SpinPunch (YC S12) builds beautiful high-performance HTML5 games - first launch is Starcraft-like Mars Frontier

“You can run StarCraft on your PC, but the best game you can in your browser is, like, FarmVille,”SpinPunch co-founder Ian Tien told me. While he’s quick to note that there’s nothing wrong with tilling fields and raising livestock, the games powered by the Y Combinator-backed startup’s HTML5 platform aspire to break down that quality distinction by being faster-paced, and more visually rich than the rest.

Mountain View-based SpinPunch was founded by ex-Microsoftie Tien and Dan Maas, a software developer and 3D animator who won an Emmy for his work on a documentary called “Five Years on Mars”. 

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To highlight the power of their “high performance” in-house HTML5 platform, the SpinPunch team decided to offer up their own take on a classic (and hard to nail) genre for their first game: real-time strategy. It’s a tricky endeavor for sure, but the SpinPunch team thinks of as a trial by fire — after all, gamers don’t take very kindly to gameplay-cripping bugs no matter how impressive the technology behind it is. Called Mars Frontier, the HTML5 Facebook game plays home to something like 140,000 monthly actives (or so AppData tells me), and puts users in the midst of a Martian conflict between multiple maladjusted AIs.

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen: HD Trade Services (YC S12) Lets Small Logistics Providers Track Shipments Like The Big Boys

The globalization of our economy — and the role that countries like China play in manufacturing goods that get consumed very far outside its borders — has been a big topic in the tech world. One of the sidenotes of that story is the role of shipping and distribution — an essential part of the equation, but one that carries a lot of risk: risk that products do not arrive on time, or in perfect condition, or perhaps in the worst cases, at all. That’s were Y-Combinator-backed HD Trade Services comes into the picture.

HD Trade Services has developed a suite of software for logistics services providers, delivered via portable-friendly tablet and smartphone apps, which lets them track the arrival and departure of products in warehouses to make sure that things are going where they are supposed to, and that products are what their suppliers say they are.

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Collections (YC S12) launches support for Facebook photos for its upgrade to Apple Finder

Y Combinator’s demo day is coming up next Tuesday, but one of its startups has given us all an early surprise to tide us over. Collections is officially launching the public beta of its content manager Mac app today with initial support for Facebook photos, Instagram and Google Docs.

The free software aims to reimagine Apple’s Finder tool for the Internet age by pulling together your digital life into one convenient place. Think of it as a stripped-down version of Tweetdeck for content (e.g., photos and documents). It gathers together the feeds from your different accounts and lets you like or comment on the photos and edit the documents.

Read the full article on TheNextWeb

Markupwand (YC S12) takes the pain out of translating Photoshop files to HTML/CSS

For front-end developers, the process of translating a designer’s Photoshop file into a bit of usable code isn’t easy. It requires either breaking down different layers and coding a page by hand, or outsourcing the work out to a conversion shop and hoping for cross-platform capabilities. Either way, the translation typically takes a few days to get done.

Y Combinator-backed Markupwand thinks it has a better way: The startup has created a web application that allows developers to upload Photoshop files and get back well-written, cross-platform code in a matter of minutes.

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Filepicker.io (YC S12) lets developers take uploads from cloud storage easily - now used by Aviary, others

Filepicker is young — it’s only had a product available for about five months — but it already has some impressive traction. Dass said about 2,700 developers currently use it, and the amount is doubling every month. Among its early customers are mobile photo-editing app Aviary, mobile-printing app Breezy, Reputation.com and bug-tracking service Bugly.

Read the full article on GigaOm

AnyLeaf (YC S10) relaunches as AnyList, the simplest and best auto-syncing grocery list iPhone app

In early 2011, Y Combinator-backed AnyLeaf opened its grocery deal aggregation service to to citizens of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our own Leena Rao (and TC alumnus Greg Kumparak) thought rather highly of it, but it’s been over a year since then and the team behind it has had a change of heart.

Today, the company formerly known as AnyLeaf will be officially relaunching with a new name and a new spin on its original mission. CEO and co-founder Jeff Hunter says the company — now called AnyList — still plans to improve the grocery shopping experience, this time with its thoughtful (and free) iOS-only grocery list app.

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Trigger.io (YC W08) launches Trigger.io Reload, letting mobile devs iterate fast on mobile, as inspired by clutch.io

Getting updates to your users and A/B testing your mobile app can be slow and painful. Yet, iterating quickly is so important to a mobile product’s success, as Andrew Chen talked about yesterday.

So we’re excited to announce the availability of Trigger.io Reload today.

Trigger.io Reload allows you to iterate at web speed by pushing updates to the HTML5 code in your mobile app instantly without users having to install an update from the App Store or through TestFlight.

Read the full article at the trigger.io blog

Ridejoy (YC S11) launches new iPhone app

While collective consumption has really taken off in the last year thanks to the Airbnbs and Ubers of the world, carpooling and ride-sharing have been around a bit longer. But for the last few years, a number of ride-sharing startups have been making headway in areas where carpooling traditionally has lacked, like safety — the biggest obstacle standing in the way of mass adoption for collective consumption startups. While there isn’t a whole lot of differentiation among the ride-sharing setRidejoy is looking to change that.

For those unfamiliar, the YC-backed startup brings people together for long-distance road trips (which they define as those trips over 50 miles), allowing drivers to “sell” their extra seats to riders for cheap. Now that it has 3K active rides listed at any given time and some money in the bank, the startup is looking to expose its ride-sharing experience to a new audience with the launch of a new iPhone app.

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Sorry We Missed You: BufferBox (YC S12) Solves The Problem Of Missing Packages

Living in Brooklyn, NY (the place where package deliveries go to die), I know better than anyone the struggle of missing a package, tracking it down, and then traveling however long it takes to recover said package. It’s so much of a pain, in fact, that I often give up the second I see that “Sorry we missed you” sticker.

But a company fresh out of Y Combinator‘s Summer 2012 class is ready to disrupt this mayhem with a clever little box, a BufferBox. It’s a bit like Amazon Locker, where you have all your Amazon packages shipped to a relatively convenient location instead of missing them. However, BufferBox works with all of your packages (UPS, FedEx, USPS, and Amazon).

How Statwing (YC S12) Makes It Easier To Ask Questions About Data So You Don’t Have To Hire a Statistical Wizard

If you have ever tried to use SPSS you know the nightmare that it can be when trying to do even simple analysis. SPSS is designed for statisticians to analyze data sets. But even statisticians find it aggravating to perform such tasks as making a neat graphic to show the relationship between variables.

So here’s what happens. You hire a consultant who can do it for you. That’s why IBM, which owns SPSS, has thousands of analysts on its payroll.

Statwing is a Y-Combinator startup that translates the arcane technical terminology into plain english so you can do data analysis on your own.

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