I just bought a new iPad which is a 64GB version. My son said “why did you waste your money?” Well, I told him, on my old iPad I filled up nearly 16gb with just apps and wanted more space so I could hold my music. “Get Pandora,” he told me. Heheh. My son telling me something I’ve known for years (I was one of the first people to cover Pandora, years ago). But his insight was deep. No longer are kids storing music, or copying it from each other. They are using streaming systems. And further they want new kinds of music discovery apps. I showed him one new app, Soundtracking, that I came back home from SXSW with. It’s awesome. Here CEO Steve Jang shows it to me. Great app, lots of fun for music lovers, get it on the iTunes store.
One of the cooler things I saw at SXSW was Screach. What is it? It lets you use your mobile phone to control things on a bigger, different, screen.
Think about a new kind of bar game you could play with other people, all from your mobile phones. Take a look at how it works.
I love this new world, don’t you?
You all know I really despise AT&T, even though I continue paying them thousands of dollars per year for three cell phones. Since getting my Verizon iPhone I haven’t dropped a call and I can actually hear the other party. Steve Gillmor got one on Friday and, wow, what a difference. Not to mention that the world’s toughest dead zone: Devil’s Slide is non-existent for AT&T and TMobile, but works the entire way on Verizon for me.
TMobile is even worse. It doesn’t have enough coverage. My entire neighborhood, which includes some of the houses of the richest VCs, not to mention VPs from Apple, HP, and other places, has NO TMobile Coverage. This isn’t back waters of some flyover state. It’s 13 miles from the tech center of the world (at least until Beijing takes over later this decade).
CNBC just announced AT&T is buying TMobile’s US business for $39 billion. More details flowing in on Google News and even more over on Techmeme. That’s one way to get more bandwidth to try to serve iPhone users better before they all realize Verizon has a better network.
I think this COULD be a good thing, if they fill in some of the numerous dead zones and get us better service. I’m stuck with AT&T because I need to head to Europe every few months and AT&T’s iPhone is better there. Also because in other places AT&T does have better coverage, and its data is faster and also I can use data while talking, which really isn’t that big a deal for ME anymore (since I have two phones, I solved that problem).
Anyway, does one bad company buying another make a good one? I guess we’ll see.
Yes, I know I might get crap for calling these companies bad companies, but I’ve paid AT&T thousands of dollars over the last few years. I’ve earned that right.
Speaking of which, why didn’t they just spend that $39 billion making a better network? Oh, do I love capitalism sometimes.
This is a forced marriage due to Verizon finally getting the iPhone. If that hadn’t happened AT&T would have continued not to worry and continued not to invest in its network. Now that they know lots of people will switch when their contracts are up they needed to do something huge to try to improve the network before everyone wises up.
Right before heading to SXSW I had a remarkable visit to ImageShack, the folks who make YFrog. Don’t know who they are? Well, they are serving millions of images and video to tons of people on Twitter and other social networks. They are turning on a major new version that turns YFrog into a full-blown social network. See a preview of that below.
But very quickly I learned this startup was different and, no, it wasn’t because of the pile of plastic frogs in the middle of the room.
What was different? The CEO, Jack Levin. I could tell instantly that he was operationally minded. But then he dropped the bombshell: he was Google’s first ops hire. Oh, I really do need to do more homework on startups before I show up.
So, I quickly turned on my camera and we did three videos:
1. Where we talked about operations and web startup infrastructure. Lots of stories about early days at Google (he was hired by Google when they only had 30 employees and about 300 servers).
2. One where he shows me the new YFrog.
3. His “fun” project where he’s building a datacenter that uses NVidia graphic cards to do the processing instead of the Intel processors in the machines. He’s able to get a 30x improvement in some processing by doing this.
Sorry for the bad audio, my camera’s audio input was dead and I didn’t realize it until I got home. It’s not often that a CEO is so operationally-focused and it’s even rarer that they open up their infrastructure and show me how it works. Hope you enjoy this interesting look inside how YFrog works.
Thanks Jack for sharing what you’re doing.