viernes, 18 de abril de 2014

9 Profound Quotes From Your Favorite Pixar Movies

Pixar films have a magical ability to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood.

Kids and grown-ups alike look forward to the special ways in which these movies develop characters and story lines that perfectly balance the playful with the profound.

Inspired by Pixar's knack for tugging at the heartstrings, check out nine inspiring quotes from some of the company's most beloved characters.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Flickr, Michelle O'Connell Photography

Dell's Bringing Sexy Back With Latitude 7000 Ultrabook

While Ultrabook laptops include many features making them attractive to consumers — ultra-thin design, speedy solid-state drives and comfortable keyboards — businesses have different priorities. The enterprise typically wants a laptop that is secure and easy to maintain, while keeping costs as low as possible.

Can any company bridge this divide? Dell thinks businesses will love its new Ultrabook, the Latitude 7000, which it calls the "world's most secure Ultrabook." Dell crafted the new Latitude with the needs of IT departments in mind, but it was at least partly inspired by the company's XPS 13 consumer Ultrabook.

Right off the bat, you can see the Latitude 7000 is thinner and lighter than most "work" machines; the 12-inch version is under three pounds and is just 0.79 inch thin. Clearly, Dell has taken the Ultrabook ethos and put it in a PC made for business.

In doing so, it had to plan for a long lifespan. Dell found that even though most IT departments say they intend a laptop to last three years on average, most deployments last for five years or more. With the new Latitude, Dell did its best to project forward and offer features to ensure it wouldn't be useless come 2018.

"Reliability is always a concern, especially considering rollout periods," said David Ruth, director of Dell's commercial PC group. "Are there options I can have in my system that allow me to keep a system that I deploy now fresh in an environment four years from now? Are there hardware features I can buy that will address evolving trends?"

Enterprise-friendly features such as a fingerprint reader, smart card support and WiGig compatibility (letting the Latitude connect to a work station wirelessly) aim to keep the Latitude not only relevant but also powerful in the coming years. But perhaps the most important part of the machine's longevity is its removable battery, negating the need for a service call when it can no longer hold a charge.

The laptop comes equipped with loads of security features, including Dell Data Protection, which can encrypt data to an extremely high standard (FIPS 140-2, for the curious) and "Protected Workspace," which is said to defend against even zero-day attacks from new malware.

"The common theme here is we designed an Ultrabook from the ground up that is not compromised from a commercial notebook standpoint," Ruth said.

Starting at $1,049, the Latitude 7000 comes in 12.5- and 14-inch screen sizes. Configuration options are plentiful: RAM goes up to 8GB, screen resolution up to full HD (1,920 x 1,080), the processor up to Intel Core i7 and the display can be touch or non-touch. Storage is a 256GB SSD for either size, although there's a 500GB hard-disk option for the 14-inch.

If the 7000 is more Latitude than you need, Dell also offers 5000 and 3000 series Latitude laptops. The 5000 series has similar security as the 7000, but its features aren't as thin or light. The 3000, starting at $549, is aimed at the education market, and doesn't have the same level of security. Both the Latitude 5000 and 3000 come in 14- and 15.6-inch screen sizes. All 2013 Latitude models have displays protected by the next generation of Gorilla Glass, NBT.

The 7000 and 3000 series will be available Sept. 12, while the 5000 series arrives in October (no price is available yet).

How do you like Dell's latest business laptops? Let us know in the comments.

Images: Mashable, Meghan Uno

Vancouver's GROW Conference Shines A Spotlight On Canada's Growing Startup Scene

When it comes to the tech conference circuit outside of Silicon Valley, Canada is probably not top of mind for most people, but I've got a feeling that's slowly changing. Last week, Vancouver hosted the fourth edition of the GROW conference, a two-day event (plus one for outdoor activities around the city) that brings together startups from all over Canada and the West Coast. Four years ago, the inaugural event attracted 400 people. This year, over 1,200 made the trip to Vancouver's Convention Center, which will also play host to TED next year.

To me, GROW has become one of the premier networking conferences, as it's a great way to take the pulse of the Canadian startup scene. As with many things Canada, it's easy to underestimate the role of the tech industry there. In British Columbia, more people now work in tech jobs than in fields like mining, forestry and oil gas. Local successes like Hootsuite, Shopify and even smaller companies like Top Hat, seem to have provided a bit of a boost to those who previously only thought about starting their own companies. The slow decline of Blackberry, virtually everybody told me, has had very little effect on the Canadian startup scene in general.

Getting angel funding and raising a seed round seems to be getting a bit easier, though virtually all of the companies I talked to – whether they were in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal – noted that raising a significant Series A round still meant heading to Silicon Valley and knocking on doors there.

Sometimes, the Canadian government still has to learn a bit, of course, as in the case of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities shutting down coding school Bitmaker Labs earlier this year (it's back up and running now). Overall, however.

Besides the networking, one thing that always makes GROW stand out for me is that the conference program tends to have a strong focus on providing very practical advise for startups. Maybe this is a Canadian thing, but the event keeps the hype low and usefulness high – something that's even true for most of the startups that attend. From Google Venture's Daniel Burka and Jake Knapp talking about how to build prototypes quickly and effectively, TechCrunch contributor Nir Eyal talking about how to get users hooked to your app and 500px CEO Oleg Gutsol talking about how to build a better user experience, GROW's focus is on helping startups to get started. Sometimes that means going very technical and looking at how to build the right APIs for a service or how to analyze user metrics, while at other times it's about raising money and building the right team. This focus on practicality is something we don't see that often outside of vendor conferences and it's a nice break from the more VC-centric events around Silicon Valley.

If you are considering to go to GROW next year, by the way, I highly recommend taking the train from Portland or Seattle the day before. With well over 100 entrepreneurs and VCs on it – and three dedicated rail cars for attendees – it's a networking bonanza that's hard to beat (and alcohol flows pretty freely, too). This year, a number of Canadian startups like Mover, which had just raised a $1 million seed round) and BeauCoo, which would go on to win GROW's startup competition, as well as a few Silicon Valley VCs and virtually every well-known startup from Seattle and Portland made the eight-hour trip.

Fail Week: When Mark Suster Believed His Own Startup's Hype, And Everything Came Crashing Down

To very loosely paraphrase Tolstoy, all successes are alike, but each epic failure fails in its own unique way. But here in the tech industry, we don't discuss failure stories nearly as much as success stories — and that's a shame, because even the biggest winners in the world of entrepreneurship have had their fair share of missteps.

So we at TechCrunch created Fail Week, five day long video series that shines some light on the dark days that even the most lucky of entrepreneurs go through.

Today we're featuring Marc Suster, who famously had success on "both sides of the table" as a repeat entrepreneur turned investor over nearly two decades in the industry.

But not all of his efforts have been winners. Watch the video embedded above to hear about how he got caught up in believing his own hype and proceeded to make "every single mistake you can make" in building a startup — he bit off much more than he could chew in terms of funding, press coverage, product development, investor expectations, hiring, you name it, and eventually it all came crashing down.

You can find all our Fail Week stories here.

Mark joined GRP Partners in 2007 after having worked with GRP for nearly 8 years as a two-time entrepreneur. Most recently Mark was Vice President, Product Management at (NASDAQ: CRM) following its acquisition of Koral,where Mark was Founder and CEO. Prior to Koral, Mark was Founder and CEO of BuildOnline, the largest independent global content collaboration company focused on the engineering and construction sectors, which was acquired by SWORD Group (PARIS: SWP). Earlier in his career, Mark spent...

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MathGraphica3D impresses with scope and numeric depth

Back in school (1970s!!!), I remember tackling algebra, derivatives and integrals from a purely symbolic point of view. Everything had to be solved with manipulations on pencil and paper, and it was only at university that I encountered the 'modern' way to approach complex eqiations from the point of view of putting in numbers and 'seeing what happens', then iterating very fast using a computer to adjust the inputs until a desired output is achieved. Such computational techniques have the disadvantage that they're rarely as satisfactory for relatively simple equations but the huge advantage that they can produce 'solutions' for complex equations which would be almost impossible to solve by traditional means.

Now, with your Symbian smartphone being a mini-computer in your hand, you can delve into the world of computational analysis on a nHD touchscreen. Oh, and, you won't be surprised to note that the other advantage of a computer doing most of the work is that pretty graphs are easy to create - no more graph paper and coloured biro for you!

Screenshot, MathGraphica3DScreenshot, MathGraphica3D

Screenshot, MathGraphica3DScreenshot, MathGraphica3D

Each graph can be zoomed into if needed, or animated/spun in any axis, which always makes for an impressive demo - credit to the developer for seeding each area of MathGraphica3D with a sample function or suitable set of data, to get users off to a flying start in terms of appreciating what the application can do.

Screenshot, MathGraphica3DScreenshot, MathGraphica3D

At heart is a full numerical analysis engine though. I remember stuffing values into mainframe routines back in the 1980s and here we are doing similar analysis on a phone in 2013....

I was very impressed that the developer backs up the application with a full hypertext help system/manual, and it's built-into the app and not relying on a web page, handily, so can be accessed quickly and from anywhere...

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I had intended to make this a full review, but realised that I was out of practice, out of my depth, or (quite possibly) both, but you'll get the idea from my test screens and comments, at least. The learning curve here is high, but the functions on offer are surprisingly powerful and anyone working in the fields of science or engineering should find MathGraphica3D a very useful addition to their phone.

Screenshot, MathGraphica3DScreenshot, MathGraphica3D

You can buy MathGraphica3D for £3 here in the Nokia Store, plus there's a version without the graphing modules for £1.50 here. Highly recommended.

Finally, here are a few videos from MathGraphica3D's creator, showing some of the functionality at work (in the desktop version). They'll give you an idea, anyway:

Post-Acquisition, Brightcove’s Zencoder Adds Live Streaming And Instant Playback

Video distribution company Brightcove announced its acquisition of Zencoder to coincide with its second-quarter earnings announcement in July, paying $30 million for the cloud encoding startup. But that doesn't mean it's done innovating. In fact, Brightcove is already adding more features and functionality to the new encoding side of its business, with the launch of two new offerings to improve live and on-demand video playback.

The first of the two new products, Zencoder Instant Play, will provide near-instant gratification to customers who want to very quickly get video files up and available on the web. In Zencoder's old workflow, customers would upload video, wait for them to process, and then wait for them to get sent out to a CDN before they were available for viewing. Now, almost immediately after a video is uploaded, its bits will begin to be made available to users. That means customers can begin embedding the on-demand video even before it's finished uploading.

Instant Play is being made available in beta, and at launch it will only support streaming to Zencoder's free, open source Video.js player. But the company is looking to expand the functionality to its own Brightcove Video Cloud player as well.

Meanwhile, Zencoder's new Live Cloud Transcoding will make it easier and cheaper for customers to begin live streaming events. No longer will they need an encoder just sitting around waiting for a live event to come along. Not only are those encoders expensive, but they require operational expertise that they don't necessarily have. Plus, customers need to live stream to multiple different devices, which requires a number of different adaptive bit rate technologies. Live Cloud Transcoding will allow customers to stream to all those places, with no real upfront investment.

Brightcove has yet to figure out final pricing for the new offerings, but chief marketing officer Jeff Whatcott says that, like Zencoder's existing on-demand encoding services, customers will be charged based upon usage. That means that for live events, they'll be spending hundreds of dollars, rather than potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, Brightcove is announcing a DRM solution to customers for secure distribution of their content. It's integrating Google's Widevine technology into its Video Cloud offering, which will allow them to secure playback on a number of connected devices. Brightcove says that the Widevine technology is supported by 539 million consumer devices, including 284 million TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and game consoles. Customers leveraging the Widevine tech include Television New Zealand and LG Electronics.

Brightcove is announcing these things at the IBC international broadcaster conference in Amsterdam, where it's hoping to secure more deals with big name broadcasters and other distributors of streaming video content. Since Zencoder — and Video.js — is likely to play an even bigger part in its customer acquisition story in the future, this looks like a good way to start.

Brightcove Inc., a leading global provider of cloud content services, provides a family of products used to publish and distribute the world's professional digital media. The company's products include Brightcove Video Cloud, the market-leading online video platform, and Brightcove App Cloud, a pioneering content app platform. Nearly 3,300 customers in over 50 countries rely on Video Cloud to build and operate media experiences across PCs, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. Brightcove was founded in early 2004. Competitors include PermissionTV, VideoEgg,...

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How Video Platform Craftsy Is Acquiring 1,600 Paying Students Per Day

Name: Craftsy

Quick Pitch: Online video tutorials for a range of crafts.

Genius Idea: A baked-in e-commerce offering for patterns and supplies.

In 2010, John Levisay realized that the "promise of online education was not being fulfilled." The former eBay and ServiceMagic executive went on later that year to found Craftsy, an online platform that teaches users a range of craft skills, from cake decorating to weaving, through paid video courses. The company raised an angel round of funding in May 2010 and launched a website one year later.

"We were seeing glorified PowerPoints with voiceovers, grainy video taken at the back of classrooms — it wasn't what online education pledged to be," Levisay recalls. "We wanted to create something that captured the magic of a live classroom, not only a great instructor but also interaction with that instructor as well as fellow students. We knew there were thousands of categories where people want to learn, and we remembered from our eBay days what a huge, underserved market crafts and hobbies instruction is."

Most of Craftsy's courses offer between four and six hours of lessons, and cost between $20 and $40 — expensive for some, but Levisay says some instructors charge as much as $500 for a live course. Viewers can pose questions to instructors at any point during the videos, and see answers to questions instructors have already answered. They can also go back and review course material they might later forget.

The most popular category is quilting, says Levisay. Cake decorating is the fastest-growing. Nearly 100% of customers are female, 80% are older than 40 and nearly a third are 61 years old or above. "We have what we consider to be an underserved demographic that are passionate and affluent, and who are fantastic and loyal customers," Levisay says.

Beyond video courses, Craftsy also offers step-by-step, photo-based Workshops, and a marketplace for materials and supplies as well as patterns created by other users. Craftsy does not take a cut of any pattern sales — "We think it helps indie designers, and it brings users to the site," Levisay says of the company's decision not to charge.

Instructors are usually flown in to Craftsy's Denver, Colo., headquarters to film courses. About 14 are filmed per month. So that instructors will promote their own courses, they are paid a percentage of total course revenue.

The company's customer acquisition strategy is centered on social media, namely Facebook. Craftsy operates a number of unbranded clubs, like this one for quilting, which has more than 230,000 fans. Through those clubs, Craftsy offers free content and special offers on courses. The company also posts excerpts on YouTube, and has done offers through Gilt City and LivingSocial to reach consumers who might once have been knitters or jewelry-makers and want to get back into crafting.

Paid search is not a major customer acquisition channel for Craftsy. "When it comes to education, there's not a ton of intent," says Levisay. "You don't wake up on a Sunday morning and say, 'I want to take a quilting class.'"

Scaling and production are the two main focuses for the rest of the year, Levisay says. In two weeks, Craftsy will also launch an iPad app.

By the end of 2012, Levisay estimates Craftsy will have about 600,000 enrolled students — 1,600 people are enrolling each day on average.

The company has raised $20 million in funding to date.

Image courtesy of Flickr, sexyninjamonkey