Plastic Shows Off a Reader and a New Growth Industry
BY Max Chafkin
A Kindle Killer? Plastic Logic, a startup that is developing a reading device that could compete with Amazon.com's Kindle, showed off a prototype at the All Things Digital Conference yesterday. CEO Rich Archuleta calls it the "e-reader for business." The demo isn't exactly scintillating, but the device looks very cool. Engadget calls it "lust-worthy," but worries about a slow screen refresh rate. Meanwhile, Microsoft is unveiling a new search engine, right now.
High times for pot entrepreneurs. With more than a dozen states approving the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the Chicago Tribune looks at some of the entrepreneurs blazing a trail in the quasi-legal pot industry. According to Bruce Perlowin, the CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc., "I think we're the next Microsoft." The Tribune doesn't mention whether or not he sampled his own merchandise before making that pronouncement. But there is this: "Perlowin knows a lot about the marijuana business, having served 9 years in federal custody for his role in a smuggling ring during the 1970s and early 1980s."
Is the housing crash over yet? Some bad economic news this morning: New home sales rose slightly in April, but median housing prices fell sharply, as did the number of new unemployment claims, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tesla recalling Roadsters. Green Sheet reports that Tesla, the electric car startup led by Elon Musk, is recalling 345 roadsters. It's not too serious--a technician simply has to tighten some bolts on the rear hub--but the recall looks like a setback for the company, which just announced funding from Daimler.
Developers, meet the eager-to-please Google Web Elements. Google unveiled an easy, new way to embed Google products and services into websites and blogs yesterday at the search giant's I/O developer conference in San Francisco. Google Web Elements is a "very easy way to incorporate news feeds, interactive maps, videos, and many more types of Google-centric content with any site," reports OStatic. Although Google has offered APIs for developers to incorporate features into web sites for years--Google Maps is one of the most used APIs of all time--Web Elements is designed to simplify the entire process. If you want to add Google News feed or Google calendars, you select the feed and paste an auto-generated code into your site.
Cuban Invests in New Media Pizza Chain. Several months ago, entrepreneur, noted basketball critic, and ballroom dancer Mark Cuban announced his own personal economic stimulus plan. He asked entrepreneurs to post business plans and promised to fund the ones he liked. Now, Techcrunch reports that Cuban has picked his first company, New Orleans-based NakedPizza. The company has won plaudits for its innovative use of Twitter. As part of the deal, Cuban got franchise development rights to open pizza joints in Texas.
You dose of one-liners. Here's a sampling from this year's All Things Digital conference: "Down 15 percent is the new flat. I mean, isn't it? C'mon" (Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz); "I've always said that if we described Twitter in three sentences, the first two would be about not putting too much fidelity on it, and the last sentence would be 'we don't know.'" (Twitter co-founder Biz Stone); "I wouldn't have bought it" (Mark Cuban on YouTube); "Are you leading up to 'I'm too old and too stupid to know what the Internet is?' Cause by the way, Walt [Mossberg] is 61 and I'm only 60. So'¦ f— you." (Bartz again).