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Cody Adds Personal Training To Its Social Fitness Community With Hundreds Of New Workouts

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When it comes to exercise, both motivation and enjoyment tend to be a lot higher when friends are involved. They cheer us on, challenge us and make exercise more social. The App Store is stuffed with exercise, fitness and wellness apps of all kinds, and by this point, eyes roll every time a new fitness app launches.

Two former Microsoft product managers beg to differ. They launched Cody earlier this year because they believe that a key part of the fitness puzzle is still missing: Social. Cody set out to create a mobile platform and community that encouraged people to share their workout-focused content with their friends – be they pictures, images or tips. Basically, an Instagram/Facebook for exercise.

Of course, with Endomondo, GAIN Fitness, Fitocracy and others already trying to build their own permutations of “The Facebook for Fitness,” Cody has tried to set itself apart by reducing the friction. In other words, by become a mobile fitness coach that people aren’t frustrated or intimidated by. Rather than cater to hardcore fitness enthusiasts like so many other fitness apps, Cody avoids going to deep into the fitness-tracking world and is far less reliant on graphs and metrics.

When it started out, the app focused on increasing the success and enjoyment level of workouts by using its own friendly robot (named Cody) to provide users with access to their own workouts and curated content (like articles) which Cody aimed to personalize to the individual. (To varying degrees of success.)

With its most recent update, however, Cody has moved in the direction of GAIN Fitness and now allows trainers to post their favorite workouts and fitness programs into the community and your feed (if you’re following those trainers). The idea is allow trainers who already have their own followings to leverage that audience and bring it to Cody, which is both a bonus for Cody (its user base grows) and the trainer’s audience as it gets access to a new mobile and social fitness community. Or at least that’s the idea.

The new version of Cody allows trainers to share multimedia content within Cody as well, bringing video to the app’s community, and allowing users to watch these short videos and try 10-day cardio challenges, upper body workouts and so on. The trainers can then add to those videos as they go, providing feedback, pointers or striking up a conversation with their audience via Cody.

At the outset, most of this content was free and curated by Cody’s editorial team itself, but as it goes forward, the Cody community will see trainers begin charging for their expert routines, along with more content. By helping its best trainers to start making money, Cody hopes that it can begin generating some revenue as well.

Furthermore, by slowly relinquishing editorial control and allowing trainers to post more of their own content, the founders hope that more multimedia content will start to flow through the network, increasing engagement and enjoyment as a result. As another way to encourage that, Cody has made its “Training Programs” available on the Web, in addition to mobile.

For more, find the startup’s announcement here.

Site: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/19/cody-adds-personal-training-to-its-social-fitness-community-with-hundreds-of-new-workouts/

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Verbling Launches Live Study Groups And One-on-one Tutoring Service, As Its Spin On Language Learning Begins To Catch On

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Learning to speak a new language with any kind of fluency is a daunting task. Not only only does it require time, patience, and a great teacher but, ultimately, there’s no “right” way to go about it. Just as language learning tends to resist a one-size-fits-all approach, today the market offers a laundry list of services, apps and startups to choose from – each with its own approach to helping you become a polyglot.

To help it stand out from the pack and take on the Rosetta Stones of the world, Verbling has put a new, yet familiar spin on language learning. To help immerse students in a new language (and learn more effectively), Verbling uses frictionless, in-browser video chat to connect its learners with native speakers, live, in 3-D. What’s more, unlike many of its cohorts, the Y Combinator-backed education startup is focused on the Web, not mobile, and native apps, if they do come, are still a ways off.

From the outset, Verbling focused on building a network of native speakers in a few core languages so that it could instantly connect users with someone who’s fluent in the language they’re trying to learn. However, when we checked in with Verbling late last year, the company had begun to expand its scope – both by adding new languages and by moving beyond its original one-on-one video immersion model. The update saw Verbling add support for nine new languages and bring one-to-many, Google Hangouts-powered “classes” to its platform, with instruction led by an official, TEFL-certified Verbling teacher.

Today, Verbling Classes are group language lessons taught by trained teachers over live video chat in the browser. The startup limits class rosters to nine students per class, which allows it to keep class size manageable as well as offer language learning courses every hour, 24-hours a day, on-demand – with no advance reservation required. Since launching, Classes are now offered in a total of four languages and have quickly become the most popular feature on Verbling, says co-founder Jake Jolis.

Again, while Verbling’s focus on building a Web-sans-mobile product (at least for the time being) may make it seem behind the times, it allows it to offer on-demand, around-the-clock service no matter what time zone students are connecting from. While remaining hyper-focused can also be limiting, Jolis says that this always-on availability has come to be one of its most appealing features and a point of differentiation in a crowded space.

“It’s not uncommon to find people from 10 different countries in one single Verbling class,” he says, and this language-focused, cross-cultural experience can be a powerful tool not only for learning and engagement. After all, students can participate in these classes from the comfort of their living room couch.

Building on the success of its live classes, Verbling has continued to round out its language learning platform. This started with the addition of “Verbling Groups,” a free feature which allows anybody to start or join a Group video chat with up to 10 participants sharing the same target language. And, today, the startup is taking the next logical step with the addition of a new tutoring service.

Verbling’s new tutoring platform will enable language students anywhere to easily book live, hour-long private tutoring sessions with their teacher of choice. The new service is designed to have a premium feel and is aimed at the most dedicated students, Jolis says, while simultaneously allowing Verbling teachers to leverage their following and increase their income.

Whereas class prices are fixed at $3 for one class, 10 classes for $19/month and unlimited classes for $45/month, Verbling’s new tutoring platform allows teachers to set their own price and accept payments via Stripe and PayPal. Tutoring will be available in the same four languages that Verbling Classes are offered in and will be available on-demand.

Beyond increasing the language learning options for its students and signaling its gradual expansion into a services platform, Verbling Tutoring also represents another potentially key revenue channel. Though the startup remains a lean operation and is still just five full-time employees three years in, if Classes are any indication, the team has reason for optimism.

Even though students can now watch classes without registering (or paying), students are still willing to pay for unlimited access, which Jolis tells us has become the startup’s most popular pricing plan. (And it also happens to be the most expensive.)

For this reason, Verbling has been able to maintain double-digit month-over-month revenue growth since it began accepting payments for classes eight months ago. Monthly revenues now stand in the “five figure range and growing,” Jolis adds, and Verbling’s monthly active users are now at over “six figures.” All in all, while that means Verbling is still relatively small compared to some others of its ilk, things definitely seem to be moving in the right direction.

As a result of its recent revenue growth, Verbling has also been able to raise an additional round of seed capital from Sam Altman and Hydrazine Capital, with contributions from Learn Capital, FundersClub, Rothenberg Ventures and Kevin Moore.

This follows on the $20K Verbling received when it graduated from Y Combinator in 2011 and the $1 million in seed funding it raised in the months following from DFJ, Learn Capital, SV Angel, Start Fund, Ace & Company, Meck Investments and Inspovation, among others.

More: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/20/new-funding-in-tow-verbling-adds-live-study-groups-and-one-on-one-tutoring-as-its-spin-on-language-learning-begins-to-catch-on/

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Tesla Officially Opens West Coast Supercharger Circuit, Covering San Diego To Vancouver

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Tesla’s West Coast Supercharger Corridor opened today, making it possible for owners of the Model S to travel free between San Diego and Vancouver, using Highway 101 and Interstate 5. This makes a Supercharger reachable within 200 miles to over 99 percent of Californians and 87 percent of those in Oregon and Washington.

A lot of attention has been paid to Tesla’s efforts to make a coast-to-coast trip in one of its vehicles a reality, via Superchargers and other charging stations, but blanketing the West Coast means that Tesla S owners can now travel from essentially the Mexican border to within the Canadian one without paying any money to fill their cars, and with a minimal amount of charging time required. Superchargers can charge a Tesla S to a capacity worth around 200 miles of driving distance in just 30 minutes, and the stations are positioned near restaurants and shopping centers to give you something to do while your car powers up.

To promote the new corridor, Tesla is having two Model S vehicles make the trip from San Diego to Vancouver, and they’ll be pushing updates to their various social media properties along the way. Spoiler alert: those cars are definitely going to make it without incident.

Supercharger rollout continues globally, with Tesla announcing plans in September to cover 100 percent of the population of Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Luxembourg, and 90 percent of the population in England, Wales, and Sweden with a station within 320 kms by the end of 2014. Getting past that basic excuse of “I can’t buy one, there’s nowhere to charge” is clearly a huge part of the company’s global rollout strategy, which is why each of these Supercharger network expansions is a big win for Tesla and for founder Elon Musk.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/30/tesla-officially-opens-west-coast-supercharger-circuit-covering-san-diego-to-vancouver/

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Bob Dylan Lanza Videoclip Interactivo De “like A Rolling Stone”

Like a Rolling Stone” de Bob Dylan debe ser una de las composiciones de música popular más influyentes del mundo en la época moderna (usualmente ocupa el primer lugar de los rankings de mejores canciones de la historia), y finalmente, a casi cincuenta años de su debut en 1965, tiene un videoclip oficial que el cantante subió a su página web.

El video se lanzó hoy para coincidir con la puesta en venta de una antología del cantante estadounidense, y consiste en un videoclip interactivo donde uno puede ir cambiando los canales de televisión en el que variadas personalidades aparecen cantando como si fueran los intérpretes del tema.

Entre los personajes más reconocidos se encuentran los dueños de la casa de empeños de ‘El precio de la historia’, el comediante Drew Carey de ‘The Price is Right’, y el conductor de ESPN, Marc Maron, quienes se muestran reinterpretando la canción de una forma que, según sus creadores, nadie puede ver exactamente el mismo video dos veces.

Link: Bob Dylan (vía Pitchfork)





Este artículo, fue publicado originalmente aquí: http://www.fayerwayer.com/2013/11/bob-dylan-lanza-videoclip-interactivo-de-like-a-rolling-stone/

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Diary.com ‘growing Like A Weed’ After Switch To Privacy Controls And $1.2m Funding

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Recently we’ve seen the rise of a new wave of startups that give far more control back to users. They have avoided the public nature of Twitter and the – sometimes toxic – vagueness of Facebook which has happily moved from a private network to one where, frankly, you’re never quite sure what is public or not. Huh, Randi.

Instead, new networks like Snapchat, are attempting to give back control to the users. In the same way, UK-based Diary.com has emerged to ride that wave of user choice. The startup is now announcing it’s raised $1.2 million from a network of private investors. Terms were not disclosed.

While founder Keld Van Shreven tells us: “We want to to build a major consumer company out of the UK with an eye on the Valley and the US. We’re aiming to continue to grow the product, expand in the US, and hire.”

We’ve written about Diary.com in the past and described it as a scrapbook for the Twitter generation. Since then the company has pivoted under Van Shreven and decided to ride the wave of ‘user control’. The bet appears to have paid off. He says the site is now “growing like a weed.”

Diary.com now says its users are coming from UK, U.S., Asia and Brazil. It’s highly used by young women, one of the hardest demographics to reach. Van Shreven now says the site has 2 Million active users and it’s now pulling in advertisers wanting to push fashion, makeup and music to a young female audience.

Pivoting away from microblogging, Diary.com is now about text, pictures and, crucially, the ability to share both publicly and privately to a select group.

Indeed, the site now plans a Snapchat-like feature allowing the ability to share post which automatically get deleted after a short period.

This is kind of feature is increasingly important for teens and especially young women, but also something that addresses the problem of cyber-bullying, which has seen so many tragic ends recently, especially as depicted in the British press. Ask.fm, for instance, was recently cited as a contributing factor in the bullying of a teen who later committed suicide.

Diary.com allows its audience to sound off to a private network of friends, without being ridiculed in public.

With its familiar, Pinterest-like interface, user controls, simple URL and mobile products in the pipeline, Diary.com looks like it might be a break-out hit after-all, and after a good while trying.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/19/diary-com-growing-like-a-weed-after-switch-to-privacy-controls-and-1-2m-funding/

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Diary.com ‘growing Like A Weed’ After Switch To Privacy Controls And $1.2m Funding

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 12.14.22

Recently we’ve seen the rise of a new wave of startups that give far more control back to users. They have avoided the public nature of Twitter and the – sometimes toxic – vagueness of Facebook which has happily moved from a private network to one where, frankly, you’re never quite sure what is public or not. Huh, Randi.

Instead, new networks like Snapchat, are attempting to give back control to the users. In the same way, UK-based Diary.com has emerged to ride that wave of user choice. The startup is now announcing it’s raised $1.2 million from a network of private investors. Terms were not disclosed.

While founder Keld Van Shreven tells us: “We want to to build a major consumer company out of the UK with an eye on the Valley and the US. We’re aiming to continue to grow the product, expand in the US, and hire.”

We’ve written about Diary.com in the past and described it as a scrapbook for the Twitter generation. Since then the company has pivoted under Van Shreven and decided to ride the wave of ‘user control’. The bet appears to have paid off. He says the site is now “growing like a weed.”

Diary.com now says its users are coming from UK, U.S., Asia and Brazil. It’s highly used by young women, one of the hardest demographics to reach. Van Shreven now says the site has 2 Million active users and it’s now pulling in advertisers wanting to push fashion, makeup and music to a young female audience.

Pivoting away from microblogging, Diary.com is now about text, pictures and, crucially, the ability to share both publicly and privately to a select group.

Indeed, the site now plans a Snapchat-like feature allowing the ability to share post which automatically get deleted after a short period.

This is kind of feature is increasingly important for teens and especially young women, but also something that addresses the problem of cyber-bullying, which has seen so many tragic ends recently, especially as depicted in the British press. Ask.fm, for instance, was recently cited as a contributing factor in the bullying of a teen who later committed suicide.

Diary.com allows its audience to sound off to a private network of friends, without being ridiculed in public.

With its familiar, Pinterest-like interface, user controls, simple URL and mobile products in the pipeline, Diary.com looks like it might be a break-out hit after-all, and after a good while trying.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/19/diary-com-growing-like-a-weed-after-switch-to-privacy-controls-and-1-2m-funding/

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Apple’s Tim Cook Is Right, Anti-gay Policies Hurt The Economy

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The elusive CEO of the richest company in the world, Apple’s Tim Cook, has taken a rare step into the spotlight to urge Congress to ban sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.

In a Wall Street Journal OpEd, Cook argues that passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act is not only a moral imperative, but sound economic policy:

“Those who have suffered discrimination have paid the greatest price for this lack of legal protection. But ultimately we all pay a price. If our coworkers cannot be themselves in the workplace, they certainly cannot be their best selves. When that happens, we undermine people’s potential and deny ourselves and our society the full benefits of those individuals’ talents.”

I’m no fan of bigotry, but is Cook, who is widely thought to be gay himself, right that discrimination hurts the economy? In short, yes, but it’s hard to determine the impact.

A UCLA Law review of research finds that anti-discrimination policies make for healthier, more cooperative, and committed workers [PDF]. IBM-sponsored ethnographic research finds that gay workers who feel accepted in the workplace are also more willing to share creative ideas [PDF]. “If I’m not out at work, I spend more time trying to conceal my home life and therefore not concentrating on my job.” explained one respondent.

To some extent, we’re lucky to live in a country where our economy isn’t held hostage to Congress’s inability to promote equality. Nearly every major company in America supports gay workers and knows they’d face crippling public backlash on top of missing out on top-notch talent by discriminating. The companies most in charge of innovation won’t be impacted by legislation.

Still, every sick, disparaged, and fearful worker hurts the economy. Innovation comes from unexpected places: every fired teacher and bullied teenager makes it that much less likely innovative Americans will ever reach their potential.

One of the godfathers of modern computing, Alan Turing, died shortly after the British government forced him into chemical castration for being gay. Turing’s revolutionary mathematical theorems proved how computers could be more than simple calculators. He died at the young age of 41 directly from discriminatory legislation. Who knows what he could have contributed to computing in the later years of his life?

[Image Credit: Flickr User Goedegebuure]

Site: http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/04/apples-tim-cook-is-right-anti-gay-policies-hurt-the-economy/

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