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BitTorrent Steps Up Monetization Efforts By Taking Its (Potentially Paywalled) Content Bundles Into Alpha

 

BitTorrent Bundle LogoBitTorrent is taking a new step today in its efforts to help creators make money (and make money itself) — it’s releasing a new content packaging format called the BitTorrent Bundle in alpha mode.

The company has already been working with different creators to launch promotional bundles. For example, author Tim Ferriss packaged chapters of his book with other supplementary media material as a way to promote sales of his newest work, while musicians like DJ Shadow have used BitTorrent to promote new tracks and albums. However, spokesperson Christian Averill told me that today’s announcement signals the company’s intention to move beyond one-off experiments and actually “productize” these efforts.

Averill also said that today is the first time BitTorrent has actually “gated” one of these bundles. Specifically, it’s partnering with music label Ultra to promote the behind-the-scenes documentary of Kaskade’s 2012 Freaks of Nature tour. Users can access half the content (a remix and a tour trailer) for free, but to get the rest (a digital tour booklet and unreleased footage of Kaskade’s Staples Center show), they need to enter their email address. In his blog post announcing the bundle, BitTorrent’s vice president of marketing Matt Mason described the package as a “functional record store.”

“This is a completely new way to look at monetizing content,” Mason said. “Instead of putting the content in the store, what if you put the store in the content? What if the interaction happened in the unit of content in itself?”

Mason said that the first bundle focuses on collecting email addresses, because for most musicians, email is “the most important way to connect with fans.” At the same time, he said BitTorrent will be experimenting with other ways to structure the bundle, including ones where users actually pay money to. (When he spoke to us last fall, Mason said that the music business has become more relationship-based, meaning that musicians usually have to build a relationship with their fans before they can start asking them to pay.)

The ultimate goal is to release a publishing tool that will allow any artist to create their own bundles, and to structure those bundles however they like — that’s probably coming in the fourth quarter of this year.

“BitTorrent users are clearly fans,” Mason added. “It’s now up to us to build the right sort of publishing tools so that that relationship between artists and fans can just be completely optimized

Dots, Betaworks’ New Super Addictive iOS Game, Nabs 1 Million Downloads In One Week

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Dots, a game launched just last week out of betaworks, has reached over 1 million downloads in just one week of availability.

According to a blog post, the app hit number 1 in eight countries, and went into the top five in another fifteen countries. Right now, in fact, you’ll find Dots as the number three free app behind Hardest Game Ever 2 and Falldown2, two worthy opponents.

Of course, backing from betaworks is always a smart way to get off to a good start, but dots stands on its own as a quality piece of mobile gaming software.

It’s a simple, digital take on the classic connect-the-dots game. You connect as many of the same-colored dots at once, and ultimately aim to make a square, which erases that entire color from the board.

In true mobile game fashion, users can earn power-ups and advanced tools by scoring “dots,” which are also available as in-app purchases. betaworks’ Paul Murphy relayed to TechCrunch that people are both earning and buying dots in a way the team is pleased with.

But the magic isn’t just in the gameplay, which is highly addictive to say the least. Hacker-in-residence and co-founder Patrick Moberg brought his experience with design, illustrations, and developing to create a truly beautiful game, with all the right aesthetic nuances and animations.

Plus, the social component of the app has made it quickly viral. “The app is heavily, heavily supported by the social mechanics in the game,” said Murphy. “So that’s working, and we suspect it will continue to work well.”

The question now is whether or not dots can keep up the momentum like a true classic or become the next Draw Something. For now, however, the team is focused on incremental improvements like expansion from iPhone to iPad, and support for colorblind users.

Adobe Updates Edge Animate HTML Animation Tool With Motion Paths, Lets You Host Your Files On Adobe’s CDN

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As part of its general update to Creative Cloud, Adobe today announced the latest version of Edge Animate, its timeline-based tool for creative HTML5 animations. While this is one of the minor updates on a day where the company launched new versions of Photoshop, Illustrator and virtually every single other one of its tools, Edge Animate is worth keeping an eye on, especially given that even though it’s still a newcomer in Adobe’s lineup, its focus on HTML5 makes it one of Adobe’s more cutting-edge tools as it switches its focus from Flash to web standards.

In this new version, Edge Animate gets support for motion paths, for example, something Flash developers have long had access to. With this, developers can now use the tool to “animate elements along fully customizable, fine-grain motion paths for highly expressive movements,” as the company noted in today’s announcement.

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With this update, Adobe is also introducing template support in Edge Animate, so users can now save their custom templates for quicker access to their reusable assets.

For developers who focus on mobile projects, this new version also adds support for left and right swipe events for mobile-focused projects.

One of the coolest new features, however, isn’t even about how you create animations in Edge Animate. Adobe now allows you to host your Animate runtime files on its own content delivery network, which is powered by Akamai. This service is available for free as part of a Creative Cloud subscription.

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Adobe’s Dreamweaver Web Dev Tool Gets New Visual CSS Designer, Enhanced Grid Layout And PhoneGap Build Support

dreamweaver_ccAdobe‘s just announced the latest version of Dreamweaver, its tool for quickly developing web content. The new version has now caught up with a number of modern web development techniques and also features support for the company’s new syncing features in Creative Cloud.

Adobe says it has greatly simplified and modernized the Dreamweaver interface in this release, making it more intuitive and allowing for smoother workflows. Adobe has also removed a number of outdated features in Dreamweaver, which should make the app feel lighter and faster.
Dreamweaver CC also now features a new CSS Designer, a visual editing tool, which the company says, will allow developers to easily generate web-standard code for their sites and quickly apply CSS properties such as gradients and box shadows.

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The tool acknowledges that responsive design is here to stay. Dreamweaver now features an enhanced fluid grid layout that allows web designers to construct web designed and responsive sites visually. The uploaded “Fluid Grid Layout” interface, Adobe says, “makes it a cinch to design projects that display on different screen sizes for desktop and devices.”

Edge Web Fonts, the company’s font library powered by Typekit is now also integrated into Dreamweaver, allowing designers to go beyond the usual Arial and Times New Roman fonts on their sites.

For users who target mobile devices with their designs, Dreamweaver CC now also includes some new features. Thanks to PhoneGap Build Support, for example, they can now easily build and package native apps for iOS and Android right inside the application.
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