Wither Vine

@kaz nailed it when Vine launched back in early 2013, the app which looped 6-seconds was perfect for sports clips, especially that amazing slam dunk or football catch that you just had to see several times to appreciate or understand. The unfortunate problem is that in order to create a sports highlight Vine you need to be able to stream a game on your phone or laptop and we are not quite there yet.

In that sense, Vine was a few years before it’s time and, as we all know in tech, timing is everything. Creating Vines from your own live videos was a challenge of being in the right place at the right time and it wasn’t until after the buzz died down that they added the feature allowing you to upload old videos and creating loops afterwards.

Sorry to hear that they are shutting down. For posterity, here are my two feeble attempts to make something interesting. It was fun while it lasted!

Autonomous Driving Update

Back in April there was a run of stories about autonomous vehicles.

  1. Singapore was rolling out driverless taxis (one has since been involved in a minor fender-bender).
  2. Roborace, the first driverless race car event was announced (the kinks are still being worked out and Audi just reported that they dropped out of Le Mans to focus on Formula E.
  3. Europe held a driverless truck convoy contest.

The driverless truck has come to our shores and today, Otto, Über’s self-driving truck division, announced that they had successfully delivered a load of Budweiser beer in Colorado, driving 120 miles on Interstate 25 with the driver in the back seat.

Oh, and Tesla’s in the running too with self-driving their own demo filmed here in the Bay Area.

And just in case you were wondering, Hollywood is working on a reboot of Knight Rider.

I was only trying to help…


Stories surfaced of a botched restoration of baby Jesus’ head at a Canadian church. The local artist volunteered to provide her services, saving the church the $10,000 quoted for a professional restoration. She was honored to be chosen but was clearly  out of her league and openly admitted her experience was thin.

She had learned how to sculpt at a local college, but had never worked with stone. Still, she felt compelled to help.

You get what you pay for.

Related to a 2012 story of another act of kindness gone wrong. In Spain authorities suspected vandalism of the famous “ecco homo” until they discovered that it was just the worst art restoration project of all time.


Then there was Mr. Bean

12 Hidden Gems from Rio

There were so many stories that came out of Rio but what I enjoyed the most from the SmartNews Rio Olympics page were the lesser reported stories that bubbled up on the page. Over the past couple weeks I kept a list of my favorites and below are the best.

ONE: Before the games even started, The Independent’s incredible profile of Yusra Mardini had us rooting for the Olympic’s first refugee team.

TWO: During the opening ceremonies everyone looked sharp but USA Today’s sports site, For The Win, caught wind of the secret hidden in Team Australia’s blazer lining. Elle gave us the skinny on what each athlete got in their swag bag.


THREE: ESPN wrote about a high school in California that has been sending athletes to every Summer Olympics since 1952.

FOUR: Most outlets flock to the high dive platforms to catch still frames of the athletes but Buzzfeed took pleasure in the trampoline shots.

FIVE: Golf returned to the Olympics after a long absence (hilariously celebrated in an advertisement) and it only took four holes for the very first Olympic hole-in-one to be recorded.

SIX: Sharing the thrill of victory is why we all love to watch the Olympics. Deadspin shares a clip of two young Irish rowers doing an interview on Irish television and it’s hard not to get caught up in their youthful exuberance.

SEVEN: No one can forget the fateful collision of Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin during the 5000 meter qualifying round. The story of the two helping each other to the line will remain in our hearts as a shining example of Olympic Spirit. The pair was later awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for their behavior – something that The Telegraph tells us has only happened 17 times in Olympic history.

EIGHT: The Telegraph also dug into a question that we didn’t even think to ask. What’s involved in getting the equestrian horses get to the Olympics?

NINE: Meanwhile Fox Sports asks why Michael Phelps was laughing during the national anthem while Complex tries to find out more about his playlist.

TEN: Every Olympics has athletes that premier a sport for their country. Sports Illustrated covers Trinidad and Tobago’s first rower and SB Nation writes about a sprinter for the Marshall Islands.

ELEVEN: FiveThirtyEight is famous for its statistics and data-oriented view of the world. For the Olympics they dug into the science of pacing.


TWELVE: While acrobatics is not an Olympic sport, it did feature in an opening exhibition. Thanks to Cosmo for sharing what they called, Human Jump Rope.

I hope you enjoyed this list. Football season is coming up and we’ve got a Football channel on SmartNews so you can start to collect your own list of hidden gems.

Tables – poking fun at tech advertising

I finished Season Three of Silicon Valley, the HBO comedy series built around the mythical company Pied Piper.

One of the episodes opens with a brilliant takedown of every over-produced tech commercial you’ve ever seen.

What do you do when you have a technical product that defies simple explanations? You string together a bunch of stock video of happy people over an acoustic guitar instrumental.

Kagura, making music with your body

Brian Eno once said, “The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them.” The interfaces we use to interact with computers are too digital, not fuzzy enough to sense analog inputs. We’re stuck with mouse and keyboard.

Kagura is a game that runs on a laptop and uses the camera to detect movement of the players as they interact with musical instruments projected on the screen in front of them to play along or riff on a musical track.

Part Dance Dance Revolution and part Guitar Hero, the UI is intuitive and easy and fun to pick up. All that’s required is a Windows laptop (Mac coming later) and they launched a Kickstarter today to fund the final development and release in August.

Shunsuke Nakamura, the inventor of the game, stopped by the SmartNews offices on Friday to show us how the game works. He’s been working on the concept of using your body to make music for 14 years but only now has technology reached a point where his dream could be realized.

We truly live in amazing times.