Monthly Archives: January 2019

Aussie whiz-kid eyes next project after selling video chat app to rival

Ben Pasternak, the 18-year-old serial n technology entrepreneur who dropped out of high school at 15 and now lives in New York, celebrated the recent acquisition of the popular video chat app he co-founded by taking a trip to India “to get inspiration for the next project”.
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Monkey, which raised $US2 million in venture capital before being sold and amassed close to 3 million users who made over 1 billion calls, was purchased late last year by rival app HOLLA, which has offices in Beijing and Los Angeles.

Billed as being “like [online chat website] Chatroulette, without the pervs”, Monkey is designed to connect young people randomly with those who match their interests, allowing them to video chat one another.

If either party wishes to extend the call beyond the first 15 seconds, they must click the “time” button. If only one party chooses to extend the call, it ends and both parties move on to the next person. But if both click the time button, the call continues, and they can then add each other as friends. Interests, known as “trees”, include “LGBTQ”, “Single” “Rap Battle”, “Singing” and “Roast” among many others.

“The aim was never to sell,” Pasternak, formerly of Vaucluse in eastern Sydney, tells Fairfax Media, “it is to build products that massively contribute to creating a positive collective consciousness.”

But Pasternak, named one of TIME Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2016, says he and US co-founder, Isaiah Turner, decided to offload the app to HOLLA because they wanted to invest time in a new project and believed the company was the best home for Monkey.

Allen Loh, vice president of global expansions and strategies at HOLLA, says Pasternak contacted HOLLA chief executive Eric Tao in November with a proposal for the sale of the Money app assets and Tao flew to New York the following morning to meet the Monkey team.

“Eric, Ben, and Isaiah met in New York to not only discuss the details of the acquisition but also about the prospective future of the mobile app industry as a whole,” Loh says.

Loh says Monkey has “a tremendous amount of popularity” among US teens, which was the user demographic that HOLLA has “always been extremely interested in”.

“Ben and Isaiah [were] able to tap into a market that HOLLA was lagging behind [in], and we saw this as a great opportunity for us to participate in,” Loh says, adding that both parties agreed not to disclose the amount of the deal.

Pasternak first rose to prominence in 2014 after the addictive smartphone game he co-created with a friend when he was 15, Impossible Rush, rose to the top of the iTunes App Store charts.

Like other popular games such as Flappy Bird or Tetris, Impossible Rush is a minimalist affair: the player simply taps a wheel to match colours against balls which fall faster and faster. The app was acquired by a friend for $US200.

Pasternak then went on to co-found Impossible Dial. It peaked at 31 on the US iTunes App Store and later sold for $85,000. The proceeds were split with co-founder Tamir Triguboff, the grand-nephew of ‘s second-richest person, Harry Triguboff.

Pasternak’s next big challenge was taking on eBay with Flogg, a social networking app for young people to buy and sell things. US venture capital firm Binary Capital agreed to lead a round of funding in Flogg and was joined by other investors including Greylock Partners, John Maloney (the former president of Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo), and Paul Bricault (an angel investor).

After the success of Monkey, started in 2016 with the same investors, Flogg was put on pause.

“There wasn’t a clear vision,” Pasternak told Mashable in January. “[Monkey] blew up unexpectedly, so the most logical thing to do is focus my time on it right now.”

Pasternak now lives in a 27th-floor, $US4200 ($5379) a month apartment in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan in New York, according to the New Yorker. He drinks meal replacement Soylent, rides a hoverboard, and has inspirational quotes taped to the walls.

As to who Pasternak looks up to for inspiration?

“I have a lot of admiration for Elon Musk,” Pasternak says. “He has sacrificed his own life to build companies that will positively transform humanity.”

And as for what’s next?

“We have other extremely exciting announcements that we’re excited to share soon.”

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Actresses wearing black didn’t mean much, until now

When the idea of actresses observing an all-black dress code to the Golden Globes began to circulate last month, many were nonplussed. It seemed like a strange way to defy years of entrenched sexual misconduct in Hollywood. The entertainment industry was built on power imbalances between men and women! How would a dress code reverse that?
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Besides, there was something perverse and almost unjust about women having to change what they wear in order to say something about men. Isn’t that kinda what women have always done in a way? Don’t wear short skirts, don’t wear low-cut tops, lest you draw the “wrong kind” of attention to yourselves.

And why black? Why should women have to mourn over what is, quite honestly, news to nobody?

Almost everyone had heard the rumours about Harvey Weinstein, and every woman in Hollywood – and beyond – has a story of being sexually harassed at work.

But the worst element appeared to be the tokenist nature of the protest. So women are wearing black – and then what? What changes? Will Weinstein serve time? Will laws be upheld? Will other sexual predators be prosecuted? Rose McGowan, who has been leading the charge since news broke of her ongoing sexual assault and harassment at the hands of Weinstein in October, said as much in an angry tweet, calling it hypocritical among other things. She later deleted it, and this is probably why.

On Monday over 300 actresses, writers, producers and directors, including Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Kerry Washington announced that they had formed an initiative called Time’s Up, the principal aim of which will be to correct power imbalances, not just in the entertainment industry, but beyond it. As the tagline on the website reads, “The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it.”

The most prominent part of the initiative is a legal defense fund, consisting of $US13 million, ($16.5 million) in donations given by other actresses such as Sienna Miller, Sarah Paulson, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Garner, who signed up and promoted the movement on their Instagram accounts. It’s time to shift the balance in the workplace, from representing the few to representing us all. #TIMESUP @timesupnowA post shared by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on Jan 1, 2018 at 7:13am PST read more »

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The 18 places you should visit in 2018

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Despite its fairly questionable human rights record, and the looming prospect of a presidential “election” (cough) in March, Russia is still one of the places to visit in 2018, purely because it’s hosting the biggest sporting party of the them all: the FIFA World Cup. All the glitz, glamour and definitely not corrupt sporting officials will arrive in June. Indonesia

Ten new Balis. Depending on your opinion of the original Bali, that could be a very good thing, or very bad. Regardless, it’s happening. The Indonesian government is planning to encourage tourists away from its infamous island hotspot and into other parts of the country, from Lake Toba in North Sumatra to Borobudur in Java, by creating “10 new Balis”. It might be worth getting to those places before everyone else does. Turkey

Maybe it’s time to give Turkey another chance. As the brutal wars in neighbouring Iraq and Syria appear to wind down, this amazing country could once again be a tourism hotspot, with its cosmopolitan cities, beaches and resort towns, its blend of European and Middle Eastern cultures, and its endlessly photogenic lunar landscapes there to be enjoyed. France

This is another country that has suffered recently due to factors beyond its control – in France’s case, terrorist attacks. However, statistically your chances of being involved in any sort of incident here remain very small, and this is still an amazing part of the world. Best time to visit is July, when the weather is warm and the Tour de France is there to be followed. Chile

It’s never been easier or cheaper to get to Chile, with air carriers now offering bargain-basement fares. Make the most of them and check out everything this country has to offer, from the heights of the Atacama in the north, to the Lakes District in the middle, to Patagonia in the far south. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Singapore

Those flying the classic “Kangaroo Route” from March this year will find themselves stopping over in Singapore, rather than Dubai. The change in Qantas’ routing means travellers once again have the chance to explore Singers, and eat themselves into a stupor. Don’t miss the Michelin-starred Hainanese chicken rice at the hawker stand Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice – at $2 a pop, you can afford a couple of helpings. South Africa

It seems like I bang on every year about how great South Africa is, and I’m still not sure anyone is listening. “Oh yeah, that sounds cool,” people usually say, dubiously, before booking a trip somewhere else. So here I go again: South Africa is amazing. This is the country you want to visit in 2018, or 2019, or any year beyond. It’s got cities, it’s got landscapes, it’s got food, wine, wildlife, culture, hiking, diving, adventure, luxury ??? everything. Go there. Germany

Pop quiz: how many Michelin-starred restaurants are there in Germany? Ten? Twenty? Maybe up to 50 or so? Wrong. As of this year, there are 300 restaurants in Germany that can boast at least one of the coveted stars. That’s pretty impressive for a country that’s not exactly renowned for its cuisine. Time to get over there and look past the bratwurst mit brot (though admittedly, sausage in bread is a thing of beauty). Uzbekistan

Why go to Uzbekistan in 2018? Why not? In this age of mass tourism, of huge queues and crowded streets and grumpy locals, it might be time to get off the beaten track, to explore countries that not everyone has already been to. Plus, there’s plenty to see in Uzbekistan, from ancient Silk Route trading centres such as Samarkand and Bukhara to more modern culture in Tashkent. CITIESPyeongchang, South Korea

Pack your giant cowbell and your thermal underwear this February as the Winter Olympic carnival arrives in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Even if fails to match its haul of two silver medals and a bronze from Sochi, there will be plenty to see here, from downhill madness to figure skating grace. Bilbao, Spain

There are plenty of reasons to visit this Basque city in 2018, not least of which is that Bilbao is hosting the annual 50 Best Restaurants awards. Anyone who caught the extravaganza in Melbourne in 2017 will know that that means a whole lot of tasty food and big culinary events featuring the world’s best chefs. New Orleans, US

Is there ever a bad time to plan a trip to the Mardi Gras? Hardly. However, as 2018 marks New Orleans’ tricentennial celebrations – 300 years since the city was founded – this year’s festivities will be especially big. Better hurry: Mardi Gras weekend begins on February 9. Valletta, Malta

This year the city of Valletta is one of two European Capitals of Culture (sharing the honour with Leeuwarden in the Netherlands), which means 12 months of cultural events. Even without the festivities – which, admittedly, aren’t always that exciting – the Maltese capital is worthy of a visit for its heritage-listed old town and Mediterranean shores. Gold Coast,

While we’re on the subject of celebrations, the Gold Coast is hosting one of its own this year: the 21st Commonwealth Games. Catch some of the world’s best athletes competing in the likes of athletics, swimming, diving, and, ah, lawn bowls – or just hang out on the beach and read the results in the paper. Lisbon, Portugal

There’s no specific reason to make 2018 the year you visit Lisbon – except that Lisbon is just freaking great. This is one of Europe’s best cities, a friendly, vibrant place with historic sites, affordable accommodation, great bars and restaurants, a thriving live music scene, and pasteis de nata, or Portuguese tarts, everywhere you look. What more do you need? Buenos Aires, Argentina

Good news for lovers of this Latin American metropolis: Air New Zealand now flies Auckland to Buenos Aires direct, meaning it’s never been easier to get yourself sat in front of a steak and a glass of malbec in the Argentinian capital. Of course, there’s also the shopping and the tango shows, the football mania and the classic architecture to look forward to. But also, the steak. Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Travellers heard the word on Sri Lanka some time ago – almost everyone you know has been to Kandy, or Galle, or Colombo, right? However, there’s a new frontier in Sri Lanka: the formerly war-torn, Tamil-dominated north. The city of Jaffna is worth visiting for the incredibly good food alone, but once you throw in friendly locals and a sultry, rough-and-ready vibe, you have yourself a great new destination. Perth,

Ditch Dubai. Give Singapore the sling. Your stopover destination for a European holiday in 2018 is Perth, Western . In March this year, Qantas will begin its 17-hour direct service from Perth to London, meaning east coast travellers can hop over to the west, hang out on Cottesloe Beach for a day or two, sample some wine in the Swan Valley, have a few meals in Freo, and then be in London in less than a day.

Where are you planning to travel in 2018? Which destinations do you think will be the next big things?

Email: [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au

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Hack The Mainframe are looking to global horizons

LOGGED ON: Newcastle skate punk band Hack The Mainframe are gearing up for a massive 2018 after releasing their debut album Disorder Of Consciousness. NEWCASTLE skate punk band Hack The Mainframe are planning their maiden overseas tour later this year following the international release of their debut album.
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Disorders Of Consciousnessdropped on December 22 andcontinuestheir brand of melodic high-energy punk they introduced on their 2015 debut EPTrapped Online,which was voted album of 2016 by music blogMelodic Punk Style.

Hack The Mainframe formed in 2014 out of the ashes of Newcastle punk stalwartsWiseheimerand Central Coast band Pants Optional, but have quickly exceeded either act.

“We had no expectations, and then we got a few things out and people really enjoyed it,” guitarist Leigh Markwell said.“We got some good feedback, so we kept going with it.”

Disorder Of Consciousnesswas released overseas through Disconnect Disconnect Records inEuropeandBird Attack Records in US.

Markwell said pre-sales were strong and they plan to tour in Japan and Europe by the end of the year.

“We’ve actually sold more copies of our EP overseas than we have in ,” he said.

Hack The Mainframe’s next show is on February 3 at Maitland Leagues Club, sharing the stage withfellow Newcastle punk bands No Quarter and All In A Year.

CHINGY’S NEW RAP SECOND TAKE: US rapper Chingy is returning to the Hunter to perform at the Warners Bay Hotel on January 18. Picture: Edwina Pickles

CHINGY is coming back to the Hunter. That’sa sentence most people wouldnever have expected to read in theNewcastle Heraldfollowing the US rapper’s shambolic Finnegans show in 2014.

On that night Chingy, who is famous for his creative spelling and 2000s hitsRight Thurr,Pullin’ Me BackandHolidae Inperformed for just 20 minutes before moving onto the VIP after party.

However, the 37-year-old rapper and actor declared in a recent article in theSt Louis Postthat he’s a changed man following the death of his mother last April.

Chingy alsohasa new songF.Y.R, anacronym for “forget your respect” and a new albumBlack Rosein the pipeline.

You can check out the new Chingy on January 18 when he performs at the Warners Bay Hotel, which isbecoming the new home of US rappers in the Hunter.

Last August hip-hop star Bow Wow also performed at the Lake Macquarie venue.

TORI’S NEW DAWNKURRI Kurri’s rising alt-country star Tori Forsyth is promising to unveil a new ‘70s Californian-inspired sound on her forthcoming single In The Morning.

The track will be the second single from her untitled debut album, which has been pushed back to a May release date.

It follows the dark bluegrass-flavoured Grave Robber’s Daughter.

Tori Forsyth – Grave Robber’s DaughterForsyth will launch InThe Morning at the Tamworth Country Music Festival on January 19 when she performs with her band The Spurs and fellow country artist Aleyce Simmonds.

“It was a last-minute song for the album, I didn’t want to put it on there but it’s turned out obviously good enough to be a second single,” Forsyth said.

“It steers into a newdirection, so it’s a very different song from anything else I’ve ever released.

“I’m excited to see what people think of that.”

Tori Forsyth and The Spurs play the Small Ballroom on February 16.

DARYL MANIAWHEN will this Daryl Braithwaite revival end? It’s been an unbelievablesix months for the ex-Sherbet frontman.

Braithwaite, 68, was inducted in the ARIA Hall Of Fame in November and his 1990 classic The Horses has been embraced as a cultural icon by Millennials.

So much so that at last weekend’s Falls Festival in Lorne many in the crowd worehorse hats, onesies and horse motif T-shirts to celebrate Braithwaite’s appearance at the youth-orientatedfestival.

Braithwaite’s popularity is also galloping along strongly inthe Hunter. His January 28 show at the Toronto Hotel is sold out.

HOLY SUPPORTAFTER impressing at Newcastle’s 48 Watt Street in November supporting Alex Lahey, Sydney retro rocker Sloane Peterson is headed back.

Peterson will support Holy Holy at the Small Ballroom on February 24, the final night of their Love Is For Amateurs tour.

SUMMER ROAD TRIP ROLLING ON: Fanny Lumsden is hitting the road with the Dashville crew later this month.

THREE-time Golden Guitar nominee Fanny Lumsden is the latest addition to the Dashville family for their summer road trip series.

Dashville On The Road#2 is carving a dusty path north to Nundle’s Dag Sheep Stationon January 26, before stopping at the Federal Hotel in Bellingen (January 27) and Port Macquarie’s Black Duck Brewery (January 28).

Lumsden, broke onto the alt-country scene with her debut album Small Town Big Shot in 2015 and followed with last year’s Golden Guitar-nominatedReal Class Act.

Joining Lumsden for the Dashville On The Road tour will be regular favourites William Crighton, Nicholas Connors,Ahlia Rain, Baghead, Magpie Diaries andDave Wells.

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Calling all food-lovers to Launceston’s City Park for Festivale

Calling all food-lovers to Launceston’s City Park for Festivale Picture: Scott Gelston
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Picture: Chris Crerar

Picture: Chris Crerar

Picture: Chris Crerar

Picture: Chris Crerar

Picture: Scott Gelston

Picture: Scott Gelston

Picture: Scott Gelston

Picture: Piia Wirsu

Bachelorette Georgia Love

Picture: Phillip Biggs

TweetFacebookTasmania is like a unique food bank … patrons can come and really taste the best of the best that the state has to offer

Festivale chairman David DunnBetter Homes and Gardens, will also be demonstrating her cooking prowessto the patrons of Festivale on the Sunday.

“After a lot of requests, we’ve also added gin and whiskey masterclasses to the program,” Mr Dunn said.

The Tamar Valley Wine Route Masterclasses will allow patrons to experience the bestTasmanian sparkling wines, beers, and spirits whilst learning from industry professionals such as brewers, distillers, and winemakers.

“Tasmania produces high-quality gin and whiskey, and people really want to learn more about it.”

Mr Dunn said he’s“very excited”about the entertainment line-up.

“All of the acts are going to appeal to different people each night…there’s going to be something for all age brackets,” he said.

Some of the“not-to-be-missed”entertainment includes Medhanit Barratt,Fresh Comedy, the Best Stall Awards, and the roaming street performers.

“We’ve got a big focus on street performers, and people wandering around doing little shows,” Mr Dunn said.

“We liketo keep people entertained.”

The Kids Kingdom declares fun for all, with activities such as face painting, karate,bowling, and music and dance workshops lined up to keep the kids entertained.

Mr Dunn said thatFestivale’smusic programwill have something to suit everyone’s tastes.

Artistssuch as Clare Bowditch, JR Reyne and The Paradise Three, Reece Mastin, andRenée Geyer will perform for patrons over the course of the three-day event.

For those living in the Devonport region, this year Festivale istrialling a Merseylink bus service to the eventon Saturday, with thebus departing Devonport at 2pm and leavingFestivaleat 11.15pm.

The $40 fee includes the return bus trip plus admission to the event and can be booked through Merseylink.

Admission to Festivale ranges between $15 to $25 for adults depending on the day, with a three-day pass costing $45.

For more information aboutadmission prices and to book Tamar Valley Wine RouteMasterclasses,headonline towww.festivale苏州夜总会招聘.au.

Festivale will take placeFebruary 2 to 4.

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