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Visiting Dignitaries

Visiting Dignitaries

Solange Knowles Seems Weirdly Obsessed With Airbnb

Ms. Knowles earlier this month. (Photo via Getty)

Every once in a while, you discover a new technology that’s so awesome, so amazing, you just can’t stop talking about it. You start to sound like a commercial advertising the product, but you don’t care; you just have to spread the gospel of Minibar or Snapchat or that app that helps you get laid on a flight.

Right now, Solange Knowles is apparently going through that annoying phase, and her tech obsession du jour is troubled home-sharing startup Airbnb.  Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Sure Why Not: Al Roker Debuts Weather-Themed Game for iPhone

Al Roker poses with fellow app creators Katie Linendoll and Steve Lunny. (Facebook)

Because you’re not officially a celeb these days until you’ve slapped your name on some crappy app, TODAY Show host and noted White House pooper Al Roker now has a weather-themed iPhone game.

The cheesy-looking app, called Al’s Weather Rokies, is based on the fateful day in 2013 when Mr. Roker overslept for the first time in his decades-long career, a press release explains. Here’s the premise of the game, which promises to be both “addictive” and occasionally indicative of actual weather conditions. How nifty: Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Mandela Funeral Interpreter Stars In New App Commercial — Exclusive Interview

Mr. Jantjie, pro actor. (Screengrab: YouTube)

Remember Thamsanqa Jantjie, the interpreter who used phony sign language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral? He’s now the star of a new commercial for an Israeli streaming app.

“I want to be a professional actor,” Mr. Jantjie told Betabeat when we spoke with him over the phone this morning. “[Being famous] was my dream since I was a little boy.”

In the commercial, an enthusiastic Mr. Jantjie announces that he’s sorry for what happened at the funeral, and that he’s going to make it up to the world by entertaining everyone with appearances in ad campaigns. He then goes on to introduce Livelens, a new app that lets users stream live video to their friends and followers. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Marlee Matlin on the FCC’s Feeble Attempts at Online Closed Captioning

Ms. Matlin (Getty)

For some of us, it’s all too easy to get lost in a seven-hour Netflix marathon, but for the deaf and hearing impaired, getting through a single episode of an online TV show can be nearly impossible. Captions on the web are often inaccurate and unreliable — but new regulations going into effect this week will hopefully change things.

Last week, Betabeat met with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who’s been deaf since she was 18 months old. She told us a frustrating story from three years ago, about the time she’d tried to stream a CNN video about the unveiling of the Hellen Keller statue at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Randi Zuckerberg and AIPAC Celebrate NYC Tech at Gansevoort Hotel

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Ms. Zuckerberg discusses her background as a cantor-in-training. (Photo via AIPAC)

If anyone’s got a busy schedule, it’s Randi Zuckerberg. The 32-year-old just wrapped up a guest-starring run in Broadway’s Rock of Ages; authored a best-selling book, Dot Complicated, and a children’s tome, Dot.; works as founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media; and is mother to a son.

Somehow, she took time off on March 31 to help promote AIPAC’s new technology division, along with Betabeat.

Ms. Zuckerberg got her start in the tech industry thanks to her brother, Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook, a social networking company you might have heard of by now. Read More