Pownce is Shutting Down


TechCrunch reported today that Pownce is shutting its doors. The famed Kevin Rose start up is shutting down December 15th and the engineers are joining Six Apart.  In my inbox, I received the following note:

We are sad to announce that Pownce is shutting down on December 15,
2008. As of today, Pownce will no longer be accepting new users or new
pro accounts.

To help with your transition, we have built an export tool so you can
save your content. You can find the export tool at Settings > Export.
Please export your content by December 15, 2008, as the site will not
be accessible after this date.

Please visit our new home to find out more:

Our thanks go out to everyone who contributed to the Pownce community,

The Pownce Crew

What is amazing is how Twitter is just running away with the micro-blogging space regardless of the performance issues and lack of features everyone has been clamoring for.  I’m still very bullish on the micro-blogging space and am very curious to see how the space plays out.  There is still lots of growth to be had.



Brightstorm Raises $6 Million

Techcrunch is reporting today that Brightstorm raised $6 million dollars in an A round.  It’s a bit of a crowded space but I like the general direction of the idea.  If they can continue to get top notch teachers and are able to convey their teaching style, that’s sure to help differentiate their value proposition.

Plus, I know they have good teachers because I know one of them.  She’s a rock star (below).

Quick comments live from F8

The Facebook F8 conference is underway and its quite the collection of folks.  There is twittering, blogging, live video streaming all happening at the same time.  It was a bit insane.  More people were looking down at their laptops typing than actually watching the speaker talk. Here are just a couple of thoughts I had during the keynote:

  • Regardless of his net worth, Zuckerberg is a terrible public speaker
  • They need to hire someone that can scroll through slides properly
  • There are now 90 million Facebook users
  • 2/3 of the users are international
  • Their approach on internationalization is right on and they are releasing the tool to all application developers.  That’s exciting if Facebook can continue to push into international markets.
  • 400,000 developers
  • New profiles isn’t that awesome and there were obvious issues with the rollout
  • Facebook Connect demos were exciting — Digg, Citysearch, Sixapart
  • Lots of guiding principles for application develpment — no more spammy apps
  • New developer website released
  • New verification and great apps program released — makes a ton of sense

Overall, very cool.

iPhone Apps Coming out Soon!

Remember that old web based Flash game called “The Penguin Swing“?  It sure did waste a few hours of my life back in the day.  Well, they have come out with a Viking version for the iPhone leveraging the tilt-sensing abilities of your iPhone or iTouch. Ok, so its stupid but there are some interesting things to gleam from this.

  • iPhone Apps is due out this week and I believe this will be more interesting than watching those Apple idiots line up for a new iPhone.  (Can you believe the service pricing?)
  • Wii is to gaming as the iPhone is to mobile apps — Just like the Wii, the iPhone should introduce some interesting application leveraging the unique features of the iPhone.

I’m still putting my thoughts together for a more robust post about the iPhone development environment but my first reaction is that they did a great job.  Barring of course the criticism of the lack of API’s such as background tasks, it should be enough to get going with the majoring of iPhone applications.  xCode and all of its supporting tools is really well bundled together including the slick iPhone emulator.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the iPhone Apps store release this week.  It should be interesting.

Registered for Facebook F8 ’08

I’ve taken a moment to sign up for F8 ’08.  Unfortunately, I was not able to attend last year because of a business trip to Europe but this time I’m in town.  A number of my friends and ex-coworkers will be in attendance representing their new companies.  It will be interesting to see what they unveil this year to try to top last year.

If you’re going to be attending the event, let me know and we can meet up.

Go find me a restaurant …

Here is an interesting little company called UrbanSpoon which at the core of it looks like a variant of Yelp.  They provide community based restaurant recommendation and reviews.  Recently, they released an iPhone application that will randomly find you a restaurant based on your geographic location.  Or, what could be described as location based Yelp.

What’s interesting about this?

  • iPhone SDK is not your everyday web application.  It provides a rich UI, very cool  accelerometer action, access to location information and much more.
  • Location based applications are now going to hit the forefront as the new iPhone 2.0 has built in GPS.  We’ll be seeing some interesting location based mashups and re-spins of existing ideas.

I’m still fully formulating my opinion on Google Android verses Apple’s iPhone SDK, but at first glance i’m more in favor of the iPhone SDK.

I better brush up on my Objective-C.

Dipity Timeline Widget

As I was poking around the Google YouTube API researching a side project, I stumbled upon this cool timeline widget by Dipity.  There seems to be an endless amount of these “widget companies” that are worth much more than the name of their space leads you to believe (Slide, RockYou, etc).

Dipity caught my attention only because they came up with a very cool use of the YouTube API.  However, they also came up with a very interactive widget that, if done properly, could be as compelling as Slide’s slide show widget.  Basically, they allow you to create a timeline of anything and share them with the world.  Here is a link to the Apple Timeline.  Even cooler, they allow various views on the same timeline and allow multiple people edit the timeline.

Their biggest problem is going to be performance.  I’m running Firefox 3 on a pretty beefy Ubuntu box and the rendering stinks.  They’ll need to figure this out.

Bottom line, a compelling startup can be as simple as a different way to visualize something.  It will be interesting to see if they are able to gain traction.

Twitter Isn’t So Bad

Ok, so I admit that I didn’t really understand Twitter when it came out. It seemed pretty dumb. Well, after playing around with it for the past two weeks, I’ve come to appreciate the unified communication aspect of the platform. You really need to look beyond the guy who tweets, “I’m sitting on couch eating dinner”.

  • The SMS Integration works well from a push and pull point of view.
  • The Facebook Twitter Application allows my Tweets update my Facebook status that is part of my news feed.
  • My Twitter feed is available is RSS while lets me easily put it where ever I want.
  • Much easier to write compared to a blog entry

The platform enables quick, easy and broad communication. It reminds me of the unified communication platforms (that have been around for a while) in a nice Web 2.0 box. Let’s see if they can get back the scalability issues.

So, if you have nothing else to do, subscribe to my Twitter feed.


Twitter Technical Problems No Joke

I’m not a huge Twitter fan but have been playing around with their SMS/Twitter/Facebook integration which is pretty cool. I guess all of the blogs about how terrible their infrastructure is seem to be at least pointed in the right direction. They went down this afternoon and I believe are still down.

Then it got really serious.

Oh well, who needs good software? Bah!

HP Upline down for 2 days!

I recently jumped on the online storage band wagon and signed up for HP Upline. My thought process was that “it’s HP, I can trust these guys”. Plus, I could no longer wait for Google to come out with GDrive. Well, I’m 8GB into the 2TB of data and suddenly, the service has been down for the last 2 days. The support person simply said, “Yes, its down and we’re not sure when its coming back up”.

Amazing. 2 days. I know that backup isn’t quite “critical services” but 2 days is ridiculous. Whatever happened to 99.999% uptime?

The service needs to be called HP Downline.