Own takes aim at point-of-sale with ambitious hardware, software and cloud product

Own's point-of-sale device is a customized touchscreen tabletA small Detroit-based company has plans to reinvent the way restaurants, cafes and stores take money from customers.

Own is aiming to make a point-of-sale (POS) system that doesn’t just reinvent the cash register, it turns it into a node on a web-connected information system. Its solution combines the slickness of tablet hardware, the optimization of a custom operating system and the flexibility of a cloud-based infrastructure to make it all happen.

That is, if it works. The company has been testing its system with about 20 beta customers in the Detroit area. It just secured an $850,000 investment round led by Detroit Venture Partners, and plans to move the engineering team to Silicon Valley by mid-October.

Full story: Own takes aim at point-of-sale with ambitious hardware, software and cloud product | VentureBeat.

Own takes aim at point-of-sale with ambitious hardware, software and cloud product

Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iPad: Which tablet or e-reader should you buy?

small picture of the Amazon Kindle FireAmazon’s announcement of the Kindle Fire today threw down the gauntlet for both tablets and e-book readers. At just $199, it’s not much more expensive than previous e-readers, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than competing tablets.

In fact, you might be asking yourself: Why would I want a drab, monochrome E Ink reader when for a little bit more money I could get an awesome 7-inch tablet?

Conversely, why would I spend $500 and up for an iPad or Galaxy Tab when I could get a slightly smaller tablet for a fraction of the price?

We’re glad you asked. We can help you answer both questions. Here are the features, pros and cons of a number of tablets and e-book readers, sorted by price from low to high.

Read the whole roundup: Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iPad: Which tablet or e-reader should you buy? | VentureBeat.

Kindle, Nook, Kobo or iPad: Which tablet or e-reader should you buy?

Dylan’s Desk: Amazon’s Kindle tablet takes on the iPad

 

 

Each week, I’m writing a column on business and technology called Dylan’s Desk. Subscribe here, and you can read my columns a whole day before they appear on the VentureBeat website.

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Like a backroom brawler, Apple’s iPad has taken on one tablet challenger after another, and kicked the ass of every single one.

Now comes a new contender: Amazon.com, which we expect will be launching a $250 tablet on Wednesday, September 28. Will the new tablet, rumored to be named the Kindle Fire, have what it takes to knock out the champion?

Full story: Dylan’s Desk: Amazon’s Kindle tablet is ready to take on the iPad | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: Amazon’s Kindle tablet takes on the iPad

Facebook tracks what you do online, even when you’re logged out

Entrepreneur and hacker Nik Cubrilovic reports that Facebook can track the web pages you visit even when you are logged out of Facebook.

According to Cubrilovic’s tests, Facebook merely alters its tracking cookies when you log out, rather than deleting them. Your account information and other unique identifiable tokens are still present in these cookies, which means that any time you visit a web page with a Facebook button or widget, your browser is still sending personally identifiable information back to Facebook.

Full story: Facebook tracks what you do online, even when you’re logged out | VentureBeat.

Facebook tracks what you do online, even when you’re logged out

Dylan’s Desk: Facebook approaches a billion customers

DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 30JAN09 - Mark Zuc...
Image via Wikipedia

With 750 million people using it, Facebook has become one of the most far-reaching computer platforms of all time.

The company will have a billion users soon, most likely within the next few months. Zuckerberg has been promising to hit that milestone for awhile, and I see no reason that he’ll miss. Sure, the social network may be inflating its numbers — and competition from Google+ could slow it down, somewhat. Given Facebook’s momentum, though, eventually Zuck will hit his mark. It’s just a question of when.

When he does, this will put Facebook in an extremely elite group that few other companies have matched.

full story: Dylan’s Desk: Facebook approaches a billion customers | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: Facebook approaches a billion customers

AdGame goes from zero to startup hero in one week

One week ago, AdGame didn’t exist. Today, the company has a customer, a little bit of funding, and the attention of a crowd full of potential investors and partners.

The idea is to make web display ads into incentivized, educational quizzes that not only engage the viewer, but also teach them the kind of facts that would be helpful on a standardized test.

“It’s not about punching the monkey or guessing which picture is J. Lo’s ass,” said entrepreneur Tony Young Lyu, who demonstrated his technology today at Demo Fall 2011 in Silicon Valley.

Continue reading: AdGame goes from zero to startup hero in one week | VentureBeat.

AdGame goes from zero to startup hero in one week

“Get the wheels spinning all at once,” author/investor Geoffrey Moore advises companies

For business book author Geoffrey Moore, learning how to succeed in the increasingly fast-paced tech business is a competitive as well as a national imperative.

“We don’t have as much competitive advantage as a nation as we used to, so we’ve got to keep our team on the field,” said Moore.

Moore is the author of the bestselling Silicon Valley bible Crossing the Chasm. He’s also the managing director of TCG Advisors and a partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures. Suffice it to say that his words carry a lot of weight among the digerati, from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists. He appeared onstage today at Demo Fall 2011 in Silicon Valley.

Continue reading: “Get the wheels spinning all at once,” author/investor Geoffrey Moore advises companies | VentureBeat.

“Get the wheels spinning all at once,” author/investor Geoffrey Moore advises companies

Dylan’s Desk: How stressful product launches make stressful products

This is a week of tech conferences. Demo, TechCrunch Disrupt, Microsoft Build, the SF MusicTech Summit and Intel Developer Forum are all happening more or less simultaneously over the next few days. Then the Tokyo Game Show starts later this week.

In the coming weeks, Facebook F8, Adobe Max, Oracle OpenWorld, the CTIA Enterprise and Applications show, and the Web 2.0 Summit all hit our agendas.

If you are involved in the tech economy, the fall is one of the busiest times. It has always been this way.

So it’s no wonder that the stress sometimes gets the better of people.

Read the whole story: Dylan’s Desk: How stressful product launches make stressful products | VentureBeat.

Dylan’s Desk: How stressful product launches make stressful products

Demo: i-Postmortem plans to keep your website around long after you’re gone

 

 

After you’re gone, how will people remember you?

If you’re lucky, Facebook might keep your profile page around for awhile. But the company’s interest is decidedly among its living customers, who are easier to advertise to. That’s why Jacques Mechelany thinks there will be a market for his company, i-Postmortem, which creates “virtual tombs.”

“Most companies are here to make life better,” Mechelany said when introducing his company to the crowd at Demo Fall 2011 in Silicon Valley. “We are here to make death better.”

Continue reading: Demo: i-Postmortem plans to keep your website around long after you’re gone | VentureBeat.

Demo: i-Postmortem plans to keep your website around long after you’re gone

Spinal Tap, Nikki Sixx in feud over VentureBeat article

 

Sources tell us that 80s hair metal rock god Nikki Sixx was upset when we sort of compared him to mock rock band Spinal Tap.

Never mind that Sixx’s life actually reads like the script of Spinal Tap. There was the 80s excess as a member of the chart-topping Mötley Crüe. The over-the-top stage shows that started with every band member riding out on a chopper. Sixx spitting blood onstage. Huge clouds of stage smoke. The multiple heroin overdoses. Actually being dead for two minutes, and then being revived by a double shot of adrenaline to the heart. (How f***ing rock’n’roll is that??) Walking out of the hospital wearing nothing but leather pants, with a female fan on each arm?

Continue reading: Spinal Tap, Nikki Sixx in feud over VentureBeat article | VentureBeat.

Spinal Tap, Nikki Sixx in feud over VentureBeat article

Arrington puts a $30M pricetag on journalistic ethics

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington
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While I respect and envy what Arrington has built, I think he’s being disingenuous in casting his dispute with AOL as a fight for “editorial independence.”

His response doesn’t answer his critics’ main charge: That there’s too much conflict of interest between Arrington the investor and Arrington the editor.

Ask yourself how much more value Arrington has as the head of CrunchFund (his new $20 million venture fund) if he manages to retain an editorial role within TechCrunch.

Read the whole essay: Arrington puts a $30M pricetag on journalistic ethics | VentureBeat.

Arrington puts a $30M pricetag on journalistic ethics