Week in review: Y Combinator Demo Day, Trip Hawkins' new Facebook game

Here’s our summary of the week’s business and tech news. First, the most popular stories VentureBeat published in the past seven days: Y Combinator presents 26 new startups — Y Combinator hosted its latest Demo Day this week for startups graduating from its incubator. This post offers a roundup of every presenting company, except for those in stealth mode.

Photoshop’s new “Content-Aware Fill” feature gives you the power of the gods — You can practically see VentureBeat’s Devindra Hardawar drool as he describes Adobe’s preview of a new feature in its image editing program. Content-Aware Fill doesn’t accomplish anything that wasn’t technically possible in Photoshop already, but it makes powerful editing capabilities to the average user.

Dudes can pay hot girls to play online video games with them — If you’re a lonely gamer dude, then GameCrush might be your ticket to meet a hot girl. That’s the basic pitch of this social networking service, where guys scan pay cash to play hardcore video games online with attractive females.

6 critical tips for launching a startup while holding a day job — Most people start their first company while they still have a day job. It makes sense: You don’t need loans. You don’t need funding. And if you “fail,” all you’ve lost is time. But if managed improperly, you’re unnecessarily risking lawsuits and worse. Entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Cohen offers tips for how to pull off the balancing act.

InVisage’s QuantumFilm enables gorgeous camera phone pictures — QuantumFilm could usher in a new age of high-quality, thin, inexpensive digital cameras and camera films. Based on a new kind of image sensor technology from chip startup InVisage Technologies, QuantumFilm can deliver mobile phone camera images that are four times sharper than today’s cameras, with twice the dynamic range, or the ability to have both dark and light features in the same picture.

And here are five more stories we think are important, thought-provoking, or fun:

Sixteen years in the making, Trip Hawkins’ latest game for Facebook is the “best idea I’ve ever had” – Hawkins, chief executive of Digital Chocolate, isn’t shy about describing his company’s latest Facebook game, NanoStar Castles. He first conceived the game, which you could summarize as Pokemon for grown-ups, more than 16 years ago.

Angels sing: “Frankly ridiculous” restrictions might “destroy Silicon Valley” — Angel investors don’t usually stay up at night worrying about Capitol Hill. But a financial reform bill proposed by Chris Dodd, the Democrat chairing the Senate Banking Committee, includes new restrictions on startups and angels. And investors aren’t happy about it, saying it’s “insane,” “frankly ridiculous,” and aims to “destroy Silicon Valley.”

Cisco buys into WiMax for Smart Grid, acquires stake in Grid Net — Cisco Systems has been scouting for major plays in the Smart Grid infrastructure arena for about a year — some analysts even speculated that it would buy wireless networking provider Silver Spring Networks. This week, it announced its decision to go with Grid Net, one of the first and only companies to trumpet WiMAX as the ultimate solution for transmitting data between utilities and smart meters.

Facebook may automatically share your data with “pre-approved” partners — Facebook said it may start automatically sharing data about users with special partners the minute they visit a site for a more “personalized” experience. The changes are part of a new privacy policy the company proposed yesterday.

Phone Halo launches automated loss prevention system — Ever misplace your keys, wallet or cell phone? Chances are it’s happened a few times. Now a startup called Phone Halo has launched Protect, a solution that notifies you when your valuables are left behind or stolen.

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