"One of the most successful authors in the world, Walter Isaacson, is seeking the wisdom of the crowds for his new book about the technology industry’s major inventors.“Steve Jobs” Biographer Puts Draft Of New Book Online To Crowdsource Ideas | TechCrunch
Crowdsourcing books isn’t new, but it is, as far I as can tell, the first time a writer of Isaacson’s caliber has opened up the writing process in such a way. In an email interview, Isaacson gave me some more detail on how it’s working. “It has been surprisingly helpful. I have made dozens of factual changes, plus I have sketched out a few more substantive additions I plan to make in the final version,” he said."
Monday, December 30, 2013
“Steve Jobs” Biographer Puts Draft Of New Book Online To Crowdsource Ideas | TechCrunch
Dead and Buried? Here's What's Really Happening With Facebook - Forbes
"The non-teen, non early twenties cohorts are making much more use of Facebook. The story is a strong one for Facebook, which has now become intimately entwined in the lives of people across all age groups, and increasingly among those who are more likely to have disposable income. The mature market is on trend to become the most active users of Facebook during 2014.Dead and Buried? Here's What's Really Happening With Facebook - Forbes
It may be that Facebook wants to maintain its reputation as the cool place for young people to connect but that is clearly past. Mobile usage has encouraged people to migrate to other sites. But overall Facebook is cementing its position as the default setting in online relationships."
Nokia Drops Maps App from iPhone - Digits - WSJ
"The Finnish company decided to remove its mobile maps app, known as HERE, from the iOS store. In an emailed statement, Nokia pointed to Apple’s design for iOS 7, the latest version of the software for iPhones and iPads, which some have called confusing. At the same time, Nokia pointed the finger at itself for not updating its HERE app.Nokia Drops Maps App from iPhone - Digits - WSJ
Nokia said it pulled HERE from the iOS store “because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience.” Nokia didn’t elaborate in the statement. The statement also said the HERE app “was not optimized for iOS 7 so we decided to remove it.”"
Rise in Twitter’s Stock Reflects Exuberance in Silicon Valley - NYTimes.com
"“I just haven’t seen something like this in a long time,” said Robert S. Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, who had set a price target of $50 before the I.P.O. but cut his rating to hold two weeks ago when shares reached $59. “They don’t have earnings. They don’t have free cash flow.”Rise in Twitter’s Stock Reflects Exuberance in Silicon Valley - NYTimes.com
As Barron’s, an investment advisory publication, put it over the weekend, “At $45 billion, the company may have the highest market value of any firm that isn’t generating any earnings since the dot-com bubble of 1999-2000.”"
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Evernote CEO Phil Libin on Turning Loyal Users Into Paying Customers - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
"So about how many users do you have now? And how readily are you making money off the users you have?Evernote CEO Phil Libin on Turning Loyal Users Into Paying Customers - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
We have about 80 million users globally, and that’s a combined number for free and paid. Our conversion rate increases linearly with cohort age, so the longer you use Evernote, the more likely you are to convert to premium. The idea is that we want you to use Evernote forever. Once you’re using it, we want you to keep using it, and it’s more important that you stay than you pay us. We want the engagement. The longer you use it, the higher the perceived value gets. And the higher the perceived value, the more willing you’re willing to pay. It’s up to us to make something that you want to pay for. The percentage of people who pay in the first month is like one half of one percent. But if they use it for a year, that goes up to seven percent. In the second year, it goes up to 11 percent. Our oldest cohort, the people who have been with us five years or so, it goes up to 25 percent."
Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience - NYTimes.com
"The new processors consist of electronic components that can be connected by wires that mimic biological synapses. Because they are based on large groups of neuron-like elements, they are known as neuromorphic processors, a term credited to the California Institute of Technology physicist Carver Mead, who pioneered the concept in the late 1980s.Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience - NYTimes.com
They are not “programmed.” Rather the connections between the circuits are “weighted” according to correlations in data that the processor has already “learned.” Those weights are then altered as data flows in to the chip, causing them to change their values and to “spike.” That generates a signal that travels to other components and, in reaction, changes the neural network, in essence programming the next actions much the same way that information alters human thoughts and actions."
Does It Make Any Sense for Overstock.com to Accept Bitcoin? - Businessweek
"Right now, merchants seem to accept Bitcoin for three main reasons: They want press coverage, they’re libertarian fellow travelers, or they’re selling drugs. Assuming that last one doesn’t apply to Overstock.com (OSTK), its announcement that it will begin accepting Bitcoin by mid-2014 seems to be some mix of the first two reasons. The online retailer, whose 2012 revenue totaled $1.1 billion, is the largest yet to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon."Does It Make Any Sense for Overstock.com to Accept Bitcoin? - Businessweek
U.S. Christmas Day Shoppers Bought More on iOS Than Android - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
"True, this is only U.S. data, but it speaks to an important metric in the iOS versus Android discussion — usage. Android may have a greater share of the mobile devices market, but iOS devices continue to rule in usage measurements. And that’s worth noting. Recall that one of the big numbers Apple rolled out at its fall iPad event was a metric claiming that the iPad has captured an 81 percent share of tablet usage. And according to CEO Tim Cook, that’s the metric that matters most to Apple."U.S. Christmas Day Shoppers Bought More on iOS Than Android - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
U.S. Tablet Sales Led by iPad in 2013 as Chromebooks Overtake MacBooks - Mac Rumors
Evidently Microsoft’s Chromebook-bashing ads aren’t working; it’ll be interesting to see how the distributions shift when December’s sales are factored in
“The iPad held the biggest share of sales for any tablet in the U.S. during 2013, while sales of Google Chromebooks made up a bigger percentage of the laptop market compared to Mac notebooks, according to a new report from The NPD Group.”
U.S. Tablet Sales Led by iPad in 2013 as Chromebooks Overtake MacBooks - Mac Rumors
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Twitter Reverses Rally as Shares Dive - WSJ.com
""The people who rode it up over the past few days all of a sudden got pretty nervous," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners, an investment adviser in New York with $4.5 billion in assets under management. "People are always looking for a quick way to make a buck. Twitter was the bet, until it wasn't and it ran out of steam.""Twitter Reverses Rally as Shares Dive - WSJ.com
The Words That Popped in 2013 - WSJ.com
"Where better to start than with the words we use for online chatter? Since the way we converse with each other electronically is very much in flux, the metalanguage we use to talk about such talk is changing too. Those keeping track of the latest Twitter trends, for instance, would have noticed the rise of the "subtweet": Short for "subliminal tweet," it is the equivalent of talking behind someone's back, tweeting about a person without including his or her Twitter handle."The Words That Popped in 2013 - WSJ.com
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Don't Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It's Your Fault | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
"If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd—full disclosure, a friend of mine—has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives.Don't Blame Social Media if Your Teen Is Unsocial. It's Your Fault | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”"
The Majority Of Porn In The United States Is Viewed On Smartphones – ReadWrite
"If you needed any more evidence that the era of ubiquitous computing is upon us, here is one stat that shows us how prevalent smartphones and tablets have become to the daily lives of people everywhere: the majority of porn in the United States is now consumed through mobile devices.The Majority Of Porn In The United States Is Viewed On Smartphones – ReadWrite
Porn aggregator PornHub released its stats for the year last week to show that 52% its adult content was viewed through a mobile device in 2013. Another 10% of its traffic came from tablets. That’s up from 47% on mobile in 2012 and 7% on tablets. "
NSA Struggles to Make Sense of Flood of Surveillance Data - WSJ.com
""What they are doing is making themselves dysfunctional by taking all this data," Mr. Binney said at a privacy conference here.NSA Struggles to Make Sense of Flood of Surveillance Data - WSJ.com
The agency is drowning in useless data, which harms its ability to conduct legitimate surveillance, claims Mr. Binney, who rose to the civilian equivalent of a general during more than 30 years at the NSA before retiring in 2001. Analysts are swamped with so much information that they can't do their jobs effectively, and the enormous stockpile is an irresistible temptation for misuse."
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Interview: Bruce Sterling Answers Your Questions - Slashdot
"Bruce: Man, the current generation of cops is scarily computer-literate. More so than straight people, even. You get busted for anything at all nowadays, and the cops are all over your computers. They're in your smartphone, your Dropbox, your Facebook. They can shovel you off into the slammer without even bothering to talk to you.Interview: Bruce Sterling Answers Your Questions - Slashdot
Even miserable credit-card coder-thieves are getting hit by RICO charges now. That means that if you're some hacker rip-off artist, and you've got a sock full of Bitcoins hidden somewhere, man, the cops are gonna come to your door with trucks and vans and confiscate every physical object you own. With RICO, they'll raffle that off, and keep the proceeds for themselves. They've got the legal precedents in place now to treat bad-boy hackers just like the Mafia and the Sinaloa drug cartels. Draconian? You bet! Clumsy? Not really."
The Dollar Will Never Fall to Bitcoin - Businessweek
"Bitcoin is a store of value and a medium of exchange. It’s like really awesome gold. It’s not, however, a unit of account. Your mother cannot quote you the price of eggs in bitcoin. This is not just a question of waiting long enough for your mom to get around to using bitcoin. The state has tremendous power over the unit of account. It pays government contracts in the unit of its choosing. It collects taxes in that unit, too. The psychological weight of this power can last for centuries. Medieval Europe still accounted for its variety of coins in Roman units. Modern Europe uses the metric system because Napoleon wanted it so. It’s not clear why any state would choose to give this up.The Dollar Will Never Fall to Bitcoin - Businessweek
The Internet beat up publishing and a couple of other industries. It’s having a harder time so far against the state. A currency is an asset with an army. Bitcoin has no army."
Snowden Offers a Christmas Message - Privacy Matters - NYTimes.com
"“Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information,” Mr. Snowden said. “The types of collection in the book — microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.”Snowden Offers a Christmas Message - Privacy Matters - NYTimes.com
But he also argued that his actions had set off a debate that could help restore faith in those who regulate electronic communications. “The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it,” Mr. Snowden said. “Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”"
As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You - NYTimes.com
"Scribd is just beginning to analyze the data from its subscribers. Some general insights: The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all.As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You - NYTimes.com
At Oyster, a top book is “What Women Want,” promoted as a work that “brings you inside a woman’s head so you can learn how to blow her mind.” Everyone who starts it finishes it. On the other hand, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s “The Cycles of American History” blows no minds: fewer than 1 percent of the readers who start it get to the end."
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Here’s what Paul Krugman doesn’t get about Bitcoin [The Washington Post]
"But Bitcoin's long-term prospects have almost nothing to do with Bitcoin's unorthodox monetary policy. And the technical and regulatory issues that will determine whether Bitcoin succeeds or fails has received very little attention in mainstream coverage of the currency. In the mainstream imagination, Bitcoin is either the second coming of the gold standard or a repeat of the Dutch tulip craze. That debate obscures everything that makes Bitcoin interesting and potentially important."Here’s what Paul Krugman doesn’t get about Bitcoin
Alan Turing, Enigma Code-Breaker and Computer Pioneer, Wins Royal Pardon - NYTimes.com
"The pardon was announced by the British justice secretary, Chris Grayling, who had made the request to the queen. Mr. Grayling said in a statement that Mr. Turing, whose most remarkable achievement was helping to develop the machines and algorithms that unscrambled the supposedly impenetrable Enigma code used by the Germans in World War II, “deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science.”"Alan Turing, Enigma Code-Breaker and Computer Pioneer, Wins Royal Pardon - NYTimes.com
Music Services Stream Into Crowded Field - WSJ.com
"Dozens of companies—from household brands to music-focused startups—plan to begin offering new services in 2014, according to companies that they have hired to help launch and operate them. [...]
Next year's models will feature more genre-focused services, which can bring down the subscription price because of the narrower catalog.Music Services Stream Into Crowded Field - WSJ.com
A niche service could charge as little as $2.99 a month, while others might allow fans to subscribe for just a week at a time. Some may offer discounted access to music catalogs by not including new releases, said Frank Johnson, chief executive of MediaNet Digital Inc., a Seattle company that will help bring more than 50 new streaming services to market next year."
Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished - The Washington Post
"“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished - The Washington Post
“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”"
Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check: thanks * a million
This blog reached a million page views last night – more precisely, it hit one million page views since Google started tracking page views, after I moved the blog to the Blogspot service on 3/1/2002; I started the blog 10/27/1999, about a month after Blogger launched, but hosted it on Yahoo/GeoCities for the first couple years, until Yahoo started charging for its FTP service. It’s also likely that the million page views were >= 2/2003, when Google acquired Blogger; indeed, based on the monthly page view rate below, the 1M page views could have been from the last ~3.2 years.
In any case, thanks for reading, and I wish you the best for the holiday season.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Impala v Hive | Cloudera VISION
"I get asked all the time about Cloudera’s decision to develop Impala from the ground up as a new project, rather than improving the existing Apache Hive project. If there’s existing code, the thinking goes, surely it’s best to start there — right?Impala v Hive | Cloudera VISION
Well, no. We thought long and hard about it, and we concluded that the best thing to do was to create a new open source project, designed on different principles from Hive. Impala is that system. Our experiences over the last year increase our conviction on that strategy.
Let me walk you through our thinking."
Celebration planned for 30th anniversary of the Macintosh | Apple - CNET News
"The event will feature many members of the original Macintosh development team, previously unreleased video from the early days of the Mac, and "surprise" guests, said Gabreal Franklin of All Planet Studios. In addition, Ridley Scott, director of the "1984" commercial as well as "Blade Runner" and other films, will talk about his experience creating the famous ad.Celebration planned for 30th anniversary of the Macintosh | Apple - CNET News
Ticket prices range from $109.75 to $140.80 via Ticketmaster. Profits will be donated to charities dedicated to promoting computer and Internet literacy."
Apple Says China Mobile Will Start Selling iPhone 5s, 5c in January - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
"“We expect a strong marketing push to follow the official announcement, and that is what is critical,” Blair told AllThingsD earlier this month. “It’s Apple’s job to turn the Chinese consumer away from entrenched brands like Samsung.”Apple Says China Mobile Will Start Selling iPhone 5s, 5c in January - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
Even before the China Mobile deal, Apple has been making some inroads in the giant market. According to Counterpoint Research, the iPhone 5s, 5 and 5c were October’s No. 1, 2 and 4 top-selling smartphones, with Apple grabbing 12 percent of that month’s market share."
Disruptions: Betting on a Coin With No Realm - NYTimes.com
"“While there are questions about the future of Bitcoin, there is clearly going to be a digital currency that can be used for remittances, micro payments, and across borders,” said Susan Athey, a professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “In today’s system you see a number of different kinds of commerce not taking place because the fees are too high relative to the transactions.”"Disruptions: Betting on a Coin With No Realm - NYTimes.com
Sunday, December 22, 2013
As Amazon's Stock Hits All-Time High, Warehouse Issues Percolate - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
"If you’re an Amazon investor, you’re happy these days. The company’s stock price surpassed $400 for the first time ever this week, only five months after it topped $300 per share for the first time. Things are looking up, and the drones haven’t even arrived yet."As Amazon's Stock Hits All-Time High, Warehouse Issues Percolate - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
BlackBerry Outsources Hardware Business in Turnaround Bid - WSJ.com
“BlackBerry Ltd on Friday revealed a worst-ever $4.4 billion quarterly loss, and said it is hardly selling any of its new line of smartphones.
But the company's stock rose after the man now at the helm pledged a new manufacturing deal and a renewed focus on software and services will help BlackBerry eventually turn a profit.
The company has taken a total of $2.6 billion in inventory charges in the past two quarters, and would have been on the hook again next quarter for unsold phones. In the latest third quarter, BlackBerry said it sold only 1.1 million of new phones—at its peak in the fourth quarter of 2010, BlackBerry shipped 14.6 million smartphones.”
BlackBerry Outsources Hardware Business in Turnaround Bid - WSJ.com
A Car Monitor That Also Talks to Facebook - NYTimes.com
"The hardware side of Zubie is a Fig Newton-size “key” that plugs into a car’s OBD-II diagnostics port, a receptacle found in all vehicles built since 1996, usually under the dashboard. The Zubie unit has a GPS receiver and its own cellular data connection, keeping the car in touch anywhere a cell signal is available. The $99.95 price includes a year of unlimited tracking and monitoring at less than half the cost of competitors like Audiovox’s Car Connection."A Car Monitor That Also Talks to Facebook - NYTimes.com
Into the Bitcoin Mines - NYTimes.com
More Bitcoin details
The work the computers do is akin to guessing at a lottery number. The faster the computers run, the better chance of guessing that right number and winning valuable coins. So mining entrepreneurs are buying chips and computers designed specifically — and only — for this work. The machines in Iceland are worth about $20,000 each on the open market.
The energy required to run these computers is huge, and has led to criticism that Bitcoin mining is wasteful, not to mention socially useless. But Mr. Abiodun prides himself on using renewable power, at least in Iceland.”
Master of His Virtual Domain - NYTimes.com
"In time, he found another, simpler way to shield himself. When a member of North 44 would quit the game, Mr. Yao would take over his account. Then Mr. Yao would use one of his multiple accounts to attack himself when he needed a shield. In order to pull this off, though, he had to keep all of these other accounts highly ranked, which meant playing as many as five accounts at the same time, around the clock. Another wealthy clan member in the United Arab Emirates bought Mr. Yao three iPads to make this feasible — but even then, it was feasible only in the technical sense. At one point, he was bringing five iPads into the shower with him, each wrapped in a plastic bag, so that none of his accounts would go inactive."Master of His Virtual Domain - NYTimes.com
Friday, December 20, 2013
Hortonworks Wants To Own Big Data Without Owning Anything - Forbes
"By contrast, Bearden, Hortonworks’ CEO, is very clear that he doesn’t want “to dis-intermediate anybody.” “We are focused on not moving up the stack,” Bearden says. Which is a polite way, I think, of saying, “not stepping on the toes of anyone with the capacity to crush us.” By feeding Hadoop to the market through partners, it’s incorporating itself into the larger, established data system – and indirectly providing the established players with a line of defense against coups from other upstarts. But without product to sell, it will need many more subscription contracts to compete with Cloudera. Bearden sees this as necessary for long-term survival in a market dominated by huge players."Hortonworks Wants To Own Big Data Without Owning Anything - Forbes
Apple's Acquisitions Tripled in Fiscal 2013 - Businessweek
"No recent Apple purchase was as eye-popping as Microsoft’s $7.2 billion September deal for Nokia’s (NOK) mobile phone unit or even Yahoo!’s (YHOO) $1.1 billion May acquisition of blog platform Tumblr. Evans says Apple’s biggest deals are subtle. It’s committed more than $20 billion in prepayments to parts- and equipment-making companies, often helping build factories in exchange for exclusive access. In these “quasi acquisitions,” Evans says, “they are getting the benefit of owning it without actually buying it.”"Apple's Acquisitions Tripled in Fiscal 2013 - Businessweek
The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android - Fred Vogelstein - The Atlantic
"By January 2007, they’d all worked sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months—some for more than two years—writing and testing code, negotiating software licenses, and flying all over the world to find the right parts, suppliers, and manufacturers. They had been working with prototypes for six months and had planned a launch by the end of the year . . . until Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPhone.The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android - Fred Vogelstein - The Atlantic
Chris DeSalvo’s reaction to the iPhone was immediate and visceral. “As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’”"
Target's Redcard website goes down in wake of credit card data breach - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
"In its statement this morning, Target told all customers who shopped in a Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 to check their accounts for the cards they used to make purchases during that timeframe. They did not tell customers to have new cards issued.Target's Redcard website goes down in wake of credit card data breach - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
Still, Target’s Facebook page is full of concerned Redcard customers who can’t access their accounts, asking for Target to issue new cards across the board. That outcome seems highly unlikely."
Amazon vs. Google: It's A War for the Shopping Search - WSJ.com
"At stake is supremacy in the U.S. e-commerce market, which comScore expects to rise 14% to around $210 billion this year. While many think of Amazon and Google as being in separate businesses, the two are locked in fierce competition to be the first search box shoppers turn to when they are browsing products online. As more Internet users begin searches on Amazon's marketplace—which comprises an array of vendors besides itself—Google loses an opportunity to show them ads."Amazon vs. Google: It's A War for the Shopping Search - WSJ.com
Thursday, December 19, 2013
A Dispatch from Cloud City | Platformonomics
- "Azure has become the clear challenger to AWS. The much maligned Mr. Ballmer is not getting credit for Microsoft’s embrace and execution on cloud. Unlike most of its cohorts rooted (mired?) in previous generations of technology, Microsoft is well on its way to making the cloud transition.
- Despite very strong technology and an impressive operational footprint, Google Cloud Platform is still a hobby for Google. They are as yet unwilling to make the necessary non-technology investments to really compete to win here."
A Dispatch from Cloud City | Platformonomics
Alex Payne — Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology
"To those less kind, Bitcoin has become synonymous with everything wrong with Silicon Valley: a marriage of dubious technology and questionable economics wrapped up in a crypto-libertarian political agenda that smacks of nerds-do-it-better paternalism. With its influx of finance mercenaries, the Bitcoin community is a grim illustration of greed running roughshod over meaningful progress."Alex Payne — Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology
Apple's Mac Pro goes on sale; top-end model costs $9,600 | Apple - CNET News
"The Mac Pro doesn't have a monitor, of course, but you can add an Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt display for $1,000 or a 32-inch Sharp PN-K321 4K display for $3,595.Apple's Mac Pro goes on sale; top-end model costs $9,600 | Apple - CNET News
Shipping is free, though."
Bitcoin, Nationless Currency, Still Feels Government's Pinch - NYTimes.com
"A rapid succession of moves by governments around the world has cast doubts on the legitimacy of the virtual currency, and its price fell about 60 percent at one point on Wednesday morning from its high earlier this month. It recovered some as the day went on.Bitcoin, Nationless Currency, Still Feels Government's Pinch - NYTimes.com
The price volatility is underscoring Bitcoin’s sensitivity to decisions by government officials despite its promised status as the first global currency free of government intervention and oversight. Money, it turns out, is still a government prerogative."
Deal With It: Mobile Ads Are Here to Stay - WSJ.com
"It turns out we don't hate mobile ads. Surprisingly, we mostly tolerate them. We may find them annoying—or more accurately, we may say that we find them annoying—but apparently they're not annoying enough to prompt us to flee Google, Facebook and other ad-supported Web services.Deal With It: Mobile Ads Are Here to Stay - WSJ.com
This explains the boom: A new report by the research firm eMarketer finds that mobile ad spending doubled in 2013 to $9.6 billion, and it is set to skyrocket over the next few years, eclipsing the money spent on desktop ads by 2016. Mobile ads now account for all the growth in the digital ad industry."
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
LG announces Chromebase, a Chrome OS all-in-one computer | The Verge
"Google's Chrome OS is typically found in inexpensive Chromebook laptops, and occasionally a Chromebox desktop as well. At next month's Consumer Electronics Show, however, LG will put it into a desktop computer monitor. The company has just announced the Chromebase, a 21.5-inch all-in-one computer that runs the minimal OS, with an unnamed Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of memory, and 16GB of solid state storage housed underneath the monitor's 1080p IPS display."LG announces Chromebase, a Chrome OS all-in-one computer | The Verge
Facebook Crosses the Advertising Frontier Into TV's Turf - Businessweek
Tumultuous television transition times?
“Facebook users will roll their eyes and post status updates about being annoyed. But if successful, the video ads could prove genuinely threatening to television companies. The markets for advertising in other types of traditional media have been decimated by the Internet, as the graph below shows. But while television ad sales dipped when the recession hit, they soon recovered and have continued to climb.”
The Internet has gutted print advertising, but the television ad industry continues to grow.
Facebook Crosses the Advertising Frontier Into TV's Turf - Businessweek
Uber Boss Says Surging Prices Rescue People From the Snow | Wired Business | Wired.com
"To understand the economics of surge pricing from Uber’s point of view, think of drivers as supply and riders as demand. Especially in bad weather, demand goes up: Would-be passengers don’t want to be out in the snow and rain. Meanwhile, supply goes down: Drivers don’t want to be out in the snow and rain, either.Uber Boss Says Surging Prices Rescue People From the Snow | Wired Business | Wired.com
In that scenario, higher prices are meant to accomplish two things. First, by offering drivers more money, it gives them more incentive to get out on the streets — at least in theory — thereby increasing supply. Second, higher fares price out some riders, and demand goes down. Calibrating supply, demand, and price to get the most people the most rides for the least money is the math problem that Kalanick says Uber is always trying to solve."
Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews - WSJ.com
"This is my last column for The Wall Street Journal, after 22 years of reviewing consumer technology products here.Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews - WSJ.com
So I thought I'd talk about the dozen personal-technology products I reviewed that were most influential over the past two decades. Obviously, narrowing so many products in the most dynamic of modern industries down to 12 is a subjective exercise and others will disagree."
Fewer Gmail Users Are Opening Retailers' Messages This Shopping Season - NYTimes.com
"Half a year since Gmail introduced tabbed inboxes, fewer emails from retailers are being opened, according to three services that manage mass emails. And while some data showed that Gmail users nonetheless spent more money — perhaps because they proactively sought out retail emails in the promotions inbox — other data showed the opposite.Fewer Gmail Users Are Opening Retailers' Messages This Shopping Season - NYTimes.com
Gmail shoppers, who tend to be wealthier and more tech-savvy, clicked on retail emails 14.5 percent more than Yahoo users before the change to Gmail, according to Epsilon. But by October, the difference had shrunk to 4.2 percent, indicating that Gmail users were ignoring marketing emails more often."
Tech Leaders and Obama Find Shared Problem - Fading Public Trust - NYTimes.com
"“The government really needs the tech industry to achieve its policy goals,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School. “They tried on their own with the Washington version of tech and we saw what happened.”"Tech Leaders and Obama Find Shared Problem - Fading Public Trust - NYTimes.com
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Maybe Oracle Isn't The MySQL Villain So Many People Think – ReadWrite
"In sum, I suspect most MySQL users today are grateful for the Oracle's contributions to MySQL. Its backtracking on core community best practices are regrettable but understandable, in light of the company's security policies. Arguably, these should be revisited so that MySQL can benefit from Oracle's technical leadership while giving the MySQL community the unfettered access to information that will increase its trust in Oracle's technical leadership."Maybe Oracle Isn't The MySQL Villain So Many People Think – ReadWrite
Evernote for Mobile Business Card Scanning Evernote Blog
"Business card piles are the worst. They seem to collect like useless monuments to past meetings and conferences. It doesn’t have to be this way. Next time, instead of stuffing those cards into your pocket, snap a picture of them with Evernote’s new Business Card camera. Each card is instantly recognized, digitized, and converted into editable text that becomes a contact note in Evernote. You can find the Business Card mode by swiping right on the camera screen."Evernote for Mobile Business Card Scanning Evernote Blog
Donate to Nonprofits Through Facebook - Facebook Newsroom
"Today we’re starting to roll out a new feature called Donate that lets people contribute directly to nonprofits through Facebook. The Donate feature will appear beside Posts in News Feed shared by participating nonprofits and at the top of their Facebook Pages. When people click "Donate Now" they can choose the amount, enter their payment information, and immediately donate to that cause. They also have the option to share the nonprofit’s post with their friends. We hope this will help increase donations as people encourage their friends to donate to the causes that are important to them."Donate to Nonprofits Through Facebook - Facebook Newsroom
A Full-Featured, $38 Tablet Is Coming to the U.S. - Digits - WSJ
"On Monday, Datawind announced that it plans to sell a $38 tablet in the U.S. through as-yet unnamed online and brick-and-mortar retailers early next year. The London-based firm plans to sell three models in the United States, ranging in price from $38 to as much as $149 with varying specs and capabilities."A Full-Featured, $38 Tablet Is Coming to the U.S. - Digits - WSJ
An Homage to Douglas Engelbart and a Critique of the State of Tech - NYTimes.com
"Theodor Holm Nelson, who coined the term hypertext, has been a thorn in the side of the computing establishment for more than a half century. Last week, in an encomium to his friend Douglas Engelbart, he took his critique to Shakespearean levels. It deserves a wider audience."An Homage to Douglas Engelbart and a Critique of the State of Tech - NYTimes.com
Monday, December 16, 2013
Analyze Data with Impala - Amazon Elastic MapReduce [AWS documentation]
"Similar to using Hive with Amazon EMR, leveraging Impala with Amazon EMR can implement sophisticated data-processing applications with SQL syntax. However, Impala is built to perform faster in certain use cases (see below). With Amazon EMR, you can use Impala as a reliable data warehouse to execute tasks such as data analytics, monitoring, and business intelligence. "Analyze Data with Impala - Amazon Elastic MapReduce
Verizon close to deal to buy Intel’s TV service - The Washington Post
"Verizon, the second-largest U.S. communications company, will use OnCue to extend its pay-TV offering beyond the geographic footprint of its FiOS fiber-optic service. That could shake up pay TV by bringing more competition to cable firms that dominate territories, as well as satellite companies with wide coverage that lack the Web’s interactive capability.Verizon close to deal to buy Intel’s TV service - The Washington Post
OnCue is designed to provide pay-TV programming over any high-speed Internet connection, making it a threat to cable-TV services that deliver shows over dedicated lines restricted by territory."
How Big Data Will Change the Face of Philanthropy - WSJ.com
"Philanthropy is part of civil society—deliberately separate from markets and elections. This is where we foster individual action and support multiple, often conflicting ideas about a robust and functioning democracy. As philanthropy steps into the world of big data, we are inventing a new digital civil society where personal independence and private interests intersect with the power and efficiency of digital data."How Big Data Will Change the Face of Philanthropy - WSJ.com
Sunday, December 15, 2013
5 predictions on the future of databases (from a guy who knows databases) — Tech News and Analysis [Gigaom]
"The perceived value of a purely low-level language all but gone, Stonebraker thinks NoSQL systems will also come to embrace ACID capabilities. It might already be happening.5 predictions on the future of databases (from a guy who knows databases) — Tech News and Analysis
“I think the biggest NoSQL proponent of non-ACID has been historically a guy named Jeff Dean at Google, who’s responsible for, essentially, most to all of their database offerings. And he recently … wrote a system called Spanner,” Stonebraker explained. “Spanner is a pure ACID system. So Google is moving to ACID and I think the NoSQL market will move away from eventual consistency and toward ACID.”"
Friday, December 13, 2013
Hadoop Pure-Play Business Models Explained - Wikibon
"The competition between Hadoop pure-play vendors continued unabated in 2013, with each vying for the top spot in a market expected to top $1.6b by 2017. The three competitors – Hortonworks, Cloudera and MapR – have unique approaches to commercializing/monetizing the open source Big Data framework. There remains significant confusion in the market about just what each approach entails, particularly around Hortonworks’ business model.Hadoop Pure-Play Business Models Explained - Wikibon
With that, let’s look at each of the three competitors and their respective business models as 2013 comes to a close."
Service Providers light up the Cloud OS - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
"Today, Microsoft introduced the Cloud OS Network, a worldwide group of more than 25 leading cloud service providers who have embraced our Cloud OS vision and will deliver hosted services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform, which includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and the Windows Azure Pack. This announcement represents important progress against our goals and strategy for Cloud OS. More importantly, it is great news for enterprise customers across the globe."Service Providers light up the Cloud OS - The Official Microsoft Blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
Official Gmail Blog: Images Now Showing
"Have you ever wondered why Gmail asks you before showing images in emails? We did this to protect you from unknown senders who might try to use images to compromise the security of your computer or mobile device.p.s. you can still default to not displaying images; check the Google post link below for details
But thanks to new improvements in how Gmail handles images, you’ll soon see all images displayed in your messages automatically across desktop, iOS and Android. Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers."
Official Gmail Blog: Images Now Showing
The Bitcoin IRA - Businessweek
"The Bitcoin Investment Trust isn’t the only way to bet your retirement on the value of Bitcoin. People have already found other ways to do it. Tym Blanchard, who works at a chemical company in Charlottesville, Va., says he set up a Roth IRA to invest in Bitcoin directly, purchasing the currency through Coinbase. While he expressed some wariness that traditional investments tend to move in line with one another, he was also looking for tax benefits. “If the currency is still thriving by the the time I’m allowed to make distributions, the tax savings will be enormous,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I enjoy taking risks.”The Bitcoin IRA - Businessweek
What SecondMarket offers is a far easier way to do this. Buying Bitcoin is complicated and storing it is fraught with danger from hackers. Basically, this offers investors who want to ride the wave but don’t really understand the nuts and bolts of the currency a way to do so."
The Amazon Kindle Numbers That Jeff Bezos Must Really Care About - Jason Del Rey - News - AllThingsD
"Based on its research and analysis, CIRP estimates that Kindle owners spend $1,233 per year on Amazon compared to $790 per year for Amazon shoppers who don’t own one of the company’s e-readers or tablets. Kindle owners aren’t necessarily buying more at a shot, but are buying more frequently.The Amazon Kindle Numbers That Jeff Bezos Must Really Care About - Jason Del Rey - News - AllThingsD
“Another way to look at Kindle Fire and Kindle e-Reader is as a portal to Amazon.com,” CIRP’s Mike Levin said in a statement. “Kindle Fire provides access to everything Amazon sells, while Kindle e-Reader has become the way that Amazon customers buy books, Amazon’s original product line.”"
Instagram Strikes Back at Snapchat - WSJ.com
"Facebook Inc.'s Instagram app is launching a photo- and video-messaging service, soon after popular mobile app Snapchat spurned a $3 billion offer from the social network."Instagram Strikes Back at Snapchat - WSJ.com
A Stream of Music, Not Revenue - NYTimes.com
"Pandora, the only publicly traded streaming company, delivers about 1.5 billion hours of music each month to more than 70 million users, but only about three million of them pay. The rest listen free but must endure advertising. Even though it has a market value of $5 billion, Pandora has yet to turn an annual profit.A Stream of Music, Not Revenue - NYTimes.com
“There is this irrational resistance for people to actually plunk down their credit card for streaming services,” said Ted Cohen, a digital music consultant with the firm TAG Strategic. “We’re 13 years into the Napster phenomenon of ‘music is free,’ and it’s hard to get people back into the idea that music is at least worth the value of a cup of Starbucks coffee a week.”"
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Google Clones That Power NSA Surveillance | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
"What’s more, the agency has built its own Google clone: a massively distributed databased called Accumulo. Like Hadoop, Accumulo was based on a research paper published by Google, a paper describing a sweeping database called BigTable. There are several other BigTable clones out there, such as Cassandra and Hbase, and the NSA’s decision to build its own tool rather than use something that already existed got the agency into some hot water with Congress, as we reported last year. But it had good reason: It wanted tighter security controls."The Google Clones That Power NSA Surveillance | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
Tortuous Business Meeting? Tech Is Here to Help - WSJ.com
"Neither Mr. Libin nor Mr. Levie invented this PowerPoint-free version of meetings. That honor likely goes to Amazon.com Inc. chief Jeff Bezos, who asks staffers to dispense with presentation software and instead write up a pages-long narrative agenda for meetings. At Amazon, discussions begin with a 30-minute study period of the agenda itself.
Does this approach actually improve the effectiveness of meetings? That is difficult to measure in any empirical way, but Mr. Libin says he's noticed a change in the culture at Evernote. In the past meetings often began with the bit of time-suck known, euphemistically, as "bringing people up to speed." Like an unusually dry version of one of those "previously on..." montages prepended to TV dramas, there was a synopsis of what happened at the last meeting, followed by a desultory recitation of what had happened since (usually nothing). Now, because everyone's notes from each meeting are being logged and disseminated, there is no need for the recap, and each meeting builds on top of the last one."Tortuous Business Meeting? Tech Is Here to Help - WSJ.com
Bitcoin Believers See a Role for Wall Street - NYTimes.com
"“The rising value of Bitcoin is a put option, or a bet, that Bitcoin gets adopted as a medium of exchange,” said Jeremy Allaire, the founder of Circle Internet Financial, a start-up in Boston that seeks to be a payment-processing system for Bitcoin. Mr. Allaire, who sponsored the gathering, said he had a modest position in Bitcoin, which he did not disclose.Bitcoin Believers See a Role for Wall Street - NYTimes.com
“Wall Street will find a way” to get involved in Bitcoin, said Barry Silbert, the founder of SecondMarket, which created a Bitcoin fund that has $62.9 million in net assets under management as of Tuesday afternoon. “It doesn’t take a lot of money to move the needle in the Bitcoin world.”"
An App That Will Never Forget a File - NYTimes.com
"At first, Evernote may seem redundant to existing tools like email and iCloud, but the service is hard to give up after a week’s use. You won’t want to return to a life of running from device to device for your files. If you start to use the program frequently, you’ll probably find that the premium upgrade makes a lot of sense. With the upgrade, you will have a hard time reaching the storage limit unless you are saving a lot of video. Second, it allows you to search within documents, which can come in incredibly handy. Third, it will let you store copies of important items on your computer or phone, an inevitable lifesaver for anyone who travels without reliable Internet access."An App That Will Never Forget a File - NYTimes.com
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Google’s Road Map to Global Domination - NYTimes.com
"Today, Google’s map includes the streets of every nation on earth, and Street View has so far collected imagery in a quarter of those countries. The total number of regular users: A billion people, or about half of the Internet-connected population worldwide. Google Maps underlies a million different websites, making its map A.P.I. among the most-used such interfaces on the Internet. At this point Google Maps is essentially what Tim O’Reilly predicted the map would become: part of the information infrastructure, a resource more complete and in many respects more accurate than what governments have. It’s better than MapQuest’s map, better than Microsoft’s, better than Apple’s."Google’s Road Map to Global Domination - NYTimes.com
NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking [The Washington Post]
"For years, privacy advocates have raised concerns about the use of commercial tracking tools to identify and target consumers with advertisements. The online ad industry has said its practices are innocuous and benefit consumers by serving them ads that are more likely to be of interest to them.NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking
The revelation that the NSA is piggybacking on these commercial technologies could shift that debate, handing privacy advocates a new argument for reining in commercial surveillance."
Dell joins the Chromebook club with the Dell Chromebook 11 | Reviews - Laptops - CNET Reviews
"The company says, "The Chromebook 11 was built specifically to meet the needs of schools and districts around the country looking to deploy affordable and comprehensive one-to-one computing initiatives."Dell joins the Chromebook club with the Dell Chromebook 11 | Reviews - Laptops - CNET Reviews
No details about the system's components or features are available yet, but Dell says it plans to introduce other Chromebooks in the coming months, some aimed at business users, others at consumers."
This is Nokia's Android phone | The Verge
"Multiple sources have revealed to The Verge that Normandy is designed as an Asha equivalent to push low-cost devices with access to more traditional smartphone apps — something the company has struggled to achieve for its Series 40-powered Asha line. Nokia’s effort is similar to Amazon’s own use of Android, allowing the company to customize it fully for its own use. Nokia employees working on Normandy were informed the device is planned as a 2014 release, and one insider described the Normandy effort as "full steam ahead." Unless Nokia manages to release Normandy ahead of its Microsoft deal, we can’t imagine Microsoft is interested in using Android to target the low-end over its own Windows Phone operating system."This is Nokia's Android phone | The Verge
Google feeds 'net giants India and China from data centers next door | Reuters
"Google Inc opened its first two data centers in Asia on Wednesday to cater to the world's fastest growing consumer technology markets, but the company has no plans to open one in China or India.Google feeds 'net giants India and China from data centers next door | Reuters
Choosing Taiwan and Singapore instead illustrates the problem that tech companies face in trying to feed data demand in the world's two most populous countries: With regulations in flux in India and cyberspace censorship in China, Google had to look next door."
Group Wants Mattel to Recall Its iPad-Equipped Bouncy Chair - Ina Fried - News - AllThingsD
“It’s no secret that kids younger and younger are being targeted with products designed to introduce them to the world of technology. But some say the latest product has gone way too far.”
Group Wants Mattel to Recall Its iPad-Equipped Bouncy Chair - Ina Fried - News - AllThingsD
Facebook News Feed Redesign Changes Struggle to Court Users - Mike Isaac - Social - AllThingsD
"The gap between these two Facebooks — the one its managers want to see, and the one its users like using today — is starting to become visible. Earlier this year, Facebook users rejected a redesign that Zuckerberg announced with much fanfare. Now Facebook is adjusting its algorithms to emphasize content that it thinks readers should see, which will push down some of the stuff that’s currently popular.Facebook News Feed Redesign Changes Struggle to Court Users - Mike Isaac - Social - AllThingsD
Which version of Facebook will win out?"
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
'The Mother of All Demos' Is 45 Years Old, Doesn't Look a Day Over 25 - Megan Garber - The Atlantic
"It was also, in a very meaningful way, the start of the personal computing revolution. The talk was the culmination of that reading of Vannevar Bush Engelbart had done on that Philippine island in the aftermath of World War II: The Stanford team was demonstrating, essentially, a Memex brought to life. That hour-and-40-minutes was, in the end, one of the most impactful technological presentations to be delivered since Gutenberg got some people together for cocktails, crudités, and a show of how he'd hacked a wine press. It would go on to be dubbed "the mother of all demos.""'The Mother of All Demos' Is 45 Years Old, Doesn't Look a Day Over 25 - Megan Garber - The Atlantic
Evernote Market hits $1 million revenue in its first month | Internet & Media - CNET News
"Evernote's online marketplace for products like Fujitsu document scanners and Moleskine notebooks reached $1 million in sales in its first month and now accounts for 30 percent of the company's revenue, Chief Executive Phil Libin said Tuesday.Evernote Market hits $1 million revenue in its first month | Internet & Media - CNET News
That's a lot faster than the earlier two businesses for the company, which specializes in storing notes and other documents online for people who have a lot of information to manage, Libin said at the LeWeb conference here."
Google Lat Long: Create your own Street View [Google Maps blog]
"Have you ever tried to convey the feeling of walking through your favorite park? Or have you wanted to create a virtual tour of your business to attract customers? Well, starting today, it's now possible for you to build your own Street View experiences to do just that. Using a new feature in our Views community, you can easily connect your photo spheres to create 360º virtual tours of the places you love, then share them with the world on Google Maps.
[...] We hope this new feature will enable people to share and witness the beauty and breadth of our planet through Google Maps. Whether you’re photographing exotic islands or your favorite neighborhood hangout, mountain peaks or city streets, historic castles or your own business, we’re thrilled to see the places you love coming to life on Google Maps."Google Lat Long: Create your own Street View
For Bitcoin, Square Peg Meets Round Hole Under the Law - NYTimes.com
"Reports of Bitcoins being stolen from the “wallets” of users look much like those concerning any other type of theft. Under the traditional common law of larceny, however, stealing virtual currency would not be the subject of a prosecution because the law applies only to the removal of physical items.For Bitcoin, Square Peg Meets Round Hole Under the Law - NYTimes.com
Modern theft statutes allow for prosecution for the taking of intangible property, so the greater challenge is pursuing thefts that occur in cyberspace. State authorities often do not have the resources to pursue crimes on the Internet nor the ability to coordinate investigations with foreign governments when the misconduct occurs outside the United States."
Facebook Steps Up Artificial Intelligence Efforts With Research Lab - Mike Isaac - Social - AllThingsD
"The initiative comes as Google also steps up its efforts in the artificial-intelligence field. Last year, the search giant hired leading AI research scientist (and dyed-in-the-wool futurist) Ray Kurzweil to head its AI and deep-learning efforts. Facebook likely plans to continue snooping out potential acquisitions or new hires in the space, according to sources — just as Google continues to do.Facebook Steps Up Artificial Intelligence Efforts With Research Lab - Mike Isaac - Social - AllThingsD
As one person familiar with the matter put it: “I expect an arms race between Google Brain, Facebook AI Group and other tech companies that will desperately try to keep up."
If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating - NYTimes.com
"Instead, editors at these sites acknowledge frankly that there are trade-offs in balancing authenticity with the need to act quickly in a hyperconnected age. “We are dealing with a volume of information that it is impossible to have the strict standards of accuracy that other institutions have,” said John Cook, editor in chief of Gawker, which highlighted the essay on poverty, by a woman named Linda Tirado.If a Story Is Viral, Truth May Be Taking a Beating - NYTimes.com
“The faster metabolism puts people who fact-check at a disadvantage,” said Ryan Grim, the Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post, which reposted the fictional airplane tweets, the letter to Santa and the poverty essay. “If you throw something up without fact-checking it, and you’re the first one to put it up, and you get millions and millions of views, and later it’s proved false, you still got those views. That’s a problem. The incentives are all wrong.”"
Monday, December 09, 2013
Major tech companies unite to call for new limits on surveillance - The Washington Post
"Eight of the nation’s largest technology companies called on President Obama and Congress on Monday to impose strict new curbs on surveillance that, if enacted, would dramatically reshape intelligence operations that U.S. officials have portrayed as integral to the war on terrorism.Major tech companies unite to call for new limits on surveillance - The Washington Post
The uncommonly unified front — featuring companies, such as Google and Microsoft, that compete fiercely on business matters — underscored the deep alarm among technology leaders over revelations that the National Security Agency has collected user data far more extensively than the companies understood, in many cases with little or no court oversight."
Reform Government Surveillance
"The undersigned companies believe that it is time for the world’s governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.Reform Government Surveillance
While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed."
Tesla's Solar Power Storage Unit - Businessweek
"At the most basic level, SolarCity looks like a solar panel installer. If, however, you dig a bit deeper, the company acts a lot more like a utility. It’s the leader in solar installations and has created a network of capacity that now is complemented by these storage systems.Tesla's Solar Power Storage Unit - Businessweek
The energy companies have taken notice of SolarCity’s growing ambitions. The company has been dragged into fights over the rebates people receive in some states for going solar. And politicians such as Jeff Sessions, the junior Republican senator from Alabama, have started offensives against the company, which will leave you shocked by this last sentence. Southern Co. (SO), a utility, is Session’s largest donor."
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Why Cognition-as-a-Service is the next operating system battlefield — Tech News and Analysis [Gigaom]
"The Semantic Web may have failed, but higher intelligence is coming to applications anyway, in another form: Cognition-as-a-Service (CaaS). And this may just be the next evolution of the operating system.Why Cognition-as-a-Service is the next operating system battlefield — Tech News and Analysis
CaaS will enable every app to become as smart as Siri in its own niche. CaaS powered apps will be able to think and interact with consumers like intelligent virtual assistants — they will be “cognitive apps.” You will be able to converse with cognitive apps, ask them questions, give them commands — and they will be able to help you complete tasks and manage your work more efficiently."
The future of corporate IT: Surfing a digital wave, or drowning? | The Economist
"In theory, this is a fine opportunity for the IT department to place itself right at the centre of corporate strategy. In practice, the rest of the company is not always sure that the IT guys are up to the job—and they are often prepared to buy their own IT from outsiders if need be. Worse, it seems that a lot of IT guys doubt their own ability to keep up with the pace of the digital age. According to Dave Aron of Gartner, a research firm, in a recent survey of chief information officers around the world just over half agreed that both their businesses and their IT organisations were “in real danger” from a “digital tsunami”. “Some feel excited, some feel threatened,” says Mr Aron, “but nobody feels like it’s boring and business as usual.”"The future of corporate IT: Surfing a digital wave, or drowning? | The Economist
Microsoft CEO Search: Stalemate | Monday Note
"Consider it a litmus test: Any candidate willing to accept this road to failure is automatically disqualified as being too weak. A worthy contender makes it clear that he or she needs an unfettered mandate with no Office Of The Second Guessing in the back of the boardroom. Bill and Steve would have to go — but the Old Duo doesn’t want to leave.Microsoft CEO Search: Stalemate | Monday Note
It’s a stalemate…and that’s the most likely explanation for the protracted recruitment process."
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Apple Uses iBeacon to Track You While in Its Stores - ABC News
"Apple Stores, however, are just the start for the iBeacon feature that Apple has baked into iOS 7.Apple Uses iBeacon to Track You While in Its Stores - ABC News
"We're really excited about what iOS developers will be able to do with iBeacon, a technology we introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing to provide apps a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores," Apple said in a statement provided to ABC News."
Microsoft Looks to Woo Shoppers With $199 Tablet, 12 Days of Deals - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
"The company will sell Dell’s Venue 8 Pro — an 8-inch Windows tablet — for $199, with the first 20 visitors to each store getting it for just $99. The quad-core, Intel-based tablet, which normally sells for $299, includes the full version of Windows 8.1 and comes bundled with Office Home and Student."With Office 2013 Home and Student listing for $139 on Amazon, the Dell tablet appears to be quite a bargain.
Microsoft Looks to Woo Shoppers With $199 Tablet, 12 Days of Deals - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
Apple to Usher in New Age of In-Store Shopping With iBeacon Rollout - Jason Del Rey - News - AllThingsD
"After months of speculation, Apple today rolled out its iBeacon technology in all of its 254 U.S. stores, allowing the company to send notifications to shoppers’ phones based on their location within the store.Apple to Usher in New Age of In-Store Shopping With iBeacon Rollout - Jason Del Rey - News - AllThingsD
The technology, which sends data to phones via Bluetooth Low Energy from iPhones, iPads and other third-party hardware Apple has positioned around its stores, will initially be used to prompt shoppers who have installed the Apple Store app and agree to be tracked to take certain actions."
Friday, December 06, 2013
Palantir Reloads for the Corporation - NYTimes.com
"While most big data companies create databases that gather large and diverse information sources, then apply pattern-matching software to see if something interesting pops up, Palantir’s technology tries to encode a human element. It has worked on augmenting the way humans in a given field parse information by studying specialists in such areas as fraud spotting, or doctors who isolate outbreaks of food poisoning. The software then augments those human pattern-finding skills.Palantir Reloads for the Corporation - NYTimes.com
While this has proved effective for finding insurgent bomb makers and missing children, it also seems to work in finance, health care and other industries."
Box Secures $100 Million Funding at $2 Billion Valuation - Douglas MacMillan - News - AllThingsD
"Box Inc. has secured $100 million in funding at a valuation of about $2 billion, said chief executive Aaron Levie, as new international investors plan to help the online storage provider expand outside the U.S.Box Secures $100 Million Funding at $2 Billion Valuation - Douglas MacMillan - News - AllThingsD
The Los Altos, Calif., company plans to open its first offices in Japan, Australia and Brazil in 2014, and invest heavily in its European headquarters in London, said Mr. Levie."
Ten Predictions for the Year Ahead in Tech - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
"The new Microsoft that no one expected. We know that Microsoft will get a new CEO, but the wrong question to ask, Anderson argues, is who that new CEO is going to be. “At some level it’s critical, but it doesn’t matter as much as the power structure at the top. The person they hire has to be someone who can run a very large global operation with many moving parts. But then that person will have to pick two people below them to run Microsoft’s enterprise and consumer businesses,” he said. “I really think there should be two presidents under the CEO who have a lot of power. That’s the more interesting question to me.” If so, there’s a pretty good chance that Microsoft will get its mojo back, he says."Ten Predictions for the Year Ahead in Tech - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
Microsoft Takes Action Against Alleged Ad-Fraud 'Botnet' ZeroAccess - WSJ.com
""These aren't just kids operating in their parent's basement," said Steve Sullivan, vice president of advertising technology at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, or IAB, an industry group, speaking about digital ad fraud. "What we have here are organized crime groups in foreign countries targeting the ad world."Microsoft Takes Action Against Alleged Ad-Fraud 'Botnet' ZeroAccess - WSJ.com
With fraud becoming more sophisticated, the ad industry has started to fight back. While some companies hire outside security experts, many of the major players in the industry have their own security forces. The ad exchange AppNexus more than doubled its investigations unit in the past year. Google Inc.'s DoubleClick, one of the industry's largest exchanges, employs a geek squad of more than 100 quants, engineers, and Ph.D.s just for security purposes."
In the Murky World of Bitcoin, Fraud Is Quicker Than the Law - NYTimes.com
"So far, though, Bitcoin has been driven up primarily by people who are betting it will rise and rise because there is a finite supply. The initial computer program established that only 21 million Bitcoins would ever be created.In the Murky World of Bitcoin, Fraud Is Quicker Than the Law - NYTimes.com
Because there are no limits on who can buy Bitcoins, they have attracted investors of all stripes. The value of all the Bitcoins in existence is now more than $12 billion after a volatile surge increased the value by more than 1,000 percent over the last month."
Thursday, December 05, 2013
IBM's Big Plans for Cloud Computing - NYTimes.com
"On many other fronts, such as the number of machines it operates, the number of major companies running big parts of their business on IBM’s public cloud, and the new technology it appears to have built for cloud computing, IBM is arguably the laggard among the top four providers. As the SoftLayer purchase indicates, it has had to buy big for what the others have mostly grown internally.IBM's Big Plans for Cloud Computing - NYTimes.com
What IBM does have, however, is a lot of money and resources it plans to throw at cloud computing. And given its experience in the early-1990s, when it faced a near-death experience after missing a major technology shift, the company may also have a belly for a swift change."
Let the Space Price War Begin - Businessweek
"This latest launch is bad news for Russia, Europe, Boeing (BA), and Lockheed Martin (LMT). SES paid $55 million to SpaceX for the launch; rivals typically charge $100 million to $200 million. SpaceX has a backlog of about $4 billion worth of launches, many for commercial customers that it can now begin to serve.Let the Space Price War Begin - Businessweek
Beyond proving its viability as a low-cost option for commercial spaceflight, SpaceX has again demonstrated that its technology appears sound. One more successful flight should open the way for the company to handle some of the military work that has gone to Boeing and Lockheed through their joint venture, United Launch Alliance."
Why Jeff Bezos's Drone Is More Than a Joke - WSJ.com
"Though Mr. Bezos has no idea when drone delivery will become operational—the plan is blocked by U.S. regulation and is both technologically and economically questionable—his unveiling of the project on "60 Minutes" Sunday carried three important public-relations payloads for the firm.Why Jeff Bezos's Drone Is More Than a Joke - WSJ.com
First, the plan got everyone talking about Amazon and its Prime subscription service right at the start of the holiday shopping season—even, I'm sorry, this columnist. Next, it gave investors a taste of the scope of Amazon's investment plans, forestalling any expectation that the company plans to begin making big money soon. And it cemented Mr. Bezos's image as the biggest thinker in tech, a guy who won't let little things like "illegal," "implausible" and "kind of silly" stop him from considering better ways to deliver your toothpaste."
SolarCity to Use Batteries From Tesla for Energy Storage - NYTimes.com
"“We are providing them a solution to reduce their energy cost and demand cost,” said Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive, adding that the systems would provide backup power and a working solar array during blackouts. Although he said he did not see the systems as a step toward independence from the grid, storage would be important to maintaining grid stability as more customers adopt solar.SolarCity to Use Batteries From Tesla for Energy Storage - NYTimes.com
The product grew from a $1.8 million grant in 2010 from the California Public Utilities Commission to study the possibilities of storing electricity from rooftop solar arrays in batteries. The company has also signed up about 300 of its residential customers for a pilot program using battery packs from Tesla, whose chief executive, Elon Musk, is the chairman of SolarCity and Mr. Rive’s cousin."
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
HEARD ON THE STREET: Amazon Sees Sunshine in a Cloudy Play - WSJ.com
"Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird estimates that Google's cloud business is generating about $1 billion in annual revenue now, while AWS generates about $2 billion a year and is expanding at least 50% annually. Neither company discloses financial details about their cloud businesses.HEARD ON THE STREET: Amazon Sees Sunshine in a Cloudy Play - WSJ.com
Given Amazon's high valuation of more than 150 times forward earnings, with Google at a far more modest 20 times, it is tempting to see price pressure from Google as a big negative for the fast-growing AWS business. But this business is still nascent with large growth opportunities; 451 Research predicts the so-called infrastructure-as-a-service market will more than double to $10.2 billion by 2016."
Review of Dell Venue 7 Tablet - WSJ.com
"So, what exactly do you get from a $150 name-brand tablet?Review of Dell Venue 7 Tablet - WSJ.com
The answer: You get a lower-quality device with weak battery life, which might suffice for a first-time tablet buyer with a tight budget."
Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android - NYTimes.com
"If Amazon can imagine delivering books by drones, is it too much to think that Google might be planning to one day have one of the robots hop off an automated Google Car and race to your doorstep to deliver a package?Google Puts Money on Robots, Using the Man Behind Android - NYTimes.com
Google executives acknowledge that robotic vision is a “moonshot.” But it appears to be more realistic than Amazon’s proposed drone delivery service, which Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, revealed in a television interview the evening before one of the biggest online shopping days of the year."
Diagnosis for Healthcare.gov: Unrealistic Technology Expectations | MIT Technology Review
"In particular, the project was doomed by a relatively late decision that required applicants to open an account and let the site verify their identity, residence, and income before they could browse for insurance. That meant the site would have to interface in real-time with databases maintained by the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies.Diagnosis for Healthcare.gov: Unrealistic Technology Expectations | MIT Technology Review
“You could put 100 Google engineers on it, and it’s not going to fix [the fact] that the scope of the project is flawed or fix the IRS system if it’s slow,” says John Halamka, chief information officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “You don’t want to query 10 downstream systems and be reliant on their performance, because you are only going to be as good as the slowest one.”"
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Google Joins a Heavyweight Competition in Cloud Computing - NYTimes.com
"Google already runs much of the digital lives of consumers through email, Internet searches and YouTube videos. Now it wants the corporations, too.Google Joins a Heavyweight Competition in Cloud Computing - NYTimes.com
The search giant has for years been evasive about its plans for a so-called public cloud of computers and data storage that is rented to individuals and businesses. On Tuesday, however, it will announce pricing, features and performance guarantees aimed at companies ranging from start-ups to multinationals."
Monday, December 02, 2013
Amazon’s Drones for Deliveries - Digits - WSJ
"Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the online retailer is developing pilotless flying vehicles he calls “octocopters” that can deliver packages within a half hour of customers placing an order.Amazon’s Drones for Deliveries - Digits - WSJ
Bezos showed Charlie Rose an early version of the drone in development on an episode of the CBS news program “60 Minutes” aired Sunday evening. He said it was possible Amazon could introduce the drones within four to five years, depending in part on Federal Aviation Administration approvals."
Out of Print, Maybe, but Not Out of Mind - NYTimes.com
"Books are dead. Long live the book.Out of Print, Maybe, but Not Out of Mind - NYTimes.com
Even as the universe of printed matter continues to shrivel, the book — or at least some of its best-known features — is showing remarkable staying power online. The idea is apparently embedded so deeply in the collective unconsciousness that no one can bear to leave it behind."
Friday, November 29, 2013
Bitcoin: Bitcoin under pressure | The Economist
"The system is now straining at the seams. Its computational underpinnings have collectively reached 100 times the performance of the world’s top 500 supercomputers combined: more than 50,000 petaflops. Bitcoin’s success has revealed three weaknesses in particular. It is not as secure and anonymous as it seems; the “mining” system that both increases the Bitcoin supply and ensures the integrity of the currency has led to an unsustainable computational arms-race; and the distributed-ledger system is becoming unwieldy. Will Bitcoin’s self-correcting mechanisms, and the enlightened self-interest of its users, be able to address these weaknesses and keep Bitcoin on the rails?"Bitcoin: Bitcoin under pressure | The Economist
Profile of Aaron Levie, Who Is Trying to Make the Startup Box Vital for Work | MIT Technology Review
"In this way, Levie threatens more than just other cloud storage providers. He’s shoveling coal into a locomotive of cloud-based enterprise services that promises to mow down any software company if it can’t translate its desktop offering into a sleek mobile app that interacts with its users’ data anytime, anywhere, on any device.Profile of Aaron Levie, Who Is Trying to Make the Startup Box Vital for Work | MIT Technology Review
“The cloud is going to drive a new way of working,” he says after the conference. “The ability to deliver medical research from a lab to a doctor in seconds, or from an educational publisher to a student—it’s about real-time, collaborative, synchronous information sharing. It’s going to change work. Not just the technology of work, but work itself.”"
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Microsoft Enlists Pawn Stars To Mock Google’s Chromebooks | TechCrunch
"Microsoft's anti-Google Scroogled campaign is showing no signs of slowing down. Its latest target is Google's Chromebook. Microsoft has enlisted the stars of the successful reality TV series Pawn Stars to lampoon what it wants you to perceive as the Chromebook's limitations (“It's not a real laptop!”)."Microsoft Enlists Pawn Stars To Mock Google’s Chromebooks | TechCrunch
Xbox One: Digital Home Base for the Living Room - Katherine Boehret - The Digital Solution - AllThingsD
"Though the Xbox One is still geared toward gamers, it will appeal to a broader audience with its variety of apps and ways of watching TV. Just be ready for a potentially frustrating experience when you try talking to the Xbox One."Xbox One: Digital Home Base for the Living Room - Katherine Boehret - The Digital Solution - AllThingsD
Google’s Chromebooks Winning Over Some Businesses - Digits - WSJ
"The anti-Chromebook effort spotlights how Microsoft is grappling with competition in areas where for years it held a virtual monopoly.Google’s Chromebooks Winning Over Some Businesses - Digits - WSJ
Some corporate-technology officials and analysts say Chromebooks are catching on for some road-warrior workers, retail-sales employees and other business users that can make do with limited computing features.
“Windows PCs aren’t going anywhere,” said Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder. “But for some use cases at some companies, Chromebooks fill a legitimate niche.”"