterest

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These Drones Could Be The Construction Crews Of The Future


Jun 13, 2014 09:06

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, have developed cool drones that can weave cord into rope bridges, reports New Scientist's Hal Hodson.

Each quadcopter drone is equipped with a spool of strong plastic cable that runs out behind it as it flies. One end of the cable can be secured by making several turns around a pole. The drones are positioned and directed autonomously from the ground by a central computer fitted with a camera that watches them as they fly. For example, to loop cables around each other, the computer directs two drones to fly through certain points at an exact time. In this way, the fleet can tie complicated knots and form large, regularly repeating patterns strung between fixed structures.

For now, these drones are only capable of building tensile structures like the one above. Ammar Mirjan, who collaborated with Augugliaro's on the architectural side of the project, said that currently "something possible would be a structure like a bridge or a connection between existing buildings."

Successful positioning — and, by extension, movement — is one of the key problems roboticists have to solve in order to build a worthwhile robot capable of complex tasks. Given that virtually unlimited workspace that drones have access to (the sky), that problem gets solved much more easily. And if this advantage can continue to be refined, it's easy to imagine this evolving to the point that drones do our building for us.

  Jun 13, 2014 09:12

Koushil Sreenath, roboticist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, told New Scientist that "you [could hypothetically] just program the structure you want, press play and when you come back your structure is done. Our current construction is limited, but with aerial robots those limitations go away."

Hodson says there's interest in drones-as-construction-crew at other institutions too:

At the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Neri Oxman and her team are using robots suspended on cables to build structures. And at the University of Pennsylvania, the General Robotics Automation Sensing and Perception Lab is using drones with robotic clamps to build towers of magnetic blocks.

Check out the full video demo from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology below.

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drag2share: Google set to launch a health-tracking platform called Google Fit


Not to be left behind by Apple, Google could soon launch its own health-tracking platform for mobile devices. Forbes reports that the search giant is working on a new service, tentatively called Google Fit, which will pull in data from third-party fitness wearables and health apps and combine them into one central app. It's not known if Fit will be delivered as a standalone app or come embedded inside future versions of Android, but it would likely operate as Google-made version of Apple's HealthKit, a service that lets companies like Nike feed in fitness data, and Samsung's own fitness framework, SAMI. An open platform would also lend itself to running on top of Google's upcoming Android Wear platform, allowing smartwatches and fitness bands to feed data into Fit's open APIs. Mirroring Apple, Google is set to unveil its new health-centric service at its own developer conference, Google I/O, which kicks off on June 25th. It has a lot of wearable talks planned for the event, so we won't have long to wait to learn more about what Google has planned.


drag2share: Visual encyclopedia builds itself by scouring the internet


LEVAN shows what it knows about horses

Crowdsourced knowledge bases like Wikipedia encompass a lot of knowledge, but humans can only add to them so quickly. Wouldn't it be better if computers did all the hard work? The University of Washington certainly believes so. Its LEVAN (Learn EVerything about ANything) program is building a visual encyclopedia by automatically searching the Google Books library for descriptive language, and using that to find pictures illustrating the associated concepts. Once LEVAN has seen enough, it can associate images with ideas simply by looking at pixel arrangements. Unlike earlier learning systems, such as Carnegie Mellon's NEIL, it's smart enough to tell the difference between two similar objects (such as a Trojan horse and a racing horse) while lumping them under one broader category.

Right now, the folks at the Wikimedia Foundation have little to worry about. LEVAN has only explored about 175 concepts as of this writing, and it can take as much as 12 hours to add another to the mix. It's open to suggestions from the public, though, and the university has open-sourced its code so that anyone can build on the formula. You won't want to depend on this self-assembling information hub for vital knowledge in the near future, but it should eventually be very useful for both schools teaching basic ideas as well as computer vision software that needs a helping hand.


âOnLive is giving enterprise cloud services one more try


Stop us if this sounds familiar: after successfully launching and new a video game service, a growing cloud computing firm looks to the business sector to expand its customer base. Oh, you've heard this one? That's because OnLive is retracing its steps, following up its CloudLift gaming service (announced back in March) with an enterprise-focused counterpart. Onlive's CloudLift Enterprise is built on the same promise as its older OnLive Desktop service: your work on any device at any time -- but now it's offering its customers a bit more than a virtualized desktop.

Specifically, CloudLift enterprise is designed for graphic intensive applications -- things like drone piloting setups, military training simulators or applications for architecture and design. OnLive says it can deliver these applications to virtually any smartphone, tablet or laptop on any operating system over fairly slow connections, as low as 2Mbps.

OnLive told us that despite the potential growth the enterprise service represents, it's not designed to replace any business from its gaming division -- in fact, the company says it's well pleased with much CloudLift gaming has grown over the past few months. "The game service will continue to be a driving force for the company," Onlive Executive chairman Mark Jung told us, explaining that its enterprise service leverages the same tech that drives its gaming services. "The development work that went into our game platform is the core technology at the center of the Enterprise PaaS solution."

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Source: OnLive


Samsung Has A New Tablet With A Gorgeous Screen And It's Thinner Than The iPad Air


samsung galaxy tab s

Samsung has a new line of tablets launching this summer called the Galaxy Tab S.

The Galaxy Tab S comes in two sizes: a 10.4-inch model and an 8.4-inch model. Both are essentially the same on the inside as far as specs go, but the big selling point here is the screen. Samsung put its Super AMOLED display on a tablet for the first time. It's the same type of display used on the Galaxy S5 phone, which many folks in the industry have called the best screen on the market.

The screen looks really nice in person. This is an HD video running on the tablet, but the photo doesn't really do it justice:

samsung galaxy tab sSamsung makes a lot of different tablet models under the Galaxy name, but the Galaxy Tab S will be marketed as the company's flagship brand. It's priced the same as the iPad Mini and iPad Air. The 8.4-incher starts at $399; the 10.5-incher starts at $499. (Those are the prices for the Wi-Fi models with 16GB of memory. Samsung will launch a 4G LTE version later.)

The tablets are very thin and light. Both measure just 6.6 millimeters thick (that's thinner than the iPad Air, which is 7.5 millimeters thick). The 10.5-inch tablet weighs 1 pound, and the 8.4-inch model weighs 10 ounces.

It feels good, too. Unlike previous tablets from Samsung, the Galaxy Tab S feels sturdy instead of creaky and plasticky. It looks good from the front, but the back has the same tacky dimpled plastic that originally debuted on the Galaxy S5. There's also a kitschy bronze-colored border along the sides.

samsung galaxy tab s

Also l ike the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Tab S has a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. You can use it to unlock the device without a passcode or make payments through PayPal. The fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S5 doesn't work very well, so we don't have high hopes for the one on the Galaxy Tab S.

Samsung also designed new cases for the Galaxy Tab S called Book Covers. They snap onto the back of the tablet and let you prop it on the table to three different viewing angles.

samsung galaxy tab s

The Galaxy Tab S is an Android tablet, but Samsung modified the software a lot to add some of its own features and tricks. For example, you can pair the tablet to your Galaxy smartphone over Wi-Fi and drag and drop photos and files between the two devices. You can also use the pairing mode to make calls on the tablet.

There's no specific launch date, but the Galaxy Tab S should start shipping in early July.

SEE ALSO: The most important features in Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S

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