There are a few different ways to view music in Contrastream. The first and default view is called "Fresh Albums." This contains new albums that are very active on the site. "Top Hype" contains the albums that are getting the most votes and activity on the site. "Upcoming" and "New Releases" are self explanatory.One feature of Contrastream that I … Read more
I've spent the better part of the day today checking out a new web video creation site, called Animoto. The concept behind Animoto is that you upload images to the site, either from your computer, or online photo sites, such as Flickr, Facebook, or Photobucket, pick a song to go along with it, and Animoto will automatically create a cool video for you. Unfortunately, right now Animoto doesn't include support for putting videos into your masterpiece. Yes, there are already services out there that make it easy to create picture slideshows, but Animoto takes it a step further.… Read more
Today I'm checking out the new news aggregator, Newser. Wow, that's a mouthful.
When I first loaded the site up, I really liked what I saw. It has a very slick design, and the news is presented really well. The concept for content selection is pretty good too.
Newser's editors hand-pick the top stories of the moment and write their own summaries of them, also pulling in images relevant to the story. This style of presenting news is going back a little bit to Slashdot's style and moving away from the more hands-off approach of Digg … Read more
PALO ALTO, Calif.--Another line of start-ups made their case at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit here on Thursday. A mix of more established and fairly new companies with services that are in beta--some that have already had one or two rounds of funding but are now seeking investors' attention again.
Here is a chunk of the start-ups: Technology enablers Flock is a Web browser that lets you add tools and applications to share media and interact online. We have mentioned it before and the last version of the social browser is now up for beta before its official launch … Read more
You may have thought that there were already enough customizable homepages to choose from. Well, Bubbletop thinks that you're wrong. They are the latest entrant into the customizable homepage market and looking to take a piece of the pie for themselves.
Bubbletop looks a lot like every other customizable homepage that you have seen. Yes, the modules that hold feeds and widgets are bubble shaped, but that's about as far as the differences go. One feature that Bubbletop has which has some potential is its social networking feature. You can be friends with other Bubbletop users and see … Read more
Today, I'm taking a look at Fairtilizer, a potential new haven for indie musicians. Fairtilizer bills itself as a "trusted filter" for new music. If you are familiar with the concept behind Digg, this is going to be really easy to understand.
Anyone can submit a song (in MP3 format) to Fairtilizer as long as they hold the rights to that song. Unlike Digg, where once you submit a story the public starts reviewing it right away, Fairtilizer requires their editorial board to review every song submission to ensure that it is good enough for the site. I am not exactly sure whether this editorial board judges songs based on their musical merit or if they are just weeding out bad quality recordings and other junk that floats in, but that is definitely an important distinction. Tracks then make their way to the front page of the site, or "The Charts" as they call it, if they have enough user votes and listens in the Upcoming section.
I am not sure whether or not Fairtilizer is attempting to take on the wildly successful MySpace Music, but it certainly does appear that they are taking a much different approach to MySpace. Although there is a profile page for people who are submitting music, it is nowhere near as robust as what MySpace Music offers. The focus is more on individual tracks and music than bands here, and that's not a bad thing.
One thing that I really like about Fairtilizer is their integration of RSS feeds. You can subscribe to a feed of tracks from all over the site. For example, if I wanted to subscribe to someone's feed of submitted tracks in iTunes, I can just grab the URL, put it in iTunes, and it will automatically grab new tracks from that person whenever they submit them.… Read more
I'm in the Connected Innovators session of the SuperNova conference. This is where thirteen start-ups are going to pitch to the audience. I hear that one of these companies is a fake, and that conference organizer Kevin Werbach is going to announce that fact after the last presentation. I'm going to liveblog the presentations as they happen. Let's see if we can spot the faux one.
These are the 13 companies. More as they come on stage.
Bambi Francisco, formerly of MarketWatch, is taking the wraps off her own business tonight: Vator.tv. It's a YouTube for entrepreneurs, a place where people looking for funding or partners for their business ideas can display their "elevator pitch," and connect with those who can help them out. Other people in the entrepreneurial ecosystem can also post pitches. There are venture capitalists explaining what they want to invest in, for example, as well as service providers pitching their services.
The embedded video here is a sample from the site: A pitch from a company making emergency evacuation systems for skyscrapers.
There's nothing terribly complex about the site, but it could work very nicely for all parties involved. The site's focus makes it a better destination for people who are pitching businesses than either an undifferentiated video site like YouTube, or even a business-focused social network like LinkedIn.
The focus also reveals itself in a few pitch-centric functions and editorial features. For example, each idea pitch has a "pitch network" of people listed on it, and each of these people can have his or her own profile page on Vator.tv. These profile pages list affiliations with other pitches. This bare-bones social network helps the potential funder see who's behind a company or idea. Although Francisco told me she's trying to create a "network around ideas," not people, in truth the smart funder or investor only invests in people. Ideas are easy. Implementation and passion to follow through is the hard part.
Vator.tv will also run contests. For example, there's a Wine 2.0 competition run by Redpoint Ventures on the site right now. This VC firm is looking for wine-related businesses to fund, and entrepreneurs can add their pitches to this competition page. Vator.tv users can then vote on these pitches, which makes the business into a bit of a game.
Francisco will also contribute editorial features to the site in the News Room, where she also has commentary on some of the video pitches people have uploaded.
The site is free, and will carry advertising and sponsorships. (I think Vator.tv should also charge service providers to post their videos; Francisco said she'd consider this later.)
As a network of ideas and the people behind them, Vator.tv looks very promising. In addition to offering good functionality for entrepreneurs and their potential partners, the site is well organized and has good entertainment value. It's interesting to browse even if you are neither an entrepreneur yourself nor a venture capitalist with millions to invest. If you want to see great ideas (and bad ones) communicated directly by the people who are most passionate about them, spend some time looking through the site.
"You can do a stupid thing for 12 grand. Life is good!" So says Guy Kawasaki, founder of the gossipy site Truemors, keynoting here at the Launch Silicon Valley event today. He's pitching his startup in a backhanded way, running down some numbers behind his launch. Here are a few of them:
0: Number of business plans written (editorial note: it shows) 0: Number of VC meetings taken $0: Marketing budget $4,500: Total cost of software development ( Electric Pulp) $399: Cost of logo design ( Logoworks) $1,115: Cost of registering domains (55 in total) 1.5: … Read more