Category Archives: Entertainment

Hillary Clinton sends a text (taken by Diana Walker/TIME)We all know that memes can be hilarious and can often involve pop culture icons and celebrities. Whether it’s about Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, Ryan Gosling, or other known individuals, people surely love their memes. One of the most recent ones to take the Internet world by storm doesn’t feature a movie celebrity or musician. Rather, it’s an innocent photo (don’t they always start out like that?) featuring US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton simply sitting in a military plane wearing her sunglasses and typing away on her mobile device.

With such an iconic photo of the Secretary of State being published, there’s going to be someone that will make it into a popular meme. And that’s exactly what Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith did when they created the pop culture hit Texts From Hillary. The premise? Simple…just take the famous photo of Mrs. Clinton looking at her phone, add in another fun photo of another individual doing something on their phone and then come up with a crazy and funny story. That’s it! So far, some of the submissions have been memes featuring the Secretary with known individuals like disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington, Vice-President Joe Biden, Jon Stewart, Meryl Streep, Rachel Maddow, Mitt Romney, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Ryan Gosling, and many others. 

Bravo TV's Silicon Valley reality showReality TV has finally arrived in Silicon Valley. That’s right, Bravo TV, the cable network that brought you such great shows like Kathy, Project Runway, Shahs of Sunset, Real Housewives of [name your city], Top Model, America’s Next Top Model, and many others, is perhaps the first network to try and break through and pioneer a reality/docu-series about the tech industry right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s tentatively called “Silicon Valley” and it’s being produced by the network with advised by Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former marketing head at the social network, and now an entrepreneur with her R to Z media company.

In typical Bravo TV fashion, “Silicon Valley” looks to be similar to their other reality shows, but the goal appears to be to cast a spotlight on the inner workings of the what life is like in the tech capital of the world. Expected to air this season, “Silicon Valley” has received some mixed reactions–in fact, it’s become quite polarizing. Mrs. Zuckerberg defends what is portrayed in “Silicon Valley” when in a statement to the local NBC affiliate here: “I’m a strong believer in innovation and entrepreneurship and hope that through this series, other people will be inspired to build the next break out companies and technologies.” The hope is sincerely there and for many people who happen to be involved in that hustle, they’re praying that the series does what they do here some justice and brings honor to their profession and their quest in trying to create something that will change the world.

Dr. Evil: "One Million Dollars"If you got a creative project you need funding on, you can usually go to someone to get funding. Typically these people are angel investors or maybe even venture capitalists. But, unfortunately for many, investors like these don’t really want to or have the resources necessary to help out every fledgling entrepreneur. Fortunately, there’s another alternative: take it to the masses and if they like it, they’ll support you. I suppose it’s the adage from Field of Dreams is true: “if you build it, they will come.

And boy did the masses respond over the past 24 hours. In what Kickstarter’s co-founder Yancey Strickler describes as an absolute crazy day, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects hit a major milestone never before seen. Between Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the public supported two projects with over $1 million each–$2 million was invested into making two startups very happy and on their ways to being a success. Mr. Strickler blogs about the day in his blog post and recounts the events that lead to the biggest day in crowd-sourcing history.

It all first started on Wednesday at 6:54pm (presumably Pacific Standard Time), where Elevation Dock, described as the “best dock for the iPhone”, received its $942,579th dollar, surpassing the previous leader in fundraising, TikTok. The stars soon started to align and gave Kickstarter an idea of just what was about to hit them. At 8:52, another startup launches their Kickstarter project–Double Fine Adventure is a new game project from Tim Schafer and 2 Player Productions. Within nearly three hours of its launch, Double Fine Adventure cracks the $200k mark and doubles that within the next five hours. Over the next few hours, all remains (relatively) peaceful in Kickstarter land…until…at 2:08pm on Thursday, Elevation Dock crosses the threshold and becomes the very first Kickstarter project to receive $1 million in pledges!

Elevation Dock becomes first Kickstarter project to hit $1 million in pledges

But we’re not done yet…I’m sure that the Kickstarter people are actively tracking the success that Double Fine Adventure is having right now. It isn’t until 6:40pm on Thursday that word starts to leak out that Double Fine Adventure might make it to $1 million as well, leading to another historic milestone for Kickstarter. USA Today has called this the highest-profile crowd-sourced game so far and according to Mr. Strickler, none of Kickstarter’s projects have attracted funding or followers as fast. Just minutes after the article was published, Kickstarter announces that Double Fine Adventure secures its $1 million’th dollar pledge becoming the service’s second huge success.

Double Fine Adventure hits $1 million in pledges

The funds are obviously still going to be pouring in for these two great projects and I wonder how this will affect the funding and participation behavior on Kickstarter? Why exactly did people find these two projects so great that it was worth them funding? I’m sure if we parse through the comments on each of their Kickstarter pages, we’ll find out. But that’s for another time. In the meantime, congratulations to these two startups. Wish you the very best to get your projects off the ground!

Many here in Silicon Valley are eagerly trying to get funding for their startups. Out of those few who are able to get funding from Venture Capitalists, I wonder how many actually hear what’s in the above video. Following in line with the “Sh*t” memes that are the flavor of the month on YouTube, August Capital’s David Hornik posted this hilarious one about “Sh*t VCs Say”.  There are some really great gems in this video like poking fun at the negotiating process (e.g. “$10 million pre”) and much more…here are a few of my favorites:

  • Is an 11 good on Klout?
  • Is that the biggest plane they got?
  • I got one word for you: participating preferred
  • That’s what you’re doing? Are you kidding? I had that idea 3 years ago.
  • S-1, baby!
  • What if we put it in the Cloud?
  • Mary, can you come here for a second? I need you to tweet something for me!
  • I just got back from Paris.
  • You’d be better off with Snooki on your board.
  • What? You only have 7 million users.
  • Why in the world are people skiing on the weekends when the lines are shorter during the week?
  • You gotta check it out, it’s like the AirBnB for cosmetics

Thanks David Hornik for the laughs this Saturday morning. You can watch the whole video here.

Android Photography by Jolie O'Dell

What’s the number one camera being used right now as represented by the number of photos shared on Flickr? The Apple iPhone4.

No where on this list of the top 5 cameras do you see any mention of Android devices. Why is that? Apple has clearly made strives to improve the camera on their phones, but is it because of the multitude of applications that are motivating people to share their photos on Flickr or other photo sharing sites? Some might say that Android cameras just plain “suck”, but others will clearly disagree. It’s not as if there aren’t any applications to help take better photos. So maybe it’s because with all this talk about how the iPhone camera is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s about time that the Android camera gets a little bit of love. And that’s exactly what VentureBeat’s Jolie O’Dell is doing in her new book Android Photography.

In this 160 page book available for pre-sale now, Ms. O’Dell sets out to promote how cool the platform is. In an interview with me, she says that since she’s been a big Android advocate for a long time, she finds the platform very exciting and “in practice, the phones end up being a huge outlet of creativity for me, personally.” And since she carries around an Android phone all the time, she found it useful when traveling and finding beauty in the world all around her. But the age-old question is, why not the iPhone? Well, she thinks that it’s “over”. In fact, she feels that they’re just inaccessible with few carrier options, no real hardware options and the price can be unappealing to some.

Android Photography

So what’s exciting about this book? Android Photography is an instructional book with a run-down of some hardware and some applications. In addition, Ms. O’Dell as included some information about photo composition, editing, and even how to upload and share your creative work online. And before you think it’s just 160 pages of tough reading, think again. She’s put together some inspiring photo galleries with some jaw-dropping photos from a wide range of photographers around the world. Bottom line? According to Ms. O’Dell, we’re going to be shocked at the kind of results we’ll get out of an Android.

Android Photography

As a photographer, I’m always one to favor my Canon 7D SLR, but often when I’m out about town, I’m carrying my Android phone. And I’ll admit that I’m often thinking that my friends are taking way better photos using their iPhone. I mean, just look at Lisa Bettany’s Camera+ photo app for the iPhone which has been a rousing success or the prominence that Instagram has had in mobile photography — it’s just increasing exponentially. But now, after hearing about Android Photography, I’m thinking that there’s hope for improving my photos, and what I find incredibly helpful is that the examples that are in this book come complete with details on how they were taken so you can learn and try and recreate them.

Android Photography is set to be released in February and can be purchased off of Amazon in paperback format (sorry, no Kindle version). Who knows whether this will help reinvigorate the Android camera revolution, but with studies showing that Android applications being more popular than iPhone and the proliferation of these devices across all carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, Android Photography might be the book for people to read in order to understand how to really take a photo.

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