Hype Flash replacement spawned at Y Combinator

The Startup Foundry website published an interview with a software programmer, one of the cofounders, Jonathan Deutsch, of Tumult Co.  He left a job at Apple to launch a startup.

I was faced with the decision of continuing to work with the great people on my team on a clearly high impact project, living with the “what if” syndrome, or trying to forge my own path.  ”Regret Minimization” is what should win out in life, so it did.  I had done a lot of different projects at Apple, and felt I made my mark both internally on the company and externally on Mac OS X.

About his experience at Y Combinator:

YC is definitely worthwhile. The network effects are staggering… it gives any YC company an advantage in making the right contacts, finding investment, and being in a support net with others in the same boat. And if you’re starting a company, why wouldn’t you want every advantage available to you? Paul Graham, Paul Buchheit, and Harj Taggar all give great advice with brilliant ideas sprinkled in. The dinners are fun, and there’s a lot that we learned from the speakers. Most founders would come early before each dinner just to hang out and discuss their startups or demo their products. The atmosphere is electric and contagious.

Visit the Hype website. Unfortunately for Mac OS Leopard (10.5) users, the app requires 10.6. A bad decision for many thousands of us.

Ecommerce – Mobile Payments

Have you heard of Square yet? It’s the hot new mobile payments tool for smartphones/mobile devices. Visit squareup.com

Square wants to replace cash registers, loyalty cards and paper receipts — with one device.

From the NYTimes on Tuesday:

On Monday, Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and chief executive, announced a way for shoppers to pay by simply giving their name to the merchant. Mr. Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, said customers would use a new feature on Square’s iPhone or Android apps, called Card Case, to make payments. Merchants would use one called Register to ring up and track purchases.

Square device for smartphones
Square device for smartphones

Point of Sale technology is ripe for change

Recent comments at the wired.com article.

Nick Houldsworth wrote: I work for a web based point of sale software start-up called Vend (www.vendhq.com). I think this is a fantastic development. We at Vend, alongside some other startups (Cashier Live, Erply) been working on disrupting this sector for a while now. Traditional POS is expensive, clunky, and requires outrageous maintenance and infrastructure costs. We’re pleased to welcome a large and well funded player such as Square, into this space. Their iPad app may not be for all retailers (lacking some of the finer control over inventory, barcode scanning, and integration into 3rd party apps such as ecommerce and accounting) but for a simple get up and go POS and payment system, and an innovative shake up to the industry, this can only be positive :)

I ordered a Square reader for Android. It will be great to sell items without using PayPal.

One major POS equipment maker is Verifone. As quoted in the NYTimes article… Good luck, Mr. Bergeron. I think your prediction of failure is wrong:

Initially, the company most in Square’s sights is Verifone, whose point-of-sale terminals and software are in 70 percent of businesses in the United States. In an interview before Square’s announcement, Doug Bergeron, Verifone’s chief executive, said that Square would not catch on for payments because people will prefer N.F.C. technology and have security concerns about using Square.

Apple iPad Subscriptions — Evil?

Insight into the world of iOS developers

CNET ran a story yesterday about BeamItDown Software, the start-up software developer who made the iFlow Reader app for iOS. They condemn Apple for a draconian policy.

And a full interview at CNET of BeamItDown’s co-founder Dennis Morin.

Nowhere in the history of application development has there been rules associated with it, let alone hundreds of rules like there are now. I mean, this extends their [Apple’s] control-freak nature to a whole new level. So yeah I can sell an app on my Web site, that’s fine. But if I have something for sale on my Web site, I have to have a button in the app that allows a user to purchase that item through Apple’s In-App Purchase system for the same price that I sell it at on my Web site.

Now if I’m selling a book for $10 and someone clicks on that button in the app, I lose $1.15 on the sale and Apple makes $3. Let’s face it, the user doesn’t give a s—. They’re going to purchase it from wherever’s easiest to purchase it.

The bottom line is that if you buy a book through iBooks, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And if you buy a book through iFlow, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And I lose money.

To clarify the outrage these developers feel:

What people don’t understand is that if you’re selling an app on iOS, Apple hosts that app on their server. You upload it, the customer downloads it, it gets downloaded from their servers. OK. With In-App Purchase it doesn’t work that way. You host everything. You ship it directly to the customer. All Apple does in the process is collect the money and basically give you a token that says it was collected and you do everything else. It’s essentially doing exactly the same thing as a credit-card processing company for this 30 percent. Nothing more.

Another article: http://bit.ly/ixbNAv


Concerns about cell phone radiation

A new report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (download report) expresses concern that radiation emissions from modern smartphones and cell phones could pose a health risk.

The nonprofit organization The Environmental Working Group has a useful list of the radiation values (SAR) for most modern cellphones.

The NYTimes compiled some helpful advice (edited here for brevity):

  • Tilt the phone away from your ear when you are talking and only bring it in close to your ear when you listen
  • Wait until after your call has been connected to put your cellphone next to your ear
  • Cellphones emit less radiation when stationary because when you are moving rapidly — say, in a car — it must repeatedly issue little bursts of radiation to make connections with different towers as it moves in and out of range
  • If your cellphone has a weak signal it has to work harder and thus will emit more radiation
  • Texting, instead of talking, could be safer
  • Keep them at a distance by putting them on speaker mode or using a wired headset
  • The next best option is a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at lower levels.
  • Holding your phone away from your ear can make a big difference; the intensity of radiation diminishes quickly with distance.

Microwave News is a good source of techie phone information too.


Pentalobular screws and your iphone

A reader posed this challenge: did we know what “pentalobular” was without using a search engine. Latin tells us it’s a 5-sided something. If you have an iphone, then you have several pentalobular screws.

Turn to iFixit to work with these type of screws.

They have an iPhone 4 Liberation Kit for $10.

iPhone 4 Liberation Kit
iPhone 4 Liberation Kit

Why HTML5 can’t replace Flash

The best analysis for why HTML5 can’t replace Flash – Apple is being “disruptive” in the worst way.

HTML5 Vs. Flash. What You Haven’t Heard — a guest post by Carlos Nazareno, an interactive media artist… in sum, “HTML5 is just as bad, if not worse than Flash.”

And besides, just use CloudBrowse, an app for your smartphone that browses for you.

Regarding Flash, Apple is disingenuous

The war of wits and accusations heats up:

If Flash is to be consigned to the recycle bin, then what technology will replace its amazing animation capabilities? Apple is disingenuous in only focusing on the video-playing aspects of HTML 5.

In other news: SEO — Forget PAGE RANK: Google tells us to forget about it.