Semiconductor Ink Could Drive Computing Demand

polyera_logo_300Chemical giant BASF and a small specialty chemicals company in Skokie, Ill., called Polyera Corp. have come up with a new type of semiconductor ink they plan to market under the name ActivInk. The ink is based on a new molecule that allows printed ink to carry a negative charge. Flexible circuits carrying a positive charge exist already, but by adding the negative charge you speed up the semiconductor and add reliability. The innovation could be used to make a soluble electronic ink, cheaper RFID tags and bendable displays.

The technology could drive wider adoption of RFID and real-time inventory management of everyday items. Such an effort would would benefit existing RFID players — and require incredible computing power to manage the vast amount of data created by ubiquitous RFID. Read More about Semiconductor Ink Could Drive Computing Demand

React: Test Your Reflexes On the iPhone/iPod Touch

I entertain no illusions when it comes to my reaction time. I won’t be catching any katana blades between my hands, that’s for sure. It’s my secret shame, since it means I’m not terribly good at video games, despite my professed love of them. There may be hope for me yet, thanks to DoApp’s new “skills-sharpening” game for the iPhone and iPod touch, appropriately titled React ($0.99).

React is a reflex and coordination game, using the unique multi-touch abilities of the iPhone and iPod touch to test your ability to complete a series of actions on your device. It’s actually kind of similar to Nintendo’s Wario Ware series, minus the crass, slightly vulgar main character. React has no characters, unless you count colorful shapes and contemporary, monochromatic design palettes as characters. In fact, it probably has more in common with Simon, although there is no pattern to memorize in this case.
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Where’s the Serious ROI In Serious Games?

Forrester Research recently sent us a copy of “It’s Time To Take Games Seriously,” an overview of the burgeoning “serious games” industry. As the term suggests, these are video and computer games created to achieve practical, real-world outcomes, such as education or job training; consequently, it’s a space with an eclectic spectrum of players, from universities and NGOs to the military and for-profit corporations. (Recent examples in the latter category: Ultimate Team Play for training Hilton staff workers and The Philips Simplicity Showdown, aimed at improving communication among Philips Electronics employees and management.)

The Forrester report argues that serious games are “poised to take off” in the next seven years. Why?
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Rollbase Wants to Make Programmers Obsolete

Platform-as-a-service provider Rollbase launched today, marketing its offerings as web-based software geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses. While the PaaS terminology conjures up images of Rollbase competing with something like Force.com or Bungee Labs, Rollbase is gunning for the same users as Coghead.

Rollbase allows business users to upload their data to its servers (which are hosted by OpSource) and then “build” applications to make that data useful. The process of building basically consists of dragging and dropping forms and tools on the page, but tech-savvy users can also add their own code for more customization.

What’s amazing to me is the rapid evolution from hosted applications such as Salesforce.com and hosted computing services such as Amazon.com’s Cloud Computing and S3 to hosted development environments such as Bungee Labs. And now here comes services such as those of Rollbase and Coghead, which obviate the need for programmers altogether. At least in smaller offices and internal business units. I don’t see Oracle or SAP giving up the ghost anytime soon.

Much like easy blogging tools have allowed anyone to be a publisher, I’ll be curious to see how tools like Rollbase and Coghead change the business of building code. It may no longer be enough to deliver software as a service, it may have to be infinitely customizable as well.

A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs

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Editor’s Note: Founder Aruni Gunasegaram has written about the virtues of ignoring “the experts” , things no one tells you about VCs, and her preparations for “shaking the can” for her current startup, BabbleSoft, in My Funding Toolkit. On her blog today, Aruni shares some insights from her funding experience. We offer the highlights.

Several readers asked me to write my experience raising funds from angels and VCs for my first entrepreneurial endeavor. We raised about $15 million of which $3.5 million was from angels or what I would call boutique VC firms (i.e. a group of angels under one investment roof). Keep in mind that was all before the bubble burst back in 2001. Here are some of my observations based on my experience and from stories I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs. Read More about A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs