economy, Featured, News »

Tacos, doughnuts, guns: At SXSW, bitcoins buy it all

You can buy guns, t-shirts, and other accessories at Central Texas Gunworks using bitcoin

It’s been a tumultuous month for the virtual currency bitcoin. Last week, Newsweek Magazine ran a cover story unmasking Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, only to have the subject of the article deny he’s the guy. And Mount Gox, formerly one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in the world, filed for US Bankruptcy Protection after losing millions of dollars worth of bitcoin.
Bitcoin is difficult to …

economy, Education, Featured, Interviews, News, Politics »

Los Angeles has a tech czar

Peter Marx, LA's new tech czar

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today named Peter Marx as his Chief Innovation Technology Officer.
The city’s first tech czar will be in charge of revamping the city’s websites and mobile app in order to make LA services more efficient. He’ll also oversee the analysis and release of data collected by city agencies and departments.
“I’m thrilled to have him on the team and look forward …

Arts & Culture, Featured, News »

Tech and cars at the LA autoshow


Saul Gonzalez headed to the L.A. autoshow, where he ran into Scott Frank and Keith Leung of Airbiquity, a company which makes data platforms connecting cars to the Cloud. Listen below, as they show off a system in a Nissan Rogue. Is it really safe to drive and tweet?

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Interviews, News »

Video rental chain Blockbuster to close remaining stores


Before Netflix and video on demand, there was Blockbuster. The video rental chain was once the place to go for picking out a late-night movie.
But times have definitely changed, and DISH, Blockbuster’s current owner, today announced it will close its 300 remaining U.S. stores by early January. The Blockbuster-By-Mail service will end in mid-December.
KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis speaks with Paul Whitefield from the LA Times …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Featured »

Will you wear a smart watch?

Samsung Smartwatch. Photo by Janitors via Flickr/ Creative Commons

The recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch has started a new wave of rumors about the much-anticipated iWatch, including the prediction by at least one research firm that Apple could sell as many as 10 million of the devices. But the history of wearable technology says otherwise—and in fact, I think anything attached to the wrist is more likely to fail …

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Education, Featured, Zocalo Public Square »

Why LA’s kids should learn to hack iPads

Photo via Flickr by Sean MacEntee / Creative Commons

Last year, 40 tablet computers were delivered to the children of two remote Ethiopian villages. The villagers were 100-percent illiterate—the kids had never seen road signs, product labels, or printed material of any kind. Technicians from the One Laptop Per Child program dropped off a stack of boxes, showed a couple of adults how to use the solar chargers, and then walked away. Within …

Featured, Interviews, News »

Californians startled by wireless AMBER Alerts


California Highway Patrol issued an AMBER Alert last night for the two missing children of a woman whose body was found inside a burned-out house in rural eastern San Diego County.

The sheriff’s department says the home in the town of Boulevard is owned by James DiMaggio, who is believed to have killed Christina Anderson and one child. Police are looking for 16-year-old Hannah Anderson …

Education, Featured, Interviews, News »

Making computers think like humans: Stanford, Google and the latest in artificial intelligence

Stanford computer science professor Andrew Ng. Photo by 
Morgan Quigley.

Computer scientists and tech companies have been for years engaged to make more gadgets that are human-like.  That not only respond to humans in a life-like way, but also think like a human.
But tech companies are researching and designing and advancing – everyday – algorithms that will make computers as smart, and complicated, and quiet, as the human brain. This month, Wired magazine reported …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Interviews »

BitTorrent takes a step away from piracy


The peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent is introducing a new gated system that could, in theory, allow studios and record labels to charge users for access to movies, music and shows. They’re calling it the BitTorrent Bundle.
“The Bundle format allows creators to require an action before users can download. That means creators can require a payment, a pay-what-you-want fee, or email registration, for example. …

Arts & Culture, Headline, News »

How to find the best streaming TV

Via Flickr by espensorvik

Roku Box? Netflix? Hulu? iTunes? So many choices. Not much convergence.
There’s a certain joy and angst that comes from being a modern TV viewer. Joy at the choices of quality television shows and movies that we can access without leaving our cozy living rooms. Angst that we don’t know where or how to best spend the money to get that content.
To help you cope, The …

Headline, News »

New ‘My LA 311′ app promises city service made easy — does it deliver?


Have you ever grumbled about a couch dumped on the sidewalk, made a mental note to call the city and then forgot by the time you got home?
The new “My LA 311″ mobile application just might help. The city of Los Angeles launched the app last month, and it’s supposed to let residents report graffiti, abandoned furniture, potholes, broken street lights and fallen trees …

economy, Featured, Interviews »

When journalism and business collide: Inside the CBS/CNet controversy

The popular technology news site CNet is under fire this past week over accusations of corporate meddling after its parent company, CBS, stopped the site from running a glowing review of a new kind of DVR.
CNET revealed Monday that it had originally awarded Dish Network Corp.’s ad-skipping device, The Hopper, its top pick at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, before CBS forced it …

Featured, News »

Tesla: ‘About as American-made as it gets’


This year’s Motor Trend Car of the Year Award goes for the first time to a Silicon Valley made car without an internal combustion engine. The choice was unanimous – Elon Musk’s Tesla Model S 4-door sedan. Warren Olney talks to Dan Neil, Auto Critic for the Wall Street Journal about the car. “I think the sheer novelty of the experience of the car behind the …

Featured, Silicon Beach »

Silicon Beach: A hub of inspiration

I launched Giant Media from my Brentwood apartment in November of 2009. We’ve come a long way since that time and have moved offices twice since then, but rather than relocate to San Francisco (or for that matter, New York), we’ve chosen to stay in the quickly emerging “Silicon Beach”. We operate out of a gorgeous office on Electric Avenue, just off of world …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Headline, News, Silicon Beach »

Silicon Beach: New technology and old buildings

“Story of Venice” mural by Edward Biberman

This week we’ve been looking at the growth of Silicon Beach, as tech companies move westward to be closer to the sand, sea – and to each other. Many are looking for creative space to work in. KCRW’s Frances Anderton reports on Venice, and the meeting of new technology and old buildings in Venice.
Many tech companies have taken up residence in reused industrial and …

Arts & Culture, Silicon Beach »

Why set up shop in Venice?


We set up our digital media operations in a sun-lit colorful flat above the Brig on Abbot Kinney over four years ago, and now take residency in Robert Graham’s former studio adjacent to the boardwalk. Many of us had prior successful residency up in Silicon Valley, and with entrepreneur mentality, we were not just looking for the next big idea to create, but the right …

Arts & Culture, economy, Featured, Silicon Beach »

Silicon Beach: Bringing entertainment and technology together

Austin Hackett is a great example of the type of person flocking to Los Angeles right now. He’s founder of CrowdHall, a site that helps people with large social-media audiences engage with their fans in a virtual town hall forum. Right now he’s based in Cincinnati, and his website is focused largely on the upcoming election, so Ohio, a key swing state, is a …

Arts & Culture, economy, Silicon Beach »

Silicon Beach: The perils of gentrification

Gratitude serves vegan fare

For a long time, people in Silicon Valley would fly to LA when they had to. Then it occurred to them that people who work in technology and content could actually live in the same place. Now, Google has come to Venice, greeted warmly by the Chamber of Commerce, but regarded by some long-time residents as an unwelcome invader. We look at the changing …

Featured, Headline, News, Silicon Beach »

Photos: The new Rose Avenue

croppedSide of Superba

Venice is now home to 300 new high-tech companies, but that only accounts for half of the new, mainly Westside, phenomenon called “Silicon Beach.” The new companies mean new money, and with that a new row of restaurants on Rose Ave. You can hear more about how this is changing the funky Venice on  Which Way, LA?  Below, check out pictures of the “new” …

Featured, Headline, Silicon Beach »

Silicon Beach: Where sun and surf meet start-ups

Frank Gehry's Chiat/Day building is now home to Google. Photo by IK's World Trip, via Flickr

In the western part of Los Angeles County known as “Silicon Beach”, there’s a race for space.  Space, as in ether. As in technology companies that utilize broadband to incubate, inform and – yes, it is L.A. – entertain.  And space, as in location to put all those companies.  With nearly 620 startup tech firms, mainly on the Westside – according to Represent L.A. …

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