"These bugs and shortcomings don’t manage to detract from my overall Third Impression: The Apple Watch is a useful and pleasant device, one that uses the iPhone in my pocket to provide on my wrist a customized and well-structured set of data and functions – including a nice Apple Pay implementation.Apple Watch: Five Weeks, Third Impressions | Monday Note
And I can’t help remember the first iPhone eight years ago: No native apps, no cut-and-paste, no accented characters, so-so call quality, short battery life… Compared to the 2007 device, the Apple Watch, with its array of models and bands, shows deep thought and quality execution."
Sunday, May 31, 2015
"[...] What, exactly, are Google's AI experts up to?Google's A.I. Is Training Itself to Count Calories In Food Photos | Popular Science
In a word: food.
At this week's Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy unveiled a project that uses sophisticated deep learning algorithms to analyze a still photo of food, and estimate how many calories are on the plate. It's called Im2Calories, and in one example, the system looked at an image, and counted two eggs, two pancakes and three strips of bacon. Since those aren't exactly universal units of measurement, the system gauged the size of each piece of food, in relation to the plate, as well as any condiments. And Im2Calories doesn't require carefully captured high-res images. Any standard Instagram-quality shot should do."
Saturday, May 30, 2015
"What makes Google Now’s pull away from apps even more compelling is that it was joined at I/O by a series of gentle pushes in the same direction. Google’s doing everything it can to get us all back to the web.Google's Ingenious Plan to Make Apps Obsolete | WIRED
“One of the subtle undertones that we got throughout this morning was, ‘Look at all these things you can do on the web,'” Facemire says. “The web is the underlying architecture behind everything Google is doing, even on Android.”"
Friday, May 29, 2015
"“The goal of Google’s Project Jacquard is to confront the historical limitations of wearable technologies by decoupling the touch interface from the digital device,” said a statement Thursday from San Francisco-based Levi’s. “Jacquard makes garments interactive — simple gestures like tapping or swiping send a wireless signal to the wearer’s mobile device and activate functionality, such as silencing phone calls or sending a text message.”"SiliconBeat – Google will weave Internet into your jeans with new Levi’s partnership
"There’s no reason not to try Cardboard now. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it works with your phone. It’s still a million miles away from the best VR demos out there; Oculus, HTC’s Vive, and Project Morpheus all blow Cardboard out of the water—which they should, because they’re not made of cardboard. But Cardboard more than accomplishes what it’s supposed to: It transports you. Download the roller coaster app, and you’re flying through the air. Download the Paul McCartney app, and suddenly you’re perched on the edge of his piano."Google Cardboard Is VR's Gateway Drug | WIRED
"I've just gotten a chance to play around with an early build of Now on Tap, Google's wild new feature that, in essence, does Google searches inside apps automatically. It works like this: when you're in an app — any app — you hold down the home button. Android then figures out what is on the screen and does a Google Now search against it. A Now search is slightly different from your usual Google search, because it brings back cards that are full of structured data and actions, not just a list of links."Now on Tap is the coolest Android feature in a long time | The Verge
"Now on Tap is built to be a mind reader of sorts, a companion that gazes at your device screens right along with you using its digital eyes, constantly collecting ancillary information about the emails you're reading, the stories you're reading, the music you're listening to, and even the route you're driving. Google, which launched Google Now's Now on Tap at its annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco, proffered some sophisticated scenarios, like Now on Tap suggesting gas stations as you drive the rental car back to the airport (Google Now already suggests when to leave to make appointments, and tracks your upcoming flights).Google's 'Now on Tap' is Android's next killer feature -- if it works - CNET
In other instances, it can flag action items in your email (say, hand you info on a restaurant you mentioned, or prompt you to order dinner items through an app), play you some music, and help hook you up with a car service and weather report when you step off the plane somewhere new."
"Apple has acquired Metaio, an augmented reality startup that launched way back in 2003 as an offshoot of a project at Volkswagen. The company’s site said it stopped taking new customers, and now a legal document shows Apple has bought it. The document confirms a transfer of shares of the startup to Apple on May 21st/22nd.Apple Acquires Augmented Reality Company Metaio | TechCrunch
When asked by TechCrunch, Apple responded with its standard reply it gives as confirmation of acquistions, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”"
"Beyond the virtual reality videos it plans on putting on YouTube, Google is also using its Cardboard device in its growing education efforts. Over the last year, the company has been running a trial called Expeditions in about 100 classrooms, in which teachers can use the viewers to take their students on a tour of world sites. Last year, Google invested $542 million in Magic Leap, a Florida company that is developing augmented reality technology that creates imaginative images like an elephant that can fit in one’s hand. And Mr. Bavor said the company had made “a significant investment” in virtual reality that goes well beyond the efforts presented at I/O."Google Intensifies Focus on Its Cardboard Virtual Reality Device - NYTimes.com
"Last year, Google created a cardboard device that could turn any Android phone into a virtual reality headset. Its next steps are to make it easier to create virtual reality videos and to find virtual reality content to watch on YouTube.Google Wants to Turn YouTube Into a Virtual Reality Hub - Bloomberg Business
Through a project called Jump, Google is looking to make it easier to record, process, and watch videos in virtual reality. It has designed a rig that will allow people to record 360-degree video. This can't be done just with a camera phone—it requires 16 cameras operating in unison. People will be able to build their own rigs, but Google has also worked with GoPro, which will sell its own Jump-ready camera outfit. Starting this summer, Google will give a select group of developers access to its software for stitching the video from all these cameras together into a single experience."
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Bradley Horowitz Says That Google Photos is Gmail for Your Images. And That Google Plus Is Not Dead… — Backchannel — Medium
"What problem does Google Photos solve?Bradley Horowitz Says That Google Photos is Gmail for Your Images. And That Google Plus Is Not Dead… — Backchannel — Medium
We have a proliferation of devices and storage and bandwidth, to the point where every single moment of our life can be saved and recorded. But you don’t get a second life with which to curate, review, and appreciate the first life. You almost need a second vacation to go through the pictures of the safari on your first vacation. That’s the problem we’re trying to fix — to automate the process so that users can be in the moment. We also want to bring all of the power of computer vision and machine learning to improve those photos, create derivative works, to make suggestions…to really be your assistant."
"What I think will happen at the WWDC is Apple will announce a spectacular new Apple TV — the most powerful streaming box the world has ever seen — wow developers with its potential and beautiful user interface, but will for the moment limit the features to not much more than the old Apple TV could provide, though with the addition of true streaming. Apple has a difficult path to follow here, you see, because they need to inspire developers to support and extend the new box while, at the same time, creating a video content ecosystem that gets shows from video producers, broadcast and cable networks, and movie studios that have come to inherently distrust Apple as a destroyer of record companies.I, Cringely Apple TV's 4K Future - I, Cringely
If Apple were to throw a completely un-throttled Gen-4 Apple TV on the market, it could cost Cupertino its chance to tie-up long-term content deals to feed those boxes, limiting their total success. Apple needs this new Apple TV to do much more than run Netflix and Hulu, because Apple needs billions and billions in new revenue."
Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API | 9to5Mac
"After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans."Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API | 9to5Mac
"Chesky’s seven-year-old startup, which was valued at $13 billion back in October, is growing very quickly. Airbnb is in 34,000 cities around the world, and more than 800,000 people will stay in an Airbnb every night this summer, up from just half a million now.Airbnb Is Approaching One Million Guests Per Night | Re/code
Airbnb’s business allows people to rent out their homes and spare bedrooms to travelers around the world. Chesky says the company has had some notable successes lately — during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, for instance. Chesky claimed that 20 percent of visitors to Brazil for the tournament stayed in an Airbnb, more than 120,000 people."
"Everyone hates drab PowerPoint presentations—unless, of course, that drab presentation is Mary Meeker's Annual Internet Trends Report. The famed venture capitalist presented her deep dive into tech trends on Wednesday morning, deploying 197 slides while promising to break down the things technologists need to know about the state of the world in 2015.The Nine Slides That Matter From Mary Meeker's State of the Internet - Bloomberg Business
You can see the full show from Re/Code's Code Conference here. Below, we've condensed Meeker's presentation to the nine most interesting slides. "
"In other words: About one of every two computers sold today is running Android. Google’s once underappreciated side bet has become Earth’s dominant computing platform.A Murky Road Ahead for Android, Despite Market Dominance - NYTimes.com
Yet all is not well on planet Android. On the eve of Google IO, the company’s annual developer conference that starts Thursday, where Android will once again be a primary topic of discussion, cracks are emerging in Google’s hold over the operating system. Google’s version of Android faces increasing competition from hungry rivals, including upstart smartphone makers in developing countries that are pushing their own heavily modified take on the software. There are also new threats from Apple, which has said that its recent record number of iPhone sales came, in part, thanks to people switching from Android."
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
"Sources confirm that the next-generation iPhone will look like an iPhone 6 but will include a Force Touch display with haptic feedback as one of its marquee feature additions. To go with the new hardware, Apple has designed iOS 9 to be Force Touch-ready and is working to let developers integrate Force Touch into App Store apps. Force Touch on the iPhone will be used to clear up some control space across the system, and potentially replace some long press-and-hold button interactions."iOS 9 supports ‘iPhone 6S’ Force Touch, may enhance iMessage, Keyboard & Apple Pay | 9to5Mac
"Data storage products maker EMC said Tuesday it would buy privately held Virtustream for about $1.2 billion in cash to expand its cloud offerings.EMC to Buy Virtustream for $1.2 Billion to Expand Cloud Offerings | Re/code
EMC has been looking to strengthen its cloud services offerings as it struggles with slowing sales growth in its main data storage products business.
The company said Virtustream would operate as its new managed cloud services business after the transaction closes."
"SpaceX’s certification “is going to force ULA to be much more competitive on price, but still maintain their high standards on performance,” Caceres said in a phone interview. “This does jar the door open for SpaceX. It’s theirs to lose. They have a vehicle that’s proven and about half the price of the nearest competitor.” [...]
“We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to competing with SpaceX and other new entrants,” the alliance, based in Centennial, Colorado, said in a statement. “We could not be more passionate and proud of our work, our people and our record of success.”"SpaceX Gains Approval to Enter $70 Billion Military Market - Bloomberg Business
"A theory sometimes bandied about the media industry says audiences are deserting desktops and “going mobile” instead. But actually, data from online measurement firms doesn’t seem to support that view, at least at the aggregate market level.Mobile Isn’t Killing the Desktop Internet - Digits - WSJ
The share of overall consumption coming from mobile devices is growing, but desktop web usage isn’t dropping. In fact, it might be increasing."
"In March, the online art brokerage Artsy and a digital code gallery called Ruse Laboratories held the world’s first algorithm art auction in New York. The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where the auction was held as a fundraiser, is assembling a collection of computer code. In April, the Museum of Modern Art convened a gathering of computer experts and digital artists to discuss algorithms and design.What’s Hot in the Art World? Algorithms - WSJ
It is a small step for technology but a leap, perhaps, for the art world. “It is a whole new dimension we are trying to grapple with,” said curatorial director Cara McCarty at the Cooper Hewitt museum. “The art term I keep hearing is code.”"
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
"The Cortana app for iPhones and Android phones will be able to do "most of the things" Cortana does on Windows 10 PCs or Windows Phones, Microsoft officials said, including setting reminders, tracking flights and the like. Everything that users enable to show up in Cortana's Notebook will show up across Windows, Android and iOS devices.Microsoft confirms Cortana is coming to iPhones, Android | ZDNet
There are things Cortana won't be able to do on iPhones and Android devices, such as toggling settings, opening apps; and responding hands-free when users say "Hey Cortana," Microsoft officials said. This is because Microsoft, at least for now, doesn't have the required access to the OS elements that are required for deeper-level integration."
"[...] Get two subordinates to handle the day to day operations and pack your bags? Not quite that easy. If Ive left Apple, he’d be betraying Steve Jobs and abandoning his power as the most influential designer in the world. But he also can’t run the iOS UI and hardware design teams over FaceTime. You simply just can’t just ‘call in’ such an important role.What Jony Ive’s ‘promotion’ to Chief Design Officer really means | 9to5Mac
So there’s this compromise. Ive gets two subordinates to run his two incredibly important programs then gets to spend a reasonable amount of time in the UK with his kids who then aren’t forced to grow up talking like Americans and pronouncing ‘aluminum‘ like animals."
"Twitter has been engaged in an ongoing series of talks to acquire Flipboard, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, in an all-stock deal that would value the company at over $1 billion.Twitter Has Held Talks to Acquire Flipboard | Re/code
Those discussions, which have been pushed by Twitter CFO Anthony Noto, have been taking place since the beginning of the year, said sources, as the social communications giant has faced increasing pressure from Wall Street to grow its audience and innovate its products. But despite a flurry of activity more recently, sources said these talks between Twitter and Flipboard — who are partners on a number of different fronts — seem to be currently stalled."
"Jony Ive, the man responsible for many of Apple’s breakthrough designs, is now the company’s chief design officer.Jony Ive Named Apple’s Chief Design Officer - Digits - WSJ
In the newly created position, Ive will “focus entirely on current design projects, new ideas and future initiatives,” according to a statement by Apple.
The move makes him only the third C-level executive at Apple, after Tim Cook, chief executive officer, and Luca Maestri, chief financial officer."
Monday, May 25, 2015
Can You Hear Me Now? Why Mobile Calls Are Still Subpar, and How That’s Changing | MIT Technology Review
"While apps have turned smartphones into digital Swiss Army knives that can do everything from tracking your heartbeat to hailing you a cab, the phone part of the smartphone hasn’t gotten much better over the years.Can You Hear Me Now? Why Mobile Calls Are Still Subpar, and How That’s Changing | MIT Technology Review
We’re accustomed to mobile phone calls that sound muffled and choppy, making it hard to hear exactly what others are saying and how they’re saying it. It’s one of the reasons why we increasingly use other methods, like texting, e-mail, and instant messaging, to get points across to a group or keep a record of a discussion."
"Q. How did you gain what seems like extensive access to Mr. Lazardis and Mr. Balsillie?Behind the Downfall at BlackBerry - NYTimes.com
A. Ms. McNish: Sean opened the door in 2013 when we were doing a long-simmering investigation into the company. Up until that point, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were very frustrated with the common narrative and they were willing to tell a much more complex story.
At times, Sean and I felt like we were therapists. We interviewed 120 people and I think the vast majority of them have some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome."
"On the ad blocking front, the situation keeps getting worse. Until now, the media industry pretended to ignore the problem, perhaps waiting for a miracle cure. This might turn into a long lull. "Ad Blocks’ Doomsday Scenarios | Monday Note
Saturday, May 23, 2015
"Ex Machina, like Her and all their predecessors going back to 2001, is about machines that develop human qualities: emotions, sneakiness, a higher consciousness, the ability to love, and so forth. But by this point you have to wonder whether that’s a kind of narrative reaction formation—whether the real concern, one that’s been growing in the four decades since the advent of the personal computer, is that we are the ones who have undergone an evolutionary change, that in our lives and, more and more, in our art, we’re in danger of losing our humanity, of becoming indistinguishable from our gadgets."The Robots Are Winning! by Daniel Mendelsohn | The New York Review of Books
"CNBC reported Friday that Microsoft and Salesforce negotiated on a merger that would have been the priciest in Silicon Valley history, and easily surpasses the total Microsoft offered in its famous back-and-forth with Yahoo in 2008. According to anonymous sources cited by CNBC's David Faber, Microsoft was willing to spend $55 billion on the cloud software pioneer, but Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wanted as much as $70 billion."Biz Break: Salesforce wanted $70 billion from Microsoft, report says - San Jose Mercury News
"The second has to do with scope. The Tesla Energy web site declares that “Tesla is not just an automotive company; it’s an energy innovation company,” a statement that calls to mind Ted Levitt’s iconic observation that the railroads could have seen trucks as an opportunity and not a threat if they had thought of themselves as being not merely in the railroad business but, more broadly, in the transportation business. Embracing a larger, more encompassing self-definition powers systems-level ambitions. By defining itself as more than just a car company, Tesla is avoiding a common trap companies fall into as they mature: it is not letting the markets it’s in today bound tomorrow’s opportunities. Tesla’s flashy electric cars are positioned as but one component in the energy system of the future. To stretch an analogy, the cars are the iPod — and iOS, iCloud, and additional devices are still in the works."Tesla’s New Strategy Is Over 100 Years Old - HBR
Friday, May 22, 2015
From an extensive Bing profile. Bing is likely to gain more momentum with Windows 10 and Office 2016, as both include deeper Bing integration.
“The bottom line? The technology improved, Sullivan said. “Now, it’s a credible alternative to Google.””
"Microsoft's goal is to bring Outlook and Outlook.com closer together so that users feel like there are fewer differences between these two email products both called "Outlook." It's similar to what the company is doing in terms of bringing together Skype and Skype for Business (Lync), and OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.Microsoft to bring Outlook.com, Outlook closer together - CNET
Besides making user interface and feature tweaks to Outlook.com to make it more similar to Outlook, Microsoft also is upgrading Outlook.com "to a new Office 365-based infrastructure," according to the Thursday blog post outlining the coming Outlook.com features."
"When a company or website you trust gets hacked, it can be pretty unnerving. Particularly if you trusted that company with your credit card or medical information. But what if the hackers had knowledge of your sex life instead? That could be a reality: AdultFriendFinder has suffered a massive data breach."AdultFriendFinder Hack Might Expose Your Sexual Orientation
"The upshot of all this? Yes, the right virtual reality experiences may have the power to affect both our feeling and our thinking. The next question, as with video games that aim to change their players, is whether the users will want to be the bystanders, or the heroes."Virtual Reality Can Make You Feel. Can It Also Make You Think? | Re/code
"Also, RadioShack and several state attorneys general held a nine-hour mediation last week in Dallas over the treatment of customer data. Standard General agreed to limit its customer email access to the last two years, and to allow access to only seven of 170 fields of data RadioShack kept on its customers, said Ken Paxton, a lawyer for Texas’s attorney general.Bankruptcy Judge Approves Sale of RadioShack Name and Data - NYTimes.com
Standard General will receive names and addresses for 67 million customers, down from the 117 million initially sought."
"The San Francisco firm, launched in December, backs startups with a positive social impact, in sectors such as cleantech, healthy living, and technology that improves education, and other areas of life.Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures Raises $123,456,789 for Debut Fund - Digits - WSJ
Obvious Ventures is an outgrowth of Obvious Corp., which was the predecessor to Twitter. In 2011 Mr. Williams, who is now CEO of Medium, restarted Obvious Corp., along with Biz Stone and Jason Goldman, to invest and incubate startups."
"Google added shopping elements to YouTube’s skippable pre-roll video advertisements, known as TrueView ads. During some TrueView ads, viewers will also see product offers from the same advertiser, with prices, images and a button to click that will take them to the advertiser’s website.Google Wants YouTube Viewers to Shop While They Watch - Digits - WSJ
Some advertisers have tested the ads, including online furniture retailer Wayfair and makeup retailer Sephora. Wayfair said the new ads generated three times as much revenue from sales, compared with traditional TrueView ads."
Thursday, May 21, 2015
"Some of you have asked how we think about the co-existence of Yammer and Office 365 Groups. To clarify, Office 365 Groups is an architectural element of Azure Active Directory—not an Office 365 app or experience—whereas Yammer is THE immersive social experience within Office 365. Together with identity, Office 365 Groups and Office Graph comprise a shared intelligent fabric across Office 365 that’s also extensible."Recapping Yammer highlights and key takeaways from Ignite - Office Blogs
"We’re now in what’s arguably become the most significant period of the year for three of the largest consumer technology companies in the world — the developer conference season. The developer events for Microsoft, Google, and Apple now end up shaping much of what’s to come from these companies in the next year, from new versions of their operating systems to new products and services and, in some cases, new hardware. We’ve already seen Microsoft’s announcements around Windows 10, HoloLens, and more at Build, and next on the docket is Google’s I/O developer conference. As it approaches, there are three key challenges Google needs to grapple with if it’s to maintain its momentum."The Challenges Google Needs to Deal With at I/O | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis
"In a test of Bitcoin’s ability to adapt to its own growing popularity, the Bitcoin community is facing a dilemma: how to change Bitcoin’s core software so that the growing volume of transactions doesn’t overwhelm the network. Some fear that the network, as it’s currently designed, could become overwhelmed as early as next year.Bitcoin’s Community Faces a Tough Decision about the Network’s Future | MIT Technology Review
The answer will help determine the form Bitcoin’s network takes as it matures. But the loose-knit community of Bitcoin users is not in agreement over how it should proceed, and the nature of Bitcoin, a technology neither owned nor controlled by any one person or entity, could make the impending decision-making process challenging. At the very least it represents a cloud of uncertainty hanging over Bitcoin’s long-term future."
"Worldwide Chromebook* sales to end users is on pace to reach 7.3 million units in 2015, a 27 percent increase from 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Education is the primary market for Chromebooks and represented 72 percent of the global Chromebook market in 2014.Gartner Says Worldwide Chromebook Sales Will Reach 7.3 Million Units in 2015
"Since the first model launched in mid-2011, Google's Chromebook has seen success mainly in the education segment across all regions," said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner. "In 2014, the education sector purchased 72 percent of Chromebooks in EMEA, 69 percent in Asia/Pacific, and 60 percent in the U.S. (see Table 1).” "
From an extensive Pew Research survey
"All told, Uber snatched up about 50 people from Carnegie Mellon, including many from its highest ranks. That's an unusually high number of people to leave at once, and accounted for about a third of the staff NREC had at the end of last year. Many were top employees, including David Stager, who had been there since 1997 and is now Uber's lead systems engineer; Jean-Sébastien Valois, a senior commercialization specialist who had been with NREC for nearly 12 years (and lists himself as "on leave" on CMU's site); and Anthony Stentz, NREC's director for the past four and a half years, who had been at the center since 1997. News of some of the departures was reported earlier this year by TechCrunch and The Pittsburgh Business Times."Uber gutted Carnegie Mellon’s top robotics lab to build self-driving cars | The Verge
"On a conference call with analysts, Benioff too declined to answer questions from analysts about the M&A rumors, but he certainly didn’t sound like a founding CEO on the verge of selling his company. He repeated his goal of being the fastest software company to hit $10 billion in annual revenue, which if the analysts are correct shouldn’t happen before 2018.Salesforce Shares Rise as Q1 Results Beat Street View | Re/code
After that he has an even bigger goal: “I am personally committed to surpass SAP. That’s my goal. That’s my dream.” For the record SAP, the German business software giant and a perennial rival and the villain of many Salesforce earnings calls, posted $21.3 billion in revenue in the year ended Dec. 31."
Spotify Takes on Apple and YouTube: 5 Things to Know About the New Streaming War - Bloomberg Business
"Get Ready for New Streaming War: The timing of Spotify’s announcement isn't an accident. Next month Apple is expected to unveil its own streaming service built on its $3 billion acquisition of Beats. Sure, Spotify faces plenty of competitors already, but it hasn’t faced a serious rival since it broke away from the streaming music pack several years ago.Spotify Takes on Apple and YouTube: 5 Things to Know About the New Streaming War - Bloomberg Business
Apple is hardly guaranteed success. It launched a music-based streaming service, Ping, which failed. Then it tried a Pandora competitor, iTunes Radio, which has been underwhelming. Nor is it clear how Apple can fundamentally improve on music subscription services that are a pretty good deal for serious music fans. “Subscription music is a good category. There really isn’t a problem here for Apple to fix,” says Andrew Sheehy of Generator. “The only actual advantage that Apple has is the install base and its market power.” "
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide
Source: Gartner (May 2015)
""The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement, "and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage and longer battery life to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display."Apple polishes desktop, laptop Macs - CNET
While the iPhone is Apple's biggest moneymaker, at almost 70 percent of sales, Macs -- including the popular iMac desktop and MacBook notebooks -- are the company's second-biggest revenue drivers. Macs accounted for nearly 10 percent of sales last quarter, while the iPad tablet contributed about 9.4 percent.
Apple currently ranks as the No. 4 PC company in the US (behind Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo), with an 11 percent share of the market, according to researcher IDC."
"In a statement released Tuesday, the exchange says the NYSE Bitcoin Index (NYXBT) will track the U.S. dollar value of one bitcoin based on how the currency trades at select exchanges.NYSE launches a bitcoin index | America's Markets
“Bitcoin values are quickly becoming a data point that our customers want to follow as they consider transacting, trading or investing with this emerging asset class,” said NYSE Group President Thomas Farley in a statement."
"Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Libin said that while the intentions of lawmakers in some countries might be pure, they “really misunderstand what data is.”Storing Data in Europe Won’t Make it Safer, Says Evernote CEO - Digits - WSJ
Evernote, an online service that stores notes, photos and other information, keeps almost all of its data in the U.S.
“Some of the proposed laws are really stupid,” he said, though he declined to say which ones. “We have to comply with even the stupid ones.”"
"Apple, Procter & Gamble, 3M — American businesses dominate the list of the most innovative companies in the world. And new companies trumpeting new products, financed by dynamic venture capital operations, continue to emerge from Silicon Valley, the Boston region, New York, Northern Virginia and elsewhere.American Innovation Lies on Weak Foundation - NYTimes.com
But talk to a scientist in a research lab almost anywhere and you are likely to hear that the edifice of American innovation rests on an increasingly rickety foundation.
Investment in research and development has flatlined over the last several years as a share of the economy, stabilizing at about 2.9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product in 2012, according to the National Science Foundation."
"The fallout has been deeply satisfying to Mr. Snowden, who at first feared that his revelations might be ignored, said Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents him. But the debate about Mr. Snowden is far from over.Snowden Sees Some Victories, From a Distance - NYTimes.com
“His life is very, very rich and full,” Mr. Wizner said, eager to refute predictions by Mr. Snowden’s critics in 2013 that he would end up in bitter obscurity in Russia. “What a remarkable public citizen he’s become. How fitting that he has been able to use technology to defeat exile and participate in the debate he started.”"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Google Drops Cloud Computing Prices By Up To 30 Percent, Launches Preemptible Instances | TechCrunch
"Today’s cuts focus on the Compute Engine side of the service and include cuts of up to 30 percent for the smallest instances. A Micro instance on Google Cloud platform will now cost as little as $0.006 per hour under regular usage. For other instance types, the price cuts are somewhat less dramatic and range between 5 percent for High CPU instances and 20 percent for the Standard instances.Google Drops Cloud Computing Prices By Up To 30 Percent, Launches Preemptible Instances | TechCrunch
Google argues that these cuts mean “Google Cloud Platform is now 40 percent less expensive for many workloads.” As always, it’s worth taking those numbers with a grain of salt, but it’s clear that Google continues its push to bring cloud computing prices down and to compete with Amazon, Microsoft and the other cloud vendors on price."
"The survey was commissioned by AT&T, itself a phone company, but one that has invested heavily in discouraging distracted driving through its “It Can Wait” public service campaign. The telephone survey was conducted by Braun Research, which polled 2,067 people who own a smartphone and drive at least once a day.Some People Do More Than Text While Driving - NYTimes.com
The survey found that 27 percent of drivers age 16 to 65 report using Facebook, and 14 percent report using Twitter. Of those, a startling 30 percent who said they post to Twitter while driving do it “all the time.”"
Surprising this took so long
The President of the United States is officially on Twitter.
Monday morning, President Barack Obama launched @POTUS — an acronym standing for President of the United States — on Twitter with a simple greeting saying “Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.”
Best response I’ve seen so far
… to which President Obama replied
"Apple had searched for breakthrough features to justify building an Apple-branded television set, those people said. In addition to an ultra-high-definition display, Apple considered adding sensor-equipped cameras so viewers could make video calls through the set, they said.Behind Apple’s Move to Shelve TV Plans - WSJ
Ultimately, though, Apple executives didn’t consider any of those features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market, led by Samsung Electronics Co. Apple typically likes to enter a new product area with innovative technology and easier-to-use software."
Friday, May 15, 2015
"So maybe it's ironic that in some regards, the new MacBook runs Windows 10 (a prerelease version, at that) better than it runs OS X. But it's a testament to two things: Apple's fantastic MacBook hardware, which is forward-thinking yet surprisingly agile; and Microsoft's excellent Windows software, which entices and excites with its beautiful interface, useful new features, and rock-solid UI transitions. I'm excited to keep Windows 10 installed on this machine, both now as a preview, and later once the final version is installed. Even hardened OS X diehards owe it to themselves to give it a try."Testing The 12-inch MacBook's Performance with Windows 10 – Alex King
"Just a little over a year ago we released OneNote for Mac. Since then we’ve delivered frequent improvements and new experiences that have made OneNote a top 10 free app in the Mac App Store. Continuing to make OneNote for Mac even better, today we’re introducing audio recording—one of the most frequently requested features by OneNote for Mac fans (especially students), and another powerful way to capture ideas and information into OneNote—plus the ability to recover notes you deleted accidentally and view equations created in OneNote for Windows."Audio recording comes to OneNote for Mac - Office Blogs
"Lowering health care insurance premiums and cutting hospital costs will be the real reason the wearable health movement will be sustainable. Obamacare has put personal health care on the front page and pretty much insured that people, at least in the US, are going to be more health conscience. And, if a health wearable is prescribed or highly recommended by their doctor and health insurer, more and more people will adopt its use and make it a part of their normal lifestyle. This part of the tech market, whether delivered via a dedicated health wearable or through a smartwatch, will continue to grow and become an important part of our wearable future."Is the Wearable Health Movement Sustainable? | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis
"The hedge fund Standard General was the top bidder with $26.2 million for RadioShack's brand name and customer data. The same firm bought out Radio Shack's 1,700 store leases in March, as noted by Bloomberg.Apple intervenes in Radio Shack sale in effort to protect customer data
But as the bidding process was underway in a Delaware bankruptcy court, Apple joined the proceedings with a filing of its own. Specifically, the iPhone maker argued that its agreements with RadioShack prevent customer data obtained from those buying Apple products from being resold.
In order to gain an Apple reseller agreement, RadioShack allegedly waived any rights to the data of customers who bought Apple products, as detailed by Law360."
"When Musk looked at the numbers, it looked like only one company would survive. “I could either pick SpaceX or Tesla or split the money I had left between them,” Musk said. “That was a tough decision. If I split the money, maybe both of them would die. If I gave the money to just one company, the probability of it surviving was greater, but then it would mean certain death for the other company. I debated that over and over.” In the meantime, the economy was worsening, and spacecraft and sports cars seemed out of place in a time of near-record unemployment."Elon Musk’s Space Dream Almost Killed Tesla | Bloomberg Business
With Facebook’s Instant Articles, Publishers May Find 70 Cents Is Better Than a Dollar - Digits - WSJ
"There are many questions for media executives to consider about the program, which allows whole articles and videos to be published to the social media site’s mobile app. One major consideration is whether Facebook can help publishers generate revenue from their mobile audiences more successfully than they can themselves.With Facebook’s Instant Articles, Publishers May Find 70 Cents Is Better Than a Dollar - Digits - WSJ
The answer? Quite possibly, because Facebook has figured out what other online ad sellers haven’t: how to effectively target and track mobile ads."
"To target prospective clients in competitive markets, tech-savvy agents are buying data subscriptions and teaming up with firms that identify potential buyers using increasingly precise metrics. Exotic-car owners can be courted to buy a car-collector’s mansion. Equestrians are rounded up for ranch homesHow Real Estate Uses Big Data to Track Clients - WSJ
Last year, Sotheby’s International Realty announced a partnership with Wealth-X, a consulting group that uses public records and research staff to manually track the habits of “ultrahigh-net-worth individuals.” There are about 211,000 people world-wide valued at more than $30 million, according to the company’s president and co-founder, David Friedman—and the firm’s goal is to write a detailed dossier on each one of them."
Thursday, May 14, 2015
"But to me the greater significance is what can now be done by integrating things like ImageIdentify into the whole symbolic structure of the Wolfram Language. What ImageIdentify does is something humans learn to do in each generation. But symbolic language gives us the opportunity to represent shared intellectual achievements across all of human history. And making all these things computational is, I believe, something of monumental significance, that I am only just beginning to understand.Wolfram Language Artificial Intelligence: The Image Identification Project—Stephen Wolfram Blog
But for today, I hope you will enjoy the Wolfram Language Image Identification Project. Think of it as a celebration of where artificial intelligence has reached. Think of it as an intellectual recreation that helps build intuition for what artificial intelligence is like. But don’t forget the part that I think is most exciting: it’s also practical technology, that you can use here and now in the Wolfram Language, and deploy wherever you want."
"The stink over Internet.org came about after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a consultation paper in late March that focused on net neutrality and asked for public comment. Following a concerted push from Internet activists, more than a million people responded in support of net neutrality, even though India doesn’t have any laws upholding it.Why Facebook’s Internet.org is Stumbling in India | Re/code
As a result, services like Facebook’s Internet.org became the focus of public debate and numerous articles condemned the plan. The backlash was strong enough that some Indian tech companies pulled their services from Internet.org altogether."
"Tesla Motors Inc. is looking at the good old-fashioned turn signal as a potential solution to a liability debate associated with driverless vehicle technology.Who’s Responsible when a Driverless Car Crashes? Tesla’s Got an Idea - WSJ
The Palo Alto, Calif., electric-car maker soon will begin activating semiautonomous features, including the capability to pass other cars without driver intervention, in its Model S sedans. A driver can trigger the passing function by hitting the turn signal, according to people familiar with the technology. That action not only tells the car it can pass, but also means the driver has given thought to whether the maneuver is safe."
"Verizon’s deal to buy AOL for $4.4 billion barely registers on Verizon’s balance sheet, and in purely financial terms it’s nothing compared with Verizon’s paying $130 billion last year to acquire all of Verizon Wireless.Verizon Takes to the Battlefield - NYTimes.com
But its AOL purchase may be a signature transaction for Verizon, the deal that vanquishes lingering perceptions of the company as a stodgy utility. And the acquisition is just the latest and most visible in a series of bold steps that have transformed Verizon into a formidable competitive threat across the ever-converging telecommunications, technology and media industries."
"Americans viewed an average of 5¼ hours of video per day in 2013, according to the market research firm eMarketer. And this year, we’re supposed to break 5½ hours. But not because we’re watching the regularly scheduled kind pumped out by local stations, national networks, and cable channels. We’ve cut back slightly on that.Vessel needs a head start against YouTube - Business - The Boston Globe
All the growth is in Internet video, the kind viewed on PCs, smartphones, and tablets. The average Yank spent an hour per day last year watching this stuff, up from 21 minutes in 2011. And it just keeps growing. Thanks to YouTube, we’re all trained to enjoy the occasional brief video break. I’m a sucker for movie trailers and “Three Stooges” shorts, myself.
But is anybody a big enough sucker to pay for this stuff?"
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
"Microsoft's emphasis on the cloud has on-premises SharePoint users questioning their fate, but that issue was sidestepped at Ignite by offerings such as Delve."At Ignite, Microsoft Delve helps Redmond sidestep SharePoint woes
"Microsoft recently updated the Office apps for iPhone and iPad, adding new features to each of the apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Key among the changes: you can use iCloud Drive for documents and Excel for iPad now supports add-ons."Microsoft Updates Office Apps for iPhone and iPad - Thurrott.com
"Microsoft officials said earlier this year and reiterated at Ignite that SharePoint Server 2016 will not be the last on-premises version of SharePoint. More versions are planned "for the foreseeable future," officials said.Microsoft's SharePoint 2016: What's hybrid got to do with it? | ZDNet
And for those wondering, Microsoft execs say they also won't be dismantling SharePoint Online and replacing it with a bunch of individual, smaller-scoped features in Office 365. The official statement, from a spokesperson: "SharePoint Online will continue to play an important role as the platform underlying a number of Office 365 experiences, including next generation portals like Video, as well as Delve, OneDrive and Team Sites.""
"One question about the Verizon purchase is the future of some AOL properties that really do not seem to fit, especially with an ongoing fight over net neutrality. Huffington Post, a major news publisher with a generally liberal tilt, and two leading tech sites, Engadget and TechCrunch, do not seem to fit well with Verizon. Re/code’s Kara Swisher reported talks were already in progress to sell HuffPo to various buyers, with the leader being Germany’s Axel Springer.AOL RIP: Where The Net Was Born for Many | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis
Whatever happens in the end, there appears to be not much left of AOL except ads and some members. The end of AOL is not much of a surprise."
"The evidence that users who see items on Pinterest are likely to buy them afterward strengthens the company’s pitch to advertisers. It also raises a question: When will Pinterest follow in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter by adding a buy button? This feature would have natural appeal on Pinterest because its audience uses the service specifically to find ideas and items.Also see Pinterest Is Working on a Plan to Introduce a ‘Buy’ Button as Soon as This Year (Re/code, 20150212)
Investors are banking on just such a proposition. Pinterest is valued at $11 billion, more than double its valuation of $5 billion less than a year ago. That makes it one of the most highly valued startups in the world despite having made little revenue.
Smith says a buy button isn’t in the cards for now. “We don’t have any plans to announce a buy button at this time,” she said."
Pinterest Survey Finds Service Influences Purchasing Decisions - Digits - WSJ
"For publishers, the Facebook initiative represents the latest in a series of existential balancing acts. The social network, which has more than 1.4 billion active users worldwide, captures more attention of mobile users — and prompts more visits to news sites — than virtually any other service.Facebook Begins Testing Direct Publication of News Articles - NYTimes.com
Publishers have little choice but to cooperate with Facebook, said Vivian Schiller, a former executive at NBC, The New York Times and Twitter who now advises media companies and brands. “That’s where the audience is,” Ms. Schiller said. “It’s too massive to ignore.”
But Facebook’s role as a powerful distributor of news makes many people in the industry uneasy. The fear is that it could become more of a destination than their own sites for the work they produce, drawing away readers and advertising."
"Mr. Armstrong said that both AOL and Verizon were “big investors in content” and that “content is a huge part of the future.”AOL, a Digital Pioneer, With Another Chance to Reshape Itself - NYTimes.com
Asked if Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and an AOL executive, was planning to work for Verizon, Mr. Armstrong said, “Yes, definitely.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Armstrong said that he also would stay on at Verizon and that he had signed a multiyear contract with the company. One friend has said that he aspires to be the Rupert Murdoch of the digital age. Mr. Armstrong said that he was living his dream now.
“If you want to talk about building the next great global media platform,” he said, “the deal accomplished that goal, and that is what I am here to do.”"
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
"Verizon’s dumb pipes become no smarter by running AOL through them.Verizon’s Dumb Pipes Are No Smarter With AOL - NYTimes.com
Seeking refuge from a vicious wireless war, the telecommunications carrier is buying AOL, the custodian of The Huffington Post and old Internet dial-up customers, for $4.4 billion. AOL’s video ad tech business may be the ostensible prize, but it faces many threats. This is just another silly deal involving a company best known for its involvement in a catastrophic one."
"Verizon Communications Inc. is buying AOL Inc. in a $4.4 billion deal aimed at advancing the telecom giant’s growth ambitions in mobile video and advertising.Verizon to Buy AOL for $4.4 Billion - WSJ
The all-cash deal values AOL at $50 a share, a 23% premium over the company’s three-month volume-weighted average price. AOL shares rose 18% in premarket trading to $50.27. Verizon shares fell 1.6% to $49.
The acquisition would give Verizon, which has set its sights on entering the crowded online video marketplace, access to advanced technology AOL has developed for selling ads and delivering high-quality Web video."
"Microsoft lists what isn't in Edge in this blog post. Highlights of those removed technologies include:Microsoft Edge Browser Jettisoning Older Technologies for Better Security -- Redmondmag.com
- ActiveX -- HTML 5 takes care of the need for ActiveX controls, according to Microsoft, although Edge will still have built-in Adobe Flash support and PDF support
- Document Modes -- Edge will have a single document mode, while IE will still be around for organizations that need the legacy code support
- Vector Markup Language - it's supplanted by Scalable Vector Graphics now, according to Microsoft"
"Rackspace, a true cloud computing pioneer, is starting to sound like a company that will focus more on taking care of clouds other than its own.Will Rackspace support Google's or Amazon's clouds? - Fortune
“Supporting other clouds makes sense and is consistent with our heritage,” CEO Taylor Rhodes said on the company’s first quarter earnings call Monday night. The company is having “good conversations” with potential partners, he added, without providing names."
Database Vendor MarkLogic Joins Billion-Dollar Club With New Funding - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
"MarkLogic Corp. has joined the ranks of the world’s most valuable private companies, raising $102 million at a pre-money valuation of more than $1 billion. The company didn’t reveal a post-money valuation.Database Vendor MarkLogic Joins Billion-Dollar Club With New Funding - Venture Capital Dispatch - WSJ
The round was led by Wellington Management Co. and includes new investor Arrowpoint Partners and all current investors, taking total funding to $173 million. MarkLogic was targeting $70 million and said the round was oversubscribed."
"That means a lot of MacBook shoppers will still end up looking seriously at the 13-inch Air. While it's not the superstar it once was, it's hard to ignore at $999. Our key takeaways include:Which 2015 Apple MacBook should you buy? - CNET
- The 13-inch MacBook Pro has excellent battery life, a beautiful, higher-res screen, and plenty of ports and connections.
- The 12-inch MacBook isn't powerful enough for more than casual tasks and web surfing, and you'll be lucky if that battery lasts a full day.
- The 13-inch MacBook Air still works well enough for most any mainstream workload, and it has the best battery life of any laptop we've ever tested."
"So, after a month, is it thumbs-up, or thumbs-down? I like the Apple Watch. It’s a gorgeous piece of hardware with a clever and simple user interface and some fine built-in functions. It already has more than 4,000 third party apps. I will probably buy one.Walt Mossberg Tests the Apple Watch for a Month | Re/code
But it’s a fledgling product whose optimal utility lies mostly ahead of it as new watch software is developed. I got the strong feeling that third-party app developers taking their first swing at the thing simply hadn’t yet figured out how best to write software for it — especially since Apple, for now, is requiring that watch apps basically be adjuncts of iPhone apps.
But that will change, and Apple’s own core apps are already rich examples of what the watch can do."
"Smartwatches let advertisers grab consumers’ attention immediately, no matter what they are doing. And it’s not just about screen space. Extra sensors that collect data such as the pulse, movements and even skin temperature could help marketers better target their ads.Coming Soon to Your Smartwatch: Ads Targeting Captive Eyeballs - Bloomberg Business
“Is this person awake?” said Greg Ratner, head of technology at brand agency Deep Focus in New York. “Is that a good time to interact with that user at all, or should we wait for a different time to engage with them? All that is just additional context to help us connect the brands with the users at the right moment.”"
"Google is currently migrating to the new approach and intends for the entire company to eventually use this model, according to the paper. With the new model access depends solely on the device and user credentials, regardless of the employee’s network location. That means employee access is treated the same whether the user is at a corporate office, at home or in a coffee shop. This setup does away with the conventional virtual private network connection into the corporate network. It also encrypts employee connections to corporate applications, even when an employee is connecting from a Google building.Google Moves Its Corporate Applications to the Internet - The CIO Report - WSJ
With this approach, trust is moved from the network level to the device level. Employees can only access corporate applications with a device that is procured and actively managed by the company. In this setup, Google requires a device inventory database that keeps track of computers and mobile devices issued to employees as well as changes made to those devices."
"With Uber now reportedly valued at $50 billion, there are justifiable worries that some private start-up technology companies worth $1 billion or more — known as unicorns — are in bubble territory.Main Street Portfolios Are Investing in Unicorns - NYTimes.com
But don’t worry, the thinking goes. Main Street investors won’t get hurt as they did after the dot-com collapse of 2000 because the current crop of highfliers are privately held by expert investors like venture capitalists. So most civilians will be fine should things turn south this time.
Here’s an open secret: That’s fiction."
Monday, May 11, 2015
"According to Geek, Microsoft later this year will launch 55-inch and 84-inch Surface Hub models, which will be sold mainly to businesses. A Surface Hub will run Windows 10, and essentially work just like a Surface Pro tablet. However, these devices are conceived for team work-related purposes at the office, and are supposed to help companies increase productivity.Microsoft Surface Hub release date set for 2015 | BGR
Each Surface Hub comes with multitouch support for 100 touch points and two styluses. Each pen has its own doc that’ll recharge the device while not in use. Other features include dual camera support, and NFC connectivity, that’ll likely let users easily beam documents from other devices to the Surface Hub."
"Good Technology said in a report Monday that iPhones made up 72 percent of all devices in the enterprise, down just a single percentage point from a year ago. Android accounted for just over one fourth of all devices and Windows Phone held steady at 1 percent of the corporate market.Apple Phones, Tablets Continue to Dominate Inside Big Businesses | Re/code
On the tablet side, the iPad still accounts for four in five slates activated by businesses, but that is down from more than 90 percent a year ago. Android gained 1 percentage point from a year ago, while Windows rose from 1 percent to 4 percent."
"This week more news came available when Robert McMillan of the Wall Street Journal wrote For Zynga, A Journey from Cloud to Home — and Back Again. In this article, Zynga is reported to have spent over $100m on a private cloud infrastructure and yet decided to return to the cloud all in. This decision is partly interesting because the previous move was so well publicized but mostly because Zynga has incredible visibility into both the on premise and public cloud world since they have run both at very high scale for several years.The Return to the Cloud | Perspectives
The article quotes Zynga CEO Mark Pincus during the last investors call “There’s a lot of places that are not strategic for us to have scale and we think not appropriate, like running our own data centers. We’re going to let Amazon do that.” The articles continues by saying “The company Wednesday said it would shut its data centers and shift its computing workload back to Amazon, as part of $100 million in spending reductions.”
This announcement is interesting because Zygna has a very large infrastructure investment just as most large enterprises have. And yet, even with that large infrastructure investment, they still elected to move to fully to the cloud. What was an example that challenged cloud economics at the very high end of the scale, has now become an example of a company with a deep understanding of both cloud and on premise deployments at scale, deciding to fully commit to the cloud."
"Marc Andreessen, the firm’s co-founder, fixed his gaze on Doshi as he disinfected his germless hands with a sanitizing wipe. Andreessen is forty-three years old and six feet five inches tall, with a cranium so large, bald, and oblong that you can’t help but think of words like “jumbo” and “Grade A.” Two decades ago, he was the animating spirit of Netscape, the Web browser that launched the Internet boom. In many respects, he is the quintessential Silicon Valley venture capitalist: an imposing, fortyish, long-celebrated white man. (Forbes’s Midas List of the top hundred V.C.s includes just five women.) But, whereas most V.C.s maintain a casual-Friday vibe, Andreessen seethes with beliefs. He’s an evangelist for the church of technology, afire to reorder life as we know it. He believes that tech products will soon erase such primitive behaviors as paying cash (Bitcoin), eating cooked food (Soylent), and enduring a world unimproved by virtual reality (Oculus VR). He believes that Silicon Valley is mission control for mankind, which is therefore on a steep trajectory toward perfection. And when he so argues, fire-hosing you with syllogisms and data points and pre-refuting every potential rebuttal, he’s very persuasive."The Mind of Marc Andreessen - The New Yorker
Autonomous truck cleared to drive on US roads for the first time - tech - 08 May 2015 - New Scientist
"The next big thing in autonomous vehicles really is big. At a ceremony at the Hoover Dam last Wednesday, automotive manufacturer Daimler unveiled a self-driving truck – the first to be cleared to drive on US roads.Autonomous truck cleared to drive on US roads for the first time - tech - 08 May 2015 - New Scientist
For the freight industry, the Inspiration Truck holds the promise of a future with fewer accidents, lower fuel costs and well-rested drivers.
Over the past few years, autonomous trucks have drawn the attention of companies that repeatedly use the same routes or encounter few people or other vehicles. Some farms use autonomous grain harvesters or planters. Mining company Rio Tinto has more than 50 self-driving vehicles hauling iron ore at a remote site in Western Australia. In Texas, the US military has been working on trucks that can navigate battle zones."
"By any measure, Airbnb’s growth has been stunning since the company was founded in 2008. It now has more than a million rooms available in homes, apartments and even former barns — more places to sleep than hotel giants like Marriott and Hilton.Airbnb Grows to a Million Rooms, and Hotel Rivals Are Quiet, for Now - NYTimes.com
Despite this growth, though, the big hotel chains, at least outwardly, have yet to take substantial action to counter the potential threat from the upstart lodging service."
"Apple has pledged to create enough energy through renewable sources to power its global operations. Now it’s setting a far more ambitious goal to do the same for its manufacturing supply chain.Apple Expands Renewable Energy Goal - Digits - WSJ
Apple says it generates renewable energy – from solar, wind, biogas, fuel cells, geothermal and small hydropower plants — equivalent to 87% of the energy used by its facilities worldwide. The company’s goal is to get to 100%.
Including the supply chain, which produces hundreds of millions of its products every year, will be a much tougher task. Apple says the supply chain uses roughly 60 times as much power as Apple’s own facilities."
"How realistic are such concerns? And how urgent? We assembled a panel of experts from industry, research and policy-making to consider the dangers—if any—that lie ahead. Taking part in the discussion are Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype and the think tanks Centre for the Study of Existential Risk and the Future of Life Institute; Guruduth S. Banavar, vice president of cognitive computing at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center; and Francesca Rossi, a professor of computer science at the University of Padua, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and president of the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence, the main international gathering of researchers in AI."Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat? - WSJ
Saturday, May 09, 2015
"Facebook is a private corporation with a terrible public relations problem. It is periodically rated one of the least popular companies in existence. It is currently facing serious government investigations into illegal practices in many countries, some of which stem from the manipulation of its news feed algorithm. In this context, I have to say that it doesn’t seem wise for these Facebook researchers to have spun these data so hard in this direction, which I would summarize as: the algorithm is less selective and less polarizing. Particularly when the research finding in their own study is actually that the Facebook algorithm is modestly more selective and more polarizing than living your life without it."What Facebook's 'It's Not Our Fault' Study Really Means | WIRED
Friday, May 08, 2015
"That is not to say Google Glass 2.0, rumored to be in the works, or even future products like this could gain consumer traction some day, but it will come at a deep marketing cost and may be well into the future if they get accepted at all. In the mean time, products like Sony’s Morpheus, Facebook’s Oculus and even Microsoft’s HoloLens will take aim at a higher-end gaming audience or those focused on virtual and augmented reality and be priced like vertical market products — well out of reach for the general consumer for a long time.The Debacle of Google Glass | Tech.pinions - Perspective, Insight, Analysis
But even if Google Glass 2.0 comes out or others create glasses similar at cheaper prices, I see them as being dead in the water for consumers. While Google was playing with Glass, Apple brought out the ideal extension of your smartphone in the form of a watch."
"With Windows 10, it's time to start thinking of Windows as something that won't see a big launch or major upgrade every few years anymore. Much like how Google's Chrome browser gets updated regularly with version numbers nobody really pays attention to, Microsoft's approach will likely result in a similar outcome. This is really the idea of Windows as a service, and the notion that Windows 10 could be the last major version of Windows. Microsoft could opt for Windows 11 or Windows 12 in future, but if people upgrade to Windows 10 and the regular updates do the trick then everyone will just settle for just "Windows" without even worrying about the version number."Why Microsoft is calling Windows 10 'the last version of Windows' | The Verge
"In a major vindication for Edward Snowden -- and a blow for the national security policy pursued by Republicans and Democrats alike -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Thursday that the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program is unlawful. This is the most serious blow to date for the legacy of the USA Patriot Act and the surveillance overreach that followed 9/11."Court Backs Snowden, Strikes Secret Laws - Bloomberg View
"Analysts are voicing concerns about Tesla Motors Inc.’s cash, saying the maker of electric cars and energy-storage products may need to raise money.Tesla May Need to Raise Capital After Losses, Analysts Say - Bloomberg Business
Tesla said it had $1.51 billion in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, down from $1.91 billion three months earlier. Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, called Tesla’s cash burn “eye watering” in a note early Thursday."
"More and more, Uber is positioning itself as a logistics company. The goal is to deliver people and things within cities as quickly as possible — relying heavily on Google’s Maps in the process.Uber Joins the Bidding for Here, Nokia’s Digital Mapping Service - NYTimes.com
That dependency may soon change.
Uber has submitted a bid for Here, the main competitor to Google Maps, for as much as $3 billion, according to three people with knowledge of the offer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Here is owned by Nokia, the Finnish telecom giant, which announced last month that it was considering selling the business."
Thursday, May 07, 2015
First Look at the Rift, Shipping Q1 2016 | Oculus Rift - Virtual Reality Headset for 3D Gaming [Oculus blog]
"Since the earliest days of the Oculus Kickstarter, the Rift has been shaped by gamers, backers, developers, and enthusiasts around the world. Today, we’re incredibly excited to announce that the Oculus Rift will be shipping to consumers in Q1 2016, with pre-orders later this year.First Look at the Rift, Shipping Q1 2016 | Oculus Rift - Virtual Reality Headset for 3D Gaming
The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality. It’s a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be."
"For Microsoft, a deal to buy Salesforce.com makes sense.The Best Deal for Salesforce is No Deal At All | Re/code
CEO Satya Nadella has spoken publicly about bolstering Microsoft’s cloud software offerings beyond its Office 365 and Azure services. Adding Salesforce, which it is now believed to be considering, would create an unrivaled portfolio of cloud software assets that include software companies use to track their sales processes, marketing, advertising, customer service and human resources.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, however, should run screaming."