Get paid to walk around and take pictures with your iPhone

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Finally, my iPhone will start making me some money! How? Gigwalk. It’s a relatively new app that I learned about from an article in the Los Angeles Times, so it’s been around a bit and earned some high-profile, credibility-establishing attention. That’s important for something promising to make you money. How does it work? You download the app, sign up through Facebook or create your own login, then start looking for gigs. I live in Philadelphia in Center City, and there are hundreds of available gigs. What are the gigs? They can vary, but it seems the vast majority involve visiting a business and taking pictures and answering some questions about the place. The gigs pay from $3 to $90, but most of the ones I clicked on were in the $5 to $7 range. However, as you gain experience and prove to be reliable, more lucrative gigs await. Maybe! Here’s what a user had to say to the Times: More

Space Shuttle launch scrubbed, and Cloud Girlfriend changes her mind

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Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 (201104290004HQ)
Photo credit: nasa hq photo via Flickr

The launch scheduled today of the Space Shuttle Endeavor on its final mission before retirement, which I wrote about earlier this week, was postponed due to a technical problem. The next launch opportunity will be no earlier than Sunday. I flew down to Florida last year to catch the final launch of Discovery but left with only a bag full of souvenir T-shirts because that launch was repeatedly delayed. Good thing I didn’t act on an impulse I had to hop on a flight to see this launch.

Cloud Girlfriend was released this week. I was a bit skeptical about whether this thing was legit or some kind of publicity scam. Originally, the concept I was led to believe was that the service would artificially create a girlfriend experience online that you could interact with in some fashion. However, Cloud Girlfriend was unveiled to be a kind of pretend dating service for people who assume fantasy online personas. Since I wrote about it before, I felt obligated to provide this update. The initial concept the company put forth was intriguing. The reality was disappointing, kind of like a bad blind date.

In February, I wrote about IntoNow, the app that listens to your TV and can tell you what you are watching. It was reported this week that Yahoo! will acquire the start-up for as much as $30 million. The iPhone app debuted on Jan. 31.

Last week I said that I was testing some photo apps on my iPhone. The most impressive has been Microsoft’s Photosynth, which creates photo panoramas. It’s very easy to use and I was eager to show off my results. WordPress.com won’t allow me to embed a photosynth, as they are called, so you can view them here.

Cloud Computing, like you, will have bad days

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Beanstalk to the Cloud

Questions about the reliability of cloud computing emerged again this week when Amazon’s cloud-computing services suffered an outage that partially or completely disrupted Foursquare, Reddit, Hootsuite, Quora, and hundreds of other online services. The New York Times echoed the concerns that some businesses had as a result of the outage: “Amazon Malfunction Raises Cloud Computing Doubts.” The article also quoted an industry executive who had an apt observation:

The Amazon interruption, said Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace, a specialist in data center services, was the computing equivalent of an airplane crash. It is a major episode with widespread damage. But airline travel, he noted, is still safer than traveling in a car — analogous to cloud computing being safer than data centers run by individual companies.

“Every day, inside companies all over the world, there are technology outages,” Mr. Moorman said. “Each episode is smaller, but they add up to far more lost time, money and business.”

This weeks outage only affected a tiny percentage of all the users of cloud-computing services. Netflix, for example, relies on the same Amazon data services and suffered no problems. I didn’t have trouble accessing my Gmail or my photos on Facebook. All that stuff is in the “cloud.” I was waiting for a good explanation about what happened at the Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) center in northern Virginia, but I’ve decided I probably wouldn’t really understand the technical stuff anyway (excessive re-mirroring of Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes?). There will be outages in the future. Businesses will suffer. I will be irritated that I can’t get into Reddit or whatever is down. These things happen. Your computer will break. You’ll have trouble connecting to the Internet. Your car will break down. You deal with it. The problem at Amazon will be fixed. New problems will pop up, there and elsewhere. Of course, you can choose to avoid cloud services. Or you can be like Microsoft, which is spending $8.64 billion this year in cloud research and development.