Privately owned telescope to hunt for killer asteroids

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – A California space research group plans to build, launch and operate a privately funded space telescope to hunt for asteroids that may be on a collision course with Earth, project managers said on Thursday.

Google’s Chrome comes to Apple’s iPhone

Google and Apple may still be at each others’ throats — remember Steve Jobs’ threat to “go thermonuclear war” on the company he felt ripped off the iPhone — but you wouldn’t know it from the way Google was talking on Thursday.

Blackstone president: Oust Greece from euro

NEW YORK, June 28 (Reuters) – Blackstone Group LP
President Tony James, whose investment firm advised Greece’s
lenders on a 206 billion euro debt restructuring, said on
Thursday that the euro zone…

RIM Posts Big Q1 Loss, to Cut 5,000 Jobs

TORONTO — Struggling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is reporting worse results than analysts had expected for its latest quarter, and says it’s cutting 5,000 jobs. It’s also delaying the launch of its new phone operating system, BlackBerry 10, on which it’s pinning its hope for a comeback. Research in Motion Ltd. lost $518 million, or 99 cents a […]

Fits.me Finally Shipping A New Robot That Makes It Easier To See What You’re Going To Look Like In That Suit

fitbot01

As a fat, lazy blogger, I find myself often buying clothes online only to discover that XXL for a designer in Spain is basically a XXS for babies in America. The resulting shape and return fees were enough to drive me to distraction – until I saw this wild robot call the FitBot.

The robot – which is finally in production – essentially takes your measurements and reproduces them in real time. Got a big old tummy and broad shoulders? FitBot will show you what that shirt will look like on you. It can reproduce up to 2,000 body permutations and can be used by, say, an online store to show exactly what a certain shirt will look like on various people.

Barring some sort of live webcam feed, the way stores would use this is to take a shot of every possible permutation on the FitBot dummy. Then, when you tell the shop how grotesque you are (or, in the case of everyone besides me, well-built), the FitBot catalog will spit out the proper image.

No work on availability yet in actual stores but you can see the technology over at fits.me where it’s being offered to retailers. I, for one, welcome our golden clothes-fitting robotic overlords.

via RoboticsTrends

EU summit works on short-term support for Spain, Italy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European finance officials were working on urgent measures to ease financial market pressure on Spain and Italy, which are too big to bail out, as EU leaders began a summit on Thursday deeply divided over how to resolve the euro zone’s debt crisis.




JPMorgan Stock Hit by Report That Loss Could Balloon to $9B

NEW YORK – Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) tumbled Thursday as a published report said the bank’s losses on a bad trade may reach as much as $9 billion — far higher than the estimated $2 billion loss disclosed last month. The company’s stock dropped $1.48, or 4%, to $35.30 in morning trading. Its shares are down […]

Running On Empty: WakeMate Finds Out What Happens When Partners Break Up

scaled.shutterstock_54736237

Something strange happened this week with WakeMate, a Y Combinator-funded project that was a tech world high flyer for a while. The product, a wrist strap that sensed your movement during sleep and ostensibly woke you at exactly the right time, was on hold. In 2010 the product apparently burst into flames (literally) and little was heard from the company at all.

Suddenly, however, co-founder Greg Nemeth began approaching media to write about a new WakeMate project. He wrote in an email:

The next iteration of the WakeMate technology is going to be re-branded as a product called MiLife+. MiLife+ will take the WakeMate technology beyond just sleep and incorporate exercise/activity and diet as well. MiLife+ also has undergone a complete industrial design overhaul and is much smaller than the previous iteration. The product is now encased in a silicon wristband similar to a Livingstrong band and is about the 1.5X the size of a Livestrong band. We actually like to think of it as a “smart Livestrong band”. MiLife+ differentiates itself from the other products in the space (Zeo, Lark, Fitbit, Nike+, Jawbone UP) in a few key ways:
1) It is the only product to work wirelessly with both Apple and android smartphones/tablets
2) It tracks and syncs the data automatically so the user never even has to think about it or manually input data
3) It sends updates to your phone in real-time as your day/body change

Nemeth also used the WakeMate Twitter account and email address to send word of a new project.

Over the next few days, Nemeth began talking about a Kickstarter project and then quickly moved the project to Indiegogo where it launched as a Three Thirds project (not to be confused with the name of the original company, Perfect Third).

Then all heck broke loose. Nemeth apparently wasn’t  authorized to use the WakeMate list or the Twitter feed. People donated $37,000 to the cause in the expectation that WakeMate was behind another cool product. A little buzz built up but folks were confused: the email was riddled with typos and there was no mention of the product on the WakeMate site.

It transpired that none of this was WakeMate-sanctioned. Nemeth meant it to be a WakeMate product, but apparently his co-founder Arun Gupta didn’t get the memo.

“I intended on MiLife+ being affiliated with WakeMate but I did not communicate that to the people at WakeMate,” said Nemeth. “It was a mistake on my part. MiLife+ has been cancelled.”

Gupta, for his part, knew nothing of the product until everyone else did.

“I did not know anything about MiLife+ until yesterday afternoon,” he said. He wrote on the Wakemate blog:

“I poured my heart and soul into this company and though we stumbled along the way I believe that we provided something of value to our customers. However, as many of you have guessed, we have exhausted our capital and will no longer be making any more WakeMates.
Currently our plan is to keep the service going while we work on open sourcing the technology. Hopefully this will ensure that you can continue to enjoy the product and its benefits even after the company no longer exists.”

In short, Nemeth went ahead and used Wakemate resources, meager as they might be, to pitch a new product. Lack of communication, a potentially unamicable split, and lack of social media controls all led to a perfect storm of product disappointment.

“Using the list was a mistake and the list has been deleted. Arun did not know,” said Nemeth.

WakeMate is no longer selling product and Gupta now controls the Twitter feed. Both parties are saying very little.

“The company still exists as we are keeping the product running and service up while we work on open sourcing the technology. No new features will be added to the WakeMate product,” said Gupta.

“This was an unfortunate situation but it has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Hopefully we can just put this behind us,” he said.

[Image: Juan Nel/Shutterstock]