Booting Up: Is Your Smartphone Emasculating You Right Now?

Pfft, American. (Photo: Google)

Speaking at TED, Sergey Brin called the smartphone user experience “emasculating,” on the basis that “You’re standing around and just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.” Maybe Google that word when you get home, Sergey. [CNET]

Could perennial concerns about cancer keep Google Glass from realizing its full potential as a wearable communication device? [Quartz]

Groupon didn’t do so hot in Q4, causing a big drop in the company’s stock in after-hours trading. “The forecast is underwhelming,” said one analyst. No kidding. [Reuters]

Time Warner Cable is pretty sure you don’t even want gigabit Internet. Because when you think “attentive to customer desires,” you think Time Warner Cable.  [Verge]

I.B.M. is still figuring out money-making uses for the supercomputer Watson. Besides all the big data applications, he apparently makes a mean croissant. [New York Times]

startup rundown

Startup News: Etsy Goes Big for Christmas and Bloomberg Giving Away Big Prize to Makers

Mr. Dickerson (Photo:

Lots Of Tiny Wicker Puppets Sold Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson took to the company’s blog to address his craft-obsessed minons and report big new numbers. Etsy recently hit 20 million members across over 200 countries. In the first week of November, they passed the $700 million sales mark and their direct checkout system has now processed over $100 million in transactions. By the end of the year, Etsy projects that it will have sold over 100 million items in the company’s history.

The company is also going all out for the holiday season and expects to have its best month yet. It’s running a multi-million-dollar online advertising campaign and opening a Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo from November 29th through December 8th. SoHo though? Isn’t Greenpoint or Williamsburg more on target with the Etsy brand?

Chu Bets Against Zynga Betable has already announced partnerships with big game companies and is right on the path to become the Spotify of online gambling and pass its closest rival, Zynga. Ya-Bing Chu, a former VP and GM of Zynga’s mobile division, has now joined Betable as the company’s new Chief Product Officer. At Zynga, he was responsible for operating Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends. Mr. Chu explains the move in an essay on Betable’s blog, where he says, “I realized that Betable was the only frictionless way to enter the real money market, which is revolutionary.” Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

Revenge Is Sweet: Time Warner Cable Sued Over Modem Leasing ‘Scam’

(Photo: Maximum PC)

When last we heard from Time Warner Cable, a corporation so reviled that even Starfleet captains can’t help but voice their discontent, it was devising its latest scheme to become the most hated company ever by charging a modem rental fee. Now, the New York Daily News reports that not one but two class action suits have been lodged against Time Warner, alleging that the $3.95/month modem leasing fee is essentially a money-making racket. Read More

After the Storm

Time Warner Cable Sends 10 Mobile Charging Trucks with Free Wifi to Downtown Manhattan


Time Warner Cable is sending 10 mobile charging stations equipped with WiFi into areas of New York that still don’t have power. The local Time Warner Twitter account, @TWCABLE_NYC, will update users with the truck’s location. Today they plan to hit residential areas of Chinatown, the Flatiron district and the West Village. And tomorrow the crew will announce additional areas. Time Warner stores in Staten Island and at the Queens Center Mall are fortunately also opening their doors to let people charge up. That should quiet the TWC haters in New York City–at least for a couple weeks.

The photo on the left was taken this afternoon in Chinatown and you can see how many people really need a charge from the trucks by the mess of wires around the outlets. Read More

Metro Tech

Speedballing: Time Warner Cable Spends $25 M. to Improve Broadband in Startup Hubs

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Today Time Warner Cable announced that the company expects to invest $25 million to expand its fiber optic network in both “established and emerging” business sectors around New York City. Many of the areas highlighted in today’s announcement happen to coincide with burgeoning tech hubs.

In a press release to Betabeat, Time Warner said it would extend its broadband capabilities in “the World Trade Center, the Flatiron District, all areas of Midtown and throughout the Financial District,” in Manhattan. In addition to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Time Warner is also upgrading fiber in the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Industry City.” Long Island City in Queens, the future home to Shapeways 3D-printing factory, will also benefit from the effort. Read More