Monday, July 28, 2014

Madison River Wyoming

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Google To Close Bump And Flock, Its Recently Acquired File Sharing Apps

Bump and Flock, the file sharing apps Google acquired last fall, will be shut down by the end of this month. Both apps will stop working and be removed from Google Play and the App Store on January 31, Bump confirmed on its blog today. Google bought Bump Technologies, which make both apps, back in September, and Android Police reports that work on the app appeared to stop shortly after the acquisition. Bump, which let users tap phones together to share contacts and other files, raised nearly $20 million and enjoyed high download rates, but failed to monetize successfully as other easy, mobile-friendly ways to share information were developed, most notably Apple’s AirDrop for iOS 7. Flock is a collaborative photo-sharing app Bump Technologies released in 2012. As TechCrunch’s Josh Constine wrote in September, the sale wasn’t an acquihire, but Google might plan to turn Flock into part of Google+ in order to compete with Facebook’s photo sharing and Dropbox’s photo saving services, especially since Google+’s Party Mode, a photo sharing service based around events, failed to gain real traction. The acquisition of Bump Technologies also gave Google access to several mobile communication patents that could help it improve Android and create better alternatives to near-field communication (NFC). When the startup announced its acquisition by Google, co-founder David Lieb said in a statement that “We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithms. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google.” The acquisition price was undisclosed but sources told TechCrunch it was around $35 million, a relatively low amount considering how much funding Bump had raised. Bump’s investors included Y Combinator, Sequoia Captial, Felicis Ventures, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, and many angels.

AOL Sells Winamp And Shoutcast Music Services To Online Radio Aggregator Radionomy

Some more detail on the fate of Winamp and Shoutcast, the legacy digital music services that owner AOL (which also owns TechCrunch) originally planned to shut down but then halted pending a sale. They are not being bought by Microsoft, as we had heard when we first reported news of a sale. The properties are instead being acquired by Radionomy — an international aggregator of online radio stations headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. The Radionomy connection was first noticed by a couple of people, including one Bryon Stout on the Winamp forums and Carsten Knobloch, who saw that Winamp’s nameservers, but not Shoutcast’s, had been transferred to Radionomy. We have since learned from a reliable source that the deal is for both properties and should be finalised by Friday, if not sooner. Radionomy has some 6,000 stations in its catalog already, with an emphasis on a do-it-yourself platform that anyone can use to create a channel. Shoutcast’s 50,000-strong catalog of radio stations will be a major boost on that front. Winamp’s media playing software could be used to help program those radio stations and offer additional services. The acquisition may also see the two products and platforms put to work in more commercial settings. One of Radionomy’s strategic investors is MusicMatic, which develops audio and video experiences for stores and other venues.

Motorola’s Flagship Moto X Gets A Permanent Price Cut

Let’s be real here: there’s a decent chance that you picked up a new smartphone at some point during the holidays, so you’re off the market for at least a little while longer. As it turns out though, you may have been better off waiting a bit. In a show of New Years magnanimity (or, you know, a ploy to push more units) Motorola has slashed the prices of its sans-contract Moto X — a fully-customized 16GB model for any carrier will now only set you back $399 rather than the $499 it would’ve originally cost. Sadly, those of you with a woodgrain fetish will still have to pay a premium for those newly-available bamboo backs — $100 to be precise. Does this ultimately mean you should pick up a Moto X over, say, a Nexus 5? Not necessarily — much as I love what the new Motorola is up to these days the Nexus is still my pick for Android device of the year — but it’s a little heartening to see a big name manufacturer is working to reduce the gap between on and off-contract device pricing for high-end smartphones. If anything, it’s that pricing precedent that seems most interesting here. Between this price cut and the introduction of the wallet-friendly Moto G back in late November, Motorola is positioning itself as a player that can deliver new remarkably solid (and in the X’s case, remarkably thoughtful) smartphone experiences at prices that can seem outlandishly low compared to most competitors. But where does Motorola go from here? Will it be stuck playing the price game from here on out? It’s possible, but maybe that was the plan all along. CEO Dennis Woodside has mentioned multiple times in the past that he wanted Motorola to deliver cutting edge tech at reasonable prices, and I personally took the Moto G as an affirmation of desire. By slashing the price of its flagship device though, Motorola may be testing the waters to see if it can feasibly move its future products with similarly low price tags. If so, Samsung and rest of the low-cost smartphone leaders really need to keep on their toes.

The Impractical Jokers Talk About Making Good Web Content, Getting Internet Famous

If you haven’t been watching the Impractical Jokers, you should. The Jokers a team of friends – Brian Quinn, Sal Vulcano, James Murray and Joe Gatto – who make each other do wacky stunts in public spaces. It’s hilarious. The troupe started out as the Tenderloins and got big on MySpace by filming a nearly endless collection of skits. They’ve been together since 1999 and, after 15 years of hard work, the team brought their goofy humor to TruTV. I got the chance to sit down with three members of the team to talk about how they went from being MySpace famous to being really famous. How did they pull it off? They use the power of social media to turn fans into friends. They’re meticulous about putting their Twitter handles on the show graphics and, during the rise of YouTube, they posted regular comedy skits making them some of the most well-known Internet comics. They even filmed a pilot in 2007 after winning $100,000 on NBC’s It’s Your Show.