YOLO FOMO 'n all that jazz
Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, singer/songwriter Tori Kelly, IRL Productions’ Emily Gannett and billionaire / Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban at Conduit Corner @ SXSW 2013 (photo by Erica Gannett)
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
This was my sophomore outing at SXSW (‘Spring Break for Nerds!’) and it was every bit as epic and intense as the first one. Five days of non-stop boozing ‘n schmoozing ‘n pool partying ‘n BBQing ‘n celeb meeting ‘n concerts with little-to-no sleep can take its toll. I feel like a HERD of elephants ran over me! Now that I’ve put that mental picture in your head, let’s dive in.
My 2013 SXSW actually began right here at La Guardia airport, where I ran into bunch of local tech peeps en route to Austin, including Newscred CEO Shafqat Islam. There was a storm coming, but luckily we got out before it hit. In fact, my flight left half an hour EARLY, if you can believe that, so thank you, United. (Of course, the return flight was delayed by an hour, so there went all the hard-earned goodwill. Oh well.)
Recording artist Will.i.am, as you may know, is something of a self-styled technologist. Besides holding down a sweet gig as Intel’s director of “creative innovation,” he pops up in pro-coding propaganda and once featured a Makerbot in one of his videos, because why not. Now he’s further demonstrating his devotion to technology in the title of his latest track: “#thatpower,” released today.
Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?
In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune.
Your heart-shaped Birchbox. Tired of cellophane-wrapped boxes full of chocolate-flavored fat? On February 7, Birchbox is launching a limited edition V-day box—the “We Heart” Collection. For $36 you can have goodies like nail polish, bobby pins and some mascara product advertised as “triple action,” in case you’re not getting any this year.
Newsreels Tonight at 6 p.m. marks the premier of “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. This video and broadcast initiative is a collaborative effort between AOL and PBS that aims to communicate stories of revolutionary women who help shape today’s world.
Life in 3D
After the events in Newtown, the gun control debate has taken on a new urgency. Suddenly 3D-printed firearms look a lot less like a thought-provoking experiment and more like a danger to the public–and Makerbot wants nothing to do with that.
CNET reports that just yesterday, it was possible to get the blueprints for the lower receiver of an AR15 semiautomatic rifle on Makerbot’s wiki Thingiverse. Today, there’s nothing but this listing where the downloads used to be. It’s part of a wider crackdown across the site on 3D-printed weapon parts.
This made the rounds back in August on design blogs, but it seems us techies missed it: Realität, a Mexico City-based design firm, has devised a way to translate music into a snazzy physical form. They’ve mapped the soundwaves and printed the models using a Makerbot.
Life in 3D
When one mulls over the future of manufacturing, naturally the first question that comes to mind is: How we can we as a nation effectively mass produce cornerstone products, like a plastic bust of performer Will.i.am?
Luckily, Mr. Am–who last we heard was hurtling our planet towards a Martian attack–has ushered 3D printing into the mainstream by including it in his newest video, “Scream and Shout,” also featuring the eminently GIF-able Britney Spears. At around 1:38 in the video, a 3D printer sitting on a platform displaying the Makerbot logo is seen printing thin layers of plastic to create a bust of that vital American commodity: Mr. Am’s head.
As Betabeat stood surveying the whimsical offerings of Montalvo Historical Fabrications and Souvenirs, a colleague reached out and, from among the Steve Jobs prayer candles and spontaneous marriage proposal packets, grabbed a bottle of “Dot-Com Bubbles” for a closer look. She quickly returned it with a rueful expression, remembering this was an art exhibit and not, despite all the price tags and other signs screaming “retail,” an actual novelty shop.
“As Real as It Gets,” a new exhibition at Tribeca’s apexart, is about fictional brands made flesh, as it were, and we weren’t alone in our confusion. Shortly thereafter, we saw curator Rob Walker, former “Consumed” columnist at the Times Magazine and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House 2010), wave a couple away from one of the installations—a baby blue “bathtub synthesizer,” for making music while bathing, explaining that it wasn’t actually functional.
Life in 3D
At the Makerbot pop up shop in Nolita, you can purchase mini figurines made by high-tech 3D printers in shapes like cats for $5 a pop. They’re a cute novelty, but there’s nothing personal about them; they’re basically mass-manufactured balls of plastic. But a new invention showing at an exhibition space in Japan puts a personalized spin on the 3D printing market. The Omote 3D printer is a photobooth, but instead of printing out your photo on paper, it prints a miniature replica of you.
Space the Final Frontier
As much as we love the notion of 3D printing ourselves a pizza and sitting down to a 3D printed game of canasta at a 3D printed dinner table, it sometimes seems this snazzy technology is often used to produce little more than tchotchkes.
And then NASA goes and 3D prints some rocket parts.