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.




A new app launches on the App Store [BREAKING]

A company has finally turned their popular website application into an iOS app. Users have been asking for a mobile application for quite some time, as the website experience on their mobile browsers has been poor. Today, after waiting for what has seemed like years but was actually just months, this company’s application has finally launched on the App Store!

This new app includes many features from the website, but for whatever reason, some features are missing. However, the app experience actually seems to be better than the website experience due to simplification of the product. We believe that many users will love the ability to quickly access certain key features from their mobile device that they couldn’t access easily before. Though the interface is nice, there are some issues that need to be addressed. First, one of the features from the website just doesn’t work quite as well on the app. Second, one of the other features doesn’t support something that is important to many users. We’re also hearing that there is a bug that only affects older mobile devices and devices running outdated software. Lastly, many users are upset that this application only supports the last few versions of their mobile software, as apparently many people still haven’t updated to the latest version and feel like developers should care about them.

We expect to see many improvements in the next update of the app. The company’s CTO ensures us that the developers are working hard to add the missing features to the app.

We’re so excited to launch a mobile version of our application. We believe our users want to access our application anywhere, and now they can. We know we are missing some key features, but we wanted to get this version of the application out to satisfy our users. We are working hard to get all of our features in the app. In fact, we can tell you that our next update will absolutely include that one feature everyone wants. We think they will be thrilled with it.

What’s next for the company? “We’ve got a lot of exciting things in the pipeline. We can’t talk about them just yet”, he said with a smile. The company also told us that they have plans to release an Android app, but blamed “device fragmentation” and gave us no indication of time frame. We were also told that they do not expect to have a Blackberry or Windows Phone app anytime in the near future.


Wanton Wantrepreneur: 6 business models you should be using right now

Licensed under cc from sepblog on flickr.

An unbelievable number of founders come to pitch me on their companies with no idea what their business model should look like. It is never ok to put off figuring out your business model when there are so many great ones available to you. Here are a few of my favorites.

Pyramid scheme

Because most startups never figure out how to provide a product that meets any kind of market need, why not use a business model that doesn’t require any kind of product at all? Better yet, the only work you have to do is recruit people who recruit more people. Of course, pyramid schemes are eventually unsustainable, but so are most startups that get acquired. Know when to get out.

Shell company

This is what most startups are anyways, so it strikes me as odd that more of them don’t just adopt this business model from the start. A shell company is usually a company with only cash assets and no real operational purpose other than to hold and spend that money, much like So get your investment capital, start paying yourself a salary, and wait for the cash to run out.

Tax haven

In the rare case that you know someone making an actual profit, chances are they are in a country with high corporate income taxes. While you are busy trying to get ahold of your first yacht, why not bring in a little bit of income operating as a tax haven? It’s extremely simple. Your profitable colleagues funnel all of their corporate transactions through your business, which happens to be incorporated in some Caribbean country with no corporate taxes. They get to keep more of their money, and you don’t have far to walk to look at yachts.

Ponzi scheme

Ponzi schemes get all kinds of unfair bad press, but nobody ever talks about the success stories like Groupon. As long as you have something going that looks like it could be big, just keep raising money and buying back your own stock with it.

Multi-level marketing

To be a proper MLM company, you really have to have a product that people could sell, but that they won’t actually be able to sell. So make some shitty software, sign up a few customers, and then come back and offer to pay them some percentage of future earnings if they can get more customers for  you. Make sure to promise that they will get rich easily. I mean, how hard do they think this will be? This stuff sells itself.



Flickr photo link.

Google announces AdShirts product to monetize Project Glass

Today’s post has been written by Tim Sylvester, Founder of Integrated Roadways, an innovative solution for building better, cheaper and more advanced roads.

The tech world hasn’t been able to stop talking about Google’s recently revealed Project Glass, which represents the fusion of two nerd staples, monitors and glasses. Google’s Sebastian Thrun recently demonstrated prototypes which look nothing at all like someone broke Geordi LaForge’s visor, and allows you to seamlessly record videos of yourself doing completely insignificant daily tasks.

Google’s new technology is a major addition to its portfolio, which has easily kept pace with its recent string of product hits. With Google Glass, you no longer have to call your friends and ask what happened after your sixth rum and coke – you can simply rewind and play back. So that’s where your shoes went!

Insiders have informed us that Google’s next project expands the Glass into apparel with their flagship AdShirts digital t-shirt platform. The shirts themselves look like a solid color. However, when you put the glasses on, ads appear. Using startup EyeVerify’s eye tracking and identification technology, the AdShirts platform tracks and identifies your viewers, displaying ads targeted to their interests. For example, if you recently searched for “protein shakes”, you may see a walking ad for Muscle Milk.

AdShirts are available at no cost. The wearer will can make money in a tiered affiliate marketing program for impressions and sales. According to our sources, the Google wearable platform is expected to see a major marketing push in Q4, 2012. Our sources tell us that a partnership has been made with Paramount Pictures, and Jacob and Edward of the Twilight series will be wearing AdShirts in the next Twilight film.

In response to Google’s AdShirts announcement, Facebook CEO Steve Zuckerbing, in conjunction with partner Donna Karan, has announced Facebook’s competing line of wearable clothing, FBDKNY. These stylish denim shirts, vests, and pants will respond to your natural rhythms, automatically posting your status to Facebook as you go about your daily life. Facebook is rumored to have been working on this line in secret for some time, but were delayed by sweating and farts.

Foursquare has also reportedly been collaborating with FBDKNY so that your pants will automatically check-in when you sit down at a new location, but has been plagued by false positives, with 90% of check-ins being accidental by persons trying to play Blockus while pooping.
Twitter was unavailable for comment.

4 Amazing SEO Strategies That Guarantee Increased Traffic to Your Blog

Search Engine Optimization is a key strategy for driving traffic from searches on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Many media blogs leverage and sometimes abuse this strategy by making multiple posts about popular, trending topics to capitalize on search traffic. Their trick is they include searchable keywords in their content. We have studied SEO extensively and have 4 key strategies you can deploy on your blog to increase traffic.

1. Microsoft Surface keyboard cover Windows 8 RT tablet

Steve Ballmer keynote announcement Apple iPad 3 iPad 2 killer tablet market. Steve Jobs WWDC Retina Display Windows touchscreen Surface table. PixelSense changes innovation new product swipe hybrid haptic key smart cover magnetic kick stand download apps.

2. Apple iOS 6 iPhone iPad beta software update Siri features

Apple Maps Google turn-by-turn directions voice Siri flyover 3D view buildings street. Do not disturb email VIP contacts push notifications phone iMessages SMS text sleep night. New App Store calendar bluetooth Passbook Starbucks airline boarding pass. Shared photo streams iCloud tabs Safari browser sync. FaceTime 3G 4G video chat call available.

3. Facebook Facebook Facebook; Facebook Facebook

Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook, Facebook IPO. Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook iOS 6 Facebook integration. Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook, Mobile Facebook , Facebook and Facebook. Facebook Ads Facebook Facebook Platform, Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook App Center. Facebook Facebook Facebook, Facebook Status Update. Facebook Photos, Facebook Facebook. Facebook!

4. Macbook Pro Retina Display High Resolution Fast Upgrade Laptop

Apple WWDC screen resolution dense pixels photo video editing fast SSD hard drive. Intel Ivy Bridge Nvidia GeForce GT 650M Magsafe 2 power adapter Thunderbolt. Mountain Lion OS X Facebook Twitter AirPlay video mirroring Apple TV. Airport Express Mini DisplayPort accessory 2.7GHZ Quad-Core i7 processor turbo boost. Battery Life. Think Different.

If you follow these strategies, there’s no telling how much traffic you’ll drive to your blog. Search is a huge opportunity. Don’t let your blog get lost in the cold, vast Internet.

Jail 2.0: Warden uses inmates to start tech blog

Penitentiaries and correctional facilities will often have inmates pay their debt to society by working for it. Much of the unskilled labor traditionally done by chain gangs is obsolete, like railroad building. Other work has been automated, like license plate stamping. One California state facility has found modern, lucrative blue collar work for the 21st century: Tech Journalism.

It all started when Michael Arrington was locked up in the drunk tank after the Boxbnb launch party. He was found stumbling around the streets of San Francisco at 4am waiving a half eaten burrito at taxis and bicyclists yelling “Do you know who I am? I’m the CEO of Yahoo!” and then laughing maniacally. Arrington was only locked up for the night, but it gave the facility’s warden, Rudolf Hazen, an idea.

Since this is San Francisco, most of the facility’s guards have their own startups. Hazen invests in most of these businesses, but has trouble getting them coverage. Since Arrington was now under Hazen’s roof until he sobered up, he forced Arrington to teach the inmates how to write about startups. It took a drunk Arrington a few hours to teach the inmates the ins and outs of modern tech journalism:

We focused on rumors and funding announcements. These articles require the least amount of research. Since you want to get them out as fast as possible, we removed proofreading from our process. Readers will post corrections to spelling, grammar, and even content in the comments section. The inmates will respond to comments and can get defensive when readers call them out, sometimes to the point of  violent verbal abuse. We thought this might give them away as criminals or at least amateurs, but nobody seems to have noticed.

Hazen wouldn’t tell us the name of the blog but he did say that it has been acquired and was part of AOL Tech.

Could you please teach your uncle how Socialcam works? [OPINION]

Today’s post was written by a teenage girl, and then heavily edited for spelling and grammar.

I don’t think your creepy uncle knows how Socialcam works. Or maybe he really is just that creepy. Does he know we can all see what he’s watching on his Facebook? It was fine when he was watching stuff like My new kitten first jump fail. A little strange for him, but at least its cute. And I’d expect TOP 10 NBA Lucky shots. Not my thing, but whatever. But it is not OK for Check out Ashton in our football bikini to show up in my feed. I don’t want to know that he’s watching that. Isn’t he like 49? Or Lost my bikini. Gross. And why is he watching Guy caught masturbating in car? I don’t think he knows how Socialcam works.

This is becoming a real problem. You really need to do something about this. Does your Aunt know he’s looking at this stuff? Does she know she’s married to a total creeper? If you don’t stop him, it could really ruin his marriage. And weird stuff like Something is Growing. Double Gross. Where did Two-Headed Animals come from? Where did he find that? Why do I have to see that?

Look, for the rest of us, could you explain to your creepy uncle how the Internet works? God knows what will happen if he figures out he can use it on his phone. I don’t want to see him posting his own videos. He doesn’t have an iPhone, does he?

And why did your uncle friend me on Facebook anyway? Creepy.

Romney campaign applies for .hope, .obama, and other shocking TLDs

Mitt Romney has a lot of work to do if he wants to steal away the likely second term of President Obama. Politics tend to get messy – from attack ads to aggressive promises, and the 2012 race probably won’t be much different. We’re already seeing some punches thrown on both sides. Today, Romney has thrown another.

ICANN’s recent decision to open up Top-Level Domains (TLDs) has organizations rallying to own new .whatever website address extensions (instead of the standard .com, .net, .org, etc). We’ve already seen Google rallying for .lol, .youtube and others. Today, the Mitt Romney campaign has applied for quite a few TLDs, many to combat against Obama’s campaign. These TLDs include .hope and .obama. A list of all TLDs the Romney campaign is rallying for are listed below.


Some of these domains are really offensive and shocking. Also, each TLD costs $200,000, putting this move at a potential $4.4M. We will keep an eye on any potential blowback of this effort.

Apple’s Retina display is the most innovative thing ever for the third time

Yesterday at the annual WWDC conference, Apple announced the next generation of their Macbook Pro. Among other tweaks to the hardware, the latest in the line will feature a 2880 x 1800 resolution Retina display. This is great news for people who are worried about people reading their screen over their shoulder and web developers who didn’t have enough screens to deal with. Apple once again shows us a technology we didn’t know we needed, but have to have. Their innovative use of high pixel density has blown away Apple analysts and fanboys. And you can see Apple refining the technology with each iteration. The iPhone 4’s screen pixel density is 326 ppi. Apple outdid themselves with the iPad 3 having a pixel density of 264 ppi, and now the latest Macbook Pro will sport a 220 ppi pixel density. That’s a reduction of 33% in just 2 years! Innovation!

Gilbert Godfrey tries to use the new Macbook Pro

So what will Apple do next with their innovative technology? What screens can we improve that we didn’t know needed an improvement. As an Apple rumors expert, Mockcrunch has a few ideas. When I walk up to a Coke Freestyle Machine, I can totally see the pixels in those logos. How about clock faces. Sure, I can read the time when there’s 7 LED’s for each number, but can I feel it? What if we up those 7 LED’s to 700? That would get me out of bed in the morning.

Perhaps you’ve been annoyed by pixelated tail lights. With Retina tail lights on cars, you won’t have to look at pixels while at a stop light. It will look just like one big light. Speaking of waiting at lights, stop lights could use more pixels. I hate having to stare at red lights that have spaces in between the red. When will we have Retina stop lights?

We’ll just have to wait and see when Apple will make their next innovative play, like bringing Siri to iPad 3. I could really use Siri on my Macbook Pro.

Congress releases Startup Act 2.1.3: New Features

Change Log for Startup Act. More information can be found at

Repository located at:

Startup Act 1.0 (12/8/2011):
o Increased performance for Technology Transfer
o Added support for Startup Visas
o Fixed bug in tax regulation where new businesses couldn't
  find investors.
o Known Issues:
   o Not enough info on new business formation
   o Incompatible with GDR drivers before version 4.2 (Ticket #F24)
   o Not enough cosponsors
   o Conflict found between left and right wings
o Added Steve Case

Startup Act 2.0 (5/22/2012):
o Added support for PSD file conversion for Infographics
o Added more cosponsors
o Fixed errors when compiling on linux kernel 3.3.2+
o No longer crashes on the way to Capital Hill. Using new drivers.
o Fixed buffer overflow on Windows when garbage collection failed
  to complete between mode changes.
o Fixed bug where Startup Act would fail to boot without being
  reintroduced with techier name.
o Version 1.0 can be used with the same congress without any
  conflicts, though I'm not sure why you'd want to.
o Stability and performance improvements

Startup Act 2.1.3 (6/6/2012):
o This is a maintenance release
o Fixed incompatibility with older members of congress
o Fixed Typos
o Splash screen load time decreased by 0.3 seconds
o Fixed filibuster vulnerability
o Other Minor bug fixes and stability improvements

Future versions planned support (Version 3.0):
o Celebrity investor endorsements
o Robust protection against death in committee
o Android support

Support inquiries and bug reports should be directed to
Senator Jerry Moran.