Timehop, The Place To Reminisce Online, Raises $3M Led By Spark Capital

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While present-focused social networks like Facebook and Instagram make plenty of room for the narcissists in us, there’s not really a dedicated and focused place to reflect on the past.

Timehop, which started out as 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo, has evolved into a mobile-first startup that surfaces old memories from your social networks. The app will pull up status updates from a year or more ago, reminding you of friends you’ve lost contact with or thoughts you had a year ago on this day.

The New York-based startup says it just rounded up another $3 million in funding led by existing investor Spark Capital. O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, which had also previously backed the company, participated as well. Andrew Parker, a principal at Spark, joins Timehop’s board.

Timehop’s CEO Jonathan Wegener says that the company will use the round to build out the team beyond seven people and focus on mobile apps. Timehop just shut down its e-mail service last week.

“The big, long-term vision is to be a place to reminisce online,” Wegener said. “Basically in this world, all social networks are real-time. They’re about what’s happening right now, but there’s no place online to discuss the past.”

While the Series A crunch has made fundraising tough for all kinds of consumer-facing mobile and web products, Wegener said it was Timehop’s stickiness that made a compelling case. He said one-third of Timehop’s user base opens the product on any given day, which is a very respectable retention figure.

“Users who try to the product fall in love with it. This helped us make the argument that people are working Timehop into their everday lives,” Wegener said. “At first, people don’t understand why they would want this. But they get really addicted to it. They see it as a mirror of their own life, and a reflection of their past self.”

He said he’s used the app to remember which friends he’s lost touch with over the years. The app will pull up old group photos, reminding Wegener to reach out and reconnect.

Timehop’s earlier investors also included angels like Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Naveen Selvadurai and Alex Rainert, Groupme’s Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht, Rick Webb and Kevin Slavin.

AWS Adds SDK Support For Windows Phone And Windows Store Apps

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Amazon Web Services continues to enhance support for Microsoft workloads with added SDK support for Windows Phone and Windows Store Apps.

According to the AWS blog, the new support comes with a Developer Preview of the next version of the AWS SDK for .NET. The release of the SDK adds two new enhancements for.NET developers.

A developer can connect Windows Phone or Windows Store apps to AWS services and build a cross-targeted application that’s backed by AWS. With the addition, AWS now also offers SDK support for Windows as well as iOS and Android.

AWS also added support for its “task-based asynchronous pattern,” which uses “the async and await keywords and makes programming asynchronous operations against AWS more easily to do.”

The support follows AWS efforts to show support for running Microsoft Exchange Server in the AWS Cloud as well SQL Server and Sharepoint.

The new support illustrates the competition among the cloud service providers to become the developer center for all devices. AWS is by far the leader but Windows Azure has steadily added more features for supporting iOS and Android.

Review: Sky’s NOW TV box. We put this tiny £10 Roku device to the test

NOWTV 520x245 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Sky’s NOW TV service might not be as well known as others under its auspices, such as Sky Go, for example, but at under 10 for a little white box that promises to make your boring old TV an internet-connected one, it sounds like a no-brainer. Plus it introduces the option to pay for on demand access to Sky’s sport and movie channels too.

The one thing that’s critical for an internet-connected TV is….yep, an internet connection. This is where my experience with NOW TV started: with a failure to connect.

Opening up the box, you’ll find the unit itself (which will be very familiar if you’ve seen or used Roku’s little streaming player), an HDMI cable for connecting it to the TV, a remote (plus batteries) and a power pack. Naturally setting it up is as easy as plugging all those things in.

NOWTV rear 730x391 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Once you’re ready and the unit is switched on, you’ll see a welcome screen asking you to connect to a WiFi network. Despite trying several times, having double and triple checked that I’d put in the correct password, it simply wouldn’t connect to my (Virgin Media) router. I tried disabling security on the router altogether, to no avail.

However, tethering it to my phone worked no problem at all. First time, in fact.

Once connected, the software will update itself and then ask you to sign in to NOW TV. If you don’t have an account you’ll need one, and you can’t set one up from the box, so you’ll need a laptop or tablet or something.

Once that hurdled has been safely cleared you finally get to the NOW TV menu screen which provides access to all installed channels (apps) and the settings menu.

Now TV Menu 730x422 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Navigation is simple enough, all performed via the arrow and enter keys on the remote and it’s responsive enough to keep you from being frustrated at having to wait around.

New apps can be installed by pressing the apps button on the controller and then navigating to the desired option, whether that’s dedicated channels like BBC News 24 or things like Spotify or the Facebook photos and videos app.

apps1 730x482 Review: Skys NOW TV box. We put this tiny   10 Roku device to the test

Actual streaming performance, which will undoubtedly vary depending on your connections – tethered to 4G in this instance, was without problems and it didn’t balk at the BBC iPlayer HD content, though it only supports output at up to 720p.

Obviously, Sky’s hoping you’ll shell out for its on-demand Sky Sport and Sky Movies. Pricing has been set at 9.99 per day for all six Sky Sports channels and subscription to the movies channel is being offered on a 30 day free trial for new customers, followed by a one month introductory price of 8.99, which then rises to 15 per month.

Essentially, the unit is a rebranded Roku unit with Sky’s software on board and a few services removed. While Roku devices tend to retail for a little more than the price of the Sky branded-offering (which is around $15), Sky’s not really in this for the hardware cash. To it, the value of those ad-hoc daily sports, or monthly movies are far more important.

Personally, I’m not that interested in Sky’s movie or TV offerings, and with no access to services like Netflix, LOVEFiLM, ITV Player, and 4oD (for obvious reasons – as competing on-demand streaming platforms) it’s slightly less smart than I’d like, but to be able to turn a normal HD TV into an at least semi-smart TV for 10 has got to be worth anyone’s money. Providing it’ll play nicely with your router. I’ll let you know if I get it working with mine.

Update: After much wrangling the WiFi connectivity issue was eventually resolved by accessing the hidden menu (press home button 5 times followed by fast-forward, play, rewind, play and then fast-forward again) and selecting “disable network pings” in the options.

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500px integrates MapBox to vizualize photos’ geolocation data and help users find shots taken nearby

152303724 520x245 500px integrates MapBox to vizualize photos geolocation data and help users find shots taken nearby

Photo sharing platform 500px has integrated MapBox maps across its site over the last couple of days, giving users a better idea of where their newly discovered or all time favorite shots were taken.

Users will notice that on individual photo pages, a new Location tab is highlighted alongside the image’s licensing information, upload date and other default details. Selecting it reveals a small window with a blue arrow icon depicting exactly where the photo was captured.

It’s a bit small though and difficult to make out the country or region in question. Thankfully, clicking on the map again triggers a far more expansive window which can be used to examine the location in greater detail.

Screen Shot 2013 07 26 at 16.32.36 730x383 500px integrates MapBox to vizualize photos geolocation data and help users find shots taken nearby

In addition, viewers can also see other photos uploaded both by the original photographer and other 500px users in the surrounding area. It’s a far more organic way of navigating the site and adds a sense of context to users’ photos.

The new Location tab isn’t present for every image uploaded to 500px. That’s because the majority of photographs won’t have geolocation data attached to them automatically. Users can set this manually when they upload a photo to the service, or at anytime by hitting the edit button from the dashboard.

Rival services such as Flickr and Google+ offer similar mapping functionality, but MapBox’s integration with 500px is particularly slick. For those who like to spend hours just commenting and Liking on a seemingly endless number of photos, it’s a nice if not particularly innovative addition.

500px launched its new, redesigned Professional Photo Portfolios in May this year, following pretty significant updates to both its iOS and Android apps in the months prior.

Image Credit: OLIVER BERG/AFP/GettyImages

A Geeky Review – Sacred Citadel

Having just played Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite back to back, I was prepared to be underwhelmed with games for a while. The aforementioned titles really raised the bar of what games can accomplish, and both totally blew my mind. I had visions of me falling into a gaming slump or at least a chance to play catch up with my DVR until Naughty Dog‘s The Last Of Us releases. Actually that’s kind of ridiculous considering how much I love gaming but the thought of bitter disappointment on my next gaming excursion did cross my mind.

Luckily for me, the fine folks at Deep Silver hooked me up with a copy of their game Sacred Citadel. Described in a press release as an action adventure hack and slash with RPG elements. I love a good hack and slash but throw in the added bonus of RPG characteristics and well, color me intrigued!

Sacred Citadel is part of the Sacred game series, and intends to serve as a prequel to the upcoming Sacred 3. If you haven’t played any of the Sacred games, fear not, Sacred Citadel is perfectly fine to dive right into for the uninitiated like myself.

Upon starting the game you are asked to choose a character class to represent you. There are four, Warrior, Ranger, Mage, and Shaman. Each has unique abilities and characteristics.

Sacred Citadel is presented in four acts and takes place in the world of Ancaria where the evil Ashen empire has enslaved the population. Their henchmen are the Grimmoc, whose job is to wipe out the Seraphim. It’s your duty to help defeat the evil Ashen empire, and that’s when the fun begins!

You start off with lowly weapons and very few skills. Throughout the game as you progress so does your character and weapons. Dual wield with a variety of artillery including Swords and axes, better weapons become available for purchase in the towns or are often dropped along the way by enemies. I found that every weapon dropped by enemies were always better than anything you already owned, which was nice unlike in Borderlands where often I discarded a gun only to find what I left behind was much better than the new one.

Speaking of Borderlands I often found Sacred Citadel to resemble the shooter, only without guns. That comparison also extends to the style of art used in Sacred Citadel as well as the RPG leveling up of characters and weapons. Sure it’s not as dynamic of graphics but this game is much smaller scale and is download only across multi platforms. With that being said, I am in no way implying that Sacred Citadel is not top-notch quality and I had a ton of fun playing it.

Sacred Citadel offers co-op for up to three players. Do your self a favor and bring along a friend or two because it really is much more fun. However, if you are a lone wolf type of gamer, Sacred Citadel still has much to offer. Co-op can be played locally or online. I did experience a bit of lag playing online co-op but nothing too tragic.

Gameplay is very fluid and combos are pulled off with a smoothness and ease that is essential to the brawler genre. Sacred Citadel does run a little short but considering you can purchase it for $14.99 on Steam and PSN which translates to 1200 Microsoft points, it’s a deal.

Sacred Citadel is available now on PSN, XBLA and Steam and was developed by SouthEnd Interactive with publishing rights being handled by Deep Silver.

Spicy Horse Unleashes Hell Invaders This Fall

Spicy Horse has announced their next project will be a collectible card game/RTS tentatively titled Hell Invaders. Shooting for a fall release, Hell Invaders is being developed for PC, Mac, Linux and tablets.

Hell Invaders will consist of actual card battles, instead of two cards fighting on a table. The creatures of the cards will have 3D representations which will do battle as well as cards that offer upgrades and swappable skills, giving cards with identical characters a completely different experience.

Players can play in a single player campaign or fight in PVP arenas. Trading, card management and other social features will also offer more ways to enjoy your time in hell.

Spicy Horse will be unveiling more details about Hell Invaders in the coming months. Don’t Hate The Geek will relay all the information as it becomes available.

Pertinent Details

Title: Hell Invaders

Developer: Spicy Horse Games

Publisher: TBA

Genre: CCG/RTS

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, tablets

Price: TBA

Release Date: Fall

Angry Birds Friends From Facebook To iOS And Android

Angry Birds Friends crashes onto Apple and Android devices, Thursday May 2. Fans of Facebook games might already be familiar with the social version of Rovio’s Angry Birds, as it appeared as a Facebook app last year.

Play against your friends in a competitive version of Angry Birds with a familiar style of gameplay fans have come to love. Rovio added a series of power ups designed to give Angry Birds Friends a bit of variation from the original games. However, all of your favorite birds return from previous titles, with the exception of the Mighty Eagle.

In game social currency is called Bird Coins and you earn them from defeating your friends in four different competitive modes. It is also believed that more Bird Coins can be bought through micro-transactions in app.

Get Angry Birds Friends this week at the Apple App Store and all Android App retailers and join your friends in bird flinging fun.