Who knew that when Super Mario Kart first hit the SNES so many years ago it would have such a lasting effect on us? Even Scalextric, who have been making slot car tracks for decades, are finally introducing a new accessory that wirelessly connects to an app so you can add SMK-like crash damage, power-ups and even stat tracking to back up your bragging rights.
Google has begun pushing its “Auto Backup” photo archival software to Mac and Windows users via the company’s social networking platform, Google+. The promotion is new, we’ve confirmed, though the software itself was first launched back in December. At that time, Google began offering the desktop utility as a part of its older Picasa photo-sharing platform, which… Read More
Update: WhatsApp experienced an outage for around 210 minutes today from 11am to 2:30 pm PST. Users around the world reported that they were unable to send messages, and WhatsApp confirmed these problems at 12:16pm PST with a tweet stating “sorry we currently experiencing server issues. we hope to be back up and recovered shortly.”
WhatsApp started to work again for some users at 2:30pm PST after around 150 to 210 minutes of downtime. Some users reported that “last seen” stamps vanished from their conversations when WhatsApp first came back online, but now some say they’re appearing again.
At 2:48pm PST, WhatsApp confirmed it was back up with this tweet
Around the same time, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum apparently told the Wall Street Journal via email that “we had a server outage, should be OK now.”
WhatsApp users flocked to Twitter asking “Is WhatsApp down?”. They were met with memes joking that Facebook was shutting WhatsApp down, that its founders went on vacation, that there was a party in the server room, or Zuck himself was meddling with the app
In reality, it’s more likely that WhatsApp’s $ 19 billion acquisition by Facebook announced Wednesday led to a surge of signups and usage that has overloaded its servers. We’ve contacted Facebook and are awaiting a response.
When users (including me) tried to send messages or check their existing chat conversations, WhatsApp got stuck, showing an endless loading asterisk and the alert “Connecting…”
The “WhatsDown” reports started flooding in around 11am PST, but there were some troubles last night as well. We received tips from frustrated users in the US, India, Israel, and many places around the world. The outage could stoke fears that Facebook will screw up WhatsApp if the acquisition gets regulatory approval.
The down time may have pushed users to other chat apps, as Telegram tweeted:
This is crazy. We'are getting 100 new registrations every second. Trying hard to prevent connection issues in Europe.—
Telegram Messenger (@telegram) February 22, 2014
In a testament to the global popularity of the 450 million user service, condom brand Durex’s Kenyan branch capitalized on the WhatsApp problems by doing some marketing:
As I wrote Thursday, being acquired by Facebook could give WhatsApp the engineering backup to be able to fight outages in the future. But today, being the biggest venture-backed acquisition in history worked against the messaging startup.
WhatsApp has suffered short downtimes every month or two for the last half-year. Stumbles like this are somewhat common for fast-growing apps, and users aren’t likely to permanently switch away since it was fixed relatively soon. Still, Facebook bought the startup for the astronomical sum in part because it is many people in the developing world’s first taste of the Internet. Now, their first taste of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been soured.
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TechCrunch » Social
Each week, we feature a new crazy awesome person to share how they get their work done and lay all their productivity secrets bare. This week, we’re turning the tables and sharing our own stories. Now it’s my turn to pull back the curtain. Pay no mind to man back there. Just how he works.
In my new book, Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors, in addition to decomposing and explaining a lot about the functioning of board meetings, I also describe my ideal board meeting.
I had four of them this week. That’s a lot of board meetings in a week, but my weeks tend to either be “lots of board meetings” or “no board meetings,” as I generally bunch them up. Thankfully, all four of them used my ideal board meeting template.
A critical aspect of my ideal board meeting is that the entire board package should be sent out several days in advance to all board members. It should be thorough, including whatever the CEO wants the board to know about what has happened since the last board meeting. While I prefer prose to a PowerPoint deck, either is fine. Optimally it’s in a format like Google Docs where everyone on the board can comment on specific things, allowing open Q&A on the board material prior to the board meeting. I like to decouple monthly financial reporting from the board package, but including a look back of the financials, along with discussion and framing is useful.
But the meat of the board package should be what’s going on now and going forward, not looking back. The looking back is for support of the discussion.
Then, the board meeting has a simple structure intended to fit in three hours. Optimally all participants are either in person or on video conference. Since I’m not traveling for business right now, almost all of my board meetings have a video conferencing component. When done correctly, it’s often just as effective as an in-person meeting, and in some cases (if you follow my video conferencing rules) even more effective. What is not effective is when one or more people are on an audio conference.
Once everyone is settled, break the board meeting into three discreet sections. They, and their descriptions, follow:
Administration (30 minutes): Board overhead, resolutions, administration, and questions about the board package.
Discussion (up to 2 hours): Discussion on up to five topics. The five topics should fit on one slide or be written on the whiteboard. The CEO is responsible for time boxing the discussion, or if he needs help, he should ask the lead director to do this. If you don’t have a lead director, read my book and get yourself one.
This should be a discussion. You’ve got your board in the room – use it to help you go deeper on the specific topic you are trying to figure out.
These topics can be on anything, but my experience is that the more precise the context is, the richer the discussion. I prefer for the full leadership team to be in the meeting for this part, although it’s entirely up to the CEO who is in the room.
Executive Session (30 minutes): CEO and board only. Here the board can give feedback specifically to the CEO or sensitive issues around personnel or other things the CEO wants to discuss separately from the management team. At the end, the CEO leaves and lets the board have some time alone where the lead director checks in to see if there is any feedback the board would like to give the CEO.
If you have less than five topics, the board meeting can take less time. Or if the five topics only take an hour to go through, the board meeting can take less time. There is nothing ever wrong with ending a meeting early. Ever.
Now this template doesn’t always work. You often have other specific things you have to address. When a company is going through an M&A process, the board meetings tend to be frequent and cover other stuff. Or, when the company is in a downward spiral or dealing with a crisis, the focus is often very precise.
But in my world, the day of the “board update” is over. I find no value in sitting in a room for three hours, paging through a PowerPoint deck while people present at me and the people around the table ask an endless stream of questions, mostly demonstrating that they haven’t been engaged in what the company has been doing since the last board meeting.
This story originally appeared on Brad Feld.
VentureBeat » Entrepreneur