If Kevin Costner Can Fix an Oil Spill, Then Tom Hanks Should at Least Build a Bestselling iPad App

Remember these? No, no you really don't. You're not fooling anyone but yourself.

Remember these? No, no, you really don’t. You’re not fooling anyone but yourself.

It’s a world where anything is possible. One day, you win an Oscar for your dissertation on the hidden substance of bonbons vis-à-vis Schrödinger’s cat; the next, you bring your fascination with old-timey mechanical doodads to a primed-and-ready steampunk-crazed consumer base with iPads. God bless you, Tom Hanks, for all that you do.

In all fairness, Hanx Writer is pretty cute. The Five-Timer Club member and famed typewriter collector recently joined forces with what we have to assume is one or more developers (unless he’s coding now (!)) to translate his typewriter love-fest into a language that both kids and adults understand. It’s inedible Frosted Mini-Wheats, basically.

The mega-popular Hanx Writer — the number one free app in the App Store as of today — takes ordinary word processing functionality and dresses it up with the atavistic mechanical sounds, Courier font, and animated type guide that recalls a time when writing meant something. Sean Connery’s William Forrester would be proud.

Hanks himself understands that his app isn’t ideal for term papers or legal briefs, but envisions it more for journal entries, love letters, and the like. His eyesight seems to be working just fine. We can all truly be the man now, dog. From Mashable: http://mashable.com/2014/08/18/tom-hanks-typewriter-app/.

David Galper on Soofa: Where Technology Meets the Public Good

David Galper MITAs a longtime entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, rarely do I see a new product or service that receives near-universal acclaim among early adopters and industry critics alike. From the fertile soil of my alma mater MIT’s Media Lab comes Soofa, a solar-powered mobile device charging station that adds a tech-friendly feature to public outdoor spaces without blemishing the surrounding environment, be it concrete or green. In fact, it seamlessly integrates into a standard park bench, looks stylish, and offers a free, eco-friendly service to the general public.

Created by Media Lab spinoff company Changing Environments, Soofa (the more appealing name derived from the “smart urban furniture appliance” acronym, SUFA) provides a practical solution to a minor-to-moderate problem faced by urbanites everywhere. As most of us have at least one kind of mobile device that needs periodic recharging, we know what it’s like to lose power at inopportune moments and experience the functional paralysis that comes with the sudden loss of our technologically-dependent capabilities. Not only does it keep us from making phone calls, it shutters our address books, blanks our digital street maps and compasses, and prohibits any kind of online activity, regardless of how much we might need it. With a nearby Soofa charging station, the suddenly powerless can sit down, plug in and do what they could not normally do outside of the home or office.

As an added benefit to urban living, Soofa provides this service without any negative impact to the environment. These zero-emission power stations demonstrate that technology can simultaneously make our lives easier and reduce our collective carbon footprint, if only in a small way. Perhaps “thinking small” is how we meet our expectations of new technology after all. More on this story can be found at Mashable.

Entrepreuneurship Not a Huge Interest for College Students

Entrepreneurship and the start-up industry are two topics that have increased in popularity over the last decades with the media discussing it more and non-profits, governments and academic institutions developing initiatives around it. However, students aren’t flocking to the major or registering for entrepreneurship courses at the rates that you would assume. Less than two percent of business school professors teach the subject and less than one percent of freshmen have intentions to major in it. According to the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA, which surveys incoming college freshmen annually, only 0.7 percent of the 193,000 students at 283 U.S. colleges and universities who responded to the 2012 survey, said that they intended to choose entrepreneurship as their course of study. In comparison: 2.3 percent of incoming college students plan to study accounting; 2.6 percent intend to major in elementary education; 6.9 percent aim to major in biology; 2.7 percent plan to study mechanical engineering; and 1.0 percent intend to major in economics. A trend that was noticed was that entrepreneurship was of interest to more students at historically Black colleges and universities.

The percentages were also noticeably lower at other types of academic institutions. The HERI survey found that 0.8 percent of freshmen at nonsectarian colleges, and 0.6 at Catholic institutions planned to major in the subject. But only 0.5 percent of students at non-Catholic religious institutions planned to study the topic. It also revealed that 1.2 percent of students at private universities, but only 0.7 percent of students at public universities, planned to major in the subject.As past research has indicated, the vast majority of intended entrepreneurship majors were male. The HERI survey shows that 1.1 percent of male students plan to major in entrepreneurship versus only 0.3 percent of college women.

At most schools and colleges, enterprise classes and majors are taught by business school employees, yet just a minority of licensed business schools overall offer degrees in the subject. As stated by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) – the biggest cooperation of business employees and managers – 21 percent of AACSB-licensed organizations overall offer no less than one undergrad program in enterprise or little business and 10 percent give no less than one system at the MBA level. Just 6 percent of schools offer a claim to fame graduate degree in the subject.

Just a minor cut of full-time business school working parts falls in the enterprise discipline – 2 percent of the aggregate full-time staff pool at AACSB-licensed establishments. That number is developing gradually, with the AACSB reporting its licensed foundations wanted to build the amount of “full-time doctoral positions” in the order by 4 percent in the latest year its part establishments were reviewed.

Beats Music Adds More Competition in Crowded Music Streaming Market

The music industry continues to be in complete turmoil as new products and services become available decreasing the need to purchase albums and singles. We saw the introduction of the digital music service that was Ruckus, founded by David Galper, and then came downloadable digital music, better known as iTunes. The sales from iTunes helped to sustain the music industry for some decades, but now streaming music on mobile devices and computers is becoming more and more the norm and the revenue for labels and artists just continues to decrease. The streaming business however is now crowded with competition with companies like Pandora, Spotify, Songza, Rdio and iTunes Radio all vying for the attention of music lovers. What makes this industry even more crowded, is the lack of a dominant business strategy. Each platform has its own conflicting formats, pricing, subscription models and features, while artists only receive “unfairly low royalty fees.”

Taking all of this into consideration, one must wonder if another music streaming service is necessary and profitable. Beats Electronics seems to think so,  as the company behind the popular line of high-end headphones and speakers, launched Beats Music earlier this week. Creators record producer Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre. Iovine, are optimistic about Beats Music’s ability to compete in the marketplace because of the instant brand recognition and cross promotion opportunities through the already successful Beats headphones. “Beats will draw a lot of attention to music services, creating a halo effect for the industry,” says Ted Cohen, managing partner with digital music consultant Tag Strategic. The service will be available on both Apple iOS and Android devices, and features a combination of abilities that other service providers have like on-demand tunes similar to Spotify and the music suggestions and curated playlists available with Pandora and Songza. It also boasts an on-demand library of more than 20 million songs. Beats real competitive advantage will come from its fixed fee subscription model like Netflix. “Subscription can really work. It can be great, if not better than owning the music, because you have all the music to choose from.” —Beats Music co-founder Iovine

The service’s street cred (Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor is chief creative officer) is a big edge, according to Iovine. Beats Music’s algorithms track users’ musical tastes and suggest personalized playlists created and updated daily with input from former radio DJs, music critics, ex-record executives, and other experts affiliated with the service. Subscribers can also choose from other playlists for nearly every occasion—working out, cooking, or breaking up (cue Adele). “We’re music guys,” Iovine says. “All those others, those were created by computer programmers and tech guys. We bring a lot of passion and, at the end of the day, I just believe something very unique.”

Beats Music plans put the power back into the artist’s hands. It plans to let artists use the music service to connect directly with fans, by being able to control their profile, sell merchandise, and update their followers on upcoming concerts and albums. “I took a long look in the mirror and asked myself whether I was about to do something that would hurt artists,” Reznor says. “I came to the conclusion that this will be beneficial and in everyone’s long-term interests.”

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-01-23/beats-music-joins-the-crowded-streaming-music-market#p2

New Update to Twitter #Music for iOS

Twitter #Music App

Today, Twitter released its first update to its music service called Twitter #Music available inside the App Store. 

On April 18, the social networking site launched its service in the US, Canada, Australia and parts of Europe online and as an iOS app.  The platform brings together songs from multiple provides including iTunes, Spotify or Rdio, and will play only a short preview. However, Rdio and Spotify subscribers can log into their accounts, and access the full tracks.

The app is originally launched with four tabs; popular, emerging, suggested and #nowplaying.#Nowplaying brought the power of the social web to life by showcasing songs that have recently been tweeted by accounts the user follows.

The biggest change with this update is the addition of the genres including: Alternative, Country, Dance, Electronic, Folk, Hip-Hop, Metal, Pop, R&B, and Rock. These are located in the Charts section, which now also includes 3 new types: Superstars, Unearthed, and Hunted. Previously, the app only offered two charts: Popular and Emerging.

Learn more on TNW