Archive | April 2014

Akaneiro Demon Hunters To Be Featured On Steam’s Greenlight

We’ve been reporting on the progress of Spicy Horse’s Akaneiro Demon Hunter from its closed Beta to Kickstarter funding and a future comic book series in affiliation with Dark Horse. Well now you can see for yourself what all the fuss is about as its beta is now open to the public. Akaneiro is a free to play RPG based on The Red Riding Hood story and Japanese folklore.Due to an increasing interest from the public, Steam has recently added it to its Greenlight series and Akaneiro will soon be available for download on Steam. This has inspired the Spicy Horse team to develop, Karakuri Gaben, an in-game spirit pet designed in the likeness of Gabe Newell. If you should like a Gaben pet of your own, donating at least $30 to the Akeneiro Kickstarter project will net you one if Akaneiro reaches its goal. And let’s face it geeks, who wouldn’t want their very own Gaben pet!The Akaneiro Demon Hunters open beta has been extended to January 22. This will give Spicy Horse ample time to work out bugs and to make sure the game is well-balanced before its official launch. It will also allow people interested in donating to the Akaneiro Kickstarter the ability to see and try out what they are contributing to.
I for one am glad the beta has been extended, this will give me ample time to check it out and report back my impressions of Akaneiro. If any geeks out there would also like to give Akaneiro a try, you can do so here.

Source

http://evolvepr.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/j/80A8F238D48C0513/2C2D3D77D4F79B38

Related articles
  • Two Horses Bring Akaneiro Comics To The Finish Line

  • Spicy Horse seeks Kickstarter sunding for a project that already exists

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Geeky Gadget Review: Turtle Beach EarForce Tango Headset

I don’t always game with a headset but when I do, I don’t like being restricted by wires. Last year my quest to become untethered while gaming led me to Turtle Beach Earforce Delta. Little did I know having the freedom of no wires would bring about another burden, battery addiction. The Turtle Beach wireless headset is powered by two AA batteries and I found myself forking over a small fortune for the tiny power givers that also seemingly gave out in the most inopportune moments, for instance during a heated MP match.

Turtle Beach obviously realized their mistake of not making the headsets chargeable and have recently introduced models with built-in batteries that can be charged during gameplay if needed. Sure I didn’t need a new headset but I could not resist the lure of the TurtleBeach EarForce Tango. So when Amazon recently discounted them I couldn’t resist spending my holiday gift cards and cash on the Call Of Duty themed rechargeable wireless headset. In the long run I will be saving since I no longer have to buy batteries, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself to justify the purchase.

The Tango headset sports a lovely black and orange color pattern matching the Black Ops theme its branded with. Even if you are not a fan of Call Of Duty, these babies look amazing. They boast 5.1 surround capabilities which at first I thought might be a downgrade from the 7.1 the Deltas had. However for gaming I actually think the 5.1 is better as the surround sounds much closer and encompassing which works well when listening for enemy footsteps in multiplayer. The headset ships with 8 pre-set sound configurations designed for optimal Black Ops 2 sound enjoyment but with the advanced sound editor you can customize new ones. It’s even possible to upload your own configurations so that others in the Turtle Beach community can also use them. The chat function is also open for customization and with the touch of a button it’s possible to make your voice sound like a robot. That’s a feature I’m tempted to try out when gaming with immature randoms who think a girls place is not in gaming.

Setting up the headset was fairly painless and they are fully compatible with both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. Through the magic of dual BlueTooth pairing you can also use the headset with any Bluetooth compatible device like your Playstation Vita, smart phone or tablet. Dual-pairing Bluetooth also means you can answer phone calls without interrupting your game.

The rechargeable battery has lasted through some marathon gaming sessions and an in-ear message tells you when the headset is running low on juice. I’d estimate the charge is good for about 10-12 hours but unlike the Deltas where you had to remove the headset and switch the batteries, it’s nice to just plug-in the mini-USB to the right ear cup with little to no effect on your game-playing.

New to the Turtle Beach Tangos is the adjustable sound angles which is a nifty but not really necessary little perk that lets you pick from a variety of simulated speaker setups. I did notice a slight difference with the angles but even without this extra little option the Tangos are beasts. Admittedly I’ve only played with the angle feature a few times so maybe it will work better with certain games than the few I’ve tested the Tangos with. Regardless it’s a cool little feature in these top-notch headsets.

I can see the headset becoming very warm as headsets are want to do but as I’m writing this it’s in the single digits with the windshield being well below zero so I’m not complaining. They are very comfortable, to the point you won’t even notice them after a while. I also think they fit my head slightly better than the Deltas did. The ear cups are made of some kind of foam that does very well in keeping out outside noise as well as seemingly form-fitting to your ears. All buttons for powering up, volume and whatnot are also located on the ear cups which might be a problem until you learn where everything is.

The Earforce Tango headset is pricey, they retail for $299 but if you are a serious gamer they are well worth the extra cash. It’s also very likely that given their Black Ops 2 decor, they will see a huge price cut before long. I got mine from Amazon a few weeks back when they temporarily slashed their price by $100. I’m a total gaming geek and let me tell you I love these things. The Tangos truly make for a unique gaming experience. I haven’t gamed without them since purchasing them and I have a pretty amazing home theater setup.

Related articles
  • Turtle Beach highlights latest Ear Force gaming headsets for 2013, prices tournament flagship Seven Series

  • Review: Turtle Beach Earforce Tango headset

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Universal mobile device of the future

These a project that explores the manufacturing and material and potential applications of future flexible technology. Designer Callil Capuozzo introduced the concept of “The Future of Mobile Computing,” in which he tried to combine a smartphone, tablet, smart watches and glasses augmented reality into one.
External mobile computer of the future more like a tablet made of flexible material, which can easily folded and transformed into a smart phone. This device has the sensitive touch screen and high performance.

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

But, the most important thing, these presence of the flexible detachable the phone parts with a small screen that wraps around the head, turning in Google Glass. Such a device can bring many benefits to people. Now manufacturers think how implement this concept in life.
Designer Callil Capuozzo

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Future technology  Universal mobile device of the future

Concept Tablet HTC
Concept device Just Flex It
Future concept of mobile computing
Relevo PC
Concept the flexible sensor
Future of Cell Phones
Future technology devices

Concept Solar Powered Aircraft

The concept looks into the distant future, when a world will be independent of the oil resources. Developed by Samuel Nicz, Suntoucher is the two seats solar-powered aircraft. It s able to fly without liters of fuel for several hundred miles. The aircraft is adapted to fly in two main modes (powered and unpowered glide mode) and design enables the Suntoucher to use solar energy to power AC engine which is located in the middle of the aircraft fuselage. The glider combines lightweight construction and large wingspan of 70m. It’s designed to economically and environmentally flying for long distances at an average speed of 100 km/h.

Future technology Concept Solar Powered Aircraft

Future technology Concept Solar Powered Aircraft

Future technology Concept Solar Powered Aircraft

Future technology Concept Solar Powered Aircraft

Solar lawn lamp
Concept lighting system Sinthesya
Concept design Sunbox
Used aircraft the future
Step create energy

Facebook never got big user data breach and if it happens, they won’t be able to recover

Facebook cannot avoid serious data breach if it happens from the foreign government, hackers or the crooks. Personal data on Facebook is not safe and if this will happen it will have chilling effect on commerce, drying sharing of data and will cut down the lifetime of Facebook.

However you cannot say that Facebook is not employing preventive measures to make it stop. Facebook is having its top talent team and white hats hackers to identify holes and bugs on their site.

An interesting as well as shocking fact shared by Facebook that computers of their engineers have faced sophisticated attack uploaded malware when they have visited mobile developer site. Facebook immediately called upon the police to investigate the facts behind this attack. There is still no evidence found that data of users have been approached. Yet, it is cleared that hackers have got access to the information about Facebook partners.

Facebook till the date has managed the world’s largest repository to the private information from getting into wrong hands. Other social networks are still striving on achieving this type of success. Twitter has recently encountered 250,000 accounts accessed by the hackers. In the same pace, LinkedIn has encountered 6.5 million accounts hacking last year.

It must be worth noting here that most of the data on social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are public and on Facebook, it is personal. So, Facebook has much concerns and requirements about privacy as they have much more to lose.

The damage might not be severe for the eventual breach, as some messages and photos can be stolen and in worst scenario credit card info abut users can be stolen. Facebook in that case, will quickly response to the affected account and will respond to password change claims.

The damage would be psychological and it will destroy the real essence of brand. world will be in fear that their data will get stolen and they will advertise it to their friend circle, resulting more shut down of accounts.

Facebook requires to struggle against such perception and provides much security against shared data.

Related posts:

  1. Two third of facebook users have taken break, while 27% are planning to reduce their time spending in 2013- Study done by Pew
  2. The Slow Death of Facebook?
  3. Facebook in Macau and Twitter in Paraguay are most frequently visited websites through phones, according to the maps by Opera on Global Mobile Social Network Usage.

Fix for the iOS 6.1 Microsoft Exchange bug will be released by Apple

Apple has claimed that they have found fix for the bug causing excess activity on the Microsoft Exchange account. This fix will be available in the upcoming update of the software. This bug is too much frustrating, even for the corporate IT department. They have also blocked their devices from Exchange servers, according to ZDNet.

This is of course not the first fix released by Apple for its latest iOS. In previous week, they have also launched bug fixing update for the iOS 6.1.1 aiming on iPhone 4S. This update is targeted to fix the issues of euro pen carrier holders, related on the 3G connection of the phone.

Darrell Etherington has noted that Apple has launched its new update in just five days for their iOS device. This may be due to warning issued by two European mobile operators- 3 Austria and Vodafone UK for text messages. They have warned them to update iPhone 4S to the iOS 6.1 due to worst 3G connection problems.

Apple has taken immediate action as this bug is proving annoying for the enterprise users which are finding it difficult to work around. Apple does not really want these users to shift back to iOS 6.0.

According to the statement given by Apple, “Users of iOS devices who has availed Microsoft Exchange related bug will now be able to encounter increased network working in reduced battery life. The extra network working will be encountered in logs on Exchange servers and it will lead on blocking iOS device.

Related posts:

  1. Apple examined carriers for the 4G performance before announcing iPhone as LTE device
  2. T-mobile entered into an agreement with Apple. Together they will bring products in the market from the year 2013
  3. Apple is already in the gaming industry

Note to Apple: We Are Underwhelmed

I hate to say I told you so, but in the wake of Tuesday’s relatively unimpressive media event I don’t know what else to say. Perhaps the bigwigs at Apple should spend more time reading iPhone Life; we seem to have some really spot on ideas of how they might recapture some of their magic. When our Editor in Chief, Alex Cequea, posts something like this kind yet critical analysis of what Apple could have done better, that’s another sure sign Apple loyalists are unhappy with the direction the company is headed.

After the iPhone 5C and 5S unveiling, the Internet lit up with both criticism and ridicule toward the tech giant. Many feel that Apple has had a drought of innovation and has turned a deaf ear to what global consumers are begging for. On September 10, Apple had the world’s attention and we were all eagerly waiting for something unique, something that harkened back to the days when Jobs was at the helm. 

We hoped for a cheaper iPhone, a larger-screened iPhone, an iWatch, or maybe an iTV. Instead of a breakthrough innovation, we got an incremental update to the iPhone 5 in the iPhone 5S and a rehashed iPhone 5 with colored plastic backs. Honestly, any number of innovative product introductions could have helped Apple regain some of the “Wow” factor that Steve Jobs always brought.

As I said on the day of the unveiling, the highlight of the show was iOS 7. I wish I could say I was surprised, but alas, the product leaks were accurate and we got what we expected. And speaking of product leaks, what’s with Tim Cook commending the leaks! Wasn’t this the same person who just a short while ago vowed that Apple was going to aggressively shut down a leaky supply chain

So now Apple’s stocks have tumbled, and the company is the butt of one joke after another online. The sad part is that many of the jokes are right on and quite funny, especially some of the ones from Apple’s competitors-who I’m sure were quite thrilled by Apple’s lackluster performance yesterday.

I said it before Apple’s event on September 10, and I’ll say it again with even greater emphasis: Now more than ever, Apple needs an innovative home run. The rumors are swirling about a fall event in which Apple will debut its new iPad lines, so Apple has another chance to remind us what made it not just the most profitable tech company, but the most beloved tech company. To me, and millions of others, Apple is synonymous with products that make us feel an emotional connection to them, products that fill a need we didn’t even know we had until Apple showed us its inventions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that Apple is about to go bankrupt or close its doors, but there are endless competitors nipping at its heels. At this rate it’s just a matter of time before it’s not Apple but the competition that surprises us all with “the next big thing.” Then again, maybe we wouldn’t be surprised after all…

Unleash Your Inner App Developer – Putting Your Skills to the Test

Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, I will take you, the non-programmer, step by step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how much fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 23 of the series. If you are just getting started, check out the beginning of the series here.

When I left you last, I had handed out a homework assignment to put iOS app development skills you have learned so far to the test. Your goal was to covert the My Reviews and Review scenes in the iAppsReview app from prototypes to fully functioning views. In this post, I’ll go through the steps for you and I recommend comparing them to the steps you took in completing the homework assignment.

Figure 1 shows how the two scenes will look after completing the steps in this post.

Completed scenes

Figure 1 – The completed My Reviews and Review scenes at run time

If you need the latest version of the iAppsReview project, you can download it from this link. If you run into any troubles along the way, you can get the completed project for this post at this link.

Let’s get started.

Converting the My Reviews Scene

The first step in converting My Reviews scene to a fully functioning scene, is to change the table view from static to dynamic cells.

  1. In Xcode, open the iAppsReview scene.
  1. In the Project Navigator, select the MainStoryboard.storyboard file.
  1. Scroll to the My Reviews scene in the storyboard.
  1. Click in the gray area below the table view to select the table view.
  1. Go to the Attributes Inspector, and change the Content type to Dynamic Prototypes.
  1. Since all the cells in this table view have the same style, we can delete all the cells except the first cell. To do this, click on the second cell, hold the Shift key down, then click on third, fourth, and fifth cells. With the last four cells selected, press the Delete key. This leaves one cell remaining as shown in Figure 2.

Once cell remaining

Figure 2 – Leave just one cell remaining.
  1. With the remaining cell in the table selected, go to the Attributes Inspector and set the cell’s Identifier attribute to ReviewCell (Figure 3).

Set cell identifier

Figure 3 – Set the cell’s Identifier to ReviewCell.

 

Creating the My Reviews Table View Controller

For our next step, we need to create a table view controller that we can use in conjunction with the My Reviews scene to fill and manage the table view.

  1. In the Project Navigator, right click the iAppsReview group, and select New File… from the popup menu.
  1. On the left side of the New File dialog under the iOS section, select Cocoa Touch. On the right side of the dialog, select the Objective-C class template (Figure 4), and then click the Next button.

Create a new class

Figure 4 – Create a new Objective-C class.
  1. In the next step of the New File dialog, set the Class to MyReviewsViewController and set the Subclass of to UITableViewController (Figure 5).

New table view controller

Figure 5 – Create a new MyReviewsTableViewController class as a subclass of UITableViewController
  1. In the Save File dialog, click the Create button. This adds the new class files to the Project Navigator (Figure 6).

New table view controller files

Figure 6 – The new table view controller files
  1. As soon as you create a new table view controller, you should immediately associate it with the scene (because it’s easy to forget). To do this, go to the Project Navigator and click on the MainStoryboard file. Then go to the My Reviews scene and click on the status bar at the very top of the scene to select the table view controller. Next, go to the Identity Insepctor (the third button from the left in the Inspector toolbar) and change the Class to MyReviewsViewController (Figure 7).

Set view controller class name

Figure 7 – Set the view controller class to MyReviewsViewController.

Now we’re ready to add code to the new class to fill and manage the My Reviews scene’s table view.

Setting Up the Table View Controller

We are going to need the services of the Review business controller class to retrieve ReviewEntity objects from the database, so let’s start there.

  1. In the Project Navigator, select the MyReviewsViewController.m file.
  1. At the top of the MyReviewsViewController.m file, add the import statements shown in Figure 8.

import statements

Figure 8 – Add these import statements.
  1. We need a place to store the Review business controller object and the ReviewEntity objects that are retrieved from the database, so add the instance variables shown in Figure 9.

Instance variables

Figure 9 – Add these instance variables.
  1. Next, add the code shown in Figure 10 to the bottom of the viewDidLoad method (you can delete all existing comments in viewDidLoad first).

viewDidLoad

Figure 10 – Add this code to the viewDidLoad method.

Next, we need to implement the table view data source methods in the view controller.

  1. In the numberOfSectionsInTableView: method, delete the #warning declaration and add the code shown in Figure 11.

Number of sections

Figure 11 – Add this code to the numberOfSectionsInTableView: method.
  1. In the tableView:numberOfRowsInSection: method, delete the #warning declaration and add the code shown in Figure 12.

Number of rows in section

Figure 12 – Add this code to the tableView:numberOfRowsInSection: method.
  1. In the tableView:cellForRowAtIndexPath: method, change the code as shown in Figure 13.

cellForRowAtIndexPath

Figure 13 – Add this code to the tableView:cellForRowAtIndexPath: method

 

Testing the My Reviews Scene

Now we’re ready to check out our code to see how it works.

  1. Click Xcode’s Run button.
  1. When the app appears in the Simulator, first tap the Write a Review option to create a review and post it.
  1. Next, in the main iAppsReview scene, select the Read Your Reviews option, and you should see all of the reviews that you have added so far (Figure 14). 

My Reviews scene at run time

Figure 14 – The My Reviews scene at run time.

You have met with success!

Converting the Review Scene

Before leaving the My Reviews scene in the Simulator, click on one of your reviews in the list and you will be taken to the Review scene. This scene is still a prototype and displays static information about the Doodle Jump app. 

  1. Click Xcode’s Stop button.
  1. In the Project Navigator, select the MainStoryboard file and scroll to the Review scene. All of the UI controls we need have been placed on the scene and are ready to accept live data. There’s nothing else we need to do to the user interface of this scene right now. I just wanted you to take a look at it before we begin.

Creating the Review View Controller

For many of the other scenes we have converted, we created an associated table view controller. However, since this scene doesn’t contain a table view, we can create just a plain view controller.

  1. In the Project Navigator, right-click the iAppsReview node and select New File… from the popup menu. 
  1. On the left side of the New File dialog under the iOS section, select Cocoa Touch.
  1. On the right side of the dialog, select Objective-C class template and click the the Next button.
  1. In the next step of the dialog, set the Class to ReviewViewController and set Subclass of to UIViewController (not UITableViewController) as shown in Figure 15.

Create ReviewViewController

Figure 15 – Create a new ReviewViewController class.
  1. Click the Next button, and in the Save File dialog, click the Create button. This adds two new class files to the Project Navigator (Figure 16).

Review view controller files

Figure 16 – New view controller files
  1. Now let’s associate the new view controller with the Review scene. In the Project Navigator, select the MainStoryboard file. Afterwards, click the status bar at the top of the Review scene, then go to the Identity Inspector and set the Class to ReviewViewController (Figure 17).

Set ReviewViewController class

Figure 17 – Set the Class to ReviewViewController.

Setting Up the Review View Controller

Let’s start out by adding outlets to the user interface controls so we can access them from the view controller.

  1. Turn on the Assistant Editor by going to the top of the Xcode window and clicking the center button in the Editor button group.
  1. Click on the Review scene in the storyboard. If the ReviewViewController.h file is not automatically displayed in the Assistant Editor, go to the jump bar at the top of the Assistant Editor, click the Manual button and select Automatic > ReviewViewController.h.
  1. At the top of the ReviewViewController.h file, add the import statement shown in Figure 18.

Import starRating

Figure 18 – Import mmStarRating.h.
  1. Click on the Doodle Jump label in the Review scene to select it, hold the Control key down and then click and drag down into the ReviewViewController.h file as shown in Figure 19.

Create outlet

Figure 19 – Create an outlet for the label.
  1. When you see the Insert Outlet or Outlet Collection popup, let go of the mouse button and Control key.
  1. In the Create Connection popup, set the Name to lblAppName and then click Connect. This adds a new outlet property to the code file as shown in Figure 20.

New outlet property

Figure 20 – The new outlet property
  1. Now create an outlet for the other controls in the scene. Give the outlets the following names:
  • Entertainment label – lblCategory
  • Five Star Rating control – starRating
  • Comments text view – tvwComments
  • Image view – imgThumbnail

When you’re finished, the ReviewViewController.h should look like Figure 21.

Outlets

Figure 21 – The completed outlet properties

 

Passing Data to the Review View Controller

In a previous post, I discussed how to pass data between view controllers. The scenario with the Review view controller is a little easier, because we only need to pass data one way. We need to pass the currently selected review’s information from the My Reviews scene to the Review scene. However, since the Review scene doesn’t allow editing, we don’t need to pass any information back.

By way of review, here are the three main steps we need to perform to pass data to a view controller.

  1. Create a property on the destination view controller to hold the data being passed by the source view controller.
  1. Configure the segue between the source and destination view controllers.
  1. In the source view controller, implement the prepareForSegue: method and add code that stores the data to be passed to the destination view controller’s property.

In this scenario, it makes sense to pass a ReviewEntity object from the My Reviews view controller to the Review view controller.

  1. Close the Assistant Editor by clicking the left button in the Editor button group at the top of the Xcode window.
  1. In the Project Navigator, select the ReviewController.h file and add the import statement and property declaration shown in Figure 22.

Import and Property

Figure 22 – Add the import statement and property declaration.
  1. In the Project Navigator, select the ReviewController.m file and add the code shown in Figure 23 to the viewDidLoad method. Notice we left out the code that stores information in the image view control and the category label. This requires some special code, so we’ll get to these items in a future post!

viewDidLoad

Figure 23 – Add this code to the viewDidLoad method.

Our next step is to configure the segue between the My Reviews and Review scenes.

  1. In the Project Navigator, select the MainStoryboard file.
  1. Click on the segue between the My Reviews and Review scene. Notice that when you do this, Xcode highlights the Doodle Jump row in the table view (if it doesn’t, you have the wrong segue selected). This is because the segue is currently hard-coded to this specific row. Now that we are converting the app from a prototype, we need to delete this segue and create a new one.
  1. Press the Delete key to delete the segue.
  1. Click the status bar of the My Reviews scene to select the table view controller. 
  1. Hold the Control key down, and then in the scene dock below the My Reviews scene, click the view controller icon on the left. Drag your mouse pointer to the Review scene until the scene is highlighted in blue.
  1. In the segue popup, select Push.
  1. Click on the segue in the storyboard to select it, and then go to the Attributes Inspector and set the Identifier to ReviewSegue as shown in Figure 24.

set segue identifier

Figure 24 – Set the segue Identifier to ReviewSegue.

Now let’s to the source view controller and implement the prepareForSegue method.

  1. In the Project Navigator, select the MyReviewsViewController.m file.
  1. At the top of the code file add the import statement shown in Figure 25.

Import view controller

Figure 25 – Import ReviewViewController.h
  1. Add the prepareForSegue method shown in Figure 26 directly below the viewDidLoad method.

prepareForSegue

Figure 26 – Add this prepareForSegue method to the ReviewViewController.m file.
  1. Now scroll to the bottom of the code file. Delete all of the existing comments from the tableView:didSelectRowAtIndexPath: method and replace it with the code shown in Figure 27. This code triggers the segue when the user taps a row in the table view.

didSelectRowAtIndexPath

Figure 27 – Add this code to the tableView:didSelectRowAtIndexPath: method.

That’s it! You have added all the code you need to pass data from the My Reviews view controller to the Review view controller.

Testing the Review Scene

Now we’re ready to take it for a spin.

  1. In Xcode, click the Run button.
  1. When the app appears in the Simulator, select the Read Your Reviews row.
  1. Select one of the rows from the list and you should see its information displayed in the Review scene as shown on the right side of Figure 1 at the beginning of this post!

I recommend that you add several reviews with different ratings, comments, and so on, then come back to the My Reviews scene and check them out. REMEMBER, as the app stands right now, you won’t see a change in the Category or the image, but we’ll address this in a future post.

Conclusion

So how did you do? It’s amazing what you can learn when you take off the training wheels and try it on your own. If you’re a little foggy on the steps outlined here, I recommend going through them a few times until they make sense. As always, you can ask any questions you have in the comments for this post!

Goldman Sachs Invests $40 Million in SugarCRM

moneybags

There’s apparently still some excitement to be found among investors in the business of customer relationship management software. Today, SugarCRM said it has raised $40 million in private equity funding from investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The new funding brings its total capital raised to about $83 million, including about $15 million in debt financing raised earlier this year. Its last venture round, a $20 million Series D, included Draper Fisher Jurvetson, New Enterprise Associates and Walden International.

Antoine Munfa, a Goldman Sachs VP, will join SugarCRM’s board of directors.

I talked with CEO Larry Augustin earlier this week, and he told me that recurring revenue – a key metric for software-as-a-service companies – grew about 30 percent in the second quarter, and has been growing for 15 straight quarters. It added about 600 new customers, bringing its total to 6,500.

SugarCRM’s approach is to offer CRM software that runs in the cloud or on-premise, or in a mixed manner as needed.

You’d think that between Salesforce.com, whose primary application is a cloud-based CRM application, software giant Oracle, and SAP, that the CRM market would be pretty much sewn up. But all those companies do other things, Augustin said.

“We’re focused on CRM, and that’s all we do,” he told me. “Salesforce does a lot of other things. They are expanding to be a broad-based provider of software-as-a-service. We think there is a lot of room for innovation around CRM. We’re not adding a marketing cloud or a service cloud, or things like Force.com. We think there is room for innovation around what CRM can do and how we can help individual seller when they are talking to their customers.”

The funding round, Augustin says, is intended to help SugarCRM get toward an initial public offering, though he wouldn’t say anything about timing for a filing of an S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “That’s the question everyone wants to ask, and we just can’t comment on it,” he said.

SmartThings, the “Internet of Things” Company That Connects the Gadgets in Your Home, Launches Its Own Store

SmartThings, the connected-home platform that lets you control your lights, your coffee maker and even your door lock from a mobile app, doesn’t just want to control them – it wants to sell them, too.

SmartThings

The Washington, D.C.-based startup is launching its own online store of home-automation devices, called the SmartThings Shop. SmartThing’s own devices, along with compatible third-party products, will be marketed in the store.

The company had previously said that an e-commerce platform was in the works, so this isn’t a total surprise, but the move underscores the company’s efforts to be a one-stop shop for home-automation gadgets, an area of tech that has been largely fragmented to date.

As mentioned here, SmartThings is an open platform that works with a bunch of different wireless standards, like Bluetooth, ZigBee and Z-Wave, thus allowing it to work with various protocols and third-party devices. The company was recently profiled in Wired, and gave a full onstage demo at the D11 conference this spring.

That said, it’s obviously not without competition: Home-automation solutions abound and big-box retailers like Lowe’s have their own viable systems for automating the home.

SmartThingshub

SmartThings first came into existence as a Kickstarter project in 2012. It began shipping in April, and quickly sold out of available kits. The company says that about 10,000 kits have sold to date – about 50,000 devices in total – and another 20,000 kits have been reserved.

With the birth of the SmartThings Shop, the company is making new kits available, and is essentially selling three categories of products: SmartThings starter kits, individual devices, and solution sets, which are supposed to directly address some of the more frequently requested home automations.

A starter kit will run from $199 to $299, and will offer a variety of sensors and “things,” along with a SmartThings hub. Individual devices include SmartThings sensors and GE light and appliance outlets, Jasco in-wall lighting dimmer switches, Kwikset lever door locks and Schlage deadbolts, to name a few of about a dozen products.

The solution sets range from $59 to nearly $300 and have themes or titles that identify their function. For example, there’s the I Can: Automatically Turn On/Off Lights in Response to Motions kit, for $99; the I Can: Turn Off Appliances With My Phone kit, also for $99; and the I Can: Lock and Unlock My Doors, for $235.

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