Existing Members, please login
Not a Member?
Three easy ways to become a member:
- Complete an inquiry form to have a representative contact you.
- Use the search box to the right to look up your affiliate and contact them directly.
- View a complete affiliate listing, select your affiliate based on location, and contact them directly.
For more information about membership questions in general, call 800-910-4283 or email email@example.com.
Find Your Affiliate
Because issues and needs often differ regionally across North America, membership begins at a local level, through your local affiliate association.
Enter your zip code below to locate your affiliate.
What is your Zipcode?
According to a filing uncovered by VC Experts, Snapchat has authorized a new share class called Series C Preferred. The class of 1.6 million shares is set to be valued at $34.0893 each, according to a comment the group provided to Business Insider, or $54.54 million in total.
The funding pegs the value of Snapchat at around $2 billion. Snapchat’s last round, $60 million earlier this year, had a valuation of around half that. Before the Series C Preferred stock class was created, Snapchat had raised $73 million in total.
It is not clear that Snapchat has sold out the Series C Preferred shares that it authorized. So, the round could itself be open and looking for cash. However, the valuation that it implies for Snapchat is lower than many anticipated. Rumors of $3 and $4 billion valuations were standard fare in recent weeks, as were reports that Facebook or other social players were looking at the company.
Snapchat, a quickly growing ephemeral messaging network, is the belle of the tech ball, despite its innocence when it comes to revenue. The company recently hired Instagram’s business head to be its COO, perhaps hinting at monetization in the coming year.
Snapchat is merely one of several companies raising huge sums. Pinterest recently took down $225 million at a valuation of $3.8 billion, and Uber nailed $258 million from Google Ventures at a valuation of $3.76 billion, post-money.
Snapchat’s second tranche of cash this year could indicate that the company suffers from a high burn rate, or that it’s simply looking for fresh capital to help it mature as a business. $2 billion, though lower than some expected, is still a rich valuation for the young company.
Google has long had a thing for voice search, but until now, the only language it fully supported was English. Even though voice search itself is available for a few dozen languages, the only language Google could respond in with spoken answers was always English. That’s changing today. Google just announced that its Search app for iOS and Android can now speak out answers in French, German and Japanese.
Unsurprisingly, these are also languages Google’s Knowledge Graph supports. To answer these questions, after all, Google needs to be able to understand their intent (or at least have a high confidence that it does). Chances are then, that after this initial roll-out, Google will also target Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Italian, all of which are supported by Knowledge Graph.
If you speak German, French or Japanese, you can now easily try this new feature on your mobile phone. Just ask it “Wo bekomme ich Kaffee in München?” and it will happily show you coffee shops in Munich.
For now, this is only available on mobile, but given that Google has started to build voice support into virtually all of its services, chances are that it will also bring it to the web very soon.
We are about to embark on amazing adventure and we need your help. In January we are holding our first Hardware Battlefield in Las Vegas, Nevada to coincide with CES. We will bring 15 great hardware startups, a gaggle of amazing judges, and a 3D-printed trophy of your design.
We need 3D designers to build us an amazing, open source trophy that Shapeways will print for us. If your model is chosen you will receive a Makerbot Digitizer and our unending appreciation as well as a link to your work.
How do you enter? Create a 3D model taller than six inches and submit it to Shapeways with the tag “Techcrunch.” Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, when you’ve uploaded your model and we will pick a winner at the end of November. You will receive a print and we will use another copy as our Hardware Battlefield trophy.
What are we looking for? Anything as long as it looks great as a trophy, is sufficiently regal-looking, and is amazing. We want robots, planetoids, and 3D printer nozzles blown up to maximum resolution. We want something that epitomizes the spirit of adventure, fun, and hard work that it takes to make a cool hardware startup.
So enter today. We need you and we want our Hardware Battlefield winner to go home with an amazing trophy of your design.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Wi-Fi routers are usually boring. Designed to look as innocuous as possible, designers basically go for the “black box with lights on it” approach and head home. Not Airfy.
Originally introduced at Disrupt Berlin, Airfy is one of the sexiest Wi-Fi routers I’ve ever seen. It looks like a cross between an Art Deco lamp and a Legend of Zelda Rupee. While the device is a fully-compliant 802.11ac/n router, it also acts as a Bluetooth iBeacon and allows you to set up a sort of local, wireless point-of-sale system in your office or shop. Using a mobile app, the service supports mobile payments via a proprietary POS gateway. Finally, the device can also act as a shopping aid.
Not running a corner shop? The Airfy also has 50 built-in LEDs that light up when various things happen on your system. For example, you can have it change color for Facebook updates, commerce sales, or phone calls and you can use IFTTT to program interactive features. You can also add features like “paid” surfing, commercial-based free wi-fi (users can watch a quick commercial to log into your router) and the data is WPA2 encrypted. As a stretch goal the team will add a camera to the mix, allowing you to use the router as a home security device and a built-in audio out for wireless streaming. In short, they stuck everything in here but the kitchen sink.
The team is looking for $169 for the 802.11N model and their standalone beacons will cost $49. They are looking for $100,000 and have raised $2,000 so far. The site is a bit nebulous as to how they’re going to pull off their most exciting features – especially the virtual POS system – but that’s what Indiegogo is for. Considering we’ve seen these routers in the flesh and came away impressed, however, I’m sure the team will figure out all the vagaries before they hit the stores.
Taking pictures is fun, frustrating and rewarding. But the right gear helps minimize the frustration and bump up the other two. This guide covers a range of photographers, from amateur mobile shooters to those with the best gear operating at or near the professional level, so there should be something for everyone. And remember: When in doubt, batteries.Fujifilm X100s ($1,299)
This is a camera lover’s camera, with an extremely pleasing outer design and functionality that will make the biggest rangefinder nerd sing with secret joy inside their heart. The X100s debuted at CES last year, but it’s not showing its age yet – and it improves autofocus greatly over the original X100, which was itself a strong performer save for that one failing. If it’s low light and candid you’re after, in a relatively portable package with extensive manual controls, the X100s is it.Sony NEX-5T ($599)
The Fujifilm camera listed above is great for advanced users, but the Sony NEX-5T is an affordable mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that fits the needs of much more novice and general photographers. The 5T offers Wi-Fi sharing over the lower cost 3N, which is why it gets my vote, since that’s becoming a much more important convenience factor with the increased mobile editing power built-in to many of today’s best smartphones and tablets.iPad Air ($499)
Speaking of those devices, Apple’s iPad Air takes the cake as the photographer’s best friend while on the road. That big, beautiful Retina display combined with the thin and light design of Apple’s latest 9.7-inch tablet make it the perfect blend of form and function for use in the field. And that A7 processor promises big improvements for image editing performance on the tablet, especially as software makers like Adobe capitalize on its newfound abilities.Glif ($30)
Also for the mobile photographer, the Glif from Studio Neat has just undergone a redesign that makes it compatible with virtually any smartphone device. The original was a single piece of ABS plastic, but this one introduces a single moving part to accommodate devices of different thicknesses. You might not think that tripod-mounting your iPhone or Galaxy S4 is going to make a huge difference to your pictures, but with apps that cater to long exposures and for surprisingly sharper results, traditional tools like a tripod can’t be beat.Incase DSLR Pro Pack ($149.95)
I am constantly rethinking my ideal camera bag, but the Incase DSLR Pro Pack has remained on top of the heap for the longest time now, and I don’t foresee ditching it anytime soon. It lugs everything I need with ease, including laptop, chargers and cables in addition to one or two bodies and a number of lenses. It’ll weigh a ton fully loaded, but the straps distribute the weight evenly to save your back, and it’s so sturdily constructed it’ll last for years even under the heaviest of loads.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Internet did something strange last week. When a researcher named Skye Grey posted a detailed analysis of textual biases in the writing of shadowing Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and a researcher named Nick Szabo at George Washington University, the interest was muted but optimistic. Did Grey, who declined to go into much personal detail, crack the code? Or was it, as always, just a matter of lucky conjecture.
Whether or not Satoshi is a real person, group of people, or some sort of government entity is important. It gives closure to the currency’s origin story and it can confirm or deny a whole host of rumors and innuendo bandied about in the fringier corners of the bitcoin market. If BTC were a way to get us out from under the government, why is Satoshi so secretive? While Grey’s analysis is still being proved or disproved, the process, in the end, is fascinating.
Given that Grey’s analysis was, on the surface, solid, I reached out for a short interview.
TC: Tell me about yourself. Why did you do this study?
SG: Originally it was simple curiosity that drew me to the question. I like mysteries. Then I decided to publish what I found for two reasons:
- so that other people could attack my method and findings, or validate them. I want certitudes, and keeping for me what I had found would not get me anywhere.
- so as to address people’s concerns that a “bad guy” might have created Bitcoin. I think this question is what could harm the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin in the near future.
TC: How sure are you it’s Nick Szabo?
SG: I am not certain it’s Nick Szabo, but I have quite a few independent pieces of evidence pointing in his direction, each one interesting in itself:
- text analysis (only 0.1% of cryptography researchers could have produced this writing style –again, please, attack my methods on this)
- fact that Nick was searching for technical collaborators on the bit gold project (a very similar cryptocurrency) a few months before the announcement of Bitcoin (and then the bit gold project became perfectly silent)
- lack of citation of Nick’s work by Satoshi, whereas he cited other, less related cryptocurrencies
- lack of reaction on Nick’s part about Bitcoin, whereas a decentralized currency like Bitcoin had been a major project of his for 10 years
- fact that Nick deliberately post-dated his bit gold articles to look posterior to Bitcoin, shortly after the announcement of Bitcoin
Currently I am in contact with two different persons who will be running their own independent textual analysis to confirm my own.
TC: Does it matter? What would it change if it did, in your opinion?
SG: I think it’s very important to identify Satoshi at this point in Bitcoin’s history. The “agenda” behind Bitcoin, if there is any, cannot stay in the shadow if Bitcoin is to become a mainstream alternative currency, a challenge to the world’s monetary status quo. There has been speculation that Bitcoin may have been created by a government agency (the main employers of cryptographers of mathematicians) in an attempt to make financial transactions easier to mine for interesting data patterns: we need to clear that up before we start relying heavily on Bitcoin in our lives.
I think it would be great news for Bitcoin if Nick Szabo turned out to be the mastermind behind it. Nick appears to be a remarkably brilliant, disinterested polymath academic. Who would you rather have at the origins of Bitcoin, a visionary professor and collaborators, or spooks?
TC: How has your digging gone over in the BTC community? It seems like an unpopular topic at best.
SG: It has not been received well, many people are telling me to “leave Satoshi alone”. But when one starts having a huge impact on the world, one loses his right to anonymity. Satoshi currently holds about BTC 1M, valued at USD $1B, and has the power to potentially crash the Bitcoin markets. We need to know who the people who have power over us are, and what their intentions are. This is why we require background checks on our elected leaders. In the same way we need a “background check” on the Bitcoin system before we start handing it our monetary exchanges. Next would be to know what has become of Satoshi’s BTC stash.
The anonymous figure of Satoshi probably played a role in the early adoption of Bitcoin (“we are all Satoshi”), because the mystery created a powerful story drawing in early enthusiasts. Now this anonymity has become an obstacle to mainstream adoption, because there is legitimate concern over the origins and purpose of Bitcoin.
TC: How easy is it to assess identity via written “tics?”
SG: It’s rather easy. We all use language in our own particular way: the probability distribution over rare expressions, sentence structures, and stop words in our writing constitute a “signature” of sorts. It is not nearly as uniquely discriminative as a fingerprint, or DNA, but it is discriminative enough to distinguish one person out of a few hundreds or even thousands. For some people who tend to have more particular tics, like authors or academics, it constitutes a solid identification process.
In the case of Satoshi, I identified a number of unusual content-neutral expressions used both in Satoshi’s whitepaper and in Nick’s papers. For 4 of these expressions, I was able to estimate (using Google Scholar) the proportion of researchers in the cryptography community susceptible of using these expressions in a paper. These proportions are respectively 15%, 10%, 15%, and 50%. Assuming the use of each one is independent of the use of the others, the joint probability of finding a researcher using all of them in their writing is on the order of 0.1%. So this particular combination of writing tics could identify one cryptographer out of 1000. Even if these approximations are off by a large factor, the joint probability will stay quite small.
TC: Are there any close runners-up for the Satoshi identity?
SG: Nick is by far the number one candidate. I have nothing else significant enough to be worth mentioning.
TC: How many bitcoin do you have?
SG: Let’s say I have between 1 and 10 BTC. I am not heavily invested in Bitcoin, but I am definitely bullish on its adoption prospects.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The most unproductive Congress in history is on a mini-roll: the House of Representative passed its second piece of tech legislation this week. The Google and White House-backed Innovation Act seeks to punish so-called “patent trolls” that make a living from intellectual property lawsuits.
“They don’t actually produce anything themselves. They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack someone else’s idea to see if they can extort some money out of them,” said President Barack Obama in a Google+ Hangout earlier this year.
There are a few key troll loopholes that the act from Representative Bob Goodlatte seeks to close.
Transparency: Patent trolls can often win money by threatening to sue innovators without much detail or by hiding behind shell corporations. The Innovation Act requires plaintiffs to detail their complaints and who they actually are. For instance, infamous patent troll Intellectual Ventures has 1,000 companies asserting patent rights.
Losers Pay: There’s not much financial risk for patent trolls to sue innovators en masse, so the Innovation Act makes it easier for defendants to recoup their loses should they win (an often easy) case. It also denies patent trolls the ability to hide behind smaller shell companies to avoid such losses.
Protect Users: Some patent trolls are brazen enough to claim they own key patents on Wi-Fi (yes, Wi-Fi), so they’ve been suing everyone from coffee shops to hotels. “The Innovation Act allows technology vendors to step into the shoes of their customers and fight lawsuits against trolls on their customers’ behalf,” says the Washington Post’s Timothy Lee.
While most of the tech scene supports it (including the major lobbies such as The Internet Association and the Consumer Electronics Agency), not everyone is thrilled. “The bill will have unintended consequences that the people who drafted it don’t yet see,” Kentucky Republican and holder of 29 patents, Thomas Massie, told Businessweek. He claims the bill will “weaken the patent system overall.”
In addition, TechDirt’s Mike Masnick argues the bill stripped out an important provision to expedite the removal of low-quality patents, often held by big players such as Microsoft and Apple.
The bill will head to the Senate to continue the fight, but it’s unlikely it’ll pass by the end of the year.
YC-Backed Bop.fm Links Together Music Silos Like Spotify, Radio And iTunes To Share Tracks Universally
Competition for listeners among digital music companies is tough – and getting tougher. But while each builds a business that it hopes will stand out enough from the rest of the pack, a new startup called Bop.fm, incubated at Y Combinator this past summer, is blurring those distinctions a bit, with a platform that meshes all the services together on a universal platform — a “canonical home for music on the internet,” as Bop.fm’s co-founder and CEO Shehzad Daredia puts it.
Bop works like this: You can search for and listen to any song on Bop.fm. The service detects what music subscriptions you may have and provides tracks from those services first — currently it catalogues streaming services Spotify and Rdio, as well as free services like YouTube and SoundCloud, and paid-for download services like iTunes, Amazon and Google Play; it plans to add more.
In cases where you do not subscribe to Spotify or Rdio, or the track is not available on either, a user is given a YouTube link, or a SoundCloud link. You also get options to buy and download tracks. In each case, what Bop.fm has done is use the digital “fingerprint” of each track effectively to map each of these services on top of each other so that you get just one option for listening to it, and one for purchasing.
Then, you can create a link to that song to share with others. That link comes back to Bop.fm, and as with your original listening experience, Bop.fm detects which services you use before serving a result.
This is a service that has been built with users in mind: it can be annoying when something is shared by someone you can’t access. Living in London but connected to a lot of people in the U.S., I know this frustration firsthand. (I’ve lost count of the number of times that Twitter links to interesting video clips have taken me to static screens with a “sorry, not accessible in your region” message.) As Daredia tells me, “You don’t have to use the same JPEG viewer when you look at a picture, so why should I have to use the same music service?” (Note to Bop.fm: please do this for video next.)
There is also a B2B2C relevance here. Publishers or site operators who want to make sure that links that they are publishing, or allowing others to publish, work for everyone who sees them, not just those in a particular region.
As Geoff Ralston of Y Combinator describes it, “The ongoing proliferation of music services such as these make a service like Bop a near inevitability.” Indeed, without any obvious promotion, Bop.fm, in private beta, is already streaming 100,000 songs per day from consumer traffic and sites like RapGenius.com, one of Bop’s first partners, where it powers music playback.
(And now, for a little music break to demonstrate the service, a hat-tip to music services working together harmoniously:)
When I first heard about Bop.fm, I was very intrigued. It reminds me a bit of another startup called Soundrop, which is also integrating track playback across different music services. The difference is that it does so in communal “listening rooms” while Bop.fm offers the experience on a single-track basis, with options to purchase tracks alongside listening.
Like Soundrop, Bop.fm has piqued the interest of music portals, as well as labels. For the former, it’s a way of potentially bringing in more users to their platforms longer-term (free links can lead to paid subscriptions or paid downloads). For the latter, it will be yet another way of making sure that the marketing effort expended on an artist gets the biggest bang. In a digital music world that seems to have had fragmentation built into it, Bop.fm is providing a consumer- and business-friendly way out of that.
Between them, the two co-founders, Daredia and Stefan Gomez, know a thing or two about how to leverage the concept of aggregation to build successful, consumer-focused businesses. Daredia tells me that collectively they have worked at 11 sites built on search, including the travel juggernaut Kayak (where Daredia led user acquisition), Billshrink (eventually sold to MasterCard) and Foodily.
Longer term, you can see a lot of potential for Bop.fm — the addition of playlists, more siloed music services, advertising, other merchandising and special pages dedicated to particular artists, as well as Bop being used to power music on platforms that, like Bop.fm itself, want to see less friction and more grooving.