"Every debate on Twitter gets put through the platform’s peculiar distortion effect. The form’s inherent limitations—the 140 character limit and a fleeting shelf-life—reward volume, frequency, and fervor rather than nuance, complexity, and persuasion. This might feel unseemly to those who value a more refined conversation, but there is no denying the viral power of hashtag activists who capitalize on the speed at which a single tweet can multiply into something that resembles a protest rally. A new Twitter outrage seems to detonate every week, and, in many cases, the voices raised in these social media movements belong to groups that do not have equal representation within the mainstream media. But they should not therefore be immune to questions or criticism: If an activist hashtag becomes a trend, has a broad, important conversation taken place? It is no simple thing to determine whether Twitter outrage can itself expand the terms of discourse and challenge the status quo."Understanding the #CancelColbert Campaign : The New Yorker
Monday, March 31, 2014
"Cheerleaders for big data have made four exciting claims, each one reflected in the success of Google Flu Trends: that data analysis produces uncannily accurate results; that every single data point can be captured, making old statistical sampling techniques obsolete; that it is passé to fret about what causes what, because statistical correlation tells us what we need to know; and that scientific or statistical models aren’t needed because, to quote “The End of Theory”, a provocative essay published in Wired in 2008, “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves”. Unfortunately, these four articles of faith are at best optimistic oversimplifications. At worst, according to David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge university, they can be “complete bollocks. Absolute nonsense.”"Big data: are we making a big mistake? - FT.com
"The Intel relationship gives us more resources to invest for the long term in product and in making our customers successful. We have more money, of course, but we also have a world-class partner with a deep shared interest in proliferation of the scale-out enterprise data hub.The Next Ten Years | Cloudera VISION
Our collaboration means that customers will be able to rationalize their IT spending. They’ll be able to do existing work better, faster and cheaper. More importantly, they’ll be able to attack new workloads, analyzing more data than ever before in ways previously impossible. They’ll get value from data they couldn’t capture before."
"A Facebook spokesman, Brandon McCormick, posted a response on Eat24’s Facebook page essentially telling the delivery company not to slam the door too hard on the way out.Is Facebook Too Big to Care? - NYTimes.com
“We used to love your jokes about tacquitos and 420 but now they don’t seem so funny,” he wrote. “There is some serious stuff happening in the world and one of my best friends just had a baby and another one just took the best photo of his homemade cupcakes and what we have come to realize is people care about those things more than sushi porn.”"
Sunday, March 30, 2014
An AI that mimics our neocortex is taking on the neural networks – and this is how it'll do it • The Register
"One thing we have established is that the work to which Hawkins has dedicated his life has become an influential touchstone within the red-hot modern artificial intelligence industry. His 2004 book, On Intelligence, appears to have been read by and inspired many of the most prominent figures in AI, and the tech Numenta is creating may trounce other commercial efforts by much larger companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.An AI that mimics our neocortex is taking on the neural networks – and this is how it'll do it • The Register
"I think Jeff is largely right in what he wrote in On Intelligence," said Hawkins' former colleague Dileep George (now running his own AI startup, Vicarious, which recently received $40m in funding from Mark Zuckerberg, space pioneer Elon Musk, and actor-turned-VC Ashton Kutcher). "Hierarchical systems, associative memory, time and attention – I think all those ideas are correct.""
Saturday, March 29, 2014
We’re listening: Additional steps to protect your privacy - Microsoft on the Issues - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
"Last Thursday, news coverage focused on a case in 2012 in which our investigators accessed the Hotmail content of a user who was trafficking in stolen Microsoft source code. Over the past week, we’ve had the opportunity to reflect further on this issue, and as a result of conversations we’ve had internally and with advocacy groups and other experts, we’ve decided to take an additional step and make an important change to our privacy practices."We’re listening: Additional steps to protect your privacy - Microsoft on the Issues - Site Home - TechNet Blogs
"We now live in an era when Mark Zuckerberg speed-dials Obama, controls fleets of drones, brokers $19 billion acquisitions in a week, and buys whole virtual worlds. Facebook’s mission has changed. While once it was solely “to make the world more open and connected”, it’s expanded to also “give people the power to share.” And nothing is too crazy if it brings Facebook one step closer to that goal."Facebook Joins Google In The Hunt For The Future | TechCrunch
Friday, March 28, 2014
"That last omission is a startling one. People still create documents for which the final destination is a physical manifestation. Microsoft, oddly, defends the decision. Julia White, General Manager, Office Marketing insisted printing is “an inferior mode of communication” and noted that today’s content is constantly changing and highly collaborative.Microsoft Office for iPad Isn't Perfect, But It's What We Needed All Along [REVIEW]
True, but Microsoft Office’s core user base will still rightly demand the option to print. Since Microsoft will likely update these apps frequently, I expect they’ll add this option soon after launch and, obviously, you can still access the documents from other platforms that do include a print option. "
"Engineers from four of the biggest names out there -- Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter -- have decided to pool their efforts in getting MySQL to scale. Called WebScaleSQL, this new collaborative effort involves taking the existing scale features found in MySQL and adding more features based on the demands specific to each of their environments.Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn pump up scaling for MySQL | Mysql - InfoWorld
The long-term plan is to create a collaborative branch of MySQL that's kept in sync with the current release version of MySQL, starting with version 5.6. According to the project's own FAQ, this is not a fork, but rather a branch "focused specifically on the challenges of deploying MySQL at our scale.""
"Indeed, Microsoft does offer Office 365 subscriptions within the just-released Word for iPad and the other Office apps and, yes, it is paying the 30 percent cut, Apple confirmed to Re/code. Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.Microsoft Is Selling Office 365 Within iPad Apps, and Apple Is Getting Its 30 Percent Cut | Re/code
Apple has taken a hard line with all manner of publishers that want to sell things, even subscriptions that go well beyond the iPad content: If anything is sold in the app, the sellers have to use Apple’s method and hand over 30 percent."
"But there are some issues (you knew there was a “but” coming, right?). For one, the suite is only compatible with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service (previously known as SkyDrive), which will be a turnoff for those who store documents in other services like Google Drive or Dropbox. I also ran into a couple of minor problems with formatting, and the Word app crashed on me twice. But the biggest downside is pricing."Office for iPad review | Re/code
"For a company getting out of the data analysis business, Intel is spending a lot of money on a data analysis business.Intel Exits a Data Analysis Business and Invests in Another One - NYTimes.com
On Thursday, Intel said it was making a “significant” equity investment in Cloudera, which produces the most popular version of the Hadoop software framework for big data analysis. Intel, the world’s largest maker of semiconductors, is also turning over to Cloudera its own version of Hadoop, which it said was among the most popular globally, and would seek to move its customers over to Cloudera."
"A new version of Office software is the kind of announcement that’s hard to make sexy. Still, Microsoft did its best, showing off a bunch of features that were clearly designed for the tablet, including a custom numeric keyboard for Excel and a faux laser pointer for PowerPoint. The apps had been in the works for at least three years, says Ted Schadler, an analyst at Forrester Research who saw earlier stages of development. “The timing is evidence that Nadella said let’s go, but he couldn’t say let’s go unless they had a product,” according to Schadler."Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Announces Office Apps for iPad - Businessweek
"But millions of people with iPads probably haven’t had a reason to buy an Office 365 subscription until Thursday. Nearly 200 million iPads had been sold through the end of 2013, meaning about 5 percent of those device owners would have to pay for a $100 annual subscription to generate an additional $1 billion in revenue.Microsoft unveils Office for iPad - Business - The Boston Globe
Microsoft hasn’t said how many Office 365 subscribers it has, but Nomura analysts Rick Sherlund estimates the number at anywhere at between 14 million to 24 million. He estimates that the annual subscription revenue is running at about $2.5 billion."
Thursday, March 27, 2014
""The historical track record of old white men who don't understand technology crapping on new technology is, I think, 100 percent," Andreessen quipped to the delight of bitcoin enthusiasts attending a conference Tuesday in San Francisco.Andreessen skewers Buffett for doubting bitcoin | Business & Technology | The Seattle Times
Buffett, who has built a $64 billion fortune through his control of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., didn't respond to requests for comment."
"On Wednesday morning, Luckey took to Reddit to answer questions by those who may share Lanier’s concerns. “We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive,” he wrote. This may not, however, be Luckey’s choice; Zuckerberg had already suggested otherwise. During the call with investors on Tuesday night, Zuckerberg, when asked how Facebook intends to make Oculus profitable, said that the company will first focus on getting it into as many hands as possible, and then create “a network where people communicate and buy virtual goods.” He added, “There might be advertising in the world.” Signs of tension between the Facebook and Oculus fairy tales were already visible then, only hours after the announcement."The Oculus Fairy Tale : The New Yorker
In Response To Google, Amazon Drops EC2 And RDS Prices By 40%, S3 Storage Costs By 36% To 65% [TechCrunch]
"Amazon today announced a new round of price cuts for a number of services on its cloud platform, including its S3 storage service, EC2 cloud computing platform, ElastiCache, Elastic MapReduce and RDS cloud databases that will bring the cost of running applications on Amazon’s platform closer to the new prices Google announced earlier this week.In Response To Google, Amazon Drops EC2 And RDS Prices By 40%, S3 Storage Costs By 36% To 65%
For the first terabyte of data, Amazon’s S3 will now charge $0.03 per gigabyte on standard storage and $0.024 for reduced redundancy storage. In addition, Amazon also cut prices for its EC2 cloud computing instances by up to 40 percent."
"The technology behind the software is not ground-breaking, but the strategy is: It puts Office at the heart of the company's push to become a leading services company across a variety of platforms - possibly at the expense of Windows and its own Surface tablet.Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella to come out swinging in his public debut on Thursday - Economic Times
That perceived willingness to break with the Windows tradition, which remains co-founder Bill Gates' most enduring legacy, has helped spur Microsoft shares to $40-plus levels not seen since the dotcom boom of 2000.
Wall Street is now guardedly optimistic on a company that, while still garnering billions of dollars in annual profit, risks gradual obsolescence in a mobile-powered tech industry."
"The difference highlights the raw deal that Kickstarter users get from an investment standpoint. The money they chip in to promising ideas isn’t equity, so in addition to taking the risk of getting nothing if a project turns out to be vaporware, they also get none of the upside if the project takes off. Spark and Matrix each put $19 million into Oculus in 2013, a year after the Kickstarter campaign was completed; those stakes are now worth $380 million each, Bloomberg News reports, citing people with knowledge of the deals. Kickstarter believers have nothing to show for their $2.4 million besides T-shirts, signed posters, the promise of VR prototypes, and “a sincere thank you.”Enjoy Your $500 T-Shirt: Kickstarter Backers Get Nada in Oculus Sale - Businessweek
At the same multiple that Spark and Matrix got, a $25 Oculus T-shirt would be worth $500."
"“I supported this because it’s something that I’ve wanted to see become a reality since I read my first William Gibson novel,” one Oculus donor wrote on Kickstarter. “Now I find out that I might as well have handed my money right to Facebook and I feel a little sick.”Crowdfunders of the Maker of Oculus Rift Denounce a Facebook Buyout - NYTimes.com
The extraordinary reaction of early Oculus VR backers and fans to news of the Facebook deal illustrates the tricky relationship between companies raising money on Kickstarter and the people who donate to them."
"King’s stock priced at $22.50 on Tuesday, valuing the company at $7.1 billion. But it opened on Wednesday at $20.50, down almost 9 percent. Its shares lost more ground by the day’s close, falling more than 15 percent.‘Candy Crush’ maker’s stock falls in public debut - Business - The Boston Globe
King Digital Entertainment PLC had $1.88 billion in revenue last year. That’s more than 10 times its 2012 revenue of $164.4 million."
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
"James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research, questioned Facebook’s strategy in buying Oculus, because he does not believe virtual reality has compelling applications beyond gaming.Facebook in $2 Billion Deal for Virtual Reality Company - NYTimes.com
“The fit is so poor,” he said. “You could easily have done some kind of partnership.”
And Brian Blau, an analyst with the research firm Gartner who worked in virtual reality over two decades ago, said that back then, “Virtual reality had hip, hype and hope.” He added, “Unfortunately the story is still the same today.”"
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
"At a Google event on Tuesday, Urs Hölzle, a Google senior vice president, said prices for Google Compute Engine, its cloud service for big workloads, would be cut 32 percent across the board. Prices for App Engine, its software application service, were simplified and fell about 30 percent. Data storage prices were cut 68 percent, in general, to 2.6 cents per gigabyte over various storage systems. BigQuery, a data analysis product, saw prices cut 85 percent."Google's Bigger, Cheaper Cloud - NYTimes.com
"Today the list of projects supported by leading vendors (now Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, Pivotal and IBM) numbers 13. Today it’s HDFS, YARN, MapReduce, Pig, Hive, HBase, and Zookeeper, Flume, Mahout, Oozie, Sqoop – and Cascading and HCatalog. Coming up fast are Spark, Storm, Accumulo, Sentry, Falcon, Knox, Whirr… and maybe Lucene and Solr. Numerous others are only supported by their distributor and are likely to remain so, though perhaps MapR’s support for Cloudera Impala will not be the last time we see an Apache-licensed, but not Apache project, break the pattern. All distributions have their own unique value-add. The answer to the question, “What is Hadoop?” and the choice buyers must make will not get easier in the year ahead – it will only become more difficult."Hadoop is in the Mind of the Beholder
"On the other, Cisco and the other big incumbents it hopes to bring into its Intercloud may be making a play for relevance in a world that has evolved beyond the systems they built. What a Cisco (or for that matter, an Oracle, SAP, Verizon and others) has to offer in this future is primarily a strong relationship with the past. That is no small matter to companies that have to manage decades of data and applications.Cisco Bets a Billion on the Cloud - NYTimes.com
Whether this move is a rear-guard action or a forward-looking play, however, it’s clear that cloud computing has become a very big money game."
"With Luxottica's help, Google hopes to use style to overcome consumer doubts about Glass. Astro Teller, who oversees Glass among other projects at Google X, the company's innovation lab, said it is a "very large hump" to convince people to wear computers on their face. "This is a fashion problem as much as it is a technology problem," he said.Google Deal With Luxottica Will Bring Glass to Ray-Ban, Oakley - WSJ.com
Messrs. Teller and Guerra declined to say when Luxottica's Google Glass products would be available or to offer details of what they might look like. Mr. Guerra said Oakley and Ray-Ban designers, among others, have been working with Google designers to develop eyewear that will incorporate Glass technology without simply mounting Google's device on top of Luxottica sunglasses, for instance."
"Honda on Tuesday is introducing an experimental house in this environmentally conscious community to showcase technologies that allow the dwelling to generate more electricity than it consumes.Car Companies Take Expertise in Battery Power Beyond the Garage - NYTimes.com
It is one example of the way solar companies and carmakers are converging on a common goal: to create the self-sufficient home, with a car’s battery as the linchpin."
"In issuing the filing to the US financial watchdog, Box shed light on some of its internal numbers: it has 25 million registered users and 34,000 companies, which pay for the sync'n'share service. The upstart said it will doubled its revenue over the year, climbing from $58.79m in 2013 to $124.19m projected for 2014.Box shock stock doc clocks 250 million bucks • The Register
The growth in sales however, has come at a cost for Box. The company said it expects to operate at a net loss of $168.5m this year, up from a $112.5m loss in 2013."
"TheRedmond reveals Google cloud KILLER: Rename Windows Azure to MICROSOFT Azure • The Register
paradigm shiftname change is part of a general rebrand by Microsoft to cut the ties between its main products and the old Windows branding – instead it wants everyone to focus on its name. This is part of an overall transformation into a "devices and services" company.
We find ourselves wondering just how effective changing the name of a service can be, considering what Microsoft's rivals are up to."
"Google has long offered cloud services that let outsiders build websites and other applications without buying, installing, or operating their own computer hardware. It unveiled a service called Google App Engine in 2008, and in 2012, it followed with a sister service, Google Compute Engine. But in this market — a market that represents the future of computing — Google has always trailed Jeff Bezos and Amazon, who pioneered the idea. And for years, Hölzle and company treated cloud computing as a sideline. Now, he says Google is intent on turning this into an enormous business, a business whose revenues could even surpass what the company pulls in from online advertising."Google's Bold Plan to Overthrow Amazon as King of the Cloud | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
Monday, March 24, 2014
"While Google, Motorola, and Samsung seem eager to jump into the wearables market, Apple characteristically keeps its counsel – and wisely so: Smartwatches and other wearables produce more pageviews than profits."Wearables Fever | Monday Note
"Apple Inc. is in talks with Comcast Corp. about teaming up for a streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast's cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web, people familiar with the matter say.Apple in Talks with Comcast About Streaming-TV Service - WSJ.com
The discussions between the world's most valuable company and the nation's largest cable provider are still in early stages and many hurdles remain. But the deal, if sealed, would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing."
Sunday, March 23, 2014
"The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?How an Under-Appreciated iOS 7 Feature Will Change the World | Cult of Mac
But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection.
It’s called wireless mesh networking. And Apple has mainstreamed it in iOS 7. It’s going to change everything."
Saturday, March 22, 2014
"Facebook said in a statement Friday that at today's White House meeting Zuckerberg and Obama "had an honest talk about government intrusion on the Internet and the toll it is taking on people's confidence in a free and open Internet," adding that "while the US Government has taken helpful steps to reform its surveillance practices, these are simply not enough. People around the globe deserve to know that their information is secure and Facebook will keep urging the US Government to be more transparent about its practices and more protective of civil liberties.""Obama talks spying with Facebook's Zuckerberg, Google's Schmidt | Politics and Law - CNET News
"The search in the Kibkalo case may have revealed criminal activity, but it was also conducted in Microsoft’s self-interest, which is an exceedingly dangerous precedent. Combined with the kangaroo court potential of the company’s new internal Warrants for Windows policy, Microsoft is playing with fire. It should have followed its own advice and asked the FBI to step in with a warrant."Microsoft Says: Come Back with a Warrant, Unless You’re Microsoft | Electronic Frontier Foundation
"Myths can be fun, but they can also be confusing or unsettling. And if spoken enough, they can morph into something that resembles fact. (Side note: did you know that people used to think that traveling too quickly on a train would damage the human body?)Google Glass - Google+ - The Top 10 Google Glass Myths Mr. Rogers was a Navy SEAL.…
In its relatively short existence, Glass has seen some myths develop around it. While we’re flattered by the attention, we thought it might make sense to tackle them, just to clear the air. And besides, everyone loves a good list:"
""That’s the brilliance of this plan," says Sinnreich. "Instead of us reluctantly agreeing to give marketers information about ourselves, we are emphatically proclaiming to marketers who we are and then demanding that our friends do the same."Quizzes are free data mining tools for brands | Marketplace.org
Sinnreich says the quiz fad will probably fade, but the economic need for marketers to get more information on us will not. He expects we’ll see more tools that will make handing over information about ourselves into a game."
""At first blush, you're going to think we're out of our minds," Mr. Andreessen says he told the group of five investment firms on the Andreessen Horowitz advisory board, "but we're going to invest in a fake mathematical currency."Web Pioneer Keeps Faith—and Cash—in Bitcoin - WSJ.com
The comment met with stone-cold silence, before a brief discussion ensued. Some investors seemed intrigued, but many had little idea what bitcoin was.
Ultimately, Mr. Andreessen said investor resistance was less than he feared. Venture-capital firms have free rein to make almost any kind of investment. Their investors generally anticipate about half the investments will be losers, while some others will be home runs."
"What do popular projects like Docker, Heroku's Force.com and Cloud Foundry's (Go)Router all have in common? They're all written in Go (a.k.a. "golang"), Google's five-year-old programming language.Google's Go Programming Language: Taking Cloud Development By Storm – ReadWrite
While languages like Java continue to dominate programming, new models have emerged that are better suited to modern computing, particularly in the cloud. Go, written expressly for the cloud, has been growing in popularity because of its mastery of concurrent operations and the beauty of its construction."
Friday, March 21, 2014
"After the book’s release earlier this week, Mr. Cook said in a statement that it was “nonsense.”Apple After Jobs: Pretty Much the Same as Ever - NYTimes.com
There are two ways to assess how well Apple has done under Mr. Cook. You could look at its financial performance, which is boring but immensely instructive. Or you could do as Ms. Kane does and instead sift through all the noise and commentary surrounding the company — observers’ assessments of its shifting corporate culture, of its executives’ temperaments during product-launch events, or the fact that such arbiters of taste as Mitch Albom, the author of “Tuesdays With Morrie,” no longer care for Apple’s advertising."
"Some big ISPs are extracting a toll because they can -- they effectively control access to millions of consumers and are willing to sacrifice the interests of their own customers to press Netflix and others to pay. Though they have the scale and power to do this, they should realize it is in their long term interest to back strong net neutrality. While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves."Netflix US & Canada Blog: Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality
"Just after he was named CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella got a visit from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.Field of Search Dreams: If Marissa Mayer Builds It, Will Microsoft Let Yahoo Leave? | Re/code
At the meeting, which took place in the Seattle area where the software giant is headquartered, the former Google exec apparently gave him an earful of advice about turning around the culture at Microsoft, based on her own experience so far at the Silicon Valley Internet company."
A sign of the wireless times
“Ten years ago, mobile data charges made up about 4 percent of total U.S. wireless carrier revenue. That figure topped 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, making the U.S. the seventh nation where data fees exceed voice charges. The first was Japan in 2011.”
"I await the day when gestures become standardized. When systems combine the best of all worlds: gestures, both in the air and on surfaces, voice commands where appropriate, and menus, keyboards, and pointing devices where appropriate. The most powerful systems will give us the choice to use whatever is best suited for the job. But before we can do this, we have a simple task to do: reform the patent system."Gestural Control: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | LinkedIn
"Fresh off raising $160 million from T. Rowe Price and three other unnamed investors, CEO Tom Reilly says his goal is to turn Cloudera Inc. into “a $20 billion company.” He says the company will expand beyond its current business, which is selling services around a popular analytic framework, and become a true platform company that accommodates software and services that are critical to large companies."Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly Building '$20 Billion Company' - The CIO Report - WSJ
"Such a valuation would surpass that of Hyatt, the 57-year-old hotel stalwart, and make Airbnb the latest technology start-up firm to gain an eye-popping net worth. Investors hungry for a piece of the fastest-growing start-ups have opened their wallets, hoping to get even a small piece of the action before what they hope will be a giant payday."New Capital Could Raise Airbnb Value To $10 Billion - NYTimes.com
"While Microsoft’s actions appear to have been legal and within the scope of its own policies, its reading of the private online accounts of a customer without a court order was highly unusual and raises questions about its protections for customer data, privacy lawyers say.Microsoft Software Leak Inquiry Raises Privacy Issues - NYTimes.com:
“What blogger will use that service now?” said Jennifer Granick, an attorney and director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society."
Thursday, March 20, 2014
"In a move that's sure to rile up its hard-core tweeters, Twitter is reportedly considering phasing out the use of its ubiquitous @ and # symbols.'Biz Break: Is it curtains for Twitter hashtags? - San Jose Mercury News
Speaking at the Newspaper Association of America's mediaXchange conference in Denver this week, Vivian Schiller, Twitter's head of news, said the at-replies and hastags were "arcane," according to a Buzzfeed report, and implied that future versions of the service would move such coding "scaffolding" into the background to make ithe interface simpler for new users to understand."
"Google and Microsoft have both signed up to US president Barack Obama's new Climate Data Initiative, an effort aimed at “bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities.”Google, Microsoft tackle climate change as IBM seeks cancer cure • The Register
Google's donated a petabyte of cloud storage and 50 million hours of runtime on its Google Earth Engine. Microsoft has launched a competition to find 40 relevant research projects, each of which will receive Azure access to the tune of 20 terabytes of storage and 180,000 hours of runtime. Esri is also helping out, with help to create maps for 12 US cities."
"“Our first goal is to be able to manage half of the world’s Hadoop by 2017 and in parallel we can clearly be a billion dollar company by 2017 to 2018,” he said.Hortonworks will be a $1 billion company within 4 years, says CEO — Tech News and Analysis
The sheer size of the job feeds opportunity. “The volume of data, the growth of data across the enterprise, the thesis is this explosion of data will be managed in Hadoop, then there’s the battleground of who in Hadoop will do it.”"
"Yesterday, Google announced Android Wear, its wearable device platform for smartwatches. Android Wear is a shrunken-down, watch-going version of KitKat that looks poised to take over the wearables market. After poring over tons of websites and digging around in the emulator, we've scraped together just about all the information that's out there, so if you want to know what the future of smartwatches looks like, read on."In-depth with Android Wear, Google’s quantum leap of a smartwatch OS | Ars Technica
"Citing business theorist Clayton Christensen’s jobs-to-be-done framework as an inspiration, Porter built What to Wear to simplify a very specific daily task. Weather services, he says, give users too much information. What to Wear processes this information and distills it down to the most relevant bullet points.What to Wear takes the guesswork out of dressing for Boston weather | BetaBoston
“The initial idea came from a simple observation that people check the weather in order to figure out what to wear,” Porter says, “Normal people only need to know what’s going to affect them during the day.”"
"As to Google’s technologies, Page showed off advances the company has made in artificial intelligence, in particular a computer program that was able to teach itself what a “cat” is by examining YouTube videos. Purchasing artificial-intelligence company Deep Mind Technologies will help advance that work, Page suggested, pointing to that company’s advanced computer programs that learned to play Atari video games."Trust Google, Page Says at TED - Digits - WSJ
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
"OneNote for Mac has become most popular free Mac app in the App Store in a single day, besting OS X update Mavericks, which was released in October.Microsoft’s OneNote Flies To Top Of The Mac App Store | TechCrunch
The app is now available across both major PC platforms and all three mobile platforms for free.
Response has been strong so far. Racking up more than 600 reviews in a day, OneNote for Mac is overwhelmingly rated highly, with more than half of them being 5-star reviews."
Three Questions for Microsoft Researcher Leslie Lamport on the Breakthroughs in Distributed Computing that Won Him the Turing Award | MIT Technology Review
"More recently, you have worked on ways to improve how software is built. What’s wrong with how it’s done now?Three Questions for Microsoft Researcher Leslie Lamport on the Breakthroughs in Distributed Computing that Won Him the Turing Award | MIT Technology Review
People seem to equate programming with coding, and that’s a problem. Before you code, you should understand what you’re doing. If you don’t write down what you’re doing, you don’t know whether you understand it, and you probably don’t if the first thing you write down is code. If you’re trying to build a bridge or house without a blueprint—what we call a specification—it’s not going to be very pretty or reliable. That’s how most code is written. Every time you’ve cursed your computer, you’re cursing someone who wrote a program without thinking about it in advance."
"We’ve heard that Google Voice is getting dragged to the trash can and most of its functionality will be incorporated into the G+ Hangouts apps on both Android and iOS. This has already happened to an extent with the ability to phone friends on Hangouts, but we’re hearing the full shuttering and depreciation of the app is the next step.Google plans to kill Google Voice in coming months, integrate features into Hangouts | 9to5Google
What’s interesting here is that VoIP-to-phones is expected to be integrated into the Hangouts iOS and Android apps so that, just like with the Web version, you could be able to actually make (and receive) VoIP calls directly from your Google phone number. Whether the carriers and Apple are okay with this isn’t certain, and the thought is that it could be enabled by carrier like Apple’s FaceTime (or could be scrapped altogether) depending on the global market and the carrier."
"Here is the full statement: 'This nonsense belongs with some of the other books I've read about Apple. It fails to capture Apple, Steve, or anyone else in the company. Apple has over 85,000 employees that come to work each day to do their best work, to create the world's best products, to put their mark in the universe and leave it better than they found it. This has been the heart of Apple from day one and will remain at the heart for decades to come. I am very confident about our future. We've always had many doubters in our history. They only make us stronger.'"Apple CEO Tim Cook: New book on company is 'nonsense,' fails to capture Apple or Steve Jobs
"Apple on Tuesday beefed up its entry-level iPad, replacing the aging iPad 2, offering a more capable model for the same $399 price.Apple Retires iPad 2, Brings Back Fourth-Generation iPad for $399 | Re/code
The company is bringing back its fourth-generation model. While not as light as the pricier iPad Air models, the fourth generation iPad does feature a retina display, faster processor and better camera than the model it replaces."
"Asked whether two unfamiliar photos of faces show the same person, a human being will get it right 97.53 percent of the time. New software developed by researchers at Facebook can score 97.25 percent on the same challenge, regardless of variations in lighting or whether the person in the picture is directly facing the camera.Facebook Creates Software That Matches Faces Almost as Well as You Do | MIT Technology Review
That’s a significant advance over previous face-matching software, and it demonstrates the power of a new approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which Facebook and its competitors have bet heavily on in the past year (see “Deep Learning”). This area of AI involves software that uses networks of simulated neurons to learn to recognize patterns in large amounts of data."
"I'm sure Sonos's competitors will move fast to work with more streaming services, but for now Sonos has a significant edge. Sonos's big leap forward is an example of how today's consumer electronics-makers can significantly advance their products with software. The result: Internet services baked into a smarter user interface. (TV, I'm still waiting for software to fix you.)"Can Sonos Become Google for the Music You Love? - WSJ.com
"Adjusting Android — a breakaway hit as an operating system for smartphones — to work with wearable computers is a pre-emptive move for Google, which entered the smartphone and tablet markets after Apple. This time, it should have a first claim on developing relationships with the many software partners — the apps builders — that help a gadget become popular.Google Unveils Software for Smartwatches-to-Be - NYTimes.com
Just as important, consumers should expect to see Android-powered smartwatches before Apple can get into the mix. Apple has been developing a watch for some time, according to people briefed on the project, but it is not clear when it will be released."
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Amazon’s Set Top Box Will Be A Dongle Like Chromecast, Could Feature OnLive-Style Streaming | TechCrunch
"Offering streaming gaming would provide a huge competitive advantage over its rivals in the set top box space, both large and small, and OnLive’s failure wasn’t due to a lack of demand, but due to the high cost of operation and lack of ability to scale. Plus, if added in as an Amazon Prime member benefit, the e-commerce company could have yet another incentive to get users on board with its premium product. Plus, it could plug into the recently leaked Amazon gaming controller, despite the fact that the device is said to be sold independently of any set top box and compatible with Kindle Fire tablets, too."Amazon’s Set Top Box Will Be A Dongle Like Chromecast, Could Feature OnLive-Style Streaming | TechCrunch
"Seven years out from the original iPhone’s introduction, and four years past the iPad’s launch, Apple has found its next market ripe for reinvention: the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking industry. Apple’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS application codenamed Healthbook. I first wrote about Apple’s plans for Healthbook in January, and multiple sources working directly on the initiative’s development have since provided new details and images of Healthbook that provide a clearer view of Apple’s plans for dramatically transforming the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking space…"This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking | 9to5Mac
"Cloudera Inc. is raising at least $200 million in a new round of financing from investors including Intel Corp., according to people with knowledge of the situation.Cloudera Said to Raise at Least $200 Million in Funding - Bloomberg
The fundraising values the maker of open source database software at more than $2 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The Palo Alto, California-based company has raised more than $14O million in total from investors including Accel Partners, Greylock Partners and Ignition Partners. Cloudera last raised $65 million in December 2012, according to its website."
"Negroponte said he estimated the cost of bringing Internet access to 100 million people is $2 billion.Negroponte Wants to Connect the Last Billion | Re/code
That would apparently cover a terabit satellite with one million ground stations, 10 years of operation, and 10 million tablets, according to Negroponte’s slides, though he didn’t go into the details.
“Two billion [dollars] is what we were spending in Afghanistan every week, so surely if we can connect Africa and the last billion people for numbers like that, we should be doing it,” Negroponte said."
"Walmart Stores has a proposition for anyone with copies of Call of Duty and other old video games lying around the house: Trade them in for store credit to spend on other items.Walmart to Offer Customers Credit for Used Video Games - NYTimes.com
Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, is expected to announce on Tuesday that starting March 26 it will begin allowing customers to convert old games into store credits in over 3,100 Walmart stores nationwide, most of its locations in the United States. The program represents a major push by Walmart into a lucrative segment of the games business, one that games publishers have unsuccessfully sought to stymie in the past because of the potential threat used games represent to new game sales."
"Pricing remains unclear, though the people familiar with the company's plans said the device likely would come with incentives available to members of Amazon's Prime streaming video and shipping program. Last week Amazon said it is increasing the price of Prime by $20 to $99 annually, in part because of the rising cost of acquiring video.Amazon to Ship Video-Streaming Device in April - WSJ.com
The device will thrust Amazon into an intensely competitive market in set-top boxes, which include the Roku device, Apple TV and Google's Chromecast, a top-seller on Amazon's own website. Roku's streaming devices sell for as little as $50, while the Chromecast is $35."
"“Using technology to position itself as a forward-thinking airline can have a positive impact on preference” among fliers, said Henry H. Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst in San Francisco for Hudson Crossing, a consulting firm. “But there is a very fine line between cool and creepy.”Airlines Use Digital Technology to Get Even More Personal - NYTimes.com
One airline system that delves even more deeply into business travelers’ data was rolled out late last year by the Australian carrier Qantas Airways. It enables Qantas to monitor, in real time, social-media conversations taking place within its airport lounges."
Monday, March 17, 2014
"OneNote’s partner apps include support from Feedly, IFTTT, News360, Weave, JotNot, and Genius Scan. Microsoft has also worked with printer makers Brother and Epson to include support for OneNote on some devices, and smartpen maker Livescribe to let you write notes with a pen and paper and send them to OneNote. Other apps will be made available over the course of the year, and Microsoft is encouraging developers to create apps with the launch of a new developer portal."Microsoft launches OneNote for Mac, brings new features to note-taking service | The Verge
"The breadth of our coverage will be much clearer at this new version of FiveThirtyEight, which is launching Monday under the auspices of ESPN. We’ve expanded our staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and counting. Few of them will focus on politics exclusively; instead, our coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports.FiveThirtyEight | What the Fox Knows
Our team also has a broad set of skills and experience in methods that fall under the rubric of data journalism. These include statistical analysis, but also data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting. So in addition to written stories, we’ll have interactive graphics and features. Within a couple of months we’ll launch a podcast, and we’ll be collaborating with ESPN Films and Grantland to produce original documentary films. You’ll find us on television and radio, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We’ll share data and code on Github."
"Microsoft unleashed three major enhancements to OneNote on Monday, most of which are aimed at making the synchronized note-taking platform easier and free to use from more device types.OneNote Released for Mac, Free Version Announced for Windows -- Redmond Channel Partner
OneNote for Mac made its debut Monday. While OneNote was originally available as a desktop application for Windows PCs and came with several Office bundles, it never made its way to the Office for Mac side."
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals [Appleinsider]
""TV is a terrible business," Jobs is alleged to have said. "They don't turn over and the margins suck."Steve Jobs believed HDTVs were a 'terrible business,' saw Apple TV set as unlikely, new book reveals
The details fly in contrast to what Jobs himself told biographer Walter Isaacson, who penned the CEO's authorized biography entitled "Steve Jobs," which came out shortly after his death in 2011. In those discussions, Jobs said he envisioned an advanced connected television that would sync with all of a user's devices via iCloud while being easy to use and navigate."
"Another site, Enigma.io, has obtained, standardized and collated thousands of data sets — including information on companies’ lobbying activities and their contributions to state election campaigns — made public by federal and state agencies. Starting this weekend, the public will be able to use it, at no charge, to seek information about a single company across dozens of government sources at once.A Harvest of Company Details, All in One Basket - NYTimes.com
“What we are trying to do is take these public data sets which, due to the fact of their obscurity, are not currently linked, and go about redressing that,” Marc DaCosta, the co-founder of Enigma, told me recently at the Enigma offices in Lower Manhattan."
"An all-in-one navigation/communications/entertainment system is a pleasant dream, it feels “right”. But the technical, business model, and cultural obstacles could make for a long, arduous march.CarPlay Thoughts | Monday Note
CarPlay could be a very smart way to hitch a ride on many in-car systems without having to struggle with their design and cost challenges, yet another ecosystem extension play."
Friday, March 14, 2014
"So if you all are the foxes, who’s a hedgehog?
Uhhhh, you know … the op-ed columnists at the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal are probably the most hedgehoglike people. They don’t permit a lot of complexity in their thinking. They pull threads together from very weak evidence and draw grand conclusions based on them. They’re ironically very predictable from week to week. If you know the subject that Thomas Friedman or whatever is writing about, you don’t have to read the column. You can kind of auto-script it, basically."Nate Silver Interview: The New FiveThirtyEight -- Daily Intelligencer
Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Musical artists: your official tour dates in the Knowledge Graph
"When music lovers search for their favorite band on Google, we often show them a Knowledge Graph panel with lots of information about the band, including the band’s upcoming concert schedule. It’s important to fans and artists alike that this schedule be accurate and complete. That’s why we’re trying a new approach to concert listings. In our new approach, all concert information for an artist comes directly from that artist’s official website when they add structured data markup."Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Musical artists: your official tour dates in the Knowledge Graph
"The selfie phenomenon appears to have won a certain measure of legitimacy from Apple.Apple adds selfie section to iTunes App Store | Apple - CNET News
Apparently geared toward expediting the satisfaction felt by many people when they take photos of themselves and share them with others, the company on Thursday added a special section to its iTunes App store devoted to apps that cater to the need to selfie. Mixed in with popular selfie apps such as Snapchat and Justin Bieber's Shots, the "Sharing Selfies" section also includes selfie diary app Picr and selfie portrait-editing app Facetune."
"Can you walk me through broadly what Netflix’s infrastructure looked like before you joined and where you see it headed over the next few years?Netflix VP of IT on the Future of Infrastructure | Amplify Partners Amplify Partners:
Before I arrived, the internal IT infrastructure was traditional on-premises and two Data Centers. Our HR system was homegrown Apache + PHP, the financials was in Oracle, in addition to lots of big iron and incumbent storage. Our 10x goal for 2014 is 100% Public Cloud and/or SaaS. For even more detail, I’ve made our roadmap public here Netflix IT 2014 Roadmap."
"At Google, desktop search ad revenue will decrease $770 million this year, while mobile search ad revenue will increase $1.76 billion, eMarketer said.Weakened by Mobile, Desktop Search Advertising Is Declining - NYTimes.com
The gap has closed in an astonishingly short time, even for the fast-moving technology industry. This year, mobile search revenue at Google — which has 95 percent market share in mobile search, according to StatCounter — is on track to account for about one-third of Google’s total search revenue. That would have been unthinkable only a couple of years ago, when Google’s business was under threat from mobile."
"The revised agreement scales back the companies’ relationship nearly two years after Microsoft pledged more than $600 million to prop up Barnes & Noble’s digital-reading business. In return, Barnes & Noble committed to creating e-reading apps for new computers, phone and tablets powered by Microsoft’s Windows software.Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Revise Nook Partnership - Digits - WSJ
Since the deal was struck, circumstances for each company have changed. Barnes & Noble slowed work on its own e-reading devices and tablets as its sales slumped, and laid off much of the workforce devoted to its Nook devices. Microsoft’s consumer-device strategy also has shifted after sales hiccups for its Windows tablets and smartphones."
"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.Mark Zuckerberg - As the world becomes more complex and...
So it's up to us -- all of us -- to build the internet we want. Together, we can build a space that is greater and a more important part of the world than anything we have today, but is also safe and secure. I'm committed to seeing this happen, and you can count on Facebook to do our part."
Thursday, March 13, 2014
"We've lowered the price of our monthly storage plans to $1.99 for 100GB (previously $4.99), $9.99 for 1TB (previously $49.99), and $99.99 for 10TB, with even more storage available if you need it. How big is a terabyte anyway? Well, that’s enough storage for you to take a selfie twice a day for the next 200 years and still have room left over for… shall we say… less important things. Like before, storage continues to work across Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. And, of course, the 15GB plan remains free."Official Google Blog: Save more with Google Drive
"But Bill's back. He said he planned to make available up to 30 percent of his time for possible Microsoft involvement starting this year. And it's obvious he's back to talking about Microsoft and technology, based on a new Rolling Stone interview with the man.Microsoft's Tech Advisor Bill Gates is talking about tech (again) | ZDNet
"Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview" (subtitled "The richest man in the world explains how to save the planet") still focuses heavily on Gates' Foundation and his views about the ways to solve health and societal problems across the world. But the interview starts out with questions and answers about technology (!) and Microsoft (!)."
"Going public, as I argued in my piece, still seems like a mistake for a company that has more than enough money in the bank to stay afloat for years to come (and is going to be generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the next couple of years), and that operates a business ill-suited to the demands of shareholders, who want consistent and steadily growing profits. But there are few better ways to make a lot of people really rich than a high-priced I.P.O., and, looking at these numbers, it’s not hard to understand why King’s current shareholders are happy to take the money. Whether future shareholders will ever be quite as pleased, though, is another question."What's Candy Crush Really Worth? : The New Yorker
"Beth Israel has been using the Glass application for three months and will make it available to all interested doctors this month. The hospital took its Emergency Department dashboard and integrated it with Glass, making sure to deploy "the same privacy safeguards as our existing web interface," Halamka wrote. "We replaced all the Google components on the devices so that no data travels over Google servers. All data stays within the BIDMC firewall."ER doctors use Google Glass and QR codes to identify patients | Ars Technica
A custom user interface takes advantage of Glass gestures such as tapping and swiping, scrolling by looking up and down, and voice commands. Information displays were simplified and re-organized to fit the doctors' view, and as such "Google Glass does not appear to be a replacement for desktop or iPad—it is a new medium best suited for retrieval of limited or summarized information," Halamka wrote. "Real-time updates and notifications is where Google Glass really differentiates itself. Paired with location services, the device can truly deliver actionable information to clinicians in real time.""
"Here’s what we have learned. Perhaps the chief benefit of MOOCs is simply the visibility it provides to help reach new customers, untethered from geographic restrictions. While enrolling in these online classes through Coursera involves less of a commitment than enrolling in (and paying for) an on-campus course, we have had more than 20 times more students sign up for our online courses than are taking classes in person. Of our 200,000-plus virtual enrollees, who hail from 150 different countries, 44 percent never heard of us, while another 52 percent had, but that was the extent of their connection to us.What Massive Online Courses Do Well, and Where They Falter - Businessweek
Enrollment in a MOOC is not equivalent to taking a traditional on-campus course. It is more analogous to bookmarking a Web page."
"The retirement of Windows XP is the best news for computer makers in years. Sales of PCs have been on the decline since 2012, and the trend is expected to continue, as more people rely on tablets and smartphones. Despite that, Hewlett-Packard Co. has reported an increase in personal computer revenues, thanks to XP upgrades.
For many users, XP seems as reliable as my old Ford Taurus. But it’s really more like the Ford Pinto, that 1970s car with a bad habit of bursting into flames. And the fire department’s about to close. Time to move on."For Windows XP, the end is nigh, and that’s good - Business - The Boston Globe
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
"Microsoft is planning to release a OneNote for Mac app later this month. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the Mac application is part of a broader effort to expand the features and functionality of OneNote. While Microsoft originally released OneNote more than 10 years ago, the company has largely limited its note-taking app to Windows. Versions for iOS, Android, and the web have debuted in recent years, but the full desktop version has always been a paid app available for Office on Windows. That’s about to change too.OneNote for Mac coming this month as Microsoft eyes Evernote | The Verge
We understand that Microsoft will release the OneNote for Mac app for free, and the company is also planning to make the Windows desktop version available at no extra cost."
"Speaking exactly 25 years after he wrote the first draft of the first proposal for what would become the world wide web, the computer scientist said: "We need a global constitution – a bill of rights."An online Magna Carta: Berners-Lee calls for bill of rights for web | Technology | The Guardian
Berners-Lee's Magna Carta plan is to be taken up as part of an initiative called "the web we want", which calls on people to generate a digital bill of rights in each country – a statement of principles he hopes will be supported by public institutions, government officials and corporations."
"Amazon has been working on a set-top box for a couple of years now, with most of the actual development happening at the company’s secretive Lab126 R&D unit. Lab126 hired a number of people who previously worked on Logitech’s failed Google TV companion box.Amazon’s TV streaming box to ship with Netflix and Hulu Plus apps — Tech News and Analysis
Unsurprisingly, Amazon is also using Android as the foundation for its TV streamer. But just like with its Kindle Fire tablet, the TV will also be based on a fork of Android. This makes it unlikely that the device will have a YouTube app."
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
"Up until last November, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's baby was mostly used for business applications, like virtualization and acting as an enterprise-level email host. With the Xbox One, though, the company opened up its global server farms to game developers, giving them access to more computing power than could reasonably be stuffed into a $500 game console. Since the Xbox One's debut, Microsoft has been crowing about how Azure would let designers create gaming experiences players have never seen before. Now it's time for the product to speak for itself."A closer look at Titanfall's not-so-secret weapon: Microsoft's cloud
Google’s giving bus rides to poor San Franciscans. Is this what the Google city-state looks like? [The Washington Post]
"A city-state is set apart from its surroundings in that it exercises legal sovereignty over its own territory. City-states often have their own religion, armies and other distinguishing features of a nation-state. And while the Bay Area is too closely tied to the California economy — not to mention national laws and elected officials — to be considered a literal city-state anytime soon, the fact that Google is stepping in to provide a service that would ordinarily come from the local government is a remarkable move."Google’s giving bus rides to poor San Franciscans. Is this what the Google city-state looks like?
"March 11, 1890: Hypertext Pioneer Vannevar Bush Is BornComputer History Museum | Exhibits | This Day in History: March 11
Pre-World-War II computer pioneer Vannevar (pronounced "Van-ee-ver") Bush is born in Everett, MA.
Bush, who also was deeply involved with wartime computer projects, invented an electromechanical differential analyzer that used mechanical integrators to help solve differential equations. Bush was a co-founder of Raytheon, a military contractor. He also became very interested in information retrieval, which led him to imagine a machine he called "memex" -- an electronic extension of an individual's mind and memory base -- that mimicked human associative linking of information, and anticipated hypertext research. He died on June 28, 1974."
"When the ACLU's Ben Wizner joked on stage that Edward Snowden was appearing on the screen behind him routed through "seven proxies," technology journalists from around the world completely missed the joke.The Daily Dot - No, Edward Snowden wasn't behind 7 proxies at SXSW
You see, claiming to be behind seven proxies is one of the oldest jokes on the Internet. According to Know Your Meme, it's been in use since 2007. The sarcastic remark is used to jokingly bait someone who is trying to find your location through the Internet."
"Mr. Snowden, who was dressed sharply in a white dress shirt and gray blazer for his talk, said he had no regrets about his actions, even though he now faces prosecution and is thought by many to be a traitor, or worse.
“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and it was violated on a massive scale,” he said."Snowden Tries to Rally Tech Conference to Buttress Privacy Shields - NYTimes.com
"But is it really cyberwarfare, or just the time-honored practice of psychological operations? Even if the attacks are being coordinated from Moscow, which so far isn’t clear, what’s happened looks, at least to this point, mainly like skirmishing for propaganda advantage, says John Bumgarner, a former intelligence officer in Charlotte, N.C., who now works for the nonprofit U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit and advises governments on security issues. “If Russia really wanted to deal a devastating blow,” he says, “they could have definitely done it.”"Cyberwar in Ukraine Falls Far Short of Russia's Full Powers - Businessweek
Monday, March 10, 2014
"Now those Microsoft bosses hope the game, Titanfall, will win over enough consumers to pump up sales of Xbox One, the company’s flagship gaming console. Xbox One sales are trailing those of a machine from Sony, Microsoft’s main rival.Microsoft Pins Xbox One Hopes on Titanfall, a Sci-Fi Shooting Game - NYTimes.com
There is reason to be hopeful: Titanfall was created by a well-known game designer and has already received critical acclaim. In an unusual move for a major title created by an independent game maker, Titanfall is being released exclusively for three Microsoft platforms — the Xbox One, the older Xbox 360 console and Windows PCs."
Sunday, March 09, 2014
"MyMagic+ promises far more radical change. It’s a sweeping reservation and ride planning system that allows for bookings months in advance on a website or smartphone app. Bracelets called MagicBands, which link electronically to an encrypted database of visitor information, serve as admission tickets, hotel keys, and credit or debit cards; a tap against a sensor pays for food or trinkets. The bands have radio frequency identification (RFID) chips—which critics derisively call spychips because of their ability to monitor people and things."Disney Bets $1 Billion on Technology to Track Theme-Park Visitors - Businessweek
"We have some news! We're planning to relaunch FiveThirtyEight on March 17, a week from Monday.FiveThirtyEight: FiveThirtyEight to Relaunch on March 17
As with all plans, this one could go awry. We're still completing final testing on the new website, and tweaking the final elements of the site's design. But we estimate the probability of a March 17 launch at 90.617854%."
"This gets us to Apple’s deeply rooted fixation: From its April 1st, 1976 founding to this day, Apple has been in one and only one business: personal computers. Today, they come in three sizes: Macs, iPads, and iPhones. Everything else Apple creates — iTunes, the App Store, the physical Apple Stores, Apple TV pucks, CarPlay, the mythical iWatch — these are all part of the supporting cast, and they have a single mission: Prop up the volume and margins of the star products."The Apple Game: New Categories vs. Ecosystem Development | Monday Note
"So it is not so strange that the connected technologies that are creeping into the lives of humans are doing the same for pets.Every Dog Has Its Data - NYTimes.com
Wearable pet activity trackers keep tabs on Bella’s or Bear’s exercise. Some go further, monitoring dogs’ heart and respiratory rates and tracking locations in case they escape their homes. Webcams allow people who are away from home to monitor, communicate and play games with their pets, breaking up the monotony of lonely days."
Friday, March 07, 2014
"If you want to check out Apple's brand new iOS for the dashboard, then you have to head to the Geneva Motorshow, for it here that the Ferrari FF is on display. The FF is the first car to get the CarPlay system.Ferrari FF is the first model to feature Apple CarPlay - News
This is the meeting of two worlds - Ferrari and Siri. The CarPlay system incorporates features from the iPhone inside the car. What CarPlay does, is connect to a vehicle's infotainment system through the AirPlay media streaming protocol and allows owners to text, call, listen to music/radio and navigate via the Siri-based voice or touch inputs."
"So, while bitcoin as a brand may never reach mainstream consumer adoption, incumbents in the global payments ecosystem should consider the emergence of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies (the protocol and burgeoning ecosystem) as an early warning siren of more innovation to come. The winds of disruptive change will be felt by players across the traditional payments ecosystem that are responsible for the speed, cost, and risk involved in digital commerce, both for B2B and B2C payments."Bitcoin: Some Parts Brilliant, Some Parts Sure to Bomb | Re/code
"What is the biggest thing that we’re getting wrong or overlooking in the hype around big data?Civis Analytics's Dan Wagner on Data Solutions to Social Problems - Businessweek
The unfortunate thing about the hype is that people are thinking about the process, not about the outcomes. Sometimes the hype is misplaced, in a sense that it feeds this belief in the growth of data as a solution in and of itself. The big question is, what are you going to do with that information that’s actually going to improve people’s lives?
How do you handle information overload in your personal life?
As someone who works at a company that is involved in the Internet, I spend quite a lot of time there. But I try to stay electronically efficient with all my different communication and also try and make sure that I read a lot of books."
"Mr. Maritz, a former Microsoft Corp. leader who oversaw the development of Windows 95 and the SQL Server, says that for the last 15 years, businesses often were content to outsource software development to low-cost providers. Now, companies have the means to collect “lakes” of data about their customers, but must be able to make sense of their currents. That development is too important now to be outsourced, according to Mr. Maritz.Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz Says Companies Must Rediscover Software Development - The CIO Report - WSJ
“We have to rediscover software development,” Mr. Maritz says. “We have to rediscover product development.”"
"That man versus machine view may be in the minority, however, as more music companies embrace the idea that the vast troves of user data from sources like Shazam, Twitter and Spotify can be tools for talent scouts — known in the industry as A&R executives, for artists and repertoire — and, moreover, that in a competitive environment, using them has become a necessity.The Sweet, Streaming Sound of Data - NYTimes.com
Rob Wiesenthal, chief operating officer of Warner Music, who led the company’s deal with Shazam, said he believed that the new technology could serve as a complement to the trained ear of a music executive.
“There isn’t a substitute for the gut and instinct of an A&R professional,” Mr. Wiesenthal said. “This is art and not computer science.”"
Thursday, March 06, 2014
"No, it's not the most dramatic fall for the software giant: A 10 percent decline in the PC market last year, with an expected 6-8 percent drop again this year, has pretty much evaporated any notion that the core market for Windows will reach its peak volume again. But with automobiles, we see another industry in which Windows—in this case, Windows Automotive—is no longer competitive. And it's getting worse."Cars? Windows Can't Compete | Paul Thurrotts WinInfo content from Windows IT Pro
"They were frustrated by his tendency to talk more than listen, the people said, and his reaction to the pushback on Nokia was for some the last straw. The board rejected the first deal as too expensive and complex, including not only the handset division but also a mapping unit Microsoft didn’t need. Even without maps, Fitch Ratings called the price “excessive” in a note yesterday, citing a deterioration in the user base for Windows-based phones."Microsoft’s Nadella Manages Legacy of Ballmer-Board Split - Businessweek
"It is a radical move for a company that until now had required payment for its images, pointing to the hard realities of managing content in the digital era.Getty’s Images Are Now Free for Twitter, Tumblr and Personal Blogs - Digits - WSJ
Getty says the move does not signal defeat. Instead, it is an attempt to wrest some of the control back.
“We don’t think it’s giving away the store,” said Craig Peters, senior vice president of business development, marketing and content. “We think it’s opening up an entirely new opportunity for our business.”"
"Which of the following interactive features drove record traffic to its respective news sites in recent months: a) How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook? for Time; b) The interactive dialect quiz for The New York Times; c) The Adele Dazeem Generator: Travoltify Your Name, which appeared on Slate; or d) all of the above?To Spur Traffic at News Sites, Just Travoltify - NYTimes.com
Congratulations if you answered d) all of the above."
"Full time, as in for a living. Serge is a professional video game player, a midlevel position player in what’s probably the world’s fastest-growing “sport.”Hardcore gamers put on a show - Business - The Boston Globe
It’s called “e-sports,” and suddenly it’s huge. The world championship of the popular video game “League of Legends” sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles last October, while 32 million more fans watched the showdown via the Internet. Even the reruns are hot. Gameplay videos are among the most popular shows on Youtube.
Indeed, one of the most popular transmitters on YouTube is a 24-year-old Swedish gamer nicknamed PewDiePie, whose profanity-drenched videos have been watched 3.7 billion times."
Massive license plate location database just like Instagram, Digital Recognition Network insists | BetaBoston
"“It’s taking a picture that has no expectation of privacy and is in public view,” said Chris Metaxas, chief executive of Digital Recognition Network based in Fort Worth, Texas, while speaking about the high-speed scans the technology takes of passing vehicles. ”License plate reader technology stores these pictures just like people store pictures on Instagram, which are available for all to see.”"Massive license plate location database just like Instagram, Digital Recognition Network insists | BetaBoston