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University student crafts app that helps blind smartphone users snap photos

Dustin Adams, a Ph.D student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, has teamed up with colleagues at his school in order to craft an app that helps visually impaired users line up the ideal snapshot. The project started out as a quiz, asking 54 people with varying degrees of ocular …

What can Python and the New York Times tell us about gender?

How much can a handful of Python scripts reveal about our world? Neal Caren, an assistant professor from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, decided to see how <i>The New York Times</i> wrote about men and women. When you open a newspaper, how much of it is devoted to discussing each gender? …

Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz Shares How Startups Can Find Luck

Speaking on stage at The Next Web Conference 2013 in Amsterdam, Eventbrite co-founder and CEO Kevin Hartz gave a talk on finding luck through a combination of preparation and opportunity.<p>Hartz, also an angel investor in major tech companies like PayPal, Airbnb and Pinterest, focused on both PayPal …

Suggest a Bad Idea to Prompt Better Ideas from Others

Half of the problem with collective indecisiveness is blank slate syndrome. Blogger Jon Bell recommends providing a poor suggestion to a group in …

Avoid "Decoy Habits" to Stop Putting Off Your Goals

When you fail to approach a goal honestly, you set your self up for endless procrastination. You come up with excuse after excuse, always forgiving …

18 Brilliant Photo Manipulations by Erik Johansson

We first wrote about Erik Johansson, a Swedish photographer and retoucher, 4 years ago, when he was still a computer engineering student. Even back …

Eyes-on with Ninja Blocks 'home automation for hackers' (video)

Yet another Kickstarter success story is here on the Hardware Alley Floor at TechCrunch Disrupt. Ninja Blocks look a fair bit different than they used to, however -- the 3D-printed case has been traded up for something that looks a lot more like a final, saleable product. In fact, it looks a little …

Bitponics personal gardening assistant eyes-on (video)

Plants need TLC just like any other living thing, but sadly, they're not really great at telling you what they want. Bitponics is looking to take a bit of that guess work out of hydroponic and aquaponic gardens with a WiFi base station that monitors your plant life and connects to automated …

This is the Modem World: Why don't I crash?

<i>Each week Joshua Fruhlinger contributes This is the Modem World, a column dedicated to exploring the culture of consumer technology.</i><p>My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20. It raged with 3.5K of RAM, a high-speed cassette deck, and built-in BASIC. I used to copy game programs string-by-string from …

Chef Sleeve's Smart Food Scale sends nutritional info to your iOS device

Seeing as how Chef Sleeve is best know for its combo cutting board / iPad stand, the company's latest product isn't a huge leap. Sadly, the it didn't actually have a prototype of its Smart Food Scale at its booth here at TechCrunch Disrupt, but we did get a chance to chat a bit about the product, …

Qualcomm aims to solve the coming mobile data crunch with small cell base stations

Qualcomm's been doing very well lately, and most of those chips it builds are for mobile devices that demand a lot of data to serve their owners' needs -- and as more and more folks jump on the smartphone bandwagon, the demand for data will continue to grow exponentially. Today at Qualcomm's What's …

Eyes-on: MIT Media Lab's Smarter Objects can map a user interface onto... anything (video)

While patrolling the halls of the CHI 2013 Human Factors in Computing conference in Paris, we spied a research project from MIT's Media Lab called "Smarter Objects" that turns <i>Minority Report</i> tech on its head. The researchers figured out a way to map software functionality onto tangible objects like …

Microsoft adds Azure to its billion dollar a year club

But getting people to think about its cloud services is still a challenge.<p>The Azure cloud computing platform is now a billion dollar a year business, …

Lab-quality microscope now mounts onto most Apple iOS devices

To my fellow geeks who've long dreamed of having a lab-quality digital microscope that mounts to your phone, the time has come.<p>Oregon-based optics manufacturer Bodelin will begin shipping its brand-new ProScope Micro Mobile on May 1. One version fits the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, and iPod Touch; another the …

Facebook Says These Are The 20 Best Brands On The Social Network

So Facebook decided to call out the brands that are doing the best work on the medium — mostly using unpaid advertising — by announcing the winners of its second annual Facebook Studio awards.<p>An elite group of advertising experts from all the top agencies made up the jury that analyzed which brands …

Social Media

These Three $50B+ Companies Should Be Fighting Over Foursquare

I've identified three companies each worth north of $50B who should be fighting over ownership of Foursquare. Apple, Facebook and Google? Nope. Visa …