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April Zero and the quest to become the world’s most transparent human

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

San Francisco designer Anand Sharma shares endless private details about his life on his April Zero website. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Anand Sharma has eaten 17 burritos in the last 141 days. An avid runner and rock climber, the San Francisco-based designer has visited parks seven times this month. He weighed 153.9 pounds and was at 18.4% bodyfat after his 5.5-mile run yesterday. He burned 688 calories during that run.

He gets around a lot, too: On July 15, he flew from Hong Kong to Changi, Singapore. Then he grabbed a bite at the Kampong Glam Cafe. He also spent 94 minutes in a car and 70 minutes on the Lomprayah high-speed ferry that day. During his long day of travel, his heart rate hit a high of 94 and a low of 66 (averaging a slightly higher than usual 79). He didn’t share any photos on Instagram, but he pushed 25 commits to code-sharing site Github.

Sharma, who was 24.382007813 years old as of this writing, is already the most transparent human being on Earth, and he’s just getting started. Fully embracing the data-hungry demands of the quantified-self movement as well as the constant spotlight of social media, he routinely shares every little detail about his life, from his travels and meals to his vital signs and work, on the slickly designed April Zero website he launched last month. Now he wants to invite you to his way of life. He’s working on a new app that will make it easy for anyone to have their own version of April Zero.

Cult of Mac talked with Sharma about April Zero, the benefits of living in public, and the possibilities of Apple’s long-rumored health-centric wearable.

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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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All-Female iOS Game Revolution 60 Is Far More Than A Political Statement

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Brianna and Frank Wu didn’t set out to make a statement.

They just ended up creating a full-on spy-meets-spice-girls mobile game with the most distinctive look you’ve ever seen, and all the roles that matter are filled with women.

“I love the idea of powerful girls who are blowing stuff up,” says Frank Wu, “flying spaceships, diffusing bombs, and doing all the stuff that you associate with space marines, but it’s kind of irrelevant to the story that they’re girls.”

Irrelevant to the storyline, maybe, but in an entertainment media that is short on strong, normative female lead characters, upcoming iPad game Revolution 60 is a breath of fresh air.

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How This Award-Winning Pixar Director Told Off Steve Jobs

Pixar's Brad Bird and Mark Andrews working on The Incredibles. Picture courtesy of Pixar.

Pixar’s Brad Bird and Mark Andrews working on The Incredibles. Picture courtesy of Pixar.

San Francisco, CA — Steve Jobs revered Pixar for its blend of artistry and technology, as Walter Isaacson detailed in his 2011 biography, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that he actually apologized to one of the artists working on the 2004 film “The Incredibles” after he criticized some of the design in the film after a screening.

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How Jobs Director Brought ‘Brutally Honest Character’ To Silver Screen

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Joshua Michael Stern, who directed Jobs, calls the late Apple leader a purist. Bingo!

It’s not easy making a posthumous movie about the world’s most well-known and beloved control freak. Just ask Joshua Michael Stern, director of new Steve Jobs biopic Jobs. The film delves into the early days of Apple Computer as Stern paints a picture of a man he calls a “brutally honest character.”

Don’t go into the PG-13 Jobs expecting any bombshells about Apple’s late, great maximum leader — you won’t find any. Instead, what you’ll get is a straightforward cinematic take on Jobs’ early partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played mostly for comic relief by Josh Gad), a healthy dose of Hollywood-style boardroom intrigue and a few glimpses into Jobs’ personal life. Many of the scenes, whether factually accurate or not, have been woven into the tapestry of tech history. And Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, obviously isn’t around to fact-check the past or exert his famous control over the final product.

“Part of the shackles for me as a director was, we really had to do everything that was sort of public domain, you know, we couldn’t stray too far off of what we basically knew about Steve,” Stern told Cult of Mac during a recent interview at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco. “But the interesting thing about Steve, being such an enigma, there really isn’t that much more to know at all. I mean, everyone knows what they know.”

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‘Knightmare Tower’ Is Great For Short Bursts Of Fast-Paced Twitch Gaming [Review]

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The endless runner genre continues to iterate across a variety of gaming apps for iOS, with clones and actual, unique ideas vying for the same space. Knightmare Tower, from Juicy Beast Studio, is one of the latter: a vertical endless runner with a twitchy, compelling take on the genre.

Players take on the role of a Knight, whose gameboy gaming session is interrupted by a letter from the local king. All of the king’s princess daughters have been captured by an evil skull, and must be rescued (sigh). Tired trope aside, the Knight leaps into action astride a wooden rocket ship, intent on flying to the top of the evil castle tower and rescuing a princess per level.

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19 Years Later, eWorld Is Dead; Long Live eWorld

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eWorld Is Where I Wanna Be

I remember when I got my first computer, ever, at the age of 24. It was a Macintosh Performa 638CD, and it came with this sweet little 14.4 baud modem that was my entree to the whole of the internet, which really wasn’t that popular back then.

I remember finding this cool little icon on the Mac with a little hand-drawn person on it, called eWorld. Hmm, I wondered. What the heck was eWorld?

Clicking through, I found an adorable little electronic village, all in that hand-drawn, gentle style. Oh, this must be like Compuserve, or Prodigy, right?

Well, yes and no. The softer, gentler world of eWorld was only for Macs, and it was my favorite place to go. Never mind that it was kind of empty; it was beautiful and I loved it.

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No WWDC Ticket? You’re In Good Company At AltWWDC [Interview]

Full house: last year's inaugural AltWWDC.

Full house: last year’s inaugural AltWWDC.

How much interest is there in Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference?

Enough to stage an alternative free five-day conference with over 40 speakers and hands-on labs that WWDC attendees may want to check out for all the topics Apple isn’t likely to cover. For the second year running, AltWWDC will be hosting the have-nots (as in have no WWDC tickets) for a gathering cloned from the official conference.

Just a few blocks from Moscone Center at the San Francisco State downtown campus, devs from around the world will be hanging out and helping each other out. There will be a volunteer lab to tackle things like crash debugging as well as talks on game development and “marketing you won’t hate.”

Around 1,500 people have signed up, meaning, yeah, even free/freewheeling AltWWDC is technically “sold out.” No worries: if you don’t have a ticket, as long as there’s room to plant your laptop, you’re in.

Cult of Mac talked to Rob Elkin, a London-based software engineer and one of the four founders of AltWWDC about what constitutes an “alt” keynote breakfast, talks Apple doesn’t want you to hear  and sponsors.

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OpenFeint Founder Tells All About His New iPad Exclusive Game, Fates Forever

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Jason Citron is a veteran of both the console and gaming space, involved with developing Double Fine’s Brutal Legend in 2006, and then releasing one of the first hit iOS games in the early, heady days of the iOS App store, a match-three puzzle game with a twist, Aurora Feint. Soon after, he created OpenFeint, which was the de facto leaderboard and multiplayer matching system for Apple mobile devices long before Game Center.

After OpenFeint was sold to Japanese social-gaming company, GREE, in April of 2011, Jason headed out to engage his passion for video game development once again with a new company, Hammer & Chisel, and a new game, announced today, called Fates Forever, an iPad-only massively online battle arena (MOBA) game.

Citron took some time out of a busy schedule to talk to Cult of Mac about the new game, it’s mechanics and business strategy, and his own take on what iPad games should be.

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iPad Mini Case Maker Opens Up About Creating Accessories For Products They’ve Never Seen [Exclusive]

iPad Mini Case Maker Opens Up About Creating Accessories For Products They’ve Never Seen [Exclusive]

It’s got to be tough making cases and other accessories for Apple products. While it may seem that everyone knows everything about the new iPad mini already, the truth is that the actual specifications of the product are unknown by anyone except Apple and its manufacturing partners in China.

An accessory maker who wants to create an iPad mini case, for example, is hard pressed to know what to make, what size and shape to make it, and what type of person is going to want it, especially at first. The stakes are high, considering that a well-designed case that makes it to market at the same time as the iPad mini will be the one that most people choose.

We spoke to Marware’s Director of Marketing, Ronnie Khadaran, who opened up about the process his company went through to design its new iPad mini cases and accessories.

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