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Tech + Gadgets

Razoo's Gaming Guru with Charity on the Brain Comes to SF

Lesley Mansford

“It is a scientific fact that giving makes you feel good—it literally raises the endorphins, just like games do,” says Lesley Mansford, a video-game marketing vet who is using her tech savvy to her philanthropic advantage. “If you can mix gaming mechanics with giving, that’s a very powerful elixir,” she says.

As CEO of six-year-old D.C. startup Razoo, which opened its second headquarters in San Francisco this summer, Mansford is looking to help charitable ventures cash in with “crowdfunding,” that buzzword made popular by Kickstarter.

BuyVia's App Alerts You to Deals at Nearby Stores, Helps Find the Best Prices

BuyVia

New research from the smart shopping service BuyVia indicates that 40 percent of all shoppers are “showrooming” this holiday season, i.e., taking photos or scanning or examining products in retail stores with mobile apps before deciding where to buy those products at the best price.

Meanwhile, a recent Nielsen survey found that 78 percent of mobile shoppers have used their device to locate a physical store, and 63 percent have checked prices online while shopping.

Farmigo Brings Online Farmers Markets to You

Farmigo

If you like buying fresh food at the farmers market and supporting local farmers, you’ve got a brand new option as of today in San Francisco, and that is to set up your own localized weekly delivery site and manage it online.

Farmigo is launching this initiative here and in New York, with other cities to follow soon.

Desti is a Siri-Like Travel App for Northern California Outings

Desti App

Since Apple introduced Siri last year, millions of people have become familiar with the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator.

Now, another artificial intelligence app that uses a natural language user interface is on the scene.

Colorized, an App That turns Your iPhone into a Social Sketchpad

Colorized

A little more than six months ago, Yan-David Erlich was sitting in a restaurant when he noticed a waiter bring a black-and-white coloring pad plus some crayons to the children sitting at the next table.

“I started wondering what the online equivalent of that was,” he recalls. “And I realized that while it’s hard to draw with a mouse, it’s easy when you use your fingers on a touchscreen.”

That realization led to Colorized, an iPhone app that facilitates “social sketching.”

Publish Your Own Book at a Low Cost with Blurb

Blurb Books

Until quite recently, it would have been difficult and expensive for you to publish your own physical book, especially one filled with photos.

But thanks to San Francisco-based Blurb, and its on-demand publishing platform, you can do so now for as little as $3.95 for a pocket book to $49.95 for a large, 12 by 12-inch coffee table book.

The Startup That Sends The Mechanic To You

Your Mechanic

Those of us covering startups use the word “disruptive” all the time–probably too frequently in some cases.

But it’s certainly the right descriptor for Your Mechanic, which sends a car mechanic to your home or office to provide repair and maintenance services at roughly half the cost of what you now pay at the shop.

Social Shopping Startup Sneakpeeq Carries 4,000 Indie Brands This Holiday Season

Sneakpeeq

Sneakpeeq is a social shopping marketplace, both on the web and the iPad, that showcases some 4,000 indie brands in home, living and style products.

Founder Henry Kim says he discovered how difficult it was for these smaller brands to reach customers when he visited a large trade show in Las Vegas and saw that they could not get buyers from the major retailers to even visit their booths.

Two Sense: Help Me, My Girlfriend Uses Facebook Too Much

Facebook Shirt

My new girlfriend is somewhat of a Facebook fiend. Every place we go, she "checks in" and tags me. Once there, she takes photos and posts them. She posts to my wall every few days and now, after three months of dating, she wants me to change my status to "in a relationship" with her. I check Facebook maybe once a week and I don't like living my life online, broadcasting my every move and my intimate relationships. My friends are teasing me about how often I'm showing up in their newsfeeds since I met her, and I'm a little embarrassed. How do I broach this subject with her?

The "Game of Books" Seeks to Incentivize Young Readers

Game of Books

Back when BookLamp launched in August 2011, we called it “a Pandora for books.”

BookLamp is a publishing technology company that developed something called the Book Genome Project, which uses the “DNA of language” to analyze and compare books based on their thematic makeup, character types, and language elements.

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