Monthly Archives: October 2010

The End of Facebook?

Imagine if all your information and pictures on Facebook lived on your own computer or a server of your own control, and the only people that could get access to that information were your actual friends that you approved. That’s what 4 (previous) NYU students are trying do with Diaspora.


They started with just an idea and a modest goal of raising $10,000 on, an online funding platform. Instead, they raised $200,000. It’s clear how disgruntled people are with Facebook and their privacy settings. Not to mention, have you seen The Social Network? Do you really trust Mark Zuckerburg with personal information?

A lot of people are rooting for these guys. And if they make the hosting of your own data dead-simple to setup, I think they’ll be well on their way. Otherwise, we’ll end up with a privacy-controlled, social group of hackers.

According to Maxwell Salzberg, one of the Diaspora founders, they expect to release a beta in the next month (see interview at This Week In Startups). They couldn’t of picked a better time. For more information, check out their site at or a basic overview in a New York Times article.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

In the cutthroat world of Donkey Kong, only one can rule.


King of Kong is a documentary about the struggle between two guys to get the world record for the highest score in Donkey Kong. It may sound like an uber nerdy flick about who has the largest pocket protector, but the oddly fascinating characters and plot twists suck you in. (Though I don’t have much credibility given I’m posting this on a Saturday night.) You can find it on Netflix streaming.

The last level is unofficially known as the kill screen, due to an error in the game’s programming when it runs out of memory, effectively ending the game.

9 Myths About Building iPhone/iPad Apps


9 Myths About Building iPhone/iPad Apps – Ken Yarmosh

Ken is the same guy who wrote App Savvy, which I linked to in a previous post. There are some great nuggets in the video for app developers of all ranges. I listed the myths below, but you need to watch the video to find out the answer to why it’s a myth.

  1. Building Websites == Building Apps
  2. My Idea is Unique
  3. Being Artistically or Technically Challenged Makes You Useless
  4. My App Needs 42 Features
  5. iPad Apps Are Big iPhone Apps
  6. Apps Take 6 Months to Build
  7. Testing is the Developer’s Job
  8. Marketing Starts Once My App is Launched
  9. Once My App is in the App Store, I’m Done

Here are the websites he mentions in the video:

Stay tuned for a review of App Savvy; It should be arriving at my house tomorrow.



TabbedOut: Pay your tab from your iPhone or Android



I heard about this application a few weeks ago and finally had a chance to try it out last weekend at Kickstand Burgers & Bar. It’s pretty simple to use: add a credit card, start a tab, show the server the generated tab code, the server matches that code to your order, and now you can pay your tab and leave a tip at your will. In addition to the convenience factor, the app really seems to shine when you’re out at popular bars:

  • When you start a tab, you don’t have to give up your card to the bartender for others to potentially see or accidentally give away.
  • You don’t have to worry about people putting drinks on your tab, given you can monitor your tab.
  • Order drinks faster and move on to the next bar faster, and you never have to worry about forgetting your card at the bar after a crazy night.

There are also advantages for restaurants. As of this writing, there are only two locations in Charlotte: Kickstand Burgers & Bar and Savor Cafe. But considering there were zero locations in Charlotte about a month ago, I suspect they’ll be more soon.

How does it work

The TabbedOut software is installed at an establishment’s point-of-sale terminal and syncs with the customer’s smartphone. Currently they support the iPhone and Android, however other mobile devices are in the works. 

TabbedOut: The Company

The Austin-based company, ATX Innovation, Inc, has raised $2.8 million in venture capital and angel funding, and are currently in 28 cities in nine states. They make money by charging a 99-cent convenience charge per transaction to the patron (though it is currently free in Charlotte), nevertheless the company is also testing a subsidized model in which restaurants would pay all, or a portion of, the fee.

App Savvy: Turning Ideas into iPad and iPhone Apps Customers Really Want


App Savvy – Link to Amazon

Just ordered it. It’s brand new and already a best seller on Amazon. I know from experience it’s not easy to get people to download your app—even a free one. After months of development, you really want people to see the fruits of your labor. So I’m looking forward to getting advice from the experts. Thanks to Jeremy over at Skookum for the heads up.

Vendee iPhone App

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Vendee is a fun, local sales application that allows you to find sales around you; from drink specials tonight to half-off bakery items to that dress you’ve been eyeing, Vendee saves you money.

How it works

Vendee allows both mobile phone users and store owners to post specials. All the specials are geolocated and presented to the user based on their current location.

Point System

We incentive users to participate via our point system. Every time a user post a sale, or likes/dislikes a sale, or shares a sale, etc. they are given points. And if your sale is disliked, for instance, by another user then you lose points. These points then transfer to user levels: everyone starts as a “Shoplifter,” then they progress to titles such as “Discounter,” all the way up to the most coveted title of “Vendee.” One of the future plans we are considering is giving users gift certificates to one our participating stores when they reach certain user levels.

How do we make money

We make money by charging stores for premium listings.

What is a premium store listing

We try to give stores’ their money’s worth for posting a sale with us. How? First, there listing gets highlighted in yellow in the sale list. Further, if there are similar user sales, then we embed the store sale at the top of those user sales. On the backend, we also track how many times the sale has been shown, how many times the sale has been clicked, etc. so the store can follow the success of the sale.

Status of Vendee

The app has been in the Apple App Store for about 4 months. So far, my partner on the sales side has yet to come through again to sign up stores (see Gift Registry App), but I still think the app is one of the best in it’s category. So check it out and leave feedback.

Gift Registry iPhone App


Gift Registry App

One of the first apps I created for the iPhone. A mobile app to put all your gift registries in to one place. Your guests can then browse, make purchases, and even mail you the gift, all within the app.

Why is it not in the app store? I want it! 

Unfortunately, my “business guy,” was unable to sign up any stores to connect with their gift registries, so it never made it into the app store. (He’s the guy in the video.) So if you’re a store owner and interested in connecting your registry with us, let me know.