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YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default

 Here is one more nail in Flash’s coffin: starting today, YouTube defaults to using HTML5 video on all modern browsers, including Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox. YouTube first introduced HTML5 support back in 2010. At the time it was still highly experimental. Over the years, as the HTML5 standard — and with it, its video implementation — matured,… Read More



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Here is one more nail in Flash’s coffin: starting today, YouTube defaults to using HTML5 video on all modern browsers, including Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox.

YouTube first introduced HTML5 support back in 2010. At the time it was still highly experimental. Over the years, as the HTML5 standard — and with it, its video implementation — matured, browser vendors started adding some of the features that were still missing in the early versions. For YouTube, that was support for Adaptive Bitrate, for example.

The same technology that powers adaptive bitrates also makes it possible for YouTube to live-stream video to the Chromecast and game consoles like the Xbox and PS4.

HTML5’s Encrypted Media Extensions have been somewhat controversial in the web standards community because they enable DRM support in web browsers. But as YouTube engineering manager Richard Leider notes in today’s announcement, support for this feature now enables the service to use a single video player across a wide range of platforms.

“Combined with Common Encryption, we can support multiple content protection technologies on different platforms with a single set of assets, making YouTube play faster and smoother,” he writes.

By switching to HTML5, YouTube can now also make wider use of Google’s VP9 video codec. YouTube says this switch allows videos to start 15 to 80 percent faster and reduces the average bandwidth needed to stream a video by 35 percent. That may not seem like a big deal right now, but once you start streaming 4k video, that 35 percent reduction could be the difference between enjoying the video or staring at the “buffering” screen. YouTube started streaming VP9 videos in 2013 and has since served “hundreds of billions of VP9 videos.”

Now that HTML5 video is the default on YouTube, Google is deprecating its old-style <object> Flash embeds and its Flash API. YouTube recommends you only use its <iframe> embeds to embed videos going forward because that allows it to use whatever technology your visitors’ browsers support.

Featured Image: Rego Korosi/Flickr UNDER A CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/youtube.jpg?w=738
YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default

 Here is one more nail in Flash’s coffin: starting today, YouTube defaults to using HTML5 video on all modern browsers, including Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox. YouTube first introduced HTML5 support back in 2010. At the time it was still highly experimental. Over the years, as the HTML5 standard — and with it, its video implementation — matured,… Read More



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YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default

 Here is one more nail in Flash’s coffin: starting today, YouTube defaults to using HTML5 video on all modern browsers, including Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox. YouTube first introduced HTML5 support back in 2010. At the time it was still highly experimental. Over the years, as the HTML5 standard — and with it, its video implementation — matured,… Read More



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Be Honest About Whether Your Product Really Makes a Difference

 Startups in a world of massive markets can be confusing. The law of large numbers; platforms that can make your company blow up unexpectedly and the trendy nature of tech markets are deceiving. Success for many is ephemeral. Read More



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via TechCrunch Editor’s Note: Mark Suster is a 2x entrepreneur and VC at Upfront Ventures. Follow his blog at BothSidesoftheTable.

Startups in a world of massive markets can be confusing. The law of large numbers; platforms that can make your company blow up unexpectedly and the trendy nature of tech markets are deceiving.

Success for many is ephemeral.

I have written about the deceptive nature of early successes before – in particular in the SaaS or B2B world, where it can lead to a phenomenon called “shelfware.”

It’s vitally important for a startup to understand the phenomenon, which is why I loved Brad Feld’s recent post about the “illusion of product / market fit.” This, too, is a must read for any entrepreneur.

I’m obsessed with the topic because it has become my job. I have many investments with early traction and the entrepreneurs I work with must be tired of my constantly saying,

“Are we really making a difference? Are our users addicted to our product? Are we making their lives better? Will we win the battle for share-of-mind every time they pick up their phone or log into their computers?”

I have seen many companies move rapidly up-and-to-the-right by Google search rankings only to crash when they rewrite the algorithm or start competing by offering the same service directly on the SERP. It’s ok to live-and-die by Google early. But if users don’t come back to your product directly and often, I question whether you have a sustainable product or company.

The same thing has happened on Facebook. How many video companies went through the roof when FB promoted video only to go into a free-fall dive when they don’t promote the app and when core users aren’t addicted to the product.

There are also those app companies that went viral due to spammy friend requests to download in an app store only to have a community backlash and subsequent crash. “Hacking” growth is only sustainable with a truly great product.

This is true in mobile games where some products (think: Words With Friends, Angry Birds, Clash of Clans) where the game is used to get friends connecting, where the characters resonate and draw people back again or have something else sustainable beyond the initial rush of a new game.

And of course it’s true in personal productivity apps, SMB apps, B2B software and so forth.

Nowhere is this more obvious than eCommerce, where many companies juice growth through massive over-spending on customer acquisition only to hit a break wall when consumers don’t love the brand and keep coming back once the heroine-induced traffic disappears.

So you need to really know what to measure as a definition of success.

There is no better post to read on this topic than Ev Williams “A Mile Wide and An Inch Deep.”  I wish I had written this myself since it’s a saying I often espouse. His point is that you should figure out the metrics that truly matter in your business and hold yourself accountable to these. Not vanity metrics. And for fuck sakes please don’t use cumulative numbers to make yourself feel great unless they’re warranted.

Push yourself hard to be honest with yourself. I promise you that products that aren’t truly valuable eventually fade. They are most susceptible to being disrupted by better versions. If venture capital is propping up your business performance – good luck when the spigot slows one day.

Only truly great products, making a difference, and becoming embedded in a business activity or personal life are sustainable.

The rest eventually become shelfware.

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Be Honest About Whether Your Product Really Makes a Difference

 Startups in a world of massive markets can be confusing. The law of large numbers; platforms that can make your company blow up unexpectedly and the trendy nature of tech markets are deceiving. Success for many is ephemeral. Read More



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Hands-On With Snapchat Discover: Fun Content For Short Attention Spans - http://techcrunch.com

TechCrunch -

 Snapchat today launched its media hub Discover. With bite-sized content blips that mix photos, videos, and text, it could become a millenial entertainment destination. And by mixing in pre-rolls and looping video interstitial advertising, Snapchat may have found how to turn storytelling into a serious business. To access Discover, users swipe left until the see a screen of buttons that open… Read More

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With Mimo, MIT Alums Are Disrupting The Baby Nursery, Onesie At A Time

 For all the innovation that has come out of startups, few have addressed one of the hardest tasks in the world: caring for a newborn infant. Whether it is providing milk at 3am or ensuring that the baby is exposed to the right shapes and sounds appropriate for its age, parents are faced with a near constant barrage of challenges, often under incredible pressure and stress. Taking advantage of… Read More



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For all the innovation that has come out of startups, few have addressed one of the hardest tasks in the world: caring for a newborn infant. Whether it is providing milk at 3am or ensuring that the baby is exposed to the right shapes and sounds appropriate for its age, parents are faced with a near constant barrage of challenges, often under incredible pressure and stress.

Taking advantage of the convergence of mobile, Internet of Things, and cloud computing, Rest Devices, a Boston-based startup founded by a group of MIT alums and dropouts, hopes to change all that with the development of a smart baby nursery.

Their first product is called the Mimo, a onesie for babies that includes sensors for monitoring a baby’s respiration, pressure, moisture, and temperature. That data is transmitted from the sensors to a base station nearby and ultimately into the cloud, where it can be viewed on any mobile device as well as shared between parents and caregivers.

The Mimo onesie and base station

It’s at this point that the smart nursery begins. By analyzing the data, the startup is able to track the sleep schedule of the infant over time, eventually developing predictions on when a baby will fall asleep – and most importantly, when it will wake up. That means that parents can be notified in advance, so that they can already be prepared with milk.

The company’s latest feature, which it is currently beta testing, is a “sleep training” system. Dulcie Madden, the co-founder of the company, says that one of the chief struggles the company has heard from users is that sleep can be very fragmented and inconsistent.

Using the data they have already collected, “We are trying to see if there are things to improve the length of the baby’s sleep,” she explains. Longer-term, the company hopes to add a social component that would allow parents to provide insights to other parents about their sleep strategies.

In addition to its sleep features, the Mimo can track whether babies are sleeping properly, preventing the rare and tragic situation known as SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Patrick Chung, a founding partner of Xfund, was recently initiated into parenthood with the arrival of his new child. The experience catalyzed his thinking around Rest Devices, and he invested in a small seed round for the company. “The longest period of time in the world is the five minutes between when your child starts crying and the milk has been warmed up,” he told me.

That feeling is mutual across parents, which is why the company’s next product is going to be a smart bottle warmer, which will connect with the sleep prediction feature and automatically warm up milk as soon as a baby shows that it is getting restless.

Madden’s ultimate aim is to provide a complete set of products that are orchestrated together by its cloud nursery system. “We want to build a series of products around eating, sleeping, activity, and mobility that are all built on one platform.”

While the problems of caring for a newborn are obvious, solving them is anything but. Madden, the co-founder, says that the first challenge the company confronted with designing the onesie was simply making it durable enough for home use. One of the requirements was that the entire onesie, including the sensors and transmitters, would have to be machine-washable.

The company solved that problem by ultrasonically welding the sensors to the clothes, ensuring that water wouldn’t be able to touch the electronics underneath. That created a new issue though: once it was sealed, it was impossible to open up malfunctioning sensors and investigate what was wrong. The startup ended up buying an x-ray machine to be able to peer inside.

It also built a set of robotic washers and dryers that can monitor the durability of its products. Today, the product can survive an average of 90 washes, and the startup is constantly striving to improve that number.

The company’s location in Boston has given them a lot of manufacturing flexibility. Their injection molder is located just 45 minutes away, which allows the team to travel and observe the implementation of their product specs directly. In many cases, if an issue develops in part of the manufacturing process, the company can make changes to the design, get them to the manufacturer, and get new units back in as little as a day.

The company tests every single onesie that it produces, and it continues to do the ultrasonic welding itself in house, several thousand units a week. Madden explained to me that “Everything that happens between a parent and a baby happens multiple times a day – sleep cycles, feeding. So you have to get it right so it doesn’t become a problem.”

Currently, the Mimo onesies come as a starter pack of three onesies plus the base station with a suggested price of $199. Afterwards, parents can buy packages of two onesies for $29. The startup has already developed several retail partnerships with Babies“R”Us and Amazon, and has two more partnerships in the works.

If babies are the future evolution of humanity, then Rest Devices may just be the next phase of the Internet of Things fever. Not just about flicking the lights on at pre-determined intervals, this new generation of products has the opportunity to reshape how we think about family relationships, and through its convenience, ultimately improve what we most care about: our children.

Featured Image: Danny Crichton https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/img_0219.jpg?w=738
With Mimo, MIT Alums Are Disrupting The Baby Nursery, Onesie At A Time

 For all the innovation that has come out of startups, few have addressed one of the hardest tasks in the world: caring for a newborn infant. Whether it is providing milk at 3am or ensuring that the baby is exposed to the right shapes and sounds appropriate for its age, parents are faced with a near constant barrage of challenges, often under incredible pressure and stress. Taking advantage of… Read More



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DoorDash Comes To San Francisco, Because Lord Knows We Need Another Food Delivery Option - http://techcrunch.com

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 As DoorDash becomes available in SF, the company will have more than 100 restaurant options available for customers. However, at least at launch, the service will only be available is certain neighborhoods, like the Mission, Castro, Noe Valley, and Potrero. Read More

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The Pirx One Printer Mixes High Design And 3D Tech

 Poland is a hotbed (get it?) for 3D printing and now up-and-comer Pirx is entering the fray. Their printer, the Pirx One, is a $1,199 PLA printer with some seriously classy looks and optional heated bed for ABS support. The printer is a standard FDM device that prints layers of plastic into a cohesive whole. The team has added a few extras including a heavy steel frame and acceptable build… Read More



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Poland is a hotbed (get it?) for 3D printing and now up-and-comer Pirx is entering the fray. Their printer, the Pirx One, is a $1,199 PLA printer with some seriously classy looks and optional heated bed for ABS support.

The printer is a standard FDM device that prints layers of plastic into a cohesive whole. The team has added a few extras including a heavy steel frame and acceptable build envelope for producing larger objects. It’s also surprisingly light at 10kg (22 lbs), which reduces vibrations and ensures a cleaner print.

The most important part, however, is the bed leveling system that they’re calling the Q Sensor. It ensures that the printer can manufacture plastic pieces right out of the box. The nozzles automatically senses the bed position by touching a number of small electrical points on the bed and then begins printing when it knows exactly how the bed is positioned. Most of the interaction is done on a built-in LCD screen and models are uploaded via SD card.

Pirx is competing in Poland with Zortrax, another solid 3D printer. It’s also up against incumbents from all over the world including Makerbot which makes their mission bold if a little Quixotic.

They have a compelling product – getting a properly calibrated bed is one of the most important parts of 3D printing – but they’re also up against countless cheaper competitors that will probably drive 3D printing prices (and quality) to rock bottom. It’s up to the little guys like Pirx to keep the quality in 3D printing while maintaining a price point that can still bring in designers, makers, and engineers. Here’s hoping they pull it off.

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The Pirx One Printer Mixes High Design And 3D Tech

 Poland is a hotbed (get it?) for 3D printing and now up-and-comer Pirx is entering the fray. Their printer, the Pirx One, is a $1,199 PLA printer with some seriously classy looks and optional heated bed for ABS support. The printer is a standard FDM device that prints layers of plastic into a cohesive whole. The team has added a few extras including a heavy steel frame and acceptable build… Read More



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New Apple Pay Deal Gives It Greater Presence In A Key Market: Self-Serve - http://techcrunch.com

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 Apple has a new partnership in place with USA Technologies that will help the latter company accept Apple Pay at approximately 200,000 in-use self-serve payment terminals, 9to5Mac reports. The roll-out will bring Apple Pay to coffee machines, snack dispensers, laundromats, goods kiosks, amusement part ticket machines, car wastes, transit ticket and taxi terminals and more. USA Technologies has… Read More

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The Fragility Of Our Connected World

 A decade ago, one would have never predicted the sheer size and impact the Internet has made on our planet. Now, with everything including government, healthcare, commerce and financial services brokered through connected devices, the stakes are much higher. Within the past month alone, Internet connectivity made headlines in Cuba after the U.S. trade embargo was lifted, in North Korea as… Read More



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Editor’s note: Kyle York is the chief revenue officer at Dyn.

A decade ago, one would have never predicted the sheer size and impact the Internet has made on our planet. Now, with everything including government, healthcare, commerce and financial services brokered through connected devices, the stakes are much higher.

Within the past month alone, Internet connectivity made headlines in Cuba after the U.S. trade embargo was lifted, in North Korea as service was anonymously disrupted nationwide, and in China where access to Gmail was blocked. Forces like cyberterrorism, government corruption and lack of infrastructure resources threaten the fragile digital ties that connect our world.

We so often take this connectivity for granted in the U.S., where slow website load times lead us to abandon online shopping carts, or potentially walk away just to return to the Internet as we know it later that day. In light of recent news events, we’re left to wonder: What impact does global connectivity really have on our daily lives and the economy as a whole? What could happen if we’re left in the dark for too long?

War and the Internet

Both physical and cyber-warfare threatens global connectivity in specific ways. Physical degradation of undersea and land-based cables can prevent regions from getting Internet service. Government-ordered shutdowns, as we saw in Iraq during the summer of 2014, are another common occurrence in areas threatened by violence and terrorism. In some cases, social media services like Twitter and Facebook are being temporarily shuttered during times of unrest. Similarly, anonymous distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and cybersecurity breaches happen on a near-hourly basis, occasionally on a massive scale.

These large-scale outages can be prevented if we diversify the number of paths into and out of a country in any case possible. When latency or disruption occurs in an isolated area, it can be quickly identified and the traffic can be rerouted through an alternate path. Think about how Waze and Google Maps have helped identify heavy traffic locations, rerouting us to the next best option. The same is not only possible for the Internet but necessary.

In many developing regions, including large parts of the continent of Africa, mobile usage usurps physical Internet infrastructure, providing an alternate path to connectivity. But these paths are not immune to problems and could still suffer from large-scale attacks, so diversification remains key.

Commerce at global scale

Judging by the numbers alone, Internet infrastructure is a primary driver for retail economies worldwide. According to comScore, U.S. e-commerce sales during the 2014 holiday shopping season hit $53.3 billion on desktops alone, 15 percent higher than last year. This trend is true of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, as well.

In 2014, Wal-Mart pledged to invest between $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion on e-commerce and digital initiatives in fiscal year 2016. Markets like China are gaining on the U.S., with e-commerce projections reaching nearly $450 billion in 2014, with a growth rate of nearly 32.4 percent, per recent Alibaba statistics.

Even though the Internet creates feasibly unbridled connectivity between nations, each region has unique qualities and specifications for doing business. To prevent outages and blocks, companies need to understand local market drivers and conditions to reach across these boundaries and create a truly global marketplace.

For example, localized providers often have government affairs offices, special licenses or long-standing relationships that can help get a site up and running during times of an outage. Positioning and use of multiple data centers, as well as knowledge of specific local customs (for example, preferred methods of payment) are also critical to sustaining a successful commerce experience internationally.

Internet intelligence means Internet performance

We’re entering 2015 fully aware of the complexities of the Internet infrastructure the world has built over time, but with eyes open to new possibilities to reach across borders. Exciting emerging markets like Myanmar are getting a taste of a free-market Internet for the first time, with private foreign mobile operators fighting bidding wars to provide access to the region (winners must pledge to provide coverage for 90 percent of the country’s population).

A new class of Internet giants like Alibaba are emerging to compete with the likes of Amazon, creating greenfield opportunity for globally distributed commerce to become a reality. The promise of each new opportunity is more vast than the next.

The more informed we are about the inner workings of the Internet, the better we can be at connecting citizens to services, fueling global economies and building the free and open Internet we all want to see.

Featured Image: Arsgera/Shutterstock https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/shattered.jpg?w=738
The Fragility Of Our Connected World

 A decade ago, one would have never predicted the sheer size and impact the Internet has made on our planet. Now, with everything including government, healthcare, commerce and financial services brokered through connected devices, the stakes are much higher. Within the past month alone, Internet connectivity made headlines in Cuba after the U.S. trade embargo was lifted, in North Korea as… Read More



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