Tag Archive | "press"

With Publicize, Former Tech Blogger Conrad Egusa Offers A More Affordable Approach To Startup PR

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Publicize's Eddie Arrieta And Conrad Egusa

Le Camping Now Takes 3% Equity As Accelerator Competition Heats Up In France

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MARCH 11, 2014 : Press conference for Demo Day Tour, Le Camping

Inside Jobs: What It Takes To Be The PR Lead At A Startup

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Facebook Open-Sources The Animation Engine That Powers Its Paper App

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U.S. Government Is Turning Seized Silk Road Bitcoins Into Cash

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A Personal Reflection On Google+

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Alleged Bitcoin Creator Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto Denies Involvement

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Is this man really the father of Bitcoin? After a full day of wild speculation and anger, the LA press have finally tracked down Nakamoto and he’s receiving a grilling. According to reports, Nakamoto and an AP reporter went to a sushi restaurant earlier this afternoon while the rest of the press followed along. Finally, the 64-year-old man went to the AP offices where he conducted his only… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Sony’s Waterproof Wearable To Be Available Worldwide In March

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Sony introduced the SmartBand SWR10 at CES 2014. The diminutive wearable is part of Sony’s push into an ever-connected experience centered around its Xperia products. Sony was mum about the release schedule back at CES, but today, at Mobile World Congress, the company announced that the device will be available in 60 markets next month.

The SmartBand sports the standard affair of fitness tracking. But Sony is positioning this device as much more than a fitness tracker. According to the press release, it’s “a new user experience based around three core pillars – Lifelogging, ‘Wearing smart’ and ‘Life tools’.”

Besides Lifelogging, the other two items are needless branding for standard functions found on wearables. This includes sleep monitoring, vibrating notification alerts, and remote control of media playback. Sony loves to brand things.

The Lifelogging is a bit convoluted. From the sound of it, this function uses the SmartBand as a sort of life-tracking tool that somehow relates media to a location. Here’s what the presser has to say about it.

Lifelog application – Communication and entertainment, staying on top of the things that matter to you Sony’s innovative new Lifelog application binds the SmartWear Experience together, enabling you to discover your past, enjoy your present and helping inspire your future. Together with SmartBand, the Android app enables you to effortlessly capture life and entertainment – places visited, music listened to, games played, books read – and presents it a beautifully visual interface.

You can see how active you were, where you went, what pictures you took and how you have been communicating with your world. Lifelog will also help you set activity goals, monitor your progress and make recommendations to help inform future decisions.

So there’s that.

The SmartBand only works with Android devices, and from the press release, it seems some of the so-called Lifelogging functions require specific applications. At CES Sony stated the device would cost 99 euros. This release communiqué doesn’t state the price, meaning Sony is going to hold true to its aforementioned pricing or it could switch things up prior to the release.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Y Combinator-Backed Ambition Offers A Fantasy Football-Style Approach To Motivating Sales Teams

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Ambition says it’s taking the process of tracking and motivating sales teams beyond white boards and gongs.

The startup, which is part of the current class at incubator Y Combinator, launched its product last August, but has been “flying under the radar” in the press until now, said co-founder Travis Truett. He compared Ambition’s approach to fantasy football — he’s hoping Ambition users will be excited to log in every day and see how their team is doing.

Unlike fantasy football, however, Ambition isn’t tracking professional athletes competing against each other in imaginary matches. (At least, that’s how I remember fantasy football — it’s been a long time since someone strong-armed me into participating.) Instead, it looks at the performance of different sales teams within the company, allowing them to compete for limited “seasons”, with rewards for the winners.

Each team member is assigned an “ambition” score. The specific metrics that are used to calculate the score can be customized for each company and each position, so Truett suggested that it’s a way to compare people who are doing different positions.

He added that Ambition integrates with phone and customer relationship management systems, so it can track the relevant metrics without requiring any extra work from the salespeople (though it may motivate them to keep the CRM updated).

Ambition Profile

The idea of “gamifying” the workplace isn’t new, Truett acknowledgde, but he said most companies are doing “gamification for gamification’s sake” or “Gamification 1.0″. More specifically, he suggested that many of the existing tools are too focused on leaderboards.

“That’s relatively passive, it’s not sustainable,” he said. “You really only have the top 10 percent who are motivated, because I might say, ‘You know what? Anthony wins every single time, so what do I care?’”

That’s why the team-focused system could be an important motivator — participants feel like they have a stake in their team’s success, even if they’re not number one, and it also makes the process “peer motivated, not manager motivated,” Truett said. Managers, meanwhile, can look at individual and team-wide data.

While Ambition’s initial focus is sales, Truett suggested that it could eventually serve “anybody that measures their employees.”

The startup was founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has raised seed funding from The Lamp Post Group, Y Combinator, and YCVC.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Belkin Fixes WeMo Vulnerabilities With Firmware Update

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Fear not, owners of Belkin WeMo devices: you no longer have to lose sleep over the possibility that your smart plug will be hacked. Belkin has rolled out an update that patches the five vulnerabilities listed by FEMA’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team. This security hole affects up to 500,000 WeMo devices, and as CERT states, the vulnerability could result in anything from a fire to the waste of electricity.

These holes were recently discovered and announced by IOActive, Inc. As the press release states, the security company made several attempts to contact Belkin about the issues, but Belkin was unresponsive. So IOActive turned to CERT who also issued a statement. However, per a statement Belkin sent to TechCrunch (embedded below), Belkin was in fact in contact with the security research firm prior to their public statement.

Specifically, Mike Davis, IOActive’s principal research scientist, identified that through several different means, hackers could remotely access Internet-connected WeMo products, upload custom firmware, remotely monitor devices and access local networks.

The update Belkin recently issued patches these holes.

This speaks to a larger issue. As the Internet of things takes off, hackers and malicious coders have an increasing number of targets. It’s not inconsivable that in the near future, KitchenAid will have to issue a security patch for a toaster or blender.

Belkin’s Statement

Belkin has corrected the list of five potential vulnerabilities affecting the WeMo line of home automation solutions that was published in a CERT advisory on February 18. Belkin was in contact with the security researchers prior to the publication of the advisory, and, as of February 18, had already issued fixes for each of the noted potential vulnerabilities via in-app notifications and updates. Users with the most recent firmware release (version 3949) are not at risk for malicious firmware attacks or remote control or monitoring of WeMo devices from unauthorized devices. Belkin urges such users to download the latest app from the App Store (version 1.4.1) or Google Play Store (version 1.2.1) and then upgrade the firmware version through the app.

Specific fixes Belkin has issued include:

1) An update to the WeMo API server on November 5, 2013 that prevents an XML injection attack from gaining access to other WeMo devices.

2) An update to the WeMo firmware, published on January 24, 2014, that adds SSL encryption and validation to the WeMo firmware distribution feed, eliminates storage of the signing key on the device, and password protects the serial port interface to prevent a malicious firmware attack

3) An update to the WeMo app for both iOS (published on January 24, 2014) and Android (published on February 10, 2014) that contains the most recent firmware update

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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