"No single map, of course, can do justice to the complexity of the relationships between sites, services, and entities as diverse as Google, Cisco, QQ, and BitTorrent. But for tech nerds, the map presents an endlessly fascinating schema for comparing and drawing connections between the various entities that constitute the online world. And while the potential quibbles are many, it’s impressive the number of things that this map gets right.Deviantart Internet map: What the world would look like if Apple, Google were countries.
One immediate insight is that there’s enough pornographic material on the Web to fill its own entire continent. On one level we know this, but the media tends to ignore it, to the point that it’s rather jarring to see names like Xhamster and LiveJasmin etched matter-of-factly onto countries just across the sea from Google and YouTube."
Friday, January 31, 2014
"At first glance we've the set-top business, the handset one and the patents. At that first glance it would appear that Google has paid $12.5bn in total, flogged off the two physical businesses for $5.5bn and thus paid $7bn for the patents.Yes, Google can afford to lose $9bn in Motorola sale. But did it really? • The Register
However, if we add in the $3bn cash (possibly retained) and the $6.5bn in tax losses (certainly some used, possibly the rest retained) we can, with a good deal of guessing I agree, make the case that Google has actually made a couple of billion profit on the deal and got those patents for free. It all depends on how good the tax lawyers are and who really wants to posit that Google employs bad ones?"
"The payments system, which may incorporate the use of a Kindle as a point-of-sale device as well as a credit-card-reading dongle a la Square’s, is expected to be “the core” of the system, one of these people said. But Amazon is seriously considering offering a more comprehensive software suite targeted to small and midsize brick-and-mortar businesses that may include products such as accounting software, website creation tools and inventory management systems, though the list of tools appears to still be in flux. The platform is also expected to contain current Amazon offerings such as Amazon Local daily deals, whose group has been hiring aggressively in recent months, these people said."Amazon’s Ambition in Physical Retail May Go Way Beyond Payments | Re/code
"Google’s ownership of Motorola was always something of a threat to Samsung, which is the No. 1 phone maker in the world. Samsung phones largely run on Android, Google’s mobile operating system. But Samsung has been developing its own mobile operating system, Tizen, partly in case Google put its full weight behind building its own hardware. With Google out of the handset-making business, Samsung can scale back on those efforts and build on its position as the leading seller of Android phones.Google's Sale of Motorola Could Help Samsung - NYTimes.com
Google stands to benefit from Samsung as well. Google would like to get its Internet services running on as many mobile devices as possible. Samsung has reportedly agreed to reduce the modifications it makes to Android so that Google’s services will be more prominent and the software will look more like Google’s vision."
"At the same time, the deal resolves a big concern of Samsung and other Android-phone makers: That Google was both a supplier of their mobile software and, through Motorola, a competitor in hardware. As a sign of that frustration, Samsung in recent months had been de-emphasizing Google's apps in its latest Android devices, while working on its own mobile operating system called Tizen.How Google's Costly Motorola Maneuver May Pay Off - WSJ.com
Google's exit from the business should strengthen Android, said Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz in a client note, "by reducing the risk that handset makers will deploy competitive operating systems.""
"Amazon has 237 million active customers but as a general rule makes almost no profit. Thursday’s announcement that the company was considering raising prices by as much as 50 percent on its $79 Prime shipping program could mean $500 million for its skimpy bottom line.Amazon to Raise Fees as Revenue Disappoints - NYTimes.com
“This is the first time we’ve ever seen Amazon flex its muscles in terms of pricing,” said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. “It’s hugely significant.”"
Thursday, January 30, 2014
"Revenue was $25.59 billion, up 20 percent from 2012. Earnings per share were a 51 cents, up from 21 cents.Amazon’s Shares Fall as Revenue Disappoints - NYTimes.com
But expectations are all.
Analysts had estimated the Seattle retailer to report revenue of $26.06 billion and earnings of 66 cents a share. The range of earnings estimates, however, was unusually wide, underlining sharply contrasting views on the company’s health."
"Yet despite Google’s challenges with mobile, among web businesses it might be the biggest beneficiary so far of consumers’ shift to mobile devices. Google services are the top web property on smartphones, reaching 87 percent of the mobile audience through apps and mobile browsing, according to comScore. (Facebook is next with 85 percent.) And Google earned 42 percent of all mobile ad revenue in the United States last year, significantly more than any other company, according to eMarketer."Revenue and Profit Rise at Google, but Mobile Struggles Continue - NYTimes.com
""Our competitors are this whole new generation of cloud companies. We're focused on the infrastructure companies like Amazon and the SaaS companies like Salesforce," Ellison said.Ellison says IBM and SAP no longer Oracle's main rivals - Computerworld
"We just swapped a bunch of big guys -- IBM and SAP -- for a bunch of other guys; small but agile," he said. He also named Workday as a rival, the application service provider started by PeopleSoft cofounder Dave Duffield, but then quickly dismissed its product."
Mint integrates with Coinbase, so you can track bitcoin with the rest of your finances | VentureBeat
"The wild ride of bitcoin’s value is slowing down, and we are beginning to see the effects of that stability.Mint integrates with Coinbase, so you can track bitcoin with the rest of your finances | VentureBeat | Business | by Rebecca Grant
Personal finance app Mint is integrating with bitcoin wallet service Coinbase, so bitcoin owners can quickly track how much their stash is worth and compare this value to their other financial accounts.
“There are now 12 million bitcoin in circulation and 60,000 merchants accepting it via Coinbase,” Mint product manager Vince Maniago said in an interview. “We felt like it was something we couldn’t ignore anymore, and this is a good time to go out and support the currency as it becomes more legitimate.”"
"In other words, Facebook is paying the same precise attention to detail as Medium, Evan Williams’ buzzy collaborative blogging startup. Even the philosophy of both companies seems to be the same: Present your audience with better tools and a pleasant aesthetic environment, and they’ll naturally start creating better content.Meet “Paper,” Facebook’s New Answer for Browsing — And Creating — Mobile Media | Re/code
“As you start changing the way you’re displaying this content, we hope that it will change the way people think about posting content,” Michael Matas, Paper’s product design lead, said in an interview. “Because the two are obviously really connected.”"
"Former Facebook employees say identity and anonymity have always been topics of heated debate in the company. Now Zuckerberg seems eager to relax his old orthodoxies. “I don’t know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we’re at the point where we don’t need to keep on only doing real identity things,” he says. “If you’re always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden.” Paper will still require a Facebook login, but Zuckerberg says the new apps might be like Instagram, which doesn’t require users to log in with Facebook credentials or share pictures with friends on the social network. “It’s definitely, I think, a little bit more balanced now 10 years later,” he says. “I think that’s good.”"Facebook Turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg Interview - Businessweek
"Amazon.com Inc. plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a checkout system that uses Kindle tablets as soon as this summer, people briefed on the company's plans said.Amazon to Offer Kindle Checkout System to Physical Retailers - WSJ.com
In one scenario, the Seattle company would give merchants Kindle tablets and credit-card readers, the people said. Amazon also might offer retailers other services, such as website development and data analysis, the people said."
An understatement-of-the-year candidate follows the graph
“The results put to rest, at least for a while, concerns about whether teens are abandoning Facebook for what they consider hipper services, or whether Facebook advertising would be as profitable on mobile devices as it is on personal computers.”
"It is unclear exactly how much money Google lost on the Motorola deal over all. In addition to the patents Google is keeping, Google sold Motorola Home, the portion of the business that made set-top boxes, to Arris in 2012 for $2.35 billion. Motorola also had $2.9 billion cash on hand when Google bought it.After Big Bet, Google Is to Sell Motorola Unit - NYTimes.com
Google is also retaining a small division working on cutting-edge technologies, led by Regina Dugan, who was hired from the government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency."
"Besides, who talks on the phone anyway? A 2013 survey by Experian Marketing Services found that chatting takes up only about 25 percent of our phone time. We’re mostly texting and tweeting, sending e-mails or visiting websites. And for these purposes, a curved screen offers no help at all.A barely passing grade on the curve - Business - The Boston Globe
Even more pointless is the LG’s ability to flex. Yes, if you put pressure on it, the G Flex’s slight curve straightens out and the phone lies flat. Building a bendable video screen is a remarkable achievement by LG’s engineers. But LG’s marketing department hasn’t come up with a brilliant reason why we need it. When you devise a video screen that folds completely in half, call me back."
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
"Facebook now makes the majority of its money from mobile advertising, a dramatic shift for a company that got virtually no money from mobile in 2012.Rise in Mobile Ads Pushes Up Revenue and Profit at Facebook - NYTimes.com
The social networking giant reported on Wednesday that 53 percent of its advertising revenue in the fourth quarter came from mobile devices. And at the end of the year, three-quarters of its 1.23 billion global users were accessing the service on a cellphone or tablet."
"Google is selling its Motorola Mobility smartphone unit to Lenovo for about $2.91 billion, the companies announced on Wednesday.Google Is Selling Its Mobility Unit to Lenovo for About $3 Billion - NYTimes.com
Google’s Mobility unit includes handset technology that the search giant acquired when it announced the deal to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2011."
"The latest update adds features to the iOS version of Amazon’s Kindle e-reader that makes it more useful than Apple’s own iBooks for reading eBooks and PDFs.New Kindle For iOS Features Make It A Serious eReader For Studying
If you want to read books on your iPad, the Kindle app has you covered. You can download the first few chapters of Kindle books for free and purchase, read and sync your collection, annotations, and last page read with your iOS, Kindle Fire, Mac, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices.
If you want to build an impressive ebook library and use the app for study purposes, the latest additions to the Kindle app take the already-excellent functionality a step further."
"Synchronization is now about 4X faster than ever before. This applies to any version of Evernote that you use. Sync now often takes a couple of seconds to complete, and when you get a new phone or computer, downloading your notes will take much less time. If you have a small account, you might not notice that much of a difference. On the other hand, if your account is large, or you’ve been using Evernote for many years, or you share notebooks with other users, or your entire company uses Evernote Business, you’ll see massive improvements. All four of these things happen to be true for many early Evernote employees, so the performance gains we’re seeing at the office are amazing. That explains the rejoicing."Evernote Sync Is Now Four Times Faster | Evernote BlogEvernote Blog
"It appears this bug is separate from the bizarre Gmail glitch that plagued some users last week. During that incident, not only were e-mail addresses being automatically filled in for unintended recipients but one poor man was flooded with thousands of unsolicited e-mails because of the glitch. It's unclear if the bug is related to last Friday's massive Gmail outage."After bug, Google notifies users that all is a-OK with Gmail | Internet & Media - CNET News
"Running the Android operating system, the system will compete directly with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, offering the streaming and download of games, music, movies and TV content, multiple sources have told VG247.Amazon’s Android console to launch this year priced below $300 | VG247
Senior publishing sources have been meeting with Amazon for a briefing on the hardware – which currently goes by a number of different codenames – and popular Android and iOS games have been used to demo the device."
"Apple appears to be putting its ducks in a row ahead of major Apple TV changes. Alongside last night’s changes to the Apple Online Store to promote Valentine’s Day specials, Apple added an entire Apple TV section.Apple TV graduates from hobby/accessory to product line ahead of major changes | 9to5Mac
The Apple TV is now promoted as a full product line alongside Macs, iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Previously, the Apple TV did not have its own section, and it was simply tucked away as an accessory in the dwindling iPod department."
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I feel special, after seeing this warning tonight – and noticed a bunch of weird Gmail inbox indexing problems last week on my iOS devices
“I couldn't find other references to this notice, so it's very likely that a very small percentage of Gmail users got it. It's interesting that the message is not displayed in the desktop Gmail, I only see it in the mobile Gmail interface.”
"But here's a sobering reality: in the fourth quarter, the iPhone was responsible for $32.5 billion in revenues, compared with $24.52 billion for all of Microsoft. That's right: In Q4 2013, just the iPhone was bigger than all of Microsoft.Apple Falls Short of Expectations | Paul Thurrotts WinInfo content from Windows IT Pro
Apple sold 26 million iPads in the quarter, after launching two new models—the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display—up from the 22.9 million it had sold in the same quarter a year earlier. The big surprise, perhaps, was the Mac, which recorded stronger-than-expected sales of 4.8 million, up from 4.1 million last year. The Mac now controls 5.8 percent of the worldwide market for PCs."
Microsoft contributes cloud server designs to the Open Compute Project - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
"On Tuesday, I will deliver a keynote address to 3,000 attendees at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, Calif. where I will announce that Microsoft is joining the OCP, a community focused on engineering the most efficient hardware for cloud and high-scale computing via open collaboration. I will also announce that we are contributing to the OCP what we call the Microsoft cloud server specification: the designs for the most advanced server hardware in Microsoft datacenters delivering global cloud services like Windows Azure, Office 365, Bing and others. We are excited to participate in the OCP community and share our cloud innovation with the industry in order to foster more efficient datacenters and the adoption of cloud computing."Microsoft contributes cloud server designs to the Open Compute Project - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
"Elon Musk invested in DeepMind, as did the Founders Fund and Jaan Tallinn, an early Kazaa and Skype (MSFT) employee with a penchant for backing artificial-intelligence projects. “DeepMind is bona fide in terms of its research capabilities and depth,” says Peter Lee, who heads Microsoft Research.The Race to Buy the Human Brains Behind Deep Learning Machines - Businessweek
According to Lee, Microsoft, Facebook (FB), and Google find themselves in a battle for deep learning talent. Microsoft has gone from four full-time deep learning experts to 70 in the past three years. “We would have more if the talent was there to be had,” he says. “Last year, the cost of a top, world-class deep learning expert was about the same as a top NFL quarterback prospect. The cost of that talent is pretty remarkable.”"
"VSP and Google created a training program for optometrists to learn how to mount the Glass device on frames and fit Glass on people’s faces. It is important that the nose pads are adjusted so the screen is not in people’s direct field of vision, said Dr. Matthew Alpert, an optometrist in Los Angeles who is on the board of VSP Global, the insurer’s parent company. A VSP lab in Sacramento will cut the lenses for Glass frames."Google Glass to Be Covered by Vision Care Insurer VSP - NYTimes.com
"Jan Dawson, an analyst for Jackdaw Research, said Apple’s earnings highlighted that its growth was diversifying beyond the iPhone.Sales of iPhones Set Record for Quarter: 51 Million - NYTimes.com
“It grew iPhone revenues by a decent amount year on year — but not astonishingly — but growth from the iPad, Mac and iTunes lines together was greater,” Mr. Dawson said. “This is good, because Apple has been very dependent on the iPhone for overall growth, and that growth will inevitably slow down over the coming years.”"
"The NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor.Spy agencies scour phone apps for personal data - Nation - The Boston Globe
Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs, and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other services."
"In the survey, nearly half of respondents said they are extremely concerned about their personal data when shopping in stores since the breach. Sixty-one percent said they have deep worries when spending online, while 62 percent are very concerned when they buy on their mobile phones.AP-GfK poll: Breaches not changing people’s habits - Business - The Boston Globe
But just 37 percent have tried to use cash for purchases rather than pay with plastic in response to data thefts such as the one at Target, while only 41 percent have checked their credit reports. And even fewer have changed their online passwords at retailers’ websites, requested new credit or debit card numbers, or signed up for a credit-monitoring service."
Monday, January 27, 2014
"Google, which is acquiring DeepMind Technologies, has agreed to establish an ethics board to ensure the artificial intelligence technology isn't abused, according to two people familiar with the deal.Google Beat Facebook for DeepMind, Creates Ethics Board - The Information
The unusual step of establishing the ethics committee comes as Google, which is paying more than $500 million to acquire the company, won the deal over Facebook, several people familiar with negotiations said. Facebook was in serious acquisition talks with DeepMind late last year, these people said, and it is unclear why talks fell apart."
"Though DeepMind may not be a household name in tech, sources in the artificial intelligence community describe the company as a formidable AI player and say it has been aggressively recruiting in the space. One source said DeepMind has a team of at least 50 people and has secured more than $50 million in funding. This person described DeepMind as “the last large independent company with a strong focus on artificial intelligence,” and said it competed with companies like Google, Facebook and Baidu for talent."Exclusive: Google to Buy Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind for $400M | Re/code
"As the website says: “It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do when you grow up.”On Children’s Website, N.S.A. Puts a Furry, Smiley Face on Its Mission - NYTimes.com
To enter the “How Can I Work for N.S.A.?” section of the site, children click on a picture of a bucktoothed rabbit, who says in his biography that he likes listening to hip-hop and rock. In his free time, the bunny says, he participates in cryptography competitions with other cartoon characters named Decipher Dog and CryptoCat."
"Stripped of its theology, the pope’s radio address is not about technology, but about human nature. He has offered a canny set of instructions on how to behave on the Internet.The Pope Francis Guide to Social Media Etiquette - Businessweek
“The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgment, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of expression. … We need, for example, to recover a certain sense of deliberateness and calm. This calls for time and the ability to be silent and to listen.”"
Sunday, January 26, 2014
"At 7 teraflops, the new Pro’s performance specs are impressive…but what’s even more impressive is how all that computing power is stuffed into such a small package without everything melting down. Look inside the new Mac Pro and you’ll find a Xeon processor, twin AMD FirePro graphics engines, main memory, a solid-state “drive”, driven by 450W of maximum electric power… and all cooled by a single fan. The previous Mac Pro version, at only 2 teraflops, needed eight blowers to keep its GPU happy."Mac Pro: Seymour Cray Would Have Approved | Monday Note
"So, Microsoft has certainly chosen the right number – double the revenue – with which to promote Surface sales, but when other indicators are taken into account, it looks like performance has merely risen from dismal to bad. While funky, cheap hardware like the Asus Transformer Book T100 is helping Windows 8’s overall market share, the Surface is still underperforming. And sadly, a lot of it comes down to the design of Windows 8 itself, which seems to be turning off a lot of buyers."Microsoft Surface Revenue is Way Up, But Sales Are Still Terrible | Digital Trends
Saturday, January 25, 2014
"Universe, consider yourself dented. In 2014, IBM doesn’t even make PCs. Apple is not a $10 billion company, it is a half a trillion dollar company. Jobs is gone, but he left us after having had rebuilt the company beyond its previous glory, satisfied that he’d restored its soul.The Macintosh Is 30, and I Was There for Its Birth | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
Amazingly, one thing has not changed: Through three decades of evolution, we still have a machine whose DNA recognizably traces back to its origin. Indeed, 30 years after Jobs introduced his machine at the Flint Center in Cupertino, I am writing these words on a Macintosh.
So, at least in one sense, 2014 is just like 1984."
How Real is Spike Jonze's 'Her'? Artificial Intelligence Experts Stephen Wolfram and Google's Peter Norvig Weigh In - Digits - WSJ
"In Spike Jonze’s Oscar-nominated, futuristic film “Her,” computers compose music, carry on seamless conversations with humans, organize emails instantaneously, and even fall in love. But what appears to be pure sci-fi has more grounding in actual science than the casual viewer might believe.How Real is Spike Jonze's 'Her'? Artificial Intelligence Experts Stephen Wolfram and Google's Peter Norvig Weigh In - Digits - WSJ
Stephen Wolfram, whose Wolfram Alpha drives the artificial intelligence-like component of Siri on the iPhone, thinks that an operating system like Samantha as depicted in the film is not only possible, the technology behind it isn’t that far off. “The mechanics of getting the AI to work—I don’t think that’s the most challenging part,” he said in an interview. “The challenging part is, in a sense: Define the meaningful product.”"
"Kapor later discovered that Lotus rival Microsoft had an exclusive contract to bring its Multiplan spreadsheet to the Mac. "That fact was not disclosed and that's why Mike Boich was discouraging to us, and he was embarrassed or was difficult," he said. "It was Bill [Gates] being brilliantly strategic again, cutting us out from being there early, so 10 points to Gryffindor on that."
[...]Mitch Kapor remembers Lotus' Macintosh bomb | Apple - CNET News
"It [the Mac] set the tone for a consumer information technology product that was about elegance and simplicity, and aesthetics. In hindsight, we could see it was mostly selling the promise," Kapor said. "At the time, because I was so in the geek world, it really seemed like this was it. Now, when you look where things have gotten in 30 years, you go, 'Oh, it just had the taste.' I think it's one of Steve's great creations. As a cultural artifact, people are going to be talking about it for centuries. That's part of its legacy.""
"Mr. Levy pressed again. “The question I was getting at is, what’s driving you here?”The 30-Year-Old Macintosh and a Lost Conversation With Steve Jobs - NYTimes.com
“Well, it’s like computers and society are out on a first date in this decade, and for some crazy reason we’re just in the right place at the right time to make that romance blossom,” Mr. Jobs replied, noting that the 1980s were the beginning of the computing revolution. “We can make them great, we can make a great product that people can easily use.”
Such passion is something that would follow Mr. Jobs through his career, and what he said next seemed to be the driving force behind that passion."
Friday, January 24, 2014
"The Market development team, formed in 2012, comprises just six of Evernote’s 300 employees, says Zwerner. Still, he and Libin have made clear that the company’s retail interests are growing. Evernote has leased warehouse space in Los Angeles, Lancaster, Pa., and near Tokyo. Its headquarters prominently features a retail store packed with Market products, and Libin said at the Paris conference that he expects a “complete blending together of physical and digital products” within five years. Its new business gives Evernote an opportunity to expand beyond technology, says Ronda Scott, the company’s director of communications, who is pitching Market gear to Vogue. “Vogue would not have taken a meeting for an app,” she says."Evernote Market: App Maker's Retail Strategy Pays Off - Businessweek
"“The reason OS X has a different interface than iOS isn’t because one came after the other or because this one’s old and this one’s new,” Federighi said. Instead, it’s because using a mouse and keyboard just isn’t the same as tapping with your finger. “This device,” Federighi said, pointing at a MacBook Air screen, “has been honed over 30 years to be optimal” for keyboards and mice. Schiller and Federighi both made clear that Apple believes that competitors who try to attach a touchscreen onto a PC or a clamshell keyboard onto a tablet are barking up the wrong tree."Apple Won't Combine Mac And The iPad - Business Insider
"In effect, IBM may have sold off a business increasingly dominated by the cloud companies with which it must also compete as it builds out its own cloud. Last year IBM paid $2 billion for a cloud company called Softlayer, and last week said it would spend $1.2 billion just this year building out that business.IBM Happy to Be Rid of Low-End Server Business - NYTimes.com
Mr. Mills defended his company’s chances. “Softlayer operates at a cost point equal to Amazon,” he said. “I don’t worry about the competitive issue.” Google, he noted, has agreed to use sophisticated IBM chips in its computer centers. “We’ve had our eyes on the issue for some time,” he said."
"“The real growth you see is hardware,” said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. “It was the devices and consumer business driving everything in the quarter.”Microsoft Earnings Illustrate Move to Devices and Services From Software - NYTimes.com
That’s the good. The bad, though, is that Microsoft’s gross profit from the hardware business actually fell to $411 million, compared with $762 million a year ago, despite the surge in sales. One of the big reasons for the fall is that profit from new consoles like the Xbox One is almost always nonexistent when the devices are introduced, but they improve as component prices fall, manufacturing becomes more efficient and the audience of game buyers expands."
30 years after debut, Apple’s original Mac still influential Apple’s Mac still influences, 30 years after debut - Business - The Boston Globe
"These concepts are so fundamental today that it’s hard to imagine a time when they existed only in research labs — primarily Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center. Apple cofounder Steve Jobs and his team got much of its inspiration from PARC, which they visited while designing the Mac.
The Mac has had ‘‘incredible influence on pretty much everybody’s lives all over the world since computers are now so ubiquitous,’’ said Brad Myers, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. ‘‘Pretty much all consumer electronics are adopting all of the same kinds of interactions.’’"30 years after debut, Apple’s original Mac still influential Apple’s Mac still influences, 30 years after debut - Business - The Boston Globe
Thursday, January 23, 2014
"Like many of you, we were intrigued by a recent article by Princeton researchers predicting the imminent demise of Facebook. Of particular interest was the innovative use of Google search data to predict engagement trends, instead of studying the actual engagement trends. Using the same robust methodology featured in the paper, we attempted to find out more about this "Princeton University" - and you won't believe what we found!"Debunking Princeton
"Regardless of how true that may be, a research firm released a study yesterday that said that even though Facebook saw a 3% decline in users last year, 83% of all web users in the world have Facebook accounts, and 55% of them use the service regularly. That's 1.19 billion users. Instagram, now owned by Facebook, saw a 25% increase in its user base last year.Facebook is still not dying - On The Media
I get that it taps into something - maybe schadenfreude, maybe fear of institutions we rely upon disappearing - to constantly worry at the death of Facebook. But the social network remains the second biggest website in the world."
"The video subscription service added 2.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, including free trial subscriptions, giving it a total of 33.4 million in the U.S. That was enough to top the 33.1 million average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Netflix said Wednesday that it expects to sign up another 2.25 million subscribers in the first quarter, with “years of member growth ahead of us,” according to a company letter to shareholders. Netflix shares soared nearly 18 percent in trading after the market’s close, following a 1.5 percent gain to $333.73 in the regular session."Netflix Subscribers Stream In, With No Sign of Slowdown - Businessweek
Excerpt from a snapshot of Amazon in transition
“DAB and other companies use Amazon's website, warehouses and payment systems to sell their goods over the Web, allowing the retailer to offer a much broader range of products.
But some third-party sellers have sparked customer complaints and friction between Amazon and the makers of branded products. Some manufacturers have said Amazon doesn't do enough to curb sales of counterfeit goods and expired drugs from such vendors.”
"Technology experts say China’s own Great Firewall — the country’s vast collection of censors and snooping technology used to control Internet traffic in and out of China — was most likely to blame, mistakenly redirecting the country’s traffic to several sites normally blocked inside China, some connected to a company based in the Wyoming building."Big Web Crash in China: Experts Suspect Great Firewall - NYTimes.com
"‘With the right strategy, great execution, continued innovation and a clear commitment to the x86 industry, we are confident that we can grow this business successfully for the long-term, just as we have done with our worldwide PC business,’’ Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement, referring to the server industry.Lenovo Agrees to Buy IBM Server Business for $2.3 Billion - NYTimes.com
Early last year, Lenovo and IBM were in negotiations about the unit, which includes IBM’s x86 server business. At the time, Lenovo valued the unit at about $2.5 billion, while IBM wanted at least $4 billion."
"But Trove really counts on its users to help it find the best content to pop to the top of the feed. Users are encouraged to create their own troves by curating the best stories on any topic that interests them. Anyone can follow those troves, benefiting from the perspective of the curator, and those picks also filter into other troves curated by others on the same topic."Trove Is a Treasure for News Junkies - NYTimes.com
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
"In one of the more bizarre twists in recent Internet memory, much of the Internet traffic in China was redirected to a small, 1,700-square-foot house in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Tuesday.Chinese Internet Traffic Redirected to Small Wyoming House - NYTimes.com
A large portion of China’s 500 million Internet users were unable to load websites ending in .com, .net or .org for nearly eight hours in most regions of China, according to Compuware, a Detroit-based technology company."
"Lest we forget, the National Security Agency is in good company.New Security Report Confirms Everyone Is Spying on Everyone - NYTimes.com
A new security report confirms that Chinese hackers spied on The New York Times in 2012, as well as attendees of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg last fall. Iranian hackers spied on dissidents in the lead up to state elections last May. The Syrian Electronic Army is only getting better, and North Korean hackers were behind a destructive cyberattack that wiped data from South Korean banks last year."
""This partnership between Machinima and Microsoft was a typical marketing partnership to promote Xbox One in December," a joint statement from the two firms note. "The Xbox team does not review any specific content or provide feedback on content. Any confidentiality provisions, terms, or other guidelines are standard documents provided by Machinima. For clarity, confidentiality relates to the agreements themselves, not the existence of the promotion."
In other words, Microsoft had nothing to do with how Machinima chose to market the Xbox One, and wasn't involved in—and didn't know about—the paying of video bloggers. "Microsoft Did Not Pay Video Bloggers | Paul Thurrotts WinInfo content from Windows IT Pro
Computer History Museum | January 22, 1984: This Day in History: Apple Computer Launches the Macintosh
"Apple Computer launches the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphic user interface, with a single $1.5 million commercial during the Super Bowl. Apple's commercial played on the theme of George Orwell's 1984 and featured the destruction of Big Brother -- a veiled reference to IBM -- with the power of personal computing found in a Macintosh."Computer History Museum | Exhibits | This Day in History: January 22
"The surprising part to me in this essay is the conclusion:
Far from a mere libertarian fairy tale or a simple Silicon Valley exercise in hype, Bitcoin offers a sweeping vista of opportunity to reimagine how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era, and a catalyst to reshape that system in ways that are more powerful for individuals and businesses alike.
On that, we both agree. Bitcoin shows a path for massively more secure, reliable, and sensible ways to store value and move it around. As a currency, I have little faith that it will become a replacement for dollars, euros, or renminbi. As a model for a future payment and transaction system, I believe it’s already shown its value."On the Matter of Why Bitcoin Matters — The Magazine on Medium — Medium
"The trend has forced Ms. Rometty to find new profitable businesses, such as cloud computing and data analytics, though growth in those businesses have yet to offset the issues in hardware.IBM's Hardware Woes Accelerate in Fourth Quarter - WSJ.com
IBM's fourth-quarter revenue fell 5.5%, below expectations and the seventh consecutive quarterly drop. Hardware-group revenue plunged 27% in the quarter."
"But I hope that I have given you a sense of the enormous promise of Bitcoin. Far from a mere libertarian fairy tale or a simple Silicon Valley exercise in hype, Bitcoin offers a sweeping vista of opportunity to reimagine how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era, and a catalyst to reshape that system in ways that are more powerful for individuals and businesses alike."Why Bitcoin Matters - NYTimes.com
"Google may also benefit from higher valuations. Google Ventures will benefit from a rise in the value of its investments, and Google itself will get the same benefit from these rising valuations in its stock price.Search for the 'Next Big Thing' Yields Soaring Valuations - NYTimes.com
Not only that, and perhaps more important, it will get the valuable publicity of being in on the next big thing and keep its reputation as a “hero” company. In Silicon Valley, no one wants to be known as a company that can’t keep up."
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO
So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy."
"Whatever you think about the practice, there's reason to believe this kind of stealth promotion of "consumer-generated media" is likely to get more popular going forward. As readers and viewers get better at ignoring explicit, traditional ads—or start blocking them entirely with browser-side scripts—marketers are going to continue to try finding new ways to get their message out there through supposedly unbiased content creators. Something to keep in mind the next time you watch a video or read something from someone who says they're just an average, everyday consumer."Stealth marketing: Microsoft paying YouTubers for Xbox One mentions | Ars Technica
"“At this point, there are no changes … The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them,” he said. “If there are ever any changes, we will be transparent about it.”“At This Point” — Nest CEO’s Adds Slight Hedge on Data Collection | Re/code
It’s a subtle but important difference, adding such phrases — “At this point,” “If there are ever any changes,” “transparent” — that are definitely a shade more unclear and allow for any possible changes to come."
"Intel is now officially out of the Web TV business: The company has formally announced the sale of its Intel Media unit to Verizon, a deal we first told you about back in October.Intel Formally Shuts Off its Web TV Plans, with Sale to Verizon | Re/code
The two companies didn’t announce terms for the deal, which is scheduled to close “early in the first quarter”, but said Verizon plans to purchase all of Intel Media’s assets, and expects to hire “substantially all” of its 350 employees."
"In fact, if you browse to HP’s home section and navigate to desktop PCs then you’ll only be presented with Windows 7 machines by default as no Windows 8 PCs are listed until you start customizing the section using optional filters. The laptop section does include Windows 8 machines, but it also prominently advertises a Windows 7 laptop. Even HP’s all-in-one section promotes the company’s 21-inch Android-powered PC over Windows 8 alternatives."HP brings back Windows 7 'by popular demand' | The Verge
Monday, January 20, 2014
"IBM is damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they accelerate the move to cloud, they will undercut their existing business and miss their sacred financial roadmap. If they don’t, everyone else will partition up their existing business. Maybe they can thread that needle, but IBM has not shown any reason to believe they can successfully catch up to and compete with the leaders in cloud computing. Bonsai datacenters show IBM wants (or needs) to compete on the cheap."Small Blue and the Bonsai Datacenter | Platformonomics
"Google updated its policies in December to prevent software developers from using extensions to insert advertising on more than one part of a page. A form of malware called adware injects ads on multiple spots of a web page, including places ads don’t normally exist, for example on Google’s sparse home page. Google says extensions must have “a single purpose,” and be “narrow and easy-to-understand.”Google Removes Two Chrome Extensions Amid Ad Uproar - Digits - WSJ
While “Add to Feedly” and “Tweet This Page” had small numbers of users, their kind of situation could be more pervasive: The owners of far more popular extensions say they have been offered money to incorporate ad code into their extensions."
"The technique could cut delivery time and discourage consumers from visiting physical stores. In the patent document, Amazon says delays between ordering and receiving purchases “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants.”Amazon Wants to Ship Your Package Before You Buy It - Digits - WSJ
So Amazon says it may box and ship products it expects customers in a specific area will want – based on previous orders and other factors — but haven’t yet ordered. According to the patent, the packages could wait at the shippers’ hubs or on trucks until an order arrives."
"People, businesses and government agencies across the country are combating the new schemes, in which scammers use the Internet to send huge volumes of calls at the same time. Many of the attacks bombard individuals with automated requests for personal data, in a variation of their email-scam cousins. But others are more vicious, flooding entire phone systems when demands are not met, similar to some attacks against websites."Swindlers Use Telephones, With Internet’s Tactics - NYTimes.com
Sunday, January 19, 2014
"Let’s slow down. Besides Nest itself, two companies have the best data on Nest’s sales, returns, and customer service problems: Apple and Amazon. Contrary to the “snoozing” allegation, Apple Store activity told Apple exactly the what, the how, and the how much of Nest’s business. According to local VC lore, Nest’s Gross Margin are low and don’t rise much above customer support costs. (You can find a list of Nest’s investors here. Some, like Kleiner Perkins and Google Ventures, have deep links to Google… This reminds many of the YouTube acquisition. Several selling VCs were also Google investors, one sat on Google’s Board. YouTube was bleeding money and Google had to “bridge” it, to loan it money before the transaction closed.)"Puzzling Over Google’s Nest Acquisition | Monday Note
Friday, January 17, 2014
"The greatest innovator in the world right now is Google—not Apple, said Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography "Steve Jobs."Google steals innovation crown from Apple: Isaacson
To play catch-up, Cook has to think about what industry he wants to disrupt next, Isaacson said. "I think Steve Jobs would have wanted as the next disruptive thing to either have wearable-like watches or TV, an easy TV that you can walk into the room and say put on 'Squawk Box' … or disrupt the digital camera industry or disrupt textbooks."
"We ought to see in 2014, Apple do something huge," Isaacson said."
"Babak Parvis used to be a professor at the University of Washington, where he collaborated with Microsoft Research. He was of the first to work on smart contact lenses. Today, he is at Google and working on Google Glass and the smart lens project.Google’s New Smart Contact Lens Is Old News For Microsoft | TechCrunch
But as is often the case with Microsoft Research projects, it doesn’t look like the project ever went anywhere."
"Google has shrunk down a chip and sensor system so small it can be embedded in a contact lens.Google’s Latest Moon Shot Is a Smart Contact Lens for Diabetes Patients | Re/code
Instead of a circuit board, the tiny pieces are connected to a circular gold foil antenna mounted on a flexible plastic-like material that comfortably sits on a person’s eye, outside of their own sight.
Why? To help people with diabetes."
"As all the competitors begin to jockey for contracts from start-ups and established businesses, each is expected to bring its own relative strengths to bear. For IBM, Mr. Clementi said, this would include the ability to integrate existing computing facilities with an external cloud; stronger management and privacy controls; and a deep understanding of business processes.IBM Plans Big Spending for the Cloud - NYTimes.com
“I don’t encounter Google outside of their traditional work,” he said. “They aren’t delivering the ability to deliver a mobile application that can hook into a general ledger. Sometimes I run into Amazon.” Referring to more traditional competitors, he said, “With Hewlett-Packard, I don’t see the reach or the breadth.”"
"But rather than despair, this is a moment of opportunity. The court didn’t make its decision because it was opposed to net neutrality, but because the F.C.C. had painted itself into a regulatory corner, having developed a convoluted, contradictory set of rules regarding Internet access over the last decade.Back to the Digital Drawing Board - NYTimes.com
The decision now forces the commission to go back to square one and reverse the industry-compromised decisions that set it on this path in the first place and that have long undermined its authority over this crucial infrastructure."
Thursday, January 16, 2014
"A recent study by the NPD Group, a research company, found that 42 percent of smartphone owners in the United States were using iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 35 percent in the same period a year earlier. And 26 percent were using Samsung phones last quarter, up from 22 percent the previous year.Apple and Samsung Widen Lead in U.S. Phone Market - NYTimes.com
Conversely, fewer American smartphone owners reported having phones made by Motorola Mobility, HTC or BlackBerry, according to NPD.
Nokia, whose smartphones primarily run Microsoft’s Windows operating system, was not even worth mentioning in the study."
A timely Google reality check in The Economist
“With a string of deals the internet giant has positioned itself to become a big inventor, and reinventor, of hardware”
"Because this is the book industry, there’s also the outsize influence of a certain Seattle-based bookseller that isn’t particularly welcome at industry conferences. Amazon (AMZN) currently offers a 350,000-title Kindle lending library to Amazon Prime subscribers, which also confers a host of benefits totally unrelated to e-books, including free two-day delivery and a subscription to a streaming video service. Because its subscription service is bundled with other popular services, and at $79 a year costs less than its competitors, it seems possible that Amazon will just beat everyone on price, as is its wont."New Subscription Model for E-Books Challenges Traditional Publishers - Businessweek
"In 2013 alone, Skype carried an estimated 214 billion minutes of international “on-net” calls (from one Skype app to another, rather than calls made from Skype to a regular phone), TeleGeography said in a report released today. That’s up 36% on the previous year.Skype's Incredible Rise, in One Image - Digits - WSJ
More importantly, Skype’s traffic was almost 40% the size of the entire conventional international telecom market — that is, for every ten minutes spent making international phone calls on every mobile and landline network in the entire world, four minutes are spent on Skype. The service is gradually eating its industry."
"Google is perhaps the most humane. Last year, the Internet giant added a feature to let you pass on your files if you pass on. When you don’t log onto Google for, say, six months, the company will contact up to 10 people of your choice and grant them access to your files. You can be selective about it, letting the kids view your photos, for instance, but blocking their access to old e-mails. Or you can program it to delete your entire Google history after a preset period of time, and take your secrets to the grave.Prepare to meet thy online doom - Business - The Boston Globe
It’s a sound approach that other companies should emulate. But with so many cloud services on tap — Dropbox, SkyDrive, Cubby, Shutterfly, and dozens more — you’ll still have to check out the policies at each one to be sure that your data won’t be buried alongside you."
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
"According to a piece by Christopher Mims for Quartz, Nest has wooed at least 100 people from Apple, according to a search of LinkedIn. So there you have it, Google might have been just as interested in the talent as it was in the products that Nest produces. "Google acquired 100 ex-Apple employees with Nest | ZDNet
"Google wants to shift heavy users of its cloud services away from an open-source, community-developed filesystem and into its own proprietary Colossus tech.Using Hadoop for data on Google's cloud? Google would rather you didn't • The Register
The upgrade was announced by the web overlord in a blog post on Tuesday that announced admins could now store Hadoop-destined data directly in Google's closed-sourced Colossus-based "Google Cloud Storage Service", and threw mud at the traditional Hadoop File System (HDFS) plugin."
"Our time-travelling friend proves that, though the human-augmentation project has been a success, we cannot deny that it has come at some cost. The idea of biological atrophy is alarming, and there is always a nagging sense that our auxiliary brains don’t quite count as “us.” But make no mistake: we are now different creatures than we once were, evolving technologically rather than biologically, in directions we must hope are for the best."If a Time Traveller Saw a Smartphone : The New Yorker
"Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has a new gig: He's joining the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. "It is tremendously humbling to be called to serve the cause of our free press, and it is the honor of a lifetime to do so alongside extraordinary Americans like Daniel Ellsberg on FPF’s Board of Directors," Snowden said in a statement on the organization's blog.Edward Snowden has a new gig: Joins board of press freedom group
"Journalism isn't possible unless reporters and their sources can safely communicate," he wrote, "and where laws can't protect that, technology can. This is a hard problem, but not an unsolvable one, and I look forward to using my experience to help find a solution.”"
Chrome 32 launches with noisy tab indicators, new Windows 8 look, better malware blocking, and supervised users - The Next Web
"Here’s the full changelog provided by Google:Chrome 32 launches with noisy tab indicators, new Windows 8 look, better malware blocking, and supervised users - The Next Web
Tab indicators for sound, webcam and casting.
A different look for Win8 Metro mode.
Automatically blocking malware files.
A number of new apps/extension APIs.
Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance."
"The device, called Parrot Flower Power, was created to analyze the growing conditions of plants and send you the results. Once inserted in the plant’s soil, either in a pot or open ground, the sensor monitors ambient temperature, fertilizer, light intensity and soil moisture.Review: Parrot Flower Power Plant Sensor - NYTimes.com
When synced to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the device relays the information to an app, which has a broad database of 6,000 plants and trees and the precise needs for each one. The app will also record and chart up to a year’s worth of data. And the sensor will send an alert if action is needed."
"My recommendation: Buy an iMac now. It is the Lexus of desktop computers, but trust me, it will handle whatever you throw at it. In two to three years, upgrade to a new one, when the technology has moved along. The price of two computers over five years will still be less than what you'd spend on one 8-core Mac Pro.Mac Pro Review: Mac Pro Is a Lamborghini, but Who Drives That Fast? - WSJ.com
People who favor Windows may wonder why I've focused on Apple. The answer is that most consumers who spend more than $1,000 on a computer buy a Mac. For those people, the question is which one."
"The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers - NYTimes.com
The N.S.A. calls its efforts more an act of “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive. But when Chinese attackers place similar software on the computer systems of American companies or government agencies, American officials have protested, often at the presidential level."
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
"Welcome to the weird, wild world of cybercurrencies, where Bitcoin is king and Catcoin, BBQcoin, Sexcoin, Coinye, and HoboNickels form the palace court. (Well, maybe not HoboNickels.) There are now more than 70 Bitcoin alternatives, according to one list, a financial marketplace worth more than $12 billion.Guide to the odd world of alternative currencies - Business - The Boston Globe
Bitcoin, created in 2009 by an anonymous programmer who was using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, rose to $1,200 last year before falling back to about $900 today.
All Bitcoins in circulation are worth about $10 billion today, and more merchants have begun accepting the currency. Even some Girl Scouts take Bitcoins."
"In our own world, we may be a long way from computers that are able to sense when we’re blue and help raise our spirits in one way or another. But we’re already making progress down this path. In something as simple as a responsive web layout or iOS 7′s “Do Not Disturb” feature, we’re starting to see designs that are more perceptive about the real world context surrounding them–where or how or when they’re being used. Google Now and other types of predictive software are ushering in a new era of more personalized, more intelligent apps. And while Apple updating Siri with a few canned jokes about her Hollywood counterpart might not amount to a true sense of humor, it does serve as another example of how we’re making technology more human–a preoccupation that’s very much alive today."Why Her Will Dominate UI Design Even More Than Minority Report | Wired Design | Wired.com
"Rather than thermostats, Nest’s key technologies were described by Mr. Fadell in an interview last November as “communications, algorithms, sensors and user experience, running over a network to the cloud.”Google and Nest: Two Companies in the Business of Understanding You - NYTimes.com
By the way, Nest did all of it on Amazon Web Services. It will be interesting to see how quickly Google can put all this on Compute Engine, its public cloud. Nest, along with Snapchat, which already runs on Google, would be among its marquee customers."
"Not long ago, it looked as if Microsoft (MSFT) might be the company building the software for the so-called connected home. Microsoft executives have for many years paraded reporters through concept homes, demonstrating systems for watering plants automatically and dimming lights to peoples’ preferred settings. Beyond the Xbox in the living room, though, Microsoft has done little to bring this vision to fruition."Google Lays Out $3.2 Billion for a Nest - Businessweek
"Nest’s products track not just a home’s temperature and the presence of smoke but also when people wake up, leave and return home. By incorporating hardware and software and using sensors and algorithms to learn behavior, they program themselves and can be controlled remotely with a smartphone.For Google, a Toehold Into Goods for a Home - NYTimes.com
"Google faces a real problem in trying to “socialize” its properties that Facebook doesn’t. In the case of Gmail, Google Drive, and Picasa, user data is fundamentally private in a way that it isn’t on Facebook. People know not to post anything too secret on Facebook or Twitter, even just to a friends list, because Facebook has become a person’s public or semi-public face on the Internet. Gmail is home to your private life, and every time Google announces that your private life is now going to have a public face, people feel annoyed and violated.Google is trying harder than ever to be Facebook. Gmail and YouTube users aren’t happy.
There has been, until now, a general acceptance of the automated process of Gmail scanning your messages and generating advertising based on them. But if your private Gmail activity increasingly overlaps with your public Google Plus activity—to the point of creating Google Plus activity where you previously hadn’t had any—suddenly that automated process looks a lot more invasive."
Monday, January 13, 2014
"Disruptive technology is one thing. Disrupting the way people do mission critical work is quite another. Cloudera seems to understand the difference. That’s why its EDH strategy aims toward giving data scientists and BI workers an ability to access more data at petabyte scale using the tools (such as Tableau and Microstrategies) that they’re already familiar with.Wanna Race? Cloudera Says Impala is Faster than Hive and Proprietary RDMS
Not only that, but the data that lands in the Enterprise Data Hub is immediately available, no Extract Transform and Load (ETL) step required, as is the case with many other vendors who offer SQL on Hadoop capabilities."
"MY favorite story in Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s fascinating new book, “The Second Machine Age,” is when the Dutch chess grandmaster Jan Hein Donner was asked how he’d prepare for a chess match against a computer, like I.B.M.’s Deep Blue. Donner replied: “I would bring a hammer.”If I Had a Hammer - NYTimes.com
Donner isn’t alone in fantasizing that he’d like to smash some recent advances in software and automation — think self-driving cars, robotic factories and artificially intelligent reservationists — which are not only replacing blue-collar jobs at a faster rate, but now also white-collar skills, even grandmasters!"
"Pick one of the hot product categories at this year’s gadget extravaganza — wearable “smart” gadgets, interactive video projectors or computerized cars — and you’ll see an idea Gates presented at CES sometime in the past decade.Others bring to light Microsoft’s dazzling ideas | Business & Technology | The Seattle Times
Perhaps Microsoft shared too much or moved too early when it saw new opportunities in consumer technology. Or maybe it fumbled chances or gave up too soon."
Sunday, January 12, 2014
"The fictional HAL 9000 computer becomes operational, according to Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the 1968 movie adaptation, the computer's statement -- I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997 -- put his birthdate in 1992. Both dates have now passed with no super-intelligent, human-like HAL computer in sight."Computer History Museum | Exhibits | This Day in History: January 12
"With the new UI, Samsung cleverly hides Google’s app store and apps under a pile of new home screens, designed to look like a lovechild between Windows Phone and Flipboard. Instead of looking at a home screen of icons, you browse a grid of giant square and rectangular widgets that you can resize and reform at your whimsy. You can still access your list of apps, but Samsung relegates them to a separate, ugly one-off home screen that you can customize."How Samsung is Eliminating Google from its Android Devices | Digital Trends
"If the broadcasters win, it will be the end of Aereo as we know it. Even if they lose, Aereo’s future is far from certain: The industry has already threatened to kill the company through technical measures.Supreme Court to Hear Broadcasters Versus Aereo on Copyright Violation - Businessweek
But first, the court case. Aereo and its antagonists agree on three things: 1) Aereo has come up with a really clever technical trick on which to build a business. 2) The company poses a fundamental threat to the business model of the existing broadcast television industry. 3) This case should be heard by the Supreme Court."
"But the company said that the site went down because of a problem that arose during regular maintenance, not because it was compromised by hackers. The site was back up before midnight on Friday.Dropbox Says Site Down After Maintenance Error, Not From Hackers - NYTimes.com
“Today’s outage was caused during internal maintenance, and was not caused by external factor,” a company spokeswoman said in an email. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Still, hackers tried to claim credit, saying the error was the result of a security vulnerability in the website."
"Market efficiency is not always the same thing as consumer benefit — a lesson worth learning in the digital age, for Uber riders as well as everyone else. There are far more sly forms of technology-enabled price discrimination out there, from airlines charging more if you are using a savvy web browser to online retailers charging you more if you are from a posh ZIP code. But on the Internet, the deck is still stacked on the consumer’s side, given the web’s powerful ability to facilitate comparison shopping. Shocked by Uber’s surge prices, after all, there’s nothing from holding an Uber user back from hoofing it home free or trying her luck waving her arms at the passing, fixed-price cabs on the street."Is Uber’s Surge-Pricing an Example of High-Tech Gouging? - NYTimes.com
Friday, January 10, 2014
"Vuzix CEO Paul Travers says his company’s sunglasses will not only be less bulky and obtrusive than Google Glass, they’ll also provide an augmented reality experience that actually resembles the one portrayed in Google’s first promotional video for Glass, in which useful bits of information like navigational cues are displayed in the middle of the wearer’s field of vision. This isn’t possible today with Glass, whose display sits off to the side, above the right eye, and is the visual equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition television seen from eight feet away."Smart Glasses, Without the Bulky Lenses | MIT Technology Review
"IBM excels at game technology, most famously in Deep Blue (chess) and Watson (Jeopardy!). But except at the chip level — PowerPC — IBM hasn’t accomplished much at game/real world crossover. And so I suspect the Watson hype is far overblown.The games of Watson | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services
I believe that for two main reasons. First, whenever IBM talks about big initiatives like Watson, it winds up bundling a bunch of dissimilar things together and claiming they’re a seamless whole. Second, some core Watson claims are eerily similar to artificial intelligence (AI) over-hype three or more decades past. For example, the leukemia treatment advisor that is being hopefully built in Watson now sounds a lot like MYCIN from the early 1970s, and the idea of collecting a lot of tidbits of information sounds a lot like the Cyc project."
Gartner: PC shipments slip 6.9% to 82.6m units in Q4, as 2013 sees the worst yearly decline in history - The Next Web
"The PC market continues to be in free fall, having now seen its seventh consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments. Worldwide PC shipments dropped to 82.6 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Gartner, a 6.9 percent decrease from the same period last year.Gartner: PC shipments slip 6.9% to 82.6m units in Q4, as 2013 sees the worst yearly decline in history - The Next Web
It’s worth emphasizing that this past quarter resulted in a total of 315.9 million units shipped in 2013, a 10 percent decline from 2012, and the worst decline in PC market history. The overall shipment level was equal to the one in 2009."
From an Apple-in-the-enterprise snapshot
“Apple laptops spread quickly after Cisco gave employees the option to switch from Windows-based laptops. Today, one-fourth of Cisco's company-provided laptops—roughly 35,000—are Apple MacBooks. Macs cost more than PCs, a hurdle for Apple in the past. After taking into account factors like maintenance and support, Sheila Jordan, a Cisco senior vice president, said the costs end up about even over the life of the machine.”
"Google has grappled before with the gulf between ideas conceived by engineers and the desires and concerns of its users.Gmail Plans to Allow Google Plus Users to Send Anyone an Email - NYTimes.com
For instance, the change is reminiscent of Buzz, the social network based on Gmail contacts that Google started in 2010. It was met with an uproar and was the subject of a Federal Trade Communications fine over privacy violations, before being shut down.
Buzz, like the new Google Plus email feature, was turned on by default and required people to opt out if they did not want their Gmail inbox linked with a social network."
"Even some Bitcoin entrepreneurs think mining has become a sucker’s game. Fred Ehrsam is a former Goldman Sachs (GS) trader and co-founder of Coinbase, a Bitcoin startup making wallet software that allows people to trade and store Bitcoins, and which recently raised $25 million in venture capital. Ehrsam is committed to Bitcoin but pessimistic about underfunded prospectors making any money. “This is very much a fad that is going to die soon, if it’s not even dead already,” he says. But that’s not the same as saying individual mining will end. He suggests that the next generation of miners might run their computers for ideological purposes—to support the currency and be a disruptive force in global finance—even if doing so has become unprofitable."Bitcoin-Mining Chips, Gear, Computing Groups: Competition Heats Up - Businessweek
Thursday, January 09, 2014
"[Datameer CEO] Stefan Groschupf and Justin Borgman chat over some gluten-free beers about Hadapt, an analytical database on top of Hadoop. The two discuss the SQL on Hadoop "▶ Big Data & Brews: Justin Borgman, CEO of Hadapt - YouTube
"We’ve observed a number of remarkable parallels between how information evolves in a social network and how genes evolve. Drawing these parallels simply hasn’t been possible before for lack of large-scale data containing the evolution histories of many memes. Here we examined near-complete traces of hundreds of memes, collectively comprising over 460 million individual instances. Although the study is limited to just the Facebook context, and just on format of meme (textual status updates), we believe it provides useful insight into the behavior of ideas transmitted via social ties in general."The evolution of memes on Facebook
"We’re at an inflection point in the practice of constructing software. Our tools are good, our server developers are happy, but when it comes to building client-side software, we really don’t know where we’re going or how to get there."Excerpt from his "Mobile sucks" section: "You don’t get a choice of languages; if you hate both Java and ObjC, get another job."
ongoing by Tim Bray · Software in 2014
"Some companies and industries do especially well in tough times: Discounters, health-care providers, fast-food chains, Facebook. That’s right, Facebook. The unemployment rate is more correlated with Google searches for “facebook” than with any other search term.Google Searches for Facebook Spike With the Unemployment Rate - Businessweek
Google’s Correlate “finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.”"
"On a curved TV, Honey Boo Boo sounds like Einstein, MTV plays music videos, and "Saturday Night Live" is actually funny.Farhad Manjoo: New TVs Have Ultra HD, Curved Screens but That's Not Innovation - WSJ.com
Well, no. TV is stuck in an innovation cul-de-sac. There are no new ideas in TV hardware that are worth paying for, so, thanks to competition and production efficiencies, good TVs keep getting cheaper. The cheaper they get, the more desperate TV makers become, filling their sets with more and more useless piffle."