"Today was the last day of Strata/Hadoop World in NYC, a show that just keeps growing. If I gathered up all of the emails, press releases and briefing notes related to the event this year, I'd probably need a Hadoop cluster to chug through it. Writing a post per news item would be impossible. In fact, even a news roundup would likely end up being a laundry list of announcements, and I'm betting it would be pretty tedious to read.Hadoop and Big Data, "Stratafied" | ZDNet
Far more valuable, and hopefully not too pretentious, would be to synthesize what I've heard, read and seen into a short list of trends that came out of the show and, in some ways, sum up where the analytics industry is right now. So here goes...Strata/Hadoop World NYC 2013...in four simple themes."
Thursday, October 31, 2013
NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say - The Washington Post
The smiley face is a nice touch
“The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.”
"Steam now has more than 65 million active accounts. The figure marks a 30 percent rise in players over the last year. The video game digital-download platform also boasts daily peak concurrent users of more than 6 million."Steam rises to 65 million active users, eclipsing Xbox Live | The Verge
"On Wednesday Facebook far exceeded expectations when it reported its quarterly earnings. The company made $2.02 billion in revenue (investors expected $1.91 billion), 49 percent of which came from mobile. Its monthly active users grew 18 percent over the last year to 1.19 billion. Every day 728 million people use Facebook, with 507 million people logging onto mobile.Facebook Hums Along, Eyes Phase Two - Businessweek
The company did sneak in one ominous tidbit: its growth among American teenagers has flattened, and the company is actually losing users among younger teens. The company said it wouldn’t be regularly updating investors on what was going on with young users, because the numbers may not be reliable."
"In this piece, I’m going to explore the following:#Googlewinseverything (Part 1) | LinkedIn
a) What are Google’s most ambitious projects?
b) What our world will look like in 10 and 20 years if Page & Co. execute at (just) their current level
c) What the ramifications are for startups, investors, the media, journalism, government, education, privacy, freedom and humanity"
"“I’m confident you will see major worldwide retailers adopting systems built on bitcoin,” said Jim Breyer, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and early Facebook investor who also served on the board of Walmart Stores for more than a decade.Bitcoin Pursues the Mainstream - NYTimes.com
Mr. Breyer is an investor in Circle Internet Financial, one of the host of start-ups trying to find a way to make bitcoin a widely adopted currency for retail payments. The company was started by Jeremy Allaire, a serial entrepreneur, and it aims to be a payment processing system for online and physical merchants, similar to the service PayPal offers online. Along with his venture firm, Accel Partners, and another called General Catalyst Partners, Mr. Breyer has invested $9 million in the company."
"With its deep pockets, Microsoft can afford to lose the tablet wars. And I think it just did."Second Surface as doomed as the first - Business - The Boston Globe
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
"I'm not just talking about having Microsoft Office rather than the weird maroon that is iWork. I'm talking about calling up full desktop websites in Chrome, complete with add-ons and plugins. I'm talking about downloading a picture from a website into a real filesystem, annotating it in real Photoshop (not the crippled Photoshop Express), popping open two different Evernote windows and putting it all together in our content management system. All on a $349, convertible laptop-tablet."Don't Buy a Microsoft Surface, Buy This Instead | News & Opinion | PCMag.com
Intel In Talks to Hand Over Web TV Project to Verizon - Peter Kafka and Arik Hesseldahl - Media - AllThingsD
"If Intel does end up getting out of TV, it will mark the end of an odd chapter in the company’s history. In January 2011, Intel hired Erik Huggers, the executive who had headed up Web video for the BBC, and Huggers began working on a plan to create an Intel-branded pay TV service, using an Intel-built set top box.Intel In Talks to Hand Over Web TV Project to Verizon - Peter Kafka and Arik Hesseldahl - Media - AllThingsD
That was a big departure for a company that doesn’t have a media background or sell anything directly to consumers. And lots of tech companies that do deal with media and consumers, from Apple to Google to Sony, have considered pay TV over the Web but have yet to figure it out."
"The Hadoop programming framework may be synonymous with the “big data” movement but it’s not the only tool companies need to derive insights from massive stores of unstructured information, according to Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin.Hadoop is not enough for 'big data', says Facebook analytics chief | PCWorld
“There are a lot of commonly held beliefs about big data that need to be challenged,” with the first being that you simply adopt Hadoop and are good to go, Rudin said Tuesday during a keynote at the Strata + Hadoop World conference in New York. “The problem is that Hadoop is a technology, and big data isn’t about technology. Big data is about business needs.”
“In reality, big data should include Hadoop and relational [databases] and any other technology that is suitable for the task at hand,” he added."
"Google Plus has not come close to rivaling Facebook for social networking. But it is trying to carve out its own niche, as the place to go for photo storage, editing and sharing.Google Plus Aims to Become a Photo Storage and Editing Hub - NYTimes.com
At a news conference showcasing photographers’ work on Tuesday at a San Francisco gallery, Google Plus executives barely mentioned sharing and social networking. Instead, they focused on new photo and video services."
"McKinsey says it’s not enough for data to be open. It has to be “liquid,” which means easily accessible and usable. “Blended with proprietary data sets,” McKinsey writes, open data “can propel innovation and help organizations replace traditional and intuitive decision-making approaches with data-driven ones.”The Exciting $3 Trillion Promise of Open Data - Businessweek
Some companies are already seizing the opportunity. Climate Corp., a startup that is being acquired by Monsanto (MON) for $930 million, “combines 30 years of weather data, 60 years of crop yield data, and 14 terabytes of soil data—all from government agencies—for such uses as research and pricing crop insurance.”"
"One reason for the phenomenal success of the iPad has been Apple's ability to pack speed and versatility into a thin, light body with long battery life. It doesn't do everything a laptop does, but for many common scenarios, it has replaced the laptop as its owners' go-to device. That's why the company has sold 170 million iPads in just 3½ years.iPad Air Review by Walt Mossberg - WSJ.com
Now, Apple is raising the bar. On Friday, it plans to start selling its fifth-generation full-size model, called the iPad Air, and this one significantly extends the iPad's advantages, at the same $499 base price of its predecessor. In a feat of design and engineering, Apple has slashed the iPad's weight by 28%, made it 20% thinner and 9% narrower, while increasing its speed and retaining the brilliant, 9.7-inch Retina display."
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
"What you may not know is this: Those 6.4 ounces make all the difference when, as you recline while reading or watching a movie, you conk out and the iPad falls forward to bonk you on the nose. The Air won’t hurt you the way the old iPad did."Lighter and Faster, It’s iPad Air - NYTimes.com
"Microsoft's cloud-based distribution of Hadoop -- which it has been developing for the past year-plus with Hortonworks -- is generally available as of October 28.Microsoft makes available its Azure-based Hadoop service | ZDNet
Microsoft officials also are acknowledging publicly that Microsoft has dropped plans to deliver a Microsoft-Hortonworks developed implementation of Windows Server, which was known as HDInsight Server for Windows. Instead, Microsoft will be advising customers who want Hadoop on Windows Server to go with Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows."
Mystery Portland barge and San Francisco barge appear linked | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
"The two barges – the one in Portland and the one in San Francisco – are owned by the same company.Mystery Portland barge and San Francisco barge appear linked | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
Moreover, a website that covers technology news has linked that company to the search engine giant Google."
"According to an internal memo sent this morning to employees, top Skype exec Mark Gillett is leaving Microsoft. Sources said that Gillett — who is corporate VP for Skype, as well as its Lync communications product — has another job he is headed to, although the memo did not mention where he was going."Top Skype Exec Mark Gillett Departs Microsoft - Kara Swisher - Media - AllThingsD
"On Monday, Apple reported a profit of $7.5 billion for the fourth fiscal quarter, on revenue of $37.5 billion, down from earnings of $8.2 billion on $36 billion in revenue during the same period last year.Apple’s Profit Falls Despite Higher Sales of iPhones - NYTimes.com
Apple’s iPhone sales were up sharply, thanks in part to the introduction of new iPhone models last month. But iPad sales were flat, and Mac sales slowed down — and both of those devices brought in less revenue than a year ago."
Saturday, October 26, 2013
"Frankly I don’t see Google+ as being any more successful than Google Video was in competing with YouTube. I might be wrong, there might be a real base of hard core Google+ users out there who start and end their day on Google+, but I just don’t see it making any kind of mark on our culture at all.Google Should Buy Twitter Before The IPO | Uncrunched
Twitter, on the other hand, is the only really massive social network where the network effect has really kicked in. It is less than Facebook in some ways, and better than Facebook in some ways.
Google needs to buy Twitter just like they bought YouTube."
Google data center, Waterworld edition?
“This large structure, which is likely being built by Google, could be a floating data center. It is located on a barge just off Treasure Island, between San Francisco and Oakland.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay. And Google's fingerprints are all over it.”
Friday, October 25, 2013
"While a CIA strike team never burst onto the train, someone must have tipped Hayden off, because when the former official finished one of his calls, he got up — and walked straight over.Inside former NSA chief Michael Hayden’s ‘interview’ with an Amtrak live-tweeter
“Would you like a real interview?” he asked Matzzie.
“I’m not a reporter,” Matzzie replied.
“Everybody’s a reporter,” said Hayden."
"Some bloggers have hailed it as a smart play by LinkedIn to get more mobile action and to get users to stop thinking of the service as a static Web site they go to every couple of years to update their employment status.LinkedIn's New Mobile App Called 'a Dream for Attackers' - NYTimes.com
But security researchers have taken issue with the way the app works. Intro redirects e-mail traffic to and from users’ iPhones and iPads through LinkedIn’s servers, then analyzes and scrapes those e-mails for relevant data and adds pertinent LinkedIn details."
"The social media darling disclosed that it planned to sell 70 million shares at $17 to $20 each. At the midpoint of that range, the offering would raise about $1.3 billion and would value Twitter at about $10 billion, excluding options. Including options and restricted stock units, the company would be valued at more than $12 billion.Twitter Sets I.P.O. Price at $17 to $20 a Share - NYTimes.com
Such a valuation would make Twitter more than three times as big as one of the first big Internet giants, AOL, but only a fraction of Facebook, the last big Internet initial public offering, which now has a market value of more than $127 billion."
Thursday, October 24, 2013
"The social network made abundantly clear during a press event Wednesday just how ambitious it has become. LinkedIn was a simple website for its first seven years, but now it is a website plus a suite of five apps — including one, unveiled Wednesday, that processes all your email and tries to insert shrunken LinkedIn profiles into every message. Company executives said LinkedIn is more than social media, it’s a “global economic graph” with enthusiastic users on every continent (even Antarctica!). It shouldn’t be used only during work hours, LinkedIn executives said, but through the evening from home, since people typically check their devices until 9 p.m. or so."LinkedIn Conquered Work — Now It Wants the Rest of Your Life | Wired Business | Wired.com
""Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world's most popular, most powerful productivity software, for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively," Shaw wrote. "Making Apple's decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.""Microsoft: Apple's new iPad with free iWork is no big deal | Microsoft - CNET News
"That’s why Facebook and others are turning to deep learning. They want technology that lets them better understand how individual users feel about and interact with, well, everything. They can use that information to improve user experience, build brand loyalty, and, ultimately, sell people stuff — all in a more finely tuned way than what’s currently possible. “The power of deep learning is building high-level abstract representations of data,” says Turner. “In the world of language, you can imagine going from letters to words to phrases to sentence fragments to sentences to paragraphs and so on.”"Why Facebook Is Teaching Its Machines to Think Like Humans | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
"According to CIRP, the iPad 2 accounted for 22 percent of the iPads sold in the United States during the quarter ended September 30, 2013. Now that’s down from the 35 percent it accounted for in the quarter prior, but it’s still a significant percentage. Clearly, some sectors of the tablet market still have a need for the device and its old-school 30 pin connector — the education marker, perhaps, where we’re increasingly seeing more budget-conscious iPad deployments. And that’s just fine with Apple, because the profit margins on producing the older device are probably sizable."Why Is Apple Still Selling the iPad 2? Because It Can. - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
"The versatility of the C720 and other recent Chromebooks has made them a legitimate alternative to the standard laptop. That might explain why, as of yesterday, four of the 10 best-selling laptops at Amazon.com were Chromebooks. Market analyst Gartner Inc. said that the devices made up 5 percent of the PC market in the first quarter of 2013, compared with just 1 percent a year earlier. It’s still just a sliver of the pie, but it’s a growing sliver, at a time when sales of other PC types are falling fast."Google laptop rates a victory lap - Business - The Boston Globe
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
"Most businesses are well aware of the opportunity, but its urgency and tangible benefits are often lost amidst the buzz. However, market forces are colliding right now to make this opportunity achievable.Constructive data mining demands enterprise-grade IT infrastructure - The Savvis Blog
The most prominent of these forces include commodity servers and storage, the enterprise infrastructure shift to cloud and managed services, an exceptionally productive Apache Hadoop open source community, and several fleet-footed big-data start-ups. Together, they have combined to deliver breakthrough performance and capabilities to address what were previously cost-prohibitive - or simply impossible - data management and analytics opportunities.
However, to make all these great use cases possible, big data initiatives must be treated as mission critical, just like any other core business system."
"According to Apple, Mavericks has a dual focus. Its first and most important goal is to extend battery life and improve responsiveness. Secondarily, Mavericks aims to add functionality that will appeal to "power users" (Apple's words), a group that may be feeling neglected after enduring two releases of OS X playing iOS dress-up.OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review | Ars Technica
Is that enough for Mavericks to live up to its major-release version number and to kick off the next phase of OS X's life? Let's find out."
"Other things that were missing today, but that would be useful for a higher-end device include:Apple's new iPad Air the precursor to an 'iPad Pro'? | Apple - CNET News
- Apple's Touch ID system that lets people enter their password with just their fingerprint.
- A Smart Cover meets keyboard combo (something that's rumored, and has been shown off in Apple patent drawings)
- Higher storage options beyond 128GB
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi to get faster speeds off Apple's current AC Wi-Fi router lineup
- A higher-end camera to match or exceed what's in the iPhone 5S"
"By going free, Apple has acknowledged something that’s been true in the industry for years: Software is a means to sell hardware. Sure, there are some specialized applications that can command a hefty profit margin, but bread-and-butter applications used in the mainstream are not things you sell. They are things people get when they turn on that shiny new object they just shelled out for."Why Apple Wants Its Software to Be Free - Businessweek
"Just as important, Apple's new holiday lineup lowers the entry price for the cheapest iPads to below $300 for the first time. Apple said it will sell a range of tablets starting with last year's iPad Mini for $299, up to the new iPad Air, which starts at $499. That brings Apple closer in line with competitors like Amazon.com Inc., who have pushed tablet prices down as far as $229."Apple Unveils New iPads - WSJ.com
"Apple’s flagship tablet, renamed the iPad Air, will be 20 percent thinner than the current model, and will weigh just 1 pound. The new tablet is equipped with the same advanced processor chip used in the new iPhone 5s smartphone that Apple unveiled last month, which should allow the new iPad to run far more sophisticated programs than the simple games and entertainment apps favored by consumers, and so could appeal to business customers that run heavy-duty applications.Apple seeks second wind with iPad Air - Business - The Boston Globe
“Today we think we have the biggest step yet in delivering the vision that is iPad,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing."
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
"Google Ideas, the New York City–based “think/do tank” run by the Internet search giant, is launching several new technologies designed to highlight hacker attacks around the world and help people in repressive regimes access the Internet. The new products, which are being announced on Monday at the Google Ideas Summit in New York City, represent the most substantial offerings delivered by the three-year-old Google policy unit and could be a major boon to activists and reformers in the world’s most closed and repressive societies."Google Unveils Tools to Access Web From Repressive Countries | TIME.com
Why Microsoft Didn't Make a Bay Trail Surface | Mobile devices content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
"The answer, as it turns out, is straightforward. Microsoft could have done such a thing—goodness knows its PC maker partners are stepping all over each other rushing such products to market as I write this—but is instead backing ARM in hardware for the same reason it's doing so in software with Windows RT: This, not the Windows desktop, is Windows.Why Microsoft Didn't Make a Bay Trail Surface | Mobile devices content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
More specifically, this new platform—this new Windows, if you will—has characteristics that truly shine (and work) when you don't have a Windows desktop environment that opens your PC up to all kinds of inconsistencies, purposefully or not. This is a version of Windows that will never slow down, that will never succumb to decades of malicious software expertise or poorly-written drivers."
"RT has undergone a software update alongside Windows 8.1, which sees certain improvements, particularly the inclusion of Microsoft Outlook, photo-editing tools and Xbox Music, and are being shown off on the Microsoft Surface 2. Even when its running on attractive-looking, highly portable devices such as the Surface 2 and the Lumia 2520 though, its hard to fathom why anyone would ever choose Windows RT over a similarly priced device running Windows 8.1."Hands-on with the Nokia Lumia 2520, Nokia's first Lumia tablet (Wired UK)
"Introduced at a special event in Abu Dhabi, alongside the Lumia 1520 and 1320 and a trio of new Asha phones, the Lumia 2520 is Nokia’s first Windows tablet. It runs Windows 8.1 RT and has a 10.1-inch full HD (1080p) touchscreen. On back, there’s a 6.7-megapixel camera and a front-facing two-megapixel camera for video calls — all pretty standard stuff so far. But one of the things that sets the tablet apart from others, Nokia said, is connectivity."Nokia Unveils Lumia 2520, First Windows Tablet - Bonnie Cha - Product News - AllThingsD
"Mr. Pogue always worked for other organizations besides The Times, and while at Yahoo he will continue to keep his outside assignments, which include technology correspondent for “CBS News Sunday Morning,” columnist for Scientific American and the host of a series on technology on the PBS program “Nova.”Pogue, Times Technology Columnist, Is Leaving for Yahoo - NYTimes.com
Mr. Pogue’s departure comes as technology coverage has become increasingly prized by media companies. Only weeks ago, Walter Mossberg, a leading reviewer of new devices, said he would be leaving The Wall Street Journal to start a technology writing and conference business with Kara Swisher, who is leaving AllThingsD. The business will be backed by new partners."
Monday, October 21, 2013
"After two days of testing the Surface 2 at work and home, I was reminded of the old adage about Microsoft products: Wait for the third version before you take the plunge.Attractive Surface 2 not as good as it looks | Business & Technology | The Seattle Times
But it remains to be seen whether there will be a third version, since the Surface 2 is based on Windows RT, a forlorn operating system that’s been largely abandoned by the rest of the PC industry."
"Hence Google's emerging vision for its smartphone division. Think of Motorola as the hardware version of the Android strategy—not a profit-seeking entity, but instead one whose only eventual economic motive is to create pretty good phones at reasonable prices. In doing so, it hopes to force Apple and Samsung to slash their hardware prices—and thus earnings—accelerating the smartphone's path toward becoming a commodity device.Might Google Have a Sly Motive Behind Motorola? - WSJ.com
The only wrinkle in this theory: So far, there's no evidence that the Motorola is pushing down prices."
"Apple is expected to announce significantly upgraded versions of its iPad and iPad Mini devices on Tuesday. The iPad Mini is expected to have a higher-resolution display, while the bigger iPad is expected to have a slimmer design, weighing about a pound. Both iPads will also most likely get Apple’s new processors, but not the fingerprint sensor that is in the latest high-end iPhone.Tablet Makers Gear Up for Latest Skirmish - NYTimes.com
On the same day, Microsoft will release new versions of its Surface tablets. Nokia, the mobile device maker Microsoft is in the process of buying much of, is expected to introduce a new tablet in Abu Dhabi."
"A profound reset is under way. In more than a decade of covering the news end of the media business, I cannot think of a time of greater optimism or potential. Nontraditional operators like Mr. Bezos can afford to adopt a long-term strategy, something he has done rather effectively at Amazon. And the barriers to entry for ventures like Mr. Omidyar’s start-up have evaporated: cheap digital tools enable production and collaboration, while social media like Twitter and Facebook enable the spread of content through sharing.Tech Wealth and Ideas Are Heading Into News - NYTimes.com
Technology and journalism, former antagonists, are about to give bromance a try, with Mr. Bezos and Mr. Omidyar leading the way."
Saturday, October 19, 2013
"Who says so? Oracle, naturally. It issued a press release Thursday night, claiming the second-place spot for itself.Oracle Is Now No. 2 Software Company After Microsoft - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
'Given IBM’s recently announced quarterly results, we would like to take this opportunity to point out that Oracle’s software business has been growing faster than IBM’s software business and now Oracle has moved up to become the number two software company in the world while IBM has slipped to number three. Over IBM’s last four quarters, they reported software revenue totaling $25.7 Billion, while during Oracle’s last 4 quarters, we reported software revenue totaling $27.8 Billion.'"
Friday, October 18, 2013
"In an announcement on Thursday, Big Data Elite described itself as a venture lab and early stage fund that will offer a six-month program beginning January 2014. The fund will choose 10 start-ups or individuals from a list of 20. Those chosen will work a Big Data Elite’s offices in San Francisco and will have access to advisers who work at Facebook, Zynga, Netflix, LinkedIn, Riot Games and a handful of other companies that rely heavily on data analysis.New Silicon Valley Fund to Back Big Data Start-Ups - NYTimes.com
The co-founders, Stamos Venios and Tasso Argyros, the founder of Aster Data, said they wanted to build a bridge between Big Data entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley’s investor community."
"Here’s how to think about it: Yahoo has a stock market value of $34.1 billion, and owns a 24 percent stake in Alibaba. Estimates for the current value of Alibaba, which is planning an IPO, range between $75 billion and $125 billion. If it comes in at the low end of that range, Yahoo’s stake would be worth $18 billion, or just over half of Yahoo’s total market value. At the high end, Yahoo’s stake in Alibaba would be worth $30 billion—which would imply that the rest of Yahoo’s enterprise is worth as little as $4 billion, or 12 percent of its current value."How Much Is Yahoo Worth Without Alibaba? Not Much - Businessweek
"Biggish news, at least as far as analysts and press are concerned: Page plans to drop out of participating in earnings calls.Google Third Quarter 2013 Earnings Call Coverage - Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD
“Going forward, I won’t be joining every earnings call,” Page says. “I know you’d love to have me on but you’re depending on me to ruthlessly prioritize.”
Page’s parting words: “About two years ago, when I became CEO again, my goal was to make sure Google maintains the passion and soul of a startup as we grow. … Great is just never good enough.”"
"Lenovo, a late comer to the smartphone market, has gained traction in its home market and now ships more smartphones than BlackBerry. In the second quarter, Lenovo accounted for 4.7% of global smartphone sales, according to research firm Gartner, while BlackBerry's share fell to 2.7%.Lenovo Approaches BlackBerry - WSJ.com
Should Lenovo follow through and succeed with a binding offer for BlackBerry—still a big if—the proposed deal would be certain to face government scrutiny in both Canada and the U.S.
Bids for BlackBerry, which is based in Waterloo, Ontario, are expected to come in by Nov. 4, according to a person familiar with the matter."
"“For years, everyone talked about the multiscreen world. Now it’s arrived, and on a scale few imagined,” said Larry Page, Google’s chief executive. Most consumers have more than one device, he said, and devices for people’s homes and bodies, like glasses and watches, will proliferate. The mention of watches was particularly intriguing because while Google has explored building a watch, it has not publicly announced one.Google Tops Estimates, but Prices of Ads Slide - NYTimes.com
People activate 1.5 million Android devices a day and Google introduced its first Motorola phone, the Moto X. It has been encouraging advertisers to transition to mobile, like requiring them to buy mobile ads when they buy desktop ones, known as enhanced campaigns, and introducing new tools like one to track consumers across devices and tell marketers whether a consumer makes a purchase on a computer after researching an item on a phone."
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Samsung unveils plans for new campus shaped like a figure 8, insists it liked open interior gardens before Apple | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog
“Just days after Apple's plans for a massive new campus scored the approval of the Cupertino City Council, Samsung showed off its own design for a brand-new campus that will house its consumer electronics business. The design elements include curved corridors, glassy walls, large outdoor seating areas and the signature open garden in its interior. The structure has been named "Campus 8."”
Excerpt from a Charles Fitzgerald review of IBM’s quarterly earnings announcement
“[…] A billion dollar (as in $1,000,000,000) miss on the top line. Everything in varying levels of free-fall, led by the swan dive of the hardware business (Power Series down 38%!). After a decade of the consistency so prized by Wall Street, that is three misses in a row for IBM and six straight quarters of declining revenue. Yet they beat their EPS number (modulo “other stuff”) and recommitted to the EPS roadmap for the year. Somehow, profits keep going up even as revenue declines (key contributor: a materially lower tax rate).
The earnings release in a nutshell: “Growth markets revenue down 9 percent”.
Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news » Pressthink
"At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post “the personal franchise model” in news. You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working. The idea is to attract these people to NewCo, or find young journalists capable of working in this way, and then support them well."Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news » Pressthink
"Like pretty much every other 8-incher that's about to be announced, it runs on one of Intel's new quad-core Bay Trail processors, rocks a 1,200 x 800 display, and comes with Microsoft Office installed. Even the camera specs are on par with other models: you get a 2-megapixel webcam in the front, and a 5MP shooter around back. If you're feeling fancy, you can also buy a cover case and a capacitive stylus."Lenovo intros the Miix2, its first 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet; coming soon for $299
"International Business Machines Corp. posted a sixth straight quarterly decline in revenue on Wednesday, with disappointing results in several areas, including international business, technology services and hardware.IBM Reports Another Decline in Revenue - WSJ.com
Results in IBM's hardware group worsened compared with the previous quarter, as revenue fell 17% and the unit swung to a $167 million loss. In the second quarter, hardware sales fell 12%."
"The Gear might make sense if it were a full-bore substitute for today’s smartphones, with all the processing power and access to thousands of apps. Instead, it’s a low-powered, high-priced accessory that solves a problem nobody’s got. The Gear isn’t a bad product; it’s merely irrelevant."Time’s up for Samsung smartwatch - Business - The Boston Globe
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
"There’s a reason Microsoft mostly ignored the traditional Windows desktop world in Windows 8.1; the company is betting that all computers will someday have touch screens. Maybe Microsoft actually believes that someday, the mouse, keyboard, menus and windows will go away. In that case, the lovely, fluid, vastly improved TileWorld will be all anybody needs.Windows 8 Finally Starts To Reconcile Its 2 Worlds - NYTimes.com
Unfortunately for that vision, reality seems to have other ideas."
"This represents the realization of a massive effort by the entire Apache Hadoop community which started nearly 4 years to date, and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s cause for a big celebration. Equally, it’s a great credit to the Apache Software Foundation which provides an environment where contributors from various places and organizations can collaborate to achieve a goal which is as significant as Apache Hadoop v2."Apache Hadoop 2 is now GA! | Hortonworks
Intel says hardware bargains to multiply this fall: $99 tablets, $299 Haswell laptops, $349 2-in-1 hybrids | VentureBeat
"Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich said he expects bargains galore this holiday season as computermakers take advantage of the latest Intel Haswell and Bay Trail microprocessors. Krzanich said he expects $99 tablets, $299 Haswell laptops, and $349 2-in-1 hybrid tablets and laptops."Intel says hardware bargains to multiply this fall: $99 tablets, $299 Haswell laptops, $349 2-in-1 hybrids | VentureBeat
"IBeacon is a third locating system, one that runs on something called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). “It’s a game-changing technology,” says tech blogger Steve Cheney, who has written extensively on the topic. See, standard Bluetooth is great when you want to sync your phone to your car, or play music over a Bluetooth speaker, but it sure does sap your phone’s battery. BLE can’t do the same heavy lifting that regular Bluetooth can, but it can allow a phone or other device to do simple things on a near-permanent basis. With BLE, your phone can announce its presence to other devices in range in an extremely power-efficient way.Apple's Secret Retail Weapon Is Already in Your Pocket - Businessweek
And since Bluetooth is designed for short distances (about 150 feet or less), it can be more accurate. With iBeacon, any iOS 7 device becomes a potential BLE beacon, and it’s already in place in every new and updated iPhone and iPad. For retailers to make their spaces iBeacon-friendly, they’ll need dedicated beacons, like the $99 three-pack from Estimote."
Apple Announces October 22 Event: "We Still Have a Lot to Cover" - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
Only six more days of all-feasible-product-permutations speculation…
“Apple this morning distributed invitations to a special event at which it is expected to unveil the next iterations of the iPad and iPad mini. And it’s to be held on Oct. 22, just as AllThingsD said it would. Location: The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, one of Apple’s preferred locations for big announcements like this.”
"But starting Tuesday, you can just email cash, free of charge, directly from your debit card to anyone else's, regardless of what bank each party uses. There's no login or password to remember and no special software or hardware required—you just use email. It works on both ends using any email service or program on any email-capable device, whether a computer, a smartphone or a tablet.Review of Square Cash: The Money Is in the Email - WSJ.com
This new service, called Square Cash, comes from Square Inc., best known for equipping small brick-and-mortar merchants with smartphone-swiping devices that allow them to accept credit cards, and with tablets that act as sophisticated cash registers."
Interesting times for Twitter and its investors
“Twitter's choice of the NYSE was a setback for Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. whose Nasdaq Stock Market has historically been the home for many technology shares. Nasdaq last year oversaw Facebook's glitch-filled IPO.
Twitter executives have sought to avoid some of the pitfalls that befell Facebook, people close to the company have said.
"This is a 180 [degree turn] from Facebook," said Patrick Healy, chief executive of Issuer Advisory Group LLC, which advises companies on stock-exchange issues. "It's Twitter's way of saying, 'don't paint me with the same brush.'"”
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
"The first FORTRAN reference manual is released on October 15, 1956, six months before the first compiler's release. Only 60 pages long, with large print and wide margins, that first programming language was miniscule by today's standard. The original FORTRAN development team comprised John Backus, Sheldon Best, Richard Goldberg, Lois Mitchell Haibt, Harlan Herrick, Grace Mitchell, Robert Nelson, Roy Nutt, David Sayre, Peter Sheridan, and Irving Ziller."Computer History Museum | Exhibits | This Day in History: October 15
"Jack Dorsey, of Twitter, is now making big money at Square—and is out to prove that he’s more than a lucky man."D. T. Max: After Twitter and Square, What is Jack Dorsey’s Next Move? : The New Yorker
"But Windows Phone is still a very small part of the market. Its global share of smartphone shipments is expected to be 3.9 percent this year, said IDC, the research firm. Its share in the United States, where Apple and Samsung reign supreme, is expected to be even weaker at 2.8 percent, IDC said.As Microsoft Updates Mobile Software, a Cautionary Tale - NYTimes.com
Microsoft is doing better in emerging markets where Nokia, which accounts for the vast majority of Windows Phones sold, is an established brand and where the smartphone business is at an earlier stage of development, said Kevin Restivo, an analyst at IDC."
"Hello. My name is Ashlee Vance, and I have a Windows phone.Confessions of a Windows Phone User - Businessweek
To own a Windows smartphone in Silicon Valley is to invite ridicule and pity. Every day I pull out the bright yellow Nokia (NOK) Lumia 920, and every day iPhone and Android types look at me with dismay. Why, they wonder, would I subject myself to an app wasteland? Why would anyone take the risk of a Blue Screen of Death interrupting their phone call? Why would anybody opt for the platonic ideal of unhip?"
"With tens of millions of dollars worth of support from all the bigwigs in tech, a new nonprofit called Code.org wants to bring computer science into schools.Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates Teach Code.org Online Coding Class - Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD
Its first initiative will be a worldwide “Hour of Code” during the second week of December, with materials provided that include coding tutorials from Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates."
"Ken Doctor, a media analyst, calls native advertising a form of commercial storytelling. “You have public policy people telling stories, you have fashion magazines telling stories, you have advertisers telling stories,” said Mr. Doctor, adding that advertising as a whole “is going to be more pertinent to us and be more interesting and more useful — those are all positives.”Harper's Redesigns Its Web Site and Embraces Branded Content - NYTimes.com
But as the lines between what is considered editorial and advertising blur, media companies will need to be increasingly vigilant about how they disclose such content to readers, Mr. Doctor said. “It does call for a very clear public disclosure and a very clear set of guidelines within these organizations,” he said. “Otherwise, the people who benefit from the blur are clearly the advertisers.”"
"The e-commerce giant is quietly setting up shop inside the warehouses of a number of important suppliers as it works to open up the next big frontier for Internet sales: everyday products like toilet paper, diapers and shampoo.Soap opera: Amazon moves in with P&G, in the warehouse - WSJ.com
The under-the-tent arrangement is one Amazon's competitors don't currently enjoy, and it offers a rare glimpse at how the company is trying to stay ahead of rivals including discount chains, club stores and grocers."
Sunday, October 13, 2013
"You’re Microsoft’s new CEO. How do you like staring at the abyss between two mutually exclusive ways of making money? The old business model, Windows and Office licensing, is going away. The Devices and Services future puts you in direct competition against the likes of Google and Apple as well as former licensing vassals such as HP and Dell. Can you take the company to the other side, or will you fall to the bottom of the business model transition canyon?"Microsoft Mission Impossible | Monday Note
Saturday, October 12, 2013
"Amazon has never been one to shy away from forging its own path. Founded in an era that’s as well known for failed businesses as it is for successful ones, Amazon cleared a way for online retail dominance and became a leader in e-books and Web services and a quiet underdog in the digital distribution of music and video. And no single product gives consumers better access to all the company has to offer than the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX: A tablet apart | Ars Technica
Amazon has been moving away from the event-based product launch—the latest updates to the Kindle Fire were announced through targeted media interviews and a relatively quiet marketing approach, despite this being the Kindle's largest departure from, and greatest improvement over, the preceding models. Having missed the marketing mark ingloriously in the past, can Amazon compete where others have failed—against the Nexus 7 in value and the iPad in user experience? Let’s find out."
"Steve Jobs unveils the NeXT, the computer he conceived of after moving on from Apple Computer Inc., which he had founded with Steve Wozniak. Although the NeXT ultimately failed in the marketplace, it introduced several features new to personal computers, including an optical storage disk, a built-in digital signal processor that allowed voice recognition, and object-oriented languages that simplified programming. It's relatively high price of $6,500 limited sales. NeXT Computer Inc. eventually became NeXT Software Inc. and then was bought by Apple in 1997."Computer History Museum | Exhibits | This Day in History: October 12
Friday, October 11, 2013
Post-PC: HP Declares War on Microsoft | Mobile devices content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
"Microsoft may have had no choice when it came to Surface. It no doubt saw the shifting market dynamics and realized it, too, needed to change since everything was changing. But in competing with its bigger partner, Microsoft has also uncorked the genie, probably for good. And it will be interesting to see what this company—and others like it, including Lenovo—will do to hasten the decline of Windows by so thoroughly embracing alternatives.Post-PC: HP Declares War on Microsoft | Mobile devices content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
Make no mistake, this is outright war. War against Microsoft. Against Windows. And against the PC."
"When the Nobel Peace Prize committee couldn't reach the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by phone, it turned to a newer means of communication: Twitter.Nobel to OPCW on Twitter: Where are you guys?
The committee tweeted twice on Friday morning, first with a message to OPCW to contact its office and then with a general that effectively said, "Are you out there?""
"WikiLeaks has decided to release this internal talking points memo to the public alongside the script, because it represents a frank internal appraisal of the Dreamworks film, THE FIFTH ESTATE, and what is wrong with it.The Fifth Estate
This document is now issued to media during publicity for the film, which is due for general release on 18 October, 2013.
The points below represent how WikiLeaks believes it should have been portrayed in the film, and why the film is, from WikiLeaks’ perspective, irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful."
Facebook Removing Option To Be Unsearchable By Name, Highlighting Lack Of Universal Privacy Controls | TechCrunch
"Facebook could surely offer an option to lock down all your personal information the same way it does for your old posts, but it doesn’t. It could offer a way to opt out of appearing in any type of search results, not just searches for your name, but it doesn’t. It wants your friends to be able to find you. It wants Graph Search to be a comprehensive utility. It wants the engagement and ad views your friendship and News Feed posts generate. But its protecting its access to these things by sacrificing your right to choose just how much your identity is indexed."Facebook Removing Option To Be Unsearchable By Name, Highlighting Lack Of Universal Privacy Controls | TechCrunch
Thursday, October 10, 2013
"Stefan Groschupf of Datameer and Ted Dunning of MapR discuss what they find exciting about Mahout, use cases for Mahout recommenders, MapR & the importance of failing safely, where the major value in big data is going to be, jet turbine simulators, and Ted even used the chalk board to explain why Hadoop is working"▶ Big Data & Brews with Ted Dunning of MapR - YouTube
"Chrome OS aficionados have long pined for a Haswell processor to drive one of their Chromebooks, imbuing the line with the longevity they've been missing out on. That wait has come to an end. Launched this morning, and previewed at IDF, the Acer C720 Chromebook, promises 8.5 hours of battery life, in a new, thinner body, and with an all-new, Haswell-based Intel Celeron 2955U processor inside. The 1.4GHz dual-core CPU will boost performance over the 1.1GHz Sandy Bridge-based Celeron that preceded it, while cutting power consumption (its battery life is rated at a respectable 8.5 hours)."Acer’s $249 C720 Chromebook launched: Thinner, longer lasting, and Haswell | Ars Technica
"And Whitman had some tough words of her own for Microsoft and Intel.HP no longer playing by Microsoft, Intel rules, exec says | Microsoft - CNET News
'HP's traditional highly-profitable markets face significant disruption. In personal systems...Wintel-based devices are being aggressively displaced by ARM-based PCs and mobile devices running competing operating systems...current, long-term HP partners, like Intel and Microsoft, are increasingly becoming outright competitors.'"
"Amazon.com rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider. It will rake in about $75 billion this year. For his book, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone spoke to hundreds of current and former friends of founder Jeff Bezos. In the process, he discovered the poignant story of how Amazon became the Everything Store."Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon: Excerpt From ‘The Everything Store’ by Brad Stone - Businessweek
"If BlackBerry was hoping to spark a bidding war with such stealth outreach, it’s looking like it may be out of luck. With so little interest in an outside bid for the company entire, the idea of selling it off BlackBerry for parts could fast become its most attractive option.Will it be Buyout or Breakup for BlackBerry? - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
Unless, of course, Fairfax manages to rally investor interest in its consortium bid and put together the financing it needs to pull it off. With BlackBerry’s stock trading well below Fairfax’s $9-a-share offer these days that might prove difficult.
As Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu said a few weeks back, “We believe the Fairfax initiative is unlikely to come to fruition and see the next valuation floor for the stock at $5.”"
"But the smartest thing about the Nest Protect isn't the device itself. I'm more impressed by what the smoke detector says about Nest's approach to innovation. With both its products, Nest exemplifies what has become an especially promising path to invention in Silicon Valley. Call it the Andy Rooney business plan: First, find the most annoying, obvious problem that millions of people deal with every day. Then ask if things really have to be that way."Behind the Best Innovations: Obvious, Annoying Problems - WSJ.com
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
""Hadoop is a great technology, but it requires different engines that don't talk to each other and that require different languages," Teradata product and services marketing manager Chris Twogood told InformationWeek in a phone interview. "With the Snap Framework, we're the first in the industry to deliver an integrated process for discovery."Teradata Brings Graph Analysis To SQL | Big Data
Teradata isn't alone in promoting SQL as a friendlier route to big data analysis. Speaking at Oracle Open World last month, Oracle executive Andy Mendelsohn dismissed Hadoop as "primitive and batch oriented" and demonstrated a comparison of a seconds-long SQL analysis to a long-running MapReduce job that required 600 lines of code. There was no mention of SQL-on-Hadoop options and no detail on the variability and volume of the data used in the demo analysis."
"Ballmer's confirmation follows a similar topic of discussion by Microsoft's chief operating officer during the recent company meeting. Insiders have revealed to The Verge that Turner expressed the "need to own the productivity experience across all devices." Microsoft's head of applications and services, Qi Lu, also commented on touch versions of Office at an analyst meeting recently. Lu said the company is "working on touch-first versions for our core apps in the Office suite," and that Microsoft will "bring these apps to Windows devices, and also to other devices in ways that meet out customers' needs.""Office for iPad to debut after touch-friendly Windows version | The Verge
"In other words, Nest isn’t only about beautifying the thermostat or adding features to the lowly smoke detector. “We’re about creating the conscious home,” Fadell says. “To take a truly important device that has had no great innovation and make that device really, really great.” Left unsaid is a grander vision, with even bigger implications: many devices sensing the environment, talking to one another, and doing our bidding unprompted."Nest Gives the Lowly Smoke Detector a Brain — And a Voice | Wired Business | Wired.com
"The Protect definitely solves the aesthetic issue—it’s much prettier than the average smoke detector—and it takes some steps to solve the irritation issue by speaking in a soothing voice rather than howling when its batteries are low. You can wave your hand to shut it up without climbing on a chair because it has an embedded motion sensor.Nest Bets That You Secretly Hate Your Smoke Detector - Businessweek
But these innovations come at a cost of $130, four times the price of similar devices sold on Amazon (AMZN). To justify that price, Nest has to address Fadell’s complaint about the limited functionality of existing detectors. Does the Protect do more than basically the same thing as its cheaper, uglier predecessors? Fadell thinks it does. The device serves as a motion detector for Nest’s thermostat, which means that it can better learn your patterns of activity and adjust the temperature accordingly. If it senses heightened levels of carbon monoxide, it can turn off your furnace, which is often the cause."
"But in Silicon Valley, luck can be a euphemism for something more sinister. Twitter wasn’t exactly conceived in a South Park playground, and it certainly wasn’t solely Dorsey’s idea. In fact, Dorsey forced out the man who was arguably Twitter’s most influential co-founder before the site took off, only to be quietly pushed out of the company himself later. (At which point, he secretly considered joining his biggest competitor.) But, as luck would have it, Dorsey was able to weave a story about Twitter that was so convincing that he could put himself back in power just as it was ready to become a mature company. And, perhaps luckiest of all, until now only a handful of people knew what really turned Twitter from a vague idea into a multibillion-dollar business."All Is Fair in Love and Twitter - NYTimes.com
"Some analysts, meanwhile, expect Apple to update its Apple TV device soon. One is Rick Doherty of Envisioneering, who said last week he expects a new version from Apple in 14 to 20 days.Apple Said to Be Holding Oct. 22 Launch Event - Digits - WSJ
The expected iPad event is slated for the same day new models of Microsoft’s Surface tablet-style computers go on sale in the U.S. and some other countries, and the day Nokia plans to introduce its first tablet and other new devices at an event in Abu Dhabi."
"I've been testing the Fire HDX, and it's a good, basic color tablet. This latest model, which starts at $229 for the 7-inch-screen version I used, is a definite improvement on last year's Fire HD, which started at $199 for the 7-inch version. (There's also a costlier, larger HDX version, with an 8.9-inch screen.)Review of the Kindle Fire HDX - WSJ.com
Like earlier Fire models, it's best thought of as a hardware gateway to buying digital content from Amazon. The base model blasts ads at you from the home screen, but you can buy one without ads for $15 more."
"In another change, Yahoo is now promising each e-mail account a maximum of one terabyte, or about 1,000 gigabytes, of storage.Yahoo’s e-mail becomes more like Gmail in redesign - Business - The Boston Globe
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company says that amount should be enough to cover the storage needs of its average e-mail user for about 6,000 years. Yahoo Inc. had previously promised its e-mail users that they would never run out of storage, but it hadn’t established a specific limit."
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
"People familiar with Apple’s plans tell AllThingsD that the company will hold its next invitation-only event on Tuesday, October 22. The focal point of the gathering will be the latest updates to the company’s iPad line, but the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks will likely get some stage time as well, I’m told."Apple Will Hold Fall iPad Event on October 22 - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
"“Given our research in Taiwan over the past few days, we believe the iPad 5 has the potential to be a significant iPad upgrade cycle,” White explains. “[Since] Apple did little in the way of changing the look and feel of the past couple of iPad iterations, we believe Apple’s sizable installed base, with 155 million iPads shipped through 3Q:FY13, is ready to purchase a new full-sized iPad.”New iPad Could Drive Big Upgrade Cycle - John Paczkowski - Mobile - AllThingsD
White stopped short of offering a prediction for iPad sales following the debut on a new device (or devices). But the longtime Apple bull did raise his target on Apple shares in support of his theory. His new price: $777."
"IBM was downgraded on Monday amid warning bells that the computing giant is struggling to garner growth in the cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) field.Wall Street skittish on growing threat to IBM's SaaS, cloud | ZDNet
According to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes in a note to analysts, the mainframe "catalyst" is over, leaving IBM's traditional server business in trouble. But, the positive benefits from analytics, which the company is expanding into, will be offset by "secular" shifts to the cloud and SaaS. "
"Mr. Nadella may have better fortune. Most of his customers are not typical PC consumers, but sophisticated engineers who, whatever they miss about the old world, have to make choices that involve the new cloud architecture.Microsoft: The Cloud Can't Be Slave to the Past - NYTimes.com
Also, he has no choice.
“You look at our earnings,” he said. “You don’t see the old stuff growing. You see the new stuff growing.”"
"Last week, while everyone was wondering what Twitter is worth after the unveiling of its I.P.O., I spent some time on a little different math. How much could a single post on Twitter be worth?Using Twitter to Move the Markets - NYTimes.com
How about $1 billion? Or maybe $6 billion? If the post comes from the fingertips of Carl C. Icahn, the hyperactive hedge fund manager, an argument could be made that there’s gold in those 140 characters."
Monday, October 07, 2013
Everything you know about Steve Jobs and design is wrong, according to one man who should know - Quartz
"Now retired from Frog Design, Esslinger wants to set the record straight about the history of design at Apple. In a new memoir, Keep it Simple, to be released October 9 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, he claims that almost everyone has missed the true lessons of Apple’s early days.Everything you know about Steve Jobs and design is wrong, according to one man who should know - Quartz
Throughout the book, Esslinger slams the bad guys—mostly John Sculley, the Apple CEO who pushed Jobs out, but also other project leads and executives at Apple—and describes his own work with the kind of superlatives that Jobs was famous for applying to Apple’s products. Ultimately, Keep it Simple is either a monumental act of egotism or the epitome of the inspired bluntness that Jobs was famous for—most likely it’s both."
"Google unveiled its Chrome Apps initiative recently to launch apps that exist outside of the browser and extend its reach into more of a platform, but it looks like the company has a whole lot more planned. Over the past few weeks, Google has been updating its developer version of the Chrome browser to run what's essentially Chrome OS within Windows 8's "Metro" mode."Google is building Chrome OS straight into Windows 8 | The Verge
"These contenders, some from overseas, are attracting millions of followers, some at a greater rate than Twitter, which has been relatively slow to adapt to these newer forms of communication. And most of these services have something that is harder to pinpoint and that money can’t buy — an element of cool, an intangible factor that makes them more appealing than their predecessors.Swarm of Rivals Seeking Share of Social Media Pie - NYTimes.com
Although most of the upstarts are not bringing in significant revenue — and Twitter has been losing money — for investors the question is which services will attract the most users and the most advertisers."
"Oracle chief exec Larry Ellison has agreed to waive a potential payout of $575m to clear up accusations of a conflict of interest over Oracle's acquisition of Pillar Data Systems, a company Ellison owned.Larry Ellison hands back $575m from Oracle's Pillar slurp • The Register
Ellison agreed to hand back over 95 per cent of an "earn-out" payday he got when Oracle slurped Pillar in 2011, after two pension funds claimed in court that the company's directors had used its funds to bail Ellison out of a "horrible investment" in Pillar."
Sunday, October 06, 2013
"It seems clear something powerful is at work, overriding people’s knowledge that what they’re doing behind the wheel is dangerous. To figure out what that something might be, psychology and communications researchers around the world have started studying what exactly is happening in our heads when we reach for a phone in the car. What their research so far suggests is that texting and driving is unlike any public safety issue we’ve dealt with before. It’s not like the judgment error of drinking too much and deciding to drive home anyway; it’s not like neglecting to put on your seat belt. That’s because at the center of the problem, the experts say, is an entirely new kind of object—the modern smartphone—that has become embedded in our consciousness in a way that’s changing our behavior on a massive scale."Why you can’t stop checking your phone - Ideas - The Boston Globe
Saturday, October 05, 2013
"It’s hard to overstate the gamble Jobs took when he decided to unveil the iPhone back in January 2007. Not only was he introducing a new kind of phone — something Apple had never made before — he was doing so with a prototype that barely worked. Even though the iPhone wouldn’t go on sale for another six months, he wanted the world to want one right then. In truth, the list of things that still needed to be done was enormous. A production line had yet to be set up. Only about a hundred iPhones even existed, all of them of varying quality. Some had noticeable gaps between the screen and the plastic edge; others had scuff marks on the screen. And the software that ran the phone was full of bugs."And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’ - NYTimes.com
"Tweeter is a bankrupt company and penny stock. On average about 29,000 shares of the company trade daily — minuscule by Wall Street standards. Its shares trade under the TWTRQ symbol.You say Twitter, I say Tweeter: Investor mix-up? - Business - The Boston Globe
But on Friday, after Twitter released its securities filing, some 14.4 million Tweeter shares traded hands, with prices peaking at 15 cents each before declining to 5 cents at the time of the trading halt. The previous day the stock had closed at one red cent per share."
Friday, October 04, 2013
"Evernote's deal with Salesforce to be fully integrated into the Salesforce experience, announced last week at their annual user conference, gives the company a strong foothold in the enterprise through the sales department. You have to assume from there, they have plans to branch out to other departments, which could also benefit from a tool that lets you save all of your digital bric-a-brac in one central place, creating folders or tags which provide a structure to share those notes with others and find it later on."Salesforce deal could give Evernote a big lift in businesses | CITEworld
"Microsoft Corp. is talking to HTC Corp. about adding its Windows operating system to HTC’s Android-based smartphones at little or no cost, people with knowledge of the matter said, evidence of the software maker’s struggle to gain ground in the mobile market.Microsoft Said to Ask HTC for Windows on Android Phones - Bloomberg
Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s operating systems unit, asked HTC last month to load Windows Phone as a second option on handsets with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s rival software, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Myerson discussed cutting or eliminating the license fee to make the idea more attractive, the people said. The talks are preliminary and no decision has been made, two people said."
"The set-top box, which would pit the online retailer against a host of established rivals, is a small device that resembles a Roku Inc. player and is similarly styled as a platform to run apps and content from a variety of sources, these people said. It would also serve as a delivery vehicle for Amazon’s existing streaming video service — available as part of its Prime membership — which competes with Netflix Inc. and has been expanding lately."Amazon Readies Set-Top Box for Holidays - Greg Bensinger - News - AllThingsD
"The document suggests Twitter recently valued itself at about $9.7 billion, based on the number of shares outstanding, or at about $13 billion when including equity awards.Twitter Reveals $1 Billion IPO Plan - WSJ.com
In seven years, Twitter has grown from a wobbly startup to a social phenomenon where in just 140 characters its 215 million monthly active users tap out more than 500 million messages each day."
"It’s the Kindle Fire HDX. It costs $230, and it’s terrific. The battery goes for about 11 hours, or 17 in a power-saving, reading-only mode. The stereo speakers sound great. The plastic case weighs less than the prior version and has narrower margins around the screen. There’s a mediocre camera on the front for video chatting (not on the back on the 7-inch model). The one big misfire was putting the power and volume keys on the back; you’ll spend the first week hitting the Off button by mistake while trying to turn it up the sound.A New Kindle Fire, Just in Time for the Holiday Season - NYTimes.com
The X in “HDX” is a reference to the screen’s clarity. It packs in 323 tiny dots per inch, making it sharper than high definition, and making the iPad Mini’s 163 dots per inch look coarse."
Thursday, October 03, 2013
"Big Data is revolutionising 21st-century business without anybody knowing what it actually means. Now computer scientists have come up with a definition they hope everyone can agree on.The Big Data Conundrum: How to Define It? | MIT Technology Review
These guys bravely finish their survey with a definition of their own in which they attempt to bring together these disparate ideas. Here’s their defintion:
'“Big data is a term describing the storage and analysis of large and or complex data sets using a series of techniques including, but not limited to: NoSQL, MapReduce and machine learning.”"
"The social network said this week it is working with a local developer to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community within walking distance of its offices. Called Anton Menlo, the 630,000 square-foot rental property will include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care.Facebook's Company Town - WSJ.com
Even in Silicon Valley, where tech companies compete to lure coveted engineers with over-the-top perks and offices that resemble adult playgrounds, Facebook's plan breaks new ground."
"Big Data’s push to remake the industrial economy took a big step forward Wednesday, when Monsanto announced it had bought the Climate Corporation.Why Big Ag Likes Big Data - NYTimes.com
Monsanto said it was paying $930 million in cash for the company, which looks at data like historic rainfall and soil quality to help farmers predict crop yields. Monsanto hopes to apply the Climate Corporation’s data analysis insight across the company, to create what a Monsanto executive called “the next level of agriculture.”"
"Nobody will buy this watch, and nobody should. But there’s something here under all the rubble. Sometimes the Gear can be liberating; sometimes it makes possible tasks that you can’t do while you’re holding a smartphone. We just need somebody to find the right balance of labor between the watch and its companion device — to figure out what a smartwatch should and shouldn’t be.A Watch That Sinks Under Its Features - NYTimes.com
Once somebody nails that formula, the age of genuinely useful smartwatches will be upon us. They’ll tide us over until we start wearing our computers on our earlobes."
"Facebook and Twitter both see the social conversation around television as a way to increase use of their sites and win a bigger piece of advertisers’ spending, which eMarketer estimates will be $171 billion across all types of media this year in the United States. In recent months, they have engaged in an escalating battle — publicly and behind the scenes — to claim the title of the nation’s digital water cooler as they woo networks and advertisers."Social Networks in a Battle for the Second Screen - NYTimes.com
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
"So in 2005, Ozzie saw the services revolution and in 2010 he saw the devices revolution. In 2012, almost two years after he left the company, Microsoft declared that it would focus on devices and services going forward. Amazing.Rethinking Ray Ozzie | Cloud content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
Put simply, you need to read both of those memos from beginning to end with an eye on when they were written. And when you do, you will come to an inescapable conclusion: Ray Ozzie was right. And Microsoft's senior leadership did not listen, certainly not at the time, and perhaps not until it was too late.
I feel like someone owes that guy a beer."
"The three investors are concerned that Gates' presence on the board effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes. In particular, they point to Gates' role on the special committee searching for Ballmer's successor.Exclusive: Time for Gates to go, some top Microsoft investors tell board | Reuters
They are also worried that Gates - who spends most of his time on his philanthropic foundation - wields power out of proportion to his declining shareholding."
"Washington still has a bit of time. Oliver Kharraz, one of the founders of health-care startup ZocDoc, argues that the insurance-exchange websites aren’t really the product being sold to Americans—it’s the idea of affordable health insurance and the legal incentives to buy some that are generating today’s Web traffic. Since people won’t be required to have coverage for several months hence, a few overwhelmed websites could be nothing more than an embarrassing blip so long as everything is up and running by December. If the websites can help insurance shoppers meet that deadline, the user experience doesn’t need to be Cupertino-level beautiful—just good enough to work.Obamacare's Health Insurance Websites, in Bumby Debut, Are Typical of Tech Launches - Businessweek
The silver lining behind an awful first day could be that the bar is lowered, once people have something they can actually interact with. “Happiness,” says Kharraz, “equals reality minus expectations.”"