frank's blog

Coffee & Power – It’s A Crowdsourcing Workclub Hybrid

Posted in innovation, Media, web by aldorf on January 7, 2012

Coffee & Power is the current project of Philip Rosedale, the founder and former CEO of Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life. It’s a crowdsourcing startup that Rosedale founded in 2010 with former Linden Lab colleague Ryan Downe and former Accenture consultant Fred Heiberger. And it’s all about making it easier for people to do small chunks of creative work for one another, and get paid for it. The idea has to components, there is a website where people can post small jobs they need done or are willing to do. And  two physical Coffee & Power “workclubs,” in San Francisco and Santa Monica, where members can meet to collaborate or deliver services. These are the “key enabling features” that they copied from Secon Life and that help sellers and buyers find one another, decide who’s trustworthy, and pay for work completed. The first element is rich communications, in the form of profiles, reviews, status updates, and a live public chat space (no 3-D avatars this time). The second is radical transparency, meaning the details of every transaction are available for everyone to see. The third is a virtual currency, called C$ in an echo of Second Life’s Linden Dollars or L$.

Investors have been paying a lot of attention lately to bigger crowdsourcing players like oDesk and Elance, as well as upstarts such as TaskRabbitMobileWorks, and Zaarly. (via xconomy)

Hello Future – The Bionic Exoskeleton

Posted in innovation, pioneers, quality by aldorf on January 5, 2012

Ekso is the bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk.

How it works
Guided by a clinician, Ekso utilizes four electromechanical motors and
an intelligent algorithm to provide patients with a smooth natural gait.

It will debut in rehabilitation centers in early 2012
and enable users to stand, walk, make turns and sit.


VuHunt – The Next Generation Foursquare

Posted in ideas, internet, photography by aldorf on May 31, 2011

It doesn’t look pretty but it will definitely find it’s followers. VuHunt, a rewards-based location game that uses the technology on Android phones.

With VuHunt, users can duel with their friends to conquer territory in the real world, as they can with popular mobile check-in service Foursquare. But while users simply check in at a place in order to take it over in Foursquare, the process is more complex with VuHunt.

You can, for instance, take over your friend’s castle at a particular real-world location via long distance means. You can answer a trivia question correctly or solve a puzzle in order to dislodge someone. Or you may have to upload a picture of a physical location, such as a lake, or upload a few seconds of video of a car, in order to dislodge the person. The game capitalizes on location, artificial intelligence, and internet connectivity.

Your friends, meanwhile, can defend their castles by fulfilling their own challenges. If they do so, you may be forced to execute several challenges before you can take over the location.

Each action you take tells VuFind something about your behavior, and the company hopes to target ads from brands to you based on your interests.

The photos you upload can be geotagged. You can go to someone’s castle simply to find out more about that location by viewing the pictures that have been uploaded there.

“We appeal to people who want to use and see photos,” Rashad said. “It’s like a next-generation Foursquare.”

The technology uploads a photo to VuFind’s servers, which use algorithms to decipher what the image is. Then it sends a response back in near real-time, depending on whether the image is accepted or not. If it doesn’t recognize the photo, it says so and the user has to try again. Over time, the recognition should get better and better.

The company is designing more levels where users will be able to purchase virtual currency and use them to buy items in the game. The game has a news feed where you can watch what your friends are uploading. Rashad believes that players can get into pitched battles for control of castles in certain locations. Some of the tougher challenges require users to be at the actual location and check in. A leaderboard will show which users are winning.

Over time, Rashad said he hopes that advertisers will be able to put their ads into the various castles and other locations. But the company is only beginning to engage with advertisers now.

Rashad started working on the technology in 2007. He started VuFind last year and raised $420,000 from angel investors. VuFind first started to create an augmented reality social network based on the ability to recognize places in photos. But that business wasn’t easy to monetize. So the company morphed its plan and entered the game space instead. It now has seven employees and a few more consultants.

Besides Foursquare, rivals include Pixlogic, Digitalsmiths, Scvngr, Gowalla and Booyah. (via VentureBeat)

More on this and a short video at vufind.com

Big Idea! Event-driven Programming For The Masses – ifttt.com

Posted in design, internet, quality by aldorf on May 11, 2011

ifttt – Short for “if this then that”.
New Service with the potential to make a significant impact.

In today’s time-pressured world, people are constantly looking for ways to speed up their daily tasks. Hoping to help towards that end, we recently came across ifttt — an application that allows users to exercise their creativity in automating certain online activities. Ifttt hopes to automate digital tasks so that they can trigger a function for which they were not originally designed. This is made possible through a “trigger” and “action” model. For example, a trigger could be “If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook”. When this occurs, it will automatically execute an action, such as “create a tweet on twitter”. Tibbets gives another example: “For instance, you can use Google reader starred items to share images on your Tumblr blog, or customize how and which photos from your Flickr stream show up on your Facebook wall.” These tasks can be turned on and off, with a maximum of ten being turned on at once. Ifttt ultimately relies on the creativity of its users to effectively automate their online activities. However, by making this a simple and intuitive process, Ifttt has the potential to make a significant impact.

Daytum Founders Hired by Facebook

Posted in design, internet, Media, quality, web by aldorf on April 30, 2011

Facebook continues to expand its crack team of creative types with the hiring of Nicholas Felton and Ryan Case. The duo displayed their knack for beautiful data visualization with recent project Daytum, an eye-catching app that transforms mundane daily goings-on into fancy charts.

Felton and Case relocated to San Francisco to join a newly assembled team in Facebook’s creative division that includes recent hires like former Google Labs employee Ji Lee and Mark Darcy, formerly of Time Warner Media Group.

Full story at FastCoDesign

New Insight on Recruitment by Cooliris Founders

Posted in innovation, quality, web by aldorf on December 18, 2010
Vodpod videos no longer available.

With 34 full-time employees and 25 interns, Cooliris has brought innovation into attracting the best talent. Here, Product Manager Josh Schwarzapel and CEO Soujanya Bhumkar discuss their company’s unique recruiting process for both engineers and interns. For the former, Schwarzapel sells the company to potential engineers during the interview as he would a VC – striving to get them excited, and giving away a small piece of proprietary information in the process. To find the best interns, the team identified and recruited well-respected and hypersocial “connector” students from top universities to evangelize the company and hand-pick the best available members of the “party team”. In short, Cooliris gives weight to finding the top talent across the board, whether they are board members, full-time staff, or unpaid innovators.

The Eye Should Learn To Listen Before It Looks

Posted in art, photography, Quotes Of The Day by aldorf on June 3, 2010

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The Internet Archive

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on December 22, 2009

The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format. Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the Archive has been receiving data donations from Alexa Internet and others. In late 1999, the organization started to grow to include more well-rounded collections. Now the Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in our collections, and is working to provide specialized services relating to training, education, or adaptive reading or information access needs of blind or other persons with disabilities.

San Francisco’s People By Philip Bloom

Posted in film, photography by aldorf on December 15, 2009

British filmmaker Philip Bloom’s San Francisco’s People is the third in his People series. Surprisingly, colors are exactly how he is seeing them through the lens as there is no post-production done. Check out Philip Bloom’s work here. Shot on 5DmkII with 50mm F1.2 and Zacuto Z-Finder

Music is Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann

Shot at 30p and conformed with Cinema Tools to 24p.

Check out my blog: philipbloom.co.uk for more info

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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