WillCall’s New Bluetooth “BarTab” Feature Lets You Buy Drinks At Concerts By Saying Your Name

WillCall’s New Bluetooth “BarTab” Feature Lets You Buy Drinks At Concerts By Saying Your Name Posted 5 seconds ago by Josh Constine (@joshconstine)   WillCall‘s plot to reimagine nighlife goes way beyond its concert ticketing app. So it’s tackling the annoyance of buying drinks, from long bar lines to fumbling for cash to forgetting your credit card. Today it launches BarTab, a feature within its app that lets you buy drinks at participating venues by saying your name. But how does the bartender know who you are? Through WillCall’s secret weapon: Bluetooth Low Energy. Here’s how BarTab works. You install WillCall and go to a concert venue running BarTab. It doesn’t matter if you bought your tickets through WillCall or not. As you approach the bar, its BarTab-equipped iPad pings your WillCall app over Bluetooth Low Energy, and you confirm the prompt that you want to open a tab. In case Bluetooth LE fails or you don’t have it running on your phone, you can show the bartender your ID and they can find you in their BarTab app to start you tab. Bartenders select your name from the BarTab list to charge you for drinks Then you order drinks from the bartender as normal but when it’s time to pay, you just say your name. They pull you up from the list of nearby BarTab users, and charge your WillCall-connected credit card. You get a push notification that you’ve been charged, and you get back to partying. Your tab is automatically closed when the show ends and you get emailed an itemized receipt. I got to try out a...

MakerBot Is Changing The World

MakerBot Is Changing The World Posted 2 hours ago by John Biggs (@johnbiggs)   It was an inauspicious beginning. At the MakerBot event last night at CES 2014 the intro music tended towards soft hard rock. On the plate was a lilting guitar anthem by the Foo Fighters and then a song by Incubus, Pardon Me. So pardon me while I burst into flames. Luckily, nothing did. Instead, as I sat in the audience last night, I was struck just how exciting the proceedings were. Bre Pettis, CEO and a former school teacher, came out coughing, saying “Cool,” dressed in black like a nerdy Johnny Cash. He had a lot to say and his presentation was, in some strange way, a near-perfect facsimile of an Apple keynote: the amazing stuff the company is doing (3D-printed hands, soccer balls that students in the third world kick around and then use to light their homes at night), the retail spaces they’ve opened throughout the Northeast. The sales, the total employees, the dross that borders on self promotion but is a necessary part of the CE dance. Then there was some information on their MakerBot Academy, an effort to push MakerBots into every classroom. “My parents bought me an Apple II+,” said Pettis, comparing his plans to another major hardware player that pushed their product into classrooms before the business world knew what was happening. Arguably, the home PC market and the home 3D printer markets are, in a way, opposed. Home computers can do anything while 3D printers can only make anything. However, 3D printers allow for the imagination to run...

Estonian Farm Management Startup VitalFields Raises Further €500K

Estonian Farm Management Startup VitalFields Raises Further €500K Posted 1 hour ago by Steve O’Hear (@sohear)   Estonian startup, VitalFields, which offers web and mobile apps to put farm management into the cloud and harness otherwise untapped farm-related data, has raised €500,000 in follow-on funding. The round was led by original backer SmartCap, the venture capital arm of the Estonian Development Fund, with participation from new investor TMT Investments. Previous backers Wiser Financial Advisors, and Arvi Tavast, also participated, along with Ahti Heinla (one of the first Skype engineers) and Andres Kull. This brings total funding to €750,000, after VitalFields raised €250,000 in late 2012. Founded in 2011 at the Garage48 hackathon, and also an alumni of accelerator Startup Wise Guys, we first described VitalFields as an agricultural early warning system. Its cloud-based wares help farmers do things like plant disease and growth phase modelling, tracking climatic patterns, and other farm management-related activity such as farm planning, stock management and P&L reports. In other words, it’s another classic SaaS play, replacing old, largely, paper-based ways of doing things, or using legacy and expensive software, or tools that were never really designed to do the job. To that end, VitalFields also provides a degree of automation, consolidating various data, including hyperlocal weather reports and plant disease-related information, that would be otherwise difficult for a human to track manually. VitalFields says it counts 1,500 farms as customers worldwide, and that today’s new capital will enable it to customise its solution for several new countries in Europe this year. It will also invest in R&D, specifically around analytics so that farmers can...

Sony Goes All-In On Cloud Content With “PlayStation Now” And A Cloud-Based VOD TV Service

Sony Goes All-In On Cloud Content With “PlayStation Now” And A Cloud-Based VOD TV Service Posted 1 hour ago by Ingrid Lunden (@ingridlunden) The cloud has covered Sony in a big way: at CES today the company announced a pair of new services that will bring a new wave of cloud-based content to use across its range of devices. PlayStation Now will be a new network for cloud-based games, and a new video service will deliver both live and on-demand video. The move points to how Sony is focusing on a more consolidated and converged product and services vision. PlayStation Now is the new name that Sony is giving to a service based on Gaikai, the cloud-based gaming service that it acquired in 2012 for $380 million. Andrew House, the president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, says that it will effectively be a route for bringing legacy PS3 and PS2 games to Vita, smartphones, tablets and Bravia TV sets. “Playing your favorite PS3 game on your television will become a reality,” he said. The service will be starting in beta at the end of January with a full rollout coming this summer. The second cloud-based entertainment service House announced today is Sony’s move into a new cloud-based TV service. House says that this will bring both live and VOD content — a long-rumored product, now finally appearing a reality. He provided very little detail on the specifics of the service — we are reaching out to Sony to find out more. For now, we know that it will be live later this year. Sony’s move into cloud-based...

AOL reportedly sells Winamp, Shoutcast to online radio aggregator Radionomy

AOL reportedly sells Winamp, Shoutcast to online radio aggregator Radionomy By Shawn Knight On January 1, 2014, 5:00 PM Iconic media player Winamp and streaming media service Shoutcast will indeed live to see another day. AOL has sold the two properties to Radionomy, an international aggregator of online radio stations based in Brussels, Belgium, according to sources as reported by TechCrunch. The two properties were scheduled to be discontinued on December 21 but when that date came and went without any change, people began to suspect something was going on behind the scenes. Eddy Richman from the Winamp team said he couldn’t comment on the matter at the time but said something was obviously going on. Initial rumors from a month earlier suggested Microsoft was interested in purchasing the IP but that never came to pass. Winamp’s nameservers have already been transferred to the new owner. The nameservers for Shoutcast are still in the possession of AOL as of writing. That could indicate that Radionomy only purchased Winamp or that the Shoutcast transition simply hasn’t happened yet but considering the TechCrunch report, the latter scenario seems most likely. Radionomy is a free platform that can be used to create, discover and listen to radio stations over the Internet. The company, which boasts more than 6,000 online stations, helps producers create, broadcast and monetize their stations for free. The deal is expected to be finalized by Friday at the latest, we’re told. We’ll keep an eye open for anything official from AOL or Radionomy in the interim. Article From :...

Alleged Original iPhone Prototype Bought on eBay for $1,500

Alleged Original iPhone Prototype Bought on eBay for $1,500 By Jacob Kleinman | December 30, 2013 While you were busy enjoying your weekend, one Apple fan shelled out $1,499 for an alleged copy of the original iPhone prototype on eBay. The device appears to be in good condition, and features the model number and signal measurements engraved on the back while a second photo posted by the seller shows the device running an internal diagnostics test. According to the seller, the operating system shown is a “special test software” installed to try out the device’s features, and is apparently still “running on the device perfectly” more than six years later. There’s no explanation for how the seller acquired this device, which they claim is only one of five copies ever manufactured. While Apple prototypes often surface on eBay, they are usually quickly pulled from the site. In this case the sale appears to have been completed after two days at auction through a “Buy It Now” purchase. The buyer shared the news on Reddit yesterday, but won’t be able to confirm anything about the device until it gets delivered. Source eBay, Reddit Via MacRumors Article From:...