Google I/O Afterparty: Robots, Pinball, Jane’s Addiction, a Self-Driving Car and a Merry-Go-Round Powered by Bicycles

The Google I/O 2011 afterparty was geek entertainment at it’s best. Complete with a token 45-minute set by Jane’s Addiction (with Chris Chaney on bass – Eric Avery left the band last year) and dozens of extreme geeks holding up their newly gifted Samsung Galaxy Tabs to shoot a few clips of video (watch the set in HD below), the highlight of the event was likely the Maker Faire-esque playground of Google-powered and -inspired installations. Robotic symphonies performed by everyday kitchen appliances; the famous self-driving car; a mellow set by DJ Mark Farina; a pinball arcade; and this thrilling bicycle-powered carousel (warning: watching video may cause dizziness)….

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Click here to view Google I/O photo gallery on flickr.

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Google I/O 2011: Music Beta App Announced and… Movies from the Cloud

Google officially announced its long-rumored streaming-from-the-cloud music app for Android and the web at Google i/o at Moscone Center in San Francisco. It’s currently free (it is in beta after all) — request an invite at music.google.com. No comment on whether or not Google has come any closer to offering streaming legally, as licensed by the labels and publishers. Another exciting announcement — you can now rent videos on Android Market at http://market.android.com/movies. You have 30 days to stream each rental via web or mobile tablet or phone ($1.99 – $3.99 per rental).

In other news from the opening keynote: To date there have been:
* 100M Android activations
* 400,000 daily activations on 215 carriers
* 200,000 available apps on Market

It took:
* 2 years to 1 billion app installs
* 5 more months to 2 billion
* now 4.5 billion app installs from Android Market

Honeycomb 3.1 coming soon to all devices
USB output
Ice Cream Sandwich – new Android OS – 2.4 – coming soon

…and all 5,000 attendees at Google I/O are receiving the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet (a special-edition model, a month before it hits stores)!

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Click on thumbnails to view full image

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Hiking Camelback Mountain’s Echo Canyon Summit Trail


View Camelback Hike 3/27/11 in a larger map

The summit trail to the peak of Camelback Mountain is deceiving — it’s only 1.2 miles from the parking lot to the top. But a steady elevation gain (1,300 feet total) on a trail of boulders and loose gravel makes a rather strenuous adventure. It took a little over an hour to summit and a little more than half that to get back down. But my quads still feel as though they’ve both been charlie horsed after absorbing the shock of the descent.

Awesome hike, tracked here with MyTracks, an open source Android app led by a team at Google.

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Groupon Gets Charitable with Kiva, DonorsChoose

Groupon Kiva Donors Choose charity donate holiday

$15 for $25 worth of microloan credit to help global entrepreneurs on Kiva.org.”

My first thought upon seeing this was: who pays the other $10? The [not-so] small print below today’s Groupon says that it’s paid for by Groupon (and sponsors). Up to $500,000 of the $800 million to $2 billion in revenues the Chicago-based startup will reportedly take in this year.

That’s a hefty write-off donation for most, and possibly a perk for some Groupon sponsors, and a nice, lucky penny pitched into the pond by a company that allegedly turned down a $6 billion or so buyout offer from Google earlier this month.

Billions in revenue. Huge numbers. It’s important to note how individuals and corporations choose to spend their philanthropic capital and I really like the way Groupon does it here: Empowering regular people to give by subsidizing our donations. I’m sure Groupon wishes it could boast about the kind of repeat transactions that a Kiva.org — where the average user has made 6.5 loans — and what better way to grow it’s community during the holiday giving season by encouraging the habit of giving (or lending) while otherwise luring subscribers to habitually consume on first site of bargain.

Last month, a Kiva.org Groupon raised lead to $100,000 in microloans and Oprah Winfrey promoted Kiva to her audience (for her part, Winfrey was the most charitable celebrity of 2009 with $40 million in donations to various charities, according to The Giving Back Fund. Today’s Kiva Groupon was trumped by a DonorsChoose coupon, which was 60 percent subsidized by the Pershing Square Foundation ($10 for $25). Last May, Groupon and Pershing Square teamed up with DonorsChoose to raise $1 million in funds for public school classrooms in need.

Last week, 17 billionaires, including Steve Case, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg and Carl Icahn, announced their intention to give the majority of their wealth to charity — the Giving Pledge.

In an age where it’s so easy to set examples — for better and worse — it’s comforting to see more and more bold acts of goodwill.

I’m a repeat Kiva lender. Are you?

Strategies for Curating Online Reading Sources

One of the rare non-Apple laptops seen in an otherwise cool park full of cool people How do you keep up with the blogs, news, and online publications you care about most?

This is a question that commonly comes up among friends and peers engaged in the business of content and discovery. And the answer changes as the web changes.

The algorithms, languages, and technology that enable users to curate an online experience that feels genuinely and uniquely personalized is fascinating. To me, it’s what the web is all about. I’ve long been hooked on RSS and its ability to deliver content of all kinds, from audio/video podcasts to earthquake alerts, almost immediately as published.

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