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July 5, 2011

Tech happenings in Baltimore for the next four weeks?

wonder-twins.jpgLater this week, I'll be taking a four-week parental leave to stay home with my wife and our new babies.

Yes, that's right. Plural.

Some time in the next 3-4 days, we expect to add twins to our family, a boy and a girl. We already have a 2.5 year old daughter, who can't wait to be a big sister, she insists.

So, I'm hoping the Baltimore/Maryland tech community can help me and The Sun stay in the loop on local tech happenings for the next four weeks or so. July and August are usually slow months in the news business, as people cycle through their vacations.

But we still have a daily newspaper and a website to deliver to y'all!

If you have news, just send tips to one of my editors, Liz Hacken, or to my email. Hit me on Twitter at @gussent. I can't promise I'll get back to you in any reasonable time frame, but please be assured I'll be reading my messages and trying to act on them as best I can.

I'll be sporadically blogging here whenever I find some time away from changing diapers and monitoring feedings. (Of course, any spare time I do manage to find I just may end up using for sleep!)

In the meantime, I'm interested in any helpful high- or low-tech technology that parents of twins have relied upon to help them manage and make their lives easier. What do you recommend? Is there a favorite iPhone/iPad app parents are using these days to help track their newborn's growth and patterns?

Is there, perchance, an app that can turn 3 hours of sleep into six hours of sleep?

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 2:51 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: *NEWS*

July 1, 2011

Zynga IPO Facts

Zynga, the online social gaming company that's famous for Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook, filed for a billion dollar IPO today. This is important because it's apparently the first company to go public that relies on revenue almost exclusively from the sale of virtual goods.

Here's the company's S-1 statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that discloses new information about the private company. Zynga, for the foreseeable future, is inexplicably inextricably tied to Facebook for its source of revenue from players, but the company hopes to change that. Here's the first financial snapshot we've ever gotten publicly from Zynga:

* We have achieved significant growth in our business in a short period of time. From 2008 to 2010, our bookings increased from $35.9 million to $838.9 million, and our adjusted EBITDA increased from $4.5 million to $392.7 million. For the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2011, our bookings increased from $178.3 million to $286.6 million, and our adjusted EBITDA increased from $93.6 million to $112.3 million.

* Zynga turned a $90 million profit last year, after losing $53 million in 2009 and $22 million in 2008. * In 2010, our bookings and revenue were $838.9 million and $597.5 million, respectively, which represented an increase from 2009 of $510.8 million and $476.0 million, respectively.

* Since the first quarter of 2009, two or three games have generated the majority of our online game revenue in any particular quarterly period. In addition, substantially all of our revenue is derived from a small percentage of our players.

* Here's Zynga's executive compensation chart (and kudos to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who raked in $9.5 million in stock awards last year as a Zynga director. He can add that to the pile of money he got from the LinkedIn IPO earlier this year):
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Mark Pincus       
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Product Officer and Chairman       
Owen Van Natta       
Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer       
David M. Wehner       
Chief Financial Officer       
Steven Chiang       
Co-President of Games       
Reginald D. Davis       
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary       
Mark Vranesh       
Chief Accounting Officer       

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 1:09 PM | | Comments (2)

Mint vs. Pageonce: the iPad dilemma

I'll admit: I haven't been an early adopter of applications that help you track and analyze your finances, such as the popular

It was just this week that my wife got motivated enough to dump our financial info into the Website and get an aggregated view of all of our bills, expenses, investments and savings. Mint impressed us, and we've been pretty excited about the insights it already has given us into our financial habits.

Mint has an iPhone app that's somewhat limited. But here's the crux for myself and many others: It doesn't yet have an iPad app. Mint is reportedly working on an iPad app, but it seems the long wait for it has annoyed its user community. Mint apparently uses a lot of Adobe Flash to generate those nice charts and graphs for you to analyze your data -- but all of that doesn't work on Apple's iPad and iPhone platforms, where Flash is forbidden.

Mint, which used to be independent, is now owned by Intuit. People wonder why Intuit hasn't moved quicker to roll out an iPad app for the millions of users on that platform. A Forrester Research report released this week indicates that Mint will roll out iPad and Android tablet apps in the fall.

So, yesterday, I went through what I guess every Mint user who owns an iPad has gone through: I searched for the Mint iPad app online, which I obviously didn't find. Instead, I found its lesser known competitor, Pageonce, which happens to be on basically all platforms: Android, Blackberry, Apple iPad/iPhone, and even the relatively new Windows Phone.

And, because I want to use my iPad as part of my efforts to track my finances, I signed up for Pageonce. I'm willing to give Pageonce a chance right now -- which is something that Mint should have never allowed for me to do! If it works as well as Mint, I may say goodbye to Mint because I can use Pageonce on all my various gadgets.

So, add this blogpost to the cacophany on the Web about Mint's iPad app: What's going on, Intuit?

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 11:27 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Apps
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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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