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NYU ITP May 5, 2010

Posted by Nick in education, technology.
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Ah, only a few short weeks from graduating from Georgetown I have finally decided what to do next year. I decided to turn down both of my job offers and go back to school. Crazy? I don’t think so, not when the school is as awesome as the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU (ITP). This program is a combination of everything new media and technology, I will do some physical computing, hopefully a lot of programming, and learn about all types of new technologies. This is not only awesome and exciting, but ITP is also very well regarded in the NYC startup scene where I hope to be working in the future. ITP graduates include founders of a number of businesses, including Dennis Crowley the founder of Foursquare. I’m looking forward to the move to ITP and looking forward to what I will learn there.

On a side note, I haven’t posted here in awhile and will be shutting this blog down to start a new one with more frequent posts that are more in-depth. I also plan on spending more time on each post ensuring that the writing is much better. I will post a link here when I get it started.

Mint Helps Manage Your Money February 18, 2010

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With Kublax, a British clone of Mint, recently entering deadpool because it couldn’t find another round of funding (*a new letter from Kublax CEO says that Kublax may be bailed out by SimplyFinance) I thought it would be a good time to write about Mint. Mint is a website that links with your bank accounts and credit cards to monitor your spending and bill paying. It allows you to set up budgets that can range from one time things or can reoccur monthly for things like your cable bill or grocery budget. Mint is now owned by Intuit (turbo tax guys) but it is still an awesome, free service that helps you keep your money in order. For anyone, but especially for young people not used to budgeting for all your own bills, I recommend you give Mint a try and see just how much money you have to spend.

The future of making money on the internet February 1, 2010

Posted by Nick in technology.
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So I haven’t been here in a long time and soon I’d like to be back writing regularly, I haven’t written anything about my experiences navigating the technological challenges I faced in China (blocked emails, proxy servers, etc.). But, the thing that really wanted to get me back on here was a blog post that Dave McClure just wrote. Check his article about how the future revenue model for the internet will be paid content and subscription services. He says that Facebook, Google, and Apple are all poised to be a huge part of this move for a very specific reason…you use them a lot so you remember your password. McClure says that one of the biggest problems he experienced while at PayPal was that people couldn’t remember their passwords. Check out everything he has to say on his blog 500 Hats, the guy may be a little crazy but he is extremely smart

A Gamer on Social Gaming November 15, 2009

Posted by Nick in social media, technology.
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games

Social gaming companies like Zynga, Playfish, and Playdom are quickly taking over Facebook and MySpace; their games (ie Farmville, Mobsters) are far and away the most popular applications on these sites and Zynga has over 195 million monthly active users on Facebook alone. Despite the presence of scammy offers like mobile subscriptions that many unsuspecting users are apt to fall for, these types of games have been growing at an exponential rate and netting each of these companies massive amounts of money. The sheer number of people playing these games and the fact that EA recently acquired Playfish for $300-$400 million indicate that they will play an important role in the future of the video game industry, but how will they stack up against the current PC and platform game industry.

Right now, the core of the video game industry is hardcore PC and console gamers who spend an average of over 10 hours a week playing games, most of which are spent playing games online. As someone who falls into the category of hardcore game, I thought it would be interesting to compare my experiences with traditional PC and console games to my experiences playing social games on Facebook and MySpace. For the last several years, I have been playing video games almost exclusively online. The largest amount of time has been spent on the Halo series, but I have spent substantial amounts of time on Call of Duty, Starcraft, Counter-Strike, and World of Warcraft as well; and this is combined with playing other new games for short periods of time as they are released. As someone who plays all types of games from first person shooter to RTS and MMORPG, the biggest appeal for any game is the quality of its online gaming experience. Since social gaming is, by definition, a type of online gaming, I have been excited to see the types of games coming out. Not surprisingly, I have, in large part, been disappointed by the games released for Facebook and MySpace. Most are games that require very little skill, simply time in order to succeed and are based less on competing with others online and rather sharing or connecting with them. The thrill and difficulty of competition in online gaming is what keeps me excited and returning to a game for hours upon hours every week over months or years, social games lack this excitement factor that would keep me coming back.

Though I don’t think the types of games that are successful as social games will ever corner the hardcore gamer demographic, they are important nonetheless. These games lack the addictive and competitive nature that lure gamers in for weeks or months of their lives, but they do have great appeal to the casual gamer and social network user. Social games allow you to connect with friends in a new way, something social network users are often looking for, and provide a decent entertainment factor for brief periods. Social games are a fun quick break from work or something entertaining to do for a few minutes while your surfing the web. The fact that they are so simple and require only a small amount of attention and time isn’t a bad thing, rather it is an important factor in their success. Most people surfing the web have very short attention spans and tend to visit the same sites each day for a short period of time. By playing to these tendencies, social games open themselves up to an enormous market of people, nearly everyone on the internet. It is unlikely that these games, at least in their current state, will ever appeal to hardcore gamers and therefore won’t utilize the standard video game business plan of profiting from game purchases and subscriptions, but they will continue to appeal to the general internet using public and stand to make a lot of money through lead generation offers (hopefully only legitimate ones) and advertising revenue.

The Skype Founders=Win November 8, 2009

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Skype Founders

Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, founders of Skype, got exactly what they wanted. In a battle with eBay, the Skype owners won a 14% stake in the company and board representation. In addition, that have moved on to start a new music company called Rdio. Rdio is gaining steam quickly and is assembling a killer team that should allow it to compete with the best of whats already out there. For more about the team being assembles by Rdio, check out the article at TechCrunch.

TechnoBuffalo November 2, 2009

Posted by Nick in technology.
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techno

TechnoBuffalo just launched a TechBlog social network. Essentially this site allows you to read content from all sorts of different tech blogs or use it to create your own tech blog. It will give you your own url and help you customize the page and set up your blog. It will also help you get advertising and if your posts are good enough they may even feature your content. Overall, it is a place for techies to gather and read each others work which sounds good. Check out more here at TechCrunch and look for my blog starting up over on TechnoBuffalo soon as well.