"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
Friday, November 29, 2013
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'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
"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.”"
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
"I'm not sure this is the correct way to read the changes. I think a more accurate view is that Windows Phone and Windows RT will in effect be merged and that no matter what the resulting name of that products is—how about "Windows"?—it will simply be a single platform that runs on mobile computing devices from phones to phablets to tablets to hybrid PCs, with just software-based changes necessitated by differences in the form factor or mission of the devices on which it runs.Microsoft's One Windows Vision | Windows content from Windows IT Pro
I'm looking forward to this change. Both RT and Phone offer some things that would benefit the others. And combined, this makes a new "Windows" all the more interesting."
"Microsoft declined to break out sales revenue generated by the stores, but it's at least been significant enough to justify the company's commitment; it opened 51 new stores in 2012 and is looking for more. Even if people don't walk out with computers, executives explain that the stores are more about revivifying a brand that's become more identified over the years with corporate enterprise software than objects of consumer adoration. And it also helps to learn what the consumer wants.Microsoft might be beating Google at retail. No, really
"The biggest single thing we've learned from the stores is it's helping us to transition from thinking about our customers to thinking like our customers," Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said in 2011."
"Microsoft currently ships Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Phone software on a variety of devices, but it’s heading towards a future where just a single version of Windows will exist. Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference last week, Microsoft’s head of devices, Julie Larson-Green, hinted strongly that the software giant is finally working to merge its core operating systems. "We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We're not going to have three," says Larson-Green."Microsoft's device chief sees a future without three versions of Windows | The Verge
"In truth, the best bitcoin can hope for is to be a second-rate version of gold, if that. And Warren Buffett once described gold this way: “Gold gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”Render Unto Caesar, but Who Backs the Bitcoin? - NYTimes.com
That’s pretty much the way a Martian might think about bitcoin."
Monday, November 25, 2013
"Such assurances aside, the numbers are sobering. Eight months ago, Snapchat was valued at $70 million. Today, it is valued at $4 billion, even though it has zero revenue. Six months ago, Pinterest was valued at $2.5 billion. Today, it is valued at $3.8 billion — and no revenue there, either. And last week news broke that Dropbox was said to be seeking a new round of funding that would value the company at $8 billion, up from $4 billion a year ago.Disruptions: If It Looks Like a Bubble and Floats Like a Bubble ... - NYTimes.com
In Silicon Valley, pointing out this sort of thing is considered a bit impolite."
Sunday, November 24, 2013
"Does the concept need a Steve Jobs to coalesce the disparate components into a coherent, vibrant genre? Are important pieces still missing? Or, like Artificial Intelligence (rebranded as Machine Learning in an attempt to soothe the pain of repeated disappointments), are we looking at an ever-receding horizon?"The Internet of Things: Look, It Must Work | Monday Note
"Two Israeli computer scientists say they may have uncovered a puzzling financial link between Ross William Ulbricht, the recently arrested operator of the Internet black market known as the Silk Road, and the secretive inventor of bitcoin, the anonymous online currency, used to make Silk Road purchases."Study Suggests Link Between Dread Pirate Roberts and Satoshi Nakamoto - NYTimes.com
Friday, November 22, 2013
"If you’ve gotten to this point and you still aren’t sure whether you want a PS4 or an Xbox One, I think I know what advice to give you: Don’t buy either.Which Should You Buy: Xbox One or PlayStation 4? Yes. | Game|Life | Wired.com
I’m not saying you should never buy either. I’m saying that if the cool new features of these boxes aren’t enough to sway you one way or the other, you might not be happy with either one at this point. I’ve been playing the exclusive launch games for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and neither library is very good right now. Sony’s big launch game Knack is cute and pretty, but can get repetitive and a little boring. Microsoft’s Ryse: Son of Rome is a rushed mess."
"The Xbox One’s operating system includes Windows 8 and speeds switching between apps and games. Windows also means a broader range of apps for users, because it makes software development easier than on earlier Xbox systems. Windows 8’s snap feature lets users watch a football game while running a fantasy gridiron app alongside it. Users can pan and zoom during Skype calls, and cloud service SkyDrive allows them to view photos and videos they’ve uploaded from other devices. Say “Xbox, record,” and cloud service Azure will save the last 30 seconds of game play as a video clip that players can share with friends."Xbox Is a Test for the One Microsoft Strategy - Businessweek
Spotify Raises $250 Million, Valued Above $4 Billion - John D. Stoll, Evelyn Rusli and Sven Grundberg - Media - AllThingsD
"Swedish music-streaming company Spotify AB has secured nearly $250 million in new financing led by Silicon Valley firm Technology Crossover Ventures, valuing the company somewhere “north” of $4 billion dollars, according to multiple people familiar with the deal."Spotify Raises $250 Million, Valued Above $4 Billion - John D. Stoll, Evelyn Rusli and Sven Grundberg - Media - AllThingsD
"The Federal Communications Commission said it will soon propose allowing passengers to use their cellphones on airplanes, setting up a debate that will pit the technically possible against the socially tolerable.U.S. to Consider Cellphone Use on Planes - WSJ.com
While cellphone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift an FCC ban on airborne calls and cellular-data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet."
Thursday, November 21, 2013
"Here’s Pencil’s appeal in a nutshell: It’s the rare iPad stylus you can actually use like a pencil. One side draws, the other erases. It’s sophisticated enough to make sure your palm will never mark up your canvas or send your app going haywire. In other words, it’s just as easy to operate as the instrument it’s named after. That’s no small feat."Meet Pencil: The Best iPad Stylus Yet, From the Makers of 'Paper' | Wired Design | Wired.com
"Smart TVs still haven’t caught fire with the public, and the new Samsung reminded me why. It doesn’t matter how smart a TV is, if it makes the user feel stupid."''TVs get smarter, but not smartersmart enough - Business - The Boston Globe:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
"It’s incredible how much of the way we think about surveillance continues to be governed by telephone technology. Even President Obama sought to reassure the public about the nature of the leaked surveillance programs by telling reporters in June that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” When it came to old-fashioned telephone technology, there was a clear-cut distinction between metadata and content, there were data irrelevant to a communication’s meaning, and we were reasonably well aware of the kinds of metadata we generated when we made calls. But now, none of those assumptions necessarily holds true, and we’re beginning to understand the extent to which the medium—and the metadata—really are the message."DNI, Patriot Act Section 215: Documents show how government inflated metadata definition.
"With the new Dell Venue 8 Pro, we're finally seeing a full-blown Windows 8.1 tablet for the masses. And when I mean the masses, I don't mean people willing to pay $900 and up for a tablet, or $1,000 and up for a combo tablet-ultrabook device. I mean people who can afford $300 for a well-made 8-in. device with a very good screen, a surprisingly powerful processor, and Office as part of the package."Dell Venue 8 Pro review: A Windows 8.1 tablet for the rest of us - Computerworld
"Strava recently demo’d an app for Google Glass that promises to turn every ride–and possibly even your daily walk from the car into the office–into a competition. The app is said to include alerts to let riders know when they’re approaching a segment during a ride and it makes key stats like speed and distance visible at a glance. But perhaps more importantly (for the company’s lawyers anyway), Strava’s Google Glass app is designed to allow riders to remain more “situationally aware” during the ride."Strava Creates New App for Google Glass | Singletracks Mountain Bike Blog
"One difference between data-hungry businesses like Google and your future home network of Internet-enabled objects is that some of those devices may not need to talk to each other over the public Internet, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Lee Tien. If they're connected to the same Wi-Fi network, maybe those devices won't need to transmit data across the Web.Here’s the scariest part about the Internet of Things
"Utilize but keep the data within the home boundary," Tien suggested. "Keep the interesting variations within the home boundary. How much detail do we need and how much data needs to leave the home, actually?""
"This is not to say that Snapchat isn’t popular. It certainly is, by many reasonable, anecdotal definitions! And the fact that Facebook, which presumably did some due diligence, thought the company was worth three Instagrams, should not be ignored (though it should also be understood as an attempt made by a company that desperately wants, and needs, to stay relevant, and that once tried to rip off Snapchat when the service was very young).The Great Snapchat Mirage
But Snapchat is a startup. It’s a startup that is courting buyers, or at least humoring them, and that may be in the process of raising an enormous amount of money. It is clearly in Snapchat’s interest to share its most impressive numbers, but it is in everyone else’s interest to demand to know more, and to take these numbers — these context-free numbers — with a wheelbarrow of salt."
"A cynic could say Salesforce, which counts HP among its largest clients, is doing HP a favor — with HP’s gear given key placement by a company that pioneered cloud computing. Indeed, Ms. Whitman said that her company had 27,000 sales executives using Salesforce and would be putting 100,000 of its affiliated resellers on the system.Salesforce.com and HP Buck Common Wisdom of Cloud Computing - NYTimes.com
Even with those kinds of numbers, however, Mr. Benioff is unlikely to be making this deal just as a favor. He does seem to agree that dedicating some hardware will win clients (who could probably get just as much security with software that partitioned their data within a regular public cloud, but who said sales were always rational?)"
"In fact, BuzzFeed is the latest of seven content distribution partners for Quora. Others are Forbes, Slate and the BBC. Quora exec Marc Bodnick sees the media deals as a win-win, where Quora writers get more distribution, and media partners get good content.Quora Will Push Its Most Link-Baity Content to BuzzFeed - Liz Gannes - Media - AllThingsD
It might seem a little self-defeating for a social site to concede that a media player has wider reach than it does. But Bodnick said the deal serves Quora’s goal of sharing and growing the world’s knowledge. “If you keep the quality high, the quality attracts readers,” he said. “It’s not GIFs, it’s not porn, it’s not link bait.”"
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"The two companies will jointly market what will be considered a premium offering for Salesforce’s biggest customers. Customers who choose the Superpod option will get a dedicated instance of Salesforce all their own, where most customers have their Salesforce installation running on shared infrastructure."Salesforce Strikes Cloud Partnership With HP - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
"Then I discovered that Jony has made everything in his past life private. He has sealed all of his school records, his high school records, his college records. He’s persuaded all of his ex-workers, his ex-colleagues not to talk. So his family would not talk. It was all shut off. I was freaking out because I had nothing.A Conversation With Leander Kahney, Author of 'Jony Ive' - NYTimes.com
But then I got a lucky break. I got one of one of his old design colleagues, Douglas Satzger, who worked with him for more than a dozen years. He was there before Steve Jobs came back and there all the way up to the iPad. And I went down to see him at his home in Silicon Valley."
"Online storage, once a backwater of the Silicon Valley technology scene, is suddenly a hot commodity.Dropbox Is Said to Seek $250 Million in Funding, Doubling Its Valuation - NYTimes.com
Dropbox, a five-year-old San Francisco start-up that allows users to access stored documents via the web, is seeking $250 million in funding in a round that would value it at more than $8 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter."
Monday, November 18, 2013
"In its most recent quarter, IBM’s hardware sales fell 17 percent, its services sales dropped 4 percent, and its total revenue fell 4 percent to $23.7 billion. Sales in what IBM defines as “growth markets” fell 9 percent. The company didn’t have the courage to break out sales in non-growth markets.IBM Faces a Crisis In the Cloud - Businessweek
The acquisition of SoftLayer shows that IBM knows it needs to engage in some hand-to-hand industry combat if it wants to remain relevant. Having sold its disk drive business to Asia, IBM is now renting disk drives by the hour for pennies. If you want to be a technology company in 2013, that’s the sort of thing you must do."
"The company Monday kicks off a 120,000-attendee conference called Dreamforce, during which Salesforce plans to pitch itself as a “platform,” an industry term for providing a canvas on which companies can create their own software. The programs would typically run on Salesforce’s computers, freeing business owners from owning and maintaining their own computing infrastructure.Salesforce Wants to Be More Than a Sales Tool - Digits - WSJ
The platform “is the core of who we are,” Kendall Collins, Salesforce’s executive vice president of products, said in an interview. “Hopefully we have made it dead simple for people to build and deploy enterprise apps.”"
Friday, November 15, 2013
Hadoop creator: 'Google is living a few years in the future and sending the rest of us messages' | ZDNet
"Enterprise has a history of riding in Google's slipstream. It was in 2004 that Google revealed the technologies that inspired the creation of Hadoop, the platform that it is only today starting to be used by business for big data analytics.Hadoop creator: 'Google is living a few years in the future and sending the rest of us messages' | ZDNet
Hadoop's co-creator Doug Cutting believes industry will continue to borrow from Google's toolbox, and sees a bright future in enterprise for the recently announced Google Spanner.
"Google is living a few years in the future and sending the rest of us messages," he said at the O'Reilly Strata Conference in London."
"On Thursday, though, Apple released a beta update for iWork for iCloud that includes the features. Among the new tools that let multiple people work together on a project: you can see a list of who is currently working on the project, and each person's individual cursor; and you can jump directly to any collaborator's cursor by clicking on his or her name.Apple lets fly with iWork collaboration features | Apple - CNET News
The update also adds the ability to organize documents in folders, and lets you print documents, spreadsheets, and presentations directly from the Tools menu."
"All the major makers of personal computers and, yes, laptops, could also be affected if someone makes an Android-based desktop terminal that could be sold as a cheap way to equip call centers or offices.Amazon Web Services Gets Personal and Pretty - NYTimes.com
“No hardware, no software, no long-term commitments,” said Andy Jassy, the head of A.W.S. “You can access this at half the price of a typical infrastructure desktop solution.”"
"“What seemed insanely ambitious and this huge effort that seemed very dangerous in 2004 now seems ordinary,” said James Grimmelmann, a law professor at the University of Maryland who has followed the case closely. “Technology and media have moved on so much that it’s just not a big deal.”Siding With Google, Judge Says Book Search Does Not Infringe Copyright - NYTimes.com
The ruling examined whether Google’s use of copyrighted works counted as so-called fair use under copyright law, which Judge Chin determined it did. The decision opened the door for other companies to also scan books."
"Silicon Valley emphasises the liberating power of technology—and it is often right. But the freedom that a gadget gives one person can sometimes take away liberty from another. Liberal politicians have been lazy about defending the idea of personal space, especially online. The fight should start now. Otherwise, in the blink of an eye, privacy could be gone."The recorded world: Every step you take | The Economist
Thursday, November 14, 2013
"But one of the biggest impacts of these sorts of projects is a boost in overall availability of renewable energy, says Greenpeace IT analyst Gary Cook. “When Facebook said back in spring that they were going to Iowa, the utility company in Iowa, MidAmerican Energy, announced that they were shelving plans to build a new nuclear facility and then filed plans to build a wind plant instead,” Cook told us earlier this week. “If you look at the regulatory filing, this was because they have new customers, namely Facebook, that want more renewable energy.”"Facebook Says Its New Data Center Will Run Entirely on Wind | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
Premature to proclaim “the death of BitTorrent” but still an interesting case study in fee-based service providers successfully competing with “free”
“So why the difference in growth between overall monthly data usage and peak-hour data usage? In part, it has to do with how we're getting our content. File-sharing through sites such as BitTorrent has plummeted in North America. It now accounts for less than 10 percent of total traffic during peak hours -- 10 years ago, it was 60 percent. So instead of downloading something whenever during the day to watch later, people have options like Netflix or Hulu, which they can just cue up after work. Streaming video tends to take up less bandwidth, since people only download as much as they watch rather than downloading the whole thing only to stop in the middle. And right now, "real-time entertainment" accounts for most of our evening Internet usage, with Netflix taking the lion's share.”
"Today the company gathered journalists in its swank offices in San Francisco’s China Basin to offer an update on its progress: Dropbox has more than 200 million users and its customers save more than 1 billion files in Dropbox every day. “There are more files saved to Dropbox each day than Tweets on Twitter (TWTR),” said Drew Houston, Dropbox’s 30-year-old chief executive officer.Dropbox Makes a Move Into the Enterprise - Businessweek
Dropbox also unveiled its next target beyond everyday Internet users: businesses. Houston says users are already bringing the service into their companies. More than four million businesses used Dropbox last year, including over 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies. “People love that they can work from anywhere. People love they can have their work stuff and personal stuff together for the first time,” Houston said."
"This sets up a nice set of network effects for the company: Third-party items expand Amazon's selection, which attracts more consumers to its site, which in turn makes Amazon more attractive for other third-party sellers. At the same time, as Amazon claims more third-party sellers, more customers and more sales, it wins further leverage over shippers like UPS and FedEx, further driving down its infrastructure costs-which, once again, feeds greater sales. It wouldn't be crazy to guess that at some point, third-party sales will become Amazon's main business, with its own goods just a slice of a much larger company that is mostly about e-commerce infrastructure, not e-commerce itself."Amazon's Greatest Weapon: Jeff Bezos's Paranoia - WSJ.com
"A slowdown in Cisco Systems Inc.'s business is turning into a tailspin, hobbled by weak demand in China and other emerging markets.Cisco Earnings: Revenue Heads Downward - WSJ.com
The Silicon Valley network-equipment giant on Wednesday said revenue rose just 1.8% in its first fiscal quarter, compared with its projection of 3% to 5% growth. Cisco followed up by projecting a decline of 8% to 10% in the current period, an unusually grim forecast for a company seen as a bellwether for corporate technology spending."
"While revenues of Amazon’s cloud business are still small enough that the company does not have to disclose them, Amazon officials say Jeff Bezos, the company’s chief executive, believes A.W.S. could eventually dwarf Amazon’s businesses in books and merchandise, enterprises with $51 billion in revenue. This year, Gartner calculated that A.W.S. had five times the computing power of 14 other cloud computing companies, including IBM, combined.IBM to Announce More Powerful Watson via the Internet - NYTimes.com
Since then, IBM has spent an estimated $2 billion to acquire a cloud company called SoftLayer and has reconfigured Watson as a cloud product. It also hired buses that drove around the A.W.S. conference in Las Vegas, sporting ads that said they showed its superiority in cloud computing."
"What business makes no money, has yet to pass its third anniversary and just turned down an offer worth billions of dollars? Snapchat, a social media service run by a pair of 20-somethings who until last month worked out of a beachfront bungalow in Venice, Calif."Rejecting Billions, Snapchat Expects a Better Offer - NYTimes.com
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
A sign of the IBM
Lotusphere Connect times: not a single instance of “collaboration” in the first wave of session descriptions (okay; there’s one instance of “Collaborating” in the title of a partner project management presentation)
“As promised, this year we’re shaking things up with the IBM Connect 2014 session agenda. Instead of announcing our lineup all at once, each Monday, for the next few weeks, we'll be posting a first peek of "accepted" sessions right here. And for those of you who are counting – that’s even earlier than we promised.”
"If you've used the same email account/password combo on Facebook and Adobe, Facebook has probably already pushed your account into a closet and locked the door.Facebook locks users in a closet for using same passwords/emails on Adobe | Naked Security
It won't let you out until you change that password, security journalist Brian Krebs reported on Monday.
Not only is Facebook being non-Big-Brotherish, it's being proactive in protecting customers, for which it deserves hearty kudos. If only all companies shepherded their customers' data in this manner."
"What Jaffe was demonstrating – a new “TV experience” that starts rolling out Wednesday to PlayStation 3 (and eventually PS4), Roku 3, Xbox 360, certain web-enabled smart TVs and Blu-ray players – is the result of a year and a half of development by Netflix. It’s the biggest change to the company’s TV experience to date and, although Jaffe doesn’t say it, offers a glimpse of what Netflix would look like if it were its own network. Earlier this year, chief content officer Ted Sarandos told GQ that the company’s goal is “to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” Want to know what that might look like? See this latest update."Netflix's New Look Is a Glimpse at the Future of TV | Underwire | Wired.com
"You're probably used to downloading email attachments, but each of those files takes time to download, eats up space on your device, and can get buried deep inside your "Downloads" folder. With today's update to Gmail, you can skip that whole process. Instead, you can view attachments and save files directly to Google Drive without ever leaving Gmail, making it easy to access them later from whatever device you’re on—computer, phone or tablet. "Official Enterprise Blog: Attachments in Gmail, now with the power of Google Drive
More Twitter Custom
Trail Timeline details
“But Twitter hasn’t made the most of these opportunities. Filtering events through hashtags has been a mishmash of tweets — some highly engaging, most far less so. In effect, Twitter’s most powerful attraction has been completely lost on untold numbers of potential new users.
That may soon change. On Tuesday, Twitter announced a new “Custom Timelines” product for developers and third-party sites, effectively giving organizations the power to curate their own Twitter streams to surface the best material related to an event.”
"Even more disturbing, he said, was the number of people who used the same password for their bank accounts, email, Facebook and home garage door codes as a password on the Adobe website. Some even used their Social Security numbers as passwords.Adobe Breach Inadvertently Tied to Other Accounts - NYTimes.com
In tens of thousands of instances people write a hint to themselves that says “same as my Facebook password” or “same as my bank password.”"
"Twitter introduced a tool Tuesday, called custom timelines, that allows its users to drag and drop tweets to form custom lists of Twitter messages on whatever topic interests them.Twitter Introduces Tool to Make Collecting and Sharing Tweets Easier - NYTimes.com
The idea — to make it easy for anyone to create a “best of Twitter” list — could be especially appealing to news organizations and other heavy users of Twitter who constantly scan the service looking for interesting nuggets and then share them with their own followers and fans."
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
"In a recent article at CIO.com, Rob Enderle made a very clear and somewhat compelling case that IBM would ultimately dominate public cloud computing. I believe he's wrong. Yes, IBM will make an impact, but it won't end up being a dominant public cloud computing player. To me, the reasons are obvious."Amazon Web Services has no reason to worry about IBM | Cloud Computing - InfoWorld
"In a bit of a surprise move, the Apple Store began accepting orders for the iPad Mini Retina at midnight Monday after word of the tablet's impending launch leaked out in an internal notification intended for support technicians and resellers.iPad Mini Retina now available at Apple Store | Apple - CNET News
Wi-Fi-only versions sporting 16GB and 32GB of storage are expected to ship to buyers in one to three business days, while the 64GB and 128GB versions list shipping expectations of five to 10 business days. Versions with cellular connectivity are also expected to ship in five to 10 days."
"Just four weeks in, the Help to Buy policy is delivering. This is the policy that makes it easier for people to get a mortgage and buy a house - cutting the deposits they have to put down. Here are the figures you need to know."4 Reasons Why Help To Buy Is Working | LinkedIn
"Do you know where your kids are right now? Has your significant other left the office yet? Is anyone home? If you were a Life360 user, you’d never lack an answer to those questions."Red State" App Life360 Helps Families Track Themselves - Liz Gannes - Mobile - AllThingsD
Yes, constant location tracking is creepy, but with Life360 it’s your own family you’re stalking."
"AWS is a big player in cloud computing. Its computers are the backbone behind video-streaming service Netflix Inc. and social network Pinterest Inc. AWS marketing chief Adam Selipsky likes to say that startups can use his service to open for business with just a credit card.Amazon Preps Web Services Confab - WSJ.com
Amazon doesn't disclose the unit's finances, but Macquarie Capital analyst Ben Schachter has estimated revenue will approach $4 billion this year. The Seattle company has said AWS could one day become larger than its retail business, which now takes in $60 billion annually."
"When Glass boots up, it will display “listen to” among its standard voice commands — like “take a picture” and search for a term on Google — and let a wearer name a song or artist and then stream that music through Play, Google’s media and apps hub. Users can link their Play accounts to have access to playlists and song recommendations based on what they have listened to in the past.Google Glass Will Expand Its Features Into Music - NYTimes.com
Google is also introducing a set of earbud headphones designed for Glass, which will be available by the end of the month for $85. Sound Search, a feature introduced to Glass two months ago, acts like Shazam or SoundHound by identifying a song playing in the vicinity."
"Consoles have been the thumping heart of the video game industry for decades. But the new PlayStation 4 from Sony and the Xbox One from Microsoft will enter a landscape reshaped by tablets, smartphones and Facebook, all of which provide games at a lower price and in greater abundance."New Consoles on the Way, but Gaming Isn’t the Same - NYTimes.com
Monday, November 11, 2013
"Here are some of the challenges that make NoSQL’s adoption slower than expected:What happened to the buzz around NoSQL? - SuccessfulWorkplace
- Transactional applications are still well-suited to relational databases with all of its built-in functionality that keep transactions intact, even if the power goes off.
- NoSQL databases are silos of their own and a challenge to move data between. Until better standards arrive, and that may be the JSON, document-based NoSQL, there’s risk of data portability with NoSQL.
- If your data isn’t enormous, moving off a relational database isn’t a necessity. People tend to postpone big changes that aren’t a necessity."
"That "good group" reads like a who's who of tech, with companies such as Google replacing all internal production MySQL servers with MariaDB; Red Hat making it its new storage engine; Fedora making it the default implementation of MySQL in Fedora 19; the foxes over at Mozilla migrating to it; as well as many others.Oracle's nemesis MariaDB releases sleekest seal yet to beta • The Register
Version 10 of the database comes with several merged features and functionality from MySQL 5.6, along with enhancements to replication, optimisation, and administration."
"Collecting data from all sorts of odd places and analyzing it much faster than was possible even a couple of years ago has become one of the hottest areas of the technology industry. The idea is simple: With all that processing power and a little creativity, researchers should be able to find novel patterns and relationships among different kinds of information.Start-Ups Are Mining Hyperlocal Information for Global Insights - NYTimes.com
For the last few years, insiders have been calling this sort of analysis Big Data. Now Big Data is evolving, becoming more “hyper” and including all sorts of sources. Start-ups like Premise and ClearStory Data, as well as larger companies like General Electric, are getting into the act."
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Server & Tools can further embrace the heterogeneity they must and a clean break would let them truly focus on being cloud first where the operating system is an afterthought. Azure is already emerging as the clear challenger to Amazon Web Services and strategic clarity would help them focus on this battle for the future."
"“In the early days, I bought into the idea that the Internet would lead to a better world, that the truth was out there and that we didn’t need gatekeepers,” he said. The idea that he and many others embraced was that an unfiltered Internet would create a democratic information utopia. “Now,” he continued, “I think it’s more complicated than that.”A Founder of Twitter Goes Long - NYTimes.com
Medium is Mr. Williams’s version of a gatekeeper, albeit one that relies heavily on technology rather than human expertise or taste. While it has some editors soliciting and promoting some content, the bigger idea is to use algorithms to help identify blog posts that readers consider valuable and to bubble them to the surface."
"Even when Mr. Obama travels to allied nations, aides quickly set up the security tent — which has opaque sides and noise-making devices inside — in a room near his hotel suite. When the president needs to read a classified document or have a sensitive conversation, he ducks into the tent to shield himself from secret video cameras and listening devices."Obama’s Portable Zone of Secrecy (Some Assembly Required) - NYTimes.com
Friday, November 08, 2013
"Besides beefing up their internal security, many of America’s big firms have been lobbying Congress to rein the NSA in. But there is reason to think that technological changes could run ahead of legal ones. In some leaked slides, the NSA describes a lot of its programmes as “fragile”, Dr Green notes, suggesting that it worries they can be thwarted without too much trouble. And techno-fixes offer something laws do not. There are dozens of signals-intelligence agencies in the world, some of which serve pretty unsavoury governments. Laws can affect only one agency at a time. Cyber-criminals will, naturally, ignore them entirely. But techno-fixes work against everyone."Internet security: Besieged | The Economist
"Motorola's patent filing says: "The electronic skin tattoo is capable of receiving an initialization signal at the controller and from the MCD (mobile communication device) to initiate reception of an audio stream picked up from the throat region of the body for subsequent audio detection by the MCD under an improved signal-to-noise ratio than without employing the electronic skin tattoo."Motorola wants to tattoo a mic on your throat - The Times of India
The filing says that the tattoo can be applied on animals as well and can be embedded into a collar or band (both flexible and stiff) that is worn around the neck.
And that's not all. Motorola's throat tattoo will double up as a lie detector too!"
"Stephen Elop, a candidate to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive officer, would consider breaking with decades of tradition by focusing the company’s strategy around making the popular Office software programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint available on a broad variety of smartphones and tablets, including those made by Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc., said three people with knowledge of his thinking."Microsoft CEO Candidate Elop Said to Mull Windows Shift - Bloomberg
"In the documents seen by the Chronicle, By and Large calls the barge a "studio" and "temporary technology exhibit space."Google Barge Will be 'Unprecedented Artistic Structure' with 'Fish Fin' Sails - IBTimes UK
The company adds: "We envisioned this space with community in mind, a surprising environment that is accessible to all and inspires conversation about how everything is connected - shorebirds, me, you, the sea, the fog and much more."
The barge will move around San Francisco bay, stopping in a number of locations for a month at a time, attracting up to 1,000 visitors a day according to the documents."
Check this page for an overview of the many Send to Kindle app/extension options
The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge - Businessweek
"You know how the National Security Agency collects “metadata” about the phone calls Americans make? Well, that’s what these fields are, except instead of metadata about phone calls, this is metadata about tweets. In fact, those 140 characters are less than 10 percent of all the data you’ll find in a tweet object. Twitter’s metadata is publicly documented by the company, open for perusal by all and available to anyone who wants to sign up for an API key."The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge - Businessweek
"The T100 starts at $349 for the 32 gigabyte version (a 64GB model is also available for $399), and includes the keyboard dock and a copy of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, which usually goes for $140. That’s a great value, especially when compared to the Microsoft Surface 2, which starts at $449, runs a stripped-down version of Windows 8.1 and doesn’t include a keyboard. Meanwhile, the 32GB iPad Air costs $599.Asus Transformer Book T100 review - Bonnie Cha - Product Reviews - AllThingsD
For these reasons, and despite its flaws, the T100 is worth a look."
Thursday, November 07, 2013
"In Fall 2012, a small team in the Facebook Data Infrastructure group set out to solve this problem for our warehouse users. We evaluated a few external projects, but they were either too nascent or did not meet our requirements for flexibility and scale. So we decided to build Presto, a new interactive query system that could operate fast at petabyte scale.Presto: Interacting with petabytes of data at Facebook
In this post, we will briefly describe the architecture of Presto, its current status, and future roadmap.
Presto is a distributed SQL query engine optimized for ad-hoc analysis at interactive speed. It supports standard ANSI SQL, including complex queries, aggregations, joins, and window functions."
"On the heels of Apple's new, lighter iPad, Amazon has come out with a full-size tablet that weighs even less yet sports a sharper display and a lower price tag. Although Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 hasn't received as much attention as the iPad Air, it is emerging as the strongest challenger yet to Apple's device.Review: New Kindle is strong challenge to iPad Air - Businessweek
The new full-size Kindle is a great deal at $379. It might even make a nice gift for your tech-challenged friends and relatives, as they can call Mayday rather than you. The Kindle isn't as good as the iPad Air, but it's an excellent choice for its price."
"Microsoft’s range of Office Web Apps are finally getting real-time editing today. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are all being updated with the ability to support co-authoring that’s similar to Google Docs. While Office Web Apps has supported the editing and sharing of documents, it lacked the real-time element that’s essential for collaborative editing amongst groups of users. Microsoft promised the support back in June, and the improvements now place the company’s offerings in a position to compete with Google Docs fully."Microsoft finally takes on Google Docs with real-time editing in Office Web Apps | The Verge
"But that doesn't change the fact that Twitter is a risk, a big one. If you bet on Twitter, you ought only go into it with the understanding that you don't know what will become of the company. You're walking into this deal nearly blind, because you have to, because Twitter is so young, so small, and so different that it's hard to know what to make of it. Sometimes such investments turn out to be huge. Other times you reach for the Maalox. Good luck."Here's Why You Shouldn't Invest in Twitter - WSJ.com
"Blockbuster, which had more than 9,000 retail stores across America just nine years ago, is closing the few hundred video-rental stores that it still has, the company’s owner, Dish Network, said on Wednesday in a bittersweet but long-expected announcement."Blockbuster, Outdone by Netflix, Will Shut Its Stores and DVD Mail Service - NYTimes.com
"The retailer on Wednesday announced a program where stores can sell its popular reading devices. The booksellers would get a small payment on each sale and a commission on all e-books that the reader buys in the next two years.An Offer From Amazon to Its Most Bitter Rivals - NYTimes.com
It was a great deal, booksellers said — for Amazon."
"On Wednesday, Twitter set the price of its initial public offering at $26 a share, valuing the company at $18.1 billion. Twitter shares are set to begin trading on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.Twitter Prices Its Initial Offering at $26 Per Share - NYTimes.com
With 70 million shares sold in the offering, Twitter raised $1.8 billion. The I.P.O.’s price, the subject of debate between the board and its underwriters until late on Wednesday afternoon, was above an already heightened price range, reflecting the strong demand for the company’s stock."
"Serious e-book fans probably know about OverDrive, an attractive but limited service that lets you borrow electronic books from a local library free of charge. Now a pair of companies, Oyster and Scribd, have launched all-you-can-read services based on a Netflix-like subscription model.The e-book choice — rent, borrow, or buy? - Business - The Boston Globe
And another new company with a dreadful name, eReatah, is positioning itself as the digital successor of the classic Book of the Month Club."
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
"The new record high appears to be driven in part by surging demand for the currency in China. The volume of yuan-to-bitcoin trading in recent weeks on the leading Chinese exchange, BTC China, has been near record highs. That's very different from Mt. Gox, where trading volume in recent weeks has been much lower than it was in April. This suggests that Chinese speculators may be playing a larger role in the current appreciation than they did during the previous bull market in April."Bitcoin price reaches a record high for the first time since April
"Sources said Lenovo was very interested and would likely have been willing to buy BlackBerry. But the Canadian firm could ill afford to spend months tied up with a security review that could potentially derail a transaction.Lenovo pursued BlackBerry bid, but Ottawa rejected idea - The Globe and Mail
One of BlackBerry’s key concerns in looking for a buyer was speed and certainty. Any transaction with significant risk of falling through was a problem because BlackBerry might not have had time to execute a Plan B with the way its business has been declining."
Amazon's First Employee Shel Kaphan Disses Bezos Wife's Book Review - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
"“I was at Amazon for the first 5 years of its existence, so I also have firsthand experience of those times at the company, and I have been a fairly close observer since I left,” Kaphan wrote. “I spent considerably more time in the Amazon work environment during those years than MacKenzie Bezos did. By and large I found Mr. Stone’s treatment of that which I know firsthand to be accurate — at least as accurate as it is possible to be at this great a remove, and with no contemporaneous documentation of the early chaotic days or access to certain of the principals.”"Amazon's First Employee Shel Kaphan Disses Bezos Wife's Book Review - Jason Del Rey - Commerce - AllThingsD
"Google has made several improvements over the Nexus 4 phone with the new Nexus 5. Walt Mossberg reviewed the phone and the new Android KitKat OS. In general, he tells us it is a good phone, but not a blockbuster."Review of Nexus 5 Smartphone - WSJ.com
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
AT&T Says iPad Activations Triple Those of Last Year's Launch Weekend - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
"AT&T said Monday that it saw a strong increase in iPad business with the launch of the iPad Air, with activations more than triple those from last year’s launch weekend.AT&T Says iPad Activations Triple Those of Last Year's Launch Weekend - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD
“[I]Pad activations on AT&T increased more than 200% over the past three days compared to last year’s launch weekend, driven by consumer excitement around the new iPad Air and the popularity of AT&T Mobile Share, which lets customers add an iPad to their existing data plan for just $10 a month,” AT&T said in a statement."
"Based upon a preliminary review of the patents, Twitter said in the filing that it believes it has “meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations.”IBM, Twitter Plan Talks on Patent Dispute - Digits - WSJ
Twitter said in filings it has nine U.S. patents as of Sept. 30 and 95 U.S. patent applications pending – relatively few for a technology company. By contrast, Facebook Inc. said it had 774 U.S. patents before its IPO last year.
Twitter employs an unusual intellectual-property strategy, under which employees retain the rights to their inventions, rather than assigning them to the company, as is the common practice. The policy says in part that Twitter can’t pursue offensive litigation without the inventor’s permission."
"In Ms. Bezos’s review, the only one-star review “The Everything Store” has received, she accused Mr. Stone of making factual errors and, noting that Mr. Bezos was “never interviewed for this book,” took issue with Mr. Stone’s use of the phrases “Bezos believed” and “Bezos felt.” Readers, she wrote, should “take note of how seldom these guesses about his feelings and motives are marked with a footnote indicating there is any other source to substantiate them.”Book About Amazon Is Reviewed on Amazon, by Founder’s Wife - NYTimes.com
Sarah Gelman, a spokeswoman for Amazon, confirmed that the review was written by Ms. Bezos. In a statement late Monday, Craig Berman, Amazon’s vice president for global communications, said: “Over the course of the author’s reporting, Amazon facilitated meetings for him with more than half a dozen senior Amazon executives, during which he had every opportunity to inquire about or fact-check claims made by former employees. He chose not to.”"
"“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s useful information,” Udi Manber, the Google vice president for engineering in charge of Helpouts, said at a press conference Monday in San Francisco. “But if you do search for a long time, you realize most of the world’s useful information still resides in people’s heads.”Helpouts From Google Connects People With Experts Over Live Video - NYTimes.com
Google’s search engine often finds the right answer if someone knows the question to ask, added Mr. Manber, who previously oversaw engineering for search. The problem, he said, is “very often you don’t know what question to ask.”"
"But creating a BlackBerry without phones, Mr. Dawson cautioned, will not be easy. Most of BlackBerry’s service business, he said, is closely linked to BlackBerry handsets.A Takeover Bid for BlackBerry Collapses, and Its Chief Executive Vacates His Post - NYTimes.com
While BlackBerry Messenger, an instant messaging service, was recently expanded to the top two operating systems, the overwhelming majority of its users still own BlackBerry phones."
Monday, November 04, 2013
Some early iPad Air usage tracking data
“Fiksu found that three days after the iPad Air went on sale, it was being used by 0.88 percent of those millions using the apps of its clients – which is much better than either the 0.15 percent who were on iPad 4 three days after its launch, or the 0.22 percent who were on iPad mini at the same time. The iPad Air has attracted more early adopters than both devices combined, in fact, which, if borne out by device sales numbers, will mean a big win for Apple going into this holiday.”
"For nearly 20 years, we’ve thought of “new media” as the brash young upstart and “old media” as the stalwart if increasingly embattled establishment. But what if new media aren’t as new as we assume — and old media not really old at all? So argues Tom Standage in “Writing on the Wall,” a provocative book that asks us to look at media less in terms of technology — digital or analog? — than in terms of the role they invite us to play. Are we passive receptors for whatever facts, opinions and ad messages come our way? Or are we participants, sharing what we like with others, amending or commenting in the process? The second is characteristic of the Internet in general and social media in particular. But there’s nothing revolutionary about this, Standage says. Instead, it’s the role of consumer, so typical of 20th-century mass media, that’s unnatural — and to Standage, a historical blip."‘Writing on the Wall,’ by Tom Standage - NYTimes.com
"It justifies the administration’s tough-it-out strategy. The implicit message is that healthcare.gov must be salvageable—otherwise, why would these companies wade into a political morass? Republicans in Congress will be scrutinizing the White House’s attempts to reboot the website and issuing subpoenas in hopes of further embarrassing President Obama, who has already been tarnished by its failure. These Silicon Valley firms are lending their expertise to the project even though some, like Google, are furious about the National Security Agency’s aggressive, secret pursuit of their customers’ data, as the New York Times reports."Why the Googlification of Obamacare Really Matters - Businessweek
"In an unusual move, IBM is launching a marketing campaign Monday that names Amazon as a rival and implicitly claims that IBM is the leader in the estimated $40 billion-a-year cloud-computing market. IBM rarely mentions competitors in any of its advertisements.IBM Attacks Amazon in New Ad Campaign - Digits - WSJ
“Whose cloud powers 270,000 more websites than Amazon?” asks one print advertisement that will run in some major newspapers and business magazines. “If your answer is IBM, you’re among the well informed. The IBM cloud offerings also support 30% more of the most popular websites than anyone else in the world.”"
""It's really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that's true. The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people's privacy, it's not OK," Mr. Schmidt told The Wall Street Journal in an interview on Sunday. "The Snowden revelations have assisted us in understanding that it's perfectly possible that there are more revelations to come."Google's Eric Schmidt Lambastes NSA Over Spying, Following New Snowden Revelations - WSJ.com
Mr. Schmidt said Google had registered complaints with the NSA, as well as President Barack Obama and members of Congress."
"Lest you think Amazon is simply being generous, it is important to note that Prime members reportedly spend 150 percent more on the site after joining. You get the drift: Come for “Alpha House” and stick around to buy a big new flat-screen to watch it on.With ‘Alpha House,’ Amazon Makes Bid for Living Room Screens and Beyond - NYTimes.com
It’s not cheap or easy to make content. Variety estimated that the company is spending $1 million to $2 million an episode on original programming and will not reap immediate profits, but Amazon is playing a longer game. It’s part of the so-called flywheel effect, a business theory that suggests that adding small features to a core business — in Amazon’s case, selling millions of products online — makes the wheel spin faster, helping you add customers and achieve efficiencies through increased scale."
Sunday, November 03, 2013
"Steve Jobs said he never saw the similarity between his fight with Android and his fight with Bill Gates and Microsoft in the 1980s. But just about everyone else inside and out of Apple did. It seemed unfathomable that Jobs would lose two battles the same way a generation apart. But with so many similarities between the two dogfights, it was hard not to think about it."Apple vs Google: Did Apple Learn Anything From Its War With Microsoft? | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
Friday, November 01, 2013
"BlackBerry will long serve as a cautionary tale. I myself was surprised when I looked at the historical charts of mobile OS market share, and was reminded that BlackBerry continued to grow and gain in the first few years of the iPhone’s release. This tracks with Apple and Google’s campaign to finish building out their respective operating systems and harden them for enterprise use.Chicago Grid | What BlackBerry needs to do to survive
We forget that it took years for these two things to develop. They began as colorful caterpillars that couldn’t even cut and paste text. Then they entered a larval stage in which they were good personal phones. They emerged from the chrysalis not so much as delicate butterflies, but as techno-organic BlackBerry death delivery systems."
"Rockstar may want to keep the patent conflict as a kind of "proxy war" between Google and its competitors. But Google has plenty of patents, and this new attack seems assured to bring a counter-attack.Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned “Rockstar” sues Google | Ars Technica
The smartphone market is more valuable than ever, and the $4.5 billion Rockstar purchase shows that Google's competitors will spare no expense to put a damper on Android, and they hope to make money while they do it. Patents have become the arena in which tech companies have chosen to do battle. Six years after the iPhone and five years after the launch of Android, the stakes keep getting raised."
"There are a few neat tricks in the software. When users get a phone call from an unrecognized number, the phone will search the Web and identify the caller, if possible. The phone will also try to intuit what information its owner may need as part of a service called Google Now. When the owner is near Yellowstone Park, for example, the phone will search the Web to automatically present the times that the Old Faithful geyser is likely to erupt. When the user is near the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Tex., it will serve up the latest information about the location’s famous bat swarms."Google Introduces KitKat, Its Latest Version of Android - Businessweek
Google Barge Conspiracy Theories: Zombies ... or Maybe a Single Dove - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
"Those are the two most widely held theories and both make sense. But, since it is the Borg-like hive of Google we’re talking here, why not make up some nonsense conspiracy theories:Google Barge Conspiracy Theories: Zombies ... or Maybe a Single Dove - John Paczkowski - News - AllThingsD
The next phase of Google’s core business: Amphibious Data Collection and Ad-Serving Vehicles.
Storage for those unsold, unshipped Nexus Q devices.
An MMA fighting arena for employee off-sites.
Windowless Google+ hangouts.
The place where Googlers can do their 20 percent time.
Headquarters for Google’s America’s Cup entry in a longstanding plan to take Larry Ellison and Team Oracle to the mat."
Oracle, Google, Red Hat Engineers Ride to Rescue of Health Care Site - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
"Engineers from at least three major tech companies are said to be helping the federal government with its troubled health insurance website, HealthCare.gov.Oracle, Google, Red Hat Engineers Ride to Rescue of Health Care Site - Arik Hesseldahl - News - AllThingsD
According to a Bloomberg report, at least three employees on leave from Google, Oracle and Red Hat are stepping in to help get the site up and running nearly a month after its disastrous launch."
"The financing round was led by Michael and Xochi Birch, the founders of Bebo, with additional contributions from Avadis Tevanian, a former top Apple technologist; Lars Rasmussen, a Facebook engineer who helped create Google Maps when he worked at the search giant; the venture firms Greylock and Lightspeed; and others.Social Network for Opinions Gets a Dose of New Money - NYTimes.com
Ms. Gansca describes Knotch as “Twitter for the 99 percent” since it doesn’t require people to develop online followings to have an audience. Knotch users can easily gravitate to like-minded people by sharing their opinions through the company’s mobile app and finding other people who have registered similar sentiments on the same topics."
"So they are pushing back in various ways — from cosmetic tactics like publishing the numbers of government requests they receive to political ones including tense conversations with officials behind closed doors. And companies are building technical fortresses intended to make the private information in which they trade inaccessible to the government and other suspected spies.Angry Over U.S. Surveillance, Tech Giants Bolster Defenses - NYTimes.com
Yet even as they take measures against government collection of personal information, their business models rely on collecting that same data, largely to sell personalized ads. So no matter the steps they take, as long as they remain ad companies, they will be gathering a trove of information that will prove tempting to law enforcement and spies."