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7 tips for making your live demo not suck

Myles Weissleder Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Myles Weissleder of SF New Tech. Portrait: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Myles Weissleder has witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to startup demos.

The former VP of public affairs at Meetup.com presides over SF New Tech, a showcase for disruptive hopefuls that he’s run for more than eight years. Over 750 companies including SkyBox, Twilio, Prezi, Flipboard and Twitter have come to his networking mixer to demo before a live audience in a trendy SOMA club.

In San Francisco’s competitive startup environment, you can demo your game-changing idea (or Pet Rock app) every night of the week, but SF New Tech is one of the longest-running and largest showcases. Wannapreneurs face a few hundred audience members — many of them from influential companies like Apple or venture capital firms like CMEA capital — where the mingling is fueled by drinks and tacos.

During a recent demo night, Cult of Mac sat down with the indefatigable Weissleder, who is as at home on the stage with a mic as he is hobnobbing at the bar, to get his top tips on how not to bomb when you take the stage with your great idea, hoping to find cash and connect with influencers.

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Bringing imaginary cities to life with the iPad

Watkins holds a fingerpainting titled It's a long way up featured at an exhibit in Verona, Italy.

iPad artist Matthew Watkins holds a finger painting titled It’s a long way up, which is featured in an exhibit in Verona, Italy.

Matthew Watkins has brought iPad finger paintings into the real world in more formats than any other artist we know.

His digital artwork has made the leap into the tangible on carpets, cars, plexiglass and the more usual prints, videos, books and live installations at fashion shows and art events. Watkins, who lives in Southern Italy — by way of Manchester, England, and a childhood spent in Toronto — uses his personal peregrinations as a source of inspiration for his ongoing series on imaginary cities, which hovers between utopia and dystopia.

“I’m drawn to urban decay and architectural artifacts,” Watkins says of the works that were on display in a recent exhibit at Verona’s Palazzo Gran Guardia. “I’ve drawn buildings and cities since I was a child. As a teenager I would draw my own imaginary worlds. I still do.”

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Sweat sensor could make iWatch most personal device ever

iwatch

Design questions aside, the true mystery about Apple’s long-rumored iWatch lies in exactly what types of health-related sensors the wearable might include. A recent report claims the iWatch will sport an astonishing 10 different sensors, including one for sweat.

While pedometers, accelerometers, thermometers and every other o-meter Jony Ive can get his hands on might all make sense for a smartwatch, we’re wondering what Apple could do with a sweat sensor? Other than verify that, yes, your sweat glands are pouring out more fluid per minute than Niagara Falls during your jog?

It turns out that adding sweat sensors would do more than differentiate the iWatch from smartwatches by LG, Motorola and Samsung right out of the gate. It could make the iWatch the most “personal” device you’ve ever shackled yourself to, with surprising applications that go far beyond fitness and health.

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New Mac Pro sits pretty in this custom desk

The new Mac Pro, with its sleek cylinder design, has gotten a bad rap. While it’s light-years from the bulky, ugly first-generation Mac Pro and “built for creativity on an epic scale,” this ingenious machine, which Apple sells for between $2,999 and $3,999, looks like a common waste receptacle.

The much-trashed design recently got some love from architect Takara Maru, who carved out a spot on this sleek walnut desk for it. Some might joke that it’s to shield users from the Mac Pro’s looks, but really the aim is to reduce clutter on the desk surface so Maru can focus on home design.

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Picturelife 3 should be your new super-awesome online photo library

The iPhone version is one of the best photo apps I've used. Screenshots Picturelife.

The iPhone version of Picturelife is one of the best photo apps I’ve used. Screenshot: Picturelife

Remember Picturelife? It was one of our top picks for online photo storage when Everpix bit it, and now it has been upgraded to version 3.0. The highlights are a new $15 per month unlimited plan, which is really truly unlimited and can be shared with up to three other family members, plus an all-new, redesigned iOS app.

Things in the online photo world are definitely heating up again. iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will bring exciting new features for photographers and a recent update to Adobe Creative Cloud gives shutterbugs even more options for editing and storage.

But Picturelife has some pretty cool tricks up its sleeve to make it a worthy competitor to the big guns. Here’s why it deserves a shot at becoming your new super-awesome online photo library.

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5 handy shortcuts that will make using your Mac painless

Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they could be when you’re using your Mac to plow through the day’s tasks. Cluttered screens and excess clicking become irritating and tiresome. In today’s video, we take a look at five useful Mac shortcuts that can make using your Apple computer even more efficient.

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Picture-perfect strategy: Why killing Aperture means Apple will rule the cloud

An aperture. Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple and Adobe make major moves to change the way we manage our photographs. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ubiquitous cloud storage and editing solutions for your photos are like buses: You wait ages for one, and then two come along at once.

Both Apple and Adobe are going all-in on allowing you to view and edit your photos on any device. Adobe has done this by bringing its Lightroom desktop app to mobile. Apple is doing it by ditching iPhoto and Aperture and starting again with the upcoming Photos app for iOS.

While the approaches are different, they both look rad. And they’ll drive a fundamental shift in the way we manage our photos.

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Lust List: Time to seriously upgrade your life

Smart strategies fuel Geometry Dash’s slow jog to success

EGEGEG

Robert Topala created current App Store champ Geometry Dash on his MacBook Pro. Photo: Robert Topala

Back in August, a new game arrived in the iOS App Store and almost immediately vanished without a trace.

“I received a few great reviews from news sites, but not enough to have an impact,” says Robert Topala, founder of RobTop Games and developer of the disappearing game. “Since I had no marketing budget it quickly dropped in rankings after release.”

For most games that would have been it. And if the story stopped there, it wouldn’t have been a tale of total failure: Topala wasn’t a professional coder, and had only been making mobile games for a couple years at the time. Simply finishing a game, getting it in the App Store and picking up a few accolades would have been nice enough.

But that wasn’t Topala’s story.

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Parking app under fire pleads its case to San Francisco officials

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Sweetch’s developers say it’s nothing like MonkeyParking, a pay-to-park app that drew the ire of San Francisco city officials. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — When they learned they were next in line for a cease-and-desist letter from the City Attorney, three young entrepreneurs made haste to City Hall to salvage their dream of making circling the block for parking a thing of the past.

Parking app Sweetch lets you alert prospective parkers that you’ll be moving your car. The person leaving the spot gets $4 in credit and the person arriving pays $5. Positioning itself as a community app, Sweetch lets drivers donate the money to local charities. (If you use the Web app version, like we did when we took it for a test drive, the money is only symbolically exchanged. Your credit card details and hard cash are only required for the iOS app.)

“It was really cool that they were open to talking to us — we clarified that we’re not auctioning parking spots or holding them, we’re not anything like MonkeyParking, and they understood that,” Sweetch co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi told Cult of Mac by phone, adding that they spoke with two deputies at the San Francisco City Attorney’s office for about an hour. City Attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey confirmed that officials met with Sweetch but didn’t have specifics on whether the cease-and-desist order had been halted as a result of the meeting.

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