links for 2010-04-02

  • It’s hard enough to catch a venture capital company’s eye, but convincing them to give you funding is even harder. Beth Seidenberg, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, runs down the five metrics she uses to decide which companies will get money in this lecture given at Stanford University. As it often does, it comes down to leadership – and while passion is critical, you need to be able to communicate that clearly.
  • Twitter’s new @anywhere feature looks to be telling the social media world that you can run but you cannot hide from the spread of its tweets.
    This new framework, dubbed @anywhere, is designed to help companies more easily display tweets about their products, people or events on their Web pages.
    Analysts said the framework could spread Twitter activity far beyond its current boundaries.
    “The name they’ve chosen is an obvious sign of what Twitter has in mind: They intend to be anywhere you are,” said Augie Ray, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
    (tags: twitter)

  • The open-source skipfish software can be used as preparation for a professional Web application security evaluation.
    Google on Friday released an automated Web security scanning program called skipfish to help reduce online security vulnerabilities.
    Though skipfish performs the same functions as other open-source scanning tools like Nikto and Nessus, Google engineer Michal Zalewski argues that skipfish has a several advantages.
    It operates at high speed, thanks to optimized HTTP handling and a low CPU footprint, and can easily reach 2000 requests per second, he explains in a blog post.
  • Today’s smart phones have all the speed, storage, and network connectivity of desktop computers from a few years ago. Because of this, they’re a treasure trove of personal information–and likely the next battleground for computer security.
    What makes smart phones attractive–the ability to customize them by downloading applications–is what makes them dangerous. Apps make the mobile phone a real computer, and Apple’s App Store has been a key factor in the phone’s success. But apps also make smart phones a target for cyber criminals.
  • When betaworks launched chartbeat nearly a year ago, the idea was to create a realtime Google Analytics for Websites. Chartbeat is a dashboard which shows you how many people are on your site right now, where they are coming from, and how engaged they are. Watching realtime stats is even more addictive than Google Analytics because you can put something up on your Website and immediately see the reaction.Today, Chartbeat is releasing an entirely new version in beta. The bland design of the old dashboard is being replaced with much more colorful, easy-to-read charts and graphs which pulsate as the activity on your Website changes.
  • Demand is such for Apple’s new tablet-style device that orders placed this week won’t arrive until more than a week after the official, April 3rd launch.
    Consumers who waited until Monday to pre-order an iPad from Apple won’t get their hands on the tablet-style device in time for its highly anticipated debut on April 3rd.
    Apple’s Web site indicates that its backlog for iPad pre-orders now extends more than a week, and that iPads pre-ordered this week won’t ship until April 12th, according to information on the online Apple Store, Apple’s official e-commerce site.
    While the backlog may frustrate tech enthusiasts, it’s good news for Cupertino as the situation indicates strong demand for the iPad. To boot, product shortages—whether it’s a new computer or the latest talking kids doll–often help pump up the hype around a product.
    (tags: apple ipad)
  • Someone saw him.
    At the prompting of one of his friends, Hagerstown Hall Community Assistant Conor Scott visited a website he had never heard of before, where an anonymous post titled, “At The Hagerstown Front Desk” was all about him: “I think you know, but just for the record I only like you for your large hands. … and also your adorably nerdy glasses. Whenever I see that you’re the CA on duty I smile at you.”
    Other posts anonymously directed at Scott, a sophomore philosophy and business major, continued daily for the next week, prompting an investigation by his fellow CAs. But Scott’s admirer remains anonymous, and that’s exactly the intention of the newest university-centric website,
    (tags: maryland)
  • Nathan Solomon posted a comment on the nextNY forum yesterday with links to these blogs about section 926 of the proposed bill:…………
    “If left in the Financial Reform Bill, section 926 would;
    1) Require companies taking Angel Investments or certain types of Venture Investments to fill with the SEC. Anyone who has had to work with the SEC will tell you this will be a time consuming and frustrating process. Simply put this will be nothing but a burden on early stage companies.
    2) The provision will double the net worth required to be an accredited investor from one million to two million. This will significantly reduce the amount of people that are legally allowed to be Angel Investors.”
    Sen. Dodd is allegedly in charge of this bill. His contact info is:
    DC: 202-224-2823
    CT: 800-334-5341
    The Senator’s twitter account is: @SenChrisDodd (use #pull926 as a hash)
  • According to sources at two different wireless network operators, Google has been paying the carriers to deploy the Android platform. Perhaps that’s why Android headlines have dominated trade shows this year, such as CES, Mobile World Congress and CTIA. With this knowledge, I believe it’s fair to say Google has fully turned to the Dark Side.
    Google is now Evil.
    Today MocoNews cites sources from two separate U.S. companies who say that Google has paid them to adopt Android. What does that mean, exactly?
    The terms and conditions of the agreements struck between handset makers, software providers and wireless network operators are rarely disclosed. More than three years after the announcement of the iPhone we still don’t know how long the exclusivity agreement between Apple and AT&T will last.
  • Watching live video on your iPhone is nothing new, but it is becoming increasingly easier to do. More than a year after Ustream launched its live video viewing iPhone app, and followed up with a video publishing app, along with Qik and Kyte, is entering the mobile game with its first iPhone app (which should be available shortly in the iTunes store) CEO Michael Seibel says they took their time with the app because they wanted to get it right. “We tried not to cut corners,” he says. All the live videos and channels available on the Website can be watched in the iPhone app. You can find videos by looking at the featured channels or by searching.
    (tags: mobile video)
  • Cops are investigating whether cyberbullies contributed to the suicide of a Long Island teen with nasty messages posted online after her death.
    Alexis Pilkington, 17, a West Islip soccer star, took her own life Sunday following vicious taunts on social networking sites – which persisted postmortem on Internet tribute pages, worsening the grief of her family and friends.
    “Investigators are monitoring the postings and will take action if any communication is determined to be of a criminal nature,” Suffolk County Deputy Chief of Detectives Frank Stallone said yesterday.
  • I’ll never forget my first marketing class at business school. Our professor peered at us with an intense glare as he pushed back on our standard, “chip shot” comments. At one point in the class he asked the guy next to me to opine on the case we were discussing, which involved launching a new consumer product.
    “Well,” my neighbor answered confidently, “I think it will be a hit because I can see my mother-in-law buying it.”
    “I see,” replied my professor dryly and then turned to the class with a withering look on his face, “Steve appears to have fallen into that fatal trap of ‘Mother In Law Market Research’ – believing this new product will be a hit just because his mother-in-law likes it. Instead, let’s look at the data, shall we?”
  • Adobe’s Flash Player has come under fire from developers and companies who question its necessity, but the plug-in has just received a big vote of confidence from Google.
    This week, Google announced that its Chrome browser will come with Flash built in. And Google, Adobe, and another browser maker, Mozilla, have revealed plans to improve the way plug-ins interface with browsers. This could lead to better performance, security, and user experience for Flash and other plug-ins, say those involved.
    Flash is commonly used to add graphics, interactive features, video, and animation to websites. But users have to download and install Flash to make these features work, and they need to download newer versions to keep it up-to-date.
  • Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) is raising some eyebrows with a comment he made about the U.S. territory of Guam during a House Armed Services Committee hearing last Thursday.
    In a discussion regarding a planned military buildup on the Pacific island, Johnson expressed some concerns about the plans to Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific fleet.
    “My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” Johnson said. Willard paused and replied, “We don’t anticipate that.”
  • An Manhattan appeals court has restored some of the luster to Tiffany & Co.’s claim that eBay should be held liable for touting fake bling sold through its Web site.
    But this morning’s decision let stand a verdict clearing the online auction house of trademark infringement, which Tiffany says “allows eBay to profit from counterfeit sales.”
    The federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the luxury jeweler should get a second shot at trying to prove that the popular online auction house engages in false advertising through search-engine ads and hyperlinks to “Tiffany” items available on eBay.
    The 45-page decision notes that eBay “does not deny” its “generalized knowledge that Tiffany products sold on eBay were often counterfeit.”
    “An online advertiser such as eBay need not cease its advertisements for a kind of goods only because it knows that not all of the goods are authentic. A disclaimer might suffice,” Judge Robert Sack wrote for the three-judge panel.
  • Too bad you couldn’t have taken out start-up insurance.
    That’s what pops in to mind when you hear the saga of Heritage Union Life Insurance, Philip Walker’s start-up from hell, the company birth no entrepreneur in his right mind would choose to midwife.
    You think your industry is tough? Try breaking into life insurance, a field whose barriers to entry include, in Walker’s words, “high overhead, onerous regulatory restraints, and lawyers out the ying-yang.” Life insurance comes under the purview of the states, so there is no common application for licensure, and each state raises its own bureaucratic hurdles. Then there’s the Catch-22 of getting rated. A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s aren’t likely to bestow a top rating to a company without a track record and a colossal cache of capital — and yet such a rating is nearly essential to getting business and building that track record.

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