Tag Archives: beta

ESPN launches first hackathon app – SportsCenter Feed Beta

For the past two years ESPN has held internal hackathons. And while they keep saying that these hacker creations “have been incorporated across the ESPN ecosystem, SC Feed is the first to emerge largely unchanged from the concept stage.”

And it looks perfect. Modeled after the Twitter apps on iPhone and iPad – and using the new ESPN API - SportsCenter Feed Beta allows you to view all ESPN stories in an RSS-like feed. Which offers a better viewing experience than the cluttered ESPN homepage. The killer feature allows you to filter for your favorite teams, sports, and players.

I entered my favorite college football team (UCLA Bruins), NFL team (Chargers), and baseball team (Angels).  The result is one clean list of stories that would normally be scattered across ESPN.com. And it is a web app, meaning that it works on any device – as long as you log-in.

I think it’s home run for ESPN.

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The two-step password movement continues – Dropbox joins in

The push towards two-step passwords and better security continues.

Dropbox trials two-factor authentication beta

A few weeks ago, when Dropbox users began reporting that their emails had been leaked to spam lists, Dropbox made some security changes and promised it would bolster its security measures further. The company has now made good on its promise, rolling out the beta version of a two-factor authentication system over the weekend.

 

Visit the link above for instructions on how to enable two-factor authentication.

I am a big fan of extra security for everything. I have two-factor authentication with my bank, PayPal, and in all my Google accounts. It’s good to see more companies beefing up our consumer security options.

 

 

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Silicon Valley to get its own airline – SurfAir

A new airline, SurfAir, has emerged to serve entrepreneurs, executives, and Venture Capitalists, who travel frequently throughout the state of California.

…the US infrastructure has billions of dollars that is hardly used, so much infrastructure that Michael Flint said he could have us landing on a runway within 20 minutes, in case of an emergency with my mom. I later learned that about half of America’s airports operate at less than 10% capacity, and those are mainly the municipal airports, such as Palo Alto Airport in Silicon Valley.

SurfAir grew quickly and is already launching its beta this month. It’s starting with six destinations. 500 people were selected to participate. It’s a subscription model, just like Netflix. For less than $1000 per month, members can fly multiple trips between California destinations on a private Pilatus 8-seater aircraft. Passengers drive right up to the aircraft, where a valet parks their car and takes their luggage. They’re all pre-screened, so all they have to do is board the aircraft, and they’re at their destination within an hour with a car waiting for them as they exit the plane.

via Pando Daily

 

 

The airline will have (planned) service to – Palo Alto, Monterey, Santa Barbara, & Los Angeles – and it looks to be big hit:

 

When we originally interviewed SurfAir CEO Wade Eyerly last March, he indicated the company was seeking about $2 million. But over the past couple of days we’ve gotten unsolicited calls from investors, who wish to remain anonymous at this point, who have told us that there was so much demand that the company has raised nearly $14 million.

via - SurfAir’s 1st Round of Funding “Oversubscribed”

Get 5GB of Dropbox space free – participate in beta testing for automatic camera uploads

To get the free space, download the latest build, plug-in your smartphone/camera, and upload all you can.

During this beta period, we are also offering additional free space to test automatic uploading of photos and videos. For every 500MB of photos and videos automatically uploaded, you’ll receive another 500MB space bonus, up to 4.5GB total. [Update: To clarify, you can get up to 5GB of free space with this feature, if you count the initial 500MB space for the first photo import].

1.3.12

  • 500MB of free space on first photo import
  • Cleanup UI in Windows non admin installation.
  • Fix infinite restart of Dropbox when database was corrupted.
  • Fix import error on iPhone with lots and lots of photos.
  • Better Handling of out of quota issues on first photo import.
  • Other small fixes

1.3 Features

  • Importing of photos from cameras, phones, and SD cards.
  • Batch upload/download of files.

 

Get started – Dropbox Forums

Why does Mark Zuckerberg hate "beta" development?

You know how everything Google does is launched in a “beta” mode. They know that their products are most likely going to break, fail, or simply invade your privacy. Google is so obsessed with beta releases that they often leave them in perpetual beta.

So why is Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg so against beta?

This massive company with more than 800 million users just rolls out new features to the entire group. One day you know how to use Facebook and the next day everything is different.

Then, as has happened 17 times before, they roll back and change many of those features because they weren’t tested properly with a large enough user group (i.e. beta testers).

A description of beta from Wikipedia:

It generally begins when the software is feature complete. The focus of beta testing is reducing impacts to users, often incorporating usability testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release and this is typically the first time that the software is available outside of the organization that developed it.

The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software, willing to test the software without charge, often receiving the final software free of charge or for a reduced price.

This practice is so common in the tech industry that it shocking that Facebook hasn’t had it from the start. I guarantee everyone at that company has experience with beta releases of products. Well maybe not everyone…

Perhaps, Mark Zuckerberg started so young at Facebook that he never learned the value of beta testing. A lot of people want to compare him to Steve Jobs and so maybe this is his own reality distortion field, “it should be so good we don’t need beta!”

Still, that doesn’t explain the stubbornness after having new updates to Facebook continually blow-up in his face. I’m sure that after each blow-up someone has said, “Hey Mark, this is what beta releases are for”.

Yet, here we are with the new auto-sharing feature instantly pushed live and everyone is complaining about it. The feature is brilliant but incomplete. Their are simple mistakes in the usability, like the problem with the “cancel” button that Marshall Kirkpatrick found.

This is such a simple fix, i.e. change the wording of the button so it’s not “pushy, manipulative and user-hostile.”

If found and fixed during beta it would have been a non-issue. Instead the flailing public is in hysteria and that crucial “first-impression” is of ruining sharing (Molly Wood) or gaslighting the web (Anil Dash).

It boggles the mind why Mark wants to avoid beta releases so bad that he enrages his user base.

There is hope. The new feature, Facebook Timeline, is in a semi-beta release in that it was open to developers early for testing. The tech journalists quickly hacked this and reported it to average users. Who then signed up as developers, created a fake app, and clicked several buttons that they had no idea what they were doing.

A surprising amount actually did all that, myself included, which means there definitely is an appetite for Facebook beta testers. Plus, Facebook has delayed releasing Timeline allowing all those users to test out the features. The situation looks an awful lot like a beta release…

Maybe Mark is realizing the value of beta testing? Or, at least the value of releasing a finished product as opposed to a brilliant but incomplete idea?

Why does Mark Zuckerberg hate “beta” development?

You know how everything Google does is launched in a “beta” mode. They know that their products are most likely going to break, fail, or simply invade your privacy. Google is so obsessed with beta releases that they often leave them in perpetual beta.

So why is Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg so against beta?

This massive company with more than 800 million users just rolls out new features to the entire group. One day you know how to use Facebook and the next day everything is different.

Then, as has happened 17 times before, they roll back and change many of those features because they weren’t tested properly with a large enough user group (i.e. beta testers).

A description of beta from Wikipedia:

It generally begins when the software is feature complete. The focus of beta testing is reducing impacts to users, often incorporating usability testing. The process of delivering a beta version to the users is called beta release and this is typically the first time that the software is available outside of the organization that developed it.

The users of a beta version are called beta testers. They are usually customers or prospective customers of the organization that develops the software, willing to test the software without charge, often receiving the final software free of charge or for a reduced price.

This practice is so common in the tech industry that it shocking that Facebook hasn’t had it from the start. I guarantee everyone at that company has experience with beta releases of products. Well maybe not everyone…

Perhaps, Mark Zuckerberg started so young at Facebook that he never learned the value of beta testing. A lot of people want to compare him to Steve Jobs and so maybe this is his own reality distortion field, “it should be so good we don’t need beta!”

Still, that doesn’t explain the stubbornness after having new updates to Facebook continually blow-up in his face. I’m sure that after each blow-up someone has said, “Hey Mark, this is what beta releases are for”.

Yet, here we are with the new auto-sharing feature instantly pushed live and everyone is complaining about it. The feature is brilliant but incomplete. Their are simple mistakes in the usability, like the problem with the “cancel” button that Marshall Kirkpatrick found.

This is such a simple fix, i.e. change the wording of the button so it’s not “pushy, manipulative and user-hostile.”

If found and fixed during beta it would have been a non-issue. Instead the flailing public is in hysteria and that crucial “first-impression” is of ruining sharing (Molly Wood) or gaslighting the web (Anil Dash).

It boggles the mind why Mark wants to avoid beta releases so bad that he enrages his user base.

There is hope. The new feature, Facebook Timeline, is in a semi-beta release in that it was open to developers early for testing. The tech journalists quickly hacked this and reported it to average users. Who then signed up as developers, created a fake app, and clicked several buttons that they had no idea what they were doing.

A surprising amount actually did all that, myself included, which means there definitely is an appetite for Facebook beta testers. Plus, Facebook has delayed releasing Timeline allowing all those users to test out the features. The situation looks an awful lot like a beta release…

Maybe Mark is realizing the value of beta testing? Or, at least the value of releasing a finished product as opposed to a brilliant but incomplete idea?

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.

Press Release: Call For Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, & Inventors

Are you an entrepreneur, inventor, or working for a start-up?

If so, here is an opportunity for you to get in front of 1,000 influential futurists and an online community of over 35,000.

We are pleased to announce the Futurists: BetaLaunch in partnership with the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future.

This launch platform will take place in July at the World Future Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The audience will be an enthusiastic and sophisticated group of customers, investors, forecasters, political figures, early adopters, engineers, and more!

To participate visit our website: Futurists: BetaLaunch website

Submit your innovation/invention, due by April 15!

We are looking for a wide range of entrepreneurs, inventors, start-ups, artists, educators, manufacturers, etc.


Official press release from the World Future Society

World Future Society – Futurists: BetaLaunch

Bethesda, Maryland

The nonprofit World Future Society has issued a call for inventions and innovations to showcase at the first annual Futurists: BetaLaunch, this summer in Vancouver. The Futurists: Beta Launch or F:BL will serve as a sort of technology petting zoo where engineers, designers or others can present their inventions to the 1,000 futurists expected to gather for WorldFuture 2011, the Society’s annual conference.

“Recently, the global community of the World Future Society was polled about what futurist ideas they would most like to examine. The results confirmed what we suspected; futurists love ideas, innovation and look to us [The World Future Society] to help them keep on top of coming technological breakthroughs,” says Jennifer Boykin, World Future Society director of development.

WorldFuture 2011

Founded in 1966 as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C., the World Future Society has members in more than 80 countries around the world. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join the Society and participate in its programs and activities.

The Society holds a two-day, international conference once a year where participants discuss foresight techniques and global trends that are influencing the future. Previous conference attendees have included future U.S. President Gerald Ford (1974), Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1975), behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner (1984), age-wave expert Ken Dychtwald (2005), U.S. comptroller general David M. Walker (2006) and inventor Ray Kurzweil (2010). Others in attendance typically include business leaders, government officials, scientists, corporate planners, and forecasters from across the globe.

“Because of their passion, conference attendees are key purchasers and influencers for markets serving innovation, inventions, learning, and new technologies of all kinds,” according to Boykin. She hopes that F: BL will allow inventors “to connect in a very personal way with an audience of people who can help you launch your idea.”

Where and When is the Event?

The Futurists: BetaLaunch showcase will be held in conjunction with WorldFuture 2011, the Annual Conference of the World Future Society at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre hotel in Vancouver, Canada on July 8-10, 2011. You can learn more about the conference by visiting www.wfs.org.

F:BL will be physically located in the conference exhibits area. The call for inventions will close on April 15, 2011. The World Future Society will notify all entrants of selection decisions by May 1, 2011.

All inventors selected for the conference will receive a complimentary registration to the conference ($750 value.) Travel costs are the responsibility of each inventor. Learn more about Futurists: BetaLaunch at http://wfsbetalaunch.com/ or contact Jennifer Boykin at jboykin@wfs.org or call 301-656-8274.

A New Design for 1X57

A little over three years ago Amy and I were walking the streets of DC talking about starting a business. After working together for two years, side by side, day-in, day-out, we realized anything we did individually paled in comparison to what we could do together. Despite butting heads on numerous occasions and dealing with myriad complications, unknowns, and doubts, we took the plunge and made it happen. 1X57 was born.

In the name we found an expression of who we are. It is the place where we first met in 2006, where we both found mentors to guide and shape our careers, where we found a sense of purpose and where we were inspired to imagine the possibilities. It also became a place out of reach for us, out of touch, if only because of where our path is leading us.

With 1X57, we are re-creating the ideals and values amplified in a place that opened our eyes and expanded our minds, to bring together work and creativity that excites us and contributes to a better world. The starting point for me has been writing on our blog, a way to bring together the intellectually curious people of the world, to discuss the most compelling and intriguing topics of the day. Posts like Can Every Child Get Sraight A’s, Steve Jobs Sabbaticals, Democracy in the World, and Who are the Best in DC Tech? are my way of sorting through questions I have while contributing to a communal discussion.

When we first launched 1X57, we were just happy to have a placeholder for the domain name and a theme that allowed us to get our thoughts out. In version 2.0, we wanted a whole lot more.

With so many projects under our belt and a growing number of speeches and interviews, we needed a space for bios, projects, and press. The blog needed an ability to feature our popular articles that the web seems to love. We also wanted a way to highlight local companies (DC, Baltimore) and must-see events.

Overall, version 2.0 represents a big step forward for the company. Expanded features, new components, and much more capability including a beta.1X57.com area in which to experiment.

The new theme represents a minimal blank-slate approach that allows our work to come through in full color, while offering a newspaper-style reading layout.

Below are screenshots of the same page viewed as version 1.0:

screenshot of v1.0 of 1x57 - why social network will win best picture

Version 2.0:

version 2.0 1x57 social network best picture

We hope you enjoy the site. Let us know if anything is broken, if you miss anything, or would like to see something added and/or changed.

Steve