Thursday, July 31, 2014

SoundBrush: Make Music Without Playing an Instrument

SoundBrush is an iPad app that turns drawings into music. With SoundBrush, you don't need to know how to read music or play an instrument to create songs. It works the way you think, focusing on the creative process instead of the technical side of music. With just a few simple gestures – draw, scroll, zoom – you can start making beats and sounds. Additional advanced gestures and an audio mixer give you more control over your song. There are 33 instruments to choose from, including acoustic guitar, xylophone, electric piano, rock drums, trombone, acoustic bass, violin, and harp. Three are already included in the app at no cost (piano, harmonica, ocarina).

SoundBrush was created by Basil Al-Dajane and Jayson Rhynas, who are both musicians and graphic artists. Understanding that not everyone can play a musical instrument or want to invest the time and money to learn how, they built SoundBrush so that anyone can create music.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MoFuse: Easy, Cost-Effective Mobile Websites

Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, MoFuse is the global leader in mobile content management, offering easy and affordable solutions for individuals and organizations to build and manage mobile websites. Founded in 2007, MoFuse (short for Mobile Fusion) hosts more than 40,000 mobile sites from nearly 150 countries. Clients include Michigan Blood, CHR Health, Tire Pros, Altus Dental, Tourism Burnaby, Visit Palestine, Hoffer Adler, American Sentinel University, Salve Regina University, and the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

MoFuse's mobile content management platform enables small and medium businesses, global enterprises, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and professional bloggers to establish and optimize their mobile presence for over 5,000 devices. The company helps its customers create new revenue pathways and build ongoing relationships with their mobile audience through powerful features such as click-to-call, m-commerce, store locator, map, QR code, mobile advertising, mobile analytics, mobile coupon, design tools, and social sharing.

Customers can build their site with just a few clicks and be up and running in only a few minutes, thanks to MoFuse's easy and intuitive wizard. For those who don't have the time or inclination to make their own site, MoFuse provides custom mobile website design services. Customers can then update and maintain the completed site themselves or hire MoFuse to do it for them.

MoFuse also provides advanced search and SEO to improve a mobile site's social presence, search positioning, and directory listings. In addition, MoFuse has mobile marketing programs that help businesses connect with their clients and convert them into return customers.

MoFuse is currently led by chief executive officer Annette Tonti, a seasoned exec with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and business. Tonti was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2002 regional finalist and has been named one of Mobile Marketer's “Mobile Women to Watch” in 2011.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Soundhawk: Hear the World the Way You Want

Lcoated in Cupertino, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Soundhawk is a hearing science startup on a mission to transform the listening experience simply and affordably. The company believes that everyone deserves to hear the world the way they want and has unveiled the world's first Smart Listening System.

Hearing plays a crucial role in how we experience our world. In a typical day, we spend 45 percent of our time listening and 30 percent talking. The majority of what we know, we have learned by listening. Yet, we all experience trouble hearing at some points in our lives, whether it's due to a noisy environment or a hearing impairment.

Soundhawk's Smart Listening System combines modern science with modern design to help people hear more of what matters most. The system comprises the Scoop, a sleek, compact earpiece; a wireless omnidirectional microphone; a portable carrying/charging case for the first two components; and the Soundhawk mobile app.

Soundhawk can be personalized to you and your environment. For starters, the Scoop comes with different size ear tips to ensure fit and comfort. To find the optimal listening experience, you can tune the Scoop using your smartphone or select from the preset sound scenes.

Soundhawk is equipped with advanced adaptive audio technology that dynamically changes to your environment, enhancing key sound frequencies so you hear more of what's important and less of what's not. In very noisy environments such as crowded restaurants, you can place the wireless mic near what you want to hear and it will pick up and deliver that sound directly to your Scoop. In addition to enhancing your hearing, Soundhawk can be used to talk hands-free on your smartphone and directly access Siri or Google Now.

Soundhawk was founded by Dr. Rodney Perkins, hearing health innovator and founder of the California Ear Institute at Stanford. For a limited time, the Smart Listening System can be pre-ordered for $279.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wokamon: A Virtual Pet That Gets You Off Your Behind

Shanghai-based tech startup Noodum has recently launched a new iPhone app to get people excited about exercising. Wokamon, which is short for Walking Monsters, combines the functionality of a pedometer with the engagement of a virtual pet. The idea is simple: the more you walk, the more your Wokamon grows. Every step you take helps feed your little friend.

“We came up with Wokamon after using various fitness trackers and apps and being presented the same data in a very boring, technical fashion,” says Mars Zhu, co-founder of Noodum. She adds that the app is “a fun, casual way to monitor your fitness and stay motivated as you progress through the game.”

Staying active is the primary way to advance in the game. Burning calories not only feeds your virtual pet, it also unlocks more fun characters to collect and play with. You can also earn extra rewards when you play with your friends via social networks.

Wokamon is compatible with existing fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Moves, and LedongLi.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inside: The Latest News Stories, in 270 Characters

Inside is a news app that curates the best journalism in real time, enabling news junkies to stay abreast of the most important and fascinating events in the world. Inside's team of curators finds and selects the most original content with the best reporting, then writes a 270-character update containing the most crucial bits of information, photos, quotes, and a link to the source. Because Inside is a 24/7 operation, a new update is published every couple of minutes and you won't ever miss a breaking news event. Of course, you can customize your feed to follow only the stories that matter to you.

There are four tabs within the app. My Feed is where you can see all the topics you follow. All Updates displays every real-time update on Inside. The Topics tab lists Inside's library of more than 70,000 topics. You can look for topics of interest using the search bar and add them to your feed. Last but not least, Profile is your user profile page, where you can view the topics you follow and the rest of your app activity.

Inside delivers push notifications on breaking news and the topics you follow. You can customize your alerts by level of importance and frequency, as well as choose to get email digests of the top stories from the day, week, or month. Inside also has a feature that lets you read background information on developing stories. Simply swipe left on any update you're reading to see related, previously published stories. In addition, you can express your opinions by voting stories up or down and writing comments. The updates with the most up-votes will move to the Top feed so you can see which stories the world is talking about.

Inside's mission is to create the world's best news service. It was founded by Jason Calacanis and is based in Culver City, California.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kaizena: A Better Way to Give Teacher Feedback

Kaizena is an online platform that helps teachers save time and provide better feedback. Taking its name from the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, kaizen, Kaizena aims to enable real-time, continuous improvement in education. As education shifts from paper to digital, Kaizena is building the tools that allow modern-day teachers to better help their students.

To give feedback on specific areas for improvement, a teacher clicks and drags to highlight the relevant area of the student's work. He or she then adds a voice comment, a text comment, and/or a link to any online resource such as an educational video.

Compatible with Google Drive and other cloud-based services, Kaizena lets teachers monitor their students' progress from beginning to end. Giving feedback through Kaizena is faster than using a word processor or a red pen – every feature is designed to save teachers time. Founded by Edward Sun, Maxwell Brodie, and Jason Wang, the platform is currently used by thousands of educators in more than 60 countries.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cut and Loop YouTube Videos With Step

So you've been practicing to dance like your favorite K-pop star. You've gotten almost all of the moves down thanks to online videos, but there's just one part that you haven't quite mastered yet. So you keep playing that part again and again. Or maybe you often share funny and interesting videos with your friends and family, but sometimes there are boring parts that you wish you could leave out.

Enter, an online tool that lets you cut YouTube videos into bite-sized chunks so that you can jump between parts easily, as well as loop, share, and favorite the ones that matter to you. With, you can skip those boring first 30 seconds and go straight to the most exciting moment of a video. You can also restructure videos however you like, hiding the parts you don't want your friends to see to make them more concise. And if you watch a lot of online tutorials, is perfect for breaking up video lessons into more manageable steps. is built by Benkyo Player LTD, a small London-based startup dedicated to making tools that improve online learning.

Planleaf: Super Simple Task Management

If you work a lot over email and often send to-do lists to yourself and your colleagues, you're going to love Planleaf. Launched just recently, Planleaf is a light and simple email-based task management solution. In fact, it's so light and simple that you don't have to download, install, or sign up for anything. Rather, Planleaf works with something that you already have – email.

To begin, all you have to do is write an email and cc Start each task with a dash, e.g. “- Order business cards” and assign or share tasks by adding the @ symbol in front of a colleague's name à la Twitter, e.g. “- Send status report @Jim.” Planleaf will then turn your email into a formatted to-do list email, complete with check boxes. Every day or on demand, the service sends collaborators a daily digest email of outstanding and completed tasks.

Concerned about privacy? Only you can see your data, as well as anyone you choose to share it with. According to Planleaf, your data is not published on the web and much of it lives right inside your own email account. The data that's stored on Planleaf's servers are protected by industry standard practices and the company uses Secure Sockets Layer encryption to transfer sensitive information. Planleaf does not store passwords since it requires none. Furthermore, employees are not allowed to access the info in Planleaf's database unless they're authorized to – upon the request of a customer or to troubleshoot an issue, for instance.

Founded by Omar Qureshi and Ahmed Farra, Planleaf is based in Waterloo, Ontario out of the University of Waterloo's Velocity Garage incubator. The team is currently working on new features such as sending email notifications before tasks are due. They're also planning to add a web-based component for checking off tasks.