Sunday, August 2, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 12:35 PM
Christopher Gray pitches Scholly on "Shark Tank"

Some of the best pitching won’t be happening the next few days at Citizen’s Bank Park, but rather at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and at Drexel University, where Shark Tank and the TechGirlz’ Entrepreneur Camp will respectively be holding court.

Having lucked out before with Philly finds – the very well received  scholarship search app Scholly, Scrub Daddy (smiley faced sponges)  and low cost home decorating service Zoom Interiors  – the gang from ABC’s entrepreneur-focused reality show Shark Tank will be staging an “open casting call” on Saturday for  candidates as a feature of  the NAACP Convention holding forth in the Convention Center.

The visit is part of a “nationwide tour” by Shark Tank producers  to  bring “more diverse ideas and voices to the show,” said Brandon Andrews of event co-sponsor ValuesPartnership, an organization that brings foundations, non-profits and private companies into partnerships with “faith-based, ethnic and other grassroots influencers.”  

POSTED: Monday, June 29, 2015, 7:29 PM
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OneTwoSee sports app for Comcast X1 is so smart it will predict a likely game winner in the fourth inning.

Sports viewers have twitchy fingers, jumping between event channels or looking down at their smartphone/tablet at the first sign of a game lull or commercial.


But with the interactive data apps that Philadelphia based OneTwoSee supplies as a compliment to live sports events, users become “far more likely” to stick with a game (and keep peace in the house), said OneTwoSee Co-Founder/CEO Chris Reynolds.


Satisfaction levels should likely loom even higher, starting Tuesday, as Comcast cranks up  supplementary content provided by OneTwoSee in the Xfinity Sports App - a free, on-screen enhancement  X1 box users can call up on their TV in split-screen fashion.

POSTED: Monday, June 22, 2015, 12:14 PM
James Michalowski tours the Les Paul exhibit before the start of Les Paul's public memorial at the Discovery World Museum on August 21, 2009 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Getty Images)

A neat treat for folks who love music – and the tech behind it – will be free to enjoy  Tuesday and Wednesday in Glenside. We’re talking “Les Paul’s Big Sound Experience,”  a 1,000-square-foot interactive exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of an artist/tinkerer many consider the most innovative in popular music history.

Honoring what would have been Paul’s Centennial, the “Experience” mobile van is setting up on a church parking lot (New Life Presbyterian) close by the Keswick Theater in Glenside, open for visits and “hands-on” experimentation Tuesday from noon to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

 Adding to the noise - live bands will rock out both days there, doubtless wielding Les Paul-model guitars (sold by the hundreds of thousands under the Gibson and Epiphone brands.)  Truthfully, there’s not a guitar star alive who hasn’t recorded hits on a Les Paul six-stringer or deployed his other innovations.  

POSTED: Monday, June 15, 2015, 2:58 PM
File: Marciarose Shestack and Tom Snyder launched the nation's first "Eyewitness News" 50 years ago.

Hard to believe there was ever a time when our local TV news didn’t feature reporters at the scene of a major fire or suffering  a storm (and sticking a ruler into the snow) “live from the boardwalk.”

But 50 years ago this August , “Eyewitness News” was first in town to reject the “rip and read” convention of  TV newscasts,  as KYW-TV brought in Al Primo as news director, invested in early “ENG” (electronic news gathering) trucks  and put “Street” and “Beat” reporters out to eyeball the breaking stories.

On Wednesday, that momentous turn of events will be evoked by Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia, the official historians of Philadelphia Radio and Television, in a collegial panel discussion at its monthly luncheon.

POSTED: Saturday, June 13, 2015, 10:32 AM

Taylor Swift is all about community building. And on her “1989 World Tour“ that landed Friday at the Linc (and repeats Saturday ) she’s illuminating the message brilliantly, by giving each visitor (50,000 per night) a spiffy PixMob LED wristband with integrated RFID chip that makes EVERYONE feel a part of the show. 

 It’s a technology that rouses all to wave their wrists in the air, like they really care.  And to literally get a glow on.

Pulling a little plastic tab on the soft silicon band unleashes its battery. Then the second the show begins, light emitting diodes inside the translucent band start throbbing in time to the music  and your wrist comes alive with color –  at turns white, red, green or blue, sometimes even artful  combinations.



POSTED: Friday, June 12, 2015, 12:52 PM

How cool to see young, Philly-spawned technologists earning honors for their good work.

Earlier this week, local guys Ari Weinstein and Conrad Kramer were part of the team honored at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference with the prestigious Design Award. And Cherry Hill native David Nghiem is still basking in the glow of his recent Hackathon win at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC.

Weinstein and Kramer are developers of Workflow, a popular (and now award-winning) productivity app released last December then  fast landing at #1 on the App Store. For good reasons, as spelled out in the App Store description: “Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows for your iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote and iCloud Documents, to name a few.”

POSTED: Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 3:10 PM

Want to watch the local morning, mid-day or evening TV news whenever and wherever?

Come Fall, market leading WPVI TV(ABC6) will make it so, as part of national project providing local on-demand and live newscasts through an app on mobile and selected connected TV devices.

“NewsOn,” as the venture is called, has announced participation/co-ownership from five major broadcasting groups, including The ABC owned Television Station Group that’s parent to WPVI and part of the Walt Disney Company. Other participants include Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Media General and Raycom Media.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 12:26 PM
Daryl Hall and John Oates of Hall & Oates perform at the Ryman Auditorium on June 2, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

The soft hits radio format dubbed “Magic” took a powder on Philly radio in 1994, as its local champion (and virtual namesake) WMGK shifted focus, moved into classic rock territory. But today the “Magic” returned to internet radio, the latest in a string of orphaned specialty formats (from Sinatra-style “Martini Lounge” music to alt rock “Y-Not Radio”) adopted by local web channel packager iRadioPhilly.com.

Yes, James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” Hall and Oates’ “She’s Gone,” and  Lionel Richie’s “Feelings” are prominent in the reborn “Magic” mix. But so, too, are easy listening, contemporary  ballads from the likes of Marc Anthony and Adele, said Mike Bowe, an iRadioPhilly air personality who was also a DJ during  the format’s peak period of popularity in the 1980s. “It’s soft rock for today. Nobody plays this stuff. The consultants think everybody wants up-tempo.  They’ll tell you it’s too down. It’s definitely unique from other stations.”

Just in the nick of time,  Mr. Taylor is dishing his first new album of mellow, folkpop music in 13 years next Tuesday, “Before This World.”  A free preview is available here.

About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them.. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Inquirer Columnist
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