Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Roundup of Apple Tablet Details from Alleged Beta Tester Jason Calcanis, Others


The blurry camphone pic above may be the first legit photo of the Apple tablet device (yes, name still withheld) seen in the wild. It was posted by tech entrepreneur Matt Schlict around 2:30 am Pacific Tuesday night, just hours after (apparently) the NDAs signed by a number of Apple beta testers expired.

Schlict and fellow tech investor Jason Calcanis tweeted a bunch of new details on the device, which (assuming this is not a hack nor a publicity stunt), include the following:

Tablet will come in 3 sizes / memory levels, priced at $599, $699 and $799

Connects to other tablets over wifi for gaming.

Two cameras - one on the front and one on the back. Video conferencing built-in.

Custom Farmville application (no, I'm not making this up)

Chess application that came in second software build (not all testers had seen it...suspicious?)

OLED screen

Back has solar pad for recharging

Verizon and AT&T connectivity

Two thumbpads - one left and one right side - for mouse gestures and thumbprint security

Battery life is "good in ebook," and only 2 -3 hours when playing games or using wi-fi.

Runs an iPhone OS "with ability to have multiple apps running at the same time"

Wireless keyboard and monitor connection for TV

Built-in HDTV tuner and pvr

Auto-syncs with iPhone

Will NOT go on sale today

Apple Tablet Spoiler! 2 Cams, OLED, Solar Charging and...Farmville?

Screen shot 2010-01-27 at 7.05.38 AM

Tech entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Calcanis appears to have dropped a mother lode of specific details about the Apple tablet device 16 hours before today's big announcement. Calcanis - founder of Weblogs, Inc and owner of Mahalo - an angel investor company with money in electric sportscar startup Tesla Inc - made the revelations on his Twitter account @Jason Tuesday evening.

According to Calcanis' verified Twitter account, "as a pundit," he was given a tablet to beta by Apple ten days ago. Among the revelations he (or a clever hacker) posted to Twitter last night:

The device has two cameras, comes in three versions (priced at $599, $699, and $799 "based on size and memory), and a "custom Farmville for Apple tablet is a huge game changer". That last bit makes us wonder if the comments are really from a hacker.

Another suspicious Tweet: "Yes, there are 2cameras: one in front and one in back (or it may be one with some double lens) so you record yourself and in front of u." One would think a guy as sharp as Calcanis, having had the tablet for ten days, would know whether its two separate cameras or "one with some double lens".

On the other hand, Calcanis appears to Tweet back and forth with other apparent beta testers, who begin dropping their own bombs just after midnight when their NDAs with Apple expired. In any case, here's the text of the Tweets, verbatim. You decide if they're real - and we'll all know in a few hours:

... also, Farmville for Apple tablet is a huge game changer. I know for a FACT Mark Pincus is onstage tomorrow with Jobs. about 4 hours ago from UberTwitter

Off to bed, but I assure you I'm not joking and the specs are real.... Most of all that this is best gadget ever made and NOT overhyped.

apple tablet connects to other tablets over wifi for gaming. There will be LAN parties with these things, people playingFirst personshooters

Sorry, @snappme can't show device or say actual name.

For background: apple asked me to do press tomorrow on cnbc, cnn, etc. As a pundit they gave me tablet 10 days ago. 3people dropped it off!

Apple tablet games are sick. Basically nintendo wii-level innovation. Custom farmville app is insane. Mark pincus is demoing with steve tmmr

Ok, I'm going to bed (with apple tablet after reading nytimes+Vanity Fair on it!), steve jobs outdid himself, its greatest device ever!!!

Apple tablet's 2 cameras is sick feature for video conferencing: u shoot what's in front of you + yourself. Augmented video conferncing!

Yes, apple tablet is oled + back has solar pad for recharging, but it really doesn't work quickly. More a gimmic. Verizon+att,wifi yes!

Apple Tablet has thumbpads on each side for mouse guestures, reads fingerprint for security. Up to 5 profiles by finerprint for family.

Yes, there are 2cameras: one in front and one in back (or it may be one with some double lens) so you record yourself and in front of u.

Well @joshgrenon, I can tell u the battery life is great in ebook reading mode but not great when on wifi or playing games. 2-3hrs

Yes @HappyDrew, the apple tablet is running an iphone os flavor with ability to have multiple apps running at same time (ie pandora, browser

Ok, I will take two questions about the new apple tablet which I have right here. Go ahead... My nda is basically over. :)

The price will be 599, 699 and 799 depending on size and memory in apple tablet. Also, wireless keyboard + monitor connection for tv

Also, the apple tablet is really amazing for newspapers. Video conferencing is super stable, but nothing new.

The best part ofthe apple tablet as beta user has been the built in HDTV tuner and pvr, and the chess game.

Note to press: No, not going to break my NDA w/ Apple/steve so u can get jump on announcement. It is the most *amazing* device ever.

Yes, it's true... I've been beta testing the Apple tablet for the past two weeks and it's amazing.

about 10 hours ago from web

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Burger to Die (on the Cross) For

a burger to die (on the cross) for

Apparently the folks at Bob's - a Brazilian burger chain - have cooked up a Big Mac knockoff that's fit for Jesus Christo Himself. We saw this on Saturday at Rio de Janeiro's international airport. The wall-sized ad shows the 'Big Bob' perched on the outstretched hand of Rio's iconic "Christ the Redeemer" mountaintop statue, as if Jesús is keeping the double-burger handy for the inevitable post-miracle munchies. The slogan below translates roughly to "Brazilian as you like" (we'll leave it at bikini waxing, thanks: Bob's burgers are horrendous).

Gotta wonder if this campaign came out of DDB's Brazil office? You know, the shop that gave us the culturally-sensitive "9/11 was no biggie" pitch to the World Wildlife Fund last month.

Either way, we're sure glad that Christians aren't as touchy about cartoon images of their deity (for burger-peddling purposes or otherwise) as the Muslims, right?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Brawling Under the Bridge:
Dumbo Fight Night 2009


There's a fistfight going down under the Manhattan bridge right now, and the cops are just standing by watching.

We grabbed a few shots of the USABoxingMetro sanctioned event and posted them here Its the third annual Dumbo Fight Night, but the first time its been held outdoors under the newly-opened archway that runs beneath the Brooklyn Anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge.

The amateur boxing event is a benefit for the Dumbo Improvement District and The Archway, and partners include Dumbo stalwarts Gleason's Gym and Halcyon Records.

Fight Night [flickr photoset]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gettin Wet at the Pool Party!


Pool party washout set on Flickr!

As frustrating as it had to be for JellyNYC, having booked another great lineup - to have their funtastic show blown out by Mama Nature before the headliner could take the stage...still, today's crazy thunderstorm was kinda,!

Arriving around 2:30, we were swept into a long but quick-moving line and soon regurgitated into what's normally the very uptight, NY State Parks-run East River State Park.

Against all odds, the funnest show in New York - whose demise was widely predicted when it's namesake (McCarren Park Pool) was shuttered last fall for (!) a totally paid-for multi-million-dollar renovation (!!) - was in force and holding it down. With the East River and midtown Manhattan as its backdrop, the show that's (in three short years) become a mini Burning Man for Brooklyn's funnest neighborhood - seemed alive and well.

But overhead, the Summer Fun Gods were conspiring. Huge thunderclouds formed, then drifted away, then reformed.

On stage, the Black Lips set resonated with the storm building overhead: lead singer Cole Alexander swung his axe against show security guards sent to protect the band from an overzealous crowd. At times in their set, the green-shirted rentacops outnumbered the band two to one.

Meanwhile, the beer flowed, the sky darkened, and by the end of the Lips' set, lightning bolts began to strike the midtown skyline behind the stage.

The State Park management told the promoters to pull the plug - before headliners Trail of Dead could plug in and play a single power chord. Lightning is kryptonite to outdoor shows (remember the girl that was struck by lightning at the Free Tibet show at RFK Stadium in '98?).

As security guards tried to clear the park, the sky grew dark and the wind began to whip. A hipster couple in the VIP area stood on a picnic table for a wind-whipped photo op. The jib camera op hurried to disassemble his rig, and the crew from Music First set about packing up a quarter-million dollars worth of audio gear as a driving drizzle set in.

With most of the audience clear...shift focus to the grid of pop-up tents that formed the beer and wine bar (and storytelling tense to 'present'!). By now a the breeze has grown to a stiff wind, and has begun to lift the lightweight shelters. We see the bar and security staff hooked to tent corners, adding their body weight to the existing ballast buckets and fighting the gusts that want desperately to pick up the lashed-together tents and turn them into a giant box kite. And we join them in their futile but noble fight!

The park rangers - having been given orders to clear the park (no exceptions!), approach the human ballast insisting that the folks holding the tents abandon ship and leave the park. We protest briefly: We've seen what happens when the wind gets its way with Ez-Up tents. But the state park rangers are insistent, and several of the holders concede. And at that moment, the tent-city's fate is sealed. We bail with the rest of the tent-hangars, and take shelter with a couple of smart Salvadorans who are low and dry, under the nose of the refrigerated beer trailer.

Almost immediately, the tent city blows by our little bunker, tumbling and tangling as the metal frames somersault along, dragged by wind-filled nylon canopies. The sky suddenly opens and an unbelievably hard-driving rain sends anyone still in the open scurrying for cover...except the three girls outside the park fence on North 8th, who - in their inebriated bliss - have decided to embrace and celebrate the furious summer storm. They dance and spread their arms into the gale, accepting nature's fury head-on, and mugging for my camera.

And then - as suddenly as it set in, the sky brightened - the sun cutting through sheets of rain, a rainbow emerging, rain stopping, dripping-wet hipsters emerging from unseen crevices. The Music First guys have somehow saved all their gear and are now plucking up damp-but-intact flight cases into their truck.

The beer vendors are not so fortunate; their pop-up shelters are a tangle of aluminum and nylon - but no-one's been injured. The Converse-branded basketball hoop stands triumphant in the sunset. The music fans have scattered up North 8th Street, absorbed into spontaneous parties that have popped up in garages and backyards, and into Bedford Avenue bars and restaurants, whose managers are thankful. And another successful pool party fades into a hazy, shiny, wet Williamsburg summer evening.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Brooklyn Bridge Bike Striping:
Sure to Have Everybody Griping

advantage: pedestrians?

During our morning run across the Brooklyn Bridge today, we got a quick ankle wash from a DOT crew power-washing the old center stripe off the wood planks of the shared pedestrian/bicycle promenade. Passing the bridge's Manhattan tower, we discovered that the workmen were busy replacing the fading center-stripe that's long been the Maginot line between angry, rapacious cyclists and clueless, meandering pedestrians crossing the famous span.

On any given day - especially summer weekends - a crowd of tourists and local commuters clog the south side of the pathway; mostly staying within their 50% of the 13 ft width. But invariably, as the pedestrian side gets maxed out with folks of varying gaits - many stopping for posed photos, or just generally meandering - walkers begin spilling into the bike lane. Some folks - apparently unfazed by the fact that thousands of others have dutifully crammed into the opposite lane - walk defiantly three and four abreast in the bikeway. And cyclists angrily swerve around them, muttering or shouting derisive comments as they pass.

For a second this morning, we though the DOT was acceding to the tangible pressure one feels when faced with a lane heaving with humanity sharing equal real estate with a bike lane mostly devoid of matter (pedestrians on the bridge probably outnumber cyclists by 100 to 1 on any given day). At first glance, the new striping gives the walking lane 15 or 20% more width than the bike lane(!)

But we paced it off, and cable-to-cable, both lanes are still around six and a half feet each - identical! We think there's a bit of social engineering going on here by the DOT: by painting an outside lane stripe on the north side, it appears that cyclists have much less room than the non-edged walking lane. Which - perhaps - will make pedestrians feel slightly superior. And having been awarded additional real estate in acknowledgment of their superiority, presumably they will acquiesce to the cyclists, allowing them to grovel within their skinny, inferior boundaries.

The DOT can play ignorant, maintaining that the outside lane stripe is only necessary on the bike side, where cyclists riding too close to the bridge cables are likely to get their handlebars hung up and have a wreck. And everyone (or more likely no one) will go home happy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Eye Candy: Unforgettable Sky

unforgettable sky

Even though it was beaten to death online all weekend (including one "we saw Michael's face" photo that Fox 5 has since taken down), we couldn't resist one more look at Friday's amazing 'mammatus' (yes - that's Latin for 'boobs') sunset cloud formation. This view taken from Bryant Park.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mysterious NY HarborWay Banners:
Premature Elaboration

harborway banner

Overnight Thursday, dozens of "NY Harborway" banners were installed on utility poles throughout Dumbo. Having followed the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the Mayor's PlaNYC 2030 scheme, Brooklyn Bridge Park development - and just about anything to do with the Brooklyn waterfront over the past few years, we were surprised we hadn't heard about this one.

Thinking we'd missed some new Bloomberg pre-election PR initiative, we quickly Googled the phrase "NY HarborWay". Nuthin. Tried all the iterations: "nyharborway". Nada. "NYC harborway". Nuh uh. "+NYC +harborway". Bzzzt! offered up "did you mean ARBORWAY?" Nah. Google News, Google Blog Search: Nope. Neverheardovit.

A friendly 311 operator offered up the observation "oh yes, you folks have a port in that area, where ships come in, right?" Um, well sorta...but this is on Water Street and Pearl, about half a mile from where the Water Taxi stops.

Following a hunch, we called up the folks at NYC & Company, the city's 'official marketing and tourism organization.' They're the people behind the banners in the city, including the hilariously tongue-in-cheek "Rainbow Pilgrimage" campaign seen recently riding poles around the West Village.

A frustrated NYC & Co. staffer explained that the banners are indeed theirs. NY HarborWay is a new designation soon to be announced by the city, to promote the connection of waterfront districts and parks by bicycle, public transportation, and - eventually - ferry service. The banners were ordered a while back, and were meant to be held and installed in conjunction with the official press announcement. Apparently whoever is in charge of installation (the DOT?) jumped the gun by a few weeks. Maybe they wanted to get them up during Thursday's break in the nonstop monsoon rains.

In any case, keep an eye out for the official announcement from the Mayor's office. We're curious to see how this does (or doesn't) tie in with the Greenway Initiative; how it may impact the ongoing bike lane controversies; and whether there's more city funding in store for East River ferry service. If there's one thing way under-utilized in NYC, its our miles of waterfront. Here's hoping NY HarborWay is more than just a banner campaign.