Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Latest from TechCrunch

The Latest from TechCrunch

Link to TechCrunch

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Joins Detroit VC Firm To Invest In Tech Startups

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 09:24 AM PDT

NBA legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson this morning announced that he is joining and investing in Detroit Venture Partners, a VC firm that invests in seed and early-stage technology companies primarily located in the heart of downtown Detroit, as its fourth general partner.

The Hall of Fame basketball star will be working with the founders of the firm, namely Quicken Loans founder (and Cleveland Cavaliers owner) Dan Gilbert, ePrize founder Josh Linkner and investor Brian Hermelin, and invest ‘millions of dollars’ in the fund, according to the PR.

Detroit Venture Partners was established in 2010 and has made investments in startups like Are You A Human, FLUD News, Stylecaster and Sociocast. The fund will invest exclusively in digital media, mobile app development, cloud computing, e-commerce and social networking companies.

Magic, who played basketball for Michigan State University before being drafted by the LA Lakers, in a statement says he believes strongly in the “Detroit 2.0 movement”.

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but according to the LA Times, Johnson is referring to the initiative launched by Dan Gilbert in which he relocated Quicken Loans and its 1,700 workers to the Detroit suburbs.

Detroit Venture Partners, along with some of its portfolio companies, will be located in Gilbert’s downtown Detroit Madison Theatre Building, which is currently being transformed into an coworking / incubator hub where tech companies can work together.

(Image via Flickr user Edilyn Tsai, used with permission)

Hitpost’s New iPhone App Turns You Into A Sports Reporter

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 09:00 AM PDT

We’ve covered Hitpost, a nifty app that allows you to share pictures of sports events. The startup most recently added scores, news, and athlete tweets to go along with photos. And Hitpost’s Android app saw 125,000 downloads in first month of availability. Today Hitpost is launching a new version of its iPhone app that aims to take sporting news to the next level. You can download the app here.

Simply put, Hitpost’s new app allows you to become a sports reporter for your favorite team. Instead of uploading your own photos, you can file instant sports reports using Hitpost photos and scores right off the sidelines. You can add your own commentary, geo-tagged your post, and share your reports via Hitpost feeds, Facebook, Twitter, SMS and email.

As mentioned in the last iteration of the app, Hitpost allows you to follow your teams to get a comprehensive view into photos, Tweets, and news coming out of an organization. Now any user-uploaded sports report will also be included in this feed.

And Hitpost has added English Premier League soccer to both the Android and iPhone apps, and allow you to follow your favorite soccer teams along with your other sports teams.

Hitpost, which is backed by a number of high-profile angels and investors including Keith Rabois, Shervin Pishevar, Naval Ravikant, Khosla Ventures and RRE Ventures; is seeing impressive traction for its app engagement. Last Sunday alone, Hitpost saw 100 “hits” or comments, photos posted per minute via the app. And the app is seeing an average of 3,000 daily users.

Placecast Launches Self-Serve Version Of Location-Based Mobile Deals Platform ShopAlerts

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:59 AM PDT

Placecast’s ShopAlerts service, which delivers retailer and merchant offers and discounts to consumers via their mobile phones, has been used by a number of high profile brands such as The North Face, and even AT&T. Today, the company is unveiling a self-serve version of ShopAlerts which allows merchants to create, deliver and track redemptions of mobile promotions.

ShopAlerts Self-Serve is a white-label geofencing platform for businesses that want to deliver geo-triggered offers to their customers on their mobile phones. Consumers can opt-in to receiving text messages in a variety of ways—at the store, online, via text-message, mobile websites or on Facebook. Geofences are virtual areas set around physical locations; when an opted-in consumer is inside a geofenced area, she receives a message from a business, including a discount, notice of a sale, directions to a store or other content.

The self-serve version of ShopAlerts allows merchants to upload and manage store locations and information, create geofences and promotions, track coupons and redemption codes and access analytics on participants, geofences and ROI. Users can also change messages in real-time.

ShopAlerts Self-Serve is actually not directly open to small businesses, but rather larger vertical companies like mobile operators, yellow-page providers, retailers, financial institutions or deal services who can then work with SMBs and can deploy this tool for merchants.

Placecast says that currently ShopAlerts can reach 268 million phones currently across the AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile networks.

Western Digital Fits 1TB On Two Platters For The New Standard Size Scorpio Blue HDD

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:46 AM PDT

Western Digital is now shipping a new hard drive and you’re going to love it. The Scorpio Blue  is a 2.5-inch 5,400rpm drive that manages to store 1TB of data over just two platters.

That means, unlike previous 2.5-inch 1TB drives, this boy will fit into any standard notebook. The old version spanned 1TB of data over three platters, resulting in a 12.5mm thick casing, which was perfect for small external storage drives but not so much for notebooks. The new one is only 9.5mm thick.

Both Seagate and Samsung previously announced similar 2-platter 2.5-inch hard drives. Seagate has yet to release it as a standalone drive though, instead sell it as an external drive in the FreeAgent GoFlex line. Samsung’s SpinPoint M8 was announced last month and ultimately destined for notebook use. But since that drive is not shipping , the $140 Scorpio Blue is the first, internal 2-platter 1TB hard drive to hit the market.

Samsung Nexus S for AT&T To Hit Best Buy On July 24th For $99

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:32 AM PDT

Well, this is… interesting.

It looks like AT&T customers are finally (just 7 months late!) getting an easy, subsidized way to get a Samsung Nexus S that plays friendly with the right 3G frequencies: beginning on July 24th (with pre-orders going up today), the handset will be going for $99 on a 2-year contract exclusively at Best Buy.

The interesting part: as far as I can tell, AT&T isn’t actually a part of all this. While Samsung’s very careful to say that the handset is “optimized for AT&T frequencies” in the press release, they make no other mention of the carrier’s involvement. At the least (even when one retailer has the exclusive), they usually have some generic quote from the carrier babbling on about how excited they are. Looks like Samsung just avoided AT&T almost entirely here.

You can check out our full review of the Nexus S right here.

The Specs
· 4" Super AMOLED™ Contour Display
· Support for AT&T’s 3G Network
· Android 2.3 Gingerbread (Pure, unmodified Android)
· Front-facing VGA (0.3 Megapixel) camera
· Rear-facing 5.0 Megapixel Camera and Camcorder
· Wi-Fi
· Bluetooth 2.1
· Tethering
· NFC Support
• Frequency: GSM850/900/1800/1900 UMTS 850/1900/2100
• Dimensions: 123.9 x 63 x 10.88(mm)
• Weight: 129 grams
• Display: Super AMOLED™, 480 x 800 pixels
• Battery: 1500mAh Li-ion standard battery
• Talk Time: Up to 6.5 hours
• Standby Time: Up to 450 hours

Cloud Storage Company CX Raises $5M From Eric Schmidt And Others, Acquires FileDen

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:28 AM PDT

CX, a cloud storage and SaaS data file management system, has raised $5 million in new funding from Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures and Hanna Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $10 million. CX, which has flown under the radar despite the company’s launch earlier this year, is also announcing that it has acquired fellow cloud-based file storage company FileDen. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed we are told the deal was a mixture of stock and cash.

CX allows users to backup, synchronize, share, and manage  their data in the cloud, from any device t0 any device, across multiple platforms, including desktops,  laptops, netbooks, and mobile devices.  CX will sync new, changed, offline, or deleted files to all connected computers and devices and maintains a history as you make changes. Other features include realtime backup, the ability to share a single set of synchronized files with a group of people, and more.

CX’s CEO Brad Robertson tells us that platform also sorts through the metadata of files being uploaded, allowing users to view and move through files based on data included. CX has a freemium model and depending on storage needs, users could pay as much as $40 per month for additional storage. CX currently offers customers 10 gigabytes of free storage space.

The company acquired FileDen for a number of reasons but mainly, FileDen bring CX’s combined user base to 3.5 million users. FileDen’s storage platform also bring additional functionality to CX, such as an MP3 Convertor for users that want to store their music in the cloud.

It should be interesting to see how CX can compete against some of the more popular cloud storage platforms like Dropbox, and SugarSync.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Gets A Rather Early Price Cut From Verizon

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:09 AM PDT

Back in February when the Xperia Play was finally unveiled, there were quite a few people excited to see a gaming-centric phone headed to the States. And why not? Gaming continues to be one of the top activities on smartphones, and were it not for all that annoying glass-swiping, it would probably be the top activity, right? Well, maybe not, since the D-pad-equipped Xperia Play has been subjected to a pretty embarrassing price drop, now going for $100 from Verizon on-contract.

With just two months on the market, that's half of what the Xperia Play was asking in May when it launched. There are probably a number of factors to consider when figuring out why exactly the Play isn't a mega-success. For one, the Xperia Play was delayed during the launch process, which actually quieted the hype rather than building anticipation. Then there's the game selection. True gamers are used to having the world at their fingertips. With a Nintendo DS or PSP you have access to more games than you could ever play, while the Xperia Play launched with just 50 Play-optimized titles. This failed to entice gamers, as in the first month or so of the phones availability (in Europe), even the most top-selling game just barely passed 1,000 units sold.

Here's what it really boils down to: Phones are one of, if not the, most important things we carry around each day. We use them for just about everything. So when someone walks into Verizon looking for a new phone, the Xperia Play screams "If you're not a gamer, you probably don't need this D-pad or the bulk. Go ahead and move along." At the same time, when a gamer walks in to Verizon the Play probably does catch a good deal of their attention. But can it replace their Nintendo DS or PSP? With limited titles, probably not. The Xperia Play walks a line between two consumer segments, yet doesn't effectively reach out to either side.

There's no argument that the specs on this phone are pretty sweet: Android 2.3 Gingerbread, better graphics than a Sony PSP, a built-in D-pad, a 5-megapixel rear-camera and a front-facing shooter for video chat. Perhaps it was the price that kept people from flocking to the phone, especially since it lacks 4G support. But price certainly shouldn't be an issue now — if you've wanted the Play but couldn't cough up the cash, now is the time to get gaming.

[via Digital Trends]

Mint Debuts New Bill Tracking And Reminder Feature

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 08:00 AM PDT

Intuit-owned is debuting a new feature today that should make paying bills a little easier. Now Mint will offer users a formal bill tracking feature that allows users to track multiple bills in one location and set up reminders as well. And 300 TechCrunch readers will get private beta access to the feature by clicking here.

While Mint offered tracking for credit card bills, this feature is a comprehensive platform to track all of your bills. You can manually input all of your bills, payments and due dates and Mint will give you time line of bills so you can see what’s coming up and what bills have been paid. Mint will also send bill dute date reminders and alerts via SMS or mobile, and users can customize how far in advance of the bill due date they’d like the reminder.

Mint says that bill reminders and tracking were the most requested features among current users. The next step, says Mint, is to start creating data sets and insights out of bill data, which is in the pipeline.

Of course, one question that users may have is why Mint didn’t launch this feature earlier. We observed late last year that Mint hasn’t been innovating much these days. And Hearst’s Manilla is another startup that offers a comprehensive bill payments and tracking service, and launched earlier this year.

Use Google+ For An Easy Home Surveillance System

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 07:48 AM PDT

Google+ is bringing people together. The video chat service is just so easy to set up with a click-and-go sort of system. It’s so easy that, as a Lifehacker user pointed out, the Hangouts are perfect for an impromptu video surveillance system.

You will need two Google+ accounts to make this work — one for the camera side and another to view the stream. But that shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Simply start a Hangout on one side and then email yourself the URL. Once you’re at work, or wherever, just open the link to look through the other side of the portal.

The little puzzle here is that like many video streaming services, inactivity will kick you from the Hangout. Use a program like Mouse Jiggler to prevent this. It simply sits in the background and inputs fake mouse movements.

But once you’ve spent three minutes setting this up, you’ll have a dead-simple way to monitor the cat, front door, or stove top. I’m totally going to use this to monitor my grill from within my air-conditioned house.

Yamgo TV Now Streaming Live TV To The HP TouchPad

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 07:29 AM PDT

HP TouchPads now have a bit video content thanks to the just-announced Yamgo TV app. Like the other mobile incarnations of this app, the webOS version streams live content from select networks directly to the tablet. For free.

The UK-based company already has apps out for nearly every platform including iOS, Android, and Blackberry. The service delivers live sports, news, music videos and entertainment shows directly to these devices. The TouchPad is just the latest device to get in on the fun.

"We are very pleased to work with such a significant and recognisable company as HP," says Ian Mullins, CEO and Founder, Yamgo. "Our users enjoy live TV and video on demand on smartphones and tablets around the world, and now even more people will be able to experience everything our service has to offer – including the best live news, sports, music and entertainment television on the new and impressive platform from HP."

The interface is a little busy and cluttered, but the service works as advertised. But don’t expect mainstream TV stations. Yamgo’s headliners out of its 41 stations include Fashion TV, Zee Entertainment and Outdoor Sport Channel. Once again, this is a free service to the user.

The HP TouchPad needs all the help it can get in the app department. The company needs to do whatever possible to court developers to webOS if the TouchPad is to have any chance in the tablet marketplace. This is just a start.

New York Times Still Treading Water With Digital Subcriptions

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 07:17 AM PDT

How is the New York Times doing with the new digital paywall it put up last March? We found out a few details today when the New York Times announced second quarter earnings. All together, the New York Times counts a total of 1.1 million digital subscribers, but only 281,000 of those are currently paying (756,000 are existing print subscribers who get digital access with their existing subscriptions, and another 100,000 are courtesy of a Ford Lincoln promotion).

As a result, overall circulation revenues at the company are now treading water, which is an improvement from the declining revenues last quarter. Circulation revenues were $235 million, up exactly 0 percent, stemming the previous decline. Advertising revenues, however, were down 4 percent, for an overall revenue decline of 2.2 percent. If you break out only the New York Times Media group and ignore the other regional papers the company owns, circulation revenues actually rose 1.6 percent. So at least the new digital paywall strategy is allowing the company to tread water instead of keep sinking.

I’ve argued before that the pricing structure of the paywall is not designed to attract digital natives so much as it is to keep print subscribers. And, in fact, that is what it seems to be doing. Print subscribers are worth a lot more to the New York Times than digita ones anyway (at least for now). I’ve seen first-hand how well this strategy is working. My wife, who reads the New York Times every day on her computer, got so frustrated by the paywall that she ordered a weekend print subscription just to get the digital access (it was cheaper than paying for a digital-only subscription thanks to a promotional offer). On Sundays, I will even pick up the paper edition.

The real question, though, is whether the paywall strategy can pick up steam and increase overall circulation revenues.

Photo credit: Joost J Bakker

Twentieth Century Fox Hooks Up Android With Digital Copies Of Its Blu-ray Titles

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 06:45 AM PDT

Android fans have long been left out when it comes to watching movies on-the-go. Yes, I know, Netflix hooked up a few Android devices back in May, and then Hulu entered the mix in late June. Even still, only a couple handsets were compatible with the apps while iOS devices not only got to stream from Netflix for the past year or so, but also have the option to download digital copies of movies they own through iTunes.

But as far as movie support goes, the tide seems to be turning for Android, and none other than Twentieth Century Fox has thrown its weight behind the OS with plans to offer movie downloads for Android.

The Financial Times reports that the first of these offerings will be X-Men: First Class. Those who purchase the Blu-ray package will be offered a digital copy of the movie which can be downloaded on the computer, and then side-loaded to any Android device. Fox already has this system in place with iOS and Windows devices, but given Android’s ridiculous growth, the movie maker likely didn’t want to leave out such a booming platform.

First to enjoy the offering will be the U.S., U.K., France and Germany "later this year," according to the Financial Times. This should be a huge boost to Android, as Netflix's selection of streaming titles isn't all that glorious, and Hulu Plus tends to lean more on the side of the silver screen then the big screen.

[via Tech Radar]

Get $100 Off The 64GB Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Before It’s Even Out

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 06:43 AM PDT

I like this trend. The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is the latest non-iPad tablet to find deep discounts as soon as it’s announced. Similar cuts were made to the TouchPad and other Honeycomb tablets shortly after launch.

This affilate deal comes by way of who is offering a clean $100 off the MSRP of the just-announced 64GB Lenovo K1 tablet. That brings the 64GB flavor down to the price of the 32GB model. Both models of course stream Netflix and have all the goodies normally associated with Android 3.x.

Honeycomb tablets might soon go the way of the PC notebook with retailers selling the products under the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Simply put, the MSRPs are generally too high and not competitive against the iPad. More times than not, consumers will opt for the iPad over Honeycomb tabs if the price and feature set is nearly identical. If retailers (and makers) want to move Honeycomb tabs, they need to be priced right.

Esther Dyson On New Top-Level Domains: “There Are Huge Trademark Issues”

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:53 AM PDT

Esther Dyson, who was the founding chairwoman of ICANN (among other things) doesn’t like the new top-level domains that were recently approved by ICANN. These will allow new domains to be created for practically any word or brand someone wants to register. Instead of just .com, .org, and .tv, there could be .techcrunch, .coke, .apple, .ipad, and so on. “I don’t really think that adds to the sum of human happiness,” Dyson tells me in the video clip above.

Organizations will have to pay $185,000 to register one of these domains, but then would have the whole domain to themselves. The thing is, we are not running out of domains. This is a “way for registries and registrars to make money,” says Dyson. She also points out that “there are huge trademark issues. I just think it is offensive. If I own a trademark, now I have to go register it on 2,800 domains. It will create a lot of litigation.”

People only have so much space in their heads. The new top level domains do not create more space, she argues, but rather will just sub-divide the little attention people have for brands already.

So are the new top-level domains as useless as she says? Tell us what you think in comments. Also be sure to watch my previous interview clips with Dyson on Google+ and the space industry.

Video: Seven Minutes In Heaven With Battlefield 3 Multiplayer

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:32 AM PDT

You may as well block off the next 10 minutes or so of your life. The video showing a ton of previously unreleased Battlefield 3 multiplayer is 7:30, but you’re going to need a few minutes to digest the awesomeness that is Battlefield 3.

The first part of the video is someone playing what EA showed behind closed doors at E3. The rest is totally new, at least me, but it’s clearly pure Battlefield with huge, interactive environments and plenty of buildings to destroy. I can’t wait. [via RPS]

As Nokia Reports €500 Million Loss, Will Apple Soon Deliver The Killer Blow?

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 05:29 AM PDT

So let’s just take a step back. Nokia has been making mobile phones since the mid-1980s. It invented the category in 1996 with the Nokia 9000 Communicator. The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. At the time, the biggest smartphone player in the world was Nokia. But in just over four years Apple has taken the mobile world by storm, Google has entered the market with the Android OS and now Nokia is feeling the pain, on the bottom line, to put it mildly. And a new iPhone is on its way – will it tip Nokia into terminal decline?

Nokia has reported an operating loss of €487 million for the quarter. It made an operating profit of €295 million a year ago for the same quarter, so that’s a €782 million drop. Or, shall we say, a screaming dive.

Sales were down by 7% over the last year to €9.275 billion on 11% compared to last quarter. Earnings per share were down by 45 percent to €0.06, a 54% drop from last quarter. Last year Nokia had almost €1 billion in net cash. It now has a debt of €176 million.

All of its prdoucts, whether smartphone, feature phone or basic handset have declined in sales, especially the smartphone.

Sales of smart devices dropped 33 percent, to €2.368 billion from €3.503 billion a year ago, or a 34% decline in volume to 16.7 million units.

The trouble with all this of course is that while CEO Stephen Elop says its Windows Phone plans will rescue the company in the long term, by the time that long term arrives, the pummelling from iPhone and Android devices will only have gotten worse.

Meanwhile Apple’s iPhone is booming, if the rumours are true, Apple will enter the lower end of the market with a cheaper version. That could spell devastation for Nokia.

Mobile guru Tomi T Ahonen is calling all this the toppling of a king. Analyst Benedict Evans notes that “Nokia is being killed” by Apple and Android at the high end, with Android at the $100-200 point and the Chinese and Indian handsets at $10-$50.

Symbian has been cut adrift. Windows Phone products are still not out. So Nokia needs to get an awesome product out and fast. The Nokia N9, running Meego, is actually very good, but it’s not even on sale yet.

The silver lining? Mapping division Navteq and Nokia Siemens Networks grew. Hooray.

Casio CA-01C: 3D Feature Phone And Digital Camera Rolled Into One

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 02:47 AM PDT

Japan’s mobile carriers are currently releasing a number of interesting handsets, which are all part of their summer 2011 line-up. While smartphones, the iPhone and Android in particular, are taking over the Japanese market, there are still some cool feature phones coming out, too.

Case in point: the Casio CA-01C [JP], which NTT Docomo (Japan’s leading telco) started distributing a few days ago. Technically, the device can be called a feature phone, but it outshines the one or other smartphone out there when it comes to some specs.

Here’s the main spec list:

  • 3.4-inch/naked-eye 3D touch display with 480×854 resolution
  • 0.8-inch OLED sub-display
  • 16.3MP CMOS sensor
  • camera: special mobile Exilim engine, full HD video recording, 3D picture display, 3x digital zoom, LED flash
  • DLNA support
  • YouTube connectivity
  • Wi-Fi IEEE802.11n, Bluetooth, infrared connection
  • e-wallet function
  • digital TV tuner
  • dust-and waterproof body
  • microSDHC slot, HDMI interface
  • battery: 220 minutes continuous talk time, 560 hours stand-by on 3G

It sounds crazy, but this specific model is basically a phone and digital Exilim camera rolled into one. Just one of many examples: its so-called business shot function automatically corrects shots taken diagonally in conference rooms or event halls, like so:

Quma: 3D Motion-Capture Figure For 3D CG Production (Video)

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:26 AM PDT

Japan-based SoftEther has developed a cool 3D motion-capture figure [JP] to create computer graphics and animations in 3D. Dubbed Quma, the human-like doll has a set of joints throughout its body, all of which are equipped with sensors and can be moved freely by the user: hold up the right arm for example, and the 3D figure on your computer screen will do the same, in real-time.

So Quma is essentially a mini 3D motion-capture device that makes it easier and more intuitive for designers and engineers to create 3D CG, for example for video games, robot applications, training and education simulations etc. Plugging the Quma into a USB port is enough – drivers or external power aren’t needed.

The device, in its current form, is designed to resemble a human, but SoftEther says that their technology could be used for motion-capturing any other shape or form.

The company says Quma is ready for production but is yet to fix a release date and price (an SDK for application providers is available, too).

This video shows the figure in action:

Daily Crunch: Recovery

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:00 AM PDT

This Moment Of Anxiety And Fear Will Pass

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 12:28 AM PDT

Sometimes writers, especially exceptional way too smart for their own good writers, like to play dueling banjos in prose (in tech media we call this a bitchmeme). I’d like to think that something similar happened in the below pinnacles of pseudo-intellectualism digital anthropology, which present disparate perspectives on what it’s like to attempt to capture human stories in our technology-steeped times.

In his essay “Facebook and the Epiphanator,” New York writer Paul Ford takes real writer Jonathan Franzen to the mattresses for — basically — being too old-thinking in his “Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts” elegy commencement speech, which asked Kenyon College students to be mindful and preserve the kind of  life where people actually love each other as opposed to just “Like.” Both works are great reads and tech-related! so I’ve been mulling them over for the past few days, at least, and so should you. Hence.

Paul Ford, in bold.

“Our technology has become extremely adept at creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship, in which the beloved object asks for nothing and gives everything, instantly, and makes us feel all powerful, and doesn't throw terrible scenes when it's replaced by an even sexier object and is consigned to a drawer.”

“I do not enjoy Facebook — I find it cloying and impossible — but I am there every day.”

“The ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that's indifferent to our wishes — a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance — with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.”

“If the sub-30-year-olds with whom I’ve worked are typical, these young men and women love — each other, or bands, or ideas — too much, they love too often, with a feral intensity and with the constant assistance of mobile devices. Maybe what he was telling them is that they should be more old.”

“A related phenomenon is the transformation, courtesy of Facebook, of the verb "to like" from a state of mind to an action that you perform with your computer mouse, from a feeling to an assertion of consumer choice.”

“There should be a word for that feeling you get when an older person — and not much older, so quickly are things changing — shames him or herself by telling young people how to live. “

“But if you consider this in human terms, and you imagine a person defined by a desperation to be liked, what do you see? You see a person without integrity, without a center.”

“These disparate threads of human existence alternately fascinate and horrify that part of the media world that grew up on topic sentences and strong conclusions.”

“Consumer technology products would never do anything this unattractive, because they aren't people. They are, however, great allies and enablers of narcissism. Alongside their built-in eagerness to be liked is a built-in eagerness to reflect well on us. Our lives look a lot more interesting when they're filtered through the sexy Facebook interface.”

“There is no such thing as a person whose real self you like every particle of.”

“When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there's a very real danger that you might love some of them. And who knows what might happen to you then?”

“Apple couldn’t get much bigger without selling oil, while the media industry has been reduced to dime-size buttons that show up on iPhone screens. Google regularly announces initiatives to “save” the newspaper and book industries — like a modern-day hunter who proclaims himself a conservationist. And Facebook, having already swallowed up enormous chunks of discretionary media consumption time, has its old-school media counterparts chasing after “Likes” as if they were cocaine being dispensed in a lab rat’s cage.”

“Let me further point out how ubiquitously the word "sexy" is used to describe late-model gadgets; and how the extremely cool things that we can do now with these gadgets — like impelling them to action with voice commands, or doing that spreading-the-fingers iPhone thing that makes images get bigger — would have looked, to people a hundred years ago.”

“This moment of anxiety and fear will pass … No matter what comes along streams, feeds, and walls, we will still have need of an ending.”

Please read each, and take whomever’s side you will.

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