8 Things Likely To Happen in 2013

2012 was an exciting year for technology and the world. But it was also a year of a lot of surprises. We expect a lot to happen in 2013. Here are 8 of our predictions.

1. The world will end

The Mayans may not have had the ability to accurately predict the end of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. From Global Warming to exponential population growth, we’re all screwed. 2013 will likely be the end for us.

2. Mark Zuckerberg will come out of the closet

Let’s be honest. Mark Zuckerberg clearly has eyes for guys. Just look at his face. He’s always on the verge of spilling the news. Stop kidding yourself Zucks. There are plenty of guys out there waiting for you. Drop the beard and get out there.

3. Color app will try one more time

Color has become regarded as one of the biggest startup failures of our time, flopping after raising $41 million dollars. They launched, started over, relaunched, and just couldn’t get momentum for the life of them. Apple may have bought their talent, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. We expect a new version of Color to make its debut in 2013.

4. Zynga will launch Farmville 3, 4, and 5

Zynga has been a huge disaster in 2012. After launching their IPO and many lackluster titles, many key executives and employees left and many others were let go in a desperate attempt to salvage the company in its free-fall. Though they tried to get creative, they’ve got to stick with what works if they have a shot in recovering.

5. Facebook will look exactly the same

Oh wait! We just heard a rumor that Facebook may add another link to their sidebar! I guess it won’t look exactly the same.

6. 9,242,159 photo sharing apps will launch

After Instagram’s $1 billion buyout, and now their policy backlash, there’s a good chance we’ll see even more photo sharing apps in 2013. How many apps does it take to share a photo? Millions.

7. Red Bull will sponsor first “Moon to Earth” skydive.

Diving from space was pretty cool, but how do you top that? Diving from the moon, of course!

8. Pebble Smartwatch will get closer to shipping

The Pebble Smartwatch was one of Kickstarter’s most successful projects of all time. After pushing back their original shipment date from September to the holidays, then from the holidays to 2013, it’s pretty clear that more delays are lurking. This is what happens when we give a bunch of money to a guy with a cool idea and hope he figures out how to handle distribution and manufacturing.

 

Raspberry Pie sales up 950% this holiday. Kids left without Raspberry Pi’s.

Kids these days have it too easy. If they want a top of the line desktop or laptop computer, they have plenty of prebuilt options. There was a time not many years ago where, if you wanted a great computer, you had to order parts and build it yourself. It was an incredible learning experience, one that would lead to a better knowledge of how computers work. But now, it’s

much less necessary to build a computer. But, parts have gotten cheaper.. and smaller.. and a lot better. Thus, Raspberry Pi was born – a tiny, functional computer for $35. It’s nothing more than a motherboard with a few required connected parts. It’s enough to give you everything you need, and cheap enough that you’re not afraid to break it. It’s a wonderful way for people to experiment, to hack, and to learn and get creative.

As one would expect, it was a hot Christmas item this year. But, parents and grandparents have no idea what a Raspberry Pi is. This year, many kids were left disappointed as they unwrapped raspberry pies. Instead of a hackable computer, they were left with a mildly tasty, unconventional dessert.

These mistakes lead to a surge in raspberry pie sales across the country. So much, in fact, that it has become one of the top pie flavors nationwide this holiday season, just below apple and cherry.

Will these sales continue? We’ll be watching (and eating).

 

Google+ reaches huge milestone: 1,000 “active” users

Google+, Google’s social network, has been a major focus at Google. They have put a lot of resources and effort into making it the social web that connects all of their products and services. Though it’s nothing more than a Facebook competitor, Google has much bigger plans for its product, planning to bring it to Google’s core to leverage interaction and valuable profile data to enhance their services. Though Google has been touting huge growth and massive amounts of new users, we decided to do our own research.

The latest numbers from Google claim that Google+ has reached 500 million users and 100 million “active users”. This is an impressive stat, given that the service has only existed for about a year and a half. But, when you actually use the service, you may notice that only 1 or 2 of your friends ever say a word on the service. Are we supposed to believe that 1 in 5 users are using Google+ on a regular basis? WRONG.

Though we had every intention of doing our own research, we actually didn’t have any way to conduct this research, or really any clue how we would get these numbers on our own. Luckily, we have an inside source at Google, so we just pawned it off on him (or her – but most likely him , let’s be honest). Anyway, long story short, there are only 1,000 total users using Google+ on a daily basis. And, the term “using” is meant to be taking lightly. We don’t mean posting every day, we mean actually visiting the site daily.

And if you were curious where Google came up with that 100 million “active users” number, they measure “active users” as a user who has logged in to the Google+ service at least once. One time. That means that 400 million users probably signed up on accident, or thought they were getting a Gmail account, or both.

Anyway, Merry Christmas.

Evernote launches 5.1.2 iOS app update fixing bugs

Today marks one of the biggest days in our known history. Two significant things have happened. The first – we survived the end of the world. Second – Evernote, the popular note taking application, has launched their long awaited 5.1.2 iOS app update. Included in this update are some very important fixes, including some spelling corrections, a slightly greener button and a crash that effected some iPhone 3G users running iOS 3.1.

“We are thrilled to announce a significant update to our application today”, said Evernote’s CEO. “We believe that the slightly greener button that you’ll see when editing a notebook and the couple spelling corrections will provide the experience our users have been waiting for. You’ve spoken up, and we heard you. We feel that we’re now much closer to the product we have spent years trying to achieve.”

What can we expect to see in the next Evernote version? “We’re working hard on our next big update already. Though I can’t reveal our plans, I’ll give you a hint. It may or may not have something to do with the loading screen.”

If only we could have that update for Christmas.

Instagram ignites users to read others’ Policies and Terms; scary stuff everywhere

Instagram has found themselves in hot water over changes that were made to the company’s Privacy Policy this week. According to the update, Instagram now has the legal option to sell any photo shared via the service. As one might expect, this was met with fierce criticism from the community, with many users swearing to leave the service forever. This also sparked a renewed interest in the reading and understanding the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies with all web services and applications, leading to shocking discoveries everywhere.

Our first tip came from a Farmville user. Deep in the Farmville Terms of Use was this little terrifying gem.

5.1.4  In the event of a situation that is deemed appropriate by Zynga or any entity or property of Zynga, the user may be asked to forfeit any number of U.S. dollars or personal assets to Zynga, determined by Zynga, and may not be contested by the user. The user will receive written notice via mail or electronic mail, and will be required to comply within thirty (30) days of the delivery of the written notice.

According to these terms, Zynga can simply take any amount of your personal money or assets for any reason they want. They can simply say “Hey, we want $10,000″ and you’d be legally required to send them a check within 30 days. Yikes!

Another tipster sent us this horrifying section in the Privacy Policy of the new MySpace.

44.2  If a user uploads an image or piece of content to MySpace that any executive, employee, member of the MySpace Board of Directors or Justin Timberlake disagrees with or believes in any way misrepresents the vision for MySpace, the user will be required to dismember their right index finger, then package and send said index finger to MySpace Headquarters via the United States Postal Service within five (5) business days.

How did this one slip by many thousands of users already? And who did they hire as their lawyer, the guy from Saw? It’s scary to think that there are savage terms like these buried within a policy that no one reads. What else have we agreed to without our knowledge?

Probably this. A tipster sent us this paragraph from Facebook’s Terms of Use.

551.22  Facebook does not, in no way, not own your entire identity. All content uploaded to and provided to Facebook, and content not uploaded to Facebook but can be discovered through other means, including but not limited to photos, videos, messages, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, passports and credit card numbers, will not not be property of Facebook. Facebook vows to never not have the ability to do anything and everything deemed necessary with this data and content, for any reason at any time.

If you can navigate the double negatives, I’m pretty sure Facebook said that they can and will own all of your identity and will do anything they want with it at any time. That’s frightening.

I think it’s safe to say that we should all just stop clicking “I Agree” to every Terms of Use and policy and start reading these things before we all become property of Internet services.

Apple Maps launches on Android

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you have probably heard about the disaster that has been Apple Maps. Apple replaced Google Maps with their own map app in their latest iOS update, leaving much to be desired. Many bugs, issues, and lack of data made for a worse solution than the previous one, causing lots of public bashing, frustrations and embarrassments. It became the center of attention at Apple, forcing them to apologize, shake up some executives, and put the weight of the company behind cleaning up the disaster.

While Apple was seemingly hard at work improving their maps behind the scenes, a brand new Google Maps app launched in Apple’s App Store, proving to be a great replacement. It soared to the most downloaded app in just a few hours. It seemed like a strange situation. Why would Apple allow a better map application from their direct competitor appear on their app store?

Today, Apple has launched Apple Maps on Android. Many users are reporting that the application is already better than Google Maps, with new features including rumored integration with Foursquare data, massively improved flyover images, corrected map data, new turn-by-turn voices including the voice of Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook and much more. This was a strange, but very strategic move for Apple. Some are calling it a “bait and switch”. Tim Cook sent an official statement to AllThingsD.

Apple Maps has been the focus at Apple for the last several months and we feel we have made some phenomenal progress. We think that Apple Maps for Android will help expose Android users to the wonderful experience we provide at Apple. We have every intention of bringing this fantastic update to iOS, but you’ll have to wait for iOS7. We only update our software once a year. We believe that’s what our customers want.

We reached out to a few Android users for comment to see how the community is reacting to this new app. “I downloaded Apple Maps for Android just to show my friends. They are going to crack up”, said Justin Wingler. “Put that part on the record. Off the record, it’s actually really great. I’m already using it over Google Maps. Please don’t write that though.”

Unfortunately for Justin, we have no integrity at Mockcrunch.

Amazon Celebrates Best Ever Red Tuesday

Today’s article is guest written by @ChrisKotera

“This has been the best Red Tuesday ever for us!” said Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos on Tuesday evening as the lowest grossing Red Tuesday to date was coming to a close. “I’m so relieved to even out the sales records of Black Friday and Cyber Weekend/Monday. I was nervous about what to do with all that money. My kids are so spoiled. My daughter wants Albania for Christmas and I was almost rich enough last night to do it. After looking at today’s numbers, I could only afford Albania if it was on sale. I’ll just get her another yacht so she can have a normal childhood.”

Conveyor belts, tricycles, and trucks lay dormant at Amazon’s largest fulfillment center in Phoenix Arizona as only 113 online orders for the day had come in. Latoya Harrison, an employee at the fulfillment center was available for comment, “I was so sick of this sh*t the last few days. We were working so hard to fill all these orders I missed a whole holiday weekend with my family. I’m still at work but it’s nice to have an easy, boring day to reflect on my life choices.”

In Gardner, Kansas, consumer Margie Jepsen celebrated Red Tuesday by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. “Since its Red Tuesday, the $247 Chapter 7 filing fee is 40% off! I can afford that! I was afraid I’d have to return that 60” 3D LED TV I bought online yesterday!” Margie was then on her way to enjoy dinner with her family for the first time in five days. “I’ve just been buying stuff all weekend, I’m anxious to hug my children.”

“Although today has been exciting and unprecedented, we’re hoping for even fewer orders and less revenue next year on Red Tuesday. Maybe I’ll make so little money next year I’ll talk my kids into wanting iPads instead of countries,” said Bezos in his closing statement with us.

Dollar Tree Launches Android App Store [BREAKING]

In March, Amazon launched their own app store for Android apps. You might be thinking, “why would Amazon launch an app store?” Well, let’s put it this way. I have no idea. It’s weird. In fact, it weirds me out so much that I’ve decided to put no effort in researching how the hell it works. Do they have exclusive apps that aren’t in Google’s own app store, “Google Play” (ugh that name, another thing that I don’t want to get into). Are they selling the same apps at a different cost than Google Play? Does that mean if I own an Android device, I’m obligated to search several app stores just to find a todo list app?

Well, the saturation continues today as America’s favorite dollar store, Dollar Tree has decided to make their mobile debut with their own Android app store. Their motivation is clear – they intend to only sell apps priced at $1. No more, no less. Apps included in Dollar Tree Appstore at launch will be Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and around 2,000 camera apps.

We reached out to Dollar Tree CEO, Bob Sasser for comment. “Do what? What are we launching?” I told Bob about the Appstore. “Android? Well we sell some robot toys in our stores but I don’t know what that is specifically. We may carry it. Give your nearest Dollar Tree a call.” I went on to explain smartphones, told him all about the app ecosystem, how mobile platforms work, etc. I talked for nearly an hour. “Adam, let me stop you there. The things you’ve just said to me are way over my head. We sell retail items for a dollar. We don’t do any of this gadget stuff.”

I was pretty frustrated at this point, so we got the Mockcrunch team on the case. From our research, we were able to determine that a single Dollar Tree corporate intern was behind this initiative. We reached out to James Farely, the intern who created the project. “Dollar Tree needs innovation. Our CEO is clueless, so I thought I’d help out a bit. I didn’t take this to Bob because I knew he wouldn’t get it.”

We asked James if any executives were aware of the Dollar Tree Appstore. “Haha, yeah right”, he said. “This company is a total nightmare. They are still selling retail products at a dollar. The brand is locked in. Inflation continues to rise, and we can’t steer from that dollar price. That just means our products continue to get shittier. In 10 years, we’ll only be selling single sheets of paper.”

Wanton Wantrepreneur: The FAT startup

Some startup methodologies that emphasize learning and shit have taken hold in the startup community in recent years. They suggest things like running lean, the idea that spending less money while you are learning is a good idea, and customer validation, determining whether or not you have customers for something before you actually build it. These ideas have caused more entrepreneurs to live on ramen noodles while venture capitalists fly their private jets around the world going on golf vacations. Is any additional explanation needed? Welcome to the FAT startup movement!

Today we will discuss the first tenet of the movement. In future posts, I will outline exactly what you should be doing if you want to build a massive company.

Impress your potential customers

We should all know by now that nobody gets fired for buying IBM. Because this is true, you should look at IBM for guidance on how to make your customers feel comfortable. And what do we know about IBM? They have some of the most amazing corporate campuses in the world, R&D labs with all of the latest technology, and lots and lots of employees doing important things.

You clearly need to do whatever you can to look like a big, successful, 100 year old company. Get fat fast! Hire as many employees as possible and make sure your potential clients know how many people you manage.

PRO-TIP: if you hire lots of contractors, you can make sure they only work a few hours a week, but claim them as employees in the numbers you tell your clients.

When it comes to your furniture and facilities, everything should be top notch. IKEA is for punks and Europeans. Only buy original designer pieces so you can tell your guests about how authentic your space is. Google is a huge company doing trillions in revenue each year, do you think they have IKEA egg seats and massage nap beds in their lobbies? Neither should you.

PRO-TIP: if you really want to impress, make sure you have your architect personally hand build a sculpture of themselves in your lobby. Your clients will awe at how much pull you have and immediately want to give you their money.

Your perks have to match your klout (score), so don’t settle for second best. Massages during lunch hours and laundry facilities are for scrubs and companies that manufacture physical goods. THIS IS THE INTERNET! You should offer on-site broadway musicals, complete with the original casts, in between professional race car lessons from Formula 1 drivers.

Snake oil salesman starts Kickstarter project for iPad belt

snake oil

Image courtesy of Jeremy Weate on flickr.

Kickstarter projects have been made fun of before, but there is no denying that it gives creative people the opportunity to create something that might not otherwise be possible. People with no talent whatsoever have raised money for physical goods, horrible plays, and junk comics. Enter James McTroothy, known as Tex to his friends. Tex is a veteran of the snake oil sales circuit, winning the annual Snake Oil Salesmen of the Southwests award for most volume three years running. So what is making him give it all up? The iPad belt.

Like any good conman, he knows a good con when he sees it, and Tex told us that this was one of the best around.

“People have said that Kickstarter would just result in snake oil salesmen stealing money from the defenseless. I don’t think anyone would buy snake oil on the internet. But accessories for Apple products? It’s like selling candy to kids.”

The problem is that there have already been so many projects funded for Apple accessories that there wasn’t much room left for Tex to operate.

“I think most of this stuff is junk. Some assholes raised a million dollars for a watch kit for something called the Nano? That’s a strong con, but I can do better. You see, lots of people have these tablet things and nowhere to carry them.”

“I am not a creative man, but I carry my newspaper in my belt, and apparently thats what people use these iPads for, so I figured we would make a belt that holds it for ‘em.”

We were surprised when he said he actually planned produce the product and send it to the backers. When asked how, he surprised us yet again.

“It’s not even hard. I went to some meeting for local businesses and some guy said he could manufacture it for me using his contacts in China. It’s going to cost almost nothing to produce, just like my snake oil, and we found a high school kid who will draw it on the computer if we give him a free belt.”

We didn’t know what to think. ”The con here isn’t that I will take their money and run away. The con is that I can dream up some useless piece of shit and sell it to people.” It appears that Kickstarter has turned Tex into an actual businessman.