Y Combinator's stars shine at Demo Day

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Twice a year, Sand Hill Road, the most important hub for venture capitalists in the world, empties out for a day. But it's not vacation that pulls away all the VCs -- it's Y Combinator Demo Day.

At the Computer History Museum here today, the heart of the tech investing universe came together once again to see, up close and personal, what the 74 companies in the summer class of Y Combinator have been working on all summer.

As is the case with any demo day, there were plenty of misses. But given Y Combinator'… Read more

Y Combinator founder: Startup funding could get scarce

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- The future for startup funding is "getting more unpredictable."

That's what Y Combinator founder Paul Graham said today, theorizing that because there are so many more young companies getting off the ground these days, venture capitalists may well have a much harder time predicting winners than in the past.

It makes sense. Startups can get going today for as little as a few hundred thousand dollars, so there are many more of them. "But the funnel at the top is the same," Graham said during the Y Combinator Demo Day. "… Read more

Are brick-and-mortar hi-fi stores still relevant?

Way back in the late 1970s, long before the Internet, iPods, and home theater changed the way we listened to music, I worked at Sound by Singer, a high-end audio store in NYC. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the golden age of high-end. It had a good, long run that made it to the early 1990s, but the high-end audio market didn't shrivel up and die. Here in NYC there are more high-end stores than there were in the golden age. Rents are sky-high, so you might wonder how the stores prosper, and … Read more

Make screencasts easily

Camtasia for Mac makes it easy to create professional screencasts (capturing all actions on screen) for demonstration videos, instructional videos, and other screen-recording projects.

The interface is fairly easy to understand right away with your media, transitions, animations, and effects on the left side, the work area (what they call the Canvas) on the right, and a video timeline on the bottom. You can quickly create a screencast at launch by first selecting sound and Webcam preferences, then hitting the red record button. The Webcam feature lets you personally "present" your screencast in a picture-in-picture window and you … Read more

Camtasia 8 vastly improves screencast frame rates

When it comes to producing professional-looking movies and demos from your computer screen, TechSmith's Camtasia Studio is known for striking the right balance between a powerful toolset and ease of use. Version 8, released today, adds even more useful features that encourage end-user interactivity without making the app any more complex to use.

The feature-packed screencast app, which includes HD production settings, does have a learning curve, but the user-friendly interface and front-and-center icons for most-used tools go a long way toward lowering the intimidation factor a notch. Plus, TechSmith provides a useful online help center that includes several … Read more

Tasty little recipe app one-ups Google

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- When Victor Penev, CEO of Edamam, took the stage here at Demo today and told the audience he was going to show off a recipe finder iPhone app, I was dubious. His statement, "This is so not 2001," didn't help.

App stores are lousy with recipe apps. Many are quite good. I use Epicurious, which I love, and when it doesn't give me what I want, there's Google. I didn't think there could be an opportunity for a new recipe search product.

Edamam is a meta recipe finder, but there'… Read more

Giving 3D a spin at Demo

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Is 3D where photography is going? Two companies at the Demo conference here today are betting on it.

ArqBall makes a mobile app that creates 3D images, or "spins," of physical objects. Designed for commerce initially, it lets you quickly create a 3D spinning model of an object for sale and embed it in a sales page. The demo made the creating app look very easy to use: You put your object on a turntable or lazy Susan, put your iPhone in a stand facing it, and run the app. The software creates the … Read more

LaCie to demo Thunderbolt with Windows

If you've been wondering when Thunderbolt is available for Windows, the answer is now.

LaCie, one of the two storage companies that participated in the introduction of the Thunderbolt standard, told me today that it will be showing off two Thunderbolt devices, the Little Big Disk SSD and the 2big Thunderbolt, at NAB Show 2012.

While these two devices are not new, this is going to be the first time they are demoed on both platforms: Mac and Windows. Up to now, Thunderbolt has been available only to Macs, exclusively. LaCie also revealed that the support for Thunderbolt in … Read more

Capture onscreen action easily

As screencasting software gets better and easier to use, people have found more and more uses for recording and sharing live video from their Mac's screen--from hands-on tech support to online gaming braggadocio. Screenium has long been one of the best options for Mac users who want to record video and audio captured from their desktops, and the jump to 2.0 has made the app even better.

Screenium can help you record full-screen, or in a single window or prescribed area, and the app captures anything and everything -- including streaming video, microphone audio commentary, picture-in-picture of your … Read more

Apple in 'crunch mode' preparing apps to demo iPad 3

In the wake of iPad 3 launch rumors, Apple is reportedly scrambling to prepare for the tablet's expected debut event next month.

The company is in "crunch mode" to drum up apps to demonstrate the tablet both onstage and in TV advertising, according to The Next Web tech site, which cited unidentified sources with knowledge of the matter.

The report notes that Apple usually spends weeks handpicking apps to showcase the tablet's capabilities during its introduction. Apple's selection process, which is moving along at an "increased rate," is placing special emphasis on graphics-oriented … Read more