"This is the story of a team of unknown--except in elite technology circles--coders and troubleshooters who dropped what they were doing in various enterprises across the country and came together in mid-October to save the website. In about a tenth of the time that a crew of usual-suspect, Washington contractors had spent over $300 million building a site that didn't work, this ad hoc team rescued it and, arguably, Obama's chance at a health-reform legacy."Obama's Trauma Team: Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov -- Printout -- TIME
Friday, February 28, 2014
Obama's Trauma Team: Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealhCare.Gov -- TIME
Microsoft chairman John Thompson: Redmond looks 'like IBM in 1990' • The Register
""I would argue that there are some attributes to Microsoft today that do look vaguely like IBM circa 1990," Thompson said in an interview with Fortune published today. "The Windows monopoly is in fact under attack, and therefore we're going to have to change or think differently about the management systems and the associated culture of the company as time goes on."Microsoft chairman John Thompson: Redmond looks 'like IBM in 1990' • The Register
Prior to joining Microsoft's board in 2012, Thompson was CEO of Symantec, a position he held for 10 years. Before that, however, he was a 28-year veteran of IBM, during which time he led such diverse efforts as sales, marketing, and software development, and served as general manager of IBM Americas."
IBM laying off up to 25 percent of 'hardware' division | Business Tech - CNET News
"The company wouldn't comment on the number of people being laid off or what divisions would be most affected. However, one source familiar with the plans told CNET that the layoffs entailed up to 25 percent in the Systems and Technology group -- this is the group that makes IBM servers and is often referred to as the "hardware" division.IBM laying off up to 25 percent of 'hardware' division | Business Tech - CNET News
IBM announced last month that it sold its x86 server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion, so layoffs within the hardware division seem to make sense. With the sale, about 7,500 IBM employees were expected to be offered jobs at Lenovo. In 2005, IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo, too."
Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy Protection - WSJ.com
"Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox said it was filing for bankruptcy protection and that 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins and 100,000 of its own had been lost.Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Files for Bankruptcy Protection - WSJ.com
At market prices charted by the CoinDesk bitcoin index, that would represent a loss of $473 million.
The company's lawyer also said at a news conference at the Tokyo District Court that Mt. Gox had outstanding debt of about ¥6.5 billion ($63.6 million) with assets worth ¥3.84 billion."
Spikes Security's AirGap Browser: Internet Safety at a Distance - Businessweek
"He founded Spikes Security in 2012, and the company officially came out of stealth mode this week with its AirGap browser technology. The basic premise here is that instead of running a browser directly on your PC, laptop, or mobile device, you run it inside a Spikes Security data center. The company keeps the browser software on its servers and then essentially streams a video of your experience using the browser to your computer; anything nasty you click on can’t infect your computer because the browser software is running elsewhere. “The Web page gets built in the cloud, and you sort of watch a movie of it,” says Spikes. “You have total isolation from any malware.”"Spikes Security's AirGap Browser: Internet Safety at a Distance - Businessweek
British Spies Said to Intercept Yahoo Webcam Images - NYTimes.com
"The program posed unique challenges. According to one GCHQ document, between 3 and 11 percent of collected Yahoo webcam images contained sexually explicit content. “Unfortunately, there are issues with undesirable images within the data,” one GCHQ document reads. “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”British Spies Said to Intercept Yahoo Webcam Images - NYTimes.com
An internal agency survey of 323 Yahoo usernames found that 7.1 percent of those images contained “undesirable nudity.”"
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Welcome to Googletown | The Verge
"In 1999 Google moved into its first Mountain View office at 2400 Bayshore Parkway, with fewer than 50 employees to its name. Fifteen years later, it's the city's biggest employer. Though Microsoft, Symantec, Intuit, and LinkedIn each have a major presence in Mountain View, all are dwarfed by Google: in 2013, Google employed 9.7 percent of the city's entire workforce and owned 10.7 percent of all taxable property. In other words, Google represented one-tenth of Mountain View as of last year.Welcome to Googletown | The Verge
And it’s only getting bigger."
WhatsApp: Facebook's Weapon for Taking on the Telcos | LinkedIn
"Facebook's nonprofit, Internet.org, looks like a feel-good plea to extend Internet access to those who most need it -- and it may be that. (Samsung and Nokia are also backing the initiative.) But it's also a clever ploy, because wireless carriers represent an enormous middleman standing between Zuckerberg and his customers. If he can rally public opinion behind Internet.org's noble aims, it makes Facebook look good while putting carriers in the position of giving away their services for free -- or else looking greedy and miserly.WhatsApp: Facebook's Weapon for Taking on the Telcos | LinkedIn
In the end, Facebook and Google would be much happier if they didn't have to depend on wired and wireless companies to connect them with consumers. They're taking different paths toward carrier independence, but their goal appears to be very similar."
Tesla Lifts Curtain on $5 Billion Battery 'Gigafactory' - WSJ.com
"Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. said on Wednesday its proposed battery "Gigafactory" would cost up to $5 billion and allow it to sell as many as 500,000 vehicles a year.Tesla Lifts Curtain on $5 Billion Battery 'Gigafactory' - WSJ.com
The Palo Alto, Calif., company outlined plans for a factory that would employ up to 6,500 people and cover as many as 1,000 acres, including solar and wind farms to supply its power needs. It is evaluating sites in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, Tesla said in a regulatory filing."
Handset Makers Go Big on Smartphones - NYTimes.com
"Demand for big-screen phones is clearly strong. IDC, the research firm, estimates that at least 20 percent of all smartphones shipped last year in China, the largest smartphone market in the world, were five inches or larger. It predicts that number will balloon to 50 percent by 2017.Handset Makers Go Big on Smartphones - NYTimes.com
IDC also recently predicted that the growth of tablet sales would slow this year, partly because many people are gravitating toward larger phones and shifting away from smaller tablets."
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Today's Apps Are Turning Us Into Sociopaths | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
"While I am far from a Luddite who fetishizes a life without tech, we need to consider the consequences of this latest batch of apps and tools that remind us to contact significant others, boost our willpower, provide us with moral guidance, and encourage us to be civil. Taken together, we’re observing the emergence of tech that doesn’t just augment our intellect and lives — but is now beginning to automate and outsource our humanity."Today's Apps Are Turning Us Into Sociopaths | Wired Opinion | Wired.com
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Broken Walls Set Course for Bitcoin's 'Lehman Moment' - MoneyBeat - WSJ
"“The Mt. Gox case is the Lehman Brothers moment for digital currencies. This is a wake-up call for everyone and there will be major ramifications,” said Mark T. Williams, who teaches finance at Boston University and has studied bitcoin sceptically.Broken Walls Set Course for Bitcoin's 'Lehman Moment' - MoneyBeat - WSJ
“These exchanges are holding client funds but behaving more like boiler-room brokers,” he said. “The whole bitcoin exchange infrastructure has been built on clay feet.”"
IBM's Latest Cloud Acquisition Aims Directly at Amazon | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
"It so happens that IBM has a long history with CouchDB, the database that underpins Cloudant. This open source database was part of the original NoSQL boom of the mid-to-late 2000s, but it wasn’t initially influenced by Amazon or Google. CouchDB creator Damien Katz drew his original inspiration from Lotus Notes, which IBM acquired in 1995. Although it’s mostly known as an email client, Lotus Notes is actually a database management system that can be used to build a variety of custom applications.IBM's Latest Cloud Acquisition Aims Directly at Amazon | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
Katz, a former Lotus employee, began developing CouchDB in 2005 as a side project, and in 2007, he was hired by IBM to develop the database full-time. As part of the arrangement, IBM donated the database to the Apache Foundation, an organization that manages open source projects."
Gmail adding prominent 'Unsubscribe' option to marketing emails | PCWorld
"Gmail users who get frustrated trying to find the “unsubscribe” link that’s often buried in small type at the bottom of promotional emails may instead start seeing it before they even open the message.Gmail adding prominent 'Unsubscribe' option to marketing emails | PCWorld
Starting this week, a new, clearly marked “unsubscribe” link will appear at the top of the header field in marketers’ emails. Previously only appearing for a small percentage of users, the feature will now be made available for most promotional messages with unsubscribe options, Google said on Thursday. Email recipients do not need to take action for the links to appear."
Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World - NYTimes.com
"On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation."Apparent Theft at Mt. Gox Shakes Bitcoin World - NYTimes.com
WhatsApp to Start Offering Internet Phone Calls - NYTimes.com
"By expanding into voice, WhatsApp is going head-to-head with the likes of Skype and traditional cellphone operators like AT&T and Deutsche Telekom. Analysts say the move also could lead Facebook to revamp its own mobile offerings, which have centered on software called Home that has won few fans since launching last year."WhatsApp to Start Offering Internet Phone Calls - NYTimes.com
Monday, February 24, 2014
Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete
"At this point, the FCC doesn't have any good options. Regulating the terms of interconnection would be a difficult, error-prone process. Trying to reverse the decade-old mergers that allowed America's broadband market to become so concentrated in the first place would be even more so. But the growing power of residential broadband providers will put growing pressure on the FCC to do something to prevent the abuse of that power.Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete
One clear lesson, though, is that further industry consolidation can only make the situation worse. The more concentrated the broadband market becomes, the more leverage broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon will have over backbone providers like Cogent. That gives the FCC a good reason to be skeptical of Comcast's proposed acquisition of its largest rival, Time Warner Cable. Blocking that transaction could save the agency larger headaches in the future."
Nokia Goes Android – Part II | Monday Note
"Next week, we might see Nokia’s entry-level feature phones replaced by a low-end device running Android Open Source Project software. The phone may just be a fantasy, but the dilemma facing Nokia’s feature phone business is quite real: Embrace Android or be killed by it. "Nokia Goes Android – Part II | Monday Note
Nokia Unveils Its First Android Phone - MarketWatch
"Mr. Toikkanen largely avoided calling the Nokia X device an Android device, instead introducing the phone as a device that is "able to run Android applications." Still, its operating system, which Nokia calls the "X Software Platform," is based on the Android open source code, although Nokia has modified the user interface to resemble that found on Microsoft's Windows Phone.Nokia Unveils Its First Android Phone - MarketWatch
Also, Nokia has opted out of Google's Android Compatibility Program, an initiative that gives Android phone makers access to Google's software services like the Play application store, Google Maps and the Drive cloud storage service. Instead, the Nokia X comes preinstalled with software developed by Nokia and Microsoft, including Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage, integration with Microsoft's Bing search engine, Skype, and Nokia's own HERE maps application."
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Microsoft announces 'spring' update for Windows 8.1 | The Verge
"The spring update for Windows 8.1 will also allow OEMs to lower their specifications for devices. Belfiore says PC makers will be able to use just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage in future Windows 8.1 devices, a change that will help bring lower price points. It's likely that these updates to Windows 8.1 are linked to recent OEM changes to lower license costs. A recent report suggests that Microsoft is lowering the cost of Windows 8.1 licenses by 70 percent for PC makers, specifically only for machines that retail under $250. Any hardware specification changes will obviously assist with that."Microsoft announces 'spring' update for Windows 8.1 | The Verge
After Failing to Take Hold in Smartphones, Tizen Aims to Broaden Its Reach | Re/code
"Aiming to put a brave face on what has clearly been a bumpy start, backers of Tizen on Sunday insisted that the operating system has a bright future on a range of devices.After Failing to Take Hold in Smartphones, Tizen Aims to Broaden Its Reach | Re/code
The chairman of the Tizen Association, Roy Sugimura, acknowledged he has spent much of the past year refuting reports of the operating system’s demise. However, he said that Tizen has actually broadened in focus, and may someday power everything from TVs to watches."
Samsung Introduces Two New Smartwatches - NYTimes.com
"Samsung Electronics introduced two new smartwatches on Sunday, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, and dropped the popular Galaxy branding from its first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear. Also, unlike Samsung’s first smartwatch, the new products use Tizen, an operating system that Samsung developed with several partners, instead of Google’s Android."Samsung Introduces Two New Smartwatches - NYTimes.com
Friday, February 21, 2014
Tesla’s most disruptive product may not be its cars - Quartz
"Endless column inches have chronicled how Elon Musk’s electric car company is disrupting the auto industry and making inroads into the luxury car market (especially on America’s West Coast). But the true impact of its technology may reach far beyond America’s roads. The way forward, Tesla is betting, is in producing its own batteries.Tesla’s most disruptive product may not be its cars - Quartz
Next week the company will detail plans for its “giga-factory,” where it will produce the lithium-ion batteries needed for its next line of cars. This won’t be just any factory. It could be the biggest battery-making facility in the world. It will be “heavily powered” by renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar, Musk said on Tesla’s earnings call, and will have the capability to recycle old battery packs."
Facebook and WhatsApp: The Nineteen-Billion-Dollar App : The New Yorker
"Facebook, despite being driven primarily by demographics and advertising, is adamant that it won’t change WhatsApp, an indication of just how overarching the company wants to be: in the pursuit of its next billion users, it is now willing to tolerate a highly discordant new product, like a vast empire that contains many competing nations. Empires always fall; the question now is how big Facebook’s can get before it does."Facebook and WhatsApp: The Nineteen-Billion-Dollar App : The New Yorker
Amazon Tempts the Anti-Amazons With Offers to Showcase Their Goods - WSJ.com
"Amazon wouldn't sell the goods directly; the listings would be links to the retailers' own sites. The arrangement would generate traffic for the retailers, while providing Amazon with more customer data and a new enticement for its Prime shipping program as it plans to raise rates.Amazon Tempts the Anti-Amazons With Offers to Showcase Their Goods - WSJ.com
As described by the people familiar with the talks, Amazon would extend an existing program that has primarily attracted smaller retailers. The retailers pay Amazon fees for directing traffic to their websites and for any resulting transactions. These merchants process the customers' credit cards, while Amazon gains more data about the shopping habits of existing customers."
The Other Big Winner in the WhatsApp Deal: Your Wallet - NYTimes.com
"There is a larger lesson in this story: When telecom companies control specific protocols on their lines — whether it’s texting, voice calls or even cable TV — customers lose out. And as soon as our devices get access to the open Internet, we have a bounty of competitive choices that reduce prices and improve service. What happened to texts is likely to happen to voice calls, too, in a few years’ time. Because of competition from FaceTime Audio, Google Hangouts, Skype and lots and lots of other Internet-phone services, few of us will worry about voice minutes anymore; for some, that might even be true today. And perhaps the SMS story will play out on TV, too. Cable is expensive and inflexible. Internet-based alternatives like Netflix and YouTube are cheap and available everywhere. In the long run, there is only one way that story ends."The Other Big Winner in the WhatsApp Deal: Your Wallet - NYTimes.com
For Facebook, It's Users First and Profits Later - NYTimes.com
"“This exposes the strategic fallacy behind Facebook, which was the idea that there was going to be a monopoly on the social graph, and that Facebook was going to own it,” said Keith Rabois, a partner at venture capital firm Khosla Ventures. “That’s not true, and I don’t believe Facebook will constantly be able to buy its way out of this structural challenge.”For Facebook, It's Users First and Profits Later - NYTimes.com
For now at least, Facebook can do just that. After a weak first few quarters as a public company, Facebook is solidly profitable. Last month, it reported $523 million in net income on $2.6 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, and the company can afford to make some expensive mistakes."
Stores can see where you go by tracking your phone - Business - The Boston Globe
"Companies that provide ‘‘mobile location analytics’’ to retailers, grocery stores, airports, and others say they capture the MAC addresses of shoppers’ phones but then scramble them into different sets of numbers and letters to conceal the original addresses — a process called hashing. This is how they make the data they collect anonymous, they say.Stores can see where you go by tracking your phone - Business - The Boston Globe
The companies then analyze all of the information those hashed numbers provide as shoppers move from store to store in a mall, or department to department in a store. Mall managers could learn which stores are popular and which ones aren’t. A retailer could learn how long the lines are at a certain cash register, how long people have to wait — or whether more people visit on ‘‘sale’’ days."
Thursday, February 20, 2014
WhatsApp: The inside story (Wired UK)
"An émigré at 16 from Communist Ukraine -- where phones were routinely tapped, and classmates questioned for mocking politicians -- Koum and his mother could rarely afford to call family back home.WhatsApp: The inside story (Wired UK)
So when, at 31, he left a job at Yahoo! with enough cash to launch his own business, it made absolute sense that he would work on democratising phone-based communications. He had just three rules as he experimented with the early iterations: his service would defiantly not carry advertising, an experience satisfyingly absent from his Soviet upbringing; it would not store messages and thus imperil individual citizens' privacy; and it would maintain a relentless focus on delivering a gimmickless, reliable, friction-free user experience."
Your Path to a $16B exit? Build a J2ME App - TextIt Blog
"That was the genius of WhatsApp really, they recognized that messaging apps are all about network effects and instead of focusing on the comparatively small market of the 'developed world', instead targeted the other 3 billion people who don't have smartphones. And at that they have been supremely successful.Your Path to a $16B exit? Build a J2ME App - TextIt Blog
If you are anywhere apart from the States, WhatsApp is the de facto standard for messaging. Here in Rwanda, it has far more penetration than Facebook, it is used by literally everybody who has a capable device. That came about not by having some edgy new user interface, or by a gimmick around disappearing messages, but by providing real value, value that can be measured in the pocketbook of a market that is massively under served."
WhatsApp: Sequoia’s Second Big Facebook App Deal | Re/code
"Sequoia participated in three separate financing rounds over the past three years, according to people familiar with the matter, with a total of more than $60 million invested in WhatsApp. The majority of Sequoia’s ownership was purchased in the initial $8 million Series A round. Sequoia led all three rounds of venture funding, according to sources, and the majority of that investment came in the final $50 million Series C round that closed in 2013 (which went unreported).WhatsApp: Sequoia’s Second Big Facebook App Deal | Re/code
That places Sequoia’s stake somewhere in the high teens, sources said, which could ultimately land Sequoia with an investment return windfall in the neighborhood of $3 billion, based on the $16 billion acquisition price on Wednesday."
This Phone Is Great, Till It’s Time to Add Apps - NYTimes.com
"If you want to use your phone to play the latest games, to experiment with new social-networking apps, to try the newest ways to pay for merchandise or to control the newest smartphone-connected devices (say, a smart thermostat), Windows Phone isn’t for you, at least not now. If you do choose a Windows Phone, go into it with your eyes open to the fact that you are most likely volunteering for a second-class digital existence."This Phone Is Great, Till It’s Time to Add Apps - NYTimes.com
Uber Leads Taxi Industry Disruption Amid Fight for Riders, Drivers - Businessweek
"There’s a battle for the future of transportation being waged outside our offices and homes. Uber and a growing collection of well-funded startups, such as the ride-sharing service Lyft, are trying to make getting a taxi as easy as booking a reservation on OpenTable (OPEN) or checking a price on Amazon.com (AMZN)—just another thing you do with your smartphone. Flush with Silicon Valley venture capital, these companies have an even grander ambition: They want to make owning a car completely unnecessary."Uber Leads Taxi Industry Disruption Amid Fight for Riders, Drivers - Businessweek
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Shrewd Or Desperate: Facebook To Buy WhatsApp For $19B In Cash And Stock [Marketing Land]
"Beyond WhatsApp advancing Facebook’s mission of making the world “more open and connected,” here are some of the numbers and motivations behind the deal:
- WhatsApp could have become a major competitive threat to Facebook over time
- The company is one of the fastest growing in startup history
- It has 450 million active users globally; it’s bigger than Twitter
- It replaces SMS and may ultimately steal messaging volume and revenue from global wireless carriers
- The company hasn’t spent any money on marketing and yet it has seen remarkable viral growth
- It costs $1 per user per year (so there’s already a lot of revenue)
- The team is relatively small, under 50 employees"
Facebook to Buy WhatsApp For $16+ Billion | Re/code
"As one of the most credible threats to Facebook, WhatsApp’s numbers speak for themselves. The company has more than 450 million monthly active users on the platform, according to the company, with more than 70 percent of users returning to the app on a daily basis. It has doubled in size over the past year, and sees more than half a billion photos sent over the service on a daily basis. Additionally, more than 200 million voice messages are sent on the service daily, along with more than 100 million videos sent. The company is adding more than one million registered users on a daily basis.
The company said on December 31 users sent 18 billion messages and received 36 billion messages, a total three times larger than the year before."Facebook to Buy WhatsApp For $16+ Billion | Re/code
glass-explorers - Glass Press
"Glass-out. Glass was built for short bursts of information and interactions that allow you to quickly get back to doing the other things you love. If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you. So don’t read War and Peace on Glass. Things like that are better done on bigger screens.glass-explorers - Glass Press
Rock Glass while doing high-impact sports. Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense. Water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas. "
Apple patents sensor-packed health monitoring headphones with 'head gesture' control [Apple Insider]
"According to the patent, the fitness monitoring system is cleverly ensconced in a set of headphones, something users commonly wear to listen to music during workouts. By positioning the headset in or near the ear, the embedded activity sensor can pick up temperature, perspiration and heart rate data, among other metrics.Apple patents sensor-packed health monitoring headphones with 'head gesture' control
In addition to skin-based readings, an accelerometer may also be incorporated into the earbud chassis to facilitate the collection of accurate movement data. Some embodiments call for multiple accelerometers, each corresponding to a different axis. "
iBeacon Sets Consumers’ Phones to Stun | Re/code
"Seriously, though, after a few too many buzzing, irrelevant alerts, the best you can hope for (perhaps naively) is that customers tune you out and let your brand remain on their mobile devices. Some have envisioned scenarios where grocery stores become their own ad networks, auctioning off the end cap of each aisle for different brands to advertise to shoppers. Chiming, beeping, buzzing ads trip-wired to every aisle, hawking the latest must-have products — you won’t be able to put your phone down."iBeacon Sets Consumers’ Phones to Stun | Re/code
Tablets Put to a Productivity Test - WSJ.com
"While the Galaxy Note Pro fared admirably, the Surface Pro did the best in multitasking, text input and software compatibility. Still, I wouldn't prefer it over my MacBook Air, or any 13-inch Windows laptop. And as a tablet, it falls behind most competitors. The more useful for work these devices become, the further they get from being really good tablets, which means it might take awhile before that perfect all-in-one device arrives. Until then, you'll find a tablet on my nightstand—and a laptop in my lap."Tablets Put to a Productivity Test - WSJ.com
Feud Over Netflix Traffic Leads to Video Slowdown - WSJ.com
"While the business disputes between Verizon and Netflix at the heart of the Internet aren't governed by those rules, which require equal treatment of traffic flowing along the "last mile" to customers, the ruling made clear carriers like Verizon face few limits on the terms they can seek at the negotiating table.Feud Over Netflix Traffic Leads to Video Slowdown - WSJ.com
Netflix is already eyeing the coming federal review of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable as an opportunity to push for new requirements on traffic-swapping deals, people familiar with the matter have said.
Regardless of which side gives in, "it's going to cost people money," said Sandvine's Mr. Bowman. "They're just waiting to see who blinks first.""
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Flappy Bird crosses over into cryptocurrency, big data • The Register
"The Flappy Bird phenomenon is showing little sign of hitting one last, fatal, pipe as the game has now spawned at least two Bitcoin clones and a big data analysis of gamers' performance.Flappy Bird crosses over into cryptocurrency, big data • The Register
On the cryptocurrency front, Flappycoin Pool, and the still-to-launch Flappycoin.org are battling it out for supremacy, with the latter claiming greater authenticity.
Those attempts to clamber aboard the Flappy Birdwagon can now be informed by this analysis of 419,000 attempts to play the game clone at Flappymmo.com."
Marginally Interesting: Data Analysis: The Hard Parts
"The general message is: Data analysis has become super easy. But has it? I think people want it to be, because they have understood what data analysis can do for them, but there is a real shortage in people who are good at it. So the usual technological solution is to write tools which empower more people do it. And for many problems, I agree that this is how it works. You don’t need to know TCP/IP to fetch some data from the Internet because there are libraries for that, right?Marginally Interesting: Data Analysis: The Hard Parts
For a number of reasons, I don’t think that you cannot “toolify” data analysis that easily. I wished it would be, but from my hard-won experience with my own work and teaching people this stuff, I’d say it takes a lot of experience to be done properly and you need to know what you’re doing. Otherwise you will do stuff which breaks horribly once put into action on real data."
More on Mayer’s Search Plans for Yahoo: The “Three S’s” and Slipping Through a Microsoft Loophole | Re/code
"According to people with more detailed knowledge of the plans, Mayer is trying to consolidate it all internally in a plan that is being called the “three S’s” — Stream, Shopping and Search. But rather than focusing on the Web and keywords, which Yahoo is contractually bound to allow Microsoft to serve under a 10-year search and advertising partnership deal, Mayer is aiming all this toward mobile and contextual search.More on Mayer’s Search Plans for Yahoo: The “Three S’s” and Slipping Through a Microsoft Loophole | Re/code
“When I look at things like contextual search, I get really excited,” she said earlier this week at the Goldman Sachs investors conference in San Francisco. “The amount of information available to build a service on is just incredible.”"
At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They’re Watching You - NYTimes.com
"What began as a way to help governments and businesses save energy by automatically turning lights on and off has become an expanding market for lights, sensors and software capable of capturing and analyzing vast amounts of data about the habits of ordinary citizens.At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They’re Watching You - NYTimes.com
The light fixtures are outfitted with special chips and connect to sensors, cameras and one another over a wireless network. Data that is collected — say, a particular car pulling up to the terminal — can then be mined and analyzed for a broad range of applications."
Monday, February 17, 2014
Google Acquires Israeli Security Startup SlickLogin | Re/code
"A site enabled with SlickLogin’s technology can use your computer’s speakers to generate a high-frequency sound that’s silent to human ears but which can be picked up by the microphone on a smartphone. The phone has to be close to the computer. Each audio signal is unique, and based on a unique numerical key that’s generated on the back end. The service can also be used to sign into banks, corporate VPNs and pretty much any other kind of service."Google Acquires Israeli Security Startup SlickLogin | Re/code
You're not going to read this | The Verge
"So if you see someone tweet an article, it likely means they either didn’t really read it, or they read every word. That makes it tough to judge a story by how many tweets it has. But new insights into how many people tweet and click versus how many actually read are actually prompting a change in the way publishers market themselves to advertisers. Upworthy, YouTube, and other platforms have started paying less attention to page views and more attention to how engaged people actually are."You're not going to read this | The Verge
When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
"Facebook might understand your romantic prospects better than you do.When You Fall in Love, This Is What Facebook Sees - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
In a blog post published yesterday, the company’s team of data scientists announced that statistical evidence hints at budding relationships before the relationships start.
As couples become couples, Facebook data scientist Carlos Diuk writes, the two people enter a period of courtship, during which timeline posts increase. After the couple makes it official, their posts on each others’ walls decrease—presumably because the happy two are spending more time together."
Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com
"“The fact is that Netflix has exploded in its success, achieved what really three or four years ago people would have said was an impossible level of subscription, and HBO has gone up, too,” Mr. Katzenberg said. “I think there’s a fiction here that somehow Netflix gains are HBO losses.”Punching Above Its Weight, Upstart Netflix Pokes at HBO - NYTimes.com
But to services like HBO and Netflix that are supported by subscriptions, and not advertisers, talk means buzz, and buzz draws new customers. That’s why Netflix is punching up, constantly comparing itself to a more established brand that for consumers represents high-quality programming. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, put it plainly a year ago: “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”"
Reporting From the Web’s Underbelly - NYTimes.com
"Mr. Krebs — a former reporter at The Washington Post who taught himself to read Russian while jogging on his treadmill and who blogs with a 12-gauge shotgun by his side — is so entrenched in the digital underground that he is on a first-name basis with some of Russia’s major cybercriminals. Many call him regularly, leak him documents about their rivals, and try to bribe and threaten him to keep their names and dealings off his blog."Reporting From the Web’s Underbelly - NYTimes.com
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sochi's Mini-Surveillance State : The New Yorker
"There is a reason to be concerned about computer security in Sochi, but it’s not that Russian hackers are more skilled than others; it’s the control that the government maintains over the country’s technical infrastructure. In fact, the Olympics, where security is always a concern, have historically served as testing grounds for new government surveillance systems, which are often one of the event’s most lasting legacies."Sochi's Mini-Surveillance State : The New Yorker
Tracking Every Move You Make by GPS—for a $5 Gift Card Without That NSA Taint - Businessweek
"Here’s something the National Security Agency might try to ease resistance to surveillance: gift cards.
Amid the furor over the government’s collection of data on Americans, a Seattle startup called Placed has persuaded 125,000 people across the country to download an app on their mobile phones that tracks everywhere they go. Over time, they collect $5 or $10 gift cards and are entered into drawings for prizes, such as Apple (AAPL) iPads."Tracking Every Move You Make by GPS—for a $5 Gift Card Without That NSA Taint - Businessweek
Saturday, February 15, 2014
The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google - NYTimes.com
"“If you want Google search, they’re going to shove Google Plus at you pretty hard, so the consumer’s forced to take the product they don’t want to get the product they want,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies antitrust law and the Internet.The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google - NYTimes.com
“That raises big questions under antitrust law,” he said. “It reminds me a little bit of Microsoft when Microsoft was fearing Netscape and decided to bend over backward and do anything possible to tie [Internet] Explorer to their operating system.”
Google declined to comment on this issue."
Friday, February 14, 2014
Why The New York Times Hired A Biology Researcher As Its Chief Data Scientist | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
"Okay, got it. So that makes a little more sense of things. But still: what does biology have to do with media?
The pain that many fields are experiencing by becoming data driven is a pain that was experienced in biology 15 years ago when whole genomes started being sequenced. I think there is a lot in common about applying data science in the natural sciences and applying data science in the real world. Real people have questions from a different domain, they have abundant data, and it's a fun and creative task to try to reframe those domain questions as machine learning tasks."Why The New York Times Hired A Biology Researcher As Its Chief Data Scientist | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
Frank Shaw Disagrees With Farhad Manjoo - Business Insider
"In his first column for the New York Times, Manjoo told readers to buy Apple's hardware products (iPhones/iPads/Macs), use Google's services (search/Gmail/Maps), and to buy media from Amazon (movies, books, music). He also mentioned Dropbox as the best storage service.Frank Shaw Disagrees With Farhad Manjoo - Business Insider
Missing from that list? Microsoft.
Microsoft's head of communications wanted to leave a comment, but the Times' commenting system wouldn't work, so he sent us his letter to Manjoo."
The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7 • The Register
"Back-of-napkin estimates suggest that the actual number of Windows 8 devices in use is about 40 per cent lower than the number of licenses Microsoft claims to have sold.The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7 • The Register
Reller made no comparison to Windows 7 sales in her Thursday comments, either, and with good reason. Microsoft managed to sell 240 million licenses for that OS in its first year – 20 per cent more than the number of Windows 8 licenses that have shipped at the 16-month mark."
Who's Winning the Smartphone Wars - Businessweek
Another view of recent smartphone market dynamics; also see Smartphone Sales Beat Feature Phones in 2013 (NYT)
“Almost a billion smartphones shipped globally last year, and Google’s Android OS was the big winner—except in the U.S., where its share fell by about 2 percentage points and Apple’s iOS gained 6 points.”
Snow Day? That’s Great. Now Log In. Get to Class. - NYTimes.com
"As classrooms become more electronically connected, public schools around the country are exploring whether they can use virtual learning as a practical solution to unpredictable weather, effectively transforming the traditional snow day into a day of instruction."Snow Day? That’s Great. Now Log In. Get to Class. - NYTimes.com
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Apple Said to Plan TV Box Amid Time Warner Cable Talks - Bloomberg
"Apple is aiming to unveil the device by April and have it available for sale by the Christmas holidays, though the release date could change because the company is still in the process of securing new agreements with programming and distribution partners, said two people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.Apple Said to Plan TV Box Amid Time Warner Cable Talks - Bloomberg
The new device, which plugs into a television set, will have a faster processor than the previous version and an upgraded interface to make it easier for customers to navigate between TV shows, movies and other online content, one person said. An agreement with Time Warner Cable would mark the first such deal with a cable or satellite company."
BlackBerry's Market Share Falls Below 'Others' - NYTimes.com
"BlackBerry’s tumble meant it ended last year with just 0.6 percent of the market, even less than the 0.7 percent attributed to operating systems so inconsequential that IDC lumps them together in a collective category. While hardly triumphant, Windows Phone managed to claim 3 percent of the global market. Apple’s iOS (17.6 percent) and Google’s Android (78.1 percent) continued to dominate.BlackBerry's Market Share Falls Below 'Others' - NYTimes.com
BlackBerry also took the dubious award for being the only major operating system to experience a sales decline in an otherwise record year."
Dropbox hires Motorola CEO, 10-year Google veteran Dennis Woodside as chief operating officer | 9to5Google
"Woodside joined Google in 2003 and was tasked with helping manage the search giant’s relationships with partners and advertisers internationally. He became the CEO of Motorola Mobility when the company was acquired by Google in 2011. Of course, Google just sold its Motorola Mobility unit to Lenovo last month for $3 billion, meaning that Woodside’s rein at Google would be coming to an end.Dropbox hires Motorola CEO, 10-year Google veteran Dennis Woodside as chief operating officer | 9to5Google
"At Dropbox, Woodside will be the business veteran of the team, working under chief executive Drew Houston chief technology officer, Arash Ferdowsi. Dropbox has reportedly been slowing down in terms of growth, with its sales slowing and questions being raised about whether it is profitable or not. Woodside will certainly have his hands full at Dropbox."
Android's 'Open' System Has Limits - WSJ.com
"The documents show that Google has imposed strict restrictions on device makers that want access to its search engine, YouTube or the more than one million apps in its Play Store. In return, the device makers must feature other Google apps and set Google search as the default for users, according to the agreements.Android's 'Open' System Has Limits - WSJ.com
European antitrust authorities are examining those conditions, among others, as they consider whether Google has abused Android's position as the leading smartphone operating system. In Europe, companies with dominant market share are required to promote competition, said Ioannis Lianos, a professor at University College London who studies competition law.
There is no such requirement in the U.S., and experts said it would be difficult to show that Google's Android stance has violated antitrust rules. But it conflicts with Google's rhetoric."
How to Survive the Next Wave of Technology Extinction - NYTimes.com
"Today, five behemoths — Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft — plus a dizzying array of start-ups are competing to win every dollar and minute you spend in tech. While each of these companies offers differing sets of technologies sold under widely varying business models, they all share a common feature — trying to hook you deeply into an ecosystem of interconnected technologies.How to Survive the Next Wave of Technology Extinction - NYTimes.com
The trouble arises when you are sold on a tech ecosystem that doesn’t prosper. It’s likely that at least one, if not several, of today’s tech behemoths won’t be around a decade from now. Thus the pervasive worry of choosing tech in these uncertain days: How do you avoid betting on the wrong horse?"
Comcast Set to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion - NYTimes.com
"Despite combining the two largest cable operators in the country, a merger may have little impact on consumers. Comcast and Time Warner Cable compete in very few markets. As a result, few consumers will see their choices of cable operators reduced.Comcast Set to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion - NYTimes.com
Nonetheless, regulators will surely look carefully at the impact on the deal to consumers, and may also focus on whether the combined company will have additional power in negotiations with cable networks, a recent source of tension in the industry."
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Startup Datacoup Will Pay You $8 a Month If Your Feed It Data from Facebook, Twitter, and Your Credit Card | MIT Technology Review
"A startup called Datacoup is far from the only tech company hoping to get rich by selling insights mined from your personal data. But it may be the only one offering to give you money for that information.Startup Datacoup Will Pay You $8 a Month If Your Feed It Data from Facebook, Twitter, and Your Credit Card | MIT Technology Review
Datacoup is running a beta trial in which people get $8 a month in return for access to a combination of their social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, and the feed of transactions from a credit or debit card. The New York City-based startup plans to make money by charging companies for access to trends found in that information, after it has been removed of personally identifying details."
Mac Pro ship date slips to April as profiteers mark up computer 50% or more [Computerworld]
"The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.Mac Pro ship date slips to April as profiteers mark up computer 50% or more
Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56% markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50% profit for the seller."
Bitcoin Exchanges Under 'Massive and Concerted Attack' [CoinDesk]
"Antonopoulos, who is the chief security officer of Blockchain.info, said a DDoS attack is taking Bitcoin’s transaction malleability problem and applying it to many transactions in the network, simultaneously.Bitcoin Exchanges Under 'Massive and Concerted Attack'
“So as transactions are being created, malformed/parallel transactions are also being created so as to create a fog of confusion over the entire network, which then affects almost every single implementation out there,” he added."
We’re All in the Data Business | Re/code
"Enterprises of all kinds will only grow more data-rich, meaning there are more riches to be found. If data is a kind of rich repository (like diamonds), then it requires both crude and refined tools. Hadoop is like dynamite, just the first tool in mining diamonds. Yes, it can aggregate data into a whole, but none of those data leaders (like Amazon or GE) installs Hadoop and declares its job done. They are developing testable, reusable data processing applications that turn data into products they can use.We’re All in the Data Business | Re/code
It will take creativity and business acumen to look at the data we have and begin to imagine its uses, either for us or for others. What I can tell you is that you are sitting on that mine. Exactly how that data is valuable to you is the question that I invite you to consider. Since we’re all in the business of data, I guarantee that the answers to that question will be worth the time you take to ponder it."
Google's Glass and the Future of Frequent-Flyer Flattery - Businessweek
"The wireless eyeglass computers may allow Virgin Atlantic and other airlines to better collate data they have on their best customers and create a more personal, concierge-like service, akin to the personal efforts most luxury hotels and resorts undertake for regular guests. In the U.S., Delta Air Lines (DAL) is outfitting 19,000 flight attendants with Nokia Lumia phones to process credit card transactions, and those devices will eventually be used to dispense information about passengers as well. Airlines are hoping that a more personalized experience—wishing you happy birthday, for example, or recalling that you like pinot grigio, not chardonnay—will translate to more loyal customers."Google's Glass and the Future of Frequent-Flyer Flattery - Businessweek
Smart Home Hubs: A Brain for Your House - WSJ.com
"Who hasn't dreamt of a house that can take orders? Austin Powers's bed rotates and plays bossa nova at his command. Wallace and Gromit, the animated Englishman and his dog, live in a house that can wake you, drop you into pants and spread jam on your toast—though it never quite works as designed.
While I'm still looking for the perfect Internet-connected toaster, I feel a little like Wallace. My "smart" house has a Nest thermostat, app-controlled Philips Hue light bulbs, Dropcam streaming security camera, Sonos wireless speakers and a few other automated thingamabobs. Yet for all that, my devices don't know how to work together."Smart Home Hubs: A Brain for Your House - WSJ.com
High-Speed Stock Traders Turn to Laser Beams - WSJ.com
"In recent years, so-called high-frequency trading firms, which account for about half of U.S. stock trading, have adopted first custom-built fiber-optic cables, then microwave and later millimeter-wave transmissions. Networks built on all three technologies operate today, tying together exchanges around the U.S. Internationally, fiber-optic cables laid across the oceans link America's markets with Europe's and Asia's. Now come lasers.High-Speed Stock Traders Turn to Laser Beams - WSJ.com
"This is a never-ending race," said Michael Persico, founder and chief executive of Anova Technologies LLC, the company behind the plan to link the NYSE and Nasdaq data centers in New Jersey by laser."
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A Screaming Comes Across the Sky: Google vs. the Counterforce - NYTimes.com
"“We’ve been perfectly happy to let Google be the benevolent dictator of our web experience. It has made the web pleasant and usable as well as navigable, making things like malware and pornography less obvious. We should be happy with Google becoming the operating system of our phones as well. But now it is striving to become the operating system of our lives.A Screaming Comes Across the Sky: Google vs. the Counterforce - NYTimes.com
“It is interested in tracking, monitoring and monetizing everything we do, online and offline, with our cars and eyeglasses and thermostats. Are you surprised a lot of people are resisting that vision? It’s a tremendous amount of control by one company.”"
Why Exactly Did Tim Armstrong Need to Make Cuts, Anyway? - Businessweek
"It’s good that he wants to build a successful company. He had a good quarter; he should keep at it. But after last week, he should take his punishment in two doses. One for talking about someone else’s kid. And one for pretending that a basic moral decision he made was simply out of his hands."Why Exactly Did Tim Armstrong Need to Make Cuts, Anyway? - Businessweek
Exchange Glitch Unsettles Bitcoin World - WSJ.com
"In an interview Monday, said Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, "Other exchanges may or may not have an issue. I hope that Mt. Gox is the only exchange that falls into this." Mr. Andresen played down how widespread the fallout may be from Mt Gox's issue. "Basically, we think they are overstating it a bit," said Mr. Andresen. "It is really an unfortunate interaction between what is arguably a flaw in the protocol—I would could it a quirk, not a flaw—and Mt. Gox's [digital] wallet and their customer support procedures.""Exchange Glitch Unsettles Bitcoin World - WSJ.com
Some Errors in Software at Exchange for Bitcoins - NYTimes.com
"Edward W. Felten, a professor at Princeton University who has studied Bitcoin, said, “We’re seeing a shakeout where the companies that are weaker in terms of management and technical execution are being weeded out.”Some Errors in Software at Exchange for Bitcoins - NYTimes.com
At the same time, Bitcoin developers did acknowledge that weaknesses remained in the currency’s underlying protocol and that more work was needed to ready the currency for widespread use."
Monday, February 10, 2014
George Packer: Is Amazon Bad for Books? : The New Yorker
"At the moment, those people are obsessed with how they read books—whether it’s on a Kindle or an iPad or on printed pages. This conversation, though important, takes place in the shallows and misses the deeper currents that, in the digital age, are pushing American culture under the control of ever fewer and more powerful corporations. Bezos is right: gatekeepers are inherently élitist, and some of them have been weakened, in no small part, because of their complacency and short-term thinking. But gatekeepers are also barriers against the complete commercialization of ideas, allowing new talent the time to develop and learn to tell difficult truths. When the last gatekeeper but one is gone, will Amazon care whether a book is any good?"George Packer: Is Amazon Bad for Books? : The New Yorker
Target breach could represent leading edge of wave of serious cybercrime - The Washington Post
"Although experts predict that retail cyberattacks are likely to increase, the long-term forecast is a matter of debate. Companies may succeed in strengthening their defenses over the next several months, deterring hackers. Or, the surge of stolen credit card information on the market may cause a glut and drop prices to the point at which incentives for new attacks shrink, said Christin, the Carnegie Mellon researcher. Currently, the price is about $15 to $20 per card.Target breach could represent leading edge of wave of serious cybercrime - The Washington Post
“From a researcher’s point of view, it’s actually very interesting,” he said. “I think there’s going to be market saturation.”"
Reporter for iPhone tracks your whole life, one quiz at a time | The Verge
"Felton led design on Timeline, the company’s life-spanning profile pages, and Open Graph. He wanted to let anybody share their "life events" like graduating from college, but also the minutiae of daily life, like the song you’re listening to on Spotify right this second. Timeline launched to much fanfare, and Felton was named one of Fast Company’s 50 most influential designers in America. But Facebook soon learned that it made a fatal assumption: people don’t always want to document their lives as a historian might — publicly, at least. Meanwhile, Felton checked his personal data charts and noticed that he had been spending more time "in meetings" and "in email" than "designing" — an activity that had previously dominated his life. He left Facebook and began working on a pure utility that let you document your life privately and locally (unless you want to sync with Dropbox)."Reporter for iPhone tracks your whole life, one quiz at a time | The Verge
Sunday, February 09, 2014
ARM Chips Are the Most-Used Consumer Product. Where’s the Money? - Businessweek
"So why isn’t ARM raking it in? The company began 24 years ago with a dozen or so engineers recruited by Apple to design a chip for the Newton, an early handheld device. From its relatively isolated headquarters, ARM focused on low-power chips for mobile devices few people used, teaming up with other companies whenever possible. While Intel manufactures its own chips, ARM licenses its designs to companies such as Apple, which customize the chips and pay contractors to make them. Intel has “spent a long time building that brand to create a perception with the consumer that it’s worth paying more for a product that’s got their chip in it,” says Segars. “We haven’t really bothered with that. We’ve bothered on making it small, making it low-power, and building a big ecosystem that thrives on choice.”"ARM Chips Are the Most-Used Consumer Product. Where’s the Money? - Businessweek
What the Heck is Happening to Windows? | Windows 8 content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
"The reason this happened is that while Sinofsky had the maniacal power and force of will of a Steve Jobs, he lacked Jobs' best gift: An innate understanding of good design. Windows 8 is not well-designed. It's a mess. But Windows 8 is a bigger problem than that. Windows 8 is a disaster in every sense of the word.
This is not open to debate, is not part of some cute imaginary world where everyone's opinion is equally valid or whatever. Windows 8 is a disaster. Period."What the Heck is Happening to Windows? | Windows 8 content from Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows
Explaining eBay's Turnaround - Business Insider
"Suddenly, Abraham had his opening. He took it.Explaining eBay's Turnaround - Business Insider
eBay should have a feed like the Facebook News Feed, he told Donahoe. Except instead of displaying updates from friends, it could show updates from eBay sellers and product categories. Best of all, he noted, eBay could turn the feed on without waiting for users to start following anybody, since it already knew search and shopping histories."
Saturday, February 08, 2014
As Technology Gets Better, Will Society Get Worse : The New Yorker
"Our will-to-comfort, combined with our technological powers, creates a stark possibility. If we’re not careful, our technological evolution will take us toward not a singularity but a sofalarity. That’s a future defined not by an evolution toward superintelligence but by the absence of discomforts.As Technology Gets Better, Will Society Get Worse : The New Yorker
The sofalarity (pictured memorably in the film “Wall-E”) is not inevitable either. But the prospect of it makes clear that, as a species, we need mechanisms to keep humanity on track. The technology industry, which does so much to define us, has a duty to cater to our more complete selves rather than just our narrow interests. It has both the opportunity and the means to reach for something higher. And, as consumers, we should remember that our collective demands drive our destiny as a species, and define the posthuman condition."
Apple's Tim Cook Discusses Emerging Markets and Plans for Cash - Digits - WSJ
"WSJ: Will the smartphone market follow the PC market, where Apple is a niche player?Apple's Tim Cook Discusses Emerging Markets and Plans for Cash - Digits - WSJ
Cook: I don’t view it that way. There are several reasons. If you look back at the Mac/Windows battle that was going on at the time, you’d find that one of the things that was the catalyst for separating Mac from Windows share was applications. There was a vast, vast difference in the number of applications that was available for the Macintosh than what was available on Windows. Over time, that gap grew and grew and grew. And in fact, the Mac began to lose some key applications. We have over a million apps on iOS. We have over half-million that have been optimized for iPad. That half-million compares to 1,000 for Android tablets. That’s one of the reasons, although not the only reason, why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy because the app is nothing more than a stretched out smartphone app."
Google Tops Exxon Mobil to Become World's 2nd Most Valuable Company [Mashable]
“The search giant's stock ticked up following the news last week that it plans to split its stock in April, more than three years after the move was first proposed. Exxon Mobil's stock, on the other hand, ticked downward after reporting a decline in profit in the December quarter.”Google Tops Exxon Mobil to Become World's 2nd Most Valuable Company
Social Status: How Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Compare - Digits - WSJ
Selective social studies
“Here’s a look at the latest numbers from all three companies:”
Social Status: How Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Compare - Digits - WSJ
Friday, February 07, 2014
Errata Security: That NBC story 100% fraudulent
"The story shows Richard Engel "getting hacked" while in a cafe in Russia. It is wrong in every salient detail.Errata Security: That NBC story 100% fraudulent
1. They aren't in Sochi, but in Moscow, 1007 miles away.
2. The "hack" happens because of the websites they visit (Olympic themed websites), not their physical location. The results would've been the same in America.
3. The phone didn't "get" hacked; Richard Engel initiated the download of a hostile Android app onto his phone.
I had expected the story to be about the situation with WiFi in Sochi, such as man-in-the-middle attacks inserting the Blackhole toolkit into web pages exploiting the latest Flash 0day. But the story was nothing of the sort."
A Creator of Skynet Ponders Google - Businessweek
"Skynet sure gets a lot of attention in recent days. Have you been following along?A Creator of Skynet Ponders Google - Businessweek
Wisher: I have, and I can’t say I’m crazy about it. Terminator 1 and 2 were not how-to movies. They were more cautionary tales. But a lot of that kind of thing seems to be happening, between the NSA spying and Google (GOOG) Glass, which apparently has a new app with facial recognition software, designed to look at you and then your face compared to millions of others in the database, including social networks, and it comes up and tells the person who you are, where you live, and so forth and so on, and all the information that’s available to you in the Internet. Here we are, welcome to the future."
Daniel Suarez Sees Into the Future - WSJ.com
"In "Influx," due out Feb. 20, a sinister Bureau of Technology Control kidnaps scientists that have developed breakthrough technologies (the cure to cancer, immortality, true artificial intelligence), and is withholding their discoveries from humanity, out of concern over the massive social disruption they would cause. "We don't have a perfect record—Steve Jobs was a tricky one—but we've managed to catch most of the big disrupters before they've brought about uncontrolled social change," says the head of the bureau, the book's villain."Daniel Suarez Sees Into the Future - WSJ.com
Apple Buys Back $14 Billion of Its Shares in Two Weeks - NYTimes.com
"With the latest round of repurchases, Apple has bought back more than $40 billion of its shares over the past 12 months, which Mr. Cook said was a record for any company over a similar time span.Apple Buys Back $14 Billion of Its Shares in Two Weeks - NYTimes.com
“It means that we are betting on Apple,” Mr. Cook said.
“It means that we are really confident on what we are doing and what we plan to do. We are not just saying that. We are showing that with our actions.”"
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Official Blog: Chromebox, now for simpler and better meetings
"Chromebox for meetings is available in the U.S. today starting at $999, which includes the ASUS Chromebox and everything you need to get going. That means for the same price that companies have typically paid for one meeting room, they'll be able to outfit 10 rooms—or more. CDW and SYNNEX will help bring Chromebox for meetings to customers and resellers, and Chromeboxes from HP and Dell will be available for meetings in the coming months. Later this year, we plan to launch in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K."Official Blog: Chromebox, now for simpler and better meetings
Facebook Deploys Robots to Save Blu-ray From Extinction | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
"Facebook calls it cold storage, and it’s yet another way that the giants of the web are pushing data center design into the future, seeking more efficient ways of processing and, yes, storing your data. It could also signal a larger movement towards the use of robotics in the data center, but at the same time, Facebook is venturing into the past with this rather surprising project. Just when the Blu-ray seemed to be on the way out — undercut by Netflix and other services that stream movies over the internet — another part of the internet has thrown it a lifeline.Facebook Deploys Robots to Save Blu-ray From Extinction | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
“We went to Japan to understand the industry, and we were just — embraced,” says Giovanni Coglitore, the Facebook director of engineering who dreamed up this cold storage project. “I don’t want to call us a savior, but there are a lot of companies who see us as the new opportunity for optical discs.”"
For Millennials, There Is No One True Social Network | Re/code
Not a winner-takes-all scenario (except perhaps for the profits)
“That’s according to comScore’s latest marketing survey, which states that of the seven so-called major social networks, we Millennials aren’t locked in to one at the expense of others. (And “major” means Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat, per comScore.)”
For Millennials, There Is No One True Social Network | Re/code
Sony Hopes Its 4th Overhaul Is the One That Counts - NYTimes.com
"But Sony is getting out of PCs. The agreement with Japan Industrial Partners will result in the formation of a new company created by the fund, Sony said. Sony said it planned to keep a 5 percent stake in the new company. Terms of the sale, including the price, remain subject to further negotiation, Sony said.Sony Hopes Its 4th Overhaul Is the One That Counts - NYTimes.com
Japan Industrial Partners specializes in buying up unwanted assets from Japanese electronics giants, including companies like NEC and Olympus."
Heat System Called Door to Target for Hackers - NYTimes.com
"Investigators say they believe they have identified the entry point through which hackers got into Target’s systems, zeroing in on the remote access granted through the retailer’s computerized heating and cooling software, according to two people briefed on the inquiry.Heat System Called Door to Target for Hackers - NYTimes.com
The latest revelation highlights the reality that a large company is actually a sprawling network of interconnected vendors, and that weak security at any one vendor can lead to a breach that costs hundreds of millions of dollars. "
In Sochi, Every Single Phone and Laptop Is Definitely Getting Hacked [Gizmodo]
"Say you're going to Sochi for the Winter Olympics. You've magically found a hotel that's actually complete and not full of trash and construction equipment. Crisis averted, right? Not quite—because as NBC Nightly News' experiment shows, your computer or smartphone could be hacked in seconds in Sochi. Hackers will be going after your computer or smartphone from the minute you land."In Sochi, Every Single Phone and Laptop Is Definitely Getting Hacked
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Discover Evernote's Powerful Descriptive Search | Evernote BlogEvernote Blog
A very handy new feature in the latest version of Evernote (available only for the Mac OS Evernote client, initially); check the post link below for more details and examples
“Descriptive Search works by allowing you to describe what you’re looking for using common terms, which makes creating a complex search incredibly straightforward.
Here are some example searches. Just type them into the Evernote for Mac search bar:
“Images from Prague since 2012″
This search will bring up all of your notes since 2012 that contain images that have Prague as the location.”
Discover Evernote's Powerful Descriptive Search | Evernote BlogEvernote Blog
Biz Break: Twitter and Pandora plummet after earnings, Yelp gains - San Jose Mercury News
"Analysts pointed to Twitter's inability to attract more users to its social network and keep them on the service when they visit. Twitter reported 241 million monthly average users, a 5 percent gain from the third quarter, the smallest sequential subscriber gain yet for the company; and users viewed their timeline fewer times in the fourth quarter than the previous quarter, with 148 billion Timeline views representing a 7 percent sequential decline. Analysts expected 249 million monthly users viewing their timelines 174 billion times.Biz Break: Twitter and Pandora plummet after earnings, Yelp gains - San Jose Mercury News
"What this report will do is it will question how mainstream is Twitter as a platform," Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Arvind Bhatia told Reuters. "Both in the U.S. and internationally, the monthly active user base did not grow as fast as people thought, and that has an impact on the number of timeline views.""
Four Reasons Facebook Became A Colossus | LinkedIn
"Americans loves to hate the powerful. Facebook may be the most-used service on the Internet, and it may be free, but it still elicits widespread disdain and dismissal. Perhaps that's healthy. We need to question where our technologized lives are going. But Facebook will survive it. A business with 1.23 billion users doesn't go away quickly, no matter what happens. And for now it's still headed the other way. In the developing world, people are increasingly crazy for this service. It will probably go to 2 billion, maybe 3 or even 4, before it celebrates its 20th anniversary."Four Reasons Facebook Became A Colossus | LinkedIn
Hortonworks' Murthy bullish on Microsoft's Nadella | ZDNet
"At the beginning of our conversation, Murthy told me "I think it's exciting to see Microsoft becoming a key part of the Hadoop community." Fittingly, Nadella is one of the key players at Microsoft that got the company there. I know from my own work with Microsoft that Nadella's work on Bing raised his consciousness of Hadoop, and his role as President of the Server and Tools Division galvanized Microsoft's commitment to it.Hortonworks' Murthy bullish on Microsoft's Nadella | ZDNet
Could Nadella be Microsoft's Big Data CEO? If he stays true to his roots, then all signs point to yes."
Was Microsoft smart to play it safe with CEO pick? - The Washington Post
"But it’s likely that Microsoft would have had trouble persuading a Silicon Valley star to become its CEO. That’s because much of Silicon Valley dismisses Microsoft’s products as too complicated and expensive. There is also still a residue of resentment from the late 1990s when Microsoft’s aggressive attempts to thwart the growth of Web browser pioneer Netscape Communications instigated an antitrust case, a suit filed by the U.S. Justice Department at the urging of a Silicon Valley coalition.Was Microsoft smart to play it safe with CEO pick? - The Washington Post
“When it came down to it, I don’t think the Microsoft board could find the CEO that fit the profile it really wanted from outside the company,” Moorhead says."
What Does Twitter's Sizzling Stock Run Tell Us? Absolutely Nothing - Businessweek
"What can such a big jump tell us about how its first full year will play out?What Does Twitter's Sizzling Stock Run Tell Us? Absolutely Nothing - Businessweek
Looking at data from 2005 to 2013 for 800 U.S. IPOs (I looked at offerings of more than $100 million, priced at $5 or more, for companies with at least a full year of data), we can see that the stock performance of a newly listed public company during its first three months tells you basically zero about what happens in the future."
Facebook Paper vs. Flipboard: Which News App Delivers? - WSJ.com
"Flipboard could still do a better job. It isn't always clear to the reader why a particular story was surfaced, and while I preferred its devotion to the tried-and-true headline, it too often felt like a collection of them. Flipboard could benefit from the tinier type that Facebook uses on Paper, too. More information is packed in, but it's all still readable on today's high-resolution screens.Facebook Paper vs. Flipboard: Which News App Delivers? - WSJ.com
I preferred Flipboard, but Paper offers a better way than ever to consume and contribute to Facebook, while taking in a much broader picture of the world. Though this kind of lean-back news experience presents an alternative to gobbling a never-ending supply of news nuggets, both apps face the challenge of convincing us to make time for it."
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
The American cable industry’s cunning plan to save itself: Make TV work like it should - Quartz
"It’s possible that the cable industry’s new investment in upgrading the viewing experience for its customers proves fruitless. Apple is reportedly close to unveiling a new version of the Apple TV device. Despite impressive sales, Apple CEO Tim Cook has described the Apple TV as an “experiment.” If the new version is Apple taking the product seriously, as rumors suggest, it could spur even more Americans to cut the cable cord. Meanwhile, the increasing availability of internet-connected televisions, possibly including a long anticipated TV device from Apple itself, could eventually render set-top boxes redundant."The American cable industry’s cunning plan to save itself: Make TV work like it should - Quartz
This just in: Paper is the best Facebook app ever | The Verge
"When you're finished reading, you can pull down on an article to close it like an envelope. You can like stories, comment on them, share them, and even save them to read later using Pocket, Instapaper, Safari's Reading List, and Pinboard — more proof that Facebook takes Paper seriously as a news-reading app. With the addition of news sections and the absence of ads, Paper becomes even more appealing. (Facebook, of course, won't deny that Paper may someday have ads, but for now I'm thankful.) Apps like Circa and Flipboard are better than Paper at curating top news, since that’s their expertise, but I came away impressed by Paper’s editorial selections, and the hand crafted story cards designed for each publication."This just in: Paper is the best Facebook app ever | The Verge
Apple Quietly Builds New Networks - WSJ.com
"Apple Inc. is stitching together a network of Internet infrastructure capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers, giving the company more control over the distribution of its online offerings while laying the groundwork for more traffic if it decides to move deeper into television.Apple Quietly Builds New Networks - WSJ.com
Apple's online delivery needs have grown in the last few years, driven by its iCloud service for storing users' data and rising sales of music, videos and games from iTunes and the App Store. But the iPhone maker is reported to have broader ambitions for television that could involve expanding its Apple TV product or building its own television set."
With New App, Facebook Aims to Make Its Users’ Feeds Newsier - NYTimes.com
"The app, which made its debut to rave reviews from tech news sites, offers users an easy way to browse their news feeds. But it also presents them with a series of minimagazines, each with a distinct tone and articles chosen by unidentified curators the company says have extensive expertise in their fields. Those editors are “painting the order and organizing the stories in a way that is rich and engaging,” said Michael Reckhow, Paper’s product manager."With New App, Facebook Aims to Make Its Users’ Feeds Newsier - NYTimes.com
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Siri Co-Creator Ponders the Future of the ‘Her’ Operating System | Variety
"In “Her,” Samantha is a 100% computer intelligence interacting with, getting to know and ultimately creating a strong emotional bond with Theodore. To do this, Samantha needs to not just completely convince Theo that she’s almost human, but also literally charm his pants off. In order to pull this off — and continue to rake in subscription fees — Samantha needs to understand the vast spectrum of elements that make up emotion, conversation and even the ability to observe and share in the world around her. That’s no small feat in the world of smart software"Siri Co-Creator Ponders the Future of the ‘Her’ Operating System | Variety
Microsoft Adds Momentum to “Open Science” | Re/code
"But for Microsoft’s part, its decision last week was driven by the desire to put traditionally reviewed research in front of more people.Microsoft Adds Momentum to “Open Science” | Re/code
“We think more open access to research findings is the right way forward,” said Jim Pinkelman, senior director at Microsoft Research Connections, in an interview. “It’s going to accelerate the pace of research. Institutions realize that, authors realize that and we realize that.”"
SAP Uses Own Big Data Analytics to Project Super Bowl Winner (eWeek)
"SAP, the Germany-based business software maker that has found renewal with its in-memory HANA database and the new analytics apps that run on it, decided to take a crack at predicting the victor in the Feb. 2 matchup between Super Bowl XLVIII foes Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. In its quest for clairvoyance, SAP not only analyzed football season statistics but also factored in natural language opinions and analysis from social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.SAP Uses Own Big Data Analytics to Project Super Bowl Winner
Using data from NFL.com for the entire postseason, SAP crunched the numbers—from passing yards to defense to special teams—with the company's analytics solutions in order to predict the outcome for this climactic championship tiff. Data visualizations were created with SAP Lumira to illustrate the findings and how SAP determined a winner. You can check out a video and images here."