"Its new rules clarify that developers who build apps that tap into HealthKit, of which Nike is rumoured to be one, can collect the data it holds.Apple tells developers they may not sell personal health data to advertisers | Technology | theguardian.com
But, they stated, the developers "must not sell an end-user's health information collected through the HealthKit APIs to advertising platforms, data brokers or information resellers". Although, the rules add that they could share their data with "third parties for medical research purposes" as long as they get users' consent."
Friday, August 29, 2014
Apple tells developers they may not sell personal health data to advertisers | Technology | theguardian.com
Apple Makes September 9 Event Official With New iPhones and Wearables Expected | Re/code
"Apple, for its part, is characteristically vague on what to expect on Sept. 9.Apple Makes September 9 Event Official With New iPhones and Wearables Expected | Re/code
“Wish we could say more,” is all the invite says beyond offering logistical details."
Apple's iBeacon: Retail Stores Make Little Use of It So Far - Businessweek
"Some barriers to iBeacon adoption are falling away. Google (GOOG) has built more iBeacon functionality into the latest versions of Android. GE Lighting (GE) has formed a partnership with startup ByteLight to develop lightbulbs that can also help track shoppers via iBeacon, which would eliminate the need for retailers to buy separate hardware. More companies are curious. “We have half of Fortune 500 developing with us,” says Steve Cheney, a senior vice president at startup Estimote, which designs hardware and software to work with iBeacon. There is just one major group of holdouts to persuade: shoppers."Apple's iBeacon: Retail Stores Make Little Use of It So Far - Businessweek
YouTube: Hollywood's Hit Factory for Teen Entertainment - Businessweek
"It’s perhaps inevitable that Hollywood eventually turned its tool kit to YouTube. The platform’s net global advertising revenue continues to grow, from $1.2 billion in 2012 to a projected $3.4 billion this year, according to estimates from EMarketer. Every month, 1 billion people around the planet go to YouTube, where they collectively consume some 6 billion hours of video. Every minute, 100 more hours of programming are added to the platform.YouTube: Hollywood's Hit Factory for Teen Entertainment - Businessweek
With summer TV ratings falling, the domestic movie box office down sharply, and upfront sales of TV advertising surprisingly weak, a slew of mergers, acquisitions, and investment has shaken the YouTube cosmos. Big media companies, which a few years ago were furiously filing copyright lawsuits against YouTube, are jostling for a piece of the action."
Inside Google's Secret Drone-Delivery Program - The Atlantic
"Though a couple of rumors have escaped the Googleplex—because of course Google must have a drone-delivery program—Project Wing’s official existence and substance were revealed today. I’ve spent the past week talking to Googlers who worked on the project, reviewing video of the flights, and interviewing other people convinced delivery by drone will work.Inside Google's Secret Drone-Delivery Program - The Atlantic
Taken with the company’s other robotics investments, Google’s corporate posture has become even more ambitious. Google doesn’t just want to organize all the world’s information. Google wants to organize all the world."
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Dropbox Blog » Blog Archive » Introducing a more powerful Dropbox Pro
"One plan, more roomThe Dropbox Blog » Blog Archive » Introducing a more powerful Dropbox Pro
We don’t want you to worry about choosing the right plan or having enough space. So today, we’re simplifying Dropbox Pro to a single plan that stays at $9.99/month, but now comes with 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space.
Already a Pro user? Dropbox will update automatically in the next couple days. You don’t have to do a thing."
The Future Could Work, if We Let It - NYTimes.com
"If you’re feeling down about the world, the book, “Resource Revolution: How to Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century,” is an antidote. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Heck outline how emerging advances — among them 3-D printing, autonomous vehicles, modular construction systems and home automation — might in time alter some of the world’s largest industries and bring prosperity to billions of people.The Future Could Work, if We Let It - NYTimes.com
They put forward a rigorous argument bolstered by mountains of data and recent case studies. And once you start looking at Silicon Valley their way, your mind reels at the far-reaching potential of the innovations now spreading through society."
JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Cyberattack - NYTimes.com
"The intrusions were first reported by Bloomberg, which indicated that they were the work of Russian hackers. But security experts and government officials said they had not yet made that conclusion.JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Cyberattack - NYTimes.com
Earlier this year, iSight Partners, a security firm in Dallas that provides intelligence on online threats, warned companies that they should be prepared for cyberattacks from Russia in retaliation for Western economic sanctions.
But Adam Meyers, the head of threat intelligence at CrowdStrike, a security firm that works with banks, said that it would be “premature” to suggest the attacks were motivated by sanctions."
High prices take the shine off Chromebooks - Business - The Boston Globe
"But what’s the point of paying $400 for a Chromebook anyway? Nowadays you can get a decent Windows machine for not much more than that. Matter of fact, Dell’s been running a promotion on a two-in-one laptop that converts into a tablet and runs Windows 8. Just $400. Such machines are underpowered and short on features. But so are Chromebooks. If you’re going to buy a stripped-down computer anyhow, you might as well choose one that can run Microsoft Word.High prices take the shine off Chromebooks - Business - The Boston Globe
Unless you can find something else -- a sleek, simple machine that’s good enough for real work and cheap enough to purchase for the kids. I’ve seen a few. They’re called Chromebooks, and they sell for around $250. At least, they ought to."
Automation Changes the Work We Do, But it Doesn’t Have to Kill the Joy | MIT Technology Review
"The centerpiece of his argument is the Yerkes-Dodson curve, which plots the relationship between human performance and the stimulation our tasks provide. Too much stimulation makes us feel panicked and overloaded, but when we have too little stimulation—when our work is too easy—we become lethargic and withdrawn. Activities that provide moderate stimulation yield the highest level of performance and, as Carr argues, turn us into better people in the process."Automation Changes the Work We Do, But it Doesn’t Have to Kill the Joy | MIT Technology Review
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
In Defense of Tablets | Re/code
"I believe that tablets — and especially the iPad — are extremely versatile and productive tools for consumers, schools and businesses, and are better for many tasks than the PC or the smartphone. I use my iPad many times a day, and it has cut my use of my laptop by more than half.In Defense of Tablets | Re/code
In a brief interview about tablets I had this week with Apple CEO Tim Cook, he said, “We couldn’t be happier with how we’ve done with the first four years of the iPad,” and added that, “I’d call what’s going on recently a speed bump, and I’ve seen that in every category.”"
Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New App, Is Like a $15,000 Video Setup in Your Hand | Design | WIRED
"Using clever algorithm processing, the app makes it easy to use your phone to create tracking shots and fast, time-lapse videos that look as if they’re shot by Scorsese or Michael Mann. What was once only possible with a Steadicam or a $15,000 tracking rig is now possible on your iPhone, for free. (Instagram hopes to develop an Android version soon, but that will require changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android phones.) And that’s all thanks to some clever engineering and an elegantly pared-down interaction design. The product team shared their story with WIRED."Hyperlapse, Instagram’s New App, Is Like a $15,000 Video Setup in Your Hand | Design | WIRED
In raising cash, Square heads for $6B valuation: Sources [CNBC]
"Another hurdle for Square is a fierce set of competitors. PayPal, Google and Amazon are all deep-pocketed rivals that are vying for a bigger piece of the payments pie. Meanwhile, popular services like Uber and Airbnb bake the payment process into their apps, eliminating the need for Square in some areas where online and mobile commerce is growing the fastest.In raising cash, Square heads for $6B valuation: Sources
For now, Square is showing it can cash in on its momentum. As long as the funding floodgates are open, there's plenty of investor demand to fund its growth while Square claws toward a profit, which it expects to hit by mid-2015."
Save the Fav, Twitter's Digital Body Language - NYTimes.com
"The new plan won’t change Twitter very much for most users. Yet there is something to celebrate about the fav as it’s used today on Twitter and to mourn its potential transformation into something more Facebook-like. Even if you don’t care about Twitter, the fav is a model for something we need more of in more places online: It is nonspecific, flexible communication — a kind of body language for the web.Save the Fav, Twitter's Digital Body Language - NYTimes.com
One of the problems of communicating online is that words are too precise. It’s especially difficult to express much nuance when you’re trying to be brief."
Apple Said to Prepare New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015 - Bloomberg
"Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s suppliers are preparing to manufacture the company’s largest-ever iPad, with production scheduled to commence by the first quarter of next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Apple Said to Prepare New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015 - Bloomberg
The new iPad will have a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public. Apple currently produces iPads with 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch displays. The Cupertino, California-based company has been working with suppliers for at least a year to develop a new range of larger touch-screen devices, said the people."
Snapchat Is Said to Have More Than 100 Million Monthly Active Users - Digits - WSJ
"The majority, or roughly two-thirds of those users, log on to the ephemeral-messaging service daily, according to the people.Snapchat Is Said to Have More Than 100 Million Monthly Active Users - Digits - WSJ
Snapchat is quickly adding users to help it live up to the lofty expectations of its investors. An investment by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers valued the company close to $10 billion, according to people familiar with the matter."
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
How Social Media Silences Debate - NYTimes.com
"Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, has the effect of tamping down diversity of opinion and stifling debate about public affairs. It makes people less likely to voice opinions, particularly when they think their views differ from those of their friends, according to a report published Tuesday by researchers at Pew Research Center and Rutgers University.How Social Media Silences Debate - NYTimes.com
The researchers also found that those who use social media regularly are more reluctant to express dissenting views in the offline world."
News Feed FYI: Click-baiting | Facebook Newsroom
"So how do we determine what looks like click-bait?News Feed FYI: Click-baiting | Facebook Newsroom
One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. With this update we will start taking into account whether people tend to spend time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they tend to come straight back to News Feed when we rank stories with links in them.
Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. "
Amazon Pounces On Twitch After Google Balks Due To Antitrust Concerns [Forbes]
"Google was unable to close the deal, said sources familiar with the talks, because it was concerned about potential antitrust issues that could have come with the acquisition. The Mountain View, Calif. company already owns YouTube, the world’s most-visited content streaming site, which competes with Twitch to broadcast and stream live or on-demand video game sessions. One source noted that because of the concerns, Google and Twitch could not come to an agreement on the size of a potential breakup fee in case the deal did not go through."Amazon Pounces On Twitch After Google Balks Due To Antitrust Concerns
Why Amazon Is Paying $1 Billion to Help People Watch Video Games - Businessweek
"There are some interesting differences between Twitch and, say, an Amazon-produced show such as Alpha House. The main one: Twitch broadcasts feature a strong level of interaction among viewers via running chats streamed live. Often the broadcaster interacts directly with the audience, too. This experience—watching while chatting—is how many television futurists think we’ll be watching our video in the future. It’s not yet clear that people want to watch everything in this manner. People who watch video games love it."Why Amazon Is Paying $1 Billion to Help People Watch Video Games - Businessweek
More Game Time Equals Lower Test Scores - Digits - WSJ
"Elementary school students who answered that they never played video games on weekdays answered 77% of the questions correctly on a test of basic language skills, compared to a 70.5% score recorded by those who said they played two to three hours. Elementary students who said they spent more than four hours a day playing games scored the lowest, getting only 64% of the answers correct.More Game Time Equals Lower Test Scores - Digits - WSJ
Similar patterns were observed on the math tests, according to the ministry."
What’s Twitch? Gamers Know, and Amazon Is Spending $1 Billion on It - NYTimes.com
"Video games have long been something people played. But in the last few years, thanks in part to fast Internet access and multiplayer games, the games have become something that people sit back and watch, too. On Monday, that new habit enticed the web giant Amazon to reach a $1.1 billion deal to buy Twitch, the most popular website for watching people play games.What’s Twitch? Gamers Know, and Amazon Is Spending $1 Billion on It - NYTimes.com
The deal for Twitch is the latest sign of the way forms of behavior once seemingly on the fringe can, in the hands of tech entrepreneurs, turn into huge online communities in no time. Twitch did not exist a little over three years ago, and it now has 55 million unique viewers a month globally, helping turn games into a spectator event as much as a participatory activity."
Monday, August 25, 2014
Predicting Amazon’s Secret Plans in Physical Retail | Re/code
"Since I first wrote in January about Amazon’s plans for an in-store payments system, I’ve consulted with a handful of former employees as well as some of the smartest people I know in the retail payments industry to analyze what Amazon’s next moves will be. All of them have requested anonymity because they believe they are relaying ideas currently being discussed at Amazon or are restricted from speaking about the company.Predicting Amazon’s Secret Plans in Physical Retail | Re/code
Broadly, they said the world’s largest online retailer aims to make it easy for a wider array of brick and mortar shops to sell on Amazon while giving Amazon shoppers another way to receive orders on the same day they are purchased. The move would extend Amazon’s reach far beyond the virtual checkout aisle to the real ones in your neighborhood."
Shift Happens: Apple + IBM. This Time It’ll Be Different. | Monday Note
"Another more immediate effect, across a wide range of enterprises, will be the corporate permission to use Apple devices. Recall the age-old mantra You Don’t Get Fired For Buying IBM, which later became DEC, then Microsoft, then Sun…and now Apple. Valley gossip has it that IBM issued an edict stating that Macs were to be supported internally within 30 days. Apparently, at some exec meetings, it’s MacBooks all around the conference room table — except for the lonely Excel jockey who needs to pivot tables.Shift Happens: Apple + IBM. This Time It’ll Be Different. | Monday Note
We’ll see if the company whose motto once was Think actually works well with the Think Different squad."
Apple's Next Act for the iPad -- HEARD ON THE STREET - WSJ
"But Apple needn't control the market for the iPad be an important—and profitable—business. In fact, the average selling price for the iPad rose nearly 2% year over year in the June quarter despite a 9% decline in unit sales in that time. UBS estimates total iPad gross margins reached 30% in the quarter compared with 25% in the December period.Apple's Next Act for the iPad -- HEARD ON THE STREET - WSJ
For Apple, the iPad is about more than just unit sales, as the device also provides an important extension for the company's iOS platform. Revenue from iTunes, software and services grew 14% year over year for the nine-month period ended June 28—Apple's fastest-growing segment in that time."
Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models - NYTimes.com
"So how do you avoid free? Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide."Box, Dropbox and Hightail Pivot to New Business Models - NYTimes.com
Friday, August 22, 2014
Uber Tries to Learn from the Obama Campaign [The New Yorker]
"Investors recently valued Uber at nearly twenty billion dollars, which struck some people as an absurdly high figure. But others, including Andrew Ross Sorkin, have written that Uber could, in fact, be worth more than that—not only because transportation is a big business, but because the company has the potential to do much more with its matchmaker app. Since Uber doesn’t own a fleet of cars or employ its drivers, it could, in theory, deploy its app for any number of other purposes. First it could displace the taxi industry. Then it could take on delivery trucks, moving vans, and more. Earlier this week, the company started testing out a home-delivery service in Washington, D.C."Uber Tries to Learn from the Obama Campaign
Apple steps up Health push as it begins talks with insurers | ZDNet
"Apple has been preparing the ground for the launch of its Health application, which will debut alongside iOS 8 later this year. Besides recent talks with US healthcare providers and developers of health-related apps, Apple has also been courting large US health insurance firms.Apple steps up Health push as it begins talks with insurers | ZDNet
News of Apple's discussions with health insurers came via an interesting report from Bloomberg today on the emergence of company-funded wearables in the workplace. The report notes that Apple has talked with America’s biggest insurer, UnitedHealth, as well as fellow health insurer Humana."
Microsoft unveils Azure DocumentDB, a NoSQL database as a service — Tech News and Analysis [GigaOM]
As far as other cloud-provider-developed services go, DocumentDB sounds a lot more like Google’s similarly understated Cloud Datastore service than it does Amazon Web Services’ DynamoDB, which is actually more like a key-value store than a document database."
Majority Of Digital Media Consumption Now Takes Place In Mobile Apps | TechCrunch
"U.S. users are now spending the majority of their time consuming digital media within mobile applications, according to a new study released by comScore this morning. That means mobile apps, including the number 1 most popular app Facebook, eat up more of our time than desktop usage or mobile web surfing, accounting for 52% of the time spent using digital media. Combined with mobile web, mobile usage as a whole accounts for 60% of time spent, while desktop-based digital media consumption makes up the remaining 40%."Majority Of Digital Media Consumption Now Takes Place In Mobile Apps | TechCrunch
Facebook, Google Go Beyond Cookies to Reap Data for Advertisers - Businessweek
"Some programs track users by their IP addresses; others look at users’ operating systems and other factors. As of Aug. 1, anyone who wants to hawk new or updated Android apps in Google’s (GOOG) online store must catalog customers with Advertising ID, a unique number that corresponds to a particular customer. Google has confirmed that it’s working on ways to link mobile browser activity to app use. Advertising ID looks a lot like Apple’s system, Identifier for Advertising. In both cases, users can change their settings to limit tracking for advertising, but app makers keep finding ways around those restrictions. Facebook (FB), which can track user activity on any website that has a Like button, announced in June that it intends to ignore browsers’ do-not-track settings in order to better target ads. Its users can still opt out of some tracking by changing their browser settings at the website of the Digital Advertising Alliance, an industry group. Despite their new tracking methods, Apple, Google, and Facebook say they’re committed to making their data collection transparent and giving users control over their privacy settings."Facebook, Google Go Beyond Cookies to Reap Data for Advertisers - Businessweek
Does Microsoft Need a Big Windows Unveiling at the End of September? - Digits - WSJ
"Financially, Windows is still hugely important to Microsoft — but not as much as it once was. The Microsoft division anchored by Windows generates about 20% of the company’s annual revenue, but Office and Microsoft’s software for servers and other back-office computing systems are each bigger revenue contributors. Even with a recent spark in sales, PCs are a minority of computing devices in the world; the 315 million or so PCs sold every year are dwarfed by the more than 1 billion smartphones sold annually.Does Microsoft Need a Big Windows Unveiling at the End of September? - Digits - WSJ
The one-two punch of continual updates and shrinking relevance of PCs in the computing world mean new major releases of Windows don’t have the oomph they once had."
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Samsung Nook Tablet Keeps Barnes & Noble's Hardware Alive, Sort of - Businessweek
"The line of 7-inch tablets, largely given up for dead after the book chain failed to sell its hardware division and said it was abandoning the e-reader, embarked on a feeble afterlife of sorts on Wednesday in the form of a co-branded color Android tablet produced in partnership with electronics giant Samsung (005930:KS). The two companies unveiled their device at a media event in New York, adding to a market jammed with Android tablets and dominated by Apple’s (AAPL) iPad. The new Nook’s odds of success are long, which is unfortunate. Readers, authors, and book publishers—even mighty Amazon itself—desperately need a vibrant Nook."Samsung Nook Tablet Keeps Barnes & Noble's Hardware Alive, Sort of - Businessweek
New Era in Safety When Cars Talk to One Another - NYTimes.com
"Google may already be experimenting with its own driverless cars, but the technology being tested in this university town by a group of academic, industry and government researchers could be retrofitted into ordinary cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle transmitters will add only about $350 to the total cost of a vehicle by 2020. The safety agency expects prices to fall as the mandate approaches, as has already happened with features like rearview cameras, which will be required in 2018. By the end of the decade, if all goes as planned, the typical American vehicle will be part of a network, constantly sharing information as it travels."New Era in Safety When Cars Talk to One Another - NYTimes.com
Can cool Asus hybrid reheat tablet market? - Business - The Boston Globe
"You get a sleek, black Android phone with the usual high-end features. There’s a 5-inch screen, a quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel camera that takes respectable photos — accurate color, but a bit grainy. The phone’s rear cover pops off to reveal a slot for adding up to 64 gigabytes of flash memory to the 16 gigs already built in. In all, it’s just another smartphone, no better than rival products from Samsung or HTC, but just about as good.Can cool Asus hybrid reheat tablet market? - Business - The Boston Globe
The Padfone X tablet features a high-resolution 9-inch screen, a pair of pretty good stereo speakers, a one-megapixel front-facing camera, and no brain at all. The tablet comes to life only when the phone is plugged in. The handset slides into a cradle built into the back of the tablet. The two pieces glide into place with an elegant, authoritative snap. In a second or two, the tablet lights up and gives you full access to the phone’s apps and services, as well as Android apps designed for tablet use."
Uber’s Most Important Innovation Isn’t A Car Service: It’s the Pricing Algorithm | MIT Technology Review
"Uber’s most important innovation is the way it prices its services. But that innovation has not been unreservedly welcomed by customers. They’re wrong."Uber’s Most Important Innovation Isn’t A Car Service: It’s the Pricing Algorithm | MIT Technology Review
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Twitter now officially says your timeline is more than just tweets from people you follow - Quartz
"Facebook’s newsfeed only shows you a fraction of posts from your friends and reorders the posts based on how relevant they are to you. Twitter has traditionally shown you all tweets from people you follow in strict reverse chronological order. The new text makes clear that while that dynamic isn’t changing now, Twitter will also be adding tweets you might like. Still, it’s a fundamental change in how Twitter works. And it’s probably a sign of things to come: Twitter must tweak things to drive growth, it has a new product lead running the show, and has promised many new “experiments” to follow."Twitter now officially says your timeline is more than just tweets from people you follow - Quartz
Amit Singhal on Google's 10 biggest search milestones (Google+)
"Since 2004, Google has of course made a range of big bets: YouTube, Android, Chrome, Google Maps….and recently, many of the amazing long-term projects Google[x] is pursuing.It feels like just yesterday my wife, two kids and I packed all our belongings,…
But the heart of Google is still search. And in the decade since our IPO, Google has made big bets on a range of hugely important areas in search that make today’s Google so much better than the 2004 version (see our homepage from back then below). Larry has described the perfect search engine as understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want. We’ve made a lot of progress on delivering you the right answers, faster. But we know that we have a long way to go -- it’s just the beginning.
I thought it might be fun to share the 10 biggest Google search milestones since 2004 that really stand out in my mind:"
Intellectual Ventures Layoffs Hit a Fifth of Its Workforce - Businessweek
"The layoffs, according to Jung, represent part of the company’s evolution. IV was the first company to try to amass so many patents, and it had to hire hundreds of people to invent the processes for buying ideas in bulk. People were needed to sort through patents, acquire them covertly, think up complementary ideas, and deal with the associated paperwork. “We have more data than anybody and have analyzed it over the years,” Jung says. “Our analysis has allowed us to save a lot of needless paperwork and become more efficient. We don’t need as many people to sift through and sort information now.” Much of the work has been simplified and automated."Intellectual Ventures Layoffs Hit a Fifth of Its Workforce - Businessweek
Apple Hits $100, Closes In on Record - Digits - WSJ
"With Apple once again poised to reclaim record highs, a long-term look at Apple’s performance shows some staggering results. On a day when Google Inc. celebrates its 10-year anniversary of the day it went public, Apple’s performance has far exceeded the Internet search giant.Apple Hits $100, Closes In on Record - Digits - WSJ
Over the past 10 years, Apple’s stock is up 4,419% through Monday’s close (the stock traded at $2.19 on a split-adjusted basis exactly a decade ago). That makes it the fourth best performer in the S&P 500 over the past decade. By comparison, Google is up 1,294% over that time frame.
A $10,000 investment in Apple 10 years ago would be worth $456,347.03 today."
HTC One for Windows Phone: Another Great Phone You Probably Won't Buy - WSJ
"But now, thanks to various software updates released throughout the summer, that once-trailing platform has as much or more functionality than Android or iOS—that is, if you don't consider third-party apps.HTC One for Windows Phone: Another Great Phone You Probably Won't Buy - WSJ
And the hardware has caught up, too. Just today, the best-designed Android phone—the HTC One—is being released with Windows Phone 8.1, for now exclusively at Verizon. So, why don't more people give Windows Phone a go? At this point it has very little to do with how good of a smartphone platform it has become, and everything to do with the rule of the masses: It's hard to go one way when everybody else is going another."
Steve Ballmer Quits Microsoft Board, Citing His Outside Duties - NYTimes.com
"Many people had predicted that Mr. Ballmer would leave the board, partly because Mr. Nadella is faced with the challenge of reinvigorating the company, which could involve unwinding some of Mr. Ballmer’s earlier decisions. Mr. Nadella, who also serves on Microsoft’s board, has already made bolder moves than Mr. Ballmer to create services for devices made by Microsoft’s competitors, like the iPad from Apple."Steve Ballmer Quits Microsoft Board, Citing His Outside Duties - NYTimes.com
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Google Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself - The Atlantic
"Now’s tracking runs headlong into our need to lie—a little! sometimes!—to ourselves. It’s a truism of this era that Facebook statusing and avatar design and Instagram filters have transformed how we self-present: the way we tell other people true and untrue stories about who we are. What’s transformative about Now is how it makes it harder to tell such stories to ourselves. This matters. Small, self-deceptive fictions are a big part of how we operate. Human beings are not totally awesome at distinguishing between the things we’d like to like and do and the things we actually like and do. So while the sexy endgame of “personal digital assistants” and predictive algorithms may lie in science fictive images of perfected machine intelligence and Scarlett Johansson-y singularities, there are some much more prosaic problems to grapple with right now, today: like the accountability and truthfulness that this technology demands of and imposes on us already."Google Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself - The Atlantic
The anti-Facebook: one in four American neighborhoods are now using this private social network | The Verge
"Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, Nextdoor is a odd outlier among today’s social networks. Signing up is an onerous process, requiring substantial proof of both your identification and address. People post messages, but they are seen only by others in the immediate area, and there is no share or retweet button to proliferate messages across the network. It feels more like a modern update on a message board or web forum than a social network. But it has struck a chord across the country. When The Verge first reported on Nextdoor back in July of 2012, it was in 3,500 neighborhoods. Today, the company is announcing that its reached 40,000 neighborhoods, or roughly one in four American communities, with 10 or more active users."The anti-Facebook: one in four American neighborhoods are now using this private social network | The Verge
HP Stream 14 is a $200 Windows 8.1 Chromebook rival- The Inquirer
"As its name suggests, the HP laptop will have a 14in screen witt [sic] 1366x768 resolution, a feature ubiquitous on Chrome OS devices, and will be powered by an AMD processor with 2GB of RAM. The laptop will also come with either 32GB or 64GB of flash storage, according to the leak, along with a slot for an SD card.HP Stream 14 is a $200 Windows 8.1 Chromebook rival- The Inquirer
In addition, Mobilegeeks reported that Microsoft will chuck in 100GB of Onedrive storage for two years with every purchase of the HP Stream 14 laptop to lure punters away from the similar 100GB of Drive storage that Google offers with every Chromebook."
Hack of Community Health Systems Affects 4.5 Million Patients - NYTimes.com
"Community Health Systems, a publicly traded hospital operator based in Franklin, Tenn., said that personal data, including names, Social Security numbers and addresses, for 4.5 million patients had been compromised in a Chinese cyberattack on its systems from April to June.Hack of Community Health Systems Affects 4.5 Million Patients - NYTimes.com
The company, which operates 206 hospitals in 29 states, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday that that the attackers had bypassed its security systems and stolen data that also included birth dates and telephone numbers for the patients, who had been referred to or treated by doctors affiliated with the company over the last five years."
Google’s Big Decade – The Numbers - WSJ
"Google went public at $85 a share with a market capitalization of about $23 billion on Aug. 19, 2004, and in the 10 years since, the company has built itself into a behemoth with a market cap of nearly $400 billion. A look at the numbers then and now:"Google’s Big Decade – The Numbers - WSJ
Monday, August 18, 2014
Does Facebook think users are dumb? “Satire” tag added to Onion articles [Updated] | Ars Technica
"A Facebook representative issued the following statement to Ars Technica: "We are running a small test which shows the text '[Satire]' in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units." That test has been ongoing for over a month, and while we were told other satirical sites' links have received the same tags, we were not given a list of those sites. Our question about whether the tag would ever appear in other places on Facebook remained unanswered."Does Facebook think users are dumb? “Satire” tag added to Onion articles [Updated] | Ars Technica
Reprogramming Government: A Conversation With Mikey Dickerson - NYTimes.com
"Q: Google has great food everywhere, celebrity lecturers and beach volleyball in the courtyard. How do you like your new life in Washington? A.Reprogramming Government: A Conversation With Mikey Dickerson - NYTimes.com
I still have a cafeteria, free soda and a bowling alley in my building. So I’m right at home."
In Silicon Valley, Mergers Must Meet the Toothbrush Test - NYTimes.com
"When deciding whether Google should spend millions or even billions of dollars in acquiring a new company, its chief executive, Larry Page, asks whether the acquisition passes the toothbrush test: Is it something you will use once or twice a day, and does it make your life better?In Silicon Valley, Mergers Must Meet the Toothbrush Test - NYTimes.com
The esoteric criterion shuns traditional measures of valuing a company like earnings, discounted cash flow or even sales. Instead, Mr. Page is looking for usefulness above profitability, and long-term potential over near-term financial gain."
For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights - NYTimes.com
"The field known as “big data” offers a contemporary case study. The catchphrase stands for the modern abundance of digital data from many sources — the web, sensors, smartphones and corporate databases — that can be mined with clever software for discoveries and insights. Its promise is smarter, data-driven decision-making in every field. That is why data scientist is the economy’s hot new job.For Big-Data Scientists, ‘Janitor Work’ Is Key Hurdle to Insights - NYTimes.com
Yet far too much handcrafted work — what data scientists call “data wrangling,” “data munging” and “data janitor work” — is still required. Data scientists, according to interviews and expert estimates, spend from 50 percent to 80 percent of their time mired in this more mundane labor of collecting and preparing unruly digital data, before it can be explored for useful nuggets."
Friday, August 15, 2014
The Internet's Original Sin - The Atlantic
"There is no single “right answer” to the question of how we pay for the tool that lets us share knowledge, opinions, ideas, and photos of cute cats. Whether we embrace micropayments, membership, crowdfunding, or any other model, there are bound to be unintended consequences.The Internet's Original Sin - The Atlantic
But 20 years in to the ad-supported web, we can see that our current model is bad, broken, and corrosive. It’s time to start paying for privacy, to support services we love, and to abandon those that are free, but sell us—the users and our attention—as the product."
Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet - The Atlantic
"Email—yes, email—is one way forward for a less commercial, less centralized web, and the best thing is, this beautiful cockroach of a social network is already living in all of our homes.Email Is Still the Best Thing on the Internet - The Atlantic
Now, all we have to do is convince the kids that the real rebellion against the pressures of social media isn't to escape to the ephemerality of Snapchat, but to retreat to the private, relaxed confines of their email inboxes."
Samsung buys SmartThings in preemptive HomeKit strike - SlashGear
"However Samsung's goal is likely to be preemptively shoring up its home automation strengths ahead of Apple's HomeKit launch, the Cupertino company's own smart home platform which is expected to arrive alongside iOS 8.Samsung buys SmartThings in preemptive HomeKit strike - SlashGear
In an ideal world, SmartThings will get a bigger budget, broader footprint in appliances and gadgets, and be better able to react to other automation platforms. Only time will tell if that's actually the way the acquisition goes, however."
Microsoft's Surface Pro 3: The Best Tablet a Lot of Money Can Buy - Businessweek
"The device starts at $799, which might be the right price for a traveling companion supertablet. But things get tricky real fast from there. I got the version with 256 GB of storage instead of the 64 GB base, a speedier chip, and the sold-separately keyboard, and ended up around $1,400. For that price, the machine should walk into my house, punch my laptop in the face, and make me an omelet. It did none of that.Microsoft's Surface Pro 3: The Best Tablet a Lot of Money Can Buy - Businessweek
I know the price is messed up because every single person who has shown curiosity about the device and reached out to poke it has—after I told them the grim figure—recoiled and made the “What?” face. You don’t see that face in Microsoft’s ads, and it’s a problem the company will need to resolve to make the Surface a success."
Cyberattack Disables County Websites, as Ferguson Protests Spread Online - Digits - WSJ
"The incident illustrates a new reality for civil unrest during the Internet age. Events that were once confined to a specific locale, whether it be the St. Louis suburbs or Kiev, now can drag in protestors from anywhere with a Web connection.Cyberattack Disables County Websites, as Ferguson Protests Spread Online - Digits - WSJ
While the websites were disabled, Twitter suspended an account associated with the hacker collective Anonymous after it posted the name of a man who it said was involved in the shooting of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old whose death sparked the protests. Brown was shot by a police officer Saturday night."
Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases - NYTimes.com
"If there’s one thing the history of the Internet has taught us, it’s that trolls will be difficult to contain because they really reflect base human society in all its ugliness. Trolls find a way.Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases - NYTimes.com
“It’s not a question of whether or not we’re winning the war on trolling, but whether we’re winning the war on misogyny, or racism, and ableism and all this other stuff,” Dr. Phillips said. “Trolling is just a symptom of those bigger problems.”"
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Smartphones Overstate Their Social Intelligence - NYTimes.com
"As our phones merge with our cars, houses and other connected devices, we could well drown in data. There will be more apps, contacts, messages and other digital bits than any sane human has the time or cognitive capacity to make sense of.Smartphones Overstate Their Social Intelligence - NYTimes.com
As that occurs, the phone will have to morph into an intelligent filter; it will need to be able to figure out who needs you, and why, and decide when to demand your attention. In other words, the smartphone will have to finally start living up to its name."
Highlights From Edward Snowden’s Wired Interview - Digits - WSJ
"Edward Snowden appears on the cover of the September issue of Wired, clutching an American flag. Writer James Bamford traveled to Russia to interview Mr. Snowden, in a piece called “The Most Wanted Man in the World.”Highlights From Edward Snowden’s Wired Interview - Digits - WSJ
The NSA’s response: NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Wired, “If Mr. Snowden wants to discuss his activities, that conversation should be held with the U.S. Department of Justice. He needs to return to the United States to face the charges against him.”"
Cisco Systems Plans to Cut 6,000 Jobs - WSJ
"The moves by the Silicon Valley giant, known for networking hardware, come as Cisco's fourth-quarter financial results topped its projections and showed signs that the worst of a recent slowdown is over.Cisco Systems Plans to Cut 6,000 Jobs - WSJ
Nevertheless, the company still hasn't been able to return to growth. Cisco's fourth-quarter profit slid 1% on revenue that edged down 0.5%.
John Chambers, Cisco's chief executive, in an interview said the job reductions are designed to make room for adding different kinds of skills rather than cutting total costs. Shedding employees in declining businesses, he said, will allow the company to add needed skills in units that are growing."
Translation: Building a platform offering easy-to-use tools to make prettier and faster mobile apps that work across all devices."
Facebook to track users across devices to study shopping habits - Business - The Boston Globe
"With the new cross-device service announced Wednesday, Facebook is aiming to prove that mobile ads can lead to purchases, even if those purchases are not necessarily made on a smartphone. In a study with Altimeter Group, Facebook found that among people who showed interest in a mobile ad, more than 32 percent took action on desktop computers within 28 days.Facebook to track users across devices to study shopping habits - Business - The Boston Globe
Because Facebook’s users must log in to use the service, the company can link their identities with their behavior as they switch among devices throughout the day. That allows Facebook to give more information to marketers than they could glean from other online tracking methods, such as cookies that log activity within a Web browser."
A New Kind of E-Commerce Adds a Personal Touch - NYTimes.com
"“I think there’s way more data science at work here than people may realize,” said Bill Gurley, a general partner at the venture firm Benchmark, an investor in Stitch Fix, who is on the company’s board. “There’s a 15-page profile, there are over 66 characteristics tracked and there’s a predictive heat score for every single item against every single user,” meaning a way to determine the likelihood that a customer will keep an item. Ultimately, though, a human stylist chooses items from the computer-edited list and packages them into a nice little box with a description of each one and a personal note explaining what you have received and how you might wear it."A New Kind of E-Commerce Adds a Personal Touch - NYTimes.com
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Gartner's 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps the Journey to Digital Business [Gartner newsroom]
From Gartner’s annual emerging technology hype cycle summary
"The central theme for this year's Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle is Digital Business (see Figure 1). As enterprises embark on the journey to becoming digital businesses, they will leverage technologies that today are considered to be "emerging," said Hung LeHong, vice president and Gartner fellow. "Understanding where your enterprise is on this journey and where you need to go will not only determine the amount of change expected for your enterprise, but also map out which combination of technologies support your progression."
Figure 1. Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014
Source: Gartner (August 2014)
Gartner's 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Maps the Journey to Digital Business
Amazon undercuts Square and PayPal with its own mobile card reader [Engadget]
"Square's grand plan to democratize credit card payments has inspired a clutch of imitators, the latest of which is Amazon. The company has just announced Amazon Local Register, a credit card reader and app combination that'll enable small businesses to take payments they wouldn't otherwise get, as long as they have a smartphone or tablet lying around."Amazon undercuts Square and PayPal with its own mobile card reader
Do You Really Need Microsoft Office Anymore? - WSJ
"Buying Office 365 is like buying an overflowing tool set from Home Depot. You'll get more wrenches, ratchets, screwdrivers and pliers than you ever imagined, but how many will you really use?Do You Really Need Microsoft Office Anymore? - WSJ
At this point, the free options from Google, Apple and even Microsoft do just enough, which means paying only makes sense if you're shopping for cloud storage, too. That's where Office 365 adds up: Not only do you (and your spouse, your kids and maybe even your mom) get a terabyte of online storage but you get all the Office extras. If it's just you, though, a terabyte from Google will cost about the same.
Me, I'll keep bouncing between Google and Microsoft, but when the day comes—and it surely will—that cloud storage is free for everybody, how will Microsoft rationalize the high cost of Office? We'll always have the memories."
Why the Public Library Beats Amazon—for Now - WSJ
"But it turns out librarians haven't just been sitting around shushing people while the Internet drove them into irrelevance. More than 90% of American public libraries have amassed e-book collections you can read on your iPad, and often even on a Kindle. You don't have to walk into a branch or risk an overdue fine. And they're totally free. Though you still have to deal with due dates, hold lists and occasionally clumsy software, libraries, at least for now, have one killer feature that the others don't: e-books you actually want to read."Why the Public Library Beats Amazon—for Now - WSJ
Why BuzzFeed Is Trying to Shift Its Strategy - NYTimes.com
An excerpt from an overview of the seismic search/social shift (and its implications for BuzzFeed)
As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics - NYTimes.com
"Dr. Gray advocates a simple litmus test for researchers: If you’re afraid to ask your subjects for their permission to conduct the research, there’s probably a deeper ethical issue that must be considered.As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics - NYTimes.com
For Professor Hancock, solutions could include an opt-in process for projects that involve big changes in an Internet user’s experience, and a debriefing system to inform users about smaller tests after the fact. Companies will not willingly participate in anything that limits their ability to innovate quickly, he said, so any process has to be “effective, lightweight, quick and accountable.”"
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Forget Siri: This Radical New AI Teaches Itself and Reads Your Mind | Enterprise | WIRED
"But Kittlaus points out that all of these services are strictly limited. Cheyer elaborates: “Google Now has a huge knowledge graph—you can ask questions like ‘Where was Abraham Lincoln born?’ And it can name the city. You can also say, ‘What is the population?’ of a city and it’ll bring up a chart and answer. But you cannot say, ‘What is the population of the city where Abraham Lincoln was born?’” The system may have the data for both these components, but it has no ability to put them together, either to answer a query or to make a smart suggestion. Like Siri, it can’t do anything that coders haven’t explicitly programmed it to do.Forget Siri: This Radical New AI Teaches Itself and Reads Your Mind | Enterprise | WIRED
Viv breaks through those constraints by generating its own code on the fly, no programmers required. Take a complicated command like “Give me a flight to Dallas with a seat that Shaq could fit in.” Viv will parse the sentence and then it will perform its best trick: automatically generating a quick, efficient program to link third-party sources of information together—say, Kayak, SeatGuru, and the NBA media guide—so it can identify available flights with lots of legroom. And it can do all of this in a fraction of a second."
Wanna Build Your Own Google? Visit the App Store for Algorithms | Enterprise | WIRED
"He’s not yet sure whether Algorithmia is the solution he’s been waiting for. “It’s too early to comment on Algorithmia since it is in private beta,” he tells us. But he hopes it can grow into something like a “Yelp” for algorithms, which he thinks will ultimately be more important than the marketplace component itself because it’s really hard for developers to determine which algorithms are the best to use for different applications. Thanks to its ranking and commenting features, Algorithmia may well fill this role."Wanna Build Your Own Google? Visit the App Store for Algorithms | Enterprise | WIRED
Chromebook Sales to Nearly Triple by 2017 | News & Opinion | PCMag.com
"Filling the gap between popular mobile devices and the declining traditional PC market, sales of Google's Chromebooks are expected to nearly triple by 2017.Chromebook Sales to Nearly Triple by 2017 | News & Opinion | PCMag.com
The Chrome OS-powered laptops will account for 5.2 million units sold this year—a 79 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner. Within three years, sales will reach 14.4 million units.
"Competition in the Chromebook market is intensifying as more vendors launch Chromebooks, with eight models in the market in 2014," Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement."
White House launches ‘U.S. Digital Service,’ with HealthCare.gov fixer at the helm - The Washington Post
"USDS is launching with a pair of foundational texts: A Digital Services Playbook with "13 key 'plays'" for implementing digital government ("1. Understand what people need," "2. Address the whole experience, from start to finish," and so on) and a TechFAR Handbook to advise agencies on how to take a more agile approach to federal contracting and procurement. Asked earlier this summer how you go about attracting skilled technologists to this sort of work -- the pilot phase, said VanRoekel, pulled in people from Facebook and Google -- the U.S. CIO pointed to a third text: "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," which argues that what pushes high-performing people is a desire for a sense of agency and mastery that can be put towards bettering the world."White House launches ‘U.S. Digital Service,’ with HealthCare.gov fixer at the helm - The Washington Post
White House Picks Engineer From Google to Fix Sites - NYTimes.com
"Faced with the politically devastating collapse of HealthCare.gov last year, President Obama’s White House staff lured Mikey Dickerson away from Google to save the day.White House Picks Engineer From Google to Fix Sites - NYTimes.com
Mr. Dickerson will lead a new government team that is intended to identify and fix the government’s other failing computer systems and websites, officials said Monday.
[...] Initially, he will lead a small team that will try to help the information technology teams at various agencies produce better websites that people actually want to use. Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer for electronic government, noted the happy experiences people often have when they spend their mornings on Facebook, Amazon or Expedia. “They may not have the same experience spending their afternoon on government websites,” he said in the conference call."
The NSA Is Funding a Project to Roll All Programming Languages Into One [Gizmodo]
"The "polyglot" programming language is called Wyvern—the name comes from a a [sic] mythical dragon-like reature with two legs instead of four—and is designed to help unify the way apps and websites are created. The researchers explain:The NSA Is Funding a Project to Roll All Programming Languages Into One
Two Tech Upstarts Plot Each Other's Demise - WSJ
"But investors who have poured a total of nearly $2 billion into the two companies are betting the apps will have staying power. Millions of people are now used to riding with Uber, and the app is still one of the most popular programs in Apple's App Store.Two Tech Upstarts Plot Each Other's Demise - WSJ
"Organizing demand is remarkably hard and extremely powerful," said Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark and a member of Uber's board. "Being installed on someone's iPhone on the home page is a pretty sticky place to be.""
Monday, August 11, 2014
In a Fight With Authors, Amazon Cites Orwell, but Not Quite Correctly - NYTimes.com
"Amazon’s post gave Orwell a big weekend on the Internet. “Altering Orwell’s words to fit your agenda seems rather ... Orwellian,” Josh Centers, a tech writer, said in a Twitter message. “Only a fool or a businessman would twist that quote so completely,” wrote John Biggs in TechCrunch. Glenn Fleishman, a technology journalist, addressed Amazon directly via Twitter: “He was using irony. It’s a literary device. You sell books. What is wrong with you.”In a Fight With Authors, Amazon Cites Orwell, but Not Quite Correctly - NYTimes.com
In a related development, it became widely known over the weekend that Amazon was in a dispute with yet another supplier, this time Disney. Amazon was doing the same thing with the movie studio that it did with Hachette: preventing customers from preordering physical copies of yet-to-be-released content."
Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures - NYTimes.com
"Jeff Bezos, an avatar of digital innovation as the founder of Amazon, came out of nowhere and plunked down $250 million for The Washington Post. His vote of confidence in the future of print and serious news was seen by some — including me — as a sign that an era of “optimism or potential” for the industry was getting underway.Media Companies Spin Off Newspapers, to Uncertain Futures - NYTimes.com
Turns out, not so much — quite the opposite, really. The Washington Post seems fine, but recently, in just over a week, three of the biggest players in American newspapers — Gannett, Tribune Company and E. W. Scripps, companies built on print franchises that expanded into television — dumped those properties like yesterday’s news in a series of spinoffs."
Hadoop at a Crossroads? | blog@CACM | Communications of the ACM
"It is indeed ironic that Hadoop is picking up support in the general community about five years after Google moved on to better things. Hence, the rest of the world followed Google into Hadoop with a delay of most of a decade. Google has long since abandoned it. I wonder how long it will take the rest of the world to follow Google’s direction and do likewise…Hadoop at a Crossroads? | blog@CACM | Communications of the ACM
Notice that the Hadoop vendors are now on a collision course with the data warehouse vendors. They are now implementing (or have implemented) the same architecture supported by the data warehouse folks. Once they have a few years to solidify their implementations, they will probably offer competitive performance. Meanwhile most of the data warehouse vendors support HDFS, and many offer features to support semi-structured data. Hence, the data warehouse market and the Hadoop market will quickly converge. May the best systems win in the resulting head-to-head donneybrook!"
Hackers Unveil Their Plan to Change Email Forever | TIME
"Metadata — information like the identity of the sender or the time and date a message was sent — has been a key target of NSA surveillance. “Ironically, we have been protecting the stuff that they’re not collecting,” Callas said.Hackers Unveil Their Plan to Change Email Forever | TIME
Dime uses multiple layers of cryptography — think Russian nesting dolls — to protect an email’s content and metadata from beginning to end as an email is passed through the Internet from a sender to a recipient, or recipients. The idea is to create an email system in which no service provider has all the information about a message, so there is no entity (like Lavabit, for example) for federal authorities to come down on."
Pivotal puts all its eggs in one basket • The Register
"Pivotal's core belief is that big data, and cloud-era-and-cloud-scale applications delivered to a variety of devices, both need to be built on rather different foundations to those aimed at other architectures. To that end it has championed several tools, including its own products like SpringIO and its own take on open source tools like the Tomcat server and RabbitMQ.Pivotal puts all its eggs in one basket • The Register
The company has now bundled together all the software it thinks deserve a place in cloudy devs' tool belts, called it AppSuite 1.0 and given it a per-core price for the whole bunch. Buying the suite means you get to use Pivotal's own products, and get support for the open sourcery."
Saturday, August 09, 2014
Vendor Sues Gartner Over Magic Quadrant 'Pay to Play' Model [CMSWire]
"NetScout Systems, based in Westford, Mass., filed the lawsuit in Connecticut Superior Court Tuesday under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act for "corporate defamation arising out of Gartner’s information technology research business practices."Vendor Sues Gartner Over Magic Quadrant 'Pay to Play' Model
"Gartner is not independent, objective or unbiased," NetScout claimed in its lawsuit, "and its business model is extortionate by its very nature. Its substantial success is due to the worst kept secret in the IT industry: Gartner has a 'pay-to-play' business model that by its design rewards Gartner clients who spend substantial sums on its various services by ranking them favorably in its influential Magic Quadrant research reports and punishes technology companies that choose not to spend substantial sums on Gartner services.""
Friday, August 08, 2014
Samsung, Barnes & Noble to hold Nook event Aug. 20 - CNET
"Samsung and Barnes & Noble unveiled a new partnership in June to develop Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nooks. The devices will feature Samsung's hardware and customized Nook software from Barnes & Noble. The first Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, sporting a 7-inch display, will hit US store shelves in August, the companies said at the time.Samsung, Barnes & Noble to hold Nook event Aug. 20 - CNET
Samsung confirmed the first Galaxy Tab 4 Nook will be shown at the event, but it declined to comment further."
A look at all of Google’s acquisitions in Boston | BetaBoston
"Up until nine months ago, Google had acquired just four companies in the Boston area (or five, if you count the company’s “acquisition” of Biz Stone/Genius Labs). One of those was the huge pickup of ITA Software, of course, but little else apparently enthralled Google in Boston during the company’s first decade-and-a-half.A look at all of Google’s acquisitions in Boston | BetaBoston
Since late last year, however, Google has been on a modest acquisition spree in the Boston area — buying up three local tech firms, the latest being Boston video app maker Directr on Wednesday."
Google’s New User Tracking Bridges Mobile Apps and Mobile Web - Digits - WSJ
"This unified approach benefits Google because it allows the company to take credit for leading users from ad clicks to website visits. However, advertisers have their own reasons for wanting to unite mobile app and mobile web activity. The ability to identify a single user’s interactions with any number of apps and web pages allows marketers to fine-tune the display of related ads in separate apps, avoid unintentionally showing a given user the same ads over and over, and identify whether a person who saw a product advertised in an app ultimately made a purchase on the mobile web (and vice versa)."Google’s New User Tracking Bridges Mobile Apps and Mobile Web - Digits - WSJ
Facebook is now worth about four EMCs - Boston Business Journal
"With a market cap of $191 billion, Facebook is now worth more than 103-year-old tech behemoth IBM($184 billion) and about three times what Hopkinton-based storage firm EMC is worth ($59.2 billion)."Facebook is now worth about four EMCs - Boston Business Journal
The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup | Business | WIRED
"Not only did Slack make sure the document went to all the right people, but it also indexed the full text of the document, as well as the conversation that took place around it, and attached the conversation to the document in its database. Now: Imagine that weeks pass by. You, sadly, die unexpectedly. Now that you’re gone, your coworkers need to pull up the document, but they have trouble finding it in your disorganized Dropbox folder. So instead they search Slack for “massive thought bomb” and, presto, there it is, along with all your notes and the feedback you received from your team. That’s Slack."The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup | Business | WIRED
Thursday, August 07, 2014
AOL still has 2.3 million dialup subscribers—and they’re very profitable - Quartz
"With most expenses long paid, it’s also creating an impressive amount of profit. AOL’s “membership” group—which includes the dialup access business—generated about one-third of the company’s $607 million in sales last quarter, but an oversized amount of its operating profit: $143 million of “adjusted OIBDA” (operating profit from its core business, before accounting adjustments), compared to $122 million total for the company.AOL still has 2.3 million dialup subscribers—and they’re very profitable - Quartz
Expect the subscriber base to continue to shrink, as wireless broadband continues to build. But much like Yahoo’s search business, for now AOL can enjoy its vintage cash machine."
Uberpool: Why Uber Was Smart to Gain Users Before Trying Carpooling - Businessweek
"Uber was smart to wait this long to try cracking the carpooling service. Sharing a hired ride requires a critical mass of sharers before it can work, and the handful of startups that have tried to launch these services from scratch have all struggled to gain traction. Uber, meanwhile, has trained a huge user base to pull out its app every time they need a ride. The company says that using the ride-sharing service will be up to 40 percent cheaper than taking its low-cost UberX cars, which could make people turn to it even more. ”At these price points,” the company crows on its website, “Uber really is cost-competitive with owning a car, which is a game-changer for consumers.”"Uberpool: Why Uber Was Smart to Gain Users Before Trying Carpooling - Businessweek
Aiming to Be the Netflix of Books - NYTimes.com
"E-book subscriptions seem like a logical evolution in the world of on-demand digital media. But the full potential simply isn’t realized yet.Aiming to Be the Netflix of Books - NYTimes.com
In the end, all three services left something to be desired. While consumers might be ready for e-book subscriptions, it seems book publishers are not. Until then, a Kindle, an Amazon Prime subscription and a library card are still the best deal for consumers."
Pointless Windows 8.1 Update 2 shows Microsoft has given up on Windows 8 | Computerworld Blogs
"It's clear from all this that Microsoft has given up on Windows 8. And that's the right thing to do. Windows 8's uptake is even slower than the bomb that was Vista. Net Applications figures show that Windows 8 actually lost user share in July. This is an operating system that continues to go nowhere fast.Pointless Windows 8.1 Update 2 shows Microsoft has given up on Windows 8 | Computerworld Blogs
Microsoft is doing the right thing. There's simply no way to salvage Windows 8, and Microsoft should be devoting all of its resources instead to making the next version of Windows much better. Leaked Windows 9 screenshots show an operating system that PC users can love, including a Start menu, Metro apps running in resizable windows on the desktop, and more. If you care about Windows, that's what you should be waiting for, not any improvements to Windows 8, because you won't see any serious ones."
Google and Barnes & Noble Unite to Take On Amazon - NYTimes.com
"Google’s approach differs from that of Amazon and other big retailers. Instead of relying on warehouses full of merchandise, Google is using a fleet of couriers who collect products from local stores, sort and bundle them and deliver them within a three- to four-hour window selected by the customer. Delivery is free for subscribers to Google Shopping Express, and costs $4.99 per delivery, per store for others. Membership is free for the first six months. Google has not announced what the subscription fee will be.Google and Barnes & Noble Unite to Take On Amazon - NYTimes.com
Google has said it plans to expand its delivery service to Brooklyn and Queens."
Google G Watch latest addition to smartwatch offerings - Business - The Boston Globe
"But Google Inc. sensibly figures that a standardized software platform will boost demand for the watches and slash their cost. It worked brilliantly for its smartphone operating system, Android. Now comes Android Wear, a version built to run on watches and other wearable devices, and compatible with virtually all late-model Android phones. The LG G Watch is one of the first Android Wear devices to hit retail stores, and Google’s betting its new software will give millions of us a good reason to strap one on.Google G Watch latest addition to smartwatch offerings - Business - The Boston Globe
Afraid not. The G Watch’s steep price and quirky features will not endear it to consumers. And while Google’s new software shows promise, it is not the intuitive, painless experience I was hoping for."
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Lenovo B50-30, First Take: A Windows notebook at a Chromebook price point | ZDNet
"Low-cost business notebooks don't get much less expensive than the Lenovo B50-30 which starts at £190.83 (ex. VAT, £229 inc. VAT). Aimed at the small business market, the 15.6-inch B50-30 is a basic but functional Windows notebook that'll handle everyday workloads such as email, web browsing and low-level document/spreadsheet work. The Lenovo B50-30 is powered by Intel's 2.16/2.41GHz dual-core Celeron N2830 processor and is supported by 4GB of RAM (expandable to a maximum of 8GB). It's not an especially speedy combination, and we noticed pauses for applications to open and websites to resolve during the review period. How you perceive the B50-30's performance will depend on how demanding your favourite apps are, how much you multi-task and your patience."Lenovo B50-30, First Take: A Windows notebook at a Chromebook price point | ZDNet
Why Some Schools Are Selling All Their iPads - The Atlantic
"iPads have so far been a gadget of choice at both ends of the economic spectrum: in wealthier schools with ample resources and demand from parents, and in low-income schools that receive federal grants to improve student success rates. Last fall, enthusiasm for the Apple device peaked when Los Angeles Unified Schools, the second largest system in the nation, began a rollout out of iPads to every student.Why Some Schools Are Selling All Their iPads - The Atlantic
However, the L.A. district quickly recalled about 2,100 iPads from students. At the end of the school year, leaders announced that schools would instead be allowed to choose from among six different devices, including Chromebooks and hybrid laptop-tablets. L.A. schools weren’t the first to falter: At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Guilford County Schools in North Carolina halted an Amplify tablet program, and Fort Bend, Texas, cancelled its iPad initiative."
Apple's September 9 Event Will Showcase New iPhone - Businessweek
"Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a press event for Sept. 9, and a source tells Bloomberg News that this will be the occasion for the release of the next generation of iPhones. This confirms what everyone who follows Apple has known is coming: The company has settled into a predictable pattern of unveiling a smartphone each fall.Apple's September 9 Event Will Showcase New iPhone - Businessweek
This year’s models are expected to have larger screens, keeping pace with other high-end smartphones. And Apple is preparing for its biggest launch ever. Anything less would be a surprise, since Apple hasn’t had an opening weekend during which it sold fewer iPhones than the year before."
What You Can Do About Facebook Tracking - WSJ
"How should we feel about that? It's classic Mark Zuckerberg, forcing us to accept more tracking of our lives in exchange for some degree of control. Though its Web and app tracking aren't any worse than what we tolerate from other companies like Google, Facebook will end up knowing more about us than ever.What You Can Do About Facebook Tracking - WSJ
Exasperating as it is, it's a good reminder that Facebook isn't really free. It's an exchange, and you need to know what you're trading. Here are four cold, hard realities of Facebook's privacy policies—and what you can do about them right now:"
Apple buybacks pay most ever as S&P 500 CEOs spend $211 billion - Business - The Boston Globe
"Apple’s $18 billion repurchase in the first quarter and the $16 billion it spent between April and June of 2013 are the two biggest buybacks by any company in data compiled by S&P starting in 1998. They came as the stock advanced as much as 77 percent over 15 months after falling to a 16-month low in April 2013.Apple buybacks pay most ever as S&P 500 CEOs spend $211 billion - Business - The Boston Globe
The return followed the weakest period for Apple shares in the last decade. After vaulting almost 900 percent from the end of 2005 through September 2012 and becoming the world’s largest company by market value, Apple plunged 44 percent in seven months amid concern about new products and competition.
‘‘Their timing was impeccable,’’ Todd Lowenstein, who helps manage $16 billion at Highmark Capital Management in Los Angeles, said in a July 31 phone interview. ‘‘They went in big, and it said to the market that they had confidence in their business plan and thought their stock was grossly undervalued. That’s worked out well for them.’’"
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Mohiomap Turns Evernote, Google Drive, And Dropbox Accounts Into Mind Maps | TechCrunch
"Like many other people, I use Evernote as an information dump. Despite my best efforts to keep things organized with multiple notebooks and tags, my account has become almost as unwieldy as an overstuffed filing cabinet, with stacks of PDFs, web clippings, and notes going back years.Mohiomap Turns Evernote, Google Drive, And Dropbox Accounts Into Mind Maps | TechCrunch
That’s why I was intrigued by Mohiomap, a web app that turns your Evernote into mind maps. Mohiomap also recently added support for Google Drive and Dropbox accounts."
HP Luxury Michael Bastian Smartwatch - Business Insider
"Last week, HP took the wraps off its upcoming designer smartwatch.HP Luxury Michael Bastian Smartwatch - Business Insider
It partnered with online luxury shopping platform Gilt and designer Michael Bastian to create a watch that looks more like a classy timepeice than a gadget.
Details on the watch are still scarce, but we've learned a bit more about how it works."
IBM Said to Have Offered GF Cash to Take Over Chip Unit - Bloomberg
"IBM was offering about $1 billion to persuade Globalfoundries to take the unit, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations were private. Globalfoundries wanted to be paid about $2 billion, enough to offset the division’s losses, the person said.IBM Said to Have Offered GF Cash to Take Over Chip Unit - Bloomberg
IBM’s willingness to pay underscores the urgency for Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty to get less profitable businesses off the books. Even so, letting the deal unravel shows Rometty wasn’t willing to exit at any cost."